A little out of touch
06 February 2016 | Francis Bay, St John, USVI
Saturday, February 6, 2016 A little out of touch
Wow…even I am surprised at how much time has passed…but you know we are VERY busy, all the time.
Ok, so we spent some more great time at Christmas Cove, in fact it was another week, and fortunately during this time Gary helped us trace the very scary leak in our propane that made me paranoid about using the WONDERFUL new Stove that we had installed this year! Two trips to Budget, and a few dollars, and we now have a NON-LEAKING propane line, and can truly start to enjoy our new purchase – just in time for Louise to cook.
Eventually, we headed over to Crown Bay to visit our friends there, and to get ready for Louise and her nephews visit. It was lovely heading back into Crown Bay, with a warm welcome from all our friends there, and the feeling that we were ‘coming home’. We did the usual chores, and then Finally! They arrived!
I haven’t seen Joe and Sam in many years, so this will be a fun time of getting to know them and showing them the beautiful islands we so love.
We left Crown Bay early on Friday, and arrived in Christmas Cove. Here we begin our snorkel training! Sam has a GoPro camera, and is going to help me learn how to use the new one we have, but for this snorkel, we leave the GoPro behind and focus on breathing under water. We manage to go all around the bay, first to the turtles, then to the shore/ledge area, and then back to the boat.. we saw lots of turtles and a few rays as well as many other fish…which was a good thing, since Sam, somewhat susceptible to motion sickness needed to find a random anchor chain to hang on in order to tear off his mask & snorkel, and feed the fishes. And this after Aunt Louise told him to ‘suck it up’ and just swim…um, maybe a little more compassion would be in order? We all made it back to the boat eventually, and a little more relaxation was in order.
Gary joined us for PizzaPI for dinner, and the men made plans to sail aboard Enroute for Saturday, while the ladies caught up on our lives. Then the first of our starwatching nights, with Sam the awesome DJ finding random songs for us as well as finding just the right mood music for boat watching, game playing , dinner music and star gazing….every night. A really GREAT addition to the trip!
Saturday dawned a lovely day, and Louise fed everyone yummy cheezy eggs & Bacon, then we sent the boys off for the day. They arrived back mid afternoon with stories of a lovely sail 7.5+ knots and an almost visit to the BVI…Since this was the first time sailing for Joe & Sam it was an interesting experience for all. A Fajita dinner rounded the day out nicely.
Sunday we headed east to Sir Francis Bacon, and after mooring, decided that a hike over to Coral Bay was in order for some…We all piled in the dingy and beached it onshore then Jim and I walked as far as the Johnny Horn trail, before pointing up the hill…then bailing out and saying call us when you are back to the beach. Louise and the boys headed up…while we returned leisurely to the dingy. We saw a mongoose walking up this way, then an amazing stingray nosed right up to the beach in Lienster Bay, not 3 feet from us in 6 inches of water…while we watched, a school of Jacks chased a school of feeder fish our way with much splashing and jumping, then immediately 8 or so pelicans all arrived, diving and scoping up beakfuls…and all this within about 10-15 feet of where we were standing…Fantastic!
Louise, Sam & Joe hiked it over the hill and had lunch at Skinny Legs, that Icon of Coral Bay, then up, up, up, hamburger hill, and back down. This is about a 7.5 mile round Trip from Francis Bay according to Sam’s watch…more effort than I am willing to spend!
Monday, we headed out early, and went into Sopers hole to check into the BVI, after a quick entry and a short stop at the shops we headed to Norman island, where we picked up a mooring at Privateer Bay in order to snorkel the caves and watch Sunset. We managed both, except the sunset was mostly hidden behind a large Motoryacht that kept yawing its way infront of the setting sun!
Tuesday and we are off the mooring with the mainsail up, and shortly, with Sam at the helm, we tacked our way up the channel under full sail. It was a blustery day, with winds eventually topping out at 28-30 knts.. Sam managed the helm beautifully and we even managed to get BVI yacht Shots to photograph a perfect Tack as we turned in front of Cooper Island - An awesome day! eventually we made it up to Leverick Bay! Tonight Michael Beans!
We headed to shore just before 4pm, to rent our car for tomorrow, and check out the shops, then get our table for the Happy RRRR show. Jim, Sam, Louise and I truly enjoyed the show, while I even tried my hand at the conch blowing contest…only to be beaten by a qiwi…the competition was fierce! It is always a great time, he is truly a wonderful entertainer.
Wednesday, we left the boat early, and headed down the mountain to visit The Baths. I NEVER get tired of exploring this place, and Joe and Sam truly enjoyed the rock climbing and finding alternate routes thru the boulders. We spent several hours here, and relaxing on the beach at Devils Bay, before heading out with a quick stop at Spanish Town, and then back up the mountain and Hog Heaven. A wonderful lunch, and view, and then back to the boat, and a rest!
Thursday finds us running downwind with Joe at the helm and the rest of us enjoying the peaceful, relaxing trip…all the way to The Bight.
We spent the next few days in the bight, enjoying the amazing snorkeling, Tarpon under the boat, Watching the ‘charter boat show’, playing rummycube, a little ka-niacking, Sam perfected his free-diving with the GoPro, pretty amazing considering his first snorkel, a mere week ago, and the wonderful sky show put on most every night.
Sunday we leapt out of bed @ 7am, and moved the boat out to the Indians. The winds are down, and so are the seas, so we wanted to take advantage of a flattish day here in the almost open water. Turns out it was Wonderful! And so worth moving early! The coral gardens were beautiful and we were rewarded with not 1 but 3 Black Durgen out on the south-eastern edge, as well as schools of Sargent Majors, brown and blue Cromis and plenty of snapper and jacks to make it interesting. It has been a while since we have been able to snorkel here, and it was just fantastic! We headed back to Privateer Bay for one more sunset, and this time we are not disappointed! We shared an amazing sunset of gorgeous color, if no green flash, with Laura and Ed, via FaceTime. Technology is only an added benefit to our lifestyle.
After a slower start to Monday we headed out and picked up a mooring in Sopers Hole for our last evening. We headed to shore, and enjoyed a leisurely lunch at Pussers, wandering the shops, and a last trip to the market before enjoying another lovely sunset behind the pyramids of the islands. The singer/guitarist for the evening at Pussers was a classy cap to the day as we watched the stars come out, the sattelites whip by and the elusive shooting star brighten up the sky.
Tuesday arrived all too soon, and it was off to the ferry… we dropped everyone off, then it was time to hoist the dingy, and drop the mooring lines…we slowly motored out waving goodbye and me wiping the tears from my eyes… then shortly the ferry speeds past us and we are all waving madly again…until they are out of sight.
Then, shortly, we are moored up in Francis Bay, Sad, Tired, and just relaxing after a busy (for us) two weeks.! I doubt we ‘ll be moving for a while.!
All the diamonds a girl could want
31 January 2016 | Privateer Bay, Norman Island
Having a great time with Louise and her nephews, and promise to post later but in the meantime the diamonds on the water tonight we're just spectacular!
What a great life!
Let the Happy Hours Begin!
16 January 2016 | Christmas Cove
Saturday dawned bright and calm, and off we headed east for the Virgins, leaving Puerto Rico behind for this trip. We had a nice calm trip, motoring with seas so flat at times there weren't even cats paws to mar the surface. So while we couldn't sail...when we arrived later to Christmas Cove, we didn't even have any salt spray to mar our bright and shiny decks. One little hitch on the way, we noticed our port engine hitching and sputtering, and after a quick review the most likely culprit was no fuel...As we had that fuel tank replaced this season, they only put about 5 gallons in the tank, and silly us, we never checked. So mid-sea, and fortunately in a flat, we grabbed a jerry jug and managed to fill the tank and not have to shut the engine down or bleed the fuel lines (which is a PAIN!) ...disaster averted and with fuel, the port engine hums happily along.
It was a wonderful reception here, with many friends awaiting our arrival, and immediately a happy hour aboard was planned....well, to be fair, the happy hour was actually planned before we arrived, Charles & Leslie & Gary & Lee & Sharon & Neal & Roseanne & Willie & Mark... Great to reconnect with friends this cruising season, and hear about the off-season, as well and the plans for this.
As usual the food and drinks were yummy, but more so the laughter was never-ending with one person after the next the target of good-natured ribbing and jabs, wrapped in affection. We kept the anchorage alive until after 9 when the party broke up and smiling happy people headed out to their own boats. This part of the cruising life I really like!
We are planning to stay here with these friends until we head in to pick up Louise and her nephews later in the week. While we stay it is swimming and snorkeling where we find a veritable Fruita Del Mar of multiple Octopus, Squid, Eel, fish, rays and turtles. The sky watching is magnificent, with satellites and shooting stars, and one night an eagle ray jumping 5 times, not 15 feet off our bow. You could practically hear him yelling to the sucker fish that was most likely bothering him..."Get offa me!'
We also were able to spend quality time with Charles & Leslie, catching up for a few hours one afternoon, then again the next night for an amazing duck dinner...complete with chocolate chip coconut rum cookies, fresh out of the oven...oh my! Then another amazing dinner with Gary of super - yummy chicken tarragon, that he assures me meets my 5 ingredient rule...So willing to try making it.
Additionally there is the benefit of lovely sunsets every night, most punctuated with a green flash. And so here stay to relax, get a few boat chores done, swim, visit, read, rest and revel in the amazing beauty God has provided in this beautiful place.
07 January 2016
Thursday, January 7, 2016
I exhausted myself with my last post…so I had to take some time off to recuperate!
New Years Day found us somewhat rested, and with a long list of chores. In true Boater fashion, our friend Gary volunteered to pop over from Culebra again and the boys went boat crazy, tracing leaks, tracing faulty electrical, rebuilding pumps, packing and repacking lockers, and a little provisioning thrown in.
Our new water tanks are installed and good……smaller, but good. And one more significant problem exposed itself… the bilge pumps don’t work…huh?! As a primary component of boating is ensuring that the water stays on the OUTSIDE of the hull, having non-functioning bilge pumps is, how should I put it…BAD! After a few hours of Gary & Jim testing and tracing they decided that we needed to call in the experts.
In the meantime, we started our shopping and Gary took over the galley and starting teaching me how to use my new stove by teaching me how to make AWESOME clam chowder! Oh, serious YUM! So Ginny and John joined us one night and we had a lot of laughs and fun and some seriously good chow.
Monday, Bobby and Jerry came to fix the bilge pump issues, and it took them, the experts, about 2.5 hours…some bad switches, some bad wiring, but finally victory was declared and we have automatic & manual functioning bilge pumps on both sides of the boat..success.
Monday night, we joined Ginny and John for a Mexican dinner off the boat, and there met Alvin & Connie from Bolero. Two more very interesting Canadians and the six of us had a terrific time with lots of laughter over good food and some very nice Margaritas.
Jim has checked the weather and it now looks like Saturday will be our best day to go east. So planning on heading out early, and hooking up with more friends there. Which gives us two more days of cleaning and organizing before we can go play…VI’s here we come.
30 November 2015 | Puerto Del Rey, Puerto Rico
Monday, November 30th, 2015
I feel like I say this all the time, but the truth is the truth...this is a crazy life.
After a long time off the boat, a really long time for us, we find ourselves again on a flight to Puerto Rico to get Regenero ready for a new season.
But...first I'll give you the short version of our 'off season'.
We had to cut the 14-15 season short last March due to some health concerns, which fortunately turned out to be minor, and a milestone birthday for one of us that required some governmental type documents completed. So we left the boat in March in PR on the docks, potentially to return and continue sailing for a few more months. Well, best laid plans and all that...we headed home and spent more time than anticipated on getting the house ready for sale, Then we headed to Florida for a visit with friends, a wedding and to begin shopping for a permanent summer residence. Then a devastating loss, as Jim's mother passed away. While she had lived a long, and mostly healthy life, we were still stunned and saddened to have to say a final goodbye to a classy and gracious lady. Immediately following this sorrow, we headed back to PR, to lay our girl up for the season.
We spent our summer mostly in Florida, house-sitting in the beautiful community of Naples, with a few trips back home, then in late September my parents moved back to Illinois, spent a few weeks with us. We finalized a contract on our house, moved Mom & Dad into their place, with most of our furniture, and two weeks later had the rest of our stuff packed up we were in the van heading to Florida again. With all of our stuff, including vehicles, safely tucked into storage, it was back to the boat....finally, to begin season prep.
When we returned to the boat we found Bobby and his team hard at work, finalizing this and attending to that, as we had a long list of work to complete this year, and obviously we had no time to do any of it. Repack the liferaft, service the engines, service the outboard, fix the electric winch...(huh - who knew there was a breaker for that?!) re-step the starboard head, strip all the tape off the hull, compound, wax, and restripe the outer edges (oh boy, does she look pretty!) compound & wax the topsides, and install a new stove. With three burners, and an oven, AND broiler...AND...auto ignite...excited? Oh yes I am.
Another plus, after we splashed on Thursday, Bobbi & Gary from Enroute took the ferry over from Culebra Friday Am to spend some time with us. The boat was a MESS and we had no food to speak of, but that is the beauty of boat friends, they are totally flexible and happy to make up their own berths, and help clean others boats. Gary graciously volunteered to install 4 new Sirocco Fans that I have been dying to have installed...and while that was not a pretty job....for him...it ended up very pretty for us, as he and Jim managed to get them all installed while the girls went hiking in the rain forest.
As usual, when we returned to the boat after a long season on the hard a few other little issues reared their heads.... The main one being a failed primary water tank...NOT a good thing, discovered when we went to fill it as Niagara falls poured out of the bottom of the locker it lives in. Only good news...it lives in a locker that vents directly overboard, rather than into the bilge!
When something like this happens, like attempting to remove a tank, you discover exactly how your boat is made. For example, there is no way to get the old 100 gal tank (54 x 30 x 16) out of the locker hatch (45 x 18). Obviously the water tank was installed, prior to the deck being put on. So..a saw is employed to cut it in two (thank God for Bobby and his team)! And now comes the tricky issue of finding a replacement, that fits, and getting it to PR, before all work shuts down for the Christmas season. As it turns out, Vetus was able to come thru for us, and two new 56gal tanks were sourced and delivered to PR on Wednesday the 16th....only to find that no mater how they try to arrange the two new tanks, plus the 40 gal tank we still have...all three wont fit. BUGGER! Ending up with LESS potable water capacity is not high on my list of best ways to start the season.
So after a lot of work in just a few days, back we went to Florida, to spend someone else's milestone birthday ....and then head back to Illinois for the holidays. We haven't spent Christmas with the family, or grandkids since 2010 and this seemed the perfect time to do so, as a new job for one of the kids means it will most likely be their last Christmas in Illinois as well.
Arriving back in Chicago was a whirlwind of 2 days here, 3 days there, including much quality time with family, a wonderful wedding with some special & beautiful family/friends in Cleveland, a couple of dinners with good friends, a couple of breakfasts with an outrageous bunch of Jim's guys, 3 CRAZY days with Children and Grandbabies for Christmas Eve & Day...WOW, what energy! And FUN!, and a wonderful Sunday dinner with almost all of our siblings in attendance, add in some ridiculous winter weather -um, yeah - DO NOT want to drive in that crap - Ever Again!
Finally, New Years Eve finds us up, up and away, and eventually on the ground in Puerto Rico heading home. Ahhhhhhh! Ginny & John on Wind Shepherd kindly held their dinner for us so we arrived to the boat, walked over, visited, ate, laughed, and left well before midnight...in order to put heads to pillows and sleep!
Farewell to the girls
25 February 2015
It was a wonderful week with the...girls! More to follow, but here is a memory of a VERY fun night at Foxy's!