US Land Logs 14, Year 4: Cape Cod to North Carolina
Date: Saturday, October 3, 2009
Weather: Rainy & Cool in New England; Sunny & Warm in North Carolina
Location: Calabash, North Carolina
Today was not an easy day. After four and a half months of living with our
daughter, her husband, and our two grandsons, it was very difficult to pack our bags and fly away. At two and a half, Sam is a beautiful bundle of energy, and at three months, Jonah is just getting into the smiley stage and is actually starting to laugh and squeal. We are grateful that we were able to spend the summer with them. The only contact we will have with them over the next nine months or more is video conversations on Skype. That’s certainly not the same as seeing them in person, but it does allow us to see them grow and change. We have been using Skype to keep up with Ziggy, our other beautiful grandson in Santa Fe, and will now use Skype as our ‘lifeline’ to all three grandchildren. Thank goodness for video Skype.
We left New England this morning on a rainy, cool Saturday morning and arrived four hours later in a sunny and warm North Carolina. We couldn’t help be warmed by the North Carolina sunshine even though our hearts were saddened by leaving Sam and Jonah behind. We won’t see them for at least nine months and maybe more. As I have said many times before, being so far away from family for such long periods of time is really the only downside to world cruising for us. But for now we’ll put that out of our minds and spend the next three weeks enjoying time with our brothers and sisters.Â Then it will be back to Malaysia to continue the voyage of Windbird. We fly out of Myrtle Beach and arrive in Los Angles on October 26. After a seven hour wait in LAX, we board our Cathay Pacific flight to Hong Kong and on to Penang in Malaysia in the wee hours of October 27. That’s our anniversary, so we’ll have a midnight toast in Los Angles, lunch in Hong Kong, and arrive in Penang in time for dinner. There’s a great sushi restaurant just down the street from the Hotel Malaysia, so I think it will be sushi for our 35th anniversary.
US Land Logs 13, Year 4: Fall on Cape Cod
Date: Sunday, September 26, 2009
Weather: Cool, Fall Weather
Location: East Falmouth, Massachusetts
Fall has come to Cape Cod. We had a wonderful walk in the woods today, and believe it or not, Jonah is now three months old. Sam started attending nursery school two days a week this month. He says he goes to school, so we all go along with that. He seems to love it. Time is just flying by.
US Land Logs 12, Year 4: Newport Boat Show
Date: Friday, September 18, 2009
Weather: Rainy, Then Overcast & Cool in New Port
Location: Newport, Rhode Island
We just couldn’t resist making a trip to the Newport Boat Show. Newport is less than a two hour drive, so off we all went. It was raining cats and dogs on the way over, but leveled off to just an overcast day with just a few sprinkles here and there. We had planned to meet our friends Alan and Helaine Kangesberg there and have either lunch or dinner together. We stayed in touch by cell phone and finally decided to see the show and then relax over dinner.
The show wasn’t as big as ones we have attended in the past, probably due to the lagging economy, but we got enjoyed just being close to that many boats. Sam got a real kick out of being able to get on and off the boats and Mark really enjoyed seeing all the goodies. One of our reasons for going to Newport, however, was not just to see the boat show, but to go to the Armchair Bookstore to look at the cruising guides for the Red Sea, Turkey, Greece, and Croatia. Now that we have decided on that route, we need to buy the books. But they are soooo expensive. We just wanted to see them first to make sure they are worth the purchase.
Heather, Jed, and Sam met us near the bookstore and we stopped to have a little snack while Sam had a nap. This gave us all the energy needed to go back to the show and make the purchases we had decided on–a remote control for the auto pilot, fuel filters, super clothes pins for stainless rails. That was about it. Then we met Alan and Helaine and made our way back to the parking area and then on to a great seafood restaurant on the water at the edge of town. Both Jonah and Sam behaved beautifully, but on Jonah’s part that was partly due to Helaine’s attention. She held him and walked with him and he loved it. Thank you, Helaine.
US Land Logs 11, Year 4: Kids, Friends, and Decisions
Date: Saturday, September 5, 2009
Weather: Short Summer-Fall is Here
Location: East Falmouth, Massachusetts
The autumnal equinox is more than a week away, but the weather here on Cape Cod screams of fall. The few hot, hazy days of summer have given way to the cool, clear days of fall. If I added together all the hot summer days we had here on the Cape, I think I would come up with about three weeks, not three months. When it was hot, it was very, very hot, but the rest of the summer was rainy and cool. But despite the strange summer weather, we have had a wonderful time sharing the past four months with our children and grandchildren. When we first arrived in Santa Fe in April, winter was just giving way to spring. We spent time there helping Justin and Jo get a little garden started. And once we arrived here on Cape Cod, we worked with Heather and Jed to plant and harvest a fantastic backyard garden. We have canned and frozen green beans, made a variety of different kinds of pickles with our own dill and cucumbers, made pesto with the most aromatic basil I have ever smelled, eaten fresh kale, broccoli, Swiss chard, tomatoes, and lettuce, and enjoyed zucchini in a variety of ways. And we are now just beginning to taste the crop of Brussels sprouts. When we return to Windbird, I’m going to miss walking down the hill to the garden to ‘pick’ dinner. But as the weather changes, green beans give way to pumpkins and winter squash. Just writing the word ‘winter’ makes me shiver, so the time to return to Windbird in Malaysia is drawing near.
Decisions, decisions . . . we have finally set a date for our return to Windbird. We will be leaving Cape Cod the beginning of October, flying to North Carolina to visit with family, and then heading back to Malaysia on October 27. We’ve opted for an earlier return than planned because of our second decision. We are going to leave Thailand in late January/early February and head across the Indian Ocean to the Red Sea and then through the Suez Canal to the Mediterranean. We’ve always thought we would make our way home by going around South Africa, but slowly, slowly we have changed our minds. Nothing is set in stone, but we think this is our plan of action.
Many of you emailed when I posted my Ode to Sylvie. I’m still having great difficulties believing she is actually gone, but a phone call from Doug who is now back in Port Vila, Vnuatu, made it all so real. We spent our time talking about his future, but we are all still grieving for Sylvie. In an email this week Doug wrote:
“What’s happened since then (Sylvie’s death) has been a 3-week long police investigation involving local Vanuatu criminal investigators, this because her death was not due to natural causes and the substance MMS she had ingested was deemed illegal for promotion and sale as a medical remedy by the person she bought it from. Australian joint command investigators, who aid in law enforcement in Vanuatu, also became involved. That led to a court order, and eventually to a senior pathologist being flown from Melbourne (Australia) to Port Vila (Vanuatu) to conduct a post mortem autopsy. That occurred two weeks ago. Then — with her son and daughter’s agreement — we arranged to fly her body from Vanuatu to New Zealand for cremation because it could not be done in Vanuatu. Last week I accompanied her body to Auckland by plane, was present for the cremation, and arranged to have her ashes sent to her daughter Aretha in Mexico City. The ashes arrived in Mexico City on Tuesday this week. I’m now back on Windcastle in Port Vila. And we await the results of the autopsy which will come from Australia’s Victorian Institute for Forensic Medicine in Melbourne, sometime in the weeks to come. I’m also dealing with the need to secure our boat against the approaching cyclone season, which may mean sailing it to another country . . . My heart is absolutely crushed by the sudden loss of my dear wife Silvia. It’s so shocking I can hardly believe it. I miss her immensely. Windcastle is empty without her presence. And I know for sure that all of her relatives, friends, and acquaintances, are equally if not more shocked to know that she is gone, and will never be with us again. But like we all know, she will live on forever in our hearts and memories, for she brought so much joy and happiness into the world — and for us who knew her well, and virtually everybody else who came in contact with her, her bright smile and hearty laughter will be remembered forever. The night before her death she had made a big hit with the local Vanuatu villagers in Lamen Bay (Epi Island) where we were at the time, because they found her to be such a charming, outgoing, and loving women, especially to their little children — she was even busy in the village that evening teaching those little girls and boys how to dance. I’ve been told that the villagers have already made a little shrine there to remember Silvia by. As her daughter said to me in an email two days after her death, her mom is now with her God, in Heaven, ‘Teaching the angels how to dance.’ That is one of the many ways I’ll remember Sylvie, who had become the love of my life.” Just the thought of Sylvie teaching the angels to dance brings smiles to my face and lifts a little of the burden of her death from my heart.”
But life must go on and Sylvie’s death reminded us of just how much we miss the people we have met in during our voyage. We keep in fairly regular contact with a few cruising friends and long to hear from those that have sailed out of our lives. We will spend the next month preparing to leave here. Physically getting ready to leave is easy, but mentally getting ready to leave our grandbabies is a much harder task. But by going through the Red Sea to the Mediterranean, we will be within visiting distance by May and at least that is a comforting thought.
So here’s a photo summary of August on Cape Cod, minus the photos from Justin, Jo, and Ziggy’s visit. Those are posted with the August 24 log.
US Land Logs 10, Year 4: Justin, Jo, & Ziggy, Second Visit
Date: Sunday, August 24, 2009
Location: East Falmouth, Massachusetts
We have just ended a whirlwind of a week. Justin, Jo, and Ziggy arrived in Boston last Monday along with the hottest weather we have had all summer. So we spent time at the beach trying to cool down and just generally enjoyed being together.
On Friday, Justin, Jo, Ziggy, Mark, and I took off for western Massachusetts to visit my niece Lynn and then on to Double Edge Theatre where Justin worked and lived until he and Jo met. They met there in the summer of 2006, so DET is a very special place for them. We went to see everyone and see the summer performance which was fabulous. Mark and I stayed at a new B & B across the street from Elmer’s Country Store. It was a great weekend. We stopped for a look at the Boston Harbor on our way to take Justin and Jo to their hotel near the airport. It was so hard to leave them as we won’t see them for at least another year, but it was so special to have the time with them.
US Land Logs 9, Year 4: Notes from a Granny Nanny
Date: Sunday, August 16, 2009
Weather: Finally Summer on Cape Cod
Location: East Falmouth, Massachusetts
The weather here has not been typical for a Cape Cod summer. We have had rain, rain, and more rain, and very cool temperatures. We had one reprieve over the 4th of July weekend, but not until this week has it really felt like summer. Of course, it is now very hot and VERY humid. But at least it is good beach weather for a change.
I’ve spent the last three months here on Cape Cod doing the greatest job on earth, being a Granny Nanny. Before Jonah’s birth, I spent a great deal of my time playing with Sam. After Jonah’s birth, the time had to be divided and I now spend half my time playing with Sam and the other half cuddling with Jonah. It’s a great life, but certainly nothing like the cruising life. Laundry here is done in a washing machine and dryer instead of in a five gallon bucket with clothes drying on the life lines of the boat. Here the ingredients for dinner are largely picked from the garden instead of being bought at a local market or pulled from the stores onboard the boat. Just the fact that we do have a garden is so vastly different from the cruising life. Since I have known Mark, we had always had a huge garden and stored food for the winter until we started cruising. When we decided to sail around the world, the one thing I was sure I would long for the most, other than family, was gardening. But actually, that has not been the case. I certainly long for family, but I never give gardening a thought. I am enjoying immensely the chance to garden here this summer, but I’ll be ready to get back to Windbird and buy food at the local markets when we return to Malaysia.
Today while cuddling with Jonah during one of his nap periods, I was also reading an old Cruising World magazine. I first read an article by Tom Neale’s daughter which was interesting but a little confusing to read. Then I read an article by Webb Chiles. When we were in Opua, New Zealand, we were anchored just behind Webb’s Hawke of Tuonela. Webb has circumnavigated five times and is obviously a veteran sailor. I really enjoyed his article about sailing from Opua, New Zealand to Cairns, Australia, but as I read it I thought of many details that I might have included. Then I read an article written by Fatty Goodlander in Thailand and I found myself amused by the difference between our experience in the Phangnga Bay and Fatty’s. But at least we both agree on one thing. The Phangnga Bay is one of the most beautiful places in the world to sail. Reading the articles made me realize how much I would like to have the time to write and publish about our voyage and our destinations. I know people will have the same differences with my writing that I have with theirs, but I would just like to give it a go. Being a Granny Nanny doesn’t allow for such luxuries, but once we return to Windbird, my hope is to make a concerted effort to do more writing. For now, I’ll just have to be content with dreaming of the stories that I have to tell.
Tomorrow Justin, Jo, and Ziggy return from England and visit with us here on the Cape for a few days. They were here for one day in July on their way to England, so we just can’t wait to have them here for a longer stay. Along with garden photos, I’m posting the photos from the one-day Justin-Jo-Ziggy visit with this log.