2017-06-17 So Many BIG Things Happening…

This is young lady is my friend Jacks daughter Christina. She is one of two young people that I held as babies and celebrated their college graduations. Christina I am so very proud of you! (She sure wears that Magnolia Cap well too!)

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One of the earliest….

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Christina’s graduation present was a week on the Outer Banks with her friends. It was great fun spending time with these young people.

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At the beach house….

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Its kinda cool when friends are friends for decades and not just a couple decades either!!!

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A couple of guys who need something to keep them busy were gifted with a wasp infestation. It was man against bug, in the end there were no prisoners….

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That other young person is Jacks other daughter Caitlin. Unbeknown us, Andrew (her BF) was going to pop “the question” this same week!  What a wonderful surprise!

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It was a wonderful surprise and appropriately celebrated!!!

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A truly wonderful couple and Andrew you is going to be a great addition to the Tennar Clan.

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A very handsome family, and the best friends anyone could ask for. Blessed to have them all in our lives.

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If that was not enough big news…Annette and I have been been aboard Magnolia for the last 4 years full time making 3 trips to the Bahamas, 1 trip to west coast of FL and 2 to Maine covering about 25,000 miles.

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We have been thinking about expanding our cruising grounds. We really love living aboard but having a 60ft mast over your head kind of limits where we are able to easily cruise. The chart below shows the areas we would like to expand into.

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We would like to introduce our new Magnolia. She is a 1997 Kady Krogen 42. She is extensively equipped and excessively ignored so she is will need a lot of love. As with Magnolia-S she can go anywhere in the world, she is only limited by her crew! Magnolia-M is built to cross oceans with a range of 3000nm, fully stabilized. Again, we are NOT crossing oceans just wanted the safest vessel possible for the voyaging we intend to do. All pictures are from current owner.

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Main salon looking forward into the galley and steps to the pilothouse.

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Dining table expanded for seating for 8.

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Looking aft towards the cockpit (back porch).

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Salon to starboard

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Galley

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Galley

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Pilothouse

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Pilothouse

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Pilothouse setee that folds out to a double bunk

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These are all old electronics which will be removed and the pilothouse cleaned up and streamlined

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This is the master suite with queen size bed…

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and a lot more storage than we have on Magnolia-S

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This is a picture of the vessels overhead. We really like the teak on the overhead supports

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This is the business end, engine room. Magnolia-M is powered by a Lugger 145hp diesel. Basically a John Deere engine block that has been modified for marine applications. In addition we have a 16Kw Northern Lights Generator. That baby can power several traditional homes!! Many of the boats systems are hydraulic rather than the traditional electrical that we have experience with on Magnolia-S. Hydraulic are going to be a new experience but we will get there.

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We are looking forward to making her our home. Like Magnolia-S she has traditional teak joinery throughout.

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The current plan is to move off Magnolia-S July 5th and take a baby u-haul to FL. Hopefully Magnolia-S will sell this summer, but if not we will plan to fly up in the fall, winterize and put her to bed till spring selling season. We have an AirBnB lined up near the yard where much of the refit work will occur on Magnolia-M, we hope to move aboard in September. We will plan to operate in the south FL area for the winter of 2017-18 until we build some experience with the new vessel. She is TWICE as heavy as Magnolia-S and about 4 times more complicated so we have our work cut out for us. So was that all some big news or what? We are so proud of Christina and Caitlin both. They are wonderfully kind ladies…and I am hoping they will smuggle booze into the old folks home when we get there…love you both

2017-06-01–Galesville, MD (Home)

We had a lovely couple of weeks in Hampton, VA. The small Sunset Marina is not fancy but easy to be at and easy to get stuff done. One of my goals was to give Blossom our dinghy some serious love. She is the closest thing we have to a car. She got a thorough  cleaning, a coat of paint and new numbers. Once we got her back aboard it was time to go!!!

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Departing Hampton with some nice east winds it felt good to hoist the main and unfurl the head sail.

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We have a very comfortable sail nearly “door-to-door” up to Deltaville.

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We like to anchor in Jackson Creek because the well protected harbor. That harbor is protected by very large sandbar which can make the entrance a little intimidating the first few times through. The channel is well marked and so the only requirement is a paying a little extra attention.

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Departing Jackson Creek we had NO wind…not even a puff to move the ensign.

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It was going to be a no sail, sail day so we got off early for a long hop to Solomons Island, MD.

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Near Reedsville, VA the Menhaden Boats were out in force!

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Passing the Rappahannock and Potomac Rivers we make a left at the Patuxent River  

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The Chesapeake Biological Laboratory in the foreground and Patuxent Naval Air Station in the background. Of course I am guilty of irresponsible picture taking or lack of is more accurate! We were lucky enough to meet up with out friends Matt & Marty from SV Runaway. Always fun to catch up.

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Solomon Island is a wonderfully protected anchorage.

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After a two day stay we had a one day window to make a dash for the East Bay and the Wye River. The Wye is one of our favorite stops anywhere in the Chesapeake Bay. We normally go there for a good swim, sadly we were temperature limited….

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We sure enjoyed our time in the Wye but no good time does not goes without a good spring thunderstorm.

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An approaching front brought us a some really spectacular cloud art!

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…and the cloud art brought us a good old fashion thunderstorm.

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By morning the skies cleared and we were off to meet the Pentagon Sailing Club Memorial Day Raft up in the Magothy River.

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North-bound approaching the Chesapeake Bay Bridge

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The first of the PSC Boats arrive…anchoring training.

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It was great to see so many of the PSCers. We had a terrific evening catching up!

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Early Sunday morning we headed  for Galesvile, MD for our annual June stand-down.

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Even on Sunday morning of Memorial Day we met up with a 700ft car carrier on our way south.

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As soon as we arrived Hartge’s Yacht Harbor we were re-united with Exuberant, EleanorQ, Manadala, Magnolia and Belle Bautau. We have been blessed meeting and know such wonderful people!

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2017-05-15 — Swansboro, NC–Hampton, VA

Magnolia had a relaxed trip along the coast and up Adams Creek to New Bern NC.

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Along Adams Creek I saw what I thought was unusual…a personal helicopter next to a “normal” house….kind cool!

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We have been to New Bern once before but this trip we were on a mission..more later.

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I am not sure how, but the bear is the mascot of New Bern. There are decorated ones all over town.

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We able to arrive in time to make Easter Sunday services…..an no the church did fall down with my presence.

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Annette and I are both licensed HAM radio operators and check into various radio nets most days when we are underway. This is particularly true when we are making offshore hops where we are often out of VHF radio and cellular range. A number of retired cruisers operate shore based radio and maintain a database of boats locations. Out friend and net controller Dick Giddings needed help installing a new directional beam antenna so that is why we are in New Bern!

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The first step in is to tune the transmitting elements portion of the antenna. This is done by physically adjusting the length of the transmitting arrays. In this case we needed to shorten the elements until we obtained the appropriate frequency .

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Once the array was tuned it was time to attach to the tower. Now this is certainly not an OSHA safe environment…

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But the job got done and no radio operator were lost during this operation. The tower was eventually erected and Dick is live and on the air with directional beam for better communications.

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Next stop was Oriental NC.

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Our friends from Pentagon Sailing Club Roger and Leslie Hammer have made their home there.  We try never to miss the stop. When we arrived we found a number of our cruising friends in port as well. It was a great meet up and evidenced by the full table.

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PSC Mid-Atlantic

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The local Piggly Wiggly grocery store now runs a shuttle to and from the docks that makes grocery shopping a breeze!!!

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A few miles up Goose Creek brings us to Campbell Creek where two friends call home.

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We were welcomed at Mike and Kathy’s dock for a wonderful visit. We always have a ball catching up and swapping sea stories.

Beautiful morning departure with our hosts seeing us off.  Thank you for the kind hospitality and wonderful memories.

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Departing Goose Creek we made the two day trip up to Great Bridge Lock where docked for a relaxing couple of days.

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We did spot our friends aboard Lali pass by!

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My artistic contribution to this post.

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After our short visit at Great Bridge it was a short passage to Portsmouth, VA.

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Within the hour of us dropping the hook, the French version of the Blue Angels did several fly overs right overhead. Very fun!

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Portsmouth always gives a beautiful skyline view of Norfolk. Out favorite part of this port though is our visits with my niece and her husband. As often, more catching up than pictures…I really need to work on pictures!!!

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Next up was a short passage from Portsmouth to Hampton.

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Along the way I got to “check-in” with the Aegis Cruisers.

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Right behind us Ted & Sally aboard Amici arrived. Always a good time to hang with these two!

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Drinks and deserts….our favorites…

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Now Ted is a real foodie and somewhere along the line he picked up that Popeyes Spicy Chicken was the best…as a service to Sally, I took on getting Ted his chicken!!

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From Hampton it is a short hop up the Chesapeake Bay to home. On the way though we are going to meet up with the Pentagon Sailing Club (http://www.pentagonsailing.org/) for the Memorial Day Raft Up.

2017-04-30—St Augustine, FL—Swansboro, NC–Best Laid Plans

Magnolia departed St Augustine after a terrific visit with Uncle Wayne and Carmen. We departed St Augustine at first light on a beautiful morning. We planned to head straight for Winyah Bay about 235 miles up the coast. We normally plan a maximum of 210 miles for a one night passage but we felt comfortable coming in at night and as well expected a good push from the gulf stream. As often happens the was a weather window closing about the time of our planned arrival. Well this time it closed a bit early so we fell off and headed into Charleston and continued our passage on the ICW.

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Before we headed in though, we did get a spectacular sunset

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The sunrise was nothing to sneeze at either…sadly our last offshore passage of the season.

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Once we entered Charleston Harbor we headed up the ICW towards McClellanville, South Carolina. The area is a notoriously bad shoaling area so we wanted to use the local 8 foot tides (yes 8 feet of water comes in and goes out every 11 hours….thats a lot of water) so this was a great spot to stop and wait for favorable tides the following day.

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Awendaw anchorage just before McClellanville

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My nod to art!

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School “boat” always cracks me up

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The Waccamaw River is our FAVORITE section of the ICW so we try never to miss it!

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We stopped at Osprey Marina and look who we found under table glass, remembered in perpetuity!!

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We stopped at Mytle Beach Yacht Club for wings and a visit with Pete Saunders and family. It is always great to catch up with old friends!

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Continuing onto Southport NC we stopped for the evening anchoring in the downtown basin. (Thank you Al Watson).

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Our friend Hank Pomeranz (http://www.carolinayachtcare.com/) and his wife Lisa came out to meet us for dinner. In addition Carolina Yacht Service Hanks provide a HUGE FREE service for transient vessels. Every night during the fall and spring Hank provides a seminar update in ICW and weather updates to the transients. Annette tries to contribute as much as she can collecting data all along the way when we are in ICW. (Volpe’s see you soon!!!)

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One of our friends providing us a safety escort along the ICW. Nothing bad EVER occurs when there are dolphins about..

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Arriving in Swansboro, NC to visit Annette’s cousin Beth we dropped the hook off the very welcoming waterfront. 

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Sadly a good time was had and no pictures captured!!!

Next up, New Bern, Antennas and beyond….

2017-04-22 Stuart, FL–St Augustine

As I wrote last time we had blown out the main sail off-shore Florida and so a stop at Mack Sails was in order. At the time of the sad news of the sail blowing out were learned also that our friend Al Watson was helping a friend Colin bring Tortuga north.  Instant fun!

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We got a boys off the boat to go to Sailor Exchange (name/sp?) in Fort Peirce , Fl

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Alan in a quite the wood-worker…”Alan step away from the teak…there is no room on the boat…”

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North-bound strategy session…all work no play.

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This is why John Sparrow you should not be on the ICW on the weekend…this care ICW @ Fort Pierce Inlet

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First days stop Vero Beach, also known as Velcro Beach. Its so easy and lovely to be there its really hard to leave.

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Colin’s first opportunity to raft-up on a mooring. Glad we were able to get this one under his belt. Coming into a strangers boat in always more anxiety filled.

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Boats secured let go to dinner….this is a delivery trip…no days off.

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We piled into the dinghy and went to our favorite local spot just around the corner

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Next stop Coco Village, FL One of our favorite stops in FL.

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The big thing about Coco was it was Als birthday and since Michelle was not along on this trip we took it as a personal responsibility to make there was appropriate celebration. Started off with Thai and finished with Ice Cream…every one had a great evening.

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Sadly we our little adventure came to an end at Coco.

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Magnolia’s next stop was Titusville where we were meeting up our mentors Greg & Marie on Second Sally.

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Once again more yapping and less snapping (of pictures). There is hardly a conversation that goes by that I don’t pick up something. Just an hour ago we talked on the phone after their passage from Florida to Cape Lookout. He shared an easy enter in bad weather anchorage that I had never thought of..here for you too! We are often looking to get into Beaufort Inlet to head up Adams Creek but down there right 5 miles away perfect easy entrance GREAT protection deep anchorage in the Bight of Cape Lookout…I put this one in my back pocket

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We departed Titusville and as the Admiral drove I got about swabbing the decks. I try and give everything a good fresh water douse after pulling the hook.

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ICW dredge hard at work! We like dredges because we know the water will be getting deeper!!!

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Next stop was St Augustine t see my great uncle Wayne and Carmen

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It is ALWAYS a blast to catch up with these two kind people. Wayne is 98 and going strong…I have previously warned you my gene pool is deep!

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This is Magnolia as were walking back to the dinghy dock from Wayne and Carmens. They live just across Bridge of Lions so super easy to visit! Castillo de San Marcos is in the background

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Granted this is a religious question but we did not know the #2 Pizza Place in the USA is in St Augustine, Pizza Time. Who knew?

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From St Augustine it was off to Winyah Bay…almost..the hard left explained the next time!

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2017-03-24 – Marathon – Palm Beach–Stuart FL

Our friends Ted & Sally (Amici) were still in Marathon so a visit back was definitely in order. In addition we had the unexpected bonus of meeting up with Pat & Becky (Taurus).

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Seven Mile Bridge is one of the few places along the length of the Florida Keys that we can cut through without going all the west past the Dry Tortugas

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In addition the stop allowed us to stop and see some of our favorite musicians, Ty & Cory.

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We also stopped into the Seafood Festival where Annette got to catch up with Carolyn and Dave (Boat Galley).

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Departing out of Marathon we great winds off the starboard quarter and drove us up the Hawk Channel towards Rodriquez Key

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Pat & Becky (Taurus) underway

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Magnolia underway (Thank you Pat & Becky)

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Anneette & Becky aboard Magnolia

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Departing Rodriquez Key Pat & Becky were headed to Miami but with a weather front about 18 hours away we really wanted to make Palm Beach/Lakeworth. We decided to head offshore and catch a real lift from the Gulf Stream…meaning an extra 3-4 knots per hour!

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Perhaps a little background. As I was dropping the sail on the Marathon to Rodriquez Key leg I thought I saw a small tear in the sail. When we got anchored  I raised the sail back up to find the spot and put some stitches in it to get us up the coast. I could not find the tear anywhere…perhaps I imagined? Oh well little I could do. We knew we would arrive after dark into Palm Beach but were confident we could navigate the inlet in the dark. The one thing we had not previously done was set the anchor after a passage like this in the dark. We like to push ourselves a little and the conditions were safe…so just as we are approaching the inlet and think it time to drop the main sail…we hear the worlds largest Velcro strip separate. I looked at Annette and said I think we found the tear. We brought the sail down and anchored as planned[.

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We know the sail is at least 10 years and maybe 26 years old!!! It was time no matter..after a nights sleep we raised the main and could see the sail did not tear but a seam did let go. Thats why I could not find it…when I raised the sail it stretched out and closed at the seam…oh well.

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Why we were in Lake Worth we wanted to meet up with fellow Pentagon Sailing Club Members Bruce & Rhonda (The Norm) who are the only other couple from the club cruising full time. It was a brief but fun visit!!!

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We moved the 9 miles up to North Lake Worth to visit our friend Mims. She recently relocated from Charleston to Palm Beach so had to stop and see her new diggs!

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Mims and the ever handsome Tommy.

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This Snapper and I had a real face-off, he lost though when I ate him…he was good.

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Going back to the sail…it happens one of the largest sail lofts on the east coast is in Stuart, FL. A mere 20 miles up the ICW. We made arrangements to have our current sail repaired and commissioned a new sail constructed which will be shipped to meet us in Maryland in about 8 weeks. As you can see we had to move around a little to have the sail removed and then bent back on. All in all a painless experience.

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Now the completely unexpected portion of the trip was meeting up once again with Al Watson (Kindred Spirit). Al is helping a friend Colin bring Colin’s boat from Stuart to Savannah. So we will have a couple days on the ICW with and Al and Colin (Tortuga)!

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2017-03-04–Sarasota–Port Charlotte—Fort Meyer

Once again I am playing catch up but that is only because we have been enjoying ourselves so very much on the west coast of Florida.

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Annette and I really enjoyed Sarasota. We had a terrific visit to the Ringling Circus Museum (https://www.ringling.org/circus-museum) and the  Ringling Art Museum (https://www.ringling.org/museum-art).  In a addition we were lucky enough to have several visitors. Pentagon Sailing Club Members Wesley & Brenda Moy along with Will and Barbara Kelchner (pictured below).

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MaryMarie of Eleanor Q passed through town on a visit to her sisters so we got so spend a few hours aboard Magnolia catching up. We look forward to sharing an anchorage with Eleanor Q sooner than later!

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It was time to get underway and head down to Port Charlotte where we planned to visit Will & Barbara on their home waters of Port Charlotte.

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Upon our arrival Barb and Will invited us to their boat clubs monthly Friday Happy Hour. Having a nearly religious belief in Happy Hour we certainly did not want to miss that! We were anchored on the Port Charlotte side of the harbor and the Boat Club was on the Punta Gorda side and Blossom carried us the two miles across the bay.

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Punta Gorda Boat Club Members lay out a spread!!

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The following day Blossom took us over to the Red Ruby Inn to visit Barb & Will. Annette enjoyed the spa facilities!

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After spending a wonderful weekend with Barbara and Will it was time to get underway. We found this quiet little island in the middle of no-where called Chino Island. Because of weather we planned to spend a couple days.

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So here we are in the middle of no where and who shows up along side but MaryMarie with some of her friends. What a treat to know we can be found…or stalked as the case may be. Smile

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Departing Chino Island we made the short hop up to Glover Bite near Cape Coral.

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The big reason we wanted to visit Fort Meyers/Cape Coral was the Edison/Ford winter mansions.  A statue of Edison under his single Banyon Tree (yes its a single tree) which he used for his research into rubber alternatives.

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Of course the Admiral found the pool nearly first thing!

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The Edison Home.

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Henry Fords home is right next door to Edison home.  As was related to us Ford only spent a couple weeks a year in Fort Meyers. We planned his visits around Edison Birthday.

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Annette in front of Ford’s home.

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Edison’s home from the street side of the compound.

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A little aside to life aboard Magnolia. It was time to make a trip to the grocery store. A little research told us the we take Blossom up a residential canal (those are ALL canal homes on the map). There is a public access dock at the Bimini Basin. From there the local Publix is about about 8 bck walk west. Yes, this life choice takes some effort. It is not all Tiki Hut lunches with Umbrella Drinks….

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…or is it? Our friends on Cat Tails arrived in the area yesterday and with strong weather arriving tonight we met at the Boathouse Restaurant this afternoon.

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for Cuban Sandwiches and umbrella drinks! Ok, some days…but not everyday!

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We are hoping the current weather will move out next week and allow us to start out on the first leg of our journey back to the mid-Atlantic. The first leg will take us from Fort Meyers to back to Marathon in the Florida Keys before another short hop to Palm Beach/Lake Worth.

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That’s all from the crew of Magnolia, be safe and more soon!

2017-02-05–St Petersburg

As our two weeks in St Petersburg FL  is coming to an end tomorrow and to say our visit has been a whirlwind! We had a couple of expected visits and then there were others completely by surprise and just as welcome. As we arrived from from the Dry Tortugas through Facebook I discovered Ahne a former work colleague was vacationing near by our first stop. 

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A quick lunch rendezvous organized. Amazingly these two little guys were angels all through lunch so were able full fill our promise of a tour of Magnolia. Ahne’s family is from Minnesota  and her parents sail a Freedom on lake Superior and hope to retire to go cruising. They intend to cruise the St Lawerence, New Foundland and Nova Scotia…”its too warm other places.” Wow, I was immediately in aw! Everyone enjoyed there time aboard and I thoroughly enjoyed catching up with Ahne…Thank you for making the time and effort!

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Out original plan to visit Bradenton had to do with meeting up with Pentagon Sailing Club member Cory-Jean and Bob Cox who had relocated to the Tampa area. We enjoyed happy hour on their beautiful Caliber 47, Dances on Water and then a wonderful dinner at Pier 22 in Bradenton. Food highly recommended at Pier 22, in 22 hours, we managed to eat there twice!

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After our short visit to Bradenton it was short 20 mile hop up to St Petersburg, FL. We had more planned guests and with a very strong cold front bearing down on the area it was time to find a secure location. Had planned to take a mooring ball near Vinoy Park that fellow Morgan owners Adventure-2-Us had suggested.

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It turned out to be an excellent choice for then the front came through we had a 38 knt blast of wind here and Tornados to the not so distant north.

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Another work colleague my friend David from Charlotte NC came to get a little taste of what boat life might be like. David stayed aboard for two nights and we even snuck in a fun day sail. We have not taken a day just to go sailing in forever so it was fun to cast off the lines and see where the wind took us.

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The fun part was the wind took across east Tampa Bay towards Apollo Beach.

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Annette and I use our HAM radio to check into a couple different radio nets. We call into these same NETs whether we are in the Bahamas or Maine so there are members all long the coast. Two members SV C-Language and SV Cat Tails are based in Apollo Beach. Once again hasty lunch rendezvous was arranged and we finally met two boats that we had only previously spoken to on the radio. How fun was that? Even more so, David was long so see how crazy fun things can be when you get on a boat!

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It was a fun couple of days and hopefully ones that David will always remember…whether or not he decides to go cruising.

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Annette and I started this adventure by knowing nothing about boating, sailing or cruising. We took our basic sail training with the Pentagon Sailing Club but in addition we needed a little more one one training to make sure that Annette and i as a team could handle a larger vessel in more challenging conditions that might be found in the Chesapeake Bay. We turned to Captain Pat who teaches sailing and cruising in the Virgin Islands. We spent a week with her before purchasing Magnolia just to make sure we, Annette and I could so it. It was with huge pride ours and hopefully hers we could welcome Pat aboard Magnolia. We had a terrific afternoon catching up hoping she found Magnolia to be ship-shape! Shameless plug for Captain Pat (http://www.sailsistership.com/)20170126_170743

When Magnolia arrived in the Chesapeake in 2010 she was docked next to a racing boat named Escapade which was sailed by twins Marty and John.  When they retired they and Escapade came to the St Petersburg area. Again this wonderful adventure allowed us to meet up the John here in St Pete. We had a terrific evening catching up along with much eating, drinking and laughing. Thank you so much John!

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Anyone who has been reading this blog for anymore than 6 months have seen Al & Michelle. That’s because, so how, somewhere we always seem to reconnect about every 6 months. Kindred Spirit, Eleanor Q and Mandala all experienced our “freshmen” year of cruising together. As with many things, the shared first year is a concrete to hold us for a lifetime. With grandchildren arriving Kindred Spirit took this season off but thankfully the travel gods cooperated and we found our selves in central Florida together!!! You know there had to be ice cream!

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Partners in crime enjoying the ground of the Dali Museum.

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Now if you really want to find responsible parties for leading us into the this life you need to look no further than the two below..Rudy and Gretchen barked us into…I digress but staying with puppies for a moment. See the handsome guy with the Red Hair? Thats Rudy, the only dog I have ever met that has sailed across the Atlantic Ocean. Granted he had some help from Ty & Suzanne but I find that little tidbit amazing. None the less, this adventure all started with Ty & Suzanne inviting us out for a little Sunday afternoon sail….Thank you again!

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Last but no least, my fellow Steinke GenIV Shannon and her friend Colin came and spent the day with us to top a terrific week.  Not that we are that old nor are Shannon and Colin that young but spending time with these two sure improves my outlook for the future of our country. Hard working, smart and frugal…very impressive! It is also terrific that like my friend Jack, Colin is tall, very handy to locate them in crowds!!!

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Thank you all so much who made time and effort to connect with Magnolia during our visit to St Pete. We are having an insurance survey done tomorrow and then we will be working our way down the west coast of Florida.

2017-01-26 — Dry Tortugas

As the strong Christmas Winds began to wane Magnolia was ready to move west 80 miles towards Fort Jefferson on the Dry Tortugas.

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After departing Newfound Harbor we had a very fast sail passing nearby Key West. 

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As it turned out it was Sailing Regatta Week in Key West hence the significant number of racing sailboats practicing.

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After a fast sail but a long day we arrived at the Marquesas Cays. We had an unusually difficult getting a good set from our Rocna Anchor. There appears to be very loose sand covered in grass. We finally moved well offshore got the anchor set and spent a VERY rolly night!

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The following morning we quickly got underway bound for Fort Jefferson.

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Magnolia has taken us to many very cool and amazing place but for me, well Fort Jefferson is it! As the structure began to reveal itself on the horizon I could not help but wonder what our forbearers thought about the first time they saw the massive structure as they approached. I cannot emphasize enough how far in the middle of no-where this massive fort is.  It is very isolated even by standards of our modern cruising boat, to travel there two centuries ago is incomprehensible to me!

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Jefferson_(Florida)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dry_Tortugas_National_Park

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One amazing things is the gate is the ONLY entrance in and out of the fort. Just think of all the people, soldiers, prisoners and slaves that have passed through those gates. It find the though rather humbling.

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The courtyard in inside the walls felt and is surprisingly large.

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It amazes me that the original rock decking is still in place.

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We had an amazing visit but too soon it was time to head for St Petersburg.

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2016-01-13 Marathon–Newfound Harbor (Christmas & New Years)

Just like there was only room in the mainger, there was no room in the mooring field. Rather than try and find a very small anchoring location where we only be able lay out a very small amount of chain we opted for the outer anchorage west of Boot Key. This anchorage is not for the faint of heart. You are a good distance from the main marina dock and coming back to the boat at night does take a little night navigation practice. The one thing is does have is GREAT holding and a lots of room.

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We arrived Marathon Christmas Eve, Eve and join Burt & Prue (Exuberant) and two other boats for Christmas Lunch. It was a fine holiday celebration.

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I did neglect to mention our anchorage is the best sunset viewing location in Marathon. Our long commute was certainly rewarded by amazing evening skys.

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Our friends Ted & Sally on Amici were due in about the 3rd so rather than risking a missed visit we hung around through the New Year Holiday as well. We started the evening by catching Cory & Ty at Keys Fisheries. This place is the best for seafood in town! The fishing boat docks are RIGHT there…nothing better.

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After dinner we headed over to the VFW to catch up with Burt & Prue. You have to love the VFW, drink prices are the bomb!!

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Another local band and one of our favorites is Fiddle Rock…just like it sounds and they are GOOD!

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New Years Day was a little quiet so just had to break out the Grumpy Old Men Box set…I am still practicing my Walter Mathau…

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We managed to catch up with Ted & Sally and Burt & Prue a couple of evenings but the forecast calling for the strongest deepest cold front of the season. It was time to get moving! For all of its glories, riding out a storm there was not one of them!!! We had the perfect place…Newfound Harbor and it was only 20 miles away. Like out last anchorage, it has the big two, plus storm protection so we were golden.

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On the way up to Newfound Harbor, we passed the Little Pine Island Resort…it is very exclusive an caters to the well healed. They will let us mooring Magnolia there for $1200.00 per night or if we could get a budget slip for out back with no view for $600!!! I promise to take whoever wants to go the day after we hit the lottery!!! It does look very nice though…

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We continued on up the bay to our FREE anchorage just in time to catch the after noon squall line come it. The winds went from 12 to 38 knts quicker than we could get the hatches closed up.

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The front came through within a couple of hours but the winds persisted for DAYS. We were forced to stay hunkered down for nearly a week before the seas settled down enough to move again!

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Our waiting did allow us to celebrate my birthday in comfort and style. Okay I could have put on a shirt for the cake picture…..

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Once again, we certainly did not suffer from ugly sunsets in Newfound Harbor either!

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The Fort Jefferson on the Dry Tortugas has long been on my to do list and its location fit in perfectly with our tour of the Florida West Coast. As some might know the prevailing winds, also known as the Trade Winds blow east to west across the Florida Keys. Fort Jefferson is 60 miles west of Key West Florida so if you are going to visit you have to plan for it.

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The great thing is, there is no cell service, no internet no nothing once you get west of Key West…so…if there is another post after this one, it will be your first indication that we survived!

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