Our Boat

Caloosa Spirit

Catalina 42 mkII

Log #23 It’s Beginning To Feel A Lot Like Christmas

There are many joys in cruising, but one of the greatest sorrows is the separation from family. We were in Indianapolis for about 10 days for a wedding and another visit with Mom, then flew to San Diego to spend Thanksgiving with our son Mike and his girlfriend Stephanee, and also to celebrate his 30th birthday with him. Lauri also joined us. It was a grand celebration for the family to be together again, especially since we hadn’t seen Mike in well over a year. The visit to San Diego was a first for us, so Mike took us to see all the local sights. Even though we live on the water (or perhaps because we live on the water) the waterfront and seashore were real attractions.

All good things come to an end as they say, and this morning we said good-bye to Lauri as she returned to Indy. Tonight we’ll say good-bye to Mike, since our flight tomorrow to St. Pete is at something like 0-dark:30. We’ll see Lauri again in a few weeks as she and Mom come south for Christmas. But being with Mike again is a big question mark. How long he’ll remain in California is uncertain, and we’re not likely to make another trip so far west. For any who may be wondering, no, we definitely will not take the boat through the Panama Canal. From all reports it’s expensive, dangerous, and time-consuming. End of discussion.

Even with the sadness of once again leaving our kids, we look forward to getting back to Caloosa Spirit and all the joy she brings us. Tomorrow begins another great adventure.

Caloosa Spirit was in high spirits when we arrived the other day. Everything seemed to be in order, not counting the excessive bird droppings, that is. Apparently, some migratory birds had a party in our rigging, and they neglected to clean up afterward. So after two days of cleaning the topsides, cleaning the cabins in preparation for Christmas decorations, and eight loads of laundry we were ready for a shore excursion today. Actually, we had been shopping for a few hours a couple of days ago when we discovered that both a West Marine store and a Publix grocery store within walking distance of the marina had both opened while we were away. But today we were on a mission to Wal-Mart, hopefully to find a small propane heater. A cold front is expected this weekend, and we’re not sure how chilly we’ll feel with no heat. But apparently no one in Florida uses propane heaters, since Wal-Mart doesn’t sell them. Oh, well. We’ll just have to snuggle to stay warm. We did get some fun Christmas stuff, though. We can enjoy Christmas more this year than we did last year, because we won’t be working on the boat constantly. That’s the plan, anyway.

Incidentally, the bus system here in St. Petersburg is absolutely outstanding. We’re able to travel all over the city to do our shopping and other errands on the bus. The drivers are pleasant and helpful, and the routes are plentiful. Public transportation is a big plus for this city.

What a delightful weekend! What a COLD weekend!! No, the cold wasn’t delightful, but other things were. Yesterday we found the propane heater we were looking for at K-Mart. Good old K-Mart. It came through for us in the islands and again here in Florida. The heater isn’t exactly as warm as a furnace, but it has kept us from freezing. Last night the temperature went gone down into the low 40’s, and the same is expected tonight. Brrrrr!!

Last evening, while bundled up in blankets and several layers of sweats, we got to watch a lighted boat parade from the foredeck of our boat. The parade went by just outside the marina, and some of the decorated boats came in and out of the marina. The displays were creative and festive.

Today we went to church on the bus at Pilgrim Congregational UCC. The service was enjoyable and meaningful, with the New Century Hymnal an added bonus. The people were very friendly, and Jim had known the pastor several years ago in Indy. We plan to go back weekly while we’re in St. Pete. In the afternoon we toured The Pier with its shops, restaurants, aquarium, and car show. It was still too chilly to spend much time on the observation deck, however. The Pier extends about half a mile beyond the marina into Tampa Bay. Another treat of the day was the production of The Nutcracker in the park across the street from the marina. Blanket seating was free, and the production was very well done by a local ballet school. Again we bundled up and managed to stay warm enough.

Tomorrow we must begin some serious work on a few more projects to be done before Christmas. But it felt delicious to spend the weekend just doing fun things. Now if the temperature would just warm up!!

The serious work didn’t get much of a start, but we got the boat decorated for Christmas, complete with a Christmas tree! The season is truly here. It’s not snowing here in Florida, and the temperature has started to warm up again. All is right with the world.

Christmas on Caloosa Spirit

Wishing all warm winds,
Alice & Jim Rutherford

Posted Tuesday December 9, 2003

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