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ALMOST MAY 4.30.2018

It has been another two weeks since I have written – sorry! We are STILL here at Burnt Store and the time is flying by. Karen and Brian came for a week and we enjoyed every minute of them being here. I think they did too! We enjoyed the out doors and the animals that are here in their natural habitat. We sailed to Cayo Costa, saw the manatees there, walked the beach and fished at anchor. Brian and Karen caught two catfish but threw them back since we weren’t going to eat them. Bob grilled a delicious steak dinner at anchor. The next day we sailed over to Boca Grande and had a fun golf cart ride around the island, a delicious lunch and again played on the beach and collected shells. Brian and Karen made a two-adult size pool in the sand that they could both sit in and then they “donated” it to a little boy on the beach to use as a swimming pool. His mother was very grateful as it helped her keep an eye on her active two year old. We continued our hunt for shark teeth and Karen and Brian proved themselves to be a great treasure hunters.

Karen and Brian with Bob fishing off the boat.

Karen and Mom on our way to Cayo Costa

Karen's happy about lunch at Boca Grande.

Evening fishing aboard Her Diamond at anchor.

Cousin Mitch came up from Ft Myers to have dinner with us at David and Rhonda’s house. I love it when the cousins get to spend time together. Rhonda joined us for Karaoke at the marina bar where we were among the last to perform Tuesday night. Brian really got into his solo performance and Bob and I encouraged everyone to join us in singing Wagon Wheel – Loved it!

We went to Fisherman’s Village in Punta Gorda so the kids could shop for a few gifts. We had a drink on the patio before going to Phil’s 41 for an Italian dinner to celebrate Bob’s 69th birthday. Bob had chicken parmesan of course. It was so nice to have Karen and Brian with us to celebrate. I learned that Brian knows quite a bit about nature and the outdoors. We saw geckos, alligators, an armadillo, manatees, dolphins and pelicans, as well as a variety of other birds.

Who is that guy in the middle?? Fisherman's Village

Birthday beer at Fisherman's Village

The morning before we took them to the airport, I was standing in the galley (kitchen) right under the companion way (entry to the cockpit). All of a sudden I felt something on my hand and saw what at first looked like a very large spider – about two-to-three inches long. I screamed!!! It turned out to be a crab. We think it must have been dropped by a bird. Brian picked it up with the rim of his hat and tossed it out of the boat. Unfortunately, it went a little too far and right into the cockpit of our neighbor’s boat. It was early in the morning and there was no sign of life on their boat. I didn’t want to wake them up. So, it wasn’t until later that day when we asked them if they had found something unusual in their cockpit. I told them the whole story and we all had a great laugh.

Crab on board

Since Brian and Karen left, it has all been about the Cavaliers and getting the boat ready for the summer out of the water.

We have had numerous conversations with our neighboring boats and those that we traveled with this past winter. As a result, we purchase two dehumidifiers; a tarp to cover the dinghy which we will store under the boat; foil for the ports; and lots of chemicals to ward off or remove rust from the salt air and water. We have vinegar to wash down the wood and we put another coat of varnish on the eyebrows. Thanks again to David Ashpis for his hard work in sanding them. We bought a sunshade to hang over most of the boat which should reduce the internal temperature by 15 degrees. Since this is our first time summer-izing – it is taking us a bit longer than it will in future years as we try to figure it all out. And those of you reading this who know Bob, know that even once figured out it takes him a long time to get projects done. Slow and steady! The good news is we only have till May 23 and we are going to go to Sarasota (where will meet friend Bill Palliser and kids/grand kids) and St Pete/Tampa (to see Cousin Debbie and Brian Taub) before the boat comes out of the water.

This has been a difficult year as we struggled with some family issues and watched a number of family and friends struggle with cancer and premature deaths. As we sat in the cockpit the night before Bob went to Cleveland for a few days, we looked at each other and again marveled that despite the difficulties we have had – “WE DID IT”.

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