Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Christmas Eve 2008. 8pm EST JACKSONVILLE Florida. There is peace on the water and we wish that the whole world would choose peace. We are in the middle of the trio of lighted yachts. Snug, warm and happy.
We wish all those sharing this journey with us and all of our extended families the very best wishes for the season. Please use the comment box at the end of each entry to let us know that you're out there.

Saturday, December 20, 2008


It may take a little more money but this is how it should be done. Five star or maybe ten star luxury in the staterooms, all the amenities you can dream of, and on the aft deck, your easily launched sailing yacht for arriving in port as though you have just crossed the ocean. Then when no-one is looking you hoist it back on board and away you go again.................naw, I wouldn't have it for a month of Sundays. Where is the fun in all that..

The megayacht "LE GRAND BLUE" in Nassau


With temperatures plummeting in Jacksonville FL, we are forced to look for an alternative. We find it at "I-WANT-A-CRUISE.COM". A five-day cruise to the Bahamas for $280.00 per person with all you can eat included. It should have been sold as " THE GLUT-BUCKET CRUISE". A breakfast to die for, lunch buffet till you can't take any more and then a beautiful five-course dinner and a very slow walk back to your cabin to find your bed made and turned down and a walrus in it. Next to the towel animals every night are mint chocolates as if there is space to put it. For those with space, there is a continuous buffet on the afterdeck 24 hours a day. Next morning its time to check the dock lines before going to town in Nassau. We see the sights and do some Christmas shopping for the grandkids, Rebekah, Zac and Ella and buy some more bottles of 'Ricardo's Mango Rum' for the bonded journey back to America.

We took the ferry to Paradise Island to visit the magnificent hotel "ATLANTIS" with its wrap-around aquarium filled with every type of fish, large and small and even Manta rays and of course the "QUEEN's" royal throne. The Casino has breath-taking glass sculptures by Chihuly and the marina has million dollar powerboats with jacuzzis on the aft deck. The gardens and flowers match the architecture. Inspiring to say the least.

We set sail as the sun was setting, we cruised all night through the Bahama islands past Eleuthera to arrive at dawn at the island of 'Little San Salvador' and the bay called "Half-Moon Cay". It doesn't get any better unless you are at the Whitsundays on the Great Barrier Reef. The crew offloaded more food by barge and put on a BBQ for two and a half thousand people on the beach. We took a very long walk to escape the multitude. In late February we should be anchored in this same bay and perhaps by then we will be hungry again. The Queen did suggest I leave her there and pick her up at that time, but even she would get sick of BBQ being served every couple of days.

The crew are forever working on maintenance including this guy further down, sanding the stairs and re-varnishing the brightwork. He should be finished with the stairs by the end of the month. Since 9/11 the bridge is off limits and even the crew and staff communicate with the officers by email. We made a special request to visit the bridge and when it was eventually granted we were escorted by three guards. The view and the technology is awesome. We learned a lot from them in terms of how they perceive people in small yachts. Our vessel next to this liner would look like a floating sea-gull and very difficult to observe on radar. The only thing we had in common was the size of the binoculars.

A smooth sail back to Jacksonville, clear customs, back in the car and home to ARITA which somehow just doesn't look or feel the same. It's just as well that I made the QUEEN sign a declaration stating..... " Being of sound mind and body I hereby declare that I will not demand turned down beds, endless food, constant runnnnnning hot and cold performed by orchestras.....

A wonderful birthday present for Laurie. The cake was inscribed with "27" since she certainly looks half her age. Feel free to double click on any of the photos. The next cruise leaves from Jacksonville tomorrow and if you're hungry......

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


When the tide goes out we can't see a thing through the porthole except the side of the dock. So that answers than one. But all is not lost. Our Christmas cactus in a bowl on the saloon table is bursting into bloom in the middle of the winter. Life re-born. The Queen went for a long walk yesterday and discovered many things in bloom. FlORIDA is wonderful in the winter while NEW YORK, CHICAGO and beyond are in blizzards, snow and ice.

The day was warm enough for ice-cream desert. Take a spoon, put it in the cordless drill, take some ice-cream from the container, add some chocolate oreo cookies (biscuits) from the packet and stir them up to make some delicious " Mc-ARITAS ". Real cool, literally.

Marina life is something else. It's like living in the floating suburbs with the city in the distance. The yachts come and go, get hauled out, repainted, renovated and face-lifted, saggy bottoms are taken care of, colours are changed, gear is added or removed and each day is a whole new spectacle.

You can see the colourful sail covers of "SVEA" (red) and of "ARITA" (Persian green) in the photos. That's almost the same as looking for "Wally". From the bridge the view is way better than at dock level, and certainly a lot better than at water-level. Trust me on that one. I took one extra step on(off) the dock last week while cleaning the dinghy and found out the hard barnacle way. Floating around in very cold water beneath the dock was...... well ... not gooooood. A rare occasion when I did not have my cellphone (mobile) in my pocket. Not that I could have used it call anyone...... while thrashing around like a plucked duck. You can see the dinghy on the end of the dock on the right.