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Celebrations in St Pete

Oh boy, it has been FAR too long since Happy Wife left our shores, six months in fact! We have been away on vacation twice during this time and then with the holidays and such, time has just marched on. We decided to get off the dock and at least get so St Pete for a week or so while the weather is mostly just great. We are expecting a very strong storm to pass through during Thursday night, but we will button down the hatches and ride that out to the other side. The rest of the weekend will be just perfect. Jax game along with us for the ride over and to spend the day on the water. He got to drive the boat, help glumpy with the ropes and wave to our accompanying dolphins that always seem to love the bow of our boat as we sail along. We left at 12.30 and arrived at 1.30 pm to our ball. Because the marina has been closed to public while construction around it takes place, the ball and ropes were so full of barnacles that it pulled our hook into 2 pieces and we lost half of it to the ocean. After a few failed attempts with other hooks a very kind man came past in his dinghy and pulled it up for us, handing it me to hook up onto. That saved the day. We did homework onboard, made lunch and took the doggies and Jax to the park. Later Jax did a sweet painting and went home at around 6. Justine dropped us at Philaine for a wonderful dinner and wine and we took her car home at the end of the night. In the morning, we woke to a stunning sunrise and took the dinghy with the doggies to potty on shore. We drove up to Philaine’s and did a long walk/run with her friend Mandy that lives here with her husband Chris too. Shaun and Philaine were at school with them both and it was so wonderful to meet someone that we could just “slot in” with! As we walked along we could see the weather worsening, much earlier than predicted, and quickly came back to the boat as the doggies were on board and we need to get them to shore before it got even worse. We decided to make the run to the corner of the Vinoy Basin where I could just hop out onto a tiny speck of a beach to let them out on land there. We came back to lunch on the boat and spent some time packing things up and covering up the sofas and so on up on the helm in preparation for the storm to hit at midnight. Shaun took a rare nap and I got to catch up on some work and unfinished ends too while the puppies slept. I made afternoon tea and cakes which we enjoyed overlooking the beautiful Vinoy Hotel and Marina. In the evening we had mojito's and dinner out back and went to bed before the storm hit. I slept through the storm but poor Shaun did get up once to twice to check on things. Friday morning was bright and sunny but with freezing winds. After making puppy potty runs, we went on shore and Philaine picked us up. We drove up to our beach units to do a quick repair, stopped in at Black Crow for coffee and snacks and Shaun had some business to attend to with the city planning department. We came back to the boat for the afternoon after going to Trader Joes for snack for the evening. Philaine, Mandy and Chris came on board for cocktails and we had a great evening meeting Chris and catching up on old East London stories and people we all seemed to know. After a spectacular sunset, Philaine stayed over and Shaun took the Hundling’s back to shore. We had a good rest, we did wake early to dinghy clanging away behind us. We did an early potty run and got ready for the day. We had a fabulous birthday weekend which included a trip to the Dali museum, lunch el fresco at Trophy Fish on Central Ave. On Sunday I did my 8 mile run along the waterfront, had lunch back at the boat and then drinks on board before heading over to Il Ritorno for dinner that night with Philaine. The ocean was so choppy and we got a bit wet out on the dinghy ride there and back, but all was good and part of the fun. Monday was an absolutely stunning day on the water. We had some work to do in St Pete so I picked up our truck in Tampa so that we could get around for the next few days. We had Panera lunch in the park overlooking the duck pond near our 5th Street Airbnb. Cocktails on board in the evening were just perfect with another stunning sunset. We made tacos and went to bed fairly early. Tuesday included a trip to Walmart after our run to get some supplies for the Airbnb’s. I stayed on board for the afternoon while Shaun went a Tampa meeting for a few hours. When Shaun got back we took Cali to the Dog Bar which she loved so much! We had a delicious, quick meal at Bodega and came back home. I had to go into town for a Dr’s appointment this morning but taking the dogs out just before seven that left us breathless at the beauty of an absolutely still ocean that made it so that we could not tell the sky separate from the ocean. Later that evening Carol, Are and Philaine came on board for a cocktail before going to dinner at Fresco’s by dinghy. They are visiting from the BVI and drove up to see Philaine from Fort Lauredale. We had a great time with them! We enjoyed wonderful coffee’s and cakes at Cassis Bakery which we went to , Runs along the Bay, walks with Cali and lovely lunches out with Philaine and more on this trip. Despite it being wintry and blustery on some days, it was lovely just being out again. We had to go into Tampa to babysit on Valentine’s day for Tam and Brian. we took Cali with us and left Pete’s onboard as we usually. When we got back at midnight, the high water alarm was on! The sound is deafening and I wanted to just cry for our little Pete’s who was just terrified and hiding under the sofa. We don’t know how long it had been on for! We pumped out the water and saw that the float switch was not working as it should again. These never seem to last. We fell into bed exhausted at around 1am Our water tanks emptied and we had to make some. They hold about 250 gallons which lasts us about a week without conserving. Fortunately, Shaun installed a water maker last year and so, when we run out, we just make more. I love the feeling that we are our own island. The only things we need are fuel and food, all else is self contained. We left St Pete on a windy, warm Sunday morning and headed for home where Justine and Jax were waiting to rope us in. What a lovely time away. What was meant to be a long weekend, ended up being an almost 2 week stay. As always it was fun, fun, fun!

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