Where the heck are they???

Hello everyone,

First, I must apologize for the long silence. It has been a very busy time for us and writing just didn’t bubble to the top of the list of things-to-do. But, to re-cap our summer for you.

We arrived in Ontario near the end of April and visited with family and friends before making our way to Killarney and our new jobs at Killarney Mountain Lodge starting May 15th.

It was very cool in Killarney at that time of year. In fact, spring had not yet arrived and there were few leaves on the trees. We spent our days getting some things organized in the Boat House and figuring out where in the world we would put all of the boats scheduled to arrive in July. There was a rendezvous of the Great Lakes Cruising Club in Killarney mid July and our docks weren’t completely finished until just days before they all arrived! There were three other staff at the Boat House. They learned fast and worked very hard. The summer sped by with 10 hour working days, six days per week. We fell into bed at night just exhausted.

There was time for one break in July. Jeremy, our oldest son, was married to Cynthia on July 22nd. The wedding took place in Ottawa at the downtown Sheridan Hotel. What a joyous occasion! The happy couple even spent some of their honeymoon at the Lodge and shared their time with us. How lucky can we be!

It continued busy on the docks until late August. About that time, the rest of the staff went back to school and it was just the two of us again. Still boats to dock, fuel to pump and holding tanks to empty. Several cruisers stopped by for visits: John & Angela from Suffolk Punch; Dave & Brenda from Lo n Slo; John & Kristin from Shivaree; Hans & Judy from Whisper V. We had radio contacts with others in the area. The ham radio rig was up and running in our cabin, but we spent so little time there that we seldom got on the air! Thank heavens for pocketmail – that kept us in touch with most of you.

Near the end of August, we received a phone call from the marina where Windswept IV was stored on the hard. They had noticed a spot where the bottom paint had been blown off, below the waterline and suspected that she had been hit by lightning. After many phone calls, Murray decided to fly down, meet with a surveyor and check out the damage first hand. Our thanks to the many friends that gave him beds on the stages of this journey. The news from the surveyor was mixed – most electronics aboard were damaged, but luckily we had removed many that were easily taken out. The radio antenna was blown off of the mast and the light up there was damaged. Murray returned to Killarney with a list of damaged items and we spent the rest of our spare time organizing replacements and checking prices.

Not much boating traffic was passing through by late September, and the lodge agreed to allow us to leave early. So, the Volvo was loaded down again and we hit the road. Brief visit with Jeremy & Cynthia in Ottawa to celebrate his 30th birthday. Then, to London to stay with friends and do the doctor/dentist check-up stuff. We worked in as many visits with friends locally as time would allow. A few weekends were spent in the Woodstock area with Murray’s family and our youngest son Steve, who has moved there with his girlfriend Tracy. By mid October, we were headed for Orillia to spend time with my mom , sister Karyn and her partner. Karyn and Lou are the proud “parents” of six schnauzer puppies. The puppies sure were adorable but would not fit on the boat!

We managed a flying trip to Parry Sound to surprise Ole Pederson on the occasion of his 60th birthday. Ole is a sailor and a longtime friend from our car rally days.

Although we had car problems in Orillia, we headed to Killarney once more for the closing party at the lodge and to say good bye to a lot of new friends and wonderful people. By Oct 26th, we were headed to the boat. By way of Sault St Marie!!

Eventually, we did arrive back here in Florida. To discover that we could no longer work on our own boat!! The yard had changed owners and policy while we stored. So, we allowed the yard to do the outside stuff, concentrated our efforts on electronic stuff inside and worked through it. The boat launched on Wednesday of this week, a scant 10 days after our arrival. Most work is done. Or in the process. A survey of the rig resulting in it being condemned – meaning it must be replaced. Haven’t heard yet if the insurance will pay for that, but, as it was the lightning damage, I sure hope so. The mast was pulled out after the launch. So, now we are a powerboat! The stem fitting on the bow was also damaged, so we are unable to anchor. For now, we will stay on the dock in Ft Pierce and work on the boat, finishing all sorts of jobs. Friends in Vero Beach have taken pity on us and given us a bed while we worked on the boat in the yard. Soon, we plan to move back aboard – perhaps tomorrow.

I haven’t been feeling too well and have not been able to help much for the last three days. I developed a terrible cold with bronchitis and, at the same time, my back started to bother me. So, I have been playing couch potato. Finally the back is good enough to allow me to sit and type this!!!

This winter plans – well…. As soon as all parts are repaired and replaced, we will head out. Route should be through the Abacos, to the Exumas with intentions of hanging about Staniel Cay. And swimming, relaxing , shelling etc.

Perhaps now you will understand my lack of communication this summer. It was incredibly busy! But, the lodge want us to return . We haven’t decided yet. Perhaps. The scenery up there is incredible and the people, as with people that we have met everywhere, are wonderful. But, the water is COLD. Clear and a beautiful green, but cold. I do have a few pictures of the area with me, just in case we meet up.

So, stay in touch and I promise to write more often now.

Hugs to everyone, Heather & Murray

PS Please write back to our pocketmail address. It is just easier to do the bulk mailing from the computer. Thanks.

Heather & Murray Rand
aboard Windswept IV