19/05/2011/7:49 pm, crew in Halifax / boat in Florida
It' s hard to believe we've been back in Halifax for a week and a half now. We thought we had come back too soon because it has been cold and rainy here, but we've been able to watch the leaves uncurl and the blossoms burst open - and that's nice. With all the rain, everything is beautifully green and fresh looking. Mary Beth had the house spic and span and much neater than it will be again until we leave!
We had a fine trip north in a Hertz rental car - that's where we got the best deal this year - around $315 for a week from Fernandina Beach, FL to Boston. We were able to visit several friends on the way home, and had room to bring a load of things we had accumulated over the winter - shells and sea glass, artwork, rum, books we just couldn't part with, clothes we hadn't worn, and odds and sods of things we didn't need on the boat. Once again, we had no trouble crossing the Canadian border in a rental car and this year we had one with Canadian plates which made it even easier. I had a free day rental with my Emerald Club membership (National Car Rental) so the trip from Boston to Halifax cost $18. Pretty sweet!
Jim gathered together some statistics from the 2010-2011 trip:
Total nautical miles: 2021.5 (statute miles: 2326.3) (kilometers: 3743.8)
Nights at anchor: 72
Nights on moorings: 64 (includes the 2 weeks we were home for Christmas while the boat was in Vero Beach)
Nights at dock: 32 (including most of the nights in Cuba where we had to be in a marina)
Nights at sea: 6
Longest distance we travelled in one trip: 510.5 nautical miles (up from 240 last year)
Shortest distance: 1 nm
Diesel fuel used: 182 US gallons (down from 264 last year!)
Water used: 712 US gallons
The fishing was better this year, and we had several meals caught by our hunter-gatherer and his son and sister. (I just cook 'em.) I packed far too many cans of beans and tuna, and took them off the boat this spring. We had the wine and beer figured just about right.
We travelled under sail far more this year, and although we didn't travel as many miles as last year, we did get to visit several new places: Conception Island and Rum Cay in the Bahamas, and Cuba. People are still fascinated to hear that we came all the way from Ontario to the Bahamas, back up to Nova Scotia, and back down again to the very southernmost part of the Bahamas (with a little help from a truck for some of the miles that year) and then even farther - to Cuba - this year. To tell you the truth, we are quite amazed at it ourselves!
As we do every year, we met folks who have been sailing in the south for years and years and we usually picked up a tip or two from them. We met several boats out there who were doing it for the first time and it was a joy to catch some of their excitement. We met folks we hadn't seen in several years, and we reunited with those we've been lucky enough to connect with each season. We met up with Bahamians we had gotten to know in other years, and we made new friends both there and in Cuba. We are so very fortunate.
Speaking of new friends - we met Henrik and Anders on their Norwegian boat Fri Inspiration when we were in Puerto de Vita, Cuba. We were a little concerned about their plans to come straight from there to Halifax, but we wished them well when we left to go to Varadero and hoped we'd see them in Nova Scotia. Well, we had been back a day when we heard a knock on the front door and there were the two young, blond haired, bearded smiling faces! They had made it in 17 days, and were having a good time despite the rain that had been falling every day since their arrival. They met a couple of Norwegian families here, and came over for dinner and TV and some warmth. I walked down to the dock to see if they were still there last Friday (they were waiting for the winds to drop) and was lucky enough to be able to say farewell as they passed Bishop's Landing and out the harbour, bound for Newfoundland. I haven't heard anything from them yet, but I'll post a note when I hear that they have arrived there - or somewhere! They are headed back to Norway via Iceland.
These two are examples of one extreme of cruisers out there. They have a small, distinctly un-fancy boat, loads of enthusiasm, a good shot of bravery, and a halo of good luck around them. We never seem to get to know the huge mega yachts with paid crews and uniforms at the other extreme (funny about that!) And then there are all the rest of us in between. There is the odd boat whose crew doesn't seem to be having much fun, and we hear stories now and then of boats that have gotten into serious trouble, but the majority by far are folks who are out there on moderately sized boats that are reasonably well equipped, and who are thoroughly enjoying themselves.
When we were "secret shoppers" for Cruising World at the Annapolis Sailboat Show last October, we came away feeling that although a larger boat would be awfully nice, we were still happy enough with Madcap's comfort and storage space. We went through the same range of emotions this season. When we had company, and when we wished for our fold up bikes or a kayak or when we had to move things out of the shower for the 25th time, we longed for a bigger boat, and we have a running list now of what we want in/on the "next boat". But for most of the time, our beautiful Bayfield 36 is still the boat for us. (See the January, 2011 issue of Cruising World for picture and details.)
Jim and I are so pleased to be able to share our experiences with all our readers, and as always we feel greatly supported by the interest and good wishes that come our way. We'll be off again in mid September for another adventure. We are joining friends on a 15 day "big boat" cruise from Copenhagan, Denmark to Port Canaveral, Florida. Quite a novel way to get ourselves down to Florida to pick up Madcap, don't you think?
I'll post an update now and then to fill you in on what we're up to. In the meantime, thanks for reading! Have a wonderful summer.
03/05/2011/8:08 am, Fernandina Beach, FL
We've had our last leisurely coffee morning with Sandi and Steve. We've had our last wonderful evening in Tina and Dick's beautiful garden room. Madcap sits securely in her cradle at Tiger Point Marine. It is time to go home. (THe pic shows Madcap in the sling as she is being hauled out. Didn't the bottom paint hold up well?)
We have rented a couple of cars again and are driving north. We couldn't get one from here to take across the border, but if we switch in Boston (just like last year) there is no problem. And so ... we leave here this morning and arrive in Halifax on Saturday or Sunday, visiting friends along the way - until our time runs out. Unfortunately, we have 24 hours to go from Boston to Halifax, so we'll have to delay visits with more northerly friends until another time.
It has been a wonderful season - lots of sailing - lots of new adventures - very few minor problems (and no major ones!)
I'll post the stats when Jim figures them out!
Until then, fair winds everyone.
26/04/2011/5:50 pm, Fernandina Beach, FL
Well ... I have spent the last 4 days writing. I have just put up 16 postings. My friend Tina gave me a Healing Touch treatment last evening and said my arms and legs seems closed and still. Hmmmm .... maybe because I've been sitting at Sandi's dining room table typing for hours and hours and hours??
I've been paying the price for not writing as I went along, but I was either busy busy busy, or flaked out tired.
I hope I've been able to reconstruct enough of our wonderful experience to give you a feeling for what it was like.
Because words will just not do it, I'll try to find some time to put pictures in the gallery. How I admire the folks who do that regularly! It will be a while, because now I must turn my attention to the boat. We are at the dock at Fernandina Harbour Marina until Friday morning when we move over to Tiger Point. Haul out will be that day sometime.
We have a whole lot of work - cleanup and tidy up and servicing all the systems in order to put Madcap to bed for the summer. And, just to make it difficult, Shrimpfest starts here on Thursday! We've never been here for it, but apparently thousands of people arrive in town. There are parades and music and vendors and fireworks and .... shrimp!
We have a car rented starting Monday - so we head north then.
The pic is of Chris and Peach and Kirby - on board Star of the Sea. We were so pleased to see them here and they got the first rush of excitement over our Cuba Adventure.
Off to work now. Jim is sighing loudly!