02/28/2010, Honeymoon Bay
One of the VERY strange and wonderful things about this lifestyle is the social aspect. You meet people on different boats, in different anchorages, in different countries, scattered around the world. You may become especially close to a couple or in our case families on board boats from all over the world. There are times you may cruise with these boats for months or just share the same hurricane hole for the whole season. Inevitably there is a parting of ways. Sometimes, if you have been traveling in a group for a while, one boat at a time will head to a different place until finally you are the one on a different heading, or the final boat left in what had been a crowded anchorage.
To landlubbers this may sound very sad, and when we first started cruising it was. But since then we have had the, unique to cruising, experience that just happened to me a moment ago, and this experience makes it all worth while. Let me tell you about it.
I was sitting below reading when I heard a rapping on our hull and a voice with a distinct Australian accent calling out and when I peeked my head over the lifelines who did I see but our friends on SV Meander! We had first met Ray and Julie and their son Sam (and Milo the dog) in the Bahamas where we spent a few nights suffering at the posh resort and Marina called Atlantis. We all continued to sail as part of a huge group of "kid boats" through the Bahamas. Those times were some of our families favorites and our kids still miss the families on board boats from that group. There was, Salt and Light, Sanity, Solange IV, High Five, Slow-Mocean, Meander, and a few others. I think the total number of kids was well over 20 during those times. We had BBQs on the beach, gangs of Dads would go out with spears and fish together, having competitions to see who had the biggest lobster that day. The kids explored, swam, built forts, and one time a huge hermit crab hotel. The last time we saw Meander was over two years ago in Georgetown, Bahamas, where they had the whole group (that's a LOT of people) over for drinks and snacks on Meander. Since then we have continued to cruise in the Caribbean while some of those boats are now in Bonaire, a couple are in Cartagena, Salt and Light has made it all the way home to Seattle, Meander gets the "Most Distance Traveled" award for that particular group. After they left us all, they crossed the Atlantic and sailed up the Med as far as Greece, and came back across this year. If you want to read about their adventures check out their blog at www.sailblogs.com/member/meander they had some great stories to tell.
We are looking forward to spending a week or so with them here at Honeymoon Bay.
02/25/2010, Honeymoon Bay, USVI
The sound of children laughing followed by a splash beside our boat is pretty much an everyday sound here on Wandering Dolphin. But the other day when I heard it and looked around me I noticed that all five of my children were within sight and, believe it or not, they were all working on schoolwork.
Every one of my kids was on instant alert, books forgotten, and within a half second they were bursting up on deck to see who the "new" kids were on the mooring next to us. The boat was a 49 foot Bavaria flying an Italian flag. They had rigged a boarding platform from the transom of their boat and it was raised or lowered with a spare halyard. It hung off the back of the boat about eight or ten feet and the really cool thing about it was that with the pull of the halyard it could be raised up about 12 feet in the air, or with a quick motion it could be lowered right down to the water, perfect for divers of all difficulty levels.
The boat had two children aboard one was a little girl whose age I would estimate at eight to ten (right about the age of all three of my little boys) and a boy of about twelve. Well both kids began to put on a little impromptu diving exhibition for our children who were now lined up along the lifelines "Oooooing and awwwwing" the Italian kids.
The boy was especially eyeing EmilyAnne and his dives and jumps were getting more and more daring. Pretty soon he was looking right at her and putting on a little show. At one point he stood on the end of the board backwards but facing Emily he looked at her and gave her a wink then clutched his heart with both hands and fell off the board backwards.
My little boys were full of questions and an actual argument about if the girl on that boat was actually a girl or a boy. Sure she was wearing what was obviously a pink bikini bottom but her brother was wearing what to them looked just like a girls blue bikini bottom (read Speedo) and Kaleb was disgusted with his brothers for even considering that she might be a girl because she was wearing no bikini top and he was certain that THAT was against the LAW so therefore she HAD to be a boy! I broke up the fight before fists started to fly because Benny was now feeling a little strange having decided moments before this that he kinda liked the looks of this little girl so she had better BE a girl. I informed them that the folks on that boat were from Italy which was in Europe and that they thought it was ok for girls of pretty much any age to run around with no tops on.... Kanyon was disgusted by the thought but they all wanted to talk more about it. Kaleb pondered it and said, "So they are like the French only they wear bottoms?" I nodded.
At about this time Romeo had moved the board to its highest postion and climbed to the top, eliciting a little gasp out of Emily, which I am sure was his intention. He had our attention and then the halyard slipped out of its spinlock and the board dropped a full 12 feet into the water with a bang bouncing Romeo a couple of times and flinging him into the water with a spectacular CRASH/SPLASH at one point his nether regions covered only by a blue speedo were on one side of the halyard while his body fell off the other so I was certain that he would be in pain. He came up crying and wailing (with good reason) but all we could hear him say as his Momma and Pappa pulled him out of the water was, "BELLA AMERICANA!!!" which I was pretty sure meant something like pretty American. He was so devastated and embarrassed that he went below and pretty soon they released the mooring and sailed away.
My kids were still jabbering about it all as they continued to work on school the rest of the morning.
Position: N36 36.22 / W075 25.38 Course 141 M Speed 6.5KT Motor sailing
Happy New Year tonight from the crew of Changin' Tags offshore headed from Norfolk, VA to St Thomas.
The first day of any offshore trip is always filled with a certain degree of anxiety and excitement. No matter how many trips I do I always feel a little tightness in the gut as we throw off the docklines and head for the deep. Maybe it's just because I am a Wyoming boy born and bred and no matter how many offshore miles I rack up my brain says, "Hey Bubba you aint meant to live out there in that wild ocean!" Maybe it's just because my Wyoming family actually does say that to me fairly often, but this feeling only lasts for the first few hours and then I begin to get in the swing of the boat, working the sails feeling the heaving of the deck under my feet and the sound of water rushing by the hull.
This morning as we prepared to throw off the docklines in the freezing rain I had that same feeling in my gut but also a very real feeling that if I didn't get back on the boat under the bimini I might loose my fingers and toes to frostbite! I have been spoiled living on our boat in the Caribbean and am now fully convinced that if you own a sailboat you really should keep it in a warm place. Dick and Jill agree obviously so here we are offshore sailing this beautiful Island Packet back where she belongs... in the warm waters of the Virgin Islands.
The cast of characters on this offshore adventure story will once again be Dick, Jimmy and myself and we are personaly hoping for a trip with a little less excitement than we experienced last time we made did it. We also have another character aboard to play a part. Patrick Howser is an experienced sailor but this is his first real offshore trip so we should expect some adventure tales from him as he shares with you a little about himself and his experiences on Changin Tags". I mentioned playing a part in a drama because Patrick is a bonafide actor and movie star. If you grew up in the 80s like me you might remember him from a movie called "Hot Dog The Movie." When I heard he was coming along I must honestly say I couldn't remember what he looked like but I did remember what his costar Shannon Tweed looked like.... hmmm I wonder why that is?
Well we will keep you all up to date as we take this ocean sleigh ride. We are expecting some weather on Saturday so keep us in your thoughts and prayers. I will try to blog every day so if you would like to sit back in the morning over your coffee and live vicariously through us you are more than welcome to come along for the ride. Rebecca will tag on a note at the end of this blog telling you how you can easily send us free messages via our Sat phone too. It's always fun to hear from you all. It gives us something to look forward to.
In closing I would also like to wish a very heartfelt Happy Anniversary to my sweet wife Rebecca who agreed to marry me and actually went through with it 21 years ago today. Thanks for the adventure Babe! I love you!
Cold and Wet,
Kristofer writing for Dick, Jimmy, Patrick and "Changin Tags"