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.
The enclosed photo is our daughter, Chris and son-in-law Kirk, as we were celebrating their birthdays at the Lazy Days restuarant during their visit to the Keys in late July. We thoroughly enjoyed their visit. We went snorkeling at Sombrero Reef Lighthouse, toured Marathon, went paddle boarding, relaxed at the marina pool and spent a short day touring Key West. We have enjoyed sharing our cruising lifestyle with family and friends when they visit us in the Keys.
After their visit we were challenged with tropical stom Issac. We hauled our boat after securing our belongings, removed our bimini, jib and boat gear and left for the nearest La Quinta Hotel in the South Miami area. We do not take storms lightly as our boat was damaged by Hurricane Ike in Galveston and survivied a brushing by Hurricane Irene last year in NC. Our boat is back in the water, our personal items are aboard and have we have reinstalled most of our boat gear and bimini. I damaged part of our jib roller furler when attempting to reinstall our sail and we are waiting on a part to repair the furler before reinstalling the jib (hopefully next week). Another costly learning curve lesson. Hopefully we will not have to dodge any more storms this year.
Cathy and I are currently tackling boat maintenace and cleaning projects. I have some major projects to work on........teak work, hull waxing and oil changes. Need some slightly cooler weather to get a little bit more energized for several of those projects.
Cathy has been involved in her weekly Bible study group and we have both signed up for some student mentoring with the local school district at the middle school and high school level.
We have talked to some of our snow bird cruising friends and they should start arriving for the season in October and November. The marina is very quiet and slow in the summer and has even slowed down a little further since Labor Day weekend. Brian and Elisa are coming to visit us in the Keys next month and Cathy is traveling to Annapolis to attend a wedding for a friend's daughter later this month. These are friends she knew from her days in Sugar Land, TX.
We are planning to drive to Biloxi and League City/Houston for the Thanksgiving holiday. Cathy will help Elisa and Becky make a Thanksgiving feast in Brian and Elisa's new home that has a really big.......galley (kitchen). We are looking forward to seeing family & friends along with doing some needed shopping and medical checkups. We miss having some of our favorite stores in the Keys.
As you can see we have very active lives. We are trying to keep our exercise program worked into our weekly schedules. Bike riding, paddle boarding, weight lifting & swimming activites are trying to stay up with our drinking and eating programs. Some days we win and some days we lose.
Our hope is that each of you has a great Fall season and enjoy each day as another gift from God.
Becky and Cathy snorkeling Sombrero Lighthouse Reef
We have had an active and relaxing summer in the Keys. Our daughter Becky flew into Key West for a most enjoyable 4th of July weekend. We celebrated the 4th of July aboard a dock mate's boat with approx 20 other dock mates and friends while enjoying great food and a spectacular fireworks display off Sombrero Beach in Marathon. Becky joined us in paddle boarding, snorkeling and swimming and then treated us to a wonderful birthday dinner for Cathy that included a belated Father's Day dinner at the local Lazy Days restaurant at our marina. We then capped off her short stay with a lunch and lazy stroll thru Key West. We really enjoyed having Becky join us as she is the first of our children to experience our crusing life. Besides that she is a joy and blessing to be with as she truly brightens our day.
Cathy is currently in Charlotte, NC celebrating a 60th surprise wedding anniversary party for her aunt and uncle. She is meeting many cousins and family members for the first time and reuniting with many that she has not seen for some time.
Our daughter Chris and son-in-law Kirk are coming for a visit next weekend. We will be celebrating both Chris and Kirk's birthdays along with sharing our Island Paradise and cruising lifestyle with them
I have been able to get caught up on boat projects and maintenance this summer and Cathy has been involved with her Bible study group along with getting involved with the ladies in the local yacht club. The Keys get a little sloooower in the summer. The population dwindles when the "snow birds" head home. We get spurts of visits from vacationers and fishermen. This coming week will be very active as the Keys get invaded for a special two day lobster catch.
As we see the summer temps and drought conditions around the country we are thankful of our daily tropical breezes and rains. Although it is hot and humid here, the spectacular views, beautiful sunsets, slow Keys lifestyle, enjoyable friends and dock mates, great church community, daily rains and breezes and warm tropical waters give us daily opportunties to thank God for all of our blessings.
More to come soon........on Keys time.