So, Tom and I purchased her on July 17th 2009. We have spent the last 20 years traveling the Caribbean two or three times per year, only visiting the same hotel twice. One of our last trips left us thinking that there has to be an alternative to air travel. Traveling through airports has gotten to be such a pain in the ass, that we began the search for other options. At first we thought we'd simply rent beach cottages up and down the coast. Then we thought..."hey, we could get our own mobile beach house"!! And the search began. We'd never heard of "cruising" or "looping", we thought we would simply be boaters.
As the shopping continued, and the whole "what kind of boat do we buy" question, we came across Skinny Dippin'....formerly of another name. She just spoke to us. She was way out of our price range, but we thought we could make it work...or at least we'd give it a really good try!
After closing and receiving the keys, we thought to ourselves, HOLY CRAP....what have we done? This boat is HUGE....we'll never get her out of her slip, much less get her to the beach....look at all the other boats we can crash into on the way down the fairway!! I've personally never been so scared in all my life. ;-)
The very next weekend, We hired a captain (thanks Capt Watson) to teach us the ropes and get us out on the water. That was the best idea ever....Thanks John Peterson for setting it up. We spent weekend after weekend with our Dockmaster Bud and Assistant Dockmaster Dawn, who taught us more than we'll ever be able to thank them for. We took the USPS boating course and passed our exams!
We had the best time that Fall!! Our marina is always full of "cruisiers" getting ready to head out in November for warmer climates. I'll never forgot the day I was standing on the dock talking to a sailor in foul weather gear at the fuel dock. I asked him where are you off to today?? His reply? "The Bahamas". I got back on our boat and said, I WANNA DO THAT!!! Our first "big cruise" was around Minnesott point, past Oriental up to River Dunes Marina for Labor Day weekend. A full 18 miles!! And our cruise back to Northwest Creek was our first experience with a BIG BEAM SEA.
The sea conditions didn't matter, we were hooked. We're in, all in. We are on a 5-10 year plan to get the boat and ourselves ready to do the Great Loop and the Bahamas. Why 5 to 10 years? Well, if I hit the lotto tonight, it could be a 30 day plan.
The first winter brought our first bottom job, a rudder extension and some bonding work. While it was cold, I made new curtains and new cushions for the galley. Tom has a never ending list of maintenance to do, and he'll be adding those details as he has time.
Spring of 2010 had us planning a week long cruise to the beach for a month stay. Which for working schmucks like us meant 3 weekends at the beach.....and then a week long cruise back to New Bern. I studied navigation and charts, learned a little about watching weather. I filed float plans and made slip reservations. We were going CRUISING!!