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Christmas Reflections

08 January 2011
Dear Friends & Family ~

Jane and I enjoyed lunch at a Chinese buffet today, pausing in the middle of taking down Voyageur's Christmas decorations. Our marina friends who traveled home for the holidays are starting to re-appear and the Korean, Japanese and Chinese students who stayed with us and other Memorial Presbyterian Church host families have returned to their respective campuses across the country to begin a new semester.

When we opened the fortune cookies that arrived with our bill, they read as follows:

(Jane) A mile walked with a friend contains only one hundred steps.

(Bob) 42.7 percent of all statistics are made up on the spot.

We both thought the simultaneous arrival of these two cellophane and cookie wrapped assertions an interesting coincidence and agreed that when considered together they suggested, with subtle cynicism, that neither statistics nor friendships are quite what they're cracked up to be. In other words, to quote Charles Dickens, "Bah Humbug".

Living on a boat as we do and moving from place to place, harmonizing with or perhaps escaping from the changing seasons, we sometimes find ourselves feeling a bit "apart and away from home". This is ironic in view of the fact that our travels continuously bring us into relationship with wonderful new friends that we would have otherwise not had the opportunity to meet and enjoy. Still, the feeling arises from time to time, especially over the holidays.

Because of this and perhaps because we could identify with their situation over the holidays (dorms and dining halls closed and thousands of miles away from their homes and families) we responded positively and enthusiastically to the opportunity to welcome foreign students aboard with us for Christmas and New Year last year and this. They came to us through Christmas International House, a peacemaking program built on the premise that there is and will continue to be room at the inn. Since 1965, thirty thousand international students have been hosted by CIH families in fifty communities throughout the United States. The hospitality of these families offered through their various churches and civic groups reinforces the notion that, behind our diverse manners of dress, religious affiliations and political ideologies, we all share the same round blue home as members of one human family. Jane and I have been blessed to host a student from China each of the past two years.

Over the coming weeks and months the mystery of memory will sift through our images of Christmas in St. Augustine and will store away moments to recall for the rest of our lives. . . . memories, though both causal and comforting, that will be sustaining in the times when we feel a bit "apart and away from home".

As we take down our bow wreath, clove and ribbon covered oranges and our tiny Christmas tree, Jane and I are once again looking forward wistfully to next summer's visits with family and friends to the north. But we are also warmed, in the moment, by thoughts of our new CIH friends. It is true that we were in relationship with them long before they visited St. Augustine. After all, we have shared the planet with them for some time. But when they chose to come to St. Augustine, our friends Jing and Yizhou changed the world in ways the coming years will tell and, in the process, changed Jane and me.

Blessings friends, one and all. Happy New Year !

Bob & Jane Fulton
Jan 2011

Vessel Name: Voyageur
Vessel Make/Model: Island Packet 40
Hailing Port: Portsmouth, RI
Crew: Bob & Jane Fulton
About: First sail . . . Oshkosh Yacht Club, Lake Winnebago, in 1953 on an M16. First sail together . . . Lake Texoma in 1994 on an ODay 322. We're now full time cruisers aboard our Island Packet 40 cutter Voyageur with cruising friends from Nova Scotia to the Bahamas. It's what cruising is all about.
Extra: DAS BOAT ~ LOA - 41'6" Beam - 12'11'' Displ - 22,800lb Sail Area - 907 sq ft 2 Staterooms; 2 Heads
Voyageur's Photos - Main
At midnight on January 2, 2013, we headed through Little Harbor Reef and left the Abacos for a two month trip down and back up the incredibly beautiful Exumas island chain.
38 Photos
Created 6 April 2013
On July 26, 2012, we left Voyageur in Man-O-War Cay and flew from Marsh Harbour to Miami. Then we picked up our old Honda in St. Augustine and set off on three and a half months of visits with family and friends. The trip which we dubbed "The Great Sofa Tour of 2012" would take us from the Bahamas to Florida, Connecticut, Nova Scotia, Maine, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Wisconsin, Indiana, Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina. And to all who opened their hearts and homes to us, we offer our thanks for making this trip of a life time possible ! This is your story too.
28 Photos
Created 1 December 2012
We leave Voyageur in St. Augustine and return to the canals and locks of the United Kingdom for our third narrowboat cruise.
56 Photos
Created 24 November 2009
Back in St. Augustine from the Abacos.
7 Photos
Created 15 July 2009
The Abacos are the islands and cays that comprise the Northern Bahamas.
46 Photos
Created 23 April 2009
From Lake Worth (West palm Beach), we set out across the Gulf Stream bound for the Little Bahama Bank and Great Sale Cay on our way to the Abacos.
16 Photos
Created 23 April 2009
From St. Augustine, we head further South for Lake Worth, near West Palm Beach, a popular jumping off point for the Bahamas . . . Mile 776 to Mile 1014
45 Photos
Created 10 March 2009
After a 9 degree wind chill and frost on the deck in Fernandina Beach, we finally find warm weather in Florida and some good ol' friends too . . . Mile 716 to Mile 776
30 Photos
Created 24 February 2009
Joined by Bobby and Starr, we point the bow South once again in search of warm breezes and Florida sunshine . . . Mile 563 to Mile 716
22 Photos
Created 20 February 2009
In this leg, we're bound from Calabash Creek to Shelter Cove Marina on Hilton Head Island where we'll leave the boat for a month of holiday visiting in the Northeast . . . Mile 342 to Mile 563
54 Photos
Created 20 February 2009
We left Oriental on Dec 3. In this part of our journey we were introduced to the Carolina low country, anchored with the Marines at Camp Lejeune, experienced the most unusual bridge opening of the entire waterway and saw our first Dolphins . . . Mile 181 to Mile 342
24 Photos
Created 20 February 2009
On November 17 we begin following rivers and crossing sounds on our way South to Oriental, NC . . . Mile 51 to Mile 181
11 Photos
Created 19 February 2009
Our first "official" leg on the Intracoastal Waterway . . . Mile 0 to Mile 51
25 Photos
Created 18 February 2009
While we spent the month of October on this magnificent body of water , winter caught up to us.
19 Photos
Created 13 February 2009
Our voyage finally begins.
12 Photos
Created 8 October 2008
Getting ready to cast off, we sell most of our land life things and move aboard.
8 Photos
Created 27 September 2008
Exploring the canal and lock system in England and Wales with friends Bobby & Starr, we discuss our cruising dreams.
8 Photos
Created 5 July 2008
These boats taught me to sail and readied me for cruising.
8 Photos
Created 4 July 2008