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The First Mate's Journal
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Great Lakes to The Bahamas
Who: Wayne & Pat
Port: Jackson
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Back in Deltaville
mid 40s rainy
10/16/2009, Deltaville, VA

Wow, who ordered all this rain? Just a short note to get my feet wet again (pun intended). We're waiting for the weather to break to put the bottom paint on the boat. In the mean time it's work, work, work loading and unpacking and packing the boat... :)

May the bluebirds of happiness revisit us in the fall
05/27/2009, Deltaville

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Well we got all the items off the boat that we thought would not make the drop from the boat once she's on land. The boatyard forgot to call us to let us know they were ready for us and just showed up, so we were backed up until after lunch. Pulled out of our slip and went over to the pumpout and petrol dock and tied up there, until they got back from lunch and were ready for us. Water out, check; Petrol full, check; head empty, check; the list slowly got checked off... It was sad watching Brie get harnessed in and then lifted out of the water and brought to shore.

It was amazing to finally see her bottom. The mooring ball scars showed where the ablative bottom paint came off, and her multi-colored bottom showed the previous colors we'd used. The only places where we'd picked up barnacles were in the thru hulls, and the algae growth was minimal - probably thanks to the krill snacking on the algae (we could hear them at night - they sounded like rice krispies popping). Evidence of our running aground was a very clean keel bottom!

Once ashore the boatyard prepared to pressure wash her bottom. While this was happening below, Wayne said "look at that, a bird is checking out our boom already and she's not even on the hard (sitting on the ground)". Sure enough there was a bird flying in and out of the boom. Bizarre with all the noise and water spray around. I grabbed my camera to see who was trying to occupy our boat already when we hadn't yet finished vacating it. It was a little bluebird trying to set up a nest for his lady love who also had to inspect his choice for a new home. I wonder if it met her approval - it seemed to. Oh, ohhh...

After Brie got pressure washed off, and put in her jack stands we borrowed a ladder and proceeded to take down the sails and remove the dodger and bimini. The batteries are off, wind generator lowered to deck, check, check...oh ya... plug the hole in the boom. There's nothing worse than returning to nesting birds in the boom.

We took a last shower and then went to Bellas for Pizza. We asked about their "kick mama lasagna". They didn't know what we were talking about, but said that their lasagna was "good stuff". I think that Taylors was having fun with us. The pizza was pretty good and it looks like they have really good sub sandwiches too from what we saw going out of the door.

Sometime tomorrow we will load up the final packings from the boat and set out, this time - on the road, for home. Standing in the boat, looking down at the ground beneath us, I think about this past year and the difference between my life at home (?) and on the boat. There was quite a bit of adjusting. I missed my family, friends, my large kitchen, hot, unrushed showers, and in the beginning that great life waster - T.V.... I've actually come to love not hearing "the news"... So much of it isn't news - just sensationalism to get you to keep watching or listening to "the noise"... While we are now, getting set to return to land, I find that I'm already looking forward to October when we will once again pick up this continuing journey that we started this last year. But for now Brie needs the well deserved rest, then repairs, refittings...

New tastes this last year: salt water bread, bimini bread, conch in a variety of ways, soft shelled crab, peas & rice and Bahamian mac & cheese, fresh fresh mahi.

New experiences - wow! The whole trip was a new experience from crossing the Gulf Stream, water spouts, storms, a Gale, Dolphins riding in our bow wake, watching eagles soar and watch us, seeing various forms of sea life; learning to cook on a moving kitchen on a two burner alcohol stove; a new sense of freedom and loneliness, new friendships and goodbyes... I learned how to make and blow a conch horn so I can now announce the arrival of the king LOL.

Emily (from school) asked me "...what has been the best part so far?" Wow! A very tough, but excellent question...

Gosh... the best part so far.... the mushy answer? Being with my other half 24/7. We used to be like that before I started teaching (we were in business together) so it was nice to get "reacquainted" if you will. It took some adjusting but it was all for the good. The "other" best part (besides meeting new people in new places): I've always loved to travel and via a slow boat makes me feel so much closer to nature - sometimes to close, like when I'm standing at the helm in the rain, or a storm, or the cold. Driving and flying, you move fast and so tend to miss so much. Living on the boat and walking gives you time to actually look and experience your surroundings that you just can't do with other faster modes of transportation. I like that, and the sense of freedom and self-reliance that comes with this life style. It still amazes me whenever I think about it. I have to wonder how we managed to get so far away from home while traveling so slowly.

I guess my favorite part would have to be the dolphins riding along beside me and under the bowsprit. My adrenaline kicks up a notch just thinking of it and remembering the sensation of the wind and spray as I was trying to snap pictures of them; looking at them eye to eye in our separate environments; me in the air, they in the water - separated by a barrier but each of us curious about the other... there was something really special about that moment when we were watching each other - a moment not to be forgotten. It's so hard to isolate a moment, as the best, or my favorite...
My first sighting of a manatee or an eagle - so majestic...

The best part so far.... Hmmmm...

The best part....

I guess I'd finally have to say the best part - is feeling like I'm living life...

SweePee is loading the truck for home
05/26/2009, Deltaville

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

After coffee Wayne went over to the boatyard office to see when they can haul us out of the water and they said it would be late morning. They'll give us a call about a half hour before hand so we can top up our fuel and get a final pump out before heading over to the lift. As for the loaner car, we can't use it to go to Hayes to pick up the truck; it's to far away for their insurance or something. Wayne called Penskes to see if they could come pick him up - noooo... When he explained that he couldn't get to them, and asked if there would be a penalty if we canceled the reservation, she asked if she could get back to him and was checking to see if there was anything they could do for us. One of their crew was going to be going past routes 3 & 33 and she wanted to know if we could use the loaner to get to that intersection and her guy could pick him up since they'd be passing by there? With some pretty fast footwork and cooperation from the marina we were able to use the loaner car to get there (it was about 7.5 miles from here as opposed to 40). The marina gave me a map on how to get there and I dropped Wayne off at the fire station (their meeting spot) and came back and continued to pack up our stores (food items). I spotted Bella's (the pizza place) on the way back and they're 1.1 miles further than Taylors. So if we'd walked a little further the first night, we'd have found it...

Wayne showed up a half hour later with the truck. They actually brought the truck to him and he filled out the paperwork at the fire station!

The rest of the day was pretty much packing, moving stuff off the boat and into the truck in preparation for our haul out tomorrow. I can't believe how much stuff we managed to stow into the boat - wow...

We decided to go to Taylors again for dinner (hey I could get used to this - unfortunately our wallets couldn't). We chatted with the chef/owner and the waitress and a couple of elderly ladies that were raving about their crabs. The owner remembered us from last night and that we were from Michgan. After a discussion with them and their finding out that I'd never had soft shelled crabs before, I was talked into trying them out and Wayne got the Pork with onion marmalade that I'd had last night (that was what I was leaning towards again when I'd heard that they have it again tonight). Nobody could believe that I'd never had soft shells before and this was the time of year for them - they wouldn't be available when we returned in the fall, so after listening to the virtues of how tasty they are and how to eat them - one lady said use tartar, the other said just a little lemon, the waitress said just the way they come with nothing on them - I decided why not. Two ways that they cook them are sautéed or breaded & fried. The consensus was that "since I'd never had them before, to have them fried". I asked how you eat them and the waitress said you chop their head off and take their lungs out and eat everything else. Um, I was deciding that maybe this wasn't such a good idea... She said "oh no honey - you don't want to eat the lungs, they'll make you sick". I was already turning green around the gills thinking about having to take their heads out, then cut out their lungs... and was saying maybe I should get something else... They looked at me dumbfounded. I said I couldn't behead and delung them and that brought a good laugh from all three ladies. The chef/owner came out when he heard I'd never had soft shell crab before, during the laughing. "Honey, the cook takes care of the head and lungs, you just eat them you don't prepare them". Oops - don't I feel foolish and relieved at the same time!

Three breaded crabs came out to me and I was looking at them. "Just eat them?" "yep - just eat them". Okay... I started pulling the little legs/claws off and looking at them thinking, there's no meat in their little arms... as I put them on my plate. "Oh honey, what are you doing? You eat those..." "the outer shell part of their legs?" "yes" there is no shell really... I see your dilemma now LOL... they molt their shell and before they can start hardening up another one, they're put on ice and cooked up - so there isn't a shell, that's probably a misnomer." "Ahhhhh.... Got ya!" After that, the entire crab disappeared from my plate... actually all three did with Waynes help. So I've now been indoctrinated into the delicacy of soft-shelled crabs. Chris (the owner/chef) asked me if I'd ever order them again and I said yes, indeed I would. I think I'd try them sautéed next time though because I'm not an overly big fan of deep fried food. I couldn't get over the fact that you eat the whole thing... It was definitely an experience and I'm sure I'll be talked about around the restaurant LOL.

The owner asked if we walked or rode the bikes tonight and said he'd take us back, if we needed. We pointed out the window at our snazzy bright yellow truck and said we have our own wheels tonight! He was kind of sad to hear we were leaving in a couple of days & I was sad to hear they were closed on Wednesday s. I told him we'd have to try out Bellas tomorrow and they said to try their "kick mama lasagna" it was a real treat. I told him we'd see him again in the fall & he wouldn't remember us. He and the waitress said - oh yes he will LOL. He said if they were still open to stop in. Wayne and I looked at each other and said "oh no" Our favorite restaurants have a habit of going out of business which made him look aghast! I certainly hope they're still around! I'd hate to think we jinxed them...

08/31/2009 | Popeye
Hey SweetPea!!!

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