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