Previous month:
November 2011
Next month:
January 2012

December 2011

Ano Nuevo Take Two



Sent from my iPhone

Begin forwarded message:

From: Bubs' Gmail <barbara.hirewell@gmail.com>
Date: December 31, 2011 9:38:38 AM GMT-04:00
Subject: Ano Nuevo Take Two

Dammit. New Year's post was victim of "early send syndrome" a frequent problem with me and the iPhone. It will be interesting to see what spelling and grammar errors the iPhone and I have made.

To continue:

• Provisioning is both easier and harder than I expected. In this trip to Puerto Rico I didn't try to stock up on all non-perishables. We can get most of them along the way, and go without others. We chose to purchase large amounts of a few items, such as walnuts, and enough of other items to last for only three months or so. We foscused here in Puerto Rico on marine items, personal and galley things, and clothes. Especially clothes for me. No women's sailing clothes are available (at reasonable prices) south of Puerto Rico.

• EW grew a beard and I like it. Here in Puerto Rico he purchased both a beard trimmer and a kit for me to use to cut his hair. This should be good for a couple of hilarious blog posts in 2012. Thank you, my sweet Topic.

• I still miss friends and family. EW's cell is activated while we are in USVI and Puerto Rico. Call. Also, I LOVE comments from real people on this blog. Also emails. As I've said before, you know what's happening here. I'd love to hear what's going on with you. I really, really mean it.

• I did write a book and it's now being edited by dear friend and fellow sailor, Dora SM. I hope she still likes me when the project is done. She keeps worrying that I'll take offense at her suggestions. While red isn't my favorite color, 99% of her changes and comments have been right on. When it's done, you will be among the first to know.

• Finally, I am in awe that EW and I are able to follow our dream. I wish that for you, whatever your dream may be. All the best to you and yours on 2012, and I hope you are able to move closer to your dream this year. Let me know.

Prospero Ano Nuevo!

Sent from my iPhone

Getting Ready for the Ano Nuevo

Location: 18.20.177 N 65.37.280W

We are still anchored off of Isletta Marina just off of Fajardo. This isn't where we wanted to spend New Year's Eve, and I don't have Wi-Fi, I'm tired, and the boat is a mess. But- I'm delighted and thrilled to be here. I'm blessed. 2011was a wonderful year and we are excited about 2012. Since it's not easy for me to insert photos when I post via the iPhone (it may be easy for someone else, but I don't know how) my final post of 2011 will be photo free but I promise to make up for that when we are on-line.

Here are a few things I learned in 2011and what I hope to add this year:

• Softening. This is a "biggie" for me, as my mom used to say. She also said--often-- "Barbara, you're so impatient". I was. I still am. But this year I learned to soften a bit--both in what I project and what I feel inside. Still working on it and will for the rest of my life.

This year I will add Balance to my inner recipe. Balance to spend time for important things on a regular basis, instead of focusing on one to the exclusion of all others. Balance in my diet, exercise, and general well-being, and balance in my thoughts. While softening was definitely about me, it had a positive impact on EW and others. Balance is even more about me. I'm not sure what the impact will be, except that I do expect to be dressed at a reasonable hour as a balanced life would include getting ready for the day before sitting down to write for six hours.

• For me, this lifestyle isn't about the sailing. I enjoy it, because living aboard and traveling in our boat allows us to see countries thatcare new to us and to meet and befriend people who are new to us. We have met incredibly nice and generous people, from Bahama John, crazy taxi driver in Nassau to Polito, a 70 year old racing and charter captain here in Fajardo. (Note: We also met wonderful people when we sailed down the Atlantic Coast of the US in 2010.) We have made new friends for life in the sailing community, as well. For me, 80% of this lifestyle is about the people. This will come as no surprise to those who know me.

•EW is my mate for life and my best friend. We both learned a lot this year and we begin 2012 with a stronger relationship. Couples break up out here but that will not happen to us. (Even if he just now wanted to take the holiday decorations down before New Year's Eve. He has seen the error of his ways and they will stay up overnight.) EW is a great topic and he has a great sense of humor. Good thing.

• Both EW and I have discovered that for us, being out here isn't enough. We both need something to work on besides boat projects. EW has worked on his music. I write and take photos. I cannot express how important each of these endeavors has become to both of us.

Sent from my iPhone

Fajardo

We are anchored off Isletta Marina near Fajardo Puerto Rico. We take a small ferry from here for a 10 minute ride to shore. This is Provisioning Day. We hope to get her done, today and will rent a car to help.

I've learned a lot in a year and have greatly reduced the provisions list to those things which are not available or which are very expensive in the islands.

Also hope to find me some shorts and tops. EW has a better wardrobe than I do. That will not do.

We did our major West Marine run yesterday and got the new dinghy home and activated. Wonderful.

More interesting posts when I can again get on-line.

Sent from my iPhone

Parade!

So there I was, working on the boat, crossing things off of today’s list, nose to the grindstone, and fingers on the keyboard, when EW said – that’s a marching band.

My ears perked up just as Jake’s would when we said, “Cookie”.

I’d heard drum music, but thought it was probably the Kon Tiki, a party barge that will motor past us with a steel band on deck. I scrambled up the companion way, looked towards the town and saw a parade. Two minutes later I was in the dinghy with my camera. I love parades, the beat of the drums, seventy-six trombones, John Philips Susa, majorettes, dance teams, antique cars, floats—I love them all. Some day I want to be on a committee to plan a parade. (I have a friend who did that in Portland for years. It’s a lot of work and requires an attention to detail that I may not possess, but I could help.)

We had been to town last night for the lighted boat parade and “Miracle on Main Street”, an annual holiday event in Charlotte Amalie. These type of events delight me. Just like Carnival in Grenada, they are created for and by the locals, and we visitors are in the minority but warmly welcomed. So, I pumped out Lunah Landah, and motored as quickly as possible in old grey ghost (she’s on her last tubes) to tie up along the sidewalk as the parade passed me by. (Chrissy, did you catch that one?)

No worries, it was a short parade and made frequent stops to entertain folks along the route. The parade was led by the Charlotte Amalie High School Jr. ROTC corps, who were followed by their excellent marching band. We had seen these kids perform during the Christmas Tree lighting celebration at Havensight, and I had congratulated their leader. The band and marching units obviously work hard, but they just as obviously love participating. They marched, the drum section played different cadences, the band played a number of songs, and they entertained us all with their moves and smiles.

The band was followed by the Ivanna Eudora Kean High School ROTC, who have outstanding uniforms and march with precision and pride. In addition, there two baton schools were represented with twirlers from four to high school in both groups. A proud mom told me that there was a sports event at the stadium today, featuring “all kinds of sports”, and some of the young athletes walked along in the parade. Bringing up the rear, six classic VW’s. Jeff had told us he’d seen an antique VW rally on the island. Evidently there is a club here with old and very old “bugs’.

No floats, but it was a good parade anyway. That street is four lanes wide, and the police had simply led the parade down the left lanes, allowing vehicular traffic going in the other direction. I chuckled as tourists in open taxis took photos of the parade as they slowly motored west as the parade moved east. I took a few photos myself. Enjoy!


The Ivanna Eudora Kean Marching Band Drum Section.

Parade CAHS Drum Section 12-17-2011 12-55-07 PM

Parade Ivanna Eudora Kean HS ROTC 12-17-2011 12-47-50 PM

The IEKHS ROTC drum corps.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parade Blue Group 12-17-2011 12-49-11 PM

Parade Tired Twirler 12-17-2011 1-03-51 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here are some of the “blue” group in action .. and here’s one of the youngest who got tired and opted to walk with Mommy.

 

Parade Woodwinds 12-17-2011 1-05-27 PM

These kids are having a ball!

 

Parade Sax Section 12-17-2011 1-06-06 PM

 

 

 

 

 

 

The young man with the sax at the forefront was directed to start the dance by one of the two drum majors.

 

Parade stepping out! 12-17-2011 12-54-08 PM

Here is much of the band, stepping out before starting a new song.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parade Love IT Do it Twirl It 12-17-2011 1-10-29 PM

The back of the orange shirts say, “Love It, Do It, Twirl It!”

 

 

 

 

 

Here are the drum majors for The Ivanna Eudora Kean Marching Band

 

Parade Drum Majors 12-17-2011 12-53-55 PM

 

Parade VWs from rear 12-17-2011 1-13-07 PM

EW was very interested in the green bug on the left with the split rear windshield.

 

 

 

 

 

I walked back and forth along the route, taking photos, trying out the video option on my camera and simply enjoying the moment. The mom who told me about the sports event saw me again and asked, “Are you having fun?”

Oh yes. Yes, I did.


What the Wife Says and What the Husband Hears

There’s an old Gary Larson cartoon that tickled EW and me.  In the first panel, under the title, “What We Say to Dogs”,  the dog owner says, “OK, Ginger, I’ve had it!  You stay out of the garbage. Understand, Ginger? Stay out of the garbage or else!” In the second panel titled, “What They Hear”, we see, “Blah, blah, Ginger, blah, blah, blah, Ginger, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.”

On a recent evening, I decided that sometimes communication between wife and husband is similar to communication between owner and dog. Yes, I just compared EW to a dog, but I love dogs. They are cuddly, and loyal, fun to have around, and they keep the bed warm. scan0027Jake in bed(Not that a warm bed is important to me in the tropics and semi-tropics.) EW is also cuddly, loyal, fun to have around, and he too, (unfortunately down here) keeps the bed warm. But I digress.

When EW talks, I listen, and I respond. Communication is a two-way street and I travel it at warp speed. I can’t tune him out, even if I want to. If EW talks, I listen, and I respond—not always in the way EW expected or in a way that is conducive to effective communication—but I do communicate, dammit!

EW tunes me out. Or, if he is listening to something and decides it doesn’t need a response, he doesn’t respond. On one memorable moment, I said, “Just because I talk a lot doesn’t mean I have nothing to say.” That caused us both to pause and laugh.

Sometimes I want to stand in front of him and wave my hand and say, “Anyone home? Hello?” That isn’t conducive to effective communication, either. That happened on the recent evening in question, and I immediately thought of the Larson cartoon. Fortunately, I didn’t share that thought with him, nor did I get ticked off – because, really, what I was saying may not have been effective communication to begin with. (OK, it was a mini rant that began with “After this, I’m done with (whatever we were talking about) and ended shortly after the sentence that began with “You should…”) Yep. Can we all agree that isn’t effective communication? (And it is sort of reminiscent of the owner’s rant to Ginger.)

EW didn’t call me on it, and he couldn’t argue with me because I was right – in a be-witchy way. (You know what I mean.)  He just went about his business and didn’t respond at all, as if I hadn’t spoken. Since I was doing the dishes and he was shutting the boat for the night we weren’t having a face-to-face, look-into-my-eyes kind of conversation, so I was easy to ignore. Me. Easy to ignore. Go figure.

Two thoughts came to me simultaneously:

One was the Gary Larson cartoon. We’ve had two wonderful dogs and I know they heard “blah, blah, blah, COOKIE”. This felt exactly the same.

The second was, “Oh my gosh. What if ignoring me sometimes is the best thing to do?

That can’t be right. Can it?

If it is right, what if I just ignore some things that he says? Instead of taking umbrage and getting on my high horse, as my mom used to say, what would happen if I just let some things roll off my back with no response? No response and no repercussions or left-over gotcha anger.

If he can do it, I can do it.

What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

Turn about is fair play.

None of these phrases effectively communicate my real intention here. In fact, they all contain that “gotcha” feeling.  What if I choose to ignore meaningless stuff rather than get defensive and sling back a sharp retort?

“Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, Barb.”

I’m all over it.

 

NOTE: Both photos above are of Jake and Me. Jake was our second lab. Coffee also enjoyed boats and human beds.


Balance is Good

Balance Bird 12-13-2011 10-24-28 AMI admire people who lead a “balanced life”--whatever that may be. I tend to tip the teeter-totter in one direction or another. This past summer, I wrote and played, and wrote about playing. No boat projects were completed. Since we’ve been in St. Thomas I’ve socialized and cleaned. After two weeks of nearly nighty dinners out with friends and family, I’ve focused this week on cleaning the boat. So far I’ve cleaned out the pilot berth area and two shelf-lockers, skewer cleaned the galley, washed and stored clothing items (more on that later), washed the teak walls and the sole (floor) of the boat, cleaned out a number of the galley cupboards, and defrosted the freezer. Balance Cleand Locker 12-11-2011 7-03-49 PM

This is all good, but not balanced. I’m sure too much cleaning and organizing is bad for a person.  A few months ago I wrote a list for balanced boat maintenance. The idea was to remind me which things needed to be tackled daily, weekly, and monthly. At fifty-five years of age, you’d think I’d know. I do know, but I don’t do and to know and not to do is not to know. I hate that.

So in that wonderful list of accomplished “boathold” tasks, did you see writing anywhere? Neither did I. For a number of days ( A week? Really?)  I haven’t written a thing except lists. This is a pattern for me. When we moved out of the house nearly ten years ago, I went through some boxes of memorabilia from college and from the first few years after graduation. Know what I found? Lists. Lists of things to do, to make, to renovate, to fix, to try, to tour, to purchase, to learn. I found multiple lists, all created a couple of years apart, and none of them had a relationship to any other of them. Some things remained the same, other items appeared, still others were contradictory. Though I never read Shakespeare, or achieved my high school weight, I did accomplish something on each list – but many other things remained a challenge. I think “balance the checkbook” appeared every time.

That isn’t balanced, either.

Know what I purchased last week? A book for lists. I wanted to find filler paper for my small Rollo binders, but that didn’t happen. So I bought a small notebook and used small post-it notes to divide it into categories. (Aren’t your lists categorized?) I currently have five categories:

  1. Short-term To Do (This includes weekly groceries.)
  2. Long-term To Do (Featuring stuff on the Grenada To-Do list, which I didn’t accomplish because I just wrote and played.)
  3. Destination Info
  4. Boat Project Blog (Now there’s something that’s long overdue.)
  5. Master Shopping/Provision list (We are heading to Puerto Rico after Christmas and I want to make sure I get everything we need that can’t be purchased in the Eastern Caribbean, like short pants for me.)

This is kind of balanced – if I keep it up and include writing 1000 words a day as part of my plan. And if I can hold that writing goal to 1000 words a day. Once I get started, I sometimes don’t stop. Why write one blog post when five are dancing around in my head? Who needs to eat dinner anyway? Can you say “popcorn for suppah”?

One of my recent excuses/challenges is that a part on my Wi-Fi antenna had to be replaced and took two weeks to get here. We have to take the laptop in to Internet cafes for Wi-Fi, and that means we have to transport the laptop in an inflatable-floor dinghy with a floor that doesn’t’ stay inflated. It’s a bit on the damp side. We have a dry bag that accommodates the camera, but not one to fit the laptop. (That item is on the Master Shopping List.) So, I don’t like to take the laptop in, and have been waiting – and not writing.  Not only is that not balanced, it’s just defeatist.

Balance Sweater Stack 12-11-2011 7-03-33 PMSpeaking of not balanced – I’ve been wondering why I have a full clothes locker and nothing to wear. This is why. It seems that I never stored the cold weather clothing after leaving Hampton, Virginia last year. If there ever is a cold (40 degree) day in St. Thomas and south, I’m ready. That’s ridiculous. Our one hanging locker was also full of heavy vests and EW’s favorite L.L. Bean parka. (He would not let it go.) This explains why EW joined me in doing three double loads of laundry today. Now that the winter clothes are clean and dry, we’re compacting them in to vacuum bags and EW is going to find room for them under our bed.

Balance Jackets 12-14-2011 11-53-53 AMGuess you can take the girl out of Maine, but not without her L.L. Bean sweaters and vests.

I can categorically state that my cleaning frenzy is over. There are still things that need doing, but I’m going to tackle them over a few weeks, write, socialize, do boat projects, and enjoy the islands. I have a plan and I’ve put it on the list. Yeah. That’ll work.

Wishing you balance. If you find the secret, please let me know. It’s time I got the hang of it.

Final Note:  Talking with Carrie, an experienced cruiser, I told her of my cleaning frenzy and about cleaning out my clothes locker. “Guess what I found?” I said. “A heavy sweater?” she replied.

A heavy sweater? One of them? Obviously she’s not from Maine—she’s from Florida. Wait ‘til she sees these photos.


Finally!

Katahdin sailing into St. Thomas 12-2-2011 3-59-48 PMWe were delighted a few days ago when S/V Katahdin sailed into Long Bay and anchored behind us. I whooped my glee from the aft deck as they motored past to say hello. Larry and Cathy are from Cape Elizabeth, Maine; EW helped them find Katahdin and we both joined them one Memorial Day weekend as they delivered her from Rhode Island to Maine. Cathy is writing a blog, sharing their adventures – appropriately called “Finally!” to represent the years of dreaming, planning, saving, and preparation for their adventure. Check it out.

PC020106Cathy and Larry came down to the Virgin Islands on the Caribbean 1500 this year, a sabbatical year at sea for them. Before Christmas, they’ll be joined in St. Martin by their two adult children who will visit over the holiday, after that, they will sail where the wind takes them in the Caribbean and the Bahamas before heading back to Maine. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – each sailor has a unique perspective of their journey. While we are delighted to be “sailing until we’re done”, we are equally thrilled that fellow sailors can take the time and effort to sail their own vessels to the islands. It’s a marriage building, personal growth, memory generating experience and we're especially delighted to share it with friends from back home.

With Cathy and Larry we visited a small craft fair on Water Island and climbed the road up to the view from Paradise Point (available by gondola for those less able or more sane).

Here are Larry and EW at the start of the hike. See the slope and gondola towers in the back?

PC050002

 

                               Here are Cathy and Larry in a live post card shot from the top.

Larry and Cathy Post Card 12-5-2011 11-57-10 AM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cathy also gave us a pile of ginger chews. PC060023During a discussion about provisioning aboard La Luna with our St. Thomas friend, Morgan, and Cathy and Larry, Morgan mentioned that he had a hard time getting candied ginger on the island. Larry exclaimed, “Ha! We’ve got eleven pounds of it on board!” I thought that was an exaggeration. Who would buy eleven pounds of ginger chews? Cathy would. She was provisioning for 6 months, including what turned out to be an eleven day passage with two additional crew. She purchased the chews on-line where the options were, two ounce bags, six ounce bags, or eleven pound bags. Yep. They have a lot of ginger chews on board. We accepted a few to lighten their load. This is a pound or two of ginger chews.

S/V Katahdin left for St. Croix on Wednesday morning, but we’ll make sure to meet up with them as we head back down the island chain in 2012.  While they were in town we had drinks and dinner on both vessels, toured the island a bit together, and had a delightful evening on yet another Maine boat. EW received a phone call from his old friend D’irv. D’irv had bought a sailboat after we left Maine, and he sailed it down with two friends, Frank and Gary, D’riv’s daughter Tessa, and crew Jackie. D’irv invited the crews from both Maine boats for dinner and Tessa and Jackie cooked up grilled wahoo, rice, and grilled peppers. My job was to keep the drinks flowing, so I turned a number of the party on to Cooldowns, my favorite hot weather drink.

PC050008We had a great evening aboard Rewa – a beautiful (and HUGE) sixty-four foot aluminum Sparkman Stevens design. Her cockpit is party central. They’ve gone to visit the British Virgins for a couple of days and when they return I’ll cook Caribbean Stewed Chicken for them – as long as I can serve it on their boat.

Amongst all of this on-board wining and dining, we took an evening to have dinner ashore with Jeff and Barb and their friends Kathy and Dave. We chose the Island View Guest House because we’d heard such nice things about it from boating friends who had dined there for Thanksgiving. The view is fantastic, the food outstanding and the prices so reasonable that all three men asked our server to make sure she hadn’t made a mistake. They only serve dinner to non-guests three nights a week and then only turn the tables over once. We got to relax and enjoy an evening overlooking Charlotte Amalie Harbor, eat, drink, and have excellent conversation. I’d call that a win.

I’ve had to order a new part for my Wi-Fi antenna, and have borrowed a router from a St. Thomas live-aboard friend. He needs to use it when he isn’t at work, so Internet research and blog posts have suffered. In the meantime, I’ve had an article accepted by All at Sea for publication in February, and have to go on a photo shoot to provide images to go with the piece. That’s fun now, because we finally purchased a big girl camera, an Olympus 810. It isn’t one professionals would use, but it does give me a much better zoom and excellent quality photos. Tess and Jackie, both photographers, checked out my new camera, tweaked the settings, and offered valuable tips. Tessa is studying as a professional and has an excellent training gig this winter in Montana, working as a stage and event photographer. Jackie has experience on boats, and in digital graphic design and would like to get a job here for the winter. Both are delightful young women. (Below, Tessa, Cathy, and Dave are working in Rewa’s amazing galley.Rewa Galley  12-5-2011 7-26-16 PM

On Wednesday afternoon, EW and I met up with Barb for the Christmas Tree Lighting at Haven sight, one of the shopping centers for the cruise ships. We checked out the booths, the decorations, excellent live music, and a parade featuring two outstanding high school bands. So that’s the past week in a nutshell. Busy, fun, with too much good food. EW has had to repair the dinghy twice and we both look forward to getting the new one in Puerto Rico after the holidays. We’ll probably visit St. John between now and Christmas, and plan to have Christmas with Jeff and Barb – holiday central for us in the USVI.

 

                                                                                                                         Jazz Band

PC070036

PC070020

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parade Watcher. Clapped the whole time.

PC070098

 

Dance Team for Outstanding Band. 
(Please note that they are wearing khaki short pants. Hmph!)

PC070109

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drum section for the other excellent band.

PC070081


Dingbat in a Dinghy (Blond Jokes Allowed)

We have ordered a new dinghy from West Marine. It’s not likely to be in stock in time for us to get to Puerto Rico, shop, and be back for Christmas, so it will be a New Year’s dinghy. In the meantime, EW has tried twice to repair the new leak in the inflatable floor.

Yesterday, I was not the image of Patience as I waited for the repair to cure so I could go ashore to take photos. In truth, it was time to be off the boat by myself for a bit. EW and I had begun to fall into the old anti-communication habits and we needed a break. He was a bit short with me, I was a bit impatient and short with him, and neither of us was fully listening to the other. That means it’s time for a solo excursion ashore. I was ready.

Well, I thought I was ready.

EW decided that the floor needed more time, and agreed that I could take the dinghy in without the floor. He did ask me to use two area rugs and the yoga mat to protect the bottom of the dinghy (and help to keep me out of the water). So I loaded those into the dinghy, strapped on my camera and jumped aboard. Now that we attach the dinghy safety key to the key for the security locks, I never forget the safety key--without which the motor won’t start—so I jumped in and started her up. EW obligingly untied the dinghy and handed off the line and I headed for shore.

Tum, dee, dum. I’m going to shore. And the motor died. It sputtered, I looked back at it as it stopped and …..  I discovered I’d forgotten to load the gas tank into the dinghy.  Of course, it was out because EW had to take everything out in order to remove the floor. I knew that. So, there I was drifting toward the sea with no gas, no gas tank, and no oars. The seat is broken and we only have one oar, so why take oars?

Dumb and Dumber. I let myself drift (like I had a choice) until the dinghy neared a mooring ball, and then I secured the camera, leaned over the bow, and paddled like hell for the mooring. Having tied on, I waited. A short while later a sailboat came into the mooring field, and I thought they were heading for “my” mooring. I called to them, and they pointed beyond me. The woman called back, “Do you need help?” 

“Yes, please. My motor died and I’d like a tow to our boat.”

Pointing to her companion, she said, "He’ll be over as soon as we tie on.”

They nosed up to a small sailboat on a mooring and the man jumped into the dinghy to attach their boat to that one, leaving two on the mooring. Then he came over to me. Now, it’s telling that I have few photos of this debacle. I know I take a plethora of photos for any of EW’s “adventures”, but the bottom of the dinghy is wet, and it’s bouncy, and I didn’t want to get the new camera out of its safe bag. Imagine an older gentleman in white shirt and white shorts, driving a large, older inflatable. He deftly secures my dinghy painter to the stern of his boat and asks me to point out La Luna. I did and he turned toward my home. No other words passed between us.

As we neared our boat, I called out to EW who appeared in the cockpit. One glance and his face fell. I knew he believed that he’d have to tackle “Another” Project, but I had no intention of easing his mind in the presence of the kind stranger. “What happened?” called EW. The stranger was facing forward, and I was still behind him, so I put my finger to my lips in the “shhh” sign and EW (amazingly) stopped talking. He took my line and we both thanked the nice stranger, who immediately went back to the two boats.

There I was, sitting in a bouncy, damp, bottomless dinghy, and I looked up to EW who was standing on La Luna’s deck. “I forgot the gas tank.”

Once he stopped laughing and could form words, EW said, “You better blog this!”

So I did.

 

If the situation had been reversed, I wouldn’t have let EW out of the dinghy until I’d snapped his photo. Unfortunately for him – but fortunately for me—he doesn’t think like that. (Poor EW.)

PC070077

 

Here’s a photo of the dinghy taken after I finally made it to shore. Imagine the red gas tank gone, and you’ll see how I set off the first time.


Yes! We Have No Short Pants in St. Thomas

We are located at 18.20.198 North, 64.55.654 West. Still in Long Bay, Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas. We moved a bit to check out Wi-Fi.

View from the deck: PC010003

From the website of Villa Papillion in St. Thomas:

Weather and Average Temperatures in the Virgin Islands

The Virgin Islands is just about perfect year round making it an ideal vacation location. Temperatures from December through February are in the high 70 degree Fahrenheit, while the summer months (June, July, August) reach temperatures in the mid-80s.

Water Temperatures in the Virgin Islands

Water temperatures are a pleasant temperature year round for swimming and water sports, with a range from 83 degrees in the summer to 79 degrees in the winter months.

I used to love autumn. I loved wearing layers, and getting out the fall clothing. Now I am in the land of summer and hot summer. Hot summer is in Grenada where my chin sweated—daily, when I was sitting in the shade. Summer is a Virgin Islands winter, where it is still shorts weather (according to sailors) but not oppressive.

This is important, because our “summer” clothing has taken a beating, and compared to me, EW is a fashion plate. We both have ruined and stained clothing in the past six months. After all, we (well one of us) came down with a much reduced wardrobe and we’re wearing that wardrobe 365 days a year. EW ruined a couple of pairs of shorts and along the way (remember that rusty dinghy chain?) but he also had found some excellent shorts on sale in Freeport and had left Maine with three pairs of swim trunks and six pairs of shorts. Plus, he has found replacement shorts in the islands. I left Maine with only one pair of shorts, two skorts, and four pairs of capris. Skorts work great on the boat and in the towns – but you can’t buy them here; the capris I brought with me are too heavy for this climate. I need replacement shorts and I need them now.

So can anyone tell me why there isn’t a store in the Caribbean that sells normal shorts for women? By the way, the locals here in St. Thomas call them “short pants”, not shorts, but it doesn’t matter what they call them, they don’t have them to sell. EW and I made a trip to the two malls where we both found reasonably priced, light weight t-shirts, and where he could have purchased a number of styles of short pants and swim trunks. We also shopped (or window shopped) in most of the stores visited by folks from cruise ships. Again, there are great styles for men available but evidently women from cruise ships purchase cheap cover-ups and sun dresses, or expensive resort wear. Now that it’s officially “winter” in St. Thomas, the local ladies are wearing slacks and jeans, and the only short pants available in stores are for the (much) younger set. We called them “hot pants” when I was in the (much) younger set. I no longer wear hot pants.

If you are planning to sail south – purchase your shorts and skorts in the states before you leave, I haven’t found any reasonably priced women’s short pants in all of the Caribbean. However, I could have purchased this lovely item in K-Mart.PB290086 Really. We still aren’t using a top sheet and keep a small fan going all night. What kind of person would wear this in the Caribbean? This is just wrong.

I do have a new pair of shorts though. I purchased them in “Bernie’s Treasures” a cute little store near Yacht Haven Grand. Bernie has been in business for years. She doesn’t sell short pants for women, but she has a men’s style that she recommends. They fit fine, and aren’t frayed or stained. We plan to do more clothing shopping (especially for me) in Puerto Rico, but I’m afraid I’ll still be in the wrong season. At least we’re in the US – can you say on-line shopping? What this island needs is a store for real people.  I’m a real people and I know.  We have cruising friends who have found work here for the season, both in the marine industry and both are supposed to wear sturdy shorts in khaki or navy. One of them told her boss that she can’t find any shorts on the island. “I know,” said the boss. “That’s why I purchase all of my on-line.”

Addendum: The high-end stores here are hurting this season, and are blaming the economy, but I think they Typical Cruise Ship Passengers 11-30-2011 12-24-17 PMhave the wrong merchandise for the market. Most cruise ships lines are selling volume, fun, and parties, not high-end glamor. The folks we’ve seen off the ships are certainly not going to spend $20,000 for gold jewelry, and if they purchase an up-scale sequined dress, they’ll probably wear it where it doesn’t belong. (After all, these are people who shop in Charlotte Amalie wearing white capris and bikini tops.)  My snark is showing. While there are a number of (unfortunately) American cruise ship tourists who appear in public dressed incredibly inappropriately, most of them look like this (though many are younger.)

 

St T Grenada 200 foot boat 11-29-2011 6-40-36 AMSt Thom.Grenada Shoes wide 11-26-2011 5-19-29 PM

Now, there are folks down here who can--and probably do—purchase $20,000 gold jewelry.

They have second or third homes here, or visit the island in one of these … and they dress like this.

Check out his shiny, expensive business loafers with his nifty shorts. This man is not a cruising sailor. At least he’s not wearing socks.