I am getting excited about heading south!

It’s Thursday afternoon and a beautiful day here in Essex.   I have worked out many of the details regarding crew and dates to prepare Pandora for the trip to FL. As of now, my plan is to return to Essex for a few days to provision Pandora with non-perishables, enough to last for the trip south and our three months in the Bahamas.

My friend David and I will bring Pandora back to Deep River for a few last minute maintenance items and some major provisioning prior to leaving for Annapolis later in the month.  As of today, I confirmed that my friend Barry will help me bring Pandora to Annapolis at the end of the month.  That should be fun as I have known Barry for years and yet have not had the pleasure of having him aboard. Barry has considerable offshore experience, having sailed from the Caribbean many times over the years.   That’s a trip that I’d love to do over the winter of 2014/15 so it will be fun to talk to him about this on the trip to Annapolis.

If Brenda and I were to take Pandora through the Caribbean, the plan would be for me to do the Salty Dawg Rally, that leaves from Hampton VA for Tortola in November each year.  This rally is relatively new and had quickly grown to be a major force within the sailing community.  The fact that it is free didn’t hurt, that’s for sure.

More to come on that.   Of course, Brenda and I would have to commit to two seasons in the Caribbean as we would leave Pandora for the summer in Granada and fly home for the summer.  After that, we’d fly back the following December or so and begin bringing Pandora home through the Bahamas.  It would be a really fun trip.   Fortunately, we know plenty of cruisers who have done this trip so getting good information about what to expect will be easy to find from folks who have been there, done that.

After the Sailboat Show in Annapolis, Brenda and I will spend a few weeks south to VA and on to Beaufort NC.  From there I will meet up with crew for the run to Ft Pierce where Pandora will be hauled for the three months prior to heading back in late January.

Last evening our good friends Loreen and Miles aboard Ariel, came to Essex and took a mooring at the Essex Yacht Club for the night and joined us at our home for dinner.  It was great fun to see them again after a few months ashore.   They had spent the summer in Maine and were headed back to Annapolis on their way to Florida.  They own a slip in South Beach FL near Miami where they spend a few months each season.  We hope to visit with them for a week or so prior to our trip to the Bahamas.  The shopping for provisioning the boat from their marina will be pretty simple although we hope to have a good amount of the food on board in advance of leaving CT later this month.

Seeing them for dinner brought back plenty of memories from our trip last winter and talking about the coming season was fun.  Having a few glasses of wine with them made it all the more enjoyable.  Funny how that is.

Speaking of fun in the sun, this is a fun shot of them hamming it up when we were together last winter.  Pretty sure that the star fish weren’t amused.  Of course, we tortured the little guys too.  Not Loreen and Miles, the star fish.    It will be fun to do it again, soon. After hanging around the murky water of New England for months, it’s hard to imagine water this clear will be soon coming our way.   Bring it on. First, I have to get to Florida.  Let’s hope that the weather cooperates.  Fingers crossed.

Oh yeah, how many tubes of toothpaste did we use last winter?  Let me check my notes. Time to get (really) serious about provisioning.

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