Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Where Should We Go Next?

One of the GREAT things about our lifestyle is that we get to choose every year where we want to go next.  For those of you who do not know we are actually trying (though not very hard) to sail around the world.  We have no dates or plans beyond that thought and simply REFUSE to put ourselves on a timetable.  That being said, the weather determines a lot of things for us because of those blasted hurricanes.  So every summer we really try to find a way to get out, or nearly out, of the ZONE.  Also when planning a serious ocean leg like any of the South Pacific one simply is a fool to travel those long distances in the hurricane seasons.  With those thoughts as background for you, here are our thoughts for this year.

We feel the need to really get moving through the canal and into the Pacific and at the same time we REALLY need to get out to Wyoming and Washington to visit our families.  It has been four years since we moved on the boat and in that time we have only seen Amy and Ellie, and Cheryl, Becky's sister, niece and Mom who have visited us both in Charleston and last summer Amy and Ellie stayed on the boat with us down in Trinidad.  When I first dreamed of moving onto the boat I really thought family and friends would use it as an excuse to come see some of the beautiful places we visit but this has not been the case so one way or another we intend to get out to see them.  Travel for the seven of us by air is pretty much out of the question so we are considering one of two options.

Option #1:  We will sail the boat in May to the east coast of the US and do a little summer cruising up to washington DC, New York City, and perhaps Long Island Sound.  Then we will head back south to our favorite little town, Oriental, North Carolina, where we will put the boat on the hard for a couple of months at Sailcraft and we will lease a car and drive out to visit our families for the rest of the summer.  In September or October we would head back to Oriental where we would do our boat work and then we would head south toward the Windward Passage, Jamaica, and on to Caragena, Columbia, and the Panama Canal.  We would then sail to Hawaii in April-May.

Option #2:  We would stay here through the summer working and braving the hurricanes and leave for a direct sail from St Thomas to Cartagena next November.  We would spend Nov. - March in Cartagena and  cruising the San Blas, transiting the canal in march and heading offshore on a straight 4800 mile sail directly to Bellingham, Washington.

The other factor is that Jimmy has decided (you have NO idea the importance of that little statement) to enter the US Coast Guard so he will need an accredited High School Deploma.  He will be moving to Wyoming for his final year of High School to live his Grandparents and finish school.  When Jimmy leaves us it will be really rough.  Not only will he be our first kid out of the nest but he has become such an integral member of the crew and a delivery crew for me that his loss will hurt us more than just in the heart.  But we are very happy and excited for him to make the choices he is and support him 100%.

So... yep we have the pleasure of decideing where we want to go next... but... the choice is not that easy.

Thanks for the comments!!! It is greta to know you all are keeping tabs on us.  Let me know what you think of our options.

God Bless,
Captain Tofer

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Update from Honeymoon Bay

Happy New Year... late.

I find it difficult to blog once we get into the swing of our work months.  I forget that a lot of you still want to read about our everyday life during this time as well.  To me it seems, "same old same old" but I guess it's still different from a life on land.

November:  One stormy night a boat drug down on us in a squall with up to 50 knots of wind, it wound up getting pinned to our bow with our mooring line between its keel and rudder where it pounded our bow and bow pulpit for about 20 minutes in breaking waves of 4 to 6 feet.  Our buddy Christian was anchored out next to us and in the middle of the squall he came over in his dingy to help us but was thrown end over end by one of the breaking waves... his dingy was upside down floating away and he scrambled aboard our little hard dingy and continued to try to help us even as his own situation was perilous.  In the end, once the wind stopped and the waves died down we freed the ofending sailboat from our bow and rafted it to us for the rest of the night, Christian was ok but a little beat up and we recovered his dingy and almost all of the gear that had been set free when she was tumbled upside down.  A couple of guys from another boat got out of bed right then (1:00am) and proceeded to take Christian's dingy engine, which was almost new, appart and rinse it in fresh water, drain it and refuel it and it started right up in the morning.  Our bow pulpit will need to be rebuilt and we will probably never see a dime from the owner of the boat that dragged that night but it sure could have been worse.

December:  Benny's Birthday on the 4th... Kristofer's Birthday on the 19th, Christmas, Kaleb's birthday on the 27th, Our 21st wedding Annaversary on the 31st....  Wow it's a hard month on our pocketbook but we had a great one and our little Christmas Tree had plenty of fun stuff under it on Christmas Morning.  (A different boat dragged down on us Christmas morning too hehehe)

January:  Kristofer and Jimmy delivery with Dick Shirley onboard his sailing vessel "Changin' Tags" from COLD and snowy Norfolk, VA to St Thomas.  We zipped along the rum line to St Thomas with the help of NW winds blowing at Gale Force for seven days.  It calmed down to 30 knots for most of the rest of the trip and we ended up doing a record (for us) 9 day trip.  We also had a passenger along on that delivery, a bona fide movie star named Patrick Houser best known for his 1984 T and A flick "Hot Dog The Movie."  He was alomng for the ride and boy did he get one but he ended up standing watch for a lot of the trip and was a great hand to have along.  It's always fun to put a liberal Californian on a small boat with no escape from a Conservative Wyomingite we had some rather heated discussions as those of you who know me can imagine.  No one was thrown overboard although I am sure Dick was considering it one night.

Today:  It has rained for the past three days and actually feels like winter to me... we have the fans off, we pull a blanket over ourselves at night, and Jimmy turned positively blue while cleaning the bottom today.  Temp: 74F ..... brrrrrrr I wore a T-shirt most of the day.  The kids all still went into the beach in the rain and Beck worked. 

If you want feel free to comment... I am more likely to blog when I get feedback sometimes I am not really sure anyone is out there paying attention to it.

God Bless,
Captain Tofer