Another birthday…another year…

Today was a chance to celebrate another year; to make another birthday wish; to reflect on the many blessings in my life.
Thanks to all who sent birthday wishes and for reminding me of how blessed I am with good friends with truly caring hearts of gold!

Leaving on a jet plane…

The time is finally here…yeah!
Emma and I are leaving in the morning to fly home for a visit.
It has been a year in a half since I’ve seen my family and I’m so excited.
I’ll think of you all while strolling along the beach and listening to the sounds of the ocean.
I’ll bring back plenty of pictures and memories to share!
Take care my dear friends and I’ll visit when I get back home.
Hugs, Rhonda
Virginia Beach Oceanfront

The 33rd Annual Norfolk Harborfest – Parade of Tall Ships


After reading Duckie’s post about the Tall Ships, it made me homesick as this was the event of the Summer back home.

They have come and gone now but here are the highlights of the beautiful ships that graced the Norfolk Harbor this year.

Tall Ships at 2009 Norfolk Harborfest®

At "high noon" on Friday, July 3, Norfolk will welcome the Parade of Sail as it enters the Downtown Norfolk Harbor.  Following tradition, an expansive fleet of tall ships, character vessels, sleek power cruisers, sailing craft, antique and classic wooden boats, military vessels, tugs and more, will salute thousands of onlookers stationed at vantage points along the Elizabeth River – the larger portion of the crowd expected to be viewing from Town Point Park officially reopens July 4th weekend after closing in October 2008 for a complete makeover.

The tall ships taking part in the parade of sail will leave Waterside Marina at 8 am, Friday, July 3 and rally with the rest of the participating vessels at Sewells Point at 9 am. The Parade will depart Sewells Point at 10 a.m. and enter the Downtown Norfolk Harbor (passing Nauticus Pier) at 12 Noon.

Ship Visits: Stroll down the docks of Town Point Park and visit aboard tall ships, character vessels, and the USS Battleship Wisconsin; admire the craftsmanship of antique and classic wooden boats; exchange sea stories with skippers of sleek new cruising yachts and seasonal sailing crafts.

"Capitan Miranda" Uruguay 205′-The "Capitan Miranda’ is the official Naval Sail Training tall ship of Uruguay.  She was built 1930 as a sailing cargo carrier and was active in various trades in Latin America post World War II.  Capitan Miranda became a hydrographic survey vessel for the Uruguayan Navy during the 1960s and in 1978 became the only Naval Sail Training Boat in Uruguay as well as begun serving as "itinerant embassy’" for her country.  It is Capitan Miranda’s mission to train young sailors and educate them to be citizens committed to their fellow citizens and their country.



o 205′ Length Overall
o Rigged as a Stayrail Schooner with a clipper bow
o Built in 1930
o Beam 27′
o Draft 12′
o Steel Hull
o Carries a crew of approximately 90 officers, midshipmen and crew

Cisne Branco Brazil 249′ The Cisne Branco is a tall ship of the Brazilian Navy hailing out of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, though she travels worldwide. Cisne Branco (translation:"White Swan") is a full-rigged ship built in Amsterdam, Netherlands, by Damen Shipyard. Her keel was laid on November 9, 1998, and she was launched and christened on August 4, 1999.  She was delivered to the Brazilian Navy on February 4, 2000, and commissioned as a Brazilian naval vessel on March 9, 2000. Cisne Branco made her maiden voyage across the Atlantic Ocean to Brazil, celebrating the 500th anniversary of the discovery of Brazil, by the Portuguese Admiral Pedro Alvares Cabral.

The ship’s project is inspired by the design of the 19th century clippers. Cisne Branco is normally used in national and international representation activities to showcase the Brazilian Navy and Brazilian culture. She is also used as an instructional sailing ship by the cadets of the Brazilian Naval Academy, Academy of Merchant Marine and other naval schools.

o Full Rigged Ship
o Length: 249′
o Beam: 34’6
o Draft: 15’9
o Rig Height: 152′
o Hull: Steel

Schooner Delight hails from the Harbor of Refuge at Cape Charles on Virginia’s beautiful Eastern Shore.  She is rendered in Cor-Ten steel and was designed and built by Thomas Colvin in 1970 at his boatyard in Mathews County, Virginia, on the East River of Mobjack Bay.  Delight has enjoyed Norfolk’s generous hospitality in the last 15 Harborfest celebrations. Also, since 1995 she is a perennial entrant and two-time winner of her class in The Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race. Delight’s grateful lines recall the age of the sail when the waters of the Chesapeake Bay were plied by a thousand schooners carrying passengers, freight, and farm and seafood harvests to near and distant ports.  Delights captain and crew fully support the goals of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. 



Schooner Virginia, USA, 126′ -The Schooner Virginia is a recreation of her namesake The Virginia.  The original pilot schooner Virginia was the 5th ocean-keeping vessel owned by the Virginia Pilot Association. She was also the 4th wooden schooner, and the 3rd and last pilot ship built expressly for the pilots. The Schooner Virginia is owned and operated by the Virginia Maritime Heritage Foundation and serves as a goodwill ambassador for the Commonwealth of Virginia.


o 126′ Length Overall
o Two masted Gaff topsail knockabout schooner
o Built in 2004
o Beam 24 ft
o Draft 12.3 ft
o Rig Height of 112′
o Wood Hull
o 6385 square feet of Sail Area 
o Carries up to 35 passengers

Pride of Baltimore II, USA, 105′ – The Pride of Baltimore II was commissioned in 1988 as a sailing memorial to her immediate predecessor, the original Pride of Baltimore, which was tragically sunk by a white squall off Puerto Rico, in 1986, taking her captain and three crew members down with her. Both ships were built in the Baltimore Inner Harbor as reproductions of 1812-era topsail schooners, the type of vessels, called Baltimore Clippers that helped America win the War of 1812 and finally secure its freedom.



o Two masted, topsail schooner
o Length: 105′
o Beam: 26.4′
o Draft: 12.6′

The Spirit of Independence is a schooner that is similar in design to the coasting schooners that plied the waters off East, Gulf, and West coasts of America during the 19th and the first part of the 20th century.  The Spirit Of Independence was designed by Naval Architect the late Charles Wittholz to replicate the grand traditions of its forbears. However, J.C. Waters modified this vessel with modern materials and equipment in order to make The Spirit a much stronger, safer, and easier vessel to operate and maintain than its predecessors.




USS WISCONSIN: The USS Wisconsin is an Iowa-class battleship. She presently awaiting donation to the City of Norfolk for permanent use as a museum ship. The USS Wisconsin is located steps away from Town Point Park in Whisky Basin.  She will be open for tours throughout the weekend.

Harborfest always includes lots of great bands, fantastic food and an incredible fireworks display…many fond memories for me!

Beautiful Ice Sculptures


Totally Amazing…what talent and time this must take!


Thank You Dear Friends

To my Beautiful Friends:

Thank you all for your wonderful birthday wishes.  I was completely overwhelmed at the cards, graphics and good wishes I received. 
I have the most thoughtful and awesome friends one could ever hope for and that in itself was the best birthday present of all.

I wanted to leave a thank you note in all of your guest books but with my computer still giving me problems, it would take me an entire week I think to get that accomplished.  Please know how much you all are appreciated and please accept this sincere THANK YOU from me to all of you for your support and friendship.



My Best Friend’s Wedding


Actually, my best friend’s daughter’s wedding.  Jeff and Mindy are dear friends that I left behind when we moved here from Virginia Beach a year and a half ago.  Jeff is an attorney I worked for and the greatest boss I ever had; his wife Mindy is my dearest friend.  Their oldest daughter Amy was married last month and she sent me some of the proofs from the wedding.  They are not as clear as the final prints will be but they are just too beautiful not share.


From left:  Jeff, daughter Katie, Bride, Groom, Son Jeffrey, Mindy

Bride and Groom

The Girls

Bride and Groom

Dancing with Dad

Sunset Kiss


I wish I could have been there Mindy but thank you for sharing the photos…Congratulations to the happy couple!!!


9/11 – In God’s Hands



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