November 6th Cambridge, MD again:

 

We are freezing and have been for five weeks. We are having fun in between cold fronts and have had lots of excitement. Just to bring you up to date. I just realized that not everyone knows the reasons behind the suddenness of our departure. We were always going back to sea "someday." The plan was in about 5 more years. On Sept 12 of last year we received a call from a very dear friend, Fred, that we met the last time out. He has cancer and was given one to five years to live. He always wanted to take his children on a sailing trip when they got older. He didn't have five years left so we talked him into going now. He had to take the boys out of school for a year (9 and 11). So we offered to teach them for the year. We have our separate boats and race each other everywhere we go. The kid’s row to school every morning we are in port. They come in all kinds of weather. We had our first school cancellation last week because we had a real Nor'Easter complete with fog. So we called a "fog day". There was so much for we were afraid they would not find the boat and we'd have to go looking for them. And you thought you had it rough!! Fred our friend of many years in on the boat “NADINE” with his wife Monica and two children Josh (12), and Justin (9). We have met many other boats but NADINE plays the primary role in our cruise at this point. Now on with the story! Well - Fred had a fire on board. He had a leak in his oven and the oven insulation became saturated with kerosene. While baking an apple pie on a cold afternoon, the conditions were just right and "bang" the whole stove flared up. He used his one fire extinguisher but it re-ignited and the flames drove him out of the boat. The second extinguisher was up forward on the other side of the fire and he could not reach it. Monica yelled to us to come and help. Ed brought our two over and every time we popped it kept re-igniting. We just could not stay in the cabin long enough to find the source of the fire. We were definitely losing it. Ed became so angry his only thought was "it can't end like this! This boat is getting to the Bahamas one-way or the other. It is not going to burn up here at the beginning of this trip!" Well, he ruined the best looking apple pie in all history. It truly broke everyone's heart but the fire was stopped. But what a mess!!!!. We've been cleaning up the boat for almost a week. But God bless them all, even the kids-they went right to work and never whined or complained about the mess or the cold. They are really super. It wasn't Fred's fault. It was just one of those things. But, we told him "Freddie, it's far too early for this Indiana Jones stuff. We have to save it for later" The fishing has been great. The kids are ferocious crabbers and the little guy. Justin catches the biggest fish. Two days in a row he lands a 26" rockfish. Yesterday Ed decreed--whoever catches a fish today DIES!!! We had chili instead. Tonight I made a pizza to warm up the boat. It has gotten down to thirty some nights. We sleep under lots of blankets and sometimes wonder about the sanity of doing this. We plan to haul out sometime next week and head on down to Florida, as it is just too cold. We have our truck and should get there is two days. We will do a little work on the boat in Florida and then it's on to the Bahamas. Fred and family are on the waterway right now. That is a water route to Florida inside all the way from Norfolk, VA to Key West. It should take him three weeks to get to Florida. It is a pretty easy trip but long and right now cold. We plan to meet in Daytona. That’s all until after Thanksgiving. All the best for the holidays Love, Ed and Ellen