May begins with Construction Worker Day on May 3rd. This day also known as the Die de la Santa Cruz/Feast of the Holy Cross. You find decorated crosses on construction sites everywhere. This one was right next door to where Journey was docked. These stayed up pretty much all month or longer. Look it up because there is so much more to the history of this day and the cross. May also was Dee and I’s 34th anniversary and choose to celebrate this year at a favorite in Akumal, La Buena Vida, a great restaurant on a small cliff in Akumal. Sand below your feet, a stunning view, and a warm summer breeze with happy hour Margaritas!
The weather is getting better and better and that means a trip over to El Cielo. Off we go with friends which is always the best! These are memories Dee and I will treasure along with the stunning views of the water in this area. The weather is also allowing us more opportunities to watch the sunset on the roof at Jack’s. This is always a favorite and we always meet someone new it seems each time we sunset there. May provided some stunningly great days on the water, and this one with coffee on Journey did not disappoint. Our crew today was Tony and Annette and Jack and Cathy. The day was perfect, the seas were perfect, and the time was just too short.
As the month closed out Dee and I decided to celebrate Memorial Day weekend anchored in the Hole. It was a busy afternoon but we enjoyed anchoring back and watching the festivities for the day. At sunset we moved up to the sandbar to watch the sun go down. There is so much more to this story and if your watching ask us about it over a beer sometime!
Summer is coming fast as June arrives and more and more friends seem to drift back to their homes for the summer, but a small crew is left to carry one. Dee, Danny, and Mike take the solution out fishing and Dee scores his first Sailfish! Awesome experience for him. I thought he should share it in his own words. so check out the video for more details.
When the boys go fishing, this can lead to a fresh dinner. We enjoyed tuna steaks and Sushi this night at Latitiudes. We volunteered to take some friends to the airport, and while in Cancun we headed out to see the beautiful beaches of Cancun and this trip did not disappoint. Final stop on this trip was Pescadoras for a craft beer in Puerto Morales. Excellent!
Finally, in June we get Alex, the manager of Tradewinds our favorite bar, and his family out on Journey for the day. We took a short cruise but it was a little too rolly, so we headed back to the Hole to anchor. Each child got to be the captain and take a dip in the water. Ashely might have stolen our heart. Danny and I both celebrate June birthday’s so to celebrate we all got together for a cookout. We had a great time at the pool with a few drinks, and grilled hot dogs and hamburgers from Dee. On Father’s Day we headed out to the Hole and it got a little crowded. That just means more people to watch! We are always amazed at how many charter boats can get into this small area.
As June comes to a close we enjoy some dinghy exploring, snorkeling the reefs, and the Xpu Ha beaches, watching the kingfisher fish each day, and finally celebrating my actual birthday at latitudes with friends. It was a great evening. We flew out the next day and yes we might have hurt a little with a hangover but we will remember my 55th birthday. First Stop home is Miami…
After a year and 8 months, we returned to the United States from Mexico, but how did this happen? We are the first to admit that we felt at home in Mexico. We were fortunate to have met many great people who became like family. We were a diverse group from all over, but great friends (Texas, Idaho, Virginia, New Jersey, California, Canada, Sweden, and Russia).
How did we decide to leave? This little girl who turned two in September held all the cards, our granddaughter Lilia or as we call her, Sunshine who we want to be closer to. So we are Chasing Sunshine. We know she is growing so fast, and we want more time with her so how can we easily see her more often? Well, Mexico was not the answer. So the hunt began for a marina as we decided we would plan to cross back over to Florida before Christmas.
The marina hunt was of course the first piece of our puzzle. After Ian hit the Gulf Coast of Florida, and this was the area we preferred, we knew it might be challenging. Florida marinas are changing so much. Live aboard marinas are getting harder and harder to find and the cost seemed to be going up everywhere we looked. Either way, I was getting lots of Nos for an answer or put on a waiting list. I did start my search at our old marina in Naples, Port of the Islands. We have been here several times since we found it in 2019 and it always feels like home. When I first reached out they did not have anything. Yes, I bugged the dock master, Mike over and over and he promised me I would get the first opening. Finally, in October we got the news he would have a place for us in November. Having a slip and being able to plan was a huge relief to start moving forward with planning.
We were targeting around Thanksgiving. Dee began watching the weather the first week of November and looking for what he had hoped would be a 4 to 5-day window. We began to prep Journey for departure. After living in Mexico for over a year and having lots of dock space we had spread out a little. The meticulous process of cleaning out, throwing away, and repacking Journey began. This was a process, but something we certainly needed to do after living in Mexico for so long. We hadn’t been in and out of the same place for more than 6 months, so one year and eight months had caused us to set up house and spread out. We had moved out of the public marina about 8 months after arriving and began renting dock space from a private owner.
The Thursday before Thanksgiving, Dee says that he sees a window opening on Sunday the 19th. We needed to go, so we really amped up packing and on Friday he put our Motorcycle up for sale. Yes, we bought a motorcycle but when you buy one at the grocery store it is super easy and was great transportation for us. We had our good byes on Friday evening and the motorcycle sold on Saturday morning. It seemed like everything was working out until late Saturday afternoon when the front stalled and the weather forecast went south on us fast.
We were so disappointed especially on Sunday morning when we woke to no change and had to make the decision to stay put. We did spend the afternoon with friends and tried to enjoy some more Mexico time, but it was bittersweet. At this time, it looked like Thursday or Thanksgiving Day would be the departure day so we began eating the food I had prepped and continued our planning to depart on Thursday.
Why was this an issue and so much disappointment? One reason is the checkout process in Mexico and the cost. So let me back up and share that procedure. When we believed we were leaving on Sunday we began that process. We had to check out on Friday due to the weekend and get all our paperwork straight with Mexico. This cost $300 USD and the paperwork was to be good for 48 hours. This really is for the US so we felt if we could get out within the week we would be good to get cleared into the States without starting this process again. This led to our disappointment when looking at the weather and hoping for the Thanksgiving departure.
Monday afternoon the world changed on board Journey. I was doing some work on my computer and Dee was on his iPad. I didn’t realize he was checking the weather again, but I should have. He sighed handed me the iPad and left the boat. When I looked at Thursday - the weekend was a mess. A new front was developing and coming to stay for the weekend. I looked and looked at all the windows over this period of time and of course, could find nothing. So, I backed up to Tuesday - the next day, and saw hope. I knew the winds leaving Mexico shores would not be that great, but was hoping that the southerly shift might hold. It appeared that crossing over to Cuba things would get better later in the day. After that, all looked good, EXCEPT for the coming front that was dropping into Naples and the Dry Tortugas even Key West on Thanksgiving Day. So hopeful, I went out and asked Dee to come and discuss something I was seeing with me. I think he could see a little hope as well. He was concerned about our departure and arrival and made the decision then to start out heading towards Marathon in hopes we would beat the front and arrive in time for protection if the entire Keys were affected. Fortunately, we now have Starlink and knew we would be keeping a check on the weather several times a day. We also told those who needed to know and got our prayer warriors praying for our crossing. So we went to bed with the plan to get up early, check the weather one more time, and get off the dock
Tuesday Departure Day:
We were considering heading to Marathon instead of Naples, but even almost pulled the plug on leaving Mexico. The worry was that we saw no windows for travel in our near future. The fronts were dropping from the North one after the next. We are off the dock at 7:45 am and once out of the inlet the waves became consistent from the NE but decently spread out with some slams, it's doable so we continue. The occasional beam rollers begin once we are out of the inlet and stop after about an hour. We are fully committed now to the crossing. This was going to be a long day and making it even tougher was that we had not slept well the night before. This is a day where you get a seat and you keep it and even at that, your core is getting a continuous workout trying to keep you stable. Journey is taking a lot of abuse. We know it sounds worse than it is but we still worry about her.
The time goes by slowly, even though we have the Yucatan current in our favor the wind and waves are not allowing us to gain any time with the current. By 4 in the afternoon, when we hoped for change nothing has changed, Journey had taken plenty of waves over the bow and was very salty. Before sunset, we get out The Great Gazoo (Starlink) and check the weather. All seems good and no major changes ahead. At this point, we are 9 to 10 hours until the tip of Cuba and protection from this land mass. We enjoy the sunset but not the darkness that follows. We say our prayers and are thankful. The moon is in the first quarter so we have some light until around 1:30 in the morning.
By 2 am we have reached the tip of Cuba and the seas are beginning to lay down and it is a welcomed relief. Dee gets about 4 hours of sleep to Allie’s 6. We take 2-hour shifts to watch through the night. Once we lose the moon for the night it's not until 5:45 before we begin to see light on the horizon again, but it is a welcomed sight. We were not lonely as we saw cruise ships, tankers, and cargo ships busy the entire passage. In fact, we saw 10 cruise ships alone during our crossing.
Here are two cruise ships we passed the first night. Sorry about the quality of the video. But still a sight to see.
As the sun rose around 7 am the seas calmed to soft swells cradling Journey lifting her and easing her back down in a smooth rhythm. It is a great morning with our coffee enjoying the seas. Off our starboard bow, we watched a whale blow many times but I didn’t think of a video until it was almost passed us here is what I was able to capture.
We have slowed way down to averaging under 7knots so the time and miles are passing slowly, but we are thankful for the calm seas. Around 11 am we are greeted off our port bow with a large pod of dolphins jumping. They ride our bow then jump in our wake for about 10 minutes and we take it as a good sign from God that he has us and will protect us through the unknown of the next night and day.
By afternoon even with an angle toward the Florida Keys, we are still right alongside Cuba. As the sun begins to set we get The Great Gazoo out and check the weather again. Some models are showing wind will be up in the morning, but others are conflicting so we are hopeful, and enjoy another beautiful sunset and the calm waters.
We are expecting to enter the Gulf Stream around 8 pm. We have increased to 7.5 knots so hoping for 9.5 when we hit the Gulf Stream. The moon is waxing gibbous tonight so a little brighter and will last longer. We have to force ourselves to remember how beautiful this is, even though we cannot truly appreciate it in the moment as we are in a hurry and get there mode. Dee sleeps first the second night and by the time he is back up, we are flying. The seas are smooth but with the speed, we have more movement. After the moon sets it is followed by Venus rising which casts a bright reflection in the water for miles. We both during our shifts watch what we believe were satellites circling Venus. This was cool but video just didn’t capture it. By sunrise we are approaching and passing Key West, the seas are eerily calm with a slight haze. For us this is one of the greatest Thanksgiving mornings ever. God is good and prayers are being answered because the morning weather report shows a stalled front.
We planned to head to Marathon but daylight hours are our enemy and we would like to stop somewhere before dark tonight. We look at several options, but only one gets us where we need to be to get into Port of the Islands Marina at high tide. This route passed through the Bahia Honda Bridge, up the Big Spanish Channel, and onto Shark River in the Everglades to make a 4:30 pm arrival before sunset. We have the fuel to do it but by the time we make the Port of the Islands marina, we will be down to 100 gallons which is the lowest we have ever been.
As we pass under the Bahia Honda Bridge around 10 am, we find it ironic that this is where we left from back in March 2022. We get some FaceTime with Family after we are under the bridge and share some Thanksgiving time together. We are now back in the land of shallow waters and crab pots - OH MY! After 30-plus miles of avoiding crab pots, we drop the anchor. Are we really going to shut the engines down after 58 hours straight? Yes, but it did feel strange and eerily quiet. It is hard for us to describe how we felt but accomplished and thankful we are for sure. We had celebratory cocktails and meatloaf with mashed potatoes. Happy Thanksgiving!
The alarm rings at 5 am and pull the anchor before 6 to make sure we arrive at the entrance to the channel by 11 am. It is dark when we pull the anchor and we watch the slow glow of the soon-to-be sunrise as we head out for our 5 hour cruise in smooth waters. We arrive at the entrance around 11 am to a familiar place, but we don't make any assumptions since Hurricane Ian has recently visited the area. The tide is rising so the current is pushing us along through the channel. The wind is blowing hard down the canal but when we get first sight of the marina the winds look light around E Dock. Several are there to assist our docking and Dee slides her in nice and easy. She temporarily secured, engines are shut down and we can officially celebrate!
Details of Travel:
Mexico to Shark River
464 miles straight
229 gallons wiht 3.6 per hour burn
We are back in the USA and closer to Sunshine! Merry Christmas Everyone from Solmates Journey!
April 2023 brought lots of fun for us here in Mexico, and lots of trips to El Cielo which is the southern tip of Cozumel… So in this video, we are sharing all the fun we had crossing over to either Cozumel or El Cielo where some of the most beautiful water can be found. Our first trip was Easter Sunday and what better way to spend it than with our friends on board Journey making the trek across to El Cielo. This is the best friend group and we loved this day that we got to spend together. At the time we did not know it at the time but it would be one of our last when we would all be together. We had a great crossing and a beautiful day enjoying the stingrays who are always super friendly to everyone. Remember this is Easter Sunday and it is crowded along the sandbars of El Cielo…
The next trip was a special request from Jack and Cathy and some of their friends. We set out on a beautiful, actually perfect day. It just does not get much better than this on the water. Cathy was able to reel in her first fish, a baby mahi, we gave him back to grow a little bigger for another day, but she enjoyed the experience. Once again we settled into a beautiful spot on the sandbar to enjoy the day. And the stingrays were just as friendly as ever! Check out how beautiful this water is with white sand down below. (See Video)
Our third trip was a little different, as we had some friends who were stopping in Cozumel for the day on a cruise and we could not miss the opportunity to go across and visit even if the waters were just a little rougher than we like. We enjoyed visiting and hanging out before they had to go back on board. Dee and I had gotten a slip in the marina for the night and loved the marina, but even more so when we were able to watch the sun go down into the water. We have missed these sunsets. The next day the seas were a little better and as we set out across Dee caught a mahi!
Our final trip was to celebrate an engagement. The son of some friends of ours proposed to his long-time girlfriend here in PA. This is a favorite place for them both. We took them and their friends across to El Cielo before they headed back to the States. The sun didn’t cooperate as well as our other days, but all in all, it was a great day. Soon they will be back saying their vows here in Mexico.
This is the only word that I can find to describe the six weeks that Dee and I spent back in the States. We could not catch a break, but we accomplished so much. We know that somehow God has a plan that we are headed toward and it will be Good! Words you have to remember when in the midst of the storm. Our Dee’s favorite song, The Eye of the Storm ( Ryan Stevenson)
We kick off this whirlwind with my 55th birthday here in Mexico. We met friends at Latitudes and enjoyed way too many Margaritas, but it was a fun and memorable birthday. Dee and I suffered traveling the next day — car rides and plane flights — a little yucky, but we survived to arrive back in NC and at my parents’ home by 8:30 pm. Long day, but glad to be home and see family and friends, especially Lilia! On our first full day back, Dee was given bad news about his business as he prepared for separation from his parent company and independence for his agency. His biggest company he thought so highly of decided he was not worth appointing. This is a big blow as the finality of his partnership with AA and the uncertainty of the future for the business are just about to begin on July 1.
July 1 is a Saturday and the good news is that Lilia has arrived to bring smiles to our faces! We so love having her around and watching her grow and learn. She is the funniest and sweetest. Aldo and Hannah take a night to themselves in a hotel before heading back home. We get lots of Lilia time - Parks, Ducks, Restaurants, and the July 4th celebration. We spent the afternoon out at the lake with good friends, Eddie and Joan. Chelsea and Garrett whose son is Lilia’s age brought out all the water toys and Lilia had a blast. It was hot and she is a trooper so we called it an early night for her. The 5th is our last full day with her and we get all the love we can before meeting Hannah halfway on the 6th to give her back. We are sad, but Dee has lots to do and I need to learn how to be his backup and help out so he and Stormi can work. During Lilia’s visit, Dee still did lots of hard work on the business which was hard with Lilia here, because he had missed her and needed her love.
Sat. July 8 we took my parents to Thomasville to see a camper they had been looking at and they decided to buy. It is beautiful. While we were there, we decided to sell our motorhome and buy their fifth wheel for our new North Carolina home. More on how that will work when I tell that drama story. After making the decision to sell the Motorhome we must begin the clean-out so we can take pictures and have her ready to sell. So Monday morning, we begin the process which takes us two days and we have her ready for Facebook and up for sale. This is good because now we are packing bags quickly to leave for Alexandria, VA, and a visit with Jesse, but first, we stop in Durham to see Hannah and Aldo’s new house. Lilia is at daycare so we must wait for those hugs just a little longer, but we love the new house and can see the potential it has for them. I know Hannah is glad to have a place even though I also know how much she loved traveling around the country, but with a child and two dogs, it just was too hard.
We make it to Virginia and enjoy our time with Jesse which includes a 5-hour worship service at NCC on 7/13 beginning at 7:14 and ending at midnight at 7:14. Yes, it means something! 2 Chronicles 7:14, " If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” On Saturday we were supposed to hike, but the weather canceled it so we spent an evening at Port City Brewing a great little brewery in Alexandria. We also had some pool time and worshiped at NCC, and heard Mark Batterson preach before leaving and heading back toward Durham. Now we get Lilia's love and hugs for a few hours anyway.
At this point, I think my body decided to take a break or break down, and I got sick. Thankfully I had an antibiotic from Mexico and started taking it, but it still took about 4 days to get it out of my system. Yet, I could not stop! We had motorhome showings and Dee had to keep plugging away at work. By the end of the week, we had a deposit on the motorhome. Wow! That was fast, but this part of the story is not over. The weekend arrived and it was finally time to pick up Mom and Dad’s new camper and get it set up and the Jayco moved up to our old site so they could move out slowly and organize into the new camper because for sure my Mom needs it to be right! After all this hard work we needed some downtime, so we headed out to the lake to hang out with Mark and Lisa to float in the lake, spend the night, and enjoy a fabulous meal cooked on their Blackstone grill.
Dee is still working but Stormi is on vacation in Hawaii, so I start the week working with him in the office, on Wednesday we head back to Durham to pick up Harley and get more love from Lilia. We also begin the process of building a patio cover that needs to be put together for Hannah and Aldo. We were going well until Hannah remembered she had her online class. Oops! We still have so much to do, but stopped and took Lilia to Chick-fil-A with Jesse. Then we head back to my Mom and Dad’s with Harley. I am now working from Mom and Dad’s to take care of Harley as the weekend hits. I head back up with Mom and Dad to work on setting up the new camper while Dee takes a break and gets his Harley time. On Sunday we are headed back to Durham to work on the cover and return Harley to Jesse. I didn’t mention that Jesse had a Bachelorette weekend. We worked for several hours but still could not get that patio cover done. Hannah and Aldo finally finished it during the week. I wish we had kept track of the hours it took to build. You will know why soon.
We started the next week off with Dee continuing to work super hard and long hours while I worked with Mom and Dad up at their camper helping move items from one to the other along with some other items that needed to be done so they could hopefully be living in the camper some. The camper is like their summer home. We also delivered the motorhome to be checked out, especially the generator, which was a good hour's drive away. On the next evening which was a Tuesday, Dee and I rented a car and headed off to Florida for a 24-hour trip to get the title for the motorhome. It took exactly 24 hours to make this turnaround trip, but we did it and are ready to finalize the motorhome sale.
The day after our Florida trip, we head over and pick up the motorhome and meet the couple from Lumberton at Concord Mills, and sell her off! Feels good to know someone will be using her and we can’t wait to get the Jayco set up for us in Mooresville. Sometimes you need your space! We close out this week with a sunset cruise on the lake finally! July is gone and it is August before we get a sunset on Lake Norman. The cruise was awesome and it is hard to believe this is the first time we saw the sunset as our stay is winding down. Dee and I spent Saturday morning helping Mom and Dad again move items and working on their setup.
On Sunday, we rested as my sister went with my Mom and Dad to the camper and then to their pool. So we just relaxed, but Hannah finally said they wanted us to do their garage floors, which we had offered on the first stop to see the house as a housewarming gift. Her life has been just about as crazy and she finally says yes, so off to Lowes we go. We got all the supplies and the paint kit. This week brings great news as Jesse’s job finally posts! We are so excited and pray that this is what God wants for her. On Wednesday we head to Durham and start the floors. We have dinner with Aldo, Hannah, and Lilia at Growler Girls or that is where the beer came from. The pizza was next door not sure of the name, but super yummy! We topped the overnight stay of by Dee and I stayed in the dirtiest Airbnb ever but it was for just one night. The next morning as we headed to finish the floors I was concerned we might be accused of making it dirty. I had taken pictures so decided to report it, but we did not ask for any money back. We felt the man must really need the money. Airbnb did give us a little back probably their fees, but it took a while before they got the apartment down. I hate it for him, but the filth, etc., was indescribable. I hate anyone who lives this way. I pray the money he received was well used. That next day we finished the garage floors and they looked great. We can’t wait to see the downstairs of their house finished. They have so much going on it is crazy! Hannah and Lilia packed up and headed back to Mooresville with us for the weekend. I think Hannah just needed a place to live for a few days with furniture! We needed more Lilia love so it worked out for us all. We took Hannah, Aislinn, Jenna, and of course Lilia out on a sunset cruise. The girls took off for girl time and we took Lilia home and enjoyed a few extra minutes of love although she was a little grumpy before bed. We finished off the weekend with dinner with my parents, sister, and brother-in-law. A great family celebration and get-together that we really should do more often.
This last week in the States brought packing up, Hannah had a big storm that destroyed the patio cover we all spent hours building gone in seconds along with Lilia’s play set. Very heartbroken for them and it seemed they were in shock over it. This is what Hannah and Aldo need just a little more on their plate.
Now, I have to back up and tell another story that is happening during this entire 6 weeks that culminated on our final weekend while Lilia was visiting which really did not give us enough time with her before we left especially Dee who had to deal with most of this issue. Dee’s cousin had her mobile home on the land Dee inherited from his parents, the land was originally his grandfather's and she had been promised she could live there as long as she needed back in 1985. She called on May 14, to tell us she was moving into an apartment and that the mobile home was no longer a safe place to live she was giving him notice and promised to have the mobile home torn down by the end of July. He thanked her for calling and taking care of the mobile home and told her she did not have the pay the little money she did to lease the land. Sometime around mid-June, Dee reached out again to her to find out what was going on and she told him she had a realtor and was selling it. I knew this sounded crazy so I went straight to Facebook and found the post but at the time failed to notice that the mobile home was not posted by her for sale. He asked to be kept informed. I really can’t remember if there were a few more times Dee reached out for information, but after the 4th of July, he received a call from her sister saying she was trying to handle all of this and would he be interested in the title being signed over to him. We walked through it and knew it was a no for us because we felt it needed to be torn down. On the same day, they called back to say that they might have a buyer. Dee tried to understand the pricing, the Facebook person who we finally saw was not her, and the moving of the mobile home off of the property, but neither wanted to communicate and answer questions. In fact, she hung up on him 3 times in one morning because she could not answer questions that were being asked. On this same morning, we sent a message to the woman on Facebook and told her she no longer had permission from us to be on the property. She never responded. We asked for her credentials as a realtor which his cousin kept calling her. Although we knew she did not have to be a realtor to sell a mobile home. We were out of town visiting Jesse at this time, but when we returned we went and posted No Trespassing signs on the property, and a sign on the trailer that it had been abandoned and the owner was not communicating with the property owner.
At some point, we believe the Facebook lady found all this as she finally answered the message and asked us to sign a Hold Harmless Agreement which he refused. His cousin began sending emails at this time, we feel because Dee refused to talk to her sister any further and she needed her help. After reading these and going by the property we knew someone had been on the property so we reposted signs and blocked the driveway with a sign again stating that the property owner and mobile home owner were not communicating with each other. Dee answered an email from her asking her to put him in contact with anyone who had purchased the mobile home, and he would not remove the signs until he knew what was going on. He laid out what would probably happen because she would not choose the right path and almost word for word it happened our last weekend home while Lilia was visiting.
Our last Saturday morning in the States while having coffee the neighbor who is a renter called to tell us a lot of people we're on the property. Dee flew out of the house and asked her to call the sheriff's office because he did not know who was there. When he arrived it was the new owner and a moving company who failed to read the signs and just moved the barricade out of the driveway. The deputy explained everything to them about how they could be arrested and why didn’t they call the number on the sign, but Dee, giving everyone some grace, said give us a minute to see if we can work this out. While discussing with the moving company why they had not contacted him they continued to say they just assumed the owner of both was the same. They ignored the sign. He told them he needed their insurance before they could start. His cousin shows up and the company then pings her for money because she was not forthright with anyone and had stopped their work. After lunch, we met back to get the insurance and for his cousin to pay the moving company the extra money they required for the incident. Dee spent most of the weekend out there telling this company what they were going to run into and continuing to have to ask them to correct mistakes like a broken water line which caused the other renter to be without water for hours, and not realizing how embedded the mobile home was in the ground after so many years. He made sure it was done right with little damage to the property and that they cleaned up and dressed the lot which they did not want to do, but when you are caught breaking the law then you concede a little to correct your mistakes. The worst part is that Dee spent almost all day Saturday, Sunday, and Monday on the land watching this “shit show”. If it had not been for one of their contractors (it was a family business) then it would have been really bad! As I said before everything he predicted in the email to his cousin happened, and it cost her more money. Let’s see you sell for $1,000 and then have to give the moving company $800 for your lies. Seems like a lot of work to be deceptive for nothing. But now we can look forward to having a great little spot to put the fifth wheel and a place for us here in NC.
We have to end this all on a good note and that is All About Lilia or Sunshine as Dee calls her. She lights up our life. She loves animals and is curious about the world around her. Her smile lights up the room, and she is quite the comedian. She is really understanding that I am Meems (Allie). Well, right now she thinks we are both collectively Meems, but we are working on it for Capi (Dee).
Here’s to hoping our next trip home is not exactly like these six weeks were this past summer.
arch is here and the weather is perfect although a little windy at times and it begins with a trip to Cozumel. We were hoping to go on Journey, but that windy weather did not corporate. Landon, and Robin, Dee and I, and karen set off. Matt was unable to join us on this trip. We left Playa Del Carmen on the Ferry and crossed over to Cozumel to discover more of this island that Dee and I have barely explored.
The first order of business was learning about cantinas. These are local joints where if you are drinking the beer which is very cheap then the food will just keep appearing on your table. It is tapas style but you get to try some unique, authentic, and different things!
Next, we set out to drive the island and find some bars on the “dark side”- limited electricity over there. Our favorite stop was this little dive bar called Bar of Miami where they make the best Mojitos. Check out the scenery and this production.
We made our way back around to grab a drink at the Thirsty Cougar along the main drag to watch the sunset. Sunsets on the east coast of Mexico are difficult but easy while on the Isla of Cozumel. We stayed at this little boutique hotel - Casa Deja Blue which is owned by a man from Texas and his Mexican wife who has a cafe on the corner. A great spot! The jeep was a little crowded a few times as Landon and Robin met some friends on a cruise while we visited but that is all part of the fun. What was not part of the fun was that the winds would be so bad the ferry docks closed and we had to stay another night! We all endured and survived and after breakfast, we made it back to the ferry dock and running ferries the next morning. Just one little extra unplanned night but that made it an adventure to remember.
After catching some blackfin tuna, our friend Danny decided to try his hand at sushi, and the crew was invited to partake. All I can say is it was so Yummy and he did an awesome job. I will need to take some lessons from him.
Now my duties call as I head to Virginia to dog sit Harley while Jesse goes on an adventure of her own to the Bahamas to participate with a research team from Saving the Blue. While I was in VA, Dee stayed back in Mexico and celebrated Robin’s Birthday which looked to be a good time and a good crowd. While I took this time to watch Harley to drive down to NC and see Lilia who is getting so big! I really loved having these few days with her, and watching all she learning and exploring in the world. I realize how much we are missing.
Once Jesse returns we have a few days together and it is March and the Cherry blossoms are blooming in the cold fridge weather, but we endured to take a walk and enjoy the views. This same weekend the crew in Mexico was preparing for Danny and Sandras wedding. Our Swedish friends who moved to Mexico. Danny arrived ahead of her and was able to secure his residency and to make it easier for Sandra, the recommendation was to get married. Our crew loves a reason to celebrate!
I am back and Matt and Karen have a big crew arrive from NC. They spend one evening in PA off their resort to celebrate a few birthdays and include us in their fun. Sadly, March comes to a close with a fellow cruiser we met at the same time we arrived in Mexico. Andrew and his wife on Two Moons. They are from Canada. This day they had been out for a cruise with their son, daughter-in-law, and grandkids when Andrew ended up on the reef. Two nights passed but the Mexican crews working here finally pulled him out and got him safely to the dock.
We still feel so blessed to be sitting in such a gorgeous paradise in the middle of January. Cheers! We don’t get tired of these views. Of sunshine, palm trees, and blue water. Including the Pelican, although he is not allowed to stay long on Journey. The weather can be days when the seas are calm and flat and then there are days like this when the winds just rip across the bay and the waves are relentlessly beating the rocks. The kite surfers love these days but those of us with boats don’t much care for the relentless beating.
We met Mario on the dock after he got his new boat. He decided to leave the busy city of Playa Del Carmen for living on a boat here in Puerto Aventuras and exploring a new type of life. Mario is from Italy but has lived in Mexico for 20 years, we finally made it down to the beach area of Playa del Carmen got a look at the beach, and ate at this restaurant, Don Mario. The Pizza was perfect with a yummy glass of wine. The best part was the view from our table of the dog keeping watch over the street. Yes, Playa Del Carmen is a busy city.
The guys in our group along with Dee dove into painting Landon and Robin’s panga the Joker and giving her a new paint job and bottom paint. These video shows how she began to take on a new look and we are all excited to see her back on the water.
In late January, A new neighbor next to us was a very large catamaran. This boat has 4 owners and a great captain named, Gonzalez. We were able to exchange some information with each other as he was headed up to Key West and Florida for his next stop for one of the owners, and then on into the Caribbean. He doesn’t plan to be back to Mexico for over a year. Safe Travels.
On days when the water is clear and the wind is not blowing you can see so much happening below the surface like catching sight of this eagle ray. This ray is beautiful and just spectacular as it glides through the water. This is a must see in the video.
Dee and I tagged along on a fishing trip on the Solution and enjoyed the day and watched Danny catch this massive Amber Jack. This fish was too big and full of worms so no eating this one. But I did see a shark in the grass line feeding but of course no camera nearby. Next, it was time for a different adventure on the water, out on Journey. It was just a beautiful day and Danny of course had a line in the water and this time the score was a mahi mahi. The blue water was so beautiful and it was time to just float and swim. Thanks, Matt for these great shots from the water. I believe everyone had a great time! The trip back in was nice and a perfect day was wrapped up. Next stop Latitudes for some fresh Mahi Mahi and happy hour margaritas.
Mid-February brought changes for Dee and I as we found an empty lot we could move Journey to we will miss being so close to everything but will enjoy the quiet peacefulness of being away from all the people constantly walking by us each and every day. Can you spot Journey in her new spot in the video?
We arrive in Mexico and begin the week by exploring Puerto Aventuras. From the beach to the local market where fresh vegetables and seafood can be purchased to the experience of the grocery story across the highway. An afternoon at the pool at the beach club was in order, but The water is what we love to share with everyone. The rock jetty is a great place to see the entire coastline of PA and watch the boats go in and out of the inlet. This area is also the perfect spot to enter the water and see what is below. Mike and Karen had never snorkeled so this was a new experience for them both.
We like to take Shelby on an evening canal cruise and enjoyed sharing more of the community from the water. And we each tried to learn how to work our GoPros. The evenings just sitting and talking can bring about some interesting conversations like what is that on the wall and is it moving. I needed to know so I went in to film and discover the sea peanut worm but some might argue it was a sea cucumber slowly moving along the rock wall behind Journey. We had a few good laughs over this. What do you think it is?
The fun continued enjoying boat life and the great weather provided the opportunity to move Journey over to The Hole and anchor for the night. The beautiful blue water, good friends, and a perfect evening as the sun went down. The best part about watching the sun go down is knowing while at anchor you can watch is rise. This was a beautiful sunrise over the Caribbean waters of Mexico and I will let the pictures speak for themselves.
Once the morning had broken we are off to enjoy the blue waters of the Caribbean Sea and try to catch some fish. Sadly, Karen was only able to snag a bonito to reel in but at least we got something on the hook.
Sadly the time comes too quickly to a close and we had our last tour around Pa and a nice dinner at Don Cafeto which became one of their favorite places. Thanks for sharing an experience with us Mike and Karen.
December is just around the corner and after receiving some cute Christmas pics of our granddaughter, we can’t wait to get back and see her in person. Dec. 1st we found ourselves in Alexandria, VA to kick off the holiday season as Jesse is ready to purchase her first new car. After much exploring with Dee, she decided on a 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe. We are super excited for her. While in Alexandria, we attended National Community church, the Christmas tree lighting in the Del Ray community, and went down to the Potomac to watch the Christmas Boat Parade from the banks. It was quite the holiday event.
Next, as we head to North Carolina, we stop to get our first squeeze of Lilia. Here are some more Christmas pictures of our little sunshine. We had to of course make cookies. New Christmas Traditions are being created while a few old ones stay tack like the mouse calendar.
Lilia made a visit to Mooresville before Christmas while we were staying with my parents to see Nana and Papa and meet Cousin Carson, they seemed to hit it off together. Dee and I enjoyed catching up with lots of friends as well while we were home, but the cold weather was something we could pass on, and missed the warm sun of Mexico.
Christmas Day brought Lilia back for a visit and we were ready with a mini waffle iron and we started another new tradition for Christmas with Lilia. She helped us prepare and ate her waffle like a pro! We love all this time we are getting with her. She stayed across the weekend with us and we just could not get enough of her smile, laugh, gestures, and snuggles. Sorry this is serious Lilia overload.
Just a little more Lilia to share. The Last weekend before leaving Hannah met us at a Brewery so we could get our last time with her before boarding a plane back to Mexico with the Pharrs in tow. We will see all their fun next time.
Any time we can get a chance to get out on the water, we go. This was a Shelby day. The waters were calm and a perfect day to just hang out on the water a little while and see if we could get a fish to bit. We usually always take a fishing rod along but we are no match to the mate on the Sum Beach, Flaco. Flaco hauled in a huge mahi and shared his expertise at making fish balls on the grill. All I can say is melt in your mouth good!
We continue to enjoy hanging out at the Hole with all our friends. This day we caught the eels in the rocks and Dee brought along chicken hawk and caught these spectacular views of the Hole, the area, and our friends boat The Solution leaving the The Hole.
Sometimes on a beautiful calm morning, we just take Journey out to float in the calm waters and drink our coffee. This was one of those special mornings when we could just float and take in the scenery.
We celebrated Dee’s birthday in Mexico with a Carrot cake and a few friends. Of course, singing a round of Happy Birthday. Anyone who sang received Cake! We also took off on Metallica to explore Tulum and has it changed since we last visited in 2017. So grown up and full of so much traffic. We explored the coastline and took some great pictures. We also road up to a little community Macario Gómez and walked around the little community. We headed back to Tulum to try and spend the night but this is when we learned that I booked the wrong day. OPPS! But they were gracious and didn’t charge us.
Next Birthday was Cathy’s birthday, and we celebrated with a day on the beach and an afternoon out on Journey. The last birthday in November was Landon’s which of course we celebrated at Tradewinds with a Modelo Cake and lots of Modelo to drink.
All our friends joined us at Lattitudes and Landon supplied the fish to have a farewell dinner before we head home for the holidays. We will miss all our friends.
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