Monthly Archives: November 2015

The Bitter End, Virgin Gorda and Nanny Cay, Tortola

Virgin Gorda (The Baths and The Bitter End)

We spent 5 nights on Virgin Gorda. The first night in, after sailing for seven nights straight, we STILL were unable to touch land! We were stuck onboard our boat because we could not clear customs in time. We were in “quarantine” which meant we had to hang a yellow flag. It also meant people weren’t supposed to talk to us until we were officially paid up and welcomed into the country. At least it was cheap—only about $9 for us to clear customs in the BVIs (compared to $320 in the Bahamas!). Which leads me to one funny side story…we had been waiting for our weather window in NC for a few days and when it was time to go, we had to GO. We left like we were new members of the witness protection program—I canceled my cellular plan after we left dock and started sailing, and we didn’t even go to the bank to get money. I guess I wasn’t thinking we would need American dollars out at sea, but with an unexpected stop in the Bahamas, I was clearly wrong. We attempted to clear customs and you have to have $320 in CASH. Our first question: “Is there an ATM around here?” Response: “No.” We sat there for a minute, and asked our kids: “Do you guys have any money?” Well, Ryan had a bunch of cash in his lockbox but he didn’t know where the key was. Dan and Ryan had to go back to the boat and break into Ryan’s lockbox to pay for customs. That was a great parenting moment! And the next day, we had to borrow Ari’s money for something because—still—no ATM. Yeah, yeah, they’re paid back now, but we felt like fugitives for a little bit…

Before we started out from Beaufort, NC, we had signed up with the “Salty Dawgs,” a group that leaves from Hampton, VA and surrounding areas to sail to Virgin Gorda. Even though we never were able to meet anyone from this group prior to departure, we knew we would get to place faces with HF radio transmissions of their boat names when we finally arrived. We did not know that folks from the group would be so nice and so helpful. Our dinghy had a fast leak—actually, our dinghy had a few large leaks. Initially, we didn’t want to try to duct tape it because we didn’t want to have extra difficulty patching it up properly. We woke up on Day 2 of arrival into the BVIs and realized just how bad our dinghy was and so on the scheduled VHF call in the morning with the Salty Dawgs, we asked if anyone had a patch kit we could borrow until we got cleared into the country and could go into town to replace it. Phil and Judy from Rum Runner offered up their patch kit for our use—and we had never even met them. Not only that, they brought the patch kit over to our boat, and upon learning of our situation, took Dan over to customs in their dinghy. That was incredibly nice of them. Our second night in, upon hearing of our dinghy woes, Paul and Gwen from Blue Skies agreed to pick us up at our anchored boat and transport us in for happy hour and dinner with the group. They did this without ever having met us, and also brought us home! The Salty Dawg sailors are an amazing group of people, and we had so much fun with them at happy hour and at the welcoming dinner a few nights later.

The next day, we decided to take Do Over to Spanish Town and to get good Internet so we could connect with family and research where we could purchase a new dinghy. We realized the dinghy was in rough shape, and since it is essentially the family car for the next two and a half years, we figured we needed one that was reliable. Anyway, after researching it, we decided we would purchase one in Nanny Cay, Tortola when we get there. Our motor is good (thanks to Dan’s dad who gave us his), but a new dinghy will probably cost about $3,800. Ah, the joys (and expenses) of cruising!

The next day, we took our boat over to a day mooring at The Baths, dinghied in to the dinghy line (duct tape can only do so much; Dan and I got a lot of exercise pumping up the dinghy), and swam to shore. It was actually a pretty tough swim because the seas were a bit rough, so I was glad we “strongly recommended” to Ryan that he wear a life jacket. My little heart was beating out of my chest by the time we made it through the surf to shore!

This is when the fun really started. Only Dan had been to The Baths previously, and for Ari, Ryan and me, it was a great new adventure. Interestingly, Ryan loved it so much, he proclaimed that it was absolutely the most fun place we have ever been to while traveling (with second place going to Universal Studios). That is a great endorsement from Ryan, especially since we’ve been traveling to fun and foreign places since he was a baby.

Here are a bunch of photos of The Baths:

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Tired boy with a head full of sand…

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On the way back through the Baths, Dan decided to make it even more fun for the kids by taking them “off the beaten path” through smaller crevices that they “discovered” as they went along (and that a lot of adults would never try to squeeze through). That added to Ryan’s enjoyment of the place—and Ariana was also impressed (as was I).

We finished our day with a drink at the bar and the arduous swim back to our dinghy. It was a nice day.

The next day we cleaned in the morning and relaxed at the Bitter End resort pool in the afternoon. We finished out the day with the Welcoming Dinner with the Salty Dawgs. There were about 90 people there, and most of them sailed down within the last week or two. It was a nice night.  Here we are on our way.  Never mess with a dressed up woman driving her dinghy…

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Here is an unclear photo of us helping to thank the organizers of the rally, who had not yet made it to the BVIs (a crew member put water in their fuel tank!).

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The next morning, this was our view from our anchored boat:

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After watching goats, the kids did school, and in the afternoon we kayaked to shore (we have two double, inflatable kayaks), and then hiked up through the hills to the Fat Virgin Restaurant. On our hike, there was a lot of cactus, troops of butterflies, and the most amazing caterpillars we had ever seen.

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At the Fat Virgin.  I tried Banana Catsup.  It wasn’t too bad!

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Between the kayaking and the hiking, we were pretty tired when we got back to the boat. I made some dinner with some freshly baked bread we picked up at the Bitter End Emporium, and we relaxed.

We have more errands and boat issues to figure out, but we are finally starting to relax a bit and have some fun. It is so wonderful…

Nanny Cay and Sea Cow Bay, Tortola

Well, we have been in Tortola since Tuesday, which makes it already 5 days. This is not the greatest place on earth because the water all around us is not very inviting for swimming and snorkeling. But, we had a few reasons for coming this way. First, Ariana is getting scuba certified here. It is a lot less money than the resorty Bitter End and the dive shop here is rated quite highly. So, we need to stay about a week for her to get it done.

Nanny Cay Beach Bar

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In addition, we met up with Bob and Lori on Barbara Jean who will also be doing the World ARC with us starting in St. Lucia in January. We had met them at the ARC seminar in Annapolis earlier this year so it was fun to see them again. For Thanksgiving dinner, we ended up joining Bob and Lori and the other Carib 1500 rally folks for a potluck right above the beach.   There was a turkey, a ham, chicken, and many other foods for dinner and it was really nice!

Everyone had to bring a dish or two to share and their own silverware and plates for dinner. After dinner, I asked Ryan to rinse the plates down in the water on the beach and he came back minus a fork and a knife. Darn! I only have so much silverware on our boat!  We may be eating everything with spoons by the time we hit Fiji.

After dinner, a handful of us went to Captain Mulligan’s to watch American football on the HUGE screen. Biggest screen I have ever seen. I got to see the Panthers beat the Cowboys and remain undefeated this season while drinking Painkillers. All in all, not a bad Thanksgiving.

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Today, Dan and I went on a steep walk before the kids were even up. There is this hill here that is so incredibly steep, it puts all others I have been on to shame. Coming down, I had to walk slanted backwards. Then we rallied the kids and took the dinghy over to Road Town here on Tortola. There was a European cruise ship in town that I didn’t think would be there (on the website, it showed no cruise ships in town here today). It wasn’t too badly inundated with tourists though. We just walked around for a few hours enjoying the side streets and checking everything out. We ended up having lunch there, doing some grocery shopping and heading back in the afternoon.

A mom and her babies…

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Ari has diving again tomorrow. On her first open water dive, not only did she see colorful, tropical fish, but she saw a Caribbean reef shark and three sea turtles! I was so excited for her, but Ari was less than enthralled. What?!! On my first certification dive in cold, coastal San Diego with a mucky dirt bottom, I saw dirt. And I was happy to see it. And this was after I accidentally grabbed my scuba instructor in his private parts getting over the surf. (Note: I was not happy I did THAT.) I also walked uphill to school both ways in two feet of snow with ill-fitting shoes when I was a kid…

Anyway, when I pointed out to Ariana how rare it is to see such cool things on a first dive and that I was shocked she wasn’t more excited, she said she was excited to see them but she was just tired. Teenager thing? I hope her enthusiasm for scuba grows. It is an incredible world down there!

Ariana is going to sail Optis with the local yacht club here in Tortola tomorrow afternoon too; she IS very excited to do that. So her social calendar includes diving (and testing) from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. followed by sailing from 3:30 to 6. My social calendar includes shuffling Ariana to her “sports.” I thought we were going to be getting away from that when we left the States! 😉 Hopefully, we can get Ryan to sail tomorrow too. So far, he says no. I am not sure why he doesn’t love it as much as his sister…

An update on Provisioning and Meals While at Sea

Provisioning for an offshore cruising trip can be a bit daunting at first, especially if you aren’t sure what people onboard will want during the trip. When I was seasick, I could really only envision eating peanut butter sandwiches, pasta with butter and salt, almonds, and Ritz crackers. But, when you’re feeling well, what do you eat?

I read this before and I think it is true; at sea, you tend to eat what you eat at home. I can tell you I have had little desire to stand for hours in a small galley kitchen whipping up a gourmet meal, but we have “real” meals for dinner most nights. Here’s what our week has looked like so far:

In port: The first night we arrived in port in the Bahamas, Ariana was dying for some pasta with vodka cream sauce. I made some homemade vodka sauce and we had that with spinach fettuccine and salad. The next night, we went out for dinner. Our last night, I made pizza on the grill. I made pizza dough from scratch in the morning while the kids were doing school and I had stocked some Boboli pizza sauce (easy to store). I had shredded mozzarella cheese, pepper jack cheese, Boar’s Head turkey pepperoni (that stuff is good), and green pepper. I made two pizzas on the grill and we had some salad. (I didn’t love my pizza crust this time, though.)

First night out to sea: We had Szechuan chicken stir-fry with jasmine rice. Our stir-fry had grilled chicken, fresh green beans, a bit of green onion, fresh carrots and canned water chestnuts. The kids don’t like spicy stir-fry so I made theirs more plain with soy sauce chicken before I added our zing.

Second night out to sea: We had hard tacos with organic ground chicken, shredded Mexican and pepper jack cheese, fat free refried beans, and tomatoes. I also made up a few small cheese quesadillas. We had salsa (of course) because we can’t live without that.

Third night out to sea: One of my throw-everything-in pasta dishes with angel hair pasta, (previously frozen chopped) spinach, tomato, broccoli, Boursin garlic cheese, and a bit of tomato and herb feta thrown on top for good measure.

Fourth night out to sea: Red beans and rice. Not homemade (the packaged kind that you cook), but super good out here on the ocean. Dan and the kids had a turkey hot dog too.

Fifth night out to sea: Okay, tonight it is ROUGH. We are going to be happy with bean and cheese burritos, or I might get sick.

Sixth night out to sea: Still rough. Still not feeling great. Pasta with marinara is the menu tonight—with garlic bread.

For breakfast on these two legs, I have made cinnamon French toast with turkey bacon, biscuit breakfast sandwiches with scrambled egg, cheese and soy sausage patties, a “scramble” of eggs, black beans, cilantro, and turkey sausage crumbles eaten in taco sized tortillas with avocado (and salsa, of course!), warm croissants with honey, and another meal of scrambled eggs, Applewood smoked chicken sausage links and grilled English muffins. Other days’ breakfast has been a bowl of cereal (we have 5 different kinds onboard right now), a bagel with cream cheese, or a piece of (unsweet) homemade Bahamian coconut bread that we bought in New Plymouth, Abacos based on the recommendation of two very nice, young American women we met in MacIntosh restaurant while we were eating lunch.

For lunch, we sometimes have a sandwich (I bought Boar’s Head chicken breast and froze about three pounds of it before we left. I also bought five kinds of packaged cheese and split them in half—one half for the fridge and one half for the freezer for later). We have also eaten soup, angel hair noodles with herbs and butter (the boxed kind), and Ryan has partaken in a nice can of Chef Boy r Dee Beef Ravioli! Much to Dan’s chagrin (he and his family love the cold sandwich), the kids and I prefer “hot lunch” so lunch could be a number of things, but never too difficult to make.

We anticipate having another 7 or 8 nights out here, before we reach the BVIs and I have written out about 8 more dinners I have the capability of making onboard prior to provisioning again.   Examples: pork fried rice, turkey hot dogs or fish sticks with frozen vegetables.   If we go longer than eight more nights, well, I have enough food on board to make a bunch more meals, but we may have to repeat some or not have every single ingredient we normally have!

I also have a lot of snack foods. We have chips, Gold Fish crackers, Power Bars, Bel Vita Bars (my favorite!), apples, bananas, cashews, almonds, peanuts, cookies, pizza rolls, etc.  WE LOVE PIZZA ROLLS AT SEA!

Planks and Wind

Ever tried a side plank on a boat?

 I am not convinced “walking the plank” is any more difficult than doing a side plank on a moving sailboat. Yesterday, I worked out for a little while (and Ari joined in for part of it). We have these resistance bands that I used while standing watch, and then I decided to do abs, some pilates and some planks. (Melanie, Karen, and Lisa, see, I haven’t given it up completely!) Regular planks are pretty easy on a boat. Well, I mean, planks are never easy but they’re not that much more difficult on a catamaran. But can you imagine a side plank? I tried it; it lasted about 8 seconds. You have to be a Yogi balance master to pull that off! I finished out my workout with aerobic dancing, squats, and “jumping rope” to Flo-Rida, all in about a 2X4 space. Good times. It made me realize I need to update our musical selection when we get to the BVIs. I need more 90s alternative and, believe it or not, current hip hop for working out. Otherwise, I am going to keep singing “apple bottom jeans, boots with the fur…she had the whole world lookin’ at her…” Don’t knock it. It IS a great song for squats!

I lied earlier. It IS hard to do a regular plank on a sailboat when it is rough.

The wind is back!

We have been motoring since we left the Bahamas to head east (day 4). We knew this would be the case based on Chris Parker’s report, but we had no choice but to motor until we hit the trade winds and could head south. It is our fourth night on this leg, and tonight, we have wind! So very exciting. Right now, at 3 a.m., I have 11 knots of True wind and I am heading East/Southeast. We are doing 7.4 knots and I don’t have to listen to either of the diesel engines running (the engines that Dan affectionately named Jake and Trina after his two favorite pet dogs). All I hear is the wind and the flowing water passing under us on our stern. It is pretty peaceful even if I am rocking back and forth a bit. Oh, and did I mention it is very, very, very dark? There is no moon tonight, no stars, and fortunately, no ships so far either. Space Mountain once again…

By night 5, the seas were rough and the wind was stronger. We were upwind the whole time. I had a bit of seasickness those days, but after seven nights, we made it to Virgin Gorda. Just in time. I didn’t lose my sanity just yet…

Dan Tried to Call Jupiter (Saturday, November 14th)

Before you start thinking Dan has gone off the deep end like Jack Nickelson in The Shining, I should explain…

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Last night, Dan had the “dog watch” from midnight to 4 a.m. He noticed a pretty significant light slightly above the horizon that seemed to change colors from white to red, much like the tricolor light we and many other sailboats have on the top of the mast. This boat didn’t have AIS or show up on radar, but that is definitely not unheard of. Sailboats are often made of fiberglass and radar doesn’t always ping off of fiberglass. Sailing toward this sailboat, it definitely had constant bearing on our bow, so Dan was concerned about a possible collision waiting to happen in the near future. Dan decided to call the sailboat on VHF radio, but alas, no one responded. He then thought to grab my Droid, which has the sky app on it. Lo and behold, he holds the omniscient electronic device to the sky, and what does he learn? Yup, that sailboat is Jupiter—the RED planet. Hee, hee, hee. Funny thing is I made the same mistake the other night when it was foggy, but instead of trying to contact life on another planet, I just waited to see if it appeared to get closer. Jupiter is incredibly bright out here, brighter than most ship lights we see…except for the one Ari and I saw last night. I have never seen a ship with so many lights. I kid you not—I think they had a floodlight on every surface of the ship. I could actually see the glow of this ship before he came on my horizon. I felt like I was sailing to Ocean Las Vegas—and shockingly, I don’t even think it was a cruise ship.

Dolphins in a Sea of Glass and a Yellow-Breasted Bird

Dolphins in a sea of glass and a little yellow-breasted bird (Saturday, November 14th)

Without a lot of wind, the ocean can be extremely calm and “glass-like.” Like this, in fact:

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The visibility is incredible. Today, we had a pod of dolphins (probably about 8-10) that decided to run with us along our bow. They were so beautiful, and you could see how graceful, yet powerful they were swimming just beneath and on top of the surface because the seas were so calm. We took photos and video. At one point, there was a baby swimming with its mother, but he or she couldn’t keep up and mom and baby had to duck out of the fun about a third of the way through. The others stayed on for a good solid 10-15 minutes. I never wanted them to leave!

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Video of the pod on the link below.  It won’t let me post the best one because it is too large of a file but here is one:

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But wait, there’s more. This morning at about 7 a.m., I had a small, fluffy, yellow-breasted bird who landed on the safety lines about 3 feet away from me on our port side when I was on watch.  Everyone else was still sleeping.  The bird needed rest. He sat there for a few minutes and then flew through our cockpit and out to sea. Or so I thought. Fast forward an hour and Dan and Ryan are up and about. Then this little bird flies by Dan’s head sitting inside at the nav (navigation) desk. My little bird must have been in our salon for about an hour, but he wasn’t there just for our hospitality. He couldn’t find his way out! Dan picked him up in his hand and placed him just outside our front hatches on the bow deck. He didn’t fly away right away though. Instead, he spread his little feet further apart so he could handle the close-reach winds and the rocking of the bow, and continued to build up enough strength to fly off. This bird had quite a journey. We were about 300 miles offshore!

Our bird:

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These moments add sunshine to our days at sea. I love these moments because, truth be told, I have never enjoyed routine. (That is part of the reason I love my profession; no day is ever the same and travel can be very spontaneous—but—I digress.)   I know some people welcome routine and even thrive on it, but I find it incredibly monotonous. And let’s face it—sailing is not the most expedient way to get from Place A to Place B. Don’t get me wrong. There are times when cruising can be incredible, not just for the actual sailing but also for instance, when you have the time to play cards or joke around with your kids, but I tend to get much more excited anticipating the beautiful, novel places we will visit and the interesting people we will meet.

We had a casualty.  Another different kind of bird spent the night sitting on our outside cockpit cushion and in the morning, we thought he flew off.  He didn’t.  Instead, we found him near death next to a bag under a table and he ended up dying on us.  We felt terrible.  I don’t know if it was severe exhaustion or dehydration, but I thought about giving him water but did not want to scare him and make him fly off when he obviously needed rest.  Next time if we have that happen, I am putting out a big dish of water.  Maybe it will bring a little bird back to life!

Bahamas to BVI (Several Different Posts Here)

Don’t Want to Become a Ship’s Pancake (Thursday, November 12th)

Well, it is 1:45 a.m. as I write this, and I am keeping my eye on a ship that is on my starboard side about 13 miles out on the radar at this point. I need to make sure he doesn’t have “constant bearing/decreasing range.” If this is a new term for you like is was for me prior to a few years ago, it means basically that if the ship doesn’t move relative to your boat’s position as it gets closer, then you have to worry about possible collision. If you see that the boat, over time, is moving on a different course relative to your boat, then you won’t collide. There are a few ways to figure this out. We have radar, and the photo below shows that you can set a ring and a line to show where the vessel is for that radar transmission.

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On the next transmission, you hope to see that he isn’t closer (circle) at the same position relative to your course (line). (You can also use a feature called “MARPA” on your radar, but given that the little red button on our Raymarine radar stopped working on about night 4 of sailing, we no longer have that capability until we get a replacement panel—once again…and this is also why we are limited to radar transmissions every 3 minutes rather than continuously, too…)

Another way to assess constant bearing/decreasing range is by sight, but I feel better using this method during the day when you can actually see. Ship lights can be confusing, and their distance can be difficult to discern. But, during the day, you can pick a spot on your vessel to determine the ship’s relative position to your boat, wait a few minutes, and see if the ship is in the same relative position. Then you just hope that it is not—because that is definitely easiest.

We also have AIS, which is GREAT! If it is a commercial vessel you’re dealing with, it should be broadcasting via AIS its name, size, where it is going, its current course, and its speed over ground. Then it will tell you at what point you will be closest to this ship, and what that distance will be. We did have a Class A ship that did not broadcast via AIS so you cannot rely on this method of spotting ships exclusively.

Okay, from AIS, I just learned that the vessel I am watching is NYK Remus and it is headed for New York City.

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It is 961 feet long, over a hundred feet wide, and should be at our closest point of approach of about 3 miles in 25 minutes. Personally, I would rather a little more distance at night (what if he changes course at the last minute??) so I am going to do a few things to guarantee he won’t come too close to us. Right now, we are under power and not sail, because there is essentially no wind and what little there is happens to be right on our bow.   So this is easy-peasy. I am going to slow down and adjust course seven degrees south (which is to the right because I am heading due east at about 90-91 degrees True). This will give me a more distant “closest point of approach” (CPA) which will make this ‘ole gal a little more comfortable. Why seven degrees? I don’t know. It seems like enough, but is fairly arbitrary. Lucky number seven at the craps table, maybe?

So what do you do if your sails are up? I am sure there is more than one answer to this question, but I would have kept my course and lived with a 3 mile CPA if I had to tack the boat. Given current conditions, if it were within 3 miles and my sails were up, I would have “fallen off.” The wind is slightly to port, so we would have been on a port tack had the sails been up (jib would have been on the starboard side), so I would have turned my 7 degrees south. I wouldn’t have bothered to trim the sails accordingly (which would have been to let them out just a little bit), because I would not want to increase the speed of my vessel. I am sure there are other ways to handle the situation, but this is how I would do it, given what I know up to this point. I am definitely learning as I go…

I took a “six pack” captain’s course in April and I learned about all of the light configurations you can see on ships at night and what those mean. So, on our buddy RMK Remus who is on our starboard side, I saw a white light on the left, a red light in the middle, and two white lights on the right. Looking through binoculars, I knew that I was seeing ‘ole Remus’s port side since I could see a red running light and I could tell bow from stern given the height of the white lights. That meant he was headed north, across my bow. Knowing about the lights helps, but really, at the end of the day, the only thing you have to know is: don’t hit anything with lights.

All that writing has taken some time. Mr. Remus has now crossed our bow and is off and running to the big city where it will be cold this time of year…

That was all a lot like school, wasn’t it? So let’s lighten this up with a funny tidbit before I close this out. At 4 in the morning yesterday, I relieved Dan from his watch. We try not to put on a whole lot of lights because it kills your night vision. He went down to our head to brush his teeth, and he came up afterward and said: “I thought I stepped on a tube of Benadryl on the floor, but I turned on the light and it was a fish!” One of the flying fish decided to do a Kamikaze mission! He had to jump up more than six feet out of the water, clear our safety lines, and time it perfectly so that he fell into our bathroom’s ceiling window…too bad he wasn’t a yellow fin tuna…yum.

Off to the BVIs (finally)

Short one here.

We are leaving Green Turtle Cay, Abacos right now.  We visited New Plymouth yesterday.  Cute town.  Now we are out of pocket for 8-10 days…

We were the lonely boat at the last marina, but it sure was clear water!  The “storm” turned out to be regular ‘ole winds, but better safe than sorry!

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New Plymouth, Abacos (near Green Turtle Cay).  Colorful village.  Pretty and quaint!

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A typical house in New Plymouth.

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With the camera setting in vivid, we look like red lobsters!

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A Change in Course and Life Onboard–Leg 1

CHANGE OF COURSE

If you look at our yellow-brick transmissions, we look a bit dazed and confused. Winds were all over the place our first night, and on the second night they were coming from the wrong direction.   We had to try to “follow the wind” by going SW. Then, we got word from Meteorologist Chris Parker—a storm was brewing…

Ariana and I standing watch:

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We were getting our weather outlook each day from Chris Parker (Florida) and on Friday, we learned that a low pressure/tropical storm was developing either just north of the Bahamas or down near Martinique, starting on Monday. Given that we had not yet traveled too far east, Chris recommended that if we had enough fuel, we should head to the Bahamas in case this storm turned ugly—and get there before Monday morning. Of course, we would never have gotten that information if it hadn’t been for a woman on “Aloha” who was kind enough to relay our position and Chris Parker’s response. Our HF transmission was TERRIBLE that night and we are so grateful to her for being willing to be our go between.

This flying fish (“Fish Stick” as Ariana adoringly calls him) didn’t make it.  He got caught in our trampoline:

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With this new information in hand, we changed course and hightailed it toward the Bahamas, which we reached on Sunday late afternoon after motor sailing the whole way. Of course, that was not without issue. Once again, one of the control panel buttons does not work on our Raymarine Radar, and we are unable to dim our screen and unable to use radar in all the ways we usually can (we do still have radar, however). Also, after a day of motoring, our starboard engine gave us a warning light and alarm and we had to shut her off.

Sunrise Day 2

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That being said, generally, our seas were good, except that we were upwind the whole time (close-hauled for a catamaran). Sunday night, we had some “sea confusion.” It was a bit rough and the night passage was very dark. I liken a night passage with no moon to a ride on Space Mountain. You can’t see where you’re going. You just sit in a seat that you are clipped to via your PFD and tethers, and you hang on for the ride. Sometimes, you rock to the right, sometimes to the left, sometimes you get jolted when your bow digs into a trough, and sometimes you lose your stomach slightly riding a wave down on a big roller. I think that is why I love the moon so much out here. When she is present, you hold the erroneous belief that being able to see a horizon in any way actually affects how you sail the boat at night. But in all seriousness, when the moon does show up, you can’t help but feel like she is your friend. I sound a little like Tom Hanks with his love of Wilson the volleyball…

So here we are sitting in Spanish Cay, Bahamas, a far cry from Virgin Gorda where we were supposed to still be sailing to right now!   But, once again, we can’t relax. We are the ONLY boat in this marina now, and the man who runs it informed us it is not safe for the impending storm, and that our best bet is to travel to Green Turtle Cay and duck into a hurricane hole. Dan is changing the oil on the starboard engine that was giving us trouble on the way here and we are leaving once again. No relaxation yet!

Dan changing the starboard engine oil:

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Do Over is back at home in clear waters!

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Spanish Cay bull shark hangs out here…

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The marina buildings

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ON-BOARD DYNAMICS AND DAILY LIFE

I was only seasick the first night! Can you believe that? Well, it sure was rough. I was in my stateroom trying to sleep and I really thought the boat was going to fall apart at any moment. At least, that is what it felt like down below when it was that rough. I was lying down there thinking that the Jolly Green Giant was picking up our boat and slamming it down on concrete. I then thought, I should make green beans tonight to appease the giant vegetable sea God “Jolly Green.” I thought he was jolly but when he is out to sea, he is pissed! And yes, you tend to have strange thoughts when you’re on the high seas…

The whole trip so far, I have alternated taking Bonine and Stugeron (I think this works better even though it isn’t approved in the U.S.) every eight hours, and it seems to be working fairly well. When I wake up in my stateroom, I hurry to get ready for watch so that I can get upstairs pretty quickly where it is less bouncy.   This generally works for me.

Ryan on evening watch–with the IPod.

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The kids are doing well too. They both felt a bit sick the first night, but they did great after that. They have been wonderful about standing watch on their own during the day, but they know that if they see a ship, they should call us rather than decide how to handle it on their own (at least until they have a lot more experience). They have also stayed up with us for a few night watches, and they are good about that too, but Dan and I don’t mind solo watches (with coffee/tea and music) so I think most of the time, we will let them sleep through the night. When they handle some of the day watches, it really gives Dan and me a break. I can nap in the cockpit and Ariana/Ryan can wake me if something comes on the radar or AIS. I am proud of how well they are adjusting to life at sea.

Now we are off to Green Turtle Cay…

By the way, if you have any questions about what it’s like onboard cruising, please ask away!

Tomorrow, November 3, is our departure date

Are we ready to go?  Who knows.  I hear no one is ever 100% ready and that’s the way I feel right now.  We are still having issues with AIS and our freezer has started blowing its fuse (about 4 times now) but our weather window is best tomorrow so we are not going to miss it.  Tomorrow, we leave for Virgin Gorda, BVI.

Oh, and we had our name redone on both sides of the bow (along with our hailing port on the stern) and I think it looks pretty good!  Ryan picked the “undo” computer symbol to signify “Do Over” and we went with it.

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