2 Dec 06 (Bob)
Fly to USA - A day's drive from Cornwall, and we hopped the big
bird - US Air this time, for our return to the US after a 14-year
peregrination around the world. After a transfer in Charlotte,
and a return to the US highways in a mini-SUV (not so 'mini' after
driving in Europe) we arrived in Tallahassee for a stay with Denis,
Bob' son while we organize collection of Long Passages.
Crafty Weekend - But no rest for the
wicked; as soon as we arrived we were caught up in Denis and
Stephanie's activities - in this case a visit to Tallahassee Market
Days, a collection of some of the nicest crafts we have seen.
All media were on display; paintings, jewelry, clothing, wall
hangings, and much more - enough for a full day of walking!
9 Dec 06 (Bob)
Catch up with Denis - We enjoyed a few days with Denis and his
girlfriend Stephanie, unfortunately displacing him as he kindly gave
us the run of his house. It was enough time though to acquire
two telephones (and discover that our trusty GSM phones that had
served us so well in Asia and Europe were inadequate in the US). After
a short stay, it was time to drive to Fort Lauderdale to offload
Long Passages from her ship, due for arrival on the 9th and offload
on the 10th.
Shuttle Launch with Dee and Lee - In 2004
we had lent our Hymer motor-home to friends from the US, and they
lived in Titusville, Florida; on the Indian River with a clear view
of Launch Complex 39B and a Space Shuttle launch was scheduled as we
passed through the area. Lee and Dee kindly invited us to stay
a couple of nights, and take in a launch in the bargain and we were
thrilled! The visit was a lot of fun; we exchanged war stories
from the cruising life, enjoyed Christmas cheer, and watched the
countdown - which unfortunately went into a terminal hold at T-5
minutes as clouds caused a launch abort. (reportedly it was a
beautiful sight when it launched two days later).
16 Dec 06 (Bob)
Offload Long Passages -
0730 we showed up at MV Explorer to accept Long Passages and move
her to a marina while we attend to a few items. The day went
something like this:
- Up early to leave our car at a marina and
take a taxi to Pier 5, Port Everglades.
- Boarding the ship on schedule at 0730.
- We were allowed on board to start getting
- Paperwork was quick, although US Customs
never showed after waiting for them for an hour.
- They flooded the deck and Long Passages
floated free of her supports; divers entered ship to remove all
- Wind was blowing 15-20 in the harbor, and
when the captain opened the ship's rear doors chop from the
harbor started to bang the boats around and they had to close
the doors quickly.
- At about 0930 we got permission to start our
engines and shortly we were out in the harbor, mingling with the
26 motor and sail boats waiting to board the Explorer for their
trip to the tropics - taking the easy way to the Caribbean.
- We had selected Lauderdale Marine Center as
our marina, and had a minor crisis getting organized since the
computer connections were messed up, and we had not realized how
many draw bridges we would have to duck under on our 2 mile trip
up the New River. But it was a very pretty trip and by
1045 we were berthed at the marina, ready for our next
Check the summary of our
experience with Dockwise Yacht Transport
First Showing -
Three days after we
offloaded Long Passages we had our first visitor, a friendly couple
from the Midwest who are shopping for an offshore yacht. The
showing went well but it is still early days. We then hauled
her for a bottom painting and a few other items.
Denis' Graduation from FSU - The highlight
of the week came late in the week as Denis graduated from Florida
State University with a Bachelor of Science in Information
Technology. We are very proud of him and know it was a hard
journey, which he intends to continue as he pursues his Master's at
the same college.
23 Dec 06 (Bob)
Final Christmas Shopping - In our first Christmas season back in
the US, we joined the crowds at the mall and tried to do our bit for
the economy, wandering though stores overflowing with 'stuff'.
We wrote our yearly newsletter and put a small blip on the internet
traffic as we added our contribution to the millions of seasons
greetings flying through the ether.
Candidates listen patiently...
...as Denis glances at his audience...
...TV monitor captures the diploma handover...
...and graduates smile after the ceremony...
...and the proud parents follow with private congratulations.
30 Dec 06 (Bob)
- Christmas Eve was great;
had dinner and opened presents at Denis' house under the glow of his
tree - festooned with a classy mix of red globes and white lights in
the company of his cat, Alley. His girlfriend, aunt, and
mother stopped by a various times to share in the experience.
The next day we all had a real Christmas Day at his girlfriend's
mother's house - lots of dishes of food and many more presents to
open. It was a very warm and friendly day, topped off by a
long walk through the neighborhood to walk off some of the stuffing
and gawk at Christmas decorations.
Return to Fort Lauderdale - And then it was
time to return to Long Passages to wrap up a few projects and watch
fireworks on New Year's Eve. On the way south we stopped to visit
our very good friends Nancy and Dave who left for the Caribbean the
same week we did way back in 1992 - it was great to see them in
their waterfront house in Melbourne.