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Summer and Fall 2010

Our last log had Livin the Dream safely docked at Demopolis Yacht Basin in Demopolis, AL for the summer. We arrived in mid-June and didn’t leave until mid-November. It was a hot and sweaty summer in Demopolis, but it was a good place to work on the boat and convenient to Ann’s parents.

varnished woodwork Ann spent July with her parents while her Dad recovered from back surgery. John suffered through the heat on the boat and worked on many boat projects. In August, we had our annual family vacation with the children and grandchildren at Bear Lake, Utah. It was a wonderful time for all of us and it is difficult to believe that we now have teenage grandchildren. We also made our annual visit to the Taylor family cottage at Higgins Lake, MI where we visited with John’s Dad and Mary and cut down an additional 40 ninety foot tall pine trees. In September and October we continued to work on several boat projects and travel to visit with family.

Newly varnished floor and woodwork

This was the first time Livin the Dream has been back in the U.S. since 2006 and the longest time we have been away from the cruising life since 2006. We had several projects that we wanted to complete in the U.S. where parts and materials are readily available (but not cheap). There were many smaller projects completed but these are the major items crossed off our To Do List:

 Purchased new mainsail

 Purchased new Tohatsu outboard for dingy (our Mercury was un-repairable)

 Galvanized anchor

 Repaired radar (we are still working on that with our third shipment to Raymarine)

 Serviced life raft

 Replaced VHF radio with AIS integrated unit

 Replaced water tank gauge

 Installed additional freezer insulation

 Replaced damaged teak wood in V-berth and salon

 Replaced damaged teak & holly flooring in galley

 Re-varnished interior woodwork in forward head, V-berth, salon and galley

 Repaired/replaced mounting boards in engine room

 Replaced stove broiler

 Purchased watermaker membrane

 

As anyone with boating experience knows, one simple project can often turn into a major undertaking and John was very busy.

Locks Fall 2010 In early November we spent a week in Henderson, NV babysitting for five of our grandchildren while Courtney and J.D. took a vacation. We returned to the boat, completed our last minute provisioning and headed South on November 19. We were beginning to get some overnight temperatures in the 30’s, so it was time to start traveling. Many boats participating in the Great American Loop travel down the Tombigbee River in late Fall and we traveled with several other boats for three days before reaching Mobile.



In the locks heading South (photo by Barry on Surprise)


Thanksgiving 2010 We stopped at Turner Marine on the Dog River in Mobile and spent several days there while waiting out a cold front. We celebrated Thanksgiving early when Turner Marine treated all their customers to baked and fried turkeys on the day before Thanksgiving. Everyone brought side dishes and we had a delicious Thanksgiving style meal. On Thanksgiving day, we ate fresh shrimp purchased for less than $2 per pound right off a local shrimp boat!



Our pre-Thanksgiving celebration

Tombigbee River When the weather calmed down we traveled down Mobile Bay and entered the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway to travel to Pensacola. We felt like we were cruising again when we spotted dolphin on the Waterway and enjoyed them in our first overnight anchorage. We waited out another cold front in Orange Beach, AL then exited the Pensacola ship channel on December 2. After a calm but chilly 52-hour trip, we entered Boca Grande pass near Ft. Myers, Florida.

Fall on the Tombigbee River (photo by Barry on Surprise)

Our boat hasn’t been in cold temperatures since we first purchased her in 2005. As the temperatures have continued to drop, we pulled out clothes and blankets that haven’t been used in more than five years. Our on-board marine air conditioner also serves as a heater and we use it with our generator in the mornings and in the evenings before bed to get warm. Condensation is another cold weather problem on the boat. All our hatches, ports, and often our inside walls drip with water. We have lots of incentive to get to warmer weather.

As we end this log, we are sitting on a mooring ball in Ft. Myers Beach, FL with record-breaking overnight low temperatures in the low 30’s We hope to get to warmer temperatures in the Florida Keys by mid-December. After the Keys we plan to travel to the Bahamas.