I don't know how she did it but Jean has managed to jump ship again only this time she is headed to Washington, DC.
After several weeks of waiting she has had some tremendous luck and will be meeting with several directors within the Federal Agency she used to work for. They have set time aside to meet with her regarding positions that are coming open this spring. She is a very courageous gal that wife of mine!
03/25/2009, South Florida
Getting out of the harbor can be tricky business. We have been in Ft myers so long now it feels like home. With a car and such conveniences as we have here it is a bit like cutting the ambilical.
We are headed to the Dry Tortugas and Ft Jefferson. There the water is warm and much like the Caribbean with all the fish and corals.
We are planning to depart Sunday after a going away party some new friends from South Africa are giving. Percy and Jenny are wonderfull people who have great appreciation for the United States and it's people.
It looks to be a 24 hour passage or as we have come to call it a "day sail". I am keeping an eye on the weather and as long as the winds stay as they have been we should have a fast trip of it.
Speaking of our Friends Percy and Jenny they plan to spend Saturday morning with the kids teaching them all about South Africa as part of homeschool. I am going to video tape as much as I can for part of an upcoming video on the kids cruising school.
We are planning on heading North after the Tortugas so stay tuned.
We are getting harbor fever here in Ft Myers. With the Huricane season coming on we will need to go North or really far south. But with our need to secure funds for cruising we are looking at moving up the East coast.
We plan to be in the Washington DC area in May and hopefully working in the area soon after.
Of course it would be a shame not to see some of the sites on the way North. Jean is saying she wants to make stops in Florida and the Carolinas and we are definately going to the Dry Tortugas off Key West.
There is so much to see and so little time to actually see it all. Last week we were able to watch the shuttle launch in Canaveral. That is a big goal we can check off the list. It was amazing and I would definately go to see it again given the chance.
As our plans firm up I will post them to this blog.
Have a superfantastic day!
03/19/2009, Florida Everglades
In preparing to leave Florida we are trying to do all the tourist things we can while still in the State. One of the top priorities has been to see the Everglades and some wild Gators.
We left Ft Myers early one morning and drove South through Naples to one of several viewing locations know for it's gator population.
There we encountered a wildlife guide who gave us the inside scoop on where to find Everglades wildlife. The kids had the chance to ask many questions and see large gators up close. We then headed for a more remote location to see the wild gators in the swamps.
There is a trail that you can drive here that is about 15 miles of swamp. It provides an excellent chance to drive very slowly through the everglades and see the gators and birds up close in their native habitat.
We opened the sunroof and I filmed much of our adventure from the roof of the car as we drove past many huge reptiles and flocks of all kinds of egrets and herons.
Crikey Mate! just as we were coming out onto the main road we saw this huge pile of gators all sunning themselves by the roadside. As I got out to take a picture I had to keep an eye on these 10 to 12 foot monsters just to be sure I didn't become their lunch. After a couple of quick shots I literally jumped into the car and was very glad to be safely on our way and not standing on the road by the gators.
It was a perfect day!
Photo coming soon*
Hello everyone! I have been sorely remiss in my blogging of late. There is so much new news I hardly know where to begin.
As you know we are in Ft Myers, FL. The kids homeschooling is ramping up and they are under the gun to begin excelling in their studies.
We are using a classical approach to their education. In that I mean we are looking at our world history from the earliest records and working our way forward using the Babylonians and Greeks to name a few to introduce Math, science , philosophy and art.
I walk away from our sessions mentally worn out. It is a kinetic learning environment with the kids constantly bringing into focus what is happening today compared to what happened thousands of years ago.
Questions fly like crazy, often too fast to be answered. We have a theme for the lessons but often travel back and forth over the globe using examples from numerous cultures.
Jean is introducing language. She has an aptitude for Spanish and we are beginning each morning with Ola's and Muy Bien's.
Benjamin has begun his introduction to software game development. We purchased a PC for kids use and he is starting with blender. He is very motivated with this work and shows great promise.
Julianna is making awesome strides in her math work. She is also making friends with our neighbors here in the anchorage. Her special friends Lori and Warren are also good friends of ours.
Stephen is continuing to create board games. He has a wonderful talent for making up new games. I look forward to Parker brothers calling him with an offer in the coming years.
Jean is busy tracking down work with the Federal Government. We are looking all over the country right now and with times as they are we are open to many locations.
I have also been looking for work. In between filling out resumes and applications I am continuing our upgrades to the boat to make it more comfortable. Those of you who have lived on boats know that there is a great deal of work to do in bringing a vessel up to comfortable cruising standards. We have owned the boat almost 2 years now and after revamping the power generation, refrigeration, plumbing and cockpit we still have a couple years of work to do. But we will continue to chip away at the list and when we are ready to go cruising in the future we will have a great boat on which to do it with.
I will write more about our recent travels.
All the best to you
I was looking at a friends Blog the other day and I realized he had a good idea. We depend on our dinghy like most need their cars. But most cars are a lot more reliable than the fickle outboard motor. When we left Portland we had a wonderfull 25 HP motor that Jean and I had bought years before and kept in pristine condition. But after 12 months in the salt waters of the carribean that motor coughed it's last stroke as we came back to the boat on our last day in Puerto Rico.
I am in the midst of rebuilding our fearless 25. It needs much work and I hope to have it running next month. But out here on the mooring we needed something we could depend on and yet the kids could start and operate easily.
As our luck would have it just as we were about to leave the dock a nice 8hp came up for sale. The owner had not used it in some years and the carb was a bit clogged But he gave me a very good deal. After an hour of rebuildiing the carb we have a very dependable motor. The kids can all start it and have no problems tilting it out of the water when we reach the boat.
The next time we head south I am going to take 4 or 5 used outboards with me. Everyone down island seems to need a newer motor.
What a great thing a good Bimini top is. When the sun is beating down you can still sit in the cockpit in the shade. When it is raining the bimini drives the rain off to the side and keeps you dry.
The Omarsea's old bimini top did neither of these great things. And after a particularly sttrong storm a couple of hole appeared. Rain went straight through it and if you sat at the helm the sun burned you back.
Jean in her wild ambition set out to fix these troubles. We designed it first to replace the old bimini as it was. But I wanted to complicate things by making it hang farther astern so I would not get fried by the evening sun. Then we changed the whole thing right in the middle of the project and made it so it would attach to the Dodger.
If you do not have a strong marriage don't try this at home! At least not if you want both a new dodger and your spouse.
We measured and we measured and we cut. Then we re-measured and cut again. Friends stopped by and gave us their advice on how to do the harder parts. We sewed and sewed and sewed. I did not think we would ever get it put together. Moving the bimini aft ment cutting holes for the backstays.
I am not a rigger but have found a new respect for these people after taking the twin backstays off and on three times in an afternoon.
Finally Jean and I got to the point where we zipped the new top in place. It fit like a glove. All the work is not finished yet but what remains we will take our time with and do as it seems fun and not chore.
It is somewhat strange that though we are floating on the sea we can not make fresh water here. The waterway where we are moored has a swift current in it but the water is full of sediment and debries. Over the past year we have made it a habit to go to a dock every 2 weeks and fill our water tanks. But now that we are constrained by the height of our mast and the bridge that blocks our way to the marinas we are hauling our water by jerry can. There is an excellent dinghy dock close by where we can fill our cans. The kids are of tremendous help. They hop in the dinghy motor over to the beach and tie up at the dock. We use our deck hose to run the water down to the dinghy so we don'y have to carry the cans up and down the dock.
We meet many other cruisers here doing the same. The classic water cooler talk by the hose spigot. People are always asking where to get groceries or propane. We gave a new friend Ed a ride down the beach yesterday so he could fill his propane tank.
The kids are always breaking the ice with new people. They often start the conversations and ask where people are from.
From the dock we take the water back to the boat and poor it into our central tanks. It is a slow process to be sure but a great way to find out what is going on in the anchorage.
Here I am Filling one of the tanks.
Here on the water we are always aware of the phases of the moon. In the past month we have seen the most amazing moon rises. Pale blues and bright oranges. This moon rose over the shrimpboats one eveing just North of us.