BIG Announcement!

December 11, 2013

Sojourner’s former crew is very pleased to announce the berthing of their second boat:

Why Knot’s cruising adventures will be chronicled at WhyNotww.WordPress.com

 


Surprise: A New Blog!

October 27, 2013

Sojourner is undoubtedly getting ready for a winter season of cruising and as her former crew, we (Carolyn and Susan), wish her the very best!!

We are moving on as well,  and we’ve started another blog through which to share our new adventures!

If you are interested, check it out @ www.whynotww.wordpress.com   It is called “Why Not??” because as we enter into our 8th decade, we wonder, why not??    Why not live life to its fullest??  Why not do whatever we can to learn new things, meet new people, see new places, experience new adventures??  Why not look complacency, hesitation, and/or fear in the eye and move ahead anyway??  And why not share the wonders and good fortune of our life together in hopes of adding pleasure and humor to the lives of those we know and love??

The “ww” in the new blog’s web address stands for the “wisewomen” in our e-mail addresses.  As with “Sojourner’s Sea Stories”, you may sign up to receive new postings on “Why Not??” automatically.  We hope you will join us as we continue to explore and enjoy the world around us!!


Crew Change and New Adventures

April 30, 2013
Sojourner heads off to new adventures!

Sojourner heads off to new adventures!

It is with very mixed emotions that we announce a change in crew for Sojourner.   She now belongs to Barry and Barbara and will be cruising out of Ft. Lauderdale, Fl. We wish them many great times on this very special vessel!

For five years, almost to the day, Sojourner was the central focus of our lives, and we had the adventure of a lifetime aboard her!!  As two academics who had never owned a boat before, we had not a clue about what awaited us on that summer day in 2008 when we boarded her for our first cruise.  We certainly had no idea of the challenges we would face, how much we would learn, or how much fun we would have on what quickly became a life-altering, grand adventure!  Our lives have been immeasurably enriched by our time on Sojourner, and we will remember always the incredible sights and sounds we encountered, and we will treasure always the many, special people whose lives touched ours along the way.

In this last posting, we now check off “living on a boat, long range cruising, and the Great Loop” and turn our attention to the many other items still on our Bucket List!

We hope you have enjoyed “Sojourner’s Sea Stories!!  Thanks cruising along with Sojourner and us on our great adventure!!


Wintering in the Keys II

April 22, 2013
Sailing ship of yore cruising Hawk Channel

Sailing ship of yore cruising on Hawk Channel

After spending the winter holidays in Port St. Lucie with Cousin Evie and then stopping in Ft. Lauderdale for Trawlerfest, we didn’t actually get to the Keys until early February.  When we finally headed there, we had great weather and followed the same route as last year (see: Nov. 2011 and 12/16/11) through Miami, across Biscayne Bay and then down the Hawk Channel the length of the Keys with just short stops at Key Largo and Duck Key.

One of MANY Miami bridges

One of MANY Miami bridges

The Biscayne channel

The Biscayne Channel on the chart plotter

Stilt house on Key Biscayne

Stilt house on Key Biscayne

The real, original African Queen cruising out of Key Largo

The real, original African Queen cruising out of Key Largo

Incredible water in the Keys

Incredible water in the Keys

Tho’ much shorter, Sojourner’s second winter in the Keys was as interesting and enjoyable as the first (see: Key West Moment 12/20/11 and Key West or Key Weird? 1/22/12).  This year, we spent virtually the entire time in Key West, one of our very most favorite places among all we have experienced on this grand adventure.  We called Conch Harbor “home”, so we were still in the historic seaport and right next door to the city marina where we  docked last year.  This time, however, “the little white boat” snuggled in on the Yacht Dock, amongst the BIG Girls:  Lady Grey at about 100 ft., a massive Nordhavn, and a rather large Trumpy served as very protective neighbors.

The "little white boat" on the Yacht Dock

The “little white boat” on the Yacht Dock

Tortuga IV, a bright chartreuse, commercial catamaran chartered for ½-day fishing trips also docked nearby.  The cleaning of her tourists’ twice-daily hauls of fish ensured we had plenty of pelicans and a rather amazing number of 5-7 ft. tarpon in the neighborhood!!  Most impressive, however, was the resident manatee who seemed to be particularly fond of Sojourner’s hull and Lady Grey’s fresh water hose!!  And then, there was the rather large Portuguese Man-of-War jelly fish that appeared dockside one day and without invitation, stayed for several!!

Sojourner's favorite tarpon

Sojourner’s favorite tarpon

The neighborhood manatee comes visiting

The neighborhood manatee comes visiting

Pelicans and tarpon fight for fish scraps

Pelicans and tarpon fight for fish scraps

Not good for the manatee!!  but cute!

Not good for the manatee!! but cute!

Our visiting Portuguese Man of War...

Our visiting Portuguese Man of War…

 While Sojourner relaxed at the Yacht Dock, we explored Old Town in much more depth than last year.  In addition to revisiting places we had discovered before, we ventured regularly into the charming neighborhoods filled with KW cottages interspersed with rather large Victorian homes, both with amazingly intricate woodworking and brightly painted porch ceilings. We enjoyed the many, many gardens in full-bloom and discovered several fine restaurants and intriguing eateries tucked in the residential area away from the more tourist-oriented seaport.  Sharing such discoveries with friends, both land-based and cruising ones, made our time in KW all the more special!

Ubiquitous KW rooster and friend

Ubiquitous KW rooster and friend

KW pink walls...

Bright KW pink walls…

Introducing our good friends:  Slade and Susan of Sojourner NY and ...

Introducing our good friends: Slade and Susan on “Sojourner NY” and …

Orchids in the front garden

Orchids in the front yard

A musician's home...???

A musician’s home…???

Orchids everywhere!

Orchids everywhere!

A lily theme throughout...

A lily theme throughout…

Kim and John from Louisville

Kim and John from Louisville

Blue ceilings...

and sky blue ceilings…

Cathryn and Bob from Next to Me

Cathryn and Bob on “Next to Me”

Delightful art deco AND wonderful fresh seafood!

Delightful art deco AND wonderful fresh seafood!

Pineapples and parrots, anyone?

Pineapples and parrots, anyone?

David of the Shirley Ruth and new KW friend

David of “Shirley Ruth” and new KW friend

Carolyn with Anita, Linda and Shirley visiting the Shirley Ruth

Carolyn with Anita, Linda and Shirley visiting from the “Shirley Ruth”

Yum-m-m-m!!

Yum-m-m-m!!

More orchids

More orchids

Hardworking Crabber provided incredible stone crab claw delicacies

Hardworking Crabber provided incredible stone crab claw delicacies

As sad as it was, we eventually had to leave KW.   We headed back up the Hawk Channel, again stopping at Duck Key.  Facing a dramatic change in the weather, we bypassed Key Largo and ran directly to Dinner Key in Coconut Grove on the far side of Biscayne Bay.  The next couple of days brought strong winds, but by then we were again on the Intracoastal Waterway traveling slowly through the dozens of bridges and even more “no wake/manatee” zones of the vast, densely populated metropolis extending from Biscayne Bay north from the Port of Miami and Miami Beach through  Dania Beach, Port Everglades, Ft. Lauderdale, Delray Beach, Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, Palm Beach, etc., etc. to Lake Worth.  From Old Port Cove in North Palm Beach, another of our special marinas, we had but a short day’s journey through Hobe and Jupiter Sounds to Stuart and then on to River Forest Yacht Center on the St. Lucie River where Sojourner had a reservation for indoor, climate-controlled, storage through the upcoming hurricane season.

Unbelievable cruising weather!

Hard to believe bad weather coming!!

Metropolitan ICW

Metropolitan ICW

Port of Miami "Flight" Tower

Port of Miami “Flight” Tower

Ft. Lauderdale beach

Ft. Lauderdale beach

Up out of the water!

Up out of the water!

Into the hurricane-proof shelter

Into the hurricane-proof shelter

Snuggling down for long summer's night rest.

Snuggling down for long summer night’s rest.


Sojourner Cruises into 2013

February 11, 2013

It has been awhile since our last posting and much has happened in the interim.  After jumping the Gulf and meandering southward, Sojourner turned east at Ft. Myers and took the Okeechobee Waterway across inland Florida to the east coast.  In contrast to our first trip on this waterway  (Spring 2009), we had no problems with low water this time.  In fact, the water levels were so high there was no shoreline nor beaches along which the alligators might sun themselves, and so we saw no alligators this trip!   We did see some other, interesting wildlife however, and as always, beautiful scenery along the way:

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After passing through 4 locks on the Caloosahatchee River east of Ft. Myers, crossing Lake Okeechobee proper and locking through twice on the St. Lucie River, we arrived in Stuart for the holidays.  After a very quick trip to Lexington to pick up the car and get it south for the winter, we stayed with Cousin Evie in Port St. Lucie until New Year’s eve.  Sojourner made herself “to home” at Whiticar’s Boat Works where she received some well-deserved basic maintenance after her Great Loop adventure!!   Such things as all new fresh and salt water hoses and clamps, servicing her aftercooler, flushing her heat exchanger, and two new coats of bottom paint may not sound exciting, but they and other such work were critically important after the long journey.  She also got a really fine detailing:  sanding and new varnish on her brightwork, cleaning/polishing of all her stainless, and waxing/buffing of her hull and superstructure until she shone in the sunlight!!

While Sojourner enjoyed her R&R at Whiticar’s, we spent a couple weeks in early January in Cozumel, Mexico, the first, with son Doug, daughter-in-law Sarah and grandsons, Isaac and Owen.  The latter two wanted to know why Sojourner hadn’t come along, but both seemed quite happy to swim and snorkel off the deck of the rental condo instead of Sojourner’s swim platform!  It was great fun to relax with them all!! Friends Sue and Susan from Syracuse joined us for the second week and that was quite different but delightful as well! (Cozumel pix)

 Upon our return to Stuart, we reclaimed Sojourner and headed south to Ft. Lauderdale and Trawler Fest.  From there, we retraced our steps from last year (11/2011) down the Hawk Channel along the Keys:  Lauderdale to Coconut Grove, to Key Largo, to Duck Key, and finally to Key West!  It was an incredible trip with each day more glorious than the last!!

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It surprises us both that we like Key West so much but for whatever reason, we do!!  We’ve retrieved the car from Ft. Lauderdale and are settling into a month of relaxation in the warmth of the winter sun!  Most cruisers and Loopers pass through the Keys sometime during the winter months, and we are looking forward to seeing several folks we’ve met along this Grand Adventure, including Susan and Slade on Sojourner NY, Cathryn and Bob on Next to Me, and David and Shirley of the Shirley Ruth.


HAPPY HOLIDAYS

December 25, 2012
Key West Pirates celebrate the Holidays

Key West Pirates celebrate the Holidays

We wish you and yours the very best of this most special season and much happiness in the New Year!

2012 has certainly been full and exciting for us!!  Early in the year, we fulfilled Susan’s long time  fantasy to “winter in the Keys” when we split the months of December, January and February  between Key Largo and Key West. Then, after almost 4 years on the water,  we capped our Grand Adventure by completing the Great Loop! Actually, by starting in Key West in February and returning to Stuart in mid-December, we cruised the entire Loop in 2012, but the trip north was our 5th time along the eastern seaboard (from Florida to central New York), so we didn’t really feel that we were “looping” until we reached Canada and waters we had not traveled before.

What an adventure it was!!  We enjoyed recent and old friends as we moved northward, and we met fantastic people, almost always with the good fortune of seeing them more than once along the way!  We experienced amazing sights and sounds: brilliant sun rises and sunsets everywhere we ventured, incredible 100+ year-old locks and canals on the Trent Severn Waterway, strikingly beautiful, if sometimes barren and desolate, shorelines along Georgian Bay and the North Channel, fierce storms (almost always from the safety of a marina), and incredible wildlife, especially plaintive call of the Canadian loon, and sometimes when we least expected it!  All-in-all, a journey of a lifetime and we are grateful we have been able to share it through Sojourner’s Sea Stories!!

We hope you have enjoyed this year’s chapters in Sojourner Sea Stories and perhaps some of your favorite pix will appear in the 2012 slideshow below.

Ho Ho Ho and Happy New Year!!!

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Quick Note

December 25, 2012

Wel-l-l-l…  we thought we had solved the “slideshow” function…

With the help of some friends, we found a couple workarounds if  the slideshow in the latest posting delivered to your e-mail doesn’t show and slide automatically:

On some I-phones (older than 5) and MAC’s, there’s a question:  “Trouble clicking?” at the very bottom of the post.  Try the option of clicking on the hot link to Sojourner’s Sea Stories there…

On some PC’s, try clicking on the Sojourner picture in the upper left hand corner…

If all else fails, trying going to the actual blog site on the web:  http://www.SojournerKY.WordPress.com

Ain’t technology marvelous???

And in any case, HAPPY HOLIDAYS from Sojourner’s crew!!!


Quick Note

December 1, 2012

With the latest posting, we discovered that WordPress.com seems to have replaced the blog’s “slideshow” function with a “gallery “of thumbnail pix …  Until we figure out how to once again embed a slideshow within a posting, we updated the latest post.  We replaced the “gallery” with a hot link to a Flickr set of full-sized pictures, viewable in slideshow format with a simple click.

While “messing” with the latest posting, we also made some editorial changes and corrections.  So, please enjoy the updated posting @ SojournerKY.WordPress.com   !!


Sojourner “Jumps” the Gulf of Mexico!!

November 29, 2012
Last sight of land...

Last sight of land…

On the day after Captain Donald joined us in Carrabelle, all the predictions and predictors indicated an “increasingly smooth” ride for those “jumping” across the Gulf of Mexico from the Panhandle to Tarpon Springs, Clearwater, or St. Petersburg on Florida’s west coast. We tried as best we could to take our time in preparing for departure from Carrabelle to give the Gulf a chance to “lay down”. Turns out, however, a leisurely departure isn’t something we do well at all, and by 8:30 am Sojourner was heading out the Carrabelle channel toward the wide open waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

Sun setting on the Gulf

Sun setting on the Gulf

Had we had enough patience in timing our departure better, we might have been rewarded with a smooth trip, but leaving when we did brought a bumpy ride almost the entire way!  We smoothed out the “beamy” swells as best we could by adjusting both course and speed.  Thus, Sojourner played “sailing vessel” as we tacked back and forth, first a couple miles southeast of our course bearing and then a similar distance southwest of it…  Luckily, more speed worked better than less so we cruised at a nice clip consistently.  Otherwise, we might still be tacking to and fro!!

Moon rising on the Gulf

Moon rising on the Gulf

Sojourner’s initial course headed us toward Clearwater. We thought that preliminary destination would keep us closer to shore and in better water.  As it turned out, however, when we altered course and headed toward St.Petersburg, the ride smoothed out and the need for constant tacking disappeared for several hours!

Driving in the dark

Driving by instruments in the dark

Though longer, this trip was smoother than our first “jump” 4 years ago, and it was comfortable enough to be enjoyable!!  Especially for Susan, who this time did not turn green within the first 20 minutes, and who actually remained upright and functional throughout the 25-hour run!

"The Legend" appraoching

“The Legend” approaching

The tensest moment of the entire trip came as we cruised leisurely up Tampa Bay toward St. Petersburg.  On the VHF radio we heard “The Legend” calling  “the little white boat in Alpha Channel”… several times and with increasing intensity.   Still driving from the “night-time” helm inside instead of the flybridge, it wasn’t easy to look around, and it took us a awhile to get curious enough to investigate who “The Legend” might be and where “the little white boat” could be. Weren’t we surprised to discover Sojourner was “the little white boat” and “The Legend” was a tug pushing an oil freighter, coming up behind us at about 25 knots!!! Needless to say, “the little white boat” exited the channel as quickly as possible, and the freighter and tow steamed right by!

St. Petersburg from the marina

St. Petersburg from the marina

The plan was to enjoy St. Petersburg after “The Jump”, but we learned good friends Slade and Susan on Sojourner NY were in Sarasota, only a short day’s trip south.  So after just a day in St. Pete’s, we headed back out through Tampa Bay to rendezvous with them at Marina Jack’s!

Evening Sarasota dock visitor

Evening visitor to our Sarasota dock

So, we are now enjoying our couple of days of R&R in Sarasota before heading farther south to Fort Myers.  From there we will travel along the Okeechobee Waterway to the east coast of Florida where we will spend time with Cousin Evie in Port St. Lucie.

Enjoy more pix of Sojourner’s Gulf jump and trip from Carrabelle to Sarasota by double-clicking to access a Flickr set:  Gulf to Sarasota.


Heading East to Get South

November 24, 2012

“Grand old oak” mentioned in the 1706 Spanish landgrant still standing

After an enjoyable stay in Mobile which included some sight-seeing to places Susan remembered from living there a lifetime ago, Sojourner headed east and hopefully to warmer weather.  Our next destination was Carrabelle, near the eastern edge of the Florida Panhandle. Most cruisers “jump” the Gulf of Mexico to get to the west coast of Florida from Carrabelle.  Some move gradually around the “elbow”, stopping at various places along the way, but most head into the Gulf in the direction of Tarpon Springs, Clearwater, or St. Petersburg!

Big boats on the Bay

Our first day out from Mobile was a short one: we headed across the Bay and into the GIWW (Gulf Inter-coastal Way) to Orange Beach AL.  From there, we said good bye to “big water” for awhile as we meandered slightly inland through rivers and dug canals, an area not too affectionately called “The Ditch” or Florida’s Grand Canyon.  Next stop, Fort Walton Yacht Basin, not the most upscale of marinas but a meaningful place to us:  our first grounding occurred just before Fort Walton 4 years ago, and it was at the Yacht Basin that we were adopted by 3 Looping  trawlers who graciously invited us to join their merry band-  Whether the invitation came out of concern for us (absolute boating novices at that point) or from the thought they’d be safer if they kept an eye on us, we will never know!  Whatever their reasoning, we thoroughly enjoyed tagging along to Carrabelle.  [For more on our first trip along this way, see: Mobile to St. Petersburg ]

Almost like the Hudson River…

This time along the Panhandle, we thought we’d be traveling alone, but the second day out, we found Jack, Denise, and Beatrice from Brazil on Jade who were traveling with Phil and Carolyn from New Zealand on the Loopy Kiwi, two boats we first met at Frankfort, during our long trek down Lake Michigan!  Other Loopers joined along and soon there was a parade going through The Ditch.

Panama City Entrepreneur

At Panama City, Jade suggested a marina down St. Andrews shipping canal toward the Gulf, and we opted for the adventure!  Bay Point Marina and Resort was a delightful stop about 30 minutes off the GIWW.  From there, we headed to Appalachicola, the Oyster Capitol of the US.  Seriously, some 90% of all oysters served in the US come from the oyster beds in Appalachicola and St. George’s Sounds!  Having rented beach houses on St. George’s Island several times and having stopped in Appalachicola 4 years ago, we knew we were in for a treat!!

Capt. Carolyn at the helm!

We decided to try a different marina… and that’s always an adventure!   We thought we reserved a slip at the Appalachicola Marina, but the dock master directed us “3 blocks up the river” to a spartan dock with no facilities other than an electric post.  We tied up behind a commercial Shrimper and in front of a vacant lot and abandoned warehouse!  The dock master arrived in a golf cart to assist us and gave us the cart for the duration of our visit!  Susan quickly dubbed our spot the “Appalachicola Marina Annex,” and it turned out to be just fine.  A bigger and much more enjoyable surprise was to see Tom of Q’s End ride up on his bicycle!!  Canadians Tom and Linda had befriended us in Leland MI, and we had enjoyed their company at several stops along Lake Michigan!  After a brief visit, we hopped on the golf cart for the short ride to Papa Joe’s, for a dinner of the freshest, most delicious oysters one can imagine.

Gorgeous rural scenes

Two of many playing with Sojourner!

During last day out from Carrabelle we returned to slightly larger, if not much deeper, water as we cruised through first Apalachicola and then St. George’s Sounds.  In contrast to our last trip, we saw not one oyster boat, but the dolphins returned to play with Sojourner and we spotted a bald eagle surveying the Sound from a navigational maker not 20 feet from the boat!!  All-in-all, an enjoyable cruise!

Surveying its territory not 20 ft. from the boat!

Thanksgiving came to The Moorings in Carrabelle.  The extended family of the marina owner took over the Boaters’ Lounge and put on an amazing spread of home-cooked delights in addition to a smoked turkey and a baked ham.  The family graciously invited all boaters in the marina to join in the celebration, and it was one of the best Thanksgivings either of us could remember!!

Backed in (!!) at Carrabelle

All weather predictors and predictions are zeroing in Sunday of the holiday weekend for a safe and comfortable Gulf crossing and that’s our plan at the moment.  The posting from December 2008 describes Our first Gulf “jump” in some detail.  This one will not be quite as momentous, but in the intervening years, we have not traveled at night nor have we traveled for 24 hours without stopping.  Thus, even though we are now more experienced cruisers, we still allow discretion to be the better part of valor-  So, Donald, a boating colleague we met first at Palm Coast in the Spring of 2009 (and a USCG 100 ton master captain) will join Sojourner’s crew for the 24-hour run to St. Petersburg!!  We’ll post again from the west coast of Florida!!  

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