Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Bye, Bye Aimee

We had a lovely visit with Aimee. She got a pretty good sampler of the cruising life. She, and we for the first time, experienced No Name Harbor at Key Biscayne on a Saturday night. Many boats arrived from Miami and surrounding areas for the day and/or to anchor for the night. It was a party--lots of smokey grills a-blazen, Latin music a-blarin and adult beverages a-"sippin". A couple of these boaters anchored too close to Tide Hiker and most certainly would have collided if the wind or tide changed and one or both of us swung on our anchor lines. Norm had to ask them to move--always an event ripe for hearty discussion, especially when imbibing. Fortunately, they did and everyone had a safe, but a bit noisy night.

The next day, we weighed anchor after our five days at No Name and cruised in calm seas to Rodriguez Key and a calm anchorage. Our next day's cruise to Marathon Key was a bit different. It started out great, then Rick and Lynnie (who were coincidentally about 1.5 hours ahead of us) called and told us they were getting into 3 and 4-foot seas with close intervals. Almost within 15 minutes we began to experience the same seas.

Aimee's stomach got a little queasy for a while on the cruise to Marathon and you can see that she was equipped with a waste basket 'just in case' which, thankfully, wasn't needed. She's going to kill Vicki for publishing this pic, but "nothing is sacred". She spent two nights with us at dock on Marathon (Keys). The first night Rick and Lynnie joined us for dinner. Then yesterday they invited us over to watch the inauguration and for a delicious lunch. They have a very nice satellite TV system aboard. We're jealous.

Unfortunately, Aimee had to head back to the working world in frosty Washington D.C., so she caught the shuttle at "0-dark-hundred" this morning. As you can tell from Vicki's new hat, it was a bit cool here, too. Yesterday was windy, overcast, and cool here -- a perfect day for watching the inaugural doings -- what a thrill! The weather is forcasted to get back to normal in a couple of days.

There are a couple other DeFever cruisers here in Marathon. Bob and Stephanie aboard there brand new 55 ft Signature "September Song" and another couple aboard a 48 DeFever "Witchaway". Bob and Stephanie, whom we know are coming over today for lunch. We're looking forward to meeting the other couple. And, the Gypsies are due in here within the next couple of days. We're all "staging" in the keys before making way for Useppa Island (near Ft Myers) and the annual Defever rendezvous. Actually, we just got word that the rendezvous is "sold out". One hundred thirty cruisers and 43 boats are registered. It'll be an extravaganza with lots of seminars, boat tours, great food and idea-generating tips and hints on our boats and our cruising lifestyle.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Fruit Cobbler and Cheesy Ploy

Rodriguez Key off Key Largo was very peaceful last night. The storms hovering around Marathon never made their way north to us. Norm grilled marinated flank steak, green beans, and sliced potatoes and onions. We finished off the meal with a new culinary treat – blueberry cobbler made in the crockpot while underway yesterday. It was delicious.

Vicki is experimenting with dried fruits and vegetables. We have sizable canisters of dried onions, carrots, and celery which substitute very well in soups for the real thing. Haven’t yet tried the dried peas and corn. The dried raspberries, strawberries, and peaches work well in yogurt. The bananas yielded a good banana cream pie and banana muffins. The blueberries were great in yesterday’s cobbler. The dried apples will be tried in an apple dessert soon. Vicki has been collecting promising recipes from the internet for crockpot desserts using fruit, so there will be many experiments to come.

We’ll be in Marathon today at dock for about two weeks. Vicki negotiated a bit of a discount for our two boats (Tide Hiker and Rickshaw). It was a tough negotiation. After exhausting all of her arguments, Vic used Aimee’s suggestion, saying “It’s Martin Luther King Day and I have a dream that you’re going to give me a break on the rate”. Cheesy, but effective. The dockmaster relented and said he’d throw in the electric (which is typically an additional charge). Tammy aboard Gypsies in the Palace is our idol in marina negotiations, but we doubt that even Tammy has used that negotiating tactic!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

No Name Harbor

We’ve been anchored at No Name Harbor near Key Biscayne since Tuesday. What a great place! Very protected. It’s in Bill Baggs State Park at the tip of Key Biscayne. Wonderful biking and running trails.

We were very excited to spend some quality time with Norm’s sister, Joyce, and get caught up on her life adventures and those of the rest of the family. She introduced us to Cuban coffee, took us to breakfast at the golf club and very generously chauffeured us around for shopping. Joyce and Norm had steaks for lunch at Morton’s – how decadent!

It was Christmas in January courtesy of Joyce’s package delivery service. She served as our mail recipient for Christmas gifts and we had our mail shipped to her, so we got a few Christmas cards in that, too.

Vicki was very excited to be able to drive up to Ft. Lauderdale to see Cindy and Steve Warner on Friday, the day before they boarded their cruise ship. At first, we thought that visit wouldn’t be possible because the park closes at dusk, but it turns out that a code opens the gate, so Vicki could get back in after dark. Cindy and Steve took Vicki to dinner at Aruba – a hoppin’ place on the beach. They were very curious about what it’s REALLY like to live on the boat. Cindy has long held the opinion that the real purpose of the dinghy is to be an alternate living space when one person is banished from the boat. We haven’t tested that out yet, but there may come a time…

Vicki’s niece Aimee arrived yesterday to escape 10-degrees and the hoards of people descending on Washington DC for the inauguration. It will be fun to see what she thinks of life aboard. Perhaps she’ll write a guest blog before leaving for civilization on Wednesday.

Today we’re headed toward Islamorada, then on to Marathon, arriving Tuesday for a stay of a week or two.