Caribbean Adventures Part TWO!

And so, we cannot believe we are mid-September already… the  time is flying as fast as all the these tropical storms are forming – yeesh!

It has been gut wrenching to hear of all the devastation on so many beloved islands in the Caribbean chain.  So many have lost so much it is just heart wrenching.  Friends have lost boats, businesses and employment but have weathered the storm and everyone is vowing to rebuild and move on.  It is inspiring.

Just a month and a half ago whilst in the BVI’s awaiting registration and repair issues and not having much luck finding any help to do a straight shot south, we had debated staying and spending the season there…of course, we are thankful we made the decision to move on ourselves.  We had heard from many including Chris, our broker that it was going to be a crazy season for blows… and these predictions have certainly turned out.   Daily (and often more) weather checks have us watching all those “blobs forming off the coast of Africa and it has seemed nonstop.

And Now.   on to other whirlwinds….. we were all so excited to have Kelsey aboard for a visit.  Despite her initial saying that she wanted to be “moderately” busy, we often started the day that way but quickly found things to do, places to go and rum punches to sample.  We even got in a sail up to Carriacou so she could see how “all this stuff works” as she pointed out one day whilst laying on the tramp looking up at the sail.

14 hours late… but Kels finally arrives!!!

Poolside at Secret Harbor

fresh, fresh lobster anyone? YUM!!!!

snorkeling at the Sculpture Park is always on the “To Do” list

It was a great visit and catch up and also a break from boat work for a while.  With the “holiday” over we continue to work away at our list  and are happy to report that YESTERDAY we finally got our anchor light replaced and working!!  We are still awaiting delivery of a new dinghy as the freight is still not coming out of Miami…hopefully “soon come”.  Likewise for solar panels – we still have not been able to source these out of  Florida yet either.

our anchor light is finally up and working…. Only two lengthy trips up for Glen

In between boat chores we still sneak in yoga, volleyball, hashes and other adventures.  Things are ramping up for the BIG 1000th Hash Celebration at the end of the month with lots of great activities and events planned.  The kick off to the week will be the Carriacou Hash this weekend. Weather depending of course, we hope to make it up for that.

Best Hash ever…. at least 10 circles….and a Beer stop …woo hooooo

watching the J24 races at Clarkes Court Marina

Glen gets his “paddleboard legs” at Sandy Island

 

And before we know it the chore  list will be as complete as possible and we will be heading off for an exciting season up island exploring old and new locales!  On On!

 

 

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Ahhhh Grenada – the Isle of  Spice and all things nice.  We celebrated our one month anniversary afloat in Grand Cru.  We did a sail by of most countries with a brief stop and check in at St. Kitts and St. Lucia.  We had a couple of ugly ‘easting’ days and then some great sail days south.  We are still amazed at the ease and speed at which this girl sails.  LOVE. IT!!!  We are so looking forward to next season and visiting new sites and islands as well as some old haunts too.

And it sure didn’t take long to get back into the spirit of “Camp Grenada” with yoga, volleyball, jam sessions, brewery outings, lazing by the pool at the Uni Club and more.  We have to get those day-timers out again in order to keep track of all the social happenings.  And what a treat it has been to reunite with some great cruising friends and locals that we bid farewell to two years ago.  It has been great also to meet new folk from all over and hear of the stories and journeys that have brought them to Grenada.

We scored about 15lb of delicious yellow fin tuna from a local fisherman at the dock …yummm tacos, filets, nachos, salad..

We are settling in for a few months and as always, trying to balance boat chores with social outings as well as anxiously awaiting Kels’s  arrival – our first visitor aboard Grand Cru!  We are excited.

our first new purchase…..a Rocna!!

On Our Way!

Grenada here we come… so close and yet so faaaaaar away.  A little scary during the official “H” season… we tried to find help to get her there in one shot but had no success… appears everyone bails out of the north islands during this time….go figure!  And so, we find ourselves making our way tentatively south through the chain.  A little disconcerting but we are cautiously following weather models, checking carefully and planning our hops daily as we get updates.   Our passage from BVI to St Martin was good, despite not being able to sail we had moderate seas and light winds and were able to make great time.  This is so different than having to do an overnight… we are loving the conveniences of our speedy catamaran.  We have made it as far as St Kitts and hope to get to perhaps Martinique before the next blow comes through.

toasting our first long passage! Thanks Chris and Karen for the delicious treat!

Our hideaway at Christophe Harbor has been quite delightful… we are only 1 of the 3 boats currently berthed.  With limited facilities in place the rates are incredibly reasonable… sadly this won’t last for long as they finish this gorgeous site.  We will enjoy it whilst we can.

proudly Canadian! Official registration complete…. hailing port, Edmonton, AB… really!

our visit in to Basterre to check in has Kathy making friends with the locals. Franklin, the weatherman, provides his advice and special drink and Kath just can’t escape

in addition to “engine room yoga” we have also added “Crew Coffin gymnastics” to our mantra…. this is where my beautiful friend the “watermaker” calls home

and why not a hike in the heat of the day?

Because the reward turns out to be….

at the Pavillion….where we find out we are welcomed with our marina berth… this is an over the top 7 star I am sure resort…. but hey, why not?

infinity pool and all

As we continue to adventure and enjoy this chapter I was amazed to read online today a summary of the “Good and Bad of A Sagittarian” and here it is:  “The biggest fear is being bored and stuck in the same routine for the rest of their lives”… not happening!  What a beginning to another great adventure!

We’rrrreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee  back!!  And so after our 4 years aboard Amoray we took time to do some “land yacht” adventuring in our 24’ Class C for one year.  We enjoyed the land travel tremendously and were so happy to have finally experienced the incredible beauty, hospitality and life in the Canadian Maritimes, which was certainly on our bucket list.  And following the sun down the eastern seaboard continued to keep us close to the sea.  And the sea never stopped calling…..

So with Roo off to new owners and adventures we are even more thrilled to be back where these toes belong…..shoeless!

One year ago we were celebrating our anniversary with great friends, Dave and Alex in St. John’s Newfoundland.  Shenanigans, dress up and toasting with Newman’s port were all part of the day.  And today we celebrated aboard our new home – wow, 365 days and a world away.

Nomads at heart, we definitely feel most at home on the sea.  And what a “home” we now share with Reid and Kathy.  We are so stoked to call Grand Cru our new abode.  This lovely vessel has been so well taken care of and has soooo many extras than we had never imagined.  She has been lovingly cared for by Peter and Bobbi, who have sailed her for almost her entire life.   These amazing folks have also been so helpful and gone above and beyond our expectations.  Not only were we met with champagne, they have provided answers to our never ending questions, come out us with us several times to help us learn her tricks and maneuvering and offered many pearls of wisdom.  We truly wish them the best as they move on to new adventures in their lives…. “now that we have made them homeless and jobless ”!!

Our 10 days onboard have been fabulous…but…just when we thought we knew a little about sailing we feel like we are starting all over again as we learn the ins and outs of catamaran life…feels like a return to that exponential learning curve of years ago.

We are also working on making a few slight changes to make her more “cruiser” rather than “charter” friendly.  We have been out and about to Virgin Gorda …because isn’t that a great ‘classroom’ to practice and learn.

an absolute dream to sail

zoom, zoom, zoom! really? no heeling? really? really?

now THIS is the party cockpit….

our partners in crime

hiking Guy’s Trail at the Bitter End

Trying out some of our new toys

We have also already got to experience having her hauled – thanks again to Peter for his expertise and captaining us into the lift.  A few repairs and a chance to break out those polishing, cleaning and scouring pads and she is ready to splash tomorrow.

And we then hope to be on our way south very soon after… CAMP GRENADA here we come.

 

 

It has been a while…. actually a long, long while…. since I have:  engaged in social media; put pen to paper; finger to keyboard or to camera shutter for that matter.   Must admit I have been in a bit of a funk and feeling out of sorts.  Lots of life events, happenings – some good, some not so good, the overwhelming adjustment of life back at Mabel and all that brings.   And as a good friend has written so eloquently before (and always)… I lost my words and …..  I also sort of lost contact with the outside world!   But, I am back and ready to tackle our next adventure.

So a quick recap since our last long ago blog, facebook post etc etc:

We returned from our grand RV adventure at the beginning of March… a little earlier than planned in order to be part of the BIG party – my brother’s surprise retirement party.  It was great to be there and be an additional surprise for him.

Surprise!!

There were many Gilligans and Mary Anns in attendance

After heading home and getting busy sorting, unpacking and settling into things at home we were quickly on the road again back to Alberta.  We spent most of April, a couple of weeks in May, and a week of June in Hanna spending time with Glen’s mom, the miracle energizer bunny.  We are happy to report that things have settled down and she seems to be doing ok.   Doctors have in fact used the word “miracle” in reference to her recovery.   We are blessed and thankful she is feeling much better.

We made the decision to sell our lovely little “Roo” and happy to report she is in the hands of a great couple who are happy to continue her adventures.  We really enjoyed our road travels and seeing so much of Canada and much of the eastern US.  So many fabulous stops …. and sooo much left to see!  I hope to find some time soon to do some reflecting and piecing together a photo journey of our highlights of the past year.

Farewell to our Great Home on Wheels!

In the midst of all this we have continued our search for our next “floating home”. … and happy to report we have found her.  Things have happened, very, very quickly and we fly away July 22 to Tortola to climb aboard with Reid & Kathy.  She is a gorgeous 46’ 2007 Leopard.  For some photos and details check out my brother’s blog as he has uploaded a walk through….  www.reidkathysailing.wordpress.com  We are still awaiting official registration from Transport Canada, but hope to retain her name, Grand Cru.

And so as we juggle packing, “pre-provisioning” and work at camp we are getting excited and I am finding some of my words and catching up in many ways again.  We are looking forward to returning to the lifestyle afloat and adventures in the Caribbean.  It will be awesome to share, explore and sail with Reid and Kathy.  We are also looking forward to reconnecting with friends through the Isles!

Farewell to Florida Fun

And so exactly two months (Nov 22-Jan 22) we have left the snowbird state.  An article we read states that Canadian snowbirds spend 5 billion dollars in Florida each season, so we have done our miniscule (in comparison) share.  And we get it… sparkling waters, sunny skies, gorgeous weather, throw in stunning birds, cute manatees, alligators and everglades and you can see why.

We covered 7008km and travelled the complete coastline from Jacksonville on the Atlantic down to Key West and back along the Gulf and across the “Forgotten Coast” and Emerald Coast on the Panhandle.  Throw in a few inland adventures to Osceola State Park, the Everglades and Blue Spring State Park and we feel we have seen most of what Florida has to offer.

And of course the other fantastic highlight has been the folks we have been able to reconnect with along the way – making it a sweet deal for sure.

  • Dave & Alex in Jacksonsvillepooh
  • Scott, Paula & Kathy in St. Augustinepaula-kathy
  • Willie & Bev in Clearwaterpc103403
  • Ron & Judy in Hernando Beach20161219_162158
  • Ann and Roxy at Cape Canaveralann-and-roxy
  • Reid & Kathy – St. Augustine to Tampap1033496
  • Childhood Neighborhood Friend….. Kelly & Mary in West Palm Beachp1013453
  • Teresa – Tampa to Pensacoladsc_1083

 

Who would have thought that Roo can do company?  All in a 24’ RV?  We had a fun filled, laugh out loud, never a dull moment adventure with Reid and Kathy from December 26-January 8.  We covered a lot of territory and started work on our next adventure – finding the perfect catamaran for four!

A quick change over day and Teresa arrived for a visit January 10-21.  We were able to pack it all in and had many memorable, mermaid-type moments and firsts – alligators in the wild and snorkeling with the manatees.  Awesome fun!

So with many stops, pictures and moments we will sign off with just a taste of our favorites:

FAVORITE:

Campground        Fort de Soto State Park, Sarasota

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Beach                     the white, squeaky sands and quietness of St. Joesph State Park on the Panhandle

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Happy hour          Key West all the way baby – Sunset Pier and Sloppy Joes on Duvall Street

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Experience           manatee moments at Blue Spring State Park

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City                         St. Augustine – the historic Spanish Fort, Christmas lights, National Cemetery,

Anastasia State Park & Beach

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Distillery/Winery     Siesta Key Distillery – BEST coconut rum EVER!  (made with lots of real coconut)

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Get Away                Cocoa Beach where we indulge in a bargain, off season resort on the beach

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Sunset                    Turtle Beach Campground – times two!

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Seafood                  White gulf shrimp and cheap tuna steaks

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One time event        watching a satellite launch at Cape Canaveral from our campsite dock

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Roo’s favorite           four new rear tires

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And off we go… headed west and north to HOME!  We have to be back by March 27 for health insurance so we are savoring the last of our journey.  New Orleans here we come!!!

BARRIER ISLANDS AND BEYOND!

It has been yet another month of km’s, reunions and amazing places.  We have been following the Atlantic Coast and a chain of stunning jewels – Barrier Island after island.  Most of our month has been laid back beach towns with Charleston and Savannah as our only big city adventures.

NORTH CAROLINA

OBX (the Outer Banks, North Carolina) and the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, provided images reminiscent of our Caribbean adventures with endless white sand beaches and seashore.  We wandered the fitting and grandiose monument at Kitty Hawk, the birth place of aviation, where the Wright Brothers ended the impossible; toured yet more lighthouses and lifesaving stations; and enjoyed beach combing at low tides. Pea Island, Ocracoke, the Crystal Coast including Carolina and Kure beaches and Cape Fear continued our love affair with the sea.

missed these pelicans

missed these pelicans

a ferry from Okracoke

a ferry from Ocracoke

AIA only recently re-opened all the way south - still lots of clean up to do

AIA only recently re-opened all the way south – still lots of clean up to do

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Cape Hatteras Lighthouse – 1870

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Bodie Island Lighthouse – 1872

sunrise over the seashore on Okracoke Island

sunrise over the seashore on Ocracoke Island

how can you not love those colors - Cape Hatteras National Seashore

how can you not love those colors – Cape Hatteras National Seashore

dunes, and more dunes

dunes, and more dunes

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at Kitty Hawk

replica of the Wright brothers groundbreaking plane

replica of the Wright brothers groundbreaking plane

SOUTH CAROLINA

From the peace and quiet to the chaos and development at Myrtle Beach – wow – it was a little overwhelming.  And then,  in Charleston we had a fantastic visit with David and Libby. Love the sounds, smells and tastes of the south.  We did some great adventuring and sampling of southern hospitality….loving those rich and delicious tasty treats – “she crab soup, po’boys,  shrimp and grits, fried green tomatoes Benne wafers and even a cheesy southern take on mac ‘n cheese! YUM!

Mrytle Beach

Myrtle Beach

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into Charleston

into Charleston

a great time catching up on land with cruising friends from Peregrine!

a great time catching up on land with cruising friends from Peregrine!

Circular Church - 1682

Circular Church – 1681

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David provides a great walking tour of downtown Charleston

David (and Brody) provides a great walking tour of downtown Charleston

historic homes abound

historic homes abound

fell in love with those "live oaks" and spanish moss

fell in love with those “live oaks” and spanish moss

it ain't easy be green

it ain’t easy be green

finding our way around Charles Town Landing with David and Libby

finding our way around Charles Town Landing with David and Libby

all in a row

all in a row

Brody claims his innocence... "I didn't eat the pound of bacon!"

Brody claims his innocence… “I didn’t eat the pound of bacon!”

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Fort Moultrie – a series of 4 forts built on this location beginning ni 1776 to defend Charleston

sunrise at the City Marina

sunrise at the City Marina

a pineapple fountain

a pineapple fountain

Another beach break as we explore the Beaufort, Port Royal and Hilton Head areas.  Evidence of Hurricane Matthew’s damage is everywhere as folks clean up, more trees come down and parks make repairs to facilities.

unknown graves from the Civil war at the National Cemetery in Beaufort

unknown graves from the Civil war at the National Cemetery in Beaufort

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Hunting Isle - more hurrican damage

Hunting Isle – more hurricane damage

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boats out of their element – evidence of Matthew’s fury

GEORGIA

Historic Savannah on the waterfront is another southern gem that gets a two thumbs up.  We then decide on an inland stop to do some chilling and planning.  Perhaps there isn’t much sympathy out there but it does become a little exhausting with the day to day planning – picking routes, destinations,  tour highlights, finding reasonable campgrounds etc etc.  And so with a great State Park not far away we head to Altamaha State Park for four days where we plan, sort, clean and take part in a Park Clean Up day too.

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historic train station now an impressive Visitor Centre, Museum and RV Parking!!

how's that for a City Hall?

how’s that for a City Hall?

Forsyth Park

Forsyth Park

and churches

and churches

gorgeous historic buildings

gorgeous historic buildings

a planned city - historic downtown is only 1 mile by 1 mile with squares (green spaces with monuments) every 2 blocks!

a planned city – historic downtown is only 1 mile by 1 mile with 22 surviving squares (green spaces with monuments) and a park

The Waving Girl

The Waving Girl- early 20th Century – city light tender’s sister waved at every ship entering

"Rainbow Row" - reminds us of Jellybean Row in St John's, Nfld

“Rainbow Row” – reminds us of Jellybean Row in St John’s, Nfld

boat tour anyone?

boat tour anyone?

"A World Apart" - WWI memorial on the waterfront

“A World Apart” – WWI memorial on the waterfront

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Altamaha State Park

After a brief recharge we head back to coastal area of Brunswick and the islands…. St Simon`s, where Roo stumbles into a PGA event as we try and find the Àvenue of 190 year oaks`  we are gently guided back out of the area!  Jekyll Island, a previously privately owned island developed as an exclusive `hunting club`by the likes of the Goodyear, JP Morgan, Pulitzer and Rockefeller.   The island was sold in 1947 to the state of Georgia for use as a state park.  While wandering and chatting with locals` they insist that `Driftwood Beach` on the northern tip of the island is a `must see.. and wow, was it!  Cumberland Island National Seashore, our next stop proves to be equally stunning with wild horses, old ruins and endless beach.  The coastal perimeter of Georgia is short (perhaps little over 120 miles) so onto….

 

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Glen becomes an Amazing Race contestant on Driftwood Beach

Glen becomes an Amazing Race contestant on Driftwood Beach

The Jekyll Island Club

The Jekyll Island Club

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Fort Frederica – really a fortress – as in encompassed a British military town from 1736-1942

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Wow, windward on Cumberland Island

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1884 Dungeness ruins

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these little guys scurrying about scared me several times as I envisioned perhaps an alligator in the bush

Cumberland Island from the ferry

Cumberland Island from the ferry

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St Mary’s – ferry boarding for Cumberland Island National Seashore

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wild horses amongst the tumbling ruins

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and hanging out on the beaches too

FLORIDA

We make a brief stop in Jacksonville in order to hook up with Dave and Alex.  We spend a great afternoon and evening of fun as they celebrate being back on the water again.   With Thanksgiving coming up it becomes challenging to find a campground so we once more head inland to Osceola National Forest where we find a hidden gem with a lake, great trails and a beautiful park.  I find some great trail runs but feel a little leary what with hunting season, alligators and snakes… don`t think my bear spray works for any of those.

more of the Civil War history near Osceola National Forest – would love to see the reenactment in February

St. Augustine, the oldest city in Florida has amazing history, charm and incredible Christmas spirit.  We are also lucky enough to make yet more cruiser reunions with Paula & Scott and Kathy!!  What fun!

St Augustine, America's First Colony - established 1565 by Pedro Menendez de Aviles

St Augustine, America’s First Colony – established 1565 by Pedro Menendez de Aviles

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Castillo de San Marcos – built 1672-1695

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structure is very similar in layout to the Citadel in Halifax

 

Bridge of Lions

Bridge of Lions

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Florida’s oldest documented dwelling – early 1700’s – but not the guy in front

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another National Cemetery – always a stop for pause and reflection

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with Paula & Scott and Kathy – such fun

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the one time Hotel Alcazar

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Cathedral Basilica St Augustine

St Photios Greek Shrine-a memorial to the first Greek settlers in America

St Photios Greek Shrine-a memorial to the first Greek settlers in America

only 219 steps to the view

only 219 steps to the view

the light house

the light house

St Augustine Beach

St Augustine Beach

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now those are some serious Christmas lights

Daytona Beach and Cocoa Beach provide more days of fun in the sun.  The weather is remarkably hot and sunny – just as we are hearing tales of cold spells and snow back in Canada….ahhhhh.   And the beauty of social media, we find out another great friend, Ann is in the area so we are able to spend an afternoon catching up with her and Roxy (missing Darrell though).

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with Ann and Roxy!!

And currently we are at Titusville , a mere 8 km from the Kennedy Space Centre where we anxiously await the evening launch.  Apparently we can take our chairs to the pier at the campground and will have a great show from there.  Tomorrow we will actually tour the Centre.  We have heard it is an amazing facility with days worth of adventuring possible.  But we will try and sneak it into one.
From here we are heading over to the gulf coast and hope to see PEI friends Willie and Bev before heading to Atlanta for Christmas and Reid & Kath`s arrival!  Woo hoo!

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