Sea Star 7

1998 Bayliner LeClercq

2023 Epic Christmas

Where to begin this story?  Back in the spring, Pam and Mike put their Bellamar unit up for sale.  Its gorgeous.  At the time, Melissa told her brother Kelly about it, but he wasn’t ready to make a commitment, and the unit was contracted to be sold to Bill and Nikki who had been renting in a ground floor unit.  Then on October 22, Pam told us that the deal fell through.  Melissa messaged Kelly at 11:42am to let him know.  Two hours later he messaged back – he was interested!  As it happened, Melissa and Dave were having dinner with Pam and Mike that evening.  A last night out for Pam before she went in for extensive spinal surgery the next day.  Over dinner a deal was put together, and by 4pm the next day Melissa was able to send a message to the attorney writing up the deal on what the deal terms were to be.

In Mexico buying property can be a bit complex, and it took two months for the prior deal to get unwound so that Pam could sign a new buy / sell agreement with Kelly.  But ultimately, money was successfully placed in escrow on December 23.

The catch?  Kelly didn’t tell his wife or sons anything about it.  So the past two months have been spent in secret phone calls, emails, text messages to get the deal put together and then ultimately to concoct an elaborate scavenger hunt for Logan (Kelly’s son) and Nicole (his wife).

So when Kelly, Nicole, and Logan arrived last night there was a Christmas tree and a wrapped surf board for Logan.  Overnight, both disappeared and the only thing left was a grinch holding an envelope.  During the night, the Bellamar night watchman came in and moved Christmas to Pam's unit.  He was super excited to get to play the Grinch!

Here is what the note said:

That solves to (using a simple A=1 cypher):

Where a Grinch video sends us to “La Cabana” a local joint for breakfast where one of the staff brought us another envelope that contained:

This solves to “pool”.  And indeed, there was another clue in the pool back at Bellamar.  That's a dry bag attached to a dumbbell that Arturo had placed in the pool.

Logan’s giving us a bit of an eye roll at this point.

Logan got his swimsuit and hopped in.

The “dry bag” we had used didn’t stay dry.  And the clue was soaked and unreadable.  Fortunately, Melissa had made spare envelopes with each clue in case something along the way went sideways.  So the next puzzle was this:

Also in the envelope was this:

Nicole and Logan needed a few hints, but ultimately figured out the next clue must be with the Bellamar handyman, Irving (or, since it was a Sunday – in Irving’s “office” under the stairs).

That envelope contained this puzzle which solves to “CLOSET”.

Along with these two additional clues:

After running around looking in all the closets, Logan found the next envelope:

Nicole recognized this immediately – the logo for a beach surf board rental place.  Logan and Melissa headed down to see Ruby.  Yesterday, Melissa took their clue and gave it to Ruby’s husband, Zappo.  Melissa had briefed Ruby on the gane weeks ago.  But Zappo, not realizing the envelope was part of a game, opened it.  As we walked up Ruby was laughing, and it cracked us all up.

This envelope contained this puzzle.

Along with:

At this point we made a game day call to not allow them to phone Carson until they had solved the rest of the puzzles.

The picture clues ultimately lead to the unit.

And the stray numbers in red led to the lockbox code – minus one number.  Now its time to call Carson (Kelly’s second son).  When he answers, he gives a riddle “how big is the Grinche’s heart?”.  And the answer, if you know your Dr. Suess is “two sizes two small” which Nicole got right off the bat.  That gave us the key to the unit, and we made Nicole go in first.  In the video you can see that she is so stunned she is utterly without words.

A couple of bottles of pink champagne were chilling in the fridge and the champagne glasses were at the ready.

And, now, finally, Logan gets to open his surf board!

Nicole spent the next hour walking from room to room in a daze.  With us trailing along… yes all the furniture comes with it.  Yes, Kelly can afford it.  Yes, you can sleep here tonight if you want to.  All in all, an EPIC Christmas!

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