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.
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.
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!
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”.
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”.
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.
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!
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).
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ming and Pema, boat cats extraordinaire!