Day 94, Year 8: Silver Linings
Date: Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Weather: Partly Sunny, Warming Up
Location: Lightkeepers Marina in Coquina Harbor, Little River, SC
If you haven’t seen the film, Silver Linings Playbook, you should. It is a heart-warming story of two young people with bi-polar and personality disorders that find a way to ‘normalcy’ through their relationship with each other. It shows a side of bi-polar disorder that most of us never think about it. The acting is good, especially that of Jennifer Lawrence as Tiffany. The main character is the young man Pat, played by Bradley Cooper, who is bi-polar. He does a superb job of inviting you to embrace him in spite of his problems. I came away thinking “look for positive” in every person you encounter and everything you do. This story offered a little drama, a little romance, and a little comedy-a great combination. It’s a ‘feel good’ movie does ‘good’ by opening your eyes to another dimension of life. You don’t want to miss it.
We went to the afternoon matinee (senior citizen prices) with our friends Lee and Lynda Kaufman. We have not seen much of them recently, so it was great to get together for the movie and then for dinner afterwards. We went to a restaurant called Asian Fusion and enjoyed Thai food. Afterwards, Lee and Lynda came to Windbird for a dessert of dark chocolate sweets and rum. We did a rum taste test of Admiral Rodney from St. Lucia in the Caribbean, White Lion from St. Helena in the South Atlantic, and Saint Claude Carte Noir from Madagascar. The Caribbean rum is the most expensive with the Madagascar rum being super cheap and the St. Helena rum running somewhere in the middle. And in my estimation, the best rum by far was the cheapest in this test. I think it is the hint of Madagascar vanilla that makes Saint Claude so good.
Tomorrow we are headed north to Beaufort, North Carolina, to see sailing friends from Australia. We met Chris and Geoff of sailing yacht Shambala via email when we were in Madagascar. They had made the trip from MAD to Richards Bay in South Africa the year before and they shared information with us. We were on the same dock in Richards Bay and got to know them in person. And now they are in this country and we want to see them before they take off for the Bahamas and Cuba. I think they are returning to the US in the summer and heading on up to Canada before going back south and on through the Panama Canal on their way back to Australia. We’ll meet for lunch tomorrow and catch up on travel plans. We’re hoping we will see them again in the Northeast when they head to Canada, so we’ll check that out tomorrow. Then on Thursday morning we fly to Florida. We’re really looking forward to our visit with Mark’s family.
Day 380, Year 6: In Our Winter Home (with a little drama)
Date: Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Weather: Gorgeous Sunny Day, 59 degrees F and Felt Like Summer
Latitude: 41.38.821 N
Longitude: 070.38.162 W
Location: Brewer Fiddler’s Cove Marina, N Falmouth, Massachusetts
What a beautiful day! Our passage-mode mentality worked in our favor today as we used the available weather information to pick the perfect day for our move from Eel Pond in Woods Hole to the Brewer Fiddler’s Cove Marina in Megansett Bay on the east side of Buzzard’s Bay. ‘Perfect’ meant no wind, so there was no sailing, but we were able to easily get off the dock in Eel Pond and move easily into the slip at Fiddler’s Cove. The ‘drama’ was going aground in the entrance to Fiddler’s Cove. We were up early and Chad and Victoria, the young couple living aboard at Wood’s Hole Marine, came out to help us get off the dock. With no wind and virtually no current, it was an easy task. We then went out into Eel Pond and picked up a mooring to wait until the 10 am opening of the bridge. We hooked up a hose to our aft head sink and cleaned all the bird poo off the boat. We thought we were free of the birds once leaving the dock, but when I went back out on deck when we were leaving the pond, I found the birds had already returned and left their fresh markings on our sparkling clean boat. We had three knots of current with us in the ‘hole’ as we traveled from Vineyard Sound to Buzzard’s Bay and then we motored ever so slowly northward. Buzzard’s Bay was absolutely glassy so we took advantage of the situation and recalibrated the wind indicator. That simply required that we turn circles in the water and then align our direction with the direction of the wind. There was not a cloud in the sky and it was so warm that we didn’t even need to wear jackets. We knew that low tide at Fiddler’s Cove was supposed to be at 11:30 am, so we had planned on waiting until 2:30 pm to enter the cove. But as we approached Menahaut Bay around 1:30 pm we decided to go in. We knew we were taking a chance of going aground in the entrance to the marina, but the folks at the marina said they thought we would be fine. Well, we weren’t. We started through the entrance with 2.3 meters of water, but that quickly went to 2.2, 2.1, and then a jump to 1.9. Thump. We were aground. Heather had called earlier and said that she would bring Sam and Jonah to watch us bring Windbird into her new home. And there they were on the dock watching as we came to a standstill. The marina folks immediately saw the problem and sent a boat out to try and pull us in. The first boat got the tow rope caught in their propeller and sheared a pin, so they went back to get a bigger boat. All I could think was, “Where is Survivor when you need them?” The only time we went aground while circumnavigating was in the southern Cook Islands. Lucky for us, Survivor was there filming an adventure and they sent two huge rubber dinghies, each with two 200 HP motors out to rescue us. Today after the first boat sheared a pin, the marina sent a larger boat with one 200 HP motor and it was able to pull us through the pass. Heather, Sam, and Jonah were there on the dock cheering for us when we got in. Once we were tied securely to the dock, we then spent the next couple of hours playing in the sunshine. The boys each had a net that they used to try and catch small fish. They didn’t catch fish, but they did catch seaweed and they enjoyed trying to burst the bladders of the knotted wrack and rock weed that floated by and got caught in their nets. It was such a beautiful day, a true gift from Mother Nature, and the boys just enjoyed laying on their tummies on the dock with their nets. We walked along the shoreline and just luxuriated in the warmth of the sun. We fed Cheerios to the healthiest and most beautiful Mallard ducks any of us had ever seen. We just truly enjoyed the afternoon. The boys didn’t get a proper nap, but they did get to enjoy a rare, warm November afternoon and give Windbird a proper greeting as she arrived in her home for the winter months. Jed returned home tonight from his week in Norway and England, and I know the boys are elated to have two parents again.
Tonight we talked to Justin, Jo, and Ziggy. They are settling into their new home. We talked on Skype and had passable video, so Justin took us on a little tour of the house and Ziggy exclaimed that he loves his new home. We can’t wait to visit at Christmas. And after talking to JJ&Z, Howard and Judy Wang of Laleia called on Skype. We were with them in Grenada in March. Since then they have spent three months in Peru, some time back in California, and are now back in Grenada working on the boat. It was great to catch up with them And then Alan and Helaine Kanegsberg, our good friends in Concord, NH, called. We are having some difficulties with our internet connection here which is a bummer, but we are using our telephone as the connection. Tomorrow we will check to see if the marina has internet that might give us a better connection.
Day 379, Year 6: For the Birds
Date: Monday, November 7, 2011
Weather: Mostly Sunny and Still Warm (upper 50’s)
Location: Eel Pond, Woods Hole, Massachusetts
I love birds. I love to watch them, identify them, photograph them, and read about them, BUT I really don’t love birds on my boat. While in the Chagos last year, so many terns were roosting on our life lines at one point that I thought I was going to have to get out a shovel to clean off the bird poo. One day while running up the side deck to shoo them away, I tripped and lost my glasses overboard. It cost almost $700 in South Africa to buy a new pair, so that was one expensive bird encounter. Since we moved Windbird to the dock here in Eel Pond, we have been plagued by birds roosting on the top of the mast. So we spray down the canvas and the deck every few days to clean off the poo. But this weekend, things got out of control. We cleaned and scrubbed down the deck on Saturday and thought this would be our last clean-up before moving the boat. Then on Sunday, the birds went crazy. Our bimini looks polka-dotted and the cabin top and deck are a mess. Unfortunately when we went to clean up the mess this afternoon we found that the water has been shut off for the winter. The thought of arriving in a new marina with a boat covered in black bird poo is just not my style. So after hours of considering the problem, I have come up with a solution. More about that in a minute.
We have double-checked our weather sources, and things are looking great for moving the boat tomorrow. Heather checked her schedule today, and she can pick the kids up after school tomorrow, so both Mark and I are free to do the move. Sometimes when people ask us what the scariest thing was that we encountered in sailing around the world, I want to say that it was coming into a dock-not stormy weather or pirates or whales. We only came into a marina 16 times in our six years of sailing around the world-New Zealand (two times), Australia (three times), Singapore, Malaysia (four times), Thailand (two times), South Africa (two times), Little River, North Carolina. And most of these were stops to get fuels. Windbird is a wonderful boat, but bringing her into a dock and taking her back out are always tense situations. We’d rather carry jerry jugs all day long to fill up with water and fuel than go into a dock. So we have been looking for a “no wind” situation for leaving this dock and coming into a new marina. It is hard enough to deal with current, but add wind to that and my pulse rate soars. Tomorrow really does look good. We won’t be sailing, but our only goal is to move Windbird to our winter home without incident. Someone from the marina here is coming at 7 am to help us get out of the tight spot we are in and then we will go back out into the pond and pick up a mooring to wait for the bridge to open later in the morning. Woods Hole is on winter hours these days, so the bridge doesn’t open quite as early as it did in the summer. We’ll leave here at the 10 am opening, go through the Hole at almost slack tide and then head north in Buzzard’s Bay. We are going to go as slowly as possible as low tide at our destination is at 11:30 am. We plan to arrive there around two and go in on a rising tide. That’s the plan. Let’s just hope all goes smoothly.
Mark installed the second Freedom SW2000 inverter/charger today. So far, so good. It is running beautifully and charging those batteries. But then the first one ran for two days before it quit. We’re hoping this one is with us for the long-term.
While at the Newport Boat Show, we signed up for a free subscription to Cruising World. We got the first one a week or so ago, and the November issue arrived today. This one got my immediate attention with the cover headline “Where We Sail”–an article by the Jimmy Cornell, the writer of a couple of the most important books that world cruisers use as their bibles. The article has a two-page spread showing a map of the world and the number of cruisers that have checked into various locations over the past 25 years. We found the statistics listed for 2010 quite interesting. Cornell is saying that 105 boats cleared in at Chagos in 2010. We were there and we know that in June of 2010 the BIOT folks were telling us that fewer boats had applied to stay than in any previous years they could think of. From January to June, we know that only 20 to 30 boats were there and folks that stayed until August only reported another five to ten boats coming in after us. Then we looked at the South Africa figures. Cornell says that about 200 boats sailed the global route via Cape Town in 2010. We find that really hard to believe. Again, we were there and we know that the twenty some boats in the ARC World Rally just about equaled the number of the rest of us. The only way I can figure that he came up with that number is that there were over a hundred boats in the Cape Town to Rio race. I certainly wouldn’t count them as “boats sailing the global route” since most were South African boats just going and coming back home. Tomorrow I’ll read the whole article and see if maybe there are some explanations. But saying that there are 10,000 bluewater boats taking a global voyage seems a stretch to me. Do boats leaving the US and going to the Caribbean and back count as global voyagers? I don’t think so. They are certainly bluewater sailors, just not of the global variety.
Day 378, Year 6: Catching Up
Date: Sunday, November 6, 2011
Weather: Mostly Sunny and a Little Warmer
Location: Eel Pond, Woods Hole, Massachusetts
Most of today was spent just catching up on correspondence and continuing the never ending task of getting our Year 1 logs in the same format as the other five years. And because I skipped a log very early in the year, I have to renumber every log. The work got derailed by computer problems and now it is just finding time to do the work that is the problem. Mark worked at West Marine and this evening we went to the ice arena to see Sam skate. Watching four year-olds ice skating by holding on to milk crates is much more fun that watching an ice hockey game. Jonah says he is going to start skating in January and that should be even more interesting.
The weather report is still basically the same as it was last night, so we are tentatively planning on moving Windbird on Tuesday. Things were made a little more difficult today by the addition of big boat that pulled into the slip behind us this morning. We are tied to houseboat that is tied to the dock and we can’t move forward or backward now. Somehow we have to get pulled out sideways before we can back out. Sounds like fun.
We heard from our friends Judy and Dave on Freebird today. They put Freebird on the market and then took her to Italy for the winter. A couple from Florida flew over to look at her and bought her. It makes me sad to think of a Freebird without Judy and Dave, but they are looking forward to new adventures. We wish them the best in their new life after sailing. We were always “this bird” and they were “that bird.” I guess now we are the only bird in town.
Day 377, Year 6: Planning to Move
Date: Saturday, November 5, 2011
Weather: Sunny, Windy, and COOL
Location: Eel Pond, Woods Hole, Massachusetts
“The time has come,” the Walrus said, “To talk of many things: Of shoes-and ships-and sealing-wax-Of cabbages-and kings-And why the sea is boiling hot-And whether pigs have wings.” What Lewis Carroll forgot to mention in “Through the Looking-Glass” was talking about when one should move a boat. And that is what we have been doing today. I feel a little like we are back in Tonga trying to find that weather window for moving Windbird to New Zealand. We certainly don’t have that far to go, but the worries of getting off the dock here, getting through the Woods Hole cut with the current going with us, and then arriving at our new home on a rising tide, all make the planning most difficult. We actually only have to move Windbird about twelve miles from here to Brewer Fiddler’s Cove Marina, but we have to leave here at a time to get us through the Woods Hole cut going with the current and we have to arrive at Fiddler’s Cove on a rising tide just in case their estimated seven-foot depth in the entrance has silted in. AND we have to have the right winds in order to get ourselves off this dock here in Eel Pond. I think it is the latter that worries Mark the most because using our all strength we cannot move the boat away from the dock when the winds are coming from a northerly direction. There is no good time in the next week to move the boat and satisfy all conditions, so we are going to go when the wind conditions are right for getting off the dock and hope everything else works out. At this point, it looks like we will have almost no wind on Tuesday, so we are tentatively planning to move on that day. We had hoped the winds would be more favorable later in the week, but it looks like we are in for another strong n’easter and that would definitely not be the time to move. There are also other factors that we have to include. Jed doesn’t get home until Tuesday night and Heather has to do on-air fundraising sometime on Tuesday, so there is no back-up childcare for Sam and Jonah. We didn’t realize until tonight that our weather window for the week has been almost shut by the northeast winds due on Wednesday, so we will have to talk to Heather tomorrow and come up with a plan for dealing with Sam and Jonah considering this new schedule. I figure we can always take them out of school and have them go with us to move the boat. We could just call it a field trip.
We started our day on the soccer field. Since Heather had to be at work at 10 am, we met at the field at 9 am and made the transfer. Actually only two other members of Sam’s team showed up and there was no coach. Despite that, the three kids plus Jonah had a great time playing their own version of soccer. We thought this was the final soccer “experience” of the fall season, but we were told that next Saturday will be the last one. Heather had packed snacks and hot chocolate for Sam and Jonah, so after we left the field with frozen fingers and toes, the boys really enjoyed just sitting in the car and drinking hot chocolate. We then made a couple of stops in town before heading home, and even though the outside temp was still a bit freezy, both boys enjoyed another hour or so of outside play. This gave me a chance to pull up the green beans that had been so alive last weekend but are now so frozen, and to start preparing the garden for winter. We still have beautiful lettuce that has not yet frozen, and very young kale and Swiss chard. Earlier I had visions of picking Swiss chard in December to make one of our family mainstays called “Leaf Pie”, but the chard is going to have to do a bit of growing and that might not be possible with the onset of cooler weather.
One of the stops in town today was to go by West Marine and pick up the new inverter/charger. Mark is anxious to do the second installation, but he works tomorrow and will have to wait until Monday. Since we don’t know what went wrong with the first installation, we are both a bit nervous anticipating the second installation. Mark has checked and re-checked the directions, so hopefully all will go well.
Day 376, Year 6: Home Again, Home Again
Date: Friday, November 4, 2011
Weather: Overcast, Windy, Daytime Temps in the 40’s
Location: Eel Pond, Woods Hole, Massachusetts
Our whirlwind trip to New Hampshire ended this morning when we arrived back in Falmouth in time for Mark to go to work at West Marine at noon. On the way home we had time to stop at IKEA to get some of the delicious frozen Swedish meatballs they sell there and I picked up a couple of packages of teeny, tiny indoor Christmas lights that are battery operated. These little sets are great for decorating a holiday table. And when we got back to Concord we still had time to take some things to Heather and Jed’s basement. We called the Post Office yesterday and found that we can send forty pounds of books to Ziggy in New Mexico for only $18. So we brought back a big box of children’s books to send to him. But I have to find out the address before I can send them. Justin, Jo, and Ziggy moved from Madrid to Ojo Sarco, New Mexico last week. Ojo Sarco is in the mountains on the way from Santa Fe to Taos. They are renting a home on twenty acres of land and there is grass, trees, and a stream. This is high desert and it is cooler than where they lived south of Santa Fe, but from the photos they posted on Picasa today it looks great. The view of the snow capped mountains that are not too far in the distance is breath taking. From what we can see in the photos, Ziggy has fashioned himself a fishing pole out of a stick and some string and he’s fishing in that little stream. This area is farming country since there is water readily available and Justin and Jo are very excited about being able to grow as much of their food as they can. Congratulations to Justin and Jo for finding such a beautiful spot. We are very excited that we will be spending Christmas with them in their new home.
This afternoon life was back to normal. Mark went to work at West Marine and I picked Sam and Jonah up from school. Friday is Pizza Night at the Goldstones, so after nap, we made pizzas. It’s a messy affair, but both boys were very excited about the pizza party. The public radio station where Heather works has just started their fall fund raiser, so she was on the air until 6 pm. Tomorrow morning is Sam’s last soccer game of the fall season and we will meet Heather and boys at the field at 9 am. She has to be on the air from 10 until 1 tomorrow, so we’ll take over child care until she gets home. Jed is still in Europe. I thought he was in France, but Sam insisted today that he is in Norway. Sure enough, when I talked to Heather, she confirmed that Sam was correct. He goes from Norway to England on Monday, presents a paper at a meeting, and then flies home on Tuesday. I guess I had better pay better attention. I don’t like it when a four year-old knows more than I do!