Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Home!

Despite all our afflictions, we have made it back home again. Note to self: Don't travel the roads during Easter weekend! Everything in the house is fine, but much yardwork needs to be done. We've also been up to Ticonderoga, where things seemed to have weathered the winter just as well....all except the Thunderbird that refused to run and may need a new fuel pump. It was blocking my PT Cruiser Convertible in the garage, so we pushed it out to get the other car out to take home. Dave ran downtown to put it on the road, only to find that DMV was closed because the computers weren't working.😠 So we pushed the T-Bird back into the garage first, then parked the PT, and we cruised on home in "Marilyn", Mom's 2002 Buick Century that we purchased from her and drove back from Florida. Dave remembers Mom and Dad showing us the car at the dealership and always liked it. When Mom said she really wanted it to stay in the family and none of my siblings wanted it, we added it to our fleet. It is a fantastic car for long distance trips, and now our 1995 GMC van can be relieved of the duty of traversing the I 95 corridor. As an added bonus (besides dual air/heat control and my favorite...the visor extensions), the stereo system is awesome and what a concert hall we had going in all that stop and go traffic on the way home. Heck, it not only plays all our aging CDs, it also plays cassette tapes that we still have a few of in the old van!

This will be my last blog post for awhile unless something exciting happens. As my mother's saying goes, "it's all routine stuff." Enjoy the spring!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Adding Insult To Injury

Literally! Greetings from "Sick Bay"... Dave and I have come down with two different flus at the same time. Although we both had a stomach virus during the night, Dave's got better, but he has chills, aches, and is really congested. Although I don't have the congestion (yet) my stomach is still acting up. At least this didn't happen in the thick of all the action when we were trying to get things done. Plus luckily no one else has our ailments. I'm not sure we will be ready to leave here this weekend, but at least it takes my mind off my broken toe. 😉

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Whirlwind Week

It has been quite a busy week. I left Hope Town for Daytona on April 1st and Dave left on the 4th. My sister Sue arrived here on the 4th also. Then we all went to work cleaning out the cupboards, closets, hutches, etc. in my mother's house. Mom, who has settled in and adapted as well as possible in assisted living, requested to see all her 'stuff' one more time, so she spent the day here on Wednesday. Then, in two days we pulled together most everything for a huge garage sale. It was actually fun since several of the neighbors bought things as mementos and kept coming back for more. They also were able to visit with Mom, which was nice.





 (These photos were taken before all the holiday decorations were brought out, so there was lots more)

It was only a one day sale as Dave and my brother Rick and nephew Matthew wanted to go to the annual Port Orange Volkswagen show on Sunday. Plus Sue took Mom to see her 11 month old great grandson Bradley who was vacationing with his parents Melissa and Ben in Ormond Beach (Sue flew here from NH with the three of them). Meanwhile I took everything left over from the sale and boxed it all up for donations to the Hospice store, which we will drop off today.

Mom also has many collectibles and we are in the process of finding a consignment store to try and sell them, which is no easy task as they all need to be recorded and appraised. A realtor friend of Rick and Eva's has been here and the house will go up for sale when Dave and I leave on Saturday. Dave and I have purchased Mom's Buick Century (she wanted it kept in the family) and we will be quite a sight going up I 95 with a U-Haul trailer in tow, carrying the Honda Helix and all the items that Sue and I want to keep! It's sad that it is the end of an era though.

As one final note, on Tuesday morning I broke my right little toe badly on the coffee table. It was a scary sight seeing it sticking out at about a 45-60 degree angle and wouldn't go back into place. All I could do was tape it together with a couple of the other toes for support and keep on working. "No rest for the wicked!"

More when we arrive home...

Friday, March 31, 2017

Grand Finale

Yesterday was the last cruising boat race of the season and since many cruisers are heading back home, crew was hard to find for Sunrise. I was 'elected' to be the third person on the boat along with Milton, the owner, and of course Dave. The wind was supposed to be about 8 knots, so we set the huge 155% jib sail. In reality it was about 13 knots with higher gusts and white caps. Wow, did we ever heel over...so much so that I ended up being just 'rail meat', using my weight on the high side to try and keep the boat more level. I couldn't move around the boat easily so, except for steering, Dave had to tend the mainsheet, jib and winches by himself. He joined me on the high side when possible on the upwind legs, to keep the keel as far down in the water as possible, in order to help point towards the mark. It figures that the course was longer than usual due to the perfect sailing winds, which was tiring for a novice like me and Dave having to do more than usual. We were a bit overpowered on the upwind legs, but that huge jib helped when going downwind. We were racing along side of the Abaco Rage most of the day, with them in the lead, but on the last leg, we beat them to the finish. In the end, we came in third after the handicaps were tallied! Plus Sunrise with Milton and Dave as co-skippers ended up earning the Boat of the Year Award, a huge accomplishment!

Below are a few of Will Heyer's great shots of the racing action...



Thursday, March 30, 2017

One Last Safari

Before we stored away the kayaks for the summer, we loaded them up in Safari and headed south past Tilloo Cut. We were actually going to try paddling the cut, but the ocean swell was huge and the waves were crashing on shore.

We ended up in the lee of an estate called The Far Side or as many of us call it, The Castle. Even the iron coral looks like the castle.


As soon as we launched the kayaks, I happened to be looking in the right place at the right time and saw several dolphins near by. I even recognized one as Notch who frequents the harbor.



Washed up on shore we found a sister to our Daysailer Suja. I can tell that Dave was trying to figure out to get it back home...

There were also tons of turtles swimming around us and it made for a perfect ending to our paddling for the season. We didn't get out as much as usual, but when we did, it was fantastic!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Goodnight Abaco

With the time change making it lighter later, we have been taking walks out to the Sea of Abaco to watch the sunset after dinner. Tonight's was spectacular!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Feeling Smug

The forecast during the past week has been for very high winds today though the weekend. Since time is really growing short for us here, we made the decision to start hauling out our boats before the gale. First it was Jim Ryan's Sunfish and our Daysailer Suja, with extra thanks to Barry and Art. Yesterday we were going to go kayaking, but the wind had already started to pick up, so the guys really went to work. Dandy was hauled, put on its trailer, and is in storage.


Then Jim's skiff was hauled out and 'summerized', before decommissioning his sailboat Pepe too.
 
Even after all that, there was still time to haul out Walkabout, clean its bottom, flush the engine with fresh water, and put it away for the summer. We sure kept PJ and the forklift busy.

This morning our little marina filled up to capacity, as did the anchorage and the Hope Town Marina in anticipation of the coming bad weather. We've never seen so many boats and people here. At 11 AM the wind really kicked in and increased all day. As the wind howls through all the boat masts, we sit here feeling smug, knowing that we beat the weather and the first step towards departure is complete. Let the wind blow...we are ready!

 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Topping This Sailing Season

We just discovered that the online article about Dandy that was posted last summer has made it into a hard copy magazine. It is called The Best of Small Boats Monthly, 2017 issue, from the editors of WoodenBoat. Click HERE for the link to buy the magazine.




This is great publicity for all the Abaco dinghies, but I think that we've definitely had more than our fair share of "15 minutes of fame this season!"

Friday, March 17, 2017

Then and Now

Dave seems to be continuing his tradition of winning trophies. Waaaay back, it was for motorcycle riding & it looks like he won two different classes (must be that long hair helped him😉):

Now he goes a lot slower...5 mph, but the trophies are much bigger!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Meanwhile...

While Dave was off beating everyone in the Sunfish races, I was helping an Abaco dinghy that had flipped over before the first race even started. It took four boats, a big bucket, and my electric pump to de-water it. The photos below were taken when the boat was almost bailed out, but at first we had to hold the boat up, because it was so full of seawater that the top edge kept going underwater, sinking it again.


This is the third time I have had to help pump out a dinghy and now that I think about it, it's always the same boat. Interesting!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

On A Roll

The winning streak continues! Today Dave won the Sunfish races. He was actually first in two out of three races.


He was so far ahead in the first race that you could barely see the boats behind him.

He led the pack with his starts especially in this race.

Another first place glass added to the growing collection:

What a sailing season we have had, both for leisure and competition!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

All In A Row

Hope Town recently celebrated their Heritage Day, and many of the Abaco Dinghies were featured.

Some of the boats were sculled with one oar like pirate Goldwin is doing in this photo:

Dave also was there and went sailing in Dandy, later taking some of the event participants for a ride.

When the awards were given to the kids for their essays, they were given a book written all about Winer Malone's Abaco Dinghy boat building. How appropriate!

It's wonderful how much attention these historical dinghies have been receiving lately.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Shark!

Looks big and mean, doesn't it? It's actually just a nurse shark and only 2 ft. long! I followed it for about half an hour today while I was kayaking. It tried to hide in the rocks, but I quickly found it and got really close...


What a fun outing with turtles and rays swimming under me. The tide was super low and I reached down and grabbed this gorgeous starfish. As soon as I sat it down on the front of the kayak, it sucked on to the plastic and I had to pry it off. After my photo shoot I gently placed it right where I found it.

Then I snuck up on the this little green heron who looks like he just ate a fish.

I think I saw almost as much wildlife as Dave and Jim Ryan did snorkeling at Fowl Cay, and all I had to do was kayak just outside the harbor.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

What A Comparison

1400 Horse Power vs. 1 sail power....Dandy looks pretty tiny next to this boat with four engines!



Saturday, March 4, 2017

Unusual Request

Every morning we listen to the Cruiser's Net on the VHF radio at 8:15 in the morning. There is all sorts of information learned plus weather reports for our area. The past several days there has been an unusual request announced. There was a homing pigeon that must have been blown off course, wandering around the Abacos. Finally someone got close enough to see that it was from Miami, found a cage and food, and gave her a name...Rebecca. They contacted a homing pigeon group who claim that if she is brought back to the States and let go, she will find her way home (I guess her internal GPS must not include the Bahamas?!). So the request went out for any sailboat heading back to Florida to volunteer to transport Rebecca back and release her. No one has stepped forward yet, but then again it is going to be blowing 20-30 mph for a week, so no one is going anywhere. Meanwhile, Rebecca is well taken care of. Hopefully it all works out for her and her instincts kick in when she sees U.S. soil again. I hope she remembers her passport!



Footnote: Back in high school I used to go out with a guy who's family had homing pigeons. We used to transport them as far away as 100 miles and they would all make their way back home. They truly are amazing birds.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Again?!

Once again Sunrise won the latest cruising boat race, the Spring Regatta. Owner Milton was the skipper this time and they had three guys on board with winds of 15-20 mph. Despite the higher winds (and a change in handicap rating), they exceled and all their hard work paid off.

Two more races and it's a pretty good bet they will be Boat of the Year. What an accomplishment! 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Too Fast

Day sailing has become a huge highlight of this season. We've really had some rollicking sails in both the harbor and out on the Sea of Abaco. Yesterday we went out with Jim Ryan in his CL 16 sailboat, and Richard Woods in his sailing 10' Duo dinghy that he designed. We didn't realize this, but Richard was filming while we were sailing.

Of course we are in the distance in all the shots because we are the fastest. 😊 Tomorrow the conditions look perfect for another venture out and we have to do this while we can. Big winds are headed our way and then we're into March Madness with so many meetings and events. Others may talk about sailing in the club, but we're out there doing it...a lot!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Close Encounters

Randy the manatee is still living in the harbor. He has become so accustomed to people and boats that it is becoming dangerous to him. People have enticed him to their water hoses to drink, which encourages him to stay around. One day we noticed that the water hose here at the marina was dripping and Randy was upside down drinking. We shut it off, but Paul from the fuel dock said he had to do it because Randy had been out front trying to drink the water coming out of customers' outboard motors. The manatee just hears the splashing of water and doesn't realize that it's probably saltwater cooling the engines until he first drinks it, but meanwhile the engines are running. Scary.

Randy also like hanging out at the haul-out area in the back pond. He probably hears the water running off the seawall when the workers are pressure washing and cleaning boats. Dave was cleaning Walkabout one day and yup, there's Randy. Luckily when he was in the water yesterday cleaning the bottom of our skiff, Randy didn't sidle up to him. He's been known to do that and several people have gone in the water to swim with him. They say he is gentle, but he has tried to mate with rubber dinghies and was even brushing up against Jim's kayak in the pond the other day. Everyone must remember that he can hold his breath longer than they can if he ends up holding you under! In Catherine's photo below you can see how he has been brushing up against all the boats with bottom paint. I think it's time Randy found a girlfriend!

The scariest thing is that most of us that are here for the winter keep a good look out for him, but there are so many charterers and small boat renters that are oblivious to what is going on. Who would ever expect to see a manatee in the Bahamas? I sure hope he remains healthy and unhurt.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Hard To Believe

It sure is hard to believe that Dave and I were married 39 years ago today! We have done a lot in all those years and our lives certainly have been diverse. I wish I had a wedding photo to put on here, but this is us now. There aren't too many photos taken of the two of us because I am usually the photographer...

Next year will be our 40th and how can we top what we already do? Perhaps we'll go back to the Bahama's Exuma Islands like we did in New Horizon. I wonder if our sign is still on Boo Boo Hill?

Then again, maybe we'll just stay here. I love this photo from the Hope Town Marina's hot tub that Catherine took. In fact it is part of a family collage hanging in my mother's room at Grace Manor.

Happy anniversary Dave! Here's to 39 more years as our story continues!