May 25, 2015

Feeding Frenzy

I watch from the dinghy as Liam the 12 year old boy on Gromit proudly waves his speared lobster in the air and swims quickly to his dinghy to secure his catch. I have noticed a shiny gleam in his eyes ever since we started out this afternoon. He seems different, more focused and excited with the spear gun in hand. It must be totally thrilling to chase after the fish and successfully snare one. I imagine it to be even more exciting than when we catch a fish off the stern of Salty Ginger.

I am happy to sit in the dinghy with the girls sunbathing and catching a small taste of the excitement from the sidelines. Liam has just come up with a nice size parrot fish and we are all hooting and hollering. He is so determined as he hunts. I watch him as he stays in one spot diving down and back up and down again. I asked him after what was happening and it was a battle between him and three lobsters. Luckily he won one!

Graham swims over to the dinghy and tells us there is a huge 8 foot shark swimming about. He points it out and we can see it over the side of the boat. Liam is off a ways and continues to spear fish. I feel the intensity of the situation dial up to high. As a fish is speared and blood spills into the water I worry. Finally much to Liam's disappointment Mike calls it. The shark is just way to interested in us....time to move on. Lucky for Liam the bay is huge and there are plenty of hunting spots to continue his adventure.

I feel a bit bad for Graham that he doesn't have Alex here to fish with. Amelia and I aren't huge fish eaters and Graham doesn't want to take more than we need from the sea. For today he seems content to be a spectator and snorkel about watching the show.

Over the past few days we have all had run-ins with the sharks. At Gromit one shark was standing guard at their swim ladder so they had to shoo it away with their flippers to climb aboard.

Today as the girls were trying to teach me to wind surf we drifted back to this area where we have been dumping our food scraps and we got a bit of a fright to see our familiar friend under us again. We towed the wind surfer back up wind and began again. Made the process even more exciting.

Yesterday as Amelia was helping Graham tighten the self steering at the back of the boat she was leaned way over the back transom holding herself on with the ladder that was folded up. Unfortunately though the ladder wasn't tied on and she made a big splash and fell in. She quickly got back on board and Graham said it wasn't moments later that a barracuda and sting ray showed up to see if the splash was food.

All of this is very exciting but the truth is that sharks, barracudas and sting rays don't want to eat people. There have only been a few minor attacks over the years in the Bahamas and they usually only occur during a feeding frenzy but it is so hard to remember this as we look down at them in this crystal clear shallow water swimming about.

Oh and speaking of feeding frenzies, the Gromit have been sharing their spoils. They have hosted two fabulous lunches. One with a variety of baked fish and another with trevally sushi and sashimi.

Right now we are 5 miles out from arriving at the Abacos in the Bahamas after a three night passage. The sail has been wonderful. Highlights were dolphins, cinnamon buns, daal and meeting up with our other buddy boat Tahina at sea!a

May 17, 2015

We arrived in the Bahamas

We arrived yesterday morning after a glorious 4 day sail! It was the kind of sailing that makes me remember why I love it. Beautiful downwind, calm seas and clear skies. I am currently sitting on the stoup of a small building on a very tiny island where they have wifi, so no time for a long post but below is a pic of the boys staring out at the wonder at the beautiful crystal clear waters of Mayaquana, Bahama. oh and they had no idea I was snapping a shot of them! They were matching though all tanned and shirtless ;-).

May 11, 2015

My Shell has Gotten Soft

I have been wanting to write this blog for a while but have been struggling with how to paint the picture. Being on the sea and living on a boat, your time is purely focused on the basics of life which also includes reflection. I find that in the city I am way too busy with running the race that reflection is so often overlooked. Back home I feel like the “water of life” is so murky that I can ignore what is just below the surface because I can’t see it. Out here the water is crystal clear and you can see pretty much everything floating around you. Life seems a bit more emotionally charged and sometimes a bit draining. We all tend to fire off our emotions both good and bad at the HIGH setting on the spectrum. I also become brutally self-aware and often a day will start with me thinking of the things I want to do differently.

The past few weeks we have been travelling with a number of other boats and cockpit parties and beach get togethers are abundant. They are so much fun and give us all a time to bond and discuss many of the same things we are all going through. Of course this is usually just the woman…. ;-).  One of the ladies the other night mentioned that back home she has her defenses up and “behaves emotionally appropriate.” Meaning that she considers her actions before acting. Each move and discussion is more deliberate. She said that out here her “Shell has gotten soft.” This so resonated with me. This perfectly describes how I feel. Everything is out there and exposed, you can’t really hide anything. It makes people really authentic and I think this is why we all become such fast friends out at sea. What you see is what you get. The good, the bad and the ugly. Anyone who knows me, knows that my emotions are usually always out there on my sleeve. If you call yourself my friend or my family, you have seen me on many occasions with tears in my eyes… now imagine me in this environment. Yup a bit of a mess ;-). I guess I could consider this trip a 6 month retreat! Look forward to the new improved Julie on my return.

We are currently in the USVI’s and plan on departing tomorrow for a 4 to 5 day passage to the Bahamas. This is the longest we have been out at sea on this trip so I am feeling a bit apprehensive. We also no longer have Alex to share the shifts with so this will mean less sleep for the three of us. The sail should all be downwind though so this is a huge positive. We won’t be leaned way over with the wind and splash in our face. Downwind is my favorite point of sail. We are also going to be sailing with Gromit which is always fun. We radio each other and compare speeds, etc. Nice to have another pair of eyes out there to.

One more thing I should mention is that yesterday for Mother’s day I awoke to a very unique surprise. On the counter was a face made out of oranges, paper towel and a banana. On the Banana Amelia had written Happy Mother’s Day and a nice message. It was pretty cool and reflected how unique she is. She also wrote me a really nice song. Right now for mother daughter bonding time we are at a very busy laundromat sitting on the dirty floor next to a wall outlet so we can plug in and charge our laptops! Shockingly we are both really happy to not be hand washing and to be getting free power ;-). There is even this nice OCD man who keeps folding and refolding our laundry.

Hope you all had a wonderful Mother’s Day weekend. My mom is off in Vegas living the life I am so happy she is able to! Love you mom.