In a nutshell

  The last 6 months have been eventful, to say the least. Celebration has gone to a wonderful set of new owners, Jurgen and Katherine Murach. She has been renamed Amaroo and is underway to The Bahamas. I hope the three of them have as much fun and as many adventures together as we did.
Steve and I spent a great Thanksgiving in Minnesota and North Dakota seeing almost everyone in both our families. In spite of temps in the 10's is was too short a visit. We did miss seeing the Bernhard clan of Arizona, but I do understand their reluctance to go north in November.


Jurgen and Katherine in the process of renaming Celebration.

We moved aboard Joyful a week ago and have been really busy getting the boat ready to make some really long passages. We brought Joyful to Key West last week and we're working our asses off at Stock Island Marina Village, building shelves in a hanging locker, tracing down some wiring/alternator ghosts, insulating the freezer, sorting and purging the bulging lockers, and figuring out where to store enough provisions for 4 people for up to 30 days. I'm also trying to find enough hiding spots to store 2 years worth of Cheetos. No luck so far. Any suggestions are welcome.


Sights of Maine: food

The Farmers Markets here are overflowing with fresh organic produce. We went to the one in  Stonington last week and came home with all kinds of good stuff. Sweet carrots, garlicky pork sausage, fat blueberries, dense crisp cabbage and garlic strong enough to die for, if you're of the vampire persuasion.

     We stopped at the local Lobster Pound on the way back to the dinghy and got 10 fresh ones to go.
Ten fresh 1 1/4 lb lobsters were $53.

We spent a couple of hours steaming and picking the fresh lobsters. Yes, they do turn orange when they're cooked. Ten cooked lobsters yielded around 2 pounds of meat.

                  The fruits of our labor produced a stir fry worthy of Emeril,

                                    and enough blueberry muffins and pancakes for a week.

                                        It is true, sailors travel on their stomachs.


Sights of Maine: harbor seals

One of the great things about being out in the boonies of Maine is the wildlife. No moose so far, but we've seen eagles and osprey swooping in to fish, guillemots winging by with their inky black bodies and bright red feet, ducks by the hundreds, geese, and harbor seals.

I think the seals are my favorite because most of them are so shy. Their heads are hard to spot amid all the lobster bouys anyway, but at the slightest sound, they disappear beneath the water without even a ripple. They seem to be very social with each other, but they don't like humans. Up close they're bigger than you'd expect, up to 6 feet long and up to 300 lbs. They have such cute faces with their big dark eyes.

These guys were sunning themselves on the rocks behind us one morning. The 9 foot tide was rising so one by one they floated off for a day of fishing. I couldn't find any reason why they like to sit with their body arched up like they do, hind flippers and head in the air, it doesn't look comfortable.

                            A nice soft kelp bed. This one was watching me as I was watching it.

                    The rock is almost gone, but they'll hang out for all the sunlight they can get


Yes, the rumors are true

We've sold Celebration. This may come as a surprise to some of you, I haven't written anything for so long that I'm sure you assumed we were out doing our usual socializing, eating and drinking. And you'd be right. But in between all that... OK it's a long story, so I'll start at the beginning.

Last November at the SSCA Gam in Melborne FL, we met a nice couple, Anne and Jeff Posner, who were looking for crew to do the Blue Planet Odyssey with them on their boat Joyful. We were very interested but this is a 2 1/2 year commitment, so we took a lot of time to think about it. We thought through about how bad it could be, on a small boat, in the middle of the Pacific, with crazy people. But we also thought about how good it could be, on a small boat, getting to know some great people, seeing the world at a snails pace. So we did our usual and jumped in with both feet, well, in this case, four barefeet.

We had planned to put Celebration on the hard somewhere while we were gone, but after adding it all up: the costs of insurance, storage, and maintainence, and then the fixing of all the deterioration that happens to a boat who's neglected, we started  to have doubts about this plan. We moved on to thinking that maybe we should sell. We talked to a boat broker (they're like real estate agents, but for boats) and signed on with one at the end of June. The Plan was to come to Maine for the summer and laze about eating lobster, then take the boat back to Annapolis, move off and put her on the hard at the brokers office.

On the way to Maine we stopped, per usual, at our friends, Gary and Alex's house in Amesbury Mass.  Aside from being perfectly wonderful people, they have a mooring and dock on the Merrimack river behind their house, an awesome collection of friends, an awesome garden...the list of reasons to go there is long. We were there on the dock one afternoon, working away on projects small and large that we wanted to finish before we offered her up to be picked apart by prospective buyers, when a man walked down the ramp from the backyard and said "Hello, my name is Klaus and I used to own this boat".

As it turns out, Klaus' boat, Ludus amoris, was hull number 58 and Celebration is hull number 68. Klaus and his wife Maria circumnavigated twice and he's written a book about their travels (unfortunately for us, the book is in German, but is currently being translated to English). Klaus and Maria are from Germany, but their daughter lives near Amesbury so after they sold Ludus, they moved here. Anyway, on this particular day Klaus was driving on the bridge over the Merrimack about a block from where we were and saw us on the dock. He made a right turn and came to say hi.
(A funny story about that: Klaus knocked on the front door of the house, (no one ever uses the front door), he had a copy of his book in his hand, was nicely dressed and was driving an old VW camper van. Gary thought he was a Jehovias Witness and was reluctant to answer the door. Once Gary figured out Klaus's real purpose, he sent him down to see us.) Klaus came aboard to chat and look around. He mentioned that about a year ago he'd gotten an email from a friend in Bavaria asking if he, Klaus, still had his boat for sale. He didn't. Steve mentioned that Celebration happened to be for sale. Klaus looked around some more and then invited us over for dinner the next evening at his home. I knew he had been a real cruiser because when I asked what I should bring to dinner and he replied "your laundry".

We were very surprised to get an email the next morning from Klaus's friends, Jurgen and Kathrin. They were looking for more information on the boat. We sent it and forgot about it. We had a great dinner with Klaus and Maria and got to see some wonderful pictures of their trip. The next thing we knew, J and K had booked tickets to come to Boston to see Klaus and Celebration. We did not get our hopes up. Besides, we already had a Plan. AND our daughter, Amanda, was coming for a rare visit and we didn't want anything to mess that up. It turned into a very fun, chaotic, wacky week. In short we went from "maybe we should sell the boat" to "holy cow, I think we sold the boat" in about 6 weeks.

The really weird part of all this is that when I called our broker to tell him all this and ask what we should do next, HE YELLED AT ME! Really. Yelled. He wouldn't listen to me at all and kept yelling and threatening to put a lien on the documentation, take us to court, etc. We never had any intention of not paying him (until then of course) but we did want to talk about a reduced fee since he had had to do NOTHING so far. Suffice to say, we settled, by dealing with his partner, and we no longer have a broker.

So the new Plan. We'll stay on the boat and deliver her to the Miami area in November. J and K hope to come back and take possession then. We can move to Joyful at the same time. For now, we're in Maine, socializing, eating and drinking.
Below is a picture of Amanda from our quick drive to BaHaBa, because every blog needs a picture.


On the northward migration

Our winter in Marathon sped by really fast. When we got there, our 5-6 month planned stay seemed to stretch endlessly before me, full of possibilities. Chances to learn to basket weave, to spend long, unhurried hours chatting with friends, to blog daily about all the interesting people we would be meeting, to get some of the long-put-off boat upgrades done. In 5 months we managed to get a lot of that done.
As with all boat projects, the new fiberglass dodger took much longer to build than we had planned. We spent so much time working on it in the project room at the marina that by the time we were done, we'd met everyone at the marina and just about everyone from the  mooring field. We met lots of people who would come through daily to check our progress and give advice, lots of advice. Lots and lots of advice. I tried the Tom Sawyer trick daily, trying to hand over my resin roller or paint brush, to get a demo from one of the advice givers but I never got a taker.  I think next time we have to do a big fiberglass 'something', I'm going to call it a class and charge for attendance. The end result is wonderful and we are loving the added protection off shore and the new hand holds for safety. The pictures show the new stuff, but if you really want to see how beautiful it is, you may just have to come and visit.
We left Marathon about a month ago, spent a fun week in Miami with friends Bill and Sarah on Moonlight Serenade, made our way up to St Augustine for another couple of weeks and are now back in Oriental NC. to see more good friends. This trip north and south takes longer each year as we meet more and more people along the way that we want to stop and see each time we go by. 

From this, old canvas dodger.

...to the new awesome hard dodger.
Oriental has a new free dock and we spent 2 nights there. It comes complete with 2 pair of beautiful white ducks. They wander freely around the Oriental Marina and Inn grounds, stopping to quuwack and flap at anyone who gets too close. They were very entertaining to watch, but they got up way too early.
                                                                       Fuel duck.