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Cruising to Calm
" I've learned that making a 'living' is not the same as 'making a life'." Maya Angelou. This is the story of the Brown family adventure. We have pulled roots in NY and are taking our two kids ages 4 & 1 on a five year cruise. This is our story
Or maybe not
09/25/2008, Where else??? Grenada

It is 6:00am. O and I have been up since 4:00 because today is the day we are leaving Grenada.
In true Jenny and O form it is not without hassle. Our anchor will not come up....we tried and tried and tried but are only straining the windlass to the max. Obviously we are hung up on something, and it's not moving, but it is hard to tell what when it is pitch black. So we watched our friends on Zen leave, as we racked our brains thinking of ways to get the anchor up. Here we sit.
We think that the boat behind us has dropped their anchor on ours because we can hear something running down our chain. But it doesn't make sense that our anchor can't pick theirs up. So, we will wait for daylight so O can snorkel on it..he needs ambient light ( "ambient light"????? too early to process that).
We are anchored in thirty feet of somewhat murky water so I am unsure what we can actually do. I favor waking the boat up that we think dropped on our anchor but we don't know for sure so we wait...and time passes... thus closing our window to leave because we do not want to arrive at night . We are losing time.
Will we EVER leave Grenada???? UGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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09/26/2008 | david lawson
Please leave politics out of your blog it just ruins it! love all the restyou write
09/28/2008 | rie rie
why dont people ever just mind their own business....Jenny
09/28/2008 | rie rie
why dont people ever just mind their own business....Jenny
09/28/2008 | Magnus Murphy
Hi guys! Were back in Calgary and the kids in school - Michele in high school! We're missing Losloper a lot- she's high and dry in Grenada Marine. Glad to hear you're still having a blast. Never told you, the closest we ever came to putting Losloper on shore, was at Cayo Levantado, the night us and you guys left for the Mona. My daughter was driving and wanted to go around Independence and didn't watch the depth. I think we touched - and then getting back to deep water without ramming you guys took quite the maneuvering! Lucky you were not watching!!
Take care, Magnus, Ronel, Michele and Meghan Murphy; sv Losloper
09/28/2008 | jojo
Hey Kids! We keep missing each other... figuratively and literally.
Jenny, if you EVER needed your TIVO..... you're missing some of the best political comedy (granted with this much fodder Jeb could be a comedian)... Steven Colbert, Jon Stewart and SNL are tearing it up. Can't wait till the VP debate...should be called " Palin-ically Incorrect".
Might even be worth a flight home for!
Missing you TOOOO much!
j
09/28/2008 | Magnus
Oh just wanted to give you our webblog address:

http://web.mac.com/losloper

By the way, I reread my last comment and wanted to clarify - we touched bottom, not Indy!

I'll keep an eye on your blog to keep in touch. Keep the kids away from the Bengay!
And We are off...
09/24/2008, leaving Grenada

started last week.
Our computer is in transit and should arrive on Monday!! Once it arrives we will just be waiting on the weather. It will be strange to be traveling again. For the most part, the Caribbean is just a series of short day sails so it has been a while since we last did a major journey.
We are going to the Testigo islands off the coast of Venezuela. From what I have read there is not much there other than a few fisherman and great secluded beaches...I can't wait. Sushi and swimming! I think the whole family could really use that.
Ben told me the other day that he does not enjoy swimming here very much because of the water clarity, hopefully we can rectify that for him. That thought would have never even crossed my mind when I was five!!
Today while Ben and I did school, O and Sam went to budget marine and came back with new kid fishing poles. All afternoon the kids have been practicing casting. O is taking this very seriously. First, you must learn to cast.....one step at a time. If you are going to learn to fish then you have to do it right..
We rented a car the other day to run some last minute errands. The kids got their shots, we copied charts, went to the grocery store, got prescriptions filled and all the other little odds and ends. Errands actually are a welcome relief because the car is air conditioned! However, driving in Grenada can be a harrowing experience. The roads are narrow with deep gutters on either side so if you do not topple off the side of the road then half of your car will be in a huge cement ravine. The local drives like to drive straight down the middle of the road which leaves you just enough room to squeak by. Not to mention everyone parks on the side of the road(even on curves) which takes up the entire lane so there is often a traffic jam just to get around a parked car. The other day I had to go around a car that had just pulled over and as I was eeking around him he opened his door and got out with out looking!! I ended up nicking his door with my mirror, he was Very lucky I didn't hit him. And, yes ,of course, he was upset with me...because he pulled over and opened the door without once thinking about whether a car was going around him. Go figure.
Yesterday it rained. Normally, I hate rainy days on Indy because you are forced inside, however, with the rain came a cool wind. We all took naps in the afternoon with a moist breeze washing over us. The kids actually used a sheet to cover themselves! The temp got down to 81 degrees inside...kind of fall like.
Today I cleaned. I fiberglass polished, went through clothes etc. In the tropics you have to constantly wipe down the walls because the heat and humidity are the perfect breeding ground for mold. Not crazy mold, but little speckles that appear on the walls or by hatches. You normally have to do a complete wipe down twice a week. Fascinating stuff, i know.
Sunday is O's fortieth birthday. I have no idea how we are going to celebrate. I thought we would be in the Testigos and had visions of a picnic with white candles all over the beach....looks like that won't happen.

UPDATE:
Lordy, Lordy, my Otie turned forty!!! Yesterday was O's birthday and I have to say I dropped the ball. I used to think I had his fortieth all figured out.
In NY, there is a beautiful, classic wooden sailboat that takes people on evening trips around the city and I always thought I would charter that and have a party. However, we no longer live in NY and we have our own boat so that plan was shot. There is not a lot in Grenada that we have not seen so I was stumped! However, it ended up being a very nice day.
We took the kids to the beach in the morning, puttered around the boat in the afternoon and had dinner with our friends Gee and Chris at their rental villa that night. The kids swam in the pool or watched tv while the adults threw back caribs and chatted. It was a really fun evening and Gee and Chris were the perfect hosts. They had no idea that it was O's birthday beforehand.
So, I have rain checked O's birthday a bit until we get to a beautiful island where we can catch/buy fish for sushi, the kids and I will set up a picnic surrounded by white votives. Hopefully SOON!!!
We are leaving Grenada on Wed. We initially were contemplating going up the Orinoco river but have scratched that plan. Other than the outbreak of Dengue fever there. The political situation in VZ is so volatile that we need to move on to greener pastures. The Russians are sending their ships to engage in military procedures with VZ as a show of strength, Chavez has thrown out our ambassador and there are travel warnings for Americans. O and I do not need to be Forrest Gump like in the middle of it all. So we will pass. We are both sorely disappointed.
I must share with you all a comment our friend Steve made in his blog recently. With all that is happening in Venezuela, he asks.... ' do you think Sarah Palin even knows where Venezuela is?' hmmmmm.....scary we even have to ponder that question....
Anyway,
We will be traveling with Zen when we go West. It will be fun getting to know them better while we explore the islands.
Grenada has been kind of funny for us. We have been very low key here. Surprising, considering it is full of cruisers and activities. I guess we just needed to remove ourselves from the cruising environment for a while. Besides, O and I would much rather meet another boat in a secluded anchorage rather than at an organized potluck. However, I do hope that we find some kids Ben's age! Since Stuart left on Gallivanter and Ethan on Salt and Light, we have hit a dry spell. I would like him to have his buddies around..other than us!
Update:
We are leaving tomorrow for the Testigos. In our flurry to get ready to go, we forgot one important thing...clearing customs and by the time we remembered it was too late. We are not up against a weather window so one day will not make that much of a difference. So, Thursday it will be.
After that...next stop..out island of VZ!! I will have to post remotely through our SSB! It has been forever since I have had to do that!
I know I said I would post a the end of the week but we have been crazed getting ready.

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09/24/2008 | Caroline Tillman
I just wanted to recommend a place for Otis's birthday picnic.

As you sail into Los Testigos you can see a beautiful, smooth looking sand dune. If you walk up the sand dune(which is great for rolling down, though you get quite sandy) and go down to the other side, it looks like paradise. It is a lot like Norman's Cay. Also if you go there toward's evening there is usually a turtle laying its eggs.
09/24/2008 | Shannon
Happy Birthday Otis! From the Someday Came crew.
09/24/2008 | mary eckerman
Happy Birthday Otis - you youngster! Talk about being in a great place for your 40th! You should be proud or your accomplishments for such a young lad! Love hearing about all of your adventures. Tell Jenny and the boys hello. Happy fishing!
Love, Aunt Mary
09/28/2008 | rie rie
Hi we wish so much we could have shared ots big day...god bless you ots .....we will celebrate when we see you soon someday......I am missing you guys terribly...you have not been on line at all ......safe traveling please and miss you and love you all.........ok get in touch soon please.....I love the people who leave these comments on your blog.......They are funny
Grand Theft Auto
09/16/2008, Grenada!!!

Grand Theft Auto....Sammy's latest passion.
Lately whenever we go out, Sam will wander around trying to get into people's cars. Yes, he likes to open their doors and get behind the wheel pretending to drive, apparently in a tornado, because he gets the hazards, wipers, blinkers, radio and heater all going full blast at the same time. He scared the hell out of me a few times at the villa. I could not find him and was screaming his name when suddenly I would hear the car door shut and Sam would come meandering out saying "what mamma what?"Talk about premature aging!
Friday nights at the yacht club they have pizza, a band and there are usually LOADS of kids running around. Anyway, the kids were all playing hide and seek which Sam was using as a guise to break into cars. He was able to get into one before we caught on and foiled all other attempts. So, if you ever run into us, batten down your hatches, doors and guard your keys..and don't be surprised to see my little tow headed angel behind the wheel calmly pretending (i hope!) to drive away into the next hurricane.
Since I am on the subject, O and I were at the marina the other day having just come back from a full day of running errands enjoying a beer, comparing lists, when suddenly, a guy yells "Hey, your kid is throwing rocks in our dinghies." He had actually only thrown one (maybe two) but I was horrified. It would be safe to say that we have not endeared ourselves to the cruising community here. Oh well, we'll be hitting the road soon to horrify many more.
It sounds like we never watch Sam but I SWEAR we are always watching him but I fear he is faster and smarter than us.
We are still in Grenada waiting for a computer to arrive. When O was bringing Indy back from the yard the seas were quite rough and Indy was hit by a wave which drenched the main salon (what was the hatch doing open?), our navigational computer took a direct hit. We had to order one with XP as our navigation software is not compatible with Vista. We tried everything. We took them both to the "computer guy" but they are a lost cause. One had too much water damage and the other has picked up a bad habit of not recognizing the map system. I would try and explain why it won't recognize it in greater detail but the computer man was throwing out explanations that were Greek to me, and he was speaking with a West Indian accent to top it off so there was nothing I grasped. I officially tuned out when he started talking about 'comport this/comport that'. My eyes glazed over and I nodded just waiting until he stopped talking so I could ask for the bill. Poor O asked me what the guy said about why it wouldn't work but all I could tell him was that I have no idea it just won't. That made O proud I'm sure.
Since we are here waiting I am using this time to get the kids a few shots and pick up some malaria meds. Our friend Steve on Uliad is a doctor and he has been invaluable regarding what the kids need for the upcoming journey. (Thanks Steve!) All of the meds have to be ordered from Barbados. The Dr.'s office has assured me the they will be here this week. It's funny, the dr's office was very hesitant to order the shots without me paying first. I tried to give them a credit card but they only accept cash. It seems they were worried that I was going to order the shots, not bring the kids in for them and they would be stuck with the cost. Yeah, I do have a bit of time on my hands but crank calling Dr.'s offices and ordering shots is not high on my list. I finally convinced them that I was just your run of the mill, highly organized, responsible parent (which was a bit of a hard sell!).
Did I mention that at 7:30am it was 91.3 degrees inside our boat??? Yikes. Every time I look at O or Sam they are dripping in sweat.yuk. Sam does not deal all that well with the heat. He has very fair skin and sweats quite a bit, between the sunscreen and sweat he gets a nasty heat rash. I am constantly plopping him in a cool freshwater bath which seems to keep it at bay a bit. Otis on the other hand seems not to even notice it is nearly hot enough on deck to fry an egg but never fear I remind him constantly.
You would think that the heat would curb my appetite, but amazingly it has not! However, it has curbed my motivation to exercise (which was limited at best to begin with). Not the eat less/burn more motto I occasionally run through my head.
Other than the heat, it has been nice being back on the boat. I actually thought I would dread it but the transition has been smooth. I was really tired of the boat before the hotel. Then my parents arrived and rented a BEAUTIFUL villa on the ocean with a pool. I think O feared he would never get me out of there.
Seeing my parents was the breath of fresh air that we all needed. We hung out in the villa, went to fantastic lunches around the island and took an island tour. O and I haven't done many tours so we learned a lot. I think the heat of the island was a little overwhelming for John but he dealt with it like a trooper. I don't want to write too much about it as my mom will most likely write a blog and I don't want to steal her thunder!
So, as soon as we receive the computer we are leaving. I know many cruisers love Grenada but as far as anchorages, water clarity and convenience I think there are much better islands. So, I guess I am missing something and may never discover what the Grenada mystic entails...
Todays activities include haircuts for all.
Speaking of, I had a haircut this week. I picked the place because it was air conditioned and had a stack of Hello magazines. The woman brutally attacked my hair and I didn't even get through ONE mag. The upside of cruising is that I actually have my real hair color again!!! It is no longer being 'enchanced' every six weeks. I don't miss the good haircuts/colors as much as I miss all of my shoes. Who would have thought that at I would be wearing the same pair of flip flops for over 18 months!! Yikes.
Too all that have been encouraging(subtle wrist slap...Burga) to write more often I hear you and will TRY and write twice a week. It's funny I am always thinking of things I have to write about but at the end of the day I pick up my book instead. However, i will try and get better!!
we have met a cool cruising family on Zen that will be joining us on the sail to Venezuela. I am sure you will be hearing a lot more about them in the upcoming months! and most likely the next blog...WHICH will be at the end of the week!!!!
Also, forgot to mention that Mom and John brought down the absentee ballot papers so we will be voting...AS SHOULD EVERYONE.

MOM, the Obama bumper sticker is proudly displayed on Indy for all to see!! Thank you. Mary, we both wear our Obama shirts with pride!!! (yes basil, BOTh of us!!).

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09/21/2008 | Monique Burgess
Zen here. We must stand as witnesses to Sammy's car craze. It's all hysterically true. Not sure if he's a thief or just looking for a shady place to sack out? Either way, he's too darn cute. Our daughter, Cameron, will get her babysitting "badge of honor" after tending to Sam's energy. xo, Monique and Tom
09/22/2008 | joe & justine
Happy Birthday Ots!!!
xoxo

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