Saturday, January 12, 2008

Holidays in Jacksonville, FL

Thanksgiving and
Happy Birthday Alex!

Thanksgiving was spent with Amy and Alex in their new apartment in Gainesville, FL. Amy's parents Kitty and John are to the left in the picture. The day was rainy and very relaxing as we enjoyed a very delicious meal! We ended the day by celebrating Alex's birthday.

Later in December Barry and I returned to Gainesville for another visit and toured the Veterinary Hospital where Alex is in residency. That was quite amazing to learn how the animals are brought in, prepped for surgery and cared for throughout their stay. Alex told us about tigers, alligator long-necked snapping turtles, horses, and dogs and cats too!

Parade of Lights
We joined Jacquie Welti and friends to crew on Kara Vela for the Parade of Lights in downtown Jacksonville. We had to leave the marina by 4 pm in order to make it downtown, through the Main Street Bridge and to the staging area on time. It was a cold night and you can see us all bundled up in the picture. It was a blast singing and waving to folks on shore! After the parade the boats tied up at the landing to view the fireworks display put on by the city. Kara Vela won first place in the sailboat division. Way to go Jacquie!

Cruising family arrives for the holidays!
One day we received a call from Debbie. She and Larry were heading down the ICW and wanted to stop for a visit. Yeah, we were so excited that they were coming to see us. They no sooner arrived at the Ortega Yacht Club Marina for a 2 day stay, which turned into one month, than George showed up on the dock! Well, that did it, I got on the phone to call Les and Sarah to invite them down for Christmas and New Years. Les and Sarah had just ten minutes prior to the call decided to pass through Charleston and head south for the holidays, but weren't sure just where they'd stay. Now the decision was made, Jacksonville it would be. All of us had met in Elizabeth City, NC, where we rode out the storm Noel together. When Les and Sarah arrived Debbie, Larry, Barry and I dinked out to greet them as they came through the Ortega River Bridge. Now, our cruising family was together for the holidays!

Fair Winds and Following Seas!

Janice and Roger were bidding us farewell this foggy morning. They invited folks over early for a farewell breakfast and drinks. We hear that they spent Christmas in the Keys and are heading for Mexico with an ultimate destination of Australia!

Sharing with Friends
While in Jacksonville we spent many lunches and dinners with friends, just simply catching up on life. Barry enjoyed lunch with his buds, Scott, David and Gary (left to right in the picture). I think these guys go to Moon River Pizza as often as possible! The white pizza is the very best and you ought to try it if you get a chance.

And it was dinner with Brad and Beth at one of our favorite stops, Mossfire Grill.

Barb attended Denice's first art show in Sarasota. Denice is a calligrapher and is shown here with one of her pieces of art.

Christmas on Spirit!

Larry and Debbie of Spirit hosted the Christmas potluck. Over 25 of us were there. The men put up canopies and set up tables on the dock. The food was spread out on the huge table in the saloon. The cockpit held about 16 people at any one time, so that's where the appetizers and drinks were. The event began about noon time and ended about sundown. Everyone went home full and happy!

Happy New Year!
There was a big party at Jacquie's home in Riverside. Danny and Peggy fixed a main dish and others brought side dishes to share. Some people left early to go see the fireworks display downtown. Jacksonville certainly does a fantastic job of putting on a fireworks display.

Friday Afternoon Club (FAC) Farewell...

It was time to say good bye to all our friends until we meet again. As always, it was bitter-sweet - sad to say good bye yet anxious to move on to our new adventure. Here's part of the gang at Harpoon Louie's. The FAC was started several years ago and has grown to become a must-attend weekly event at the marina. Each Friday everyone who is available meets at a place determined by someone in the group to gather for an end-of-the-week celebration. We'll see you all in the spring!

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