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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

LIVING IN THE MOMENT

You know all the years of life experiences do not prepare you for the realization of what the rest of your life should encompass. That is right, rest of your life. LIVING IN THE MOMENT just dawned on me this evening. Walking my k-9 friends around the Red Bay, AL. Tiffon Motorhome campground, viewing all the execellent motorhomes, I had to come to the realization that all that matters is the MOMENT. Now, my moment began at age 63. Finally realizing that my clock was ticking quicker than others, I decided to enjoy the MOMENT. Now each of us can have a MOMENT. I prefer to experience my own moments with someone I love. I love encouraging my Girls, Bailey and Bella to play! Roughing it in the motorhome and boat is their style. You know, riding high in the Phaeton, Cruising in the Trawler, 0 Regrets!! Now that is living in the MOMENT! They really know the drill. Living the life in the MOMENT seems to have become my remaining life ambition. Walking back to the motorhome this lovely evening at Red Bay, I had the thought that this was the way to live. Walking the dogs, watching the moon rise and planning to travel tomorrow in the Phaeton. The only spoiler is that I have to head back to Kentucky and not south for warmer climates. Hummm. our boat and Phaeton can make that trip. Like I said living in the MOMENT. Moments seem to arrive each day. I am in the Christmas moment at the moment, bad english. We are anticipating some SNOW later tonight and tomorrow. Yuck. We escaped any snow last year but paid the price with the greater volume of bugs this past summer. You just cannot win sometime. As is my habit lately, I plan to skitter back to the Lake Barkley condo by Thursday since I have some PROJECTS both for the Bend of the Rivers Condo and boat. I am trying my hand at refinishing some teak this boat season and the test case is the flag stantion for the transom. I am using Cetol product whick is much easier than many coates of varnish and clear coat. Our boating last season included a few lock passages which created some blemishes on the teak rails. My greatest project for the teak is to refinish the swim platform. This will be a good task. The greatest part of the task would be removal from the boat and reinstallation. That is the easiest way to refinish but requires the removal. I do have a friend who can help. So, we will see. During a boat cruise this summer I managed to break off a piece of teak at the corner. I am searching for a talented wood repair person for replace the missing piece. See attached photo.
The past owner left some paint on the teak so stripping is in order. The cost of a new swim platform is about $1,000 plus I have to finish. If I chose to refinish while attached to boat I will need to lay down on the dingy, trying not to splash in the drink. I will have the broken portion repaired, then refinish the platform.
Well, a new moment has arrived today, December 26, 2012. We finally had some snow this winter. Not that I like the white stuff, but killing all those bugs in important in the winter. We paid last summer for a mild winter. But I was going swimming today but the new sign stopped. me.
Well, this has been a post of many pieces. As you can read, I do have plans pressing into the future. However, living in the moment remains a goal. As I approach the new year, 2013, I hope we make gains to finally sheding the bonds of the work day world and take on the challenge of a 3 year cruise on "0 Regrets". Happy Sailing.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

WINTER BRINGS NEW FREINDS & PROJECTS

As per my last post, we are at the end of the sailing season, ugh. However, the transient boat traffic does continue at Green Turtle Bay Marina. Since owning 0 REGRETS, I have enjoyed touring the transient docks when at the marina in hopes of meeting new boatmen making their way South and beyond. The type and style of boat is as varied as the crew aboard. My latest encounter was with a young couple, Nathan and Jo who began their trip a bit late from Lake Michigan in a 26 ft. sailboat. Please vist and follow their blog http://www.chasing70.com/2012/11/stepping-mast-on-boat.html#!/2012/11/stepping-mast-on-boat.html as they make an eventful journey along the Great Loop.
Jo and Nat sail tomorrow toward the Tennessee-Tom Bigbee waterway with the goal of reaching Mobile Bay near the middle of December. They have been preparing their Elise for this portion of the cruise and provisioning their boat. They are very tired of eating Roman noodles. Just think, only heat is a small propane heater, 3 burner stove, no chart writer, small head, no shower and limited fuel capacity. Just another walk in the park for these two adventurers.
View the map of their cruise and you may have a better understanding of the cruise thus far for this small sailboat and young crew. http://goo.gl/maps/ntHIi As we said our goodbye to Nat and Jo and HMS Elise we are reminded of the many new friends we have made in our short cruising experience. For now we have to live vicariously thru others competing the Great Loop Cruise. This continues to be a dream of ours and we make progress each year in our boat preparations and our personal preparations to escape the terra firma and enjoy a water-way of life.
We continued our Saturday with a trip to the Purple Toad Winery near Paducah, KY. While the building itself is not so quaint the wines are good and they were somewhat helpful with the tastings. We of course aided the local commerce with several bottles of wine for stocking our new wine chiller. Yes that is correct we now have a wine chiller installed in the kitchen of our BLC (best little condo). While I prefer wine with a bit of chill, Denise likes the red wines at room temp. However, we are exploring some new white wines which are better with a slight chill.
Of course the chiller is not stocked but our trip to the winery today will help that vacancy. We have collected wines from many locations across the US during our motor home travels and this will continue via boat. Hopefully some new wines from foreign countries as we eventually venture to the Caribbean waters. I think they have more rum in those waters but manybe we can introduce wines to some long, lost island. I plan several winter projects on 0 Regrets in preparation for the next sailing season. These projects include new captain chairs, teak repair, refinish swim platform and other small projects. These will help pass the winter months knowing we are preparing for next season. I really feel Denise will be good with a heat gun and in stripping varnish from the swim platform. Happy Sailing, Adm. Denise, Captn. Barry, sailors Bella and Bailey.

Monday, November 19, 2012

END OF SAILING SEASON 2012

As I sit in our lovely, waterfront condo, dogs at my feet and sleeping on the couch, I muse about our ending sailing season of 2012. As many readers remember, we have traveled many thousands of miles in our loved Phaeton motorhome. However, in the past 1 1/2 yrs. we have changed to water travel in our also loved "0 Regrets" trawler.
Our newly painted boat is now back in her slip at Green Turtle Bay Marina on Lake Barkley.
We enjoy this pier in that we only have slips on one side and have a great view of the harbour. Green Turtle Bay is a central part of Grand Rivers, KY. a small, quaint community between Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley. A great location for boating with access to large lakes and 4 rivers. This is our home port and we call this home for 0 Regrets. We have help from many sailors at the marina along with a good drink. We begin and end each cruise from this marina, always happy to return.
We have spent many evenings at anchor aboard 0 Regrets in various bays along the shore of Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley. We have been serenade by the coyotes in the Land Between the Lakes, a lonely song while the moon rises. Not a soul around and the clear skies to view the milkey way, satelites and dream of cruises in the future. These dreams are not only those of children but of older folks, (like me) who want to be children once again. No cares except making port the next day.
Who cares about world affairs when you enjoy the simple pleasures of sailing waters new and old with the one you love. We long to cruise to the Gulf of Mexico and later the Bahamas on our way around the Great Loop. This is top of the bucket list for me.
This view of us at the stern of 0 REGRETS is a good image of the fun we have enjoyed and hope to expand during the coming cruising years. I dread the winterization of 0 REGRETS for we will not have any cruising till March 2013. However, I need to leave you with the latest view of our cruising in November, last weekend. I ask you to think of the people waiting in line for days to "enjoy" black Friday and ask your self where the crew of 0 REGRETS will be enjoying themselves. Come along and sail with us.
Happy sailing, Adm. Denise, Capt. Barry and deckhands Bailey and Bella

Friday, November 16, 2012

CONDO REMODEL

Now as I have mentioned in this blog, we painted the "0 Regrets" and were in the process of remodeling the condo. WELL ----- The process is complete with much work and check writing. I found the best way to remodel the condo is to write checks. I should say Denise wrote checks, I just played the part of the General contractor. Our little condo is very warm and homey now. The new paint, trim and floors just set the unit off. While we purchased the unit "remodeled" the nesting just had to continue. We removed the carpet as this is not good for even the best dogs and husband. We installed hardwood laminate which gives us the warm look but is so easy to maintain. Even the dogs can sweep and "swifter" the floors. Although they seem to just lay around.
We hired a well recommended painter, Mike, who speaks with a soft voice and handles a mean brush. Here I am offering to paint baseboard prior to installation trying to help. Mike just shrugged and said install it and I will paint. NO PROBLEM. I would make one hell of a mess of the floor. Painting baseboard above a new floor would just not fly with my painting skills. So, that is why one should hire the professional. Mike did a great job and probably uttered 10 words during the project. The flooring guys were a real "pair". I had worries about them moving furniture etc. while trying to install wood flooring. Not a worry. They expertly piled up furniture, layed the floor, moved furniture back and layed more flooring. Just another day in the park. Rodney was the leader of the pair. I watched as he cut and measured and measured again. I had to run him off one night to reduce the saw noise for the neighbors. Rodney wanted to work till complete. To sum up, Rodney and helper did a good job, working hard and putting up with me and the dogs. Again, Bailey and Bella did little to help. Speaking of dogs. After completion of the remodeling we are enjoying our fireplace. Each unit has a wood burning fireplace. A luxury we enjoy and Denise is very experienced at chopping and splitting wood. What a girl !!!!
Finished Condo remodeling via Lady Denise.

Friday, November 2, 2012

0 Regrets Facelift

There comes a time in a boat's life that the age starts to show. You know, like the forehead wrinkles, crinkle eyes, 2nd chin etc. Not that any of my friends or I have these maturity scars. At least a bit of sanding, paint and care can erase much of the Regrets badges of maturity. So, to help our 0 Regrets a paint therapy was scheuled.
Watching my new, best friend dangling from the tentacles of the travel lift is a bit of a nail biter. 0 Regrets is a small boat compared to the 61 ft. boat lifted the next day, but that is not my boat. The yard crew, Rotterings, were very professional and helpful thru the process. We must remember, two old guys are going to paint this most valuable boat and we will need all the help we can find. First things first, SANDING. The boat was blocked close to the ground which made for belly flop painting. Our plan is to paint the hull and bottom with the most expensive paint known to the universe. Damn the $$$$.
The photo does not show the 3 days of sanding required to reach this stage of the facelift. Like when the doctor says this may make you a bit sore. I could not lift my arms over my shoulder after this event. Fortunately, I had expert help. Albin Bill lives on a 36 Albin, just like ours and has year of experience. He agreed to be my mentor and captive slave during the process. I discovered after 1 day that I was the captive and he called the shots. Well, Mr. Smirf, (blue color) worked like a young man preping the 0 Regrets for the surgery.
As I mentioned, Bill is the expert and spent several hours sanding in a 3 ft. area where the most damage had occurred. The painting was to soon begin. But, every moment I thought we would paint Bill said "no we have to -------". Like when the Dentist drills, drills and drills, takes a break and you thing Oh My God, he is done. Only to return with a new drill and fresh from his break. We finally began the painting after the 72 hr. sanding.
We sectioned off a portion of the hull to make the job a bit more organized. The picture indicates 1/2 of the hull with two coats of new paint. This section proved to be the easiest portion. The upper portion reqired many steps on the rickety ladders to apply the new paint. By the way, the paint only costs $250 per quart, yes that is correct, $1,000 per gallon. Fortunately we only needed 2 quarts.
This photo gives an indication of how low the boat was blocked. The skag under the prop protects from those time when I stick 0 Regrets in the mud. The paintng of the bottom is not glamorious but a real necessity. This required the old guys to lay on backs and bellies to paint the keel and botton. Getting down is not hard it is the getting up "I have fallen and cannot get up". Without further Nobel award winning prose, or continue whinning, the finished product can be revealed.
Needless to say we are very proud of the new look. The stripes are now teal in color and she really shines. Fortunately, we should not have to paint the hull again in my lifetime and the bottom need painting about every 5 years. Next time the bottom may be painted with a check book. Oh the joys of boat ownership. Next major task will be the improvements to the cabin and flybridge. Next year after a rest and more $$$$. Happy Sailing, Adm. Denise, Captn. Barry, Deckhands Bella and Bailey

Monday, October 29, 2012

River Cruise Collage

As we were forced to complete our Tennessee River Cruise I felt a short collage was appropriate of all our scenes from this adventure. We are transitioning to the water way of life aboard "0 Regrets". I was encourage by Denise's acceptance of the cruise and handling of the boat in locks. When we cruise the Great Loop, 137 locks and a crossing of the Gulf of Mexico, good hands are needed. This brings to mind the first photo displaying Adm. Denise's cruising posture.
Now alert, man the battle stations, Denise and Bailey. Hopefully this is not the "man overboard" drill.
The Bailey Bench with the life vest pillow is a typical resting place for this very alert Spaniel. She is learning the water life, relaxing during the cruise knowing deck work awaits. Yep, the pressure of pottying on the astroturf in the bow can be too much for a girl.
Yes, evening on the flybridge. Girls must have their evening cocktails after a long day of grueling cruising. Of course, Captn. Barry is preparing the evenining meal, plotting the next day cruise all the while putting the deck in order. Someone must do the deck work.
We added a new "ensign" to the transom during the cruise. I enjoy watching the flag flutter as we cruise. The dingy tagged along but was not needed during the cruise. We plan to add a Kentucky State Flag tot he mast for next year.
The above new friend is traveling to Florida and the Great Loop in a 18 ft. Starcraft open boat. The boat has a small cutty cabin in the bow, no head (toilet) and no galley. I asked the captain were he began the cruise and it was St. Paul, Minnesota. WOW!. He anchors out each evening with an occasionaly marina stop for food, fuel and maybe a shower. Now that is an adventure.
One of the most unusal boats we encountered. At Pebble Ilse Marina, the marina owner had restored this lobster boat. The wood work is amazing. Many hours and years went into the restoration. He has very little time to cruise but does so in comfort and knowing he completed the work.
The Nordhaven Trawler is a true classic. The Nordhaven is the top of the line trawler costing millions. This boat is a 56 ft. trawler, do not know the year, but the captain said it was an old boat. We encountered the boat while traveling North. The captain hailed us on the VHF radio asking if we had engine trouble, "we were heading the wrong way". ALAS, I had to admit Denise has a "real" job and I must return the Admiral to here place of employment.
Well when the weather turns cold and wet, the inside helm becomes important. Adm. Denise is at the controls with Navionics for navigation. The inside helm is not as much fun as the bridge but much warmer and dryer. One must have some creature comforts when piloting such a vessel as "0 Regrets". I am fortunate to have such an Adm. as Denise who is willing to assume deckhand duties and help me drink the daily "grog".
While cruising the river we encountered several granite rocks with a lone tree growing out of solid rock. This is common in the 10,000 islands area of the Georgian Bay, Ontario, but not typical of the Tennessee River. In Ontario they haul out wood and build cabins on these islands. No heat or water, but run the snowmobiles out in winter when lake freezes and camp in the cabins. Wonder if the Corp. of Engineers would permit this on the Tennessee River?
Upon our arrival at Paris Landing we managed to enjoy a good "real" breakfast at the lodge with a ride up with the Ranger. They are not very busy being Ranger Rick this time of year. Upon our walk back to the boat we encountered this fall display and just had to tak advantage for a pic. Denise is the creature without the dress! She does look like autumn. Well the cruise is over and now we must paint the boat and remodel the condo. New adventures await "0 Regrets" and we invite you along. Happy sailing, Adm. Denise, Captn. Barry and deckhands Bailey and Bella.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

SAILING TO HOME PORT

Unfortunately, we were required to turn downstrean at Florcence, AL. due to WORK requirements. That ugly four letter word. However, the work puts us on the water to enjoy our most recent travel and method of exploration.
We eased out of Florence Marina Harbor to ride the current downstream floating back to Green Turtle Bay, home port of 0 Regrets. Riding the current increased our cruising speed to a high 8.5 mph with low rpms on the engine. This is much better than 1800 rpms with only 4-5 mph traveling upstream. We must leave Eva and Bruce in Florence Marina. They made our trip/stop enjoyable. Eva is quite vivacious, southern lady with a quick wit and sharp tomgue. She has run the marina for a number of years and has a good rep along the river. At least that is what cruisers tell her. Most know she cannot keep enough wine in the office.
During our stay we visited the Frank LLoyd Wright Home in the city of Florence. Although the home was not open to tours on Monday, the caretaker told us we could look into the windows. It is quite impressive and I do recomment you visit. It is located in an older neighborhood in town and within walking distance to town center.
Alas, we must move on downriver to Grand Harbor for our trip to Green Turtle Bay. We plan to return to Florence next year on the way to Chattanooga, TN. Happy Sailing, Adm. Denise, Capt. Barry, Crew Bailey and Bella.

Rendezvous with the Famous KISMET

You can travel the waters of the U.S. and Canada and you may well run across the wake of the KISMET. Well, we traveled the Tennessee River and following the KISMET blog we were able to snag a quick raft up with this famous boat and couple. Jim and Lisa Favors have traveled thousands of miles in completing the Great Loop aboard their trawler. Now, they are traveling the country's rivers and lakes in a 27 ft. Ranger Tug. We knew they were making their way up the Tennessee River and our paths would cross. The KISMET only draws about 2 ft. of water so they anchor along their travels, a bit more than we do in 0 Regrets. We planned to raft up in Lick Creek between Cuba Landing Marina and Pebble Isle Marina. The weather was rainy and cloudy so we planned to stop over night at Cuba Landing. We arrived at Lick Creek anchorage in the late afternoon. We found the Kismet at anchor, so we followed the Garmin chart in a little creek right to Kismet. Due to the small size of the Kismet, we worked at bit more to raft up so as not too do any damage to Kismet. The crew was more than gracious, inviting us aboard. We remained on our boat due to our dogs wanting to follow us aboard Kismet, not a good thing typically. You know, new smells and all. We got to visit a short time as the weather was deterioting and we had to arrive at Cuba Landing prior to dark. We read several magazines about boating as well as follow blogs and we are continually entertained by the Kismet. We recommend you check out their blogs at http://trailertrawlerlife.com/. Our water journed continues toward our homeport of Green Turtle Bay Marina. We do hate to end this cruise but have gained much knowledge, experience and met so many new friends along the way. Happy Sailing, Adm. Denise, Capt Barry, Sailors Bella and Bailey

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Cuba Landing Harbor

After departing Clifton Marina we continued to cruise down stream with a 1-2 mph current giving 0 Regrets a boost to 8.5 mph. WOW, we are moving! The day was somewhat dark and wet. We planned to cruise down to Pebble Isle Marina, our first over night stop on this cruise but due to a late sail time, 10/30 am. We opted to dock at Cuba Landing. We were somewhat delayed in sailing due to our last visit from our new friend Sonya. While we loved Sonya, her Boss, Gene is a real gentle soul.
As I mentioned in a previous post, Gene purchased the Clifton Marina by default, he does seem to relish the vists from boating characters. We are proud to count ourselves among the many legions of friends they embrace each year. Gene is a retired pharmacist who though he would buy the marina and work 2-3 days per week and fish the others. OOPS! That plan vanished quickly. He found that a marina requires many hours of attention to get slips rented, take care of all the patrons and of course find a manager like Sonya. While Gene is full of stories of the Clifton community the stories bet more berter as the whiskey is mixed with his coke. Now I promised Gene upon our return to Clifton going down river I would provide some Woodford Reserve bourbon which adds a classic taster. I planted 1/2 bottle on the restaurant table and a couple hours later Gene polished it off. Now it is a good thing Gene is the gentle soul because I usually object to mixing Woodford with coke. You might as well use the cheap stuff. But I could not chastise Gene and I did see him pull from the bottle a couple of sips. Gene, we will see you and Sonja next year.
Alas, we approached Cuba Landing in wind and rain. We called by VHF radio numerous times just outside the harbor with no response. Now I called the marina via phone just about an hour earlier and was told to come on in. As we approached the dock we did not see dockage except the fuel dock. But our luck held and we were greeted by a friendly boater guiding us into a slip next to her YACHT. Yes YACHT. We managed to tie up to the dock narrowly missing the YACHT. I am convenced YACHT LADY was protecting the YACHT. During this crash landing we were helped and met Heinrik. It seems this Germain sailor was resting prior to continuing his travels up river to Chattanooga to meet his girlfriend and fly to Switzerland. Heinrik sailed from Germany crossing the Atlantic to the Bahamms. Now that is a sail. I did manage to get his email and web site so I can follow his progress. Cuba Landing is a reasonable stop but not the best Tennessee offers. It seems a bit abandoned with the restaurant closed and working hours reducted to 8 am-4 pm daily. We did meet the "harbor master" after our landing who cruised by in his truck. "I live in the trailer up the hill" he informed us from the truck. Well, too late Mr. Harbor Master. They did want to get paid the next morning. I must say the "master" and clerk at the small store were nice enough but I would suggest passing this stop unless you are in need during bad weather or darkness. You can anchor behind the slip pier without charge and that may be the best amenity of the landing.
Cruising the Tennessee River provided many "sites". One of the most stunning homes was purched on the clift with access to a good fishing hole on the river. While we marveled at many homes, big and small, they all shared a great view of this stunning river. Frankly, I would have to search Google Maps to find how they reached these homes via land. I can certainly recommend a cruise along this river. We hoped to reach near Chattanooga but now know we would need 3 weeks to enjoy the cruise that far up river. We are already making plans to cruise the Tennessee next year. We hope you will come along with us then and share the journey. Happy Sailing, Adm. Denise, Capt. Barry, Sailors Bailey and Bella.

Friday, October 12, 2012

DOWN RIVER JOURNEY

The above picture is of Gene, Sonja and the Captain at Clifton, TN marina. We stopped at several marinas during our Tennessee River Cruise but these folks are the best. It is like they have known you all their lives. Sonja stayed open late to cook us her famous Hamburger Steak dinner and Gene shared drinks and many stories with us. It seens that Gene purchased the marina by default when two potential partners backed out and here he is. Sonja and her husband "coach" have been there a few years and let's face it, Sonja runs the place. She even provided us with fresh pears and some cotton plants.
Now Sonja is famous for her signs around the marina. She does not cotton to messy persons or any wasted sympathy. When bands play on weekends, the tip bucket is displayed for all to fill.
Another of Sonja's famous signs leaves nothing to the imagination.

View ..Tennessee River Cruise. in a larger map The above map gives some indication of our marina locations along the cruise. WE have traveled along the river with many wonderful views, sunsets and more than interesting people met along the way. On this return trip we will visit Grand Harbor Marina again and maybe other marinas whick are new to us. Happy Sailing, Adm. Denise, Captn. Barry, Deck hands, Bailey and Bella.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Florence, Alabama Marina

New arrival at the Florcence Marina. We traveled about 6 hrs. her at 7 mph but the view was good with a clear day.
The small community is a strong college town with several historic dwellings available for tour, Frank Lloyd Wright home, Helen Keller Home and a civil war tavern and other historical locations. The Marina is good, although the restaurant was closed. Eva, the harbor master is more than gracious and fun.
We met several more "interesting" characters along this cruise. One of the new acquaintenances is Bruce, more commonly known as "McGee". Bruce is a retired TWA pilot and explained he owns a home in Argentina, raced professional downhill skiing and flew jets in air force. A world traveler and an entertaining person. We hope to see Bruce later in travels as he seems to be every where. We said good bye to Bruce at Florence as he was traveling to Chattanooga then return to home port of Grand Harbor Marina.
The C-Dory boat adjacent to us is such a cute boat. The couple aboard were from Chicago, IL. towing the boat to a location and later returning to pick up the trailer and continue. They are planning a cruise to Chattanooga, TN. before heading home to Chicago, IL. We have seen several C-Dory's in our travels and they seem to be a favorite for the trailerable, cruising boat. Just a bit tight without a shower etc. Alas, Florence, AL. was our turn around point due to time constraints. We cruised downriver from there with some current pushing us up to 8 mph with little work on the 0 Regrets engine and fuel burn. We plan to return to Florence next year on the cruise of the Great Loop, Rendezvous at Joe Wheeler Lake. We just cannot wait to return up the river. Happy Sailing, Adm. Denise, Capt. Barry, Deck hands, Bella and Bailey