1,250+ Miles Later . . .

We have slowly cruised up the east coast, now over 1,250+ miles since leaving Marathon on May 23. We have taken our time and stopped to see sights and wait for bad weather to pass us by. We arrived in Chesapeake, VA on Friday, July 1 and will stay until Tuesday, 7/5. Then we will be entering the Chesapeake Bay, where we have decided to spend our summer cruising and exploring. We had originally planned to go all the way up to New England, but as boating goes, all plans are changeable! We have been on the Chesapeake before with our sailboat back in 2002/2003, but really haven’t truly explored it. There are people who have lived there for over 25 years and haven’t seen all of the possible gunkholes to anchor and explore. We know that it will get very hot this summer, so we will definitely be spending a lot of time in marinas, but also plan to anchor out as well. We will be also eating a lot of blue crabs! Yum!

So much has happened since we left Marathon Here’s a picture our track. Marathon is located at the southernmost point of our track. The one little area where it doesn’t connect is where we forgot to turn it on that morning when we left! Oops!

Our track to the Chesapeake Bay

Our track to the Chesapeake Bay

We left Marathon May 23, exactly one month to the day when we had tried to leave Marathon Key for the Abacos, Bahamas – that’s when we developed our throttle problem.

It’s roughly 200 miles from Marathon Key to Fort Lauderdale. We covered that in two days, anchoring for the night off of Rodriguez Key. It was a lovely, quiet anchorage. We bypassed the city of Miami and stayed out in the Atlantic Ocean because one-half of all of the bridges on the total 1090 mile ICW are located between Key Biscayne and Palm Beach. Since the majority of these bridges have restricted opening schedules, usually on the hour or half hour, it makes for a very long and slow day.

Dinner on the flybridge in Rodriguez Key

Dinner on the flybridge in Rodriguez Key

Sunset in Rodriquez Key

Sunset in Rodriquez Key


We ducked into Fort Lauderdale for the night, however the weather forecast was such that we decided to extend our stay to four nights and do some sightseeing. On our way in we passed a number of mega yachts which dwarfed us! It also brought back memories of when our boat was in the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show last November 2015.
A Bentley is only one of the very expensive autos we saw!

A Bentley is only one of the very expensive autos we saw!

Mega yacht

Mega yacht

Mega yacht

Mega yacht

Mega yacht

Mega yacht

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Mega homes!

Mega homes!

Kinda reminds ya of "Edith Ann" from Laugh-In!!

Kinda reminds ya of “Edith Ann” from Laugh-In!!


Upon leaving Fort Lauderdale, we went outside again and cruised up to Palm Beach, reentering the ICW at the Lake Worth Inlet. We entered about 2:00 p.m. on Memorial Day and we were surrounded by literally hundreds of jet skis, small boats and pontoon boats mostly driven by intoxicated teenage boys. One had to pay attention! We came through unscathed, but this was probably the most dangerous section of our entire adventure to date.
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For the next few days we proceeded up the ICW, anchoring out until we reached Vero Beach, FL. We had heard many good things about Vero Beach over the winter and we decided to spend three nights and do some sightseeing and relax. Vero Beach is a very nice area, primarily a retirement community. It’s nickname is “Velcro Beach” because when people come there they don’t want to leave. Once again, the weather took a turn for the worse and we extended our visit to six nights. During our stay, we ran into Chris and Gail Wilkinson, friends from our winter stay at Legacy Harbour Marina in Fort Myers. They arrived on their 42ft. Kadey Krogen, “Tortuga”, just days after his retirement! Their adventures are just beginning.

We then continued up the ICW stopping in Titusville and Daytona Beach before reaching St. Augustine. We spent three nights in St. Augustine because we had never visited this city and there are many historic sites to see. St. Augustine is the oldest continually occupied city in the United States. We stayed at the City Marina which was within walking distance of all of the historical sites and the downtown area. This city is definitely someplace to visit if you have not done so.

Someone on the dock . . . folks, this is not a good look on anyone!

Someone on the dock . . . folks, this is not a good look on anyone!

Fort at St. Augustine

Fort at St. Augustine

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Sunset in St. Augustine

Sunset in St. Augustine


After departing St. Augustine our next stop was Fernandina Beach, FL, which is located on the Florida/Georgia border. This was the first stretch of the ICW where we really had to watch out for shallow water. The ICW by design is supposed to be 12 feet or more for it’s entire length. Because of the many inlets and tidal activity, maintaining that 12 feet+ depth requires continual dredging in many locations in it’s entire length. However, the Corps of Engineers who are responsible for maintaining the ICW has suffered significant cuts in its funding over the past 15 years. As a result, the ICW has in many places become much shallower to the point where at times our boat, which draws 5’4″ only had one or two feet of water below its keel when coming through. Therefore, we often needed to time our travel north of St. Augustine to coincide with higher and rising tides. The State of Georgia and South Carolina are particularly troublesome. To avoid this entirely, we decided to do an overnight passage from Fernandina Beach to Charleston, South Carolina. This passage took 25 hours, 194 nautical miles, but saved us about five days of slowly winding through Georgia and the southern half of South Carolina.
Dolphins!

Dolphins!

Black Bean Quesadillas for lunch during our crossing.

Black Bean Quesadillas for lunch during our crossing.

There's a storm brewing!

There’s a storm brewing!

Stormy night ahead!

Stormy night ahead!

Our sunset on the Atlantic Ocean this night.

Our sunset on the Atlantic Ocean this night.


Water, water everywhere.

Water, water everywhere.

Is it ever going to end?

Is it ever going to end?


The weather forecast for the overnight trip looked good with winds relatively light and generally behind us. The wave height predictions were for 2-3 feet or less. However, about one third of the way through we discovered the wave height prediction was relatively accurate, however they were coming from BOTH the E and the SW, which made for a very bumpy ride. On top of that, we were caught in a couple thunderstorms that worked their way through about midnight. The boat handled it fine and for us it wasn’t much of an issue, but both cats were seasick almost the entire way. About two in the morning our radar gave us a warning that we were on a collision course with another boat. It turned out to be a 944 foot container ship making his way to Savanah GA. Mark was able to reach the ship on VHF radio and they confirmed that we would collide and we both agreed to alter course. That explains the jog you see in our Delorme track.

We arrived at Charleston about noon the following day and went into a very nice resort marina across the Cooper River from the historic district of Charleston. We had reservations for four nights so we could thoroughly enjoy this beautiful, historic old city. The resort had a free hourly shuttle bus to the downtown area, which we took advantage of each day. We did a lot of sightseeing, a carriage tour and enjoyed some wonderful southern food. On what was to be our last day, another tropical low (Colin) came through and required us to extend our stay for two more days. We were in downtown Charleston at the old market when the front moved through. Within a few minutes winds picked up to 40 miles per hour, with occasional gusts to 60, torrential rain and the temperature dropped about 30 degrees. The temperature drop was welcome as the heat index that day was 110 degrees F. It blew and rained all that night and most of the next day, but we used the time to visit a US Navy museum which was adjacent to our marina. It had three WWII vintage vessels, a aircraft carrier (Yorktown), a destroyer and a submarine. We spent hours touring these fascinating ships. Since it was Father’s Day, Mark got in free!!

Carriage ride through historic downtown Charleston

Carriage ride through historic downtown Charleston

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Fried Chicken Livers - a heart stopper, but delicious!

Fried Chicken Livers – a heart stopper, but delicious!


We left Charleston on Monday, 6/23 to continue our journey north. We had a number of short days due to having to wait for high tides to pass the shallow spots. At night we primarily anchored out in some beautiful, scenic anchorages. In almost every case, we were the only boat there. That’s one of the advantages to our late start in that the majority of the snowbirds going back north on their boats are long gone.

About a week later we stopped in Morehead City,NC for two nights, so that we could meet up with our friend Andy Horn. Andy was not far away, visiting his daughter, Captain Sarah Horn, who is a helicopter pilot in the Marine Corps recently returned from the Middle East deployment. We had a great visit with Andy, although too short.

We then continued north to our current location, which required us to cross two large “sounds”, Pamlico and Albemarle. These are two large bodies of water between the mainland and the out islands of North Carolina. One passage was roughly 3-1/2 hours, the other was 4-1/2 hours. These two sounds are some of the most difficult water to be encountered on the ICW. While they are 40-50 miles in breadth, they are only 12 feet deep. As a result, any winds above 10-15 MPH raises very 4-6 foot waves which are very close together. Depending upon the direction of the wind, it can make for a very miserable passage. We got lucky crossing both with light winds and 1-2 foot waves on our beam, which was very tolerable. While the cats got seasick on the first sound, they got through the second without much discomfort. Those cats!

Another beautiful sunset at anchor

Another beautiful sunset at anchor

This is a picture of what we looked like swinging at anchor

This is a picture of what we looked like swinging at anchor

And, another sunset at anchor along the way

And, another sunset at anchor along the way


We arrived at Atlantic Yacht Basin, which is in Chesapeake, VA – at the foot of the Chesapeake Bay, in the early afternoon of Friday, 7/1. We pulled in to take on some fuel and pump out our holding tank before going into our slip. Just as we tied up to the fuel dock, a series of thunderstorms moved through. We managed to get tied up in our slip before it really started to pour. It then rained for the next 10 hours at a rate of 1-2 inches an hour. There was much local flooding, and the river we are on rose almost 12 inches in a short period of time. Our plan is to depart AYB on Tuesday, 7/5 and enter the Chesapeake Bay where we will spend the summer cruising and exploring. It turned out to be a social whirlwind while we where at AYB. First, we saw a boat, Lady M, which had aboard good friends from this past winter in Stuart, FL. Then we ran into the owners of a Kadey Krogen 39, The Edge, to whom we introduced ourselves and then invited over for cocktails on our boat one evening. We had a lovely time visiting with them. The next afternoon, Mark was in the aft cockpit reading when someone called out “Hello Mark!” from a boat passing by. It turned out to be a Kadey Krogen Whaleback with Susan and Jeff Goode onboard, along with a captain helping them to take, their new to them, boat to Annapolis. We had met Susan and Jeff at one of the boat shows we participated in. The captain was none other than Sharvan from Stuart – who was one of the captains who offloaded our Next Dance from the container ship from Taiwan and also the who so skillfully taught Pauline how to dock Next Dance!! What a small world. Of course we joined them for cocktails aboard their boat and shared stories. Where we have been taking our time moving north, they made the trip from Stuart to AYB in six days, going offshore often and doing 12 to 14 hour days. Whew! That could not have been a relaxing journey, but they are on a mission to get the boat to Annapolis and get Sharvan back home to Stuart.
Chilling out on the aft deck!

Chilling out on the aft deck!


Sharavan - my Jedi Master!

Sharvan – my Jedi Master!

The Goode's onboard their Goodescape, Kadey Krogen Whaleback

The Goode’s onboard their Goodescape, Kadey Krogen Whaleback


Our 22nd Anniversary lunch!

Our 22nd Anniversary lunch!


While here at AYB, we also managed to forget our wedding anniversary! Oh well…that’s the problem when the days just run into each other and we don’t pay attention to the date on the calendar. We celebrated with lunch at Woody’s, where we watched many Packer games in the fall of 2013 when we had purchased our 44ft Kadey Krogen, the first Next Dance.

On July 5 we officially entered the Chesapeake Bay! This area of big water has many, many beautiful places to visit and of course, blue crabs! We can’t wait to eat our fill of them this summer. But along with all of those wonderful crabs are the many thousands of crab pots that we will have to avoid while cruising. Always an adventure in boating. There are a lot of Kadey Krogen’s cruising here and we are sure to run into some from time to time. We have also met some other boaters who keep their boats on the Chesapeake Bay and we look forward to reconnecting with them. Our granddaughters, Ellie (15-1/2) and Anna (14) will be joining us (sans mother) for a week the end of July. We are really looking forward to having them onboard, sharing our current lifestyle and exploring the beautiful areas on the Chesapeake Bay. We sent them a picture of a jellyfish which are very prevalent in the water here. This will not make for much swimming, unfortunately. Hopefully, when we go up some of the little fresh water rivers we won’t find them and will be able to jump in the water from time to time. If nothing else, we can take the kayak or dinghy out. It’s the first time since they were just little peanuts that we’ve had them all to ourselves. Should be a blast!

Here are photos of our journey through Norfolk with all of the commercial traffic and of the beginning trip on the Chesapeake Bay.
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Naval aircraft ship at the Naval Shipyard

Naval aircraft ship at the Naval Shipyard

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Boats we saw along the way

Boats we saw along the way

Commercial traffic

Commercial traffic


Sailboats

Sailboats

Crab fisherman

Crab fisherman


Jellyfish on steroids!  The tentacles are almost 3 feet long!

Jellyfish on steroids! The tentacles are almost 3 feet long!

Well, that brings us up to date. We will be on the Chesapeake until mid-October, when we will attend annual Kadey Krogen rendezvous in Solomons, MD. This will be the first time that we will be attending with our boat! It is quite a sight to see. Last year they had 150 Kadey Krogen’s there, from 39 foot to the 58 foot. After the rendezvous we will begin our journey south for the winter. We have not decided where we are going to stay yet, but still have a little time to make that decision. We are on wait lists for spots at several marinas.

We know that we definitely want to get to the Abacos in April 2017 and spend the month there. We then need to leave the boat somewhere north of the Florida/Georgia state line (insurance hurricane season requirement) by mid-May to fly back to Colorado. Scott and Emily are getting married over Memorial Day weekend 2017 in Grandby, Colorado. So we will be off of the boat for at least a week, maybe two.

If your vacation plans bring you the Chesapeake Bay this summer, please be sure to get in touch with us. We’d love to connect if we can!

Until next time, fair winds and following seas . . .

Pauline and Mark Masuhr

CAT TALES

Well furriends, we’ve been cruising now for quite awhile. Most of the time, it’s purrfectly fine, nice and calm. But sometimes it definitely has not been fun for us. Yep, we’ve been seasick! It doesn’t seem to take much. Our mom sometimes tries to give us some motion sickness medicine (which we absolutely hate), and it helps for awhile, but then we get sick and throw up and drool and look pretty green (so she tells us). I can’t believe she actually took a picture of me (Pema). The worst was when we were out on the Atlantic Ocean for 25 hours. We didn’t eat for a day and a half and didn’t want to!! We didn’t think it was ever going to end. Meow.

I don't feel so good :(

I don’t feel so good😦


It has been fun to see lots of different places and people along the way. We really enjoy the different smells too! Ming is a wonderful fly catcher and she loves to gobble them up! We love it when we are at anchor. Mom and dad let us walk around all over the boat. We have no interest in jumping in for a swim – we just love to sit outside watching what’s going on around us. Especially if there are birds flying around us.

Meow. We’re in trouble. Even that angel, “Ming”. We both jumped off of the boat at Atlantic Yacht Basin. Mom walked up the dock to talk to some people and Ming decided to jump off and follow her. Well why not?? Oops! She got caught right away by dad (surprise) and he yelled at her. She hopped right back on. Me, I snuck right past him when he had is nose in a book and didn’t bother to look as I jumped off, walked quite a ways up the dock and into a lovely grassy area. Well, all of a sudden there was a golf cart driving up so I decided I had better high tail it back to the boat. Wouldn’t you know it? There was mom walking back and caught me! Well, I think dad actually got in more trouble than I did because he wasn’t being a good “cat watcher”. To say the least, we were chastised and put inside the boat. It sure was fun while it lasted! We had just heard them telling people that we were really good and didn’t jump off of the boa. Ha ha! Meow.

We’ve been told that we are now somewhere called the Chesapeake Bay and will be cruising here for the summer. We also hear that it’s going to be hot! The Chesapeake Bay is a large body of water and has many beautiful places to visit. Should be fun!

Chilling out on the aft deck!

Chilling out on the aft deck!


Got in trouble again this morning. Meow. I (Pema) decided to sneak out of the pilot house door this morning just as we pulled up anchor. Dad, as usual, was not keeping a keen eye on us. Mom started looking for me and was getting pretty worried. Little did she know that I had climbed up to the flybridge and was laying under the dinghy! I guess I was pretty lucky that it wasn’t rough and get accidentally chucked off!! We are not allowed outside when the boat is underway. Meow. Well she scooped me up and took me back inside where I am again safe and sound, and sh
e has relaxed.

Here are some pics of us that mom has taken over the past month. She likes the one where we are sleeping together. We don’t do that very often anymore. I often try snuggling with Ming, but she doesn’t always like it.

Pema and Ming cuddling up for a change!

Pema and Ming cuddling up for a change!

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Respectfully submitted,

Pema (and Ming), Boat Cats Extradinaire!

Next Dance is Ready to Dance Again!

News Flash!!! Hear all about it . . .

Good news! After a two week stay turned into six weeks, we think we have resolved our throttle problem. It took six sea trials, six visits from the John Deere tech and three visits from the ZF tech, but at last they got it. As often is the case in these type of problems, it was a combination of events that triggered it. But today we took her out for our final sea trial for an extended period of time and everything worked normally, and feel confident in her that we can continue our cruising. We have to admit if you have to be stuck some place for an extra four weeks, Marathon Marina in the Florida Keys is not a bad spot. But we are ready to move north. Weather permitting, we will throw off our lines on Tuesday and slowly work our way up to New England, and hopefully Maine. Hopefully our future blogs will cover the wonderful places we visit and people we meet along the way, and nothing about our hot, frustrating engine room.

Many thanks to all of your support, the expertise and patience of the John Deere and ZF technicians, and to Kadey Krogen for standing by us.

Tomorrow we will head to Burdine’s for lunch to have a beer and our last order of fries! For those who have been there, you will understand. Then back to the boat where we will bring aboard our tender and get things ready to go.

On to the next dance, Cha Cha Cha!

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So long Marathon Marina . . . see you again some day!

Fair winds and following seas,

Pauline and Mark

If It Weren’t For Bad Luck . . .

. . . we’d have no luck at all.

On April 23 we attempted our departure out of Marathon to the Bahamas. As you read in our previous blog, we developed a problem and had to be towed back into the slip. It is now May 17 and we are still in Marathon trying to resolve our problem. To say the least, the situation is extremely frustrating and emotionally taxing. We try to remain positive that an answer will be found, but there are certainly times (mostly for Pauline) we feel hopeless to the situation. We do try to make lemonade out of the lemons, but we are getting pretty tired of the lemonade.

Next Dance leaving the dock!

Next Dance leaving the dock!

If it were a mechanical issue that could be diagnosed and repaired quickly that would be one thing. However, we are experiencing an electronic problem. While not touching the ZF throttle control lever, the John Deere engine RPMs fluctuates up and down erratically. Trying to diagnose the cause and repair that is no easy task. Initially the ZF technician thought that the problem had to do with the electronic throttle controller.. a mini computer. He scheduled an appointment to come back and swapped it out with a new controller.

Then both the technicians from ZF and John Deere came out to do a sea trial to see if we could duplicate the problem. We had tried to duplicate the problem several times in the slip, but it never reoccurred. We left the slip and reached almost the exact location where the problem originally occurred and it happened again! Instead of being disappointed, we were thrilled because now both technicians could see what was happening. Additionally, this time we were able to limp back to the dock and into our slip at idle speed without needing a towboat.

Based on diagnostic readings the technicians made, they had to look at the possibility that the problem was with the John Deere electronic control module, not the ZF processor.

The John Deere technician came back again with a new electronic control (ECU) module. He installed the new (ECU) but was unable to download the software to program it for our specific engine. He then gets on the phone with John Deere factory techs. They take control of his computer and attempt to download the software. After several unsuccessful hours of this, they determined that the new ECU is defective.

So the Deere factory pre-programs another new ECU (in Waterloo, Iowa) and overnighted it to the Key West based technician (of course this is a Friday and it did not arrive until Monday). The technician arrives on Monday afternoon with the second, new ECU. He successfully gets it plugged in. It had been programmed correctly, the engine runs properly and off we go for another sea trial. Guess what? After the same amount of time and almost in the same location, the problem happens AGAIN! The technician is at a loss as to why it is still occurring. He has some theories and needs to consult more with Deere factory experts. Once again we limp back into the slip.

Everyone involved in trying to resolve the issue are totally perplexed as to what is going on. But there is clearly a problem and it must be fixed. We are unable to move the boat until we are able to get the situation resolved. It is increasingly frustrating to read posts on Facebook from our Krogen friends about their travels up north up the east coast of Florida. That’s what we are supposed to be doing now.

As for the lemonade, part of that included having Scott (Mark’s son) and Emily, Scott’s girlfriend, join us in Marathon. We had planned a super fun vacation cruise with them in the Abacos in the Bahamas. The sad part of this was that they were not able to experience just what our life of cruising is all about. But we still really enjoyed their visit. We kept them busy with a day in Key West, a dinghy ride to Sombrero Beach, a fishing trip where our group caught 60 Yellowtail Snapper (yummy), and a snorkeling trip to Sombrero Reef. And of course, cocktails on the flybridge each night, watching the sunset. Plus many visits to local tiki bars, including Burdines for the Key’s best french fries and Keys Fisheries for stone crab claws. On one stormy, windy night, we celebrated Emily’s birthday. Scott handed her a card and small gift box. She opened the card first, which read “Happy Birthday! I only have one question…?” He then got down on his knee and proposed to Emily. She said yes! The engagement ring, of course, was in the box. After all the mandatory phone calls spreading the good news to other family and friends, it was too late to go out for dinner, so Pauline ended up grilling steaks in the rain. What a special and fun evening that was! We couldn’t be more thrilled that they will be getting married. We love Emily and welcome her to our family.
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Lovebirds enjoying a sunset

Lovebirds enjoying a sunset


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Six-toed Hemingway Cat

Six-toed Hemingway Cat

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Key West Visit

Key West Visit


The engagement - recreated with a sunset

The engagement – recreated with a sunset


We booked them in a small art deco hotel in South Beach the night before they flew back to Colorado. Not sure that South Beach was quite their style, but they can check that off of the list of places to see. We drove them up to Miami and joined them for a final brunch at News Cafe, before heading back to Marathon. All in all, their vacation with us was a very enjoyable one.

A few days after they departed, our friend Louise Crowley from Wisconsin joined us for five days. Again, she was supposed to be joining us in the Bahamas. Her day started out with a mechanical problem on the plane departing Chicago. That delay then caused her to miss her connection in Orlando. She was delayed nine hours and finally arrived in Key West at 11:00 p.m. We got back to the boat at nearly 1:00 a.m. but still managed to stay up for one glass of wine! Louise, always the trooper, was just happy to be in warm weather and had a great time just chilling with us, eating, drinking, dinghy riding and she did get to experience a ride on the water with our last sea trial. We had a great day of snorkeling off of Sombrero Reef and the first thing she sees after jumping in the water is a shark! Freaked her out a bit but she stayed in the water. We took the dinghy over to Sombrero Beach one day to watch the Dragon Races. That was pretty fun. She even helped Pauline swab the boat one day. We capped off her visit with a quick tour in Key West, with a stop at Sloppy Joe’s, before she flew out.

Dragon Boat Races

Dragon Boat Races

Sunset!

Sunset!

Beautiful Dinghy Wench!

Beautiful Dinghy Wench!

Yummy Stone Crab Claws

Yummy Stone Crab Claws


Waiter!  Our glasses are empty . . . refill please.

Waiter! Our glasses are empty . . . refill please.

Sunset with friends are the best!

Sunset with friends are the best!

Can you tell who is from Wisconsin?

Can you tell who is from Wisconsin?

I dress my crew well for swabbing down the boat!

I dress my crew well for swabbing down the boat!

So that brings us up to date. Now we wait to see what the next steps are in determining how to resolve our inoperable boat problem. Kadey Krogen has been there for us throughout this ordeal and are equally frustrated. There has been no other KK boat, comparably equipped, which has experienced the type of problem we are having. A conundrum to say the least.

Please send your good thoughts our way and wishes for our luck to turn. We need it.

Until the next time,

Fair winds and following seas (we can’t wait to get moving on the water again) . . .

Pauline and Mark

P.S. If you would like to see our cruising track, you can go to http://share.delorme.com/NextDance. You can see where we had to turn back. We have not had the Delorme on since 4/23 when we attempted our trip to the Bahamas. If we did you would have seen a few more circles back to the slip. Sometime soon we hope to turn our Delorme back on and you can see that track moving north!

CAT TALES

Pema and I have mostly been enjoying lounging inside and outside the boat. We love hanging out on our cat tree and watching boats going by, seeing big fish jump in the water and birds flying just a little to close to our boat. Almost every night we go on the top deck with mom and dad and watch the sunset. It’s really pretty how the sky turns pink and orange. One of Pema’s favorite things to do is to watch fish videos on the iPad! She gets so excited! One day dad played his Eukelele for us. We enjoyed it very much🙂

Ming just chilling!

Ming just chilling!

Pema just chilling!

Pema just chilling!

Pema getting a good view of the sunset

Pema getting a good view of the sunset

Dad strumming some tunes for us!

Dad strumming some tunes for us!

Love laying in this chair!

Love laying in this chair!

Pema watching some fish TV on the IPad

Pema watching some fish TV on the IPad

There have been strangers coming on board and making a lot of noise down by something called John Deere. We are sick of it. Apparently, so are our mom and dad. Mom has been crying a lot. I try to snuggle with her as much as I can and purr to calm her down. I think it helps. Even Pema has been curling up in her lap and rubbing against her legs and purring too. Something bad is wrong with the boat and we have been here in Marathon a long time. Sometimes the boat has been moving and all of a sudden John Deere makes some strange noises. We get distraught with all of the noise and activity and throw up all over the place. Mom cleans it up and try to calm us down. We sure hope they get the thing fixed soon and we can get our tails out of here! Lots of people say “well, if you have to be stuck somewhere, this is a good place to be stuck!”. That may be true for some, but mom and dad want to move on the boat, not stay in one place. Meow.

Scott came for a visit!! It has been a long time since we last saw him in Breckenridge, CO. He brought his girlfriend, Emily with us. They even got engaged on their trip! We used to scare Emily, but decided that now that she is going to be part of the family, we are going to be nice to her. We let her pet us and talk to us whenever she wanted. I wonder if they’ll let us be part of the wedding?? Meow. Scott played “pushy pushy” with me. I flop on the floor, stretch out and he puts his hands on my back legs and I push myself on the floor!! It is so much fun and it makes everyone laugh.

Then another lady joined us for a few days. I think she was afraid of us. Meow. Pema snuck in her room one night and was looking at her with her paws on the bed near her head. She woke up and was quite startled. Ha ha! It was purrty funny🙂 She has now left and our family is now back to being “just us”. We love that.

It has started to get really hot here. We don’t mind it so much, but mom doesn’t like it. She says it’s like a sauna out there – whatever that means. Thank goodness we have air conditioning inside!

That’s it for now. Pema and I hope that the next time we write that it will be of us traveling on the Atlantic Ocean heading north to new sights and sounds. That would be purrfection!

Respectfully submitted,

Ming (and Pema), Boat Cats

. . .Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men . . .

Next Dance leaving the dock!

Next Dance leaving the dock!

On our way . . . or so we thought

On our way . . . or so we thought

On Saturday morning, April 23 we left our slip in Marathon to begin our journey to the Abacos, Bahamas. We were about 2 miles out when Pauline heard sounds from the engine while standing on the aft deck that were definitely not normal. She rushed up to the pilot house to let the Captain know. At the time he happened to be on the radio with our friends Maria and Roberto of Gratitude, who were traveling with us to Rodriguez Key for the evening. They were just a little ahead of us. By that time he, too, had noticed the problem and then an alarm went off, beeping and beeping. There was clearly a problem. When trying to put the boat into either forward or reverse, the engine rpms would fluctuate radically from idle to full without moving the throttle lever! In neutral the engine ran normally. Mark immediately began to try to diagnose the problem. But no matter what he tried to do, the boat would not respond properly and could not get the alarm off.

In the meantime, our friends Lisa and Mark Carruthers, back in Marathon, heard our conversations with Gratitude and Mark took off in his dinghy to come out to see if he could help. During this time we were adrift in water about 9′ deep below our keel being blown toward a nearby key. We decided that we needed to anchor the boat. Gratitude turned around and came back, but we told them to go on. There was nothing they could do to help. Mark Carruthers arrived and for the next few hours the two of them tried everything they could to rectify the situation. They identified that the problem was with the electronic engine throttle and transmission controls. Our boat has 100% electronic controls, not the older style mechanical or hydraulic controls. Numerous times they turned everything off and tried starting the engine and going through the start-up process of what one does every time in readying the boat for departure. No matter what they did, the alarm and error code came back on and the throttle/transmission did not respond. Pauline was able to get Gregg Gandy, the service VP at Kadey Krogen on the phone. Gregg had Mark try numerous things to get the alarm to reset and the controls to work properly. Nothing worked. We ultimately decided that we needed to call US Towboat and get towed back. We contacted the marina and told them of our plight and made arrangements to get back in our old slip. Within 30 minutes the tow boat arrived. We hooked up a “bridle” with a tow line onto Next Dance, and pulled up our anchor. Mark Carruthers took off in his dinghy and Lisa Carruthers, along with the marina, readied troops on the dock to help catch our lines. Again, we could not maneuver the boat to get it back in the slip using forward or reverse. The tow boat got us lined up so that we could drift back into the slip. Luckily the wind was in our favor to do this. The Captain was able to maneuver the boat with our bow and stern thrusters to move it right or left. As soon as we got close enough, Pauline was able to toss a spring line to someone on the dock so that we could get attached to land. The remaining lines were tossed and Next Dance was again secured in the slip. Whew! What an experience. Not one we EVER want to have again.

After we were settled, Gregg Gandy called with the phone number for the ZF Controls technician. Together they went through the error codes shown on the controls processor, a large computer. All the readings were normal. Mark once again fired up the engine. Guess what – everything worked. No alarm, the throttle/transmission controls worked normally. What on earth?? He tried this a couple of times with the same result – everything worked. As mentioned before, the throttle/transmission controls on our boat are an electronic system. So the problem was not mechanical, it was electronic. So now the technician was stumped. He originally thought that it was probably a bad processor. But now that we could not duplicate the problem, he was not sure. He suggested we should try to leave in the morning and see if it happened again. Really? Mark asked what the next step would be and it would be to have the processor replaced with a new unit, and the existing one sent to the factory so it’s memory codes could be reviewed. After Mark got off the phone with him, we discussed all of our options and made the decision not to attempt crossing the Gulf Stream and potentially having the problem occur out there. If the problem reoccurred at mid crossing, 30 miles offshore, we could not communicate with land, except by using our emergency beacon and the tow back to the US would run into many thousands of dollars and we would be at the mercy of the waves and current for hours while waiting for the towboat. It was a quick decision that we were not going to put ourselves in danger.

Now the sad news. Our Bahamas trip will not happen. We made the decision not to go. If it was just affecting us, that would be one thing. But Mark’s son Scott, and his girlfriend Emily were flying into Marsh Harbour on 4/30. We had to make the phone call to tell them their trip has been rearranged. We are going to have someone come out to replace the processor, try to determine if there is anything else wrong which could have triggered the problem. Scott and Emily will fly into Fort Lauderdale or Key West, rent a car and drive here to Marathon. By the time they arrive, the repairs should be completed. We will spend our time with them exploring the Keys, take the boat down to Key West for a couple of days, and anchoring somewhere. No, it won’t be quite the same as being in the islands, but we can still have a good time. Emily has never been to the Keys, and Scott has only been to Key West with us. We’ll have a lot of fun exploring the Keys and spend a lot of time people watching. There are a lot of unusual characters down here! After they leave, our friend Louise Crowley is also scheduled to fly into Marsh Harbour. We haven’t made that phone call yet. But Louise is always a trooper and she will understand and we will have a great time with her also. After Louise departs, we will begin heading north up the east coast, a little sooner than we had planned.

So, we invited Mark and Lisa over for dinner, pounded down a few cocktails and finished off three bottles of wine. We drowned our sorrows and had a lot of laughs. Like we said in our last blog, with boating, nothing is written in sand.

In the end, we know we are making the right decision. We will continue our “shakedown” cruising close to the east coast. It is a new boat, and stuff is going to happen.

Until next time, fair winds and calm seas . . . (and no problems)

Pauline and Mark

    CAT TALES

    Well furriends, there was a lot of activity this morning. The engine roared and off we went. All was good for awhile. We assumed our usual positions under the chairs in the pilot house. Then all of a sudden there were loud beeping noises and chaos in the pilot house. Mom and dad were clearly distressed about something. This in turn made us very upset. We didn’t know what was happening, but we didn’t like it. Over the next few hours this continued. A strange man came on board and added to all of the chaos. We proceeded to start foaming at the mouth, throwing up and pooping – sometimes we made it to the litter box, sometimes we didn’t. While dad and the stranger were going in the engine room, the pilot house and the flybridge, the loud beeping continued. The engine room door was open and that noise was really loud too. We were very distraught. Meow. Mom went on clean up duty and tried to calm us. She even gave Pema some medicine to get her to relax. After some time, we heard mom and dad say that we were getting towed back into shore. Thank God! We were done with that fiasco going on. We are glad to report that we are safe and sound back in the slip and everything is quiet. Wonder when the engine is going to roar again? Until it does, we are going to chill out and savor our time in the sunshine! Meow.
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    Respectfully submitted,

    Ming and Pema, Boat Cats

The Cruising Begins!

There is such a weight off of our shoulders now that we have left Stuart. After 4+ months of commissioning and awaiting our boatshow obligations, we just now feel that we have our life back and we can again enjoy cruising and exploring new destinations. And we are!

After a two day trip across Florida via Lake Okeechobee, we arrived in Fort Myers on Monday 3/21, staying at Legacy Harbour Marina right in the historic downtown area. Many restaurants and shops are within walking distance, as well as a grocery store. We had our car available during our stay. Afterwards, our good friends Scott and Jean Hickey, who have a new home in Naples are letting us keep the car in their garage while we are cruising this year. We enjoyed our time in Ft. Myers visiting them, along with our other local friends Kirby and Susan Shoaf and Alan May and Linda Thompson. It was also fun catching up with other friends at the marina, who we met during our stay there during the winter of ’15/’16. They had us on a different dock than we had last year, but that just meant new faces at the nightly “cocktail” gatherings.

We had the most bizarre thing happen while there. Mark went up to the flybridge to get something and immediately came down and said I just had to see something. I got up there and saw a swarm of bees suspended from a railing! Thousands of them! This sudden appearance of a swarm is apparently fairly common at this time of the year. The marina had seen this happen on another boat the previous week. When a hive get too crowded, the queen bee leaves her hive and brings with her about half of her workers, scouts and drones. When she gets tired, she lands and so do her subjects. She unfortunately picked our boat to land on. The remaining half of her original hive “elects” a new queen and starts replacing their departed brethren. The dock master gave us the name of a beekeeper to call in case they didn’t leave in a day or two. Of course this occurred on Easter Sunday. The local beekeepers charge $200 to remove the bees even though they’ll keep them to form a new hive for the honey. So we decided to wait a couple days before handing over any cash and sure enough two days later the queen bee took off along with her subjects. Pauline happened to see them leaving. It was really quite interesting to see all these bees swirling through the air like a mini tornado and moving across the river. Hope they found a nice new home! There was a group of about 50 or so who were still there the next morning. These apparently are scouts who were out looking for a new home and when they came back the queen was gone, but they could still smell her scent so they stayed. We again waited for two days and they weren’t leaving. They were probably going to die anyway, so we decided it was time for them to go. We sprayed them with soapy water and that was that. No more bees!

Honey bee swarm!

Honey bee swarm!


Mark celebrated his 73rd birthday in Fort Myers! Our friends Kirby and Susan from Naples joined us for dinner out. We came back to the boat to enjoy a cake that Kirby made – carrot cake, Mark’s favorite. Our friends Chris and Gail Wilkinson, fellow Krogen owners, on Tortuga, joined us. Pauline surprised Mark with the gift of a ukulele! It has been on his bucket list for a long time and he really wants to learn how to play. Hopefully he’ll be strumming some tunes in no time! Learning new things keeps the brain active, right?
Happy Birthday Mark!

Happy Birthday Mark!

On April 4th we left Legacy Harbour Marina in Fort Myers for Fort Myers Beach. No, they are not the same place. Fort Myers Beach is about 14 miles further downriver at the mouth of the Caloosahatchee. We spent one night there. The next morning we departed Fort Myers Beach to begin run to Marathon Key. We tried to get into our marina there a few days ahead of our reservation date, but were not able to do so. The weather as been very usual this year, with consistent strong north winds, instead of the more gentle SE winds. As a results, the “snowbird” boats were slow in departing for their annual run up the east coast to home waters. So we were forced to anchored in Little Shark River for three nights. This was our first time anchoring Next Dance for an evening. We travelled approximately 10 hours from Fort Myers Beach to Little Shark River on the Gulf of Mexico. We had a great trip coming down. Some occasional four foot waves from behind us, but otherwise two to three footers. No problem for a KK, Next Dance operated flawlessly.

Next Dance leaving Fort Myers

Next Dance leaving Fort Myers

Fort Myers Beach

Fort Myers Beach

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Pink Shell Marina in Fort Myers Beach

Pink Shell Marina in Fort Myers Beach

Dolphins on the bow!
Dolphins on the bow!

Little Shark River is major drainage river of the Everglades, with no human habitation for 25+ miles. But plenty of alligators, no swimming there! Also, when the sun goes down, we were mobbed by man-eating mosquitos and VERY annoying biting no-seeums. Pauline was covered with welts from bites. Mark was left pretty much untouched. She attributes this to being very sweet (not!). This would have been a great place to explore by dinghy, but we decided not to try to launch it. The current is quite strong here and reverses 4 times a day. Besides we probably would have gotten eaten alive. On Tuesday night we had the anchorage completely to ourselves. It’s too bad that we couldn’t enjoy sitting outside because of the darned bugs. After our peaceful, pristine anchorage we headed due south over the Florida Bay for 43 miles to Marathon, which lies about halfway down the chain. Pleasant trip, but very shallow water. Most of the way we had only 3 to 5 feet under our keel.
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Special note: we have activated a new device on board that provides us with continuous satellite communications anywhere on the globe. One of the features of this device is a track of our route while we are underway. It records our location every 10 minutes and send that position via satellite to the monitoring company. That live track is available on line for anyone to see. To view it go to https://share.delorme.com/NextDance. The arrowhead icon is our current position. On the left it shows the date and time of our last position it recorded. Try it out. All we have to do here is to remember to turn it on when we get underway.

We have been hearing from other Krogen’s, who had planned to go to the Bahamas, and had to change their plans due to weather – very windy and very rough seas. So many of them are heading north a little earlier than planned. We are still hopeful that the weather patterns will settle down over the next two weeks and give us a window to cross. Mark’s son Scott and his significant other, Emily, are scheduled to join us in the Abacos in the Bahamas for a 8 day cruise. It’s a five day cruise from current location to Marsh Harbour, where they land on the 30th. We have given ourselves a 8 day window to make the journey. We would be quite sad not to be able to get there. This would really change plans for Scott and Emily to join us. Worst case, we’d have them get off the plane in Fort Lauderdale, rent a car and join us here in the Keys. Not so bad.

It’s now April 20 and we will be leaving Marathon Key on Saturday. Right now the weather forecasts look promising! We have enjoyed our time here. Two other Kadey Orogens, a Gratitude, a 48′ like ours with Maria and Roberto Rosa, and a 58′, Tapestry, with Lisa and Mark Caruthers, are also here. We’ve enjoyed getting to know them better. We’ve gone exploring the area in our dinghy and have had our fair share of the world class french fries at Burdine’s, a local tiki bar. Some Colorado friends, Zoe Ann and Stuart Smith, happened to be visiting friends in Marathon, so we were able to spend a day with them. Stuart is ready to start living the lifestyle we are, but Zoe Ann is definitely not there yet. It was great catching up with them.

Friends from Gratitude and Tapestry enjoying a spectacular sunset!

Friends from Gratitude and Tapestry enjoying a spectacular sunset!


Colorado friends enjoying a Marathon Key sunset!

Colorado friends enjoying a Marathon Key sunset!


Marathon has long been a winter gathering place for Krogenite’s – those who still have boats and those that do not. One of the couples we’ve met here had high ranking State Department appointments during the Clinton administration. It has been interesting to hear their thoughts on the current state of affairs with the upcoming election. They have a home in Annapolis, MD, but have been coming down here for 10+ years and are now buying a condo. John is a accomplished musician and plays his banjo with a local blues group every Friday night! Quite a lifestyle change from his years in Washington. On Wednesday mornings, the local Kadey Krogen group gathers at a local restaurant for breakfast. Most of this group no longer own a boat, but they loved Marathon so much, that when boating was no longer possible, they settled here or winter here.
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Enjoying the tunes at Burdines in Marathon

Enjoying the tunes at Burdines in Marathon


One afternoon we took a dinghy ride with Maria and Roberto of Gratitude. They showed us one of the areas they discovered. It is an island that is no longer accessible by car. There are people who still live there and some sunken boats too.
Someone actually lives here . . . scary!

Someone actually lives here . . . scary!

Leftovers from a hurricane?

Leftovers from a hurricane?

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"We all live in a Yellow Submarine"

“We all live in a Yellow Submarine”

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We have explored the area and even took the local bus down to Key West for a day. Well, actually two days. A week ago we spent a day there being total tourists. Then late last week Pauline asked about clearing customs when we return from the Bahamas. We totally forgot to obtain the necessary documentation to re-enter the US on a pleasure vessel. So this entailed us another trip to Key West yesterday to be interviewed by a representative from Customs and Border Patrol. So we hopped on the bus again, along with all of our necessary documentation for our interview. We were in and out in 15 minutes! So we did more sightseeing.

Eyeee Carumba!

Eyeee Carumba!

Famous Sloppy Joes in Key West

Famous Sloppy Joes in Key West

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Ceviche!  Yum!

Ceviche! Yum!


The bus ride takes about 1-1/2 hours to get there and about 2 hours to come back. 140 miles round trip with a number of stops. The ride is beautiful and only costs $1.50 each way (senior fare). What a bargain! Not worth renting a car and trying to park down there. We saw a lot of unusual characters on the bus. The lifestyle is very laid back down here to say the least. We had visited Key West back in 2002 when we had put our sailboat on the market in Tampa Bay and Mark’s son joined us for a long weekend there. It’s a fun place, but not someplace you want to spend a lot of time in. The historic downtown area has many beautiful “Key West” style houses that now sell in the millions. It was probably a wise decision to purchase something there years ago and renovate it. There is a lot of interesting history there, along with the flora and fauna.
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On Saturday, we will leave Marathon and will anchor off of Rodriguez Key for the night. Then head up to Key Biscayne and anchor there for the next night. On Monday morning we plan to cross from Key Biscayne to West End in the Bahamas. We will be in the Gulf Stream for most of this crossing. This great river of the Atlantic flows north at 2.5 mph and when added to our 8.5 mph normal cruising speed, it will enable us to cross in about 10 hours. Right now the weather looks good and the seas should be relatively calm. Just the way you want to do it! Pauline is looking forward to getting her fishing rod set up in hopes of catching some fish along the way!

Hopefully the next update of this blog will be filled with all of our adventures in the Bahamas. But when boating, all plans are written in sand. We are so looking forward to those beautiful turquoise blue waters and white sand beaches, conch fritters, fresh fish and lobster! We also plan on getting good use out of the water maker we just had installed. Fresh water is very hard and expensive to obtain there. No wells and little rainfall, so all drinking water is made by reverse osmosis (which is how our water maker works) and costs about 25 to 50 cents/gallon. We have a 400 gallon water tank on board, but we use about 50 gallons a day per person, drinking, cooking, bathing, laundry, toilet flushing and spraying the salt off the boat, so it adds up fast. It will be interesting for us to see how the area in the Abacos has changed since we were there many years ago cruising on a chartered sailboat. We can’t wait to tell you all about it.

Here’s a picture of all the Kadey Krogen’s currently enjoying the Bahamas! This is an app called Krogen Finder, otherwise known as “Krogen Stalker”. To see who they are, you just have to click on the pin and the boat name pops up. Pretty cool! We are sure to run into some of them while we are there.

All of those green pins are Krogens!

All of those green pins are Krogens!

Until then, fair winds and calm seas . . .

CAT TALES

    Greetings furriends! After months of peace and quiet on the boat, the engine has begun to roar again. We have to admit we are not particularly fond of this development. When the engine roars, it means that the boat will move. We haven’t moved in some time, so it’s going to take some getting used to again. When we are underway, we assume our positions under the chairs in the salon. This is where we feel safe. Mom has decided to give us some medication which makes us very sleepy. This also ensures that we don’t throw up! After about four hours it wears off and by then we are used to the motion and start walking around. It’s been pretty calm so far, so it’s not too bad.

    The good thing about this moving of the boat is that we are getting to see some new sights! That’s always interesting. When we got to Fort Myers there were a lot of people who wanted to see us again. Last year we would sit on the anchor pulpit and look down on people walking by. This year we backed into the slip, so we could only watch people walking on the dock from our cat tree on the back pouch. The people all say nice things to us as they walk by.

    Helping dad open his birthday present

    Helping dad open his birthday present


    My favorite spot!

    My favorite spot!

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    It’s been really purrty quiet for us lately. No big excitement. We’ve been just hanging out, sleeping, playing and being pampered. We’ve both been behaving too. I don’t think we’ve gotten into any trouble at all since our last writing. We’ve occasionally hidden ourselves purrty well so that mom and dad can’t find us. The engine room has a lot of great hiding places, but can be very noisy at times! Pema did take the opportunity to jump onto the dock, but she got caught right away and jumped back on the boat quickly. Meow.

    Here in Marathon we’ve really enjoy sitting on our cat tree and watching pelicans diving in the water. We also have seen these big, fat, slow moving creatures in the water around the boat. We don’t think they are fish. I think I heard mom calling them manatees, or something like that. I also think that she posted a photograph of one in this blog somewhere. (By the way, she takes way too many pictures of us.) We’ve become pretty accomplished at catching big dragon flies too! The weather has been so nice here and we’ve been spending a lot of time outside.
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    Bird watching!

    Bird watching!

    My new favorite hiding spot!

    My new favorite hiding spot!

    Hello Mr. Manatee!

    Hello Mr. Manatee!


    There has been a lot of talk again about moving. Meow. This time they’ve been talking about someplace called the “Bahamas”. Mom keeps telling us how blue the water is there, just like our eyes. She also has told us we will then be in another country! Well, that’s purity exciting. We can now say we are international traveling cats.

    Well that’s it for now. Next time we’ll tell you all about our adventures in the Bahamas.

    Respectfully submitted,

    Ming & Pema, boat cats

Still in Stuart . . . but getting ready for cruising!

At Trawler Fest Riviera Beach

At Trawler Fest Riviera Beach

It’s now March and we are still in Stuart Florida and will be here until about March 20. Next Dance will be on display at the Kadey Krogen Open House here in Stuart on March 18 and 19. After that show we will be free to begin cruising and we can’t wait! We are itching to get on the move. One more boat show was scheduled for mid-June in Essex Connecticut. We were happy to learn that the entire boat show has been cancelled. It would have been quite a push to get up there. We think that our boat show commitments are now complete.

Our current plan is to leave here right after the Open House and then cross over to the Gulf side of Florida via Lake Okeechobee. We will spend a little time in Fort Meyers and then head down to Marathon Key. From there we will head up to Miami and cross over to the Bahamas. Hopefully we won’t have to wait too long, if at all, for a good weather window. We plan to spend about five weeks in the Abacos Islands. We are looking forward to having our own boat in those beautiful turquoise waters. We can’t wait to go swimming and do some snorkeling there. While there, Scott (Mark’s son) and Emily (Scott’s girlfriend) will be joining us for a week. Also joining us for about five days, is Louise Crowley, a very good friend from Wisconsin. Can’t wait to have some fun in the sun with them! Once we are back in the States, we will begin working our way North for the season. We are looking forward to visiting many historic ports along the way; St. Augustine, Charlestown, Washington DC, Annapolis to name a few. We are hopeful that our two granddaughters, Ellie and Anna, will be able to join us sometime this summer for a week all to ourselves! It would be the first time in many, many years. They are now 13 and 15. The time goes so quickly and we want to be able to share this part of our lives with them while they still enjoy hanging out with us (why would they ever want to stop hanging out with such fun grandparents??). We hope this will be one of those memorable times for them with us. They have incredibly busy schedules, so hopefully we can work something out. Heather, their mom, will join us somewhere another time when the girls are busy doing something else.

Ellie and Anna enjoying some Wisconsin snow!

Ellie and Anna enjoying some Wisconsin snow!

It has been a very chilly and wet winter here in Southeast Florida. However, the weather has now changed and the days are getting very warm. But we can’t complain too much because we know how cold the rest of the country REALLY is. We are sad to be missing a ski trip to Big Sky Montana with friends. But they were kind enough to call us while there and also ask Pauline some cooking questions. We are very hopeful that they will change their ski vacation into a “fun in the sun” vacation and meet us in the Bahamas next year!

Let’s see, what has happened since Christmas? Well first, we had a very fun New Year’s Eve rafting up with a group of Kadey Krogen boats – 17 to be exact! What a fun experience. Here are a few pictures of the group anchored in a little cove off of the St. Lucie River. A fun time was had by all. The ladies danced the night away on the deck of Galactic, a Kadey Krogen 55.
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The night before we went to the raft-up, Pauline was sitting in the salon and Mark was on the aft deck, when she heard a crash down below. As she got up to investigate, Ming came out of the office and Pema was right behind her. Ming was not putting any weight on her left hind leg. Not a good sign. Of course it’s New Year’s Eve weekend, and of course, a Friday. Pauline took Ming to the vet the next morning and found that she had broken her foot. She needed to go to an Orthopedic Surgeon, which was going to have to wait until Monday before we could get her in. Poor thing had to go through the weekend hopping around, and probably in pain. Thankfully, she did not need surgery. They put a lower leg cast on her. That was the good news. The bad news was that she had to be confined in a cage for two weeks so that she was not jumping around. She was definitely not pleased about this. We think that Pema actually felt sorry for her! She would go up to the cage and lick her (aka “kisses”). Ming had her cast changed every two weeks and X-rays taken. She healed well after six weeks and is thrilled not to have a cast on anymore. She’s back to herself! Although, a bit more cranky when getting picked up. Her experience at the vets has left a bad taste in her mouth!
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In February, Next Dance was on display at Trawler Fest in Riviera Beach for several days. She showed very well and we think Kadey Krogen left with a number of good prospects. During the show rented a little cottage. After the show was over, Pauline and the cats joined Mark onboard and were able to ride back North to Stuart. The weather was nice, so we able to run outside in the ocean. The big surprise for Pauline was that she took Next Dance out of the slip, and out to the inlet to the Atlantic Ocean! Was she nervous – yes! But she had a captain next to her to make sure she didn’t get into any trouble. Mark was outside handling the lines. He was a probably a bit nervous having this rookie at the helm maneuvering our boat out of the slip and marina. The captain complimented her for being at ease – although he did remind her to breathe occasionally. Oh, while we were there, this cute Manatee popped his head up to say “Hi”.
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Generally we have been working on boat projects, eating, drinking, watching sunsets, visiting with fellow boaters, etc. On February 20 we were with a contingent of about 150 boats for the annual Blessing of the Fleet. It was a fun gathering, and simply great to get out on the water on a beautiful sunny day. We invited several other people to join us. We took the opportunity to also perform a “naming ceremony” where we officially named her “Next Dance”. IMG_5274

Friends along for the ride for "The Blessing of the Fleet"

Friends along for the ride for “The Blessing of the Fleet”

We visited our friends in Naples, Kirby and Susan Shoaf and Jean and Scott Hickey. We are looking forward to catching up again with them once we are in Fort Meyers. Jean and Scott are being very gracious and allowing us to keep our car in their garage while we are cruising this year.

My bestie, Susan

My bestie, Susan

Kirby and Pauline in his wine cellar picking out something tasty! Kirby and Pauline in his wine cellar picking out something tasty![/caption]

In January, Pauline flew out to Scottsdale to visit her friends Joanne Masica, Vicki Morgan, Doni Mathis and Bonnie Guthrie. The weather wasn’t great, but spending time with best friends certainly was!

Fun in Scottsdale!

Fun in Scottsdale!

We also had good friends Anita and Don join us for an overnight onboard. We met them while doing the Loop and have remained good friends. And why not, they’re from Wisconsin! Our good friends Barry and Fran also joined us for an overnight. And they even went out on a sunset dinghy ride with us! Who says they don’t do water! They’re even up for joining us in the Bahamas next year. Woohoo! Of course they never cease to amaze us (they are our Amazing Race friends).

Anita and Don onboard

Anita and Don onboard


our Amazing Race friends, Barry and Fran

Our Amazing Race friends, Barry and Fran

Paul Geren is a delivery captain for Kadey Krogen. He and another captain unloaded Next Dance from the container ship and then brought her up to Stuart for commissioning back in October. Paul is also makes half-hulls as a hobby and made us one of the Kadey Krogen 48 hull. It is proudly on display in our salon!
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Pauline is doing some serious provisioning prior to our trip to the Bahamas. Grocery shopping is limited there and also very expensive. So she’s purchasing dry goods and canned goods that we know we will need while there. Of course, she has also stocked up on wine, beer and liquor as well! The only thing that is not expensive there is Rum! We are hoping to catch fresh fish from time to time . . . but you know how fishing goes! Fingers crossed!

Mark is attending a course at Chapman’s School of Seamanship to get his “six-pack” Captain’s License, which would allow him to take out up to six paying customers. Not that he plans on using it as a “captain”, but it’s good to have and he really wants to see if he can still learn something new at his age and pass a test! Pauline will be working with a captain for a few days while Mark is at school to learn how to dock and handle the boat. Something she feels is important to know should there be an emergency. Actually, a great thing to know no matter what! What a feeling of accomplishment she will have to be able to dock this boat. And passing the exam would a great accomplishment for Mark as well. The exam is very difficult with a very low pass rate. Wishing him luck!

So time is winding down here for us, but we are so ready to get moving and doing what we planned to do – cruise and explore! If any of our good friends will be on the east coast this summer/early fall, please let us know and with any luck we can connect! A shout out to our old friend Len Caldwell – “we must meet you somewhere”!

Update: Mark has passed his exam for his six-pack Captain’s license and Pauline has graduated from docking and boat handling course on Next Dance, where she encountered some interesting circumstances with wind and current.
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Update: The Open House is over and a Scotch has been poured! We are leaving here tomorrow a.m. at 7:00 a.m. to begin our journey over to Fort Meyers. Exciting times ahead!
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Update: We pulled out of the slip at Loggerhead Marina in Stuart at a little after 7:00 a.m. this morning, Sunday, 3/20. The journey begins . . .

Until the next time, fair winds and calm seas. Let the adventure begin!

Pauline and Mark Masuhr

CAT TALES – THE ADVENTURES OF MING AND PEMA

Well furriends, the year didn’t start off so well for me (Ming). You won’t believe it, but my sister pushed me off of the desk and I broke my foot! I had to spend six weeks in a cast, and the first two weeks I was confined to a cage because I wasn’t supposed to be running around and jumping. Geez! What a pain (literally) that was! I felt like I was on display at the zoo. To say the least, I was pretty mad at Pema. She did feel pretty guilty though and treated me pretty nice during that time. I’m glad to report that I have completely healed and pretty much back to normal. I couldn’t walk on it right after they took the cast off, but now I can. I lost a lot of muscle and some hair, but it’s all coming back. Pema is back to being mean to me. But sometimes I put her in her place! Meow. IMG_5138

There’s been a lot of activity on the boat lately. I hear my mom and dad talking about getting ready to leave. Pema and I are actually ready for some different sights to see. We’ve been here a long time it seems. We hear that we are even going to the Bahamas! Wow! I can’t believe we’ll be in a different country. We hear that the fish TV is amazing there.

Some of you may know about Pema’s story of when she was in the dryer when she was a year old. It’s a long story . . . but after my mom and dad spent a few thousand dollars and I gave her a blood transfusion to save her life, she lived to talk about it. Well, here she is in the dryer again! At least it wasn’t running this time. You’d think she’d learn a lesson. Meow.
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We’ve pretty much just been chilling out, soaking up the sun and taking lots of cat naps. Life is purtty good.

We just finished with this Open House thing. I’m pretty social, so I didn’t mind all of the people coming on board and oohing and aahing over me and giving me lots of pets. One lady did it a little too long and I tried to tell her I was done. But she continued so I gave her a good swat and made her bleed! Meow. Pema, the chicken, hid on a shelf in the head. People didn’t even know she was there though.

Mom took us to the vet to get our Health Certificate for our upcoming trip to the Bahamas. We are glad that is over. Not that they did much of anything, but we hate car rides and were glad to get back on the boat. We are looking forward to visiting a new country and seeing that great fish TV everyone is talking about.

OMG! A crazy knitting boat lady made these Packer Hats for Cats for us. Really?? This is humiliating.
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That’s about all for now. We’ll give you an update soon on our upcoming travels!

News Flash! Our mom and dad caught us on the dock. Meow. We thought we’d have a little adventure, but they cut that plan short. We high-tailed it back on the boat pretty quickly. They have forgiven us, but we suspect that they’ll be keeping a closer watch.

Respectfully submitted,

Ming and Pema, boat cats extraordinaire!

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Best Christmas Present Ever!

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Yes, our new boat is absolutely the best Christmas present we could have ever imagined. We closed on our new “Next Dance” on October 20, but we did not move on board right away. We had a commitment to be in the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show the first week of November and decided to wait until that was over and the boat was back in our slip before moving everything on board.

Merry Christmas Florida Style

Merry Christmas Florida Style


The Fort Lauderdale Boat Show is over and Mark, along with another captain, brought Next Dance back to Stuart. I drove back from Fort Lauderdale with the cats. So, we are now officially full-time on the boat! It feels so good not to be moving around from place to place and know that we will be on the boat for the upcoming future. We have emptied our storage locker here and everything is stowed and in place. The boat feels like home. We have actually just finished decorating the outside of boat for Christmas. We’ve had our first two dinner guests and have wowed them with the culinary skills and use of the wonderful galley and grill.

The boat show went well and I think Kadey Krogen came back with a number of good leads. Kadey Krogen does not build “spec” boats, only custom for owners. So they ask owners if they can use their boats for a few shows. They are quite good about the whole experience and shows are at our discretion and our schedule. The Fort Lauderdale Show is the largest in the world – yes, bigger than Miami. It was ungodly hot and also incredibly packed with people. We spent some time at the show, but also spent time at the little house we rented. The house had it’s own pool and a great place to relax. Ming and Pema enjoyed the fenced in yard to wander in. It was nice to get away from it all from time to time.

Here are some pics of the interior of the boat.

Salon - Starboard Side

Salon – Starboard Side


Salon - Port Side

Salon – Port Side


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Galley, Buffet and Wine Fridge!

Galley, Buffet and Wine Fridge!


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Den/Guest Room/Office

Den/Guest Room/Office


Guest Head (aka bathroom)

Guest Head (aka bathroom)

Master Head (aka bathroom)

Master Head (aka bathroom)


Master Stateroom

Master Stateroom

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Pilot House Settee - where the Admiral gives commands to the Captain!

Pilot House Settee – where the Admiral gives commands to the Captain!


The pilot house - where a lot of the action takes place

The pilot house – where a lot of the action takes place

Fly bridge - a great place to watch sunsets and have a cocktail.

Fly bridge – a great place to watch sunsets and have a cocktail.


Single Malt!

Single Malt!

Happy Hour

Happy Hour

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There's room to dance up here!!

There’s room to dance up here!!

These are some pictures of some of the fused glass panels I made that lay on top of the port lights (aka windows) in some of the rooms. I could probably make a lot of money making these if I was so inclined! There was a lot of interest at the boat show. Not sure that I’m up for that. I put the glass panels up for the boat show, but we took them down before Mark brought the boat back up. I hadn’t secured them on the bottom and didn’t want them flopping around on the Atlantic Ocean! We finally have them up!

Fused Glass Overlay of Fish Swimming

Fused Glass Overlay of Fish Swimming

Fused Glass Overlay - it's "an abstract sea anenome" of course!

Fused Glass Overlay – it’s “an abstract sea anenome” of course!

Abstracts in our Stateroom

Abstracts in our Stateroom

We slowly moved our things on board and they are now properly stowed. It is a welcome feeling not to have to think about where the next thing will have to go. Yes, I actually have more room to stow some more kitchen things! Wish I hadn’t taken my ice cream maker back to Denver🙂

Of course, just like a new house, there are little things that are wrong and need to be fixed. We’ve not encountered anything major (hopefully not “yet”). Just some fairly minor things. Kadey Krogen has been superb in getting everything taken care of as quickly as they can. Great customer service!

When Ming and Pema moved back on board, it was just like being on the old boat for them – everything was very familiar with just some new smells. They are once again enjoying the different levels inside and out. They love being outside looking at everything going on around them. They will be very happy not to be moving from place to place for a very long time! We do spoil them. On our previous boat, there was a ladder up to a hatch over the aft deck which they loved to perch on the top step and look at what was going on around them. We decided not to put the ladder in because it couldn’t be used to access the top deck (our dinghy is stored over the hatch), and it opens up more space in the aft deck. There is a yacht carpenter here who does incredible work and has been on board to make one minor repair. He is putting together a prototype cat tree for us of some platforms that will clamp onto a pole in our aft cockpit. If we like it, he’ll build one out of teak. Merry Christmas Ming and Pema! In the meantime, we have purchased a cheapo cat tree for them, but carpeting over cardboard is not the best idea in a salty environment . . . but they are enjoying it.

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We will not be visiting any family for Christmas; it will be just the two of us this year. But we are going to drive over to Naples on 12/27 and spend a belated Christmas with our good friends Kirby and Susan Shoaf, and Jean Woods and Scott Hickey from Milwaukee, who have just built a home there – just around the corner from Kirby and Susan. A good time is sure to be had! We are looking forward to seeing the new home. Here is a pic of Pauline going off to send Christmas packages to the family!

Santa's Helper!

Santa’s Helper!

For New Years Eve, we will be joining 16 other Kadey Krogen’s rafted together in a nearby bay. Some new friends of ours on their 55’boat will serve as the “host” boat for the gathering. This should be a blast! We will be rafting up 3-4 boats on a single anchor and taking our dinghy’s over to the host boat. Pictures from that will be in the next blog. There are 29 Kadey Krogen’s currently in our marina! And more in other surrounding marinas not too far from here. Every Tuesday morning there is a Kadey Krogen breakfast at a local restaurant in Stuart. Recently there have been over 40+ people attending these breakfasts! It really is a family. After the first of the year, boats will start departing for other warm locations. There are a number of people that are heading to the Bahamas. A bit jealous, but we know that it is best for us to stick near the United States this first year. We know things are going to happen on a new boat and want to be close by a full service marina to get them repaired.

But in 2017, our current plan is to head to the Bahamas and then on to the Caribbean. Can’t wait to swim again in that turquoise water again and enjoy the good life down there.

Well, I think that’s it for now. Best wishes to all of you for a wonderful “Holiday”, Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Wishing all of you a happy and healthy 2016 and hope to see some of you somewhere.

Until next time, fair winds and following seas!

Pauline and Mark

“CAT TALES” – The Adventures of Ming and Pema

Santa Paws (Pema)

Santa Paws (Pema)

Santa's Elf (Ming)

Santa’s Elf (Ming)


What can we say furriends, our mom is nuts! She has dressed us up in these goofy Christmas costumes just so she can have a picture. Oh well, I guess we can amuse her for a bit. But we’re not putting up with having them on too long!

We are enjoying our time on board our new home! We find some new spots to hide all the time. Our Mom and Dad will be searching for us and we are playing hide and seek, so of course we must be very quiet and not meow to let them know where we are. Eventually they find us though! Our new favorite place to explore is Dad’s engine room. Wow! Now that’s an exciting place. Plenty of things to hide behind. We don’t know why they don’t like us to be down there. It’s so cool!

What??  It's just the generator.  What's the big deal?

What?? It’s just the generator. What’s the big deal?

We have seen fish jumping out of the water and really big birds flying around too and small boats going by. There are always people coming on board to either do some work or just look at the our pretty new boat. Mom has done a great job of decorating and gets lots of compliments! We’ve explored all of the areas outside on the boat and really like the cat tree that they bought for us! Usually they let us walk around the boat without getting too nervous. If it’s not too windy we like to go on the top deck and sit under the dinghy and look around.

Checking out the dinghy

Checking out the dinghy


Pema

Pema


Yes, I am the Captain!

Yes, I am the Captain!

We’ve been out on the water a couple of times while they practiced anchoring with the new windlass. It was very calm, so we were not bothered at all about being on the move. The engine on this boat is also much more quiet and it doesn’t scare us too much. We hear we’re going out with a lot of people for a big party on New Years Eve. Meow.

Merry Christmas everyone! Hope you all have a Pawsome New Year.

Have a Holly Jolly Christmas!  It's the best time of the year!

Have a Holly Jolly Christmas! It’s the best time of the year!

Respectfully submitted,

Ming and Pema