12/21/2014, San Francisco Bay Area
We have completed our first week in the United States and did we ever do a lot! We arrived at our hotel in the San Francisco Bay Area the first evening and after calls to our children we went to bed. It is soooo lovely to stretch out after sitting or half lounging for 36 hours in the airplane! The weather is rainy in San Francisco so we needed to shop for a few things, so we were off to shop!
Next on the list was unpacking to make sure all of our gifts arrived in one piece - once again we were blessed because only one object broke and my clever Dave has repaired it perfectly already! Yeah!!! Next we wrapped presents for Christmas and packed them to be mailed to our other daughter in Tucson. In between doing that we got together with our other children Heather and David Paul and his fiancée, Allison who live here in San Francisco. Much loving and talking and sharing later we got busy again!
A car was the next "to do" must do! We decided to buy a car since renting was just too expensive for the long time that we will be in the US this time. Dave and Heather did this together and were very successful. We are the proud owners of a 2012 Ford Focus, cranberry in color.
We moved out of our hotel and into Heather and Dan's (her significant other) home for the rest of our stay in Northern California. Once we did that Heather involved us in "home projects" for the house! While I did gift wrapping and laundry, (what a combination!), Dave fixed our dresser and doors in the house.
Whether on land or sea the mundane and daily routine must be maintained! We loved seeing our children and slowly adapted to the 9 hour time change. Next week is Christmas and we wish you all the best - peace and happiness. Until we speak again...
12/09/2014, Cape Town Airport
This morning we finished up mothballing Leu Cat for our departure to the USA. We met our friend from Gromit and Rhythm and they helped us carry ALL of our luggage to the marina office. We have LOTS of "stuff" since we have done all of our Christmas shopping throughout the year. Thus we have FOUR pieces of luggage over 50 pounds of weight! We also have 2 pieces of carry on as well! We are loaded!!!! I have to admit we have Never had this much stuff coming off of the boat. Even I am amazed! Now we are waiting at the airport to fly back to the US. We have safely arrived and checked in our luggage. We only have to get to our gate and we can relax.
I will be writing a weekly blog while we are in the states. I think it is fun for our non US readers to see what life is like in the states. I also have to be honest and say that we are soooo busy while we are in the US that I like to write so that I can remember all that we have done because time seems to get away from me. I do not write as well as Dave but I try to do my best. Until we speak again�...
12/09/2014, False Bay Yacht Club, Simon's Town, South Africa
Well, it has finally arrived: our last full cruising day for this year. Tomorrow we leave Leu Cat and head back to the States. We are leaving Leu Cat with mixed emotions. While we are excited that we will be seeing our kids, our respective extended families and friends that we love, we will be leaving Leu Cat and our home for 7 months. That is the longest we will have been off our boat and the longest that we will have lived on land since we started. That has us being a bit sad. Normally, we are gone just a couple of months for the holidays and before we know it, we are back on board Leu Cat. Not this time...
We spent the day doing little stuff and meeting with the shipwright and the fellow who runs the boat valet service who will be taking care of Leu Cat while we are gone. The winds never piped up so we did not take the shipwright out into heavy seas since there were none. As it turns out, he will be here when we return in July so we have postponed the inside wood work until we get back. At that time we will take him out into the heavy seas so he can hear the creaking that we wish to eliminate. Meanwhile, we will have him do some minor work in the two engine rooms and strengthen the flooring that the genset sits on. It appears that the reason the genset pulled out of its tie down lag screws was that the screws were undersized. The shipwright will add some subflooring and install longer and stronger bolts.
Not much more to say except to thank all of you for your various comments and emails throughout this year. Each of you made this year so very special for us and we greatly appreciate the time you each took to share your thoughts and views with us. It is one of the things that make our cruising life so enjoyable. And we also wish thank those of you that we were able to meet this year. Your kindness and generosity was overwhelming. Being able to meet people who love sailing and adventure and are willing to take the time to share their country with us is very unique and we leave with so much more insight and understanding of the culture, geography and the people of the places that we visit. It is very special.
Have a Merry Christmas and hope you all have a very good and Happy New Year!
12/08/2014, False Bay Yacht Club, Simon's Town, South Africa
It is hard for us to believe this cruising year is coming to an end. While we admit, it has been a long and at times a trying year, we still love our Leu Cat and the adventures she has given us. We started out in Malaysia, then on to Thailand, the Maldives, the Chagos, Seychelles, Madagascar, Mozambique and finally South Africa; including rounding the Cape and leaving the Indian Ocean behind us. Whew! What a year! All told, we logged over 9,000 nm this year. That is a lot of sea water passing under the hulls.
We are anxious to see our kids and grandchildren and are looking forward to returning to the States. While there, our son, David Paul, will be marrying his sweetheart, Allison. We are looking forward to adding her to our family. She is a sweetie and comes from a great family that oozes warmth and love. David Paul and we are so lucky to be part of her family.
We also will be attending a second wedding. Our niece, Sarah, my brother's younger daughter, is marrying her sweetheart, John. They make a lovely couple and we are so happy for them and my eldest brother, Don, and his wife, Debbie.
Speaking about my brother, I invite you to check out an article and video that the hospital in his community of Waterford, Conn. put together. Click Here To Go To This Site. He had a pretty scary heart attack this last summer and we are so thankful that through the hospital's effort, he pulled through. I lost my younger brother, Dwight, to a heart attack a few years ago. Don has made a remarkable recovery after a triple bypass surgery and we are looking forward to playing another round of golf this coming year.
We will be doing a lot of traveling when back in the States. Our itinerary includes, San Francisco, Yosemite (where Dave and Allison's wedding will be), Las Vegas, Tucson, Philadelphia, Washington D.C., Waterford, Conn., then all the way back to the west coast and Dana Point, California (where we used to live) then up the coast to Portland, Seattle and Bellingham (where my sister lives). Finally we return to San Francisco where we will depart to return to Leu Cat here in Simon's Town in July. Lordy, Lordy, that is a lot of land traveling and we are exhausted just talking about it. However, as we get older we place so much value on seeing family and friends and they live all over the US. Thus, we have the heavy load of travel, travel and more travel. We will be looking forward to getting back to Leu Cat just to rest up!
12/07/2014, False Bay Yacht Club, Simon's Town, South Africa
As I have written in the past, one of the bad things about cruising is that you have to say goodbye to the various cruiser friends you meet. Usually, there is a good chance that you may bump into them again as you cruise to different places. However, sometimes you realize that seeing them again will become a very remote possibility.
Such was the case today. Our good friends Michael and Susan of S/V Infini left today with their son to go explore the hinterlands of South Africa. They have rented a car and will be driving around for the next few weeks. When they return, we will have left of the US. Then, in January or February of 2015, they will sail on to cross the Atlantic to spend the next year of two in the Caribbean. They have no plans of crossing the Atlantic and sailing in the Med.
Thus, while we plan to sail over to the Caribbean late next year and parking the boat there for the holidays before sailing on to the Med in the spring of 2016, there is little chance of bumping into them again. How sad is that! They are such lovely people we have a history of bumping into them going back to Cartagena, Columbia during our very first year of cruising in 2008. We met them again in Panama, in the Galapagos, in French Polynesia, and now in South Africa. Five different places as we both made our way almost all the way around the world! We wish you well, good friends, and have a great sail next year!
My back is getting better with each passing day. I have high hopes that it will be strong enough in time for our long, long trip to the States this Wednesday.
Today, I had Randy of S/V Mystic come over and I hauled him up our mast to replace the masthead light. I had bought an Orca Green LED masthead light a few years back but it failed within 6 months. They fixed it but I had not gotten around to remounting it again. Instead, I just used our original masthead light. The Orca Green light is both an anchor light and navigation light and as an LED based light, thus it uses fewer amps. Hence, I was motivated to try using it again. I have since learned that it has a reputation amongst cruisers of failing so I have my fingers crossed that this time it will last. We shall see...
While I worked with Randy, MM gave Jenny all the food that we could not eat before leaving the boat. It was chicken, cheese, yogurt, tortillas, filo dough, onions and fresh garlic to name a few. Cruisers hate to waste things and we are the same!
I had Randy come over today because for the first time in a week, the winds died. I was told by Randy that he had heard that last month was the windiest November in Cape Town's history. Sheeesh. I can believe it since we have had day after day of winds blowing between 25 and 50+ knots. Continuous blows of between 25 and 35 knots have been typical and we no longer think twice about the howling noise it makes. Actually, the quiet we are now experiencing is a bit eerie.
I want to thank everyone who has sent to me well wishes and advice regarding my back. It was kind and thoughtful of you and I appreciate you taking the time to do so. As I said, it is getting better and better each day.
I am afraid there is not much to write about. I spent most of the day just lying in bed and resting my back. I did make a feeble attempt to walk to the laundry with Mary Margaret but had to turn back after just reaching the Yacht Club building. She had to carry on the rest of the way by herself.
While it is feeling a bit better, it will take a few more days of low activity and more rest before everything is back to normal.
I did call and talk to the parents of Owen, one of our blog readers, who lives in Nevada. He is a former resident of the Simon's Town area and his parents still live near here. He had invited us to call them and get together. We were anxious to do that but got caught up in all of our boat projects as we were frantic in getting Leu Cat ready for our return to the US.
Owen's parents were very nice over the phone but I basically had to share with them that my back problem would most likely preclude getting together before we leave in a few days. However, I did promise to call to see if we could set something up when we returned next July. Owen's father shared with us that Owen may be visiting them next August or September so, with luck, we may be able to meet him along with his parents. We anticipate being in South Africa until next October as we wait for a better time weather-wise to cross the South Atlantic. That would be really great.
Here is another way of removing the genset from the Lagoon 440's lazerette. One of our blog reader friends, Gerry, sent this to us. It shows how John of S/V Orcinius lifted his out. I have known John via the Internet for a few years now. They did a major retrofit in New Zealand a couple of years ago. If it had not been for Gerry, I would have never known about how John lifted his genset out.
Both Chris and I were too nervous about putting weight on the sill of the hatch that John used. It looks like the sill is strong enough to hold the weight of the genset without damaging it.
If you are interested in ready about John and Lisa's adventure, check out their blog at: http://www.sailblogs.com/member/orcinius/.