Sunday, January 24, 2016

Table For One

   For the past week, I have, in essence, been on my own.  Bill had to fly out to supervise a job on a cruise ship in Oregon for a while.  Ever since he left, I've noticed that I've had a little more time on my hands. This is odd, especially when you consider that I am now working two jobs (part-time teaching at a Huntington Learning Center and cashiering at a West Marine).  I guess it's because I now have full use of the car; Neither of us is waiting on the other to get off work or run errands.

   My alone time has had its pros and cons.  I'm becoming more familiar with getting around Miami.  However, the traffic is definitely something with which I would like to be less familiar. . . My schedule is a little more my own but, doing everything by myself isn't really all that enjoyable or easy.  Getting armful after armful of groceries from the trunk to the pier and then on to the boat, especially when the wind is blowing the boat away from the pier, is, well, a challenge. I have been able to sleep in a little more (although having the bed to myself isn't all that great), catch up on some cleaning, and start on a few to-dos around the boat.

   One of these to-to do items, has to do with this blog.  If you have been following along with us, you know that a few months back  I added a new recipe/cooking page to the blog.  My intention truly was to add to it regularly, allowing it to coincide with my regular entries.  However, that obviously didn't happen.  I added to it a couple of times and then . . . well . . . life kept happening and the page was neglected.  I'd always sit down to write my next post, telling myself, "Okay.  I'll post this and then put up another recipe" or "I have to post those tacos we made last night!". Then, the computer would wig out (as it does often), I would take too long putting finishing touches on my writing, or I would be flat out too tired.  Sooooo,  . . . it didn't get done.  I know, I'm making excuses . . . but, I have decided to change that.

   I'm not one for New Year's resolutions but, I do want to commit to paying more attention to this blog (especially the aforementioned cooking page) and, therefore you, our readers, this year.  So, after you read this, please click on our "From the Galley" page and check out the new recipes that I've added (They'll be there.  I promise.).  Then, keep looking for new additions as Bill and I continue on our ever-changing life afloat.  

   My hope for this galley page is that you take something from it to share, whether you learn something new, find a recipe that you can make your own, or simply find a different perspective.
I'll keep cooking and blogging (I have a pot of stew on the stove as I write) and, hopefully, you will keep reading my humble ramblings on boat life. . . maybe when Bill gets back, I can convince him to post a bread recipe . . .

   Please let us know what you think. Feel free to ask questions and leave nice comments. (If no one has commented yet, there will be a "No Comments" link near the bottom of the post. If someone has already commented, there will be a number and the word "comments" beside it. Just click whichever of these is there, click, "add comment" when the window opens, and type away.)

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

A Year in Review

   Today marks a milestone for us.  One year ago today, Bill and I set out on our journey.  Having either sold, given away or stored everything we couldn’t keep on the boat, we threw off the lines and officially started our new adventurous lifestyle.  Over the last twelve months, we’ve experienced quite a bit.  While looking over our log book, Bill and I were quite surprised at what we had accomplished . . . even with our forced stop here in Florida (Thank you, engine). 

   So, I thought I’d take a few minutes to highlight our year’s trek down the ICW, around the Keys, over to the Bahamas, and back across the Atlantic to Florida.  

Miles Traveled: 2,280; Nautical Miles: 1,981 . . . and this was really covered in about half of the year since we were forced to return to Florida in June.

Engine Hours: 323 (for propulsion).  There were other times that we ran the engine but, it was simply to charge the batteries.

Nautical Sailing Miles: approximately 530 (about 350 after the engine died)

Number of Projects Started/Completed: Countless . . . Project lists are never-ending on a boat.  There was the wind generator, a couple of bilge pumps, adding on solar panels and repairing then later on, the air conditioner, the dinghy motor (just to name a few) . . . oh, and there was the little problem of the engine . . .  

States Visited: 5 plus 3 of the Florida Keys

Other Countries Visited: 1 – The Bahamas; We anchored off of/explored 11 islands – or Cays (pronounced “Keys”)

Scariest Moment: Riding out the surprise of Tropical Storm Anna in Black Point Harbor on one anchor (not set by the engine) and no way to set another . . . There were waves coming over the bow (at anchor!) and boats all around us were dragging . . . we didn’t drag an inch (We LOVE our Spade anchor now!)

Favorite Spot: There were many places that we really enjoyed but, we really have 2 favorites.  Black Point was our favorite cruisers’ haven.  This was THE best place overall for us to be.  Shroud Cay was our favorite place to explore.  Shroud’s beaches were spectacular and offered the best picture-perfect, breath-taking views.

Least Favorite Spot: Honestly . . . this title goes to Ft. Lauderdale because it seems that, on the whole, no one seems to have the time for or interest in sailboats.  Mega yachts and money rule here . . . sailboats and their owners take a back seat . . . This is a LARGE part of why it took sooo long for the engine to get the attention it needed to get up and running again . . .   

Awesome Animal Encounter: Manatees!!  These guys are so cool!

Most Unique Experience: Teaching for 3 weeks in Black Point Settlement.  The students there were amazing.  Getting to know the community in this way was wonderful.  Sailors often talk of getting off the tourist paths and really experiencing the places that they visit.  This certainly allowed me, and consequently Bill, to do just that.

Proudest Moment: For Bill, this would be when Tropical Storm Anna blew over.  Seeing that we had set the anchor well enough that we were one of the few boats in a harbor of many that didn’t budge was definitely a confidence booster.  

   For me, this came from one of my students.  From day one of working at the school, I always had a hand full of books with me (a habit I picked up from my substitute days).  The first time I pulled a book out, one of the students told me that he didn’t like stories.  I told him that he didn’t have to listen but, he did have to sit and be respectful to his peers.  It didn’t take long for this boy to go from not liking the story to listing to it.  By the time I left, he was engrossed in the books I presented and was obviously enjoying them.  On my last day there,  he shyly told me, “Do you remember when I told you that I didn’t like stories? Well, I like when you read them”.  Turning a child on to reading: priceless.    

  Thanks for keeping up with us and our travels.  Here's to many more miles, adventures, and blog posts in the future!

   Please let us know what you think. Feel free to ask questions and leave nice comments. (If no one has commented yet, there will be a "No Comments" link near the bottom of the post. If someone has already commented, there will be a number and the word "comments" beside it. Just click whichever of these is there, click, "add comment" when the window opens, and type away.)