A Grateful and Great-ful Year

Each new year I review my “planner” and transfer addresses, medical information, birthdays, anniversaries and special dates as well as look over the past year’s happenings.  I am very grateful for the lifestyle we live. We began this adventure three months following our retirement in October 2017.  The idea that we have the knowledge to cruise our own boat, have the physical and mental capabilities, and since we saved and saved for our retirement, we can enjoy this way of life. We are grateful.  And, despite the pandemic, 2021 was a great-ful year.

We began 2021 in Ft. Pierce, FL having spent Christmas and New Years in Dockside Marina and Resort on the Ft. Pierce Inlet. The inlet roars with substantial currents and the fixed docks challenged us to climb like monkeys to get in and out of the boat!

In mid-January, we were hauled-out at Seminole Boat yard in Palm Beach Gardens. New bottom paint, zincs, general hull cleaning.  We picked-up our new Highfield tender at Nautical Adventures, complete with a ski-pull pole! We installed a UV filter on the water system, installed the irridum antenna, refinished the cockpit teak, cleaned and sealed the outside teak flooring, sent the Swiftlik life raft out for recertification and a few other chores to ready us for the summer cruising.

From Palm Beach, we cruised to Key West, FL at Stock Island Marina Village for the month of April. We explored Key West with my sisters Robin and Julie. We had a fantastic, fun time visiting the Green Parrot, Southernmost Bar, Hemmingway House and we all had appointments to get tatoos at the Groovy Rooster. However, only Scott and I did. Robin and Julie needed to think more about something so ridiculously permanent! We were able to get our 1st and 2nd vaccines at the local CVS! One highlight of the trip was anchoring in the Dry Tortugas and exploring Ft. Jefferson. We had no idea then that we would be returning to the Conch Republic 9-months later!

We left Key West and took our time cruising to Harbortown Marina, Hilton Head, SC for the month of June. Julie and her best friend Leigh visited. We had a hilarious time; rented bikes, explored Bluffton and the dolphin hole by tender, and played euchre.

Scott and I flew home in mid-June to see the house, our kids and grandkids, connect with friends, doctors and dentists. We were so busy that I have no entries in my planner for the days we were home!

Baltimore Inner Harbor was our destination for August.  We ended up staying there longer than planned, having to re-build both cylinders in the Steelhead boat davit crane.  But, what a wonderful port to be “stuck-in!”

While we were in Baltimore, we flew to my childhood home in Strongsville, OH to celebrate my mom’s life. She left us in mid-March, 2020 and we were unable to properly celebrate her wonderful life. We planned the weekend on zoom calls, ordered invitations, food, champagne and organized the ceremony from 5 different cities in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington and Maryland! It was a very fun weekend and Scott described the celebration as “first-rate.”

After the weekend, my sister Julie drove us and my daughter back to Baltimore. It was Eileen’s first time on Orenda. We enjoyed Baltimore’s history, attended an Orioles game, had Baltimore martinis and explored the surrounding neighborhoods.

After leaving Baltimore in mid-October, we cruised the Chesapeake exploring and anchoring and after a few overnight cruises, docked in Halifax Harbor in Daytona Beach, FL for a couple of weeks in November. We completed a list of chores including maintenance on the windless, steam cleaned the carpets, installed a Smart Shunt, chain counter sensor, smart plug, mast light, and new hose bibs, ordered phantom screens, re-finished the cockpit teak furniture, and detailed the boat. Busy time!

We decided if we could not go home for the holidays, we would go to Key West again. We arrived in the Conch Republic on December 6. We entered the Christmas boat lighting contest in the Stock Island Marina Village. We didn’t win but it was a fun activity! We thought it looked pretty darn festive.

We ordered new Captain’s quarter drapes on-line and they turned out super!  Scott did some fishing in Key West on Captain Conch Charters, then with our neighbors on Blue Vixie, Chuck and Karen where he experienced “kite” fishing.

My sister Julie visited shortly after Christmas and we celebrated the NEW YEAR together! And of course, we had a very fun visit.

A great Year! And just for the record, on December 1st, we touched bottom the first and only time on the ICW, but Scott easily reversed and we continued on. I read (or listened to) 57 books during 2021 and walked 890 miles, (just retired my Hokas), rode maybe 400 miles on our lectric bikes, zoomed 49 times with the kids and completed 3 virtual races. We cruised 3500 nautical miles enjoying a number of over-night cruises on the Atlantic.  All but one cruise was “Alison flat!” Today we are in The Bluffs Marina in Jupiter, FL. We fly home to Washington state to see family and friends next week. I can’t wait to see them!

It was a great year and we are very grateful. We feel fortunate for friends and contacts we have made cruising the East Coast and the friends we keep in touch with on the West Coast.  I think…… 2022 will be a great year as well! First adventure, The Bahamas!

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