Dec
31

Making It Official!

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December 31, 2014

Finally, the last topic on the list to bring you all up to speed is the fact that Dieter and I finally decided to take the plunge and make it official.  We were married by our good friend Don under the beautiful gazebo of The Crucial Coffee Café in St. Augustine, FL on October 31st.  This place and the date was of great significance to us as 5 years ago in that very spot we shared a beautiful romantic evening that was forever branded in my mind and sent me spiraling head over heels in love with him. I think the feeling was mutual ;-)

The Crucial Coffee Café, St. Augustine, FL

The Crucial Coffee Café, St. Augustine, FL

If you ever visit St. Augustine, don’t pass up the beautiful gardens of The Crucial Coffee Café and The Gourmet Hut.  Directly across from the Fort on the corner of Cuna Street you’ll see a cute little cedar siding building in which you’ll find tasty treats and coffee. Just to the right of it is The Gourmet Hut, serving the best food you’ll ever sink your teeth into and nestled in between is a beautiful setting of benches and tables tucked away within this tropical garden.  If you take a few minutes to enjoy your coffee on the bench next to Crucial Coffee, you’ll find a plaque dedicating that spot to us!  The owner, Wendy, remembered us from that late Halloween night 5 years ago and when we told her we wanted to marry there, she fell in love with our love story and insisted that we put a plaque on that bench.  It’ll soon be placed on the bench and we will be remembered there as a little piece of St. Augustine’s history. :-)

With that I leave you with this video and wish you all a Happy New Year!!!!

 

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December 28, 2014

Well, continuing along this schedule of writing, the next topic up on the list is Brady’s decision to join us for a year when we set sail. About that…

It’s funny how quickly things can change around here. While there is still a good possibility that he’ll join us, he’s also started talking about joining the United States Coast Guard. Rescue swimmer to be exact!  He actually wants to get right in the thick of a big storm and plunge into the fury of the mighty ocean.  He figures with the Coast Guard, he’ll always have plenty of adrenalin pumping and he’ll always be positioned near the coast.  A match made in heaven!  His mindset now is that he knows he likes expensive things. He likes living on the beach and wants a surfboard for every occasion. He wants to hit all the exotic surf spots around the world and have the money and time to travel as he pleases. He really wants his own island!  He realizes a lifestyle like this takes money and before he gets too far off track after school, he’d like to make something of himself, something that will afford him all his heart’s desires.

So, while he can have many of those things setting sail with us, it’s at a much slower pace than what he has in mind. Rather than sailing for weeks on the open ocean to get to that cool surf spot, he’d rather hop a plane! Will he still join us for a little while, who knows. If it appeals to him at the time he might. Dieter says we’ll just stay close to shore for the first couple days to test him out so when he says “Let me off this boat” thinking we have days or weeks ahead of us, we’ll turn into port and set him free. LOL  I know he’ll join us at some point. If not immediately after school, at some point in his life, I know he’ll be ready for a slower pace.

Not to worry though! We WILL have a 3rd crewmember anyways. We’ve found ourselves lost since our dog passed away in August and finally after much consideration, we’ve broken down and brought a new puppy into our lives. Say hello to Anatoli – a 3 month old Anatolian Shepherd who joined our family just 2 days before Christmas. He already loves the beach!

Say hello to Anatoli - Our 3 month old Anatolian Shepherd

Say hello to Anatoli – Our 3 month old Anatolian Shepherd

 

Bringing our new baby home

Bringing our new baby home

Dieter is finally content. Let the training begin!

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Dec
19

DieterFest 2014

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December 18, 2014

Next topic on the list in my attempt to bring you all up to speed before the end of the year is “DieterFest”!  A group of Dieter’s closest friends from the whitewater paddling community up in Virginia & West Virginia have formulated a plot to get him back up there to visit yearly. They held the first annual DieterFest this past October and it was such a hit, we all vowed to make it official.  So, from here on out, we’ll pull together yearly for a special gathering of good friends, good times, and good food in the beautiful mountains of Wytheville, Virginia.

While we’ve been removed from the whitewater community for about 4 years now, the friendships Dieter left behind up there are deeply rooted.  It’s so easy to pull back up and reminisce over good times, especially where Dieter is the topic of many entertaining river stories!  Every time we get back up there we’re torn by how much we love being in the woods and mountains. Whether its on the river, hiking, or on the slopes, the mountains have as a strong a pull on us as the ocean does.  One of these days, we’re bound to end up back up there, even if only a little escape cabin in the woods.  One day…

For now, we leave with this song and video :-)

 

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Dec
11

Our Own Tropical Paradise

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December 11, 2014

Britton strolling the beach

Britton strolling the beach

Yes, I know, once again, I have failed to update the blog weekly even though I’ve already set the stage for 6 weeks worth of writing!  It’s just so hard to find the time to write as often as I’d like when life is chugging along here in paradise.

As I mentioned a few weeks back, we spent a week on vacation right here at home back in October and had family come down to visit. We do this yearly and each time we’re reminded that we have our very own tropical paradise right here in our back yard.  We don’t have to set sail or travel the world to find it, we have it!  Don’t get me wrong, we still plan to set sail and go off exploring one day, but we also want to keep our little piece of paradise that we’ve found here in “The Hammock”.

Our resident red=shouldered hawk

Our resident red-shouldered hawk

Chillin on the Porch with the Family - Up in the Trees!

Chillin on the Porch with the Family – Up in the Trees!

Our pretty little niece loving the wind and the beach!

Our pretty little niece loving the wind and the beach!

Why would we ever want to leave all this?

Why would we ever want to leave all this?

Since we’ve decided to purchase this place, our minds have been running non-stop on all the projects we’d like to kick off to make this place exactly what we envision in a tropical beach paradise.  We have lots of ideas to make our home a vacation retreat and to establish opportunity allowing us to thrive in our own community.  Whether we rent this place as a vacation rental while we’re sailing or we continue to call it home, we can’t go wrong. It’ll always give back everything we put into it.

Tropical paradise isn't complete without a garden hot tub!

Tropical paradise isn’t complete without a garden hot tub!

Water, Earth, Wind, and Fire - All the ingredients for a vacation retreat!

Water, Earth, Wind, and Fire – All the ingredients for a vacation retreat!

Brady's Future Surf Shack

Brady’s Future Surf Shack

 

How can we thrive here and share our love of this place with other people? How can we help launch Brady into the world of adulthood and set him up to make a little money on the skillsets he has? That’s where the “Paddle, Charter, Dive, Surf” motto comes in. Between the three of us, we have everything from skills and equipment to licenses to establish “Diving Into Cruising” as a business right here in Flagler County, FL.  All that Brady wants to do is surf, I get that. But he has to start thinking of a way to pay his own way when he gets older. He’s been teaching surf lessons and leading kayak tours over the last year, so why not give him room to grow with that? Throw in surfboard building and repair and he has a viable business that he can run while continuing to do what he loves. We’d love to build him a little surf shack so he has a place to work his boards and make an art out of his passion.

 

 

 

USCG Captain

USCG Captain

 

As for the Dive and Charter part of that equation, Dieter and I know the area and have the equipment and credentials to take guests cruising up the ICW between Flagler and St. Johns County, an area rich in maritime history.  When it comes to diving, we’ve done it all from springs to oceans, so we’re ready to share all the beauty that Florida has to offer with each and every visitor of our one of a kind community.

 

 

So, the tricky part is how can we incorporate all of this into our sweet little plot of land? We’ll have to get very creative in spatial design!

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November 19, 2014

Ever wondered about the world that lies beneath us, only within your reach for a few short minutes at the most each time you break the surface of the water?  What if you could weightlessly hover on the bottom of the ocean as if you were a fish yourself?  That’s what SCUBA brings to the table.  Launching yourself into another world, you’ll find it an experience like no other.  Descending beneath the surface of the ocean or deep down into a freshwater spring, life is surreal. You’re totally weightless, time stands still, and all you have is the peace and tranquility around you to guide your thoughts.

We filmed the certification of my brother and niece so that we could share that journey with you.  This video shows you the progression of a new diver, from the first day of class, to open water skills, to that first dive, and then onto perfecting your technique so that you can safely and effortlessly enjoy the world beneath you.

Those of you who subscribe to our YouTube Channel or follow us on Facebook may have already seen this video. We did share it there when we first published it, but as you know, I’m a little behind in my writing, so this is the first debut published here on the Blog :-)

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Nov
09

Reacting to Change

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November 9, 2014

You may be wondering just what the heck happened to the boat restoration. Looking back over our posts, the last time we updated you with anything on our beloved Mofilla was June 26th! Well, let me tell you…

That was the last time we worked on her and we decided to give ourselves a little break from both the grueling boat work and the heat. Our plan was to take a few months off while temperatures were up over 100 degrees and get back to it by September/October. Then plans changed on us a bit and required we take a little more time, not because of the heat, but because of the money we’ve been sinking into the restoration.  We have something else we have to sink that money into at the moment and while it wasn’t exactly the direction we planned on taking, it’ll work out better in the long run.

There she sits waiting for us to come and make her whole again.  She has received a new cover and the good thing here is that she's drying out really good in preparation for her new fiberglass shell coming next year!

There she sits waiting for us to come and make her whole again. She has received a new cover and the good thing here is that she’s drying out really good in preparation for her new fiberglass shell coming next year!

You might remember, if you’ve been following us for awhile, that we were on a downsizing plan and a huge relief was the fact that we were renting our current home and planned on staying here only a couple more years while Brady finishes school. Well….. that’s changed.  Our landlord has decided he wants to sell the home this year. We love it here and when we first moved here, we wanted to buy it, but the landlord didn’t want to sell at that time. As time moved on and we decided to move aboard a sailboat, we were quite happy to be renters.  Now, we have to make the decision to  buy the place or move :-( We don’t want to move and the more we think about it, this place is home.

Our little home on the beach in Flagler County, FL - Quaint & Cozy - On a quiet dirt road only a couple hundred yards from the beach - Never crowded - Best sunrises in town and just across the street on the ICW are the best sunsets. What more could you ask for?

Our little home on the beach in “The Hammock”, a secluded, coastal, wooded area of Flagler County, FL – Quaint & Cozy – On a quiet dirt road only a couple hundred yards from the beach – Never crowded – Best sunrises in town and just across the street on the ICW are the best sunsets. What more could you ask for?

Even when we do move aboard the boat, this will always be a place to call home and a place to come back to, a place for Brady to come back to, a place we like to think of as our own.  It’ll make a great vacation rental as well, so we may even find ourselves appreciative of the income it can provide when we set sail. It’ll be a good investment and is not something we want part with, so, we’ve had to funnel our money into efforts to acquire this house by the end of the year. That means the boat restoration that was soaking up a couple thousand dollars a month has had to take the back seat.

The sunset in our back yard - "The Hammock"

The sunset in our back yard – “The Hammock”

Don’t worry, we’ll get back to it just as soon as we can. We pay her regular visits and just hope that we hold onto that prime little spot we have her in for the full restoration. We don’t need anymore rugs yanked out from under us!  If all goes well, we hope to be back at it by the first of the year and as long as mother nature provides us some decent weather, we hope to have her in the water by next fall.

The vision that keeps us going, chasing this dream of restoring Mofilla to her glory days.

The vision that keeps us going, chasing this dream of restoring Mofilla to her glory days so that she may take us to places around the world that would otherwise remain unseen!

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November 4, 2014

TimeTo all of our loyal readers and to those who’ve recently joined us, I want to apologize for the lack of writing lately.  I’ve had many topics I’ve intended to update you on, but my normally dedicated writing time has been infringed upon, self-induced, but infringed upon nonetheless and I need to get back in the habit of writing at least weekly. That kind of means I have to put myself on a schedule! I hate schedules! It’s the very thing we’re trying to get away from, but I do love sharing our dreams and passions with you all here, so I will make my best efforts to do so.

To start with, how about a preview of what’s to come in my next few posts? This’ll help me stick to it and may keep you interested enough to keep checking back in with us!

List of upcoming posts:

Reacting to ChangeBoat restoration put on hold in order to meet necessary financial obligations which have come about due to a slight kink in our plans.

Sun setting behind Mofilla

Sun setting behind Mofilla

Home Sweet Home

Home Sweet Home

Enjoying Our Back Yard

Enjoying Our Back Yard

 

Open Water Scuba CertificationA full 30 minute video following two students as they learn to scuba dive with Aquatic Alternative

Jenna holding a sea urchin

Jenna holding a sea urchin

Bryan checking out a starfish

Bryan checking out a starfish

Bryan and Jenna playing with Arrow Crab

Bryan and Jenna playing with Arrow Crab

 

Family WeekEvery time we have family come and visit and we take off work to enjoy our own home in a different light, we feel like we’re on an exotic vacation! A week off, enjoying good times with family at the beach (our back yard).

Dieter and Cujo walking the beach

Dieter and Cujo walking the beach

Britton strolling the beach

Britton strolling the beach

Chillin on the porch with the family

Chillin on the porch with the family

 

DieterFest 2014A group of Dieter’s closest friends from the whitewater paddling community up in Virginia & West Virginia have formulated a plot to get him back up there to visit yearly. The first annual DieterFest was held at the end of October and was an incredible gathering of good friends, good food, and all in the beautiful setting of the mountains of Wytheville, Virginia.

View from Marc and Lindy's (aka my momma) back yard

View from Marc and Lindy’s (aka my momma) back yard

Gathering of Friends

Gathering of Friends

First annual DieterFest Hosting Location at Marc and Lindy's place

First annual DieterFest Hosting Location at Marc and Lindy’s place

 

We’ll have a 3rd Crewmember When We Set SailBrady has decided that he wants to set sail with us after graduation and explore the world a little before deciding on his next step in life!

Brady's ready to start working on the boat with us and plans to set sail after graduation!

Brady’s ready to start working on the boat with us and plans to set sail after graduation!

Brady is ready to see the world!

Brady is ready to see the world!

He's such a dreamer, how could he not want to sail the world?

He’s such a dreamer, how could he not want to sail the world?

 

Making it OfficialDieter and I have taken the plunge and made our union official. Celebrating our five year anniversary, we held a beautiful intimate ceremony in the garden nestled between The Crucial Coffee Café and The Gourmet Hut in St. Augustine, FL.

Making it official!

Making it official!

We married in this garden, nestled between The Crucial Coffee Café and The Gourmet Hut

We married in this garden, nestled between The Crucial Coffee Café and The Gourmet Hut

The Happy Couple - Sneaking a Photo Opp in front of Flagler Memorial Presbyterian Church

The Happy Couple – Sneaking a Photo Opp in front of Flagler Memorial Presbyterian Church

 

So, that should keep me busy for the next 6 weeks or so if I can just discipline myself enough to stick to a schedule and set aside time for writing. I’ll do my best! It just seems like fun or work always gets in the way.

Time is Precious

September 27, 2014

Okay, so I apologize for the super late production of this video! But… Well, you know… It is what it is! Life! Check it out… I think you’ll find it was worth the wait! I’ll really try to stick to my deadlines for future episodes ;-)

Best trip ever!

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August 23, 2014

Here rests Chase, the most loving and loyal companion a person could ask for. April 27, 2002 - August 15, 2014

Here rests Chase, the most loving and loyal companion a person could ask for.
April 27, 2002 – August 15, 2014

We are deeply saddened to tell you that we’ve lost a member of our crew.  We’ve had to say good-bye to Chase, the best dog anyone could ever ask for.  He was loving, loyal, and a true companion to each of us.  The emptiness in our hearts can never be filled, but we will hold onto the love and memories he gave us forever.

I thought I had prepared myself for this, but how wrong I was. Chase had been declining in the last year, beginning to have trouble with his hips.  He would miss a step every so often as he walked. That progressed to a slight dragging of the right hind leg and an inability to climb stairs. Soon, he was unable to come down the stairs without falling. Dieter has been carrying him up and down for the last month.  We cared for him and tried to make him comfortable as long as we could, but on Friday, August 15th, he lost the use of both hind legs.  We took him into the vet that evening and they confirmed that he no longer had any feeling in his hind legs, only pain in his back and unfortunately, there was nothing they could do for him.  We had 3 different veterinarian’s opinions and all indicated that there was nothing that could be done to fix him. They could only manage the pain through medication, but once he lost the use of his legs, there was no quality of life left for him and it would truly be selfish of us to keep him here.

It’s unbelievable to me how quickly he seemed to go from a dog who ran, jumped, played, and swam every day to not being able to walk beyond the grassy yard just to potty.  I expected a more gradual decline into old age. This started off gradual, but when the deterioration set in, it really started rolling downhill fast.  All I can tell you is if you have a loved one who is aging, whether it be a pet or a person, love them and spend time with them while they’re here, because it is so hard to accept the loss when they’re gone.

It’s been a difficult week and needless to say, I haven’t finished the Keys video as promised. But I have put together a clip in memory of Chase, gone from our lives, but never from our hearts.

 

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August 15, 2014

For those of you eagerly awaiting the production of our most recent Keys Trip video, I’m going to need a few more days. I know, I know, the trailer video of the Adolphus Busch Wreck  Dive promised a production date of August 15th. That was Dieter’s way of holding me to a deadline, knowing how often I procrastinate. Well, a combination of too much work, too much fun, and too much procrastination has proven to stand in my way and I’m not quite done with the video. It’s coming though…just a few more days…a week tops!

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been participating in the Open Water SCUBA Certification of my brother and niece.  Our friend and instructor Don Bouer has taken them on as students and spent the last 3 weekends diving Kingsley Lake, Troy Springs, and Royal Springs. Tomorrow, we’re headed down to West Palm Beach for final checkout dives at Blue Heron Bridge. High slack tide is at 1:45, the perfect time to allow us to get down there and back in a day without any crazy early morning hours :-)

Bryan and Jenna are in for a treat, diving Blue Heron Bridge. This is one of the best shore dives in all of Florida and has been featured in SportDiver Magazine as one of the top 50 dive sites in the world! They’re gonna love it and hopefully upon completion, they’ll be newly certified NAUI SCUBA Divers!

Dieter’s working on a video capturing all the greatest moments of their certification, but in the meantime, you might enjoy some of these pictures showing what a beautiful place Florida is to dive!

 

Kingsley Lake Dive Training Site

Kingsley Lake Dive Training Site

 

Bryan and Jenna Gearing Up

Bryan and Jenna Gearing Up

 

Bryan Giant Stride Entry - First Dive Ever!

Bryan Giant Stride Entry – First Dive Ever!

 

Britton Saying Hello from Kingsley Lake, Florida

Britton Saying Hello from Kingsley Lake, Florida

 

Bryan's youngest, Ava the little free diver!

Bryan’s youngest, Ava the little free diver!

 

Dieter the videographer on duty

Dieter the videographer on duty

 

Platform overlooking Troy Springs

Platform overlooking Troy Springs

 

The nativity of a diver!

The nativity of a diver!

 

Jenna and Don hanging out perched on a log at the bottom of Troy Springs

Jenna and Don hanging out perched on a log at the bottom of Troy Springs

 

Bryan hovering at about 40' at Troy Springs

Bryan hovering at about 40′ at Troy Springs

 

Jenna on ascent at Troy Springs

Jenna on ascent at Troy Springs

 

Britton coming through the swim-through at Troy Springs

Britton coming through the swim-through at Troy Springs

 

Bryan discovers the beauty of Royal Springs

Bryan discovers the beauty of Royal Springs

 

Mask removal practice underwater

Mask removal practice underwater

 

Jenna and Bryan surface after a shared air ascent - Still smiling - I think they love it!

Jenna and Bryan surface after a shared air ascent – Still smiling – I think they love it!

 

Categories : Diving
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