Lana's Greatest Loss Ever!

We are grieving the loss of Lana's 19 year old son, Jeremiah Cox (Jerry). Jerry passed suddenly on 12/22/07. Lana will share her thoughts with us when a bit of time has passed and some healing has taken lace. The services will be held Park Lawn Northland Chapel, 1640 N 291 HWY, Liberty, MO 64068. Visitation will be 12/28/07 at 5 - 7 PM with funeral services to follow at 7 PM central. The family has requested that memorials be given to the Yellow Ribbon Foundation in lieu of flowers. Please go to http://www.yellowribbon.org/ if you wish to participate in a memorial for Jerry.

Peace and love to all of our friends and thank you all for your love and support.
Posted by Don on behalf of Lana


Freedom Chips!

The last two days of our cruise to St Pete was calm and uneventful. The sunset of our last night anchored at Cortez bridge near Anna Maria Island produced a spectacular sunset. We got an early start and made two scheduled bridge openings the next morning and then it was a short cruise across Tampa Bay. We were unable to sail this last leg of this portion of our trip as the winds were on the nose. So we set Mr Perkins (the engine) at a comfortable setting and motored across the bay. The bay channel had a few large commercial vessels in route to and from port that caused us to stand down for a bit until they passed. The Sunshine bridge at the mouth of Tampa Bay is a beautiful bridge and we marvelled at the size and design of this structure as we passed below. The vertical clearance of the Sunshine bridge is 175' and our mast height is about 50'. We had over 125 feet of clearance as we passed under the bridge but it looked more like 20 feet. I am amazed at how difficult it is to judge the cleared distance when you pass under a bridge. The plan for the next twelve months will be preparing for a 2-3 year voyage that will cover several thousand miles and take us half way around the world to the far south pacific and back. The list of things to prepare for and work on is very long right now but will gradually shorten as the time passes. We need to re-wire all of the electrical systems on Mary Rose, caulk all seams and decking to make her water tight, learn celestial navigation, install some new navigation equipment, build a rack to secure an inflatable life raft on deck, install a solar charging and energy management system, install a reverse osmosis water making system, install a new energy efficient refrigerator system, considering installing a second fuel tank for back up if the primary fails, order and install new sails and running rig, replace the lazy jack system, replace 12 volt lights with energy efficient LED lights. This is the short list. This seems like a lot of work but I really enjoy doing this type of work. It is really not much different that the type of work one faces when they own a home. This is my yard work and home maintenance. The one big thing on the list is to create and store a huge pile of "Freedom Chips". Freedom Chips are simply United States Dollars. Yes we will still need some dollars, even though our expenses will be very low when we push off for our next voyage. So the Admiral and I will be taking on gainful employment and creating the "Freedom Chip Fund" that will allow us to continue along the way.

My son Shane, posted a comment on this blog asking what it was that I thought about while sailing. He proposed that I share deeper thoughts on this blog. He was wondering if I had thoughts of designing a better ketchup bottle or creating plans for world peace. So here is a bit of reflection and some thoughts to share with you on these subjects. When sailing on the ICW there is almost zero time to think about anything else but keeping the 5" hull in the deepest water you can find. Remember the ICW is a ditch with salt water in it for most of the way around Florida. If you lose focus you will be aground! So the time spent in the ICW was generally searching for the next channel marker, avoiding inconsiderate large boats with big nasty wakes and watching the depth sounder for maximum depth. The ketchup came from small foil packets and they worked just fine. When we were finally able to punch out and do some coastal sailing my attention turned to learning to sail Mary Rose in bigger water with more sail than I have ever set before in my life. Thee were still some big boats with very big wakes to avoid as well as fishing vessels. When at sea there are also other concerns that take a higher priority than when you are motoring in a ditch. Every hour one of the crew on board must do a complete check of the cabin below to make sure that all port lights are still sealed tight, no water is getting into the boat from any place, check all electronics for proper function, monitor you progress and indicate your position on the paper charts and make sure that everyone is properly nourished and hydrated. Tracking yourself on the paper charts is critical and often overlooked in the age of modern electronics. However if your electronic navigation equipment fails then all you have is your compass and your charts. You can continue to your destination if you have a recent known and confirmed position and know your heading, course and speed. If you have not been tracking your position on the paper charts when a failure occurs then the chore of making way to your destination becomes much more challenging. The foil ketchup packs were still functioning well at this point. The next challenge was the Hawk Channel on the outside of the Florida Keys. Much wider than the ICW but not much deeper is spots and the markers and miles apart. It was critical that we monitor the course and heading and known positions along the way as well as the off shore cabin and systems reviews since we were technically off shore. Foil packets still doing their job! Then came the all niter, 26 hour, 126 mile leg from Boot Key to San Carlos Bay. One would think there would be a lot of down time to think, ponder, design and dream. Well this was my first all night sail on this boat. My first all night sail as Captain. My first all night sail with only two crew total on board. The darkness magnifies the importance of making sure that ALL systems are working. I did have some time of reflection during the night and my thoughts turned to the stars and the heavens. I had some time to reflect on loved ones, both present and past. I gave a prayer of thanks for the opportunity to be there doing what I was doing, thanks for the ability, wisdom and knowledge to work through the issues at hand. I also thought about my dear wonderful children and grand children. Hoping that they know how much I deeply love each and every one of them. I asked our creator for continued safe passage and then I had a brief conversation to my mom and dad. I owe them both a great deal of gratitude for the gift of life and the support that they gave me while we were all together in this space we call earth. I was in awe of the fact that we are but a tiny spec on the sea in relationship to the universe that glowed in the heaven above me. I was reminded that all this was preparing me with the skills and experience to take a much longer voyage to more distant places. In those places we will do charitable work and deliver medical supplies to clinics, school supplies to local schools and my all time favorite, shoes for small children. So there you have some of my deeper thoughts! But the foil packets of ketchup are still working just fine! Now I am off to start on that pile of Freedom Chips!


Why you do anchor watch in extreme conditions.

This photo is a good example of why you drop a second hook and do anchor watches in extreme conditions. Apparently this boat broke loose last night in 30+ kts of wind. I am not sure if the boat that broke loose was on a mooring or an anchor. It looks like it went aground and hit another boat on a mooring. We were not concerned about dragging last night because we had two hooks in place in a Bahamian Moor style. Also there were no boats anchored to windward of us that would drift into us if they broke free. So we had a peaceful night of rest after a grueling game of rummy. The Captain is now down by only 845 points from a high of 1200. The wind howled, the rig moaned and the gentle rocking of Mary Rose was a good feeling. It is quite cold for central Florida this morning. We are in fleece and watch caps. The wind chill is in the low 30's. We have decided to weigh anchor and head to a Marina in Venice, about 15 mile north of our current location. A hot shower will feel mighty good today and in the morning. We also have a minor malfunction in our fresh water supply and will be able to make the repair and refill our tanks at the marina. We have been working out of gallon jugs of water for the past two days. My father told me stories of how he could bathe and shave daily on one canteen of water when he was on the battle field. I have always remembered this and it came in handy as I endeavored to achieve the goal of daily hygiene with one canteen of water. I now know it can be done! Not what I would like to do long term but one can get by with this method when necessary. Signing off to weigh anchor


Time Out!

Yesterday we took a slow easy ride north on the ICW from Charlotte Harbor to Lemon Bay. We both realized that we have grown to enjoy the coastal sailing versus the ICW. However this section was scenic and offered some great views of flora and fauna. We found a well protected anchorage near Englewood on the north end of Lemon Bay. A very nice restaurant and store are just a few hundred yards away and make for a short dinghy ride. We have decided to stay here for at least two more days. A tropical system to the south and a cold front pushing down from the northwest do not make for good travel due to cold temperatures and very strong winds. Our anchor held well last night even though the winds topped out at over 30 kts. We dropped a second hook around 3AM just to give us some insurance in the event that we did drag on our primary anchor. The Admiral caught some great fish last evening and we had them for Sunday brunch today. She warmed up the cabin this afternoon by baking a fresh batch of cookies. The only fish we have caught today were salt water catfish. They are nasty little fellas and not good to eat. So after nearly 700 nautical miles we are finally taking some R&R. Playing cards, eating cookies, crossword puzzles, eating cookies, dinghy rides to Stump Pass to visit the Gulf side of the beach, eating cookies, fishing, eating cookies, dozing in the hammock hung on the bow and did I mention eating cookies. We will soon be headed north on the last leg of our maiden voyage to our next berth. We may punch out to the Gulf at Venice inlet or stay on the ICW to Tampa Bay. It will all be weather dependent. We want to give a big thanks to the US Coast Guard. We have come to appreciate the work that they do to make travel safe for us as we cruise the United States waters.


Lessons Well Learned

Hi to all!! All is well here!! We have had an interesting past couple of days.... and that is definitely an understatement! We did our first overnite sail... and that was the first time since we began our adventure that I had second thoughts about this crazy journey.. but luckily it only lasted a moment... it didn't take long for me to re-see the beauty in it all and to realize how small we all are in the grand scheme of life. As we sailed at 7 knots through the blackness of the ocean we were lucky enough to witness the space shuttle re-enter and listen to them chat with the Coast Guard.. that was way cool. It was one of those rare moments that wasn't planned nor expected but was amazing and will forever be in my memory. I'm kind of embarrassed to admit this but those who know me well will understand... but when the sky lit up and this object appeared in the night sky I thought Capt Don and myself were going to be attacked by aliens!! I'm not even sure I believe in aliens but that was the first thing that came to mind... you hear about those kind of things happening so who really knows what exists in this universe or other universes. Anyway.. as we sailed through the night.. no moonlight only a million of stars in the sky as our only light and millions of glowing creatures in the water as Mary Rose cut through the waves at 7 knots, heeled on her side and it was obvious that Ms Mary was having a great time. Our first lesson that night was we really need to re-organize our stuff before setting sail in the ocean.. we had stuff crashing and falling everywhere.. we looked down the companionway and our home was sideways.. our aloe vera plant and jackets were leaning into the hallway.. I came down to inspect the situation and found myself being beat up by our oranges that are hanging in a net in the galley... not sure how many of you have ever been hit with a bag of oranges but for the record it does not feel very good. Later that evening after we thought everything was finished shifting Capt Don sent me down to get some sleep so I could relieve him later when he became tired... so I made a pallet on the floor so I would easily hear him call me if he needed me.. it wasn't long before I was being hit with various objects so I gave up that idea and went to the V-berth to try and grab a few winks to find myself being beat up by ceiling and wall ... so I gathered myself and went to join Capt Don in the pit. As I climbed up the companionway I found this big kid with huge smile on his face sitting back against the lazyboy chair, remote in hand and at that moment it was obvious that this man was doing what he was meant to be doing... another unplanned, unexpected moment that will forever be in my memory. Anyway we made it to the marina safe and sound the next day at 1500 which = 26 hours of sailing.. it was great! We spent the next day resting at the marina and woke up to fresh blueberry muffins, a newspaper (thanks to Sanibel Marina) and Mary Rose grounded at low tide. We waited until high tide and off we went for our next destination... Boca Grande. This trip went well in the beginning .. to save time we decided to take the Gulf around to the Boca Inlet. As we were sailing out we were greeted by a beautiful rainbow. As we sailed along quietly we tried fishing but twice something snapped our lines like it was a string so we gave that idea up since we were not sure what was following us and we were not sure we wanted to know! The winds were fair and we didn't save as much time as we had expected... we arrived at the inlet after the sun had set ... Lesson 2.. never try to enter an inlet after dark! Half way through the inlet a storm hit us... the rain poured and the wind blew .. we couldn't see 100 feet in front of us... Capt Don acted quickly and appropriately when we realized we were in a bit of a situation... he turned the boat around and headed back to the last lighted buoy where we called Port Charlotte Boat US for assistance. These guys were great!! They were patient and helpful.. they gave us coordinates to enter into the GPS that took us straight into the channel .. which brings me into Lesson 3.. never try to navigate the ICW (intercoastal waterway) at night! We arrive into the harbor.. it was dark you could'nt see a thing! The Boat US advised us of a close place to anchor but it was a channel that was not well marked and the water shallow .. next to Red 74 marker but there was no way we could navigate into this unknown channel.. so we called Boat US back on the VHF... We finally set anchor at 1043 pm... and then we collapsed for the night!! What an adventure!!
I will leave you with the words of Ben Franklin
Those who love deeply never grow old; they may die from old age, but they die young.

Only Three Rules Aboard Mary Rose!

The overnight voyage from Boot Key to San Carlos Bay was great! We left the keys about 1:30 PM on 12DEC2007. We used the last light of day to thread our way through the 7 mile bridge and the shoals around the key so we could get a fairly straight shot North to our destination at San Carlos Bay, Sanibel Island, Florida. There were miles and miles of crab pot to avoid as best we could and not get one hung on the ships hull. We had already reefed the main before nightfall so we would not have to go forward in the dark to do it if the winds picked up. The winds did start blowing and topped out at of 30 kts about 3-4 hours after sunset. The sunset was beautiful but alas not a green flash this night. I tried to reef the headsail to slow her a bit and ease the heeling angle. She came up a bit off the rail but also picked up about a half a knot. I then lowered the traveler to leeward to flatten the main thinking that this would slow the sleigh ride down a bit and also ease the heeling angle.............well the angle improved but we picked up speed again. We were trimmed well to the wind and almost a close haul. The waves were 3-5 feet and we were pounding pretty hard all night long. Mary Rose was like a young filly in the spring as she danced and played along the waves. Every now and then a wave much larger than the rest would hit and send a huge salt water spray over the cockpit. The Admiral was doing very well and prepared food and drink along the way as well as managed ALL navigation way points, two GPS units, radios and radar. Her help in dividing these responsibilities allowed me to focus on proper course, sail trim and systems management. We took turns checking the cabin, port lights, batteries, and bilge condition on an hourly basis. There were many wonderful and beautiful sights through the night that kept me in awe and wonderment between regular salt water baths. There were several miles of luminous marine life that appeared to be about 2 inches in diameter and 8-12 inches long. It looked like stars floating on the sea about the color of a green snap stick. We did not see any other traffic after sunset. There were numerous shooting stars and not a cloud in the sky. We had fun trying to name the constellations. I still have a lot of work to do on that issue for celestial navigation. The Admiral kept a great log of our arrival times at each way point to track our progress and allow us a track back to a known position in the event we had a navigation equipment malfunction. On of the biggest highlights of the night was about 3-4 Am when Lana noticed a huge bright multicolored light in the western sky. It turned out to be the burn of the space shuttle entering the atmosphere. What a great treat. It was a long night and the Captain stayed at the helm until daybreak. The fresh sun tea was a good source of caffeine and the food was ample for nourishment. One very weird incident occurred about 30 miles north of the Boot Key. We started to go slower and slower and slower and it became very difficult to hold course. It was like something had Mary Rose in her grip. No matter how I trimmed the sails or how much I turned the tiller to head the nose to proper course she was sailing a side slipping course to the wind. Right heading but wrong course. We finally came to a slow and gentle stop and I had come to realize that we were either dragging fish nets or crab pots. I turned Mary Rose off the wind and jibed through a slow 360 degree turn. When I came back to proper course we were right back up to 6.8 knots in no time and on our way. We were free of whatever had us in it's grip. The eastern sky began to get brighter and then a spectacular sunrise. We made land fall at Sanibel Island in San Carlos Bay 26 hours and 20 minutes after departing Boot Key Florida. This was our first all night voyage on the open sea. Our max speed was 7.3 kts and our average speed was 4.9 kts. We had to fire up Mr Perkins (the engine) to motor for about the last 5-6 hours as the wind was directly on our nose and we would have had sailed an long course of several tacks to make it to San Carlos and it would have added several hours the the already long trip. Once ashore we quickly cleaned the boat, showered and then waked to a local joint for some salad, clam chowder and a few beers. Whe n we got back to Sanibel marina we had no problem slipping off to sleep. Needless to say we were exhausted.

Sanibel Island to Port Charlotte
We had planned to stay at Sanibel for a couple of days and just relax but our plans soon changed as we ate breakfast and listened to the weather. This day offered a good window for travel and the next several days were going to have conditions that could prevent us from sailing so we decided to head out and make way along the coast to Port Charlotte about 40 miles north. Good plan except it was low tide and Mary Rose was resting on her keel at Sanibel Marina. The folks at Sanibel Marina are great and I highly recommend that you stay there if you are cruising in the area. I dived the keel of the boat to check for any damage from the previous nights dragging event. I was surprised when I jumped in the water and was standing on a sandy bottom. There was no apparent damage and all was well below the water. The Admiral decided it would be a good idea to use this time to do a quick load of laundry that was salty and wet from the all niter from the keys. While she was off the boat I made Mary Rose ready for the next leg of our journey north. We were able to push off about 1:30 PM. A bit late but we felt the channel to Charlotte Harbor was well lit and we would be able to make a night land fall and find suitable anchorage. Before we were out of sight of Sanibel Island we were hit with a nice refreshing shower that lased about 15 minutes. We were then treated to a beautiful rainbow. We sailed about 3 miles off the windward shore Sanibel, Captiva and other beautiful Islands that line the West coast of Florida in the region. The Admiral had used her time during the wash and dry cycle to plan a perfect course and had all of the waypoints planned and plugged into the GPS units. We also used the radar to confirm our position off land and to look for traffic after dark. All was well until we turned east to head into the Boca Grande Channel which leads to Charlotte Harbor. We were right next to marker Flashing Red "12" when a squall line hit and reduced visibility to a few hundred feet. This is not a good condition to be in when making a night landfall that is new. I turned Mary Rose 180 degrees to a reciprocal course back to Flashing Red "12". I knew that I had good depth all around this marker and could hold a position until conditions improved. We made a radio call to TowBoatUS. We are members of BOATUS and they were very helpful. They gave us exact GPS coordinated of the favored side of the channel and instructions to assist in a safe approach. We were successful but then we were unable to find the inlet to the protected anchorage that they also suggested. Another call to BOATUS and they gave us an alternative to a position near a Flashing Green "1" marker on the ICW. We turned and headed north across the harbor to the place where there was supposed to be a Flashing Green "1" marker. The charts indicated it to be a 4 second flash. We found a 2.5 second flashing green and checked it's position on the charts and found it to be north and west of the marker we were looking for so we turned around again. The Admiral punched in the coordinated for the Flashing Green "1" and we felt confident we would now be able to spot it. We were within 250 feet with a GPS indicating it was right on our nose but still no Flashing Green "1". I pulled out the super beam flashlight and sure enough it was right in front and a bit to starboard and no flash. The flash was inoperative! This was the place to turn west to suitable depth and drop the hook for the night.

The details of this leg..............

44.06 nm

Max speed 7.8 kts

Moving avg 4.5 kts

Travel time 9:43 hours

The Admiral will post from her perspective with regard to these two legs of our trip.

Oh about those three rules..............................
1. Keep the people in the boat.
2. Keep the water out of the boat.
3. Don't hit any hard stuff around the edges of the water.

We will keep you updated more frequently now that we are in areas with cellular service. We will push ahead about another 10 -15 miles tomorrow to lemon bay and then we will fish and romp for a day or two. Stay tuned for more!


Several Days Update

So sorry to have not posted for several days but there have been many reasons and more excuses as to why there has not been a post of late. There have been times that we have not had power nor net connection and a couple of times when we were just too pooped to do it. We have made several long voyages in the past several days. For those that enjoy the technicalities of this journey I will post some hard facts to this update for the days that have been missing.

December 4th

New Smyrna Beach, FL to anchorage on the ICW between Cocoa and Palm Coast, FL, Total distance 51 NM Max speed 7 kts, 10 hrs and 21 min travel time avg speed 4.9 kts. We had a great anchorage with good holding just east of green marker number 89. Lots of crab pots but a good holding ground.

December 5th

Palm Coast to Ft Pierce, FL. We docked at a marina so I could attend to a faulty regulator. Made a long hike to West Marine but they did not have the parts so I went next door to Publix and got some food and beer. I went back to the boat and tore apart the regulator to find that it was solid state. Started tracing wires and found a loose ground wire. Many thanks to my brother Ed for being my mechanical consultant during this voyage.

54.1 NM, Max speed 7.1 kts, moving time 11:36 hrs, moving avg 4.7 kts. We had a wide channel and sailed the head sail most of the way with low RPM engine.

December 6th

We punched out of the Ft Pierce inlet into the Atlantic with east winds of about 15 kts and calm seas. The auto pilot did most of the work and we only had to dodge a few fishing boats. Much more relaxing than the ICW. We were happy to be out of the "ditch" and on the high seas. We entered Lake Worth inlet and had a fabulous anchorage.

December 7th

Lake Worth inlet to Port Everglades. Port Everglades is a good inlet but it brings you right into the heart of Ft Lauderdale. Lots of traffic, noise and too much city for us after being in the ICW boonies for a week. The anchoring restrictions are severe and we were lucky to find a small hole to park Mary Rose for the night. The holding was horrible and we had two bow anchors out and one stern anchor. The wind was trying to move us in one direction and the strong tidal current was pushing the keel in another direction. It was quite an experience and we stayed up all nite doing an anchor watch and made it out at first light the next day.

52.67 NM, Max Speed 7.5 kts, avg 4.8 kts, moving time 10:57 hrs We were in the Atlantic all day and fully canvassed. Main sail, super yankee for a head sail and also the staysail which gave us an extra .5 to .75 kts.

December 8th

Port Everglades to Ceasar Creek south of Key Biscayne near Christmas Point. This trip was planned to bypass Miami and all of the restrictions and homeland security issues. It was a fun ride, fully canvassed and 2 - 4 ft seas. This is where we picked up the Hawk Channel which give some protection inside the reef that rings the Florida Keys. The anchorage was great. We used a Bahamian Moor to prevent swing and drag issues due to the strong tidal current. It was good holding ground and good water depth. We were the only sailboat in sight all night.

46.2 NM

Max Speed 8.2....yes it was a screaming reach sleigh ride

Moving avg 5 kts

Moving time 9:15 hrs

December 9

Our original plans were for Ceasar Creek to Rock Harbor. However the winds and waves really started to increase and Rock Harbor offered little if any protection from the East winds and waves. We hailed another sailboat that was headed west and asked for there final destination and discussed conditions. They indicated that they were going to Boot Key and it would be a night time landfall but the anchorage just outside the harbor offered great protection from the strong easterly conditions. Captain discussed the options with the Admiral and we decided to make headway to Boot Key. The Admiral took control of steering Mary Rose while the Captain reworked the navigation plans and waypoints for the GPS. The Admiral entered the information into both GPS systems and then tracked our progress. She has really performed the navigation duties well and is trusted and highly skilled navigator. Having a high degree of confidense in her skills takes a ton of pressure off of the Captain. We struggled for a time with a strong following sea off the port quarter. We reefed the main and head sail and the staysail was full until dark. As it grew late we dropped the main and staysail and motor sailed with the headsail reefed. It was a very long 12 hours at the tiller. We made a perfect nite landfall and anchored in the lee of boot key and then went to harbor the next morning.

7.8 NM, 8.8 kts top speed, 5.0 moving average, 12:30 hrs

December 10th and 11th

At dock in Boot Key, Marathon Marina

Great dinner, good music, clean boat, clean laundry, clean Captain!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tomorrow we push off for a 24 hour run to San Carlos Bay/ Sanibel Island through the Gulf of Mexico. It will be a couple of days before you hear from us again.

The long awaited posting

Hi to all!!

Sorry about the lack of updates to the blog we have been anchored out.. which in layman's terms would mean .. we have been camping out.. but instead of a tent on land we on the other hand are on a boat in the water. It's a bit rough but it is also wonderful. We spent one nite playing cards by lantern... which may I say I was whooping Capt Don by a score of 435 to 185 and then I let my guard down for one hand and he played a slick move and won the game... GOOD MOVE Capt!! We had been traveling by the ICW (intercoastal waterway)..At Fort Pierce we finally punched out into the Atlantic ocean for the first time.. I must admit I was a bit nervous but all went well. Our last day out we sailed for 12 hours straight with 15-20 knot winds.. we kept our speed up to 6-7 knots... it was great until nite came and we had a few 5 foot waves smack us around! I never realized how beautiful it is to be out on the ocean at nite.. the only light was from the moon... it's amazing how many stars we miss out on seeing living in the city! Mary Rose is a good strong boat and she loves being out on the ocean. I sat on the bow sprit one day and watched her cutting through the waves and it was like watching a puppy playing in the rain. One nite we came back in to the ICW to anchor and Mary Rose decided she wasn't finished playing in the ocean and she kept pulling her anchors up.. at one point we had 3 anchors out but she was determined to break free and sail which resulted in us staying up all nite doing anchor watch... that makes for a long nite esp since we had a $2,500,000 yacht that was for sale parked by us... We spend our quiet days taking turns sailing Mary Rose and fishing... so far other than the fish I caught at the dock... the only other fish we have caught was a 3 foot Mackerel that broke my line and escaped... since then we have upgraded our line to a stronger line.... we will allow no further escapees!! Right now we are at Boot Key which is located in the lower Keys... we stayed here for 2 days after not touching land.. nor showering for 3 days.. YUGH!! I have definitely learned to appreciate the little things in life... We are pulling out tomorrow heading for the Gulf our next stop will be San Carlos Bay we will sail for 24 hours straight and then hang out there for a couple of days before we reach our final destination of St Pete.. Don's son is updated daily of our location and will notify the Coast Guard if he can't reach us... Thanks Shane!! We are definitely on a learning curve.. and we have learned so many lessons.. esp keep your fingers out of the way of anything that moves... for those wondering.. the thumb is healing well .. fingernail will probably be off in the next few days... as to date.. not further injuries!! WOOHOOOOO! Admiral Nelson signing off and wishing each and everyone of you only the best and to remind you to follow your heart and your dreams!! I will leave you with a quote from Richard Bode...

For the truth is that I already know as much about my fate as I need to know. The day will come when I will die. So the only matter of consequence before me is what I will do with my allotted time. I can remain on shore, paralyzed with fear, or I can raise my sails and dip and soar in the breeze.


Between rocks and hard places

Hello to all!! Here I am again... another duty appears to be pushed off on good ole Dinghy Admiral Nelson... oh well I guess I must grin and bare it since I have my own Lazyboy recliner set in my sights.

So here are the highlights of our day... from my perspective (smiling)

Today started out on rocky ground as Captain Montgomery being the thoughtful, kind and genuine sweetheart he is thought he would surprise me and sharpen my navigation pencil but he didn't just sharpen it .. he went a step further and turned it into a dagger as well as he attached it to a cord so I wouldn't lose anymore pencils!! So at 5am this morning at Captain Montgomery's bellowing ... me being the diligent crew I am..I jump up grab my navigational supplies and head for the companionway to get started with my day. As I made it to, let's say the 3rd step, I could see in slow motion the pencil on the line hitting the underneath of the next step and heading straight for my leg suddenly I feel it jab into my leg ... there is my pencil inserted into my thigh! Good Morning Crew!!

The next few hours went without incident..considering we had to sail Mary Rose through several rough areas with depths of 5 feet.. which can be a little nerve racking considering we carry a 5 foot draft... we saw a couple of boats grounded but we made it through.. Mary Rose did tease the bottom once.. but she glided right through it.. felt like we were riding a kiddie rollarcoaster.. great thrill!!

Then came the incident of the engine switch... Captain Don noticed the engine switch on the control panel was off after he had explicitly asked me to turn it on earlier today... I explained to him that I had turned on the switch.. as I went over in my own mind if I really did turn on the switch.. but I knew I had.. well at least thought I had. He turned on the switch again as I sat bewildered. Approx an hour later during my checks I noticed the switch was off again... so now I am looking at him... does he not know on from off??? I'm thinking that I originally had the switch on and he came behind me and turned off... so now I'm ragging on him!! We are now both bewildered!! We turn the switch on together this time to avoid any further confusion. An hour later I came to check on the switch and SHAZAM... IT'S OFF!! Lesson learned... in reality only 2 of us are on board this sailing vessel.. but there is also one more... Murphy... as in Murphy's Law...

Our entertainment today was provided free of charge by several dolphins swimming around the sailing vessel and dancing for us.. it was great.. we really like free stuff right now!!

The grand finale of the day occurred while waiting for a draw bridge to open. This particular bridge only opened on the half hour and of course we arrived early since our avg speed was at 5 knots and our top speed at 9.2 knots.. yes we were flying!! .. we were sitting in a strong current pulling us toward the bridge as we were trying to hold our position for the bridge to open...but we were not alone. With us were several large... yes large..let's say Paris Hilton size motor yachts that were also competing for a place in this line up. We .. well Mary being the large girl (sailing vessel)she is does not maneuver as well as these motor yachts. One of the large motor yachts rapidly changed course which in turn caused us to go into a hard reverse and Mary sucked the dinghy painter (tow rope) into her propeller.. not good news! Engine stopped, left us drifting towards the bridge.. quick thinking Super Hero Captain Montgomery leaped to the bow, released the anchor and made it fast to the Sampson post securing Mary Rose to the muck in the bottom of the channel. That wasn;t all folks, next he put on his Super Hero wardrobe which consisted of life jacket and goggles... leaping over the side into the dinghy to assess the situation. Within just a brief second he bellowed out.. "bring me snorkel gear, a rope, a sharp knife with a tether!!" I ran off to gather the requested supplies and watched my Super Hero submerge himself repeatedly, holding his breath as I heard him working away at the entanglement that presented it's self beneath the boat. What seemed like hours but were mere minutes he had completed the task.. and returned safely to comfort the crew... just another day on our voyage!!

So here we sit after repairing today's injuries, hot showers completed, clean clothes on board.. and on us.. at New Smyrna Beach City Marina... Sipping on well earned rum and cokes... and may I say .. not just any rum... but Admiral Nelson Rum!!

Remember:: Hold fast to dreams for if dreams die. life becomes a broken-winged bird that cannot fly!!

Good nite...to all!


And the rest of the story Paul Harvey page 2!!!

I have received a few e-mails from friends and family inquiring as to why I never post on the blog and as I have explained to them..Captain Don covers most of the days events so therefore there really isn't much else to report... but then today.... after reading Captain Don's closing remarks on today's blog... shall I say more??And the captain works so hard!! LOL!!! So I thought sharing a pic of the Captain at work may say more than words can..

This is what Captain Don does... he acts like he's a sailor in limbo... relaxing in his lazyboy (stadium chair) with his remote (autopilot) in one hand the VHF radio in the other belching out questions such as .."have you done the hourly checks on the wind, engine performance gauges, time and distance measurements, what's for lunch, did you tidy the deck lines and the best of all... where are we???" While he makes me proud of his abilities to be the Captain of this sailing vessel... I on the other hand perform the duties of deck hand, galley girl, navigator, watch captain, gauge monitor, watching for wave runners so they don't become speed bumps, swabby, manual anchor windlass, bridge hailer... well list goes on and on... however frequently the captain reminds me that these are all duties that I must learn and become proficient at before I can be promoted to captain myself so I can sit in the lazyboy too...

Strange thing is I am loving every minute of this adventure... this is a dream come true for both of us. We have nothing but respect for each other.

Day 2 into our voyage to St Petes............

We made good speed the first day out and had to pick our way through the ditch they call the Intercoastal Waterway in Florida. There were constant reports on the radio of sailboats that were aground and needed to be towed off. We were very fortunate yesterday and today to not run aground. We went through some areas that showed 5-6 feet and out keel is 5 ft deep. We are hoping to punch out and sail off shore as soon as tides, weather and inlet timing permit. We anchored at Pine Island last night just north of St Augustine. It was a beautiful place and the sunset was beautiful. We were lucky to travel this leg of our trip with another Westsail 32 that had a bit better cruising speed than us and they were very helpful in reporting favored channels and shallow water to watch out for. Thank you Don and Margaret for joining us on the maiden voyage and being so helpful. If you read this before you get to 804 the new markers are in place and you should honor them to avoid the shallow areas that have been grounding boats there. It has been a real learning curve to captain this vessel in these narrow, shallow waters. I am so looking forward to punching out to open water for a few days. Tonight we are in Palm Coast at a marina and we had hot showers and a great pizza and a few beers for dinner. There is a significant amount of daily maintenance to make sure that Mary Rose is taken care of so she will take care of us. The Admiral has done a great job learning to navigate and gives the captain good reliable information as we traverse the ICW. The days are long and casual with the constant alertness to depth, wind, speed, engine performance gauges, time and distance planning to be at a reliable anchorage or marina by nightfall. All this mental work makes for a good nights sleep. This is what we have been planning and our expectations are being met. All in a good hard days work for the captain!


Would ya look at the size of that Weiner!

The Admiral was quite enthusiastic over the Weinermobile. It made the day! The Galley Chef(Admiral Nelson) is sauteing fresh Florida shrimp for dinner the cabin smells great! She will be the primary navigator and we will be reviewing charts and cruising guide tonight after dinner. Did I mention that dinner smells great? The Admiral can really whip up some fantastic meals in the small galley aboard Mary Rose.

Ohhhhh I wish I was an Oscar Meyer Weiner.........

Yes it is true......................the Weinermobile came to see us off! We leave Fernandina Beach, FL at first light tomorrow morning 12/1. we will be headed south to Pine Island, just north of St Augustine. We met a couple today that is on the same schedule in a Westsail 32 from Maine. We will travel together and assist one another. Mary Rose is ready to cast off. The new dinghy is on a tow line and holding good air. We are sooooooooooooooo ready to cast off and be on the open water even if it is the Intercoastal Waterway (ICW) We expect to make about 50 miles tomorrow. We will update as we are able.


Making Ready For A Long Voyage

This update is a bit over due. Lots has happened since the last post. The Thanksgiving Holiday took some time out of our hectic schedule for preparation and planning of our log upcoming voyage. Thank you Shannon for being such a great hostess! However it was a welcomed interruption and we enjoyed the rest and relaxation. Sooooo.....yes we slacked for a few days but we are hard at work now and things are very much on schedule. We purchased a new 6 ft dinghy and a new Mercury 4 stroke 5 hp engine for it so we can get to shore when we anchor or are on a mooring. We have the motor and it is already secure to the new red oak mounting board that has been u bolted to the stern pulpit. The dinghy was to be delivered today but FedEx went to the wrong address. Today was a great day. We rolled out early and went to Jacksonville to pick up our Honda gas powered generator so we will have axillary power when we are off shore or at anchor. After we returned from JAX we turned Mary Rose around and placed her in the slip with the bow facing seaward so we could work on the wind vane from the finger pier. We then proceeded with mounting the Aries wind vane so we can self steer the boat with wind power and this gives us an additional option for auto pilot that will work in the event that we lose all power. We also met with Captain Larry Sherwood (former owner) and tuned the rig and went over some rig gear that we were not familiar with. We had a couple of beers and watched the sun set before we went below for dinner. We had a very nice light dinner of Tomatoes, Mozzarella Cheese with Basil, Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar. We are now studying charts and navigation for the Inter coastal Waterway (ICW) so we can be well prepared for our departure on 01DEC2007 from Fernandina Beach, Fl to begin our 800+ mile voyage to Saint Petersburg, FL. We estimate this voyage to take 12 - 14 days if we sail only during daylight hours. Of course we will stay in safe harbor if the weather dictates. We have set limits for sailing off shore of seas of 6-9 feet with a long frequency and winds below 20 knots. If the conditions exceed these limits then we will stay on the ICW and motor sail 50 - 60 nautical miles each day. Future posts will be dependant on ability to connect to the net and our energy level. Shane Montgomery will be our daily contact and will be keenly aware of each days travel plans. He will alert the coast guard if we do not contact him and we will take the status of an overdue vessel. We have a a good safety net in place for this adventure. All is well and the list of critical items to complete is getting very short. STAY TUNED FOR MORE UPDATES AS WE ARE ABLE!


Interesting Day!

Today started off with a rather sever injury to the Admiral. Lana got a severe boat bite first thing this morning from the companionway hatch. She caught both thumbs in a pinch point and was in a lot of pain. The captain administered first aid and she is much better this evening. In spite of her severe injury she insisted on preparing a fabulous breakfast for the captain. We had scrambled eggs made with fresh cheddar cheese and onions, fried potatoes and sausage patties with coffee and juice. What a trouper!

I spent the day making sure the Admiral was comfortable and on the way to healing and taking care of priority maintenance issues that need to be completed before we set sail for St Petersburg, FL. I put new stainless safety wires on the caps for the chain pipes to prevent loss in heavy weather. I then washed down the topsides to rid Mary Rose of dirt and dust that has settled on her over the past several days. I glued two pieces of red oak together last night to prepare them for construction of a mount to place the dinghy motor on the stern pulpit while we are sailing. It came out as planned and will mount it over the weekend.

We plan to go to Shannon's early in the AM for Thanksgiving Dinner on Thursday. We will return on Friday PM or early Saturday AM and begin a hectic schedule to prepare ourselves and Mary Rose for a 800 mile voyage to St Petersburg.



After a long wrestling match with the anchor rode and dinghy, we decided to relax and see if we could catch some fresh fish. Sure enough the first fish caught by the dinghy admiral (Lana) was a Whiting and then a huge sheepshead. This will be enough fish for at least two meals. I could not believe the size of the sheepshead that Lana pulled in. It was a great end to a long hard day. Oh yeah, remember the chili last night? Well it was chili dogs today........yummmmmmmmmmm!

Dinghy Admiral

Today was a day with a small list of chores.

1. Inflate the dinghy.

2. Go to West Marine and use our 20% discount coupon to get things needed to shove off for our sail around the horn of Florida.

3. Pull the anchor rode from both anchor lockers (all 250 feet) and inspect it and make sure that it is in good condition and attached to the Sampson post.

Well the dinghy is old technology and it really was a challenge. We will sell it and buy a new one before we set sail. Please note the photo of the Dinghy Admiral with the foot pump.

We bought tethers, a hand held VHF radio and a few other required items for our longggggggg sail around Florida to St Petersburg.

We pulled the anchor rode from both lockers and sure enough one of the rodes was not attached to the Sampson post.

More to come!


Amelia Island, FL

We returned from Ft Lauderdale today. Ft Lauderdale was a bust for us. The area is very unfriendly to long term transient sailors (read liv-a-board). The traffic was terrible and the people seemed to be generally rude. Way too much hustle and bustle for the lifestyle we are currently enjoying on Amelia Island. One positive is that the average winter temps are much warmer than Northern FL. We drove back to Vero Beach last night and used program points for a free night with a huge breakfast this morning. Free is always good! On the way back to Amelia Island we stopped in Daytona and paid a visit to a local marina. We really liked the area and the marinas but there are over 400 people on the waiting lists...........so that put the damper on the idea of moving to the Daytona area. We had our first real home cooked meal aboard this evening. Yes, we have been having cereal breakfast and cold sandwiches but tonight was a COOKED meal. Lana gathered the fix'ns from the Food Lion and made some great chili! MMMMMMMMMM Yummy! It really hit the spot since it has been a bit cool here in the evenings. We are looking very hard at St Petersburg for our next location. There is availability at the marina and the area is a bit laid back with warmer average winter temps than NE Florida. We looked at crossing the state through the Okeechobee waterway to shave off hundreds of miles and several days off of sailing all the way around the tip of Florida. Well the preliminary news is not good. The depth of the waterway is too shallow for our sailboat due to lack of rain in the region. Please pray for rain for the next two weeks in central and southern Florida. Either way it looks like we will be leaving Amelia Island by December 1, and we will keep you all updated as plans progress.


Ft Lauderdale

We are in Ft Lauderdale tonight. We drove and left Mary Rose secure at the dock in North East Florida. It was blowing about 30 knots and the temps were going to drop to the low 40's. It will be much warmer here in Ft Lauderdale tonight and we will enjoy the big comfy room at the hotel. We are here looking at Marinas for our next move South. We will keep you posted on our location and status.


Up to date!

OK, now the blog is sort of up to date. My son Shane was very helpful in getting me to start this blog and now I wish we had started earlier. Now that it is somewhat up to date we will make regular entries that are more timely. Lana tells me she will post in the future and it will be in pink font so you will know it is her. I can assure you that she has a completely different perspective on this adventure than I. Even though our goals are aligned it is still different. While all is well and we are living aboard there is still much to do. The previous owner is a great guy (Captain Larry Sherwood, USMC, retired) and he has been a great deal of help. He has a boat load of extra parts and gear for Mary Rose. No pun intended. Most of the extra stuff is still in his yard and in his garden storage shed. We moved some of the stuff yesterday but there is much more. The most challenging to date was about 300 pounds of 3/8 galvanized anchor chain. Phewwwwww that was heavy. There is a long list hanging in the galley of work that needs to be done. None of it is critical to safety or sea worthiness. It is really different when your boat is also your home. If any of you would like to learn more about the Westsail 32 you may go to www.westsail.org. The Westsail 32 has a great history and is an interesting boat. We miss our families and friends and hope some of you will come to visit as we venture on our journey. Our current location will likely change within a few weeks. Lana is a dialysis nurse and will be accepting a travel nurse position here in Florida shortly. There is no rush as we would like to get some additional experience before we set off for long distance cruising aboard Mary Rose. We hope you enjoy the blog and hope to hear from you all. The biggest disappointment to date is that due to distance of the local ABC TV station and the lack of cable............WE MISSED DESPERATE HOUSE WIFEWIVES THIS PAST SUNDAY NIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Date night!

We decided to take a night off and go out for Sushi! Thank you Lana for the nice treat! Yummmmm!

Finally a day away from the dock and sailing the old girl!

13 November 2007

Today was the first day that we took time to actually sail Mary Rose. Yesterday we stayed at the dock and the winds were perfect for raising the main sail while tied to the dock. This gave us an opportunity to get familiar with the jiffy reefing system and not be distracted by other things like really big boats, waves and hard stuff at the edges of the water. So today we motored out to the channel and sailed several miles with main and jib. We had a bit of a situation leaving the dock for the first time as the flawless captain of this ship and attentive crew failed to untie one of the dock lines. This boat has a huge prop walk to port and it was exaggerated by the bitter end of the secure dock line. Needless to say we became quite intimate with the boat to our port side. No damage except to the captains ego due to the audience that became attracted to our predicament. The flawless captain almost lost his crew after returning to dock as she slipped on the bow sprit and fell through the hole in it where the anchor chain goes. No serious damage other than minor bruises and the bashing of the captain's ego. All in all it was a great day and we had some serious fun.

Lana Finds a Pirate for Herself!

Not to be outdone by the captain, Lana finds herself a strapping swashbuckler pirate.

Honor to all Veterans!

Saturday we went to the local Veterans Day Parade and paid all due respect to our Veterans! We had a wonderful pancake breakfast at the Methodist church and then watched the parade. It was mostly a day of respect and peaceful relaxation. Well almost anyway........the pirates showed up to unveil the refurbished statue of Peg Leg Pete with a host of sassy Wenches and they kidnapped me! Please do not pay the ransom!!!!!!!!!! I am a Wench Magnet!

All Clean!

The fruits of our labor! Yes flat screen TV and all! Time to enjoy a nice glass of wine!

Out of order, but this is the splash!

01 November 2007

Clean and stow the gear!

Day 2 through 8................. Lots of cleaning! We cleaned her from stem to stern. We had lots of personal gear to move aboard. Clothes, galley ware, food, tools, books, spare parts and more of too much STUFF! She was ready to move aboard on 09 November 2007. It was a great falling asleep in her v-berth and feel the gentle motion of the tidel ebb and flo.

A bit of bottom work!

01 November 2007

Mary Rose was to be lifted from her cradle and placed back into the water!

She had been in a cradle since purchase in July 07. We had to attend to a bit of bottom work before she was placed back in the water. Capt. Don went dumpster diving (PADI Certified Diver) at the carpet store to get some 16X16 pads of perfectly good carpet to burnish the bottom paint and bring it back to life.

Welcome Aboard!

This is the beginning of what we hope to be a very long and enjoyable journey. We hope this blog keeps friends and family up to date and helps them enjoy the journey along with us. The Captain is Don Montgomery and the crew is First Mate Lana Nelson. For some of you this will be your introduction to one or both of us. I am sure you will get to know us both a whole lot better as the journey progresses. So let's get started on the journey.

Welcome aboard!