The Search For Bright Waters

Friday, December 31, 2010

Well, We're leaving in the AM

This has been a hectic week. We knew it would be, but it's still just amazing how much you can get done in a short time when under pressure. Also a huge thanks to our families who have been SOOO helpful throughout all this and we wouldn't have gotten it all done without them. Thank you Tina and Trish (both moms) for juggling our cars. Thank you Dana for Christmas leftovers that lasted ALL WEEK!! We just finished them last night!! So helpful! Thank you Karen, Chet, Paul and Grammy for cold weather supplies!!! Thank you blog readers for advice and support! Thank you everyone else we may not have mentioned!!

Here are some things we bought on our latest provisioning adventure. [Super WalMart for life!!!!]

A Taste of Home 

Year Supply of Gummy Bears for Joey

Year Supply of Texas Pete for Christine

Pretty Christmas Present from Christine's Mom 

Pretty Christmas Present from Joey's Mom (Great Mom's think alike!) 

Mega flashlight from Joey's Mom 



Monday, December 27, 2010

We Can See Our Breath

Well we turned off our last heater so now we are in a whole new world of cold! Its been about 35 on the boat all day so we are trying out our layering strategies. Sleeping is still warm because we have the heated blanket still. When we leave and have to turn off the heated blanket we will probably sleep in sleeping bags with blankets on top.

We got snow and had a pretty white Christmas. We are keeping an eye on the weather to avoid any upcoming blizzards. Ideally we will leave next Sunday at the crack of dawn with dreams of warmer weather.

If these ducks can swim in that cold water for some donuts, then we should survive.

We ran our safety lines across the boat on both sides.  We will stay tethered to these safety lines at all times so we dont get bucked overboard!

The last project was completed. We now have a cockpit fuel guage. Our old fuel gauge was under the couch and a pain to check.

The new gauge is right with our other instruments and will be easy to monitor. It wasnt too hard of an install, just running wire and drilling a new 2 inch hole in the cockpit. I really felt like it was the final test that we are ready. I was able to install it all with tools we already had and when it didn't come on at first I was able to troubleshoot it and find and fix the problem without anyones help. We are ready!

It even glows in the dark.

We hope everyone had a Happy Holiday and enjoyed the snow. We got a much needed spotlight and even more needed "marriage savers" hands free walkie talkies. We will post about them after we use them. Thank you to all our family for your support, both gifts and well wishes!


Friday, December 24, 2010

New Design!

 We have made some changes to the design of the blog to hopefully make it more reader-friendly, and we are open to suggestion to other changes you would like to see!

If we don't post again before then, everyone have a Merry Merry Christmas!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

10 days to go - Blizzard? Seriously?

We plan on leaving New Years weekend and we are anxiously keeping an eye on the 'potential' BLIZZARD coming to the DC area this weekend according to the big online weather guys. At least we will have a white Christmas, and hopefully it gets all its blizzarding out of the way now, right??

Here is a picture of our cockpit during one of our 3 blizzards last year. We got in kind of a scary situation last year when our hatch froze closed with us inside and I'm pretty sure the scary part is we were almost out of rum.

Point is, while I do love snow, we have WAY too much to do in our final week to be stuck in a boat


Monday, December 20, 2010

It's Gettin Cold In Here

Well the first snow fell and everything is freezing up. Two weeks to go but it cannot come soon enough. We are down to one heater on the boat now.  We used to run two heaters off of one shore power outlet and the rest of our electric needs off of the other shore power outlet, but the heaters overheated our adaptor cable and fried it. So we replaced that but now only have the kerosine heater running.  It's a brisk 48 degrees in the boat now.  We figure this will make good practice for our January voyage tho.

We thought about pushing back the departure date to March 1st to avoid the freezing temperatures. But we are too close and too ready to wait any longer. So Christine put in her two week notice at work today, which is very brave and exciting. Let's go!

In other news I finally installed the Garmins transducer. Hopefully we will be able to catch some fish now

We have worked very hard for this over the last 2 years and we are almost there. Our to do list now consists of installing a gas gauge, running a safety line along the boat so that we can remain clipped in at all times, provisioning and inventorying. This to do list looks amazing compared to the 100 item one that we started with and eventually grew to 200 items. For a recap here are the checked off items!

DONE, May 09 anchor chain - rusted and broken, replace with 22ft 5/16 galvanized chain
DONE, June 09 clean minor corrosion from stuffing box hardware aft of engine, clean engine compartments
DONE, June 09 Change Boat Name
DONE, June 09 Check outside ports for leaks and reseal with cauk
DONE, May 09 Fix bathroom - Jabasco
DONE, May 09 Fix/replace Stern Light
DONE, May 09 Place registration stickers on boat and dinghy
DONE, May 09 install smoke/CO2 detector
DONE, May 09 mount 3rd fire extinguisher in cockpit
DONE, May 09 clean running lights
DONE, May 09 clean inside and outside of boat
DONE, June 09 apply liquid cement in holes of deck handles
DONE, July 09 Buy life line netting
DONE, July 09 Install life line netting
DONE, Aug 09 sew tear in screen door
DONE, Sept 09 get refrigerator looked at
DONE, Sept 09 Fix wood on top door hatch
DONE, Sept 09 change anchor light bulb
done, Sept 09 install spice shelf
DONE, Dec 09 fix water pump
DONE, Dec 09 install new water pump to make sure it works - jabsco par max 3.0
DONE, Dec 09 fix plumbing pipe
DONE, Dec 09 insulate boat
DONE, Dec 09 pour anitfreeze in water intake of engine
DONE, Dec 09 pour vodka in water tanks
DONE, Dec 09 pour enzyme into fuel tank
DONE, June 09 exhaust leak - smog soot is on top of engine, clean
DONE, Dec 09 exhaust leak - and then recheck after use - no more smog
DONE, June 09 oil leak - accumulation of oil on forward section of engine adjacent to oil filter, clean
DONE, July 09 oil leak - and then recheck after use
DONE, Apr10 oil leak - Old engine, just keep an eye on it
DONE, Mar 10 Take engine class
DONE, Mar 10 change oil
DONE, Mar 10 change oil filter
DONE, May 10 buy fans
DONE, May 10 install an inside lock/repair hatch wood
DONE, Jul 10 Install new primary fuel filter
DONE, Aug 10 change primary fuel filter
DONE, Apr 10 change secondary fuel filter
Done Apr 10 change air filter
DONE, Apr 10 change engine zinc
DONE, Apr 10 change water impellor
DONE, Apr 10 check for leaky gaskets
DONE, Apr 10 tighten all bolts and hose clamps
DONE, Apr 10 check for an engine alarm - NONE
DONE, Dec 09 check seawater pump
DONE, Apr 10 check glow plug - NONE
DONE, Dec 09 Use fuel cleaning products in bathroom, ask mechanic - added starbryte enzyme to fuel tank
DONE, Dec 09 Check Engine smog problem, ask mechanic - no more smog
DONE, Dec 09 Take down genoa and mailsail
DONE, Dec 09 take genoa to canvas repair shop
DONE, Jan 10 price dodger repair
DONE, Jan 10 buy inverter
Done, Feb 10 hook up invereter to batteries
Done, Feb 10 mount inverter
DONE, Dec 09 remove oven and take to Bacon/sell current stove and oven
DONE, Mar 10 install fishing rod holders
DONE, Mar 10 repair wood trimming
DONE, April 10 repair genoa stiching
DONE, Jan 10 install claw on front of bow
DONE, May 10 replace dodger/glass/zipper
Done, Jan 10 buy alchohol stove
Done, Feb 10 install food shelves
DONE, Apr 10 replace velcro on winch covers
DONE, Feb 10 buy gps
DONE, Apr 10 install gps
DONE, Feb 10 buy autopilot
DONE, Apr 10 install autopilot
DONE, FEB 10 buy windlass for bruce
DONE, Jul 10 buy battery monitor
DONE, Jul 10 install battery monitor
DONE, Dec 10 configure auto pilot
DONE, Aug 10 install windlass
DONE, Jan 10 install depth markers on new rode
DONE, Apr 10 sell spinaker
DONE, Mar 10 sell AC/Heater
DONE, Mar 10 recommission engine
DONE, Aug 10 install new anchor door hatches
DONE, May 10 get engine for dinghy
DONE, May 10 Register Dinghy
DONE, May 10 put sails back up
DONE, Sept 10 buy solar panels
DONE, Dec 10 Pump holding tank
DONE, Nov 10 install solar panels
DONE, Sept 10 buy dignhy davits
DONE, Nov 10 Install Dinghy Davits
DONE, OCT 10 Fix stuffing box leak
DONE, Sep 10 flush bilge, clean it really good
DONE, Sep 10 Fix Bilge
DONE, Aug 10 Repair fridge drain
DONE, Aug 10 Hire Diesel Engine Surveyor
DONE, Sep 10 check with USCG that we have all proper safty gear - call and set up a time
DONE, OCT 10 fix bilge pump
DONE, Dec 10 Install masthead/anchor light
DONE, Nov 10 attach coast guard document number into inner hull, 3 inch block type arabic numerals, ask USCG
DONE, May 09 mast boot - old and peeling, add more layers of sealing tape
Done, June 09 install handles on engine door
DONE, May 09 figure out why sink water is dirty - air, algea
Done, June 09 clean water tanks - run bleach through it and drain a few times
DONE, June 09 inventory all cleaning products
DONE, July 09 use seizong wire on anchor U bolts
DONE, May 09 inflate dingy
DONE, Mar 10 buy new dinghy
DONE, July 09 patch dinghy holes
DONE, July 09 buy clip for anchor door
DONE, July 09 install clip for anchor door
DONE, May 09 fuel tank guage - find it
DONE, Sept 09 install piece of tape that shows mileage left around fuel gauge
DONE, June 09 remove old glue from hatches
DONE, July 09 buy more velcro
DONE, July 09 reinstall velcro on hatches
DONE, July 09 Get hatch measurements
DONE, Oct 09 make blackout curtain with velcro
DONE, Nov 09 Install new sink
DONE, Nov 09 Intall new circuit breaker
DONE, Dec 09 Return circuit breaker and put old one back in
DONE, Dec 09 Switch kitchen outlet to its own breaker
DONE, Dec 09 buy 30amp to 15amp converter and extension cable
DONE, June 09 Get measurements for piece of wood for 3rd battery
DONE, April 10 Buy engine mounting supplies, and cover for outboard
DONE, April 10 Install stern engine mount
DONE, Dec 09 buy battery charger
DONE, Dec 09 charge spare batteries
DONE, Dec 09 buy battery holders
DONE, Dec 09 check water level on batteries
DONE, Dec 09 put spare batteries with other batteries
DONE, Mar 10 Check all our available lines and choose best ones for dock lines
DONE, Dec 09 Fix bilge pump
DONE, Feb 10 buy folding bikes
DONE, Dec 09 buy inflatable kayaks
DONE, Dec 10 run extension lines thru boat
DONE, Apr10 Clean out head filter
DONE, May 10 install starboard cleat
Done, July 10 fix wheel at genoa rigging
DONE, Dec 10 install fans
DONE, Dec 10 Mount antena
DONE, Nov 10 mount the wirie
DONE, Sep 10 install kitchen light
DONE, OCT 10 Buy Cockpit Light
DONE, OCT 10 Replace cabin lights with LEDS (2 v-berth, cabin)
DONE, OCT 10 Replace anchor light bulbs with LEDS (two)
DONE, OCT 10 Buy spare steaming light bulb
DONE, Sep 10 Buy spare running light bulb
DONE, OCT 10 Buy spare stern light bulb
DONE, Nov 10 hook up 2 extra batteries
DONE, OCT 10 Install wood boards on deck to hold jerry cans
DONE, Sep 10 find out proper length and size and get price quotes for lines
DONE, OCT 10 main haylard line - old, replace
DONE, OCT 10 Jib line 1 - old, replace
DONE, Dec 10 install transducer
DONE, Dec 10 Buy extra water cans - 6 out of 6
DONE, June 09 Clean bilge with bilge cleaner product in bathroom
DONE, June 09 fix shower
DONE, April 09 lift boat out and power wash
DONE, April 09 change prop zinc
DONE, April 09 scrub/clean deck
DONE, April 09 use magic eraser to remove scuffs
DONE, Dec 09 Figure out why there are leaks near the windows
DONE, Dec 09 Figure out why mast leaks
DONE, Dec 09 Clean toilet with products in bathroom
DONE, June 09 Buy inside Lock
DONE, Jan 10 fill holes in wood, install hanging clips
DONE, Jan 10 fix plywood under cockpit locker
DONE, Mar 10 ask / interent - how to do this
DONE, Mar 10 find out our exact color and what paint we need
DONE, Apr 10 side stripes, good condition, repaint accent boot and sheer stripes
DONE, Apr10 apply new coat of bottom paint (don’t forget the spedometer)
DONE, Dec 09 Buy Bruce Anchor
DONE, Dec 09 Buy rode for bruse
DONE, May 10 figure out best way to do this and buy the wood
DONE, Apr 10 keel - loose keel bolts, Re-tightening of all keel bolts
DONE, Mar 10 Buy extra diesel cans - 4 out of 4
DONE, Aug 10 learn to go wing on wing

All done by sailing "dummies" :)


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Happy Birthday Christine!

Woo! Happy Birthday to me! For my birthday Joey got me a Nook! Wow amazing! He really did not have a choice I don't think because as many books as I read, the boat couldn't handle the weight/space of all of them.

(nook: e-reader)

This was probably decided after our last trip to Florida when we fought over who would have to carry my 'book' bag through the airport. 8 books for 4 days. So yeah, good decision and thank you Joey!!!

Another amazing thing about the nook is my local library has ebooks! which I can actually ... get ready for it.... : check books out digitally/remotely!! OMGGG!!!

So now I can get free books wherever I have internet connection long enough to download them from the library. The selection is meh because it is expensive and a new technology but the libraries are trying so support your local library!

I got my loving grammy to get me this amazing strap for it. Its a neck strap and is a waterproof case all in one. Check it HERE:

So with this gorgeous thing I can sit in the cockpit and let the autopilot do all the work for me and should the need for hands on wheel arrive IMMEDIATELY I can simply drop the nook and its on a strap so it will not go anywhere. And if it does... well the case is waterproof too. Booya.

Just a little excited because it's my birthday and this is probably the greatest gift EVER.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Bon Voyage Party

Sunday was our family Bon Voyage Party. My sister Jessie and Mom hosted it at a local cafe in Prince Frederick and really did a great job. It was a blast!

Jessie made cute palm tree invitations, printed out our blog for ppl to read and made a great photo album of us. There was also a poster board for ppl to write things for us to do while we are away. This included classics like swim with dolphins and dive for treasure, and more modern like golf and catch a marlin. My favorite was my 12 year old cousins suggestion to dont bring shoes! We plan on taking a picture of us doing everything on the list! Sword fighting a pirate might be a hard one....

There was lots of food and we even got some gifts! Every bit helps at this point so we are very appreciative :)

We got to answer lots of concerning questions and at the end of the day most ppl seemed impressed with the amount of research and preparation we had done over the last 2 years. We were able to hold our own in conversations about engines, food, and safety! We are ready to go and now that we have been shipped off properly we cant wait to go!

My Mom Dad, Jessie, Jarret, Christine and Me

Thank you Jessie for putting this together for us, it was impressive. And thank you to all our family that made it and to all our well wishers. We love you all!

Heres a treat from the party: my mom along with my aunt and uncles singing a Bright Eyes parody of Giligans Island

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Last Sea Trial

We brushed the dust off our boat and pulled out of the slip for the first time in awhile. Even with the new dinghy davits adding an extra 4 feet to our stern we managed out with ease. We still got skills. After a quick pump out we motored out into the Herring Bay for our last sea test before we leave.

The engine was running smoothly even at low idle which made us both very happy. We had to configure our Auto Pilot which is a must for any long passage. The Auto Pilot will keep our vessel on course so that we can move about the boat easier while underway. It is almost like haveing a third crew member (third crew member capable of steering).

We did the circle test, pass. We did the straight drive test, pass. And lastly we sat back and watched the boat drive itself for the final test, PASS! We tested the Auto Pilot on the way back in and it seemed to work great. We can't wait to put it to work.

When we woke up Saturday it wasnt too cold and we left the dock in only long sleeve shirts. But it was significantly colder out on the Bay. This got us even more nervous about making the trip down the ICW in January, bbbrrrrrrr.....

We need more layers.

Sunday was our going away party, blog to come!

ps:  the lead pic is Nala learning how to climb the mast insulation, so now she thinks shes a monkey...


Monday, December 6, 2010

Food Stuffed Sailboat

Now that all our major projects are done, we have a few smaller projects we'd like completed before we leave. Install a 100 amp alternator, install a remote gas gauge, and install our transducer. So theres plenty to keep me busy over the next month.

I ran one extension cord from our inverter to the galley and one to the v-berth. This way we will be able to easily use 110 volt devices like the rice cooker and our laptops. We know these type of electronics are huge energy suckers so we will keep an eye on their use and try to use them while the engine is running.

I also ran the wires and installed Christines v-berth fan. I know, it's too cold for a fan now but hopefully in 2 months we will need these two babies on full blast.

The top climber finally got put away. After 4 trips up I finally got the new LED masthead/anchor light securly installed and our tv antenae mounted to the mast instead of hanging by ropes.

And here's another view of our sweet solar panels.

We also took our first huge provisioning trip. We redesigned our food storage system and packed it with tons of canned and boxed goods! This is about half of what we have aboard and we plan to make one more big trip. While away our dining will consist of 40% of food we brought, 30% of local food we purchase, and 30% of food we catch! Or something like that....

25 days to go from opposite hair day couple!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Blonde, Joey Blonde

So in the spirit of cruising I decided to bleach my hair.  As the dye date got closer I began to get scared and tried to chicken out but Christine made sure I went through with it. And well here you go!  Cool I know...

I was going for a Zero To Cruising look but owell now I just look ridiculous.  But hey you gotta be able to laugh at yourself. so LOL! :)

28 days to go!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

One Month To Go

Hey everyone!!! Exactly one month until our expected leave date!! Wow!

As Joey is planning our route south we are interested in hearing Must-See stops. We are going to head south ASAP and not stop to 'smell the roses' if you will, because well, January in Maryland on the Bay without heat is going to be FREEZING!!!

That being said, there are a few places we want to stop and a lot of place I'm sure that we don't know about. So tell us where we should go. For example: There is a place in NC I believe that Zero to Cruising stopped that had free dockage? Good to know, Oriental NC. Where else if we are able?

The lead pic is a poster of the Bahamas we put at the foot of our bed for inspiration!

And here is Nala pretending to be a squirrel


Monday, November 29, 2010

We Are Solar Powered

We are off the grid! The Solar Panels are complete. We have two 80 watt panels for a total of 160 watts of solar power capability! They were not as difficult as I imagined. I drilled them to two sturdy 2x4s and then mounted the whole thing onto the bimini using metal brackets.

The wire runs down the railing and into the engine compartment. Yes I had to drill into the deck but I am getting more confident about it. I used an electrical grommet to keep it water proof.

From there the wires run to a ground and along the hull to a solar controller. It currently shows .5 amp coming in!  It's a gloomy day. The wires then run down to the battery compartment. We decided to hook up the two spare batteries to make one solid 340 amp house battery bank. And then the starter battery will be used as a spare, being turned off when the engine isnt running.

The solar panels look quite nice on top of the bimini. They will get plenty of sun exposure. And they arnt in our way like if we put them on the dinghy davits. We can now go anywhere in the world and provide our own electricity!

Nalas new sleeping spot


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

50 Foot High Boat Work

37 Days to go!

We have put alot of work into this boat so we don't feel too bad about outsourcing the dinghy davit project. In fact it is the first and only project on this boat we didn't do our selves. It turned out pretty good and now we dont have to worry about where to store the dinghy or keeping the water from growing algea on the bottom of the dinghy. Our dinghy, named Sawyer, is now nicely raised off the stern of our boat and we can easily deploy it when needed.

Sawyer will be our main mode of transporation when cruising. Whenever we need to get inland or want to explore Sawyer will be ready to go for us.

About a month ago we replaced all our lights with LED bulbs to conserve electricty. The last light to replace was the masthead/anchor light at the top of our mast. We have been putting it off cuz its a real pain to get up there. We purchased a Top Climber from a friend which is much easier than climbing up with the Bosuns Chair. After spending a a good 20 min figuring out how to use it I was started climbing. The Top Climber works by running one strong line up the mast and then using a squats motion to move the two mechanical parts up one at a time. It is quite the workout and after about 30 min I was at the top.

I have been up there twice before but this time I had to remove the old light and electrically connect the new light. I worked as fast as I could trying not to drop anything. Ofcourse I did drop one tool but luckily after I was done with it. Soon the sun started to set and it got colder. Along with fatuiged muscles it became increasingly difficult to mount the new light. The electrical splicing went well but it took me 20 min to realize that the new light screw holes were about 1cm further apart than the original so I couldnt screw both sides in. I had to come down but will go back up with some 4200 and duct tape. It's pretty secure already with one side bolted down but I want to make sure it's not going anywhere. We tested the lights and they were very bright and worked perfect. The new light is brighter, taller and has clearer glass.

Atleast the view was pretty nice up there.

Currently I am working on installing the solar panels. I drilled each panel to 2x4s and will then connect the 2x4s to the bimini bars on top using U-bolts. Here are some progress pics. I hope to have this done by the end of the week.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

What Do You Mean 'Can't All Come?'

Funny thing is I named this image shoehell.jpg. Haha. Yep, mean old grinch Joey is NOT in the holiday spirit and he says all my shoes can't come cruising. But.... High heeled leather boots ARE practical onboard. Looks like Christmas will be coming early this year for my little sisters.



Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sailing for Dummie's May or May Not Have Covered This

 Time to buff up on my sailing skillz! I took an oceanography class at the community college online this semester to satisfy requirements but I chose that particular class in hopes it would help me in my sailing adventures. My awesome professor has decided that for my class paper I can choose my topic and I chose trade winds and how they apply to sailing which she has ok'ed. Everyone always talks about the trade winds, 'gotta wait for the trade winds to make the jump' or something like that. Me and Joey are like, yeah whatever. Anyways, it is crunch time to leave (44 days) and crunch time for my semester to end and me to write this paper (2 weeks) ((not a slacker or anything)) so if you know anything about trade winds or why I should care about them as a sailor, now's your chance to show your stuff!


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Winter Sets In And We Are Getting Excited

It's crunch time! Our winter gear is out, the boat is insulated up with reflective bubble wrap, and the heated blanket is on full blast. As it gets colder we are getting more excited to get the heck out of here!

We are finishing up our last few projects and planning. While Christine is figuring out the provisioning I am planning the route. We will post a preview in a few weeks when it's complete. Any advice is surely welcome. We plan to take the ICW down to West Palm Beach, Fl and then hop over to Free Port, Grand Bahamas!

I am currectly working on the dinghy davits/solar panels. We decided to hire a contractor to prevent any problems. They ended up only installing the davits and I got enough ideas and confidence to finish the project so the solar panels will be our job. At first we wanted them on the dinghy davits, but because the davits are small and angled the panels would hang off a lot and be tilted at a bad angle to the sun with the Bimini casting a shadow. So instead we will attempt to mount them on top of the bimini. I walked around the dock for ideas but it seems most the boats with solar panels have already headed south!

We never found our oil leak so it will just be. It's not large so we will just keep an eye on it. The leak is between the transmission and the engine block which is too big of a job for me right now. At first we thought it was the lube oil pipe but after I removed and replaced that it still has a leak.

We had a water cooling system problem for a little bit but after I ran some engine cleaner through the system and let it sit all the junk came out and it ran smoothly again.

Speaking of water cooling, we were reading in bed one night when Nala jumped up and ran across us all wet and then shook off like a dog. We had heard her and Nomy running around on deck and knew exactly what had happened. Christine dryed her off with a towel while I grabbed a flashlight and followed her wet tracks out the boat, down the dock and to a ladder. That is the 3rd time that silly cat has fallen over, when will she learn, shes running out of her 9 lives.

Since the weather has gotta cooler we started taking showers on the boat. We velcro up a shower curtain and our bathroom doors open up to a nice large shower. We have to be water conscious but its better than nothing.

Our Wirie is fully mounted and the internet is running smoothly so hopefully our blogs will run uninterrupted.

Home Depot has a great deal, 10 led flashlights for $10.  We bought it the last time we saw it but still seem to lose all of the flashlights or can't find one when we really need it.  We havn't seen that sale again until this weekend so this time we bought 2 packs!  Light can be scarce on the boat sometimes so flashlights are our best friend. Yes we know, it's like we are camping always!

EDIT/Update by Christine: FACT --- These flashlights look like sticks of dynamite to x-ray machines at airport security. That was a really exciting experience for both of us. 

We just got back this weekend from our house in Florida. It is all fixed up and ready to rent so let us know if anybody wants to rent a really nice 3 bedroom 2 bath single family home for $1095.

The lead pic is the Hibiscus Flower we have growing in the front yard of our house :)