Monday, June 28, 2010

Four Legged Buddies

Hi All,

We couldn't leave Port St. Lucie without letting you meet our four legged friends of the past week.

They had just given Jake a bone and so he looks a bit goofy in this photo.

Smokey was just as elusive first hiding under a chair and later rubbing up against my legs. I was finally able to capture her photo while she was contentedly purring on their deck.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

OK Folks, Here's The Plan

This time it really is Doug who is posting this note.

The boat is now ready to go... or at least as ready as she's gonna be. We could stay here for a year and each day think of new modifications we'd like to make or new things we should get in the way of food or spare parts, but no. We've done all the preparations we're going to do. The only thing that would stop us from leaving tomorrow would be the weather, but the forecast looks good and so I think we're outta here tomorrow for sure.

Here's the plan. We can't leave until mid-day tomorrow (Monday) because we need to return the rental car and they weren't open today. So rather than try for a full day's worth of passage making tomorrow, we're just going to leisurely sail down to where the river we're in meets the sea. (The marina we're in right now is about a two-hour journey by boat inland up the Saint Lucie river. Far up a river like this is a great place to be when a hurricane hits and so that's why the previous owner docked the boat here.) So tomorrow afternoon we'll just go down the Saint Lucie river 'till we're almost at the ocean. There are several places there where we can drop anchor and so that's where we'll spend the night on Monday.

On Tuesday morning we'll sail straight south until we get to Palm Beach. It should take us about eight hours to get there. There are some good anchorages there and so that's where we'll spend the night Tuesday night. Then on Wednesday morning we'll get up really early and make the big jump. If we start early enough we can get to the Bahamas before the customs and immigration offices close for the evening. (If not, that's OK too. We could just anchor in the harbor there overnight and wait for them to come back to work the next morning.)

Now all of this is contingent on the weather forecast being true. If the winds are stronger than forecast then we'll sit and wait. If the winds end up coming from a different direction than is forecast then we might forgo sailing south to Palm Beach and instead sail directly to the Bahamas from our anchorage at the mouth of the Saint Lucie river. (The present weather forecast says the wind will be coming from a direction that makes doing that direct jump from Saint Lucie to the Bahamas unfavorable. That's why we're planning to sail south first and then cut over. But if we get out on the ocean on Tuesday and see that the wind is coming from a direction that makes the direct route favorable, they hey... that's what we'll do.)

Either way, it could be a few days before you hear from us again.

For those of you on our SPOT satellite e-mail list... when we are en-route to Palm Beach and then again when we are en-route to the Bahamas, we'll activate an "en-route" message I've pre-set up on the SPOT web site that will tell you we are under way. When we arrive at Palm Beach and then again when we arrive at the Bahamas, I'll activate a "check in/OK" message that I've pre-set up which will tell you that we've arrived at our destination. (The satellite e-mail message won't tell you in words what our destination is, but that's OK. The messages will all come with a link you can click on to see on a map exactly where we are.)

So even if we aren't able to connect to the internet for a while, those of you on the SPOT message distribution list will know where we are and that we're OK. If anyone reading this blog isn't on the SPOT distribution list and wants to be, send me an e-mail and I'll add you to the list next time we're in a port that has internet access.

OK then. Talk to you later.

Last day in Port St. Lucie

As we make ready to leave Port St. Lucie my mind wanders to the things I have yet to share.


All around the marina are these wonderful little lizards. The very first lizard I met was the third cousin five times removed of T-Rex. Its color bordered on white and it reared up on its hind legs and watched me from two sidewalk stones away. I noticed its small front leg and that is when I inquired as to its family tree.

It did not deign to answer or perhaps it thought I was mocking it as it turned and limped into the grass. It was only then that I realized it was a gimp. I must say that its T-Rex impersonation was the best Ive seen since Jurassic Park. Minus the ground shaking stomp of its step, the bowel liquefying roar and the excessive blood letting of course.

Car Alarm

Every morning without fail the car alarm goes off.
Boat alarm you inquire?
Nope. The car alarm.

There is a bird who does the car alarm to perfection. I've watched it and know that all the sounds emit from the same bird.

It starts with the octave test scale. Starting at a low note ending on a high note.
Whoop. Whoop. Whoop.
Then it warbles back and forth.
High. Low. High. Low. High. Low.
It ends with a flourish of pulsating bursts of song.
Kind of a machine gun for soprano's ;)


They have an abundance of them here. If I had to pick a favorite bug, it would be the dragonfly.

Hopping Fish

These fish don't just poke their nose out of the water to catch a tasty bug. The appear to hop across the water on their tail fin. This may be what I saw the day I accused the dolphin of playing with its breakfast.

Note to self

If you sit near the ants breakfast, you become it.

Port St. Lucie has been a wonderful home for the last week plus. Tentatively, we are planning to leave tomorrow and head out to the ocean. Doug feels that anchoring for a night will help me to get use to the ocean and might make it so I don't totally succumb to sea sickness.
Keep 'em crossed for me.

Then on Tuesday morning, depending on the winds, we will either sail down to Lake Worth or head directly to the Bahamas.

I will let you know where we land.
= )

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Demons in Florida

The truce has not been violated.
I repeat. The truce has not been violated.

The fuel polishers were here. Hank in the aft birth doing the work, while Robby (the boss) was in the cabin chatting amiably. Doug suddenly reaches out in a chivalrous attempt to protect his lady from a nasty black spider. There was only one little problem. The spider was basically over my head and when Doug 'missed' the nasty creature it had but one direction to go.

I went skittering across the cabin as I informed Doug about his error in judgment, my voice hitting an octave that would shatter glass.

Robby was on the phone at the time and basically blew off my histrionics. "Eh, some lady saw a spider."

Hank poked his head out from the aft birth to see what the excitement was about and saw me perched a top the seat by the dinette. He inquired as to my duress and I calmly said, "Spider." He nodded knowingly and went back to work. He didn't laugh openly at me but his eyes were twinkling pretty bright.

Meanwhile, Doug is about the spider catching business. In the end he produced a wadded up tissue and proclaimed it 'gone.' But I will never know if it was 'gone' as in caught and dead gone. Or if it was a Jaker Truth kind of gone. "It's gone, Mom. Don't exactly know where it went, but it's not in my line of, it is gone."

Since I did not sanction the killing of the spider.
Truce is still in effect.

Demon number two

I am not an adventurous driver. In Salt Lake if I attempt to drive to Provo, I will end up in Ogden. Thus is my life. So when it came to my attention that I would be driving for 90 minutes on a Florida freeway I was more than a bit nervous.

Since we rented a car at the airport we had to return the car to the airport. Well, that's just freaking great. After much trepidation, Doug convinced me I could do this thing. Armed with a two way radio we headed to Enterprise to rent the second car so Doug could return the first.

Since I did not get lost, it was not as bad as I had imagined. Doug devised a wonderful plan where he'd drive just a bit slow. That way if anyone got between us, they would be so annoyed they would not stay there long. It worked like a charm.

I have driven on the freeways in Florida. Yeah!!
= )

Friday, June 25, 2010

Maiden Voyage of Life

Maiden Voyage

We took the boat out by ourselves for the first time.
I must say it was a sh!$$y experience.
We took it down to a marina where we could empty our holding tank.
So it was literally a .... yeah, you get my drift. ;)

On the way back we sailed.
She's a wonderful little boat and a good time was had by all.

The other day I noted that I'd been on vacation for a week and my legs were still so white they could blind a polar bear. Doug said it is because we have been on vacation with a little v.
Now that we are actually sailing I am hoping for the big V (and less white legs).

Brand New

On the shower head in the marina it says 'brand new'.
I was wondering what they would do later on.
Would the sequence go like this as they kept adding to the label:
Brand New
Almost Brand New
Almost Brand New-ish
Was Almost Brand New-ish, but now, not so much

When the words go all around the shower head is it time to replace it?
= )

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Quork Family Tenors

The Quork Family returned this morning, but something seemed wrong. They lingered about the peer like pallbearer's at a funeral where the body had been cremated. One of the Quork's stood on a piling and peered into the water.
He quarked.
Nothing. The others shifted from one foot to the next, mute.
He quarked and quarked and quarked, but to no avail.

Finally the choir director showed up.
'Quark, Quark,' he sang and the whole chorus erupted in song. Each note stumbling over the next, no one taking turns. Were they just tuning up?
Something still did not seem right.

One of the birds flew off and soon returned with Whee. Then the practice began in earnest. Quark, quark, whee. When the choir director was satisfied with the results they all flew off to find the Quork section.
Across the water I can hear them singing.
Quork, quark, quark, whee
= )

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Storks, spiders, adventure


I think I saw a stork yesterday. It looked much like a gull in flight with long trailing legs. When it landed I was surprised by its size. Its back was to me and its sinuous lines looked much like an artistic rendering of a woman in a white evening gown.

I sure wish I could draw more than stick figures with a stencil. I know that I could take pictures, but the camera and I don't see eye to eye; the camera will never understand what I see.


After my first Nano they put out a challenge for a Big, Fun, Scary, Adventure. Goal setting, basically. I am terrified of spiders and decided to do something about it, hence the truce.

The rules for the truce: If I see a spider, I let it know that it has been seen. I then walk, no running or screaming for help. I casually walk for the bug spray, fly swatter, someone else's shoe, etc. and by the time I return if the spider is still there - good bye spider.

It has freed my life. Spiders no longer able to get their jollies watching me flap about, frothing at the mouth in fear have moved on to more amusing prey.

I bring this up because we have some arachnid residents. This morning a long legged one was doing this odd circular step on the deck. Right off I pointed my finger at it and said, "Truce! We have a truce." Then the thing did its lopsided circle walk and I felt bad for it.
Was it caught in an other's web?
Had it lost one of its legs?
Had it been out drinking with the boys?
Since it was outside it seemed only fair to remind it of the truce and keep a wary eye on it.

Soon it shook off the 'circular' disease and headed straight for my unshod foot. I lifted my foot and planted it on the other side of this truce breaker. I reminded it, once again, of the truce. The spider skedaddled back to his web, meandered about for a bit, decided to keep the truce and has now gone.

Where are the manatees?

There are supposed to be manatees in these waters. You see signs about them everywhere. I have yet to see a manatee.


Doug was feeling much better yesterday and got a bit adventurous.
His adventures included:
Chocolate Cheese Cake.
Chips with just a hint of salsa.
An entire Cheeseburger.
As of my last sighting of him, he was still living. Yeah!!!
= )

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


The morning sludged in hot and humid.

No clowns, no quorks, no dolphins; not even any joggers. I decided it was nature's way of telling me to stop all the inane blathering about my observations and start paying attention to my story.
Whatever! Ur, I mean, yes Mama Nature. Whatever you say Mama Nature. ;))

I figured I'd take the summer to rework Falynn. It was my second Nano novel and it was all over the place. I figured I could take the 'nut' that came from Nano and start anew.
= )


Hi folks, this is Doug this time. Judie's done a great job of describing morning times around here, but she's not said anything about evenings. Those of you who know her won't be surprised at all by that. She rarely stays awake past sunset. So I guess the job of describing the evening times will fall to me.

Last night after she went to bed I went up on the foredeck, laid back, and enjoyed the show. There was a wonderfully cool breeze coming off the bay which felt so good after such a hot day. I watched as the afterglow from the sunset faded, Venus came out, and a lot of birds flew by. There was a long delay between the time that Venus first appeared and the time that the first star came out. A whole lot of birds flew by during that time, presumably trying to get home before it got to be too dark. After a couple of stars finally made their appearance I was tired enough that I went below and went to bed.

My descriptions lack the verbal artistry of Judie's, don't they? I guess I'll have to let her be the main blogger and I'll just fill in little things that she misses.

I hope you're all well. Bye for now,

Monday, June 21, 2010

Life gets her name


Today Pam will come and remove the old name, SolyMar, and put Life on our bow. Doug has a camera on board somewhere and we will get pictures posted.

Morning Serenade

I was up a bit earlier than usual. The twittering 'clown' birds are still abed, but larger black birds are residing in the neighbors mast and along the dock. They remind me of Christmas bells. Each bird has a note that he is assigned in their tune and each squawks on cue. One is smaller than the rest and has an asthmatic wheeze, much like a dollar store dog toy. The birds go: quork, quark, quark, quork, quark, quark, whee.
I really don't do them justice.

During one of the verses of the song it went: quork, quark, quark, BURP. I kid you not. The bird out on the peer seemed to have burped. All got very quiet. It was as if the Quorks did not to know what to do with this new note. Suddenly the bird next to whee quarked and they all fell back into the song.


The dolphins have returned but there were more of them this morning. The first two acted much like the ones I had seen before, one being a bit shy and the other coming nearer the boat. I was pondering possible names when another one surfaced near the boat, this one had a ragged fin, near her was a baby small dolphin. Very cool.


Doug got his hair cut and I was wavering if I should or shouldn't. It is only hair, right? I decided to go for it. I talked to the stylist and was very clear. Since the only possible style this summer was a ponytail, I wanted something to soften the stark severity of all my hair being pulled back from my face.

She got it. She regurgitated back my desires. I felt comfortable that she understood what I was after and then like every other stylist on the face of the planet she proceeded to do what she wanted.

Now in her defense she did an excellent job of cutting my hair so that when it is dry all the curls/waves are doing their curly/wave thing in a somewhat orderly fashion - one little problem- I can no longer put my hair in a pony tail.
At least it is sort of off my neck.


Doug ate very well yesterday. Still sadly inadequate for what he should be eating, but better than he has been.

Speaking of Doug, he saw the blog about his beard and said, "I was going to shave it off, but not NOW!!" Ahaha he still did. He has a baby face. He loves me.
Guess tat means I'll have to pack my razor to the shower this morning ;)

The 'clown' birds have yet to appear. I wonder if it is because of the 'Quork Family Chorus'. They were larger birds and I imagine 'clown' for breakfast might be very tasty.

I must say that Doug has indeed brought me to paradise. yes, we are still in Florida and still tethered to a dock. But this place is awesome!! Not only do I get the best early morning spectacles, but almost every day we get thunderstorms.

Don't get no better than that.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Birds, Dolphins and other oddities


There is another whirly gig in our mast. I don't know what its name is, but I do know its function. It is the thing that mocks me when I try to point the boat into the wind. The whirly gig yesterday was like a ferris wheel built for one. The other whirly gig is more like a merry-go-round.

Today the birds are playing on the 'mocker'. It takes a minimum of two, (the jump rope holders as it were). They flutter down in unison to hold the thing still. Then one by one birds land, the one that knocks it out of balance loses. In the bird world they let you know without doubt you are the loser. There is much chatter about it as the birds fly off and the process begins anew.

It has dawned on me that I must stop watching the birds with open mouth wonder. One of these days I'll get bird drop soup for breakfast.


Marriage is about compromise, and ours is no different. Doug likes growing his beard for the summer. I don't much care for an unkempt beard. He says that he might use his razor to trim under his chin. I told him that I might shave my pits.
(Real conversation folks, you cannot make this stuff up. ;)


The dolphins have come back. It must be good eats here for them to come so close to boats. This morning one came so close if I had spit, I would have hit it. I of course didn't try as I would like them to come and visit again.

I have the need to name them. I name everything, even thunderstorms. However, right now I just can't think of suitable names. Any suggestions?


Third day, second jogger. They are compelled to run to the end of the peer. Take the right angle turn and run to the end of the furthest slip. I wonder what causes that. If there were a boat in the slip would they still run to the end? I may never know.


As my bag was so small I decided to forgo bringing my hair torture devices. Wasn't that part of the wedding vows... 'in straightness and in fuzz'... seems they would not have done me any good. Even IF your hair dries, as soon as the heat of the day strikes it is all over. My hair was in a permanent state of damp.

I tried putting it up in a clip but the twist at the nape of my neck then became a permanent state of wet. I kept imagining contracting some kind of hair rot.

I observed the locals and they seem to keep their hair short or in a ponytail. I really am not ready to shave my head - yet- and I am trying the ponytail thing. Maybe when Doug gets his hair cut I'll have them cut me some bangs. Something to soften this moon face of mine. By the time summer is through the bangs should have grown out sufficiently that I can go back to my regular 'style'. Whatever that is ;)

Date Night

I made clam chowder.

Now anyone who is picturing me peeling potatoes, adding real creamery butter and heavy whipping cream don't know me very well, do they. ;) I opened a pop top can and warmed it on the stove. Julia Childs, I am not.

Doug ate two bowls. I didn't take the "I will eat this if it kills me look" personally. He always looks thus when he eats these days.

He is actually doing much better. Every day he can eat and drink a little more at every sitting. Things are definitely looking up!!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Peter, UnChristmas and other wonders


It is the plight of all little brothers to try and keep up with their big brothers.
Peter was no different.

No matter how hard he tried, he always paled in comparison. When Peter tried to mirror some of his big brothers marvelous feats people only smiled politely, their attention quickly returning to his big brother.

Peter saw the humans sitting on their floating lightning rod. They were enthralled by the antics of his big brother and seemed to enjoy watching as lightning danced nervously across the dark sky. They even smiled at the deep booms that presaged the storm to come. Annoyed Peter tried harder to compete but only got a cursory glance from the people.
"We should call it Peter," the woman said. "Look how the thing has petered out."

Peter heard this and was enraged. No one had ever mocked his name before and as the resentment grew,so did he. Soon he found that he was surpassing his brother in size and still the people continued to gaze in admiration towards his brother. They awed over a single bolt of lightning far in the distance and ooo-ed over a weak grumble of thunder.

Enough. Peter had had enough. With a bright jolt of lightning and a crash of thunder just above their heads Peter voiced his opinion of these uncaring humans. He smiled smugly as they looked in his direction at last.
"Is it another cell?" the man asked.
"I think it is Peter," the woman replied.
"Naw, looks like the big storm has circled around," the man said.

Really? Peter thought. Really? Angered that he'd never get the recognition he deserved he let loose and enjoyed watching as the people scrambled below. He pelted their little boat and roared with delight when he realized that the man had played with a hatch cover leaving a gap that was allowing Peter into the confines of their small dry home. The man eventually succeeded in securing the hatch, but not before a garbage pail full of himself had invaded their domain.

With his rage spent Peter was content to follow his big brother past the marina and town to see what new wonders awaited him over the next rise.


For Doug Christmas came in June. He has been feeling a bit better and we began to inventory the lockers, bins and cupboards. Each space held a treasure trove of wonders for him. He either oogled and awed or puzzled then aha'd. There was no tree, lights or wrapping but I think it was one of the best unchristmas ever.


King of Bunker Hill has given way to 'who can stay on the whirly gig'. Atop our mast is a 'thng' (by the end of summer I may know its name;) It spins and the birds appear to be taking turns to see how many times they can go around without flapping their wings or falling off. Wings out for balance appears to be acceptable, but if you flap, you fail.


Smokey came to visit. Perhaps she could smell my coffee and knew that the 'new oddity' was up and just on the other side of the boat. She yowled until I went out to scratch her ears. She nonchalantly meandered to the edge of the doc and peered over to see if that other cat was still lurking just a few feet down. Luckily Smokey thought better of it and walked away from the edge. I was very pleased. A shower might sound good this morning, but I was not ready for an early morning swim.


It is Saturday, if Doug didn't tell tales out of school, but I believe it. The humans are about their play earlier than usual. With an audience the jogger was more intent on her run this morning as she ran to the end of the peer. She turned around and did the ew, ew, ew walk the McDonald bird did yesterday.

At first I was disappointed that she didn't look up to say hello, but then decided it was for the best. She would never understand the bemused look on my face as I was watching her do the 'ew" walk and waiting for her to dive face first into the peer and pull out a tasty bug.

First morning on the boat

What an awesome experience. As I made my way to the marina to shower, I met Smokey, a calico cat. It seems that curiosity and cats are soul makes. Smokey had fallen off the peer not too long ago and has stayed on board ever since. I guess I was enough of an oddity that I sparked her interest and she came down to make my acquaintance

Two dolphins decided to frolic in the bay. They roll to the surface, blow, and then roll under. It was fun to watch one catch a fish and throw it into the air. Didn't his mother ever teach him not to play with his food? I guess dolphins gotta have fun too.

I watched as two birds played chicken. It looked as if collision was immanent. Then they swooped, turned and flew off wing tip to wing tip with precision that would give the Thunderbird's reason to gawk in awe and admiration. They did this repeatedly. Must be some crazy mating ritual. If you don't chicken out, you know to dodge to the left and don't crash and burn during the crazy maneuvers, you are an okay spouse.

As I neared the marina a large black bird cawed and cawed until I marked its location. It then swooped off his perch, dove for the water and flew off over my head with a fish in its claws. It looked like a blimp with a fish shaped basket. I can't imagine it was waiting for me to witness his spectacular feat and I began to wonder if he was sizing me up for breakfast. Finally a GOOD reason to be fat... even LARGE birds don't want to mess with me.

Off to the side of the dock in the marshy grass, a bird so blue it was almost black, tip toed its way in pursuit of breakfast. It lifted its foot so high, and then placed it gingerly down before lifting the other, as if to say, 'ew, ew, ew I should have gone to McDonald's. I hate cold breakfast.' Then without warning its baby blue bill plunges into the grass. What delicacy it found we will never know. But it can't be as good as a sausage, cheese biscuit. Just sayin'.

A bunch of birds have accumulated in the mast of a neighboring boat. They sound just like the birds from Cinderella. However, these birds are not whistling a happy tune, they are playing 'I am King of Bunker Hill'. One bird has spent the morning defending what appears to be the highest perch. But then he noticed a wire swaying in the wind and it was higher still. He left his lofty throne and flittered onto the wire. Not good! He fluttered to gain his balance. Not good. Finally, he gained his balance. "I am King, I am... not Kiiiiinnnng." Crazy bird lost his grip on the wire. Alas, it was too late to go back to the previous perch and there is a new King in town.

Yesterday I met Jake. He is Smokey's friend. A cute dog with a jaunty walk and a lop ear. He wears a bandanna with pride and is very friendly. He always greets new people first before going on to greet old acquaintances.

Oh, and I met people too. Steve and Charla are in the boat next to ours. They belong to Jake and Smokey. I met Charla at the marina. She had her hair up under a kerchief and I looked at it longingly, wishing I had not given Grandma's to Good Will. Come to find out Charla has breast cancer and is undergoing Chemo. I'm not lusting after her head gear any more. Though I am considering shaving my head. ;) Charla has undergone two rounds of Chemo so far and will have the third next week. Steve seems standoffish but not a bad neighbor, he just doesn't want to be best buddies. That's just fine with me as long as he will let Jake and Smokey out to play.

Doug ate a whole pudding cup while I was at the marina. That is major good and the most he's been able to eat in almost a week. We keep feeding him small meals...eventually he will get his strength back.

I do have to warn you that divorce may be in the future... yes, it is sad but true. Doug witnessed a coffee melt down. He is probably wondering what kind of banshee he married. ;)
But I ask you... I ASK YOU... how can you PROMISE someone coffee and not deliver??? That is cruel and unusual punishment and we are STILL in the USA.

We bought REAL coffee. I have had NO coffee since leaving SLC and I was okay with that because, I KNEW I would not be getting coffee. But we are now on the boat and we have real coffee and a coffee maker and shore power and I am good to go. The freaking outlet does NOT work. I FREAKED out. This was not good. I should have bought the instant coffee. If I had bought the instant coffee I would have coffee by now. But NOOOOO we had to buy the real coffee. Doug wanted me to have the REAL coffee and now here I am with a useless coffee maker and NO COFFEE!!!

Luckily Doug did not throw me overboard. He patently found me an outlet that functioned and I was able to get my morning java. ahahaha

Well, that's it for my morning. The afternoon is being spent hiding from the heat. This evening if Doug is feeling up to it we will go get a few more things that the boat needs.
Love to all,

Greetings from Life

My daughter reading my e-mail suggested that it might be a good time to start a blog. So with Doug's help, here we go...

We are currently living aboard Life, a 42 foot Hunter sailboat. She is a beautiful boat and I can tell you now that I am ruined for any other sailing craft. Her name is a legacy from Doug's family. While on an adventure Doug's dad would turn to his children and inquire, "Is this the life?" The kids would roll their eyes and patently respond, "Yes dad, this is the life." Hence the name of the boat.

I'm going to post the first two e-mails I sent out just for continuity as some of the characters will remain the same while we are in this port.