Saturday, December 22, 2012

Our First Night In The New Home

Yay! We moved in yesterday afternoon. The previous owners are Canadian so we had to wait for Transport Canada to release the vessel from Canadian Registry before we could do the final closing and move aboard. We got the great news at 11:30 Friday morning and couldn't be more elated. If it didn't get done Friday the holidays would have interfered and the thought of staying in the Bates Motel, I mean Fountain Resort, for several more days was frightening. Kudos to the Canadian Authorities for turning the paperwork around in less than 2 days. If we had to do this in the U.S., I can only think we would be lucky if it got done in 2 weeks.

We made a couple of trips bringing our belongings and two cats from the hotel on board, ordered some pizza, poured some glasses of wine and made a toast to our new home and adventure. The cats seem to feel relieved to be here too and had fun exploring their new home. They immediately found the most obscure hiding places that we didn't know existed.

As we finally started relaxing we realized it was getting quite cold here in Florida. By midnight it was in the high 30's ! I thought we left that weather behind in New England. It is funny that down here a winter "severe weather alert" means you should put on a jacket before you go out so you don't get cold. In New England it means 6 inches of snow and ice. I got more than a few comments from some locals earlier in the evening about how I was outside wearing shorts. To me, 55 degrees at this time of year is a heat wave.

The boating community has already impressed us. Everyone is so friendly and will give you a hand or advice on a moments notice. We have already met two other couples on boats here in the marina who are doing exactly as we are and are staging here preparing to cross over to the Bahamas in the next few weeks. As we were emptying our hotel room out we met another couple staying there that are about to board their boat, which is a sister ship to ours only two years older. They are preparing to go to the Bahamas but have already sailed North to Canada and South through many of the islands in the Caribbean over the past several years. Friends are easy to make and we look forward to running into them again as our travels overlap.

Our immediate challenge over the next few days is to get rid of STUFF. Although we purged our house and most of our belongings we seem to have brought about 10 times more STUFF than we can fit on board. I guess I don't need these ski pants, although they would have come in handy last night. Do we really need 4 extra comforters? We won't even talk about extra pairs of shoes. Not knowing all the things the previous owners were leaving us we brought many extra kitchen accessories, cleaning supplies and unneeded maintenance items which will have to find a new home as well as too many clothes. There are some tables at the marina where you put things you don't need and if other boaters can use them they take them. I see some full tables coming their way over the next week.

Monday, December 17, 2012

We made it to Florida!

The last 5 days have been a whirlwind of events. By Thursday afternoon the house was empty with all of our belongings loaded up in The Beast (alias Pop Pop's big old Chrysler) and a rented minivan. We slept on the floor in a few layered blankets, woke up early and were on the road to Florida at 8:30 A.M. Tears flowed as we said good bye to Evan who stayed with us to the final night and continued to be such a huge help in getting us on our way. The folks buying our home were doing the final walk through before closing shortly thereafter and the closing was scheduled for 10:30 AM. I see the money in the bank so I guess everything went smoothly and the new owners are enjoying our old home as much as we did.

Off we went with me in the minivan followed by Gayleen in The Beast. Being anxious to get to Florida we decided to drive straight through. First, note to self, for future reference do not go through the Baltimore / D.C. area at evening rush hour on a Friday night. We lost about 2 hours there  but our friendly GPS was nice enough to lead us past the Lincoln Memorial and a couple other interesting sights. We were doing well after that until it got to the point where we both needed sleep. At this point we were in North Carolina. The problem was that between D.C. and North Carolina the outside temperature went from 56 degrees to 30 degrees! How does this happen driving South? Needless to say that the plans to sleep for a few hours got slashed to about a little over an hour because it got too cold in the car to sleep. After a few short nap and drive cycles the sun rose and we crossed into Georgia and then across the Florida border. We were doing well until a little after noon time when we both started crashing and needed to figure out how to make it through 2 more hours. Gayleen bought a Monster drink and started on a buzz wide awake, then she convinced me to drink the second half. Well, it had the opposite effect on me and just accelerated my tiredness. One more nap and we were on the last leg to Fort Pierce, Florida. Our home for this week is the "lovely" Fountain Resort Hotel. I could do a whole blog post on this so called resort. Let's just say The Bates Motel has this place beat by a wide margin.

Today, Monday, we had the Boat Survey and Sea Trial. Of course Gayleen thought she was cute and funny when the boat was on the hard...

Little did she know that after the splashdown...

She would be talking to bridge operators on the VHF radio to open the draw bridge for us and then simultaneously steering the boat, working the engine and tailing the main halyard while Bruce was up front raising the sails. The surveyor and current owners wanted to break us in right away and delegated it all to us telling us the sooner we get comfortable the better. We all had a nice chuckle when Gayleen was hailing the draw bridge operator speaking into the back of the microphone. The Surveyor was very nice and gently grabbed hold of the microphone and turned it the right way for her. She took control and with a nice "Windstar 4 is clear, thank you" to the bridge operator she threw in an "over and out" and we were on our way.

We are very excited that the soon to be named "Pearl" passed the Survey and Sea Trials without any concerns. The Surveyor could find nothing wrong with her and we are fast on our way to jumping through all the bureaucratic paperwork to finalize the purchase of our new home.

Pearl is now sitting at a slip in Harbortown Marina in Fort Pierce which will be our home base for the next 3 to 4 weeks as we get familiar with the boat. The current owners are amazing and generous people. They have scheduled training sessions for us on the boat systems and maintenance for a couple of hours each afternoon for the rest of the week. Hopefully we get to move aboard by the end of the week.

Here are some of our new noisy neighbors...

Friday, December 7, 2012

Letting Go

This is the first post to kick off the Adventures Of Pearl blog. It will be a work in progress and as we get settled it will be a fun way to share our experiences with family, friends, and friends to be.

We are currently in a frantic race to divest ourselves of all our land based belongings. The house has been sold and the closing is less than one week away. The plan is to be on the road on Friday morning and to head straight to Florida for the final inspection and purchase of our new home.

At first, the giving away and selling of all the belongings we have used to define ourselves with was unnerving and scarey. As we got deeper into the process we realized how all these items were not us and did not define us. They were just a lot of stuff we moved from place to place and most of the time never used. It is a very refreshing feeling to not have all this baggage that we have to drag along in our lives and worry about.

We chose a boat name!

After many iterations of humorous and not so humorous names we settled on naming our new home "Pearl". The name has special meaning to us as it is Gayleen's mother's name, but it is even more special because we remember Pearl as being happy-go-lucky and always up for an adventure on a moment's notice. She was also a very warm and caring person. We look forward to " Pearl " caring for us and making our journey a fun and safe experience.

We will be saying good bye to our home on the "Cul-De-Sac" in which we enjoyed 18 wonderful years in watching our boys grow up as well as sharing so many great times with a great group of neighbors. By the way, thank you to our neighbors for the generous gift card. We used it to purchase a Pentax Optio WG-2 16MP waterproof digital camera to help chronicle our adventures.

We look forward to our next destinations which will be many.

Special shout outs:

First, to our youngest son Evan for being the master of Craigslist. He managed the sale and give away of much of what we have. We couldn't have done it without him.

Second, to our middle son Trevor for going with us to Annapolis to look at boats and listening to us talking about this one boat in Florida all day long. On the ride back home he clearly told us to get to Florida immediately and look at it. He was right, that boat is going to be our new home.

Third, to our oldest son Brandon for continually pushing us to pursue our dream even when he thought we wouldn't. For that we say...we told you we would do it!

Thank you sons for your support and encouragement.
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