Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone!
Instead of doing a mass mailing to our ever growing address book, we'd like to share our Christmas letter with you through our blog and hope everyone will be able to have access to internet service.
Benno and I have had a wonderful time this past year on Diesel Duck. Twelve months ago we arrived at the San Blas Islands of Panama where we got lost for half a year among the 360 islands. Amazingly, the days, weeks and months flew by while we explored the little palm covered islets, swam, snorkeled, fished, photographed, partied with cruising friends and bought Molas from the Kuna Indians. Sheryl and Paul Shard, Canadian friends of ours, visited us to film another episode for "Distant Shores" which is available on DVD and being aired on National Television. In the spring, I made a trip home to Canada to see our family and since the flight was from Panama City, it gave us another opportunity for some shopping in this great city. Because the San Blas Islands have very little to offer in terms of groceries, "stocking up" really meant if you didn't have it onboard, you had to do without it. At the end of May Diesel Duck spent a month at the Shelter Bay Marina in Panama, where we took delivery of a new diesel generator which Benno installed and hooked up while we were at the dock.
On June 6th, the great news reached us that we had become grandparents for the second time. Annaliese Lili joined her sister Heidi Elise and we are thrilled to have two cute, beautiful, healthy and smart granddaughters.
Summertime meant hurricane season and both of us longed to be in some cooler and drier climate for a while, out of the hurricane area. In no time at all, (you readers of our blog know that when Diesel Duck is on the move, she moves!) we were up in the Chesapeake Bay where we found a great, free of charge, mooring at the Weems Creek in Annapolis. Although by being there we had traded the great clean waters of the Atlantic for the brownish rivers, the charming town, great shopping opportunities for all our hearts desires and nice summer temperatures made up for it. And of course the fine people we met there and became friends with were all worth it. However, being all the way up north didn't get us away from the hurricanes after all. "Irene" made it up to where we were, but thank God, we only had some strong gusts during the night and only suffered "No Internet Connection" for a week afterwards because of downed power lines.
After the Annapolis boat show in October, Diesel Duck headed south again, taking advantage of all the good weather windows, which afforded us to hang around some anchorages ahead of schedule. We participated in the annual get together of the Seven Seas Cruising Association in Melbourne, Fl and afterwards headed for Ft. Lauderdale, one of our favorite cities, because so many marine oriented companies are located there and as all boaters know, there is always a need to buy more stuff!
For the last month of this year we decided to head over to the Bahamas to enjoy the clear water, do more swimming and snorkeling and spending Christmas and New Year here. My parents will be visiting us in January in Ft. Lauderdale, so Diesel Duck will be heading back to host them. Our cruising destinations for next year will include again the Bahamas and the Caribbean.
Have a great holiday and please keep the emails coming!
Marlene and Benno
P.S. Santa had to hold on tight because it's windy here in the Bahamas.
Our two lovely granddaughters
Memories of our snorkel adventures