Friday, January 30, 2009

Bahamas dreaming...

Unfortunately, a bad virus has laid me up for a week and the drive to North Carolina and Alizee has had to be put on hold for a few days.  Hope to leave on February 3, now, but of course that depends on if I shake this thing.  Meanwhile, I've got an AIS system and Sirius marine weather being installed and am having the shaft alignment checked out by a local yard (I hope they can identify a squealing noise that Alizee's engine started making the last day or so of our trip down the ICW last August).  And, I'm thinking about where I'll be in March.  My friends Rob Woltring and Keith Rarick are arriving in Oriental on February 28, and we'll make the crossing as soon as we can after they get there.  The sooner we can go, the sooner we'll be in warm waters and Rob will be fishing!

Other Bahama maps

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I suppose I should have known...

When I bought Alizee and decided to berth her in Oriental, NC, I based it on hurricane zones and insurance considerations along with the fact that the Pamlico Sound is a haven for sailing craft.  I remember now, somewhat sheeplishly, that I actually looked into having someone detail Alizee for me on my return in late December or early January.  I suppose my being a born and bred California boy explains my naiveity, but now as I look at photos of Oriental taken only yesterday, I'm wondering: "what was I thinking?"
On Wednesday, about an inch or two of snow covered Oriental and the boats in the harbor.  The weather has been cold ... bitterly cold to this Californian who presently thinks it's cold as hell in central Florida (a hard freeze the past two nights).  But the sun is out today in Oriental and the prediction is that much of the snow will melt, although it will continue to be cold for a while, highs in the 40s, lows in the low 30s.
I'd be lying if I didn't say I was a little concerned about how Alizee is taking the cold weather.  My friend Karl checked on her a week or so ago and said she looked fine, and I've got an electronics fellow looking at her about now to figure where to install an AIS unit on her, but ... well, one worries a bit.
Penelope and I are driving up the end of next week.  One hopes that the weather turns and starts to warm by the first week of February, when we'll arrive.  I'll be living on her for February, getting her ready to cross to the Bahamas on March 1st.  Ah, the folly of the sailor's life.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Starting the New Year...

Penelope joined me in California a couple of days after Christmas, and I've been introducing her to friends and showing her some of the bay area's sites.  She loves it, and we've been having a wonderful time, although there never seems to be enough time.

We went to Big Basin the Monday after she arrived ... a great day to drive through Saratoga and up Highway 9 to the Santa Cruz Mountains summit.  It was a beautiful day, but when we finally got down into Big Basin park where the redwoods block out the sun, it was chilly.  So we limited our walking to the trail through the oldest trees (the Mother Tree is 3,000 years old), and it was pretty spectacular. 
We've both just really enjoyed driving around and seeing places she's never seen (pretty much the whole bay area), but I scheduled a couple of dinner parties with friends.  Ben Kline (who I've taught with at De Anza for many years) and his wife Julie spent an evening before the new year, and we managed to polish a bottle or two of wine off.
On New Year's Eve we danced up a storm at Encinal Yacht Club, where Penelope got to meet many of my sailing friends.  After a nightcap of sipping rum with David and Susan Sherrill on their Beneteau First Argonauta, we spent the first of two nights on Dog Days. That was a trip for Penelope, since she and her husband Bill had an Islander Bahama 32 some twelve years ago that they sailed to the Bahamas and along the southeast coastal area.

On New Year's Day we went on the "round-the-island" cruise on Tony and Michelle Shaffer's power cruiser, and we were kept company by Charles and Kathryn Hodgkins and Sam and Chris Benson.  (Charles promises pictures.)  It was a wonderful day, with lots of drinking at the Aeolian Yacht Club, the Balina Bay Yacht Club, and finally at Encinal.  We ended it having dinner with Rob and Carol Woltring and Mike Porfiri at Otaez, a new Mexican restaurant in Alameda.

The weekend after New Year's my daughter Lisa, her mother Sandi, and old friends Bob and Laura Miller came over for brunch and spent time going through my mother's paintings ... everybody found some to take with them for their walls, which I was happy to make happen.  Then we went for a walk at Shoreline Park and enjoyed a wonderful winter afternoon before a great sushi dinner in Los Altos.  
We also had another nice dinner party with Tony Kay and Lin Hullen, and I have spent a lot of time getting things together to leave my townhouse with friends while I'm cruising the Bahamas this winter/spring.
We had coffee with my daughter yesterday.  It's the last time we'll see each other before Penelope and I leave for Florida, and since we've been meeting for coffee every week for almost two years, it's going to be really hard not to see her regularly.  We'll just have to rely on the phone and email.

Anyhow, now it's packing time and time to focus on the upcoming sailing adventure.  Alizee awaits in Oriental, North Carolina.  Florida next stop, then Oriental.  Soon!!!