One of the lesser-known facts about My Lovely Bride is that her dad Bill Smeltzer was once Milton Hershey’s personal assistant. If the name doesn’t ring a bell, think “CHOCOLATE”! Her grandmother also lived in Hershey, PA. (That’s Pennsylvania, for the uninitiated). As a result of her familial relationship with the center of American chocolate production, it is unsurprizing (don’t blame me… she actually spells it that way) that she is addicted to Hershey’s Chocolates in Every Form, No Stinkin’ Substitutes allowed! Here we have visual proof of her chocolate habit. I had liberally squeezed in a stream of Hershey’s Genuine Chocolate Syrup… she obviously deemed it insufficient, because Suzanne grabbed the container and squeezed in… a river… a cascade… nay, a veritable deluge of Mr. Hershey’s finest chocolate sauce to smother the French vanilla ice cream remaining in the carton. (I have to admit, it was delicious, and worth every calorie!)
The blog has been off line for several days because we have been at sea… not mentally, although I have been accused of that condition as well… rather, we were aboard a bareboat charter sailboat in Tampa Bay with our wonderful friends Renee and Greg Scalzini and their beautiful daughters Samantha and Juliana from Atlanta, Georgia. Renee had attended Suzanne’s S.O.A.R! Workshop in Marietta, GA, last year, and offered to give Suzanne’s web site a complete make-over. Renee was a Fine Arts major, and is a very gifted web designer. The fabulous job that Renee did can be seen at www.LoveAtTheCenter.com.
Here is Summer Breeze, our Hunter 44 Deck Salon with three cabins and two heads, a relatively spacious charter boat for four, although a tad cramped for six. Suzanne and I were used to cramped spaces, having lived aboard and cruised our Morgan 46 Liberty from the US to Europe for six years.
One of the differences between boats and houses is the head, otherwise known as marine toilet. Its only similarity with the household version is the “end purpose” and the shape. Actual functionality is radically different, as the Scalzini family is learning from Captain Drew, our charter contact, during our pre-sail brief. One of the big differences is that almost anything will clog a head, resulting in an immediate panic on the part of the boat owner/operator, since un-clogging toilets is the least glamorous and most dreaded job on a boat.
After a run to Publix for groceries, we got underway for Bahia Beach, our destination across Tampa Bay. The weather was supposed to turn rainy and very windy, so we “beat feet” while we had sunny skies and a strong but not overpowering sailing breeze of 18-20 kts. Here we see Captain Greg at the wheel, doing a great job for his first time steering a sailboat under sail. It isn’t an easy task, since a sailboat reacts a lot slower than a power boat or a car. It also tends to slew back and forth around your base course when the winds increase and decrease. Renee was keeping a watchful eye on Her Intrepid Captain…
Although there were three cabins, that belonging to Samantha and Juliana was “Off Limits” to adults without specific permission, as indicated in the sign that lovely Juliana is holding in the photo. Greg took this nautical equivalent of “No Trespassing” in stride… well, mostly. There were several screams heard when he burst in on the girls to tickle them or give them hugs… It’s been a few years since we were around little girls with that much energy, and we still wonder how they keep up such activity from 6:00 AM until 10:00 PM without naps! (Please note that we are moored (tied up) pierside in this photo, hence wine glasses are deployed for imminent use; had we been underway, our boats are always “dry” until we are anchored or moored pierside.)
Monday was Samantha’s 8th birthday, and she got to open a few presents out in the sunny cockpit of the boat while wearing a very stylish swim suit. Samantha is an avid reader, especially the Rainbow Fairies series.
Meals were interesting… once while Suzanne was preparing dinner, Greg asked if he could help. Suzanne appreciated the offer, but suggested that since this boat’s galley (kitchen for you landlubbers) was only big enough for “one-hiney-at-a-time”, he could do clean-up instead. That worked out very well, since that dreary job usually falls to Your Intrepid Correspondent… thanks to Greg, I had a few days off… Hoo-Ray!
Here are Juliana and Samantha posing on the bow of our floating home for four days while tied up to the pier in Little Harbor, Bahia Beach. Because we arrived on a Sunday afternoon, there was a somewhat loud party going on aboard some of the full-timers’ boats; “alcohol may have been involved”. Fortunately, the noise died down right about sunset, and we had a quiet evening.
Lest our readers think I was a total boat bum during this holiday afloat, this photo proves that I was indeed hard at work (occasionally) preparing breakfast, in this case gourmet bacon and eggs… and yes, Greg took care of cleanup!
We will file an “after-action report” in the next blog, as well as show you some photos of some of the finest glass art any of us had ever seen. “Watch This Space!”