Saturday, February 28, 2009
YES CAN YOU BELIEVE IT..... The fear of the next cold front finally convinced us we needed to leave whateverelse needed to be done to be left undone. So on Friday morning, without fanfare we took off. Flags flying and both yachts heading for downtown JACKSONVILLE. For those of you who have never seen the underside of Main Street Bridge, here's your chance. (Do that double-click thing on the pics).
Past all the dock facilities and the " Container Terminals " where huge expansions are taking place in readiness for a fabulous economic recovery of more imports (?) unless the acres and acres of cars and trucks we saw, are there to be "exported". The Intra-coastal Waterway channel (ICW) is lined with red and green markers all the way to St. Augustine and beyond to Key West. To be leaving Jacksonville really is an end of an era for both of us and now we have the company of SVEA and her crew to share this first part of the journey with. For them it is baptism of another kind.
Bridges really are spectacular and I'm sure that train drivers must get the same "kick" when the whole moving world suddenly comes to a stop to let us humble people pass. In the case of the "Queen" of course, she deserves no less.
For the "Queen of Florida" it is a tearful and emotional farewell to many friends and colleagues, spanning more than thirty years, some of whom waved from windows on the fourth floor of the School Board Building and others who came out on the dock to shout and wave. Blessings should be heaped on all of them. May they too have a chance to fulfil a dream and share in ours.
Tonight we are anchored in St. Augustine, FLORIDA, America's oldest city and another cold front is on the way and so are we.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
After 30 hours of flying and airports, my Niece Corina Taaffe arrived in Jacksonville to become co-owner of the Yacht " SVEA". From a car owner to a boat owner overnight. From a balmy 100 degrees farenheit to a miserable 28 degrees farenheit (-2 degrees C) overnight. No similarity intended whatsoever. She immediately went to work re-organising and helping Joel put everything away while recording the placement of each item with impecable precision. Two nights later we were invited for a formal dinner in grand style. Compliments to both of them. They have taken to the new lifestyle like ducks to water on a frigid pond.
Two nights later we were invited to Mike & Carol Sullivan, who equally put on a magnificent spread and came to say good-bye on the following night. Great people and great sailors too. Sir Tommy (THOMAS LIPTON )White from "Wind Dancer Sails", who has also been tremendously supportive came by to send farewell greetings. JACK FROST from the Artic Circle also stopped by to let us know in very certain terms that he is not finished with us just yet.
Joel has left "DISTRESS" messages out there but so far there has been little responce. Perhaps by Wednesday this week it will be warm enough to risk letting go of the extension cord and the heater. Meantime there are still more things to be done on both yachts, so we can afford to wait till the blood begins to flow again.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
We have wintered the cold. We have seen the incredible blizzards of snow and ice in the U.S. mid-west on our baby TV, while huddled beneath our blankets in the front cabin. We have seen the equally incredible firestorms in Australia with temperatures at over 130 degrees on the same little TV and we have walked the paths around the boatyard only to discover this totally incongruous sign embedded in the pavement..........as shown in the photo alongside the firestorms.
Jane, my son's wife has sent these terrible fire pictures from Australia. The devasting fires have taken 200 lives at this point. Life is so fragile and so precious and so very short.
YES, IT IS TIME TO GO SAILING.
Corina, my niece just got on a plane in Brisbane and will arrive in 26 hours to take delivery of the yacht SVEA together with her partner, Joel Manton, who has been very hard at work these last few weeks getting all things in place.
Double click on some of the photos for better detail
Hope I can still go up a mast when I'm 80 plus. Hope Guiness Records are still around too. Hope the other Guiness is still around. Hope we are all around then and still smiling at each other.
The beauty of SVEA deserves an entry of its own. The interior teak is glowing and all the details that go into making a yacht sea-worthy have been done. There is now pressurised water on board. The two-burner gas stove with oven has electronic cut-off valves installed and the interior lights and an electronic anchor winch should make the former hardy owners want to turn in their graves. Both yachts have been moved alongside each other in the marina to facilitate in the completion of various projects, including additional navigation lights on the mast, life rings on the stays and sealing of all fittings on the deck. The happy faces you see are SVEA's new Captain, Joel Manton and the guys who have helped, Marek Rerucha and Jacint Jagicza.
Just had to add this photo of our wireless internet antennas and to thank the many nameless people who have so kindly provided us with their un-secured wireless networks that have allowed us to put this blog out there on the internet. This is how it all works...... Point the WIFI antenna it some direction. It picks up all the people who have a router working in their house, sometimes more than a mile away. We then log on to the internet and do our emailing, banking, skyping and phonecalls. Incredible really. This does not in any way compromise their security. The antennas, both directional (the horizontal one) and omni-directional (the vertical one) pack away when we go sailing, which hopefully is .......... ONLY A WEEK AWAY.