Gananoque, Ontario - October 2009

What a difference a year makes! It's hard to believe that it's been that long since we last posted an update. Although the m/v Mystic Bond hasn't been cruising (unfortunately), her crew has certainly been busy over the past 12 months.

We actually did get in some boating, albeit on another boat. Our friends Mike & Dana graciously offered us the use of the m/v TwoCan which was berthed at the Madeira Beach marina on the Gulf Coast of Florida. So, shortly after having celebrated the arrival of 2009 with family in Ottawa, we packed Misty into the car and headed south.

We stopped in Flagler Beach to pick up Mike, loaded up on supplies, including the necessary adult beverages (of course!) and headed overland across Florida to Madeira Beach. Joe & Jan had the m/v 5th Quarter berthed there as well, so, after a great reunion with them, and the consumption of some of the said adult beverages, the men got to work preparing the boat for her first cruise in several months.

Three days later, we were crossing Tampa Bay and kicking ourselves for having been off the water for so long. Olga was also happy to get a chance to practice handling a twin engine boat instead of the single screw we've become used to with Mystic Bond. We had great weather, so we dropped the hook in several anchorages on the way south to Charlotte Harbour.

Unfortunately, that's where our weather window closed and our luck ran out. We had hoped to out run some severe squalls on our way up the harbour to the slip we had reserved at Fisherman's Village, the lovely marina in Punta Gorda that we had stayed in the previous year with Mystic Bond. Well, about halfway up the bay (just past the point of no return), the squall line overtook us and we spent the next 45 minutes battling 35 knot winds and 5-6 foot waves, on the beam (of course!). Luckily, TwoCan is a sturdy 44 foot Marine Trader and most of the system passed through by the time we got to the head of the harbour. Nonetheless, we still had to deal with a tricky cross breeze of around 15 knots coming into the marina. Not a problem though, as several of the very competent dock hands and many of our old friends at Fisherman's Village were waiting to grab lines and help us into our slip. It felt like coming home.

During the next 6 weeks, Mike and Andre did a huge amount of mechanical maintenance and upgrades and Andre re-painted the top-sides while Olga got back into her crafts and beading with the other ladies on B-dock. During that time, Misty got more and more adventurous and decided that she could jump onto the dock and visit any boat she liked. One or two of her hosts were not amused, so we had to watch her closely after that.

On Feb. 21st, we loosed the lines once more and departed Punta Gorda aboard the m/v TwoCan, looking as-good-as-new and ready for another adventure en route to Flagler Beach on the Atlantic Coast, via the Okeechobee Waterway. We had near-perfect weather for the entire cruise and really enjoyed this pastoral inland water alternative to the longer route around the Florida Keys which we had taken in 2008 aboard Mystic Bond. The most stressful part of the whole trip was navigating the narrow, windy and shallow channel into Mike's slip off the ICW at Flagler Beach. We timed it perfectly to "read" the water and avoid the shoals, and tied up without incident just before a major cold front came barrelling through and winds picked up to 20-25 knots.

Florida: Jan-Mar 2009
(Click on pictures to enlarge)
Getting TwoCan ready for cruising
Misty supervising Andre and the local flora from the lower helm
Misty in her glory getting attention and wearing cat jewelry
Andre learning to drive a twin engine boat
Mike, fighting off a flock of seagulls
Even the dolphins joined the party
No, it's not a moonscape, it's the south end of Lake Okeechobee
More McMansions on the waterway, most for sale
The egrets claim another good piece of real estate
One of the challenging sand bars near Mike's condo
Careful, careful...
We made it! TwoCan in her new berth

 

All good things must come to an end so, after a couple of days of unloading the boat and relaxing with Mike, we packed up the car (and Misty) and headed back to Canada in March. Once there, we quickly became embroiled in the construction and outfitting of our new house in Gananoque, Ontario. Having divested ourselves of all our land-based wordly possessions when we left Halifax, we started again from scratch, needing everything from bedding to pots and pans, furniture and a house to put it all in.

Andre, of course, was in his element having such with a big project to deal with. We worked with a local builder but managed several of the sub-trades and did some of the work ourselves. Thanks to some excellent scheduling, logistics coordination and a bit of luck with the weather, we started digging the foundation in late April and moved in almost 4 months to the day later. Everyone was amazed at how quickly everything came together (although they shouldn’t have been, if they knew what Andre was like once he’s on a mission!).

Being “dirt dwellers” again is a big adjustment but it does have its compensations. Misty has all kinds of room to run around and play hide-and seek with Andre and, since moving into the house in mid-August, we’ve had the pleasure of having Olga’s grandchildren and much of our family come to visit at various intervals.

 

GANANOQUE: the new house, Apr-Oct 2009
(Click on pictures to enlarge)
We were fortunate to find an old vacant lot right in town
Construction started in mid-April
We're very happy to have a garage on a back lane
We even managed to preserve an old maple tree
By late June we were closed-in
The required fireplace for our cold climate
 
Lots of room for guests and grandkids
Finally, some grass
Big kitchen, 'cause we love to eat
Wide open concept for entertaining
and...Misty is quite happy with her new home

Mystic Bond will remain in Oxford, MD for the winter and we will bring her back to Canada in the spring to cruise our new home waters in the 1000 Islands and Great Lakes the summer of 2010.

If you’re headed our way, drop us a line.

Olga, André and Misty, the crew of m/v Mystic Bond.

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Copyright M/V Mystic Bond 2008

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