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December 30, 2007

Christmas in Fort Myers

This entry ends the log for 2007 and it has been a very varied and exciting year for us. This time last year we were in South Australia on Kangaroo Island watching Koala Bears, Fur Seals, and (what else but?) Kangaroos. The down under trip continues to bring back many wonderful memories of people, places and events that we experienced during the six months trip. If you didn’t follow our web site then, you can go back in the log entries and photo albums to see what we did and where we went.
We have been in Ft Myers Florida since the 22nd after a one night visit with cruising friends Joyce and Mark at their land base in Labelle FL on the west side of Lake Okeechobee just off the canal. They normally keep their trawler Winnie the Pooh at their back yard dock but had just moved it to a deeper dock at a neighbor’s house so they could get out to the Gulf in the spring to go north via Marathon. Their plan is to do the eastern part of the Loop to the Canadian Canal system. We are also thinking of doing this trip as well but in keeping with the no plan plan, we can’t commit yet since it is too far in the future!
Sue’s granddaughter Kaya is now about 7 months old and is on the verge of really talking. For now she babbles constantly and is watching us talk and mimicking us with her mouth movements. She is a cute baby and gets constant attention from Ethan (Sue’s oldest son) and wife Carolyn.
Ethan is still practicing as a chiropractor in NJ while he studies and prepares to take the Florida exam in the spring. Carolyn is now with Southwest Florida Urologic Associates and is doing very well. She is on course to become a partner in the practice after three years and is doing a lot of the specialized pelvic floor reconstruction surgery she studied for during her two-year fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic in Weston, FL.
Their new (to them) home here is very nice and is in a great neighborhood close to her office and one of the 5 hospitals where she practices. They have done a lot of redecorating and I helped Ethan build some bookcases in the bedroom/office area to hold all of her medical books. It turned out well and matches the existing built in closets. Sue helped repaint the dining room walls and of course has really enjoyed helping take care of Kaya.
Our Christmas was a low-key event here with the traditional opening of present on Christmas morning. Kaya seemed to know what to do and helped tear off the wrapping paper on her presents! Sue and I received mostly consumable gifts like food and a gift card to West Marine in line with our standing request and we appreciate the thoughtfulness of them.
The no plan plan is to return to Courage on January 2nd after a stop along the way for an appointment with one of Carolyn’s associates for a follow up checkup to the prostate radiation seed implants I had done 2 years ago. After a re provisioning trip to the supermarket, we will leave Daytona Beach and head south to Stuart Florida. There we will link up with sailing friend Terry Temperly, who owns a sister ship to Omega. Terry has volunteered to make the crossing to the Bahamas with us and it will be good to have another hand aboard.
Weather permitting, we should cross from Lake Worth sometime about the second week of January and end up in the Marsh Harbor, Abacos area where we will stay until we return to the US in the early spring – assuming we want to go north to do the Canadian Loop. At this point we have two sets of guests “booked” aboard Courage while we are in the Bahamas. The first arrive February 11th for a week and my daughter KAT and her family arrive for a week at the end of March.

Posted by Dick at 08:49 AM

December 16, 2007

A month in Daytona Beach

We have been here at the marina in Daytona Beach since November 20th and I need to bring all my millions of readers up to date our Adventure. We decided to get a slip for a month since it was cheaper than two weeks at the weekly rate so we will be here another few days before we leave and head towards Ft Myers on the 21st. We will spend the evening of the 21st with friends Mark and Joyce at their home on the west side of Lake Okeechobee and drive on the Ft Myers the afternoon of the 22nd.
It started to rain sometime during the night and this is the first real rain we have encountered in five weeks! The weather has been wonderful here and great for doing boat projects.
Local friend Chuck Ellenwood introduced me to Alex Palmisano who has been helping with the boat projects. Alex just celebrated his 79th birthday and is fun to be with as well as a skilled and hard worker. Together we have gotten a lot done on Courage. Photos will be on the web site shortly.
Two big changes are the addition of three Phantom “roll out” screens – two on the pilothouse doors and one across the double doors in the aft end of the Saloon. We saw them on other Krogens at the rendezvous in Solomons, MD and thought they’d be a good addition. The local dealer came to the boat and installed them in about three hours. We are pleased with them. We also have replaced the Sub Zero refrigerator and freezer with new units virtually like the old ones except that the icemaker works and they don’t leak water around the seals. The final big addition is a leather lounge chair with an ottoman in the saloon. It is really comfortable and I tend to fall asleep in it every night after dinner while reading!
I have also added a pull down window shade to the center window of the pilothouse to keep the sun out of my eyes when we are headed into it. It does a great job.
The Sirius radio Chris and Louisa gave us is now installed and activated so we were able to listen to Prairie Home Companion and Car Talk yesterday for the first time in a long time.
The teak decks are now cleaned and restored and have several coats of teak oil on them. All the missing teak bungs over the screws have been replaced so the decks should be waterproof as well as looking nice. The teak faced seat ahead of the pilothouse has had a new stainless steel piano hinge installed and the one section that was rotted has been repaired and is ready to reinstall. Chuck and Kathy were aboard for a day trip south to try to watch the shuttle launch but it was postponed so we didn’t get to see it. I understand that it is quite a sight from “close up”. Maybe we’ll get to see it some other time. While they were aboard, they polished all the stainless and it now looks bright and shiny!
The new drawer in the galley just below the freezer is now installed and the front is getting the last coat of varnish before being mounted. With help from the local paint store, I was able to match the color of the teak trim to the existing teak. We also took paint samples to Home Depot of the two interior colors and they were able to color match them very well so we have been able to touch up and paint new additions to match the existing colors. Two new reading lamps are installed in the saloon and there are two new lamps in our bedroom so we can now read in bed.
Chuck helped me troubleshot several problems with the “sewage “system and the fresh water tanks and these are now either fixed or in process of being fixed.
On the way down the ICW, Sue and I made up the “complete” project list that ran to five pages! Many of them have now been crossed off now but it is still a long list and we are still adding to it! As always, it will never end!
This month in Daytona was really needed since we didn’t have any project time aboard Courage before we started out and there was a lot to learn the boat and work to do on it. I am still happy with the purchase and believe that she is a solid boat just needing cosmetic attention and a few improvements. We find the life on a trawler to be more civilized and comfortable than on a sailboat and feel that we have made our “transition” smoothly and with few regrets.

Posted by Dick at 09:18 AM