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

December 28, 2012

Christmas Presents

It’s amazing the kind of gifts that excite you when you live on a boat. Before we bought a boat and started cruising, I received the normal Christmas gifts…jewelry, perfume, lingerie and an array of things for the house. A few Christmases ago…before we started our incredible adventure; I received binoculars and an inflatable life jacket. My friends were not impressed! The binoculars have been used everyday…luckily I haven’t needed the life jacket. This Christmas we both received items that we will make cruising a little safer and easier and happy hour a little happier.

One thing I haven’t liked about living aboard was the lack of ice. We have a small freezer and there has never been room for more than one ice tray…well there’s room for more than one tray, but we do need to have room for food too. You can’t live on margaritas alone!  Santa (Stan) brought me a portable icemaker…I’m so excited. Life will be better this summer…I’m from the south and I love LOTS of ice in my drinks. Ice tea isn’t ice tea with out a lot of ice!

Stan’s big gift is a new radar with multi-function-display (chartplotter, depthsounder, etc.), The Pearl came with an old radar that we used a few time…mostly just to see if it would work if we needed it, and it did fine until this fall. About the time we decided we wanted to go to Maine next summer the radar quit working…I guess it didn’t want to be responsible for our safety on that trip! Stan’s new toy is on order and he will install it when we return to the boat…I’ll do a post on that when it we get back to Charleston.

The beautiful new addition to our boat.
Wonderful ice in just minutes...I love it!
Another gift we received for the boat is an antique anchor lamp. Although it's in prefect working condition...I think it'll stay in the salon as a decoration. What a great conversation piece.

December 20, 2012

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from Texas and the crew of The Pearl. 2012 was a great cruising season for us. We enjoyed spending part of the season cruising with friends and made a lot more along the way. We enjoyed the spring working on boat projects at Atlantic Yacht Basin in Great Bridge, VA and rediscovering some of our favorite places in the Chesapeake. After Memorial Day we headed up the east coast and spent the summer exploring New York, the Erie Canal, Lake Ontario, the Thousand Islands, the Rideau Canal, Ottawa, Montreal, the Richelieu and Lake Champlain. This part of the country is amazingly beautiful and we fell in love with upstate New York. The sights and the weather couldn’t have been better. We have a lot of people who spend winter in our area of Texas…we call them “Winter Texans”…we have become “Summer Yankees”, and love it. There just isn’t a better place to be when the heat moves into the south. We finished our cruising season by enjoying September in Baltimore catching up with friends and sampling some of the great restaurants (and taverns) it has to offer.

The Pearl is docked in Charleston, SC for the winter and we plan to spend time there in February and March…doing a little exploring and a few projects on the boat. We’re not sure when we’ll move the boat back to the Chesapeake…but we will. Our plan does include spending Easter in Texas enjoying family and the wonderful spring weather. Our summer cruising plan is to explore New England…everything from Long Island Sound to Bar Harbor. Stay turned blog followers for more adventures in 2013.  

November 19, 2012

Nov. 19 – Building a Boat

From my experience a man can never have too many tools or BOATS! We have a large shop full of every tool imaginable...at least from my point of view. Stan enjoys woodworking and can make just about anything out of wood. In fact he can figure out how to make or fix anything, he even built our home almost 30 years ago. Now with Google and YouTube it's even easier.

Stan has always wanted to build a boat, he's had plans for a Jon Boat for years...probably decades. Our shop is full of scrap wood and almost everything else needed to build a boat, plus he needs a project to keep him busy while we're not cruising. Stan also loves to fish and enjoys going in his Hobie kayak, but when the weather gets cold it's not as enjoyable. It's hard not to get a little wet in a kayak…this boat will give him another option.

Here are a few pictures of the project so far. He plans to use the outboard we have on the sailboat, which has a long shaft. So Stan had to make a few modifications to the transom so it can accommodate the motor. The only supplies he needed to buy were a few sheets of marine plywood, Glidden Polyurethane paint and extra screws. I'll post more photos when the project is complete.

November 4, 2012

Nov. 2 - Lavaca Bay

Lavaca Bay and the smaller bays and bayous around Port Lavaca are where our love for boating began. For Stan it was small fishing boats in the beginning...anything to get him out on the water by his home. As a grade schooler he would set trotlines before going to school. As Stan grew up, his love for the water and fishing grew. I’ve always enjoyed skiing and sailing...my love of the water actually includes being in the water, not just on it. Through the years we've owned countless numbers of fishing boats, a Sunfish, a floundering boat, a Hobie Cat, and several larger sailboats. At the moment besides our wonderful "Pearl", we own two kayaks and a 25' trailerable Venture sailboat, Wild Wind. Sailing, in fact, is where our love for each other began; we met sailing at our local beach and spent every free moment we had sailing the first summer. It's been years since we've taken the sailboat out, but today we came back to our roots and enjoyed a perfect day on the water sailing. The Wild Wind will be keep us entertained and on the water this winter until we return to The Pearl.

Stan making sure all the rigging was in working condition before we went sailing
A perfect day on the water
Captain Stan
Wild Wind at anchor
Some of the treasures we found today...no arrowheads today.

November 2, 2012

"Rockport, TX"

October 31, 2012

"Powderhorn Lake"
Indianola, Texas

October 29, 2012

"Chesapeake City, MD"

October 28, 2012

Oct. 28 – Miss Liberty

Happy 126th Anniversary Miss Liberty! Definitely one of the highlights of our trip this summer was the sight of the Statue of Liberty standing tall in the harbor and being able to anchor just behind her in Liberty Park. Not too many people get to sit on the deck of their boat and have such an amazing view…it’s a memory we will enjoy for years to come. Miss Liberty was closed to the public last October so renovations could be made to the interior. Today the crown reopens for the public to enjoy…if you can get a ticket!
"Miss Liberty"
June 2012

October 27, 2012

"St. Augustine, FL"
May 2011

October 26, 2012

"Waterford, NY"
September 2012

October 25, 2012

"Cape May Lighthouse"
September 2012

October 24, 2012

"Saugerties Lighthouse"
The Hudson River 2012

October 21, 2012

Oct. 21 – Adjusting to Life on Land

There’s always an adjustment period when we leave the boat and move back into our home. It’s nice to have more room, I enjoy my larger tub, the convenience of the car and we definitely like relaxing in our lounge chairs. Everyone asks and I guess they think we sleep better at home in our own beds…well the beds on the boat ARE our own beds too, and we actually sleep much better on them. This summer we slept with the windows open most nights, with a cool breeze blowing through the cabin. The only nights we closed the windows were the nights that were too cold to have them open. The fresh air and the gentle rocking of the boat make sleeping very easy. I truly miss those two things.

Catching up with family and friends is the best part of being home; it's what we miss the most about being on the boat. We stay in touch daily with everyone, but hugs and kisses are a little hard to email! Stan loves to fish, so being on the coast in Texas in the fall is a great time of year. Stan plans to spend as much time as possible in his kayak fishing on the bay...but first, things around the house have to be done. There are seven months of little chores and maintenance projects to catch up on. We work as quickly as possible to get these things done, so we have time to have fun. We also have all winter to plan our next adventure.

2012 Travel Stats 2011 Travel Stats
2678 Miles traveled   3987 Miles traveled
808 Gallons of diesel purchased 1085 Gallons of diesel purchased
379 Engine hours 566 Engine hours
209 Days on board 211 Days on board
68 Days of travel 96 Days of travel
10 States or provinces 13 States visited
55 Towns visited 71 Towns visited
106 Locks traversed 8 Locks traversed
121 Days at a marina 146 Days at a marina
46 Nights at a dock 11 Nights at a dock
30 Nights at anchor 48 Nights at anchor
10 Nights on a mooring ball 4 Nights on a mooring ball
2 Days on the hard 2 Days on the hard

Some of our neighbors are very...very large, but they will move south when hurricane season is over.
She looks a little sad...all closed up for the winter