Key West here we come!!
07 May 2011
May 6, 2011
Wow, what romance at sea! We are sailing about 5 miles off the Keys of Florida and just passed two Loggerhead Turtles doing the "Hippity-dippity!" They were belly to belly and upright in the water. Their large flippers flailed back and forth resembling two long distance swimmers; which is what they looked like approaching from twenty feet or so. The Loggerhead Turtle is the world's largest turtle. These two had shells that were easily 4 feet in diameter. After seeing this beautiful couple I Googled them and learned that they can reach up to over 400 lbs., live well into their 80's, and breed between 17 and 34 years of age! Each baby can have up to 5 fathers as the female stores the males sperm until she ovulates and creates a baby turtle! That puts an all new twist on, "who your baby daddy?" And the child support chase!
On Tuesday, May 3rd I met Tom and Wally at Paradise Harbor Marina, Paradise Island, Bahamas. My first thought at seeing him after two weeks was that his shirt that reads, "I'm a pirate in real life" is now a true statement. Tom emerged from inside the boat as I wheeled my carry-on down the dock. There he was, full beard, dark tan and long scraggly silver-white hair hanging out from under his black and white skull cap. And of course following him, his usual entourage of Lexie and Slugger; ever-vigilant when they aren't sleeping.
"Island Spirit" was in good shape and what I would consider especially good shape since she was inhabited by 2 guys for 2 weeks at sea. She was relatively clean and very organized. I was informed that in the last week the two of them had only used 29 gallons of water! That's 29 gallons for showering, brushing teeth and cooking. And all I have to say about that is there must have been a lot of stinkin going on, but they were both so proud of their accomplishment!! I said, "Well don't count on it being like that for now on." And Tom said, "Don't worry Rhonda we'll let you have your 14.5 gallons. It wouldn't be fair to not let you have the same amount of water we had!" Uggggh!!!
Ten minutes after I arrived we were underway for Bimini. As much as I was ready for life ashore, it was a good feeling to step back onto "Island Spirit," take off my shoes and put on a t-shirt and shorts. Which is exactly what happened, followed by one very cold Bahamian beer; Kalik.
Wally made us a schedule for "Watch" of 3 hour increments. This would be my first overnight passage and my first watch. At midnight Tom woke me. He and Wally briefed me again on what to do, what NOT to do and then went to bed. I can only describe my hours as serene and magical. Millions of stars shone beautifully in the sky and within a few minutes a falling star fell from the sky appearing to land just in front of us. The air was cool enough to wear a light jacket and the ocean calm like the lake at evening time. There was nothing but water in all directions and the sight of maybe 3 ships during my watch.
There was also incredible bioluminescence. Science lesson #2... What is Bioluminescence? Google search in a nutshell... they are phytoplankton created by the sun as it shines into the ocean. Scientists estimate over 90% of living ocean species have some of this. What I saw though, was small dime sized and shaped white glows at the surface of the water, thousands of them. Some tightly together in groups others floating inches away from one another. As the boats hulls gently pushed the water aside they would light up and then disappear again seconds later.
We arrived in Bimini on Wednesday afternoon where we spent two nights anchored in a bay about 200 yards from shore. Wednesday evening we went into "town" to a little sand floor covered bar called, "the End of the Earth." We enjoyed a few of their cold beers, conch fritters and conch ceviche. Tom and I walked out to the back deck which meets the water and looked down. There hanging out by the large box of submerged conch was a Lion Fish. These black and white stripped fish with long tentacles, about 6 inches in length are extremely poisonous and can be lethal to humans if stung! (Remember the Leslie Nielson movie with Prisilla Presley, "Airplane" when he accidentally stabs 'bosses' pet Lion Fish in his aquarium?) The guys obviously didn't see the threat. Wally wanted to catch and eat him and the owner of the restaurant next door said he was his pet!
We left Bimini on Friday morning about 7:30 a.m. and it is now almost 9:30 p.m. We are in route to Key West and should arrive late Saturday afternoon. The sun has set, Wally has watch and I'm enjoying this adventure bringing "Island Spirit" into the U.S. Savannah is in Louisville with her grandparents and will meet us in New Orleans for Austin's (her older brother) high school graduation around the 22nd This is by far the longest stretch we have gone without Savannah in our clutches. We miss her so much, but knowing she is safe and basking in grandparent love and attention let's us sleep well at night.
All for now.