Dec 99

Hello everyone and Merry Christmas and Happy New Year !

It doesn’t seem possible that a whole year has passed by already. But here it is again – the time to write the ” year in review” letter. Or perhaps we should be reviewing the century passed? Thank goodness I have no intentions of doing that – you can relax now.

Well, the Rands are currently in Titusville Florida awaiting a shuttle launch. The launch is scheduled for Dec 11th and we intended to have front-row seats. The latest news has the shuttle postponed indefinitely, so we may have to move on south.

The past winter was spent exploring the Bahamas, with most of our time sailing in the Exumas. Many new friends were made and old acquaintances re-newed in some of the most beautiful anchorages that I have ever seen. We caught a lot of fish and definitely had too many wonderful meals from the appearance of our waistlines. No changes there, at least good ones.

Unfortunately, neither Jeremy or Steve were able to visit us last winter. But several of our friends made the long trek down to George Town in the Exumas for a week or more of ” fun in the sun”. It was great to have them aboard, but, as you can imagine, things become quite crowded. All of the extra gear that is stowed in the quarter berth must be fitted in someplace else on the boat. And most of the “someplace elses ” are already full to the brim. Imagine all of your possessions on a 40 foot boat. Mind- boggling, isn’t it!

One of the highlights of the past year was our 3 day passage from the northern Abacos to Charleston, SC. It was late May and the weather couldn’t have been better. We sailed at 6 to 7 knots all day long and, as the sun set, the wind would die. Then, we would motor-sail all night, running all the lights and electronics that my little heart would desire. And, as the sun rose, the wind picked up , the boat heeled over and on we sailed. Within 12 hours of departure, we had lost visual contact with our ‘buddy’ boat but maintained radio contact. At times we were 250 miles off-shore, so it was good to know someone else was nearby. The two boats motored into Charleston together after sailing 380 miles.

Jeremy and his girlfriend Cynthia have moved into a rented house, still in Ottawa. Jeremy is still working at Newbridge, but as the papers are reporting, things may change there. He is driving a bright red late-model Volvo – much spiffier than anything his old dad ever had. I have also heard rumours of perhaps a sailboat in his future.

Steve graduated in November from Information Systems and Murray and I were very proud to be there to share the moment with him. He is working in Woodstock for Purina Foods. Actually writing a program to compare milk output with nutrient intake in dairy cattle. His grandfather Rand would have been quite interested in that. Steve is still living in St Thomas and making the drive down the 401. He cannot believe that his father made that drive for 5 years!

My mother is still living in Washago but not feeling as well as she would like. She had a small stroke last winter and has been experiencing a lot of dizziness ever since. This has curtailed her usual round of activities. We all hope and pray that she improves steadily.

Murray’s mom is well and still living on the farm at Woodstock. She seems to be always on the go. This summer, we spent a couple of weeks with each of our mothers. It was wonderful to be able to spend that much time visiting them.

A unexpected reunion happened this summer. While visiting friends in Guelph, I was able to arrange to have lunch with Susanne Foster who I had not seen since leaving the Vet College. That is 28 years ago! We write a letter each Christmas, so have stayed in touch that way. Murray could not believe the way we chattered on at lunch. She still has a photo on her lab wall of Jeremy at 6 weeks old! This time we made a pact to not wait another 28 years to meet again.

As the year and millennium draw to a close, we pray that everyone has good health, happiness and someone to share it with. Our love goes out to you all.

Heather & Murray Rand
aboard Windswept IV
Ham Radio VE3 ZUA