Saturday, March 30, 2013

Night Sail

Our Mid Night Passage

We left about 12:25 AM.  The moon was full and bright.  Christian had always said he wanted to sail at night.  i think this is what he was talking about.  It was very beautiful.  I never thought i would feel that way about a moving boat at night.  It was so bright it was like dusk.  We had a buddy boat who left ahead of us and were in contact with them.  That makes you not feel so alone in the middle of the ocean.  Just seeing their light was most reassuring for me.

We both were awake for a while till we got the boat somewhat settled and then Kirk let me go below and rest my eyes and he took the hard watch.  After a while i went back upstairs to keep him company.  The sun rise was so slow, but when the ole ball finally got from behind the clouds, it was blinding!!  The colors were great and it was a 360 view.

Kirk then rested his eyes and i was on watch by myself.  That was pretty cool.  Just me, the boat and the ocean.  We sailed, motor sailed and motored.  The winds were not as projected. (imagine that)  We had about a 6 foot swell from the north west and a 4 foot wind chop from the east north east.  When the two met, the seas were a little confused.  All in all not that bad of conditions.

We got into St Martin around 2 pm   sorry no pictures

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Preparing to leave the Virgin Islands

We have been in the Virgin Islands since the beginning of December.  It has been a lovely stay. We have been to the Spanish Virgins, USVI and BVI.

 We have had many visitors so far on this adventure which enriched our lives tremendously.  Thank you Kevin and Theresa, Jenna, Karen and Andy, Christian and Elizabeth, Nathan and Sarah, Jan and Glenn, Kel and Andrew, Lisa and Steve, Otto and Linda for making the time to share in our travels. It was great to share lunch with my Dad and Carolyn while their cruise ship was in Tortola for the day.  Was so super to see them.

We have seen many sights, but the most rewarding for me is the people we have met and the cultures to which we have been introduced.

Since discovering the oil leak in the sail drives in late November we have not known where we were headed.  Originally we were going back north but then Hurricane Sandy put a damper on that.  Living in a state of confusion has been hard on the nerves to say the least.  Poor Kirk!!!!  We have been having trial runs, checking the levels almost daily, trying all sorts of variables and then the hours spent trying to make sense of the whole situation.

We are now going to head for St Marten and see how the engines do. We are in North Sound,  preparing to leave.  This morning we changed the fuel filters.  Yesterday we filled up the tanks.  We provisioned a great deal in St Thomas but are picking up a few things at the little market here.  There is a market in St Marten but being Easter weekend you never know if they will be open or if they will have any provisions.

One of the reasons to write this blog is that the internet connection which we have become accustomed to here in the Virgin Islands will become sparse.  Phone service will be another challenge but on and on we go......

These two pictures are of Sail Rock which is in between St Thomas and Culebra.  We were in a rather large North swell and it made the breakers on the "island" beautiful.  Kirk captured these photos.

Happy Easter!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Otto and Linda Visit March 7th - 16th 2013

Otto and Linda arrived in St Thomas.  We were able to pick them up at the Crown Bay Marina after getting fuel. We motored over to Brewers Bay for the evening.  Ross and Diana joined us for dinner.  We had fun.  Here they are checking out the stars with Kirks iPad app.

Happy to be in warm weather.  Linda is wearing Otto's hat.

After spending a day anchored in Honeymoon Bay and enjoying a delightful party hosted by Diana and Ross we headed over to Culebra.  We hiked Culebrita to the top and visited the lighthouse.  This was a stop along the hike to examine cactus.

This view is looking towards St Thomas.  You can see it on the far left.  In the middle of the screen on the horizon is a little speck that is Sail Rock.  There is also a sail boat that is a little white blur to the left of sail rock.  The water colors were fantastic.

Pensive Linda studying her camera.  More fabulous water colors

Kirk at the lighthouse.

Tortuga Bay and beach.  We tried for two days to get to this place but the swell was too high and made breakers in the entrance channel.  Five foot breakers are a little much for us, so we hiked to this beach after reaching the mountain top.

Otto at the beach.  He was pretty thrilled with our location.

A much deserved rest

Back on the boat 

 Our trip back from Culebra was most eventful.  A whale came right along side the boat and blew through it's blow hole.  I was at the helm.  I looked down and could see the blow hole and all the water coming out.  Scared me like no other. It was loud!! The whale was right next to the boat.  We believe it was a humpback whale.  It then swam around us a bit and headed off.  Later on I thought I saw two whales ahead of us but dismissed it.  Then they appeared again closer.  Everyone was ready with their cameras this time.  Kirk took a movie,   if you look about two thirds from right to left and down about one third you can see a whale blowing and then a few more around it.  The excitement was seeing the tail!!   We were all cheering.

Linda got some good shots.  I was still at the helm.  We saw flying fish, Kirk caught a small tuna, and two whale sightings.   What a day.

We visited St John Island and found a super snorkel place, saw many different kinds of coral, some that were huge.  Saw fish that i had never seen before also.  I even swam with a turtle for a while.  I am so fascinated with the sea turtles.  We have seen so many and some are sooooo big with what looks like barnacles on their backs.  While in Trellis Bay waiting for Lisa and Steve in January, I watched one for about 10 to 15 seconds at the stern of the boat.  We even made eye contact.  It was so beautiful with the markings.  Still a highlight!! 

We also found a nice quiet bay for anchoring near Coral Bay which we have since been back to visit.  We had so much fun laughing and learning and rekindling our friendship.

We had a great time and were so sorry to see them leave.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Splash and a hike

On Friday we were scheduled to launch at 1 pm.  As we were on "island time"  we were launched about 3 pm.  

We got new plastic put on the slings  Yeahhhhh!!!!  After all the hard work of scrubbing and waxing the plastic was greatly appreciated.

The travel lift around our home

Moving towards the water

Easy as we go

Over the water

Kirk checking things out

Still watching

The mechanic checked his work on the engines and off we went.  Was too busy to take any more pictures of the boat in the water.

We made it to Benures Bay.  One of our favorite places.  Kirk is heading out to "swim the anchor".   Swimming the anchor means that he swims out and checks it to see how it is seated in the sand.  It is a double check that all is well.  This time we did some as we had a stern anchor to shore as well.We are in about 20 feet of water.  See the rocks on the bottom?  It is so clear in this Bay.


Check out this cactus!!

Michael and Rebecca came over and joined us again.  Once again we had a good time.  I have a thing about cactus and asked them all to stand by this one.

Long way down.

The path we followed.  Pretty cool eh?

View from near the top, heading back down.  Was much easier than going up.

Termits tunneling across our path.

To the left is our boat, to the right is Michael and Rebecca's.  If you look closely you can see the line from the stern of our boat to land.  That keeps our boat steady and helps to insure that you do not bump into anyone else.

The leaves on the path reminded me of fall in Maryland.

It is not everyday you see a tree with roots like this one.  

The big brown thing in the middle of the picture is a termite nest.  They are huge.

Love the rock formation on this point.  Reminded me of Ireland.  We did not make it all the way out to this point.  Maybe next time.

Our path down a very steep hill.

We hiked to Pirates,  a restaurant located on the other side of the island in an anchorage called the Bight.  Some had a bushwhacker as a reward for all our efforts to get there.

  This crab was at Pirates.  He was on the sidewalk.  I watched navigate the sidewalk edge.  He eventually ended on the ground.  None for worse nor wear.  

More rocks.  I got a thing for rocks.  It just amazes me the rocks you see sticking out of the ocean and then on the islands.

That is our boat, way down there.  It was a long hike.  We did make it to the top of the mountain in the background.  It was a steep climb.  You can see the path carved into the side of the hill.  

Almost back.  The hill in the background reminded me of Colorado.  Was a good day.  We snorkeled later on in the afternoon after the sun was not so high in the sky.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Haul Out in Nanny Cay

We left Great Harbor in Yost Van Dyke on Tuesday morning, stopped by Sopers Hole in Tortola to pick up some groceries and then headed up to Nanny Cay.  We were scheduled to spend the night in the haul out bay so we would be first out in the morning.  After a little delay we were settled in the haul out bay.  I had forgotten the down side of the haul out spot.  When boats are hauled out they are then power washed to remove the barnacles and other little sea creatures that have attached themselves to the bottom of the boat.  That is all fine and dandy but they smell.  whew weee  did they smell.  I lit some candles and that made it tolerable.  We were up bright and early (7:30 am haul out)  This picture is early morning with the sun just coming up and shining on the mountain behind us.  I thought the shadows were pretty cool.

Our boat awaiting the lift

The anchor and all yes ALL (over 200 feet) of anchor chain were lowered to the ground to take the twist out of the chain. You would not believe how heavy the chain is.  I could not crank the winch to pull it back on the boat.  We watched a pretty big maybe 100 foot boat in Great Harbor go round and round in circles to untwist his anchor chain.  Kirk wanted to switch ends of the chain, (put the end that was on the anchor and had been used a lot back on the boat and the unused end on the anchor)  but we were unable to do so.  We did get the twist out.  Lots of heavy, hot, hard work.

Among other things, we spot painted the bottom of the boat where the paint had been worn and where the work had been done on the sail drives.  After Kirk did all the critical parts, he let me paint.  I kept asking all day if i could paint.  After I painted the keels he said I could draw with the paint on the unpainted surface.  I had a little fun.

Our mechanic came by on Friday morning to confirm we were still scheduled for launch and to pick up  stuff he forgot.  I got him to take this picture.  Check out how high the boat is off the land.  It was a very big step from the boat swim ladder to the little gray step stool we keep on the boat.  Both of us could feel it in our legs. 

Sail drive is out

Sail drive is back in.  No propeller yet.

We had a visitor.  Unknown???  Had to check the boat for stowaways!!

Yes, whoever it was traveled around the whole boat.  I followed the tracks till they got to faint to see.

Among other things, we washed and waxed the outside hulls.  Check out how high up we are when working.  You would never guess I have (had) a fear of heights.  Kirk is standing between two ladders finishing the last spot.  The little ladder was very rickety and not so stable.  I used it to do the port side.  It was a bear of a job.  Then savior Kirk helped me move a big ladder and it made it much easier for the starboard side.  Kirk had finished his other jobs and we knocked this side out early Friday morning.

Look how high up I am!   I would hold on to the boat toe rail with one hand and use the other to wash or wax.   I swear the boat gets bigger every time I wash or wax it.  Rocky ladders are not my favorite thing when you are 10 feet in the air......

My honey bunny moving the ladder for me!!

Praise God, this is not our boat.  This is a sad story. It is a new Lagoon 450.  (the newer version of our boat) This boat was owned for 5 days when the owner ran it across the reef at Sandy Spit and there it sat till the salvage boat came and got it.  The water was up to the windows you see in the picture.  There are a bunch of pics on Facebook I believe.