Monday, December 10, 2018

Around the World in 68 Days (USA)

We landed in Baltimore and spent 2 days at the Annapolis Boat Show looking at Dynema rigging options, and catching up on boat gizmos. Then we took a short hop on Southwest to Atlanta.

We had a delightful week decompressing at my sister's house and catching up with Georgia family. We were happy to pick our car up from the storage facility and find everything working. Unfortunately a few days later I had a minor accident at a stop sign which ended up totaling our car. Fortunately my sister had an extra car--a similar old-but-good-condition small SUV (Ford Escape)--which she was happy to sell us.

We drove from Atlanta to Dave's cousin's house in Largo, Florida, with an overnight stop at my brother's house near Gainesville. Dave's cousin Bryan handles all our mail, so he is always our first stop once we get to Florida. After only a couple of days at Bryan's house, we drove across to our tiny condo in Melbourne. "Home" at last! It's only 700 sq ft, but it looks out on pretty Melbourne Harbor.

We spent most of the first week at home on catching up with Melbourne friends, ordering "boat parts", and seeing doctors...general health (and prescription updates), eyes, teeth, and skin! The eye doctor is warning both of us that we'll probably need cataract surgery in the next couple of years, but other than that, we got a clean bill of health. Whew!

Sherry also got to do several sailing events associated with the Melbourne Yacht Club's Fall Regatta--racing one day in a 420, another day in an Opti Pram, and two days in PHRF competition as crew on two different boats. That was fun!

We also took 2 days somewhere in there to drive to Miami to see a boat a friend was looking at buying, and stopped at Sailing Services to pick up some rigging. We decided to stick with traditional rigging for the time being--the insurance company wasn't very keen on insuring us with Dynema. We ended up bringing a new forestay back in our luggage. The rest of the rigging will have to wait until next year.

The next weekend, I flew to Cincinatti to see daughter Nicki. Dave dropped me off at the Orlando airport on Thursday morning, and then drove to see his Naval Academy roommate in neaby Clermont, and then on to Bryan's house in Largo to hang out with Bryan and watch college football on Bryan's big screen TV.

On Monday morning, he picked me up at the airport, and we drove straight to the Suwanee River State Park, where a few of his Naval Academy classmates had planned a little kayak / hangout reunion. We did two days of down river paddling on deserted stretches of the Suwanee, and enjoyed hanging out with the guys. It was a beautiful getaway.

On Thursday, we drove back to Melbourne just in time to participate in the Seven Seas Cruising Association Melbourne Gam. We managed to avoid any volunteer slots--except for speaker slots. Dave gave a talk on Refrigeration for the Cruiser, and did a Sunday roundtable on Snorkeling and Diving and Photography. We both gave the Saturday night "keynote" talk on Cruising the Philippines. And I proctored the Ham Exams on Sunday afternoon. Another busy weekend! (and for the 4th or 5th time, I said "never again!") But we really enjoy attending the Gams to catch up with other cruising friends.

Then we had another week where we were frantically trying to finish off our lists of stuff to buy...Amazon, West Marine, Walmart, etc. Plus Goodwill, of course, to buy 2 extra suitcases to haul all that stuff back to the boat. We nervously eyed the growing pile of stuff every day, wondering if we could fit it all in, and could we get it in under the 50-lb bag weight limits. We had booked our tickets back on Southwest ("where every bag flies free") to Los Angeles, and Philippine Airlines (which only has a small fee for checked baggage). Then we were thinking about the logistics of trying to travel with 4 50-lb bags, plus a large-as-allowed rolly bag as a carry on, and a "personal item" (an overweight backpack). Spent many a night laying awake worrying about the logistics of getting our stuff back to the boat...

In between all that, we're worrying about taking care of annual maintenance items on two of our rental condos. Big thanks to friends nearby who loaned us several key items, including power drills, a big ladder, and several small items.

Then Thanksgiving--we had decided to leave the car in Florida this year (due to insurance reasons, mostly), and had already booked our flight out of Tampa. Then my nieces decided we HAD to do Thanksgiving in Atlanta. So we packed up our stuff in Melbourne, drove to Largo and dropped a load of it off at Bryan's house, and drove to Atlanta for Thanksgiving, returning to Largo the day after Thanksgiving. We managed to fit in a short stop overnight at another of Dave's USNA friends, who are also cruisers and travelers.

Then a final few days in Largo, organizing and sorting and packing. We thought we had it all packed and then weighed the bags and found that one was overweight by 20 lbs!! We left one piece of rigging and a heavy new bridle line at Bryan's house... But the bags of my special Hazelnut Coffee, the Smoked Salted Almonds, and several boxes of Triscuits made the cut.

We flew to Los Angeles and drove to San Diego for a short visit with Dave's son Chris and his wife Sandy. Fun, but short!

Then back to LAX where we had a long late night flight to Manila, and a short hop from Manila to Davao. Not home yet--we had the bad luck to land on a Saturday in Davao, where the ferry to Samal (where the boat is) is jammed up every weekend. It took us 2 hours waiting in line at the ferry to get across to Samal and finally we were HOME.

Our checked luggage didn't make the flight from Manila to Davao, so it was delivered to us at the marina the next day. We were worried about it sitting around unattended in some luggage room, but once we got it all packed, NOTHING was missing.

Time to relax, right? Nope, we're launching in two weeks!!

Monday, December 3, 2018

Around the World in 68 Days

If you can't accomplish your goal one way, try a different way! We just flew completely around the world! (Note: This is not to imply that we aren't still planning to SAIL around the world.)

Hauling Out at Oceanview Marina for a Couple of Months

We decided to do something different for our trip home to Florida this year--fly west instead of east. We stopped for an overnight in Singapore, then 4 days in London and 2 days in Edinburgh, Scotland, before flying across the pond to the USA.

Heading Out on Our Round-the-World Adventure

The Final Third of Our Flight from Singapore to London

We spent our first day in London in the Greenwich Area.
Our Ferry from Downtown London to Greenwich, on the Thames River
The Cutty Sark (Clipper Ship) Museum

Visiting the Royal Observatory in Greenwich

The Royal Observatory

The History of Keeping Accurate Time on a Ship

Sherry Straddles the International Dateline
(We were amazed to find that 0 degrees Longitude on the cell phone put us about 100 meters to the east in the park.)

Lunch at Greenwich Market

We Spent the Afternoon at the National Maritime Museum

Day Two was spent at the Imperial War Museum and the Churchill War Rooms.

Big Guns at the Imperial War Museum

Old Photos of Bomb Production During WWII

London Taxis

Winston Churchill, the Prime Minister of England during World War II, spent most of his time during World War II in the Churchill War Rooms, an underground bunker built specifically to house critical government functions in a bomb-proof location.

Churchill War Rooms

The Communications Center and Map Room

After the War Rooms tour, we had an hour and a half to spend before we boarded our "Sunset Cruise on the Thames". So we hoofed it up through the Buckingham Palace Gardens to get a look at Buckingham Palace, and then down to Westminster Abbey and Big Ben. With our compressed schedule, there was no time to do more than take a few pictures of the outside of the buildings.
Bobbies on Horses in the Park

The Queen of England's Royal Residence

The Crests on the Gate to Buckingham Palace

Westminster Abbey

Big Ben is Getting a Facelift

We had a lovely time on our sunset cruise. A couple of glasses of wine, some hors d'ouvres, a nice sunset, and a guy with an acoustic guitar singing popular songs...

Our Cruise Ship Arrives
(London Eye in the Background)

The Tower Bridge (aka London Bridge) at Sunset

Relaxing after a Long Day Touring

On Day 3, we checked out of our AirBNB and drove our rental car south to see Stonehenge, and visit our friends from s/v Dreamaway in Southampton. Driving on the the left, and negotiating the roundabouts was challenging. Thankfully, Google Maps made it easy to anticipate each roundabout.

Iconic Stonehenge

A Replica of one of the Stonehenge Standing Stones (BIG!)

We had a lovely evening with Graham and Avril of s/v Dreamaway. We first met them in the Tuamotus in 2011. We have cruised off an on together in Samoa, Nuie and Fiji in 2013. We've also met them twice in exotic locations--NZ in 2015 and the UK this year.

On Day 4, Graham and Avril were off early on a prior obligation, and we headed off in the car on our own to the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. We only had a few hours, as we had to get back to Gatwick and dump the car, before taking an evening flight to Edinburgh, Scotland.

We could easily have spent 2 days seeing everything there is to see at the Dockyard, but had to choose only one exhibit to see on this visit. On Graham's advice, we chose to visit the Mary Rose. The Mary Rose was Henry the 8th's flagship, which sank in Portsmouth in 1545. From Wikipedia:

The Mary Rose is a carrack-type warship of the English Tudor navy of King Henry VIII. After serving for 33 years in several wars against France, Scotland, and Brittany and after being substantially rebuilt in 1536, she saw her last action on 19 July 1545. While leading the attack on the galleys of a French invasion fleet, she sank in the Solent, the straits north of the Isle of Wight.

The wreck of the Mary Rose was rediscovered in 1971. It was raised on 11 October 1982 by the Mary Rose Trust, in one of the most complex and expensive projects in the history of maritime archaeology. The surviving section of the ship and thousands of recovered artifacts are of immeasurable value as a Tudor-era time capsule. The excavation and raising of the Mary Rose was a milestone in the field of maritime archaeology, comparable in complexity and cost only to the raising of the Swedish 17th-century warship Vasa in 1961.

A Painting of the Mary Rose Going Over

The outside of the ship isn't really visible (there are other ships at the Dockside for that)--it is the inside that is the museum. Only half of the ship was salveagable--the part that was in the mud. The other half was eaten away by time and ship worms. So the museum presentation is an elaborate cutaway of the ship, with displays of various features at either end. We really enjoyed the visit and could easily have spent several more hours there.

Historical Statistics

A Mock-Up of the Exhibit

The Actual Exhibit
(Kept Dark to Inhibit Further Deterioration)
The Cook's Exhibit,
With Actual Artifacts Recovered from the Wreck

Coming Next - Part 2 of 3 - 2 Days in Scotland.