Friday, December 18, 2009

Ready for home

Lucky is all buttoned up and ready for transportation back to California. It was exactly a year ago that she was placed on the truck in Alameda and such a lot has happened since then.

As Steph mentioned below, I've spent the week since she left for Myrtle Beach getting Lucky ready.

Sunday I went on a sea trial with Jefory (head mechanic) and Louise to check the new drive. All ran well, we managed cruise and WOT RPM settings, no abnormal sensor readings or noises. It was a little rough out there, so we cut the planned trial short by an hour and came back in. With Louise's help I pumped out the black water tank. The fresh water tanks were almost empty already, so didn't need any further draining.

Monday was a very busy day for me. An early haul out allowed me to get on the two main tasks for the day sooner rather than later. The trim tabs needed to be looked at and all the stuff on the hardtop needed to be removed. The lads at All Point Boats looked at the trim tabs. Out outboard starboard trim tab ram had stuck closed. replacing all four cylinders solved the problem and they were done by 3pm. Meanwhile, I had everything off the top before dark. Mike came over and washed down the boat.

Tuesday I took off the propellers and protected the shafts with grease and plastic bags. I also loaded the boat with everything from the hotel except a few clothes. Dinner with Louise at Coconuts rounded out the day.

Wednesday the shrink wrappers came and started the job. It took them about a day, spread over three, to finish the job. We hope that by wrapping the tender separately it'll hold up to the journey better. Dinner with CJ and Margie was bittersweet. I'm going to miss them.

Thursday was fairly quiet, between prodding shrink wrappers to get on with it and watching the rain. I had a nice dinner with Sean and Louise. Five hours passed in the blink of an eye!

Here we are, Friday. Lucky is wrapped. All the bills are paid. The bags are nearly packed. My flight leaves in 3 hours. Its all over.

For tax reasons, Lucky isn't being shipped until the beginning of next year. She'll have spent the whole of 2009 out of California, so I'm not liable for property taxes. She should arrive in Alameda before the end of January.

Heading Home

I can’t believe that this adventure is coming to its end. It’s a humble reminder of how fast life moves along…

Our last week has been a quiet one. I am in SC, celebrating a early holiday with my Mom. We’ve had a wonderful week together. We’ve been quilting and quilt shopping, cooking, eating and talking. I couldn’t ask for a better week. Martin has stayed in Ft. Lauderdale to wrap up the work with Lucky. I think that he’ll be blogging about his week though I can summarize by saying that he spent some wonderful time with Sean & Louise, CJ & Margie and got Lucky sea-trialed, hauled, cleaned and shrink-wrapped. Martin leaves tonight for home and I follow tomorrow. We’re both in a bit of shock that we’ll be back home, together, in just over a day!

We'll definitely continue the blog through the end of the month. I think the year adventure should include our return home and readjustment, it should be interesting ;-)

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Back in Florida

We had a great time back in Ft. Lauderdale after Curacao. I’m late blogging so I’ll just give a quick review. We found a wonderful hotel just off the beach downtown. It was also right around the corner from the Hugh Taylor Birch Park and down the street from the Galleria Mall. So I had great jogging and shopping grounds :)

Our friends Sean and Louise were in town and we were so excited to get to see them! We last saw them back in January in Naples. They live in a Neoplan bus and tour the country so we’re always happy when we get to meet up with them. They had just done a dive certification in the Keys but Louise had to finish up a couple exercises - we were so happy we got to join them! We had a great time and Louise finish her cert! One big difference from Curacao was that the water was Cold. Who would think that 77 could feel like ice water! We saw some wonderful critters – a very friendly sting ray that swam with us and a gorgeous cornetfish. We have some great pics up (the best is the one above)!

We drove out to Naples and spent some time with Sue & Armando and the kitties Blu & Tru. I’m so glad that we had enough time to visit with friends and say good-bye!

Of course we also go to see Margie & CJ a few times while we were back. Martin and I agree that meeting them was one of the highlights of our year. We're both incredibly sad to leave them!

The week and half went by incredibly fast. In addition to seeing our friends, Martin spent a bit of time at the boat yard as they finally replaced the cursed drive with a new and improved version (yay!) I made plans to fly up to visit my Mom on the 12th and Martin stayed on to complete the last sea trial and then see to it that Lucky got shrink wrapped and ready to go.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Our final week in Curacao

We were so busy the past week that I posted a couple of individual blog entries below (east-end diving and ATVing). We had such a crazy busy week and it was wonderful! I've posted a ton of pics too so you can see as well as read about it.

When we came to Curacao in June 2008 we met a couple from Denver - Chris and Andrea. There were staying at another dive resort on the island and had come up to Westpunt for the day. We met at Sol Food (of course!) and ended up diving together after that. We've kept in touch since then and were so excited to realize that we'd both be coming to Curacao for Thanksgiving. We just had the best time hanging out with them all week! They are fantastic divers (Andrea's a kick-butt photographer too) and they are a lot of fun to be with :) Thanksgiving was Andrea's birthday too which made the day all the more special.

So our last week we did a lot of diving! In addition to the east end dives we went out on the boat again to Watamula, did 2 night dives at Alice in Wonderland and dove the fisherman's beach behind Sunshine & Davids' for our last dive. On that last dive we swam with a school of 16 squid (awesome!) and found a pipe fish in the sand. It seems like every dive we made we found something wonderful...

On Friday, Martin and I visited Derrick and Ans down the road to visit their puppies. They have 8 pups that are Rottweiler/Mastiff mixes. I almost brought one home for my kittie George (just kidding, kind of of, they were soooo cute...)

We had Thanksgiving at Sol Food with Sunshine, David and the Bees. The dive shop gang came over later for pie and ice cream. We got to sing Happy Birthday to Andrea too. Sunshine put on an incredible spread of food (as usual) and I made my stuffing. It was a great dinner. The only downside to the day was that at some point during the evening/night, a creep snuck into our apartment and stole Martin's laptop. That sucked and we wish much bad karma on the thief...

We had dinner at Sol Food each night over the weekend and enjoyed hanging out with the Bees and Andreas, Bryan, Dave and Toni from the dive shop. Our last night in town was Andreas's birthday so we got to sing again! I especially enjoyed listening to Martin, Bryan and Chris. The 3 of them got on well together and I enjoyed the good-humored teasing :)

Somewhere in there we also went to happy hours, had the Bees over for dinner, sat and chatted with David and Sunshine, played with Chaos and Nez, cuddled with Meo, Martin biked with the Westpunt Riders and I got to jog on the mondi. This had to be one of our most active months of the year!

As I sit here in Ft. Lauderdale looking back I can't even express how grateful I am for this past month (or how sad I am to have left...) Thank you to all the wonderful people we got to share it with and special thanks to Sunshine & David for making our stay feel like we were at home (well, a warmer, sunnier, divier home :)

ATVing on Curacao

On Saturday we set off on a non-diving adventure with Chris and Andrea and had a BLAST! Sunshine recommended Eric's ATVs down in Wilhelmsted - they were awesome! I was a little nervous about riding an ATV. The first and only time I've driven one was at my Dad's old house in upstate NY. If I remember correctly, I promptly drove it into a tree :) Well, I managed quite well but one other guest on the tour (a Dutch or German guy) didn't fare so well. And did I mention that the trees here all sport inch-long thorns? (see pic of the day 3 Mondi shots) There was blood involved. Ouch!

Anyway, it was so, so much fun. We drove a bit on the streets in town, then on back dirt roads to the Aloe Farm and Ostrich Farm for a drink. We toured a cave and hiked up to see a gorgeous view of the eastern coastline. Then we headed to the windmills and stopped at a small cafe near Playa Canoa which is the only beach that can be surfed on the island (there are small breakers there). We were hot and grimy, (actually filthy), by the end and were all wearing super huge smiles. We have a lot of pics up from the tour.

After the ATVs we headed home and stopped at Daniels for lunch with the Bees (we affectionately call Chris & Andrea "the bees" because of her siggie on scuba board :)

Just another day in paradise...

Diving the East End

Adventure Diving! On Monday our friends Chris and Andrea came to Curacao. We met them here back in June 2008 and were so excited to find that we were all going to be back here for Thanksgiving week!

They are avid divers so Sunshine planned an adventure for us all. Sunshine, David, Chris & Andrea, Martin and I drove down to Wilhelmsted to meet Neils and go on a 2 tank dive on the other end of the island. We piled into a zodiac and made the hour boat trip out to the tip. The seas were pretty high - maybe 5 feet at the point, and it was decided that it was too high to be able to get us back into the boat so we changed dive locations. Even in the "smaller" seas it was quite the adventure getting ourselves back into that boat - very different experience riding in a zodiac rather than a big power boat :) (see pics!) We did the first dive along a wall with a ton of soft coral. It was gorgeous. We had our surface interval in a lagoon, snorkeling and looking at huge starfish. Then we went back out for our second dive. This dive was along a very steep wall. We came across a total of 3 nurse sharks (fairly rare in Curacao). At the shark area we spotted a HUGE porcupine fish swimming with it's baby. None of us has ever seen such a huge puffer. It was at least 3 feet long! And then, doesn't a manta ray cruise by out in the blue! It was incredible! The only downer was that it was trailing a mooring line with a big coke bottle on the end of it :( (pic above).

It was an awesome day- awesome people, fish, diving...