Thursday, September 18, 2008

Poughkeepsie Yacht Club - That's All Folks!!

The night at Hook Mt was very quiet and calm. The morning dawned with sunshine and a north breeze. As we set out, we noticed whitecaps around the bend where the protection of Hook Mt ended, hummmm. Following the iron clad rule, never broken in a thousand years of sailing history, you will always find a north wind when heading north!! Thus it was so today. The Morning Lies predicted north winds 5 to 10 but instead we got north winds 15 to 25 kts! With the current flowing north, it was wind against tide which results in steep, close together waves that crash against the boat giving a jarring motion every few waves. In fact, the roughest ride we had over the last three months was today coming up the Hudson! I resorted to crossing the river at an angle like a skier going down a slope in a zigzag fashion to avoid taking the waves head-on. With the tide behind us we were still averaging 7.5 to 8.0 kts but we often crashed through the waves. The full enclosure did us good in protecting us from the resulting spray when the bow crashed through a wave sending spray up over the dodger but against the windshield, keeping us dry.

We made it to PYC in good time but could not dock due to the violent winds so we took a mooring and waited for the winds and current to abate. Around 4:30 both conditions were met and we headed to our dock for a successful landing. I took Ann out to dinner and now we're headed for bed on the boat. Tomorrow we'll unload and head for our land home and dream of our vacation next year! The photo is of our boat at our PYC dock tonight, peaceful. I hope you've enjoyed the blog, I've enjoyed writing it and the next installment will be in 2009 when we head to Maine again!! Goodbye and good sailing to all!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Hook Mt Anchorage at Haverstraw Bay

The current wouldn't reverse in our favor until 11:30 am at Hell Gate so we didn't leave Manhasset until 10:00 and as it turned out, we should have left at 9:30 instead since the current turned earlier than predicted. A flood tide comes in from the east at the Race and from the west through Hell Gate. The two flood meet somewhere around Throgs Neck bridge. So as left Manhasset, the current was with us until the Throgs Neck bridge and then was against us until it turned later on approaching Hell Gate. We raced along the East River (I snapped some photos!) and as we rounded the tip of Manhattan the current was in our favor still going up the Hudson until we reached the George Washington bridge.

Anyone who has ever negotiated the East River will recognize the orange ferries that you have to avoid when rounding the tip of Manhattan. They blow their horn and then start leaving their berth right away, waiting for no one. Luckily, they remained in their nests while we rounded by. Going up the Hudson we were down to 6.0 kts at one point when I saw a swirl of current on the east side of the Hudson. When I passed through the disturbed water, I my speed increased to 7.1 kts. The west side of the river had started to turn but the east side had not. This split personality continued all the way up to the GW bridge, interesting.

It was very warm with the thermometer at 84F at one point. We sat in the cockpit watching the sun go down and the lights of the Tappan Zee bridge come on. It's a calm, still night. It's hard to believe it's already September 17. I tried several shots of the Tappan Zee bridge and finally got one without too much jitter, hard to do from a bobbing boat.

Tomorrow we leave for PYC and should arrive in the early afternoon if all goes well.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Manhasset Bay - Sunrise and Sunset

The sun rises much later now than when we started out in June, late enough for us to catch a sunrise this morning at Port Jefferson. After two days of 15 to 20 kts winds (with gusts to 25 kts), it finally abated this morning. After a full 180 on the anchor, there was plenty of mud on the chain that had to be cleaned off with the washdown pump and then we were on our way. We had intended to stay overnight at Northport but listening to the weather forecast of high winds out of the north on Friday combined with a foul tide going up river, we decided to skip Northport and head directly for Manhasset Bay. Now we're situated for our run up to Haverstraw at the Hook Mt anchorage on Thursday, a day of calm winds according to the Morning Lies.

At Manhasset we once again picked up a free mooring from the town of North Hempstead. They have five free moorings located by can number 3A. Only one other mooring was in use. With the wind and the tide just right, we had a front row seat for the sunset. We must have taken two dozen photos, the best one is posted in the blog. It was quite a show for almost an hour.

We'll leave Haverstraw Thursday morning and will be at PYC that afternoon. I have to take the boat back to Haverstraw on Monday so they can redo the mast installation they completed last year. It turns out that they put the top cap on the mast incorrectly, it needs to be moved aft which requires the mast to be taken off. I'm due to get the boat back the following Wednesday and then it's up the river again.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Port Jefferson - Layover Day

We had gusts to 25 kts several times last night and during the morning hours with whitecaps in the anchorage. However, it was nothing like what happened in Ohio where my brother lives. Cincinnati recorded a gust to 82 mph when the remnants of Ike passed over. They had the highest winds ever recorded there. Luckily, Ike passed on into Canada so we just got the very edge but that was enough. Gradually the winds died during the afternoon and we went for a dink ride. The beach scene is on the Sound side looking towards the entrance to Port Jefferson. The beach is composed of small pebbles, on the way I guess of turning into sand but they have a long way to go. We dinked on to one of the narrow inlets from the anchorage, a real backwater but the houses were fabulous. Probably just a summer cottage so I took a photo. Someone from the next house over came out on the dock to look at us, wonder what they wanted, we dinked on. Tomorrow it's off to Northport.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Port Jefferson

Matthew and family left this morning after spending the night on the boat. A few got wet when it started raining with the ports open, before somebody woke up enough to close them. There were hugs all around as the kids departed once again. We stopped on the way back to the boat to look at the submarine in the marina which we're told is used for research in Long Island Sound. Perhaps someone with better internet access via Google can find out more.

It was a hot day and not much wind. We sailed some on the way to Port Jeff but we motored most of the way. We noticed a super yacht anchored in the west cove off the entrance to Port Jeff and wondered if the marina fees were getting to be too much even for them! I grilled a pork roast as the sun set, Ann too pictures. We'll stay put tomorrow as the remnants of Ike pass by.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Branford - Matthew Returns

It rained last night but it stopped by sunrise. We headed down the Connecticut river, hoping that the bridge would be up but found that it was down waiting for a train to pass. However, for no apparent reason it was then raised and we proceeded through. The only problem with going up the river is this bridge. You can spend 20 minutes waiting for it to open, a real waste of time.
Off to Branford we found no wind so it was motoring all the way but at least the water was flat. We had reservations so a slip was waiting for us. Around 5:00 the crew arrived, Matthew and family. He quickly proceeded to occupy the aft cabin as he did when he was with us for five weeks. We found Lenny's as good as ever after a round of fried clams, the best on the east coast, we tried them all. It is very warm and the weather is due to last until the remnants of hurricane Ike passes north of us on Monday. We are headed home and expect to make PYC by Friday afternoon if the weather holds.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Essex, Connecticut

I got up around 4:00 am to check the nearby boats after the wind shift and saw the moon setting, a pretty sight (see photo). The day was overcast with the prediction of rain later in the day with the wind increasing to 15 to 20 kts. We headed out for the Fishers Island passage from Block on a broad reach with everything out and hitting 8.2 kts several times per the GPS, averaging around 7.5 kts. It was a great ride. When we entered Fishers Sound it was only 12:00 so we decided to push on to Essex since he had to make Branford by Saturday. Entering the Sound we found the famous Long Island chop: short, steep waves of around 2 to 4 feet coming from 30 degrees off the port side, it was a wild ride! We continued to sail until New London when rain threatened so we motored sailed the rest of the way to make Essex before the downpour, just making it in time. For the next four hours, it poured cats and dogs. Hopefully it clears by tomorrow for our trip to Branford where we meet Matthew and family for dinner at Lenny's. When Ann told Matthew yesterday that we were in Block, Matthew said, "You are there without me?!"

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Block Island on Tuesday

We stayed over one more day to allow time for exploring and to have dinner at the Oar House. The walk into town was about a mile but we enjoyed the exercise and the shopping. The sun shone brightly and the air was just the right temperature with low humidity, not like in July or August. Coming back to the boat we noticed the windjammer anchored nearby (see photo), much bigger than any in Maine. They were busy ferrying passengers to the Oar House dock.

We took a tour of the harbor which is more extensive than one might realize at first with nooks and crannies not apparent from the main anchorage. After that we went into the Oar House for dinner which was much better than what one would expect at a resort area. I had tuna cooked rare with sesame seeds as a crust, outstanding and Ann had Mahi-mahi with crab cakes, also excellent. I would recommend the Oar House without reservation, they have a very good chef.
Back on the boat we enjoyed the last of the sunset and look forward to our sail tomorrow the west anchorage of Fishers Island.
We also saw a restaurant run by our grandson "Finn" on Block Island. I wonder where he gets the time?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Block Island

Full sun again and lots of wind. So much wind that we had to reef both the main and jib as we headed towards Block Island. The wind was out of the north and we still had some swells out of the south which made for a rocky ride but it wasn't too bad. Eventually the winds subsided gradually and we were forced to turn on the iron genny for the last 10 miles or so after sailing for 25.

For once there's lots of room at Block Island to both anchor or pick up a mooring. Although we anchored we were told that the moorings are only $20 in the off season. However, we're out all by ourselves in the anchorage, just the way we like it. We dinked in to the Oar House for a "dinner" of appetizers: Buffalo Wings, onion rings and calamari after a rum punch. With the setting sun providing the entertainment, we decided to stay another day and explore the shops (minus the crowds). We'll still make Branford on Saturday by skipping Essex.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Cuttyhunk Island on Tuesday

A cold front was predicted to come through today accompanied by wind gust to 30 kts and rain. So we decided to just stay over for one day in Cuttyhunk and start out tomorrow when the winds are predicted to be out of the north at 10 to 15 kts on our way to Block Island. In the morning I went in to get a paper but discovered that the only store on the island was closed since the owner had a doctor's appointment on the mainland that day, such is life on a remote island.

Later that day we did some hiking and took photos from the top of the lookout platform (photo of harbor). It was a warm day with temperatures in the 70's. Around 2:00 or so the cold front came through with really strange looking clouds and one gust measured 22 kts with lots of rain but we did not get the predicted hail. I uncorked a bottle of Italian Chianti with our fillet mignon and we had a fine dinner, great fun.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Cuttyhunk Island

The current changed against us at 10:00 am so we had to leave Sandwich by 8:00 heading west. Leaving our slip involved backing out into a constricted area while turning the boat. Our procedure in these types of situations is for Ann to be at the wheel while I manage the lines and stay on the dock until the last minute to ensure the boat leaves the slip without touching when there's a foul wind like this morning pushing us into the dock. Ann, as always, made the turn fine shifting from reverse to forward and we headed out of the marina on time.

The day was bright with a full sun and blue sky with temperatures in the 70's, a great day.
We had to motor through the canal, sailing is not allowed, but once clear of the western end we hoisted sail and sailed the rest of the way to Cuttyhunk. We had steady winds of 10 to 15 kts with flat seas, just perfect sailing. We found Cuttyhunk almost deserted, only about 10 boats at most in the anchorage. In talking to the harbor master, he said they put winter sticks on the moorings on October 15th. Now we're settled in for the night and looking forward to our next anchorage at Block Island.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Sandwich - Sunday

Sandwich has become one of our favorite marinas. It was first suggested to us by Bill Spencer. It's a convenient stop while transiting the canal in either direction and the dockage fee is only $2.00/ft. Yesterday we discovered Joe's Lobster Mart with its outstanding selection of fresh seafood at prices less than Adam's. Last night we had local, harpooned swordfish steaks with locally prepared stuff clams. Tonight we had salmon (wild, not farmed) with stuffed crab as an appetizer. There are excellent seafood restaurants nearby but with the fish market so close, it's hard to justify the expense. Today we discovered a Super Stop and Shop about 1/3 of a mile up the road, easy walking distance. Also in the plaza were two liquor stores, a boating supply store and a hardware store. The only thing the marina is missing is a laundromat.

The marina is calm tonight, hardly any wind so Buzzard's Bay should calm down by the time we're due to leave at 8:00 am tomorrow to catch the tide west. Cuttyhunk is our goal and we'll see how long we stay. The Atlantic seems to have calmed down somewhat and with Ike headed towards Texas, it seems to be out of the picture for our weather. We'd like to go to Block Island next and stay a few days but it depends upon the weather, as everything does when sailing.
Ann took the photo of the sunset by the canal bridge.

Sandwich, After the Storm, 7:00 am

The winds peaked at 35 kts according to our anemometer. We're in good shape and the only damage we saw in the marina so far was one sailboat with a loose jib flapping away but someone rolled it up a few minutes ago. Currently the wind had backed down to 15 kts and compared to the gusts we've been through, it seems like no wind at all. We'll let the seas subside and explore Sandwich today and then head out for Cuttyhunk tomorrow.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Sandwich - Hanna Coming

I added more lines to the boat. I always ask the question, "Will my extra lines do more good in the locker or on the dock?" And the answer is always the same so I usually wind up with more line than I actually need. Hanna's winds are due to start around 10:00 pm and peak at 1:00 am at 30 kts sustained with higher gusts. It's 8:00 pm now and we only have 12 kts or so of wind but it's starting to increase as I write this.
Meanwhile, we found a wonderful fishmarket, Joe's Lobster Mart. They had the best selection of seafood I've seen anywhere and with the best prices too! Ann bought fresh swordfish with stuffed clams as an appetizer and I had a bottle of wine to go with everything, great! We've had a number of concerned callers but we're tucked in securely in a marina that was designed to be a Harbor of Refuge by the Coast Guard so we feel fine. I'll be up for awhile and may give an update later tonight. I set the wind anemometer to record the maximum wind velocity just for the record. We'll stick around tomorrow to let the seas abate and to enjoy the town of Sandwich which we couldn't do today due to the rain.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Sandwich, MA east end of Cape Cod Canal

We left Scituate and motored for the first few hours before the wind came up enough to sail, but then it died and then it came up again! When we reached Sandwich, all we had up was a jib reefed to four marks (all the way) and a half furled mainsail and we were still making 7 kts, the wind was gusting in the 20's but coming off the land so there was very little wave action.

We refueled at Sandwich and found that the marina was going to be full for the passing of Hanna, luckily we had reservations for the next three days. When the canal was built, the area where the marina presently resides was dredged for a "Harbor of Refuge" so boaters had a secure area to ride out storms. However, a town marina eventually took over the area but with a condition from the Coast Guard that the marina maintain 21 docks for transients so the Harbor of Refuge could continue being used as such. The dockage fee is a very reasonable $2.50/ft, low for the area. Even so, it is still very much a working harbor with fishing boats going out everyday, some are quite colorful as in the photo.

Well, the big news is the predicted arrival of Hanna in the wee hours of Sunday morning. I've included a photo of the Ugrib display showing Hanna over Cape Cod. The odd looking things that resemble the feathers of an arrow are symbols showing the speed and direction of the wind. The "feathered end" points in the direction where the wind comes from. Every large feather is 10 kts so one with three slashes (or feathers) shows 30kts of wind. The display can be stepped in 1/2 hour increments up to 24 hour increments. We've found it to be more accurate than the Morning Lies since you can pinpoint your area of interest. Needless to say, we'll be watching the approach of Hanna closely tomorrow. You can see from the photo of the marina that it's somewhat below the level of the surrounding land since it had to be dug out when the Canal was built. We're hoping that the winds that actually reach our boat will be less due to sheltering by the higher land. We'll see if fact matches expectation or if it's just wishful thinking on Saturday night. Stay tuned, I'll send updates Saturday night and Sunday morning.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


We left Gloucester with some apprehension from our experience yesterday with the swells from hurricane Hanna. Perhaps, we thought, they would be worse today given an another day for them to build. However, the further south we went, the less the swells. I guess Cape Cod is finally taking effect, giving some shelter from the south. Once again we had to motor since the wind wasn't enough to push us along at 7 kts (we wanted to make Scituate early in case of storms).

The harbor was a busy place. Evidently boaters are choosing where they want to weather the coming remnants of hurricane Hanna due by Saturday night. We have three nights reserved in Sandwich starting Friday so we're all set even though what's left of Hanna is supposed to pass directly overhead. Ann shot a photo of the lighthouse and several gulls nearby. The picture of the beach shows some of the summer houses. They are packed between July 4th and Labor Day. The breakwater was a favorite of Matthew's since he loved to climb the boulders. Off the Sandwich tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Another sunny morning, no fog. We've been following the progress of hurricane Hanna for the last several days and were dismayed to see that the latest track has her headed directly over the top of our hurricane refuge at Sandwich, MA on the east end of the Cape Cod Canal. She's not predicted (ha!) to be a hurricane by that time but she will still pack winds in excess of 30 mph when she pays us a visit. We will arrive at Sandwich Friday around noon and have reservations until Monday morning when we'll head to Cuttyhunk if all goes to plan. We've been comparing the Morning Lies to Ugrib predictions and found that Ugrib has been more accurate in wind speed along the path we've taken (since you can pin point your location better with Ugrib than "coastal areas out to 25 NM...." as in the area forecasts) Now that I'm in internet range the rest of the trip, we find ourselves checking the status of the hurricanes several times a day directly at the National Hurricane Center website.

As we exited the harbor at Portsmouth, we found an easterly swell coming in of 3 to 5 feet on top of the waves produced by the overnight north wind. It made for an interesting ride with the two wave fronts intersecting. We went up and then we went down! It's interesting when the top of the wave coming at you from the port side is level with your eye. As it passes under the boat, it's like you're on a giant elevator that can't make up it's mind whether to go up or down. We continued on in this mode for the next 30 miles motoring all the way. As we came to the characteristic twin lighthouses at Gloucester, the seas roughened and the waves got a little steeper but we ploughed on okay.

Turning the corner to head along the point towards the harbor, the swells were behind us and we started to surf on the waves, reaching over 9 kts at one point. Just to make things more interesting, a few lobster pots were thrown in the mix which were hidden temporarily as the 6 foot swells passed under the boat. As they popped into view, one had to be careful to miss them, you could hear the surf crashing on the nearby rocks. Nearing the harbor entrance itself where you had to pass between a closely spaced green and red buoy pair were placed for, the visiting yachtsman's enjoyment, a gaggle of lobster pots swaying in all directions on their long lines in the waves and partially buried by the 1 to 2 kt current. Such fun you just don't want to miss!
Well, we made it and the harbor was a great relief, dead calm. We picked up the mooring we had reserved the previous night and had the rest of Leathem's chili that was left over from their cruise with us in August, it was good. We didn't go ashore, we didn't go anywhere, early to bed tonight. I did take a photo of the a windjammer being refitted. Tomorrow we head out for Scituate and then Sandwich the next day. Should be an interesting ride again tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Wentworth at Portsmouth

Ann had a very vivid dream last night of us being up high and dry on the rocks at Richmond Island! It must have been the sound of the surf hitting the breakwater that triggered the dream. Normally we don't anchor in places where you can hear the surf, it's somewhat unsettling. However, we were fine, the anchor held as usual and the night was calm.

The morning was sunny again (ever since the Bunches left...) and we weighed anchor around 8:15 or so and headed south with a north wind behind us. The weather could not have been scripted better but we did have to motor today, the north wind was not strong enough to push us at 7 kts. We are eyeing Hanna every day now and with the current forecast, she's due to go right over us with high winds predicted on Saturday. With that forecast, we reserved a slip at Sandwich for Friday through Sunday night. We figured by Monday that Hanna will be far to the north and we'll be free to continue our course west, stopping at Cuttyhunk on the way to Block Island, at least that's the plan. Our Fleetwing is quite small compared to the behemoths docked near us (see photo). We did find a run-a-bout that would be perfect for the Zeisings to zip around it with three 300 hp outboards mounted!

Today was my 65th birthday so Ann took me out to a restaurant at the Wentworth which was very nice. We had drinks, wine, calamari and fish entrees for dinner along with a chocolate dessert. A great way to celebrate going on Medicare for paying all medical bills!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Richmond Is - 35 mile sail!

We were going to stay at Jewell Island, the same place we anchored on the way up but the Morning Lies indicated the winds were going to be out of the north and northeast, not a good direction for that anchorage. The winds were to be 15 to 25 with gusts to 30 kts! With that we aimed for Richmond Island south of Portland. Since the winds were to gust in the afternoon, we headed out in the morning around 7:30 am. After motoring out of Boothbay Harbor, we sailed for the next 33 miles! The wind was on the starboard beam all the way, averaging 15 kts with gusts to 25. We reefed the main halfway and the jib to the fourth mark and still we routinely hit 7.5 to 8.0 kts! Since the wind was coming off land out of the north, there was very little wave action which gave a comfortable ride. We raced along with a 42 foot Catalina for awhile. They had a fully batten main up and a jib reefed to the first mark and we sailed even with them even though we were reefed much more.

Once around the island we were in the lee of the mainland where we anchored in 15 ft. Richmond Island has a caretaker but they allow guests to come on land and hike around. A breakwater connects the island to the mainland so the anchorage is very protected. The sunset was cloudless but still nice. The night is clear and the moon is not up so we're hoping for a starry night.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Boothbay on Sunday

It was another perfect day in paradise, temps in the 80's, blue sky, full sun and we just loitered around town. We went into town to get a Sunday paper, the New York Times (oh well...) and spent the morning reading it. We took a dink ride over to the place we had lobster rolls yesterday and bought sea scallops which were absolutely fresh at the fish market behind the Boothbay Lobster Wharf. That necessitated getting a suitable baking dish and we shopped around town until we found one shaped like a ship. Such are the things that occupy you in paradise.
Ann found a recipe by Jacques Pepin and the results were out of this world, much better than at any local restaurant. So we sipped wine and had our scallops as the sun went down, hard to imagine a better non-sailing day. Tomorrow we're headed for Richmond Island, south of Portland for an overnight stay. We've never been there so we're a little anxious but we'll see how it is.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Boothbay on Saturday

We awoke to a banging on the hull and found out that a lobsterman had put a buoy right next to our mooring and the buoy was hitting the hull! We have found that lobster buoys often litter the mooring fields throughout Maine. The lobsterman lobby is powerful in Maine, nobody messes with them! So while Ann make a breakfast of blueberry pancakes, I tracked the buoy as it crisscrossed under the hull. Luckily, the buoy floated enough that it never submerged under the hull, it bobbed around the aft section as the boat moved to current and wind. I dinked in to complain to the Tugboat Inn mooring person and he came out and heaved the buoy into his tender and pulled the lobster trap about 50 feet away, problem solved. He didn't consult with the owner of the lobster trap so I guess this happens with some frequency. Meanwhile, the whale watching boat came by for their morning run out to sea. We get a first row seat since we're at the outer edge of the mooring field. The photo at right is of outer harbor, we're closer in than this but it's a good view of the approach to Boothbay.

We went in later in the morning to see a local art show on the docks. The paintings were all photo realistic watercolors but rather unexciting, they were like photos. It reminded me of the Wyett show we saw in Rockland. The paintings by Wyett were outstanding. He was good with technique of course but he was better in composition. Other artists in the same show had similarly good technique but they did not have the composition! Wyett's paintings always had that something extra that set him apart. Objectively, the scenes were of ordinary views around the Olson house but the results were memorable due to how he presented his point of view. We strolled along the road and came across this patch of unusual mushrooms typical of Maine....

Across the harbor we returned to the Lobster Coop and had the best lobster rolls in Maine again. There's a whole lobster in each roll but the signs remind you to not leave your food unguarded for an instant. A seagull was nearby just waiting for the opportunity to snatch your dinner! With wine on the back of the boat, we closed out another perfect day.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Boothbay on Friday

It was overcast in the morning so we decided to do laundry, not very exciting but necessary. I looked for a copper ring gasket for the genset hotwater cap and found one at the local hardware store. Somehow the gasket that was supposed to be in place had disappeared. However, even with the gasket in place, it still seeped some coolant out. Later in the day I found a fiber gasket that hopefully will work better since it's more compliant. We'll see in the morning.

Meanwhile, the sun came out and the day turned out to be quite nice. We took a long stroll around Boothbay and stopped at the local fishmarket at the coop and bought fresh haddock. We just wandered around the shops and eventually returned to the boat for wine at our usual 5:00 happy hour time. Ann prepared the haddock and it was the best fish I've had in a long time. Nothing beats freshness (caught the same day!) We sat on the back of the boat watching the evening come for the next two hours. The windjammers returned from their sunset cruises, the whale watch boat returned, the water taxi came back, it was interesting with the parade of boats off our stern.

This is the second year we've been to Maine for the summer and we've enjoyed this trip as much as the last one, it doesn't get old. To those of you who haven't retired yet, the wait is worth it! To be able to cruise with no schedule, no timetable of returning other than sometime before the onset of winter, it's great and worth planning for. I would recommend it highly. Your priorities are reset after the experience like Ann had two years ago, chemo and radiation works but it was a trying time. Enjoy the present, always.