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February 2014

The Ebb and Flow of Cruising Life

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Cheery work of art on S/V Ainulindalë

Every cruising boat has it’s own rhythm; each captain and crew have their favorite ports and harbors; and each cruiser has his or her own bucket list of passages, islands, and countries. When many boats are cruising one area, such as here in  the Eastern Caribbean, the ebb and flow of boats brings us together for food, fun, stories, music, and adventure – and pulls us apart as each boat sails to new or favorite anchorages.

Last year, when we thought we were heading across the Atlantic I wrote an article for All at Sea called “A Life of Howdies and Goodbyes”. When I wrote it, we were planning on crossing the Atlantic in 2013 and three couples we enjoyed were all going west, so I was particularly melancholy about this aspect of our cruising life. I changed the article to reflect our intention to stay in St. Thomas until 2014, but there was no room in the magazine for a few months and editor Gary Brown wisely decided to hold it until that time of the year arrived again.

Two boats of dear friends have already left for the Bahamas and the states, our neighbors on S/V Kookaburra will leave in May to head to the Western Caribbean, many dear friends will sail back to Grenada, and we will absolutely head across the Atlantic in May. Once again, we face the “Goodbyes” of our sailing life.

I find myself thinking of friends and family back home and of all the wonderful cruising friends-for-life we’ve made here in the Caribbean. I know we’ll meet new friends in the Azores, Portugal, Canaries, and Cape Verdes, and it’s likely that we’ll buddy-boat with some of them, sharing recipes, stories, music, and adventure.

And I know that we’ll say “Good-bye” to most or all of them before we head to Brazil in December. That’s our life, and I love it.

I will cry a bit though.

Every time.

 

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Crews of S/V Two Much Fun and S/V La Luna aboard S/V Ainulindalë.  (Yes, I have to go on-line to Google Ainulindalë every time I need it. I’m said I won’t have the need as often as they’re on the way back to the Chesapeake and hope to sail the Maine coast this summer.)

 

 

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Keith and Jaime from S/V Kookaburra enjoying a party on shore hosted by the crew from our neighbors on S/V Eagle. Both boats leave the EC this year.

 

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Kevin from S/V Ruth Avery sails back to Maine every spring.


LeeAnn ROCKS! Or Yet Another Reason We Don’t Charter

Our good friends LeeAnn and Peter aboardTwo Much Fundecided to become charter captain and crew last year and offer couples the opportunity to enjoy the Virgin Islands aboard a lovely catamaran with Peter’s music, Mimi the dog, and LeeAnn’s excellent cooking. Prior to cruising LeeAnn owned her own business employing 20 or so people, and is accomplished in many ways – she’s also the perfect charter host with an unflinching eye for detail.  While LeeAnn was visit family in Florida between charters, Peter posted the following on Facebook, directing it to LeeAnn.
        Peter shared Mom Always Finds Out's photo.

How to make Easter Bunny Shaped Rolls - Easy!http://momalwaysfindsout.com/2013/02/easter-bunny-shaped-rolls/

Photo: How to make Easter Bunny Shaped Rolls - Easy! http://momalwaysfindsout.com/2013/02/easter-bunny-shaped-rolls/

 

I refrained from commenting, but a few minutes later he posted the item below, again addressing it to LeeAnn:

I could no longer remain silent.

February 18

www.origami resource center.com

Photo: www.origami resource center.comIdeas ..si te quieres sentir en todo momento un lobo de mar / If you want to feel like a sea wolf in all moments :-)

 

  • Barbara Hart These is just reasons 345 and 346 for why we don't charter La Luna.

When LeeAnn returned we met up at Tickles, where Peter, LeeAnn and I had a good laugh about folded toilet paper and bread bunnies. Turns out LeeAnn already folded the TP and was looking for a  new design. (Of course.) She’s like that, but she’s still a very nice person.

A few days later we were excited to host friends Ed and Lynn from New York. They aren’t sailors, but are great sports, and have known EW for 60 years – well Ed has. We invited Peter and LeeAnn and our friends Keith and Jaime from Kookaburra to come for dinner. LeeAnn insisted on making dessert. (She’s like that.) Later that afternoon I saw them on shore and she told me she was going to bring bread too. (Of course.)

Here’s the bread:

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Note that while LeeAnn’s definitely had mouse ears, she had included peppercorns for eyes. Some of them fell out so we had blind mice. Yes, someone sang the song. There was also a discussion about  voles and moles and which one of the two had a tail and which one was a vegetarian. Cruising conversations are like that. 

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All but one of the mice was consumed that evening.

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It was a great evening. I asked LeeAnn for her carrot cake recipe, and I’ll make it.

But I will never make bread mice, bunnies, or voles and I am never folding our TP.

So, we don’t charter on La Luna, but we’ll welcome Lynn, Ed, and other friends who can accept life aboard without such amenities.

If you want to enjoy this area aboard a terrific boat with a charming couple, and folded TP check out s/v Two Much Fun. It’ll be a vacation to remember.


Power to La Luna!

 

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La Luna on Wednesday afternoon

 

As I write this, the boat is pretty much a mess, with only two seats available in the main salon. There’s a vacuum cleaner on the galley counter; tools on the port settee, the bed, that same galley counter, and on the sole of every room; the non-working fridge/storage unit and the old inverter are in the cockpit, as are two large duffels of clean clothes; and one whole set of drawers are spread out in the forward cabin. In short, the only unaffected space on the boat is the forward head. 

EW is finishing the Inverter/Charger Project and it’s a project of some size. P2152590

(We pause in this report while I assist EW – again. Over an hour ago, he said, “I’m going into the engine compartment and will have to call on you when I need help with something.”  So far, I’ve delivered a screwdriver, the vacuum cleaner, and some weird corrugated tubing that wraps around lots of wires.)

P2082529Herman, a highly recommended marine electrician visited our boat a couple of months ago and convinced us that we needed a new inverter/charger. We ordered one, and asked my nephew, Brian, to pick it up in Fort Lauderdale and mail it to us. (Thank you, Brian and Colleen.) EW’s cousin Jeff received said package, and EW retrieved it and successfully delivered it – all 40 pounds of it – back here via dollar bus and hoof.

The old inverter. Worked for 28 years inside the engine compartment.

P2082533EW hates working with electricity. Still, he gamely plotted his attack on the system and installation. Herman had suggested that we install the new inverter/charger in a new location, rather than in the often hot engine compartment. EW and he found a space, where our old, unused Lectra-San had been installed, under one of my set of drawers in the master stateroom. That’s why all drawers drawers are in the forward cabin.

P2122559Yeah, it’s been fun.

(Now I had to find four pan had screws, one roll of the perfect electrical tape, and add gas to the Honda generator.)

 

 Above: The drawer space, with and without the new inverter. On Sunday EW installed a fan to cool the unit.

 EW had to take an extra day off this week in order to install the inverter. Thankfully, Peter from S/V Two Much Fun gave up his Wednesday  to help. Peter likes wiring and working with electricity. When I arrived home on Wednesday, EW picked me up at Crown Bay Marina, triumphant in their success, bloody but unbowed, and cheerfully let me know that, “The inverter is in, but the boat is a mess.”

Since we both worked through Friday, the boat remained a mess, and got messier today. I vacated the premises using the time to tote water, gas, and propane, and to do three loads of laundry. The laundry is still in the cockpit and the only section of the boat to which I’ve had access is my safe seating area at the table. So I work on-line and write and help EW.

(Had to set the clock on the inverter because he had to turn off the main switch. This involved starting the Honda generator twice.”

Once EW clears the master stateroom and galley, I’ll start on tonight’s home-made pizza. No one deserves that treat more than EW.

I love him – and our new Magnum MS 2012.

Boating is fun.

ASIDE:  There’s a very old wedding shower game during which one of the bridesmaids writes down everything the bride-to-be says about each present she opens. Afterward, she then announces what the bride is likely to utter on her wedding night. Yes, we used to think this was funny.

I thought of that when EW was ensconced in the engine compartment. A lot of interesting grunts and sentences emanated from the opening left by the displaced fridge/storage compartment.  I admit I chuckled, but am glad EW couldn’t hear me. I don’t think he’d have found anything funny at that point.

Time to make the pizza!

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At left, EW’s expression when working and making strange noises. At right EW when he knows I’m taking photos. Both are the real EW – but I don’t see the one at the right often during projects like this.

Maybe I need to take more photos.


Timing is Everything

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Our neighbors towards the sea – where La Luna was heading.

 

Throughout our experience with La Luna we’ve been impressed with her timing. Maybe it’s because she’s middle-aged and has learned a few things since 1985, or maybe it’s because she’s an ocean cruiser who had been confined to coastal cruising for many years, and just wants to extend our journey. Probably we are being fanciful, but both EW and I believe that La Luna has excellent timing.

Usually this has been experienced in terms of “At least it happened here.” Whatever “it” was – when things have failed on board, they have done so – almost exclusively – in the best possible location for repair, safety, and assistance. If La Luna  wrote a blog, she’d not say the same about us. Human error has put her in peril more that boat failure. Sorry, Sweetie.

I got a kick out of relating the most recent example of this trait when Jaime from S/V Kookaburra and I walked one recent morning. You may remember, that Kookaburra took a walkabout a couple of months ago. A few days ago, La Luna followed suit. That’s how I began the conversation. “So, La Luna took a walkabout yesterday.” Jaime looked shocked and concerned. “She did!?” (There should be a punctuation for a shocked question. I don’t think “!?” is correct; in fact, I’m sure it’s not.)

“Yep.” I replied in a smug tone. “But she has excellent timing.”  Jaime furrowed her brow.

“EW had the day off and number one on his project list was to change the oil in all on-board engines, starting with the big one.” (We call our Perkins diesel “Pinetop”, but I didn’t subject Jaime to that cuteness.)

And I continued thusly:

Evidently he’d broken a screw somewhere crucial to the project while we were walking yesterday. And he was going to have to drill it out, so he wasn’t in the best mood when I returned. He decided to wait until I went off to work before doing anything else. Afterward, he dealt with the screw, then started the engine in order to warm up the oil. Since this would take a few minutes, he went down below and grabbed a coffee which he took back on deck.

I paused for effect.

Jaime looked at me, and exclaimed, “Do NOT tell me that she waited to break free until the engine was running AND he was on deck!”

“She did.” He sat down with his coffee and seconds later realized they were moving. I told you she has excellent timing.”

P2012272The pennant had chaffed through at the chock, despite EW’s meticulous attention to chafe guard. It only takes seconds for a line to chafe through and the guard had twisted askew. This pennant did not fit our boat, and clearly we should have made a new one prior to this emergency.  Our bad.

EW did not have a good morning, but things worked out well. He successfully untied the wheel (our wheel brake is on the list of repairs) just before he drifted onto another boat, and motored out to the channel. When well away from other vessels, he dashed below to grab his phone and called our friend Kirk from S/V Ainulindalë, who immediately jumped into his dinghy to help. It took them quite some time to jury-rig a system that attached La Luna  to the mooring. Once she was safe, EW dashed to the supply store to get new line and other gear. Then he spent the rest of his day off splicing a new pennant and attaching it to the mooring in choppy seas with additional aggravation caused by  the frequent large wakes from passing ferries.

He did not have a good day.

But he got ‘er done.P1282252

Thank you, Kirk.

Thank you EW.

Most of all, thank you La Luna.  You are a wonderful boat.

 

 

At right: The new pennant.