|2017 - Our Year in Review
Time to head back down to Puerto Del Rey Marina and get the boat ready to splash. Spent about a month in a wet slip getting things organized and
squared away, including a couple of repairs, (but of course). We then headed over towards Culebra but had such a light wind day we decided to
make for Brewers Bay, St. Thomas instead. Our plan to head to St. Martin for big-time boat projects was making us reluctant to dally too long. An
overnight in Brewers then over to Hanson Bay for a few days in St. John.
|A look down one of the many docks, this
one is sailboat alley.
|The on-site Restaurant and bar. The food
is pretty good too!
As we prep for the trip back down to Dreamtime we still have time and inclination to see friends and family. Had a wonderful New
Year's Day roast pork dinner with all the trimmings (thus ensuring good luck for the new year) with Ed's beautiful Mom. We also
traveled down to Sebring to visit my sister and her husband, then back up through Ocala to see some long-time ex-cruising friends,
(formerly on Diesel Duck), Marlene and Benno who are snowbirds that hit the road in their Jayco White Hawk camper for winter.
Marlene & Benno grilled a couple of very tasty pork
tenderloins and we got all caught up on the news.
This shot is of our daughters, son-in-law and one
grandson after a fun and sumptious dinner at the
Marina Cafe in Destin, FL. It may have been a short
visit but we really enjoyed it.
|The marina from the neighborhood above.
Early March, 2017
After a few days in St. John we made the approx. 90 mile crossing to St. Martin. As we came in through the French bridge and prepared to drop the
anchor we saw our friends Marie & John from 'Metalia' - whoa! Fantastic. We made plans to head around to Grand Case on the French side for
some shoreside fun. Of course, besides a stroll around town we had lunch at one of the "lolo's" where you can get a huge platter of ribs or
chicken and several sides for less than $10. Someone else's link describing a lolo with pic's
But first we went out to Friar's Bay to commission the watermaker, it having been pickled at the end of last season. Our high pressure pump on
our Village Marine Tec Little Wonder had failed last year so Ed brought a replacement pump down this year. After his installation everything
worked perfectly, YAY!
|Sorry guys, but a south bound shot of y'all
north bound people is all I've got!
|The view from the Friar's Bay anchorage with
Anguilla in the background.
|Grand Case beachfront and anchorage
For the past 3 years we have been trying to get someone in Puerto Del Rey interested in taking on the replacement of our 20+ yr old, half-rotted
mahogany rubrails to no avail. Apparently, they have bigger fish to fry, so we decided to make it a DIY project down in St. Martin where labor and
parts are more readily available.
Anyway, since it was breezing and choppy in the lagoon, and we needed a place to chisel off the old rubrail before going into the yard, we took a
mooring way up in a corner by the swing bridge known as the rainbow bridge. Ed worked really hard prying, beating, screwing, chiseling then
bagging up the scraps and taking them for proper disposal but finally, over the course of about 10 days, it was off. Next step was a haul out at the
Time Out Boat Yard in St. Martin and to get started. Since we had to sand and fair the old epoxy and 5200 off the immediate rubrail area we decided
to repaint the wide blue area too and so we got some help with the labor from Jonathan. Eventually we were ready for "Jay" to come and paint and
he did such a great job we had him do the boot stripe too.
|Once upon a time circa 2003, mahogany rubrail looks great, now though, rotten wood is apparent on stern rubrail, despite
hundreds of hours maintaining it over the years. Mahogany rotted from the inside out due to fresh water encroachment.
|Blue stripe and rubrail area sanded, ports taped over for painting, thanks for your help Jon!
Ed and Jon work with fitting the rubrail (Taco #V21-9647), using calipers and trial fitting to determine where the hull joint needed a bit of grinding to
ensure a snug, flat fit. The rigid vinyl rubrail sections were 20' long and heavy (for me anyways). We ordered them in via Island Water World (thanks
Rene). We used Lexel to bed the rails and every 12" a stainless steel screw. What a great project, and great to do ourselves so we can be sure it was
done properly! Other projects included reinforcing the dinghy davit bases with epoxy prior to painting, adding midship cleats, replacing our entire
battery bank and a few things I probably can't think of right now.
|Jay works on the primer prior to the paint. We
went with Awlgrip "Navy Blue" rather than the
original color circa 2003 - "Marlin Blue"
|Ed uses calipers to measure the hull joint.
|(Note: our pages are in reverse chronological order with the most current news first)
Still on the hard at TOBY with Jon doing the bottom paint then finally we are splashed and back on anchor again first in the lagoon then in the USVI.
Dreamtime is a beautiful girl again and we are very happy with the results of our labors. Custom Fit Marine was great to work with and we appreciated all
Late May found us heading back to Puerto Del Rey to get situated in our wet slip and to get a few more maintenance tasks and new projects finished.
Time to apply a maintenance coat of Cetol Marine Gloss to the deck box, cabin top rails and forward hatch box. Last year I made Sunbrella covers for
the deck box and cabin top rails so this year I completed the set by making a forward hatch box cover which goes on after the dorade hoods come off
for storage below.
|Are you kidding me? Finally getting to loaf around and relax in the USVI
Late March, 2017
Late-May to mid-June, 2017
First stop for my Sunbrella projects is the Almacenes 100 store in Fajardo, PR. Ed has a nice outdoor place to hang out while waiting for me and I have
the best time picking up goodies for my projects. It's just off the central plaza. I LOVE, LOVE this store; tons of interior design fabrics, outdoor fabrics
like stamoid, sunbrella, etc. lots of hardware, bungee, zippers, snaps and on & on. More to the point I was able to source 80" Pacific Blue Sunbrella
which was the exact "length" from bow to stern as my tonneau cover dimensions. The gentleman that helped me spoke perfect english which certainly
made asking my questions easier. And as always, when we rent a car here we stop for lunch at Lolita's Mexican restaurant - sooo yummy.
|Ed had in mind a tonneau cover for use after the dodger is taken down. It will help
protect the teak and lexan hatch cover from UV damage, dirt and all that, a pretty
big project especially in 90 degree weather.
|Central Plaza, Fajardo, PR
Well, the time has come to get underway to our viewing location for the solar eclipse, and enjoy some sights along the way. Made a good start north
from Florida and decided that due to some persistent rain events we would head up to West Virginia to try to get outside their sphere of influence.
This trip was to be a combination of hotels, inns and camping and after consecutive nights in hotels we were anxious for some camping. Ed found a
great state park in north-central West Virginia called Audra State Park, up a mountain and on the banks of the Middle Fork River. What a pretty spot - the
entire park is loaded with rhododendrons, sadly not in bloom, but the wildflowers and river more than made up for it.
|Running from the rain/mist
|Wildflowers at our site - blackberries too
|Middle Fork River, Audra State Park
After 2 really nice days and nights (albeit one very chilly one), the clouds started moving in and we decided to pack it up while everything was dry and
head on to the New River Gorge, WV to check out the Arch Bridge, the longest steel span in the western hemisphere and the third highest in the United
States. and to learn about the coal mining history of the area. Saw a cool crochet tree along the way. Spent a couple of nights in a hotel.
|New River Gorge Arch Bridge
|Really lush greenery and the occasional
Took a driving loop through the mining area and came upon the community of Gladie, KY, with it's original
log cabin and old-timey farm implements in the surrounding meadow. Then stopped at the Gladie Visitors
Center, one of the best ever, with all it's hands-on displays of arrows, artifacts, tools, various pelts the
local trappers hunted and used, 3 dulcimers you could try out and to top it off, the ranger demonstrated
the huge barn loom which was setup in the middle. Very cool!
|The Log Cabin, below the
Next, we headed into the Red River Gorge area and set up camp in the Koomer Ridge Campground, KY. We pretty much never change campsites on a
Saturday but we did this time and fortune smiled on us - we got the last site, whew. Had a chilled-out afternoon and evening, then checked out the
Natural Bridge area with a nice leg-stretching hike.
|Really interesting geological formations in
addition to the arches.
Today we head over to Harrodsburg, KY, just south of Lexington, in preparation for our Kentucky Bourbon Trail distillery tour. We stayed at the
Beaumont Inn, a beautiful old place made up of 3 separate buildings, and includes the Old Owl Tavern on site. Very relaxing inn and grounds, and the
food is great too.
Below, we start the tour with a stop at the Independent Stave Co., the cooperage that makes (and chars) the bourbon barrels for many distilleries
such as Jim Beam and Maker's Mark. Since these barrels can only be used once for bourbon they are often resold to wineries and breweries to impart
the oakey, "bourboney" goodness into wines, beers and rums. What a process, many strong men at this business!
Next up was Maker's Mark, and what an impressive operation it is, on a very beautiful "campus", the tasting wasn't too shabby either. Fun tour. On
the grounds, an outdoor exhibition of works by internationally renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly and in their awesome limestone rackhouse is a
permanent work reminiscent of the Bellagio in Las Vegas.
We finished up the day with a tour through Limestone
Branch Distillery and Wilderness Trail Distillery, both
unique, each with it's own interesting stories.
Limestone Branch is part of a multi-generational family
story run today by Steve Beam. You can read more of the
story on their website. You can see at left, it is quite a small
Below is the Wilderness Trail operations. It has as it's
sister company, FermSolutions, a fermentation optimization
company that is quite successful. Anyway, the distillery
operations are very scientific looking and degree of
knowledge of the tour guide was impressive.
Next we ventured to the Dupont Lodge at the Cumberland Falls State Park by way of the lovely back roads of Kentucky. The resort was very nice with
a stellar view of the river off the large back veranda area. There are several falls in the park, however the main one, Cumberland Falls, is 125' wide,
the largest east of the Mississippi and south of Niagara Falls. We had a picnic lunch one day and Ed did a kayaking trip the next afternoon.
|Dupont Lodge, the fireplace in the main lobby
and the morning view off the back veranda .
Below, a neat cave in the picnic area.
And finally, it was time to get over to Tennessee for the eclipse. We had a most welcome invitation to stay with good friends Shawn/Joe, formerly of
s/v 'Libertas'. Their house was directly in the path of totality, YAY! What a great chance to catch up on all the news and enjoy their company. The
Cap'n wants me to take his pic during totality, this is what I got, lol. At the bottom is what the corona looked like where we were, courtesy of the local
news station. What a once in a lifetime sight to see! Glad we did it, honey! Thanks for driving.
Oct - Dec, 2017
October had us recovering from our European colds, uugh, then I had MOHS surgery on my face/lip to get rid of some skin cancer cells while Ed made a
trip down to check on Dreamtime in Puerto Rico. Pretty soon it was time for Thanksgiving which we hosted at our house with Mom being the guest of
honor. She made a really fabulous bourbon/pecan/yam casserole that was heavenly.
Woohoo! Heading for Europe. Got a river cruise reservation on Gate 1's Monarch Queen for a 21-day trip starting in Budapest and finishing in
Amsterdam. It's our first trip to Europe so we're super excited. Setting up a separate page for some of those details and pic's.
European River Cruise overview and a few pics (click here).
Pretty gruesome MOHS surgery after shot below!
Don't look if you are squeamish, or double-click for
the closeup. Always wear sunscreen, lesson
learned, of course, being a blond doesn't help. The
plastic surgeon was very good, you can hardly tell
at all now (3 months later).
Ed was happy to leave and I was happy to let him!
Next up was a visit from my sister and her husband. We had great weather, chilly enough for some football, pizza and fires. Also a bit of vinyl "flower"
crafting and lots & lots of talking.