Memories from long ago…Boat ride on Lake Minnetonka…

It was wonderful to spend time with my son Greg and daughter-in-law Camille on the dinner cruise on Lake Minnetonka.

However, we decided it would be best to split up, and Tom would go with Tammy, and I’d go with Camille and Greg. It’s the way it is when we visit family in the US. At times, we have to split up to be with our respective family members. Of course, it would have been fantastic for both of us to attend both events. But, with their schedules, doing so doesn’t always work out that way.

Tom dropped me off at 5:15 pm at the Port of Excelsior at the Excelsior Commons, a beautiful park in the town of Excelsior on Lake Minnetonka, our former downtown area, when we lived in the area nine years ago. So many memories flooded my mind as we drove down Water Street in the sleepy, charming lake town. So much had changed and yet, so much was still the same.

Having lived in the area for 26 years and close by, in the city of Minnetonka for the prior 14 years, it was all so familiar. Years spent boating on the lake as a boat owner left me reeling at the thought that it was in 1977 when as a single mom and business owner, I purchased my first boat, later upgrading to larger boats.

Camille’s sister, Penny, joined us on the dinner cruise.

I remember being one of very few women in those days that drove a “twin-screw” (twin engine) boat on huge Lake Minnetonka, able to easily maneuver in and out of tight docks without a problem. In those days, that was unusual. With numerous restaurants located on the lake, my sons and I and often friends spent many weekends over the years on that lake, having the time of our lives.

Later, in 1991, when I met Tom, he, too, was a boater. As of 1986, I owned a house and lived on another nearby lake, Lake Minnewashta, where he and I enjoyed many years boating on the smaller lake, again enjoying every moment. Those days are long behind us.

There are countless estates on Lake Minnetonka, often valued in the tens of millions.

When we “boat” now, it’s on massive cruise ships. We’ve been on 27 cruises since the onset of our world travels in 2012 and have dearly missed being on the water during the past 18 months or so due to Covid-19. Hopefully, we’ll get our “sea-legs” once again soon when we can cruise again.

On a newer-looking, well-maintained houseboat, yesterday’s boat ride brought back memories from that life long ago. But, as we always say, we have no regrets. We chose to implement our lives on an entirely different path over the past almost nine years, and we’ve never looked back and regretted our choices or wondered “why” we did such a crazy thing.

It was fun chatting with Greg, Camille, and Penny, Camille’s sister (who took Tom’s place), during the two-hour dinner cruise. As expected, the food was mediocre, but the experience was pleasant and worthwhile and filled with memories as we sailed past houses I’d sold on the lake many moons ago and houses that had been re-built into massive mansions.

We were busy chatting, and I failed to make an effort to take many photos through the boat’s windows.

Close to 8:00 pm, I called Tom to see if he could pick me up at Greg and Camille’s house when he was done with dinner with Tammy and Tracy. As it turned out, they were wrapping up their get-together. We visited with Camille, Greg, and the kids for a little while, and then we were on our way back to our hotel for what proved to be a good night’s sleep.

Today, we’re heading to Tom’s sister Patty’s home to play “dice” and stay for dinner. However, Tom will drive me to a local pub and drop me off to see my dear old friend and business partner, Theresa. I’ll spend a few hours with her, and Tom will pick me up later when I call him at Patty’s. With our busy schedule, we have to double up on a few events to see some of our friends and the family.

There are many stunning properties on lakes in Minnesota.

We’ll then head back to Patty’s and finish the evening with his siblings, spouses, and other family members. No doubt, it will be another good day, filled with fun interactions with people we love and have missed over the years we’ve been gone.

Tomorrow, we’ll be back with more when we have another action-packed day as we celebrate Camille’s birthday at a favorite restaurant from our past.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, July 12, 2020:

In Queensland, Australia, Double Island made us curious about what it would be like to visit. Here are the details of visiting Double Island. We posted this photo on Day #111 in lockdown in Mumbai, India. For more photos, please click here.

Ten days and counting…More photos from Tom’s boating trip on the Huon River and d’Entrecasteaux Channel out to sea…

Although overcast, Tom had a great day fishing and taking photos while boating with Anne and Rob.

Sure, it would have been great for me to go boating and fishing with Tom. But, I’m on a fast track to feeling better with only 10 days remaining until we depart Tasmania for Sydney to board another cruise on March 1st.

Huon Yacht Club along the shoreline of Huon River.

Speaking of feeling better, a special thank you to so many of our readers who wrote me offering kind and thoughtful wishes for my health. It means so much to both of us that our readers care for our well-being and health, knowing how relevant it is for our continuing travels.

Port Huon facility where farmed salmon are brought in for processing and shipping.

In presenting today’s photos, we decided to embark upon a little research regarding two facilities we’re posting today, Huon River Yacht Club and Huon Aquaculture Group, as shown below:

HISTORY OF THE HUON YACHT CLUB 

For many years, the main form of transport in HuonValley was by boat. Small sailing ships would transport local produce and residents to the main markets in Hobart. Sailing skills were highly developed, which led to competition between the boats.

In 1852, the first Huon Regatta was held at Shipwrights Point. The undoubted success of this regatta is well recorded, and over the years, this regatta developed as the social event of the year. Up to 10,000 locals and visitors would enjoy the day’s activities on and off the water at the Shipwrights Point Regatta Ground.

The high diving tower has gone, and the rowing has moved to Franklin, but sailing and cruising are still very much part of the club’s weekly activities. Several yacht clubs have existed at various times on the banks of the HuonRiver, but the present club was formed on 29th October 1947. A resident offered a pickup boat, and racing started within a fortnight.  Since then, club members have enjoyed many successes sailing both at home and internationally.

The clubhouse was built by club members and was officially opened on 12th October 1957. The starter’s box, located on the top of the clubhouse, is a unique feature of the building, providing a perfect view for the officials on race day. The club has a strong future and looks forward to continuing its tradition of sailing vessels on the HuonRiver, D’Entrecasteaux Channel, and as far afield as the wind will take them.”

Salmon farming on the Huon River.
Huon Aquaculture Group

“Peter and Frances Bender commenced salmon farming in 1986 in the beautiful waters surrounding their farming property at Hideaway Bay. What began as a diversification to the family cattle and sheep farming enterprises soon grew into a highly successful business that would dominate their commercial lives and the Huon region.

Our area of southern Tasmania is renowned for its remote ruggedness. This is where water from the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area flows into the Huon River and meets the Southern Ocean in the D’Entrecasteaux Channel.

Our farms are located in this pristine marine environment and on the west coast in Macquarie Harbour – ensuring they stay clean and healthy – a key to the high quality of the Huon product. The strict control of feeding regimes, regular cages, and strategic fallowing of cage sites are among the many world’s best environmental management practices Huon follows to preserve and protect the aquatic marine environment while rearing superior quality salmon.

To this day, Huon attributes the quality of its salmon to the philosophy of ‘getting the basics right and attention to detail.’ Focused solely on the goal of growing the best quality in the world, Huon set a high standard from the very beginning to ensure everything else would fall into place.

The majority privately owned, the Huon Aquaculture Group produces over 17,000 tons of fresh salmon per year and is recognized globally as the premium producer of fresh and smoked salmon products. Huon currently employs over 550 multi-skilled staff in most states of Australia, and both Peter and Frances remain involved in all areas of the business daily.

From biologists to welders, the entire Huon team, divers to factory hands, accountants to truck drivers, and industry-leading sales and marketers all play their part and take pride in producing the Huon product. As a result, Huon prides itself on producing the world’s most love salmon. Our commitment is always to strive to do our best, produce the best, in the best place in the world.”

Another view of Arch Island.
  • Having the opportunity to learn about businesses in an area where we live adds an element to our experiences that enriches every aspect of our travels while exploring culture, way of life, economic conditions, and the diversity of people we meet throughout the world.
The Flathead fish were larger than they appeared in yesterday’s photos.

We remain in awe by our vast experiences as we move from state to state and country to country, as has been the case of our interest and exploration of many areas in this amazing continent of Australia and the South Pacific. 

Decorative “knot” display plaque on the wall in the boat.

We’ve barely touched the surface of this massive continent where one could easily spend a lifetime discovering its endless assets. Tasmania has also been a vital area in fulfilling our curiosity and interest in the continent over almost three months on the island.

Flathead in the bucket ready for cleaning. The diagonal of this bucket was used to determine if fish were large enough to keep.

In 10 days, we’ll be on the move again, back to the main continent, and once again returning to Sydney for the sixth time (with two more to go before leaving this part of the world) in these past almost two years. Thank you, Australia!

Barbecue attached to boat for easy cooking.

Have a fabulous day!

Photo from one year ago today, February 19, 2016:

This was our favorite cow to visit when on a walk in New Plymouth, New Zealand. She always stuck out her tongue and did a little dance when she saw us. For more photos, please click here.

We’re off to the Great Barrier Reef on a perfectly sunny day…

We were shocked to see the reasonable price on this exquisite arrangement at only AUD $20, USD $14.20. Our daughter and family had sent us a similar bouquet sent to us in Hawaii, most likely at 10 times this price.

With bad weather heading to Queensland, we were concerned we’d go on yet another long boat ride only to be sitting drenched in our rain jackets. To date, we’ve had numerous less-than-successful boating excursions throughout the world.

On whale watching expeditions, we’d yet to see a whale within photo taking distance. On sunset cruises, its rained such as was the case one year ago on the Seine River in Paris.

There is a wide array of both common and less common fruits and vegetables at Rusty’s Market.

On other boat tours we’ve been disappointed with rough seas so bad we could easily have booked a ride on a roller coaster for an equal amount of rattling and commotion. Also, we seldom sighted the marine life we’ve anticipated during a boat tour, unable to take good photos as the boat rocked to and fro.

Hopefully, today’s excursion to Green Island in the Great Barrier Reef will prove to be more fulfilling and less about a crazy boat ride and more about the scenery that awaiting us. 

The sign is marked, “spray free, custard apples” priced at AUD $4.50, USD $3.19 per kilo (2.2 pounds)

With all the cruises we’ve taken with many more to come, it’s obvious we enjoy being on (as opposed to in) the ocean. In our past lives, we both were avid boaters owning boats for a majority of our adult lives.

As a single mom at 29 years old I purchased my first boat which I kept docked in St. Albans Bay on Lake Minnetonka in Minnesota USA. It was called the Tootsie Roll Boat due to it brown, orange and white colors. 

More traditional fruits and vegetables including corn, oranges, tomatoes, zucchini and cucumbers.

Tom purchased his first boat at 29, an Alumacraft fishing boat and later purchased a ski and fishing boat, a Fisher Sweet 16, when he was around 30 years old. 

Some of the vendor’s displays occupied huge areas in the market while others are as tiny as a card table.

As a result of our past experiences, we both generally have enjoyed being on the water and thus have booked some type of boating tour in most countries where we’ve been close to water.

What? Chocolate pudding fruit? Sounds interesting. Priced at AUD $3.50, USD $2.48 per kilo.

As a result of the past boat tours in our world travels, our expectations are in check, hoping for a good experience. Realizing that most of our upcoming photos of marine life in the Great Barrier Reef will be taken through glass we don’t expect perfect representations of what lies below. We’ll definitely do our best to take good photos.

Another equally affordable bouquet of locally grown flowers.

This morning we awakened to a bright sunny day adding to our mutual enthusiasm to finally see one of the world’s greatest treasures. In posts over the next few days, we’ll be included historic and geographical information on the Great Barrier Reef with facts nature lovers may find interesting.

Fresh flowers are scattered throughout the market, adding to a colorful visual.

Our beach bag is packed and we’re set to go other than a necessary stop along the way to the pier in Cairns to purchase bottled water. Much to our delight, we’ve been able to drink tap water in Trinity Beach without any intestinal problems. 

At only AUD $3, USD $2.31 each, a gorgeous bouquet could be put together for a reasonable price.

Its the container for our iced tea that we’re lacking that a large bottle of plain water will provide. Once in hand, we’ll add the packets of iced tea we’ve been hauling around the world with us and be set for beverages for the entire trip.

Today, we’re posting the final photos of our visit to Rusty’s Market and look forward to posting our photos and stories of our tour to Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. 

                                            Photo from one year ago today, August 26, 2014:

The Regency Hotel, Queen’s Gate, where we stayed for two weeks while in South Kensington, London, UK was under construction. Noise with a cluttered entrance at times didn’t bother us at all. What we found most inconvenient was their wifi policy charging huge daily fees for a poor connection. Later in our stay, we were able to get the hotel manager to waive all of our wifi fees for the 16 nights. For more details, please click here.

Memories, old and new yet to come…

The 4th is over. The house is cleaned of the chocolate flag cake little hand prints and the freshly cut grass covered little feet.  The dog nose prints on the glass are gone, the kitchen cleaned from my “bull in a China Shop” food preparation, food flying everywhere.  

The leftovers are almost gone with only one more night of tender barbecue ribs, almond flour fried chicken and crunchy broccoli salad.  There’s one more piece of the gluten free cake for Tom to enjoy tonight after a 12-hour day of hard work in the heat. I look forward to placing it dead center on a his favorite white plate and handing it to him while he cools off in his comfy chair, TV in the background, Ancestry.com loaded up on his laptop, ready to go.

Tom doesn’t like for me to “wait” on him. He never asks me to get him anything. For me, it has become less of a gender role, but more of a being a caring and responsible partner in life, holding up my end of the deal. Retiring almost two years ago after 45 years of work I find my new “job” of homemaker, cook, blogger and travel planner rather rewarding.    

I do laundry every day, washed, folded and ironed if needed.  Each night, Tom took out his clothes for the next day’s work invariably choosing the same already washed and dried shirt among a dozen others, one that he wore the prior day.  

I asked him last night if his co-workers noticed that he rotated only two shirts. He laughed, saying, “Guys don’t notice other guy’s clothes unless they are particularly unusual or fodder for endless jokes.”  His two shirts are relatively boring.  He’s not.

This morning as I padded around the kitchen, almost running in circles, I anticipated my big activity for the day; lunch with my old friend, Lynda of 36 years at Maynards in Excelsior situated on Lake Minnetonka, where she and I hung out in the 70’s (when it was known as T. Butcherblocks). We’d skillfully maneuver our big boats up to the dock, tied them up, and proceeded to order copious amounts of sweet drinks with umbrellas, later dancing into the night in the upstairs bar, chasing boys. 

Both boat owners, we were proud to be women who could manage our meticulously cleaned and maintained 25+ foot cabin cruisers into a tight slip in “the front” of the dock, later heading home to our growing kids, our hard earned homes, our booming business and the responsibilities of the day. It was fun. We were young.

As we meet today to discuss our lives, she with her second husband, me with my third, we’ll surely chuckle over the changes in our lives; our grown kids, our grand kids, she and her husband Jim, living part time in China with two homes in California and now a home on Lake Minnetonka and, us on our path of seeing the world. We’re both digging into our “bucket lists.”

We both still work out almost every day, as we did then, enjoy healthy food, take care of ourselves and grumble over the ravages of time that inevitably heads our way.  We accept that reality of aging as gracefully as we can. We both still relish a “cute” outfit and a brag-worthy bargain on a sexy pair of high heeled shoes, comfort being more of a prerequisite than it was in the past. 

Life has never been easy for either of us, as for most. We worked hard for what we wanted and fumbled along the way. We experienced sorrow, health issues, disappointments and failures. We survived. We still know the words to Gloria Gaynor’s, I Will Survive, popular in our “day.”

It will be a lovely lunch, seeing an old friend, sharing our lives, ordering the delicious Seared Ahi Tuna Salad that I always order at Maynards, reminiscing about the past, anticipating the future that we both share in common in so many ways.

Later, when I return home, I’ll squeeze into a bathing suit spending a little time getting my usual hour’s worth of Vitamin D, finish a load of wash and anxiously await Tom’s return home.   I’ll pour him a cold glass of sugar free iced tea and set out the white plate for him to enjoy the last piece of the gluten free chocolate flag cake. 

I’ll ask him no less than three times if he’s ready for his cake and smile when he finally says “yes”, springing from my comfy chair to get it for him.  

He never asks for me to get something for him, which occasionally makes “waiting” on him, all the more meaningful.