End of one, Beginning of another!

Well out time with M/V Autumn Dream is quickly coming to a close.  With this in mind we now have a new blog to chronicle our adventures!  Here is the link!


Hope to see you their!

Kevin and Beth!


Whats happening, you may ask?

Well on the Autumn Dream front quite a but but I’ll be quick about that.  We insulated the overhead in the pilothouse and replaced the headliner.  We installed a second MFD unit, and a second GPS antenna.  The plan was to run the nav charting software on one unit and the radar on the other one.  So one MDF has both a GPS antenna and Radar interfaced to it and second one only GPS antenna.  this worked like a charm!  Also replaced the voltage regulator and had the alternator re-built!   Everything works great.  Some photos for you on this.


Prep for new MFD


New Headliner


Pilothouse with new Headliner


New GPS Antenna



Insulation in Pilothouse overhead


Finished Install!



Also on the Autumn Dream front, she has been sold.  As most of you know we have been trying to sell our house, and after dropping the price a gazillion $$$$$  IT HAS FINALLY SOLD.  A bargain for the buyers, but we get to move on with our life.  So we also sold AD again!  Actually the guy we sold her to last year and we bought he back from him wanted to buy her back from us.    long story, but all’s well that ends well.   So this will probably be the last entry in the blog of MV Autumn Dream.  Hope you enjoyed it a bit.  We will be creating a new blog, and I’ll post a link here when I get the new blog set-up.



A month in the sun, and then PAYBACK

We haven’t posted in a while… because we decided to escape from the cold winter for the month of February.  We were scheduled to fly out on February 9, and of course, there was a forecast for a severe winter storm for that day!

On the morning of February 8, as we were trying not to worry too much about the weather, we received an email from American Airlines stating that they would waive all change fees if we wanted to rebook and fly out early – and so we took advantage, and left on Feb 8.  Fortunately, we had mostly packed already and our good friend Dave was able to take us to the airport for our flight.

At least we had eliminated the stress of wondering if would make it out, and instead had an extra day in Miami.  A few days in Miami, a 12 day cruise on Oceania Riviera in the Eastern Caribbean, 6 days in the Florida Keys, and another 6 on Amelia Island.  Can’t complain about a thing.  It was beautiful weather, we did mostly nothing, and had a wonderful time.  Below is one of the few photos I took, of a bird in Granada.

DSC_7250 Granada Bird

While we were away, the weather at home did the usual NE flip flopping, 70 degree days, 10 degree days, any type of weather, you just name it.  So, the day after we arrived home, the temperature dropped to the teens, and the snow came.  And it just didn’t warm up.  And the snow came again (winter storm Stella, anyone?).  Guess the lousy weather was our payback for going away.

While we were away, the thread on Autumn Dream’s cover “gave up” and one of the sections split apart, at the peak of the frame.  Fortunately, the boat yard called to let us know, and Dave and Pat came to the rescue, taking the cover off the boat and bringing it home for us before even more damage could be done – they had one of those good “70 degree days” to do it.  We’ll post more about the cover another time.

So what is going on?  Well…. when we were in Amelia Island, we visited Waterman’s Bluff (our land) and remembered why we bought there in the first place.  They had some new homes under construction and we found a design that had everything we were looking for.  We had already made the decision to put our house back on the market when we were on the cruise, and this just confirmed out.  So now we are back to our former plan…  House is on the market, and we will just wait and see what happens.  In the mean time, we are going to enjoy life at our home, and cruise on Autumn Dream this summer.

I finished the crochet project I was working on before we left, I’ll do a different post for that.

Hawaiian Quilt


Hawaiian Quilt Pillow

Quite a few years ago, Kevin’s mother gave me a kit for a Hawaiian quilt pillow that she had picked up in Hawaii.  It had to be at least 10-15 years old at the time.  It was my “boat project” that I worked on when we were hanging on the hook or sitting at the mooring.  Because I was only working on it a few days a year, it was taking too long to finish.  I decided I needed to ‘get it done’ so I could move on to other projects.

I like Hawaiian Quilting.  It is definitely different than the crewel, cross-stitch, and needlepoint I have done in the past.  Some day maybe I will design and make another one.

I finally finished it about a week ago.  Now I need to figure out what to do with it.  Maybe it will go on Autumn Dream, though I already have an assignment to make a leather bolster pillow for her, and I don’t want to have “too many” pillows crowding the main salon.

Last week I picked up a knitting magazine, and that inspired me to dig out some patterns and my crochet hooks.  I bought some yarn the other day, and I am working on a cap-sleeve sweater.  I’ll share when it is finished.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year and a long post!


It is now 2017.  So time for an M/V Autumn Dream Update.  As Beth mentioned previously, we are staying in Somerset and have repurchased M/V Autumn Dream.  This did not break my heart having to buy back such a great boat.  You may remember from a previous blog that when we sold the boat to Dr. Andy he had an extensive survey (physical) performed on the boat to make sure she was as healthy as I was telling him she was.  You may also remember that the surveyor gave this 43+ year old boat a clean bill of health.  So buying her back was a no brainer.  We loved this boat but it was not the right boat for our place in FLA.  Getting her back we are now doing a few upgrades that we were planning to do before we sold her.  Some of the upgrades include the new Pilothouse headliner which Beth has already blogged about.  Before physically re-installing the headliner panels in the overhead we had decided that we wanted to insulate the overhead (pilothouse ceiling) area that the headliner covers up.  Want to insulate to make the Pilothouse a bit cooler and maybe a little bit quieter as the insulation will absorb reflected sound.  The insulation part is a quick and relatively easy job.  However being a boat ……..   So the quick and easy job gets a bit longer.

OK so not as a result of the headliner job but this is a good time to do it since the headliner is removed.  I’ve always wanted a second multi-function display (MFD) in the pilot house for redundancy, and also so I could run the radar on one MFD and the GPS on the other MFD when navigating in crap weather.  Currently we do a split screen on the MFD with both the radar scan and the GPS chart displayed.  Not a big deal in good weather when you can look outside and see what is around you in addition to looking at the MFD screen.  i.e. other boats, rocks, islands, big ships.

Our existing electronics (radar, GPS, VHF Radio etc.) are from the stone age (pre-digital).   Also with consideration that I had recently replaced the radar array the boat came with, (a pre-stone age vacuum tube display) a more current stone age array to match up with our existing stone age MFD.   I figured that due to all the new digital navigation equipment now being sold, I should be able to purchase a second stone age MFD for short money.  So it was now time to go out to the world to look for a second Raymarine C-series  MFD.  Well there’s tons of Raymarine C-series MFD for sale as everyone is upgrading.  However because there are many others like me (read cheep bastard) who wish to save a few $$$$ the second hand market is showing strong prices for MFD that are in less than optimal condition.   Well after a protracted search, I managed to find a Raymarine C-80 MFD in Salem MA.  For a fair price and in reasonably good condition.  Only issue no power cable.  So to the internet to look for a cable.  New replacement cables from Raymarine are about $50.00.  Found a used cable for about $19.00 including shipping!  The internet is a great place some times.

As an unexpected bonus the “new” MFD came with a local area chart card.  These electronic chart cards are about $200.00 for a specific region.  So since this was an unexpected bonus (I was only going to run the radar through this MFD and not the GPS).  However since I have the card I can now also use this as a back-up GPS to the other GPS.   However to utilize the GPS chart card you need a GPS antenna.  That means you have to feed the MFD GPS data and the data comes from the add-on items like GPS antenna.  In the event of a failure I could use my existing GPS antenna and move the cable from one unit to the other, but no wait!  That’s not all hmm…..   I could get a used GPS antenna!  Redundancy Redundancy!

With this requirement to use the new toy to the fullest…  Well now off to look for a used Raymarine GPS antenna.  A new Raymarine GPS antenna that will work with this MFD will set you back about $400.00.  So M/V Autumn Dream being a boat you can see that BOAT actually is an acronym for = Break Out Another Thousand.  Back to the internet revealed many used GPS antennas that “may” work starting cost at about $75.00 up to $300.00 used.  You may also remember that we love Marine Consignment in Fall River.  Before going on internet for any of these used items Beth and I spent several hours picking through the racks of equipment and stuff and talked to Bill!  Well unfortunately no MFD or cable, but wait he did have a Raymarine GPS antenna but he did not know the status of the battery in the antenna.  So for the very reasonable cost of $25.00 USD we had a GPS antenna.  I did have to take it apart and check the battery and I found it was dead.  This particular unit does not have a replaceable battery but once again through the wonders of the internet I learned how to replace the battery and test the unit.  Long story short, all is well and I now have a $30.00 functioning second Raymarine GPS antenna. (antenna + battery, and of course a $15.00 mount for the antenna, because this new mount looks cooler than just surface mounting the GPS to the roof of the Pilothouse)

OK where was I going with this?  Oh Yea!  So as a result to do the electronics updates and insulate the Pilothouse overhead and replace the headliner I need to move the radar cable and run a new cable for the GPS antenna.  Oh also in the process of doing the cable and insulation work I decided to replace the VHF radio remote speaker which also goes in the overhead!  So as of January 1, 2017.  The new MDF and GPS antenna is purchased and tested to be good.  All the cabling is completed except installing the GPS antenna and running the wire to the MFD location.  The GPS antenna requires some fiberglass work on the Pilot House roof so that will wait till spring.

Current project status:  All insulation is installed.  New VHF remote speaker is installed and wired back to the location of the VHF radio.  To accommodate the new MFD I had to run a new electrical circuit and re-work the helm console.  All this is done and when spring arrives a few hours of work will see two MDF’s, a new headliner, new GPS antenna and VHF speaker in the pilothouse!    Some photos of the work.



Pilothouse with old headliner


Old radar and MFD installed in console.  Old radar removed a few years ago and location of MFD was moved to where the old radar was in this picture.


Pilothouse overhead with headliner removed


Starting to remove cabling and the old remote VHF speaker


Who ordered a boat taco?   M/V Autumn Dream all bundled up for a cold New England winter!


Insulation installed and cabling well underway.


Who ordered the spaghetti?  Actually this is a reasonable well organized control console, I am running the new power cable for the new MFD which will eventually fill the open hole on the left in this picture.  


Blurry phone photo of completed (mostly) insulation and cabling reinstalled for radar etc. 

Finally owning a boat is no fun without a way to get to the boat on when you keep it on a mooring.  To get to the boat on a mooring you either swim or take another boat to your boat.  In our case we have a small boat called dinghy.  In our case it is an old Dyer that I have been in the process of continual maintenance.  The dinghy is really a work horse and she takes a ton of abuse as your big boats tender.   We use her to move – us, food, water, fuel, luggage, wine etc.  So she occasionally needs love.  As you can see in the following photos she is back in my shop getting some much needed love.  She will get some minor fiberglass work and paint this winter.  Also Dr. Andy bought some perimeter gunnel guard to put on the dinghy to help protect the mother ship from scrapes.  This too will be applied once the painting is completed.  Some photos of the work in progress for your amusement!


Sanding paint to raw fiberglass to prep for some new fiberglass


Close-up of sanded area almost ready for a filet prior to fiberglass tape.  Filet is to reduce the curvature that the fiberglass has to make.  Fiberglass does not like to make a 90 degree turn.  Likes a radius better!


Filet done and curing.  Next step will be a strip of fiberglass or 3 or 5 to complete this step.  Then sand, sand, sand.  Then finally paint!   More to come!


Peace, Joy and Happiness be yours in 2017 wherever your world takes you.

New Headliner


New roll of Headliner fabric


One of the frames with the old, stained headliner


New panels, ready to be installed

Before we sold Autumn Dream to Dr. Andy, we had a list of upgrades and improvements that we were going to make.  If you own a boat or a house, you know that there are always things to do….

So, after we bought Autumn Dream back, we went through our list and started working.  Kevin has been busy with his list, but I wanted to share one of the items on mine.

The headliner in the stateroom was in very good condition, so nothing was needed there.  We removed the headliner in the main saloon previously, as it had some staining from an old leak.  We really liked how it looked without the headliner.  So the only headliner that needed replacing was in the Pilot House.

In the pilot house, the headliner is installed in panels, so it made it a lot easier to  remove and replace.

We brought the panels home, to measure and order replacement Headliner fabric, without foam.  Defender had the best prices, as usual!  In the pilot house we wanted it to breathe, and didn’t need the sound insulation, so no foam backing required.  I took the old staples out of the frames to remove the old fabric.  There were some obvious repairs – including the wrong (not stainless) staples, and masking tape holding some of the fabric onto the frame.  Lots of the staples broke, so Kevin and I both had “fun” pulling out little bits of metal.

Kevin repaired two of the frames that were cracked, and then we installed the new fabric with the RIGHT staples.  Last step will be to install and cut the hole for a nicro solar vent, and we will do that after some of the other projects are done.

This was an EASY project!


Winter is coming….

First of all, Happy Thanksgiving to all our friends and readers in the USA, and a warm hello to everyone who does not celebrate the holiday.

And a special BULA! to our fellow Fiji Princess 7 day stayers… when are we doing something like that again?  We are definitely willing…

The juncos have returned, the summer geese and the cormorants are gone, the winter geese are here.  The leaves are off the trees (and thanks to the other day’s south west winds, they are not on our property either 🙂 ).  Our stupid rose bush insists on still blooming, so I can’t prune it yet, but everything else says that Autumn has a firm grip, and winter is on its way.  Fortunately, no snow yet for us here on the south coast, but we certainly aren’t having one of those wonderful 70 degree Thanksgiving day’s when you go for a walk in your shirtsleeves after eating too much.

The heat had to be turned on near the end of October.  There is this Yankee thing about waiting as long as you can before you turn on the heat.  Everyone starts to ask each other if they are still toughing it out, or if they turned it on yet.  We held out long enough, but there is a point where you just have to do it.

I’m sorry we have been away from the blog for such a long time.  I know that for some of you who don’t use Facebook, this is your way of keeping track of us.  There have been a few changes, and you can feel free to get in a chuckle at our expense if you like.

The move to Florida is no longer going to happen.  We have a saying (and so do many others): ” the universe will unfold as it should”.  The forces in the universe were apparently conspiring to prevent our move from Somerset to Yulee, and after 10 months, we just had to read the signs and make a decision.  The largest issue, of course, is the fact that we just could not sell the house.  No one was interested – no even to look.  There is a clear message there.  Then a few other things happened, and after 10 months of trying to make this work, it was time to move on with our lives.

In contrast, when we decided to purchase this house in Somerset, we put the Ashland house up for sale after we left for a vacation in Hawaii.  We had a signed P&S in less than 2 weeks, before we got back home – obviously, that change was meant to be.  Everything was just “too hard” and working against us for this move to Florida.

We are very happy with our decision to stay here, and to get back to living in the now instead of floating in limbo, waiting for the ‘later’.  And if you know of anyone who is interested in purchasing a very nice lot in Waterman’s Bluff at a great discount, send them the information please.  We now are trying to sell this land.

Once we made the decision to stay, we started shopping for a boat.  We had sold Autumn Dream to a really great guy, and so we started looking at sail boats.  Kevin kept looking at Pilot House sail boats, and we were trying to decide what was the best option for us.  We mentioned to the new owner of Autumn Dream (when we were helping put the cover on) that we were in the market for a boat, and he asked if we would be interested in buying her back, due to some changes in his life.

Wow.  After a few days of discussion, we decided to buy her back.  This is when you really can start to laugh if you choose.  Yes, the blog will stay as M/V Autumn Dream, because she is back in our lives, and we are staying here in Somerset.  All is right with the world, and the universe is unfolding as it should.

Future posts will include boat work (of course) and changes we are making around the house, now that we are staying put.

Hope this post finds you all happy, and well.

Sewing Projects

Some of the people we met recently asked what do you do to fill your time, being retired…  We don’t seem to run out of things to do, and are not bored by any means.  Over the last few months, I have been doing a few sewing projects when the muse strikes.

Before we headed down to Florida and South Carolina, I wanted to make a present for Renee and Joe.  Here are the photos of the finished Sunbrella pillow.  It’s embroidered with an octopus, and I used some antique buttons from Kevin’s mother’s collection.

I experimented with my embroidery machine, to see how it would work on leather.  After I embroidered a Chinese dragon, I wanted to do something with it, so I made this “hobo-style” leather bag.


leather embroidered bag

Kevin wanted me to make some new leather head rest cushions for our car.  We were using some old ones that I originally made for our 2002 ‘new beetle’, but they were really faded and the pigskin was starting to crack.  These are nice and soft with memory foam.  The only bad thing about memory foam cushions is in the winter time, when they are as hard as a rock until the car warms up.  We are hoping that we would escape New England by winter, but so far the house is still not sold…


leather head rest cushions


Land Cruise!

We are finishing up a land cruise that took us down to look at our property and meet with builders in Yulee FLA.  If the house in Somerset ever sells we plan to build a new house from scratch.  However finding a quality builder is a challenge.  We think we have one and are currently under discussions on design and of course price.  More to come as things develop.  On the house selling front frustration rules.  We have one interested party but the house they are trying to sell is tied up in a divorce with two lawyers involved.  So not holding out any hope of a quick sale there.  Anyway back to the land cruise.  We drove down to Yulee / Amelia Island in our new Crossover.  We recently traded in our Volvo XC-60 for a Lincoln MKX.   Slightly larger than the Volvo and much better ride and gas mileage!  First day was from Somerset to Roanoke Virginia.  12 hours of driving…   long day.  Next day we were in Savannah GA.  We like it there an it is only about two and a half hours to Yulee.  So we got a nice room at the Savannah Marriott Riverfront.  As I am still a platinum member with Marriott they gave us a waterfront room and free parking and a nice breakfast.  We wandered around the waterfront and then found a great place for dinner where they make great individual pizzas.  This place was great, and reasonably priced which is a challenge in this expensive city.  Savannah is full of charm and a big tourist draw, and if you have never been there I can highly recommend that you go and enjoy the city with all its southern charm!  The next morning we drove the 2 and half hours to Yulee and went to Watermens Bluff to check out a house recently built by one of our prospective builders.  We were meeting with this builder the next day at their offices in Jacksonville (Jax) and wated to see their product in person before the meeting.  Good thing we did.  The finish construction quality was crap!  Plane and simple crap.  So seeing the house before meeting with them was a good thing.  In reality after seeing the house I would have canceled the meeting, but since it was Sunday and the meeting was on Monday morning we decided to go through with the meeting and see how they responded to all our disappointing findings.  Well they were surprised but made nothing but excuses, and said they would do better if they built our house.  Well I can tell you that that is not going to happen!  So alternate plan B.  More on Plan B as it develops.    The next day we visited our friends in Jax.  OK unfortunately we could only visit with Victor because Bill was in hospital again.  Fortunately he is better and last time we checked he was home!  All said it was great to catch up with Victor and hear all of what was going on.

On the way home from Victors house we drove through hurricane Hector, which was not  a hurricane or a tropical storm a few hours previously.  Bill and Victor live on the south side of Jax.  Yulee is above the north side of Jax.  So the drive home (our rental in Amelia Island) is about an hours drive.  As we drove northward the rain and wind were unbelievable!  Torrential does not even begin to describe how heavy the rain was.  I was glad we were in an AWD vehicle.  Safe to say we made it without any real issues.  Next morning we saw on the news that this tropical depression had quickly blown up into a category 1 hurricane over Jax and that is what we were driving through.  No warning or anything.  Go figure.  Glad we we were on land and not in Autumn Dream!

After that fun we enjoyed visiting with Beth’s mom and friends and eating some great food on the island.  On the Friday we were back at Watermans Bluff for a Low Country boil!  Once or twice a year the developer throws a community get together.  Since we were there we decided to attend.  It was a great chance to meet our new neighbors and have some good eats.  Here in New England we have clam boils.  This typically consist of soft shell clams, sausage, corn on the cob, onions, chourico ( a local Portuguese sausage), potatos and some times depending on budget lobsters.  All this is thrown in a pot for a few hours and boiled  A low country boil is similar but in place of clams they use shrimp.  In place of chourico they use anduli sausage.  Most of the rest is similar.   They then take everything and dump it on newspapers and you all serve yourself.  It was great!  I think when we move I’ll miss chourico but beyond that no worries!

While we were staying on Amelia Island I had some chance to play with my new lens and you can see some hand held examples of this new toy!  So they would be clearer if I had it on the tripod! For those of you who do not follow us on facebook you probably don’t know I recently purchased a new Nikon 200mm to 500mm lens!  This lens is unbelievable!  In the following shots you can see one of the US Navy’s nuclear subs putting to sea!   We were quite far away from as you can imagine!  But the photos with this lens are stunning!  Also included a few bird photos I believe these are Snowy Egrets!  Of course as there was a Nuclear Sub leaving the port all marine traffic was stopped and had to wait for the sub to clear the port. Note the machine gun on the USCG boat!  Pointy end pointed at any potential intruders!   One of the small yachts waiting so they could avoid the pointy end of the USCG boat was fun to photograph,  Gives you a minor example so you can see how strong this lens is as I zoomed out and in!

Enjoy!   More on the house to come!




Mumbai, India

I promised that I would finish the trip log eventually.  This retirement thing keeps me going quite a bit so I have not found (made) the time to do an update.  So here it is.

Leaving  Cochin at 6:00 PM on Saturday April 9 we set a course northward toward Mumbai.  This was a 592 Nautical mile run so we would have a day at sea between the two ports.  Love sea days!

We arrived in Mumbai on Monday morning April 11 at 8:00 AM.  Coming into the harbor was very interesting as we saw a great number of ships of all size and shapes.  Many oil exploration and support vessels and Indian Navy vessels.  After the fun in Cochin and having our sure excursion canceled in Mumbai we decided to stay on the ship and not due an excursion in Mumbai.  We did visit the gift shops in the terminal but did not find anything we were willing to spend our money on.  This was a changeover day for the ship so it was interesting to see all the activity and supplies coming on and trash and recyclables going off the ship.  Unknown to us we had an unwelcome guest also come on board here in Mumbai.  Norovirus and idiots!  All the way from Hong Kong to Mumbai everyone was healthy and no Norovirus.  From Mumbai to Athens we had the virus and ignorant passengers who were confined to their quarters with Norovirus but were actually wandering around the ship infection others.  This issue lasted till we got to Athens.  Fortunately Beth and I managed to not get it but it was a real bummer for the rest of the trip for the healthy passengers and the poor crew went through hell trying to control it!   Hats off to the crew but they never stopped cleaning and cleaning.  Biggest problem was the idiot passengers who felt that they paid for this trip and dam to hell everyone else.  No matter if they were sick they could wander the ship contaminating all the others!  This really put a bad taste on the second half of the cruise for us!

On a positive side I did get to visit some Middle Eastern countries, pass through the Suez Canal and return to some of the Greek islands we have visited previously.  So here are a few photos of Mumbai and the remainder of the trip!


Tug Boat in Mumbai


Indian Navy in Mumbai


Indian Aircraft Carrier  –  notice the ski jump at the far end of the runway!  hmm.


Mumbai skyline at Sunset!

After leaving Mumbai we went to Salalah, Oman  –  first time in the Middle East!  Not very photogenic stop but very nice people, then on to Jordan where we visited Petra!   Stunning, stunning.  But very long bus ride to to get there from Aqaba,  Jordan.   From Jordan we went to Safaga Egypt where we chose to not get of the ship to join the 14 hour buss ride to the valley of the Kings under a military escort!  Next day was the Suez Canal  – 105 NM of sand and more sand with a waterway running through it!   Cool but very boring.   Did I mention we saw sand.  Oh also flies and guard post along the canal!


Yup really in the Middle East!   A Hyundai in Jordan


Entrance to Petra and the start of a long hot hike to see the city!


On the walk to Petra!


Pathway to Petra


After a long walk the first iconic glimpse at the famous Treasury building


Yup a camel!  My first on in their homeland!


Famous Treasury in Petra!   No sign of Dr. Jones


Much more to see in the City of Petra, a few hours are not enough!


Friend along the way!


Hmm  must have moved the canal, or the captain was drinking???


A different Ferrari than you expect to see in Haifa


This is a private yacht!  Not a cruise ship!  (in Rhodes Greece)


View in Rhodes!


Santorini, Greece


Major dig in Santorini, exceptionally cool!


Good Ship Nautica in Santorini caldera!

So after leaving Santorini we arrived in Athens to leave for home!  To total distance traveled on this trip was 9000 nautical miles, 35 days!  Hong Kong China to Athens Greece.  Great trip!  Trip never felt to long and only managed to put on 7 pounds after all the great food on the M/S Nautica with Oceania Cruises.  Obviously I have a million more photo but only wanted to bore you with a few!   Hope you enjoyed the trip with us!