BACK TO CANADA
15 May 2009 | WHITE ROCK, BC
Al and Gail
This site is under re-construction, so please bear with us for the next while. We are switching over from our former website, to Sailblogs, so we will be adding pictures and text from June, 2007 until the present. Basically our sailing over the last two years has taken us from the US east coast - to the Bahamas - to the Turks/Caicos Islands - to the Dominican, for hurricane season - and now to Puerto Rico. We will, in the next little, be filling in the missing parts with pictures and text. Thanks for your patience.
Well, It's just past Christmas, 2008. We planned to be home - to the kids and grandkids for Xmas this year for about three weeks. As opposed to last year when we hosted two of our families for the festive season at Vero Beach, Florida.
But, after a trip to the medical clinic in Vernon, Al was diagnosed with colon cancer. What a bummer!!! LIterally and figuratively....
It is now May, 2009, we are still up north, and Al has just completed five weeks of radiation along with a similar period of chemo. Now is rest up time prior to surgery on June 5th. This is to take place at Royal Columbian Hospital, New Westminster. We have been lucky enough to have been offered a housesitting oportunity, right in New Westminster, by a sister of Gail's brother in law, Ralph. So, it will be close to the hospital, and many other useful amenities. We are quite confident that after maybe a month of recuperation, we will be set to get back to Puerto Rico, and continue down the crusing path, towards Grenada. And catch up to a few of the many friends we have met over the last couple years of cruising.
We have been back to 'Our Li'l Chickadee' a few times over the last few months - to check up on her, as she patiently waits to get going again. We are heading down there again this Monday, May 19th for ten days. She is at the Isleta Marina docks, just off the Fajardo, Puerto Rico mainland. Boris, our good friend there is looking after her, and making sure she stays in tip top shape while we are away.
Along with this setback, Al's Mom broke her hip while we were home, and subsequently passed away in February. At 95 years, it was, in a way, a blessing, but still hard to take, as she was a loving Mom to 'her four' for many many years.
On the other hand, we have had, and are still enjoying the benefit of being close to our kids and seven grandkids. This will hopefully hold us for many future months of sailing, while being thousands of miles away from them.
Our own house, on Mayne Island - in the Canadian Gulf Islands - has been re-rented to a neat retired couple, so we were able to spend time over there lately, and realize, after being away from it for so long, what a gorgeous spot we have waiting for us someday.
What more could we ask for - the opportunity of great sailing in the Caribbean and meeting great people, and after all that, going back to our great waterfront home. Not too shabby, I think!!
HILTON HEAD ISLAND TO BEAUFORT, S.C.
10 September 2007 | Beaufort, South Carolina
A Peaceful Evening in McLellandville, SC
We left Windmill Harbour, Hilton Head Island on September 3rd on a sunny afternoon. With a turn of the key, our trusty Yanmar Diesel engine purred and took us out into Calabogue Sound, around the corner and under our first 'fixed' bridge.
We crossed Port Royal Sound, entered Beaufort River and dropped anchor in Cowan Creek on the East side of Cat Island. There was only one other boat anchored nearby - it was calm and peaceful.
September 5th - leaving our anchorage at 9 am, we were anchored in Beaufort Harbour by noon with about 12 other boats. We stayed on board during the afternoon to ensure we didn't start swinging as there was a NE wind blowing up to 17 Knots. The city marina and several restaurants, galleries and gift shops line the waterfront in Beaufort . They are fronted by a new harbourwalk and park.
In Beaufort, there are many beautiful historical homes dating from the 1700s within walking distance.
The 'Common Ground', on the waterfront/malecon, became our favourite coffee/wifi hangout .
We were monitoring tropical storm "Gabrielle" on the weather channel - moving northeast and we didn't want to get caught unprepared if it hit S Carolina so after spending several days at anchor, we moved into the city dock until all danger was passed.
OUR LI'L CHICKADEE
31 August 2007 | HIlton Head Island, South Carolina
Al and Gail
After searching from Maine to Maryland, and then south to the Carolinas, we found our baby. She's a 36' Allied Princess Ketch and we found her on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Her former owner, Jim Hinkle had maintained her with loving care and taste and we fell in love with her the minute we saw her at Windmill Harbour.
Her name was "My Lil' Chickadee", but we decided to change it slightly to "Our Li'l Chickadee".
She is equipped with many electrical/electronic options, such as: Air Conditioning, Lectra San Electric Head,Hot Water - via motor or 120v, Two battery banks, with the house bank providing 300 + amp- hours. Batteries, charging etc are controlled and monitored by a 1000 watt Inverter along with a Heart Interface Controller. Other 'niceties' include pressure water - in the galley and also the forward vanity and adjacent shower. Now if we only had a wind generator/solar panels to help provide the power for all the goodies.
Power is via a 3 cyl. 40 HP Yanmar diesel (known as 'Yanny'), and she's like new, with only a hundred plus hours on her.
Please click on link to our Photo Journal, showing more of the south-eastern US, such as Hilton Head Island, Bluffton, SC, where we made camp until we could 'sail away' in Our Li'l Chickadee.
OHIO TO MAINE, USA
15 July 2007
Al and Gail
As we had done on most of our trip through the Northern Sates, we kept to the scenic byways, rather than the un-scenic freeways. We sighted a few Amish people in their horse drawn buggies as we drove through the lush green rolling hills of northeastern Ohio and Pennsylvania. (see Pictures in Photo Gallery)
We stopped for a break in Smithport, Penn., and walked along the main street, which was lined with beautiful Victorian style homes. We struck up a conversation with one of these homeowners, and subsequently the lady invited us in for a tour of her amazing home. She explained that these houses had been built in the late 1800's by lumber barons of the times. Her three-story home was completely furnished in period antiques - wow!!.
Crossing into New York state on July 2nd we found some great campgrounds as we drove through the Adirondack Mountains: Chenango Valley, Sacandaga Lake, Long Lake. We spent a few days in the Sacandaga area where Al bought a fishing license and we did have a fish dinner one night. We also had a bear in our campsite, but didn't know about it until the next morning.
A stop at the Adirondack Museum was very educational and Al was able to assist the museum blacksmith in his demonstration.
Please go to our Photo Gallery link - for pictures related to our journey through Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.
FROM MAYNE ISLAND TO OHIO
21 June 2007 | Westerville, Ohio
Al and Gail
Gail and daughter, Michelle, as we prepared to leave Westerville, for the US east coast.
We spent the weekend saying our good-byes to family and friends, and the Cannon kids hosted a great dinner for us - on the beach in White Rock.
Our route took us to Vernon, where we picked up Gail's sister, Dawn, for the drive to Calgary, Alberta. Gail's Aunt Merle served up a delicious dinner and invited all the 'cousins' over for a get-together that evening.
The next day saw us headed to Saskatoon, where Gail spent her school years, and where long-time pals Carol and Mac McGinley wined and dined us, before putting us up for the night. Carol and Gail enjoyed the opportunity to catch up on each others lives while they sipped a few (hmmmm) glasses of wine. We then met up with Gail's sis, Lynne, niece Laurie and grand-niece Denise.
We had brought Gail's Mom's ashes to put with her dad in Woodlawn Cemetery, so we held an impromputu family farewell before leaving for Regina. A few days stay at Lynne's in Regina provided us time to acquire a beautiful pop-up camper trailer, as well as spending time visiting Lynne's family.
Leaving Regina, and heading south-east, we crossed the border into the USA at Portal, North Dakota. This was a very intimidating experience, as were treated like criminals. The Border guards proceeded to empty our truck of all our belongings, interrogate Gail and I in separate rooms, and when one of the guards donned his rubber gloves was when I got very very nervous. Eventually, when they were tired of us, they gave back our passports, and mumbled something about being sorry for the delay. Oh well, just another one of life's challenges.
Our second night in North Dakota was spent camping in the back yard of a Ford dealership, while they were re-building Rocky's rear end. New bearings and related parts were installed in one day, and away we went. While camping that night, a violent thunder and lightening storm and threatened to send our wee camper across the prairie like tumbelling tumbleweeds, but stood her ground and kept us dry and cosy.
Travelling through North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan, we camped in state or private campsites, and thoroughly enjoyed the new and varied scenery. While in Michigan, we visited with Chris and Dave Reese, who we had met a few years ealier in Pueto Escondido, Mexico.
The highlight of this part of our journey was arriving in Westerville, Ohio, to visit with Gail's daughter, Michelle, and her hubby and son, Kevin and Bowen. They were in the process of getting their house ready to put on the market, so Gail and Al we conscripted to painting and repairing, only when we weren't playing pirates with Bowen in his pirates' den out back.
After a few days of great times, it was time to hit the road again, so off we travelled to Pennsylvania, and states to the east - but we'll save that for the next blog.
WELCOME TO GAIL AND AL'S ADVENTURE
01 June 2007 | MAYNE ISLAND, BC
Al and Gail
Please join us on our adventure, as we camped our way across Canada and the U.S. in our trusty Ford Ranger (aka Rocky) and our little Pop-Up Camper - all in search of our 'Dreamboat'.
After finally arriving on the US East Coast - in Maine, we searched all the marinas, followed up on all our pre-arranged viewings of boats, and generally ate, slept and dreamed boats - for the next few weeks.
It was not to be - at least not until we hit the big hi-way going south, and ended up at Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.
Stay tuned for all the subsequent entries - as our adventure moved south through Georgia, Florida and over to the Bahamas and Caribbean.
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