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

March 31, 2012

Mar. 30 - Great Bridge, VA

Day With Friends
Atlantic Yacht Basin

This morning Stan started repairing a soft spot on the aft deck. It will take about five days to complete the process. The area needs to stay dry, so we will stay in the shed (barn) until sometime next week. We are both ready to move out into the daylight...it's very dreary in here and without the sun to warm the boat, the cabin is very chilly. We finally turned on the heat last night to take the chill out of the cabin.

Our friends Julie and Jim Bertch are in town working on their boat and finalizing plans for the MTOA Fall Rendezvous, which will be held in Portsmouth in September. Jim and Julie are co-chairmen for the event with Rick and Pat Daniels. The six of us drove to Virginia Beach for lunch, to sample Beach Bully BBQ, one of the caterers for the Rendezvous. We sampled pork, brisket, chicken and all their sides…it was very good BBQ, I’m sure everyone will enjoy the meals they cater. It was nice to take a break today from our work and we enjoyed visiting with other cruisers.

March 29, 2012

Mar. 28 - Great Bridge, VA

On The Hard
Atlantic Yacht Basin

Last night was a very cold night here in Virginia and we woke up this morning to a very cold cabin, 45 degrees to be exact! Since we are up on blocks (on the hard) our air conditioner/heater doesn't work, it has to have water to run. We had lots of extra blankets on the bed last night. There really wasn't any hurry to get out of bed this morning...I could hear the work going on below me and there wasn't anything I needed to do. I made coffee and stayed under the covers till around 10:00. The rest of our day was spent watching the work on our boat progress, wandering around the boat yard and visiting other people...occasionally there were a few boats going by in the river to entertain us. They finished the bottom late this afternoon and will put us back in the water tomorrow morning.

The view of the river from the marina
Watching the work go on
New paint...looks nice

March 28, 2012

Mar. 27 - Great Bridge, VA

Haul Out
Atlantic Yacht Basin

The main activity today was having the boat hauled out. We wanted the bottom cleaned and painted. It’s been two years since we had her painted and it still looked great. Lots of dirt from sitting at a slip for six months, but the paint was in good shape. The yard pressured washed the bottom and set her up on blocks where they will sand and paint the hull.

I’ve seen the boat hauled out four times now…including the survey and it’s still very impressive to me. It really is something to see a big boat taken out of the water. Boat yards move these boats around like little toys…no big thing to them.

Moving The Pearl into postion to be hauled out
Pressure washing
Moving her into her spot...next to some very large boat.
Home sweet home

March 27, 2012

Mar. 26 - Great Bridge, VA

Time for a Break
Atlantic Yacht Basin

We’ve been working very hard on boat projects, so after I put a second coat of paint on the non-skid, we took the rest of the day off. Actually with so much of the deck wet there wasn't a lot that we could do. We decided to drive over to Virginia Beach. It's your typical beach town...city actually. It has all the usual beach shops, hotels, candy shops and little places to eat. They have a nice boardwalk along the beach, a safe way to ride bikes or walk the length of the beach. The weather today was sunny, but a little cool and breezy so we didn't get to spend much time walking on the beach. It was nice to get out and see the area.

Our same little morning visitor...we heard from marina help today that a goose has a nest in the bimini of a boat just down from ours.
The whole beach area in Virginia Beach is lined with hotels or houses
Part of the Oceanfront Bike Path
The Atlantic Ocean - todays water temperature was 49 degrees.  Brrrr
Old Coast Guide Station Museum - this structure was built in 1903 to replace the original Life-Saving Station that was built in 1878
 A Statue of King Neptune at Neptune's Park

March 25, 2012

Mar. 25 - Great Bridge, VA

Spring Time

One of the things I miss the most about not being in Texas this time of year is seeing the beautiful wildflowers, especially the bluebonnets. This is the second year we've left Texas in March. Last year we missed the flowers completely. This year with the warm winter and abundant rainfall, the flowers arrived early. So we did get to see a few fields ablaze with color on our way to San Antonio last week for our son and daughter in-law's Match Day celebration. Match Day is where all 4th year medical students (in the country) find out where they will do their residencies. Kyle and Bryt matched at Scott and White in Temple, Texas...Kyle in Emergency Medicine and Bryt in OB/GYN. We had a wonderful day celebrating with family and friends. We're very proud of their hard work and honored to have been part of their special day.

Spring was in full bloom in Texas when we left...it is just getting started here in Virginia. The pine trees are dropping pollen like crazy and the other trees are just beginning to bud out. I guess we're lucky; we get to see the arrival of spring twice this year.

Just part of Kyle & Byrt's family and friends that were at Match Day to help them celebrate.
Announcing to the group where they had been accepted...Scott and White was their first choice.
Nothing represents Texas better than bluebonnets and the long horn.
Looking at the wildflowers in Texas in the spring is like going to New England in the fall to see the changing colors of the leaves. People from all over come to Texas in the spring to enjoy the beautiful flowers and our great weather.
My niece Kelley shared some of her bluebonnet pictures with me. She is a photographer in the Austin area...check out her website.

March 24, 2012

Mar. 24 – Great Bridge, VA

Atlantic Yacht Basin

We’ve spent the last two days painting…inside and out! I have been working on the non-skid areas on the deck and Stan has been painting lots of things in the engine room. Our engine room is pretty small, as you can see from the picture below, so Stan has been busy painting all surfaces he can white. That way it will look brighter and cleaner…at least for a while.

Stan has also been getting a lot of other work done in the engine room, like adding a charcoal filter to the holding tank, rubber engine mounts for the generator, replaced wood near the fuel tanks and reinstalled the macerator. Boat projects are never ending.

Nothing but work at the moment, even cooking on board. We feel like we are getting a lot accomplished, so maybe we can take a play day soon!

Our little piece of the barn!
As you can see a lot of work is going on here
Stan taking a stretching break from his engine room. You have to be very flexible to work in there.
Non skid taped off and ready for paint.
Close up of the finished product

March 23, 2012

Mar. 22 – Great Bridge, VA

We Have Water
Atlantic Yacht Basin

We had two projects we wanted to accomplish today, first install the new hot water heater and second flush the antifreeze out of the water lines. The showers at the marina are terrible they hardly even qualify as showers, so we really wanted to get things working on the boat today. While Stan worked on our water issues, I cleaned the stateroom and v-birth. I wiped down all the walls, mopped the floors and vacuumed the rugs. Later I washed the boat…something that we’ll be doing a lot of the next few weeks. I accomplished washing away six months of dirt, but the pollen was landing faster than I could rinse it off! Twenty-four hours on the boat and things are beginning to feel more like home.

One of our morning visitors
Can you see the pollen in the air...there's a yellow haze everywhere

March 22, 2012

Mar. 21 - Great Bridge, VA

Back To The Boat
Atlantic Yacht Basin

We have driven to or from the east coast six times since last June...not to the exact spot each time, but close enough to become very familiar with a lot of the towns and roads along the way. This trip was 1391 miles and we were very happy and excited when we arrived at Atlantic Yacht Basin around one o'clock. This is the longest we have left the boat since we bought her two years ago. We were a little anxious to find out how things faired while we were away. We were both surprised at how well everything looked. A little dirty, but nowhere near as dirty as I thought it was going to be. She was covered with a thick layer of pine pollen, which seems to be everywhere. The pollen is so thick at the moment you can see it floating in the air...almost like a yellow fog. I'm sure we will be rinsing the boat off daily for the next few weeks.

We stopped at a cute local spot called Grayon and Emma's Garden Spot for lunch. It's located about 30 miles from the boat in Courtland, VA. It's basically a shop that sells fresh Virginia produce, gardening supplies and gifts, but they also make homemade soups, sandwiches and desserts from local ingredients. It was a great little find.

The marina moved our boat to a newer shed, with a little more light, better piers and more electricity. Since the boat is still winterized they used a little boat to tow her to her new location. Once everything was secure, we began unloading all the "stuff" we brought with us. It's amazing how much storage this boat has...it didn't take long to get everything stowed away. While I took care of putting things away, Stan replaced our old holding tank with a new one...one project off the list. We had a storm come through this evening with quite a bit of rain, hopefully that will wash away some of the pollen. It was a long day, but it feels nice to be on board.

Grayson and Emma's Garden Spot - wish I would have gotten a picture of the outside of the store...very cute.
Nice local place for lunch
Winter home of The Pearl
Getting a tow to her new slip
New home...for a few weeks

March 8, 2012

Mar. 8 - Plans

I'm really not sure why boaters make plans...they always seem to change. In my blog entry yesterday I mentioned that boating plans can change from day to day...little did I realize they would change less than two hours after I posted the blog. Our youngest son Eric and his wife Courtney will bless us with our first grandchild on July 9. A granddaughter to be exact. Our original plan was to be in Canada by then...Canada is an awful long way from south Texas! We may have to rethink our cruising plans so we can fly home a little easier. I won't even attempt to state our plans now, not that we have any. We have found in the past it's really better to plan day to day or week to week...not month to month. So all we know for certain is we'll leave in a few weeks and return to the boat, we'll be in San Antonio on May 27 for Kyle and Bryt's graduation and we will be home on July 9 for the arrival of our newest addition to the family. Stay tuned for more updates...I'm sure we'll fit a little cruising in somewhere! Life's little blessings come when you least expect them and this is one we've looked forward to for years.

Baby Marshall (Princess Marshall)

March 7, 2012

Mar. 7 – Port Lavaca, TX

One year ago today we left Port Lavaca and started our adventure...two weeks from today we should be back on the boat in Virginia. We're both ready to return, anxious to get things ready for the next leg of our journey. We've enjoyed our time at home, catching up with friends and especially spending time with family. Being gone has really made us appreciate the time we get to spend with our loved ones. We miss everyone so much when we're gone and being so far away from them will be the hardest part about going back.

Our cruising plans for this year will begin by spending the first month or so on the boat in Great Bridge, Virginia...doing boat projects, provisioning and maybe a little sighting seeing. We will spend May cruising around the Chesapeake, checking out a few new places and revisiting a few of our favorite spots from last year. We will return to Texas the end of May to be with family while celebrating our son and daughter in-law's graduation from Medical School. When we return to the boat after Memorial Day we will head north to New York and spend the summer exploring the Hudson River, the Erie Canal, the Rideau Canal, Ottawa, Montreal, the Richelieu Canal and Lake Champlain. In late August or early September we will head south...exactly where and how far south will depend on what we decide we want to do next year. Of course these are just plans and when you're boating plans seem to change from day to day, depending on unseen circumstances. Wherever our journey takes us this year...we're ready for it to begin.

Leaving Nautical Landings in Port Lavaca last March