Three generations together in Florida! This picture is of us Skyping our son Ty in the Netherlands; technology sure helps when you can't be there in person! May everyone enjoy peace and contentment this holiday season, wherever you are! And to our many sailing friends, fair winds and following seas in 2009!

Dec. 2008 Another whirlwind visit

Well, let's see. After passing our HAM tests, we then went to Orlando to see our kids and grandkids. We spent one night there (thanks Jen!) and then went to the SSCA gam in Melbourne. What a great time seeing some of our old friends, making new ones, and co-chairing one of the roundtables Sunday (Cruising the Western Caribbean) along with our buds Dave & Sherry. Meeting author and world cruiser Jimmy Cornell was one of the highlights of the weekend! From there, we stopped back in Orlando, but not before coming across the Toys for Tots motorcycle rally going from Merritt Island to Melbourne. We've never seen so many bikes. Thank goodness we were going north and they were going south! Once back home, we had to apply in person for our TWIC (Transportation Worker Identification Credential) cards that are now a requirement to renew our USCG Mariner Licenses. First there's a phone interview that prequalifies you to go to your regional office. That took us on a chase to Tampa before we finally found the temporary office that's been set up to fingerprint and photograph applicants, and then even more paperwork had to be completed. We still have to return to Tampa, as the completed photo ID cards have to be picked up in person. Holiday parties have given us the chance to see many of our friends again. We've had the usual house upkeep and have had to do a lot of shopping for the house, the boat, holiday gifts and personal items, and are shaking our heads at our growing pile of "stuff" we need to get back to the boat. Our e-mail has been overflowing, and about now our heads and credit card are spinning. At the end of this week Michael's sister is coming in for a visit, and the kids and grands will be here also. Our neighborhood's annual boat parade takes place this Sat, so we're having a party here. By next week, we'll be back in Orlando again for a visit and will have our Christmas celebration there with everyone. Shortly after, we'll be back home hunkering down and packing for our return to Panama. Whew! Are you as tired as we are?!

Dec. 3 New Port Richey, FL We passed our HAM tests!

We both passed our Technician and General Ham license tests tonight! Yea! We started studying the AARL stuff a few months ago and had the new question pool printed out at a small shop in Centro Commercial in Cartagena. Without much internet service we couldn't do much online studying, but we reviewed the materials whenever we could. We're looking forward to participating in the various HAM nets available, as well as a Winlink e-mail address. We'll keep everyone updated when we get our new licenses and address. We leave to visit our kids and grandkids in Orlando tomorrow morning (Thurs), and then it's on to Melbourne for the SSCA gam Friday.