Saturday, February 1, 2014

Shiver Me Timbers

Tarpon Springs, our destination when first we began this Night Music adventure. Little did we know that a journey of a month would take 4 times that in time and experience. You think that this cannot stand, you will not get through this, the other side is unimaginable and there it is, all over. You laugh, make jokes, shrug it all off as another story to write in your diary or blog on your little spot on the internet. You spend so much energy planning, deciding, is this right, am I wrong, what should I do here, should I go, should I stay, is it safe, is it within my abilities, when’s the time to call it; all the while realizing in the dim light of your primitive brain that this is living. This is barely touching the surface of the push/pull of life and death. I’ve lain beside my father’s side as he faced death and realized a hero I never knew existed - how sad it had to to be then that I could come to admire a man who was so aloof from me my whole life.

While Jack and I have been living our lives close to the bone, others have been as well. A beloved elder has left us, God speed Lilian, bonds of love have been strengthened, fences have been mended, new friends have been made. Much has been achieved by my family and friends, and I am filled with much joy and hope for the next adventure. You have all been with us, phone calls, gifts sent to cheer, chats and comments on Facebook postings, for which we are humbly grateful. You lifted our spirits, kept us laughing and smiling and safe with your love. Hope our next trips will include some of you from time to time.

After all the worries and agonies, the crossing proved somewhat uneventful. Except for the fog on the second day, the lack of wind throughout and swells on the beam, it was grand to be at sea. Dolphins came to play in our bow wave and some stayed awhile to give us joy with their perfect oneness with the sea. Leonard and Jack did 2 hour shifts during the night, while I stayed below with the cats, sleeping fitfully as the boat rocked up and down and side to side all at the same time. Only Juan and Maggie were sea sick and just at the start, settling down as they got used to the motion. They did take to protesting having to be locked below, setting up some earpiercing howls at around 3 o’clock in the freaking morning which caused some stress. Ridley and Mickey, well, they took it in stride. Mickey has become this amazing boat cat, always coming to help with any boat work, negotiating the boat even when she’s rocking and on hand for loving. We’ve come to appreciate all our cats in many ways now that we’ve spent so much time with them.

I lost my job, but feel sure something will come along. In the mean time I’ve joined the docent training at the museum and started back at the gym. We will probably stay here for a while, tweaking the boat to suit us, rebuilding the kitty. We will take small trips, sail to Cabbage Key, Sanibel Island, etc, or even down to the Dry Tortugas. Winter has finally reached Tarpon Springs, just as we arrive, mostly rain and fog and lower temps, but not like anything we’ve experienced. I find myself shrugging off 40 degrees having endured 19 degrees. Jack will work cleaning up the H-28 and getting her ready for sale.

The internet signal won’t come down inside the boat, so we have to work on that. The radio antenna we got has not done it’s job. Something to do with going to an IP address but neither Safari nor Chrome can locate it. 

Time to start a new blog.
Carrabelle one morning

Carrabelle one evening

Ridley in the fog


the Sunday we left Carrabelle

a little grilling in Carrabelle

Jeff and Rhonda sent us a picture of Yacht Harbor Marina where we stayed in Pensacola
we left just in time to avoid the freezing rain and snow

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

On The Move

 Hola from blustery Apalachicola! Yes we are on the move. I haven’t wanted to write in case y’all and we would be disappointed that once again we were stuck but now I’m feeling a bit more optimistic. As it’s been awhile there is lots to tell but I’ll try to keep it brief.

Our friend Leonard Ingalls flew in from Fort Worth, Texas, shortly after New Year’s Day, just in time to experience the Florida manifestation of the Polar Vortex. One morning it was so cold that there was ice in the marina basin. We survived, and of course I shouldn’t complain as I know many of my friends and family are suffering even harsher weather. We made some great new friends who kept us sane, Peter Robinson, David Stone and Jeff and Rhonda Guy. And for a short time, Steven and Butter.

there is the ice

After a while the weather window began to look less frosty and one afternoon we took Night Music out into Pensacola Bay for a spanking good sail. She can handle much more than we can, shrugging off 25kt gusts like a snooty rich girl ignoring the paparazzi. The next day we laid on a few supplies and headed to the Big Lagoon to anchor for the night in anticipation for the run to Destin. Thursday was a most beautiful day, seas were for us, winds light but somewhat helpful. We motorsailed and safely navigated the tricky channel to an anchorage in the middle of a small lagoon. A very festive coastal town - Florida coloured buildings housing restaurants and bars, chockablock docks with huge sportsfishing boats - a tourist’s fantasy come true. It was somewhat quiet because of the weather, but I can envision the place in the summertime. The best part was the frolicking dolphins. 


 We spent 2 nights in Destin due to, what else, weather, then made Panama City on Saturday of the MLK weekend. We settled into the city marina there for 2 nights, did laundry, had showers and our friend Bambi, who is now sailing the Caribbean with her husband, had us get in touch with Charlie, her brother-in-law, and he let us use her car, so we got a few more groceries. Food is very important when one is cold and at sea. Leonard introduced me to this wonderful stir fry sauce that can be refashioned to one’s whim of the moment and used as a marinade or dressing. I’ve also been making English Muffins as they are delightfully easy to make and eat.

Lots of wind at nights these days, so sleep is restless, checking for anchor dragging or spring lines holding. Sunday morning we woke to an almighty blast of wind which flung us out of our warm beds, cats and all. A rain squall with 33kt winds attacked us for no good reason, except to say “get out of bed, you lazy sots!”. It’s duration was mercifully short and the rest of the day, though windy, was sunny and warm.

Monday early we left Panama City and had a very lumpy ride, (swells were broadside), across to St. Joseph Bay where we picked up the ICW, a ditch really, and made for a settlement called White City. There a nice park with a free dock awaited us. The cats could wander about on grass instead of docks and boats.

After a fast run we are now in Apalach, as the natives call this town, waiting out another front. Tomorrow should see us in Carrabelle and waiting for a good window for the jump to Tarpon.

We really do appreciate Leonard’s company. He is gaining sailboat experience and we are getting great help. I can stay below out of the weather so I make warm breakfasts and more coffee or tea. And almost all these gorgeous photos are from master photographer Leonard Ingalls.

In White City

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Polar Vortex and Why I'm Moving Closer To The Equator is a great site to explain this phenomena that has actually always existed but has worsened because of Global Warming. Scientists probably should have called it something else since it appears to confuse some people. 

  1. "Statements about climate trends must be based on, er, trends. Not individual events or occurrences. Weather is not climate, and anecdotes are not statistics.
  2. Global warming is actually expected to increase "heavy precipitation in winter storms," and for the northern hemisphere, there is evidence that these storms are already more frequent and intense, according to the draft US National Climate Assessment.

  1. Antarctica is a very cold place. But global warming is affecting it as predicted: Antarctica is losing ice overall, according to the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. However, sea ice is a different matter than land-based or glacial ice. Antarctic sea ice is increasing, and moreover, the reason for this may be climate change! (For more, read here.)"

Finally, just one last thing. When it's winter on Earth, it's also summer on Earth...somewhere else. Thus, allow us to counter anecdotal evidence about cold weather with more anecdotal evidence: It's blazing hot in Australia, with temperatures, in some regions, set to possibly soar above 120 degrees Fahrenheit in the coming days."

And, now, our own attempts to keep the cold manageable so we can at least think.

First, we noticed that since our mast is stepped on the keel, a 6 foot chunk of it stands in the middle of our salon. From the deck it reaches 54 feet into that frigid wind and translates the awful cold into our living quarters. Jack had the bright idea to cover it when he saw me at my crocheting. And that’s what I did, crocheted a full wool jacket for our metal pole.

Secondly, our friend Peter loaned us his SunRite Radiant Heater which uses butane. We use it in the morning and again in the evening. The sailing community, no matter where you are, are full of kind, helpful people, plus they love cats! We also have a small electric heater. I wear all my clothes and have lined the v-berth with pillows. I have to turn the mattress up to dry it out as the bottom gets quite wet. Will have to figure out a solution to that, or maybe not

                         AS WE ARE MOVING TO THE CARIBBEAN!!!!!!

Thirdly, I crocheted a couple pairs of booties last summer and cleverly thought to bring them along. One pair Jack can wear but he doesn’t feel the cold like I do. I have been wearing my pair unto death. Hence, I’m crocheting more. Trying to work out the pattern so they go over my ankles. And that toe has to go.

 I know my friends and family in the northern parts of this continent are having to deal with much worse weather. I wish I could have you all with me. Next year in Store Bay.

"Ho Hey"


(Ho!) I've been trying to do it right
(Hey!) I've been living a lonely life
(Ho!) I've been sleeping here instead
(Hey!) I've been sleeping in my bed,
(Ho!) Sleeping in my bed


(Ho!) So show me family
(Hey!) All the blood that I would bleed
(Ho!) I don't know where I belong
(Hey!) I don't know where I went wrong
(Ho!) But I can write a song

1, 2, 3
I belong with you, you belong with me, you're my sweetheart
I belong with you, you belong with me, you're my sweet


(Ho!) I don't think you're right for him.
(Hey!) Look at what it might have been if you
(Ho!) took a bus to China Town.
(Hey!) I'd be standing on Canal
(Ho!) and Bowery.
(Ho!) And she'd be standing next to me.

1, 2, 3
I belong with you, you belong with me, you're my sweetheart
I belong with you, you belong with me, you're my sweetheart

Love – we need it now
Let's hope for some
So, we're bleeding out

I belong with you, you belong with me, you're my sweetheart
I belong with you, you belong with me, you're my sweet

(The last one)

Monday, December 23, 2013

We Went for A Walk

put a song in my head, which then turned my thoughts to Joann, Madeline, Betty and all the lovely ladies at Total Fitness

Think this means Our Lady Queen of Martyrs

where we are

we are the 3rd mast from the left
                                                                         and a little art

Saturday, December 21, 2013




So, we thought the way the cold fronts were sweeping in that we would have to stay  in Mobile, but then a weather window opened and we said let’s go. So bright and early Monday morning we shoved off. I mean that literally, because we were aground in our slip. The tide you know. Pushing and pulling, slipping on the icy decks, we made a less than graceful exit. The bay was brown and choppy with the wind and waves at our backs as we motored down and across Mobile bay to join the ICW. At one point the wind shifted a minuscule amount so we unfurled the stay sail. It was pretty but didn’t give us much more speed. Still, it was a lovely day and we were moving. Found the  anchorage at Ingram’s Bayou, watched the sun depart bringing Venus and the moon to take his place.


Now our quandary is that with the shortened daylight and our top speed an average of 6 kts, we can only hope to make 40 miles. If the wind is for us, we can sail much faster. But if the wind and waves are wrong, meaning any direction with east in it, we can’t sail or motor against it. The second day we went just 15 miles to a nice anchorage in Big Lagoon and since we had a pleasant day and lots of time, Jack changed the oil. A mess as usual. Our mast is too tall for the bridges over the ICW between Pensacola and Port Saint Joe, so we must jump out to the Gulf, with Destin and Panama City the only safe places to anchor before we can join the ICW again.Each place is about a 40 mile sail. Early Wednesday with the sun quickly warming, we headed merrily out the channel to the Gulf. A north wind was forecasted but they were dead wrong, strong east winds and east seas gave us a top speed of 3 kts. At that rate we couldn’t make Destin before dark ,and the channel there is too tricky to go into at night. We turned around and headed back to Big Lagoon, where the water was clear and pretty and a long low sand island cupped us gently. Had it been summer, we would have had lots of company and swimming would have been delightful.



I know that many people are being prevented from traveling home for the holidays because of the same system that keeps us here in Pensacola. I feel their pain but I am giving over to our cruising fate. We found a safe haven in Bayou Chica at Yacht Harbor Marina where Captain Ted Germann has been most welcoming and we are comfortable if not entirely glad to be so close and yet so far from home.  



Sunday, December 1, 2013


 Our friends, Christelle and Gary, on their journey from Columbus, Miss. to Mobile, AL, saw many alligators. They posted several pictures on their blog:

We did not see even a hint of an alligator but we did see the following animals along with many seabirds and dolphins.

who would have thought: Hippos and Zebras in an Alabama swamp, lol.
 Talk about your global warming!
and because it was so cold, this little fella happened by