Tuesday, March 18, 2014

March 12-15, 2014 Iowa visitors

We found out Tuesday night that some relatives of mine were going to be in Ft Myers Beach for a week starting Wednesday, Terry and Pam (Bowar) Brueggeman, who now live in Iowa.  Pam's mother and my mother were sisters.  We grew up about 40 miles apart and spent many holidays and family gatherings together.  Pam's brother, Larry and Cheryl Bowar, were supposed to join them, but Larry had a farming accident a couple days before the trip and hurt his leg.  We sent them plenty of pictures to show them what  they were missing :)

They had a beautiful room right on the beach.  So we spent a few evenings walking on the beach and watching the sunset.  Since we are in a bay, we don't see the sunset from our boat.  

They wanted to go to a MN Twins spring training baseball game in Ft Myers.  That is something I had been wanting to do, but we would have had to take a taxi or figure out an all day bus schedule to get there.  So we traded a ride to the game for a ride on our sailboat.   In the bottom of the ninth inning, there were 2 outs and the Twins hit a home run to tie the game.  That was the end of the game.  We were surprised they didn't go another inning, but I guess there aren't any stats for spring training.

On Saturday, the Brueggemans and the Killions joined us for a beautiful day out on the water.  All seven of us were originally from South Dakota.  We just sailed back and forth in the Gulf of Mexico in front of Ft Myers Beach.  But it was so relaxing.  Everyone helped with the sails at some point.  We saw multiple dolphins and Devyn saw a sea turtle. 

We planned to cook dinner on the boat.  But we went to a restaurant by dinghy for an appetizer and drink and decided to stay for dinner.  We had some wonderful meals while they were here.  Tried a couple new places and took them to our favorite place twice, they liked it so  much, Nervous Nellies.

We decided we couldn't have planned it any better.  We were sorry Larry and Cheryl couldn't make it.  Now their brother, Gary, offered to trade a helicopter ride for a boat ride.  I'm sure we can make that happen.      

March 6-11, 2014 house sitting

The Killions went to a wedding in Minnesota for 5 days.  Being the great friends that they are, they let me house and cat sit and use their car while they were gone.  The wonderful part for me was that I finished up a lot of projects involving electricity and mobility.  Dave stayed at the boat and was able to tear apart the floor and leave projects out to work on.  No clearing the table and making space to sit for dinner.  Also there is the problem of parking the car here at the boat or leaving the dinghy overnight at the dock. 

On Thursday, Jackie planned to pick me up after work.  That way I could just take them to the airport in the morning.  On Thursday afternoon, we had a heavy thunderstorm with a tornado watch.  This is the second time we put all our hand held electronics in the microwave.  If we are hit by lightning, they are protected inside the metal box.  Then we discussed what we would do if there really was a tornado.  We decided we would do what we could to protect the boat, be ready to get in our dinghy if the boat was going down, and if our time was up, it was up.  The whole thing was over in time for Jackie to pick me up.  I had my personal bag, but we had to pull out our dry bags to pack 2 laptops, a VCR and the remaining  tapes, our scanner,  2 external hard drives and a bag of paperwork.  

I came back to the boat on Friday with the latest batch of packages that were sent to the Killions.  Then I settled in at the Killions with my media center.  I wanted to finish converting our VHS tapes to DVDs and get rid of the VCR and tapes.  These are tapes we made of Peter performing over the years.  The problem is they have to be converted in real time.  And the laptop that has the program can't be used for anything else, hence the second laptop.  So while tapes were running, I set to work scanning papers that we didn't want to physically hang on to.  I also cleaned up the two external hard drives.  Then I cleaned up my documents and downloads on my main laptop because we are going to get rid of it.  But I didn't want to attempt to transfer it to the hard drive.  

By Monday, I returned to the boat to pick up Dave for a dental appointment.  We found a different dentist  than the one who did his exam and what they called a cleaning.  I asked them to send me the digital x-rays.  I found a cavity on the x-rays, then looked in Dave's mouth and could see the cavity.  I guess we may have to return to SD every 6 months for dental care we can trust. 

We also found an accounting/tax firm to do our taxes for us.  Both these places are on our bus line, so we can return if needed without a car.  Have to think of all those things. 

On Tuesday, I loaded up my personal bags, all the electronics, and made a run to Walmart.  I had the car fully loaded, which then had to be loaded into the dinghy in 2 trips to the boat before I could pick up the Killions at the airport with their luggage. 

It was a very productive weekend for both me and Dave.  Plus the Killions didn't have to park their car at the airport.  Their lovely, but occasionally psycho, cat would have been fine either way.  Thanks Jackie and Brian and Devyn.

March 4, 2014 Canadian visitors

While I was in South Dakota in January, I met several new Canadian friends from Toronto.  I think there were 12 of them there this year.  One couple, Jill and David Greenwood, told us they would be vacationing in Naples, Fl in March, which is about 30 miles from Ft Myers Beach.  At the time, I wasn't sure if we would still be here.  But we were able to get together for an evening.

Both  Jill and David are sailors, even though David is visually impaired.  We met them at our dinghy dock and brought them out to our boat for a tour and happy hour.  From exchanging stories, we found out they were very experienced sailors.  So getting in and out of the dinghy at the dock and at the boat was no problem for David.  I think he handled it better than several of our sighted friends. 

We had a wonderful time sitting in the cockpit sharing a bottle of wine and several stories.  They had never met Dave, but they appreciated his sense of humor, and had a great time. 

Then we went back to shore to eat at a restaurant.  They were busy and it got a little late.  We forgot that it was Fat Tuesday.  But we enjoyed the live jazz music in honor of Mardi Gras. 

We really hope to go to Toronto some day to see all of our friends there.  We would never be able to sail there and get back south again before we would get iced in somewhere.  So we'll go in from the northern east coast by car or train.  Or we'll just have to fly in there someday.  We would really enjoy sailing with all of them (besides the great laughs we have when we are together).   

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

March 2, 2014 Sunday Drive and project update

Sunday we decided to go for a "Sunday Drive" in our dinghy.  Ft Myers Beach includes Estero Island on the south side of this bay and San Carlos island on the north side.  We found out we could make a loop around San Carlos island and decided to check it out.  We found the Nauti Turtle restaurant.  When you arrive by boat, the captain of the boat gets a free 12 inch pizza.  We had to try one along with their grouper special.  Then we continued around the island until we came to a beach.  We anchored the dinghy in shallow water and walked along a sand bar.  Dave said this was practice for the Bahamas.  Then we tied our dinghy up at a bar with live music in the afternoon.   We met an "old sailor" celebrating his birthday.  We were shocked to find out he was our age.  I think his lifestyle is showing it's affect on him.  He made me a bird out of a couple long leaves.  Normally he sells them for $5 each, but gave me one because we gave him a free beer.   It takes all kinds.

Dave project update:
He has installed a wash down pump for our anchor locker.  For non sailors, the anchor locker is at the front end of the boat.  It stores the chain and rope and extra anchors.  When you bring up your anchor, you often bring mud, and who knows what, up with it and the line.  So now we can wash that down right at the bow. And after our water maker is finished, we will have all the water we need to keep the boat clean.  But that also adds regular jobs, since salt water can be so hard on everything. 

He has continued to work on the water maker as parts arrive.  After a day of tearing up the floor boards and running a hose, he found out they sent him the wrong size.  So he gets to do that over after the correct one arrives along with one other hose he has been waiting for.  That darn weather up north is interfering with the shipping of our orders.  I know, you northerners don't feel sorry for us. 

Our "courtesy lights" are awesome.  We can turn them on with a fob when returning to the boat, or from inside if we think someone is outside of our boat.  Dave's so handy!
Placing the anchor
                                                      Warm water and nice breeze
                                                  Our new friend making me a bird

March 1, 2014 reoganizing and provisioning

While my sister was here, she slept in the salon area.  Our dinette was made into a bed.  Before putting everything back together, I totally reorganized the storage spaces in the salon area.  Actually, Dave likes to call it the saloon area. 

We have one storage area under our starboard settee, but it is behind the table and hard to access.  We had canned foods in there that we bought in December.  At the time, it was the only empty compartment.  But you can guess  how many times we went into that area for canned foods. 

On the port side of the salon, there is a bench seat with one compartment behind the back cushions and 2 under the seats.  We had miscellaneous things shoved in there. 

SOOOOOOO, I emptied all the compartments, sorted everything by need of accessibility and similar use.  Listed everything that went into each compartment, decided what could go into our storage unit while we are still here, and what could be thrown away.  And ended up with room to spare. Now I have a "pantry".   Yippee!!  Because we think we will need to stock more provisions for going to the Bahamas.  We think we'll be there 3 months and we are told that provisions are expensive or nonexistent in places. 

We have storage space under our bed in the forward cabin-the V berth.  So as we were storing our guest bedding back into that area, we reorganized that, too.  We also cleaned mildew off of shoes and bagged them before storing them again :(   

We have an application on our phone called "what's on my boat".  So I plan to use that to list what is in the compartments.   The first photo was taken in the middle of the process.  I thought of my friend, Cheryl, as I was doing this.  She would look at it a a puzzle and how does everything fit.  This is also why you don't just stop what you are doing and go sailing when the wind is just right.  You have to put away your "toys" before you can play a different game. 

This is my pantry as it is being filled.  Notice that the bottom follows the shape of the boat.  It will be interesting to see how they end up after the first day of sailing.

 Dave rounding up friends to join us for dinner.