Tuesday, January 5, 2016

November in Florida and Christmas

Well the SSCA Gam was fantastic with almost 300 cruisers attending.  Unfortunately, I was so busy that I forgot to take pictures.  So I spare you that.  For those of you who don’t know what a Gam is.  It’s an old whaling term used when ships would be out to sea for months and actually meet up with another ship.  They would share all the news from back home and share their stories.  Our Seven Seas Cruising Assoc picked up that term for the gatherings of cruisers all over the world for comradery, education and just plan fun.  The one at Melbourne, Florida is the annual one that brings people from all over for 3 days of talks, dinners, flee markets, vendors and just lots of comradery.  We get to see people we have not seen in ages.  Harry and I have gotten very involved as volunteers so we coordinated one big discussion group, then did a “round table” discussion on another topic.  I ran registration and the volunteer assignments.  Harry monitored 1 of the rooms with talks to help with AV stuff etc.  So we were busy.  The picture you see here is us handing down the “radio widows” hat which has had 22 recipients.  One was the last one which I got 3 years ago and now was time to pass it on.  The recipient, Eddie Tuttle, was well deserving of it since her husband, Glen, spends hours each day on the single side band in many different aspects.  It started out as a really funny gag for those of us who have spouses running the radio nets as HAM operators.  Through the years, the cruisers use this type of communication more and more as they travel the world on their boats.  Eileen Quinn, who was a fantastic song writer of sailing songs wrote one called “Radio Widow”.  One of the lines is:  I didn’t lose my love to another, but I lost it to the SSB.  The song is quite funny and the last line she cuts the antenna to the radio.  Just a bit of fun history for you.  Also, early on people were trying to make Wi-Fi antennas on their boat with a pringle can, that’s what started it all.
Here is the hat.  I forgot to get a picture at the Gam on Eddie's head but I had one with it on my head

Jamming at the Gam with Salty Paws and others
After the Gam we stayed another day to visit with Barb and Bill Burgner who use to have a boat next to ours at Twin Dolphin Marina.  We had a great time catching up with each other’s lifes.

Barb and Bill with Harry
 Then off we went down the ICW to Ft. Pierce.  Lind Rains, who is a very close friend and nurse from Bradenton, came to visit for a night.  She and I worked together for years at the 2 hospitals in Bradenton.  We had a great time with her, although the visit was too short.  We also had dinner with Carolyn and Sam who now live in Ft. Pierce.  We caught up with them after not seeing them for year.

Now, we go outside in the ocean to Lake Worth.  It’s about 50 miles with the winds behind us so we had a good downwind run.  We spent several days anchored out there with strong winds and lots of rain.
Outside again to Ft. Lauderdale with another downwind run but high winds and slightly rough seas.  I was glad to get in and anchored.  We ended up spending 5 days there waiting for a weather window but did have lunch with Nick and Jeanie (my brother and wife).  Also, our 4 year old great niece.  Lots of fun,

Beautiful Lilliana, my great niece

We went to Thanksgiving dinner at an upscale restaurant that served a huge thanksgiving dinner with a ton of turkey.  The meal was very reasonable but they made a bundle on the drinks.  We brought turkey home for good old turkey sandwiches the next day.  We walked miles while we were there in the city. 

Turkey dinner at a restaurant looks like a family dinner plate

There idea of Pumpkin Pie
Next stop was a fantastic sail down to the bottom of Key Biscayne to anchor for the night.  It was on a Saturday so going through Miami and Biscayne Bay was like driving on the thru way in NY.  Boats every where speeding, racing ,sailing, kite boarding etc.  We were very relieved to get our anchor down.
We are moving fast now, as we went through Stiltsville the next AM.  It is wild to see houses on stilts out in the middle of the water.  People use to live in them and now they are vacation homes.  We saw several that are occupied. 
Stiltsville house being occupied by a vacationer
We wanted to stop and see some cruising friends in Key Largo but it is too shallow for us and we couldn’t get close enough for us to get together.  We were sorry to have missed Ann and Darrell. 

We did get a treat in Marathon though.  We anchored outside and dinghied into Berdines to meet a cruising couple for dinner.  On our way in we meet a dinghy coming out with Don and Diana in it.  Boy, were we all surprised.  They are very good friends who had their boat next to ours for several years in Bradenton.  They are headed to the Caribbean to follow our adventure.  They say it’s our fault they are doing this adventure.  Reading our blog made them take this on.  We were so glad to see them and had them join us for dinner.  The other couple we met we hear on the Waterway net all the time but had never met.  So the 6 of us had a super time with nonstop talking for 2 hours.  Cruising is just so much fun.
After 3 days of perfect wind and sailing we motored up the west side of Florida.  The seas very flat (very good) but no wind (very bad).  We got spoiled sailing and not having the motor running.  Anyway, had a great trip and anchored between Twin Dolphins and Regatta Pt in the Manatee River.  I love being back and getting caught up with old friends.  Linda, my nursing friend has loaned us her truck.  She and I went shopping, what a treat to get off the boat and actually go to a mall and shop for Christmas.  We had lunch with Judy and Bob Wakelam, who we last saw 2 years ago in Grenada.  Great  catching up.  We saw some folks at TDM that we haven’t seen in 3 years.  Then spent the evening having one laugh after another with Debbie and Ray DaRin.  I really need to take pictures but just forgot.
We spent a week anchored out in the Manatee River mostly seeing old friends, running errands etc.  Then Harry and a friend, Jim took the boat up to Tampa and I drove the loaner truck that Linda gave us.  We will be a month at Margorie Park Marina in a slip.  It’s a nice little marina right down town Tampa on Davis Island.  We walked every day, visited with neighbor boats, went to the Edwards Yacht Sales Christmas Party, SSCA breakfast in St. Pete, and had several different sets of friends over . 

Typical mansion on Davis Island.  It is extremely upscale and fun to see all these houses
We did have a really nice day sailing with friends who charter their sailboat.  That particular day they had a young couple on board.  He proposed to her while under sail.  That was lots of fun with Champagne and all.  The boat is called Lionheart and they do a great job of chartering.

The young couple up front just before he proposed

Jim, the captain on Lionheart
Off to Phoenix, Arizona on Dec 21 for 10 days of fun with both our daughters, son-in-law and Harry’s sister and husband.  It was a great time.  We are all game players so spent many an hour playing pinochle and other games.

Our 2 daughters, Jenny and Karla,  Pat and Buz and Harry

Family picture including Jenny's husband Jon, Karla, Harry and me
 We took a side trip to Tombstone, Arizona to see where Wyatt Earp and Doc Holiday had the shootout at the OK corral.  The whole town is as it was in the 1870’s including authentic saloons.  Lots of fun.

Doc Holiday, Wyatt Earp and his brother

The shoot out


Fun saloon
 Jenny and Jon treated all of us to a night out to see “Straight No Chaser”.  This is a group of 10 men from Indiana U who sing a capella.  They have become quite famous and well worth the chance to see them.  We love their singing and they put on a fantastic show.  If you ever hear of them coming to your area, don’t miss them.  We had a great time.
We are now back in Tampa doing boat projects at the marina. We sat in the cockpit drinking champagne and watching fireworks over Tampa Bay on NY eve.  We did have the pleasure of Dave and Sherry McCampbell, Soggy Paws and SSCA members, come to visit us.  That was lots of fun.  Tampa is a lovely city with lots to do.  They have a beautiful downtown and river walk with tons of restaurants and activities.  We have had a great time walking around the city every day.

Tampa's version of statues all over are trolley cars all painted up.  Harry has his hand on one of them.  Also a part of the Riverwalk

University of Tampa which is beautiful but too far away in this picture to see.  It was an old hotel from the 1800's

A small part of the Riverwalk

New Year's Day at Jeff and Elise with a bunch of SSCA folks
Next stop is back to Manatee River to anchor and then who knows what the future holds!!!!

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