Thursday, May 28, 2009

8:58 ET 5/28/09

After 8 months, 23 days and nearly 4000 nautical miles, our beloved Put-in-Bay appeared on the horizon accompanied by calm, glittering Lake Erie. Perry's Monument stood proudly in the distance, and we were feeling just as proud of Tessa and her Crew. It was an inspiring homecoming. We received a warm PIB welcome from our friends at the Boardwalk, then on to a champagne celebration with Dave and Lynnette on Fantasea. Sunday we were through the 12:00 Port Clinton Drawbridge and greeted at our dock by Nick and Lynne, Bob and Mary Jane, Brad and Chris, Kirk and Anita, Bryan Diveto, Dick Widdis, and other Brands' neighbors. Hugs and kisses and questions were flying everywhere. "Yes, we had a great trip" we replied. But it felt OH SO GOOD TO BE HOME!! The overwhelming interest, concern, love and support of our family and friends has been wonderful, yet very humbling. What did we do to deserve it...and how do we pay it all back to everyone? A good start might be to pass along the most important lesson that we experienced over and over again during our travels. To quote our sailing friend Allison "Cruising will restore your faith in humanity." That it did! We found that no matter where you go, if you extend a hand in friendship, someone will be there to take it.

Friday, May 22, 2009

16:38 ET 5/22/09

We spent our last evening in the Erie Canal at a dock just east of Lockport New York. Nothing much there except the important things. Restrooms, showers, and a highly recommended, by local fishermen, Dairy Bar within walking distance. We cleaned up and hiked over to Reid's for the suggested "double cheeseburger smoothered" and concluded the carbo-calorie fest with ice cream sundaes. Except for Gary, who ordered an XXL double chocolate shake. The cup was so large he could barely get his hands around it, kind of like those supersize sodas that won't even fit in a cup holder. As he's making dry, bottom of the cup sucking sounds, he eyeballs my sundae and says "You eatin that?" I ran ahead out of his reach shouting "YES, I'm eatin this!" It's been a long time since we gave in to ice cream and he was totally out of control. As soon as we came down from our sugar buzzes, we called it a night in anticipation of a 6:30 a.m. wake up call to exit the canal and head for Lake Erie.

9:03 ET 5/22/09

Wednesday we explored the little town of Clyde, found a Geocache, and hit the canal. Tom happily took the helm and Gary got a nice break. We were going to stop in Fairport like we did last September, but decided to try a town we hadn't seen, so continued west to Pittsford. It's a bustling, trendy canal town a stone's throw from Rochester, so it's much more commercialized. We explored the town, then went in pursuit of a 99 cent draft. No luck, the beer special at the Pittsford Pub was Blue Moons for $3.50. One beer each, then back to the boat for Memphis smoked ribs, cole slaw, and baked beans. Tom got on line and located the nearest Geocache 30 feet away. "Gary, couldn't you get Tessa a little closer?" Tom complained. I found it under a bench that Tom was sitting on! Once that mission was accomplished, we hit the bunks for an early wake up call Thursday morning.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

20:48 ET 5/20/09

Tuesday we departed Baldwinsville and continued west into Lock 24. Here we saw a bunch of fish feeding along the lock wall. "GIMME THE NET! I'm gonna catch us a fish!" Sheri screamed as she laid on the deck and assumed a netting position. Between laughing hysterically and struggling with the lock line and my boat pole, I managed to grab the net and hand it to her. Tom rolled his eyes as I, the fishing expert, informed her that fish were too fast to simply net right out of the water. But I humored her by scooting them her way with my boat pole. "I GOT ONE!!!!!!!!" she screamed as she lifted the net up with her fresh catch of a stinky slimy sucker type fish. Even though she proved me wrong, I must say that watching this was worth every ounce of damage it did to my fishing knowledge ego. After all the excitement, we proceeded through the locks and wound our way along a very scenic part of the Canal. As we approached the spot where we saw the eagle last September, Gary spotted one flying right over our heads with a fish in it's talons. Shortly after that, we saw another one. Fantastic! Tuesday was Tom and Sheri's 30th anniversary, and we began the celebration with Champagne and escargot, followed by filet mignon and parsley buttered potatoes. Then it was time to head into town to find a laundromat and the Red Wings game on in a sports bar. We were successful on both counts. I found the laundry and the gang found "Keggers" bar. The locals were into darts and tattoos, draft beers were cheap, and the Red Wings won. Life was good in Clyde New York, and Tom and Sheri enjoyed another adventure on the Erie Canal with family, good food, and cold beer.

15:36 ET 5/20/09

Monday dawned breezy and cold for our Oneida Lake crossing. Tom and I rigged up every pole on board and expectantly shivered on deck. All the way across prime fishing waters, all we caught was one stinkin bass. Good thing Sheri had Jambalaya on the menu as a back up plan. Baldwinsville was recommended as a good stopping point for the night in our guide book, so we tied up to the park wall and went to check out the town and find a few Geocaches. We poked into a nice looking brewery and inquired about beer specials. No specials, beers are $4.00. Let's keep looking. LOOK! There's a sign for 99 cent drafts! Now we're talking happy hour! The Edgewater Grill had everything going for it. Good people, nice bartender, delicious appetizers, and most importantly GREAT beer for 99 cents. Nowhere in our travels have we encountered a bar that sells specialty pints for 99 cents. We thought Fat Tuesdays in Fort Lauderdale was a good deal with 80 cent six ounce Bud Light drafts, but Edgewater set a whole new standard for an economical happy hour. "We can have a pint of Guinness for 99 cents?" Gary asked incredulously. "Sure" Michelle replied. "WOW!" Gary exclaimed. We hated to leave beer mecca, but Jambalaya was calling back at Tessa. While Tom and Sheri cooked, Gary and I decided to search for one more Geocache. Which happened to be right around the corner from the Edgewater Grill. "Come on, ONE more 99 cent draft!" he pleaded. OK, twist my arm. Tuesday morning, we walked into town to at least see something other than the Edgewater Grill. Baldwinsville is a wonderful town that we we definitely return to visit again.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

13:23 ET 5/19/09

Sunday morning, we departed Rome at dawn in order to make the seven hour Oneida Lake crossing during good light and good fishing. The band of merry sailors sang and danced our way through the locks, now with an extra added attraction. Sheri pole dances with her boat pole, as though she were entertaining the Lockmasters on stage instead of on deck. They all grin from ear to ear as we enter and depart the lock with The Erie Canal Song blaring and Sheri performing. In the canal we were protected from what was in store for us as we entered Oneida Lake. We were assaulted by cold brutal 20-30 knot winds and breaking waves, right on our nose. "HEY!" I yelled from down below as things began crashing around the cabin. "THIS IS GOING TO BE A LONG SEVEN HOURS!" Captain Gary turned Tessa around and headed back to the Sylvan Beach wall to tie up and wait out the winds. We were greeted by a nice couple who watched us venture out and turn around. Even they were glad we did! This was a perfect opportunity to get secure, relax, and enjoy what turned out to be a great stop. We stopped in at the local breakfast cafe for something warm to drink, then we wandered through town scoping out a Geocache location and a potential pub crawl. At the first welcoming pub, Splash, we made friends with Chuck, who filled us in on some interesting local knowledge. He also invited us to attend an American Legion benefit for his friend and fellow veteran who is very ill with cancer. We took a walk over to Verona Beach where the second Geocache of the day was hidden by a lighthouse, which I found right away under a bench. I'm starting to get the hang of Geocaching. Next we stopped at Brothers Bar for some wings and Red Wings. While Tom and Sheri finished watching the game, Gary and I braved the winds back to Sylvan Beach town and the American Legion benefit. Chuck and his wife Donna welcomed us like old friends, and we had a great time watching Chuck play in his classic rock band "Pegasaurus". While all this activity was going on, Sheri's roast pork loin with cherry wine glaze was simmering away on Tessa, creating wonderful comfort food smells to greet us down below. We went to sleep with full tummies and dreamed of fair skies and light winds for our second attempt to cross Oneida Lake on Monday.

Monday, May 18, 2009

15:04 ET 5/18/09

Leave it to Nick James to dramatically enhance our locking experiences. Friday night he emailed us Bruce Springstein's version of the Erie Canal Song. As we approached Lock 17 Saturday morning, Gary cranked up the music full blast and we danced our way through the lock. Even the Captain danced at the helm! The Lockmaster said we were his liveliest group yet. Tom and Sheri will celebrate their 30th anniversary on Tuesday of our trip. Sheri has been thrilled with the cities she has visited so far on her anniversary trip, beginning in Amsterdam and Saturday night here in Rome. We ran into some big thunderstorms on the way and it was quite damp and dreary when we arrived, but not enough to dampen our spirits. Sheri prepared Chicken Marsala with Pasta Primavera, then we went off to find the Gouache that was supposed to be located within walking distance of the park we were docked near. Back at Lock 11 in Amsterdam, Gary and I had participated in finding our first ever Geocache with Tom. Now we are hooked on these GPS treasure hunts. The four of us trooped through overgrown weeds and wet grass to the wooded area that the GPS coordinates indicated was the location of the cache, but after about an hour of searching we gave up. Plus it had gotten awfully thirsty out there, and we wanted to head over to the Roadhouse Bar. Ryan, who was fishing from the dock by Tessa, recommended we stop by there and see his bartender girlfriend Georgeann. Except this crew doesn't just stop by somewhere. We make it an experience! First we met Georgeann, then all the locals, and then it was time for KARAOKE!!! More locals filled the bar and Gary once again brought the house down with Chantilly Lace. Sheri wanted the four of us to perform The Erie Canal Song, but to my utter relief, the DJ didn't have it. Our favorite new Kareoke friend was a cross between Lou Rawls and Luther Vandross, and he really got the crowd going with "Strokin!" What an unplanned yet absolutely enjoyable evening.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

11:52 ET 5/16/09

Friday morning we departed Lock 11 and I immediately got both rods rigged up and began trolling. Tom brought a huge tackle box full of ammunition, so I was locked and loaded and ready to catch dinner. All of my fishing efforts have been failures up to this point, but with the proper equipment we were destined to catch something. Finally, ZZZZZZZZZZING went the drag and I reeled with enthusiasm until up popped my prize catch. A big gnarly stick! Thankfully, Sheri baked a beautiful piece of salmon covered in steamed veggies in lieu of my fresh catch. It was awesome, and we enjoyed it with salad and wine. Three bottles of wine. Hey, we were celebrating our first night on the canal. And after all, they brought two cases for the ten day trip. Now we are a bit concerned as to whether the supply will last until Tuesday when we hit the Niagra wine trail. Wonder if we should also be concerned that our provisioning list has four things on it, three of which are adult beverages. We're havin fun now!!!!!

Friday, May 15, 2009

13:12 ET 5/15/09

This morning at 6:00 a.m. George handed over his lock gloves and bid farewell to Tessa and Crew. True to George's nature, he thanked US for the trip. It most certainly is the other way around. How many friends would sit alone in a dark cockpit from 1:00 a.m. to 6:00 a..m., out in the middle of the ocean, struggling with big waves and huge swells, dodging freighters and who-knows-what else is out there, for eight nights???? And the first three nights I didn't even make him coffee, as I was down below wrapped up in my fears. What a trouper he was, putting up with "the weakest link", dealing with the elements and conditions, sleeping on the settee under the bar which was the only bunk he couldn't roll out of, and doing all of this with a smile on his face until this very last morning. All that in exchange for three squares and a sip of twelve year old scotch every so often. We definitely made out on this deal!!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

11:23 ET 5/14/09

Yesterday, Wednesday, we departed Castleton with a crisp spring breeze and bright blue sunny skies. A beautiful day on the Erie Canal. We went through the "flight of five" locks which are within a quarter mile of each other, and it's a busy trip. It's about two hours between Lock 6 and 7 and the same between Lock 7 and 8, where we stopped for the night. I trolled all day and casted in the evening but no luck. So we had grilled pork chops instead of fresh fish. Heading north, then west through the locks has proven to be a bit more difficult than last September. We're not sure if it's the direction the water enters the lock to fill it up, but it forces Tessa right up against the wall, bumpers groaning under the pressure. Quite a workout fending off with the boat poles. Today it's dreary and rainy but not unpleasant. We should arrive in Amsterdam NY at Lock 11 early afternoon, hopefully with enough time to get this disaster down below in order for Tom and Sheri's arrival this evening. It appears that Gary and I will be in our bunk snuggled up to the Garmin Radar tonight. It's either that or the teak dinner table. Or maybe we lay on the table and hold the Garmin..... Speaking of the dinner table...During the mast unstepping, my job was to do the cranking up and down of the masts. Up up up first, until the mast clears the deck. Then down down down to the dock to wrap everything together. Before beginning the up process, George checked with Gary to be sure everything was unattached down below. "OK, Babe, start cranking!" Gary shouts and away I go until it became really strained to crank any more. "Wait a minute! There's a table attached to the mast down there!" Gary remembers. George decided Gary was getting tired at that point!! All in all, we are quite a team and pat ourselves on the back for what we've accomplished so efficiently. George was such a tremendous help and made it all possible. We just can't thank him enough. It will not be the same without him on board, but I suspect we will miss him more a lot more than he will miss us once he gets back home safe and sound.


"Cousin in Miami"

Jimmy Buffett had the right idea with his well known lyrics, but according to our experiences, he left out quite a few. Everybody’s got a cousin, a second cousin, a third cousin, a father, a step mom, a sister, a brother, a sister-in-law, a brother-in-law, a niece, a new neighbor, an old neighbor, a boat friend, a dock friend, a new friend, an old friend, and a friend of a friend….in Miami. Thank you to every single one of you that visited us on Tessa during these wonderful months in Key Biscayne paradise. We enjoyed every minute of every visit!!! Chas wasn’t the first to arrive, but we will start the story with him, as he is very needy about special recognition. He drove down from Fayetteville on leave, and stayed with us for a way-too-short visit. His stay was supposed to coincide with his 27th birthday on March 31st, but we had to celebrate early due to his preparations for departure to Afghanistan the first of April. Good timing, a Great White charter was scheduled during his visit. We were anticipating an experience for Chas similar to Jon’s. Chas happily surrounded by intoxicated dancing bikini clad babes as he secretly texted pictures to his envious buddies back at Fort Bragg. At Miami Beach, we watched the guests depart from the bus with a serious sense of disappointment. One by one, each middle-aged man stepped aboard Great White, receiving a warm but not-so-sincere welcome from the crew. WHERE ARE THE BABES? They don’t even have to have bikinis, just give us females…PLEASE!!! Although the event supervisor, Adele, is absolutely gorgeous, Chas couldn’t have gotten even a nod from her while she tended to her customers. She definitely had her hands full with this rowdy crowd of Doctors from Argentina. I always seek out the party leader in each crowd to get things warmed up quickly. My target was easily identified on this trip. He was sporting a huge smile, accompanied by a busy Hawaiian shirt and stylish plaid knee high shorts. Come on, Doc, let’s get this party started with the perfect song. “It’s Five O’clock Somewhere!” He eagerly listened as I explained the meaning of the lyrics. They assembled for a group photo, and I couldn’t stop laughing when I spotted my Doc singing the chorus along with Jimmy Buffett and Alan Jackson. But I sure felt bad for Chas as the Doctors partied to a feverish level, drinking heavily, all vying for Adele’s attention. We took a nice long beach walk the next day, where Chas began his quest of finding and conquering a coconut. Sunday afternoon we had a party for Chas on Tessa, which included the younger generation new friends we made, Mitch and Kristen. Since they were all about the same age, the three of them had a great time together, even with us old folks around. Our favorite dock friend Angela and Captain Ed did a drive-by on their cruising yacht Sanctuary. Mr. Fish, my nickname for our friend Leo, came back from spear fishing triumphant, proudly holding up a 30 pound grouper which made our mouths start watering. The next day four pounds of beautiful filets were delivered to Tessa. Now that is service! Gary wanted nothing to do with another trip to South Beach, but Chas and I took the opportunity to spend a few hours there while Gary and Pete readied Great White for an annual Coast Guard inspection. By the end of the afternoon, I had bruises on my arms from Chas excitedly poking me every time he spotted an ultra-expensive sports car. He spent most of the time taking photos on his cell phone and texting them to his buddy Wac, while I people-watched. We spotted Pete’s favorite nightclub, Mango’s, and decided to duck in for a cold one. Chas ordered a Corona. “That’ll be $5.55 plus tax and gratuity please” says the scantily clad barmaid. If a beer is that much, might as well have a mango mambo. Do I want the $12.00 plastic cup or the $15.00 souvenir plastic cup? What? The menu says $9.00. This is about when she began losing interest, and replied “tax and gratuity!” OK, just give me a rum and diet coke. One shot or two ma’am? What? This is way too complicated. How much is a shot? $7.00 plus tax and gratuity. I’ll take ONE SHOT and THEN we’ll go find an ATM. Um, by the way, we’re not from around here.. we’re from Ohio, oh…it shows? Just when we were feeling lonely and depressed by Chas’ departure, Tom and Sheri arrived to cheer us up. They spent a long weekend with us, enjoying the sun, Grouper Fingers on Tessa, Key Biscayne, Ayesteran, and Hooters in Coconut Grove, where the waitresses posed for a birthday greeting for Chas. On the way back to the Fort Lauderdale airport, we slurped oysters together at Southport Raw Bar and then, just when as they were getting warmed up, off they flew back to chilly Detroit. My cousin Leonard and his new wife Jan shared a day of their Florida vacation with us. It’s tradition to have pizza at the Flicker Light Lounge in Hollywood, where Leonard spent many a summer afternoon hanging out with Uncle Joe during their family vacations. We met there for an early lunch, then they followed us to Rickenbacker Marina to see Tessa’s digs. We thought they would get a kick out of world famous JIMBO’S, and I really got a kick out of Jan’s reaction. “OH MY GOSH??!!” she kept exclaiming over and over again, as we wandered through Miami’s most legendary squatters camp. A visit to Ayesteran capped off a perfectly wonderful visit. Speaking of legendary…Crazy Doug paid us a visit, traveling all the way from Houston. Or was he just in San Diego? Or did he fly in from New Orleans? Keeping up with Doug’s travels are just as impossible as keeping up with his partying pace. But oh is it ever fun trying!! Luckily, Doug’s trip coincided with a visit from Archie and s/v Janey. The two boys kept each other company while we did a Great White day long charter. Doug originally planned to join the charter, his cooler all packed with cold Miller Lites, ready to experience a party on Great White. Until the first group of little children began boarding, squealing in delight, jumping on the tramps and running around the decks. Doug leaned over to me and uttered his now famous quote. “Hey, I’m starting to re-think this plan.” “Run while you can” I whispered back, but he was already out of earshot and halfway to Joe’s Tiki Bar. Archie, s/v Janey, Archie’s friend Leslie, and Jage and Carmen on s/v Simplicity settled into our nearby anchorage for a great visit. We did what sailors do best. Ate, drank, and laughed a lot, in between telling sailing stories and reminiscing about our Annapolis boat show experiences. What truly great friends our little gang has become in such a short time. Archie and Janey headed to the Keys after the girls headed home, so we went down to Marathon to spend St. Patrick’s Day with him. This was our second trip to Marathon. The first one was to spend with Tom and Marlene at their vacation condo earlier in March. We had just gotten settled in, snacks out, drinks poured, dominos ready to clack, and a call came from Pete. We had a charter on Great White at 9:30 a.m. the following morning. OK, so we just had to get up at 5:00 a.m. and head for home. Didn’t mean we couldn’t make the best of a great evening with great friends. Tom and Marlene still planned to visit us on Tessa later that week, so it all worked out fine. The biggest event in the Keys was earlier in February. Jim and Missy flew down to spend “Put-in-Bay Day” at Sloppy Joe’s in Key West with us. With Jim doing the party planning, there was no way it was going to be just a one day event. He insisted we begin the weekend with a glass bottom boat snorkeling excursion on Friday. The weather refused to cooperate with Jim’s agenda, first throwing fog into the equation, followed by a chilly breeze, which made jumping in the water unappealing to Gary, Missy, and I. But Jim’s little boy enthusiasm was not about to be diminished, so Captain Ashley put him to work diving for lobsters, which was all the entertainment the rest of us needed. Dive after dive, coming up empty netted until…SUCCESS..four times! The other highlight of the boat trip was the spectacular show our dolphin escorts provided. It was exciting enough to see a line of them cresting a wave together, but they also threw in jumping and spinning in the air for their cheering crowd. Absolutely fantastic! Put-in-Bay Day lived up to our expectations. The PIB Island entertainers really draw a crowd, and it’s especially fun to see so many familiar faces from home down at Sloppy Joe’s in Key West. We reunited with Donnie Dunn and Lauren, ran into CRC friends Steve and Susan Fraley and Lakefront Marina friends Craig and David. All the while, Jim is applying Myassis Dragon tatoos on willing women in suggestive places. Gary and I escaped the mayhem long enough to watch the Key West sunset together from the top of the Crowne Plaza. Jim and Missy completed their vacation with us on board Tessa, and then Jim dragged Missy kicking and screaming to the airport for the flight back to frigid Dayton. David and Sandy spent their Spring Break vacation with us just a few weeks ago. During one of our walks, Gary and I discovered the Silver Sands Resort right on Key Biscayne. It is a hidden “Old Florida” motel tucked away along the beach, and it was perfect for their week of R&R. But before they got comfortable around the pool, they had to experience a Great White charter. This was a unique set-up, with four party cats filled with families cruising together out to the sand bar where the major partying occurs. All four cats rafted together to create one big mass of chaos. David, a certified Safety Director at Snow Shoe, said every safety warning bell and red flag went off as he was attempting to help control the crowd. Kids running, jumping, screaming, fighting, crying, playing, swimming, kayaking, and snorkeling, parents doing pretty much the same with some adult beverages thrown in for good measure. After that experience, David and Sandy were so worn out that all they could do was flop onto a chaise lounge by the pool with a refreshing beverage and recover for the rest of the week! It was a welcome change to our routine and we played like we were on vacation too. David was the pool entertainment one afternoon. The empty lot next door is an iguana playground, and one of the iguanas decided to come on over and take a dip in the pool. We all watched David’s expression as Mr. Iguana jumped in and made a beeline directly across the pool toward the ladder that David was at the time casually climbing up. “Is he coming at me? Is he coming at me?” David asked as the Pool keeper, Gary, Sandy, and I gestured wildly and laughed hysterically. In between the pool antics, beach walks, swimming, and reading, we managed to squeeze in wonderful meals at Flanigans with Angela, Joe’s Tiki Bar, Ayesteran, Bayside, and Tarpon Bend. It was a wonderful whirlwind week of fun. In April, we finally connected with Roy and Sue, friends of our friends Dave and Lynnette Werning. They all boated together at Lakefront Marina before Roy and Sue decided to relocate in south Florida. When Dave and Lynnette visited us in Fort Lauderdale last winter, they introduced us to Roy and Sue, and we became fast friends with this great couple. We invited them to Key Biscayne for a Tessa Happy Hour, and ended up spending quite a few enjoyable hours catching up. Our last visitor, Greg Roberto, just made it south before we headed north toward home. His timing was slightly off for resting up, since Gary was in full blown preparation mode and enlisted his help on Tessa. Greg is a true friend and hard worker, and he gladly agreed to help. We still managed to have great fun in between boat chores. We had our last Flanigans platter of free nachos with Angela, a plate of bait at the Boaters Grill, and a relaxing pool afternoon. The grand finale of our Miami experience was the going away party we threw as a thank you to all of our friends at Rickenbacker Marina and dock neighbors. It was a great chance to say goodbye in celebration and not sadness. There were plentiful snacks and drinks and laughter and hugs and handshakes. Pete arrived with his contagious smile and dance moves, and soon the Rickenbacker gas dock became a dance floor as the party took off at full speed. Now the dancing is over and we are on our way home. But if you’re already on your way down, just keep on coming and dance your own dance. We now know a lot of absolutely wonderful people who know everything about everything in Miami, who could most certainly end up being a distant cousin, or a new friend, or a dock friend, or a boat friend, or a friend of a friend. Everybody needs to have a dream come true. We did!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

8:32 ET 5/13/09

We put the finishing touches on everything yesterday and Tessa is much more secure than last September. My new 82 year old boyfriend Don from the Castleton Boat Club took me into town to provision and get a NY fishing license at the Town Hall. Last night we went across the river to the mooring balls ($5.00 vs. $75.00 for a dock) and had a big steak dinner celebration. Our plan is to get through the first 11 locks by tomorrow afternoon, where Tom and Sheri will connect to vacation with us for the rest of the trip through the Canal. George will drive their car back to Port Clinton, so everything has coordinated very well. We're considering pulling into PIB on the way to Port Clinton so everyone can see Tessa all disassembled and strapped together. I told Gary she will be embarrassed, but he insists that she has enough self confidence to handle it. She should be proud of herself after this journey! At this point it looks like we will be able to attend our first SHORT ATTENTION THEATER at Mr. Ed's in Port Clinton on May 30!!!!!

Monday, May 11, 2009

21:00 ET 5/11/09

The masts are down....and so is the crew! Off to bed at 8:45, early to rise tomorrow to finish things up, as another boat is waiting for the gin pole. We are pretty darn proud of ourselves, but too tired to celebrate!

14:05 ET 5/11/09

Captain Gary & George were determined to "put it in the kitchen" yesterday and they succeeded! They pulled up the anchor at dawn and we arrived at Castleton Boat Club last night right after dark. At first the GPS read "not possible" but later in the day we made up time with the current and lighter winds. It was a long cold day and as soon as we grabbed a mooring ball, I dished up some steaming angel hair pasta with clam sauce. We need the carbohydrates for the unstepping of the masts today. By the way, I sent out invitations to the mast unstepping party and it is the first party I've ever thrown that no one showed up for. Hmmmm.... Even though we are no comparison to the crew last fall, we are slowly making progress. You can't expect a great deal of muscle from a team comprised of one able bodied Captain, one Watch Commander nursing a cracked rib, and me, The Weakest Link, as George nicknamed me out on the Atlantic. It didn't help our morale much when some French guys pulled up to the gin pole to unstep a short while ago and just glided by shouting happily "34 MINUTES!" Great guys, have yourselves a nice day now. Gotta get back to work, just wanted to send you a quick update. Love, Lori

Sunday, May 10, 2009

9:21 ET 5/10/09

If ever there was a perfect weather window, we were in it. We escaped the Atlantic just in the nick of time. Woke today at the Tappanzee Bridge to 50 degress and NORTH winds blowing 25-30 knots. Had we still been in the ocean, it would have been a repeat of the horrible conditions of last September. We hoped to make it to Castleton by dark tonight, but with the winds on our nose, we will instead have to anchor somewhere south of there. Tomorrow we'll arrive at Castleton Marina and begin the mast-unstepping.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

11:54 ET 5/9/09

We can breath a sigh of relief.....on our way up the Hudson FINALLY She was just as beautiful the second time around!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

5/9/09 8:47 ET

Creeping along in dense fog, 500 ft visability, 7 miles from Statue of Liberty. Captain is staying in the Ambrose Channel but crawling along the side in shallow water, at least too shallow for ships and freighters to be in! The sailing gods just couldn't let us slide by without one big whopping final challenge. Will keep you posted.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Tessa Continues Non-Stop

16:11 ET 5/8/09 Tessa is 66 miles south of N.Y. Harbor. Lori finally got calm conditions but Captain Gary and George had to navigate in fog all day. Not enough wind to sail so they are motoring. Tessa bypassed Portsmouth, VA and Cape May to take advantage of the calm seas. Plan on arriving at Tappan Zee Bridge tomorrow to rest and stock up on much needed provisions unless fog greets them at the harbor tomorrow morning. Tessa and crew are anxious to get home and are doing what it necessary to expedite their arrival.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Cape Hatteras

13:15 E.T. 5/6/09 12 miles from Cape Hatteras. Southerly winds with waves on the beam. Trying to sail as comfortably as possible with Boom Preventer on main and keeping genoa full with Tessa rolling. Plan to sail on outside of Outer Banks with possible stop in Portsmouth VA depending on conditions. May decide to sail straight to Cape May for provisions on Friday. Hudson Bay arrival by this weekend.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

UPDATE 5/5/09

13:35 ET 5/5/09 Tessa and crew (Gary, Lori and George) heading out of Masonboro Inlet out to Atlantic. South winds 10-15 knots. Sailing straight through toward the Outer Banks. Intend to sail outside of Outer Banks then on to New York City. Estimated time of arrival in N.Y. ~3-4 days. Lori not thrilled with the open ocean sailing. Busy keeping everything secure down below. Gary, loving it!!! George, keeping neutral.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Tessa is on her way home.

Milson's departed Virginia Key on May 1st. Sailed straight out in the Atlantic for 3 1/2 days straight. Winds were out of the south. Lost 3 fishing lures trying to catch dinner. Arrived in Southport, N.C. May 4th for much needed rest.