Sunday, March 23, 2014

She knows me too well!

I have fished a little as a diversion, but I can't begin to call myself a fisherman. Since I plan on catching a few meals while we are off cruising I have set off to learn what equipment is needed and how to use it. A popular cruising forum contributor recommended the perfect book, "The Cruiser's Handbook of Fishing" by Wendy and Scott Bannerot. The authors explain what equipment and methods have worked for them as they cruised the world. They take fishing to the extreme, but by selecting the basics a cruiser can get a lot of great advice from them.

I took their recommendation to purchase a Penn Senator 6/0 reel and a heavy rod that can be used as a trolling or stand-up rig. After spending a lot of time on eBay placing lowball bids and losing out on some nice deals, I came across one rod and reel combo that was calling my name. I placed my usual last minute bid on it and for once I wasn't outbid. Sweet!

When Brenda came home from work I told her that she had bought my Father's Day gift early. The conversation went like this.

Mike: "I just knew it was meant to be mine."

Brenda: "Why, does it have a naked lady on it?"

Mike: "Well, not exactly."

Brenda: "Must be a naked mermaid then."

Note: I had a very nice photo of the lovely mermaid here, but I was concerned that our blogging site would be unhappy with it. Sorry, use your imagination.
Darn if she wasn't right!


Saturday, March 22, 2014

This Uncertainty Is Tough

The view from our Orange Beach condo

Our beautiful country home has been on the market for about 5 weeks with the prime selling season about to begin. The next 2-4 months in Wisconsin are the most active as families like to move at the end of the school year in June. We have a showing today which is a good sign that people are starting to think about purchasing their new homes.

The hard part is we are at a standstill on our cruising plans. We can't aggressively hunt for our sailboat, Brenda will soon be on a deadline to sign a teaching contract for the next semester and we need to decide whether to sell Wrinkles now or hold on to her for another Wisconsin summer if the house doesn't sell. We haven't listed Wrinkles for sale yet, but one couple has expressed a serious interest in buying her this spring. They are coming today to look Wrinkles over and let us know if they truly want to adopt her.

Lake Mendota Sunset

We had to come up with Plan B in case the house doesn't sell before the upcoming sailing season. The idea of keeping Wrinkles and doing our usual sailing is OK, but it just felt like we would be spinning our wheels and not progressing toward our goal of sailing full-time on a larger boat. So......Plan B: Sell Wrinkles, cry, buy the largest inexpensive (Hunter 265 / O'Day 25 - 27) trailerable sailboat that we can tow and gain some valuable experience on Green Bay and Lake Michigan. We could still sail locally and join our friends for a week of sailing on Lake Carlyle in Illinois. In the event our house sells before Brenda has to sign her next contract we would be able to trailer Plan B (Hey, that is a good name for her!) down to Orange Beach and sail her until we find our cruising boat.

This may not be our dream of Plan A, but at least we would feel like we were heading in that direction. Wish us luck!


Sunday, March 16, 2014

We'll know we are cruising when....

We'll know we are cruising when.......

  • The waves on the Gulf rock us to sleep
  • We can see both the sunrise and the sunset from our front door
  • We are rarely more than 40 ft apart from each other
  • We share sundowners for the first time with other cruisers
  • We catch our first big fish and cook it on our stern rail grill
  • The dolphins are playing in our bow wake
  • We don't have to go to work
  • We have to take turns keeping an anchor watch all night
  • Our to-do list for the day is get water and ice
  • The diesel dies when we really need it
  • Our wardrobe consists of swimsuit number 1, 2, and 3
  • We are eating fresh fish, plantains and breadfruit
  • We are going to bed when the sun goes down
  • When our latitude is south of 32
  • People actually want to come visit us during the winter
  • We haven't gone over 15 mph in months
  • Dinner conversations are diesel engines, good anchorages, boat rigging and weather reports....always weather
  • We are busy kedging off our first sandbar
  • We say "Let's go home", and we mean the boat.