Having been back now for 5 months, we are trying to figure out what this year will be like for us. By this time we would have been back to the boat and cruising again.

We immediately began re-visiting all the fun things we did prior to sailing. One of which is enjoying our 5 acres located in the Chilhowee Mountains. We go frequently to get away and enjoy its beauty and to begin clearing a spot where we could eventually build a home. Our property is located at the edge of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, so we are able to easily access the over 900 miles of its hiking trails.

When COVID first arrived back in March 2020, we heard the warnings about returning to the USA as soon as possible. However, it wasn’t that easy for us because we were in St. Martin, a long way from the United States or the other safe haven for hurricane season, Grenada. We decided to stay in St. Martin where we were safe from the weather until travel restrictions eased. We eventually made it to Grenada, however travel restrictions are marginally better providing you adhere to the testing and quarantine requirements.

Like several other cruisers that we have met over the past few years, we decided to put 5KNOTS up for sale while she sits quarantined in Grenada. Here is the listing should you know anybody looking for a good boat.  https://www.yachtworld.com/boats/2011/beneteau-oceanis-40-3697686/

While waiting to see if 5KNOTS  finds new owners or travel restrictions ease enough to make it feasible to bring her back to the USA, we decided that we may as well work to replenish the kitty. Renée found a job as a nurse (but not pediatric) and is employed full time. I am working part-time doing AutoCAD drawings for a civil engineering firm. Not working for the past 4 years, we are not thrilled about starting again but know it’s for the best. Since both of us are working we determined that we would be needing a second vehicle. We decided on a 2004 Ford F-150 that had relatively low mileage.

We were pleasantly surprised to wake up to a white Christmas this year!

One of our favorite getaways is Hot Springs, NC. We have been going there for over 20 years to camp, hike, bike, kayak and raft down the French Broad River. This time we decided to spend a couple of nights at the Iron Horse Station (https://www.theironhorsestation.com). It is a great hotel and the restaurant is awesome. We had such a good time that we decided we would return for our 24th Wedding Anniversary in February.

The loose plans are that I may go back to Grenada in March/April with our sailing buddy Tim and sail 5KNOTS back to the USA. Since Renée has just started her new job, she will be unable to make this trip. I will see if we can get a slip at Brunswick Landing Marina where we would keep 5KNOTS. Brunswick, GA is only  7 1/2 hours from Maryville so it would be easy to drive down for long weekends.

That’s all the news for now.