"The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in
its net of wonder forever."—Jacques Cousteau

December 15, 2010

Bathroom Improvements

It’s amazing what a difference a little paint can make. We have been thinking of what we could do with the ugly gold vinyl in the shower since we bought the boat in March. We did a lot of research on different options…all seemed like a lot of work. Then it came to us…paint! I love paint. First we used a multi purpose latex primer from Sherwin Williams and then an Interlux Bright Side polyurethane paint for the top coat. Time will tell how it holds up, but anything will be better than what we had.

We have also replaced the wooden bathroom fixtures, they were very bulky, old and in my opinion “nasty”. We are looking for a curved shower rod that will give us a little more space in the shower. Little things that will make it feel more like home.

Before

After

December 6, 2010

Let the Adventure Begin

We are one step closer to the beginning of our adventure…I gave notice at work today!  We haven’t set a departure date, but I will be free to go anytime after January 15, 2011.

We still have a lot of work to do to provision the boat and close up our house, but we are getting closer.

November 1, 2010

Oct. 24-27 - AGLCA Rendezvous

The AGLCA Fall Rendezvous was held at Joe Wheeler State Park in northern Alabama. AGLCA is a group of people with the same idea of adventure and love for boating. The rendezvous consisted of guest speakers addressing ports of call, crossing the Gulf, boating safety and other information about the loop from here, around Florida and up the coast to Norfolk, Virginia where the Spring Rendezvous will be held.

Besides the seminars there were kayak races, a life boat drill, cocktail parties and Looper Crawls. During the Looper Crawls we were able to visit boats at the rendezvous and see how they live aboard. It was a good chance to get a few new ideas.

We left Port Lavaca on Saturday October 23 and drove to Little Rock, Arkansas and then on to Rogersville, Alabama on Sunday. The Rendezvous started at 4:00 with registration, happy hour and then dinner. We enjoyed meeting new friends and learning more about the Great Loop. The weather was wonderful most of the week (besides the day we had tornado warnings in the area) and we enjoyed the fall colors we don’t see in the part of the country.

Joe Wheeler Lodge
 Looper boats at the Rendezvous
 The view from our balcony
 The start of Stan's race
The rendezvous was over Wednesday night and we drove to Memphis on Thursday. We took in a few sites, but mostly we enjoyed our room at The Peabody Hotel. Watching the ducks march out of the fountain, down the red carpet and into the elevator was very entertaining.

Memphis skyline
 The Mississippi River
Rolling out the red carpet for the duck march
 Leading the ducks to the elevator
You can see more photos from the Rendezvous here.

October 17, 2010

Oct. 16 – Powderhorn Lake

Another beautiful fall day, so we decide to take the boat down to Powderhorn Lake. We anchored off shore and kayaked into Indianola Fishing Center for lunch. As you can see from the picture…we were quite a ways out…almost a mile! We sat on the deck, had lunch and enjoyed the view. After lunch we kayaked around part of the lake and out a little cut to the beach. Stan fished a little and I beach combed.

 Indianola Fishing Center
 View of the boat on the way back
After our work out we came back to the boat…I scrubbed the scum off the bottom of the boat and Stan went under and check the prop and shaft. This was probably the last time it will be warm enough to get in the water. Then it was time to relax!

We fixed pizza on the grill for dinner, watched the sun set and then headed home.

October 11, 2010

Oct. 6-10 - Rockport Seafair

Wednesday October 6 – We planned on spending the weekend in Rockport and attending the annual Seafair. The plan was to take the boat down on Friday and be there before it started, but the Rockport Harbor doesn’t take reservations…first come first serve. So Stan decided to take the boat down on Wednesday while I was at work. I drove down after work and spent the night on the boat. We were docked right across from the event grounds. We were in the middle of all the celebration. We spent the evening sitting on the deck, visiting with other boaters and listening to the music coming from across the street. The weather couldn’t be better.

Stan Arriving in Rockport
Thursday October 7 – I had to be at work for a United Way fund raiser we were having…would have loved to have the day off. While I was at work Stan enjoyed the day walking around the harbor and riding his bike around town. He spent some time talking to a lady that runs one of the bait shops on the harbor…she was picking crab. Stan bought a container of crab and made crab cakes for dinner. What a wonderful treat.

I had Daddy take me down to Rockport after work so we didn’t have to worry about getting our car later. We rode our bikes, visited with some people we had met here last spring, took a walk and enjoyed drinks on the deck. What a good way to spend the evening.

Friday October 8 – We had a slow morning…watched the sun come up, drank coffee, started stew in the crock pot and visited with people as they past by the boat. It was great having the bikes to use. We spent time riding around the harbor, Rockport City Beach and even ran to Wal-Mart to pick up a few things.

We went to the Texas Maritime Museum in the afternoon…nice little museum. We had a great view of the harbor and Seafair grounds from the third floor observation deck.

Lots of boats have come in for Seafair and to enjoy the beautiful weather. We were invited for a cocktail party on the “Chekara” and met a lot of nice boaters. After drinks and dinner we went to Seafair…looked at a lot of nice arts and crafts booths and listened to the music for awhile. It’s been a wonderful day. If this is what the cruising life is all about…we are ready to go!

Sunrise view from the boat
"Rites of Spring" sculpture at Rockport Center for the Arts
The Pearl in Rockport Harbor
View of Seafair from our boat
Saturday October 9 – We had another great morning. I really enjoy waking up on the boat. We went back to Seafair as soon as they opened…it was a little hard to look at the booths in the dark. We picked up a few things and had fun visiting with the venders. Then we went back to the boat to drop things off. It was nice being able to go back and forth to the boat. We had lunch at Seafair while enjoying the music

Marshall and Tuitti invited us to their boat "Sea Eagle" for dinner, so we rode back to HEB to pick up a few things I needed to make an appetizer. It was fun to see their boat and we really enjoyed the visit. Later in the evening we visited with Fred and Karen on their boat “Karen Ann”. A very nice couple from Freeport. It was fun meeting other boater and seeing their boats.

Views of Rockport Harbor and Seafair from the Texas Maritime Museum
 Crab Races at Seafair
Sunday October 10 – We pulled out of the slip at 7:30 and had an uneventful trip home. I had fun watching the dolphins play in front of the boat. Stan enjoyed using the auto pilot, it gave him a little time to relax and move around the boat. We arrived back at Nautical Landing at 3:56. Back to the real world!

Leaving Rockport Harbor

October 2, 2010

Sept. 29-30 - Trip to Palacios

Fall weather has arrived and it is wonderful. Since the weather was so great…blue sky, lower temperatures and no wind, we decided to take a trip up the coast to Palacios. We left the marina at 9:15 and arrived in Palacios around 1:00. It was a perfect day to be on the water. The best part of the trip was watching the dolphins play in front of the boat. The water was pretty clear and I could see them having a great time out running the boat. They can swim a lot faster than our boat can move! At one point I could see three. I love watching them play.

We docked at Serendipity Bay Resort. Their facility is very clean and everyone was friendly. Most of the boats in the marina are sailboats and the piers seemed a little small, but we had no problem tying up. We spent the afternoon wondering around the water front and having a late lunch at PMR (Palacios Mexican Restaurant). We spent the evening relaxing and talking to a few other boaters. It was a great way to spend a beautiful fall day.

Our trip back to Port Lavaca was just as nice. What a wonderful experience after a long hot summer.

Dolphins playing in front of the boat
My first attempt at adding a video to the blog.
  video
Coming into Serendipity Bay Resort
Views of Palacios water front
The Pearl at Serendipity
Serendipity Bay Resort
Views in the harbor
 Sunrise view from the fly bridge


September 28, 2010

Family Celebration

What a great weekend, we celebrated Stan’s Mother’s 80th birthday with family, food and lots of fun.  Only half the family was able to attend, but we had fun watching the kids play in the pool, reminiscing, looking at old photos and eating.  It was nice to catch up with everyone, but we missed the ones that weren’t able to make it.

After the party we took my famous margaritas and fixing for pizza and spent the evening on the boat with Kyle and Brytanie.  We anchored off of Alamo Beach and enjoyed our margaritas and watched the sunset.  We fixed the pizza on the grill using our pizza stone…fantastic pizzas!  We are getting to be expert pizza chefs.

Brytanie and Kyle

September 8, 2010

Labor Day Weekend

Boating plans are subject to change…when the weather changes, plans change.  The forecast for Labor Day weekend sounded great…in reality it was wet and windy.

We had family staying at Magnolia Beach so we planned on taking the boat down, spending the day and then anchoring out near Sand Point for the night.  That was the plan.  Mother Nature had plans of her own.  The day started out beautiful and we headed to Magnolia Beach around noon.  It was a nice run down the channel, sunshine, birds, boats and dolphins.  We anchored off shore and kayaked in to enjoy time with family.

We played in the water, visited with family, started dinner…and then the sky turned dark and the wind picked up.  By the time we headed back to the boat the wind and waves were too strong for me to make it out that far.  I had to turn back; luckily Stan made it to the boat.  The winds were somewhere around 40-45 MPH, the bay was very rough and the rain came down hard.  Stan was able to get the motor started and keep her from washing ashore, but he wasn’t able to get the anchor up until he moved further out in the bay.  All he could do in the beginning was drag the anchor and try to keep the line out of the prop.  All I could do was watch from shore and wish I were on board to help out.

Once Stan had the chance to pull up the anchor he headed back to the marina.  Kenneth took me back to town so I could meet the boat and Eric came down to help with what ever we might need.   Our boat did well in the storm and everything came through great…a good learning experience.  (I could truly do without this type of learning experience.)

When the boat was squared away and safely tied into her slip we went back to the beach for dinner.  Not the relaxing evening we had planned…but plans change when you are on a boat.

Early Afternoon...beautiful weather
Before the storm....wish I had a picture during the storm!
Sunday was still very windy and the bay was very rough so we took the car to the beach.  We had enough boating excitement on Saturday.  Magnolia Beach doesn't usually have waves rolling ashore.  The wind made it very hard to enjoy any outside activities for the grown ups, but the kids loved the waves.  Monday it rained all day so we stayed home and enjoyed watching TV and reading.

August 30, 2010

Table Project

The table in the saloon was rectangular causing problems when sliding around the settee and making movement in the cabin limited when it was open all the way. The last few months we haven’t used the table…it was just more trouble than it was worth. We’ve been trying to come up with a solution, thinking of all kinds of things we could do to replace the table so it would still be functional and take up less space. Last weekend it finally came to us…make it oval. Stan removed the corners so we can slide in and out of the settee easier and it helps the flow around the table when it is open. Sometimes the easiest solutions are the best.

August 13, 2010

The Birth of a Dinghy

Our boat came with a dinghy, a cute dinghy, but it was not a very usable dinghy. So Stan did a little research and decided the size, shape and type he wanted to use on The Pearl. We needed a roomy stable dinghy we could use to explore, fish and travel safely in. What he liked was a small fishing boat with a 4’ wide tri-hull bottom. We are always looking for a good deal and that is exactly what Stan found on Craig’s List. It had the type bottom he was looking for…it was too long and in very bad shape, but the fiberglass shell was still usable. It was cheap and had potential.

Stan brought it home (actually the kid selling it delivered it to our house) and completely gutted the inside and cut 3 ½ feet off the stern. He replaced the transom, floor, and small deck on the bow, then fiber glassed the interior and had his cousin, who runs Marshall Marine, spray it with gelcoat. Sounds easy…doesn’t it? Between the heat and the fiberglass, it was quiet a job. Stan still wants to sand and gelcoat the exterior. It is hard to believe it is the same boat! The biggest and more frustrating job maybe yet to come….getting it registered with The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. They don’t make it easy.

The original dinghy could be sailed, rowed or have a small motor attached.  Very cute...very tipsy!

The new dinghy before                                                                      After the work began