Sunday, December 26, 2010

We're Cruising Now!

Anchor Management
We finally took the plunge and cut the lines in Kemah.  It was a crazy madhouse at the last minute, we were literally throwing stuff onto the boat and into the V berth to be sorted out later.  When it's time to go, it's time to go.  Several friends showed up at the dock to see us off and wish us well.  Darryl, Dawn and Matthew, Cory and Tammy, Kat, Ted.  Thanks everyone!

We knew we wouldn't have the right weather to make it all the way to Key West so our plan was to head to Venice Louisiana where we would wait for the front that was predicted for Christmas Day.  We are traveling with our friend Steve on his boat s/v Anchor Management.  Steve had our friends Trey and Rick for crew.  Troy and I had our friend and dock neighbor Alan.  With the three of us, we decided on a 3 hour watch schedule with 2 people in the cockpit at all times during the night.  That meant that each person would only get 3 hours of sleep at at time, but it really worked out well, especially considering that we had one night of fog that was so thick you could barely see 50 yards in front of the boat.  That was a little nerve wracking because there were lots of oil rigs everywhere.  Most of them have lights and even a loud horn to let you know they are there, but some don't.  The last minute purchase of a new HD radar proved to be a good decision. 

We had a good crossing, we weren't able to sail very much, but over all everything went smoothly.  Troy did have to change out the alternator belt while under sail one night.  I don't think he had much fun laying on top of the engine in the rolly sea.  I know I wasn't enjoying playing the part of "tool fetcher and hander"  by the time we were done with that project we were both feeling a little ill.  After a little time in the cockpit with some fresh air we were feeling better.  Fortunately, no one was seasick for this part of the trip.

Captain Troy at the helm

We were a little worried because we knew that it would be the middle of the night when we made it to Tiger Pass, our channel to get us to the marina in Venice.  The channel is about 12 miles long, fortunately the channel was well marked with many lighted channel markers to guide us and we had a nice full moon.  We just took it slowly and I stood on the bow with a spot light to point out the channel markers to Troy at the helm.  We had dolphins on our bow for most of the trip up the channel.  It was really cool, they stayed with us for so long that it seemed like they were guiding us in. 

We made it to the marina at about 3 AM, tied up to the fuel dock and got some much needed rest.  Unfortunately, we have been stuck here for several days.  We were hoping to head out today, but the winds just haven't died down enough and we don't feel the need to get out there in heavy wind and seas, not to mention the fact that it's about 45 degrees.  Burrrrrr.  We are watching the weather closely and it looks like we will be able to get out of here tomorrow and head for warmer climates.  We're not sure whether the winds and weather will cooperate enough for us to make it all the way to Key West.  We would like to be there for New Years Eve, but we will just have to see.  Alan has to be back home by the 3rd so we will make it as far down the Florida coast as we can.

We had Christmas dinner on Storyville with Alan, Steve and Rick.  We had a very nontraditional dinner of a giant pot of Stew and cornbread.  We also enjoyed Steve's famous rum cake and my "award winning" sopapilla cheesecake.  Then, we watched some movies, starting with Captain Ron (of course) and decided to open a bottle of Zaya to celebrate the beginning of our cruising.  It was a fun night, spent with great friends.
A rig in the fog
Alan handling sails

This boat is named after our grandson! LOL
Don't go between those rigs!!!

Fuzzy Stanley - The Sock Monkey

Venice Marina
We are the only sail boats here

This guy hitch hiked with us
We are about 20 miles offshore
Guess he needed a rest

Fuzzy Stanley and Troy
To live remains an art which everyone must learn, and which no one can teach.  ~Havelock Ellis

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Still in Kemah

Storyville's Cozy V-berth
Well, we're still here.  The time is getting close though.  We are working frantically to get all of our ducks in a row and get Storyville ready for departure.  We were hoping to get out of here this weekend, but that is looking unlikely.  For everything we get done, there seems to be 2 more things that we need to do.  Everything from banking to provisioning to putting the last few items in the ditch bag.  It just never ends.  If we don't leave this weekend, we will be out of here early next week - no, really.  We are planning to leave. 

I will say that I am not looking forward to our Gulf crossing.  We will watch for the best weather and hopefully it will be a pleasant trip.  I guess you never can tell.

It's been really hard over the last couple of weeks to say goodbye to our friends and family.  It's so hard to leave our kids and grand kids.  I will miss them so much, but we will be back, it's not like we are leaving forever! 

One of the many projects that Troy has been working on is the addition of aluminum tubing to replace the lifelines on the stern of Storyville.  This will give us places to attach important things like our gas grill, its propane tank, fishing rods, etc.  It will also make the stern of the boat more secure when we are underway.  I think it looks great with our davits.  Storyville's stern is starting to look like a work of art.

New Stern Rails for Storvyille
I don't think I mentioned it before, but our friend Steve on s/v Anchor Management will be heading out with us.  I don't know how long the two boats will stay together but we plan to make it to the Bahamas and then see what happens.  Steve is working on getting a blog started and I will add a link to our blog when he gets it online.

Don't forget to watch our SPOT by clicking on "Where is Storyville" at the top of the blog. 

Nothing makes the earth seem so spacious as to have friends at a distance; they make the latitudes and longitudes. ~Henry David Thoreau

Can miles truly separate you from friends.... If you want to be with someone you love, aren't you already there? ~Richard Bach

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Latest

Amy, Stacey and Zada (my sister and nieces)
Preparations are still underway.  We keep thinking we are down to the last few things but the list keeps growning.  I think it's just like anything else in life, one day soon we will just have to declare Storyville (and us) ready to go.  If we stay here until everything is just right then we will be in Kemah for the rest of our lives.  We are still hoping to leave sometime after the 15th of December, however, I am worried about my mom.  Her health is not improving and I believe that we will be looking at another hospital stay soon.  We are planning to be ready to go and we will just have to see how the situation with mom works out. 

Stacey, Ronda and Deana
We had a great Thanksgiving weekend.  We spent Thanksgiving day in Conroe at my mom's house.  It was great to see everyone, but a little sad too because we know that we will be sailing away soon.  I sure will miss my daughters and nieces and grand kids.  So far, that is the hardest part of leaving.

Lisa and Johnnie (my Aunts)

Ethan, Kayla and Shawn

Kayla Joe with JJ
The rest of the weekend was spent at Double Bayou with some of our sailing friends.  We had a great weekend with campfires, good company and good food on the bank of the bayou.  It's one of our favorite places to be.  What more can you ask for?

A great view of the boats on the banks of Double Bayou

You don't want to get to the end of life's journey and discover you never left the interstate.  ~Robert Brault

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Preparations Continue

I added a link to the top of the blog.  Click the link called "Where is Storyville" to see our SPOT link.  It will take you to our SPOT page and you can see where we are.  If you choose the satellite version on the SPOT page, you will be able get a look at the beautiful blue water we are in.....  Not yet, but soon!

Preparations continue for us and for Storyville.  I went to Sam's Club the other day and bought rice, beans, pasta and some canned goods.  Yesterday I spent several hours vacuum sealing rice, beans and pasta.  Today, we bought 8 pounds of coffee, wonder how long that will last?  I just couldn't sail away without some of our favorite coffee, sold by a local company, El Lago Coffee Company.  I still have more provisioning to do (Peanut Butter being at the top of the list - in case Shirley reads this blog post!), but provisioning the boat is one thing that is making cruising a reality for me.  It's starting to sink in that we will be leaving the comfort of Kemah soon and heading out into the unknown (unknown to us anyway).  Exciting and a little scary at the same time. 

We got the dinghy bottom painted and we are having chaps made that will fit the dinghy.  We will depend on the dinghy like everyone else depends on their car so we are trying to make sure that we have it in good working order.  In case you're wondering, chaps are a custom made canvas cover that will cover the inflated pontoons of the dinghy and protect them from the harsh sunshine and other weather.

We bought a new chart plotter the other day and I am planning to spend some time learning how to use it.  I'm really excited because this one has a touch screen and it seems very intuitive so maybe it won't be too difficult.  Troy and Steve installed it the other day and have been trying to figure out how to make it "talk" to our other electronics, such as the autopilot and the vhs radio.  For some reason, they don't want to "talk", no matter what we do.  Maybe they just need to get to know each other better!

As exciting as this adventure is, we are getting tired of living in a construction zone.  Hopefully we are nearing the end of the boat work and we will be ready to set sail soon.

New Garmin Chart plotter - Ain't she pretty?
Troy's efforts at making all the electronics "talk" to each other

A sample of the mess we are living in!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

On the Hard

The other day someone asked me when we were leaving to go cruising.  I calmly replied that we would be leaving sometime in December - the words came out like they have for the last three years, like December is some date far off in the future.   Then, as my heart skipped a beat, I realized that December is mere weeks away!  The time to live our dreams has arrived, almost.........

Just a few more things to do.  As I type this we are sitting in Storyville on the hard in Seabrook Shipyard.  For all the land lubbers reading this, that means Storyville is sitting on stands in a ship yard.  You have to climb a ladder to climb another ladder to get into the boat.  We're getting a getting lots of good things done while we're here.  A bottom job and a dripless packing gland are the two major reasons for the haul out, plus she's getting waxed and shined up too. 

The ship yard allowed us to stay on the boat and we are able to hook up to power so, here we are, climbing ladders to climb ladders.  Needless to say, we better be careful!  We're hoping that Storyville will be back in the water on Thursday.  She really is a mess right now, I'm living way up high in a construction zone and I can't wait to get her back in her slip and all cleaned up.

As soon as we're back in the water Troy will finish up the rigging replacements that he started prior to our haul out and then, we will be ready to head out.  We still have plenty of things that we want to get done, but there comes a time when you just have to head out and worry about the rest later.  We really want to get out of here in December and would like to spend New Years in Key West and then head on to wait for a weather window to cross to the Bahamas. 

I really will try to do better on keeping the blog up.  I'm still working a few days a week and plan on doing that for the rest of November.  Troy has some last minute jobs to do for Gulf Coast Composite and then, we will be cutting the dock lines - - - in just a few short weeks, you know, in December.

 Storyville with a naked bottom (don't look Ethel!)
 Nice new bottom paint - Ain't she pretty?
See, I told you, climb a ladder to climb a ladder!

Life is what we make it, always has been, always will be. ~Grandma Moses

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Amy and Bobby's Wedding

My beautiful niece Amy got married on Friday (October 15, 2010).  The wedding was in Galveston at the San Luis Hotel.  The bride was beautiful and the location was perfect.

Beautiful Bride!
 My sister's family
Zada, Stacey, Amy Dave
 Samantha and Caden
 Paw Paw and Caleb
 The Brocks
Traci, Matt, Delilah
 Shawnace Joe
 Lindsey and Ronda
 Ronda and Kenny King
 Dad give's the bride away.
 Zada and Kayla
 Kayla Joe - Beautiful Flower Girl
 Presenting Amy and Bobby Patterson

 Madison and Kendra
 Silly Girls!
 The Wedding Party

 Bride and Groom's First Dance
 Danny and Tory
 Samantha and Zada
 Dad dancing with his Daughter
 Crazy Girls!
 Beautiful Girls
 Samantha, Kayla and Tory
Troy and Tory

Love one another and you will be happy. It's as simple and as difficult as that. ~Michael Leunig