There’s No Place Like Home

Thanks to all that followed us on our journey. We arrived home late June and it took me some time to adjust to being back home. There were many reasons for us deciding to come home but the biggest deciding factor was Luke had become concerned about hurricane season. Oh Lordy, I am so glad he decided we should go home, otherwise we would have spent our summer running from storms.

I have mixed feelings about being home and during quiet moments pangs of

Big Sky II

Big Sky II – Look East from dock

wanderlust creep into my thoughts. The winds are calling but I have found that,”there’s no place like home”. I sincerely thank my friends and family for all of their visits and support while we were cruising. We discovered that it takes a village to keep a boat moving continually  forward. I love my village.

We met so many interesting folks along the way. The places all seem to run together but it was the people, the sunrises/sunsets and the weather that standout in my memories.

We have now been home over 4 months. Luke is reemployed and I am painting. I feel so fortunate to have been able to take our journey on Nice Lady. I am also fortunate to have a home to come back to.

If you ever have the opportunity to take an extended vacation somewhere out of your comfort zone, do not hesitate – GO!





US – Me and Luke. Self portrait.

A little ditty I painted for our bathroom. I used a Tetrad color scheme of Blue-Green, Blue-Violet, Red-Orange, and Yellow-Orange.

I love doing this type of painting. So much fun to just play with color and try to capture an emotion or moment. So, what is this painting saying?

Yes, we are still sailing…

We are now in Gulfport, Florida just outside of St. Petersburg. May 1st we started heading back home. We may be back by July 4th, we never know where we will be or when…

We have been to many wonderful places and seen so many beautiful sunrises and sunsets.

I have decided to just post a couple of photos and when we get home I will complete the story. Using WIFI is a must and we only have limited access.  I hope you have enjoyed our journal, someday I may tell you the rest of the story.  🙂


Some of you have already seen this article. I never got around to posting it here until now.

After posting a note on facebook about my onboard studio, my friend, Joan Vienot, was contacted by Plein Air Magazine. They asked her for my contact information because they wanted to do an article about me. It was a fun experience. Below is the link.

Outdoor Painter

Thanks Joan for making me famous!

Enjoy. Brenda


Catch Up Time

I seem to always be behind with my posts. The days just slip away. I am going to keep this short and catch up to current day. (maybe not so short) Ha ha

March 20 thru April 18 – Titusville Municipal Marina

We arrived in Titusville after a few days at anchor. We have been having engine troubles so decided to stop here for repairs. Also, I am due for a dental implant so I decided to have that scheduled while at this marina.

After researching dental surgeons with the help of my sister, Anita, I chose Christopher Williams. This process required 4 visits over a month. He usually does more followup but we are leaving town. Excellent surgeon and staff. If you ever need any dental surgery, contact his office.

I am a total scaredy-cat when it comes to dental work. I had all of the work done with only local anesthesia. Dr Williams and his staff were very compassionate and understanding, they also arranged my schedule so we could leave town sooner. Dr Williams provided me with a letter of explanation and all x-rays that I could take to another dentist when I get the final crown attached. Excellent and professional all the way.

Anita Webb, my sister, lent us her car while we are in Titusville. This allowed us to go to the dentist and explore the area for future relocation. Most generous!

Anita asked if I would paint over the paintings she has in her family room. I accepted the challenge. I finished one, which we named Land Ho. This is the image of our first sighting of the keys as we crossed the Florida Bay.

While I am spending time in Orlando, Luke is busy repairing the engine, replacing the muffler and hoses and taking all of the required education courses to maintain his insurance adjusters license. It was a very busy month for both of us.

Ozzy is back with us now and is adjusting well to marina life. He barks a lot and loud at anyone one or dog that he has not met before. We have a squirt bottle we use on him if he does not stop. He was somewhat wet the first few days.

We had family dinners and all went sailing. It was great to have everyone together.

We will be heading north soon. I have decided that I will remain extremely flexible on our future schedule. Our plan changes daily with the wind and life’s requirements. So, we never know when or where we will be. It is an interesting lifestyle.

More mañana…  ;D

Wind, wind and more wind. Too much of a good thing. Anxious cruisers are making last minute preparations just in case a weather window opens to move on. We are lined up like horses at a starting gate nervously awaiting the bell.

March 8, Wed

The highlight of my day – Yoga. Then a walk to burn off some of my nervous energy.

March 9-11

Preparations to leave continue.

Dinghy motor pull cord shredded and was replaced. Diesel Don was kind enough to help Luke with this.

Saturday evening we attended the Marathon Seafood Festival with Will and Sonia off of Allora. Sonia and I bought a few Turkish towels, then we all got our fill of seafood. It was a pleasant evening spent with friends before we go our separate ways. Will and Sonia are leaving Monday going to Ft Laud before heading to the Bahamas. Scout (Beth and Stan) will be connecting with them in Ft Laud for the crossing. At the end of the evening we said “see you laters” and returned to our boats.

The boating community is actually somewhat small and you always run into someone you met along the way. The community is extremely helpful and giving. At some point we all need assistance, none of us can cruise along in a bubble without a helping hand.

We will miss our friends from Boot Key Harbor, but we know that we will see them somewhere along the way.

Boat Chaser

Storm following us out of Boot Key

March 13-14, Departing Boot Key Harbor heading for West Palm Beach

We are off and running! The Gulf looked like a sailboat interstate as we all left Boot Key.

It was a glorious morning and perfect weather for sailing. The sunrise was incredible. We pulled up anchor at about 7:30a and arrived at West Palm 24 hours later. Since we had arrived earlier than expected, we decided to continue up the ICW to Stuart and find a marina. We tucked into Loggerhead Marina. By the time we got to the marina, we were exhausted, but never too tired for a  good hot shower!

This passage was my first experience in the Gulf Stream. Oh My! The swells were like rolling hills, you walk up one side then slide down the other. Very interesting. The current in the stream increased our speed by a few knots. We were traveling at 8.5knts, much faster than our usual 5.

Deep Blue Sea

The incredible color of The Deep Blue Sea – 500 Feet deep

March 15 – Stuart – Loggerhead Marina

John and Anita, our friends from Canada, had just returned from the Bahamas. They are storing their boat in Indiantown and were close enough for a visit. They came to Stuart and we went out to Giuseppe’s. It was a pleasant evening and visit with friends.

March 16 – Stuart – Loggerhead Marina

Laundry and chore day. Later Tom and Linda Thomas came for a visit. We had a great time catching up on friends and family. We ate at the marina, which is exceptionally good.

March 17-20 – Traveling north

We continued our journey north through the ICW. Anchored in Ft Pierce along with Living Live and Tranquility, two families from Canada,sailing the Great Loop. The next two nights we stayed at Coconut Point, 20 miles south of Cocoa. We stayed two night due to the high winds.

We started getting air bubbles in our fuel filter, so we spent some time replacing o-rings and filters. No change still getting bubbles. So, I would think who cares about a few little bubbles. WELL… the engine does. Good lord, the engine dies or at least revs down significantly. Usually not a big problem as long as another boat is not passing you or you are going through a bridge. Unlike a car, if the engine dies you soon lose the ability to steer the boat and you will drift with the wind, waves and current.

We decided to press on to Titusville. We made it safely, however, the engine did die on us a few times.

Titusville Municipal Marina is a tidy, well run operation. We will enjoy our stay here.

Overactive Olfactory – solution

One of the little discussed aspects of living on a boat is the different smells you encounter different than living in a house. The smells come from the dried salt water on the deck, excess of dirty damp clothes and towels, sheets that are on the bed longer to stretch out time before going to the laundry, clothes you wear longer than on land before putting in the laundry basket, extended time between showers and washing hair, garbage and the ubiquitous king of smell the head. Cram all of these lovely aromatic items, including you, your mate and a dog, in a space that is the size of a large overstuffed closet and voila it becomes a banquet for those of us with overactive olfactory glands!

I have been blessed with overactive olfactory processes. I smell everything! I smell to determine if something is clean or dirty, fresh or old. I smell things that smell wonderful just because. Smelling is what I do. Anyway…this is now a problem.

Oh, but I have found the solution. I have put away the Vicks and the air fresheners, the candles and oils. The solution is simple, you can’t smell yourself. If you smell worse than everything around you, the other smells are much less powerful. Yahoo! Personal hygiene. Hundreds of years ago people rarely took baths, but they stood by fires. The smoke hid some of the odors. I do not have a fire, so I shall forgo the sink in order to stink and itch to save my nose.

If you are planning a visit, please give me warning so I can shower.

My Head has a Diaper

(I forgot to post this. It is out of order.)

In the marine world the toilet is more commonly known as the head. Mine has a diaper due to a fresh water leak. I wrap doggy pee pads around the head base and pump. The diapers need to be changed a couple times a day. Luke is working on this issue and has ordered parts. A dry head in is our future. It is great to have a handi husband!

Speaking of handi, he just replaced our battery charger for a more powerful unit. Now our batteries will have a full charge most of the time.

Life on the mooring ball is easy breezy. No worries about wind waves or local yahoos cutting your anchor line. No huge wakes and no bugs. We also have a front row seat to the sunrise and sunset. We are one mile from Publix, Winn Dixie, Kmart, and West Marine. Our feet and our bikes are all we need to get around. Taxis are $5 to go anywhere on the island. The weather is mostly balmy and warm. We can participate in yoga classes, bocce ball, softball, dominos and more. This is a nice community of boaters that we will not forget.

Please look closely at the top photo. The clouds are actually deep blue on the bottom.

Feb 21, Tuesday

Played dominos at the marina cruisers lounge. This is a regular event, every Tuesday. I took this opportunity to quiz the other ladies on their boating experiences.

Parking Lot

Parking Lot at Boot Key Marina

Feb 22, Wednesday

Weather is sucky, high winds and rain. I was devastated when it was announced on the Cruiser’s Net that yoga class was cancelled. I actually started to cry. Not sure why. We read books for the whole day. Went to the marina at that end of the day for water.

Feb 23 Thursday

Luke biked to the dentist today. A crown had fallen off and fortunately he did not swallow it. The dentist was unable to do anything for the tooth, it will have to be pulled. That will be another day. He also went to the fancy bike shop and got a rack for his bike. OMG there is a whole story behind the bike rack. I will let me tell that story when he sees you.

I am working on concepts for my “Weather Window” series of paintings. I want to have the perspective correct before I start to paint. A weather window is what every boater is waiting for so they can cross a body of water safely and quickly. Wind speed, wind direction, wave height, travel time, etc all play into the decision to move to another location. Many boaters come to the keys to visit and then wait for their weather window to go to either the Bahamas or Cuba. Just like sex, some like their window hot and rough and some like it cool and soft…

Green clouds

Green Clouds Over Harbor

Feb 24, Friday

The generator is now fixed, $650 later.


Tiki Hut

I took my painting equipment to the small tiki hut at the marina. It is very secluded and a perfect spot to paint. I completed one painting of a small dinghy tied to a post. I am getting better at plein air painting. I just need to get over being shy about painting in public. Luke worked with the repair guy to get the generator running. Now we have a/c, hot water and I can use my electric appliances.

Feb 25

Great day. Luke and I went to the marina for the flea market. Then we went sailing. After sailing we went to the marina for showers and then out to dinner. It was like a real date night!

Feb 26 – Sunday

I walked to Home Depot as my morning exercise. Returned to the boat and cleaned the mildew off the wood in the bedroom. Did laundry which took 4 hours and $12 for 2 loads. In the afternoon, I returned to the marina and worked on my website and blog. Luke worked on figuring out how to attach the “new to us” battery charger.

Ran into Barbara and Jorge, of Diadema. They were in the office because they finally got a mooring ball. They were going to have their first night no-see-um free and be able to stay on deck through sunset. They were ecstatic.

Barbara is an art quilter and has a studio setup in her boat. We compared current art projects. She is working on a sunset and is working out the details of how to do the clouds so they appear more round.

Feb 28 – Fat Tuesday

Let the Good Times Roll!  Mardi Gras in Boot Key Harbor.


More later… Brenda

sunset in the neighborhood

Sunset – Time for Conch Horns and Cocktails in the Neighborhood

Living Life in Island Time

My only excuse for not posting sooner is that we are just enjoying life in the keys. You might say we are on island time which means I will do this mañana man. Don’t worry be happy!

I have always enjoyed and benefited from a yoga practice. There is a yoga class at the community park Mon, Wed and Fri. I do my best to make it to all of these classes. Emily Hughes is our current instructor. She is amazing. Emily makes yoga a learning and inner thought provoking experience. Of all the things in Marathon that I will miss, Emily’s yoga classes will be missed the most.

Birds sm

Birds Over Nice Lady

March 1, Wednesday


Chores: Preparing for weekend storm and Laundry

March 2, Thursday

Luke and I rode our bikes a 6 mile round trip to buy 2 stainless nuts.

Then to Publix for groceries. Filled our tanks… water, fuel etc

March 3, Friday


Spent time in the cruiser’s lounge for downloading books and watching art videos with the WIFI.

Late in the afternoon the wind started to blow and blow. Hunkered down for a few days. Due to our position in the harbor the waves should not get big and we will be able to go to shore.

March 4-6

A few days of rest. Wind blowing 20 knots and sun is shining. We stayed on the boat. Luke read, I painted and read.

The cruisers are getting anxious to get out of Boot Key Harbor. Most are heading to the Bahamas or Cuba, but no one can leave until the wind calms down. We talk about where we are headed when we get our weather window.

Life continues to be good. In another week we will have been in the Keys for 1/2 have of our journey. Where has the time gone? It is time to move on.

The Coveted Mooring Ball

We finally made it! We are uptown in Boot Key Harbor on mooring ball S2 with over 250 other cruising  yachts. We are in a great location, close to the marina, dinghy docks AND (drum roll…) Showers! The basic essentials of life have become the joys of my life.

The photo is of Ozzy going for a dinghy ride. He LOVES the dinghy adventures. Miss that boy! He will be rejoining us when we head north up the east coast.


Boot Key Harbor Marina

Jan 25, Wednesday Boot Key Harbor, Marathon, FL

Moved to our mooring ball. We had a delightful 1/2 mile cruise. Hooked on the to ball without too much drama. Met our new neighbors and settled in.

Jan 26, Thursday

Water in the bilge. Hmmm where does this come from? Can not be from the engine. We will monitor. We dry the bilge and keep and eye out for more water.

Jan 27 – 30

Enjoying life.

Jan 31

More water in the bilge. Gallons and gallons of water forming a little stream as it flows in. Not good. Luke decides we need to pull the boat out of the water, let it dry out then fill the hull with water to find the leak. It cannot be the engine since there is no access from the engine compartment to the bilge. However, the water only seems to appear after the motor has been running. Hmmm…

Feb 1

Luke makes arrangements at a yard for this work. Since we cannot stay on the boat, I make places to go to Orlando and Luke will be staying with Diesel Don on Lady Trianna. Mr. Diesel will be helping Luke with this repair. The theory is that when the motor is running a crack is opening more to allow water intrusion. Hmmm…

While Luke was working with another repair person to get the generator going. I dried out the bilge again and keep an eye out for water. I found a very small leak and marked that. Later, Luke ran the engine so we could have hot water and water started streaming into the bilge. When he turned the engine off the water stopped.Hmmm… Ok, so according to Luke there is no way it is coming from the engine. I make arrangements for a rental car to go to Orlando.

Feb 2

We picked up the rental car today. I am looking forward to being with my twin sister for our birthday, Feb 4th. Also, very happy to be going to see Ozzy who is still temporarily living with Anita and Chuck.

Luke does some more checking into our bilge water issue. OH NO Mr. Bill! the water is coming from the engine!!! We have a leak in our heat exchanger that is spraying water on a wall that drains into the bilge. I am ecstatic that we can avoid pulling the boat out of the water for repairs, but crying because I want to go see my family and Ozzy. Boohoo Boohoo. ( I can be such a whiner). We decided that I should still go to Orlando. I still need to take care of taxes and insurance issues. So, Tra La La off to Orlando I go.

Luke and I picked up the rental car that evening and then went to Herbie’s for my birthday dinner. Later it was early to bed, very early to rise (2:00a). Dinghied to shore and hit the road at 3am to avoid Miami traffic. Sections of the turnpike through Miami are 10 lanes!!

Feb 3-11- Orlando

Arrived in Orlando. Had a great time with family.

Luke reported that the repairs on the boat were successful. No more leaks!!

Feb 11 – Saturday

Left Orlando at 2:40 am, passed through Miami at 7am, light traffic. Traffic was bumper to bumper going into the keys. I made it back to Marathon about 9am. We used the rental car to run some errands and then I returned it to the airport.

Feb 12-19

Enjoying life on a mooring ball. Must be 5 o’clock somewhere! Oh too bad my margarita days are over.

Monday, Carol and Todd Mason arrived. They drove all the way from Canada for a little sunshine and warm weather. They joined us on the boat for two days. We introduced them to marina life and that includes the SHOWERS! Carol and I took two showers in one day.

Tuesday we went sailing. Very light wind, but it was great to be out on the water with a cool breeze. Later Carol and I were in the marina and there was a huge manatee getting a drink of water from a dripping hose. It put forth quite an effort for about a ½ cup of water.img_7767

It is against the law to feed or give manatees water. I read that they do not need the water but it is like candy to a child, if they can get it they want it and will return to find it. This causes problems because they come to marinas that have heavy boat traffic and they can be fatally injured. It is impossible for them to get out of the way of a boat. Boaters must watch out for them and travel as slow as possible. Hmmm… ladies, when you ask your significant other to slow down do they? Always in a hurry, but not sure to where.

Wednesday, Carol and Todd left. I believe they enjoyed their stay. We certainly enjoyed their company. Their visit showed us that we can accommodate two visitors that are flexible and tolerant of early to bed, early to rise and marine toilets.

Feb 20, Monday – Presidents Day

Yoga! We have an amazing instructor, Emily Hughes

“Blessed are they that laugh at themselves, for they shall never cease to be entertained.”  -Chinese proverb

That’s all folks! See you real soon.  🙂