Friday, May 8, 2015

I promise, I didn't fall off the face of the earth!

I've been spending 12 hours a day on weekends since we arrived on April 19th moving aboard Olympia for the summer.  There really are not enough hours in the day for this, believe me.  If I can get more boxes unpacked, I'll be able to send some pictures of the gorgeous gal.  Yes, I know, I also promised pics of our trip north (the laptop is on the boat).  In due time my friends.

As I write this (while taking a quick lunch break at my desk), the Explorer sits in the parking lot, packed to the rafters with "stuff".  Every trip from the marina parking lot to Olympia's slip requires 2 dock carts - at a minimum.

While I'm in transition, golf season started yesterday.  Why do I mention this?  Well because my golf clothes are on the boat, while my golf clubs are in my friend's garage and I'm still living in my apartment.  It gets a bit hairy at times, trying to get dressed for work and my myriad other activities.  Friday evening through Tuesday mornings I'm on the boat, the other 2 days I'm in my apartment.  Lest you think I've really lost my mind, I'm doing all this crazy moving around because of my cat.  What????  Yep, the cat, aka Zoe, has to be "weaned" aboard gently and very carefully.  After all, she's been moved twice in less than 2 years and you know how cats are about change.  Since I don't have time to chase her around the apartment to clip her now very long talons, I had to wait to get an appointment at the vet to get this done.  Sooo, the vet appointment is next Saturday, May 16th at 9:30.  As luck would have it, I have 2 other very important occasions to celebrate right around that time - my grandson's 4th birthday on the 15th and my daughter's birthday (I dare not say which one in case she reads this) on the 16th.  In between those festivities, I'll be coaxing Zoe out of wherever she decides to hide once we're aboard.  Oh boy, do I have my work cut out for me!

I don't want you to think I'm trying to distract you from the very reason you bother to read this blog, but I guess I'm asking for some sympathy and understanding in the obvious lack of "communication".  I do enjoy writing about what I love and am a bit frustrated by the lack of time.

I will get back to writing in just a bit and will have some lovely pictures to share.  Olympia is truly the Queen of the Marina.  My friend and I gave her this unofficial title one day when we were walking the docks.

Be back soon!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

We're Home!

Olympia glided into her slip in Huntington at 12:43 pm on Sunday, April 19th.  My girl's odyssey is over!

Pictures and a wonderful story will follow shortly - I need to pull the many pictures together, unpack, catch up at work and pack up the apartment for the move to the boat (just for the summer for now).

Be back soon - promise!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Homeward Bound!

Well dear friends and loyal readers, I've said it before and I'll say it now - dreams do come true.

Once my flight lands in BWI tomorrow morning at the civilized hour of  7:15 am, Larry from KKY will be taking me to Port Annapolis where I'll be reunited with my beloved Olympia for the ride home to New York!  As happens with boats, the rendezvous point changed from Norfolk to Annapolis due to favorable weather, superb navigational skills of the delivery crew, my flight plans and plain luck.

The last time I was aboard the subject of my dreams was February 3rd - far too long a span of time to be separated from her!  I'm sure I surprise no one when I say I'm delirious with anticipation, excitement, apprehension, joy, tumult, love - get the picture of me at this moment?

Yesterday, I took advantage of a glorious day to take my convertible (with the top down of course) to the ocean.  I communicate best with Tom near the sea, since that is where his first love of all things boats originated.  Against the roar of the surf, I thanked Tom for all he gave me and for where I am today, anticipating this next huge adventure of what is proving to be an unconventional lifestyle.  I whispered to him that though my heart is broken that he won't be physically present at the helm with me, I am heartened by the knowledge that his spirit resides in every inch of Olympia and how that makes her the most special boat I will ever own.

So many things in life are bittersweet, but none more than this upcoming adventure for me.  It was a year ago this month that I was poring over every picture I received from Taiwan as the building of Olympia resumed.  Now I'm about to take her helm and pilot her home where she will be loved, nurtured, enjoyed and the site of many, many happy and joyous occasions.

I didn't forget the christening pictures, but the next set of pictures you get will be scenes from the trip home. I'm sincerely hoping for clear skies as we cruise under the Verrazano Bridge and past the Statue of Liberty; however, there WILL be pictures of those landmarks regardless of what Mother Nature has in store for us.

So friends, I hope you'll join me for this most anticipated next adventure, the realization of more dreams and the beginning of a new phase of life.

All aboard!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

She's off the coast of North Carolina!

Like a love-sick puppy, I check Olympia's progress no less than several times an hour while I'm awake (I've been going to bed quite late this week).

Right now (as of 12:10 pm), she is off the coast of North Carolina, sort of opposite Camp Lejune making steady progress in the right direction. It appears that her latitude is 34.25434 and her longitude is -77.10927.  I wish I could tell you what that means, but were it not for the tracker, I would be clueless.   It's amazing to be able to see this girl making her way home.  Wait til I tell her how closely her mama was following her trip home!

Tonight is the last night of my 8-hour boating safety class, complete with a test.  Yikes - I haven't taken a test in at least 100 years; you can't believe the butterflies I 'm having all day today!  Luckily, my friend is taking the class with me and is equally nervous about tonight's test.  The reality is that this instructor told us that no one fails and that the material will be reviewed in great detail tonight, emphasis on the words "great detail".  I'm taking courage from that - and from the fact that some students in the class were asking how they can remember port and starboard.  I  hope I don't meet up with them on the water!  Once I pass this test, I'm going to find as many other courses as I can, namely, navigation and weather.  I really don't know how to read the weather - except of course if a T-storm is right over me.  So I guess that's a pretty good course for me to take.

So as I sit here counting the hours until I'm reunited with beloved Olympia, I can't help but feel sadness that this trip to meet her will be taken without Tom.  Yes he is always with me, I know and feel that, but let's be real about the lack of his physical presence.  As it turns out, I will be aboard on the 17th, whether on the water or at the dock - April 17th marks 19 months since Tom's passing.  Even as I type these words I cannot believe them.  It seems like yesterday and forever - all at the same time.

I thank you for your company and empathy as I make this journey.  More on Olympia's progress to follow!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Life in the (very fast) lane

I know, I know, it's been ages since I last posted.  If I said that my days race by and that my "to do" list would encircle the state of Texas, I would be making a gross understatement!

 I have to tell you that I know I owe pictures and a bit of narrative about Tom's memorial and Olympia's christening - January 31st seems like a lifetime ago.  However, I've been finding it difficult to  write about those 2 enormous events.  I should be ok in a little bit of time, but right now, I get clutched when I begin to think about relaying news about that day.

However, I do have momentous news - OLYMPIA IS ON HER WAY HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Captain Mike Warren along with a crew that includes Dan (journalist for some magazines), Tucker (VP at Kadey Krogen in Annapolis) and John Stempke (chef and co-captain extraordinaire) left Stuart this morning, heading to Morehead City via an ocean run.  If all goes well and Mother Nature cooperates, they should be there in about 60 hours.  From there, it's on to Norfolk where yours truly will come aboard for the trip of a lifetime.

John has his SPOT tracker aboard, so I can watch their progress.  Right now (as of 19 minutes ago), they are offshore in the Daytona Beach area.

 It's interesting that John was part of Serenity's delivery crew at this exact time in 2011.  Amazing how my life has changed so incredibly and dramatically since then.  Four years might as well be forty years!

I'll keep you posted on Olympia's progress and let you know when I'm aboard - hopefully a week from tomorrow.  Yikes, just thinking about it makes me breathless!

Speaking of breathless, I just mailed a hefty check to the Huntington marina where Olympia will hold court for the summer.  I'll be with all the big girl boats.  I already have a guest list going - and it grows by the day.  Suddenly folks in the office are stopping by to say hello.  Get it?  Someone that sells Pampered Chef in my office approached me about having a party on board.  Another person from a local wine shop asked about holding a wine tasting.  That would be boring since I'll only serve white wine when lots of folks are on board.  It'll be amusing to see who else crawls out of the woodwork.  I'm sure this summer will contribute many funny stories to this blog.

In the meantime, thanks for your patience in hanging in there with me.  You can help follow Olympia's trip home with me.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Montauk Pictures

I think you all know that Montauk is over 100 miles from Manhattan, at the tip of Long Island's east end on the south fork.  Those 100+ miles might as well be the difference between planets, so diverse is the landscape.  Though Huntington is a beautiful town on Long Island's north shore, about 90 minutes from Montauk as the crow flies, it pales in comparison to this scenic, rustic and seemingly out of the way bastion of old world Long Island.

Unfortunately, signs of the Hamptons are slowly creeping into Montauk.  Even off season, the restaurants (those that remain open year round) were expensive as were several of the novelty shops I visited.  The saving grace is that Montauk is still not densely populated so that stretches of pine trees and beach are still visible from the road.

On the way to the hotel, this snowy vista greeted me, begging for a picture through the car's windshield.  Can you believe how blue the sky is?  It was like that the whole time I was there, from Friday through Monday afternoon.

You can tell how much snow there was, including this mound that blocked the view of the ocean from this scenic overlook.

The hotel is a gorgeous, hilltop old Tudor mansion that boasts 1, 2 and 3 bedroom suites, 2 pools, a spa, restaurant, fitness center and spaces with fireplaces and cozy reading nooks.  Views of the sunset from the bay facing rooms are astounding!  Again, the sky almost seems painted into the photo.

In case you think I was exaggerating about the sunset view from the suite, look at this one.  It was as if each evening's sunset tried to outdo the previous one!

I set the alarm for 6 am Sunday morning to catch what I've been told are legendary sunrises in this part of the world.  Thanks to the beginning of Daylight Savings Time, I had a little more than an hour to get dressed, put together ingredients for mimosas and make the 15 minute drive to the Montauk Point Lighthouse.  I took about 12 pictures of the sun rising, but only posted 4 so as not to bore you.  Note how the cloud formation is different in every photo until they're completely gone in the last pic.

While the sun was rising and I was toasting the new day with a delicious mimosa, Beethoven's 9th Symphony was playing on the radio.  Can you think of any better way to begin a day in paradise?  The sunrise is not unlike the ones us lucky boaters enjoy from our cockpits, right?

There is something fascinating about a beach covered in snow.  I have been mesmerized by the sight since I was a child.  Not quite sure what the appeal is, but I love it!

The icing on the cake came on Sunday when it finally warmed up enough to put the top down!  It was in the balmy mid-40s, so a scarf, a bit of heat, windows up, windscreen up and I'm good to go - and go I did!!

 This was a memory-making weekend, much needed and appreciated after a nasty winter.  Since I still must work to support my marine lifestyle, I had to do something nice locally that would be a mini-vacation yet be far enough from home to make it seem like a destination.

The exciting news is that I have plane tickets booked for mid-April to Norfolk, VA.  That is where I am boarding Olympia so that I can be at the helm for the final leg of her trip home.  I may have to work with the airline if the boat is either early or delayed, but Southwest (which has become my West Palm Beach-New York shuttle) is very good about changing travel dates.  For those of you who have been following my dream unfold, you will recognize this leg as the culmination of the dream - sailing under the Verrazano Bridge and past the Statue of Liberty at the helm of my very own boat.  In the old scenario, Tom would have been at the helm and I would have been happy to stand beside him.  Now I will be at the helm and Tom will be standing beside me - as he is every day of my life.

Stay tuned for christening pictures.  I sent my cousin a gentle reminder yesterday that we are all waiting to see his pictures.  I felt brave blaming all of you.

Be back soon!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

I'm Still Here!

Sorry everyone!  I've been waiting for some very special pictures from Olympia's christening on January 31st.  The photographer is my cousin, a busy neuro radiologist in Sarasota, so I can't rush him too much.

I took a long weekend to visit Montauk this past weekend.  It was a winter wonderland following what we all hope was the last snowfall of 2015.

I'll post some gorgeous photos (including an awesome sunrise and sunset) of that trip  to keep you interested until I get the christening pictures.

While we're on the subject of trips, I'll be flying to Norfolk, VA on April 14th to meet Olympia and take the helm for the final leg of her journey home!  Just thinking about this adventure gives me goose bumps.  This trip has been in my mind's eye for no less than two whole years!

 The marina in Huntington advises me that her slip is ready - they also confessed that since she'll be one of the "widest" girls at the marina, they are going to check the width of her slip just once more.  Just to be sure, I'm going to pop over there this weekend to see for myself.  Getting stuck between pilings is not the way I want Olympia to make her grand entrance!  

There will be an interesting crew of 4 aboard as she leaves Stuart, including my hero captain Mike Warren.  I got a glimpse of their provisioning list - those guys are going to feast their way north, that's for sure.  I'd have it no other way, they deserve nothing but the best there is.  Mike is planning an outside trip to Beaufort, SC if the weather cooperates which he estimates will take 60 hours offshore.

I'm in the process of learning yet another new skill - negotiating with an outfit in Stuart to rent a life raft.  Did you know that since the life raft contains flares, it is considered haz mat and subject to specific regulations about its transportation to and from the boat?  That translates to the need for a special ground trucking service from NY back to FL (which translates further into $$$$).  Does anything marine-related not cost a fortune?  However, after applying my analytical skills (smile) to this process, I determined that it is still less expensive to rent, rather than purchase, a life raft.  Once I start cruising (oh please let it be soon!), I can look into purchasing the raft - and will be happy to do just that!

I'll try to get the Montauk pictures posted tonight if I get home from work and the barn at a civilized hour.  I feel as if I've let everyone down by my disappearing act and owe you all - big time.

I'll be back soon - promise!