Updates from our travels in 2012
Early-February, 2012
Well, here we are in the new year and life is very good.  Still hanging out at Porto Cupecoy Yacht Club Marina, St.
Martin, enjoying the beautiful surroundings and having fun with our yachting neighbors and the activities here on
the property.  Our favorite is the Wednesday night live music event, which featured a great New Orleans style jazz
band from NYC called "Baby Soda" a couple of weeks ago.  Some really talented musicians!

These are some of our neighbors, pictured below. Quite interesting watching them maneuver in and out of their
slips.  
The shot below shows an evening "light show" on the yacht "Arioso" which was berthed on the side of the tower.  
I've included a shot of the tower for scale, with an arrow showing their side-tie location.
Dreamtime has been moved up into the marina, in the 2nd slip out from the bulkhead which leads up into the main
plaza.  Further out, closer to the lagoon proper is "A" dock, where the majority of the megayacht slips are located,
however sometimes they end up way up inside the marina on the bulkhead, directly across from us.  Quite a sight.

The other yacht pictured, (and dwarfed by the megayacht) is the beautiful, classic, 75 year old, 52' Sparkman &
Stephens yawl "Dorade".  This yacht revolutionized sailing yachts.  

An excerpt from the article;
"Longer sailboats generally go faster than shorter ones, but Dorade, the third smallest of
the 10-yacht fleet, reached the line more than two days before the second-place boat. When the times were
handicapped, or "corrected," to reflect the differences among the yachts, Dorade's time was almost four days better
than its closest rival. Dorade went on to win the Fastnet Race by a wide margin. When the crew returned to New York
City, where Sparkman & Stephens had its office, they were rewarded with a ticker-tape parade, a first for sailors.  And
yacht design would never be the same. The assumptions that had limited naval architects to incremental advances
were abandoned and the modern age of racing design, defined by an endless quest to produce lighter but more
powerful yachts, commenced."

Read the full article about her here: S & S 52' Yawl "Dorade"
Side shot of "Dorade"
A shot of "Dreamtime" in her slip - C2
And finally, Porto Cupecoy at Dusk and Moonrise, how gorgeous it that!
Click for an enlargement on any of these shots
Late-February, 2012
The other day we had the opportunity to go land cruising with our Canadian friends Jim & Verna on 'Samum' up
to Pic Paradise, the tallest peak on St. Martin at 1400 feet.  The guys hiked up to the tippy-top from the car park
while Verna and I opted to have a great walk down the beautifully landscaped access road.  Not only were the
views excellent, but we eventually  stopped in to Lotterie Farm, a tourist attraction which features zip lining,
pool/cabana rentals, and good food and drinks.  The resident cat was there to greet us, and the beer was cold
too.
The next stop was for lunch in Grand Case at one of the beach boardwalk restaurants that offers the trademark
BBQ ribs or chicken for a very reasonable price.  Afterwards we took a drive out to Orient Bay, where we
strolled the beach and enjoyed the scenery - a very busy place!!  

We spotted our marina neighbors anchored out in their motor yacht waaaay down at the end.  A beer was
enjoyed at Pedro's and back home we head.  What a great day!  Thanks Jim & Verna for including us in your
plans.
Views from Pic Paradise
Various shots from Lotterie Farm including us and the crew from 'Samum'
Early-March, 2012
This is the time of the year when St. Martin gets really busy due to the Heineken Regatta.  Lots of megayachts,
both power and sail, charter yachts where the charterers want a piece of the racing action, regular cruising
yachts and gawkers abound.  

It's fun to go to the Yacht Club and watch the boats queue-up to leave the lagoon for the day's racing.  We did
that, then caught the local bus back to Porto Cupecoy where we packed a lunch and some beers and walked
over to the beach to watch the boats sail by.   What a great way to spend the day.
Views from the St. Maarten Yacht Club.  I'm glad we're not trying to exit the lagoon in all this chaos
Some dinghy caravan, huh?
Views (left) back towards Simpson Bay and (right) around the point towards Marigot.  Beautiful weather for
the regatta.  As a side note, 'Dorade', pictured below, won her class, no surprise there.
Remember when the December winds and swell took
away most of the sand from our beaches?  Well, it's
obviously cyclical, because the sand is back - Yea!
Various shots around Orient Beach, on the French side of St. Martin
Our marina buddies on 'But Of Course'
May 8, 2012
What a great time of year to be cruising, the weather is mild and the winds pleasant and we haven't yet gotten
into the dog days of summer.  We have been taking advantage of the wonderful conditions to get away from
the dock and have just come back from a trip over to St. Bart's.  

The winds were very light so we motored along, trolling a lure unsuccessfully what with all the sargasso sea
grass around.  The French Coast Guard instructed us to detour around Tintamarre island due to a small plane
crash which had apparently happened the day/night before.
We were anticipating an opportunity to view the "Supermoon" event (full moon at its closest to the earth
during 2012) while at anchor and also to catch some of the action of the annual West Indies Regatta.  The
classic, Caribbean-styled, gaff-rigged work boat entries were spotted sailing about in light air as we
approached Gustavia, the main harbor of St. Bart's.  Not the prettiest of days and not much wind but the
entrants and crew were having a blast.
Caribbean work boats out and about near Gustavia
View of St. Martin receding into the background
Glassy seas mean no breezes for sailing.
Low-slung Tintamarre Island in the background
St. Bart's was really beautiful.  We transited down to the south coast to hangout for lunch then due to rolly
conditions made our way back around to the leeward side and Anse Columbier.

Later in the day, after observing during our snorkeling session that the bottom was littered with starfish (mating
season?), we were treated to a ringside seat for the regatta fleet rafting up for the afternoon.  Sunset in the bay
was beautiful, however as moonrise approached we were disappointed in our effort to observe the Supermoon
by clouds... oh well, we still enjoyed grilling ribs and chilling out.  What a great few days out!
Late April, 2012
Late April found us visiting with our good friends Linda and John on "Kool Kat" who were in St. Martin prior to
heading down to St. Kitts.  We decided to meet at the Sunset Bar which is located on the beach adjacent to the
airport.  It is widely known as the one of the most dangerous airports due to it's runway, which lies
perpendicular to the beach.  When planes land or most especially when the jumbo jets take off, the engine
exhaust blasts out at a fierce velocity, blowing everything in it's path down the beach and into the bay.  This
includes sand which I understand can scour you but good if you are caught in it.  We watched as people tried
to hang on to the airport fencing during takeoffs, most often letting go and running in the direction of the
water to get away from it. The Sunset is a great bar with good food on a beautiful bay, we recommend it.
(The 2 pics below not mine, Thanks Shawn for the above)
Late May, 2012
One day, riding the bus to the grocery store, while passing the lagoon I noticed that our friends Marie and
John on
s/v 'Metalia' were at anchor, yay!  After I got back to the boat I let Ed know and within a day or so he
passed by their boat on the way to Budget Marine and we made arrangements to get together for lunch at the
Yacht Club.  Sometimes when you mention a yacht club to people they think of a fancy place with a dress code.  
Not so the St. Martin Yacht Club, with it's eminently comfortable tables outside on the deck or inside under the
shade of the roof.  I thought I'd include a couple of shots to capture the ambiance.  Great food too.
Early June, 2012
After spending the entire year in St. Martin at Porto Cupecoy, the decision was made to take a break from all
that, get out of a rut and head south for the hurricane season.  We hated to say goodbye to our friends at the
marina, but once that was done and we had cast-off we were thrilled to be underway again.  Things are so
fantastic when you are on the hook in a beautiful anchorage.  Since
s/v 'Metalia' and her crew were headed
back to their favorite spot in Antigua we decided to buddy boat with them to really get caught-up on all their
doings and enjoy their company along the way.  We had a good overnight in St. Bart's and got a 4am start to a
motorsail over to  Barbuda - the most beautiful, unspoiled and remote spot we know.
We were just about the only boats there and thoroughly enjoyed having the place to ourselves.  I provided
dinghy-taxi service and babysat the boats while Ed, Marie and John headed into Codrington via Guiness's
water-taxi across the lagoon to clear in with customs and immigration.  That accomplished, we filled the
remainder of the days there swimming, walking and lime'ing in the bright sunshine.

I had good luck with shell collecting using my snorkel to good effect, and John made arrangements with
Guiness for some lobster, our first in many moons.  We had a big feast on Dreamtime that evening and even
managed to get some great stargazing in too... I know, this is starting to sound like a bragging session but
man, we had fun and felt so liberated being away from the dock, internet and all those distractions.
View of St. Martin receding into the background
Marie/John on s/v 'Metalia', and the yacht club above.
Lobstermania, man!  But we did have plenty
leftover and did a "re-do" another night.
June 21, 2012
About a week ago, after having spent a few days in Barbuda we headed south to Antigua.  Along the way we
caught a beautiful Spanish Mackerel, hooked but released a large barracuda and hooked but lost a smallish
Black Fin Tuna.  We all pulled into 5 Islands Bay and got settled in for the night.  Ed cleaned the mackerel and
sent half over to
Metalia via John's dinghy for their enjoyment - we had enough for 2 nights ourselves.  We fired
up the grill, soaked some mesquite chips and viola, fresh fish... it's hard to beat.  

A few nights later, we were anchored in Jolly Harbor and were kicking back enjoying the evening when we
noticed some pretty large Tarpon swimming around our transom apparently attracted to our blue led lights.  We
shined our bigger led flashlight over the side and soon had a dozen of these guys circling around, spawning
behavior we assume.  We were so mesmerized by them, great fun to watch.

All in all, we are having a blast around here and have no plans to leave.  
Resort at Hermitage Beach in 5 Islands, it's
June and all the flamboyant trees are blooming
September 12, 2012
It's been quite a while since I've updated the website, and not out of pure laziness I assure you.  We've been
working, working, working on Dreamtime.  We've taken the opportunity this summer to be C.L.O.D.'s (cruisers
living on dirt) so we could tackle some of the projects that we have put off, those tasks that are not convenient
or even possible to do while living aboard.  Even though we are getting tons of stuff done and crossed off "the
list", it has taken on a life of it's own as one good thing leads to another.  I get fantastically pumped as I do
things that give instant gratification, such as painting or varnish work, my mind imagines all kinds of additional  
"pretty-factor" projects I can do next.

Some of the things we've been doing include freshening up our interior painting.  Our painted shelving, settee
framework, storage bins and lockers have been thoroughly scrubbed, painted and reorganized.  Painting on this
scale was last done in the early to mid-2000's before we moved aboard.  However, one project that does get
done every couple of years is the removal of the ventilated oak trim strips which line the hull in the v-berth.  
These strips, which are held in place with about 120 screws per side, act as a condensation barrier when
cruising in cooler climes, and just generally dress the place up.  After removal we vacuum, scrub (and paint the
hull sides when necessary) to get rid of any dust or other grime that may have accumulated behind them, then
wipe down the strips themselves.  Reinstallation of the strips completes the process.  This Sahara dust is
murder, seems to work it's way into all the nooks and crannies!

All cushion covers, curtains, clothes and linens have been taken off and sorted through for things that can be
thrown away, given away or otherwise gotten rid of and the remainder has been thoroughly cleaned and
prepared to go back aboard once all the painting has been completed.  Having a washer/dryer on tap is a
wonderful thing!!

I've also taken the opportunity to "dig a little deeper" through my food stores for stock rotation which all too
often (unfortunately) have a habit of being used in a LIFO (last in, first out) manner.  

Meanwhile Ed has been putting his time in on the cleaning & polishing of the stainless.  We removed all our
canvas for the storm season and to facilitate minor repairs such as replacing zippers which tend to wear out
due to UV after about 3 years.  That cleared the way for him to get to areas on the dodger/bimini frames that are
usually hidden under the canvas.  In addition, he has been tackling the above decks brightwork including the
rub and toe rails, deck boxes, jerry jug board and cabintop rails.

All in all a heck of a busy summer, but very gratifying.  No storms so far, fingers crossed!
Late November, 2012
It's early November and the storm season is winding down nicely.  We had a great summer in Antigua working
very hard and relaxing too, while enjoying the amenities ashore.  We're back aboard the boat now and preparing
to head up to the states for a longer than usual visit.  It's been 7 years since we spent the Holidays with our
families and it seemed like time.  As a bonus, Ed's Mom promised to reprise her role as "the greatest cook of
Thanksgiving dinner ever" with a bit of help from the younger generation.  Additional troops came in from
California and a merry meal was planned.

Ed wasn't very happy with his ride from Antigua to San Juan, PR on a noisy and uncomfortable jet, but we made it
into Miami and drove up to Sebring to overnight with my sister and her husband -  after countless times in the
past, they continue to let us crash at their place.  Emile cooks the best baby-back ribs and Donna's sides aren't
too shabby either.  An hour behind schedule (we had a flight delay) and yet they had a fantastic feast waiting for
us.  Thanks for that you guys!
Donna and Emile and their faithful pups, JJ and Coco, high-energy poodles  
"inherited" from our step-mom when she passed.  

I would say they have bonded with their new mommy and daddy.

3 acres to run around in and they are never very far from her side.
We had business to take care of up in Jacksonville so after a quick hit and run on Sebring we were out of
there.  Of course, most of our visits, which tend to occur annually or beyond, center around doctor visits, dental
visits and the obligatory shopping for stuff to take back to the boat.  This trip was no exception, plus we readied
ourselves for a lengthy cooking, gorging and socializing session or 2.

Dianne and Dennis, Lynn and Sherri & Errol, family from Mom's husband JohnT's side of the family came in from
California and Tampa respectively to join in the festivities.  This year, with gluten-free, vegan folks at the table,
things were changed-up a bit.  Good to know that gluten-free stuffing is just as good as usual and JohnT's fresh
cranberry/apple/orange relish was a great addition.  We had a really great time catching-up with the 2D's and
Lynn, and meeting Sherri & Errol who were a lot of fun.  We laughed a ton.
A shot of the Thanksgiving dinner table (thanks Dianne) with me and Ed's beautiful Mom in our festive attire.   
Mom, if you are reading this, THANKS A MILLION for going to all the trouble, it was fabulous!

On black Friday, instead of joining the throngs in a shopping frenzy, we opted to go to the World Golf Village
IMAX theater for a showing of Skyfall, the latest James Bond thriller.  It lived up too, everyone enjoyed it.  Back
to Mom's for another round of turkey and all the fixings, and don't forget the pies; pumpkin and bourbon pecan -
YUM!
Early November, 2012
Early December, 2012
The Decisions, then and now:

When we prepared to go cruising many moons ago, we had to decide between keeping our house and renting
it, selling the house and most everything in it or selling the house and storing the majority of the furnishings.  
Everyone has their own reasons for picking one approach over another.   We chose the latter as we didn't want
the potential hassle and worry with renting and we felt it would be wise to have enough furniture and
household goods to be able to set-up a household in a hurry.   We were thinking along the lines of emergency
preparedness for a potential crisis (accident/illness) which might require us to put the boat up in long-term
storage and come live in the states for a period of time.  Additionally, we are also very attached to many of the
pieces of furniture, artwork and personal memorabilia we have acquired over the years, etc.    We also weren't
thrilled at the thought of having to spend the
time, money and energy having to shop for everything new - that
would be a looong list.   To be fair, some cruising folks I know are looking forward to that part of it,  Bravo! and
more power to them.

One of the things that Ed and I decided this summer was that it was time to reinvest in a house.  It worked for
us  on a lot of levels.   For one thing, this would allow us to take our stuff out of storage and set-up
housekeeping  for that time when we want a change of pace from cruising or need a place to live if health
problems arise for either of us or for Mom.  On another level, it would allow us to diversify some of our holdings
into a more tangible asset. Due to the fact that Ed's Mom lives in North Florida and the fact that we know and
like the area, having lived there for 30+ years, we decided to focus our search around there.

Using websites designed for real estate acquisition made the process fun, fascinating and pretty easy.  What
started out as a fishing expedition quickly escalated to full-fledged buying mode when we found our perfect
property.   We got very, very lucky when it came to our real estate agent.   By happenstance Ed contacted a  
youthful, very energetic and reliable real estate agent,
Lisa Stroud - Exit Realty, regarding the property and we
couldn't have been happier.   She went above and beyond
every step of the way to alleviate our long-distance
heartburn (we were still in Antigua at this point).    After much leg-work on our behalf by Lisa, we made a "sight
unseen" offer on a 3/3 townhome located on a 9-acre, reshaped, spring-fed lake which was subsequently
accepted by the seller.  We couldn't have done that without an agent that we trusted.  Thanks a million Lisa!!

Onto more mundane topics:  

Our storage method of choice during the past 8 years was to use P.O.D.'s, a company that offers portable
moving and storage containers and has a warehouse in which to store them until redelivery.   It worked out
beautifully for us;  just big enough, easy to load/unload and a safe warehouse site.  A few years into storage and
we were able to negotiate a lower monthly rate after being a long-term storage customer.  (Addendum: we
packed it full and had virtually no damage.)

Since closing in mid-November we have been busy getting all set-up.   It's been so much fun for us, (not so
much for Ed, haha), doing all the furniture/art arranging and setting up a full-sized kitchen after 8 years aboard
Dreamtime.  It turned out great, and now it was time to have company come and enjoy it with us.  First up, our
very good friends Marlene and Benno on
"Diesel Duck", who we have known since our jumping off to the
Caribbean together from Georgetown, Exumas back in '06.  Having spent their summer in Ontario, Canada they
were hurrying past for warmer cruising grounds but graciously stopped in Fernandina Beach for a great albeit
short visit.
'Diesel Duck' in the mooring field
at Fernandina Beach
Marlene and Benno braving in
the breezy 40 degree weather.
Mid-December, 2012
Here is a small "taste" of our new place.  We love it.   Kitchen with pass-through countertop/breakfast bar seating
area leads into the dining room.  

Below left the great room with fireplace, and below right is a shot taken from the 2nd-story loft office and does a
better job of showing the french doors out to the Florida room and deck/dock area.
What's all this?!?  A dirt dwelling?  No way!  Yep, read on readers...
These are the views, left and right, from the patio deck with the dock being a level below.
Two of the unsung heroes of the story are my sister Donna and her husband Emile.  As mentioned earlier, they
have hosted us
numerous times on our ventures back stateside, and they stored many things for us as well.  
We really owe them for that!  

After getting pretty well set-up, we asked them to come up for a visit (and bring some of our "junk" with them).  
We grilled steaks on the back deck and had a great time visiting.  The next morning we were treated to a "misty
morn" which made feeding the Swans, both black and white, the Canadian geese and the Mallard ducks a fun,
almost mystical experience.  So quiet and peaceful.  What a fun time with those guys, thanks for coming up!!
Donna feeds the swans while I observe.  The black swans had their cygnets in tow.  Very cool.
Roomy Master on the 2nd-floor has it's own sitting room overlooking the lake.  
And golden hour late in the afternoon on deck.