Friday, December 26, 2008

Ivan and Martha's and Christmas

Well, here are a few pics from the past few days. We spent Christmas at Papa Charlie's house. We had dinner at 10, opened gifts at 11 and fell into bed at 1 AM. We had a great time, Patti and Luis were there with their son Alex and Daniella was also there (Luz's girls) so we were a good sized group. Back on the boat we set out other gifts and Santa came too. He found us!

The kids were up at 8 Christmas morning and were thrilled, of course, to open more presents! We spent a leisurely morning and then had a late lunch of crabs and a walk on the beach. Early to bed!

The night before Christmas eve we went to Ivan and Martha's house (old friends of Charles). We had a great time the the kids loved them!! Ivan played card tricks with the kids and we all enjoyed catching up on each other!

Two handsome guys!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Key Biscayne

Hello everyone, we left Miami Beach a week ago and went a couple miles south to Key Biscayne. This is still in the city limits of Miami and actually closer to P.C. We anchored off of Hobbie beach ( called this because they rent hobbie cats there) and spent a couple of days at the beach and also at the Sea Aquarium where we saw dolphins jump and twirl and also an orca do the same thing. The kids loved it. I forgot my camera so no pics, sorry!

We also stayed in Crandon Park Marina for a few nights and they have a little beach nearby which we also took advantage off. This cove is quiet and protected by a large mangrove that serves as a rookery for pelicans and cormorants. We went out for a day and when we got back the rookery had come to roost as was evident from the droppings on the boat! Yuck! We had to go and wash the boat it was so bad!

Alistair and I walked over to a fishing boat that had just come in in hopes to see some cool fish. There on the dock were four dolphin!! Alistair asked lots of great questions like what kind of bait did you use (live herring) and where did you catch them (on the edge of the Gulf Stream) and can i catch one on my pole (yes a small one).

Alistair loves ropes and has endless games that involve tie-ing ropes to various things. Hauling buckets, fishing nets etc. This rope was a lot to handle!

Dakota running on the beach, always a beautiful thing.

We are getting ready for Christmas although it feels very surreal in a tank top! We are pitifully late in everything and if we don't manage a card please know that we wish everyone a wonderful holiday and are thinking of all our wonderful family and friends!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Swimming and flying

So we've been in Miami for about a week and have been busy! We anchored in Miami Beach and took a walk on Lincoln mall, a walking area closed off for pedestrians. We've spent time with Papa Charlie at his house. He has a pool and the kids have been taking full advantage! They have been practicing with their snorkeling gear.

Even when it hasn't been very warm they can't wait to get into the pool!

On Saturday Papa Charlie offered to take us up for a flight in his plane. He first explained to the kids that they only got to go if they helped wash the plane. As you can see they were hard at work! They were so excited! P.C. has three working headsets with a mic and he fits four people in the plane. So, P.C. has to have a good headset and I got one, being in the co-pilots seat, that left Dakota and Alistair. Can you guess who got the last one and talked a stream the whole flight? He was so excited he couldn't get over it! he commented on everything...look how small the people are look how small the houses arewhat is that lake what is that building can you see the trees? If you guessed Alistair you're right! He also asked to fly the plane and P.C. obliged and he came up on my lap and flew. This he took very seriously and followed directions very well! He loved it!!

Dakota also had a great time and spent the whole flight glued to the window looking at the scene below. We flew at 1000 ft and so could see lots fo stuff. We also flew over the boat.

Afterwards we all went to get some cold beer and chicken wings and had a great time. Can't you tell?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

West Palm Beach to Fort Lauderdale......Miami!

Today we arrive in Miami, our final destination until after Christmas. Over 1800 miles we have come, what a trip.

We left West Palm early, before dawn, for an outside leg. It was a slightly foggy morning which lent mystery to the already mysterious open ocean before us. The water was an indescribable blue, the winds fair. We had such sail (we actually got to use them!) past all the beaches and high rise buildings. We reached Fort Lauderdale around 2:30, having avoided 20 bridges and caught 5 fish. We felt pretty good about ourselves! We anchored in Lake Sylvia in down town Lauderdale and the kids immediately started bottom fishing. By evening they had caught 5 more fish and Alistair had squid on his cheek, in his hair and all over his pants! He was in charge of re-baiting the hooks! We grilled up our catch of atlantic mackerel and tucked in!
In between a huge cruise ship and a tugboat pushing a container ship! We felt like a minnow!

Writer's workshop celebration.

In the morning we went into Las Olas marina, which is the municipal marina of Fort Lauderdale, for the day for only 15 bucks! There we showered, did 3 loads of laundry, Charles cleaned the boat, we had school, met a canvas guy about sunshade. After a walk and some beach combing we moved the boat back to Lake Sylvia.
The next morning we left early and headed once again south for our last leg to Miami. We arrived to find the anchorage that we had to ourselves eight years ago crowded with around 15 boats! We set our anchor and got ready to go ashore to meet Papa Charlie.
We spent the afternoon and early evening at P.C.' s house, the kids went swimming in the pool and tried out their snorkels, and we had rice and beans for supper! We will be here in Miami for the next couple of weeks, through the holidays. Of course there will be more pics and stories to tell.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Peck Lake to West Palm Beach

It was so hot on our way to Peck Lake from Vero Beach that the boys resorted to dumping bucket of water on their heads! It cooled them down and was fun too!

Peck Lake is a little area off the intracoastal where you can anchor an go ashore at a park. The park consists of a path through the dunes and a long and lovely beach, with beautiful clear water, big ocean waves, and thousands of shells. The boys and I spent a couple of blissful hours swimming and beach combing for shells, mangrove seeds, sea glass etc. The breeze was lovely, yet it was warm. My kind of heaven!
After we went back to the boat the kids wanted to bottom fish (using bait and letting it sit on the bottom), I had just cooked a chicken and gave them some of the skin and low and behold Dakota caught three catfish. None big enough to eat but he was thrilled!

So we were waiting for a bridge ( it runs on a schedule of opening on the hour and half hour) and we saw some coconuts on a beach so i rowed over and collected them. Later Charles pulled out all sorts of tools to open one. The kids were excited and the coconut was delicious!
When we got to the anchorage at West Palm we discovered that we could see the bottom!! Wow! How tropical! We could see everything, oysters, jellyfish, our anchor! The water is so beautiful, so blue!

We went ashore and walked to the beach on Singer Island. The water was 76 degrees! We swam and beach combed again! The beach had a flock of skimmers, sea birds that fish by dipping their protruding lower beak into the water as they fly. They at first glance always look like puffins to me. The kids loved the waves and the warm water!!

Later we went back to the boat for dinner and noticed all these boat heavily decorated for Christmas with numbers on them passing by. We had managed to arrive in West Palm on the very day of the Christmas boat parade! It was great with over 30 boats decked out in Christmas lights!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Pine Island and Vero Beach

We left Cocoa early and made our way south to a little anchorage behind Pine Island. Its a shallow but charming spot surrounded by little islands with sandy beaches and mangroves. After getting the boat settled we got into the dinghy and Charles and the kids went fishing and dropped me off on the beach.

This was one of the first evenings that was warm and balmy. We grilled our dinner and enjoyed sleeping with the campanionway open.

The next morning we went to Vero Beach. The anchorage is small and you must take a mooring and most of the time are rafted to other boats on the moorings. We were directed to a mooring and promptly went ashore for showers. As my new friend Rosalie said "the dirty one is dead!"

We took the free bus to the beach and had lunch at a great pizzeria and then went to the playground nearby. Here is where I found this turtle painted with a safari scene.

We found that our friends Phillipe, Rosalie, Javie and Elian were also here and the kids immediately started playing, hugging, tormenting lizards. Good stuff!

This is Phillipe and Rosalie. The kids all sat together for dinner. We had everyone over for dinner and had a great time. The kids all get on well as do we adults. Later another boat came in late and rafted up to us and we invited the skipper to join us. Banff was travelling alone and has done this trip before and so was a wealth of info about the Bahamas, and great company too!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Titusville to Cocoa

Okay, so the last time we were in this canal it was blowing 40 with torrential rain, just a distant memory! Charles slowed the boat down and the boys fished and we all watched the many vultures and osprey fish, hunt and sun themselves. Very cool!

Dakota enjoying himself on the bowsprit.

Going through a bridge.

Dolphins are very hard to photograph! This was my best shot. They were very playful, swimming along side the boat, splashing, showing us their tails. I can't describe the way it feels to watch a dolphin. Such pure joy!

Here we were sailing very fast, so fast that the turns were fishing in our wake. They tirelessly fly, calling and looking down. Once in a while one would dive for something and then peel off to the end of the line. They are fun to watch!

The boys went fishing in a mangrove and when they came back they told me that they had been surrounded by manatees!!! Wow! I wish I had seen it! They said one was balancing on its tail and sticking its nose out to breathe.

Today my Uncle Jake and Aunt Bernie came to see us! They took us out for lunch and to run a miriad of errands. We had a great time and it was so wonderful to see them! I hadn't seen Bernie in over 12 years, she looks great! Jake is great, funny as ever!! Thank you so much for coming and for all the U turns!!! We love you!

Isn't this a great pic! These are some people we met who also are headed for the Bahamas. They have travelled all the way from Quebec! Of course we have been drawn to them becasue we are all travelling with our kids. The kids all love to play and fish together. They also shout all sorts of funny stuff across the water whenever we see them! Phillipe took the boys fishing this evening and they had a great time. Phillipe and Rosalie are very nice people and we hope to continue to cross paths!