Mom and Bert on Tishie Mae I, last fall
Mom and Bert, in trouble with the Italian law! Bert took the tender too close to the beach, unknowingly, and was apprehended by "gorgeous Italian coast guard men in white uniforms, you should have seen them!". Escorted ashore by no less than eight of these water police, Mom, as owner of Tishie Mae II, was held responsible. Bert was released into HER custody! ha!
American courtesy saved the day---the Italian coast guard officers were so surprised by their cooperation and politeness that they issued only one small ticket (Bert was also 'paperless', quite an offense in a country so engaged in beaurocracy) and even apologized for having to do it.
The topper of the story? On the form, of course there's a form, there was a line specifically for "Excuse". The officer insisted Bert offer an excuse. Bert's response? "Stupid American"!
Bert, released in Mom's guardianship, has some sucking up to do! They're on the way further down the coast later this week, headed for a bay near Rome so they can do an inland excursion into the city. More updates to come, and hopefully, some photos too.
Mom and Bert on Tishie Mae I last summer, Mom one of the five lovely towns of Cinque Terre on the Italian coast last year
It's official, late last week Mom found the bigger boat! Tishie Mae II (a Jeanneau Sun Odyssey) smaller than I would have suggested for living in tight quarters on water with your brother--only 37 feet, but she swears they'll make it work. They've survived with only one bathroom in the apartment for this long, what's the trouble with one head? And as long as Mom keeps Bert fed, I think all will be well.
It's moored in Viareggo, Italy, near Le Spezia and the Cinque Terre area we loved so much last year. The "crew" will be based there for about a month for training and shake-down cruising before they head off into the horizon...
Mom and Bert are back from their journey through Spain---I got the call before they arrived: "Have dinner ready!" Spanish food didn't agree with them.
The Palmer Johnson boat didn't work out, but on their last day in Barcelona a strong contender for the bigger-boat contest was discovered. A 40ft Island Packet, designed with the retired, gentle cruiser in mind. In addition to being quite heavy, solid and simple to sail (everything is controlled from the cockpit), the interior details have been designed with comfort in mind, for example, all the hatches and stowage bins have pneumatic hinges and interior lights---perfect. Seems she's finally found her personal Winnebago!
Mom's got some new claw-ended stick thingy, just arrived in this morning's mail, another thingmabob she bought for the boat. It scares me: the wierd claw-stick and the propensity for purchasing boat equipment both.
Last night at Paul and Gemma's (our lovely downstairs nieghbors who have been away far too long!) engagement party:
Paul, highly-qualified sailing yacht captain and frequent audience to Mom's bigger boat quest ramblings: "You know your Mom is crazy, right?"
Oh, I know, I know.
Mom and Bert are driving down through southern France and most of Spain to Gibraltar (a rock the inhabitants share with mean monkeys), determined to see the Pilgrim, a 48ft re-fitted aluminum cruiser originally built for racing by Palmer Johnson in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin back in '71. Bert swears he saw it being launched back in the day. I have a good feeling about this boat, this could be the one. Will the 'bigger boat' quest ever be over?
in the Comune Libre du Safranier neighborhood on our walk yesterday
Mom's back! and she got so tan and skinny! nothing like the "Sailboat Diet"...Bert is bringing the boat back from Italy, Mom took the train....and she may take it back again to Italy, she fell in love with both the coast and Tuscany....
Mom called this weekend with the obligatory update: she and Bert were confined by weather to the same port for too long---so, they rented a car and drove to Tuscany last week, found a great old hotel and spent a few days relaxing with the luxury of showers and meals served without a to and fro rocking sensation.
as of today, they are in back on the boat and in Portofino, the classic Italian port town.
Bert brings her in last fall
Mom and Bert are still in Genoa, the weather continuing to be a factor, but not yet dampening their spirits--they are enjoying the city life and the Italian surroundings, namely especially the livelier people.
plenty of phone calls this weekend for (American) Mother's Day--Grandma was astounded that she could hear the water slapping against the side of the boat when she spoke to Mom yesterday--what a remarkable international connection! these new cell phones are amazing...but a little bird told me the difference might be Grandma's new hearing aids...sshh....
Bert in his lounge chair
Mom called today---caught me napping---she and Bert have been in Genoa for a few days, waylaid by weather but happy to have a big new city to explore--they've spent time in museums and churches and a few cozy nights in a hotel. the weather has been an issue---storms have been battering the coast all along their course (and here as well---four out of five days overcast and rainy, unpredictable winds). they even came through a hail storm out at sea intact! the boat envy seems to be worsening with each experience like that---Tishie Mae has a rather open, unprotected cockpit that takes all the pleasure out of pleasure boating when you're caught out in bad weather.
she'll be calling again next week, i'll keep you posted as they progress, albeit slowly, down the coast of Italy.
note: they've only got disposable waterproof cameras onboard, so no instant picture uploads to offer i'm afraid. it took some doing to convince mom that indeed the salt water would ruin the digital camera in just a few days (and how would she download/upload them until they returned anyway? that will have to wait until the Big Boat materializes--complete with satelite internet). what they really need is one of these badboys.
i'm not the only one that was thrown by mom's announcement that she and Bert (aboard Tishie Mae) were in "Andorra"...i even asked her to spell it for me, that's what she gave me i swear. i KNOW they were in a small harbor town on the Italian coast just across the border...i wonder does she know that "Andorra" is an inland principality, near Spain?
update: i found it! it's Andora! one "R"! voila, je l'ai trouve!
mom called tonight---she and Bert are in Andorra, a town in Italy just 50 miles away--they've had to stay there a few days to repair a problem with the rudder, but already mom is love with Italy--a few quotes:
"The woman are fat!!" "They've got boobs and hips!"
"The kids make noise and the moms yell at them to shut up!" (frenchie kids are eerily well behaved and silent.)
"There's alot to be said for smiles!" (frenchies are notoriously straight-faced.)
i think my prediction was correct--fairly soon she'll be moving to Italy. for now, they are happy to be heading further down the coast, rudder repaired, tomorrow morning.
Mom and Bert depart after months of preparation and a week of waiting out the weather
they're off! Mom and Uncle Bert left this morning for the big adventure down the Italian coast. Tishie Mae will be put to the test, as will the limits of siblinghood i'm certain. they will both be missed--what will i do without mom's artistic critiques? and those witty Bert-isms? i'm expecting weekly phone call updates--i shall keep you posted as to their whereabouts and progress.
views from aboard Tishie Mae--note the long-lingering jetplane condensation trails---Indian Guide Bert says that's a sign that overcast weather is coming. Mom enjoys her well-earned smoke break.
we went sailing yesterday, Mom, Bert, Maria and i, out into the bay and along the finger of land called Cap d'Antibes where we anchored for a lunch of mouth-lacerating baguette sandwiches. after which, i immediately fell dead asleep face down in the forward berth, not to return to consciousness until we were nearly parked, oh correction--'docked'. mental note: next time, take just ONE sea-sickness pill.
the GPS-thingy for Tishie Mae arrived on Monday morning---you'd have thought Santa himself delivered it the way Mom danced about like a little girl. it's since been installed and the two of 'em, Mom and Bert, are like little kids with a new toy. i can't even keep up with all this thing does---compass, gps, chart plotting, sounder, speedometer, mileage, ---as Mom so eloquantly puts it; "...it does everything but wipe your butt..." nice.
of course, this little bit of hi-tech gadgetry has only added to their newer, bigger, better boat fervor. the computer is occupied most nights with searches for the perfect new boat for that round the world sail.
we are so not getting an inheritance.
Bert blew up another vacuum cleaner this week. that's right--another. this is at least number two, the cause of the first vacuum incindiary incident remains unknown but the memory of the burning canister is still fresh in some minds. he claims this incident, like the previous, was entirely unintentional and the result of a freak accident while using the doomed vacuum aboard sailing yacht Tishie Mae. the vacuum succumbed after "complete submersion in salt water leading to motor failure and eventual complete system shut down", evident in the smoke and flames. Bert was quoted as saying: "It was quite a fireball".
i sent Bicycling-Through-France Tom over to sail on Tishie Mae with Bert yesterday---if he's come all this way, he should see the coast from the sea, it's so beautiful. Tom is such a good guy. as Bert said, "He brought beer. And the right kind too." good boy. the more i see, the more i learn that "sailing" really means "sitting around a pricey toy drinking cheap beer all day."
Tom's on his way this morning, bicycling on to his next destination--Barcelona. Bon Continuation!
today's Uncle Bert-ism, after a day single-handing on Tishie Mae: "I had the perfect day today...absolutely perfect. Then a seagull took a giant crap on the new main sail. Just goes to show ya, no day can be perfect."
and another: "It's all just an illusion. I mean, that's what life is---you think you're going somewhere but you're not. But, jesus, you've got to have your tv."
out on the boat yesterday, the view of the mountains was crystal clear--the recent stormy weather has cleared the usual cloud (and haze) cover as well as brought a good amount of snow to the peaks. which is just where i like to see snow--far, far away in a place i'll never go.
i came 'round to mom's the other day to find the apartment in quite a state (aside from the usual state). seems Bert has taken over my old room now that the weather has turned cold. and you know how Bert likes a domestic project. inside of a few days, he and Mom have purchased a proper stove (with an oven) for the kitchen.
it's never had one..just a stove top burner and some convection oven/microwave/grill combo ripped from the galley of the Enterprise with an instruction manual translated from German to Japanese to French. not a very helpful item in the kitchen. so, it's gone. replaced by a very nice new white straight-forward stove--gas burners and a proper oven underneath. Bert managed to get it installed, including the gas line and even sawing away the countertop to fit. only it left a big gap all around the edges. solution? edge it with teak wood of course!
the house is suspiciously begining to resemble the boat.
sorry, no other pictures of Peg's visit afterall. though i brought the camera on the boat for our family sail on Friday, i was too frozen with fear to fish it out of my bag. it was actually my first time sailing on La Tishie Mae. once i got over the paralyzing fear of the myriad of possible horrible deaths and maimings..it was kinda nice.
poor Peg got green as a pea. i had taken my Dramamine (thank god, i get motion sick on a dance floor) but Peg, sturdy sailer as she usually is, didn't expect to fall victim. she made it back to the dock without a bucket though-good show!
Bert is happy as a clam today..loaded down with leftovers from last evening's little shindig at the boat (on the dock). Mom and i are loaded down with a bit of a hangover, quelle surprise. Ruby was the belle of the ball..and is sleeping it off this morning, tail still wagging. i hope Peg doesn't think our life is all canapes and corkscrews..oh, wait a minute..it is!
Mom, Bert, Liz and I were going to go out on La Tishie Mae out this afternoon when the wind picked up something fierce. all we had really wanted to do was have a few beers in the harbor, so instead of risking our lives in wicked weather (F6-F7 winds, whatever that means), we went up to the parking lot above the gravette to watch those sailboats that were chancing it racing and struggling in the huge unexpected wind. the mountains were crisp, the sea was turquoise, the boats were really moving beautifully, the beer was cold and we were enjoying it all when wham! huge wave slams up over the wall, soaking us all!
note Liz's expert handling of the beer in a crisis. good show.
i have a report from Uncle Bert and Skipper Phil (sorry, i know he's a distinguished master yachtsman and capitain, but only one can have that title on this boat) that La Tishie Mae's new main sail is "bee-u-ti-ful!". i never knew a sail could have so many alluring properties: boom-raising, grommets, wind-taking, baffles, and on and on.
i'm not the only one guilty of loving the equipment as much as or even more than the activity.
Uncle Bert sailed La Tishie Mae back into Port Vaubon last night, at least temporarily, so we could go for our habitual dinner out at Da Cito...Liz (who lives just round the corner) joined us for some funny stories of Captaine Pat's sailing adventures, Uncle Bert's solitary survival in Baie des Anges and my cleaning frenzy whilst the three of us were apart these past few weeks. speaking of the cleaning, the house is back to it's usual "post-explosion" state already...Mom was leaving a trail of stuff behind her inside of five minutes of her return. some things never change.
p.s. discussions continue regarding the 'need' now for a bigger boat with a wheel, a proper head, two fullsize berths, roller reefing on the main sail and an inboard motor. hmmm..that studio/gallery seems to be getting further and further away. inheritance? dream on!
when she wakes up, i'm sure there will be more details and funny stories to share..there are more pics too-the other crew member is sending hers via email or cd soon..i'll be sure to post for all those interested in the adventures of Madame Capitaine. evidence enough of a good experience=she's already signed up for a two week version of the course in the British Virgin Islands in February.
the boat they were on is some special, highly-desirable design built by blablahblah and blah blah that i'm supposed to know but have forgotten..i'll get the details later and fill you in. note the ever-present cigarette in second pic..the Captain (another Pat) was a smoker too! i suspect Mom knew that before she signed up. enjoying traditional fresh Maine lobster. good thing my brother Thomas wasn't there (who out there remembers the "It has eyes!! It's a monster!" incident from our previous and only family trip to Maine oh so many years back?) the crew was small...Mom was the only client for this trip, but a crew member brought her sister along as well for company..looks like the girls enjoyed the adventure (and those t-shirts) together.
after a jet-lag adjustment in Boston, Mom was off to picturesque Camden, Maine to join captain and crew in her SeaSense women's sailing course. surprisingly good weather...no foul weather gear required. (i think she was secretly disappointed not to have to have donned that intense outfit).