Day 75, Year 1: True Confessions on New Year’s Eve
Date: Saturday, December 31, 2005
Weather: Gorgeous Day, 83 degrees F, now 80 degrees F
Location: Admiralty Bay, Bequia, The Grenadines
As the sound of drums begins to fill the air and we near the coming of a new year, I decided that I needed to mention a few things that I have “glossed over” in the past few days. You have to enter a new year with a clean slate, so now is the time for true confessions.
True Confession #1-Mark’s Mishap: There is a reason that we have not strayed too far from the boat since arriving here on Wednesday. On Christmas Day, we were all sharing dive gear while snuba diving in Walilabou. I was out of the water not using my dive fins and booties, and Mark had none at the moment. I suggested that he try to go in using my dive fins without booties, as I knew those wouldn’t fit him. He did, but as a result, he ended up rubbing the skin off on the top of both big toes and the top of his instep on both feet. Of course, he didn’t mention this until the next day, and he had not thought to clean the wounds when he returned to the boat. As a result, he had ended up with a nice infection in his left foot. It got redder and more swollen, so we called the World Clinic (our paid medical service) and asked for advice. We carry many prescription drugs that they provided, but we are always supposed to call before self-medicating. They recommended that Mark start taking an antibiotic, so he did, and we check in with them everyday with a progress report. Basically, he is supposed to stay out of salt water, keep the wounds clean, and keep the foot elevated. Unfortunately, that precludes walking on this beautiful island, but the doc is pretty sure that he should be fine early next week.
True Confession #2-Judy’s Mishap: This story has a happy ending. On the first day in Soufriere, Justin and I took a resort diving course which included diving with Chester, our instructor. We had a great time, but somewhere along the line I was reaching out to play with a Christmas Tree worm and somehow caught my ring finger on the coral. When I looked, I had an inch long incision on the back of my finger, extending from near the top to below the first knuckle. It was bleeding, but didn’t hurt, but I thought I should let Chester know. He took a look, started investigating, squeezed my finger and took out a chunk of flat coral the size of the tip of my little finger. We were 10 to 15 underwater, but I was fine and we continued the dive. When we got back to the dive shop, he insisted on pouring massive amounts of hydrogen peroxide into the cut. In our Outward Bound Emergency Medical Course, we were told that the only good use of hydrogen peroxide was to take blood stains out of clothes and to never use it on a cut, but I let Chester go ahead. Luckily, even though I continued to dive and snorkel everyday in the salt water, the wound healed beautifully with no infection. Maybe using hydrogen peroxide is not such a bad idea. Anyone out there have opinions on this?
True Confession #3–Vibrations: On the trip from Vieux Fort to here on Wednesday, we developed a vibration. If we kept the motor speed above 2000 RPM’s, we were okay, but at lower speeds, Mark could watch the engine shaking on its mounts. The thought of one more problem was not appealing at the time, so I think I erased it from my mind. As Mark has investigated, however, it appears that we either hit something with the prop and caused some damage to it (the best scenario) or we have a badly misaligned prop shaft . Since Mark can’t get into the water until his foot is better, I dove on the prop today to check it out. It looks like this might be the problem. There are a few very tiny indentations on the leading edge of each of the two prop blades. Since Monday is a holiday here, we will wait until Tuesday to see if we can get the prop blades fixed here or whether or not we will need to send it out. Or maybe we will need to buy a new prop. BOAT – Break Out Another Thousand! I’ll keep you posted on this one.
True Confession #4-A Hairy Story: Yesterday was hair cutting day. I cut Mark’s hair, which was long overdue, and then he cut mine. For those of you who don’t know me, I have very long hair that I braid and keep tied in a neat little knot at the nape of my neck. Every couple of years, I have Mark cut my hair to mid-back length. I asked him to do this yesterday, but I think he was little overly ambitious. I can still braid my hair, but I have a hard time winding it into the little knot. So for now, I have a pony tail. Feels like the 1950’s all over again! Mark says it’s about time I let my hair down.
Those are all of the true confessions. I can now enter the new year with a clear conscience. I hope each and every one of you has a wonderful New Year’s evening and a happy New Year’s day. We are looking forward to having the last two chocolate covered cherries that our son Justin brought us for Christmas as our dessert tonight. We might even dinghy into the Frangipani Hotel and Restaurant (again the concept of hotel has to be adjusted) to enjoy the steel drum band later tonight. Or we might just spend a quiet night on the boat watching a DVD our daughter Heather brought us for Christmas – South Pacific. I can’t think of a better way to usher in 2006 than to dream about where we are headed in the next few months.
Day 74, Year 1: Busy Day in Paradise
Date: Friday, December 30, 2005
Weather: Another Gorgeous Day, Clear Night Sky, 80 degrees F
Location: Admiralty Bay, Bequia, The Grenadines
So I started doing the laundry last night, and I am just now bringing in the last of the dry clothes. We called Daffodil Marine early this morning and asked them to stop by and pick up the towels and sheets to launder. I had started the process of washing all of the clothes last night, but drying room in the cockpit is limited. Some things were hung out last night, and of course, it rained. But by mid-morning, I was able to hang out the second load. It is so windy that I am afraid to hang things outside of the cockpit. I think they would quickly be sailing in the wind. Daffodil picked up the sheets and towels and returned them late this evening. I assumed those things would be dried in a dryer. Silly me. We are no longer in the land of dryers. The sun and the wind is the dryer. Sheets love that, but towels feel just a little stiff. I guess this is something we will learn to live with. Not a bad trade off for this fantastic weather.
I also baked bread today. I had looked forward to getting to Bequia and to try some of Doris’ whole wheat bread, but when we stopped by her store yesterday she said the flour she uses to bake this bread is out to sea somewhere-long overdue. She will not be baking the German whole wheat bread until the ship comes in, so I was back in the galley again.
We waited all day for Daffodil Marine to come to the boat to fill up our water and fuel tanks. We called very early this morning, but I think everyone anchored here called them today. Around 1600, they did come to fill up the water tanks, but we will wait until Monday to get fuel as the truck had not come in from St. Vincent. Not a problem since we are not planning on going anywhere soon, but many others in the anchorage were on the radio all afternoon politely checking to see when their fuel would arrive. Daffodil has a great business going here, but was stretched today to meet the demand. Still, ice and laundry pick-up and delivery to your boat, and fuel and water delivered to your front door is not a bad deal. Most of us are quite fine with the wait.
The laundry is folded and put away, the water tanks are full, and so are we. We had dinner on the boat tonight–lemon pepper chicken from Johnnie’s in Charlestown (via the freezer) and a mix of artichoke hearts, potatoes, and green beans. We will spend tomorrow getting ready for the new year and getting off the boat to explore a little . . . finally. New Year’s Eve in Bequia is supposed to be a bit on the wild side, so I’ll look forward to reporting this on New Year’s Day.
Day 73, Year 1: Lazy Day in Paradise
Date: Thursday, December 29, 2005, AST 2020
Weather: Gorgeous Day, Clear Night Sky, 80 degrees F
Location: Admiralty Bay, Bequia, The Grenadines
I don’t have much to report today. I spent most of the day organizing pictures so they can be attached to the Travel Logs. I didn’t finish, but hope that I will get this done tomorrow and can at least send pictures from St. Lucia and St. Vincent, and hopefully St. Martin as well.
While I worked on the computer, Mark started a few minor repair jobs. Then at 1500 we went into town to get groceries and check e-mail. I have actually spent the evening doing laundry here on the boat. I checked out the laundry facilities in town and decided it would be easier to do it here. Daffodil Marine provides fuel and water by bringing it to your boat, and they do laundry as well. I think the towels and sheets from the last two weeks will be done by them. I’m breaking myself in slowly to this washing by hand routine!
Day 72, Year 1: Vieux Fort, St. Lucia to Bequia
Date: Wednesday, December 28, 2005, 1748 AST
Weather: Sunny and 83 degrees
Latitude: N 13 degrees 00.62 minutes
Longitude: W 61 degrees 14.52 minutes
Location: Admiralty Bay, Bequia, The Grenadines
It is 5:58 pm here, Atlantic Standard Time, and about 5:00 pm if you are reading this from the eastern US. The sun just dipped below the horizon and we are sitting here in Admiralty Bay in Bequia. I have been using Eastern Standard Time until now in these logs, but have decided that it makes more sense to report things by the time they are happening here. Just remember that we are always an hour ahead of those of you on the east coast.
A quick summary of today:
Sunrise 0550 Atlantic Time in Vieux Fort, St. Lucia
Mark and Judy up and at ’em 0600 Atlantic Time
Raised the mainsail and pulled up anchor 0620
Set a course of 212 degrees for a windward sail around St. Vincent to Bequia 0630
Changed course to 245 degrees for a leeward sail around St. Vincent to Bequia 0730
Motor sailed with the wind behind us most of the day
At 1330 turned off the engine and sailed from the south end of St. Vincent to Bequia
Anchored in Admiralty Bay in Bequia 1530
Took the dinghy into town to check in with Customs at 1700; bought a baguette and a few local beers to supplement dinner
1730 Returned to Windbird to watch the sunset
As we pulled up the anchor in Vieux Fort this morning, a neighboring boat hailed us. The boat was Greetsiel from Germany. Mark scurried below to get a couple of quarts of oil and I prepared to do my first “drive by” drop off. It actually went very smoothly and Mark was able to toss the quarts that were caught by Greetsiel’s captain quite easily. When he was offered a bottle of wine in return, however, he had to decline as I think he was sure he wouldn’t be able to catch something that heavy and thought, “Why waste a good bottle of wine?” If we see them in another port, we can go say hello and collect that bottle of wine in a more conducive atmosphere.
Since Vieux Fort is located at the southeast tip of St. Lucia, we had hoped to cross over to St. Vincent and sail down the windward side to Bequia. Winds should have been out of the east and by staying on the windward or east side of the island we hoped to avoid the problem of having to motor once in the lee of the land which is what happens when you sail on the west side of these islands.. But about an hour into the crossing we realized that this was not going to work. We had north/northeast winds directly behind us. So we were rolling in the seas and fighting a current. That was going to put us in Bequia after dark, so being the flexible sailors that we are learning to be, we changed course and headed for the west side of St. Vincent. At least this way we knew we could pull into an anchorage on the west side of St. Vincent and continue to Bequia tomorrow. There are no safe anchorages on the east side of the island, so this was the safest bet.
As we headed down the coast of St. Vincent toward Bequia, we recognized the places we had visited during the past week–Wallilabou, Barrouallie, Layou, and finally Kingstown. Heather, Jed, and Justin will remember all of those places as we spent time in each as we traveled up and down the coast of St. Vincent in the local busses-an experience I won’t forget for a long time. As we came close to Bequia a new kind of boat boy approached us. He was not selling oranges, local art work, beaded necklaces, or trying to help us with a mooring. He was flying by in his rubber dinghy and either video taping or taking pictures of the boat as we entered the bay. He did the same with other boats arriving. I’m sure he will find us tomorrow to offer his wares.
Our trip into town to check in with Customs was quick and easy. We are now back on the boat, cooking dinner, and just relaxing. We plan to stay here for at least a week, maybe two, reprovision, and do a little boat maintenance. Tomorrow we will explore a little a report on what we find here.
Day 71, Year 1: Just the Two of Us
Date: Tuesday, December 27, 2005, EST 1800
Weather: Partly Sunny and 83 degrees F
Location: Vieux Fort, St. Lucia
If you have been following our logs, you might have noticed that it is always 83 degrees F. Our thermometer is not broken. It is just always 83 degrees. Sometimes the days are mostly sunny and once in a while we have a day with many periods of drizzly rain, but the sun comes right back.
We are once again just two here on Windbird and it is a little lonely this evening. Heather, Jed, and Justin flew out of Vieux Fort on American Airlines at 1550 this afternoon. Mark and I went to the airport to see them off, but as they finally had to head through the gate for final departure, Mark and I came back to the boat and watched the plane take off from here. They left right on time and should be getting into Miami any time now, and then on to Boston by midnight. We had a really hard time letting them go today. We have had such a wonderful time together the past nine days and we wish we could just stow them away and keep them with us. We started our day today snorkeling around the anchorage and then headed across town to the beach for a little fun in the surf. Then it was time to head to the airport. We know they will visit us again as we continue our travels and we look forward to those times, but parting is never easy. But we all have wonderful memories of our time together in St. Lucia and St. Vincent, and we will just have to keep those pictures in our heads until we are together again.
When we went to the beach today, I was able to connect to the internet for the first time in more than a week. It is always so much fun to read the comments people have sent to the website and get e-mails that have not been sent to our ham e-mail account that we receive daily. Today was very special. We heard from Scott McPherson at New Hampshire Public Radio. His wife, Kelly, had twin boys on Christmas Eve. What a wonderful Christmas present! Scott and Kelly, we are so very happy for you. We got a wonderful “Twas the Day After Christmas” poem from our friends Detta and Tom Porat and their two children, Matthew and Sarah. Mark and I both heard from friends from work back in Concord and loved hearing the updates on what is happening there. And we had a few holiday messages from close friends and family. We find the e-mail communication to be such an important part of our lives these days. We love what we are doing, but we find that keeping connections with those back home to be a really important part of our days. Keep those e-mails coming.
In the last nine days, we experienced such an array of people and places, and even though we took lots of pictures, I don’t feel they capture the essence of what we have seen. The pictures not taken include an old man high in the mountains in St. Vincent, sitting on his donkey with his bush knife tucked under his arm. Juxtapose that with the young man we saw in the same area sitting on his donkey listening to his Ipod. I have been very reluctant to take pictures of people and unfortunately, as we prepare to leave St. Lucia, I realize that it is the faces of the people that tell the story. When Justin gets home, he will post the pictures that we do have, but please understand that they tell only a bit of the story of the people here. I would have to spend a much longer period of time with the people here in order to really capture their way of life through photographs. Maybe that will be my next adventure.
Day 70, Year 1: ‘Twas the Day After Christmas
Date: Monday, December 26, 2005
Weather: Sunny and 83 degrees F
Location: Sailing from St. Vincent to Vieux Fort, St. Lucia
‘Twas the day after Christmas and all ’round the yacht
The water was warm and the sun was so hot.
The children lay tanning-Heather, Justin, and Jed
With memories of reef fish aswim in their heads.
A parrot was hung by the GPS with care
In hopes that a mooring in Vieux Fort would be there.
With Pa in his swim trunks and I in bare feet
We’d just settled in for a long windward beat.
When out on the deck, there arose such a clatter
I peaked out of the cockpit to see what was the matter.
Then what to our wondrous eyes did appear
But rainbows in our wake and flying fish oh so near.
As we sailed to the north and splashed through the waves
We remembered rain forests, reefs, and bat caves.
We’ve snorkeled and scuba’d, we’ve hiked and we’ve fished
This Christmas we all got more than we’d wished.
To family and friends we wish could be here
Merry Christmas to all and Happy New Year!
HO! HO! HO!