Time to Sail into Retirement

After 37 1/2 years at Eastman, I will join Sandra in retirement on Jan. 1st, 2016 and we will set sail.  We plan on leaving early May 2016 from Charleston, SC and sail north towards Long Island Sound.  I have no idea how long it will take, but no problem, we are retired!

trip 2105
Here are our initial plans for next year:

-Participated in Southern Collegiate Offshore Regatta on Ragtime (see post)
-Participate in Charleston Race Week in April, three 23-mile races offshore in 3 days
-Leave Charleston early May 2016
-Sail to New Bern, NC to join our friends Rob and Minta Fannon who recently purchased a Catalina 42 sailboat
-Sail around the Outer Banks and Chesapeake Bay for an undetermined amount of time
-Possibly sail up the Potomac to Washington DC area
-Go up the Chesapeake Delaware Canal/Delaware River/Cape May
-Out along New Jersey Coast to New York Harbor and spend a few weeks in NY City
-Up the Hudson River
-Down the Hudson/New York City then to Long Island Sound

P.S.

May 20, 2013

Dear Cubs,

This will probably be my last letter to you.  Mrs. Little talked on the phone with Mrs. Harrison earlier and said graduation was Wednesday.  Wow!  The year has flown by hasn’t it?  We are in Miamarina at downtown Miami.  Today was a work day to get the boat ready to sail back to South Carolina.  Captain James scrubbed the decks, and I helped wash the dinghy.  There was salt and seaweed all over the boats.  When we left Key West, it was quite windy with lots of big waves that splashed all over the boat.  When the sun dried up the water, it left the salt.  Mrs. Salyer, it was like a science experiment.  I helped Mrs. Little wash the screens.  See the salt crystals.  While Mrs. Little did laundry, she left me to vacuum.

Vacuuming

Vacuuming

Cleaning salt off screens...do you see the salt crystal in my paw?

Cleaning salt off screens…do you see the salt crystal in my paw?

Even though I am tired after working hard all day, I am excited.  Tomorrow I get to meet Mrs. Little’s son, Matt.  He is flying into the Miami airport to sail back with us.  Another friend of the Littles is coming also, Mr. Rob Fannon.  His wife teaches art at Sevier Middle School.  You will meet her next year.  She is a sailor also.  We are going to be sailing back day and night on the ocean to get back home quickly.  If the weather holds, we should be home by the weekend.  Everyone will take turns taking a watch (a certain number of hours to sail the boat) while others will sleep.  Matt and Mr. Fannon are good sailors, so I feel safe.  I have found a special place to ride on the boat when it gets rocky.  See me in my little pouch.  When it’s calmer, I ride on the compass with Captain James and help steer the boat.

My pouch

My pouch

Helping Capt. James steer Ragtime

Helping Capt. James steer Ragtime

Sometimes I sit in the drink holder.  It is a very comfy seat.

Sometimes I sit in the drink holder. It is a very comfy seat.

Mrs. Little was going through her pictures and realized she had some pictures she hadn’t sent you.

The closest thing to a video machine that I have played in 10 weeks!

The closest thing to a video machine that I have played in 10 weeks!

Bed made of straw in the old fort...wasn't comfortable.

Bed made of straw in the old fort…wasn’t comfortable.

school in St. Augustine

school in St. Augustine

Oldest School

Oldest School

Mrs. Salyer, I will continue to write you if we have Internet connection on the ocean.  I will call you when I get back to Kingsport, so you can come get me, please.

Love,

Cubby

Cubby in Key West

May 17, 2012 Dear Bear Cubs, I have been too busy to write you lately.  Last week we finally arrived at our end point of our trip-Key West, Florida.  Key West is the last island in a string of island reefs known at the Florida Keys that are 150 miles long.  It took us three days to sail from Miami to Key West.  There’s an easy math problem for you…approximately how many miles did we sail each day? Would you like to hear about my adventures in Key West?  We met some friends of Captain James and Mrs. Little.  Uncle Chris and Ms. Anne flew to Key West to spend several days with us.  They were very nice to me and treated me just like family. The most amazing thing was that we spent four nights in a resort hotel.  Uncle Chris invited us to stay with him at this beautiful place called Parrot Key Resort and Hotel.  We had our own bedroom, and I even had my own BIG bed! Unfortunately the adults had so many activities planned for each day that I didn’t even have time to go swimming.  We were so busy each day that I would fall asleep in Mrs. Little’s purse before we even got back to the hotel.

Hoping to go swimming

Hoping to go swimming

my very own bed

my very own bed

On Sunday we took Uncle Chris sailing on Ragtime in the Florida Bay.  After sailing for a couple of hours, we came to a reef called Sand Reef where we could snorkel.  Have you ever done that?  I have snorkeled in Mrs. Salyer’s swimming pool, but she doesn’t have fish and coral reefs in the bottom of her pool.  It was so exciting to see the tropical colored fish and the interesting shaped corals growing on the sea floor.  At first I was scared because all the fish were bigger than me, but Mrs. Little assured me they wouldn’t bother me.  In fact they mostly ignored us.  I don’t imagine they’ve ever seen a bear.  Maybe they thought I was a baby human???   After snorkeling for a few hours, we sailed back to Key West and watched the sunset in the Gulf of Mexico.  Yes, not the Atlantic Ocean.  Ask Mrs. Salyer to show you Key West on a map.  It was a beautiful sunset.  Apparently watching the sunset in Key West is a touristy thing because they even have a place on shore called Mallory Square where hundreds of people gather each evening to watch the sunset.

snorkeling

snorkeling

Sunset in Key West

Sunset in Key West

On Monday Ms. Anne’s flight arrived.  We drove to the Key West airport in Uncle Chris’ rental car to pick her up.  She was so happy to finally meet me.  I guess she’s been reading about my adventures.

Meeting Ms. Anne at airport...she thought we should look at the brochures to plan our trip

Meeting Ms. Anne at airport…she thought we should look at the brochures to plan our trip

I was hoping the rooster would give me a ride.  They are everywhere!

I was hoping the rooster would give me a ride. They are everywhere!

After letting Ms. Anne deposit her suitcase at the hotel, we drove downtown Key West for a sightseeing day.  We went to three museums: the Truman Little White House, Mel Fischer Treasure museum, and the Ernest Hemingway House.  They were all very interesting. Maybe Mrs. Salyer will let you look up these places on the Internet and read more about them.  I think my favorite was the Hemingway House because of all the cats.  Apparently Mr. Hemingway had this cat that had kittens and then more kittens.  Now there are more than 40 cats living at the house and are all relatives of that first cat.  They were quite friendly.  They are also polydactyl which means they have 6 toes!!!  Some have the extra toes on just two feet and some on all four.  Something else you should research.

one of the Hemingway cats...he just ignored me

one of the Hemingway cats…he just ignored me

cat cemetary

cat cemetary

the cat's house

the cat’s house

I asked Mrs. Little to take my picture with the pirate.

I asked Mrs. Little to take my picture with the pirate.

Me. Fisher's motto

Me. Fisher’s motto

I have on my ticket to go to the Mel Fischer Treasure museum.

I have on my ticket to go to the Mel Fischer Treasure museum.

On Tuesday we went sport fishing.  Uncle Chris hired a man by the name of Captain John to take us out in his big fishing boat.  We motored a long way off shore, about 20 miles.  Captain James and Uncle Chris caught a humongous fish called an amberjack.  It weighed about 65 pounds and took them 45 minutes to reel in.  It was strong and fought so hard that they had to take turns with the reel.  When the fish finally was caught, everyone was exhausted, even the fish.  I sort of felt sorry for him, but he was put in the ice locker.  Next Captain John took us to a place where we caught 13 dolphins.  I was concerned when they said dolphin because I love those creatures but these are not the same kind of dolphin.  They were about 24 inches long and look nothing like the dolphins you see swimming in the ocean.  After we got back, Captain John cleaned the fish and gave us a bag to take with us.  We took it to a Thai restaurant that he recommended.  They cooked it for us.  I have to admit, it was delicious!

cleaning the amberjack

cleaning the amberjack

catch for the day

catch for the day

Uncle Chris, Captain John and Captain James posing with the amberjack

Uncle Chris, Captain John and Captain James posing with the amberjack

Wednesday was our last day with Uncle Chris and Ms. Anne.  We had breakfast at a French restaurant and then went to the Key West Lighthouse and the southernmost spot in the United States to take our picture.  At the lighthouse I had my picture taken in a banyan tree.  Notice how the branches grow to the ground.  Something else to check out. I hated to see Uncle Chris and Ms. Anne leave, but they had to go back to work.

Climbing a Banyon Tree

Climbing a Banyan Tree

Mrs. Little and I are in the southernmost part of the USA

Mrs. Little and I are in the southernmost part of the USA

We are on our way home now.  We spent the night in Marathon Key at a mooring field.  Tonight we will anchor near Rodriguez Key and then should be in Miami by Saturday evening.  I miss you all and am sad I will not be there for graduation to tell you good-bye.  Have a great summer and come see me next year.  Don’t forget about me when you go to middle school. Much love, Cubby

Marinas

Dear Cubs,

We are at a marina today and tomorrow.  I thought going to a marina would be fun because some of them have swimming pools, but now I understand why we go to marinas.  We work! 😦 When you are docked at a marina, it means doing laundry, cleaning the heads (bathrooms), shaking out rugs, pumping out holding tanks of waste, refueling, getting water in the water tanks, charging all our electronics, and fixing broken things.

This morning I helped Mrs. Little do our laundry.  Then this afternoon I went with Captain James into town to buy a new battery charger for the boat.  I forget that we don’t have a car to drive.  Unless it is really far away, we walk or catch a bus.  Today we walked…all 1 ½ miles to West Marina and 1 ½ miles back.  Of course I can’t complain because I was riding in the backpack. J The captain was tired.

Tonight we are going to watch a movie.  Well, they are.  I have to go to bed because the movie is rated PG-13.  I guess I’ll read until I fall asleep.

G’night,

Cubby

Riding with Capt. James

Riding with Capt. James

Laundry Day

Laundry Day

Submarine

Cubbies,

We left at 7am today to go to the ocean. We went out Port Everglades inlet and are sailing to Miami.  See if you can find it on the chart Mrs.Little left at school.  The excitement this morning was seeing a submarine!  We were in the middle of a navy test zone.  We were told to move for safety’s sake.  In fact we were ordered by an important man in an official looking motorboat.  I got a good look at the sub with the binoculars.  Mrs. Little said she’ll send a picture later.

Love,
Cubby

submarine

Dinghies and Mooring Balls

Dear Bear and Wolf Cubs,

Often I hear landlubbers ask what is a dinghy, so here is a quick note telling you about them.  A dinghy is a small boat used to transport people to shore or other boats from their big boat.  Captain James and Mrs. Little’s dinghy is an 8 foot long inflatable dinghy made by Achilles.  They have a 6 horsepower outboard engine that they put on it, or we can also row using the oars.  Like any boat I have to wear my lifejacket, and they are required to carry lifejackets for everyone on board as well as other safety equipment like oars and a flashlight if traveling at night.

When we began our travels, we carried the dinghy on the forward deck.  Now that we are using it often, we tow it behind us with a rope called a “painter.”  They have special words for everything on a sailboat.  As an aside, once a rope comes onto a boat it is not called a rope anymore.  It is called a line.  And when that line is attached to a sail, it is called a sheet.  See, Mrs. Salyer I am increasing my vocabulary!

The dinghy is essential if you are going to anchor out and when want to go ashore for food, showers, shopping, etc.  It is very expensive staying at marinas.  They charge you by the foot.

Now here’s another math problem for you.  At our last marina the charge was $1.60 a foot and our boat is 40 feet long.  How much did it cost?  And then there is tax, so add 7% for the total.  (That was a cheap marina…most of the time it is about $2.00/ft.)

Mrs. Little keeps promising to take a picture of me in the dinghy, but she’s usually holding on to me tightly and is afraid to let go to use her camera.  She thinks I might just pop out of the boat.  It can be a little bouncy, but it sure is fun!!!

Love,

Cubby

Here is a picture of it being towed.

IMG_7069

Here is a picture of Capt. James rowing

IMG_7051

And here is a picture of a mooring ball.  We often stay on these instead of anchoring or docking at a marina.  They are cheap…about $15-20 a night and you get free showers, privilege to dock the dinghy at the marina, and a pump out of our heads.  (Head is the boat name for bathroom)

IMG_7050

Raising the Anchor

Dear Cubbies,

When we anchor the boat for the night, we have to drop the anchor off the front (bow) of the boat.  The boat has a motorized gizmo called a windlass that lets out the anchor chain and brings it back up.  Captain James has let me help Mrs. Little let the anchor down.  It’s really easy-all you do is press the down button.  And then press the up button when you want to bring it up.  The hard part is making sure the anchor is in front of the boat, so we have to give hand signals to whoever is steering the boat to let them know which way to motor and when to stop.  We usually let out 50 feet of chain and then another 30 feet of rope for a total of 80 feet of anchor rode.  You have to have enough anchor rode so the boat can swing on it.  That’s the other tricky part…knowing where to drop the anchor.  You have to look around you and estimate how far you might swing so you don’t hit another boat, dock, shore, etc.  Yep, pressing the button is the easy part. J  There’s a mathematical equation for figuring out how much anchor rode to let out.  Gee, math will not go away.  I sure am happy I had a great math teacher.  Thank you Mrs. Salyer!

Scope is the amount anchor rode you let out for anchoring.  To figure the scope, you need to know the depth of the water and freeboard of the boat (which is the distance from the top of the boat to the water).  The scope should be 7:1.  To figure this out, add your depth to the freeboard and multiply by 7.

Our freeboard is 4 feet.  If we anchor in 8 feet of water, how much anchor rode should we let out?

This morning there was a problem with the windlass so Mrs. Little had to steer and Captain James and I had to pull the anchor up with man (bear) power!  See how strong I am!!!

hauling in anchor raising anchor

Are you studying hard for TCAPS?  I am.

Love, Cubby