Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving Feast...

St. Mary's put on another awesome Thanksgiving party. We dined with friends John and Mary along with almost 300 others. The feast included 30+ turkeys and hams, over 150 side dishes, not to mention dessert.....holy cow!! The weather also cooperated. After days of cloudy and cool weather, the sun decided to shine for Thanksgiving. It was a wonderful day!

The Admiral

PS. Dave R., we haven't forgotten your request for interior photos. Look for them sometime soon!!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Jekyll Island...

We had special guests arrive at Jekyll Island. Dave’s Mom, Dad and brother Matt drove down to enjoy the holiday with us. We viewed the Island’s history Museum, walked the Millionaire’s village and enjoyed each other's company.

The Admiral
11/21/09 – 11/25/09

Continuing South...

We left Savannah and continued the trek south towards Florida. Along the way we saw some beautiful old classic boats. Pictured here is a 1929 Trumpy named Freedom which had just been restored and was on her way to a party. What fun. Over several days, we would see her travel up and down the ICW with her guests.

One evening after dropping the hook, we went to work installing the new deck fittings. With Dave in the engine compartments below and me up on deck we were able to get them secure and can once again get our holding tanks pumped out. Hurrah!!

Next stop Jekyll Island Georgia.

The Admiral
11/19/09 – 11/20/09

Sunday, November 22, 2009


A new port of call – Savannah!! We both were looking forward to Savannah, but for two very different reasons. The Admiral – exploring and history. The Captain – food. We had read in 1000 Places to See Before You Die that Mrs. Wilkes Boarding House in Savannah was listed. Since then Dave’s palate has anxiously looked forward to the fried chicken and good southern cooking that would await.

I have to admit, it was delicious. We arrived shortly before they opened. It was easy to find. It was the only place that had a line already forming outside. Once inside we were seated at a big dining room table with 6 other people. And the food – oh my! We passed bowls of potatoes, collard greens, black eyed peas, creamed corn, sweet potatoes, green beans, bbq pork, fried chicken, rice, pot roast, pork ‘n beans, cole slaw, biscuits and the plates just kept on coming. We all finally reached a point that we just had to stop passing food around because there was no room left on our plates. And the result – our bellies full like after a good Thanksgiving meal. (Note the photos taken were after we’d all eaten. We are embarrassed at how much we all ate and even more embarrassed at how much we didn’t.)

So what next? Well we needed to walk off some of that food so we boarded a bus and road around the city before choosing our stop to begin our walking tour. We walked along the waterfront and the old cobblestone streets. We even walked past a praline shop and Dave didn’t go in – the first time – just another sign of how content our bellies were from lunch.

Back on the boat, Dick and his crew at Sail Harbor Marina were extremely helpful in getting us parts for the boat, giving us a ride to the bus stop and more. For boaters in the Savannah area in the future – we highly recommend them!

The Admiral
11/17/09 – 11/18/09

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Charleston Departure...

Ahhh…the sun! Weather was clearing nicely for our departure from Charleston. One last stop, the fuel dock, to get the holding tank pumped out and we would be on our way. But not to be!! The deck fittings for both holding tanks are stuck – and stuck good! Dave tried a pipe wrench, a hammer, you name it we tried it, and the caps would not come off. Hence, no pump out in Charleston. Fortunately, we have plenty of holding tank capacity to take us through until we can get a repair.

About 25 miles down the ICW road from Charleston we dropped the hook went to work removing the fittings from the deck. Once removed, more effort spent heating up the fittings trying to get the caps off and more wrestling with big wrenches. The result – the caps are still stuck. So for now we will ride along with holes in the deck until we can get new parts or a repair.

Ugh….who would have thought! Fortunately, the sunrises and sunsets still make all the good stuff much better than the occasional bad.

The Admiral

Boat Chores and Catching Up with Friends...

With two more days in Charleston it was time to make sure we were well provisioned for the next week and to spend time with friends. First the provisioning: our primary mode of transportation when on land is our feet and our bikes. With the grocery store 3 blocks away we chose to walk. Along our journey we pass a huge parking lot which holds the cargo that comes off big ships. In this case the cargo is usually imported cars. A boatful of Mini Coopers had recently arrived and we couldn’t help but take a photo for Jacquelyn, our niece and Mini fan back home.

With Pat on Cat Maudy we dined at AW Schucks, one of the local restaurants that is recommended and one we had not had the opportunity to try in the past. Dinner was great and spending time catching up with Pat even better.

We had time to spend time with John , Mary and Goliath on Marylee also. Not having seen them since they left for the Bahamas in February, we talked stories of our boat adventures, exchanged books and enjoyed dinner in.

While it would be great to stay and spend more time with friends, it is time to move on. We would be leaving Charleston in the morning.

The Admiral
11/12/09 - 11/13/09

Patriots Point...

The weather system created by Hurricane Ida continued her wrath. Skies remained overcast and the rain continued to pelt from above. It was cold and miserable.

Dad and I chose to go over the Patriots Point, Charleston’s Naval Museum as it was mostly indoors. Lucky for us it was Veteran’s Day and Vet’s and their guest were admitted for free. We even got a ride out to the dock to avoid the rain. We explored the WWII aircraft carrier going up and down levels to see the working and living areas of the ship. We viewed the historic aircraft on board. We even enjoyed the mess lunch on board where we went down to the mess hall and got in line to receive our meal on a stainless steel tray. Pretty cool.

Despite the weather, it was another great day touring Charleston.

The Admiral

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Fun and Hurricane Ida...

Mom and I had a great day touring several of Charleston’s historic homes. I have always been in awe walking the streets of Charleston at the size of many of the homes. Yet the reality is that once inside they aren’t that big. Especially when you consider that a large portion of the first floor would have been designated as office space for the man of the house.

After a day of walking I decided to kick back and read. I put on my pajamas, went below and crawled into our bunk. The winds had started to pick up and the rain had started to fall – all remnants of Hurricane Ida. A few minutes later I heard it – thump. I continued my reading then heard it again – thump. David was still in the salon so I asked him to take a look at what it might be. Moments later I heard David yell, “Joanne get up here.” So me in pjs and stocking feet raced up on deck to find David in a full wrestle with the bow line. With the hard winds the line had stretched and allowed the bow of the boat to move about 5 foot away from the dock. The only thing keeping us from running into our neighbor, a 48 foot Catalina, was the thumping I had heard which was the left hull stern striking the back of the dock.

In a panic I rushed 2 boats down and yelled for help from our friend John on Marylee. He came running up on deck in his boxers and bare feet. The three of us fought the wind to bring the bow back to the dock. We ended up having to use a line around a cement piling and a winch on board to bring the boat back in – it was damned windy! Once everything was under control the dock looked like Charlotte’s Web. We had run 5 additional lines from the bow and midship to the dock to secure the boat. We were going to make sure the boat was going nowhere!

Soaking wet from the rain, we helped John move Marylee back in her slip as she was at risk of her bow striking the dock.

It was an unbelievable evening. We returned to the boat, pulled off our soaked garments and had a cup of hot cocoa to take the edge off. There would be no early to bed tonight. The adrenaline rush from the event would keep us up for several more hours!

The Admiral

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Charleston Tea Plantation...

Our first stop on the Charleston tourist list this year was the Charleston Tea Plantation. With Mom and I being tea drinkers, it was natural for us to want to see the only working tea plantation in the United States. Tea making is an interesting process and prompts a lot of questions.

Tea is actually a bush. The leaves from the tops of the bushes are harvested every 1 ½ to two weeks to be used as tea leaves. We found it interesting that such a Small portion of the bush is used for making tea.

Once harvested, the plants go to the wilter where they rest until they loose about 20% of their moisture content. From there, the process changes based on if you are manufacturing black tea or green tea. (Yes, black tea and green tea are from the same plant.) If green tea is being made the leaves leave the wilter and are immediately crushed and made into tea. If black tea is being made, the leaves are allowed to oxidize for about an hour before they are crushed.

This is where many of our questions surfaced. We’ve all heard that green tea naturally has less caffeine and is more healthy than black tea. So if this is the case it must be the oxidation which allows for heightened caffeine and a fewer antioxidants. Right???

Well kinda. The reality is that green tea and black tea have about the same amount of caffeine. Green is slightly less but negligibly so. Now, I should note that the tea on the plantation is not processed as a decaf tea.

So what about those antioxidants and health benefits from the green tea over the black. Well, I suppose it is possible that during the oxidation process for the black tea that some of the antioxidants are lost, but the folks at the plantation indicate that there Is no documentation to suggest that green tea was healthier than black tea.


The Admiral

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Another Season Begins...

While most people would be upset with the passing of summer, I think Dave and I have actually looked forward to it. With our return to the boat, we’ve been as giddy as school children. Our smiles our broader. Our bodies, already, falling into that state of relaxation. All that, even with a ton of work to do in order to launch the boat! Go figure!!

Yet boat work went as well. With a wash and wax, Tropical Breeze’s hulls now shine again. The sails are up and the sheets run. Makeshift drain reducers have been installed on all the outlet drains in hopes of keeping out the occasional snake and minimizing wake forcing itself up the drains. The speedo/depth instrument which went out for repair is now back in place and working. And the list goes on and on.
We received a special request this year to better explain how things work on board. Our primary mode of transportation when we are at anchor is the dinghy. The dinghy sits on the back end (stern) of the boat and gets raised and lowered into the water using a pulley at the end of the mast boom. Attached are photos of the dinghy hanging from the mast boom as we are raising it for launch.

With the help of Miguel and Charlie, launch went without a hitch. The bilges are dry. The engines working properly. I almost hate to document our good fortune for fear it will jinx us.

We are now down river – back in Charleston. We were greeted at the Maritime Center by Jeff, Bob and many others who came in to help with lines during our evening arrival. We’ve barely left the launch ramp and already we’ve bumped into friends. Pat on ‘Cat Maudy’ is here. Friends John and Mary on Marylee are expected tomorrow. Yet boat friends are not the only people we will see while in Charleston. The Admiral’s Mom and Dad are also making an appearance. Stay tuned for more.

The Admiral

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Summer Recap...

Where did the time go? I know when we returned to Michigan for the summer Dave and I had great expectations of all the things we would get to see and do with our free time. We did a lot, but admittedly, in retrospect it seems like very little.

Our priority was spending quality time with family and friends. This included helping Dave’s parents with the rebuilding of their home which had, unfortunately, been destroyed by fire in February. We are happy to report that Mom and Dad moved into their new home in August and are settling in nicely.

When not with family and friends we found time to enjoy boating on the lake, kayaking the rivers and even took up golf for the fourth or fifth time. Once again we both failed miserably at the golf thing, but enjoyed our hacking enough that we will try again next year.

While we didn’t travel far from home often, we did make one trip south to work on the boat. Enroute we stopped at the Biltmore Estates to tour the mansion. We were both very impressed. So many of the old mansions you see in Europe have a few select rooms refurbished to their glory. With the Biltmore there are over 50 rooms to see, all restored to their original splendor.

Admittedly, during our time in the Midwest we did get homesick for the islands. While tropical islands were out of the question, we did drive north – yes north - to our most favorite island – Mackinac. We spent a fall color weekend their which included bicycling around the small island, fudge tasting and shopping. The fall weekend was a great close to our trip home before heading south.

The Admiral
Photo 1: The Captain Kayaking
Photo 2: The Biltmore Mansion
Photo 3: Bicycling Around Mackinac
Photo 4: The town of Mackinac Island