Friends and family,
You last heard from us on October 6 when we had just returned to our friend Larry’s house near Atlanta. The household now includes Larry (nurse, works nights), Karen (HR clerk for the local fire department, works days), and Karen’s 18-year-old daughter, Alison (budding actress, works and studies odds hours). Consequently, there is almost always someone awake and someone asleep at any given time! It's a wonderful place to be and we are very grateful to our Stone Mountain family for always making us feel so welcome.
Steve gets up at dawn and starts the boat work. At 9:00 he hands Ginny a cup of coffee and says, “Hey Babes, here’s your coffee.” She mumbles a thanks and comes slowly to life (sometimes). Except for leisurely meal breaks we have worked full days every day getting our boat ready to cruise. Along the way Ginny’s cat, Thurston, unexpectedly passed away back in Seattle with Jenna, Ben, Carley and a giant bag of catnip at her side. Now our boat is named Thurston (just as Steve’s Squeak was named for a dear, departed cat.) in her memory and in hopes that her spirit will bring us good fortune in our travels.
This last boatyard stint has been three months (already?!). In Atlanta last spring we worked four months. Before that we worked in the junkyard in Tampa for three months. Ten months total, but she’s ready!
In this last session of boat work we have finished the aft stowage locker (“lazarette”) and rowing station, applied anti-fouling bottom paint, made cabin cushions, installed a solar panel and simple electrical system, and many smaller projects. We’ve packed utilizing every cubic inch (Ginny’s specialty). We have loaded up on charts, digital maps, ebooks and simpsons episodes aplenty. Now we even have a place to leave the truck and trailer, on a guy’s property near Fort Meyers. That’s about 2/3 of the way down the Florida peninsula on the Gulf of Mexico side.
Tomorrow we leave for Florida. We will stop by Fort Walton Beach to visit good 'ole Stephen, then drop off the boat at Pine Island and zip down to Key West to see Dan and Betty before they head back to Washington. After that we plan to cruise southern Florida, plus maybe Cuba, the Bahamas, the Yucatan, and/or Belize, until spring. Then we will probably return to Larry’s, refine Thurston based on live-aboard experience, return to Washington in the summer, then start our REAL voyage in the fall. At least that’s our best guess for now. We’re pretty sure Thurston will kick ass, and we look forward to finally doing a lot of swimming, rowing, sailing, wildlife-watching, etc.
Ginny’s got some funny pictures (a few below), so take a look! Our love to you all!
Steve and Ginny