Saturday, January 31, 2009


Where oh where will it all go? We keep emptying the house and garage and loading things on the boat - but the boat space is quickly disappearing. Every little "hidey hole" seems to be filed with the appropriate container to take full advantage of that space. We've squeezed rolls of toilet paper and paper towels into every spare inch and still looking for some space for glass salsa and pickle jars! The good news is that we fit all the wine (in socks) under the floor boards. (Thanks guys!) So at least we'll enjoy some nice wine. The V-berth is now the boat's "attic" - but guests - fear-not - we'll make room for you to visit.

The storage unit is filled to the brim (we're still saving way too much stuff). But the good news is the house is relatively empty.

We've spent the last several days going through a series of emotions. Exhilaration - we are going cruising!! (hopefully soon!) Exhaustion - loading stuff, stuffing stuff. Frustration - breaking things or finding broken things. Anger - a distinct dislike of insurance companies. (hint: don't take care of yourself by having any tests - they will be held against you by insurance companies!!!) Disappointment - we won't be leaving on Sunday. Gratefulness - for a terrific family and friends. And for each other.

Hopefully departure will be mid- to late next week. We can't afford to stay here - we keep going out to dinners with friends and spending way too much money (though we're enjoying the company, laughs and tasty treats and adult beverages.)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Oatmeal and Tuna and Beans...Oh My!

Provisioning continues - most of the food and paper products are bought (except for the last minute breads, cheeses, butters, milk etc). Now comes the real challenge - fitting it onto the boat. It looks like so much. Let me know if you want the complete list of what I've got - I have an inventory. The goal was to get as much in the states as possible - it's cheaper than on the islands and you can't find everything (like Ritz crackers and artichoke hearts). We'll eat fresh whenever possible. There are provisioning stops along the way - but this is the major one. When we get to the San Blas Islands (off Panama) - there will be no easy provisioning. So this will come in handy. I've spent close to $1000 on food (including meat), cleaning supplies, and paper products.

Still trying to sell the truck - and Michael has some folks interested in buying a big scuba tank (he's gonna replace it with a smaller one - again that limited space thing). Still waiting on health insurance - though it looks like the boat insurance is just about done. One down - one to go!

Today's agenda - a meeting with the attorney to finish up some stuff; storage unit filling (today is the rest of the furniture to see what really fits) and starting to do fuel runs for the boat. Michael's been doing lots of boat projects (installing a new lock on the hatch; putting our lights and whistles on our new life jackets; and organizing.)

On Sunday - I hauled his butt up the mast - and made him make all kind of promises to me(before I would bring him down!)...he changed the tri-color light bulb to a LED (energy saving); strung several yards of fishing line to keep the osprey off(didn't work); checked all the rigging; put on the radar reflector; and put stainless wire over the spreaders to keep birds off(did work). Off to the attorney, more later!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

From the other boat system

We are getting excited and frustrated at the same time. Don't quite know how that is possible. This is really another test to see if we can use all the methods available by HF to update this page. The last note from the boat was from the paid system, this is by winlink. The one Michael had to learn code for, and then learned if he waited two months code would not have been required for his ham license. Not bitter at all!!!

Anyway. Sitting on the boat this morning listening to the Cruisheimers net on the SSB and will send this out after the net. We have heard from Jack and he is making good progress, I hope we can catch up to him sometime soon. Todays projects include a thorough emptying of the garage and cleaning it out. Then if time permits a trip up the mast to replace the mast head tri-color light with LED bulbs. We really are trying to get completely out of the house by Wednesday. We will see!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Helping Jump Start the Economy


A new man is in the White House and we're doing our part to help him get off to a good start by helping the economy. We are spending like we're going away for years!!! (oh wait, we are.)

Provisioning continues - the once clean front room is filling up with bags and bags of food stuffs. (Sorry about all the plastic landfill - we will recycle - but even we don't have enough canvas bags to cover this kind of shopping.) The med kits and first aid lockers are done and on-board. The meat is bought. Froze the steaks, burgers, pork chops, pork loin, pork tenderloin and chicken. Cooked a lot yesterday (a roast beef, pork loin and meatloaf) and packed, sealed and froze those. Don't know how much the freezer will actually hold - guess we won't be taking the much loved Ben & Jerry's.

Today just got back from another provisioning run, coupons in hand. Needed two carts by the end...filling them with lots of canned goods (of every ethnic original for menu variety), side dishes, soups, oatmeal, veggies etc. Taking a lot less canned soups and veggies this time - though right now it doesn't look it.

It's been a frustrating few days - still dealing with insurance companies (which we are beginning to really hate). You have to jump through so many hoops to give them your money. It's just crazy.

More runs to CASA (charity) with clothes and household stuff; on with things like slide trays to give-away etc. Michael has the garage in pretty good shape now. That was his project the last few days. We also have started the clothes (part deux) purging. Michael's done most of his - Barbara is struggling more (mostly because she anticipates a change in sizes through the trip - hopeful? perhaps - but last time it worked!)

"Do I take these or not - aren't we gonna be naked most of the time??"

Michael has discovered a much needed storage area on the boat - a big space between the lazarette (aft lockers) and the aft cabin. It takes some struggling to get there - but it's great for things like a scuba tank, toilet paper, paper towels and perhaps some "sucked down bags" of towels and linens or our cold clothes once we get out of Florida.

Truck is being advertised on Craig's list and in the paper...hopefully we have it priced for a quick sale (though we need it through next Friday).

The work Sunday is when we'd like to leave (pending all the insurance, truck sale etc.) Time is definitely ticking and we can't wait too much longer and go the route we intend. Hope the stars start aligning for us.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Wine In Socks

As Michael wrote earlier - we had a terrific gathering of some close sailing friends on Sunday evening at Richard and Rene's (thanks) was potluck and we pigged out on great food. A special thank you to all who came and thanks for the wine. As is our ritual, we put wine bottles in socks so they don't clang and break in the bilge where they are stored. Many of our friends delivered their treats in socks of every size and shape - Sandy B's hospital hose; a lovely bright red pair of sailing socks (that we can use after we drink); a very clever sock drawing complete with Astarte hat from JC and Becky; a new pair of fancy "polo" socks and many more...

Plus Michael is the proud owner of some new flip slops - but not just any kind...these can open a beer bottle! Yup - the latest in must have summer attire. Thanks to Sandy, Bill, Richard and Rene.

We will toast you as we sip your gifts in different ports and try to capture the moment and blog it. You guys are all great and we'll miss you.

Will Three Jars of Sweet Pickle Relish Be Enough?

Provisioning has begun. The collection is spreading in the "empty" front room. Michael and I were waiting for appointments today and ran into a Publix to go down one aisle and start gathering some food-stuffs. We picked the condiments aisle and selected salad dressings, barbeque sauces, pickles, relishes, etc. We also picked up big jugs of olive oil and some baking supplies (flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, yeast, brown sugar, corn meal and corn starch...) I've microwaved the flour and packed it into my 2 cup bags and into an airtight container (that's supposed to help keep little critters out!) I've also been collecting "on sale" coffee and struck gold when good ol' Dunkin Donuts went on sale. Won't bore you with the entire list - but it has started - so as we're clearing out the house - I'm re-filling it with food, cleaning supplies, TP, etc.

Monday, January 19, 2009

An update from on board Astarte

We are still tied to the dock, but getting closer and closer every hour. Spent today on some boat projects and working on the first aid kit. Boy are over the counter drugs expensive. Michael worked on the extra lock for the hatch to the main cabin, fixed a leak in the head and finished the plumbing to make the engine raw water pump and emergency bilge pump. Had to install some extra hose and a strainer. I sure hope we don't have to ever use it, but it is there if we do.

Barbara made the run to the local CVS and Walgreens to finish out our supplies. Our mantra is if we have it on board we won't ever need it. Lots of stuff, but we can always share it if we don't need it. We also have someone looking at the house tonight. Keep your fingers crossed.

This is the first attempt to send from our email system on the boat. We sure hope this one works. We will see.

We had a great going away party last night. Our best friend Richard and Rene were kind enough to throw it for us(it is turning into a ritual, they threw us the last one in 2000). We had a great time and got to see lots and lots of our very good sailing friends, tell a few stories and share some great memories. Now for some new ones.

Thanks again to all that were able to attend.

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Some rooms are still a work in progress...

Others ... are actually completed!

Astarte Log - Part Two

As we've been saying - this is indeed a work in progress. So welcome to the NEW Log of the sailboat Astarte (at least we think so - though we'll try a few more tests from the boat via the SSB radio). We have had to change our blog so we can actually update this from Astarte while we are underway. This is the first post to the new page - and we will be adding and editing as we get time.

We will be keeping the old one "up" on the site for a little while, but it will be shut down in a month or two. As soon as this one is up to our minimum standards: it works from the boat and is readable. We will not be posting new entries to the old one, so if you have bookmarked the old blog page, change to this one.

Sorry for any confusion and work on your part - but we're working out the kinks. You can always get to this link through the web page - and don't forget to check that out as well. You can see where we are when we are actually underway. The countdown is on - the cleaning, storing, address changing, meetings, insurance getting, good bye events continue.