May to December 2009
On arriving back at Wayfarers Cove, we found this homemade "Wanted" poster displayed on the marina bulletin board by our American cruising friends. It was part of an article about cruising Cuba written in Southwinds magazine by Maeve and Bradd Wilson (s/v Sampatecho). After we assured everyone that we were simply indulging in our only Cuban vice, we were able to do some quick work on Pioneer and then head off to Canada for our annual visit with family and friends.
Never more than four cones a day! - approx. 5 cents a cone!
This trip home is our one opportunity to spend quality time with our mothers and visit some of our children and grandchildren. Unfortunately, our children are spread throughout Canada and it is extremely difficult to visit them all in one shot especially with our need to spend time with our aging mothers.
Judy's mother, Phyllis, age 97!
Ron, his mother Evelyn (age 94), son - Aaron, Aaron's friend - Liz and family dog - Buster, in Lethbridge
Before we left for Canada, we managed to gather with friends at the home of Dick and Judy Giddings in Dover, NC. Southern Cross (D and Don) had spent time in the winter in the San Blas islands near Panama and had come home with many samples of beaded jewelry. The women admired the jewelry while the men relaxed with "Ol' Stump Blower" - carefully concocted by Dick.
D shows off her beads to Judy, Leslie, Judy, D, Sue & Mary
By mid summer, we were back on Pioneer planning our major additions and enjoying opportunities to socialize with our many friends in Minnesott and surrounding communities.
Rex, Carol & Judy enjoy ICE CREAM and liqueurs after a delicious dinner at their home.
We continue to enjoy the unusual sights around our marina. Check out the "Al Capone" car and the canon on the front lawn!
Ashley and Carol' s party - the girls: Cindy, Debbie, Judy, Carol and Shirley plan their girl's afternoon at the movies in New Bern.
This has been an unusual summer in that we have only taken one trip back to Canada. The rest of the time we have been working on the boat and house/pet-sitting for friends. We have had lots of time to appreciate "the comforts of home"; however, we still prefer our lifestyle - at this point in time, anyway. Our first "job" (only by invitation, voluntary - our only compensation, a comfortable home to enjoy) was looking after Cindy and Bill's house and their cat Marty (we called him Jose Marti).
Jose Marti rolls around in joy at our return from the boat at the end of the day
Our second job was for Phil and Paula and their cat (we called him Gato).
El Gato was the outdoors type spending most of his waking hours stalking the wildlife around South lake
This second "job" provided us with an opportunity do do our mutual hair cuts under an actual barber's pole!
Ron is ready to get his head shaved under the barber's pole!
Ron was able to explore the local wildlife that El Gato brought home at the end of the day and Judy was still within biking distance of her water aerobics class!
Froggy went a-courtin' - oh no!
Judy gets ready to "cruise" off to her water aerobics class. The cars give her a wide berth!
Our third house sitting job had no pets nor plants, just Rex and Carol's beautiful house. We managed to put Rex's truck to good use when we cut each other's hair in the driveway. We enjoyed ourselves so much, we even cut their lawn during our stay!
New activity for a tailgate party!
There were several rainy days when it was impossible to work on Pioneer, so we just stayed put at Rex and Carol's. Being able to use a washer and dryer, dishwasher and garbage disposal - not to mention flushing toilets - was absolutely amazing.
Cutting the lawn was a real treat for Ron. It brought back those memories of "dirt dwelling" in Lethbridge. The water view in NC was much more entertaining as Ron mowed his perfect rows!
Ron carefully cuts the lawn around Hat Dancer, who patiently waits for her captain to return!
Before our next job, we managed to enjoy an evening with friends over at Linda and Brian's in New Bern. It was the first time we had visited their home. We continue to be amazed at the beautiful and imaginative designs of our friends' homes.
Brian, Debbie, Shirley, Judy & Dick admire Linda's wonderful kitchen
Our fourth job was at the home of Charlie and Shirley. For the majority of our stay we had no pets to care for; however, for the last two days we looked after Cutter (a very big chocolate lab), who belonged to Dick and Debbie. It was our introduction to Cutter, whom we would be caring for a week later when we were to house-sit for Dick and Debbie. We broke our first house sitting rule here - no parties! We invited sailing friends over for dinner one night! They were all friends of Charlie and Shirley - so we did not worry!
Libelle (Jim and Rosi), Nice N' Easy (Bill and Sue), Johesa (now dirt dwellers Bill and Cindy) are our invited party guests
Before we were scheduled to go up on the "hard" to get some bottom painting, seacock replacement and installation of solar panels, wind generator, watermaker and wash down pump, Judy filled the days cleaning Pioneer's hull and refinishing teak areas that we had never worked on - the screens and underneath the hatches.
Judy refinishes the screens for the hatches then hangs them in the trees to dry
Pioneer's hull gets a cleaning before she goes up on the hard
Ron worked on some plumbing for the head and the wash down pump as well as putting in four new speakers for our stereo system.
Meanwhile, we continue to enjoy our house sitting projects and socializing with friends - it makes our time "on the hard" more tolerable, especially on the rainy days. One chance to see old cruising friends was at a "pig roast", hosted by Dick and Judy Giddings.
The girls "ham" it up at the pig roast with a pictorial version of the unicorn song
We drove to the party in Dover, NC with Jim and Rosi (Libelle). It was great to see so many of our cruising friends in one place at one time. Dick's "Ol' Stump Blower", was the perfect refreshment for this crowd!
Party-goers Roger and Bonnie (now land yachting), Jim and Rosi, Charlie, Shirley and Judy enjoy the guitar music
Jim and Bentley (Salty Paws) and Dave (Dyad) provide the musical entertainment for the pig roast
Once "on the hard", our perspective of the world changed. We no longer had water, trees and wildlife to admire. Our penthouse view now displayed other boats, in various stages of repair and showing off their bottoms!
Our "penthouse" perspective of the boatyard at Minnesott
While on the hard, we finished the installation of two solar panels, a wind generator, a water maker, all new canvas on the dodger and bimini, new cockpit cushions and a wash down pump. We also revived our courtesy light system, made repairs to the head and installed a new solenoid switch for the propane system. While "high and dry" we had our bottom sanded and painted, got the prop coated to prevent the growth of barnacles, relocated our dyna-plate, replaced two thru-hulls and had the hull touched up, waxed and polished. Unfortunately, it rained a lot of the time while on the hard so we were forever cleaning the deck of mud and sand tracked in.
However, the fact that we would be house-sitting for friends twice more, gave us a break from our "life on the hard". Our fifth job was at the home of Dick and Debbie. Besides looking after the house, we looked after Cutter, their very large and very smart chocolate lab. Judy and Cutter would go for many walks, play Frisbee and fetch while Ron worked on the boat. Judy spent some time at Pioneer but more on the computer at the house and off playing with Cutter. We must have done an OK job because after we returned to Pioneer, we were asked back to a Fall party where we got to say goodbye to several friends that we might not see again until next Spring. We also got our final and sixth house sitting job back at Rex and Carol's. That was a call back, so we assume we did OK with our house sitting duties!
Pioneer gets a lift on a grey day as she rides the travel lift back into the water
Finally, we splashed (got put back in the water) on Monday, November 23rd - three weeks after our hoped-for leaving date. However, it was worth the extra time to get all our projects completed.
Floating again - FINALLY!
Pioneer still "totally floats" as she heads back to her slip to wait for a weather opportunity to head south.
We had thought that we may get away as early as Thanksgiving Day, November 26th, but Mother Nature did not look kindly on that plan. So, we joined friends for a Thanksgiving dinner at Charlie and Shirley's home. As usual, it was fun to see our Minnesott friends and enjoy a wonderful meal with them. Charlie prepared a citrus turkey that was "to die for", Shirley prepared the side dishes, that were quite outstanding, and Linda contributed the desserts. It was one of the best Thanksgiving meals we have ever tasted!
Charlie carves up a storm!
Shirley, Cindy and Bill enjoy the delicious "repast"
As the days passed while we waited for weather, Rex and Carol paid us a visit on the runabout "Hat Dancer" . It is always good to see Rex and Carol - they are very special friends that we met our very first summer here at Minnesott back in 2005.
Rex and Carol pay us a visit while we wait to leave
We also took the opportunity to finish off some missed jobs when the weather was warm. Ron had to tidy up new wiring and Judy had missed two winches when she was servicing them, so those projects got completed.
Judy tackles the last two winches
Ron tidies up the wiring in the aft lazarette
Then, we got the go-ahead from Chris Parker. On December 5th, approximately a little over a month late, we left North Carolina to join up with our cruising friends in Florida. We will be making the crossing to Central America with Diva, Rachel and Eyrie. Most of the way down the coast we will be playing "catch-up", but will all rendezvous in Marathon to plan the crossing.
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