Heart of Gold
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- Again, here I am just catching up on my log. I have been really bad about keeping it up to date and my New Year's resolution will be to do better at posting. It is a real pain to try and do this after so much time has passed.
- The new year came and went without so much as a whimper from anyone. Philip and Meghan had gone home on the 28th of December and it was just the Sarazhynskyy's and us. I was the only one that stayed up to see the new year in. Philip and Mary both called at midnight, which I really appreciate, but that was it. I can't remember but it was either new year's day or shortly after that we decided to take Mykola and his family to the British Virgin Islands. We were going to attempt this without Mary or Dana's help. That meant grabbing a mooring ball and then checking into custom's and immigration. I was nervous about it but we ended up just fine. We did just fine catching the mooring ball and getting ourselves set. We did run into a little problem when we tried getting the dinghy down. I need to mention at this point that the water was rough. Everything was going well and the dinghy was in the water. For some absurd reason I thought I wanted to try and re tie the dinghy to the boat. I had some hair brained idea of how to do it better. Well, as I was messing with the line my index finger on my left hand got caught up in the line. It nearly took the whole end of my finger off. It tore back a huge hunk of skin and meat was showing. I tied the dinghy back like it was and ran downstairs to our bathroom and started rinsing it with water. Greg and Tania were right behind me. Greg looked at the finger and said it was bad enough I should go to a clinic. Tania had the band-aid at the ready and I wrapped it up real tight. Greg jumped into the dinghy and tried starting it but it wouldn't start. The battery was dead. He hooked the charger to it and it was going to take a while to get it charged up again. In the mean time my finger was sort of starting to throb a bit. Mykola fixed me a bag of ice to put on it and that felt a lot better. Also need to mention that we were in the BVI's and had not checked into customs or immigration yet. Greg and I got into the dinghy and headed with all our paperwork to shore to get checked in. We got there and the first thing Greg asked them was where the nearest hospital or clinic was. They looked at my finger and then told us the hospital was right across the street. They really rushed us through right away except Greg had to go back to the boat and get more information on a couple of passports. So he went back to the boat and they let me walk to the hospital. I had to wait for a while in the emergency room but when I got in to see a dr. they were really nice. She thought it needed stitches but because of the way it tore there wasn't an good way to do it. So they cleaned it out and rebandaged it, gave me some prescriptions and I was back on my way. We were checked into the BVI's and checked out of the hospital in a matter of 3 hours. I felt bad for Tania, Mykola, and the kids because it was rough and they were stuck on the boat and were starting not to feel well. For some reason I have no photo's of our trip. The down side was that I could not get into the water for a while. I had to keep my finger dry. In salt water they are concerned about bacteria in the water and who knows what else. So I kept it high and dry.
- We took them to Norman Island and got a mooring at Pirate's Bite where we dinghyed to supper on the Willy T's. It is a huge old sail boat that was turned into a restaurant. Interesting place for sure and packed full of people. When you heard someone splash in the water it was usually someon who was naked. That is what they do at Willy T's. It was dark and we didn't see anything. Food was OK but the atmosphere was something else altogether. Love it. The next morning Greg took Mykola and his family around the corner where there was a wonderful place to snorkel. They loved it and I missed it. I want to go back there sometime. After that we headed to Tortola to go to the Bath's. It is a place that is hard to describe. It is a beautiful collection of gigantic geodes that you walk through and around and all over. You come across peaceful crystal blue pools. It is magical and if you ever get a chance you should go. Mykola and his family loved it and said they could have spent several more hours there. I was so glad they enjoyed it. I of course sat on the boat with my finger in the air and dry. After the Bath's we started back to St. Thomas. It was a great adventure in the BVI's. I was so glad to be able to show them this wonderful place.
- Mykola and his family left for Minnesota on the 4th. I hated to see them leave. The boat was so quiet. I found some photo's but not sure when we were here. I think it was toward the end of our visit with the Sarazhynskyy's. It was great because Mary took us to a place where we could see turtles. I have to say we could have never done this without Mary's help. Her and Dana have been so kind and patient to help us figure out things here on St. Thomas. I really appreciate all that Mary did to help make this a wonderful time. Thank you Mary! The turtles would surface all around us. I don't know how many of them there were but we were seeing turtles as fast as we could spot them. The turtles were great to watch. Mary and Olesia spent time topside trying to spot them and Taras was all over the boat. Greg and Mykola relaxing on the back of the boat while we were spotting. We did get to see a rainbow up close and personal. I have never been this close to a rainbow. It was huge. I will miss the Sarazhynskyy family. They are such good guests. I can't wait till our next visit.
- On the 15th Philip and Meghan returned to St. Thomas on a cruise they had booked a year in advance. When they got here we picked them up at the dock. They were also traveling with Meghan's mom Joanne and her step mom Martha. We brought them all to the boat and then headed out for some snorkeling. We went to Lavongo where there was some great snorkeling. Of course I still could not get in he water because my finger was opening up again and I didn't want to get it wet. But everyone seemed to have a good time. I love it when we are together and can spend time with each other. It doesn't happen very often but when it does it is great. Everyone was getting ready to go snorkel and Martha and Mary were well on their way to a good time. Megan and Mary were also having some fun. They were both having a lot of fun and acting goofy. It was nice seeing Meghan and her mom, Joann, having such a good time with each other. It was also nice to see Meghan, Joann and Martha together. I think they had fun snorkeling. Mary was great at taking underwater photo's. She got some great ones of a hawk billed turtle. I can't believe how beautiful they are. Mary also got some great shots of Joann and Martha snorkeling. After all the snorkeling and after everyone raided the catamaran tour boat that had the misfortune of mooring next to us we decided to just stay where we were and relax. The raid was led by Martha with Mary and Meghan right behind her. I don't think the guys on the cat really minded too much. They even served them some Painkillers while they were on board and let them go down the slide they had. I think Meghan was happy to have us meet her mom and Martha and glad we all had such a good time. I think Philip was also happy that we all got along so well. On the way back to their ship we stopped for a few fun pictures at one of the scenic views. It was sad seeing them all go but it was for sure a memorable day. When we got to the port, Meghan lost her mom, and then lost her phone. It was quite the ordeal. We sent her back to the bathroom and she found her phone right where she left it. Then we convinced her that her mom would probably be at the gate and low and behold there she was. It is always a surprise to our children that we can actually manage to figure things out. We were glad to finally meet Joann and Martha and get to know them. It was a wonderful day.
- On the 19th Greg left for Indiana and my friend Helen from NYC came to stay with me. I think Mary was just as excited as I was about her coming. We planned on doing some sewing and crafting. We had a blast. Mary brought over her sewing machine and she was making a bunch of pajama pants for everyone. We came up with a pattern and tried tweaking it from there. We took Helen to the fabric store we found and picked out a bunch of fabric. Mary's first attempt was a pair for Helen. We laughed so hard when she tried them on. Mary finally got them to fit correctly and Helen was really happy with them. They are her St. Thomas pajama pants. She wore them even during the day. We also went to Brewer's beach and Helen and I had our first pate's from the food truck. It was delicious. We found a bunch of glass and shells for crafting. Mary came to the boat everyday and we worked on sewing, knitting, and making stuff with shells and glass. I loved making stuff that whole week. Helen also got to see the huge iguana's up close and discovered the tarpon that live down the dock. We also made sushi from the fresh yellow fin tuna that the fishermen bring in and sell on the dock. We also took time to go to Havensight to do a little shopping and she got herself a great new camera. We had more truck food from "Off The Grid" truck and ended up going there a couple of times for lunch. It is so good. During the week Mary's friend Val came over and brought her sewing machine too. We got it up and running and they were both sewing away. It was great. I loved having a productive group like that to play with. When Greg came back to St. Thomas we had the boat cleaned up and sewing machines were gone. The three of us went downtown to pick up a few things and as we were walking Greg noticed something on the sidewalk. It was a marker made in Indiana at the Ford Meter Box Company in Wabash. It was neat to see that Indiana was part of St. Thomas. Corny I know but we are from Indiana. Toward the end of Helen's visit we went out for supper to our special place, Room With A View. Our boat neighbor, Jeff joined us and so did Mary and Dana. Our hostess also joined us for a sip of champagne. It was a great night. Helen's visit just seemed too short but she did leave me with a constant reminder of her visit. She placed pieces of coral she had found under her favorite palm tree just behind our boat. Every morning when I sit and have my coffee I can look at that coral and think of her. Helen scoured the beaches every day and she photographed everything she brought back. No matter what it was dead or alive. It is a strange ritual she does every time we are near a beach. I am used to it now. I am looking forward to her coming back. We always have such a good time.
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- 02/05/2014 - Wednesday - 1:00 p.m. - Today I finally got the website caught up. It has been such a wonderful time here in St. Thomas and I am looking forward to more adventures. I love when people come to visit and I love when it is just me and Greg. One thing for sure is I will never get tired of this view, or the visitors that come along, or the things we can create. I feel bad for the people back in Indiana and in Mississippi having to endure the cold and snow. I wish I could send a bit of this to everyone back home. I am going to try and keep this web page up and not get so far behind because it was tough to gather up the photo's and remember all the stuff we did. Parker is even making himself at home here. He just goes out and lays on the dock. He helps keep the iguanas away. What a good dog.
- 02/08/2014 - Sunday - 11:30 p.m. - We had a wonderful weekend with Mary, Dana, Val, and Scott. We left Saturday afternoon and headed to the BVI's. Greg was a happy captain as we headed out to sea. We checked in at West End in Tortola and then headed over to Norman Island. We picked up a mooring ball and got settled in for the night. Everyone was hungry so we headed over to Willy T's and we all ordered the fried chicken, which was recommended by Mary and Dana. It was delicious. We had a few drinks and Scott pulled out his chess board and was waiting for anyone to challenge him. Dana ended up playing with him and Scott won. No other takers. Greg and dinghyed back to the boat to take Parker for a walk and then made the mistake of returning back to Willy T's. I will not post pictures of what went on there. Needless to say I really need to stay away from liquor. There was a lot of dancing and laughing going on and I thought I was really funny and a wonderful dancer. Photo's prove otherwise. That is why they will not be posted here. We had a good time. The next morning I felt like I had been in a bar fight but everyone said I wasn't. I had a big bruise on my leg and I ached all over. Mary, Val, and Scott took the dinghy and went snorkeling. Greg and I stayed on the boat and Dana and Parker relaxed on the back deck. While on the back deck we spotted the biggest green turtle any of us had ever seen. My guess is it eats all the food that falls from the Willy T and that is why it is so big. It was probably over 5' long. It came up several times and just floated about 50' from our boat. It was sunning itself. He was a spectacular sight. Everyone had to get back on Sunday because they had to work on Monday so we just took our time going back. We decided to circumnavigate Jost Van Dyke and see what was on the other side. It was a little rough over there but it was beautiful. Lots of cliffs and caves. It would be interesting to explore but not very boat friendly. Then we headed back to St. Thomas and swung past Tobago Island and Watson's Rock. It was beautiful there too. We always see them from the back of the boat at the dock but have never been up close. We saw some white bird's of paradise there. They were squaking at us and didn't land anywhere to be able to take a picture of them. We got back to the dock and cooked some hotdogs and brats. Mary made her famous bean salad and we all enjoyed a good supper. Afterwards we played a fun card game that I can't think of the name of it but we had some laughs for sure. It was a great weekend and I love spending time with Mary and her friends. I can't believe this is our life.
- 02/11/2014 - Tuesday - 10:00 p.m. - Today we picked up Mike and Susan Bournique from Havensight where their ship came in. They are on cruise and they stopped in St. Thomas and came to visit us. It was so good to see them. When we got them to the boat we took off toward Jost Van Dyke where we checked in. They happen to have an agricultural festival there and we decided to look around there for a while. We had a drink at Foxy's and then headed back to the boat and on to Soggy Dollar. Mike and Susan drove the dinghy so we wouldn't have to drag it behind. We went to the Soggy Dollar bar and had their famous Painkillers and sat and visited for a bit. On our way back to the boat we stopped at Mary and Dana's boat so they could say hello to Mike and Susan. We got back to the dock and rushed to get them back to their ship. We made it just in time. We had a wonderful visit and I was so glad to see the Bourniques again. It is always good to see people from home.
- 02/14/2014 - Friday - 11:00 p.m. - Happy St. Valentine's Day - Wednesday we headed over to Tortola to spend a few days. Greg needed a part built for our bimini top and he knew a guy over there that could do it. We thought since we were going to stay a few days and in a marina we would check Parker in so we could take him to land. Well I did learn that ignorance of the law is no excuse. Greg looked on the internet and all they said was all we needed was proof of a rabies shot. Well, we had all that and more. Once we got to Road Town to check in we find out a totally different story. It took us nearly 3 hours to get checked in. The vet had to come down to the boat and look at Parker, plus we didn't have the right permits or papers for him. I wanted to turn around and go back to St. Thomas and forget the whole thing but the immigration and customs people didn't want us to have to do that. In the mean time we are breaking the law with Parker. Poor dog had no idea. We finally got it all worked out but Parker was quarantined to the boat. Needless to say Parker will not be going to the BVI's with us, or I should say we won't be going to the BVI's for a while. At least no until we figure out what the hell papers we need for poor old Parker. We got to the marina and it was dark already, Greg and I walked up to the marina restaurant and had a bite to eat. Nothing special. Went back to the boat and relaxed. On Thursday Greg got ahold of the metal guy and they picked up the part and told us it would be a simple fix and they could have it back to us by 3:00 that afternoon. That was great. We hung out on the boat and ended up meeting our dock neighbor, Henrick, who was on a 100' Turkish made boat named XOS. He was a great guy and full of information. After our part got back and we put it back up Henrick invited us over to his boat for a drink. He gave us the grand tour and it was a beautiful boat and well maintained. Greg and I walked to town and had sushi but it wasn't that great. Went back to the boat and watched a movie. Friday morning, St. Valentine's Day we got up and went to breakfast, afterward to decided to head back to St. Thomas. Leaving Tortola was not a disappointment to me. Seems like Road Town always has some kind of quirk for us. Last time I nearly ripped the end of my finger off while we were there. We had a nice ride back to St. Thomas. Going past the different little islands is always so interesting and beautiful. Mary had called and asked us if we wanted to go to the local theater and see the musical "Smokey Joe's Cafe" and we thought it would be fun. We met Mary, Dana, Carly, and Chris at the theater that night and really enjoyed the play. Local theater is really a lot of fun.
- 02/17/2014 - Monday - 2:00 p.m. - Happy President's Day - Our neighbor Jeff and his friends came back from their trip today. I am doing laundry and Greg is working on some kind of boat stuff. He is always working on boat stuff and it seems I am always doing laundry. That is about it. Took a picture of my friend Helen's favorite palm tree and coral. She probably won't see the picture on here so I will e-mail it to her. Mary and Dana stopped over, they were looking over a boat that someone wanted them to take out tomorrow for a charter. It didn't have propellers on it so they couldn't take it out for a test run. In the mean time they got a charter for this afternoon and took it instead. Don't know what the people are going to do tomorrow for their charter. That's about it. I think we are settling into a routine and I like it.
- 02/23/2014 - Sunday - 12:00 p.m. - It is going to be another lazy Sunday around here. Beautiful weather. Greg worked on the cylinders on the hoist to the dinghy this weekend and will be taking them somewhere around here to be repaired. We have done nothing exciting this past week. My computer is getting ready to be repaired and I don't know when I will have it back. It is so frustrating when it goes on the fritz. I just hope I don't need a new one. That will be a real nightmare. I have had several people from Geek Squad look at it through the internet and now I think I need to take it in so someone can look to see if there is a hardware problem. I sure hope not. If it isn't hardware then maybe they can figure out what it is. Very frustrating. I just hope I can get everything back if they have to replace the hard drive or memory or whatever it is that is wrong with it. Maybe a walk on the beach will help my frustration level.
- 02/24/2014 - Monday - 9:30 p.m. - This morning we had a visitor watching us from the piling at the front of our slip. Evidently he got bored with the goings on in our boat. Today Greg got a hold of some friends from Marion. Becky and Mike Frantz are staying at Sugar Bay Resort which is just down the road from us. Greg and Mike work together. We picked them up at the resort and took them for a special milk shake at Udder Delite. One of our favorite places. It isn't fancy but the shakes are spectacular. After getting our shakes we headed back to our boat and had a pleasant visit. Unfortunately they are heading back to Marion tomorrow and we had to cut our visit short. The nice thing was that Greg is also going back to Marion tomorrow and they were willing to give him a ride back home from the airport. They weren't on the same flights but they arrive in Indy just 15 minutes apart. That was a great stroke of luck. We had a wonderful afternoon with the Frantz's and were glad to see people from home. It is always nice to have company.
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- 03/31/2014 - Monday - 10:00 p.m. - The month of March has been rough because I had no computer and when I finally got my computer it has taken me a while to get everything back in place. What a pain. I had to replace my hard drive but at least I didn't have to go to Window's 8. I think everything will be back to normal. I will just give the highlights for March. It wasn't all that exciting but it was productive for me. Greg ended up being gone for most of the month. Our son, Phil, ended up doing damage to his ACL when he fell during an indoor volley ball game. He had to have surgery so Greg decided to stay until P.D. could recover. Greg didn't get back here until after my birthday which was OK because he was able to spend P.D.'s birthday with him. I was glad he could be there for that. Mary made sure I had a great birthday. I just wanted her and I to go to my favorite restaurant, Room With A View". Dana was busy so it was just going to be her and I, so I thought. She also invited Wendy and Kevin, who are our boat neighbors. It was wonderful. They all treated me to a wonderful dinner of lobster and steak. Wendy and Keven got me a huge chocolate cake. They left it on the back of the boat when they left for work that morning. Wendy was afraid that it would melt before I discovered it because the sun was shining right on it. So she texted me and told me that there were people on the back of the boat and I should get out there. She thought it might be some people looking for a charter. So I get up and run out there. I look outside between the blinds and saw something out there on the table. I am thinking, oh crap, those people left food on the boat. I run out there and I see a bunch of people getting on one of the charter boats and I am about ready to tell them they forgot their food when I saw a birthday card addressed to me and then noticed it was a cake. She got me hook line and sinker. So needless to say I had a great birthday. Thanks to Mary and some great neighbors.
- Wendy asked me to teach her how to sew some cushions for their new boat and I agreed. I showed her how to sew the first couple of cushions but then she got busy with work again and I decided since Greg was going to be gone for so long I would just go ahead and finish the rest of them. I was glad to do it and she was happy they got so much done. They are working hard to get their boat just like they want it. I do know that feeling.
- Greg finally got back here and it was nice to see him again. I did enjoy my time alone on the boat but it was good to have him back again. After a few days we decided to take a cruise over to St. John. We went to Coral Bay. The first night we went to "Skinny Leg's" and had some good blue cheeseburgers. It was rough where we had anchored for the night so we decided to head over to Hurricane Hole and found a great little place that had mooring balls. It was beautiful and calm in there. We didn't do much. Greg fell asleep on the back deck and got himself a sun tattoo. Every time I look at him I just had to laugh. We went snorkeling and saw lots of starfish and even found an old conch shell. We were hoping to find a live one so we could have it for supper but no luck there. It turned into a great 5 days instead of the 2 we planned on. We just didn't want to leave. What a great time. We really enjoyed St. John and plan on doing that again.
- So that is it for March. I am glad I got my computer up and going again but it is still a process. It will take some time to get things back in order.
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- 04/02/2014 - Wednesday - 10:30 p.m. - Today Mary is having her big charter. She arranged for a 48 person charter and I volunteered to take some photos for her. I was so excited and I wasn't even going on the trip. She really worked to make this a success and it was. Parker wanted to go with us but poor Parker was just going to have to wait here. Everyone got here to our marina and Greg and I went out first and waited for them to get loaded up and come on out. Take It Easy is the name of Mary and Dana's boat. I think everyone was ready for a great time. All the other boats were up and ready to go. They took off into the big blue sea for a great day! Greg and I took a little dinghy ride and then just worked on the boat the rest of the day.
- 04/11/2014 - Friday - 11:00 a.m. - This week and a half has been a good one. It started with Mary and her big charter on Take It Easy, which was a big success. I am proud of her for doing such a good job organizing such a big charter. Everyone seemed happy with the results. We finally resolved our head problem. Greg really got digging into it and discovered some long over due maintenance issues. By long overdue I mean at least 10 years overdue. So glad he discovered it before major damage occurred. that would have been really ugly and smelly. We now smell fresh as a daisy! No more mystery smells. At least I hope that was the problem. So far so good. It is hypnotic to sit on our back deck and look out over the sea. Between us and the sea is also interesting. We have a beautiful egret that visits at the end of the dock. He sometimes perches on the light post and other times he is on the shore. I had a chance to take some good photos of him one afternoon. He happened to be visiting right next to my friend Helen's favorite tree where she put some coral and rocks for safe keeping. This egret seldom gets spooked by us or Parker. He also is very friendly with the charter fishing guys down the dock. He sees them coming in and rides in with them everyday. He can hear them coming and starts flying out and rides all the way in with them. I just love watching him do that. Close to sunset we love to watch the sun light up this big rock or tiny island, depending on your view, named Shark Island. It is just wonderful how the sun hits it just the right way. We also have the occasional iguana come and visit and stay for a little sun in the afternoons. This is really a great place and we have enjoyed it here immensely.
- 04/14/2014 - Monday - 11:45 p.m. - Today was Greg's 65th birthday. Hard to believe how fast time goes by. We started the day by meeting Mary and Dana at Fishtail's for brunch. They were finishing up their tax returns which is never fun. Greg finished ours and we put them in the mail yesterday. It makes me mad to send that money to the government. We could piss it away just as easily as they can. We all went to the boat and Mary had to finish her taxes up so I thought I would run Parker to the vet down the street in Red Hook. He has been having a terrible problem with his skin. Allergies. I didn't have an appointment and just walked in. They took us in right away and the veterinarian was wonderful. She was a young lady from San Diego, CA. She looked at Parker and her team fixed him up and made him a lot more comfortable than he has been in a while. It only took us a half hour all together. Got back to the boat and Mary was done and we were all ready to take off for an afternoon on the water. We had to put new zinc's on the boat so we headed out to Christmas Cove where the water is calm and clear. Dana volunteered to go under the boat using the hooka and changed the zinc's that needed changed and Mary volunteered to scrub the waterline. While he was under there he went ahead and scraped the props and Greg asked him to scrape the props in the bow thruster. Mary had noticed they had some build up on them while she was working on scrubbing the water line all the way around the boat. It was wonderful that the kids did all that work for us. It was the best birthday present for Greg. Mary and Dana were great to do that. He and I floated around on noodles while they were working. The difference between us and them doing it is they are much faster than us. Greg sure was grateful for all they did. After all the work was done we hung out and had a snack. Mary and Greg always take the best pictures. Dana took a few snaps of the three of us. I finally figured out how to use the timer on my camera and we got a picture of all four of us and Parker. We had a great afternoon with Mary and Dana. Greg said he had the best 65th birthday. We got back to the dock and Mary and Dana helped us rinse the boat and then they left. Greg and I did not feel like going out for supper or having supper at all so we just puttered around the boat. We noticed a beautiful moon rise and I was able to get some great pictures. I could not believe when the egret flew in and perched on the light pole. The moon was beautiful. I could not believe how perfect a model the egret was tonight. I even got a shot of it with the moon shining off of its feathers. What a great day we had for Greg's 65th birthday. I was feeling a little guilty for not planning a special party but Greg said he had a perfect birthday and he got to do exactly what he wanted to do. I was happy about that. Happy Birthday Greg, you're the best husband.
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- 05/30/2014 - Friday - 9:00 p.m. - Well May is almost over and we have spent it in Indiana. One of the first things I did was go to the Nashville, Indiana Crank-in. I can't tell you enough how much I enjoy going to these gatherings. It was so good to see all the good friends I have there. I really miss these people. It is always such a wonderful time and I was able to crank out a bunch of socks. Rod Tatlock, one of our more prolific crankers put this wonderful YouTube video together of the event. I especially loved the music which was played by Rod. I love the banjo. You will find me in the video where he mentions "the blondes," and you don't have to talk real slow! Enjoy the video, I always do. Nashville, IN Crank-in.
- The next trip was to Ripley, West Virginia where I went to the Cedar Lakes Rug Camp. My roommate Dana and I left early on Mother's Day morning and headed to Ripley. We take our time getting there and we were both excited about camp this year. It was great to see all my hooker friends. We had the best group again in my class. Again, had a wonderful time and got a lot of work done on my rug. Dana and I took our time getting home and made a few stops along the way. It was just the best week.
- Greg went to work everyday and I worked on our poor neglected house. I did go to my rug hooking group in Muncie on Tuesdays and we had a lot of catching up to do. Everyone was working on some beautiful rugs. Memorial weekend was upon us before we knew it. Greg told Phil that we could doggie sit Dragon because we had no plans for the long weekend. In the mean time our friends the Bartrom's called and invited us to their lake house on Lake Tippecanoe. I was thrilled but we could only spend the day since we were doggie sitting. I really did appreciate the one day and I know Greg did too. They took us out in the afternoon on their pontoon boat for a ride around the lake. Mike and Greg had a great time and I was glad to get caught up with Sherri. We went out for supper to a great place they knew and went back for a sunset cruise. They took us to a place called Pie Eyed Pete's where there was a live band. We were all too pooped for dancing. It was the best day and we were lucky to have a beautiful Tippy sunset. It was really just a wonderful visit and beautiful day with Mike and Sherri. Can't thank them enough.
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- 06/2014 - This month has gone by in a blur. Greg went back to the boat the first week in June and I stayed home to host my circular sock knitting group in Marion and to go to my rug hooking camp in Manistee. I also had a chance to visit my cousin Barb, aunt Sylvia and uncle Gene up in Elkhart. It was really good to see them all again and they looked great. My aunt is doing well at the Alzheimer's facility and has improved greatly. She can come home for visits whenever she wants. It was a good move even though it was extremely difficult for Barb and Gene. It was a really good decision for everyone. It was a good visit and Barb and I had a chance to talk and get caught up. It was good for both of us.
- The second week in June I hosted our annual Crank-INdiana event. I have it at the Comfort Suites in Marion and we had 29 people in attendance this year. It is so much fun to see everyone and visit. I always laugh so hard at these things. Most everyone does. We of course always make a time to go to Ivanhoe's in Upland, Indiana for the strawberry shortcake. I know my friend Mary Ann really loves it. Judi and Larry Meissner are my co-hosts and always bring a ton of knowledge and help. They are some of my favorite people because of their kindness and generosity. Pam was a little disgruntled this year but we made her laugh anyway and Ruthann is sitting in the background, these two are more of my favorite people.
- The week after the crank-in I drove up to Saugatuck, MI and met up with my friend Helen. We traveled up to Manistee, MI for the rug hooking camp. Had a wonderful time seeing old friends and meeting new ones. I even made it onto the front page of the Manistee newspaper. I couldn't believe they put my picture up there. They spent most of the day at the camp and took ton of pictures so I can't understand why they put my mug up there. Helen and Jan made it onto the second page. It was funny because we were all in the same class. I got a lot of work done on my rug but didn't finish it. I was hoping to get it done before I came back to St. Thomas. Camp ended on Friday and I decided to spend the rest of the weekend with Helen in Saugatuck and then go to hooking on Monday. It was great seeing my old hooker friends. I miss them a bunch. It was good to have such a nice long visit with Helen too. I miss her a whole bunch. I wish she didn't get so seasick. It would be great to have her come to the boat and stay a bit.
- I got home on Monday and finished packing for St. Thomas. Our son Philip took me to the airport early Tuesday morning. I really hate flying and this flight I had two stops. It wasn't too much fun trudging through the airports with Parker in tow. He was a good sport about the whole thing and entertained all the kids in the Puerto Rico Airport while we were waiting for the last leg of our flight. It was good to be back in St. Thomas.
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- 07/03/2014 - Thursday - 10:45 p.m. - It is great being back in St. Thomas. It took me a while to recover from the plane ride back but we finally got back in the swing of things. Earlier in the week we went to the farmers market with Wendy and Kevin. It was not totally open because everyone was in St. John for carnival so there weren't too many vendors. We are planning to go back when carnival is over. After that we went to the Botanical Gardens and walked through. It was really beautiful. The rest of the week was normal. We had some interesting visitors. A really colorful and brave crab. One of the boat neighbors said he saw the same crab try to mate with another crab but she wasn't too interested. We couln't understand what the problem was because he was really a gorgeous crab. These are normal conversations on the dock. Also had a huge iguana come to sample our plants. Don't think he liked them because they were citronella plants and were probably too strong for his taste. But he did sit around and sun himself for a while. This afternoon we watched as a sailboat struggled to not run aground but it ended up there anyway. It happened right in front of us in Sapphire Bay. Greg and I went out in the dinghy to see if we could help but it was too late by the time we got the dinghy launched and got out there. They were stuck. It took two Seatow boats to pull him out. There were several boats that helped earlier but one mistake after another and the guy just got stuck. Seatow got there in good time after they were called and it took them about an hour to get him upright and out of the shallows. That was our excitement for the day. Glad no one was hurt and the last report we heard there was no hole in the hull but it is going to need some work.
- 07/04/2014 - Friday - 11:00 p.m. - HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!!! Greg and I decided this morning to head over to St. John to watch the carnival parade. We took the dinghy over and the water was rough but we took it easy and it wasn't too bad. We got there around 10:30 a.m. because they said the parade started at 11. But of course the parade didn't start till around 12:30 p.m. I think it was the slowest parade I have ever seen. But it was wonderful. The first group we saw were the Baliwood dancers after that the little kids and more little kids. Greg and I decided to walk back wards of the parade route so we could see it faster. Otherwise we would probably ended up being there till dark. I loved the steel drum people. There were both men and women playing the drums. They had lots of baton twirlers in the parade and a local band that was great. I was amazed at the amount of little kids that were dressed up and ready to march in the parade and the amount of twirlers. My favorite part of the parade were the Zulu troupe. The costumes, and make-up, were amazing. They really got into the part and danced and put on a show. I even got in the middle of the action. The Zulu were just something to see. I also got in with the really tall girls. I don't know how they do it. Another costume I thought was interesting but it had to be heavy looked like a bird. There was also a little tall girl, which I could not believe someone so your could do that. Then there was a guy who was on some really tall stilts. Made me afraid of heights just to watch him. They also had a group that did hula hoops, it is popular down here for excersize. Greg and I both got henna tattoos but Gregs didn't turn out too good because he kept wiping it on his shirt before it was dry. I love mine. We got back to the boat and ran to the grocery store to pick up some steaks for a cook out with Mary and Dana and their neighbors. We had never tried flank steak but she said to get those because Mitchel knew how to cook them and she was right. He grilled them to perfection and then brought a sauce to put on them that was out of this world. Marjorie brought a delicious cheesecake for dessert. The evening was wonderful and it was a great visit with Mary and her friends. The fireworks were tiny because they were shooting them off of St. John but we enjoyed them anyway. Next year we will take the boat out to watch them. We had a great Independence Day.
- 07/28/2014 - Monday - 11:30 a. m. - Can't believe how July has flown by. After the 4th Greg and I just relaxed and hung around the boat. He had to get ready to head back to Marion for 10 days so I decided to invite my friend Helen from NYC to stay with me while he was gone. Greg left on 8th and Helen came in on the 9th. We had the best time like we always do. When she first got here we went up to Mary's house and Helen got to relax with the cat on Mary's porch. We had planned to go for brunch but it didn't work out so we went to Carl's for some tamales. He makes them every weekend and they are delicious. There are banana's growing next to her apartment but they were not ripe enough to pick. We also got to see some really nice sunsets and a super moon rise. Greg and I have driven past Petra's Schnitzel Haus a thousand times and it never even occurred to us to try it. Helen looked up the review on it and they were all great. So she and I went to Petra's Schnitzel Haus! The food was spectacular and Helen even had some good German beer. It was so good we went there two other times while she was here. Great food for sure. Helen went to the beach everyday and would bring back treasure. I thought this coral face was really interesting. I think one day she will make a pendant out of it. Mary invited us to go to her "Art Uncorked" group at Tillet Gardens and we had a blast. Helen was not interested in painting so she hung out at the bar with friends. Mary and I worked on painting, and I am here to tell you it was work to come up with these masterpieces. It was a lot of fun
and I am glad we went. Mary has really enjoyed the classes they offer and she has painted some really good stuff. Toward the end of Helen's visit we decided to go into Charlotte Amalie and do some shopping. We went on a day there were no cruise ships and it was so nice. We had lunch at Cuzins which was great local food and wonderful atmosphere. Then we walked around the shops trying not to get accosted by all the diamond and jewelry store salespeople. One guy drug us into his store and Helen was really amazed at the shrine he had set up in the store. He was really an interesting man and explained the shrine to us. We didn't buy any jewelry but it was worth going in. I love it when Helen comes to visit but I don't like it much when she leaves. We have been friends a lot longer than we haven't been, over 40 years. We have been friends longer than Greg and I have been married. I love her and am glad we became friends all those years ago. Can't wait till we see each other again.
- 07/31/2017 - Thursday - 10:30 p.m. - Greg and I headed to St. Croix after Helen left. We thought it would be a good idea to get the bottom work done and the props changed and be able to see St. Croix. We had a white breasted booby follow us all the way from St. Thomas. As we got closer to St. Croix I think she got tired and decided to risk landing on our boat. When we got to the dock the owner of St. Croix Marina and his yard manager met us right away and told us that as we were underway to St. Croix their lift broke but it would be only a few days to get the parts to fix it. We decided that wouldn't be so bad and it would give us a chance to explore St. Croix. The next day we rented a car and went exploring. We headed for the rainforest since we had never driven through a rainforest before and Greg wanted to have a beer with the pigs. The trees were spectacular. We finally ran across Mt. Pellier Domino Club and that is where they host the pigs. We decided to have lunch there and that day all they were serving were hambergers so that is what we had along with french fries. We discovered that they only cook one thing a day and that is what you eat. It was one of the best burgers we have had and we should have split one because we could not finish them. The lady who waited on us suggested that I could use a "mama wana" and so I asked what that was. It is some kind of root marinated in rum and then you add honey to it and let it ferment. Needless to say she was right, I need one. I was afraid to have another. After our drink Greg was ready to drink with pigs. There were several pigs but one really likes to have her photo taken. After that excitement we headed out to see more of the rainforest. We were amazed at the roots and the size of the trees. We were just awed by the how beautiful the rainforest was and the trees. The next day we headed to the other side of the island and checked out the other marina. The only really interesting thing we saw there was a black egret. I had never seen one of those before. It was a great time seeing the island especially since the time kept getting longer as to when the lift would be fixed. Finally on Thursday they got it up and running but it was at the end of the day so we said we would wait till tomorrow. Of course we have been watching tropical storm Bertha build up and heading our way.
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- 08/07/2014 - Thursday - 11:30 p.m. - Greg and I spent the day with last minute items to do in preparation for our departure. Mary and Dana got to the boat around 8:00 p.m. and shortly after we were underway. Mary got our watch schedule going and I made a nice salad for supper. Greg and I had the first late night watches and Mary and Dana rested after working all day. Friday morning was uneventful as was most of the day and the evening. Dana did spot a pod of dolphins. They were all really small and extremely fast. They just jumped around the boat and didn't do too much swimming with us. They were really cute and super fast. Saturday was a beautiful day and it was smooth sailing all day long.
- 08/11/2014 - Monday - 11:30 p.m. - Yesterday and today was spent trying to get the correct paper work for Parker. They told us they were legally within their rights to take Parker and put him down. Instead they just told us that they were never here and not to worry about it. I like how they do things in the Turks and Caicos Islands. In the mean time I am still trying to get all the paper work together. I really appreciate our veterinarian, Dr. Durkes, he is wonderful. Thanks to him we have all the paper work for the Bahamas and here. Today we got the dinghy down and all of us went out to the reefs just outside the marina to snorkel. It was fantastic. Mary got some great shots of fish and my camera was out of battery. I had charged it a while ago but it was dead as a door nail. It is fully charged now and ready for the Bahamas. After snorkeling for a while we went up to the beach and hung around a while. It is just beautiful here.
- 08/12/2014 - Tuesday - 11:45 p.m. - Mary and I went to the grocery store while Greg and Dana got the boat ready to leave. I was still waiting for a fax from Dr. Durkes. Finally got it in an e-mail instead and I feel much better about the Bahamas now. We spent a fortune on groceries. It is expensive here to buy food. We left the dock around 10:00 a,m. and headed for the Bahamas. It was a beautiful day to be on the water. The waves were nearly non existent and it has been smooth sailing. Mary made us a wonderful taco dinner and we all enjoyed it. Most of the ride this evening has been uneventful except for the two cargo ships that crossed our bow after dark. I had to slow down for one of them but then everything went back to normal. Great day.
- 08/13/2014 - Wednesday - 9:45 p.m. - We got to Long Island and Greg and Dana went with the dinghy to check in but they told them the customs and immigration were not there today but they were at the other end of the island which was another 6 hour ride. Tides are a concern here and by the time we got to Stella Maris it was too low for us to get in to check in so we had to anchor out. This was a huge treat. The tide was going out and we went into an area where the water was gone, we called them the flats. Mary found sand dollars and all kinds of shells. We explored the area for a while then dropped off Mary and Dana so that they could explore another reef. Dana was looking for lobster but found none. We were hoping for surf and turf for supper tonight. Got back to the boat and started fixing supper. This was our first anchor in the Bahamas so we celebrated with steaks, rice, tomato and cucumber salad and a bottle of wine. We all enjoyed the dinner and the company. Parker is getting used to the boat running and is not as anxious as he was before. We even have his poop and pee situation figured out. Everything is working out perfectly. This is a wonderful trip.
- 08/16/2014 - Saturday - 10:30 a.m. - Today we are heading toward Stanial Cay somewhere up the chain. We plan on finding an achorage to see what we can see. The past two days have been spectacular in Georgetown. The Exumas are the best part of the Bahamas so far. Yesterday we headed out to Mama's Bakery at the very end of the island from Georgetown. We got there and Mama's daughter was baking and said she had bread rising and it would be around 1 p.m. when it would be done so we decided to explore. We went to the ruins of old salt ponds where slaves and poor white people used to rake salt for export, after that we found a beach called Tropic of Cancer and walked down to the beach. While we were there a dolphin came swimming into shore. Mary and Dana jumped in along with two other couples and the dolphin played with them for over an hour. He swam amongst the people and Mary and Dana were able to get great photos and videos of them swimming with the dolphin. It was a magical moment. After that we went back to Mama's bakery and the bread was cooling so we had lunch at the bar next to Mama's house. Mary, Dana, and Greg all had the grouper and I ordered the lobster. I had never had deep fried loberster before but it was delicious. They deep fry the whole tail. I got to taste the gouper also and it was delicous also. We headed back to the boat and picked up some groceries then shoved off to anchor near the Chat n Chill for the evening. We dinghyed around looking for a blue hole but never found one. Dana did some speed snorkeling along the way. We headed up to the beach and I went for a dip. While I was soaking in the water Greg came back and told me to hurry up and follow him. He took me to where Mary and Dana were feeding conch to searays in the water. When I walked into the water they all came toward me. It was a sight to see. There were big ones and little ones. We had the best conch salad since we got to the Bahamas. We had a small supper at Chat n Chill and headed back to the boat.