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WHERE IN THE WORLD IS DESTINY?

April 15th, 2013 No comments

OK, I’ve been very lax in keeping the blog updated, and I felt a little guilty when a blog follower posed this question recently.

Truth is that Destiny has moved from one hemisphere to another since the last post on Ibiza.  We spent a delightful fall season in Menorca and Mallorca before Destiny shipped from Palma to West Palm Beach in late October, 2012.

Cala Coves is a small harbor on Menorca that is famous for caves. . .

Cala Coves is a small harbor on Menorca that is famous for caves. . .

and primative carvings.

and primative carvings.

Mallorca had its share of small anchorages with remote beaches that could only be reached by boat.

Jolie enjoyed the tiny beach at Cala Calobra on the north coast of Mallorca near Soller. . .

Jolie enjoyed the tiny beach at Cala Calobra on the north coast of Mallorca near Soller. . .

but also thought the scenery at Soller was pretty spectacular.

but also thought the scenery at Soller was pretty spectacular.

To recap all our adventures in the Spanish Balearic Islands is impossible. . .but I am certain we will return at some point to this magical part of the world.

We made wonderful friends, Carol and Pat Kelly in Soller on the north coast of Mallorca and visited their lovely home in Deia.  

Soller is a charming village on the north coast of Mallorca with a protected harbor. . .

Soller is a charming village on the north coast of Mallorca with a protected harbor. . .

where we met Pat Kelley on his Hinckley Southwest 50 yawl. . .two flag blue boats with American flags caused quite a stir in Soller.

where we met Pat Kelly on his Hinckley Southwest 50 yawl. . .two flag blue boats with American flags caused quite a stir in Soller.

We toured the sites of world famous Palma known for its quiet sophistication and world class restaurants and outdoor cafes.

One of Palma's many street cafes. . .

One of Palma’s many street cafes. . .

had the added attraction of street performers. . .music and movement, all very sensual.

had the added attraction of street performers. . .music and movement, all very sensual.

Palma is a world class port, with impressive architecture.

Palma's Gothic Cathedral is surrounded by lush gardens, walkways and fountains. . .

Palma’s Gothic Cathedral is surrounded by lush gardens, walkways and fountains. . .

and dominates the harbor even from this birdseye view.

and dominates the harbor even from this birdseye view.

Then as fall approached, Kent readied Destiny for shipping arranged by Peters & May.  Next thing we knew Destiny was offloaded in West Palm Beach in early November, and we were back in the good ole USA.

A typical day in the ICW off West Palm Beach is CRAZY!!!

A typical day in the ICW off West Palm Beach is CRAZY!!!

We wintered on the East coast of Florida, visiting and making friends along the way.  Thanks to the hospitality of Rick Howard we spent a pleasant Thanksgiving in Vero Beach and were welcomed by Mike Bachman for Christmas and New Years in Stuart, Florida. 

 

Christmas at Mike's Place. . .Creekside south.

Christmas at Mike’s Place. . .Creekside south.

 

Our impression of Florida has definitely changed having spent the last several months traveling down and now up the coast.

But selling Destiny is still a priority so now we are heading north to the Annapolis area to take advantage of the spring selling season there.  We have been on board for about 13 months now except for brief breaks and are looking forward to heading to Montana for a couple of months this summer.

Our trip north, primarily on the ICW is quite a different experience for us.  First of all the water is shallow and there are lots of bridges.  The channel is narrow so it keeps us on our toes.  We had become accustomed to the deep water of the Med and adjusting to the fathometer reading 5 ft. or less is unnerving.

We know the bridge has clearance of 65 ft. and our mast is 61 ft. but as you approach it doesn't seem possible that we can clear.

We know the ICW fixed bridges have clearance of 65 ft. and our mast is 61 ft. but as you approach it doesn’t seem possible that we can clear.

The wild life is amazing—manatees, dolphins, hawks and eagles inhabit the area. 

Pelicans seem to guard every bridge. . .

Pelicans seem to guard every bridge. . .

 

while Manatees appear to be kissing as they come alongside. . .

while Manatees appear to be kissing as they come alongside. . .

but the "wildlife" at the famous Dixie Crossroads Restaurant in Titusville is very tame.

but the “wildlife” at the famous Dixie Crossroads Restaurant in Titusville is very tame. . .they are famous for red shrimp.

Titusville, where we spent several days this week is a 20 minute drive from the Kennedy Space Center, which is “out of this world”.  The interactive exhibits and IMAX productions were amazing.  We rode in a Mars landing craft and shuttle simulators and saw distant galaxies through the Hubble telescope in a 3-D IMAX film, along with our friends, Bill and Jean on Soliel Sans Fin who just returned from the Med this fall too. 

The entrance to the Kennedy Space Center.

The entrance to the Kennedy Space Center includes a moving tribute to the former President.

We made a simulated landing on Mars. . .

We made a simulated landing on Mars. . .

and we both tried our hand at landing the space shuttle. . .crashes!!!

and we both tried our hand at landing the space shuttle. . .crashes!!!

Not all the action at the Kennedy Space Center was serious.

Friend Jean took this picture as we were "trapped" in a mirror maze at the Angry Birds in Space exhibit.

Jean took this picture as we were “lost” in a mirror maze at the Angry Birds in Space exhibit.

Our trip north will take us through St. Augustine, Savannah and Charlestown—all promising new experiences, but I have to admit that I miss the Med, the culture and our many friends in the cruising community.  More adventures to follow.

Categories: Uncategorized Tags:

SAILING THE ICW. . .REALLY!

April 14th, 2013 No comments

April 9, 2013 was a perfect day in all respects as we headed from an anchorage off Dragon Point near Eau Gallie, Florida to Titusville approximately 30 NM north on the ICW.

 

Destiny in the ICW with a happy captain. . .actually sailing.

Destiny in the ICW with a happy captain. . .actually sailing.

The day started with a blue sky tinged with pink as the sun rose.  The wind was light from the SE but picked up later in the day giving Kent the opportunity to sail more than half of the 5-6 hour trip.  

Jean on Soliel Sans Fin captured some amazing pictures of Destiny that day.

 

See got this panoramic shot of us with a bridge in the background. . .

Jean got this panoramic shot of Destiny with a bridge in the background. . .

 

and another couple as we approached a bridge. . .

and another couple as we approached a bridge. . .

yes, we made it. . .with inches to spare.

yes, we made it. . .with inches to spare.

It is really nice to be traveling with someone so handy with a camera.

Here we are anchored after a long day.

Here we are anchored after a long day.

Thank you, Jean for these memories.

Categories: Florida.ICW, Uncategorized, USA Tags:

ALCUDIA ANNIVERSARY

September 15th, 2012 No comments

Every August 31st we treat ourselves to a night on shore to celebrate our anniversary.  Prior anniversaries have been spent in picturesque and popular places such as Corfu.  In 2012 we were on Mallorca in the Spanish Balaeric Islands and spent our anniversary in the idyllic walled city of Alcudia.

The Alcudia walls were necessary fortifications when constructed. . .

but narrow streets. . .

with outdoor cafes. . .

and ornate buildings like the Town Hall make it a special place indeed.

Finding the right mix of budget friendly luxury for our anniversary involves lots of on-line research which is half the fun.  This year’s choice was Can’ Pere within the walls of the ancient city.

The entrance to Can' Pere is unassuming. . .

but inside the dining room. . .

and courtyard are tastefully decorated with modern touches.

Can’ Pere has only six or seven rooms and it’s primary attraction is the restaurant that occupies the dining room and courtyard during the lunch and dinner hours.  The rooms, which are up a rather steep set of stairs are each unique and tastefully furnished with luxurious linens–perfect for a romantic rendezvous.

Our room at Can' Pere was charming. . .

with modern appointments set against the backdrop of ancient stone walls.

Oh yes, and for me the piece d’ resistance was a bathtub.  It also happened to be in only hotel in the area that would accept a dog–which Jolie greatly appreciated.

After touring the maze of streets within the walled city and taking a leisurely nap, it was time for dinner in the garden courtyard.

I got a view of the softly lit courtyard. . .

while Kent's view was of me, and the wall of course. . .ever the gentleman.

This was our ninth anniversary, and we look forward to many more.  The only question is where will the next one be?  Somewhere exotic, if I have my way.

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, Kent!

Categories: Europe, Spain, Uncategorized Tags:

BARBARY COAST MEETS DISNEYLAND

June 16th, 2012 No comments

We had been forewarned that Port Yasmine, just south of the town of Hammamet, situated on a long stretch of white sand beach that outlines the Gulf of Hammamet was very much like Fort Lauderdale.

White hotels line white sand beaches. . .

that lure primarily European vacationers.

Interestingly, between the 16-19th Centuries this coast was controlled by Barbary pirates who made frequent raids into northern Mediterranean countries to capture Christians for sale as slaves for the Islamic and Middle Eastern markets of North Africa.

Modern Tunisians have capitalized on this history by offering vacationers a “pirate experience” that rivals Disneyland.  In Port Yasmine there are three pirate ship excursions to choose from.

Each of the three "pirate" ships has. . .

plastic faux trim. . .

including plastic bow sculptures. . .BTW the unicorn has anatomical features not appearing on children's toys.

Along with faux ships, there are faux pirates.

Some faux "pirates" swing from rigging for the amusement of passengers. . .

while others stand sentry at restaurants on shore.

The 700 slip marina rivals those in other parts of the Med in size, but the parallel to Florida extends to the land based activities as well.  Port Yasmine is an insular vacation mecca on the North African coast that is filled with tourists, doing all the touristy things that tourists do.

Destiny (center) amid the many masts. . .

only risk parasailors in the rigging.

Like Disneyland, Port Yasmine and the surrounding area is an all-inclusive vacation spot.

Disney size hotel complexes with all inclusive rates. . .

have faux castles. . .although smaller than Cinderella's.

Once outside the hotel you have your choice of transportation.

Horse drawn carriages decorated with flowers. . .

mini motorcycle taxis. . .

The Islamic influence is evident in the absence of alcohol from the pirate ships and even the cafes adjacent to the marina.  Fresh juice drinks and gelato dominate the daytime cafe menus, with wine and spirits only available at restaurants.

One of the many cafes in the marina. . .

specializes in fresh squeezed orange juice. . .no ice.

Not all the tourists who flock to Port Yasmine are European.  It is also visited by native Tunisian families and tourists from Middle Eastern countries.   Many of the women wear head scarfs and are covered head to foot–but not in the traditional black or white.  This style of dress appears to be a fashion statement, as designer logo wear is prevalent especially among young women.

Notice the difference in dress between the two women, one older and one younger.

The Tunisians we have met have been friendly and welcoming.  Tourism is big business along the North Africa coast, although we are anxious to see beyond the plastic environment of Port Yasmine to the “real” Tunisia.

Categories: North Africa, Tunisia, Uncategorized Tags:

BABY, IT’S COLD OUTSIDE!

January 19th, 2012 No comments

      Now that the holidays are over and the New Year has begun, we are settled into our cozy apartment in Missoula, Montana, monitoring the weather on two continents and once again wondering “what were we thinking” when we decided to spend the winter months in chilly Montana.

      Although having a traditional “White Christmas” with family was wonderful, the New Year brought a weather pattern that included balmy temperatures (40 and approaching 50 F.) and not enough mountain snow for good skiing. . .that is, until 48 hours ago.

     A fierce Pacific storm came barreling down from the NW depositing record snowfall in Seattle and Portland, and burying Missoula in 15 inches of new snow. 

Our mailbox tells the story. . .fluffy snow, no wind.

     Just days ago the mountains surrounding Missoula were golden brown against the bright blue winter sky—not the usual winter landscape.

Mountains surrounding Missoula have been bare

     Now we are living in a winter wonderland.

The mountains are now covered with snow. . .

and icy mountain streams meander through the frosty landscape.

      Missoulians are a hearty bunch, and quite accustomed to dealing with snow.  Nothing keeps them inside.

Whether a solitary stroll through the snow. . .

clearing the sidewalks with man's best friend. . .

picnic, anyone?

     The good news is the great skiing.  Kent skiied in two feet of powder at the local mountain, aptly called “Snow Bowl” yesterday and assuming that the sun comes out in the next couple days I will hit the slopes too.  For now, I’ll enjoy the scenery and try to stay warm.

Enough snow already!

     Destiny is secure in her winter home of Marina di Ragusa where the temperature is approaching 60 F. and with any luck our cruising compatriots are enjoying sunshine while we wallow in snow.

      In a mere 42 days Kent will be on his way back to Sicily and Jolie and I will follow two weeks later.  Truth be told, we can’t wait to get back.

Jolie is ready to be "sea dog" again instead of "snow dog"

      We are planning to head west this summer and be in the warm waters of the Caribbean this time next year.  Places to see and things to do. . .that is what the adventure is all about.  It promises to be a good year.