Dec. 2006
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Check out Weeks ending: [2 Dec 06] [9 Dec 06] [16 Dec 06] [23 Dec 06] [30 Dec 06], or our 2006 Newsletter

Week ending 2 Dec 06 (Bob)

Fly to USA - A day's drive from Cornwall, and we hopped the big bird - US Air this time, for our return to the US after a 14-year peregrination around the world.  After a transfer in Charlotte, and a return to the US highways in a mini-SUV (not so 'mini' after driving in Europe) we arrived in Tallahassee for a stay with Denis, Bob' son while we organize collection of Long Passages.

Crafty Weekend - But no rest for the wicked; as soon as we arrived we were caught up in Denis and Stephanie's activities - in this case a visit to Tallahassee Market Days, a collection of some of the nicest crafts we have seen.  All media were on display; paintings, jewelry, clothing, wall hangings, and much more - enough for a full day of walking!

Week ending 9 Dec 06 (Bob)

Catch up with Denis - We enjoyed a few days with Denis and his girlfriend Stephanie, unfortunately displacing him as he kindly gave us the run of his house.  It was enough time though to acquire two telephones (and discover that our trusty GSM phones that had served us so well in Asia and Europe were inadequate in the US).  After a short stay, it was time to drive to Fort Lauderdale to offload Long Passages from her ship, due for arrival on the 9th and offload on the 10th.

Shuttle Launch with Dee and Lee - In 2004 we had lent our Hymer motor-home to friends from the US, and they lived in Titusville, Florida; on the Indian River with a clear view of Launch Complex 39B and a Space Shuttle launch was scheduled as we passed through the area.  Lee and Dee kindly invited us to stay a couple of nights, and take in a launch in the bargain and we were thrilled!  The visit was a lot of fun; we exchanged war stories from the cruising life, enjoyed Christmas cheer, and watched the countdown - which unfortunately went into a terminal hold at T-5 minutes as clouds caused a launch abort.  (reportedly it was a beautiful sight when it launched two days later).

Week ending 16 Dec 06 (Bob)

Offload Long Passages - At 0730 we showed up at MV Explorer to accept Long Passages and move her to a marina while we attend to a few items. The day went something like this:

  • Up early to leave our car at a marina and take a taxi to Pier 5, Port Everglades.
  • Boarding the ship on schedule at 0730.
  • We were allowed on board to start getting organized.
  • Paperwork was quick, although US Customs never showed after waiting for them for an hour.
  • They flooded the deck and Long Passages floated free of her supports; divers entered ship to remove all temporary supports.
  • Wind was blowing 15-20 in the harbor, and when the captain opened the ship's rear doors chop from the harbor started to bang the boats around and they had to close the doors quickly.
  • At about 0930 we got permission to start our engines and shortly we were out in the harbor, mingling with the 26 motor and sail boats waiting to board the Explorer for their trip to the tropics - taking the easy way to the Caribbean.
  • We had selected Lauderdale Marine Center as our marina, and had a minor crisis getting organized since the computer connections were messed up, and we had not realized how many draw bridges we would have to duck under on our 2 mile trip up the New River.  But it was a very pretty trip and by 1045 we were berthed at the marina, ready for our next adventure.

Check the summary of our experience with Dockwise Yacht Transport

First Showing - Three days after we offloaded Long Passages we had our first visitor, a friendly couple from the Midwest who are shopping for an offshore yacht.  The showing went well but it is still early days.  We then hauled her for a bottom painting and a few other items.

Denis' Graduation from FSU - The highlight of the week came late in the week as Denis graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology.  We are very proud of him and know it was a hard journey, which he intends to continue as he pursues his Master's at the same college.

Week ending 23 Dec 06 (Bob)

Final Christmas Shopping - In our first Christmas season back in the US, we joined the crowds at the mall and tried to do our bit for the economy, wandering though stores overflowing with 'stuff'.  We wrote our yearly newsletter and put a small blip on the internet traffic as we added our contribution to the millions of seasons greetings flying through the ether.

Candidates listen patiently... Denis glances at his audience...

...TV monitor captures the diploma handover...

...and graduates smile after the ceremony...

...and the proud parents follow with private congratulations.

Week ending 30 Dec 06 (Bob)

Christmas - Christmas Eve was great; we had dinner and opened presents at Denis' house under the glow of his tree - festooned with a classy mix of red globes and white lights in the company of his cat, Alley.  His girlfriend, aunt, and mother stopped by a various times to share in the experience.  The next day we all had a real Christmas Day at his girlfriend's mother's house - lots of dishes of food and many more presents to open.  It was a very warm and friendly day, topped off by a long walk through the neighborhood to walk off some of the stuffing and gawk at Christmas decorations.

Return to Fort Lauderdale - And then it was time to return to Long Passages to wrap up a few projects and watch fireworks on New Year's Eve. On the way south we stopped to visit our very good friends Nancy and Dave who left for the Caribbean the same week we did way back in 1992 - it was great to see them in their waterfront house in Melbourne.


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