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February 12, 2011

Christmas 2010

Our winter “no plan” plan has undergone several revisions due to unexpected happenings and we are still here in the good old US of A on a mooring in Stuart, FL.
We arrived here in Stuart before Christmas only to find that there were no moorings available and none likely to become available so we made the first change to the plan and went across the Okeechobee Waterway to Ortona and the dock of a neighbor across the street from our good friends Mark and Joyce who live in the Turkey Creek development just before the Ortona Locks. Courage stayed there for a month and Ethan came and picked us up so we could spend the Christmas/New Year holidays with them in Ft Myers.
Christmas with Kaya (now 3 years old and quite the young lady and her brother Jet (10 months and trying to make talking sounds) was fun. You can literally see them develop every day and our month there saw major changes and developments for both of them. Christmas with all the presents and wrapping paper was a big deal and fun to observe.
I made three trips back to Courage to work with Mark who was doing a list of boat projects for me. The big one was to purchase and install a 12 volt hoist on the boom so lifting the Boston Whaler dinghy up and down from the top deck of Courage is now a lot easier. As usual, Mark did a nice job of it and because he works so efficiently and his labor rate is such a bargain, to was an affordable improvement to Courage. There was a long list of minor but important other projects done and as always, visiting with Joyce and mark is a pleasure.
While we were in Ft Myers, we visited with Marsha French and went out for lunch at an Indian restaurant and then she took us to the Selby Botanical garden in Sarasota. This place specializes in plants that live on other plants (I don’t remember the botanical name for this) like Orchids and is very nice with a wide variety of trees and flowers. It was a slightly overcast day but pleasantly cool and comfortable walking around outside. They also have inside exhibits and a nice gift shop. It is highly recommended if you are ever in the area.
We also drove over to Ft Myers Beach for lunch at Doc Ford’s restaurant. It is owned and run by the popular novelist Randy Wayne White whose principal fictional character is Doc Ford who lives on Dinkins Bay on Sanibel Island. We also paid a visit to the tall ship “Appledore” which is home based on Lake Michigan but winters in Ft Myers doing educational day trips and sunset sails. Our friend Terry Temperly has served as volunteer crew on her and has logged over 5,000 miles up and down the Atlantic coast from Nova Scotia to the Caribbean so we had an introduction to Captain Dave and he gave us a tour.
Sue and I spent New Year’s eve babysitting the kids while Ethan and Carolyn went out for the evening. I didn’t make it to midnight to see the ball drop – old age I guess!
We returned to Courage on January 14th and moved her back to Stuart where we were able to get a mooring. Sue and I both flew back to Philadelphia on the 19th – me for a company board meeting and Sue to be with Josh for his appointment with a cardiologist at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in NYC. Josh was diagnosed with a “leaky” heart – apparently the wall between the two chambers didn’t grow completely together when he was an infant. The decision was to go in and repair it and that was done just this last Tuesday. Sue went back again for the week to be there for the operation (normal and successful) and is returning this afternoon.
While we were in NJ, the mooring that Courage was on broke and she drifted down onto another boat and they “locked horns”. Other boaters and the folks from the marina got the two boats unlocked and they put Courage on another mooring. No damage to the other boat! Courage ended up with the starboard teak handrail broken and 3 bent stanchions, and the window in the starboard pilot house door broken! The marina took full responsibility for repair of the damage (4 ‘boat units” worth!) and it was done the following week by Blanchard Yacht Services who did a great job. Ah yes … the boating life!
While driving around the Stuart area, Sue saw a sign for a local woodcarving show coming up the nest week so we investigated and found the “Treasure Coast Woodcarvers Club” that meets twice a week in Walton just north of here. I went to their Tuesday morning meeting and decided to enter the competition with my Courage gold leaf name board and the “Admiral” wine bottle stopper I carved. I ended up winning a 3rd Place yellow ribbon for the name board which now hangs proudly in the saloon of Courage! I also bought some more woodcarving tools and got a lot of friendly advice and tips on woodcarving. If we were staying in the area longer, I would join the club and go to the meetings.
I have another Fresh Creek meeting on the 22nd so will be flying back this coming Friday to visit with daughter Louisa and granddaughter Neva who are coming back from Romania for a short visit with family and friends. We will all be at daughter Liz’s house this next weekend.
Once I get back from this trip on the 23rd, we will finally be ready to stage and cross to the Bahamas. Because of all of these unscheduled delays, we have decided to go to the Abacos first (closer and easier) and from there decide if we have the time and inclination to go south to the Exumas later in the spring. We really like the Exumas and were looking forward to going back but events seem to be getting in the way of achieving this goal. Like all things in our “no plan” plan like, time will tell.

Posted by Dick at February 12, 2011 07:49 AM