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Posted By Robin & Jim

We're temporarily homeless while ADVENTURES makes her way up the Pacific coast, but we're trying to make good use of the chance to see some new as well as familiar places as we drive across the US.

After spending time with friends in Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach, and Jupiter our next stop was Clearwater, Florida to see Jim's dad and some other friends.  What better way to bid farewell to sunny Florida than to zip around on Segways through Fort DeSoto Park?  We saw lots of birds and enjoyed a picnic lunch by the beach.  Remind me again why we're leaving the balmy breezes and palm trees and our friends behind?

segways

We have been enjoying the driving - surprised at the pretty forested mountains through western Georgia and into Alabama, then through Mississippi and into Memphis for a short afternoon break. 

elvis

We took the tram over to Mud Island to see the 1/2 mile long Riverwalk - a living model of the lower Mississippi River.  Did you know that more than 1/3 of the US rivers drain into the Mississippi?

riverwalk vertical

We loved reading about all the history of the region and the ever-changing shape of the River, sometimes swallowing towns and sometimes stranding them inland.  I don't think we appreciated the Mighty Mississippi as much as we should, but we're glad we learned a little bit more in our brief visit.  No trip to Memphis would be complete without enjoying the ribs at the Rendezvous Restaurant - thanks to our native Memphis friends for steering us to the best BBQ!

We continued to zoom through more states, and I regret not having the time to stop and photograph some of the unusual sights along the way, such as the sign advertising the town of "Toad Suck, Arkansas".  You can't make this stuff up.  We made miles through Oklahoma and Texas across Route 40, and arrived in Santa Fe to take a day off to play.  The high desert is so stark and beautiful - a real contrast to the verdant scenery we had just a few days ago.  Santa Fe is full of art galleries and art museums, and we enjoyed seeing the work of Georgia O'Keefe as well as other local artists and photographers.  The sky is a brilliant blue which really sets off the adobe construction and desert flora - so beautiful.

santa fe

Our next adventures will be hiking and exploring some of the unusual landscapes and history in the Four Corners area of the southwest.  But our thoughts are still with our boat aboard the EUROGRACHT, making her port call in Golfito, Costa Rica this morning.

 
Posted By Robin & Jim

One day we hope to transit the Panama Canal on our own bottom, but in the meantime it's still very cool to see ADVENTURES make the trip one way or another.  As we're driving across country we've been watching for the EUROGRACHT (our ship) on marinetraffic.com.  Here is one more photo of our boat being loaded on the 450' EUROGRACHT a week ago in sunny Palm Beach, FL - she looks so tiny.

eurogracht lifting adventures

The EUROGRACHT popped into range on marinetraffic.com as she approached the Panama Canal yesterday morning, and we kept checking to see when she entered the Canal so we could catch a glimpse of ADVENTURES on the Panama Canal's web cams. It looked like the ship anchored to wait for the Pilot, and we couldn't tell how long the wait would be.  The ship's position didn't update for many hours, until we finally saw her transiting Gatun Lake (in the middle of the Canal) late last night.  We missed seeing her on the Atlantic-side (Gatun) web cam in daylight, but we stayed up very late to watch her come through the Pacific-side locks at Miraflores.  It was dark and the Canal's lights made a harsh glare on the web cam, but we could clearly see the EUROGRACHT entering the first of the two Miraflores locks, with a big load of boats on her deck.

miraflores lowering

ADVENTURES is all the way towards the back of the ship's superstructure, in the center.  We could barely make her out in some of the web cam shots, but it was still a big thrill to see her one more time before we get to Victoria.  She has made this trip through the Canal once before, aboard a ship, when she was first delivered to Florida after her construction in Taiwan back in 1988.

As the EUROGRACHT was exiting the lock we caught a better (but still pretty bad) view of her, as well as the Outer Reef GINGER owned by a friend.

exiting miraflores

It was about 2:50 in the morning east coast time when the EUROGRACHT cruised out of the locks and into the Pacific Ocean, and now we just have to watch for when she makes port calls in Golfito, Costa Rica and Ensenada, Mexico before we'll see her in Victoria.

It's hard to wait!


 
Posted By Robin & Jim

There are many stories and photos from this winter season in Marathon that we want to catch up on, but that will be the topic for later blog entries.
The big news to report is that ADVENTURES has been safely loaded aboard the 450' Dutch freighter EUROGRACHT in the Port of Palm Beach for her journey through the Panama Canal and up to Victoria, BC, Canada.  This is the ship approaching Lake Worth inlet.

approaching inlet

She's due to arrive in Victoria around May 9th and we're driving across country to meet her and to begin some years of cruising in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.
Preparing our only home for a big ocean journey is a daunting task - we worked for about a week to get everything lashed down, stowed, secured, and ready. 
On Wednesday afternoon we drove ADVENTURES to the side of the EUROGRACHT and watched the loadmasters bring lots of heavy straps aboard and then position the wide lifting straps from one of the ship's cranes. 

straps

loadmaster

Divers were in the water to help position the huge lifting straps under the hull and make sure they were clear of the stabilizer fins.  At the last minute we had to lower 6 antennas so they would clear the overhead lifting bar.  Once everything was ready for lifting we boarded a small launch and waited near the ship to watch her get settled on deck.

ready for lift

We've seen our boat hauled out of the water for maintenance periodically, but it's a different feeling watching our home lifted high out of the water an onto the deck of a ship!

on her way up

On Thursday we were allowed back into the Port and aboard the ship so we could put the antennas back up - the loadmaster told us the antennas would ride better upright.  It was very interesting to get aboard and see the deck full of more boats, and the welded cradles and stands, and all the straps holding boats to the deck.  The crew had still not finished installing the spiderweb of straps, but it's a pretty impressive operation.

on deck

The EUROGRACHT finally departed around midnight on Thursday, heading for the Panama Canal.  We have a long drive ahead of us, and we'll use that time to catch up on the blog from our busy winter.  We'll also be watching the weather to see what the EUROGRACHT and ADVENTURES are experiencing.  Victoria, here we come!