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Today finally felt like spring…

As anyone in Western Washington knows by now, this has been a nasty wet and cold winter.  We’re known for toughing out the winter here in the Northwest. That’s why all the coffee and microbrew beer.   But this winter has been special.

As if you didn’t know: Seattle area has had a ‘severe’ winter

But I think today, for the first time, I felt what seemed like spring.  It started in the middle of the night when I had to kick off a wool blanket.  Too hot.  When I checked the outside temp….it was 47.  Sure cool, but since we’ve been down into the 30s at night, that’s a pretty balmy temp.

And, again, I don’t want to say winter’s completely over.  When I got up it was raining hard.  It was dodging drops to the car and to work.  But it wasn’t 33 and wet. It was 47 and wet. Massive improvement.  And at work, the sun came out.  Sure only for a short time, but when I poked my head out the door…it felt warm.  We just need a slight pause in the clouds and boom….tulip city in the Skagit flats.

So as we wait for the better weather, we have projects.

Karin has a new nephew coming, and that requires some auntly knitting. Mimi must serve.

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Me, I’m not knitting…but there are a few project this winter for the boat.   We’re taking out a lot of old systems, and installing new ones….lots of them.

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And those are only the few boxes left.  Working with some very nice local installers this winter we’ve put on a new Cockpit Enclosure, installed a new battery charger, put in a new Radio (did that one myself), new radar, wifi booster, autopilot, new pedestal arch, new electronics boxes, DC plugs at the nav station and cockpits, AIS Transponder. Still to come are new Wind Speed/Direction sensor, and two new through hull depth transducers. Finally we’ll put in a new Chart plotter at the helm.   That blank white face is where it will go.  The wires are all in behind that faceplate. All we’ll need to do is cut the hole, hook up the wires, lock it in place, and fire up the power.

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Oh and I almost forgot, we put in a cockpit table and drink holder so you’ll all have a place to set a libation down when we say, “I think we can put her rail in the water. Here, hold my beer…and pull that rope…no the red one.”

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Fair winds are coming guys.  I hope you’re ready for a little sailing.

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Climbing Cap Sante

So, sometimes you look around for the highest hill and climb it…because it’s there.

Karin and I woke up today at the dock in Anacortes and said, “Hey, I think we need some exercise.”  It’s just over 40 degrees, and a bit windy, but the rain is only occasional. So it’s time to put down the books, bundle up, and go for a walk.

When you live in Anacortes, you can’t miss Cap Sante. The headland goes straight up just East of downtown, and towers over the Port’s marina.cap

There’s a little park at the top that a lot of folks drive to, but today we were determined to walk there.

So after bidding farewell to Jen and her sweet little dog, our overnight guests, it was off we marched.  Our marina is about a mile from the base of Cap Sante, and to get there we need to march past the Port’s Marina all the way down to 4th streen, hang right and start climbing.

On our first attempt, just as we started to rise out of downtown, the rain started. It’s that drizzly rain that doesn’t seem like much…but if you stay out in it for 5 minutes…you’re soaked.  OK, new plan; Coffee.  We retreated to JP’s Coffee down on Commercial Ave.  Mmm. Anacortes is small…it was three blocks away.

After Java, and a berry something or other, the sun came out (for just a minute) and we decided it was time to push on to the summit. Who knows what we’d find?

As you climb out of downtown Anacortes, you go through a residential neighborhood with a mix of new homes and older homes, some remodeled and expanded extensively.  You can tell where the money is…and the view.  Homes that can shoot above the trees have phenominal view of the Gueumes Channel and off to the San Juan Islands.

On the climb, we ran into a herd of deer…just sort of wandering through yards looking for any new shoots.  This is not some amazing encounter with nature…it’s more like, “Oh, Hey look, Deer.”  These guys hang out here and are practically tame. We walked past about 10 feet from them. They look at us, we look at them….and that’s it.  Deer.

On to the top!

OK, so what do you expect to find at the top of Cap Sante?  Fellow travelers who want to contemplate the majestic view. Sure.

What you don’t expect to find are about 20 dudes from 30 to 50 years of age playing with remote control 4×4 off road model toys.

Yep, you read that correctly.

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We get up to the rocky top of Cap Sante and we encounter a full parking lot and a bunch of guys with remotes in their hands, and little models of Ford Broncos, Jeeps, Land Cruisers crawling around their feet.  And this was not some kind of store bought stuff.  These guys were hard core model makers who had worked on their toys, adding little touches such as tools, gas cans, first aid kits….little tiny first aid kits…to the model 4×4 vehicles.  These looked like big 4×4…they just….weren’t.

And it wasn’t just modeling for the sake of looking good….these guys were running their tiny trucks through a series of rock and boulder courses laid out with teeny tiny cones on the rocks to see who could pilot over the rocks and hills the fastest without getting stuck and needing to rescue their vehicle.

You could see the concentration as they used remotes to guide their tiny trucks over rocks, around boulders, and over hillocks.  They approached one way, saw it wouldn’t work, backed up and tried a new line.  Amazing to watch.  And not a kid in sight.  Well, as they say…a boy and his toys.

Oh, right…the view.  Yea, spectacular.  What can I say.  We like our new home base.

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After enjoying the view a few minues, the wind was really whipping the top of the crag by this time, it was downhill past the marina and straight into Anthony’s for oysters. Mmmm.

Well, that was quite the year

So I’m not the best blogger….only updating on an annual basis….but this has been a year of changes.  So at least the entries carry a lot of action, twists and turns, and character development.  And I’m going back 1.5 year to cover all the news.  Sorry, it’s long…but that’s what we’ve got to bring everyone up to the start of 2017.

One fun development is that in September of 2015, Jen Izaguirre, our late and beloved daughter Ashley’s best friend from the Culinary Institute of America finally decided it was time to move to Seattle to take up residence near her spare parents.  We got the thrill of eating some of Jen’s cooking while she stayed with us, but she soon found her restaurant home at Bell & Whete in Seattle’s Belltown where she was just filling in…until they made her head chef.  And, as if that wasn’t enough, when the owner of B&W bought another restaurant two doors away (Seattle’s beloved Mama’s Mexican Kitchen) they made Jen chef at that one too.

Our vineyard at Terrace House finally produced a bumper crop in 2015.  Last year only produced 3 bunches of grapes. This year we had an abundance.   OK, still not enough to make any wine…but we could thrill to the harvest season…a long family tradition in our vineyard. We at least got a video out of it.

As usual there was biking, drinking, gathering around the fire with friends and family.  And, of course, sailing.  Much more on that later.

There were babies, of course. Stew and Connie brought young Thomas to the party. Rilla made her appearance in the home of Lisa and Ryan.  Syd and Josh an young master Remi joined the fun. Anton and Katie have Norah.   Nate and Kate Jackson had so much fun with….that they added .    For us….it’s just more opportunity to babysit and hug babies.

With the hope of more babies to come, we jetted to California for a wedding too darn long in coming. We’re looking at you Erik Valedeo. We were just honored to be invited when you married Breanna. It was a warm hug of a wedding from massive Portuguese and Irish families that are now joined.  I know I’m going to like how this story is going to continue for years to come.

That trip also gave us all the chance to hang with Erin and Jeff down in San Diego.  For anyone needing the best wedding photographers….see this link.   We had a warm evening under the stars on their back terrace.  It reminds you why all those folks are willing to put up with the crowding and headaches that can come with SoCal.

Next up was the famous Post Thanksgivings Day Party at Terrace House.  So, Jen is back in town.  Hmmm. Last time she was here for this we did that Turducken thing.  It was gone in 30 minutes and a huge hit.  So what else, encore.   But Jen is now a fancy chef who doesn’t want to repeat herself.  So this year it was Turducken Aliovo.  Yep, that’s a Turkey…stuffed with a duck….stuffed with a chicken…stuffed with and egg.  Not to mention three different stuffing; one layered between each bird.  Again, a mess to put together but oh, so, delicious.

After cleaning up the dishes and taking maybe a week to come down from the protein and pumpkin high…it was time to get ready for Christmas.  This was a year for going to Idaho, but before we left town we had some very special visitors.  Amanda, Brandon, Eleanor and Hendrik were moving home from The Netherlands and stopped in Seattle to stay with us before heading Southwest for the holiday.

Now if you were watching closely from the harvest, through fall, to now you would have noticed that Dan has been working on his beard.  It’s all for one reason….so make sure Mr. and Mrs. Claus could stop by to say hello, and give a little girl her special Christmas gift.  

Now when the big guy shows up before the big day…you need a reason…right?   Well, no problem. They were out early on cookie and decoration inspection tour.  You have to make sure things are going to be ready for the big day.  That going down every chimney in the world on one night doesn’t happen without massive preparation.  They were even credentialed for the inspection.  You’re not going to let strangers in if they don’t have ID, right?

Thanks to Lara and Keith for loaning their home for us to set up, do the visit, then come clean up. When Dan and Karin arrived later in the evening.  All the gray hair and beard were gone and we were the way Eleanor last saw us in Den Haag.  😉

On to Idaho.   It was small Christmas this year. For us that means only tons of relatives and friends, massive dinners, Mass, fun on snow machines and skiing.   You should see Big Christmas.  Oh Right…most of you have.  That will be 2016 in Idaho.  We’ve rented a house already for that.

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Back to Seattle for New Years Eve with the fencing team.  Karin and I are losers who don’t swing the blades much anymore.  But our Fleur de Lys friends kindly ignore that and still invite us.  How do we celebrate….by opening bottles with sabres.  Leonid would be so proud of us.

 

Before you know it we were swinging into the new year riding bikes, sailing even in the colder months. We’re looking at you Poulsbo with the Winter Rendezvous. Where else can you sail in February, have a big firepit with Vikings, and still hang with the Huntsmans.

I was in Florida in March for work, then back to Terrace House for a spring visit from Amanda, Brandon, Eleanor and Henk.  It’s turning out to be very nice to have Brandon working for Amazon.  He keeps coming back to Seattle to talk to HQ. For us that means Amanda and the kids can come and stay at the house while he takes Sound Transit to work.  Sweet.  We even fit in a group sail.  Last one for them on s/v Marie.  Oops, I’m getting ahead of the story.

April brought my first old guy medical issue. Spinal fusion surgery to help a pinched nerve in the neck.  Poop. What you don’t see in all the pics since the Santa visit is that I was having back and right arm pain and weakness. Nasty.  It put a real damper on life.   I tried shots, massage (like that), PT and chiropractic. Nothing worked and the MRI showed why.  Pinch in the nerve at C6,C7 vertebrae. Only real option, fusion.   Surgery and recovery was very fast.  In by 7am, home by 3:30.  And, surprise, they prescribed Beer!  The good news is that it worked.  I’m back to 100% (with just the occasional reminder neck stiffness that says, hey, you’re not immortal here)

During recovery, we got to host Leah, Phil, Michael and new Miss Emily.  Love family, and loving hosting them.

OK, now the real news of the year.  I got a new job with West Marine.  After two years in the Seattle store, they asked…hey…you want to move to Anacortes and run the biggest store we have in Washington state.  Hmm…you mean I could move there…live on my boat…and bike 5 minutes to work.  Let me think….YES.

So in late June I started commuting to Anacortes, and on the last weekend in June we sailed s/v Marie there to begin living aboard.   We spent a small town 4th of July in our new home.

Now, Karin and I have talked about moving aboard for some time as we prepare for more adventure, and one thing we knew was that as nice as Marie is as a sailboat….she’s too small for living on…and hosting guest on.

So the search was on for a new, bigger, boat.   We knew what we wanted….and looked at a lot of them.  We finally found what we were looking for on Bainbridge Island. She’s a very lightly sailed Passport 40.  This design is a well known world cruiser, but this one has only been lightly used in the Pacific Northwest. We aim to change that.

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So in the middle of getting used to the new job, and new city, we also become owners of a new boat.  Sarah, Brooklyn and Jaxon…along with Ryan safe from his aborted hike…helped us bring the new boat home to Seattle where she could have a few improvements made.  The very next week Josh, Chanda, Levi and Ivy came to see us for a little Seattle vacation.  We all took s/v Marie out for one last family outing before we put her on the market. Ivy took to steering her like a boss.  Levi also seemed to be interested in the fun you can have on a boat.  I think they’ll be back.

Once they were safely out of town it was time to sail Marie down to Seattle where she’s going to be sold and to pick up the new boat. Her name originally was Second Wind….but Karin and I have changed her name to “Endless Song”.  That’s from a hymn we sing in the choir at Mass. “My life goes on in endless song above earth lamentations. I hear the real though far off song. How can I keep from singing.” 

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We thought it was the perfect name for us, and for adventures to come.   So Karin and I sailed her home to Anacortes. 

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Amanda, Brandon, Eleanor and Henk came back in August to help us test the new boat.  And it works just fine.   One other reason they were back in town was so Hendrik could be baptized at Blessed Sacrament Church, just like his sister.  And while last time I had the honor…this time it was Karin who was deputized as the Godmother.  Keep his little light shining.  Not hard.

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So on we go into fall in Anacortes.  We even went to a high school football game for the first time in ages.

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Oh yes, there was one scare.   Christian!!!   Pericarditis!  We know this heart virus and we don’t like it.  Thanks, and many prayers answered, when you started recovering.  Thanks to Amanda (your BFF, not Darby-Smith for those not paying attention) for being with you like a champ the whole way through this.  Follow doctor’s orders for full recovery!

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After that, we just want to continue settling into our new home in Anacortes, which is turning out to be pretty easy.  It doesn’t hurt that Fidalgo Island is such a lovely place.

Ok, so we’re up here….what about the traditional Post Thanksgiving day Party at Terrace House? Well, that torch has been passed. Christian hosted the big event this year and, surprise, it was a big hit. And yes, we did grill oysters on the grill.  Mmmm.

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As the weather turned colder in December we were snug in our boat, but we just couldn’t keep away from all our friends and the normal round of holiday parties.  Thanks Mary, Bob, Roxy, David, Gyung, Donna, Keith, Shirley, Jim, David, Kathy, Matt, Diane. You guys get us through it all.

For Christmas….it was off to Idaho.  What can we say?  We’re drawn to the Gem State.  Might be my sister, three nephews and all their wives and families who live in or near the Camas Prairie.

Follow this link: Road Trip Idaho

Niece Sarah, who lived with us in Seattle while she was in college, was up from New Mexico with Ryan, Miss B and Jaxon. That made it the perfect time for Aunt Karin to finally deliver the custom stocking that “formally” confirms approval to date Sarah.  Better late than never.

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Idaho was, as always, a whirl of kids, fun, snow, snow machines, snow shoes, skiing, cold toes and warm drinks. (Karin brought the glasses and booze for every warm drink you’ve heard of).  Lowest temp was -18….but it was a “dry” cold….so no problems. 😉

Home for New Year’s brought the year to a close at the home of Stew and Connie Navarre. They are more than worth the drive through a snow storm from the boat…especially since Christian lets us borrow the guest room at Terrace House.   

There….that’s a blog post for you. On to 2017.

 

 

Heading for Summer

Spring’s been a blur this year.  It seems that the new year just started and bam…it’s Memorial Day. Summer season formally under way.

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Karin and I started the year with a January trip to San Diego for Sea Scout Adult Leader Training…AKA, SALT.   It was mostly great networking and seeing how other ships and regions run.   And we got to meet and chat with the National Sea Scout Commodore Charlie Wooster

Of course, any time you get trained…there’s more to do.  Karin became Commodore of the Chief Seattle Council Sea Scout Fleet on February one, and this spring somehow I got appointed to a new Western Region Sea Scout committee working to improve the training materials for all ships.

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On top of that, we’re still trying to make sure the Sea Scout Ship Yankee Clipper continues to operate.  We are strong in our Woodinville Crew, but still struggling to built the Seattle Crew.  We still need some extra adult volunteers to really make Seattle hum.  But the boat is back in operation, participated in Opening Day May 2nd, and has been out sailing.  She’ll be on long cruise later this summer.

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Karin and I are still sailing when we can. Marie is doing very well. All systems perking along.  And the only one not working, the speedometer, I’m about to fix.  The company that made it is long gone, but some of their ex-employees are still making this stuff….and sold me a transducer that should just plop in to the hole….and work just like the old one did….well, like it did when it used to work.  You get the idea.

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Christian has met the most lovely woman. Carol is a nurse at Swedish. They have been dating since February.  I don’t want to say much as I don’t want to jinx anything, but she’s a joy and I hope their relationship continues to blossom.

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Work is perking along at West Marine.  In addition to being Sales Manager for the Seattle Store, I’ve been named Electronics Specialist.  So I also went to California for some added training.  What’s not to like. I’m building fun systems that are essentially computers to give boaters a view to the information they want.

We just had a great event to fund raise for some of Gareth’s uncovered medical costs.  Thank you Stew and Connie Navarre who gave the venue and all the food.  And to all the friends and new friends who came to help out….by having a great party at the Georgetown Ballroom.

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That’s is for now.  In a few weeks we’re off to New York for Jamie’s wedding.  Now that should be good for a post or two.

Well, been a while hasn’t it

OK, Blogging.  Useful tool, or just narcissistic waste of time?      Who knows where all this will end.

Sometimes there are new ways to tell your stories.   SWAY is one example.   After a busy year in 2014, I experimented with building a SWAY to update everyone on major happenings in they year.

The question is…how does it embed?   Let’s try, shall we.

Review

https://sway.com/Jqbhg_szbgMOzeq9

https://sway.com/s/Jqbhg_szbgMOzeq9/embed

It’s been a Lovely Spring

OK, the move back to Shilshole has been great, and the goal of getting out sailing more….accomplished. We’ve done weekdays in Poulsbo, weekend in Gig Harbor and Tacoma, and generally we’ve just been at the boat more….which was the goal.  So, happy Dan, happy Karin.

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It’s also been fun being a member of the Corinthian Yacht Club.  There are Friday dinners, interesting people, contacts that are helpful in Sea Scouting.  So it’s been fun.  If anyone wants to come find out what it’s like…you’re invited. This past weekend David Huntsman and I had the opportunity to play a little, by moving a J24 donated to the Boy Scouts to her new home on Lake Union.  Once through the locks, we put the sails up and made her dance.   It was a blast, and the Sea Scouts will have fun with the boat.

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So, nothing major. No crisis. Just a lovely spring Fair winds. sig

Back to Shilshole

I really need to update more than once a year.

But what the heck. After keeping the boat a couple years on Lake Union, Karin and I decided we weren’t sailing enough. Once we’d get home from summer sailing…the effort needed to get the boat out of Lake Union proved hard to overcome. We didn’t. It’s three bridges and the locks to get out…and that’s 2 hours minimum on any trip. That was enough to keep us bottled up on the lake.

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So February first, we came home to the wide lanes and clean docks of Shilshole. Has it worked? We’ll we’ve been sailing 4 times since we got back….including a 4 days to Gig Harbor and Tacoma. So yes, moving the boat back outside has been a smart sailing move.

Now on to more sailing says in 2014…and more days working from the boat!

What we discovered when I had a meeting in Tacoma one weekend is that we can work on the boat if we have a nice strong 4G signal.  We left for Gig Harbor on a Thursday after Karin had wrapped up meetings in the morning.   By 4 pm we were at Arabella’s Landing in Gig Harbor.  OK, boaters know what that really means is that by 4:15 we were at the Tides.

Friday we headed out early (Gig Harbor, great place but bad Wireless signal) and we found that out in the middle of Puget Sound…in Dalco Passage between Vashon Island and Tacoma…there is an amazing 4G signal.   So we cut the engine and drifted out in the middle for 4 hours with Karin conducting conference calls and me working on some documents for the upcoming  American Association of Museums meeting in Seattle.  Sweet! We need to do more of this!

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Home on Lake Union

OK, it’s been a long time since I’ve updated the Blog.  So I thought I’d give a little more on our move to Lake Union.  Karin and I decided after a couple of years of coming into Lake Union for the month of July that maybe we should just move here full time when we’re not out sailing.
The downside is that we have to deal with bridges and the locks.
The good news is that my cozy little home at AGC Marina is about 7 minutes from Work.  That’s sweet when I want to come may launch, or as I am tonight…staying the night.

Full Enclosure, update

Ok, I know I said that we’d have to wait until we see how fall cruising goes to really have a sense that the full enclosure was worth it.   I was wrong. We do not need to wait. Karin and I have been out in the San Juan Islands now for over a week,022 and I can tell you right now that the full enclosure as made the trip more enjoyable.

We stopped first for a day in Chuckanut Bay. Very lovely, as you can see.

But Monday August 22nd was not quite as nice. In fact it rained like we don’t usually see here in the great Northwest in Summer. We’re talking big drops….for hours.  It had to be many, many inches.  We’ve seen this before of course.  And we all know how this works.  You shut the hatch, grab a book and a bottle of Burgundy, and wait it out.

Those of us who have a traditional sailboat, in other words not a Pilot House, know that on these days, August can get a little dark.  Your portlights are only so large, and you are sitting on the settee at or below the water line. In most designs that means you can’t really look out the portlights from your seated position. You have to stand up to look out and around.

028Not so with a full enclosure.   During this massive rainfall, I sat out in the cockpit with my book (yes, I know it’s a Kindle, but it’s where my books are these days) and as I sipped the wine and read, occasionally I would glance up and say, “Damn unusual weather we’re having.”

What’s more, we’re taking more and more meals up in the cockpit.  We have always eaten there. But in past trips, if we’re cooking late and the sun is already behind a hill, NW018 evening cool has been known to chase us back inside to eat.   But these days, even on cool evenings, we just zip up….and stay up in the cockpit to eat, read, chat, etc. 

And on the days when we’re not sailing, but motoring along, the enclosure gives much more protection and comfort.   So, no waiting. We formally declare the new full enclosure a success, and we highly recommend them.  Yes, there is a little extra windage when you’re dealing with tight quarters, but if you went to a pilot house you’d have to deal with that anyway.   And with the enclosure…you can take it all off when the sun is shining and you want to run free.  It’s all about options.

Oh, I mentioned the wine earlier.  Karin and I have been conducting what we’ve taken to calling the Great Bordeaux Shootout.  The guys down at Esquin Wine in South Seattle hooked me with some marketing extolling the virtues of the 2009 vintage….we we bit…and bought three bottles they recommended.  We’ve been plugging away, and now have a winner to announce.   David Beaulieu ’09 Bordeaux Superieur.  It’s a young one, but the family has been making it for 100 years….so they know a few things.  I’ve just ordered a case.  We’ll have some with us next summer on Marie

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Fair Winds.

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