Thursday, December 24, 2015

Home For The Holidays

Christmas in shorts? Bizarre.
When the blog is quiet, it means we've been scheming...and boy have we! We made a last minute decision to come home for Christmas, we rented a car - for a ridiculous price I might add, packed our stuff and took off on on an 1300 mile trip home. And nobody knew what we were up to except two of our friends. We're sneaky like that. We drove through the night, stopping to sleep for a couple hours in the car, and made it home just in time to start our holiday surprise-o-rama on our unsuspecting family and friends. And it was a blast.

Most people did double takes when we walked through the door but my favorite reaction was from my mom (of course) who, after a serious double take, didn't stop screaming for at least five minutes and then kept repeating, "I can't believe it!" and "Best Christmas ever!" for the next two hours. She gets a little crazy cakes when she gets excited.
The pretty lights of St. Augustine
I expected to have at least a little snow and some painfully cold weather but since being home it's been around the 50s and rainy. Not much more Christmas-y feeling than Florida really. But hey, we're home and we're loving it and the fact that people are trying to buy me into staying home makes the chilly weather a little more tolerable ;)

And if our overnight drive here weren't enough, we're driving back down to Florida, the Gulf Coast this time, for a New Year's week celebration with some dearly missed friends. Then we drive back to Michigan for another couple of weeks. We're flyin' by the seat of our pants around here and we're loving it!!

Whatever you're doing, wherever you are, whoever you're with we hope you have a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

It's (Almost) Christmas Time With Jord

Men's Dover Series Zebrawood and Dark Sandalwood
Women's 
Ely Series Red Sandalwood
It pays to have good friends. Thanks to Jessica over at MJ Sailing, we were contacted by the Jord Wood Watches asking if we would be interested in checking out some of their wood watches. If you haven't noticed, we tend to not get into the sponsorship game much, we tend to review products that we decided to buy on our own without ties to the manufacturers and so I didn't really plan on participating.

Actually, a couple of emails went ignored and it wasn't until Ron saw one of them that he decided to go to their website and check it out. And almost immediately he decided that we should do it. A few more emails back and forth, figuring out shipping, choosing designs and sizes and we had a couple of sharp watches sitting on our wrists, real classy like.

These things are pretty sweet, the rich wood colors, the simple, sleek design of the women's style and the intricate, industrial facets into the workings on the men's style gives the watches a modern, upscale look that, quite frankly, is a step or two above our general level of class. Hey, sometimes it's nice to pretend you belong, what can I say?!?

Yes they're wood, yes we're on a boat. Is that an issue? Maybe. We'll be subjecting them to water as little as possible because while the watches are stylish and comfortable they are not water proof (only splash proof). We have plenty of other items on the boat that are not water proof (or even splash proof for that matter) that have survived just fine, so I imagine these will still fair quite well too.

Hands down our favorite feature of these watches is the self winding automatic drive system (ie. they need NO battery). Yup, no more leaving it on a shelf for months at a time trying to remember to get a new battery put in somewhere.  I hate when that happens. And if you're anything like Ron, it takes about .5 seconds for you to scratch the face of a watch (true story), but we don't have to worry about that so much now because his Jord watch was made with sapphire crystal glass, more durable than the standard glass. Necessary for Ron...on a boat? You bet.

These are the perfect accessories to class up a cruiser's wardrobe and we're really enjoying wearing these while out and about.

"Hand crafted watches that tell a story" indeed, so if you're still looking for that one last hard-to-buy-for person, this is an easy way to get them crossed off your list!





Mens Wooden Watches

Friday, December 11, 2015

Bathing On A Boat...Or Not


Showering in water so cold it takes your breath away is no fun.
Now I just pass on it all together...and the water here is no where near as cold.
I'm getting soft with my cruising age.
At home I showered everyday (shocker, right?). We had lots of hot water, a fabulous walk-in shower and, well, showering daily is just what you do. On land.

On the boat showering happens more on a necessity based occurrence because a) we have limited amounts of water on board and try to be conservative with its use b) we seldom have access to showers on shore and c) sometimes it's just too darn cold out! Now, I'm not one of those cruisers who pines away for unlimited, hot water showers, for the most part our solar shower does just fine by me - especially when we add some hot water to it - but there are times when I just can't make myself go out in the cold/wind and shower. Nope, sometimes you just have to add another layer of clothing and hope the next warm weather wave isn't too far off.

Remember the time I went 4 days without showering? Ron does.

If it's not too crazy cold, and I can get out of the wind in the cockpit, I sit on the floor and hang the shower over the boom and get in a quick scrub. And if that's not happening there's always the magic of dry shampoo, a must have on any boat I assure you!

Don't leave home without it
Sure, when we get into warmer weather with water we can actually enjoy, we'll just jump in and suds up with a quick freshwater rinse and be good to go, but until then hygiene can be a little hit and miss. Just part of the glamour of traveling down the East Coast in the winter at 5mph.

At least I can shave in the boat when I want to, even if it's too cold to shower up on deck. I'm not saying I actually do it, but I do have the option, however underutilized it is.
At least Ron can cut his own hair, no dreds for him!

Now who wants to come visit?!?!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Boat Break

A little sidewalk art at Sharkey's in Venice, FL
Since we moved onto the boat on June 22nd we have not spent a night off the boat. Not until last week that is. With mooring balls being pretty cheap in St. Augustine ($120/wk) we decided now was the perfect time to rent a car, drive across the state and see some of our long lost favorite people. And that's just what we did!

Our first stop was at Venice Beach. It's always good to see familiar faces but seeing these two again was just the best (as always)! Although our visit was short, just overnight, we packed in plenty- the best shrimp tacos I've ever had, walks on the beach, fishing, buying fishing gear (weird I know), being gifted fishing gear by our hosts (I saw this one coming Mike!), visiting Sharkey's and the jetty and catching up on 7 months worth of life. In one word: Priceless.




As is usual with anything, the highlight was something totally unplanned and pretty random. While out taking in the sights, we happened upon a practice session of the Gulf Coast Banjo Society...random right? We were so entertained watching the members playing and taking turns singing various World War II era (some highly un- PC) songs that we just had to grab a seat, get a pitcher of beer (I don't care what you say, 11am is not too early for beer) and be transported back to the sound of the roaring 40s. It was fantastic, a sight and sound I won't soon forget.
The average age of the group had to be hovering around 85
11am whaaaaat???
Next we headed up to the Tampa area to spend a few days with some close friends.

Don't tell me you'd miss the chance to smell manatee breath
That's odd...it smells like patchouli oil.
Maybe there's something I don't know about manatees...
Of course we also had to go to Ybor as Ron hasn't been to the Tampa Bay Brewing Company. Favorites of the day; Elephant foot and Reef Donkey. Sounds delish, no? I stuck with my usual blonde ale (one of my favorites).


Cigar shop where the rollers roll old school
After five straight months on the boat we needed a little boat break. Sure, I may have woken up several times feeling like the bed was gently bobbing in the water, and kind of missing it, but it was nice to live the easy life on land, if only for a week, for a change. And it sounds like we couldn't have chosen a better week to skee-dadle outta here either, we heard from several people that it was nothing but rain and nasty wind making the anchorage pretty miserable. I love it when a plan just works out all around!

Now that we're back on the boat we're anxiously awaiting our severely overdue reunion with Jim and Chris on Radio Waves, whom we haven't seen for eons since Maryland, and working on some projects to make living in warmer weather more comfortable

Friday, December 4, 2015

Playing Tourist in St. Augustine

St. Augustine, with all its varied architecture from various periods of time, lush landscaping and sunny blue skies, is a real dose of eye candy. We really lucked out when we were offered a pair of free trolley tickets from  a nice couple who assumed, I'm guessing from our flip flop and backpack attire, that we were on vacation. Something that we wouldn't have paid for ourselves. This little gift was a fantastic way to see the city and learn about the sights in an entertaining way, even Ron liked it, but that could be because we got off at the St. Augustine Distillery for a free tour, sample drinks and a few bottles of booze for our dwindling supplies on board.
Man craft stores: the latest craze in St. Augustine
Such a pretty town
The oldest school house in the US

Tree fort bar!

Psyched to be on the trolley
The oldest house in town

Protestant Cemetary: 25-30 people burried under each
headstone from to a malaria outbreak
The old city gate



Yikes
The St. Augustine Distillery was quite the place, housed in an old ice plant they use only American goods, from the barrels made in Kentucky to the hand harvested sugar cane from Florida, this place is a seriously local business with some serious spirits! And a fantastic (free) tour too!






Most of the time we like to get off the beaten path and go where the masses tend to miss, but this time playing tourist was just what we needed and it was all thanks to the kindness of strangers. 

Monday, November 30, 2015

Thanksgiving in Florida!

"I just want to be in Florida by the weekend" was all Ron had been saying for the last week. As we were trudging along through some of the shallowest and sketchiest parts of the ICW, that was our goal. We weren't sure it would happen, some of our days were cut short due to tides, current and shoaling along the ICW, a real test of patience at times. But we had a couple days of good motor-sailing in a favorable current and made up some time, enough so that by early afternoon on Thanksgiving day we were pulling in to Fernandina Beach Florida!

Getting to Florida a little early came with a cost, a big one. We passed by Cumberland Island. I know, how could we? I didn't want to but we were so close to Florida that it was hard to stop. We'll just have to come back at another time and really check out the place. Plus, there are other parks and sites nearby I'd like to see that we couldn't make it to. Can't have it all, right?


Soaking in some Florida sunshine
After talking with our families, we decided a little way late to actually do some sort of Thanksgiving meal ourselves. So what did that get us? Canned yams, canned cranberry sauce and Stovetop stuffing mixed with canned turkey. If we had planned a little better I'm sure we could have really done it up but at 8 o'clock at night, this 20 minute meal was just what we needed.
Happy Thanksgiving from Florida!!