…dreaming a better dream

Journey to Maine – our loop around RI brings us back to Newport

July 2013
Time to get back to deal with our inverter, do a little provisioning, and then move on back to our primary focus: getting to Maine. But first, we install our cockpit table.

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Journey to Maine – Wickford, RI

July 2013

The trip from East Greenwich is short, but under a light rain for the whole ride. We look forward to taking a transient municipal mooring ball – they allow one free night stay, then you have to move. We grab one and wait for the rain to stop, then hurry into town. The inner harbor is a magnificent space – as in vast – and also it’s really elegant, with boats tethered to piles like children holding hands in line. Poetic and efficient all in one.

The town proves to be equally elegant, though it doesn’t have a supermarket downtown. Unbelievable! Anyway… we come into town for the local concert only to find that they’ve moved it to the high school 5 miles away. So we go for a walk instead and enjoy the town. Big mosquitoes drive us home early. But we come back in the morning for more, and pick up a small painting for Bailando.

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Journey to Maine – East Greenwich, RI

July 2013

We stay a few days here, anchored in the East Greenwich Outer Harbor on the western shores of Narragansett Bay. You know… the usual; we go for a walk to the other side of the tracks, we do a few projects, we eat well, we make progress on our crafts, we enjoy killer sunsets, and we get a new bass.

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Journey to Maine – Providence, RI

July 2013

Despite the fact that Providence isn’t exactly a cruising destination, we nevertheless yearn to go there. So we set today aside to make the excursion; we’ll stay only for lunch, and that’s the point. We’re going up the Providence River for Chili Burgers and Rolling Rocks at the Hot Club, one of our favorite nostalgia-meals on earth. The Fox Point Hurricane Barrier is iconic and a real treat to see from within.

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Journey to Maine – Bristol, RI

July 2013

With or without an inverter we’re going on a loop of Rhode Island, the Ocean State. We’ll see it from the waterside this time; Ricardo studied at RISD and knows his way around. The first town we stop to see is Bristol, on the eastern side of the state.

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Journey to Maine – Newport Days

June-July 2013

We dive right in and enjoy this world-class scene. We meet up with old friends Teresa and Rob and eat like kings and queens. A true maritime mecca.

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Journey to Maine – West Palm Beach to Newport

June 2013

What can we say? This is the great leg of the journey; it’s 1,050 nautical miles (1,210 statute miles) and takes us six days to cross. It’s also the longest passage we’ve done so far. We hit the groove pretty quickly and entertain ourselves with food, music, projects and much more that we needn’t share here. We’ll simply add that the Gulfstream was surreal; it was like riding on the back of a traveling monster. It kept us warm and going fast for the first three days, then we hit reality when we got off the stream and into colder seas.

We decide to aim for Martha’s Vineyard, but we suffer a few setbacks underway, the most concerning is that the house bank battery charger stops charging. That puts us in a bind because the only way to keep our batteries charged now is to run the engine’s alternator. We do that a couple times but we’ve been having trouble starting the engine, another pesky little problem. But, by far the most disappointing surprise is that the new fridge starts to defrost. We have tons of food in there; we don’t want to lose it. In any event, given the circumstances, the best place for a landfall is obvious: Newport, RI, the sailing capital of New England.

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Journey to Maine – Miami to West Palm Beach

June 2013

We leave Coconut Grove and pass right by downtown Miami heading north out to Government Cut. We’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time – no, we’re not that excited about going to West Palm Beach; we’re excited that we’re finally going to get our watermaker repaired; Linda paved the trail to Dick Murray and now we’re getting the surgery. We do other tasks while he works on that piece, including unexpected ones. And, we cook up a storm in preparation for our next passage up to New England.

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Journey to Maine – Key West to Miami

June 2013

We leave Key West in the afternoon after just a night’s stop. We’ll follow the Gulfstream around the bend, up to Miami for a one night passage. We do a little shopping there, and visit with old friends. On the way, Linda continues making progress on her knitting project for her parents’ commemoratory gift, a golden lap blanket she designed with a classic candle flame pattern.

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Journey to Maine – Placencia to Key West

June 2013

We launch for Key West early in the day. We have an arsenal of meals to keep us going. We make it in four days.

In a freaky coincidence, we run into our friends Mike and Shannon almost immediately. They’re on Silverheels; we spent time at Mango in 2011.

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The Journey to Maine begins, via Placencia

June 2013

We leave Mango.

We’re going to Linda’s parents’ 50-year anniversary celebration in Bar Harbor, Maine, where they’ve rented a house for the occasion. We have six weeks to get there. It’s 2,400 nautical miles, about 2,750 statute miles. We’re looking forward to doing a few longer passages at sea. Actually happy to see the sea.

We wander down the Rio, staying a night at Cayo Quemado, checking-out in Livingston the next morning and arriving in Placencia after sunset.

As usual, the journey begins with a surprise; Ray-the-auto-pilot isn’t working quite right. We circle and circle 360′s per instructions and can’t manage to get it linked to the cardinal points… Well, first question the tech asks when we call is: “Has anything changed on your boat since the last time it worked, particularly near the binnacle?” So it all falls into place… the new garage shelving… that perfect spot for the guitar amp with the huge magnet in the speaker…and the binnacle on the other side of the bulkhead… whoops!

So, with that resolved, the Journey to Maine begins with beautiful weather, despite the fact that we’re leaving the perfect hurricane safe-haven, exactly as hurricane season begins. Just a minor detail. Anyway, it’s nice to drop in on Placencia, if only for a couple days, where we finalize a few things, get fresh fish and vegetables, dive the boat to clean its belly, and say “hi” to old friends.

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Real Time Update – we roll out our new look!

January 29, 2014

We couldn’t fix our old site so we have a new look! All’s well that ends well. We found a template that allows captions, and what’s more, it salvaged our lost captions too.

So, next will come the photos from our “Journey to Maine”.

Meanwhile, this is us in South Carolina – woke up this morning to find snow on deck. We’re waiting out the storm that we may as well call East Coast Winter.

2014… Happy New Year

 

We hope 2014 brings us all what we each hope for… and maybe a few happy surprises as well.

Unfortunately, we made a mistake: we updated our blog software, and in so doing we’ve lost what we feel is the funnest part of writing a blog, humor. That’s right… the updated software deleted all of our captions under each photo, essentially the stuff we enjoyed doing most. Yep, we were blown away when we realized that our storytelling vanished and dismayed by the fact that we can’t revert to the old software or fix the problem with some kind of work-around. Nothing; we tried. Who was to know that deleting all captions would make for a better world…

Oh well… we had many segments ready to upload – our Journey to Maine from Guatemala, and onward to the Bay of Fundy in Canada, and back through New England down to Oriental, North Carolina, where Bailando sits right now. Maybe we’ll find another way to keep the humor in our updates, but for now we’ll focus on the New Year. We’re looking forward to the Bahamas.

In the photo, we’re in New York Harbor, freezing, on our way south; the following two nights at sea were the coldest we suffered during all of our Journey to Maine and side-trip to the Bay of Fundy.

We even had to make clothes for ourselves; Linda knit the hats.

Goodbye Fronteras – We go to town for the last time

May 2013

We set June 1st as d-day to depart Mango, and we’re just about there. Ironically, June 1st is the start of the hurricane season, exactly when one would want to be coming to the Rio for protection. Oh well, so it goes. On this last visit to town, we finally take the walk up onto the bridge where we get spectacular views of the Rio. We also enjoy the bridge as it is commonly used by locals; beside it serving as the major regional artery, it also works as the town’s main plaza. With a perch like this, residents make the trip up just to hang out and meet up with friends and family.

While in town, we finish provisioning and say goodbye to the many people we’ve come to rely on for many-a-stuff. Fronteras; an urban strip that appears at first sight to lack all connection to the modern world, is ultimately, as the singular crossroads in the area, a plentiful town that hides an infinite amount of amenities and products that only time allows a visitor to uncover. And we have spent a considerable amount of time here, so in a way, we’re leaving a familiar place that maybe we can even call our home town.

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Final Preparations – We’re sailing to Maine

May 2013

When we return from Ricardo’s daughter’s college graduation in Ohio, the last thing we want to do is hop on another plane to go to Linda’s parents’ 50-year anniversary in 8 weeks. They decided to hold the family reunion in Bar Harbor, Maine, so our options are a bit broader than the graduation in Ohio offered us. Maine? Well, Ricardo sailed there as a teenager and always thought he’d go back at some point. The decision comes almost automatically, and so we get ready in earnest to get moving. We decide it’ll take us 6 weeks to comfortably make the 2,400 nautical mile journey – that’s about 2,750 statute miles. We’re interested in doing longer passages at sea, so our plan is to go pretty much straight to Florida, followed by a long run up to New England from there. More on that later; for now, we’re tying up loose ends here in preparation for our  - “Journey to Maine”

But our final days in Guatemala are not all boat work. Linda starts a new knitting project: a lap blanket for her parents. She’s using gold bamboo yarn and knitting a really nice pattern that features candle flames. Her thinking is clear: gold commemorates the 50-year achievement and the flames symbolize the love that keeps the relationship healthy. So, with Linda tied up solidly on that endeavor, Ricardo takes up whittling, a pastime he soon discovers is a new passion.

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More Mango Days

April-May 2013

Our projects and our endless summer continue…

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Mango Days

March-April 2013

We come home from our Lake Atitlan excursion and make a decision. We need to go to the states in May (and again in July) and have some big projects to tackle before we can move the boat. So we decide to take the pressure off and just stay here at Mango until we need to fly out. This gives us plenty of time to laze around in hammocks, read aloud to one another, soak in the pool, cook, goof-off and still conquer our outsized to-do list.

Some days we get a lot done and some we just take a picture of a beautiful meal we’re grateful to be eating. In fact, at times this starts to look like a food blog, but it’s not. It’s our journey, and as we grow we find the more we give up our expectations and unnecessary, self-imposed pressures the happier we are.

Plus, this isn’t such a bad place to be.

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Guatemala City and the Bus Ride to Rio Dulce

February 2013

We’ve been here to the city more than a few times now, each adding a little something. This time, we didn’t have a reservation at Residencias Las Torres, our stand-by hotel in the city. It’s cheap, yet in “la Zona 10″, the “safest” part of town. And it’s near the airport. That’s one reason it feels different to be here this time – we’re not going to or coming from the airport. And secondly, we made the best of our windowless room, dancing to the laptop. Thirdly, we have a passeggiata and entertain ourselves making puppets with the street lights. And lastly, we take a different Litegua bus to Rio Dulce. This one makes a few more stops, has no air conditioning, no movies, and as such, it has opening windows… Perfect! We finally have a chance to photograph some of the landscapes and details we’ve been seeing every time we take this six-hour ride. And best of all is that we’re traveling practically empty for much of the time, so we run around like kids, shooting out the windows, misbehaving.

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Lake Atitlan – We leave Santiago for Guatemala City

February 2013

Well, we’re bumped from our hotel room so we need to leave; all things come to an end so here we are. Goodbye Lago de Atitlan. Due to our timing, we decide to hire a driver to take us straight from here to Guatemala City. We travel around the south side of the lake, then south into “el Pacifico” – the rolling savannah-like coastal area bordering the Pacific Ocean. From there we’ll come northeast into the capital. We get a whole new panorama of this beautiful country, albeit from a back seat.

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Lake Atitlan – Santiago

February 2013

Santiago is the largest town on the lake. It’s a hard working place; dusty, noisy, bustling, but not annoyingly so. Many micro-businesses find their home here. The town fronts a small bay on the southern side of the lake, squeezed between the two adjacent volcanoes. On a map, Santiago looks like the most interesting setting on the lake, but the truth is that from here, the volcanoes – they being the primary contributors to the lake’s intrinsic uniqueness and beauty – don’t really have as much of a presence as they do as seen from the north. And maybe that’s why this town doesn’t rely on hospitality as a primary source of income. We walk across the whole length of this gridded city and only find two hotels, for instance. And, consequently, the one that does have a room available has it only for one night. It’s a popular place, though a bit out of town. The in-town alternative was empty, but not too inviting…

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