Thursday, February 28, 2008

Cruising the Eastern Caribbean

The evening of our last update, Todd and I went out to dinner at Billy's Stonecrab and Lobster with Cathy and her friend Linda. Although the food was good, the primary reason for going was to see "the Stickman," a local performer who plays there on Thursday evenings. I'm not sure what his instrument is called but it is something like a long, skinny guitar and he did a nice job singing and entertaining us for a few hours.

Cathy & The Stickman.

Cap'n Todd with his Valentine's Day harem.

Friday was spent packing and getting ready to leave for the cruise. We met the bus that took us to the Port of Miami about 6:30 a.m. Saturday morning and made it to Miami around 11:00. Rick & Peggy and Fred & Kim arrived later that afternoon and the ship left port about 5:00 p.m. The cruise itinerary took us to Half Moon Cay, a private island in the Bahamas; St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Nassau, also in the Bahamas; and back to Miami the following Saturday morning. These pictures are a good representation of our week at sea.

South Beach as we leave Miami Harbor on the cruise ship.

Rick & Peggy get ready for the evacuation drill!

Topside enjoying the morning sun.

Our curly-tailed friend on Half Moon Cay.

The beach at Half Moon Cay, unbelievably blue water.

Fred & Kim, Rick & Peggy, and Brenda stroll the sandy beach of Half Moon Cay.

Disco Queen Peggy shakes her booty on the beach!

The Honeymoon Couple, congrats again!

St Thomas Bay. Notice the helicopters on top of the first two yachts. The yacht in the foreground is "Tatoosh", one of the Top 150 Largest Private Yachts in the World.

"Tatoosh" at dusk.

San Juan, Puerto Rico. Looking north towards the Waterfront Fort, El Morro.

A beautiful Puerto Rican cemetery.

Stuck in the 60's in San Juan!

New Puerto Rican friends.

Downtown San Juan.

The view looking back at San Juan and El Morro.

Formal dinner back aboard the Triumph.

Our waiters June & Izzie celebrate the newlyweds.

The Bahamian Mailboat leaving Nassau Harbor, this boat services the remote outer islands.

The Straw Market in downtown Nassau.

The Honeycutts & the Lannings at Senor Frog's in Nassau!

Pirate Rick "Minnie Pearl" Honeycutt. "Ye be need'n to raise the mast and be polish'n the cannonballs." Arrrrrrrrr Matey!

We sadly said good-bye to our Demopolis friends and boarded the bus late Saturday morning for the return trip to St. Petersburg. Since this was our final weekend in St. Petersburg, Steve & Lisa came over to Cathy's Saturday evening to spend the night and left late Sunday morning. We have really enjoyed getting to know Steve & Lisa and are going to miss hanging out with them.

Pegging the "Fun-Meter" with Bloody Mary's!

Steve contemplates Sunday with Mr. Troll's company.

The past several days have been consumed with cleaning, laundry, shopping, etc., as we prepare to pull away from Cathy's dock. Todd's parents had planned to come over this afternoon but Todd is feeling a little under the weather so he asked them to wait another day in the hopes that he will feel better by tomorrow. If so, the plan is for Bill & Marilyn to drive over tomorrow from Orlando and we will begin the journey south to Ft. Myers Beach on Saturday.

It's going to be really hard (for me) to leave here but the Captain is more than ready to move on to the next port of call and whatever adventures await. We have really enjoyed our stay in St. Petersburg and are extremely grateful to Cathy for her friendship and hospitality. She is a truly wonderful person with a huge heart and caring soul; we are going to miss her tremendously. Thanks again for all you have done for us, you are an angel!!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

On the Boat in St. Petersburg

Since our last update we have been hanging at Cathy’s dock doing a variety of boat projects and chores, as well as helping Cathy with a few yard projects including spreading a dump truck load of mulch around her plants and shrubs and, of course, enjoying a little time pool side in the warm Florida sunshine.

As for boat projects, Todd noticed that the Cetol we painstakingly put on the teak on the bow this past November in Demopolis, after sanding the entire area down to bare wood, was already starting to look splotchy so he put a couple of coats on one section to see if it would remedy the problem and, ultimately, decided to redo all of it. So we lightly sanded the remaining sections this past Thursday and Todd applied a coat Monday and another one on Tuesday. The original plan was to apply one final coat over the entire area but Todd has since told me that he plans to put about three more coats on it. Whatever the case, I only hope it holds up better than it did last time or it will all be for naught!

Todd also contacted a local Coast Guard representative to come to the boat to perform a Vessel Safety Check for 2008 and then this past Wednesday we made a trip to the Clearwater/St. Pete airport to meet with Customs to pre-register for our return from the Bahamas in June. With the pre-registration taken care of, the plan is to be able to call Customs upon re-entry into the United States, give them our Boater Registration numbers (assigned by Customs) and whatever other information they require and not have to physically check in with them. If the nation has a heightened security risk at that time for some reason we may still have to physically check in, but we figured it was worth the effort to pre-register and hopefully just be able to call and get the required clearance.

The weekend of February 2nd was sunny, warm (almost hot) and beautiful so we spent some time lounging pool side. Steve & Lisa came by Saturday evening and we ended up staying up until 2:00 a.m. playing Catch Phrase. On Sunday we watched the New York Giants prevail over the New England Patriots as we stuffed ourselves on chicken wings, potato skins, fried mushrooms and onion rings from Beef O’Bradys.

Fred Winkler came by the following afternoon to help Todd adjust the valves on the starboard engine. We met Fred two years ago when he was the broker for the first boat we looked at in Florida. He is a diesel mechanic by trade so Todd invited him over to share his expertise while Todd did the adjustments. The port engine still needs to be done but Todd should be able to handle it on his own now that he knows what to do and how to do it.

The Captain working on the starboard engine in the "holy place."

On Tuesday we had lunch at a nice open air restaurant on St. Pete Beach with Dan & Laurie, a couple Todd has been corresponding with via e-mail about the Bahamas. They picked us up at Cathy’s house and we spent the next few hours discussing their travels in the Bahamas while enjoying an absolutely gorgeous day overlooking the Gulf at Blind Pass.

Dan & Laurie pose in front of "Life's2Short."

The generator repair guys that Todd had contacted about two weeks ago finally showed up on Friday to look into an overcharging issue we’ve been plagued with since June of 2006. This past fall one of the mechanics at Dog River Marina in Mobile sent us a copy of an Onan Service Bulletin describing what needed to be done so Todd got the sound shield pulled off and had everything ready, and in a matter of a few minutes the problem was solved. It’s amazing how something that had everyone baffled for so long could be remedied so easily!

Contrary to the forecast, Saturday turned out to be a cool, cloudy day so lounging pool side was not an option. As a result, I ended up spending the afternoon visiting with Cathy on her patio while Todd messed around on the boat. That evening I went with Cathy and her friends, Don and Patty, to the V.I.P. to celebrate Patty’s birthday. You may recall that we visited the V.I.P. with Cathy and Mike & Mary (“WhatDazeIt?”) in January, the evening before Mike & Mary started their journey south to the Marco Island area.

On Sunday we borrowed Cathy’s vehicle and met Steve & Lisa at Tampa Bay Downs to watch the horse races. It was a nice, if windy, sunny afternoon and we had a good time, even though we weren’t able to pick a winner no matter what strategy we applied. As an example, one race consisted of a total of eight horses. There were four of us so we each randomly picked a horse to "win, place or show" and amazingly enough, our four horses finished fifth through eighth! I mean, really, what are the odds?!!! You’d think at least one of us would come out with a horse in the money!

This is Lisa's lucky troll, or so we hoped when we rubbed his belly for luck. Unfortunately, that strategy didn't work either!

Monday consisted of more boat projects - they just never end! Cathy’s next door neighbor, Ted, helped Todd shape the piece of starboard he bought to repair the hole in the flybridge dash where the sonar monitor and control panel were mounted so he got that taken care of and then cleaned up the flybridge while I organized the front stateroom and cleaned the inside of the sundeck roof. We also put the dinghy back up on top of the sundeck after having taken it down on Thursday to make sure the engine would start.

Tuesday was cloudy again with strong to possibly severe storms forecast for Tuesday evening and into Wednesday, but other than some rain most of it bypassed the Tampa Bay area. As the cold front pushed through Wednesday afternoon, the weather turned much cooler with overnight lows in the low 40's; however, since our friends and family in Missouri are still dealing with the aftereffects of another nasty ice storm with bitterly cold temperatures, power outages and considerable tree damage, I guess we won’t complain!

Todd started his next project Tuesday afternoon by cleaning off and lightly sanding the sundeck so he could put a few coats of varnish on it. He applied the first coat Wednesday morning, but with the high humidity it didn't dry very quickly. Today's plan is to lightly sand it again today and apply another coat and to also apply more Cetol to the teak on the bow. Once all that is done, I'm hoping we will be able to spend a little time by the pool if it isn't too chilly.

The Captain diligently sanding the sundeck in preparation for the final coat of varnish.

A nice Valentine's Day surprise for the Admiral. How thoughtful of the Captain!

Our next update will likely be sometime during the last week of February as we finalize preparations to leave St. Petersburg and Todd’s parents, Bill & Marilyn, join us on the boat for a leisurely trip to Ft. Myers Beach. In the meantime, we have a date in the Eastern Caribbean with some friends from Demopolis, AL.

Please note that we will leaving for the Bahamas around April 1st and returning to the US around June 15th. During this timeframe we will have very limited Internet service and our cell phone rates will be over $2.00 per minute. Therefore, we ask that we only receive phone calls in case of an emergency or if you will be in our "neighborhood" and need to locate us. As for e-mail updates from the Bahamas, if you would like to receive these updates please send us an e-mail to and put "Want Updates" in the subject line. We will be sending a good friend periodic e-mails and have asked her to forward these on to those of you who have expressed an interest in receiving them. We also request that you limit your e-mails to us (i.e., no jokes, junk mail, videos, etc.) so that our mailbox does not get filled up with things we don't have time to look at. With the limited Internet access in the Bahamas we will try to update the blog as often as possible; however, deserted beaches, spearfishing, snorkeling, island hopping, and cocktails at sunset may prevent this from happening with any regularity!!!! :-)