May 2 – Fort Pierce, Florida, Cracker Boy Marina
Entr’acte is back in Florida to make the final preparations for the Transatlantic passage to Europe. We are hauled out at Cracker Boy Boat Works for a final below the water inspection, touch up on the bottom paint and the replacement of a propeller shaft bearing. We are also raising our waterline to compensate for the weight of all the extra stores for the passage. This is something we should have done 20 years ago and have finally given in. We would like to leave for Bermuda around the 15th of May. We shall see if we get all the work done. We parted company with Nadine and family in Little Harbour, Berry Islands. It seemed like only yesterday that we decided to implement “The Plan.” All of the phone calls and all of the scheming. The anticipation and the excitement of getting together again and “returning home”!!! We’ve had the rain, the cold, the laughs and the adventure. And now this chapter is over. Where did the last year go! Needless to say, It was a very sad farewell for not only were we saying good-bye to Fred and his family we were also parting from John and Paula on “Mr. John.” Even though this trip was fostered by a negative event it has turned out to be a wonderful gift. We never dreamed that the crews of the yachts Nadine, Mr. John, and Entr’acte would find themselves together and “having at it” once again. Our friendship has spanned more than twenty years and stretched round the world. Now, sadly, it is time for us to go our separate ways and continue our adventures hopefully to come together again someday. The one sad thing about this lifestyle is that you are always meeting the most interesting people and seeing the best side of humanity but you are also saying goodbye an awful lot and that’s a bit tough. We left Nadine and CO in Little Harbour Berry Islands where we survived hurricane Andrew together back in 93. Fred was residing Chester’s house, the kids were feeding the ducks and Monica was helping Marina in the kitchen of Flo’s Conch Bar. They plan to stay there for about an another week and then move on to the Abacos for a month before returning to Florida and then heading up the coast and back to Canada in time for “SCHOOL”!!!. According to Josh and Justin, having school aboard Entr’acte was a resounding success despite having to row to school in the cold and the rain and even though “Professor Ed” made them swim (that’s right) home to get the book they “forgot”. The school lunches and snacks were great but the field trips were AWESOME! Well, we tried hard! Our greatest hope for Josh and Justin is that our teaching was satisfactory. We feel that we made a lot of inroads into their education. Their vocabulary improved greatly, as did their math and science. Reading was a main stay since there are very few TV’s out here. Their knowledge of oceanic biology is the first rate. Josh can now clean a conch faster than Ed and both boys can free dive to twenty feet (phys. ed.). Oh yes, we got some music in there too when we all sat in with the “rake and scrape ” bands in the Exumas. Mr. John was with us until the end when he and Paula also left early for the Abacos. They are now on route to Nova Scotia – they want to see ice burgs!!!!! OK but we’ll catch that one on TV. We had several “final” dinners together and ended up writing songs satirizing each other’s boats. We wrote a song for Nadine entitled The Return of Caicos Fred. It will never be a hit but we sure did laugh. Fred was very specific during our farewell to thank us for encouraging them to take this trip. Monica’s words to us in our ship’s log “Only through your enthusiasm, dedication and persistence, this beautiful odyssey of ours was possible as there were times when we thought it was just a dream.” Fred agreed that they wouldn’t have gone without us. Fred is doing well. He dives to twenty-five feet, raises a thirty pound anchor with twenty feet of chain and swings from a halyard like a 10 year old. “Do I look sick? I don’t feel sick?” He will have navigated a three thousand mile trip upon his return home.
Looking back this will indeed be a year to be remembered. We shot 26 hours of video which we will put together into a fine show during our stay in Spain. We have hundreds of pictures — digital photography has changed our lives. We have to fill in all the details of our cruising letters to make a story that shows the importance of friends in everyone’s life. So here we are in the good old land of plenty! Not only can we buy lettuce but we get a choice of which kind. The Bahamas are filled with beautiful islands, fish, and warm friendly people but the grocery stores are lacking in fresh fruits and vegetables. We have been eating up a storm for the past two days. Entr’acte is tuned up and waiting for the downbeat to the next act. We project 9 /10 days to Bermuda and then approx. 20 days until we make landfall in the Azores. Finally, another 8 days or so and we will be in Portugal and at the gateway to the Med. We plan to spend winter in Sevilla as we did back in 1983. All this of course is subject to the whim of King Neptune. So for now we wish you all well and we will see you on the other side!
Ellen and Ed