Monday, November 7, 2011

Serenity Makes Her Last Trip of 2011

What better thing to do on a gorgeous though chilly fall guessed it, cast off Serenity's lines and head for the hills - of Port Jefferson that is.

When one of our dock neighbors broached the idea of spending the weekend on our boats in not too distant Port Jefferson, I immediately jumped on the opportunity.  The captain agreed (actually more quickly than anticipated) and the planning began.  Though we would only be gone overnight, it does take some planning.   We need to be sure we have the most important things aboard - lots of wine and other spirits, snacks, a charged phone, laptop, camera, etc.  Luckily, our house/cat sitter was available, one of the barn brats was available to ride Wiggles and the cleaning woman was arriving before we left.   Everything was in place.

One of the greatest things about traveling on your own (exceptionally comfortable) boat, is that minimal packing is required.  We keep a double set of everything we need aboard, so only need a change of clothes and the electric toothbrush and brush heads.  In fact, as I said before, the greatest thought is given to what we'll eat and drink during the trip.

On a clear, sunny and slightly chilly (temps in the low to mid-50s) Saturday, we did what we dream of doing every morning before heading to work - casting off Serenity's lines and heading out.   Our departure was like a ballet - no shouting, rushing or confusion.  I handled my lines like a pro and the captain got us away from the dock like he does it every day.  Since we both enjoy running the boat from the flybridge regardless of the weather, we armed ourselves with several layers of clothes, the Bose remote, some snacks and water, and we were off.

In spite of the persistent wind in our faces, the trip was exhilarating!  Very few boats were out, fewer boats were still at their moorings and the usually chaotic Huntington Harbor was ours.  The foliage along the shoreline was changing so that we feasted our eyes on shades of russet, gold and just plain red.  The seas were fairly flat for a good part of the trip, with just a bit of pitching in the more open parts of the Sound.  Our stabilizers worked like a charm so that we were very comfortable.

In less than 3 hours, our destination was in sight.  Luckily for us the ferry had already entered the breakwater so that we had the entrance to ourselves.  After a brief chat with the dockmaster, we saw our slip - and our friends waiting to help us with our lines.  Our friends have a gorgeous Post that goes like a bat out of hell.  They left an hour after we did, passed us enroute and were having cocktails when we arrived.  Never mind that they can't hear themselves think during the trip and can't really mosey about their boat, they got there in 40 minutes.

After some good natured banter about aging during our trip, we were tied up and soon basking in the fall afternoon sun.  There is something wonderful about sharing such good times with good friends - and in our neck of the woods, to be doing this in early November is even more wonderful!  It wasn't long before I put out some fresh mozzarella and tomatoes, followed by brushetta on seasoned toasted bread - accompanied by very nice wine - and cocktail hour was in full swing!
We had dinner at a perfect window table overlooking the marina in the Wave restaurant, which by the way, is under the direction of a new chef.  He apparently started in mid-summer when the management realized a change in chefs was needed pronto.  We feasted on local specialties and had a pleasant evening.  Since the captain is a most gracious entertainer, we invited our friends back to Serenity for brandy.  It wasn't long before we were all yawning and reluctantly bid the day farewell.

The next morning was as beautiful as they come!  Tom and I enjoyed coffee on our back porch while we  watched the ferry unload and load its passengers for the trip to Bridgeport, CT.  Since the real world awaited us back in Huntington, we set out for home by 10 am.  Again the wind was in our faces for the entire trip, but the seas were flatter and the ride was heaven.  I whiled away the time by entering our trip into the log book we were presented when Serenity won "Best in Show" at the Ft. Lauderdale Trawlerfest back in January and updating the log with the names of all Serenity's visitors during the season.  I filled several entire pages!

Again our friends left about an hour after we did and passed us along the way.  This time, they had a treat in store for us - they took pictures of Serenity under way.  We were dying for these pictures, but would have had to pay a photographer a king's ransom to get them.  Take a look...........
                                                She is an absolute beauty, don't you agree?

Within the next couple of weeks, Serenity will be winterized and put into her winter pajamas.  We are having a small door zipped into the shrink wrap so that we can visit her during the impossibly cold winter days from December through February.  The only good thing about this whole process is that once she's wrapped, the worst is over and we can start counting down until she emerges from her winter nap, ready to explore new frontiers with her mom and dad.

Even more to look forward to is that our Tucker will be old enough to fit into a life vest and will be able to accompany us on our shorter trips.  He'll be 6 months old on the 15th of this month (how can that be?)!  Can't resist giving you a quick peek at our beloved angel... (he's in his lion Halloween costume).

Don't worry, I'll be sending another picture or two of Serenity in her pjs, so stand by.  We're not done yet!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Part 2 of Our New England Trip

First, an apology.  Upon review of my last post, I realized that somehow the dates got mixed up.  The actual Newport Boat Show dates were Thursday, September 15 - Sunday, September 18th.  Sorry for any confusion.  I probably should do my posts earlier in the day when I'm more on the ball.

Now that we're past the apologies, it's on to the rest of our incredible trip.

Monday morning (September 19th) dawned clear and sunny.  We woke to an eerily quiet dock, especially after the show's hustle and bustle.  Eager to get underway and off to our next adventure, we walked around the dock, looking for the guys who were supposed to help us get away from the dock.  Since no one was in sight, I decided to do a load of laundry (even doing laundry on Serenity is not a bad thing).  We readied Serenity for our departure, which means laying down just about everything that could fall over.  After a quick breakfast, we began to see some (and hear) some activity.  It appeared that our fellow boaters were just as eager as we were to get away, so soon everyone began to help each other with lines, cleats and everything else boat-departure related.

Tom and I got lucky.   The folks on the North Pacific 39 to our port side had a long day ahead of them and couldn't leave until we did.  Within 15 minutes of a quick chat, they were helping us with our lines and off we went.  In fact, we left so quickly that the laundry wasn't yet done.  No problem for Serenity - we switched on the wonderful Northern Lights generator and viola! laundry done while underway!  So on a sunny Monday, we were heading out of Newport Harbor before 9 am, heading for our next adventure on Block Island.
We had the most beautiful day for cruising!  Little wind, following seas and abundant sunshine.  Luckily for us, fog was not a factor today and we could soon see Block Island in the distance.  Happily ensconced on the flybridge with my pillows and a good book, I settled in for a 2 1/2 hour run.
It wasn't long before I noticed that although our ride was very smooth, passing boats seemed to be disappearing into unusually deep troughs and I could see the occasional underside of passing sailboats.  We had lots of company on the water today, so I had plenty to look at.  Tom finally (and reluctantly) told me that the ground swells on the beam that we were experiencing were between 5 and 8 ft.  No big deal for our Serenity, but giving the other boats quite a tossing about.

All too soon Block Island was in sight.  It's quite amazing the way it sits on the water.  It looks like a giant blob with a little knob on one end.  As we rounded the point and entered the Great Salt Pond, I was able to get my first glimpse of the island I had wanted to visit for so long.  Last summer I waited too long to make a reservation resulting in a change of plans.  Since we were no longer in high season, we had our pick of slips at Champlain's Marina.  Since Hurricane Irene wreaked her havoc on the island last month, the marina was pretty much closed up for the season.  Serenity was one of only 6 boats in the marina and the only one with people aboard.
It was kind of nice to have this quiet after the excitement of the past 4 days.  Or so I thought.  We hadn't secured Serenity into her slip when a bouncy woman popped into view calling to us that she saw us in the Newport Show.  What a small world!  With just a few people in the marina on tiny Block Island, what were the chances we'd run into someone we had met, albeit briefly?  Not only did we meet her, but she reminded us that her husband toured Serenity for nearly an hour and was crazy about her (they're sailors).

We were now secured in our slip, I put our "stuff" back into place and was ready to explore the island.  Up the hill I went to the dockmaster's office to check in and get information.  Within an hour, I was on my way for a walk into town.  Though I was told it was only 1 3/4 miles into town, it sure seemed longer.  I started out wearing a fleece and soon wished I was wearing a tank top.  True to my crummy sense of direction, I was soon lost.  What saved me from panic is the fact that the island is only 6 miles long and 3 miles wide, so how lost could I be?  Pretty lost it turned out.  Luckily I saw a man working in his shed and stopped to ask for directions.  He was one surprised man, let me tell you!  I did get to see some incredible scenery though.  I later found out that there are 365 fresh water ponds of all sizes on the island.  I passed some beautiful ones during my walk.
Some of the scenes I passed seemed to be out of a painting.  In fact, the pond scene above reminded me of a print we had bought for For Us and made me feel a bit nostalgic for our old friend.  Much of the scenery is like the Scottish moors I've ready about in books.  Lots of heather, brambles and big open spaces.  The only thing missing was sheep grazing on the hillsides.  I finally began to see signs of civilization and stopped once again in a grocery store to ask where town was.

I began to feel as if Block Island was indeed a welcoming place, especially for those of us arriving by boat..

After some quick looking around, I headed back to Serenity and Tom.  But not before booking a taxi for a tour the next day and on second thought, a ride to dinner that night.  I had no sooner finished speaking to Jim of Mig's Rig, when who should pull up behind me - calling to me, but Jim.  He extended his arm out of his window so I could get his card.  With business settled during my walk, I felt I deserved my waiting cocktail.  Sure enough, as I came down the hill to the marina (nice view, huh)?

there waited the captain on Serenity.  Though he tried to look casual, I could see that he was anxiously looking to see how many shopping bags I carried.  Lucky for him, I knew the walk back would be even longer than the walk there, so I refrained from making any purchases.  Oh, I forgot to mention that as I was approaching the marina, my new friend Jim pulled alongside me and invited me to hop in for the remainder of the trip.  Though it was less than a mile, it was quite welcome by then.  Serenity was the most welcome sight at that moment.  I knew a comfy chair and cold drink awaited me.
The next morning was a bit overcast, but nonetheless perfect for our tour.  True to his word, Jim was there waiting for us at the appointed time.  We hopped into his van, anticipating a lovely morning.  Jim has been on the island for nearly 10 years - he was very well acquainted with all the points of interest.  At one point during our tour, he pulled over and suggested that we walk to a view that he couldn't get to with the van.   Despite the captain's sore ankle, we left the van and made our way through a narrow passageway through dense bamboo (bamboo is growing rampant on the island to the distaste of most of the islanders).  All they need now is a bunch of pandas!  At the end of the path, we were treated to the most breathtaking sight of the ocean.  In fact, the scene made me feel as if I was in San Francisco in Half Moon Bay overlooking the Pacific!  What an incredibly beautiful sight we beheld!
 Hard to believe that this scenery is there every day while I'm sitting at my desk.....
BTW, I think this is where I finally got the camera setting re-adjusted.
One more stop included Block Island's lighthouse which curiously could only be reached on foot since it was part of a wildlife preserve.  Not even a 4 wheel drive vehicle could get to it.  Though we didn't attempt that walk, several people were making their way over to the lighthouse.

You can see some bicycles in the foreground.  One of the best ways to get around on the island is by either bike or moped.  The cabs are quite expensive.

After our tour ended, Jim dropped us off in town since it was too early for the lunch we planned.  It was nice to just relax with the captain.  We decided to wait with a Bloody Mary at the National Hotel, a big old hotel on the main drag in town overlooking the harbor and ocean beyond.  Quite civilized I might say.  We had lunch in the Oar Restaurant which has some of the best New England clam chowder I've ever tasted.  I made an exception about "no butter, no cream, no fat, blah blah blah" - glad I did!
We had 2 wonderful dinners while visiting the island - our first was supposed to be at the Spring House Inn, but since they were only serving pizza that night (we had been dropped off there by Jim and quickly called him back to get us out of there) we tried our choice for the next night.  We had an exceptional dinner at the Hotel Mannisis - the food had an undertone of Indian cooking - that was fantastic - even the captain enjoyed his dinner.  We did go back to the Spring House in the following night and had another wonderful dinner.  We even had them make us a pizza to take back to the boat.

All too soon it was almost Wednesday morning, September 21 and time for us to visit our last port of call - Clinton Harbor in Clinton, CT.  It would be a long crossing - about 6 hours, so we decided to turn in early.  Not so fast........ Tom and I decided to enjoy a brandy on our back porch.  It was cool and clear - the perfect evening for a brandy and a fitting end to 2 lovely days as Block Islanders.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

It's Show Time!

The Newport International Boat Show officially opens today at 10 am.  The opening is announced with the firing of what sounds like a cannon; the sound is still fading when the gates open and a stream of boat-loving humanity streams in.

Before the festivities begin however, the KKY crew fortifies itself with Pat's phenomenal breakfast.  They don't call the Spring Street Inn a B and B for no reason.  Pat's freshly prepared breakfast selections of hot things (crepes, waffles, french toast, omelets, scrambled eggs, sausages) and baked goods (croissants, biscuits, muffins, coffee cake), cereal, yogurt and fresh fruit would be reason enough to jump out of our Tempur-pedic equipped bed (no backaches from this bed)!

A crystalline sky and warm day greeted us as we walked the mile or so to the show.  The boat gods were indeed smiling on us (as they continued to do for the entire 4 days of the show).  I'm told Serenity brought good luck to KKY since it usually rains during this show.  Good thing too since the cleaning crew spent 4 hours cleaning her outside and another couple of hours cleaning the inside.  I found out later that she was cleaned every day of the boat show - wow!  This is the view that greeted us as we left the inn and headed for the show.
After waving our exhibitor's passes at the security staff, it was off to the boats.  I must confess that I stopped to do the merest bit of shopping in the quaint shops lining Thames St. as I walked to the show.  Actually the shopping wasn't so mere, but the captain may read this blog, so mum's the word.

Since Serenity was with the other trawlers and trawler wanna be boats, I had the opportunity to visit other boats.  I hopped aboard a 2+ million dollar Grand Banks 53 and a $395,000 North Pacific 39 - boats at either end of the cost spectrum.  The North Pacific is a nice entry-level boat and the Grand Banks is a lovely boat for weekend cruising.  Neither of them could hold a candle to Serenity though.  Yes, you could say I'm a bit biased, but the workmanship, lines and creature comforts just speak for themselves.
Between the boats of all types - both power and sail, boat equipment, boat stuff and things to eat, the show was overwhelming!  Huge tents were stuffed to the gills with every imaginable engine, thruster, compass, chair, mattress, first aid kit, ditch bag, and a thousand other things.  I smiled as I first walked into the show - tables advertising boat loans were the first thing one saw!  They're not dumb.

As I walked to where Serenity was waiting to meet her admiring fans, I was quite taken with her display.   KKY's blue and white flags fluttered on either side of Serenity.  The KKY folks waited on a nice-sized float covered by a tent, carpeted, with lovely chairs in which to sit.  There were large easels displaying their boats, including the new 52, a wood podium emblazoned with the KKY logo and 2 huge pots of fall mums.  Very classy!  Nothing but the most elegant surroundings for our elegant girl!  That's Shannon who orchestrated Serenity's showing and arranged for all the "furnishings".
The next few days found Serenity the center of much attention.  The KKY folks conducted countless tours and answered endless questions.  When I wasn't off shopping in the tents, I was on Serenity with Tom doing our best to help with some of the questions.  We were like proud parents, quickly offering that Serenity was ours at the slightest opportunity to boast.  There is something incredibly wonderful about hearing people exclaim over your boat and hearing them tell us how lucky we are.  We are indeed lucky and feel very fortunate at the same time.

In addition to enjoying showing Serenity off, Tom and I had some nostalgic moments in Newport.  We visited the Black Pearl for lunch and the White Horse Tavern for dinner.  Both places were visited during our first visit to Newport as newlyweds.  Tom was sailing on tankers at the time - one port of call was in Fall River, MA which is just across the river from Newport.  On one of my visits to meet the ship, Tom and I visited Newport and found those 2 places.

Forgive my photography.  I think I inadvertently had the camera set on something I shouldn't have.  Since I never have time (or the patience) to read owner's manuals, this is the result.

Tom and I enjoyed the show more than we initially thought we would.  Every day was like being at a party.  We met so many wonderful people, saw neat boat things we never knew existed, had dinner with KKY folks, and just enjoyed being in the moment.

I couldn't resist taking this picture of Serenity on my way back from one of my shopping trips.  It was nice to be able to stand back and take a full picture of her all dressed up for the show.
During the show, beautiful sailboats glided by adding to the excitement of being at a boat show in fabulous Newport.  I did a lot of pinching myself to assure myself that I was indeed at a boat show in which our very own boat was on display.
Sunday came all too quickly.  At 5 pm the final cannon shot was heard, announcing the end of the 2011 Newport International Boat Show.  The docks gradually emptied of people.  The sound of happy voices was replaced with people closing down their displays, forklifts going back and forth, shouts to move things along and the background noise of a closing show.  I sadly hugged my KKY

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Day 3 - Pt. Judith to Newport

Today we woke up in Pt. Judith at the ungodly hour of 6am.  Why would anyone get up at that hour while on vacation you ask?   Well if you anything about the Pt. Judith Marina, it's for the blueberry pancakes over at the Snug Harbor Marina!  I can tell you that when Captain Mike first suggested going over there for breakfast before our departure, I thought who cares about breakfast when I can catch another 1/2 hour of sleep?  Since I have a weakness for blueberries in any way, shape or form, I was easily persuaded.  Thanks Mike - those were the best blueberry pancakes (aside from my husband's) that I had ever eaten!  While we ate, we chatted with the owner who has been making wonderful pancakes and burgers there for the past 31 years.  The best part of traveling is getting to chat with the locals - imparts a special touch to the trip.

Fortified with those pancakes, we cast off and were on our way by 7:40, headed for Newport.  We had an uneventful departure and enjoyed glorious sunshine, a bit of wind and flat seas (yay and yay) for the first 15 minutes of the trip.  By the 16th minute, we entered a fog bank so dense that we could barely see ahead of the bowsprit.  Fortunately, the wind had calmed down and was now to our backs so that running Serenity from the flybridge was very pleasant (besides we could "see" a lot further if there was anything to see).  It was the first real fog I had ever experienced and let me tell you there is nothing more eerie than being completely engulfed by fog with only the radar to point out objects.  That beautiful radar was quite busy pointing out objects - we were obviously not the only ones out there that morning.  Talk about nerve jarring time - we needed to use the horn on 3 different occasions.  At one point, we were passed by a boat doing close to 20 knots - one minute we were alone and the next minute, we saw his rooster tail as he sped by us.  For the next 45 minutes, we huddled over the radar screen not saying very much to each other, except to comment on the fog and all the "blips" on the radar screen.  We actually passed by Block Island (our destination after the Boat Show) without ever seeing it!

Well all good things come to an end, and so came an end to the fog.  Once the fog lifted, we were treated to glorious sunlight.  At this point I asked Captain Mike to take the helm, took Serenity off autopilot and spent the next fabulous 45 minutes steering her to Newport.  If there is anyone out there fortunate enough to have a trawler, and even more blessed if it's a KKY, who has never been at the helm, you don't know what you're missing!  Serenity handles like a dream.  Since our path was clearly plotted (it actually looked like a helix), it was easy to keep her on course.  She responds to the slightest touch of the wheel like a sweetheart.  Once I overcame my tendency to oversteer (quite apparent when I looked aft and saw my path), steering became pretty tame.  Never mind I had not one, but 2 captains holding their breath behind me, on we pushed - until I encountered too many boats doing too many different things - all on their way into Newport Harbor.  I can't wait for my next opportunity to steer.

Our approach to Newport Harbor was breathtaking!   Yachts the size of hotels lined the harbor, while sailboats of every size and type glided past us.
Our arrival was greeted with a frenzy of radio calls, line handlers instructions and docking directions.  We were asked to tie up at a temporary dock so that the captains could be shown our show slip.  Good thing too cause when I saw where we were going, I thanked the sea gods that I was not at the helm!  The boats are put into the narrowest slips ever created.  We were put into a slip with a smaller boat's bow on our starboard side and a show float to our port side.  Once docked, we all heaved a collective sigh of relief.  Since we arrived 2 full days before the show's official opening, we were treated to beautiful sailboats coming and going and less fortunate boats needing to be moved several times.

After I served the captains lunch (yes, I found my way to the galley and actually put together a nice lunch that didn't involve the stove), Mike and I decided to do a bit of exploring while Tom "protected" the boat.  We picked up our exhibitor's passes and headed to the shops where I had little difficulty finding the perfect gift for Christina and Tucker.

With my purchases clutched in my hand, we then went in search of a place for dinner.  We found 22 Bowen's which was recommended by a dock friend in Huntington.  After making a reservation, it was back to Serenity to watch more show preparations and slake our thirst with some fine wine.  I can't tell you how exciting it is to be in the center of such a prestigious show of which your very own boat is a part of!  Newport clearly turns out for this show!
After dinner consisting of incredibly delicious steaks and great wine, we headed back to Serenity to enjoy a serene evening at the dock.   The KKY folks, boat interior cleaners and a host of other people are arriving tomorrow, the last full day before the show opens.  Gotta get ready for show time.

We came across the most incredible, refurbished Boston Whaler.  Since Serenity is in need of a dinghy, I took a closer look.  My interest was so piqued, that I ran back to the boat, dug out a tape measure and took critical measurements.  Can't wait til the Whaler person is in his tent tomorrow to get the details!

The KKY folks arrived a bit before 4pm.  How wonderful to see our "family" again.  Luckily, the carpet installers finished installing the carpet in the tent seconds before the crew arrived.  In no time, KKY staff had their stuff ready to go.  Once everything was set up, it was time to get our stuff off the boat and head for the hotel.  Kinda odd to be spending a night on land, but's show time folks!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Day Two - Point Judith, RI

Monday, September 12 was sunny but very foggy.  As we cleared the dock, we found ourselves engulfed in the most thick, pea soup fog I have ever experienced.  How weird to find ourselves surrounded by nothing but dense, quiet fog.  We fired up the radar, running lights and turned on the horn.  Little did we know, but we would get to use that horn on three separate occasions.

This is the kind of weather that every gadget we bought, every upgrade we selected, became worth their weight in gold.   Our very accurate radar identified targets uncomfortably close to us.  In fact, we never saw any of these targets until they were about 100 feet away from us, materializing suddenly out of the fog.  Mike blasted the horn in 2 burst intervals on 3 occasions, scaring me half to death.  It was more scary not to be able to see anything.

After about an hour or so, the fog began to lift, making the next 4 hours of this trip more pleasant.  I could pick out interesting things on the shore and could see the marina ahead of us.  Today was such a 180 degree change from yesterday.  I was able to eat lunch, enjoy the scenery (what I could see of it) and actually learn a few things.  In between all this learning and looking, we managed to have a very nice lunch on the flybridge (where we all wisely decided to hang out).

We tied up around 2:30 on a choice T-head dock at the Point Judith Marina.  Folks here were very friendly, including Little Mo (short for Monet), a gorgeous little white poodle who greeted us when we checked into the marina.  Mike recognized a KKY 42 at one of the slips, so off we went to say hello.  We met John and Liz, a liveaboard couple who were enjoying the boating life.  After exchanging pleasantries, we invited them over for cocktails - and of course a tour of Serenity!

Luckily we were assigned to this dock because the current was unusually strong (2-3 knots) and would have created huge problems for Serenity.  Now we had the whole afternoon to see the sights, have cocktails and just sit back and enjoy our lot in life.  We took a walk around the marina and returned to find Serenity looking just beautiful in the late afternoon sun.  I couldn't resist a few shots....

She's pretty from the front.... well as from the rear.

While seagulls, a swan and other wildlife swooped, flew and crawled around us, we enjoyed an on board dinner cooked on the bbq grill by the one and only captain.  Since it was quite windy, we retired to the salon which was sunny and cozy by this time of day.  Dinner was lovely as was the wine and after dinner treats.  Tonight we were treated to the most beautiful sunset.
Mother nature still had more in store for us as the moon rose....
Though the sea may occasionally be harsh, those times are soon forgotten when sights like this are enjoyed from your beautiful boat in a tranquil marina on a beautiful September evening.  One day after the tenth anniversary of the loss of our country's innocence, nature is there for us, healing those wounds.
To end a perfect evening, we watched the Patriots play the Dolphins on our 42" HD LED TV - way better than anything we have at home.  In fact, anything done aboard is way better than anything done on land.

Are you thinking about now that I love the boating life?

Tomorrow we head for our assigned slip in Newport.  But not before we have blueberry pancakes at a little place Mike knows............

Getting Ready to Go! Day One

Serenity is on her way to the Newport International Boat Show!  The show runs from Thursday, September 15 through Sunday, September 18th.  Our Serenity will be one of the show's stars as Kadey Krogen's sole entry.

Since everything I do is done with ceremony, getting Serenity ready for her show is no exception.  I grocery shopped until the folks in the store I usually frequent started to look at me suspiciously.  Three dock carts of "stuff" isn't that much for about 10 days aboard is it?  Never mind that 4 of those days will be spent on land in a B and B!  I have enough food to feed a small army and tried to cover every "what if" I could think of.

Once I got the food loaded aboard, it was time for the clothes.  If you think I had "what ifs" for food, you should see the scenarios I came up with for my outfits!  I actually had to sneak the clothes aboard, lest the captain become frazzled at the sight of countless piles of clothes.  The fact that I'll live in a pair of jeans and series of polo shirts doesn't enter into this equation.

So, the clothes are stuffed into the closets and drawers (actually Serenity has oodles of space), the frig and freezer are bursting and the pantry's shelves sagging; we're finally ready to go.  Oh, did I mention the magazines, book and crossword puzzles I brought?  We left Huntington yesterday morning and I haven't even looked at the Sunday Times yet!  These things sound good in theory, so are a must to include.

Sunday morning dawned clear and sunny.  The last line was cast off at 8:20 am and we were on our way to Newport!  A bit after clearing Lloyd Neck, the wind picked up and so did the waves.  By 10 am, I was considering calling the Coast Guard to evacuate me off the boat and finishing the trip in a nice car or train.  We left the flybridge for the comfort of the pilot house since the wind was making it impossible to stand out there any longer.   That was mistake number one.  I gamely sat in the captain's chair while Tom and our actual captain Mike, explained things to me.  Though I desperately tried to concentrate and drown out the little voice telling me I was about to lose breakfast, the voice won.  I rushed down the stairs - that was mistake number two - in those conditions, one rushes nowhere.  One crawls and hopes for the best.  I made it to the head just in time.  Not to be outdone by conditions, voices or any other distractions, I climbed, crawled back up to the pilot house where the two men were still chatting, seemingly oblivious to my dire condition.  I lasted about 5 minutes before I had to rush off again.  This time I was down for the count.  My ziplock bag and I made it to the aft cockpit where we spent the next miserable 6 hours.  Do you have any idea just how long 6 hours actually is?  It's a very, very, very long time, let me tell you.  As we were entering the scenic approach to Saybrook's Harbor One Marina, I began to feel better and was even able to help with the lines.  The scenery was enough to focus me on other, nicer things.    Who could be unwell looking at this sight?

Once we were tied up, the best part of boating began - cocktails on the aft deck, while watching the sun set.  My ordeal was soon forgotten as I reveled in the sight of the most perfect sunset.  We had dinner in a lovely restaurant overlooking the marina - the perfect ending to a perfect day.  We stayed up too late discussing the day and our plans for the following day.  Tuesday would find us traveling from Saybrook, CT to Point Judith, RI.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Serenity is Home, Tucker is Getting Settled, Life is Good....

Holy cow, I looked at the last post date and realized that it's been 7 weeks since I had time to breathe!  Before you think I've actually caught up, I need to confess that the only reason I'm here right now is that our dinner plans on the boat got rained out in a major way.  Between Serenity and Tucker, my time is well- spoken for.  Don't forget that there is also full-time work, a horse and a weekly golf league in this wild mix!

Enough of that you're thinking, let's get to the boat.  You need to know that Serenity has been voted "Party Boat of D Dock".  In addition to her prominent position at the end of the ramp to the dock, her big spaces, huge frig that stores great snacks, wine cooler, BBQ grill and well-stocked bar, she is very inviting to sit on.  We finally got around to getting 4 more chairs so people can actually sit in the cockpit as opposed to sitting on our dock box or - heaven forbid and strike them down- lean their butts against the captain's glistening capstrip.  Though he tried to hide his look of horror, everyone soon realized that they'd rather stand til their legs got numb than lean against that capstrip!

Decorating a boat as beautiful as Serenity has been wonderful fun.  The claret-colored leather club chairs are the focal point of the salon.  They beckon to all who enter (as long as they're not in a wet bathing suit or other "no no"attire.  Plopping down in one of those chairs with a glass of good wine is heaven sent!

There's also a cozy throw to snuggle in, a fat pillow and conveniently located small table for that glass of wine to encourage folks to stay and chat even though it's 1 am and a week night.  By the way, we finally got that life ring hung just last week.  The captain more than agreed it didn't match the decor.

Serenity is equipped with a state-of-the-art Bose sound system.  Behind the right chair is a cabinet that houses a Blu-Ray disc player, an iPod dock, the subwofer and satellite radio.  Hidden in the port side  saloon is a 42" LED flat screen HDTV that provides the most incredibly clear pictures I have ever seen.  In the up position, the TV has a small, front-mounted speaker that adds to the surround sound in an unbelievable way.

Since a good TV show or movie requires something good to eat, 8 can sit around this table, 6 on the U-shaped settee and 2 on hassocks.  The table can be raised to dining height or lowered to cocktail height.  If needed, 2 leaves can be opened for maximum eating room.  The table also swivels so that if you've eaten too much and are seated alongside the back, you won't be trapped til the next day.  In this photo, the table is at dining height, but the leaves are closed.

Once the chairs were in place,  it was on to the rugs.  I think I mentioned in my post of May 22 that we were fortunate enough to get wind of an oriental rug liquidation at a nearby warehouse.  I think the owners smelled a big sale cause they were on us like ants at a picnic.  The selection was awesome and after about an hour of looking at a too large number of rugs, we settled on 3:  a 4x6 for the saloon, a 3x4 for the area in front of the bar and a runner for the companionway.  The owners were a bit dumbstruck when they learned that their precious rugs were going on a boat.  Only after I showed them pictures of the saloon were they convinced that the boat wasn't an open air skiff.

Though it's hard to tell, the rug has lots of navy and wine and is a most pleasing pattern to look at ( I think the rug guys said the pattern was Isfahan).  You can also see a bit of the rug in front of the bar.  It's predominately navy and complements the larger rug.  Can't remember what this rug's pattern is, sorry.
The companionway rug (which by the way fits without a whisker to spare) is green and ivory and feels fabulous under foot.  What you're looking at straight ahead is the master stateroom.  The guest stateroom is to starboard and the day head is immediately opposite to port across the companionway.  Guests simply have to take 2 steps out of their stateroom and into the head.

Though I don't profess to be terribly interested in cooking, the galley is a cook's dream.  The appliances are top of the line:  GE profile dishwasher and frig, 4 burner Viking range and huge GE microwave/convection oven.  There is plenty of counter space on granite countertops and so many drawers and cabinets that some drawers and cabinets are not yet filled.  The sink is stainless steel and deep with a wonderful sprayer that pulls out of the faucet.   Opposite the galley is a pantry big enough to lose things in.  I have 2 cases of water, several 6 packs of soda, paper towels, trays, jars, cans, bags of chips and other yummy things to eat in there and still have room for much more.

Once the door is closed, we have all the privacy we need with our ensuite head.  Like the day head, we have a wonderful shower complete with seat and extra large shower head.  There are 3 large cabinets to store every amenity today's living requires.  Paddington Bear has since been joined by Lucy Rabbit and  Mr. Teddy who both agree that they live a wonderful life aboard Serenity.  The print above the bed (one of our favorites) was imported from our home.  It used to hang over the living room fireplace - since we're in that room less than 4 times a year, we decided to hang it where we can enjoy it more often.

The pilot house is so spacious that we can actually entertain several people there.  The helm chair swivels and slides backwards and forwards - it provides a perfect additional seat.  Our sound system is wired into the pilothouse as is the TV so we can listen to music or watch TV on one of the two 15" Garmin screens.  Anyone wishing to stay over has the option of sleeping there since the seat opens into a full-size berth.  A table that raises and lowers provides the perfect resting place for snacks and drinks.

Since it's summertime and the livin' is easy, we often find ourselves outside.  The covered back porch is one of many outside entertaining spaces.  It's completely protected from the elements so that we can sit outside and stay dry in a rainstorm.  As I mentioned, we've added seating so that 8 can sit comfortably and not be on top of each other.  We have a small teak bistro table back there, but are in the process of ordering a table with 2 folding sides that can seat 6 comfortably, 8 if good friends (lol).

The fly bridge is the captain's favorite spot to run the boat.  It affords maximum visibility and the instruments replicate what is in the pilothouse, including cameras in the engine room and on the stern.  Our music plays up there and there is a settee that seats 4 comfortably with yes, another table for snacks and drinks.  The settee is conveniently located on the port side across from the helm chair.  The KKY folks think of everything and built what they call a "summer kitchen" on the fly bridge.  This summer kitchen is actually a large cabinet inside of which is good-sized frig.  Sitting on top of the cabinet is a large BBQ grill which gets it gas supply from the 2 propane tanks on the starboard side of the fly bridge.
I'll have to get you pictures of the fly bridge with its pretty cushions and pics of the BBQ grill - promise!

Another great place to enjoy sea breezes is the bow.  In addition to providing a home for our 2 anchors and chain locker, there are 3 huge lockers in which we store our snubber and extra set of lines.  We had 3 sets of cushions both back and bottom made to take full advantage of this space.  If you look back on the christening pics, you'll note that quite a few folks were gathered on the bow and there was plenty of room to spare.
BTW, the screens we had made for the windows do a remarkable job of not only protecting the fine teak dashboard, but keeping the pilot house cool as well.  The AC certainly has to work a lot less hard.  They make Serenity look as if she's wearing cool sunglasses.

Before I sign off, I thought you might enjoy seeing Serenity's future first mate.  Right now, Tucker is content to sit in his swing, but it's just a matter of time until he's driving in Grandpa's lap!

Now that you've had a tour of our beautiful Serenity, I promise to regale you with the many adventures we've already had in a short time - and hopefully while we're all still young.

I apologize for my long silence, but hopefully you've enjoyed this post and will come back for more!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Didn't Forget All My Followers

So sorry I've not  been posting for a bit but we  became grandparents for the first time last week.  Life as we knew it has taken on a whole new dimension these days.

Tucker entered our lives last Sunday morning at 9:20 am and greeted the world at 8 lbs., 9 oz., 21 " long.  Mom, Dad and new baby are all well, but it's taking a bit to get adjusted to each other.

Serenity has been magnanimous in agreeing to sit on the sidelines for a bit while "grandma and grandpa" do their thing.  We appeased her somewhat last week by buying her beautiful Persian rugs - 2 for the salon and 1 for the companionway.  Since I actually got a new digital camera for Mother's Day, I've taken some pictures for you.  I did promise you pictures of the interior - and I will deliver on that promise.

Once we're all settled in and get into some sort of a routine, it'll be business as usual.  We've already had a few dockside adventures - funny now, but not so much then.  Please continue to be patient everyone.  I'll be back at my desk soon and hopefully will continue to contribute to your reading pleasure.