23 April 2011

Our Intro to Sailing

Finally, our first sailing lesson.  It seems like a lot longer ago than four months that we decided to embark on this adventure.  And it has not gone by fast, but as Jane said on the way home from Hoofer Sailing Club, we are on our way.

13 April 2011

Ean at 49

My Last Landlubber Birthday

Ean at the helm
This morning we woke up at the Villa Paradiso Hotel in Miami Beach, Fl.  Tonight we are going to sleep at home in Milwaukee.  In between these two events, we celebrated my 49th birthday--mostly at the airport, due to a several hour flight delay.  Our main reason for this trip wasn’t to look at boats, as it happens.  Our main reason was so that I wouldn’t have to be cold on my birthday.  Unfortunately, due to scheduling constraints, I did end up being cold for part of it.  But any birthday hour spent somewhere warm is better than that same hour spent cold, so I take whatever I can get.

We flew into Ft. Lauderdale and immediately hightailed it for St. Augustine in our rental car.  Not our smartest move considering that we were driving on about 4 hours’ sleep.  Ultimately worth it, though.  St. Augustine is nicknamed “The Ancient City” and has the distinction of being the oldest city in the U.S.  It’s a great walking city with Spanish architecture, streets and streets of shops (in one of which Jane found the perfect sun hat and in another one of which I got my Tilley), and attractions such as the restored St. Augustine lighthouse and the Castillo de San Marcos, a Spanish Fort that, despite many turnovers in local government over the centuries (The Spanish, the British, the Spanish again, etc.), had never been taken over by force, only by treaty.

St. Augustine also has a beautifully maintained municipal marina, wherefrom we went on our first catamaran ride.  Not on a cruising cat, however, this was a 27 foot racing cat owned by St. Augustine Eco-Tours.  Beside Captain Aaron, just 2 sisters shared our two-hour dolphin-spotting tour of the inlet leading to the ICW.  It turns out that Aaron and his family live aboard their boat, so we had a lot to talk about.  Considering it was our first time aboard a cat underway, it didn’t feel new at all, really.  Just one more experience to further convince us that we’re making the right decision.

03 April 2011

Let the Bye-byes Begin

Milwaukee, we have to admit, has its charms, though few and far between they may be--at least for us.  In acknowledgement of this we have, under the category of "regret minimization," compiled a list of places we want to go and things we want to see before we say "fare thee well" to this part of the world.

exotic specimens--for now
One of the items on our list is the Mitchell Park Conservatory, a.k.a. "The Domes" named for the triple geodesic dome-shaped structures in which are housed various biospheres.  We have turned this into an annual pilgrimage at about this time for each of the past several years.  Our trips generally coincide with that discrepant period between calendrical and actual spring, when we become driven to distraction by our need for warmth and humidity and green--signs of life that the out-of-Domes world won't produce for weeks yet.