Monday, September 30, 2013

On board and definitely not bored

We arrived back on  Mara Beel yesterday afternoon. Thanks to our good friends Mark and Lynne for driving us to Ottawa! We started with fog and temp in the 40's this morning and ended with 80 and beautiful skies- ideal weather.

We are waiting on the arrival of a Siren Marine monitoring system for our boat. It should be installed tomorrow. When we are away from our boat, this system will text us if there are any problems- low batteries, activated bilge pumps, unusual temperatures in the boat, etc. We discovered that there is a dealer/installer right here in Ottawa, so it is worth delaying our departure until Wednesday.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Back in Ottawa

We returned to the Mara Beel for the weekend- we hate being away from our boat! This time we brought Mara, our almost 4 year-old granddaughter, with us. Mara is convinced the boat is named after her, which it is and isn't. She loved everything about the boat. We woke up at 6:30 Saturday morning to find her sitting in the salon patiently waiting for us to wake up! She progressed in her "swimming" in the pool and announced she wants to be a scuba diver when she grows up. She will have to master the art of keeping her mouth closed (i.e.- not talking) to succeed in that career path!

Mara and Grandpa

On Saturday Mara's parents (I forgot to take their picture) and younger brother James Nathan came to visit. We cruised for a couple hours. No one enjoyed the heat, but JN (11 months) seemed to like driving the boat!

 James Nathan at the helm

WAY too hot!

Earlier on Saturday Mark helped  Dennis install a new antenna on Reunion after a bridge ate the original. (Those darn trolls!)The 15 minute job turned into a couple of hours or so, but they guys had fun. Carol and Dennis treated us to dinner at Tracy's Boathouse, the restaurant at Heritage Harbor, and an after-dinner night cap. They headed south the next morning- we will miss them! We saw two other Loopers pull in Saturday evening, but we didn't have a chance to get acquainted before they left early Sunday.

Dennis and Carol

Our younger son Brandon and his wife Caroline came to visit on Sunday. Caroline is a born boater, and was happy, happy, happy as soon as she set foot on the Mara Beel. Somewhere down the line they will cruise with us for awhile. Now all of our kids have been on the boat, since daughter Caitie stayed on board with us in Sturgeon Bay last summer. We appreciate that they are interested in something that is so important to us. At least they are humoring us!
Caroline and Brandon
Now we are back on land for a short while.... Can't wait for the next leg of our journey.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Labor Day Weekend

We have moved to a different body of water and different boat this week- at our place on the Mississippi with our pontoon boat. Its good to be back in familiar territory for a little while.

Golf carts are a major form of entertainment and transportation in our island neighborhood, so it's only natural that we have a golf cart parade Labor Day weekend. This year's event was exceptionally fun! The golf cart "floats" showed great creativity with close to 30 entries in the parade.! My personal favorite was the "fiesta" cart with the 5 gallon cooler of margaritas strapped to the back. Why mess around with tossing out candy when you can pour free margaritas for spectators! We wisely positioned our "Pirates of the Mississippi" entry just behind the margarita mobile for easy access and used our plastic swords to steal candy from kids. Very few of them took us seriously when we demanded their booty- although several women shook their booties at us .For obvious reasons, the parade took 1 1/2 hours to cover about 5 miles. We're already planning for next year's event! If you have a clever idea for a theme, let me know.

Swans on parade
Love this one!

Caitie and Jing as pirates

Margarita mobile!
Fred and Wilma

The end and the beginning meet

The float that won 1st prize- free moonshine!

While we were out cruising on the pontoon, we encountered a kayaker traveling from Lake Itasca, the source of the Mississippi, to New Orleans. The sail was moving him right along today. He camps out along the way. Guess he's doing a straight "loop!"

Our Labor Day meal was not a traditional cookout. Instead we had sushi and stuffed Hatch peppers. Great food!
The sushi/pepper crew

Stuffed Hatch peppers

The 97 degree days of last week have been replaced by an overnight low of 48- a refreshing change.

The view 2 days ago

This morning's view