09/29/2011, Marathon, FL
The above picture reflects how bored we are these days, even living in paradise. Bill and I both love cherry tomatoes so we decided to make a "topsy turvy" to grow our own. Theoretically we should have fresh cherry tomatoes by the time we get to Georgetown, Great Exuma Island (about 70 days!!!).
Still counting down the days and preparing to heading to the Bahamas. Each day we are buying a few things to cross off the provisioning list. We have our route mapped out, thinking we will do an overnight passage from Marathon to Bimini. From there head across the Great Bahama Bank to Chubb Cay, then Nassau then down the Exumas.
My son, Chris, is attending Hall's International Career Institute and Diving Center here in Marathon to become certified as: Scuba Diving Instructor, Master Diver, Dive Equipment Repair, Resort Sales & Operations and Search & Rescue. He finishes at the end of November and is hoping to get a job in some exotic location. I think he inherited his wonderlust from me.
The only excitement around here is Bill just got a ticket today for not wearing his seat belt.......first over in over 20 years. The cop was apparently standing next to his motorcycle, saw Bill wasn't wearing his seat belt when he was stopped at the light next to Publix grocery store and ran on foot over to the van and gave him a ticket. I refrained from the "I told you so" since I am constantly reminding him to wear his seat belt. Guess he will start wearing it unless he wants another $116 reminder. Speaking of the van, we are just waiting for the title from Minnesota to finally arrive so we can sell it. Once it is sold we will be back to our rusted bikes, less than a year old and they look 20 years old. We haven't decided if we will take them to the Bahamas with us.
09/13/2011, Marathon, FL
Walk A-Bout was hauled out at Marathon Marina for new bottom paint and prep for installing a Y-value to be able to discharge overboard. Pump out facilities in the Bahamas are rare so all our waste must be discharged overboard. Pumping overboard is a real no-no on inland lakes and most of the US but not so in the Bahamas. We stayed at a condo at Key Colony Beach for 3 nights while the boat was hauled out, very nice to have a real bed and shower again.
Other Bahamas preparations in the last week: we had the 8 hp outboard overhauled, a patch in the hard bottom dinghy, ordered an Explorer Chartbook for the Exumas, ordered an SSB receiver and antenna, ordered a supply of E-cigarettes (maybe I'll finally quit!!), purchased a Garmin GPS Bahamas Chip, created a spread sheet for provisioning, created a spread sheet with waypoints and info from Active Captain (great internet site) for all the anchorages, purchased a head rebuild kit, bought bottom paint for the dinghy.
Of course, depending on weather, hoping to leave Marathon in about 6-8 weeks. Really, really ready to get going again!!!!!!
Just found out that I'm going to be a Grandmother - congratulations Laura!!
08/07/2011, Marathon, FL
We knew it was going to be hot but this heat wave at 90+ degrees every day with no car air conditioning and sleeping in a tent at night is not our idea of fun.
Our first camping stop was General Coffee State Park in George then Black Rock Mountain SP both in Georgia. We liked Black Rock Mountain the best. We visited Tuckaleechee Caverns while staying at Cades Cove in Tennessee. Next was Cumberland Falls State Resort Park in Kentucky, we had reservations for 2 nights but the flies were so bad that we only stayed one night. On our way here we stopped at Fort Boonesborough for a couple of hours.
The scenery was absolutely beautiful in the Great Smokey Mountains and we did see lots of wild critters including elk, wild turkeys and deer.
We stopped at our friend Craig's house for a night in Kokomo, Indiana and, as always, had a good time reminiscing about our past adventures together. Craig made us a great dinner of home made ribs and all the fixings, good job Craig!
Arrived in Minnesota on Friday and camped with my daughter Laura and her boyfriend Jay. We had a good time tubing down the Cannon River. Big party night at the campground. I guess we're getting too old, couldn't do the loud music and partying until 3 am a second night. Heard a hotel room calling our name and acted on it.
We were watching 'Emily' to see if she might turn into a hurricane and decided spur of the moment to head back to Florida just in case. We were tired of camping and couldn't afford to spend weeks in hotels so we left Minnesota on Tuesday afternoon and arrived back on Walk A-Bout on Friday afternoon.
So, our 4-6 weeks ended up being 2 weeks. 'Emily' turned out to be nothing, but we were done with camping anyway. The regret was not being able to see friends that we were really looking forward to seeing.
Heading to 'Aqua' in Key West today to play some Texas Hold Em. Back to our normal routine.
07/21/2011, St. Augustine, FL
We have been living on the boat for a year now and decided we needed a break from both the boat and the Keys so we are on a road trip. Bill bought an old 1993 Dodge Caravan for $600 which we are hoping will last for 4-6 weeks. Loaded up the van yesterday with camping gear and left. Today we are in St. Augustine in a hotel, tonight will be General Coffee State Park in Georgia, after that The Great Smokey Mountains for 5-6 nights before heading up to Minnesota. Plan on being there for about 3-4 days before slowly making our way back down to FL. Not sure where we will go yet, thinking primarily back to Smokey Mountains.
My son, Chris, is boat sitting while we are gone. Walk A-Bout is at Sombrero Marina, they gave us a good deal there so we moved from Banana Bay Resort since they wouldn't give us their special rate.
People warned us that Florida this time of year is miserable, and they were right. Don't know how anyone can survive without A/C. During the day it is the heat and humidity, at night it is mosquito's and no see ums. Unfortunately, the van has no A/C and neither does the tent!!!!
We had a good visit with Sarah, Bill's oldest daughter, and her boyfriend Andrew. On Monday we went to the Marine Mammal Conservancy in Key Largo and volunteered to help the one remaining Pilot Whale there that was one of 20 something that was beached on Cudjoe Key a few months back. They still need volunteers to get in the water with the whale to help hold her up to keep her blow hole out of the water. She has pneumonia and a staph infection but is getting better.
Time to head out to our next destination.
06/20/2011, Marathon, FL
We arrived back in Marathon on Tuesday. Now at the Banana Bay Resort and Marina, plan is to stay here until mid October. Within an hour of arriving we walked across the street to Home Depot and bought an air conditioner. It's been more than 6 months since the last time we were at a Marina, nice to not have to dinghy to shore. There is a nice pool and Tiki Hut here but water seems to be about the same temperature as the air: 90+ degrees, not exactly refreshing!
My son, Chris, arrived here on Thursday. He will be staying with us for a while. He recently graduated from college back in Minnesota and decided it might be nice to spend some time in The Keys while he tries to figure out his future. Bill and I already have projects planned for him - varnishing teak, scraping the hull, polishing stainless - all the fun jobs fit for the lowest crew member! I did forewarn him so he can't complain.
It is already unbelievably hot and humid here. I can't complain since I constantly complained about the cold back in Minnesota so I'm technically just stating a fact ; ).
We have decided we will be below deck in the air conditioning between the hours of 11 am and 4 pm each day. We now also have fast internet and cable TV on board, first time we have watched TV in almost a year. Decided we haven't missed much.
06/09/2011, Key West, FL
Nothing much to write about but thought I should update the blog to let everyone know we are still here in Key West. For the most part we spend our days getting off the boat for at least a few hours each day (Bill more so than me). About every third day we ride our bikes to town and get a breakfast bagel at Key West Ice Cream Factory and Cafe located on the wharf. We both agree best breakfast bagel (bacon, egg and cheese) we have ever had.
For the past four Saturday afternoons we have gone to "Aqua" bar to play Texas Hold'Em. It's a group of locals getting together to play a fun, friendly game of poker with no money or winnings just bragging rights if you come in first.
We have been to the pool at Conch Harbor Marina a couple of times. Anyone can use their pool if you buy a drink or food at Dante's. Food is good, not overly priced.
Hurricane season officially started on June 1st. Our plan is to leave Key West next week and head back to Marathon and Banana Bay Resort for the summer. If there is a named storm Banana Bay recommends we leave the marina and tie up to a mooring ball in Boot Key Harbor. We have put together two lists 1. Boat preparation and 2. What to take with us when we leave the boat. We still haven't figured out where we will go when we leave the boat, it will depend on how severe the storm/hurricane is predicted to be. We will either get a hotel room in Marathon or head north by bus or rental car. Keeping our fingers crossed that our hurricane plan will not be put into action.
Kelsey, Bill's daughter, spent a week with us. It was great to see her and we all had a good time.
June 6th was my son Chris's birthday and June 7th it was Bill's youngest daughter Mariah's birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU BOTH!!!
By now all our boating friends back in Silver Bay Minnesota should have their boats in the 36 degree temperature water. We miss you all and the booze cruises on "Destiny" but I absolutely do not miss the cold!