Coming straight to you from Isla Mujeres, footage from our very first kite-surfing sessions of 2016! What can I say? With the shipyard work and ocean-crossing, it’s been a busy year, but Phillip and I absolutely love kite-surfing and we seize any opportunity we can to get out, pump up our kites and take advantage of the wind (even when it means knocking a little kite rust off and crashing here and there). Hope you all find a sport on the water that you enjoy this much. Have fun kiting (and crashing) with us.
Work, work and more work. It had been one chore after another for weeks. You’re probably sick of it, too. I know we were. But I’m thrilled to say we finally made our way through that damn list. Just one item left, and it was scheduled. Who needs a list? We chunked it and planned a three-day Mardi Gras Lollapalooza. We were going to catch the parades in downtown Pensacola on Friday night, then sail over on Saturday to Pensacola Beach and anchor out behind Paradise Inn to catch the parade on the beach Sunday. It was time for some beads, people. Time for some beads!!
So, the list. Let me walk you through it and you can marvel in the vast breadth of our accomplishments. I say that because these last few items weren’t really much work on our part at all. But you can marvel, nonetheless, if you’d like.
The canvas and isinglass. We wanted to have a canvas guy come and take a look at the dodger and bimini to assess how much life we had in them and estimate replacing the canvas. We guessed our canvas was about ten years old and, unfortunately, the glass in the dodger was getting a little foggy and cracked in places. Sometimes we would come to the boat and find two new cracks had popped up overnight. They couldn’t be stopped. We knew something was going to have to be replaced soon.
Based on recommendation from our Broker-turned-Buddy, Kevin, we decided to give Tony with Coastal Canvas a call, and he was top-notch. Came out when he said he would and even saved us a few bucks. Told us we only needed to replace the isinglass in the dodger, but that the canvas was still in good shape. So, we had him swap out the glass, and it was like putting on glasses for the first time and you’re overwhelmed at the sight of all the leaves! Everything was so crisp and clear.
You may notice the missing bimini in this photo. Tony did such a good job on the glass that we followed his recommendation for the bimini. He believed the canvas needed to be redone, and we worked with him on rearranging the bimini frame to give us a bigger window in it for the helmsman to see the wind vane at the top of the mast. Even during our blistery winter, Tony came out several times to take measurements, make adjustments and install our new bimini.
Cross that off.
The gasket on the coolant system, luckily, was an easy chore. Just the removal of one hose on the coolant system, a bucket to catch the coolant that drained out, then scrape off the old gasket and glue, slap on a new gasket and glue and she was good as new.
Done and done. What’s next?
The dorade box. That damn thing.
Yeah, there she is. She had been loose for a while and several months back, she unfortunately took a tumble when the Jenny sheet somehow wedged itself up under the loose corner and ripped her right up off the deck when we tacked.
See? No box. Luckily, when she took the tumble, we saw it and were able to catch her before she made her way overboard. But, until we got her remounted properly, we had been taking her off every time we sailed (so the Jenny sheet wouldn’t knock her overboard again) and putting her back on once we were at anchor. A bit of a chore and a burdensome box to keep up with. So it was time to re-mount her. Now, I’ll say, we tried, the first time, to do it right. Waited for a good weather window. Pulled her up and cleaned off all of the old sealant and re-bedded her with some 4,000. A couple of the screws had a little trouble biting, but we figured the 4,000 would hold her. I’m sure I’m going to get some commentary from the Peanut Gallery here about butyl. Well, just wait. Unfortunately, she wiggled her way loose, again, and Jenny threatened her once again. She gets real territorial up there at the foredeck. So, the second time we didn’t fool around. It was 5,200 or bust. Now, we know what they say: “That stuff is permanent. You’ll never get it off.” Well, we don’t want her to come off. A shot of some 5,200 around the screws and we stuck her down. She’s not going anywhere. Take that Jenny!
With that little project done, we only had one more item left on the list.
The hydraulic back stay. Our previous owner had installed a hydraulic adjuster on the back stay to make fine-tune adjustments to the mast when racing. He sailed our Niagara in the single-handed Mackinac race and had really pimped the boat out with some serious racing capabilities, the hydraulic back stay being one.
As you know, we’re not racers; we’re cruisers. More sunsets and cocktails than buried rails and big victories. So, the hydraulic adjuster hadn’t been used in years. She no longer worked and would occasionally leak a little fluid at the base. Wanting the boat to be primed for the Keys, we scheduled the riggers to come check it out the following week to see if she could be repaired or whatever options might be available. So, in our eyes, the list was done. It had been about a solid month of boat chores, and it was time for some boat fun. Our Mardi Gras Palooza began.
On Friday night, we caught up with some marina neighbors-turned-friends — Dick and Cindy on Forever Young — and, after a hearty fill of fine wining and dining at Carmen’s Lunch Bar al fresco, we were seated like royalty for the parade to roll through. We didn’t even have to get out of our chairs if we wanted. But, we of course wanted! Beads is what we wanted!
And, any other grungy, recycled Mardi Gras throws they wanted to toss at us. I think – in addition to all the beads – I caught a kids-size Mardi Gras 2008 shirt, a busted-up Nerf football, a moonpie, and a tomahawk. Yes, a tomahawk. It was a wild night. But, we got up early, stocked the boat, enjoyed a great sail over to Pensacola Beach and dropped the hook right around sunset.
We cooked up another feast on the boat, gorged and called it a night. We had a big day ahead. Lollapalooza Day 3 started with mimosas on the foredeck.
Followed by hurricanes and a little uking in the cockpit.
And then two tickets to crazy town. I can’t even begin to express to you the … quality … of people we encountered at the beach. There were tailgaters, hipsters, Krewe members, kids on leashes, gangsters, bikers, trannies, questionable trannies, Navy boys, you name it. While the parades were fun, the people were the real entertainment!
We caught another neck-full of beads and useless stuffed animals and loved every minute of it. The Mardi Gras mini-vacay was just what we needed. The next time we drop that anchor it will be on the first stop to the Keys. Only a few weeks now kids. Stay tuned!!
A night of Sexual Chocolate behind us, we woke refreshed and ready on Saturday for our friend’s primo birthday party at the Hampton Inn. Being the cool kids that we are, we dinghied in (yes, in our party clothes – my dresses tend to go where I go), Dom Perignon in hand, and got ready to rock that shit.
And, then the party ensued. Without further adieu, I give you:
Evolution of a Party
For a party, you usually try to arrive “fashionably late” or at a time when there are least a few more people there than you.
Well, unless you count the wait staff, we botched that plan. But, we were already there, so …
Then you get a lay of the land. Scope out the venue, find the bathrooms and – more importantly, check out the wet bar and the food spread.
This is important because typically even the dullest of parties can be made worthwhile with free booze and finger foods. Next, people start filtering in. Some you haven’t seen in a while. You make nice, make small talk, make eyes at the wait staff to see if it’s socially acceptable to get a drink, yet, and fill your little plastic plate.
Things are a little formal at first. People start munching celery sticks and strategically leaving purses and jackets on chairs for seating. You make your rounds and chat politely with the fellow party-goers.
Ha ha ha. You’re so funny Bob!
Then the birthday girl comes out …
Man, fifty does NOT look good on Cindy. I’m totally kidding – she’s the blonde babe behind him, looking appropriately frightened by the deejay-in-drag who rocked that Tina Turner number. I can tell you there were many parts of him that kept on “Rollin’! Rollin’!”
Here’s Cindy. Anything but a drag! Happy B’day babe!
But the booze hasn’t quite kicked in. You still can’t decide whether you want to politely finish the glass-in-hand while making your way out the door and home to the couch to binge on Game of Thrones or — stay. You never know, things could heat up … Then, some music starts playing, some gals you thought were incapable of any dance move beyond the jitterbug start fist-pumping their way to the floor, and the waiter comes by with another round of drinks. Eyeing the ladies, you pick up a glass and tell yourself – Well, the booze IS free. You decide to stick around and that’s when … the lights dim and things start to get blurry.
You fill your drink – again – and find your way to the dance floor. Then you find your way ON TO the dance floor. Then you find your arms in the air, your hips moving about and your body doing things it normally only does when you’re home alone in front of the mirror.
Then things start to get real crazy. People you don’t know that well start dancing up on you, dancing up on everyone, and then someone gets the brilliant idea to start a ‘dance train.’
It feels a little awkward at first, but you think – What the heck? Let’s all get a little friendly! Grab a friend!
“You! Yeah you! Get in here!”
Things continue to escalate …
Is that chick twerking?!? I don’t know, but I’m going to find out!
You make an executive decision to stay fully committed to this party. Like it’s 1999. All night long, baby. All night long. Someone then has the bright idea to take this party to the ‘next level.’ You down your drink and wholeheartedly agree. Let’s all walk to the Shaker!! And, that’s where the party really ensues.
Birthday girl takes the stage.
“Move aside groupies! Fifty’s the new twenty baby!”
You snap plenty of blurry, drunken pictures to be sure you fully document the debauchery.
Then you start to make bad decisions …
Yes, the shot-ski. A long, ski plank with four holsters for shot glasses, the downing of which must be highly coordinated and communicated or total chaos will result. You can tell these four rocket scientists were up for the task.
I love to see the concentration on each of our faces – eyeing our individual shots, each with a tentative hand reaching for it, deciding whether we’re going to be a team player, or just make sure our own goes down smoothly – to hell with the rest of ’em. We’re clearly thinking way too hard, particularly in our inebriated state. But here we go:
Phillip gets a jump on us.
We all dive in. Except Grabby Gabbie on the end there who decides to grab hers and knock it back the old-fashioned way. Looking back on it – probably a wise decision, but not near as fun as going whole-hog.
But, you see, the problem with making a so-called bad decision that involves alcohol intake is that it only leads to even bad-ER decisions …
Like, stealing the Hampton Inn golf cart!
Go, go Speed Racer!
Ha. I’m kidding. I only made it about ten feet, grandma-speed before Jack-be-Nimble Hampton dude jumped in and stopped me. Doh! Albeit golf cart-less, I’m happy to report Phillip and I made it safely back to the dinghy and, even more importantly, back to the boat and called it a night. I’m not aware of any rowing-while-intoxicated ordinances, so I think we’re safe.
Thankfully, we woke up the next morning with most of our wits and faculties about us and were able to row back to shore to walk off our hangover at the beach, take in some picturesque sights and scrumptious fish tacos at Red Fish Blue Fish and enjoy a beautiful sunny sail home.
In all, it was a great weekend at the beach, and a much-needed break from all the work and projects we had been doing on the boat. But, with a beach getaway under our belts and finally a hope that spring was coming, we were ready to get back to it and tackle the rest of the items on the Keys list.