Title shot: The famous Flagler Frog Fountain in St. Augustine. Sadly, we once again have alternative title shots that I didn't use but can't bear to discard.
December 14, 2006
December 16, 2006
Out here he was connected to the real world, or at least he wasn't disconnected, and he couldn't explain it any better than that. In his previous life--and that’s what it seemed to him, a previous existence, as if he had suddenly been reincarnated when he untied those dock lines for the last time and set off for the islands--he had disconnected regularly. He would be going about his business, taking a phone call at the office or driving in traffic or just standing in the shower, and he would suddenly feel like his entire life was just a dream, so ridiculous that it couldn't be real. He wanted to open his eyes, wake up, but his eyes were already open, so the logical course of action was to close them and of course that didn't help, particularly if he was driving.In the novel, a sinister plot is afoot to sabotage cruisers heading south for the winter, using crab pots, clogged fuel filters, lost dinghy oars, all the dirty tricks. Why? We don't know yet, although Annie is hinting that it has something to do with winning the sand sculpture contest at the George Town Cruiser's Regatta. In the movie version, all the male leading roles will be filled by actors who played James Bond, including Sean Connery as a jewel thief turned cruiser, Roger Moore, Remington Steele, Rowan Atkinson, and those other guys, too. Since this is a work in progress, we really don't know much more at this point and plot details may change, but we are definite on the James Bond thing.
Photos: (1) Laura has loved being rafted up to another boat with kids. (2) Nothing beats friendly neighbors. (3) Yesterday Chuck and Allie on Kairos had us over for an incredible spaghetti dinner. David Hurd was up for the weekend from Ft. Lauderdale and it was fun to see him again, too. During happy hour, we also got to meet Ken and Donna from the Bayfield ketch Second Wind, who we last saw in the Atlantic off Charleston.
December 18, 2006
Our plan is to leave the boat in Stuart for a few days and drive up to Mississippi to visit Annie's family for Christmas. Our friend and well known adventurer Beth Elliott from Chattanooga has a sister Barbara who lives in Stuart and has a dock available. We're looking forward to meeting Barbara and Bruce and thanking them in person for this wonderful Christmas gift.
In Beth's honor, I have revised the amazing story of what is perhaps her most famous adventure, Beth in a Tree.
Laura writes: "Yesterday I saw a dead turtle at the beach. Last night I painted a cat." Indeed, there was a good sized loggerhead turtle on the beach being measured by a biologist when we strolled by.
Photos: (1) A few boats are solo on the moorings, but most are rafted up. (2) We're at the end of the mooring field near the bridge, and despite a little noise at night from the Riverside Cafe down the way, it's quite a nice spot.
December 20, 2006
We attempted to dinghy into Harbortown Marina, where we had spent nine days last June, but were driven back by a most unfriendly dockmaster. Here's the text of a letter I will send to Harbortown and forward to the various cruiser websites:
My family and I were disappointed today when we took our dinghy into Harbortown Marina and were told, in most unfriendly terms, that we could not come ashore there. We were met at the dock by an unsmiling marina employee whose greeting to us consisted of saying, "This is private property." He did not ask us if we intended to patronize the restaurant or make a purchase; he did not volunteer any ideas on where else we might land our dinghy; he did not explain why or when the marina’s policies had changed.Has cruising mellowed me out completely? Apparently not.
December 21, 2006
We made our way into a narrow canal lined with boats to what I am now calling the Hotel Osborn Resort. Friendly people, great food, a beautiful home in which every room is less than ten steps away from the pool...Barbara and Bruce have it all. Bruce told me (over the phone, since he is in California at the moment) that he admired us for leaving it all behind and going cruising. I told him that if I had a home like his, I probably wouldn't have gone.
Photos: (1) Steve demonstrates how the Harbortown dockmaster came at him. Okay, actually he's just cooking. (2) There are 11 Guinea Pigs living at the Osborn residence. (3) The boat is taking it easy at the Hotel Osborn dock. She doesn't even have to float, except at high tide.
December 27, 2006
We got back to the Osborn's house yesterday evening to find that Gary and Teri on Ishi, an Aloha 34, were docked alongside...as near alongside the dock as they could get with us in the way, that is. They had come from Baja California via the Panama Canal and spent last summer at the Rio Dulce in Guatamala. Gary is a talented musician who has done everything from piloting submersibles to teaching school. Teri is one of those people who makes you feel like an old friend after just a few minutes of conversation. Tonight Bruce and Barbara hosted another wonderful dinner for all of us with entertaining conversation and celebrity guests, including Curt Patterson, who often flies his hang glider at Lookout Mountain and knows many of the folks we used see there.
Photos: (1) Christmas Eve is one of Laura's favorite nights. (2) Laura got to meet our friends Donald Harville and wife Karen while we were "up north" on the Mississippi coast. (3) I love Barbara and Bruce's place. This is a view of the house from the dock.