13/11/2011/2:00 pm, Tiger Point Marine, Fernandina Beach FL
We have been happily occupied with visiting during most of this past week.
Baird (Romulus) came over one night for dinner - I will feed him any time in return for his stories! He has been a big help to us - introducing us to Ingemar from whom we bought a whisker pole to help us with our wing on wing sailing this year.
Sue and Terry arrived for what was to have been a sailing vacation but in the spirit of true cruisers, they adjusted well to the demands of weather and boat issues and we did other things instead. We spent a day in St Augustine, exploring Flagler College with its gorgeous Tiffany glass and Edison lights, wandering through the touristy streets where they found a great sun for their sunporch, and driving through other quaint old streets when the rain threatened. The wind howled along the waterfront and we were all very pleased that we weren't bouncing around on a mooring ball out there! We lunched at the A1A Bar, paid yet another visit to West Marine in Jacksonville, and arrived back in Fernandina Beach in time for dinner - tilapia cooked with cherry tomatoes, a generous grind of pepper and parmesan cheese, along with roasted potatoes and green beans steamed and served with a drizzle of olive oil. We topped off every meal with a handful (or two) of "chocolate covered Campbell Nuts". Mmmm. Sue shared her recipe so we'll be having them again!
On Monday, we took advantage of their help to get the sails on. Having several sets of hands to move the large expanse of sailcloth along the deck made the job easier - and I don't think Sue's shoulders got totally dislocated from hanging on to flapping sheets! We thought about sending Terry up the mast to rehang our radar reflector but the wind was up and time was short and we went off to play instead. Sue and I visited my new favourite consignment shop, Frugal Cachet, on 14th St while the guys visited the hardware store. Doesn't that sound like a good division of shopping time?
We finished off their visit with breakfast at T Ray's, a Fernandina Beach "must do", and a lovely walk on the beach to work off at least a little bit of the bacon and sausage and biscuits and eggs and grits we had just consumed. It was so good to have them aboard - next time surely we will get to go sailing!
Richard and Carole (Kilissa) arrived in town on Wednesday. What a wonderful sight it was to see these two back into cruising life after a two year hiatus. Richard has almost fully recovered from his broken wrists and elbows and is building strength through the daily regimen of boat jobs. They came over to join us along with Karin and Ed (Passages) for drinks on Madcap and then we met up with Dick and Tina at Peppers for a filling and tasty Mexican meal.
Thursday night was party night at Devoes. Steve and Sandi drive down from St Simon's, Chip and Faith were in town, and we picked up Richard and Carole at the city marina dock and headed for the party - BBQ'd burgers and dogs, the rice/lentil salad that I adapted from one Mary (Strathspey) served us last summer and sweet little orange tomatoes tossed with fresh basil and tangy feta cheese filled what space was left in our stomachs after nibbling on a whole smorgasbord of dips and crackers.
We were astounded to see Theodore Too docked at the city marina when we picked up Richard and Carole the night before, so on Friday morning, Jim and I went back to the long dock to see this tugboat from Halifax. It takes visitors on harbor cruises back home, and ties up at the waterfront about a 20 minute walk from our house, and I was as excited as a child to see it here. Unfortunately no one seemed to be about so we weren't able to talk with any of the crew, but we were still thrilled to see this Nova Scotia ambassador boat here in our southern home.
We drove to St Simon's later on Friday to spend a couple of nights with Steve and Sandi in their new home. They've been working flat out getting boxes unpacked, carpets laid and paintings hung, but we managed to distract them and we headed out for drinks at Brogans and then a trip across the bridge to Brunswick for some wonderful pizza. A warm bed in a real house felt awfully good that night - the temperature went down to about 39 F. On Saturday, we visited an Art show downtown, picked up an armload of books at the fine used book store there, and then headed for the beach. After a mouthwatering lunch of pulled pork sandwiches, we strolled the long beach on the northeast side of the island, feeling the wind on our faces and the sun in our hair. Ahhhh. In order not to waste a single minute of the day, we then headed off to the movie theatre to see J. Edgar - a most interesting if distressing movie! How did such a person wield such power for so long?
An early morning departure brought us back to Tiger Point to get ready for the big departure on Monday.
04/11/2011/10:14 pm, Tiger Point Marine, Fernandina Beach FL
I have so much to tell you since the last posting:
First off - the launch. The wind and tide were both high on Tuesday so we didn't go in until Wednesday, and then it was the usual sense of anticipation, the breathless ride to the water's edge in the sling and the ahhh of seeing Madcap lowered into the water where she belongs.
The first glitch appeared shortly after. We knew we had a slow leak last spring and we found it during the inspection of the thru hulls - the holes in the bottom of the boat - the ones that are supposed to be there. Water was seeping in around the muffler. Ingemar came down to check it out and determined that it was so corroded it would be only a matter of time before it needed to be replaced, even if we did patch it up. Next glitch -it was a custom made muffler, sized to fit the space when the boat was built, and it was hard - very hard - to find a fiberglass one that would fit. (The alternative was to wait 2 weeks for another custom made one.) After much measuring and pencil chewing, the Tiger Point guys found one in Fort Lauderdale. It came on Monday - without the elbow that they needed to adapt it to Madcap's space (next glitch). Another day, another delivery and the elbow was here. Walt wiggled down into the cockpit locker to the hole aft of the engine and Dave sprawled out over the engine from the foot of the companionway steps, and together they got everything hooked up. We got the yard guys to do the installation, because Jim is very competent at doing some things and not well suited to other things, and he is wise enough to know the difference!
Glitch #3 was Jim's ear. It got red, sore and began to swell so he went off to the clinic where the doctor determined that he had a cyst - probably starting with an insect bite - that had become infected and was given topical cream, antibiotic pills and an order to apply hot compresses 3 times a day. Several days and several hundred dollars later, he is feeling much better. The swelling has gone down, the redness disappeared and his glasses no longer hurt his ear. Now he just grumbles about having to continue to take the medicine.
The weather threw the next glitch (in this series) at us - although in the end it overlapped with the muffler issue so it didn't really matter. Sue and Terry had been planning to come down from South Carolina to spend a couple of days sailing with us. But between wind and muffler issues - we were tied to the dock the whole time. At least seasickness wasn't an issue! More about their visit in the next posting.
30/10/2011/8:17 am, Tiger Point Marine, Fernandina Beach FL
We've been working hard this week! Well ... except for a couple of days of play, but that's what retirement is about, right?
Madcap is looking great with a freshly painted bootstripe (me), washed and waxed and polished hull (Jim), fresh coats of cetol on woodwork (me), cleaned out and organized tool lockers (Jim). I have to say that once again, Jim and I are both in our "beginning of season" mode when we cannot imagine loving a boat more than we love Madcap. After 6 months on board, we always want a bigger one but then we go home to a house for a while and when we come back, she is just right again. Funny how a boat can change like that!!
The weather has been great most of the week but it turned cold and windy Friday night so we were happy to dive under our down comforter and turn on the heater in the morning. Dinner Saturday was pork chops with roasted potatoes, buttered lima beans and sautéed zucchini and tomatoes - fresh from the Farmer's market. Mmmmm mmmmm. Looking forward to leftovers tonight.
We've had time for some strolls through the neighbourhood to look at the pretty houses of old town Fernandina Beach and watch the birds that make the marshes of Egan's Creek their home - snowy egrets, blackbirds, herons. We must be on a monarch butterfly migration route because the yard was full of them the other day.
We took a drive to the Commissary at Mayport with Tina and Dick to start our provisioning, and Jim has made a couple of trips to Sailor's Exchange in St Augustine. We are delighted to report that the "old stuff" we emptied out of our basement at home paid for 140 feet of new anchor chain! On Thursday, Tina, Jim and I drove to St Simon's Island to meet Steve and Sandi (Yes! They are here!), and see their new boat, Yonder. Oh - she's a beauty - and Sandi can be the Varnish Queen again! We went with Dick to the Boardwalk Bash at Amelia Island Plantation to smile at the little pirates and fairies and pumpkins and giraffes as they played beside the pond, and take in the Georgia Bulldog and Florida Gator décor as the place celebrated a college football/Hallowe'en combo. The town is full of Georgia folks who came just across the border for the big game in Jacksonville on Saturday. (Georgia won!)
I've become a great fan of Amazon.com. Find something on line, press a button, and hey presto - it shows up here 2 days later with free shipping. Yikes! This could be addictive!
We're off to see "Ides of March" at the movie theatre tonight. Launch day is Tuesday!