DECEMBER--Marilyn Returns to Michigan ,Complete Boat Projects for DISCOVERY and others, Celebrate Christmas with CLOUDSPLITTER, and Provision for the Bahamas!

Carl drove me up to Orlando on December 1 so I could fly to Kalamazoo the next day. We stayed in a hotel near the airport so that in the morning, I could catch a shuttle while Carl slept in (departure time was before 7 AM). Left Florida in capri pants, Keen sandals and a t-shirt. Upon arrival in Michigan, headed for the Ladies Room in the airport to find my fleece pants and pullover along with a heavy pair of socks. Friends, Ray Lezotte and Deb Smith, met me at the airport to drive me to Grand Rapids to pick up a car. I'd like to thank Al, Laurie and especially Jamie Forte who let me use Jamie's brand new car!

The first weekend in Kalamazoo was packed full of activities. Attended the Kalamazoo Art Institute's sale with Laura Eiler--purchased a small bowl and platter for use on the boat (yes, it has layers on bubble wrap to protect it from damage). Ann Carter had a jewelry party to raise money for a childrens' charity in Haiti which I attended. Many friends from Pfizer attended Ann's party. What a great opportunity to catch up with what was going on with everyone. Went out for brunch and attended the Chuhuly Exhibition (don't know if I spelled it correctly) with Jackie Baden. What an experience---Dale Chuhuly is an artist that uses blown glass---it is amazing what someone can do with glass.

It snowed almost every day I was in Kalamazoo. Lived there for 25 years and do not recall it being that cold and snowy in early December. Completed all my medical check-ups with a "return in 6 months" (so I will be back to Kalamazoo in June). Stayed with several friends to spread out the hassle of having a guest for too long. Thanks to Ron and Jackie Baden, Laura and Mark Eiler, Sue Harrison and Jeff Price for their hospitality (providing a place to stay) and to Jack and Sue Johnston who also let me use their car for a couple days.

It was great seeing friends and a big relief to complete my check-ups. However, it was wonderful to return back to Carl on DISCOVERY to continue our sailing adventure. While I was gone, Carl completed a couple boat projects on DISCOVERY and helped several boats with electrical and single side band radio problems. Carl also helped install a watermaker on CLOUDSPLITTER.

Celebrated Christmas Eve with Marianne and Doug Taylor on CLOUDSPLITTER. Marianne and I split menu responsibilities. The main course was a beef standing rib roast with Banana Fosters for dessert. Marianne and I were given instructions to pick up some high alcohol content rum so that the dessert would flame. I directed Marianne to some potent stuff---it had a flammable liquid warning lable. When Doug lite the rum that he poured on top of the bananas, the cup containing the rum was flaming along with the dessert!

Pictured below are two photos from Christmas Eve. The first photo is of Carl and I. The second photo is Doug and Marianne.



Christmas Day, Doug, Marianne, Carl and I walked from the Vero Beach Marina down to the ocean. It was cool when we left the boat but warmed up nicely by the time we arrived at the ocean. It was quite windy. (Just a slight detour--One of the tourists on the beach told us to check out an old resort called the Driftwood which we did. The Driftwood menu "touted" free appetizers from 4:00 PM to 7 PM and $1.75 Coronas on Tuesday. Doug, Marianne and I checked it out on the following Tuesday with great disappointment---appetizers were not served until 6:00 just because they were not ready to serve them!) Later Christmas Day afternoon, we attended the Vero Beach Marina Christmas Potluck with about 100 other cruisers. There was so much food but nothing left to take back to the boat.

Pictured below are two photos from our Christmas Day Beach Walk. The first photo is Carl and I. The second photo is of Doug, Marianne, Carl and I.

The last week of December, we started getting serious about provisioning for the Bahamas. Went to Wal-mart to purchase canned and dry goods. Everyone tells us to carry canned and dry goods for the entire stay in the Bahamas which for us is 3 to 4 months!. I don't know about you but I have no idea how much food we need for 3 to 4 months. My strategy is to get as much on board as possible and go from there. Still have to pick up meat and other perishables.

Many thanks to Keith Reynolds and Rose Miles on CAMELOT who let us use their car during our stay at Vero Beach. The car was used to take me to Orlando and pick me up, pick up Marianne and Doug Taylor when they returned from Rochester, NY and then just daily runs for provisioning and project supplies.

The photo below is of dolphins in Indian River. I was so excited to see my first dolphin in Cape May last September and that excitement has not diminished. See dolphins every day swimming around the mooring at Vero Beach Marina.


Pictured below is one of many beautiful sunsets viewed from our mooring at Vero Beach.

Below is a picture of the dinghy dock at Vero Beach. Essentially, the boat is our home and the dinghy is our car. Every time we go into shore---this is what the dinghy parking lot looks like!

Met two more couples who own Saga 43s: Gina and Peter Starr on LUMEN arrived at Vero Beach Marina just before Christmas; plus. Pat and Duane Marshall on NO Se, who have a Saga 43 at another marina in Vero Beach. Additionally, friends, Dick and Pat Peebles, on HANANIAH brought their Saga 43 into Vero Beach on December 31. This means there are six Saga 43s in Vero Beach which represents over 10% of the fleet. Five of the six boats plan to cross to the Bahamas together.

New Years Eve will be covered in our January update. Right now, we are getting anxious to start moving. Been "stuck in Velcro Beach too long".

Marilyn Thoreson
January 1, 2006