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Christmas Card 2000

MERRY CHRISMAS

The Ernisses are breaking traditions this year: we have no family picture. Please check our web site at www.maui.net/~dernisse for lots of pictures. This letter will arrive rather early since we will be mailing it while we are in Florida, November 20-30, visiting Davidís parents and Ellenís Dad, who will be there from Cincinnati. Jason and Eric will be taking care of Peace and Aloha, anchored in Spanish Waters, Curacao, Dutch West Indies. They have plenty of boat projects to accomplish along with experiencing being in command while we are away. Year 2000 has been a year of adventure, discovery, challenges, opportunities, and learning (the complete spectrum of physical, spiritual, and psychological emotions!) for us as the crew of Peace and Aloha. We arrived in Florida last November and spent two months making her ship-shape to head off-shore. We enjoyed the holidays with Davidís parents, Davidís sister Linda and her family, our daughter Julie and Jasonís girl friend Naran from Maui. Over Christmas and New Yearís we sailed to Key West and back to Ft. Lauderdale. We headed to Nassau, Bahamas across the Gulf Stream on January 23, 2000. We had perfect sailing through the Gulf Stream, but were blasted with a 50 knot gale as we approached Nassau. The shallow waters of the Bahamas did not give us much of a problem with our deep draft. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay in the Bahamas and we consider that area to be one of the best cruising locations we have experienced. We sailed to Conception Island, which we loved, then to Rum Cay to wait almost two weeks for a weather window to sail out to 65 degrees west longitude and then south to St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. It took us almost 8 days to sail and motor (we had very little wind!) to Charlotte Amalie Harbor, St. Thomas arriving on March 8. We then traveled down the island chain (mostly to windward, which can be difficult and uncomfortable sailing) after spending a month or so in the US and British Virgin Islands. We traveled to St. Martin/St. Maarten, St. Barts, Antigua, Guadaloupe, The Saintes, Dominica, St. Lucia, The Grenadines (Tobago Cays - our favorite place), Martinique, Grenada and Carriacou, Trinidad, Islands off Venezuela, Bonaire and Curacao. The French islands were the most interesting with their great French food. Driving on the left side of the road in Trinidad was also an experience not to be forgotten. We have visited 22 different countries with 80 different anchorages and 16 different US states with 28 different anchorages covering over 6,500 miles! We have met many wonderful people along our journey. We have experienced their food, language, currency, and customs. What a learning experience! We have enjoyed fishing (and especially eating fish, lobster and conch) and snorkeling on many pristine coral reefs with crystal clear waters. We saw waterfalls, birds, beautiful sunsets, and rainbows. We ate different and delicious new fruits and vegetables and local foods! We have had the difficult stressful times also....one cannot own a boat and not have at least one stress per day! Probably the most worrisome time was the beginning of October in Trinidad, when we weathered almost hurricane Joyce, an oil spill which affected our 4 week old bottom paint job, and an earthquake! We left before the arrival of the locusts and the pestilence!! Thanks again for all your prayers! Interestingly, we have had no stressful experiences while sailing during the day or night from one location to another. We have continued to repair and add equipment to Peace and Aloha, so she is now nearly prepared to venture into the Pacific. We plan to sail to the San Blas Islands off Panama sometime in December . There is a chance that Julie and Chris and his family will be visiting us there for Christmas. We will also meet about 20-30 other cruising boats there who are planning to transit the Panama Canal in February. Then it is through the Canal and off to the Galapagos and the South Pacific and eventually New Zealand for our continuing adventure. Julie is thriving at the University of Colorado at Boulder majoring in Biology. She is engaged to be married to Chris Johnson, a computer science major. They do not have an exact time and place scheduled for the wedding. They are sharing a really nice condo off campus with Chrisís sister, Julia, a freshman at the University . They have a 1 year old Black Labrador puppy, Nalu, our ďgrand dogger.Ē You can access Julieís web site through our site in Hot News. Also, they will now be taking care of Manu and Sammie, our African Grey parrots, since the Hills, former caretakers on Maui, are moving to Oregon for better medical care. We are greatful to the Hills for keeping Manu and Sammie healthy and happy during our absence. We wish them the best on their move. Please keep in touch through emails directly to us on board via our SSB Ham radio link at KH7JL@winlink.org . PLEASE remember, attachments will be deleted and please do not re-send our message to you back to us! We are not able to access our maui.net emails very often. Our regular address remains the same: 88005 Overseas Hwy. #9-525 Islamorada, FL 33063. We have our mail forwarded to us in different countries so please remember that we will have to pay duty on items other than letters. We do LOVE to have letters and pictures....please do NOT remove us from your list!!! We wish you a happy 2001! Live your dreams and count your blessings! We count our blessings and give thanks to God daily for our great abundance and the opportunity for this amazing journey that we are undertaking as a family. Enjoy the holidays with your families, where ever you are! We love you and miss you!

HAPPY NEW YEAR! David, Ellen, Jason, Eric, and Julie Ernisse