Sailing with Allegria

13 October 2020 | Grand Canyon
07 October 2020 | Carlsbad, NM
10 April 2020 | Anna Maria
22 March 2020 | Anna Maria
24 December 2019 | Anna Maria
21 November 2019 | Cayo Costa
27 October 2019 | Charleston, SC
28 September 2019 | Annapolis
09 September 2019 | Port Jefferson, NY
26 August 2019 | Snow Island, ME
18 August 2019 | Rockland, ME
14 July 2019 | Ort Jeff, NY
11 June 2019 | Annapolis
26 May 2019 | St Mary's, MD
13 May 2019 | Belhaven,NC
15 April 2019 | Titusville
19 March 2019 | Palm Beach
11 January 2019 | Anna Maria
18 November 2018 | Anna Maria

Carlsbad Caverns and Petrified Forest

13 October 2020 | Grand Canyon
We left around 4 AM and headed up I75 to I10 and headed west. A long day saw us pulling to a small town west of Fort Worth for a little rest and a cheap motel and then up and going again early the next day , driving though West Texas oil country, flat arid desert with old oil pumps and tanks dotting the landscape to Carlsbad NM. Some of the wells looked old and in disuse, but most were pumping, apparently enjoying resurgence in production due to fracking technology. The land is flat and arid, with scrub and dry grass dotting the landscape. Describing it sounds bland but it has a stark beauty that is difficult to describe. We were here to see the Carlsbad Caverns National park.
The next day we were up early to get to the park as the rangers were restricting entry because of the pandemic and apparently tickets sell out very early. We were the first there and watched the sun rise from the crest of the butte at the cavern’s entrance. Driving into the park, we passed a series of rocky buttes, made even more spectacular in the rising light, because of the starkness of the surrounding desert. The drive climbs up to the top and the entrance to the cave is at the crest.
Using my senior pass to get in saved us $30, and we were in the first group walking down the entrance to the cave. The walk in is about a mile and a quarter, and it gets more amazing as you go. Areas of the cave that are subject to water seeping in are covered and filled with innumerable flowing sculptures of minerals deposited over thousands of years, each one unique. Other parts of the cave which were dry were more stark and what you would expect a cave to look like.
One cannot conceptualize the size of the place. Once completely down into the cave, we entered what is known as the Big Room. At more than 600,000 square feet it is certainly big. It is also filled with a veritable museum of nature’s sculptures that are beyond description and even though seem amazing in the photographs, must be experienced in person to really appreciate them.
The next day we were up early again for a drive north through Roswell (of UFO fame) and to the Petrified Forest. We saw deer, coyotes, and antelope but no Extraterrestrials. The drive took use north though New Mexico across more arid desert where when cresting a small rise you could see the road stretching seemingly to infinity straight ahead, We hit I40 and headed west passing into more upland terrain interspersed with red rock buttes and mesas. Very interesting landscape.
We pulled into the Petrified Forest National Park and a stop at the visitor’s center got us oriented and we picked up maps and info. In the Jurassic period this area was at the equator, as a part of the original continent, Pangaea. During that time it was covered with huge trees and filled with life. Many of those trees, when they fell, became covered with sediment and rather than decomposing, they became calcified as fossils and now dot the landscape around here. This park is filled with their beautiful remains and also remnants of civilizations that inhabited the place prehistory. It is also adjacent to the Painted Desert, a collage of colored sediments exposed by erosion yielding a palate of wondrous beauty.
For the night we stayed in Holbrook, at Brad’s Desert Inn, a throughback place dedicated to Route 66 and filled with memorabilia. Then, the next day we returned to the Park to check out Blue Mesa, notable for its blue layers of sediments. Then we were off to the Grand Canyon. Check out the Gallery for more pictures

Trips. Tales and Troubles

07 October 2020 | Carlsbad, NM
Well, it’s been a while since enough has happened to want to talk about it and, as you all know the news is not good. We have been doing well however, surprisingly well considering the current state of affairs, I thought I’d take this opportunity to do an update on what’s up with us.
We have been hanging out in Anna Maria, pretty much keeping to ourselves for this entire year, unfortunately watching too much TV and news. We succumbed to the admonitions of our rental management company that we needed to do some upgrades to the house so we embarked on a plan that evolved over time but resulted in the place getting a huge facelift. The outside was stuccoed and painted, a new fence was installed and we did a some major improvements to the landscape. On the inside, we resurfaced the walls in the bathrooms and painted all the bedrooms, and the kitchen underwent a makeover with new counters, appliances, and raising the ceiling. The project was rounded out with replacement of the AC system and ductwork, and all new furniture.
Mol and I did a lot of the minor work, but the kitchen reno was left to the pros. While that was going on, we spent a month in North Carolina camping and hiking, looking for cooler weather. We had a great time. All this time spent in Anna Maria has caused us to realize that it has changed now that it has been “discovered” and is not a place we wish to spend a lot of time. We while in North Carolina, may have found a new home. We own some property there and are now considering building a place there. Stay tuned for further developments in that regard.
After returning home, I had surgery on my left hand to repair a Dupuytren’s contracture and have been recovering since and doing a lot of Physical therapy.
Also an update on Wings in France. Construction stopped for several months due to the pandemic, and then restarted very slowly. The result is further delay, with the target now being April 2021. We are disappointed, but understand that things are out of our control and we have to accept reality, even though we hear the biologic clock ticking away. With all this extra time we have decided on the only reasonable alternative. ROADTRIP.
We’ve packed up our camping gear into the Ranger and are heading to the southwest to see what we can see and visit all the National Parks in Arizona, and Southern Utah. So I’ll be posting a few new blogs on what we see and do and maybe even try to do a few videos to boot. Stay tuned for more.

A Walk on the Beach

10 April 2020 | Anna Maria
Molly and I are well prepared for dealing with the stay at home orders, since we are used to living together on a 42 foot boat when we have been cruising on Allegria over the past years. Staying here at our house seems luxurious in space and convenience. Plenty of room, fresh water, a pool to jump in to, a grocery store close by and a wonderful beach to walk on. We are fortunate to have access to the beach which has been closed but where residents are allowed to walk.
We usually try to get out and walk a few miles every day as much for our mental health as our physical health. We see our old friends the plovers scurrying about,
the sandpipers pocking about,
the ubiquitous seagulls,
Pelicans flying in formation,
And Molly's favorite, the Royal Terns, with their punk hairdo's.
We get a chance to renew our relationship with the ocean, the wind and the earth.
The tide comes in, the tide goes out
The sun rises, the sun sets
What a wonderful world
Life goes on
It's great to be alive

Moving Forward two steps and one step back

22 March 2020 | Anna Maria
Sorry about the length of time since the last post, lots going on. Since the sale of Allegria, I have been somewhat lost, since it's the first time in 38 years I've been without a boat. We've substituted the house for the boat and have been doing multiple projects and are planning a renovation to keep up with the rest of the rental market here in Anna Maria. The character of this place has really changed over the past few years and it now has become an "in" spot with much new construction and renovation of old properties. The amount of work going on is staggering and the nature of the place has changed so much that we are beginning to rethink our long term plans for the place. However we will continue to rent it over the next few years so we are embarking on a plan to upgrade the kitchen, bathrooms and generally give the place a face lift to keep up with the market. So far we have applied stucco to the outside (with painting to follow) and trimmed all the trees and are in the middle of a major landscape project. Coming soon are renovations of the bathrooms and then finally the kitchen.
Another project that is ongoing is the Swedish death cleaning in the shed out back. Those that know me, know what a packrat I am, and in the interest of Lisa's mental health, we have decided to examine everything we squirreled away in there and get rid of anything that doesn't make sense to keep (a lot). With all the random boat equipment and furniture that we are replacing, we have enough for about 6 garage sales. We did sell a bunch of stuff at the JSI (Island Nautical) flea market and had plans to sell more at the Gulfport nautical flea market, but it was cancelled due to the viral pandemic. At some point we'll have a huge sale or give away or both. We also have shipped 2 pallets of stuff to France for the new boat.
We also managed a trip to France to once again enjoy Paris and then Treguier, and also finalize the electrical and electronics for the new boat. I also brought some cables and antennas to be installed before the interior is completed. The boat has a name now, Wings. Here is the name and logo as it will appear on the boat.
Wings has been at the paint shop over the past several months but now is back at the main factory and getting ready for the interior installation. We found out that there have been some delays and so our splash has been pushed back to the end of June, which has crimped our style as to our cruising plans for the summer. (Now the yard is closed due to the virus and all bets are off as to when we may get in the water.)While we were in Paris we managed to sightsee a bit and saw the Musee' deOrsay
, Versaille,Mol in the Hall of Mirrors
and the Palace Gardinier (Opera House which inspired Phantom of the Opera)as well as enjoying wandering the streets and reveling in the sights and sounds and cafes of Paris. We had a great visit to Treguier and the Boreal yard and spent a couple of days with Jean-Francois and Brice ironing out a few last details and specifications.
Our B&B in Tregueir
Breakfast every day
We also took a day to drive over to Mt St. Michele and had a great visit there.

The day was supposed to be filled with rain, but turned out beautiful while we were there and it turned out the first Sunday of the month is a free day, so we visited free of charge. There was a Yellow vest protest going on, and a large police presence, but the French are very civilized even when protesting and so it was a wonderful day. Look for many more pictures in the gallery.
We were very lucky to have been there when we were and to have gotten back when we did, as soon after our return everything went to Hell with the virus. While we were there, we nervously watched the news as the stock market fell apart and caused our net worth to tumble and begin to wonder what has happened to people's common sense.
Since we've been home we have seen the images of people with piles of toilet paper and water in their carts, hoarding all sorts of items, and making things difficult for everybody. We also have seen all the people at the beach, ignoring pleas to avoid close contact with others and thereby avoid spreading the disease. It reminds me that this world is made up of givers and takers, and hopefully the givers remain in the majority. I think after all this is over, a lot of people will be ashamed of themselves. All this has reminded me of a quote that we came across, that I have used in the blog in the past. It is by Ernest Hemingway in a letter he wrote to friends who had lost their son, but seems appropriate for this time as well.
"We must live it, now, a day at a time and be careful not to hurt each other. It seems as though we are on a boat together, a good boat still, that we have made, but that we know now will never reach port. There will be all kinds of weather, good and bad; and especially because we know now that there will be no landfall we must keep the boat up very well and be very good to each other. We are fortunate to have good people on the boat."
Molly and I will be at home hunkering down, fortunate that we have a lot to do to keep us occupied, and waiting for this to pass and looking for rays of sunshine in all the darkness. Be safe, be kind and as generous as possible, be a giver.

Home Again

24 December 2019 | Anna Maria
After a few idyllic days of walking the beach and relaxing, not spoiled by the end of the red tide epidemic, we headed out Boca Grande Pass and north to the Venice inlet. The algae in the water had only prevented us from swimming, but the water was a little cold for our thinned out constitutions anyway.
We had heard that work was going on at the Longboat Pass bridge with restricted openings so we elected to come inside at Venice and spend a night or two in Sarasota Bay. We waited out a frontal passage and spent the time starting the process of getting Allegria ready for her transition.
John, who had looked at Allegria in Annapolis, had made an offer and after a little back and forth, we accepted. We came in to the dock at the Seafood Shack in Cortez and began to get Allegria ready in earnest. We reinstalled the AC units and unloaded all our personal gear and cleaned things up in preparation for the survey. The survey went well and we spent a few more days correcting a couple of items noted and then closed the deal with John. This past Saturday we helped deliver Allegria to her new home at Maxima Marina in St. Pete and said good bye.
There's a lot of emotion associated with all this for me, the old saw about the happiest and saddest days of a sailor's life. I certainly have a sense of relief that Allegria has found a new home, since we have a new boat about to be born. I also have some sadness about her and am missing her already. She has taught us many lessons, what true freedom is and the glory of being self sufficient. I think she may have saved my life. Lisa, when she was 4 or 5 years old said to Molly that she wanted to visit Daddy at his house, meaning my office. I was up and gone before she awoke and home again after she was asleep. We were all caught up in the materialistic culture and trying to keep up with the Joneses and both working ourselves to death. I realized that I was missing out on my daughter growing up and so we hatched the idea of going sailing and being together, and that is when Allegria came into our lives.
She helped us learn what was really important in life, and what we really needed to live. She helped Lisa learn that there was more to the world that just her little sphere and brought us all closer together. We reveled in the magic of nature and what an incredible world this is. The feeling associated with moving through the water, propelled by the wind alone and feeing one with the earth and natural forces is indescribable and is very addictive and I can't imagine not feeling the wind and tides and weather.
All this talk of the boat's personality is hard to accept for the uninitiated, but sailors who have stood a night watch alone and had a conversation with their boat will understand. A boat will tell you how she is feeling and what to do to make things better. All you need to do is listen. If you're lucky, she will teach you much more. We will always cherish what she has taught us, and I'm sure she has many more lessons to teach.
At this time of renewal and the birth of a new year, we are excited for the future and what lies ahead, a new boat, new places to visit and new things to learn. We wish all who read this a wonderful Holiday season and the most wonderful things in the New Year.

Back to Florida

21 November 2019 | Cayo Costa
We lifted the anchor early, at 4 AM, to head out of Charleston Harbor and fought the last of the flood tide getting out. We were racing a fog bank coming down from the north and managed to get out of the harbor and entrance channel just before it closed in. It seemed to dissipate as we headed south and dawn found us motorsailing down the coast to St Helena Sound in light air. As we entered the sound the tide changed to ebb and we fought it all the way in and up the river almost all the way into Beaufort. See a pattern here? As we turned the corner at Brickyard Point the current changed in our favor for the last few miles and we came down to the entrance to Factory Creek in Beaufort. We were at dead low of an extremely low tide by then and even though Cathy had told us the best way into Factory Creek, try as we might we couldn’t get in without hitting the bottom. We tried several times and had about resigned ourselves to wait for the tide to come up. We called Alan and Cathy to let them know we’d be late and they came out in their small boat to survey the area for us. We followed them in and despite touching once, we pushed through and made it into the channel. Before you know it we were tied up to their dock and enjoying their hospitality. We had loads of fun catching up and did our normal grocery, Walmart, propane runs. They were kind enough to let us stay a few days to catch the next weather window to head south.
There was a cold front due to come through and we planned to ride it all the way to Palm Beach if we could. The day before was in the 80’s and humid, but with the frontal passage, we awoke to temps in the 40’s and a fresh northerly breeze. After a few last good bys, we were off to catch the 9 AM opening of the iconic Beaufort swing bridge. Then it was down the river, again fighting the flood tide, and out Port Royal Sound with a 25 knot wind from the north.
We set the sails wing on wing with the jib poled out to one side and the main prevented out on the other and were off to the races sailing south with the wind vane steering. We had a quick passage and 54 hours later were heading in to Lake Worth Inlet. Allegria was really showing her stuff with that being the fastest passage south we’ve ever made. We headed up to the north end of Lake Worth and to our normal anchoring spot in Old Port Cove. We got the anchor down by mid afternoon and settled in for a nice relaxed visit with Brother Denny and Shannon.
We took the truck over to Anna Maria and picked up the AC units for Allegria, which I had previously removed and brought them back over to get looked at and serviced in preparation for reinstalling, getting ready for Allegria to go to her new owners. We spent several days catching up with those guys and just enjoying their company. Soon it was time to move on and so we were off for a late afternoon start down the lake and out the inlet before dark and riding an easterly south down the coast. We passed Ft Lauderdale overnight and found ourselves off Government cut in Miami at 2:30 AM. We headed past Key Biscayne and into the Hawk Channel and down the keys. As the sun rose we were off Angelfish Creek and we continued down past Rodriguez Key and to the pass at Channel Five and to anchor in the Long Key Bight. There was to be another frontal passage that night and after a good night’s rest, we awoke to a fresh northeasterly breeze. We got a late start, as we only had a 20 hour run up to Ft Myers, our next stop. We motorsailed in the dying breeze across Florida Bay and just south of the Everglades Park Boundary, dodging trap markers. As we cleared Cape Sable and turned to the northwest, the breeze filled in from the northeast and before you know it we were close reaching in 25-30 knots of breeze and Allegria was showing her stuff once again. It’s like she is giving us good memories on these last few sails. We rode that breeze all the way to Ft Myers and came in to pick up a mooring and have a visit with old friends Mark and Karen from Paydirt, the trawler that rescued us down in the Jumentos Cays some years ago and gave us a tow back to Georgetown after we broke a prop shaft. We also had a get together with old cruising friends, Bob, Charlotte , Alan and Cathy, with whom we cruised back in the 90’s. The first time we had all been together since then.
We have since moved up to Cayo Costa and are anchored in our favorite spot, planning to enjoy this place one more time for a few days before we head to the dock in Cortez.
Vessel Name: Allegria
Vessel Make/Model: Whitby 42
Hailing Port: Tampa
Crew: Dee and Molly Strickland
Dee grew up in central Florida and was sailing if the wind was blowing and skiing if it was flat. During his residency for oral and maxillofacial surgery in Cleveland he met the love of his life, Molly working as a nurse in the E.R. [...]
Extra: Dee, Molly and daughter Lisa left Tampa Bay in 1994 and sailed to Trinidad and Venezuela, and then back up the US east coast. Lisa was home schooled and then we returned to Tampa Bay where she skipped 4th grade and moved to 5th. She is now studying for her PhD in Art History at SUNY at Stoney Brook.
Allegria's Photos - Nasca
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Added 27 September 2017