Saturday, December 31st

Musical entertainment along the canal continues into the early hours of the morning.  One of the final songs in last evening’s repertoire is Stairway to Heaven,  a popular Led Zeppelin tune from the early 70s.  The music ends, but in the silence, I lay awake replaying the haunting lyrics of that song in my mind…”there’s a feeling I get when I look to the west, and my spirit is crying for leaving…”  Wide awake now, I retreat to the aft cabin to read myself to sleep.

In contrast to last evening, all is calm here in the Little Havana canal this morning.  Hopeful fishermen depart for the reef at daybreak.  The late night revelers are fast asleep this morning.  A few barking dogs and muted conversations en Espanol break the morning silence.  The Spanish spoken here is of the blistering speed variety.  Our understanding of these conversations is limited to a single palabra here and there.  Despite our limitations in conversational Spanish, we are adjusting to the rythym of life here in Little Havana.

Sunrise Cafe Cuban Restaurant in Tavernier

Our new young friends return to Fort Lauderdale for New Year’s Eve revelry.  We hit the pavement by bicycle to explore our new digs.  First stop is the Cuban Restaurant in Tavernier to acquire freshly baked bread for our New Year’s Eve dinner aboard Cutter Loose.  Then it is north along the Route 1 bike trail for an out and back to Port Largo for lunch and exploration of the harbor.  The charter fleet is just returning from the reef with a boatload of satisfied fishermen displaying their catch.  Back at Cutter Loose, the bike odometers show 24 perfectly flat miles for the day. 

The canal is eerily dark and quiet tonight.  Based on last night’s performance, our expectations are for more of the same, or perhaps kicked up a notch on the occasion of New Year’s Eve.  Other than sporadic fireworks, it is a calm here in the Little Havana canal.

Soon, the relentless passage of time and tide will turn the page of a new year.  Looking back, 2011 has been an exciting year of discovery in which our lifestyle has changed dramatically.  The end of work and the transition to cruising has been, and continues to be a most fulfilling adventure.  Since June, our daily routine has been one of incessant variety.  Our travels have taken us from Frenchman Bay in northeast Maine to Key Largo in the Florida Keys.  Along the way, we have witnessed new places , met new people and enjoyed reunions with old friends.  In 2011 alone, we have cruised a total of 165 days, sailing Cutter Loose over 3100 nautical miles in the process.  The experience has been outstanding beyond expectation.

Today on this final day of the year, we are also fondly remembering our visit to the majestic Tetons in August with friends Dar, Barbara, Tom and Mary.  The alpine bicycling and hiking experiences in the mountains and alongside the emerald glacial lakes brought us up close and personal with nature.  There is something about a mountain experience that cleanses the soul.  The combination of mountain and sea experiences have made 2011 a year that will not soon be forgetten. 

We are especially grateful to family and friends that have remained in touch and provided support during our travels.  Being many miles from our network of friends and family at home is one of the sacrifices of the liveaboard lifestyle.  The old addage “out of sight, out of mind” applies here.  Being away places us at risk of falling out of touch with folks that mean so much to us.  Your phone calls and e mails are important inasmuch as they help us to remain connected with life ashore.  Among your New Year’s Resolutions, please resolve to stay in touch with us.  We promise to reciprocate.

With that thought in mind, we wish you all a very happy and healthy 2012.

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