Preparing to Cruise
Our Boat-Buying Trip
About Pioneer
Our Sailing Dream
Preparing to Sail
Preparing to Cruise
'05-'06 Bahamas
Off Season '06
'06-'07 Cuba
Off Season '07
'07-'08 Bahamas
Off Season '08
To Cuba '08
In Cuba '08-'09
Cuba to Minnesott '09
Off Season '09
NW Caribbean 2010
NW Caribbean 2011
Ron's Ruminations
Judy's Jubilations



Our house has been sold!  We did it without a real estate broker and even without a lawyer.  It is amazing what you can accomplish on your own....and you don't have to wait for a lawyer to find a spot for you in his/her busy day!  The party we sold the house to is a friend and neighbour and we are very pleased that she is taking over our home.

View of our Lethbridge home from the garden


We are now selling/giving away all of our worldly goods.  Our children will take most of it, some we are giving to friends and some we are selling.  We are advertising some antiques in the local newspaper and the results have been very good. 


In about a week we head to B.C. to say goodbye to family there.  Now comes the hard part.........

Pioneer is now a fully-registered Canadian vessel, with a ship station radio license and a license for the dinghy, better known as Scout.  We are researching satellite phones, water-makers, courtesy flags, and waterproof cases for the computer and printer.  We know what we want at this point and will order most of the equipment in August and have it sent to friends in North Carolina.  Found a great vacuum for the boat by Essenergy called the Dragon "Unleashed".  It is powerful, stores small and is cordless. We will order it from the US as their prices are much below the Canadian price. They are hard to find but they look to be well worth the struggle to find a supplier.

We are also getting our first aid kit together, and will be adding prescription drugs and such when August comes.  Come mid-August the house will start to empty as Judy sends furniture to her children in Thunder Bay and Pemberton and Ron's children begin to take his furniture out of the house.

The pictures shown here are of the interior of our soon to be vacated home. 


The "Sun Room"



The "Family Room"







David and Chantal with son, Jack


We have once again successfully traversed the mighty Rockies to visit family in Vancouver, Pemberton (Whistler) and Salt Spring Island.  Both of us have recent grandchildren - for Ron a second grandson, Conrad, for Judy a third granddaughter, Sage.  In Vancouver and Pemberton, we had an opportunity to visit with our children and their new arrivals! The weather here has been absolutely gorgeous, perfect growing conditions for the plants that we brought from Lethbridge.  The plants will now have new homes in Pemberton and Salt Spring Island.

Ron with grandsons Jack and Conrad

Our over-night in Vancouver with Ron's son and his family was very enlightening in that Dr. David gave us a lesson in basic suturing, reviewed our medical kit needs and will assemble several missing professional items for us to pick up on our way back home on Monday.  It's amazing what we can do medically with some basic understanding and instruction.  Our Offshore Doctor book and some other references will be getting a thorough review in the next few months.

As with so many events these days, this is a nostalgic visit to the Coast.  We're visiting family, organizing for not returning for a long time, connecting with many friends on Salt Spring, especially those with the same passion for salt water, our fellow-members at the Salt Spring Island Sailing Club.  A regatta takes place this Sunday at the Club, and we may pick up our last crewing opportunity. 

Judy with SaltSpring friends, Chris and Gordon

We have volunteered for the barbecue after the race, that will give us time to tell many friends of our plans and to say our good-byes. 



Judy with SaltSpring Sailing Club friends



We have enjoyed many trips here over the last three years, this is where we married, and there are many memories.  Despite the fantastic sailing waters in this region of Canada, we may never get back here with Pioneer.  Eventually traversing the Panama Canal will head us westwards, our blue-water voyage across the Pacific; beating northwards up the U.S. coast is not a practical passage with the prevailing conditions of wind and current always being southerly.

Saturdays in the summer are market days in Ganges (the hub of life on the Island), a social event as well as an attraction to view the myriad of art and craftwork for which Salt Spring is well-known.  It is also one of many opportunities to catch a glimpse of the 'old hippy' life that has also made this place famous.  Judy's mum takes one opportunity a year to experience the market - that is quite enough for her!

Judy and her mother smell the handmade soaps at the Ganges market


We have been back in Lethbridge for almost a week now.  Judy is selling antiques like crazy, and shedding a tear each time a piece with sentimental value heads off to a new home.  She has also been packing up boxes for her children, nice and nephew and for her friends, to be shipped out by Greyhound, Canada Post or moving company over the next few weeks.  She is also trying to keep the garden in shape for the new owner of the house.  We have just a little over a month left here to get rid of most things and get the truck packed up for our trip to the boat.  Getting rid of items includes fourteen garage sales as well as the private sales and gifts to friends.



15 Yard Sales: You've Got to be Kidding!

But it has been tremendous fun!  We set up the entire driveway with all kinds of cheaper items.  The deck we reserved for antiques, pottery, linens and art.  The response has been quite amazing. 

Ron's "area" of the garage sales - many a bargain was found!


Most of Judy's antiques were easily 100 years old and from the eastern part of Canada and the US.  In Southern Alberta, many folks think that 60-70 years is a "good old time ago", so Judy found herself back in her teaching mode, introducing several customers to the beauty of pressed glass from the late 1800's.  She did not sell it all, however.  Many pieces went to friends and family - others went into Judy's storage box (or should we say "time capsule")! Ron's children took most of his furniture, passed down from his grandfather.  The rest was put up for sale.  As hard work as it has been, we would do it all again.  In the process of liquidating our lives, we have met some wonderful people, and that has made it all very memorable. However, we are looking forward to tomorrow - the last day of our giant yard sale.  Then we are into total clean-up mode. 

Judy's area - the "high rent district"


We have made enough money from the yard sales to purchase a satellite phone, which is an added bonus.  Now we can keep in touch with our families no matter where we are - as long as the right satellite is passing overhead.

The month of the Very Big Move Garage Sales come to an end:

 We are finally into the month of September - another Labour Day Weekend to sit back and appreciate the fact that Judy doesn't have to go to work on Tuesday! Not that she would have the time for that kind of work, anyway!

We hope to keep close to our leaving date of September 7th, but we may delay a few days to give North Carolina a chance to recover from the serious fuel shortage that they face.  "Katrina" affected them, although not from a weather perspective.  Their pipe lines lost the electrical power required to deliver gas/oil to the entire state as a result of "Katrina".  Couple that with the gas shortage and the high gas prices in the USA and you have an ugly situation! In about 7 to 10 days, we hope that things will return to normal..........what the heck is normal, anyway?

Also must have the final "party" to say goodbye to friends here and pass on to them a small item to remember us by. 

We are in the process of working out a plan to get the car back to Lethbridge in October.  We will most likely store it there for our use when we come back to visit.  We had thought of selling it in the US, but at present we are leaning towards the storage option. We can combine that option with a visit from Lethbridge friends, which would be a great treat for us and for them!

We are ordering courtesy flags for Pioneer for the various ports of call we plan to visit.  The first aid kit is just about finished, thanks to the recommendations of Ron's son, David, my sister, Pam and our family doctor here in town (all three of them are doctors!).  We have also ordered waterproof/crushproof Pelican cases for our computer, peripherals and sat phone.  We will wait until the Annapolis Boat Show in October to further research water-makers and pick up chart books.  We have even ordered a Sawyer Extractor snakebite and bee venom kit.  You never know when you will run into a nasty sea snake or when a bee will make a beeline for Ron! 

The yard sales finished on Saturday of the Labour Day Weekend.  This particular visitor was fascinated by the old uniforms that Ron had acquired while he lived in the US.  Unfortunately he decided not to take us up on this $5.00 item.  Too bad, it looked great on him!


Goodbye garage sales!




On Sunday and Monday more furniture moves out and remaining useful items will be packed up for the Salvation Army.  We have sold our bed and our living room furniture - which will leave the house on Sept 7th.  The cleaners are coming in to do the rugs on the 8th and the new owner's furniture is moving in on the 10th.  So.......... guess it's getting close to "leaving" time!

Phyllis Moves In:

Saturday, September 10th was the day set for moving in the new owner's (Phyllis's) furniture. Mother nature was not to be counted on for her support for we had high winds and heavy rains all day. Not to be daunted, Phyllis's son, Richard, and a friend from BC, Daryl, slogged through the rain wheeling cartloads of furniture from the her old house to her new one (ours- just two doors away). 

Richard wheels his mother's couch into our driveway


Phyllis was a trouper and was in place to open doors, position furniture, and, of course, wipe every piece dry! All in all, the move went well - except that the former owners haven't left yet!  Believe me, we are trying and are now committed to being out by Saturday 17th. Phyllis is in no hurry to move in - thank goodness. 

We are rather anxious to get to North Carolina and actually wish that we were there now to keep our eye on Pioneer as she rides out Hurricane Ophelia.  Her marina is very sheltered and is the best little hurricane hole on the East Coast.  She should be fine, but that doesn't help our anxiety as we listen to the weather forecasts and check the storm's progress on the internet.  We are very lucky that Ophelia is a much less destructive system that Katrina.  Because of the low coastal lands in North Carolina, flooding is a sure thing.  Many of our friends will have left their homes for the safety of higher ground. 

Party Hardie in the Summer  

On short notice, we called together a Sunday 11th gathering of friends to share the last of our homemade wine.  It gave us an opportunity to wish everyone a fond farewell, given that our leaving plans were coming on fast.

And a terrific party it was.  The first to arrive and last to leave was Arnold, an old friend and former partner of Ron's.  Many were friends we see every Friday morning at the Penny Coffee House. Some were new friends, like Susan Quinlan, who wrote a freelance article about our adventure for the Lethbridge Herald and the Sun Times.  In a way it is a shame we are leaving because Ron's last batch of wine was indeed his best, according to our guests.

Party guests gather in the kitchen to check out our new "boat cards"

Ron's mum, Evelyn (age 91), was there - as she is for all parties we have - flirting with all the men and thoroughly enjoying herself.  The house was very empty (of furniture, that is) compared to previous Christmas parties - but there was lots of room for people to roam around.  Phyllis came, but her son, Richard, like many other invited guests, was home mopping up flooded basements. That torrential rain on Saturday added more water to an already saturated ground and resulted in some level of seepage in the majority of Lethbridge homes.  At least a boat floats on water!!!

On Tuesday Sept 13th, the last of the garage sale items left with Hunter and Carol Heggie, from the King of Trade.  Now we have another two days of cleanup before we can get on the road to our adventure.

On September 14, Susan Quinlan, a freelance writer, published an article about our adventures in the Lethbridge Herald. 

We finally got completely moved out of the house on September 21st.  So much for our September 7th leaving date! That night we had a family dinner with Ron's mum and two children.  We ordered in Vietnamese food - compliments of the kids - and had a relaxing dinner, with lots of reminiscing at Ron's mum's condo. 

Ron's mum, Evelyn, and his daughter, Jocelyn, - setting up in the kitchen prior to dinner.



We sort of hit the road on the morning of the 22nd with a slight detour to the storage locker to get Ron's passport - tee hee - I am now several points ahead in the "OMYGODIFORGOT" department!  We also rearranged things to make our files more accessible, come income tax season! It was a struggle to get everything into a 5x5 area, but we did it, with a few inches to spare. 





Judy and Ron say "goodbye" to their home, finally!




Our new home base - one 5'x5' storage locker, packed to the roof!


Other than getting rid of stuff and reorganizing our lives, life is pretty quiet............however, don't be fooled by this statement - it isn't easy shedding all your roots and heading off into the unknown.  It is rather scary but fun, rather gut-wrenching but uplifting.  We should have done it 10 years ago!





Hard to believe - the week we are leaving for good and our "reluctant" yucca blooms


The Yucca has bloomed!!!  We have waited years for this occasion and it did not disappoint us.  Maybe someday our new home will have a Yucca..........wherever that may be.




Heading Back to North Carolina - Finally! 

We actually began the trip South-East at 11:30 a.m. on September 22nd - 6 days short of the 40 year anniversary of Ron's around the world adventure.  As our friends, Cliff and Linda, predicted, we did not cover a great distance on the first day - 675 km.  We made it to Billings, Montana about 7:00 pm.  On the 23rd we were on the road by 6:30 a.m. driving as far as Sioux City, Iowa - 1200 km. - now we were making good time. The drive through South Dakota was pretty boring - sort of like extended prairies!  We called it quits at 8:00 p.m.  The next day, September 24th we headed out at 6:35 a.m. and made it to a small town just outside of Indiannapolis - Shelbyville.  Distance covered 1137 km. On Sunday, September 25th the driving day began at 8:30 a.m. - destination Raleigh, N.C. 

Ran into some interesting characters on the road in that area.  Reminded us of our friends we left back in Lethbridge - minus the flag, of course! Can you imagine a motorcycle flying a big Canadian flag in Southern Alberta?

Our return trip to North Carolina includes many a sight! only in America would no helmets and the flag be legal on that bike!


Road signs were also a source of amusement - one on Hwy 64 in north-eastern Kentucky was especially amusing.  The sign listed all the things that were not allowed on the highway, among them "no animals on foot".  Being in the punchy mood we were we could just imagine an animal crawling on the highway, rolling down the highway, sleeping on the highway, slithering on the highway, or any number of ways that it could gain legal access to the highway! We still laugh about that one.

We discovered a shortcut to Charleston West Virginia by way of Cinncinati, Ohio. When Ron was navigating, he had traced the route right down the middle of the Ohio River - major points again for Judy!  Judy, in her stint as navigator, found a road that seemed to work - then a couple at our hotel helped out with some more recommendations.  The result was excellent until we decided to take our own short cut and then we got onto the hilly, winding roads that have you making 60 km per hour max.  Judy chose that route - loss of a few points but still ahead!

Actually, Judy had a major OMYGODIFORGOT incident which was discovered on Day 2 of the trip.  We had ordered the compulsory brass plaque for Pioneer with the Canadian Registration # and the net tonnage from Trophies Unlimited in Lethbridge.  Judy was supposed to pick it up - oops!  We tried to call back but kept getting the Fax # - thanks to the operator who gave us the number - she lost some points there!  We finally got it figured out at the hotel when we connected to the internet and looked up their phone #.  Big loss of points there!  Looks like we are almost even - wonder who will be responsible for our first grounding?

We arrived in Burlington, NC, just outside of Raleigh about 8:30 at night after 900 km on the road.  The next day we picked up our sat phone and did some shopping in the area.  We are stayed overnight in Goldsboro NC then visited friends, Dick and Judy Giddings, in Dover on Tuesday morning before heading to Pioneer.  Are we relaxed yet? Not quite, but getting there!

Back in North Carolina

Hurricane Ophelia was right in Pioneer's backyard.  Since we had not heard any bad news, we assumed that was good news and we were right.  The storm was very slow moving and took a long time to pass over the coastal areas of NC.  The water in the marina was relatively quiet but the water level surged 7 feet and stayed there for a good two days.  Good thing we had Pioneer tied to tall pilings - she rode up and then down without worries about grounding on the finger dock. 

We arrived at the marina on Tuesday at noon and it is now almost a week later.


Ron boards Pioneer for the first time since we bought her in May


During Ophelia, that dock was two feet under water.   We have been spending our time cleaning Pioneer up, removing her hurricane lines, cleaning up leaves, wasp nests and cobwebs, rearranging all mooring lines and putting things away so that we can take her out for a sail.  She had only minimal amounts of green slime on her and there are a few lines that will have to be dumped in some water with a little bit of bleach in order to clean them up.  The cleanup was Judy's job, which didn't help her ailing hip tendon.  Ron was focused on setting up HIS galley - but, Judy did a little rearranging when he wasn't looking!  Check out the working woman now - a lot different than when she had a suit on and carried a briefcase! Every day has been a challenge to get stuff put away in the right spot, decide what we really need to take with us and what can stay behind.  We seem to have a lot of anchor rodes besides the 300 feet of chain that we have.  We will keep some and give the rest to friends who can use them on their boats. 

Judy works on cleaning Pioneer's carpets


We have been enjoying the wildlife in the marina area.  There is a family of Great Blue Heron that hang out in the creek and lots of Mullets (fish) that jump all over the place constantly.  However, the most animated of all "critters" that we have found here are "Turdy" and "Gurdy", two very large turtles ( shells about 12 inches long).  The other boaters feed them so they come around each time you are on deck.  On the days that Judy was cutting Ron's hair and vice versa, they kept swimming around checking us out and hoping to get some tasty morsels tossed their way. 


This is "Turdy" - he looks just like the turtles we used to keep when we were youngsters, but these ones are much  LARGER!


It is very peaceful here and we appear to be the only ones living aboard at the moment.  Great, because we have the washrooms all to ourselves, cable TV in the clubhouse and wireless internet - all in an air conditioned environment!  Since the humidity most days is between 90 and 100 per cent and the daytime temperatures in the mid 80's - the air conditioning is most welcome.  The thunderstorms have threatened around us but nothing of any consequence or duration has arrived  yet. In a few days we head off driving to Annapolis to the Annapolis Boat Show.  We want to check out water-makers and pots for the galley, as well as some finishing lacquer for the inside of the boat and some varnish for the outside bright-work.  It's a good time for us to make some major provisioning purchases as well.

First Sail on the Neuse Aboard "Grace":

Our first sail, since May, on the Neuse River was a great experience.  We sailed with Perry and Susan, aboard "Grace" (another Cabo Rico 38).  Grace is moored 3 slips away from Pioneer.  Perry is a excellent and experienced sailor and has been a great help to us in reacquainting ourselves to the intricacies of sailing.  We have learned many things from him already, including, docking techniques, sail wrapping methods, and mooring lines configurations.  We sailed with Perry and his wife, Susan, to Oriental on Sunday.  There we were joined by Tim and Janet (new friends) for lunch (seafood again).  The food and the company were great!  The sail to Oriental was an upwind beat all the way and there was a good blow on.  The boat was heeled over nicely and we had all sails up and a reef in the main.  On the way back we sailed downwind all the way home with the sails wing on wing.  It was a real treat to have such a smooth sail back.

Perry preparing the staysail on "Grace"

Hopefully, Judy will get to participate more in the sailing activities as the weeks pass.  Her injured tendon is quite painful and prevents her from scampering around on deck. She manages to re-injure it quite often just working on Pioneer tied up at the dock.  

Judy, at  Grace's helm, during the 4 hour sail to Oriental and back

On Wednesday, we head off to the Annapolis Boat Show for a few days away from Pioneer.  We are just getting used to her and her somewhat limited quarters.  Now we get to stay in a hotel room that is larger than she is!  The Boat Show will be very helpful in giving us some ideas about water makers and products to use on Pioneer's brightwork.




Ron on "life":

Ron just had to add this note.  He is the organized one who searches through (and reads!) all the paper files on Pioneer.  This is his take on one interesting topic.  "Don't ya just love those loose translations that give a whole new sense to the existing world order? Spending many hours going through our dozens of documents and literature for 'Pioneer's' systems and equipment, a very bright moment dawned when I ran across a small note attached to our 'Achilles' inflatable dingy warranty registration card, printed (you guessed it!) in a famous place on the other side of the world.  The note announces that the card is


Wouldn't George W. like to have that interpreter on his team?"


Settling in to the Live-aboard Lifestyle:

We have finally managed to feel comfortable squeezing into some places and squeezing by each other as we maneuver around the cabin of Pioneer.  We can even see an end to the seemingly immense task of finding a place for everything.  The head shower stall still has a lot of things stored in it, but at least they are secure and so we can sail without fear of anything tipping over.  It is interesting to think in terms of being heeled over (both port and starboard) and then organizing your life so that everything will stay in its place. 

We stacked all manner of things in the car to sell at the New Bern West Marine flea market.  We managed to sell some anchor rode, an old power cord and some smaller kitchen type items that we had no room for.  That was garage sale #15 for us!  Getting paid in US dollars was far more lucrative than selling things back in Lethbridge.  We met some great people during the sale - even a few Canadians who were getting ready for their southbound cruise, just as we are.  They have had much more sailing experience than us and so we listened and learned!  The learning curve is really getting steep now!.  Peter and his wife (s/v Kynda) are from Coquitlam, BC. We seem to run into the neatest people on this adventure!

Peter (s/v Kynda) and Ron exchanging cruising advice.


We had intended to get out for a sail on Sunday, but the job of putting away stuff and checking systems and sails went into the late afternoon.  Sunday, October 16th, was the first day we raised a sail on Pioneer (the smallest one, the staysail).  Now, we were still tied to the dock and simply checking the sail out for general condition.  But it did look mighty fine!

Judy does a "visual on the genoa


We also cleaned out the foredeck locker and Judy got a bit of a fright when a black spider with a red back came popping out of the flaked rode.  After desperately trying to kill it with bug spray, she settled on beating it to death with a pump handle!  We think we are OK in the anchor department.  Four anchors, all with chain and rode to spare.  Don and Becky were very diligent in keeping Pioneer safely anchored.  Judy was the one to do the cleaning, once again, while Ron worked on the more mechanical projects, sorting and organizing tools, etc. Actually, the weekends are tough times to get work done around here because we are always meeting new people and reacquainting ourselves with friends we made on other weekends. 

We seem to be finding more than enough projects to keep us busy - including shelving for the hanging locker.  Since all our clothes and linens are in plastic bags it creates an interesting situation when you stack them high (sort of like a mud slide starting in the middle). If we can't solve the problem ourselves, we have a woodworker lined up to do it in late October.

Judy keeps the deck spotless as we continue to prepare Pioneer for the trip to the Bahamas


At the end of October, we will be attending a Southbound Cruiser's Weekend, organized by Judy and Dick Giddings in New Bern.  We hope to meet a lot of fellow cruisers there and attend some seminars that could prove helpful in the following days.  Also that weekend, we will be picking up Rick and Tammy in Washington, DC.  They will come down to Minnesott Beach and stay with us for a day or two before heading back with our SUV to Lethbridge.  Then we are car-less so it will be getting to be time to head down the river! 

Ron has become the chief cook and Judy the chief bottle washer!  As you can see, Ron loves his galley, and guards it from all intruders.  He can even catch glimpses of the full moon through the companionway while he cooks.  Judy, on the other hand spends part of most evenings working on the computer - website writing and e-mails.

Ron in his beloved galley






Judy working away on our website



We are finally getting on top of the dampness issue.  First - you just get used to it!.  Second, we hang Damp Rid in the main cabin - it is like a manual humidity control.  It would be great to get a dehumidifier that used a little electricity and did the job - have to work on that one!  Third, we close up the boat at night - the dew gets really heavy and just soaks everything! The first night we slept with the hatch wide open over our bed and it woke us up when it dripped on us!  Guess there are just some things that you have to learn the hard way. Like bugs.......lots of bugs, all different kinds of bugs!  That's why we brought the dragons (Salty, Sally and Slugger) but they just can't keep up with the bug traffic - hence the flypaper that you can see in the corner of the picture (yuch).  But it works!

Our dragons, Salty, Sally and Slugger


Then there are the ANTS! We spray the mooring lines from the dock, and the running boards of the car with ant and roach spray and have set ant traps in the car and the boat.  That got the little devils, it did!  On one trip into town, Judy was bashing ants every time they crawled across the dashboard - which was constantly! Before we sprayed the boat lines, they had set up a little highway up the lines, along the toe-rail and into the cockpit.  We cut them off before they got inside, thank goodness.  This all must sound very creepy, but it is just one more step in living closer to nature and in harmony with it.  At first it bothered us - then we adjusted (because mother nature was not about to adjust!).

While we were at the Annapolis Boat show, we picked up some plastic dishes (great quality, with non slip rubber on the bottom and very attractive) as well as some nesting pots (stainless steel).  Judy has never had such good pots in her life! We also ordered a product called Corrosion X which is great for combating rust and corrosion on electrical parts and many other places on the boat.  Both these items arrived in the last few days - it has been like Christmas!  We also ordered a mattress type topper for our berth and fitted sheets as well.  They should arrive by the end of the month.  Judy is eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Dragon Unleashed - a high powered cordless vacuum.  It took a while to search out other products that would do the job but the Dragon won out, finally.  Judy has procured, organized and commandeered a storage locker for her wood refinishing supplies and tools.  She is really anxious to get at some of the interior woodwork, but that is not taking a high priority right now.  We hope there will be time during our voyage to get at those kinds of jobs.  If it is anything like retirement, we will be way too busy to get at the woodwork. 

My, it is amazing what small pleasures you can get out of life when you minimize your environment and maximize your view of the world!  And tonight this is our view of the world - through the companionway, out through the cockpit - a beautiful full doesn't get much better!  The marina is almost deserted tonight -everyone has gone for the week - back to their jobs - and then there's us......what can we say.


Moon over Minnesott


Judy checks out the high water over the finger docks


There were days that were cold, rainy and windy, but the work must still continue, even though sometimes it was a challenge to climb aboard. Scout proved useful in adjusting lines and cleaning the hull as we prepared for our "escape" from Minnesott!


It was so cold on this day that Scout's sides went all soft!



Scout (our dinghy) got a major cleaning by Judy while Ron worked away at doing an inventory and stowing spare parts in Pioneer.  Although we did not get a picture of Judy's latest trip up the mast (we were more concerned with not messing up and having Judy go splat on the deck!), Ron hoisted Judy up using the electric windlass and the bosun's chair.  Good use for the unused spinnaker halyard! Once on top, Judy reinstalled the wind speed indicator and it works just fine.  Thanks Don and Becky for getting it fixed for us.  We got the Honda 2000 generator operating.  It was a struggle until we put fuel stabilizer in the gas tank and let it sit overnight.  But, now it works just fine.  The last two days here in our hurricane hole have been warm, sunny, and slightly cool nights.  Just about perfect!  Looks like hurricane Wilma will affect us a little here - we will need to keep an eye on things before we head out for a sail over the next few days. Tried to get out for one today but 7 knot winds just wasn't enough to get a good way on.  Maybe tomorrow!


Judy takes advantage of a warm day in November to attach our new Canadian flag to Pioneer's flagole




Our First Sail on Pioneer:

Finally, Saturday, October 22nd we got out for our first sail.  The winds were about 15 knots which made for an enjoyable sail.  We elected not to raise the main (very unsalty!) and just tried out the furling gib.  We were trying to see how it would work "squeaking" around the staysail stay and the radar unit up by the spreaders.  It was a challenge to get it around and so we had to furl it in partially in order to tack. 


Judy and Ron take turns at the helm





Our fellow racing skippers on Salt Spring would be horrified!  The trip back into the marina was a challenge.  Judy was doing the honours and got caught by a strong NE wind in the creek (very unusual).  As a result it took a few tries to get Pioneer into her berth, but finally she eased her in, with great relief!

Southbound Cruiser's Weekend:

On the weekend of October 29th we headed to New Bern for the Southbound Cruisers Rendezvous hosted by Judy and Dick Giddings.  It was a great opportunity to meet fellow cruisers and listen to their experiences and their plans for the coming winter sailing season.  We met Scott and Louise on "Stella Maris", another CR 38 - a great couple that have cruised in the Bahamas and the Caribbean and have made up some fantastic dvds of their travels with pictures and music. Their CR38 is a beauty and is one year younger than Pioneer - she is also for sale in case anyone is interested.

Scott and Louise, s/v Stella Maris, move through the dinner line

Dick Giddings, MC and co-organizer of the first Rendevous


 We also met Peter and Linda, Canadians from Coquitlam, BC on "Kynda".  In early November, after the work is finished on their boat, they will head out into the Atlantic from Morehead City and then down to St. Martin - a trip of about 10 days.  It sounds exciting and a lot less hassle than the ICW (Intra-Coastal Waterway, or, "The Waterway"), but we are not ready for that just yet - maybe next year! Pictured above is Dick Giddings, he and Judy Giddings were the founders of this weekend - thanks, Dick! From Chris Parker we purchased OCENS software to speed up our sat (satellite) phone e-mails and as well we subscribed to his Caribbean weather service via sat phone e-mail and SSB (single side-band radio). Just before dinner on Saturday night, Judy and Chris configured the software using the sat phone and computer.  We are surprised that it all works as it was very distracting with the activity around us as we attempted to understand this new software and how to access it.

Judy and Chris Parker set up our sat phone with Ocens Mail


Judy had fun setting it all up on the boat in Oriental and was pleasantly surprised when it actually worked.  It is a very comprehensive weather report and we can access it where ever we are. Judy finds the computer and the sat phone easier to manage than the SSB - at least at this point in our travels.

Notable Pictures:

Check out this unique picture of the local flora in the low country (Pamlico County) of North Carolina!


This is what we call an environmentally friendly "green" engine!



Pictured next is Ron getting his hair cut beside an old boat on the hard in Minnesott Beach.  Although Judy took the picture of Ron, she still managed to get her hair cut as well that day! The other night we went out to dinner with our friends Rex and Carol.  After dinner a woman, Darlene from Raleigh, stopped Judy and said she was a hairdresser and wondered who styled her hair because she thought the cut was really well done.  Well, you should have seen Ron grin from ear to ear!  The only problem, from Judy's perspective is that Ron keeps cutting it shorter and shorter.  Pretty soon people will be calling Judy "Spike"

Ron shelters near a derelict  boat in the boatyard to get his hair cut



Good Friends - old and new:

On Sunday October 30th we headed up to Washington, DC to meet Tammy and Rick LeBaron.  Rick was running in the Marine Corps Marathon.  Their were 30,000 competitors and 100,000 spectators.  Our camera battery gave out on the trip so we weren't able to take any photos, but we were eye witnesses to Rick coming up the home stretch (the last few hundred yards of the 26.2 miles runs up a steep incline to the Iwo Jima Monument), and Ron ran a few paces with him just before the finish line. 

Driving up from North Carolina through Virginia we arrived in Arlington and luckily found residential street parking two blocks from the Metro that took us to the station nearest the final mile of the marathon. The view of the monuments, cemetery and parkways was awesome. The enthusiasm of the crowd caught us up and we  became focused on the runners and the patriotism.

After the race we headed back to North Carolina, but elected to stay in Roanoke Rapids, NC for the night instead of arriving on Pioneer in the wee hours of the cold, dewy night. Back in our home territory on Monday, we stopped in New Bern to introduce Rick and Tammy to Scott and Louise on Stella Maris, and then drove the last thirty miles  to Pioneer. 

Rick stretches out on the straight settee


Rick and Tammy "trick or treating"!


That night all four of us were invited to a Halloween dinner at the home of new friends Rex and Carol.  There we met another couple, George and Diane from Michigan, who spend their winters in Oriental.  Upholding the Halloween theme, we all dressed up in various costumes.  Tammy went as a ghoulish creature (great mask!), Rick went as a pirate (sword, eye-patch, hat and the worst looking fake teeth!), Ron went as  a ghoulish sea captain (skull mask, his dad's captain's hat, pirate theme scarf and stuffed monkey on his shoulder), lastly was Judy who portrayed the death of the confederacy (faceless shroud, with a costume combining the Confederate and NC flags.  Carol (dressed as a Freudian Slip) cooked a wonderful meal and we all had a very memorable Halloween. Unfortunately not all our pictures turned out so Ron and Rex didn't get "developed".

Carol and Judy at the Halloween party


The next day, Rick and Tammy left with Judy's SUV to head back to Lethbridge. 


Rick and Tammy prepare to head back to Alberta in our Mazda


That was a sad event - to say goodbye to old friends.  As we watched them drive away in our car, we realized that we were really doing this and that November 1st marked the first day of our complete commitment to a sailing lifestyle.  There were lots of tears that day - for all that we are leaving behind and for the uncertainty of what lies ahead.


Scout is Launched:

On November 2nd, we were scheduled to take Pioneer to Sailcraft Services in Oriental to have some work done on her before we head south (new bottom paint, new zincs, hull cleaning, vented loop and new hosing in shower sump, plus some other smaller items).  We changed our mind when we woke up to 20 knot winds - we couldn't even get out of our slip because of the wind direction!  So we postponed a day and elected to try out Scout's motor and see how we were going to attach the engine without losing it in the creek. 

Ron takes Scout for a spin


Judy tries her hand at Scout



By the afternoon the wind had died down almost completely, giving us perfect dinghy trial conditions. All worked out well and we took a few spins each around the marina and later out to the mouth of the creek.  All worked well, so we reversed the process with the motor and remounted it on the pushpit, then hoisted Scout onto the davits ready for our trip to Oriental the next day.

Wayfarers Cove was a fun place to hang out for a month.  We met some wonderful people, like Rex and Carol (Hat Lady), Kathy and John (Kathy Lou) and Carl and Joan on their Chinese Junk (Kala-D).  Then there was Bud and Kathleen on the catamaran Dulcinea II, Bill and Meryle on We Blew Inn and Chuck and Jennifer on Odessey - and several more.

The picture shows the aft of Kala-D with Kathy Lou snugged in beside her.







Thursday was a calm day, in fact almost too calm to sail, so we motored and motor-sailed most of the way to Oriental.  We got into Sailcraft a bit early but only had to wait about a half hour to get into the hoist and placed on the hard. They pulled the prop so that we could take it up to Bull's in Morehead City on Monday. The next day we cleaned the hull (yes, Becky, the brown ICW mustache is now completely gone!), scraped the bottom and the boys painted it.  We will be on the hard until probably Wednesday, when the rest of the jobs should be complete.

Our friends, Rex and Carol, have loaned us their Miata to use while we are in Oriental. We are so grateful to them for their generosity and their friendship.  They are special people and we want to keep in contact with them and perhaps meet them again on our adventuresome journey.

When the boatyard is cleared of workers on the weekend, it is our time to work.  On Saturday, Nov 5th, Pioneer underwent a change in home port identification and Scout got some bottom paint.  It was also a day to touch up the new bottom paint job on Pioneer and start cleaning and polishing her hull.  We will need to finish up that work on Sunday so that we can head off to Beaufort in Carol's Miata to get Pioneer's prop re-pitched.




Ron fixes the davit pulley's at Sailcraft Services in Oriental




                                           Scout gets a bottom job!




Judy removes the old Port of Registry - Belle Fourche, South Dakota


 Ron unveils the new port!







Judy gives Pioneer some bottom paint touch-ups


Ron checks out the top of Pioneer's mast




It was such fun in Oriental and Minnesott Beach and we really enjoyed the people we met, but it was getting to be time to move on.  Saturday, November 5th was to be the big day - giving us time to say goodbye to our friends Perry and Susan and, of course, Rex and Carol.  However, Mr. Murphy is always lurking around and he struck just when we were getting our anchor routine up to snuff. Our deck/anchor wash-down pump decided to seize up on us.  Ron got it apart and discovered corroded bearings and other inside rusty areas which locked the motor up tight.  We were lucky to get an exact replacement on Saturday afternoon at the Provision Company in Oriental.  Ron installed it on Sunday and now we were set to go.



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