A rainbow extending above our mast at the St. Augustine Municipal Maria.
Throughout our summer in Marathon, we began looking to relocate our main port of call to St. Augustine. We had spent several weeks in St. Augustine while traveling the east coast and fell in love with this historical and active city. From the historic "old town district" of stores, hotels, museums,shops and restaurants to the beautiful beaches on Anestasia Island, we wanted to spend more time exploring life in this part of North Florida. St. A is the oldest town in the US and will be celebrating it's 450th anniversary in 2015.
I found a good weather window in mid-August and arranged with Capt. Bill Olson to help me move the boat from Marathon to St. A. We left on a Thursday afternoon and motor sailed the Hawk Channel to Ft. Lauderdale arriving just after sunrise on Friday morning. Spent Friday afternoon and night at the Bahia Mar Marina where Capt Bill's girlfriend joined us as crew. We left before dawn on Saturday morning for Ft. Pierce. After exiting the Port Everglades Inlet we picked up the gulf stream current and sailed in excess of 12 kts to the Ft. Pierce Inlet and Harbortown Marina. Spent the night at Harbortown ( hot showers, good dinner and a hot breakfast) and left Sunday late morning for St. A. Arrived St. A. on Monday morning. The overall journey of just under 400nm was one of the most enjoyable sails I have ever experienced
Cathy and Sassy drove to St. A and we began to settle in to our new base of operation. We have discovered most of the good eating places and best of all I discovered the homemade peach ice cream at Kilwin's (with Dominica hot fudge topping). We are attending Grace UMC next to the Flagler College campus. Grace was built by Henry Flagler in 1881 in authentic Spanish Renaissance style architecture. The church is about a 10 minute walk from our marina.
The beaches on Anestasia Island are approximately a 4.5 mile bike ride from the marina. We do take Sassy in the car for late afternoon beach walks. St. Augustine Beach is a very wide white sand beach that is very clean with excellent shower facilities for both us and Sassy Most weekends have plenty of unique kites flying along with well organized beach volleyball tournaments.
The city is host to weekly concerts both at the city's amphitheater and Constitution Park in the town square. Flagler College is located in the heart of downtown and brings a lot of added cultural opportunities to the community.
In Oct we had an insurance policy survey on Moonlight Shadow which highlighted several significant maintenance items and a few upgrades that we needed to complete. We hauled the boat at a local boat yard in early November and Sassy and I drove back to TX. Cathy was having some major digestive problems at the time and she flew back a week earlier to begin some testing. All testing came out positive and she has been correcting her problems by diet.
We had been planning a Thanksgiving holiday trip to TX in late November to visit family and friends, get our annual medical checkups and tests and pickup needed supplies and items for the boat. We were then going to be back in St. A to celebrate the Christmas holiday. St. A does a spectacular job of decorating for the holidays. The "old historic district" displays over 10 million holiday lights that bring a lot of joy and memories to so many people at this festive time of the year.
Well, we not only left early for TX due to the boat challenges and Cathy's health issues but our stay was extended through the Christmas holiday. While Sassy was running and playing at Brian and Elisa's house she tore her ACL that resulted in another knee surgery. She tore the other ACL a year earlier. After surgery and a successful rehab we returned to St. A in early January. We were still able to see all the fabulous Christmas decorations in St. A as the city keeps them in full display until the end of January.
We had a busy and active winter enjoying the sights and sounds of this most enjoyable city. It has been cooler than normal (as was most of the country) and we have worn more jackets, fleeces, caps and gloves than we ever expected being in Florida. We had an occasional warm day or two every now and then to keep our spirits hopeful for a return to spring sailing.
We have been fortunate to meet many new dock mates and friends in the boating community while here. We have been blessed throughout our cruising to be able to share life with some very special people. Our dock mates David and Janine and Ed and Michele have been fun to get to know and share a meal while exchanging life's stories and events.
We have now been in St. A for seven months and Cathy and I have been hearing the call of adventure for South Florida, the Bahamas and the Florida Keys. We are leaving this Saturday for a week to 10 day cruise to South Florida, reprovision in Ft. Lauderdale and then off to the Bahamas where we will be joined by family and friends during our approximate 2 month Bahama adventure. After returning to Ft. Lauderdale (sometime in June), we will head to Marathon in the Keys. We are looking forward to spending some time relaxing with our great friends Bruce and Bobbi. Then sometime in July we will work our way back up the Florida coast for a summer docking back in beautiful St. A before peak hurricane season.
So follow us on our new blog, Bahama Bound with weekly updates (possibly/hopefully).
Devin at the helm of our charter boat.
May, June and July were months filled with travel, family, more family, more travel and a milestone birthday celebration. In late May Cathy left the Keys on a flight to Biloxi where she helped her Mom and Dad do some estate planning, medical checkups and family errands. I joined her a week later driving from the Keys and then we were off to League City/Houston for our medical checkups and to pick up our new car. We had been without a car for 2 1/2 years while cruising around the East Coast and Florida. Although we stayed very active with our bike riding and walking, Cathy missed the car for shopping and we were limited in our exploration around our cruising venues.
In early June, Cathy left for Las Vegas to spend time with friends and her pole dancing classmates from when she lived there in the late 90's. I joined her several days later and we were off to Needles, CA to see our family and attend our grandson's high school graduation. Needles is approximately a 2 hour drive southeast of Las Vegas along the Colorado River. I played golf with my two sons and grandson. It was a very memorable event as all four Truscott men were playing and enjoying the outing. It was 113 degrees plus at this desert golf course and most challenging for me as I had not played golf for over ten years.
Graduation was great. Watching Devin graduate with honors and then attending a party for Devin and some of his fellow graduates at Trent and Julie's house was a special treat. It seems like just yesterday that we were sitting on the floor watching Lion King on an almost daily basis with our two year old grandson in our Sugar Land, TX home. I had all four of my children and both grandchildren at the graduation. The following week we would be off to Croatia with our son and daughter-in-law, Brian and Elisa, and our daughter, Becky. The guest of honor would be our grandson. Our graduation gift to Devin was the trip to Croatia. However, as Cathy and I continue to look at all the great pictures of this wonderful trip, I do believe the gift of the trip was a heart full of memories for all.
The first week of our two week Croatia coastline sail was a romantic adventure for Cathy and I. We retraced a course that Cathy and I had made in 2008 with her brother and sister-in-law, George and Lisa, from Sweden. Our family arrived for the second week and we had a fun filled adventure that kept us on the move. We toured Old Town Dubrovnik on the first day including a walking tour of the great wall around the city. We then sailed to the Islands of Mljett, Korcula and Sipan. We took bike tours through a national park on Mljet and to a beach and vineyard on Korcula. Elisa and Devin were the best long distance bikers (up and down hills) while Becky and Dad spent more time bonding in conversation as we walked our bikes up the steeper hills. We went for chilly swims while anchored in Mljet and introduced our grandson to Ozujsko, a native beer of Croatia and Cathy resumed her long lost taste for Grasevina, a Croatian white wine.........and this time she did not throw her wine glass overboard....I think?
Walking, shopping, dining and an active night life in the walled city of Korcula made this port one of our favorites. Our motor sail from Korcula to Sipan was an absolutely beautiful day of sailing. Moderate beam reach winds with clear skies over the deep blue Adriatic Sea. Mooring in Sipan was a little challenge as the winds and tides were not favorable. We had delightful weather throughout our two week journey. Fair winds, successful docking Mediterranean style and good holding anchorages added to the enjoyment of our travels.
We had many unique dining experiences including our fish, squid and other varied seafood meals. Preparation and presentation of the fish brought some real ohhs and ahhs. The pizza and beer, fresh French bread and morning pasties in each port offset all the gains made from our active days.
After disembarking our charter boat in Dubrovnik after our two week sailing adventure, our family left for an enjoyable night on the town in Frankfurt before flying back to Houston. Cathy and I left for her 49th birthday celebration in Vienna and Paris.
Vienna is a gorgeous historical town that has deep roots in music. We went to a concert, traveled around the city on open air tour buses and walked through some of the most beautiful gardens and parks all in full boom with roses and flowers. Vienna is a very vibrant, active and extremely clean city that keeps it's historical buildings, palaces, universities, gardens, parks and transportation systems in excellent condition. Watching Cathy take in the history, architecture and beauty of Vienna was a great start to her birthday travels.
From our short stay in Vienna to a full week of Paris continued to fill our scrapbook of great memories. We rode the train from Charles de Gaulle airport to our quaint historical hotel in central Paris where we began our active fun filled week culminating with a wonderful birthday dinner with my gorgeous bride on the eve of her birthday.
We walked, rode open air tour buses throughout all sections of Paris, ate, walked, shopped, ate some more, took a river boat ride on the Seine, people watched, walked, ate, climbed Sacre Coeur, walked, took a day long tour of the Versailles Palace and Gardens, walked, ate some more and occasionally we even slept. Cathy continued to marvel at the French architecture, beautiful gardens and art throughout Paris.
Then, back to reality in the good old USA. After arriving back in Houston via Frankfurt, we started getting ready for a much slower life back in the Keys. Brian and Elisa had rescued Sassy from the kennel after their return from Frankfurt. After our return to Houston, Cathy flew to Denver to visit with her brother, J. D.
Sassy and I then started our drive back to the Keys and timed our drive to pick up Cathy at the Ft. Lauderdale Airport. Time to get resettled into our much summer Keys lifestyle.
We had a wonderful time visiting with family and friends. A great graduation, travels to Frankfurt, Croatia, Vienna, Paris, Denver and back home to Florida. Now the great news. After all the great meals, pasta, pastries, gelato, more pasta, pizza, Ozujsko, Grasevina, more pastries, more gelato and even a few veggies, when I returned to the Keys I had not gained a pound. Yes, miracles do happen.
Brian and Elisa on the dock
October was the beginning of a very active finish to 2012. Our son and daughter-in-law, Brian and Elisa, flew to the Keys for a long weekend visit. This was the first visit to the Keys for both of them. We had a great time sharing our life in the Keys. We sailed to Sombrero Reef Lighthouse for a snorkel outing, went paddle boarding and swimming at the marina and enjoyed a memorable birthday dinner celebration at Lazy Days.
Shortly after Brian and Elisa's visit, Cathy and I rented a car and drove to League City for a great Thanksgiving holiday celebration. Just prior to our leaving Marathon, Sassy injured her leg and was limping on three legs. We waited until we got to Texas to get her checked out. Her Vet determined she had possibly torn the ACL in her right back knee and recommended a surgeon to examine her further. The surgeon confirmed the diagnosis. So Sassy had knee surgery and then began the rehab process. She is improving steadily and we are getting additional workouts lifting her in and our of the boat.
Our visit to TX was extremely busy for all. Becky. Elisa and Cathy prepared a wonderful Thanksgiving feast in Brian and Elisa's wonderful "galley". Cathy enjoyed all the comforts of a modern kitchen with large ovens, a real dishwasher, large refrigerator and freezer and lots of counter space. We enjoyed several weeks of great hospitality by Brian and Elisa.
I helped Becky with several home repairs in her condo, killed a snake for Brian and Elisa in their backyard and helped them with a few home repairs. I had several doctor appointments, a financial review with Brian and did some shopping for boat parts and supplies. I was also able to attend several of my former Emmaus group breakfast meetings.
Cathy visited several friends, spent a couple of days with Danielle and her family and spent several extended shopping trips buying items that are either not available or are in limited supply in the Keys. Texas had quite a boost to the their economy. Cathy also enjoyed helping Brian and Elisa in decorating their new home. Shopping trips looking at lamps, accessories, rugs, paint and fabrics were a rewarding and enjoyable experience that Cathy was able to share with Brian and Elisa
Our annual trips to Texas are always busy with plenty of items on our to do list. However, the greatest rewards and blessings come from our visits and meals shared with family and friends.
We were able to stop in Biloxi driving to and from the Keys. Besides Cathy being able to spend time with her parents and friends, she was able to take her Dad and sister to Pensacola to visit her aunt and uncle.
We have been back to Marathon for only two weeks and they have been a very busy two weeks. Cathy has been busy with yacht club meetings and projects along with her hospital auxiliary meetings and Bible study group. She is thoroughly enjoying being involved with these groups. Cathy has also been busy with several holiday luncheons and keeping our social calendar full of dinners and holiday events. She is a great "cruise director" for Moonlight Shadow.
I have been able to get the balance of our lightning damaged instruments and radios repaired along with waxing our hull and treating our canvas bimini top.
We are starting to finalize some of our cruising plans for 2013. We hope to see our family and friends in different ports throughout the year as we share the joys of life and the many beautiful venues that God has richly blessed us with.
Hope to see you aboard Moonlight Shadow in 2013.
Purrfection at dock next to Moonlight Shaow.
The damages are being tallied and Purrfection will be the winner or should I say loser. Between instruments, electrical connections and components, Purrfection has suffered major losses from the lightning strike. Bruce and Bobbi are still getting inspections and estimates and as additional damages are found the long-term efforts to repair or replace items gets bigger and more challenging. Bruce and Bobbi had been working on a tmietable to get their boat ready for a circumnavigation. Hopefully these new challenges will not defer their schedule significantly.
Several boats on our dock including Moonlight Shadow had residual damage and the marina lost it's wifi system. We had damage to our anchor light and our satellite radio and VHF radio antennas. We seem to have had some of our VHF damage relating back to a four day lightning and rain storm in the Bahamas on Bimini last April
Hopefully we have isolated all of our damages and will make repairs this week after our new parts arrive. As we complete the repairs I hope we do not discover any additional issues. I have been fortunate to find quality electronic and rigging people to help with the repairs.
Our summer and fall have been busy. I have been doing repairs and maintenance projects on the boat. Refinishing teak, waxing the boat, repairing our jib roller furler system, plumbing and electrical repairs and oil and filter changes have occupied most of my time.
Cathy has been volunteering at the Marathon Yacht Club and local hospital auxilliary. She is hemming our marina manager's wedding gown this afternnoon for their wedding next weekend. Cathy does a fabulous job of keeping the boat and laundry clean and neat along with preparing healthy and wonderful meals.
Cathy has been winning the Florda Keys frequent traveler award. She went to her aunt and uncles 60th wedding anniversary party in NC, attended a friends wedding in Annapolis two weeks ago and will be leaving tomorrow to see her Mom and Dad. They are both having major health problems. Her Mom fell and broke her arm and her Dad is currently in the hospital undergoing tests to try and diagnose some weakness problems. Not sure how long she will be in Biloxi. Cathy's sister has been the major support person for her parents and Cathy is going to give her some needed relief. If she needs to stay for any length of time, I will probably pick her up on our way to Texas in November.
We are also excited that Brian and Elisa may be coming to the Keys for a visit in two weeks. We may make some changes in these plans if Cathy does not return from Biloxi before their visit. It will be wonderful having them visit our Florida Keys marina home and sharing our cruising/live aboard lifestyle.
Last Friday night a lightning storm passed through our marina about 1:00am and lightning made a direct hit on our dock mates boat in the slip behind us. Bruce and Bobbi, dock mates and friends and owner of Purrfection, are pictured above with us a few weeks ago as we shared dinner at the Marathon Yacht Club. The next blog will highlight our summer/fall busy schedules along with details of the lightning strike. Moonlight shadow had minimal challenges compared to significant damage to Purr-fection.
Picture of Moonlight Shadow hauled out for Issac.