February 26, 2009
Yesterday evening I was up on deck cleaning up from the day. Graham and the kids were getting dinner prep ready. I was about ½ hour into the task and was about to put Amelia's flippers with the rest of the gear in the dinghy and I looked up and...NO DINGHY? I looked left and right in disbelief. I looked to the back of the boat and saw the line still there, and relief swept over me. I figured it must have been tied tight and maybe I just couldn't see it. I began pulling up the line and no dinghy in
sight. Soon the end of the line, with the bit of the dinghy that we attach the rope to attached!! You can imagine my horror. I yell for Graham. Amelia, who loves drama, comes running up first and we both begin scanning the area behind us. We had picked a spot well away from all the charter boats and off in our own area but LUCKILY one of the charter boats had come and anchored behind us, about an hour before hand. I say to Amelia, "Hey isn't that our dinghy hoisted up on their main?" Amelia with
her sharp eyes confirms and we begin to hoot and holler, since they are pulling up the anchor and heading out. They wave back and acknowledge that they have it. They then pull up their anchor and begin to motor over to us with our dinghy attached. They must have been old pros or had a ton of beginners luck because they motored right up to us and handed us the dinghy and unfortunately, since we don't know French and they didn't know English, no words, aside from merci were spoken. I blew them a kiss.
Not sure why. Couldn't think of anything else to do! So our good deed came back to us and thank goodness it did! We now have two different connection points on the dinghy with ropes attached, just in case.
Today was one of those days; I use to dream about when I thought of our life on a sail boat. We spent the morning homeschooling and the afternoon snorkeling, island climbing, sandcastle building, swimming and reading. We came back to the boat and I made an amazing papaya salsa and we had rum punch as the sunset. The kids are played out and reading up a storm and I just feel really good and really fortunate. I am just going to savor the good times.
February 25, 2009
Yesterday we sailed from Bequia to Tobago Cays. I still feel nervous as we are sailing but it is mostly just the thoughts of what could go wrong, not really nervous about what is happening! Graham and I still need to work on our communication during high stress times. We tend to yell, ha….surprise! And why the heck is it that every time we get blasted by an "out of nowhere" gust of wind that batters us down, I am almost always at the helm???? You know what I realized though that I had forgotten about
myself is that I thrive on competition. Yesterday on our sail here there was a boat ahead of us as we left and for a large part of the trip I wasn't worried about sailing, I was just thinking about passing him and we did!! It felt really good. Once we had passed him, the dark clouds started looking pretty scary and I begged Graham to reef the main before it got to crazy. He did this reluctantly and luckily it turned out that the squall past behind us. Once we reefed though the boat we had passed
was able to pass us. Back to my game face and "Graham get the main all the way out!!!"
Once we reached the Cays we were in awe. It is really beautiful. It is a group of a few small islands and horseshoe shaped reef. The water is every color blue you can imagine and every island has a beautiful white sand beach and picture perfect palm trees. It is a national park; it's like Banff on water! As we began to motor through the passage between two of the islands towards the reef, we look over and who do we see, Amelia's friend Sorlynn (remember the French girl we have met up with a few times
on the crazy boat) arriving on her boat at the same time. There was much waving and yelling to mark our arrival!
We all settled into our new anchorage and we made chicken stew, biscuits and later in the evening buns! The sky was amazing last night. We all laid in the cockpit and looked up at the sky and it was like God had sprinkled glitter across it. It was like no sky I had ever seen. The stars looked crowded. Tonight Amelia wants to sleep on deck, so we will see.
Today we woke up to a wonderful breakfast…..eggs, bacon, potatoes, mango, and coffee….yummy. Amelia unfortunately managed to get in trouble even before 9am, so her punishment was that she couldn't go to the beach in the morning. Graham decided it was a good opportunity for a one-on-one fraction lesson. I don't think she will be sneaking off to read while the rest of us are cleaning up, any time soon. Life goes on even in paradise!
We just got back from a family snorkel. We went to this area where there are MANY turtles. It was very cool. The kids got so comfortable swimming with so many of them that they even began touching them. We are just taking a break now. The kids are reading and Graham is putting more copper strapping throughout the boat? Something to do with making our SSB signal stronger. His breaks look a bit different than mine!
Missing you in Tobago Cays
February 22, 2009
|Life in Bequia, ST Vincent and the Grenadines|
February 16, 2009
I thought it might be fun for the four of us to write down 3 things we think you may not have known about our life on a boat. We each wrote our list without reading the others and I resisted the urge to make edits to their lists! Enjoy
- I sleep in a different bed every night.
- I am taking antibiotics.
- I am smarter than Amelia
- We have a secret compartment in our boat cupboard don't tell pirates
- I have a pimple on my but-ox
- Sometimes I make my face look funny and act in front of the mirror, when the door is closed in the bathroom
- Every night after we eat we usually watch a couple episodes of MASH together in the cockpit.
- Alex and Amelia drive the dinghy. Every time we go anywhere they fight over who drives.
- Water is like gold and the guilt I feel when I wash my hands, brush my teeth or rinse the dishes is EXTREME.
- Constant state of awareness of your surroundings and threats. Realization that most of the other people out here probably know less than we do, so you also have to think about what the boats around you are doing.
- Cruising, comes down to one thing: fixing a boat in a exotic location with little or no help other than that offered from other cruisers.
- If you prolong your departure till all the jobs were done, you would never leave. If you leave before all the jobs are done, the boat will never be completed.
February 12, 2009
We have put so much blood, sweat and tears into this boat, I thought that it deserved its own blog about all the wonderful things we have done to bring it back to life. I think the coolest things for me though are the fact that we can now make our own water and electricity and even send email without an internet connection. It is so cool to see our batteries at 100% and we don't have to run the engine to get there. The two wind generators Graham installed and our solar panel give us plenty of juice! Yesterday Graham got the water maker hooked up and now we don't have to worry about where we are going to get our fresh clean water from. WE CAN MAKE OUR OWN and it even tastes good. The SSB is really cool too. Somehow Graham worked his magic yet again and got the SSB up and running. We are now able to send and receive email through our single side ban radio without being connected to the internet. We are also able to communicate with people all around the world. We listened in to the coconut net that they have every morning at 7:30 and we chimed in when they asked for new arrivals and we shocked the heck out of my dad, who was listening in Antigua. We were able to chat after the show on an open channel.
You have all heard that Graham went day after day to the boat yard and you may have wondered what he was doing, well below is the list! If I haven't said it enough.....he really is amazing. He never seems beat. He always has a solution. He never gives up. He can work in the heat and the dirt and not complain once. He could come home to us at night, complaining about the heat and wishing for the boat to be done and manage to cheer us up and even make dinner. It is his dedication and perseverance that got us a home that we can be proud of.
- ANCHOR: Full repair and installation of anchor windlass, backing plates, reinforcement of deck, replace and install new anchor chain, built teak drain grate for inside the anchor locker, replaced the anchor chain to the bulk head fitting in the locker
- BOW PULPIT: Rebedded the pulpit, installed new LED navigation lights on new teak bases onto the pulpit
- MAIN: Installed new LED tri anchor navigation lights to top of main, replaced wire for spreader light and steaming light, installed new wind indicator
- MISSEN: repaired forward spreader on missen, replaced vhf antenna and coaxial cable through to vhf, replaced mast spreader light wiring
- STERN STEEL ARCH: rebedded the arch, had new arms added for extra reinforcement
- WINDGENERATORS: installed 2 new WIND GENERATORS
- STERN DECK: made a new teak rail for stern and installed and varnished, removed the stern anchor roller and fiber glassed the area it was in and painted
- HYDROVANE: Installed self steering gear!!!! Huge job
- COCKPIT: Replaced cockpit floor with 14m plywood and epoxy, installed drains on the seats in the cockpit
- PAINT: completed the bottom paint and continue to add numerous coats of varnish to woodwork
- ELECTRICAL: reran and replaced all of the wiring, added new outlets in convenient locations, installed new instruments, installed new bilge pumps with float switches, installed new LED lights throughout, installed and rewired a new bank of batteries, built and fiber glassed the new battery box
- PLUMBING: Installed 2 new toilets and hoses, installed all new sea cocks
- WOODWORK: built and installed new bulk head on port side at nav table, reinforced and installed new backing plate on port side Genoa track
- SSB: installed SSB
Aside from this long list there were so many little things that he did to make us more comfortable. He definitely knows this boat more intimately than he ever thought possible.
So now I think when we meet people along the way and they ask where we started and what we are up to, I am going to leave the problems behind us and talk about the now because the now is SO MUCH BETTER than the last few months.
WE OWN A CHASSIRON TOUR DU MONDE 43 FOOT BLUE BOTTOMED KETCH and she is GORGEOUS!!!
February 08, 2009
February 06, 2009
February 05, 2009
February 03, 2009
I am trying to find the time to write the next blog about our sail here...but I thought I better give you guys a quick update. On the sail from Grenada to Carriacou we noticed yet another problem. The Genoa track on our port side was rising away from the deck. We were on a close reach with the most stress possible on the sail and noticed this with shock and quickly furled her in. Regardless the bulk head and cabinets over the nav bed inside and below the track were all rotted out and filled with what we think were termites (small white fast moving bugs). Soooo Graham and Kevin ripped everything out and are refitting a new bulk head and having steel backing plates made and then epoxying the new wood. Long story short....we are still fixing fixing fixing.....Good news is that we know lots of people here and are having lots of visits. bad news is that we might be here for a few more days. I would like to think we would be ready to move on Thursday but we all know how things go. I will let you know if this holds true. We are now thinking we will sail to Bequia for a day sail and make sure all is good with the work they have done and then to Antigua.
Stay tuned :-) I will post a video of our trip here soon.