07/29/2014, Anse Lazio, Praslin Island, Seychelles
Today Mary Margaret continued to roll up her sleeves and work on getting Leu Cat ready for our friends Steve and Portia's arrival. They will be with us for a month starting in just two weeks.
Today she scrubbed all of the curtains, getting any small mold marks out and turning them back to their nice, bright, white color. To do this she used her trick of wetting a cloth with bleach and patting and scrubbing each curtain and then letting them dry. It is a simple technique but one that works like a charm. You just have to be careful to not letting any drips fall and bleach out any other materials that are around. She also wiped down the ceiling of the salon and walked around the boat removing any little mold spots that she found.
Living on a boat in the tropics it is impossible to not get mold. However, it is simple to remove and delay its reforming by using this technique.
Tomorrow she will clean the two bathrooms that are on the port side of the boat. One is connected to the suite that Portia and Steve will be using. The second one we will set up as a separate shower room for them. It is normally the bathroom for the second guest suite.
While Mary Margaret was working away I just tried to stay out of her way. When she gets this way she is a cleaning machine and is very efficient. I would just slow her down so I retired to the hammock and made sure that the anchor stayed secured in the sandy bottom below. It was a tough job but I was up to that task...
By the way, we wish to thank those of you that researched remoras to see if they are eatable. Apparently you can eat them and they taste fine but are a bit tricky to clean. It is suggested that you dangle them over the side of the boat for a bit since they poop a lot once you lift them out of the water. Also, according to my brother Don, they also feed off of the poop that you flush into the ocean in open anchorages like this. Yeach! I had my fill of poop recently when I cleaned out the sewer hose to our head. I think I will pass on fishing for them...
By the way #2: I have reinserted SiteMeter onto our blog site. If anyone has any troubles with it popping up and asking you to log in, please let me know and I will remove it permanently.
07/28/2014, Anse Lazio, Praslin Island, Seychelles
The other day I had spent time using the hookah to clean the bottom of the boat. Usually Mary Margaret is in the water with me and does the upper most portions of the hulls while I go deeper, staying underwater using the hookah. This time, however, she stayed in the salon and cleaned the stainless steel in the galley. I did not think she would like cleaning the hulls since we have around 25 to 30 large remoras that have made our boat their home. As you can see from the photo above, they are really big suckers (please excuse the pun) and, as it turns out, very aggressive. While I was underwater, they repeatedly would come up to me and a few would get right in my face. I swear I saw a couple of them licking their chops, just looking for a place where they could attach to me. I had a scrapper in my hand and thrust it at them repeatedly to scare them away. They were not happy with me doing that and a few of them kept shadowing me as I cleaned the hulls, looking for an opportunity to get up close and personal. Fortunately, most of them were just attached to the sides of the hull just like they do to sharks. They reminded me of bats in a cave, just hanging out, resting or sleeping, waiting for dinner time to come around.
Normally, predatory fish like barracuda and sharks don't faze me too much. I have a healthy respect for them and keep a sharp eye on the lookout for them but I don't hesitate to be in the water with them in normal situations (I will not go in the water when there are hammerheads, lemons, tigers or great white sharks around since these all have a reputation of biting first and asking questions later and attacking even when it is not mealtime). However, given how a small remora attacked Mary Margaret when we were in the Chagos and left large hickey on her neck, I was not very happy being surrounded by so many aggressive large remoras.
We no longer throw our dinner scraps into the water since these guys just turn the water white fighting over leftover scraps of food and we don't wish to encourage them staying with us. To our dismay, this strategy has not worked very well since they have been with us now for a week. I was thinking of fishing for them but do not know if they are a very good eating fish. Do any of you know?
07/27/2014, Anse Lazio, Praslin Island, Seychelles
Today was another simply beautiful day. In fact, one could say it was the nicest day that we have had so far in the Seychelles. The skies were crystal clear, the sun was shiny and warm, the really large swells did not arrive as predicted and the water was a pleasant temperature to swim in.
We decided to go into the beach again if for no other reason to redeem my beaching skills after the last fiasco. On our way in we stopped by a monohull who was clearly a cruiser. During the rainbow that we had yesterday, we saw that one end terminated right over this boat. Thus, when we arrived and introduced ourselves, we asked to have the pot of gold that they must have. The family on the boat is from the island of Reunion and speaks mostly French so they were initially confused by our request. After explaining the Irish belief that there is a pot of gold at the end of every rainbow, they smiled and enjoyed our rather bazaar sense of humor. We told Gilbert, the husband, that we had taken a picture of the rainbow sitting on top of his boat and he asked if he could get a copy of it. We were only too happy to say yes.
We then made our way into shore where we timed our arrival just perfectly and beached the dinghy without any problems. Once the dinghy was pulled above the high water line we jumped into the water and enjoyed swimming and floating around, just seaward of the breakers that were rolling in.
When we were through with our swim, we returned to the Honesty Bar and enjoyed another ice cold diet Coke. We talked a bit with Helga who is the daughter of the fellow who operates it. He is German and is back in Germany for a while. Helga lives over on Mahe' but came over here to watch the bar and house while her dad is away. She shared with us that they have had two robberies recently when a local couple (and they know who it is) have come into the bar when no one is around and cleaned out the money that was in the money box that is left on the counter. However, her dad has installed a camera and they believe they have captured the couple in the act of stealing the money. Each time there was about 350 Rupees (about $32) in the box where one puts in your money when buying a drink. She hopes the police will take the video and arrest the couple.
After returning to Leu Cat Gilbert came over with his thumb drive that we used to transfer the rainbow photo. While we sat and talked over a glass of wine he shared with us his experiences of sailing around Mayotte and Madagascar. He said that we would really like Madagascar as the food is very good, the anchorages are beautiful and the people, while very poor, are very friendly. He thought that we would like Madagascar much more than we would like Mayotte since Madagascar has everything that Mayotte has plus is safer. Apparently, there is a greater history of theft in Mayotte. The main reason we were going to Mayotte is that the wind direction sailing from the Seychelles is better going to Mayotte first instead of going directly to Madagascar. Mayotte is west of Madagascar by about 180 nm. Once you are there, you are in the lee of Madagascar and the strong SE trades (which have curved and have a more northerly component in this part of the Indian Ocean) are much weaker. Thus, you can easily motor from Mayotte to Nosy Be in the NW corner of Madagascar to clear in.
Gilbert also brought over his East Africa Pilot book for us to read and take notes of the many great anchorages along Madagascar and the Mozambique coasts, which we plan to be sailing by.
We finished our perfect day by grilling a wonderful rack of lamb and paired it with Mary Margaret's special macaroni and cheese (with three cheeses, include a healthy dose of Parmigiano-Reggiano that adds a special tang to the flavor, Yum!) and a delicious Greek salad. Mated with a nice hearty red wine from Chile, the meal was just the right ending to this fantastic day.
07/26/2014, Anse Lazio, Praslin Island, Seychelles
Since we left the island of Mahe' and sailed over to Praslin a few weeks ago, the weather has been very nice. Oh, sure, there have been a few days when the clouds and rain showers seemed to dominate over the sun. But, for the most part, the sun and clear skies have been most prevalent. This rainy day "wa wa boy" has not had much to complain about. Now, you should know that we typically do get rain very day but it is mostly at night. Even then, it is just a passing shower or two and just helps to keep the decks clean.
This morning, however, we did get another whiteout where the precipitation was a dense mist that blows over us as it passes by. As this whiteout was about to finish its thing, a rainbow appeared. Mary Margaret was the first to see it as I was in the hammock trying to decide whether I should come in from being out in the rain. It was a tough decision as the shade tarp was keeping me mostly dry and it looked like the whiteout was just about over.
When she yelled to me that there was a rainbow, I high-tailed it into the salon and grabbed my camera. The photo attached to this blog was the result of that effort.
This was the first rainbow that we have seen in a long while and it was very close and formed a complete arch. It was too close to us to capture in one photo. After a little bit, it formed a double rainbow which is even neater.
There is just so much beauty in Mother Nature and it seems that we have anchored in the middle of it.
07/25/2014, Anse Lazio, Praslin Island, Seychelles
Like all Leu males, I am known to seek adventure. Fortunately, I have a wife that also loves adventure and we have raised our three kids to also be very adventurous. Unfortunately, along with the great, exciting adventures we share, an occasional misadventure comes along. It is these rare (?) misadventures that the members of my family remember the most and when we all get together, they seem to take such great pleasure in teasing me about them.
Well, today Mary Margaret was exposed to another Leu (mis)adventure. I place the "mis" part of the adventure within parentheses only because, in my view, there are not any misadventures, only adventures that are just a little bit less successful...
One may quibble with me about this distinction, as each of our three kids do, but since I am writing this blog, my position prevails. Opps, Mary Margaret gets to add her thoughts and edits this so maybe my view on this may get updated a bit.
The (mis)adventure started out innocent enough. It was such a beautiful day that Mary Margaret suggested that we take the dinghy to shore, enjoy a diet Coke at the Honesty Bar and go swimming along the beach. The swells have been a little large these last few days but, in fact, will actually double in size starting Sunday. They are predicted to be in the 3 to 4 meter range for the following week. Thus, today would be the best day to work our way through the breakers to get to the beach. Soon we were in the dinghy and headed for the beach.
After cruising for the last 7 years we have developed a lot of respect for the breaker zone that sits in front of a beach. Nevertheless, we have learned over these years a few secrets that help one navigate through the breakers and successfully land on the beach without too much difficulty.
One secret is to look for the flattest part of the beach to be your landing zone. The higher the beach and the steeper it is means that the breakers impart their force there while the flatter areas represent where the breakers have less force. This is true unless the breakers have just changed their direction and are in the process of reworking the beach. If that is the case, then you need to just sit offshore of the breakers and study them for a while to determine where they are less forceful.
The next secret is to watch for a pattern in the swells approaching the beach. Swells tend to come in sets or groupings of larger swells and smaller swells. Time your passage through the breaker zone with a set of the smaller swells.
The third secret is to be very patient and be sure you are actually in the middle of smaller set of swells before you try to go through the breaker zone. Some sets are more orderly then others and it is best to go during a nice, orderly, smaller set.
The last secret, and it is this one that I struggle with the most, is to recognize that sometimes it just is not worth the risk of swamping the dinghy if the breakers, even with the smaller sets, are just too big to go through. I guess I need to modify my "Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead" attitude...
After sitting seaward of the breaker zone for a few minutes, I spied a small set of swells moving in and told Mary Margaret that after the first small swell, we would head into shore. This first swell was very gentle and I was confident that we would have a smooth beach landing. However, I was a bit over confident as the next swell started rearing its ugly head as we approached the beach and I shut down and lifted up the outboard engine. The darn thing decided to crest just under our stern and with the stern lifted high the bow plunged down its face, twisting a bit and knocking Mary Margaret off her seat. I had been focused on the lifting the engine but looked forward when I heard her scream as she held on for dear life.
She was successful in regards to staying in the boat but the ride was not to her liking given its violent nature. As that breaker started to recede from the beach, she quickly jumped out of the dinghy to grab hold of it to keep it from returning seaward. I too had jumped out and was trying to push the dinghy forward as the swift water was running past us.
The next breaker was larger still and we both lost our grips of the dinghy. It broke just behind the dinghy and much of its water went into the dinghy. In the process it knocked one of the dinghy wheels off its mounting. I looked up and saw Mary Margaret sitting on the face of the beach laughing (!!!!) as the backwash of the wave ran back to the sea, it being up to her waist and covering her legs completely. She pointed to the dinghy wheel floating away just in time so that I was able to grab it before it disappeared.
After remounting the dinghy wheel, we both grabbed the dinghy and manhandled it up the beach face far enough so that it was no longer in danger of the breakers. It was filled with water and was very, very heavy.
We removed the drain plug and started bailing with our bailer. It took a long while to remove most of the water that had filled the dinghy but, once that was done, we could pull the dinghy up the rest of the beach face so that it was sitting above the high water mark. Whew! It was hard work and we both were a bit embarrassed since we were the focus of attention of all of the tourists sunning themselves on the beach. We were their entertainment highlight for the day...
While Mary Margaret went into the water to cool off I trudged off to the Honesty Bar to get a couple of ice cold diet Cokes using my very wet and sandy money.
Soon she had joined me and we sat there, talking about this wonderful (mis)adventure and enjoying our Cokes. I am sure I will hear about this from each of our kids but I was thankful that Mary Margaret was such a good sport.
After swimming and sunning ourselves, we returned to Leu Cat, this time perfectly timing our departure through the breakers. Just another typical day living the life of a cruiser!