Saturday, July 16, 2011

June 13, 2011 Day 9 "Gulf Crossing"

Around the clock......

Engine off and under full sail @ 0715 hr
Capt' Rob off watch at 0720 hr. He sure enjoys watching the moon sets in the mornings! Bless his heart...he took over early for Dean & let him sleep, so he pulled an extra long watch too.
Capt' Randy at the helm once again.

We all had Grapefruits for breakfast that Dad brought along to share with us from FL. Yum!

We are 143 nm out from Tampa, FL for our first 24 hours. It is still flat (0-1' waves) out here! Very light winds out of the NW. Beautiful, warm and sunny!

We were under full sail until 1100 hr. Then had to start the engine once again.
At 1610 hr 1' seas & wind @ 13knots.

Everyone trying to get naps in, staggered throughout the day. I am grateful that Rob & Randy are fresh and able to cover & shorten Dean's shift's for him. He is exhausted I think, mentally and physically. I really think it's reassurance of them being with us now he can relax having more competent help onboard.

1715hr A Pod of Dolphins visit us! How exciting!! We figure 15 to 20 of them. They swim so fast & dive in, around, and under the bow of the boat it is hard to count! Randy and I got some great pictures of them and Randy blessed us with this video! We whooped & hollered & whistled at them. Randy went below & woke everyone from naps so they could see them too!

They hung out with us for about 20-25 minutes! This is why I want to be out on the ocean!  Amazing!! Thank you Randy for the video!!
I have taken a gazillion pictures of the friendly fun-to-watch creatures so I must share a couple more!
Putting on a nice show for us & racing with Our Way Too!

Oh what I would give to "Dance with these Dolphins!"
So Playful!!
I hope to display a picture/copy of my Aunt Debbie's Quilt "Oh!! To dance with a dolphin" onboard Our Way Too! I must remember to ask her about it! Now it will have even more meaning to me!

Randy & Rob are trying to figure our fuel burn for the trip. They worry we  won't have enough fuel to make the crossing if we end up motorsailing a majority of the trip. The wind has not been good for much sailing so far. Very light winds! Dean keep watch on our tank of fuel by measuring & comparing with the fuel gage.

Not too much excitement out here since the Dolphins left us. It is pretty quiet! I am really worrying about Dad. I had him lay on one of our folding seats so he could sleep half sitting up. It seemed to help alittle. Trying to push fluids down him, reminding him to take the medicine we bought, and letting him sleep as much as he can. It's pretty warm in the cabin too so that doesn't help. I think he is running a fever as well. :(

Motor off again @ 1900 hr. Randy back on the helm. He sure enjoys this! He puts his earbuds in and jams to his music on his ipod! I am sure it makes the time go by faster on his watch!! He is great Captain & such an awesome friend. We are so glad he was able to join us!

We were blessed once again with another beautiful day out in the Gulf of Mexico & wrapped up our day enjoying another fantastic sunset!

It is unbelievable that it is Hurricane Season and here we are out in the middle of the Gulf! We understand that not too many folks get to see it this calm out here. I never had any doubt about the weather for this trip. Funny...normally I worry about things like that. Not this trip...

And we begin another night.....

June 12, 2011 Day 8 The Gulf of Mexico!

After a short night of sleep in the outer harbor of Tampa Bay just off Kristy's Key ;)   (Egmont Key), I woke up to my Crew moving around on deck. Rob & Randy were hooking up the jack-lines and getting the deck ready for our crossing of the Gulf. Jack-lines are safety lines that run from the bow to the stern of the boat. When our crew steps out of the cockpit-they snap their tether, that is attached to their life jacket, to the jack-line. In rough waters and especially at night the person out on the deck is attached to the boat incase they fall.

We sat in the cockpit for a bit over coffee & enjoyed the sunrise.

The guys chatted and discussed the helm schedule and game plan.

We hoisted the anchor and were underway @ 0645 hr with Capt' Rob at the helm. The sky was clear, water was flat and it became another beautiful sunny day on the Gulf! Up went the main sail but on came the motor! Hardly any wind! 
Tummy is full!
Dad & I got busy making pancakes for breakfast. Gotta keep the Crew happy! 

After eating and clean up  we decided we should be dragging a couple lines to see if we could catch anything. Dean, Dad, & Randy decided on their baits and rigged the two poles we had with us. My Dad had borrowed a pole from my brother in law Russell and he also brought me a pole that was my Grandpa's (Grandpa "Roy Wheeler" recently passed away). Between Russell and and the help of our friend Larry, we had alot of baits and equipment to catch some fish!! So began our day of fishing!
Randy took over helm at 0850 hr.
After about an hour things got quite busy! Dean reeled in the first fish of the day! 
A nice "Spanish Mackeral" (according to our Fish Book). Dad no more had that one cleaned and we had another one on the other pole!
So Randy reeled that one in! Another Spanish Mackeral. 

I ended up taking over the helm and manning the camera because we had a double header!
Poor Dad couldn't clean em' fast enough!!

We all had a ball! 
Fresh Fish for Lunch! Yummy!

I made coleslaw and Dad fried up the fish for lunch. We had homemade bread with it. It was excellent!

Before we were even done with lunch we caught more! It was decided to clean them & bag for later. Randy took over the cleaning station to give Dad a break. It ended up our catch for the day was 7 out of 8 hits. 2 Spanish Mackeral (light flesh) and 5 Frigate Mackeral (dark flesh)
**Our Grandson Kolden's Book says the Frigate's are called Little Tuna. He is soooo into fishing!**
And I am proud to say that my fishing pole from my Grandpa caught all but one fish!
I think he was watching over us from above & enjoying every minute of it too!!

The Admiral even got a nap in!

Rob trying for a nap

After I cleaned up lunch, we all tried to take naps.
I took the helm about 1545hr to give the 3 main helmsman a break before our "night shifts" start. It is official now....we are running around the clock now until we reach Kemah, TX ! 

Smooth water & Lucky Fishing Pole!!
Dean & Randy took advantage of the smooth waters and made it a "Project Day". They adjusted the steering so the knot was on top of the wheel, installed a fan in the master stateroom, and they installed the Radio/CD player. Those two just can't sit still long! No wonder their GM co-worker's hated to see Randy retire and Dean to leave Grand Rapids!

Soon as it was working, I spent the rest of my watch singing & dancing to Keith Urban at the helm! :)

Rob & I soon decided it was "Beer:30" We worked so hard watching Dean & Randy on their projects!

OK, I guess you both deserve one too!! Didn't take long for them to wander around the boat looking for the next batch of projects!! No one can say this trip wasn't a productive one! ;)

It really is so beautiful out here! The sky is so blue...the water is so blue! We see nothing but the sky meeting the water all the way around us. Strange to realize we are out here all alone...miles & miles & miles.......

Daddy reading & relaxing!
I know Dad still doesn't feel very well. He has been snoozing & reading on & off today. It seems to act up the worst at night, which is usual. His cough is pretty bad and he gets some pretty rough coughing spells. Whenever he tries to sleep it wakes him right back up!

Capt' Randy
This a favorite picture of mine!

Great photo of our Helmsmen!!
As the sun began to set Randy took the helm over and we decided to have "Sundowner's" to celebrate our 1st night out. We mixed up Rum & Cokes and then we shared the most beautiful awesome sunset!! 

I think I should win an award for this one!!

and this one!

Me & my Daddy!
It was so Brilliant & Stunning! We were all amazed and awed by it. More of God's awesome handiwork! I was really impressed with my photography as well! :) And Randy shot a great video too!

Hope you all enjoy as much as we did! The guys watched carefully for the "green flash" but didn't see it.

Then Capt' Randy decided that Our Way Too! needed to be initiated so he brought up a bag of pistachios into the cockpit & all of them started to crack & munch. 

They filled the floor with all the shells!! I found shells in the aft head when I went down to potty!! 

My guys were in the being "Silly" mode for awhile! I think they've been out to sea too long! ;) It may have been too many Rum & Coke's?? Ya think??? Gotta have some silliness to make the time pass!
Oh my it sure is dark out there!! I see nothing but darkness thru that window up there!! 

Hammin it up!
And I think it's gonna be a long, long night.....

About 2300 hr, with Randy & I on watch a pod of dolphins started playing along side us. Randy alerted me & we went up on the bow with Edgar guiding the boat. There were 8 to 10 of them! We talked & whistled back at them for about 10 minutes. I couldn't get any pictures. We could only see them by the light of the moon. Fortunately, we had nice low wind  & flat calm water's because Randy & I didn't even think of our #1 Nightime Rule in the midst of our excitement to see the dolphins! My loving Husband & Captain of Our Way Too! scolded me later for going out of the cockpit at night...without our lifejackets...everyone else was sound asleep down below and couldn't hear us...and we didn't attach to the jacklines! Lesson learned!

Randy stayed on watch longer to let Dean catch up a bit more on sleep. Then Rob woke up early to come up on watch so Dean really got extra snoozing in! They are so much help and we appreciate it so much!! We just love those two guys!! Great friends!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

June 11, 2011 Day 7 Getting Ready to Cross!

Happy 71st Birthday to my Crew member Daddy!!!!
 We love you!! 
You have no clue how much your love & encouragement & help & presence on board means to us!!! Dean & I are honored to have you with us on this maiden voyage! Thank you so much from the bottom of our hearts for all your help!

Happy 71st  Birthday!

((Earlier during our trip I wrote a post for ya'll promising to post & update the blog as soon as I could. We had very little or no internet to update & load pictures while we were out there. Thank you for being patient with me as I have been on the go constantly since then! You will read about our crazy month.... of our trip to Kemah, TX.....then my trip to MI....trip back to TX...another trip to MI and our updates of time spent on Our Way Too! up thru & after the July 16th weekend. Please hang in there with me as I catch it all up! 
Stay tuned....Hugs to everyone!))

We are getting ready to cross the Gulf! :) I ask for lots of prayers!! God has already been with us the whole trip but now we are leaving to go with land far away and many oil dereks and unknowns. We will have very capable "Captains"  on board and no doubts about good weather and good seas!

I had made a few trips around the boat during the night and stuck my head out of the hatch to check our position but it seemed all was well. For once I tried not to bother Dean & let him sleep but it seems we both sleep with one eye open while at anchor, he was up checking shortly after. We both are so tired! We slept in alittle this morning. After coffee and birthday wishes/smooches, first thing...Dean & Dad got the dingy in the water so they could cruise in to shore and see where we could fuel up, fill water, and make sure we could pick up the crew without problems. When they come back we notified Rob & Randy that they could get their taxi to the Tampa Bay Yacht Club! They informed Dean we could come to the marina and take on fuel, then get a slip for the day if we at least buy lunch at their restaurant! Kewl!! We can do that....NO PROBLEM!! 
Before we headed into the marina tho, Dean wanted to put the sail cover on and zip out in the dingy with the camera to take pictures of Our Way Too! (It's a requirement for our insurance to have pictures of her from every angle.) As you can's a Beautiful day with flat seas on the Bay! So here's a couple of great shots of our beauty...."Our Way Too!"

"Our Way Too!"
Port Side view w/ Admiral :)
Starboard View w/ Admiral & Deck Watch Capt'

Stern View (Nice view of Sunshade over aft deck/sunpad)
Afterwards we hoisted the dingy onto the lift and headed into the marina. We took on 36.1 gallons of diesel and it cost us $192.81. Wow...that's cheap...we are used to cost us alot more money to run the powerboat!!

At Tampa Bay Yacht Club Marina
Just after her bath!!
We inquired about plugging in to be able to use elecricity for air & use of water to washdown & fill water tanks and settled on $25 bucks for the set time to leave just can't stay over night. They directed us to a slip and we moved over and tied up for the first time in a week! I think Our Way Too! likes to be out to sea & at anchor tho! ;)

Dean preceded to give Our Way Too! a bath, Dad helped me with washing off some potatoes (found a couple that went bad), then he helped Dean fill water tanks. I got busy with my "list of things to do" before we headed out to sea! I baked a birthday cake for  my Daddy (wait til ya see it!! ; ) Boat is a wee bit unlevel!!), put together a couple dishes for the trip, baked 3 loafs of bread, & organized below while waiting for bread to rise, then bake, and for our Crew members to arrive!

The "Wave" German Chocolate Birthday Cake!
Do you think we are alittle Bow or Stern heavy?! 

Daddy's favorite! 

Talking to Mom...laughing at & telling her about his strange cake!

My Bread!
Captain Rob has arrived safely!! We are glad to have him on board with us!

Captain Rob
Birthday Lunch
We all decided it was time for a cold brew & lunch so we went to the "Hula Bay Bar & Grill" in the marina. We had Conch Fritters & Grouper Nuggets for appetizers. A first for all of us! Yummy! Dean ordered Fish n Chips, Katie  had the Wedge Salad, Dad had a Mahi Mahi Sandwich & Rob had the Blackened Mahi Mahi Sandwich. There was also a pretty cool band playing! So Dad & I got out there & kicked up our heels a bit! I ended up getting my Hubby out there too! ;) I got to sing "Happy Birthday" to my Daddy with the band too! A great time was had by all!

We are just tearin' up the dance floor! ;)    

After our lunch/birthday celebration, Dad & I decided to walk to Walgreens for a few supplies. ( Mainly cough meds for him.) A really sweet couple offered us a ride because they said it really was quite a walk. Bless their was quite a walk! We greatly appreciated the ride & said we would walk back. They would take nothing in return for the ride so we will "Pay it Forward" in their honor. Well.....we shopped, doubled bagged our goods & wandered out to the heat and lo & behold the really sweet couple was still there waiting to take us back to the marina! Dad & I felt really blessed and both of us will "Pay it Forward" & remember their awesome kindness. It gives me a happy heart to know there are still good people out there that will reach out & touch someone's life. Just because.....

Captain Randy
Randy has arrived safely! We are so happy to see him and are honored to have him join us as well. Our Way Too! & her Crew are almost ready to cast off the lines!!!

The plan is to leave the marina and at least go out to the Tampa Bay Bridge area....find an anchorage & snooze then leave in the morning to begin our crossing. Start out after a good night's sleep.
Our Way Too! cast the lines & was underway & headed to the Bay entrance at 9 took about 3 hours to get out of the bay & set the anchor. Rob & Randy decided to sleep up in the cockpit. They thought  is was cooler up there.

Congratulations to Colin on his Graduation!! Sorry Aunt Katie wasn't there today for your openhouse!! Get your passport Kiddo & I will see you & Shanika in the Bahamas!!! Love you & so proud of you!

Jason & Elizabeth...Happy Anniversary!!! We love you & miss you sooooo much!!! Hugs to both of you! Hope to see you all soon. Landon & Evelyn we miss & love you to pieces!!

We have 639nm to get to Kemah, Texas!

See you all in Texas!!!