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Ruby Slipper
Imagination can take you anywhere -- even over the rainbow.
We're Still Here!
Linda, Lovely low 80s, Easterly breeze
01/07/2013, Fort Myers Beach, Fla.

If you're following our blog, I apologize as I have not updated it since Thanksgiving! I found myself making Facebook postings much more often. They're quick, easy & one can post photos faster. Feeds my ADHD tendencies better.

But Team Hughes on M/V Ruby Slipper is alive & well -- Capn Bill, Murphy, Trapper & me. But 2012 certainly had been a year of discovery for us. Recently, we grappled with some pressing business at home, a very sick pup & some family issues which has kept us from voyaging to the Bahamas as we had hoped. Life is what happens when you plan something else, right?

Since we still have the same issues confronting us starting 2013, for now, we're sticking to the states - Florida's Gulf waters have called us to better explore its powder sugar sands, nature preserves & tiki bars! So, for the next month or so we'll enjoy the west coast of Florida up to Sarasota & then back around to the Keys & up to the Miami area. We intend to go to the Abacos - but it may be by plane!

Catch us easily by email or via Facebook, if you are so inclined. And, I will endeavour to do better with the blog. Photos coming soon! I promise.

Cheers!


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Happy Thanksgiving Day!!
Linda, sunny but cool
11/22/2012, Beaufort, SC

Thanksgiving Day finds us at anchor in the lovely antebellum city of Beaufort, SC. It's one of our favorite stops. We so enjoy strolling its wide avenues with marsh vistas, Live Oaks dripping with Spanish Moss, stately manors & warm hospitality.

This morning we bundled up...yes, it's still rather cool & breezy & set out for a shore excursion. The captain, crew dogs & I walked several miles greeting other walkers with a hearty "Happy Thanksgiving!" It was wonderful walking again as we've been boat bound for several days at a time. Murphy & Trapper were thrilled too!!

This journey, our 5th now, has been particularly challenging with colder & breezier days punctuated by more frequent storms. Every week we put in somewhere safe for a few days before we can cast off again. Feeling behind on our goal of being in St. Somewhere sooner, we then rush from anchorage to anchorage as weather allows. Rarely do we have enough daylight or are in a place where we can get off the boat. We have gone 4 days on 2 occasions where none of us have touched terra firma! Thankfully, our crew dogs are well trained to do their business aboard. But I do have to keep them active & happy with games & plenty of healthy treats! So, we are making southward progress but there are consequences. This trend of traveling in fits & starts finds us not as cheery as we had been on our other trips south. Attitude Adjustment Hour occurs & all the hard edges of the daily" grind" soften. Then, a good night sleep further helps!

Tonight, I have a minor feast planned: a small turkey breast, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, sautéed kale & a yummy-looking apple-spice cake for dessert. I think we'll even open up a delightful sparkling rose from New Mexico. Gruet is one of our favorite sparkling wines evoking many happy memories with my sister & her hubby in Angel Fire, NM.

We, indeed, have much to be thankful for...our tolerant family who forgive us our wandering spirit; our dear friends who so easily pick up the reins of friendship when we return to their company; our health; our safe & cozy boat; the freedoms we have in our country to allow spirited discussion & unfettered travel. Ah, so much to be thankful for!

Tomorrow, weather & tide permitting, we'll go offshore at Port Royal Sound & cruise the northern Georgia coast. We'll head into St. Catherine's Sound & drop anchor at Walburg Creek. The next day, we'll travel along St. Catherine's Island, a wildlife refuge managed by the NYC Zoo. We always try to see if we can spot some exotic creature on its shores. Maybe this time we will! Next, we'll pop out at Sapelo Sound, traveling further south along the coast of Georgia. In just two "short" days we'll pull into St. Mary's River that serves as Georgia-Florida border.

Why all this jinking & jiving in & out of Georgia? Well, the ICW through Georgia meanders so much that one feels you'll never get anywhere! The switchback system of rivers, sounds & creeks constantly changes direction like targets in an arcade game. All this twisting & turning adds up! Traveling inland along the waterway adds more than 1/3rd turning Georgia's 100-mile coastline into a 138 mile ride through marsh grass! We have done the entire route before & it is one of the most pristine & beautiful areas on the Atlantic. Many of its islands are preserved creating some of the most peaceful anchorages anywhere.

But, Florida calls. There, sunshiny days & walks along its sand shores are ever so appealing.

In the meantime, thank you for your friendship & support. Big warm hugs comin' at ya! Happy Thanksgiving!

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More Cold, Rainy Weather...Better Get Movin'
Linda, NW 20-25
11/13/2012, Oriental, NC

It's only been 10 days since we left our home in Annapolis. Yet it feels longer. Anchored in Reedville, Va. our 1st day out after logging 70 miles & 10 hours. Then, enjoyed a 4-day stay in at the Hampton Yacht Club while the Capn visited with our grandsons in Richmond for a Veteran's Day event at school. Once we left we enjoyed a few spectacular, warm & calm days with anchorages at Hospital Point in Norfolk, Buck Island (near Coinjock, NC); anchored at Pungo River (near Belhaven, NC) & picked up a slip at River Dunes, near Oriental, NC. We don't have our cruising rhythm yet. Perhaps tomorrow? Crew dogs, Murphy & Trapper are stellar mates as they stayed aboard for 4 days without a shore break! We are so fortunate to have well-trained pups! Eating well but the capn still managed to pick up a cold. Poor guy is hurting. But he is still managing to enjoy the natural beauty along the way. More soon.

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Waiting for Nor'easter to Pass
Linda - cold, drizzle, breezy
11/07/2012, Hampton, Va

Bid farewell to Sarles Boatyard & Marina, possibly for good. Our loyal friend, Deb Smith & her fur baby, Nan saw us off at 0700. Tears in our eyes as we cast off.

Took two big bites out of the Chesapeake Bay - a 10 hour/70 mile stint to Reedville & last leg straight here to Hampton. We hustled as there is an impending nor'easter & the cap'n has a Vet's Day commitment with one of our grandsons in Richmond, Alex. So we're tucked safely, if not very tightly, in a slip at the Hampton Yacht Club. Nice having reciprocal privileges! It was a b - - - - getting into to this slip with wind & current playing havoc with us. Cap'n Bill sustained a deep gash over his eye while we very ineffectively muscled Ruby Slipper into this small slip. Both of us sustained bruised egos. But over Manhattans, we discussed lessons learned. Hopefully, no repeat of those bad moves. Cold & damp here. But getting off the boat to see the small town of Hampton. Tomorrow Bill rents a car to drive to Richmond. He'll return Friday. Then, hopefully, with the subsiding wind, we pry ourselves out of this spot. Pups doing fine.

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Casting off Saturday!!
Linda/Cold, grey skies, drizzle
11/01/2012, Annapolis

Well, it's been a crazy week with us doing triple duty prepping Ruby Slipper to head south, getting our home ready for our friends who will be house sitting AND prepping for Hurricane Sandy! Thanks to Bill, shuttling back & forth several times a day, our home afloat fared very nicely. And, that's a good thing as the boat is fully loaded!! Food, adult beverages, spare parts, charts, warm clothes for the 4-week passage down to Florida & attire for sunnier weather. The dogs' gear takes up a full locker!! EVERYONE on Ruby Slipper should enjoy this adventure!

We'll be posting when things get interesting...or I get bored. But DO keep us apprised of YOUR adventures so we won't feel so homesick.

(Photo is taken of Bill & our crew - Murphy & Trapper - on our submerged dock the morning after Sandy stopped by!)

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Hauling Out to Head Out
Linda, glorious Autumn day
10/18/2012, Annapolis

Well, Team Hughes has been busy prepping for our next adventure! Bahamas bound! Hauled Ruby Slipper, our American Tug 34, out yesterday. Getting her bottom cleaned, painting it with anti-fouling paint& replacing zincs. She'll be splashed next Monday.

In the meantime, I've been provisioning with canned goods, hard-to-find or expensive food items & some of our must-have favorites. Shopping in the Bahamas is sketchy, at best & very pricey. New equipment includes: a 44 lb Rocna anchor, Single Side Band receiver, WiFi antenna & a vastly improved helm station chart plotter. Ruby's waterline is slowly disappearing.

I've taken up one entire locker for dog stuff (food, treats, toys, meds, grooming equipment & party scarves -- AKA: bandanas). Bill just shook his head in amazement that two little dogs could need so much.

Thank heavens for our Kindles or we'd need another locker for our beloved books!

Our intentions are still to cast off Nov. 1. In the meantime, we're trying hard to connect with family & dear friends squeezing in sleep. Tho we are thrilled to get back on the water again, this time for 6 months, we have heavy hearts at leaving our loved ones behind. Skype & email are going to have to do.

As many of you know, I'll be posting regularly. Read them or not as you desire. But please do try to keep us apprised of YOUR adventures. News from home sustains us. XO


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Prepping to Head South...Again!
Linda
08/23/2012, Annapolis

With a bit more than 2 months to go, Team Hughes (Capn. Bill, Admiral Linda & crew dogs, Murphy & Trapper) is beginning preparations for another great adventure south. This year, for the 1st time aboard M/V Ruby Slipper we're setting our sights on our favorite Bahamas destination: the Exumas. We'll cast off our dock lines Nov. 1. & return sometime May 2013. In the meantime, we're getting navigation equipment updated, obtaining a new anchor (a 44lb Rocna), learning to work our new SSB receiver & getting the pups their international health certificates. Look for us on the water or join us via this blog!

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Going west to ski this winter
09/28/2011

This winter Ruby Slipper will stay in port in Annapolis, while her crew heads west for a few months of skiing. We all plan to head south to the Bahamas next winter departing Nov. 2012. Will resume blogging then. Happy holidays & best wishes until then!

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Home, sweet, home
07/06/2011, Annapolis

Hi all, sorry to not have updated you on our whereabouts! We arrived home May 1 & have been embroiled in a whirlwind of activities since! Family, friends, cleaning house & more have occupied our every moment. We'll get back to this blog as soon as we go cruising again. We're DEFINATELY going to the Bahamas for the winter of 2012-2013. May even squeeze in a trip to do a mini-loop up to NY! Thanks for all your support! Cheers!

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Life is What Happens When you're Planning Something Else!
91 degrees in Norfolk, SW 15-20+K, 3-4' seas
04/25/2011, Norfolk Naval Sailing Center

Seas forecast for 3-4' today. Heading up to Deltaville on the Chesapeake Bay would be quite the rolly adventure. So, considering this & that Small Craft Warnings are beginning this afternoon for the next few days as another big cold front comes thru with severe weather, we opted to enjoy more benefits of being a military retiree. At Norfolk's Naval Base marina we are docked just feet away from a 4 star admiral's "barge" which makes our lil tug look like a dinghy! wAfter lunch, we are eager to see the sights of the world's largest, most powerful military facility (75 ships, 134 aircraft). Yes, we have "get home-itis" but we will have to chill out & enjoy the moment. Indeed, life is indeed what happens when you're planning something else. Home? May 1, 2 or 3 or...

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