Man 0, Knife 1

For whatever reason, my lovely wife thought that we needed to photo memorialize my latest boo-boo. Let’s just say that the knife got the better of it. Anyway, she saw me working away after the incident at the nav station and thought she would show what great spirits I was in. (as in mood, not the other stuff.) 🙂

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Flat Water…

Every visitor and each week brings something different to the islands. For the first part of Brian, Terryll and Matthew’s visit, there wasn’t much in the way of wind. And, with that, there ended up not being a lot of waves either. They don’t always go hand in hand but this time, they did. So, it was a perfect time for them to head off on a kayak around the bay at Cane Garden. Not only was it flat but they were able to get up close and personal with pelicans.

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What Goes In, Must Come Out…

One thing that I don’t think I’ve discussed is the issue of birds, and in particular, birds that just sit around and well… leave gifts.

As you can see here, some boats seem to attract birds of all feathers. Fortunately, we don’t normally have too much of a problem. We move around a lot and, oh yah…… there’s seems to be a lot of activity on our boat that might deter the birds. Did I mention that we have 3 boys…. oh, and me! 🙂

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Fishin’

Noah was very glad to learn that Brian’s son Matthew wanted to bring his fishing rod and so now we’ve had a few stops where the fishing rods have come out. No success yet, but they continue to fish for things like tarpon and barracuda.

There’s growing frustration that not much happens but there is still enough happening that the interest seems to be there.

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Lee Bay Version 2.0

Because of our experience at Lee Bay, we decided that we’d head to this quiet little anchorage where no one really goes. When we got there, we found 3 other boats. By the end of the night, there were 7 boats in total. So much for the nice quiet anchorage.

We still were able to enjoy the sights and sounds of the area. For example, the cool bronzed barked trees on the hillsides….

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This is a smaller version of the Thunder Cove that produced sounds just a little higher in frequency.

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Here’s a closer look at Thunder Cove when we went back with our guests.

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The Jurassic Park look of Great Caminoe.

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The Legend Film Festival Continues

Yes, the adventure has to spend some time indoors that doesn’t include school work. And, again, we find the continuation of the Legend Film Festival.

There was a problem from time to time… to much light on the iPad. So, the kids came up with a solution on their own. So, under the towel their are 4 boys, Ethan, Noah, Matthew and Matt.

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New Friends Down

Now to be clear, these are not new friends… but friends that are newly down. Brian, Terryl and Matthew (yes, some confusion is about to ensue) joined us. They flew into the BVI and we met them and then headed over to Marina Cay for the night.

When Brian and I came back to the boat to load the luggage aboard, I noticed that the cockpit light wasn’t working anymore…. after some huffing and puffing and realized that it was the result of some vigorous “cleaning” by the boys earlier in the day. I’d once again asked the boys to clean the topdecks which they did again with relative enthusiam. One of the boys was a little too aggressive when cleaning the bimini (the cover over the cockpit) where the light string is attached. My hope was that this didn’t suggest a direction for their visit. It didn’t as you will see.

The next morning when we went ashore we were treated to some incredible sights and what’s even more spectacular is that 3 of them happened even before we got in the water.

The first was a flounder fish (the ones that have 2 eyes on one side of their body and they lie on the bottom of the ocean) that was lying on a set of steps that went into the ocean. Here it is.

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The second was a big and incredibly colourful trunk fish. Hard to make out in this picture a little but you can see the head point to the right with the colourful spots.

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An finally, we saw a couple of rays lazily swimming about.

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Now, that’s a great way to start a trip.

Sailors and The Time In Between

After my brother left, we went about the normal things as I think I’ve mentioned (although it all seems to be a bit of a blur as I’m out of sync with “blog time”.) After the week between guests was almost over we met a couple on a boat who were just lovely. We were in Lee Bay, a bay that normally doesn’t have a lot of boats in it. This other couple saw us on the boat and came over to let us know about a couple of the captain’s discoveries in the area. His name was Paul, by the way. That’s not important to the story but I think he’s just a great guy. 🙂 Okay, back to his comments. He mentioned that around the corner was what he called Thunder Cove. It was a little cove that had a hole in the rock that went way into the island. What happened when the swell came in or out was a huge BOOOM resonated from hole.

He took us around this is what we saw…. wish I could have recorded the sound. Very cool. He also suggested that we go around the next couple of corners to a bay that he described as Jurassic Park. More on that later…

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Back To Video

So, it’s been a long while, but I’m trying to get back to a rhythm of posting some video. You can guess that it takes a pretty good internet connection to do it from sea.

Anyway, to close out the trip with my brother and his family I’ve got a video of us having a lovely sail just north of Tortola. Enjoy.

My New Avatars

My good friend Jim was playing around creating an avatar to use with his social media. Well, he was kind enough to spend some time and create 2 for me.

Check them out. Let me know which you like. I might actually use one.

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Capt Paul Avatar 2

They were both created for the BlackBerry and are : Avatar Builder: Guys edition (Girls edition available) and Jingu Avatars

As an aside, how many of you actually caught some of the most important news of the last decade. They found the cause of male pattern baldness. Apparently it’s a protein that is more present in some of us! And, as my friend Peter mentioned to me, it’s not that we’re bald it’s just that the hair follicles get so small that you can’t see them. 🙂 So, it looks like there might be a cream to cure male pattern baldness one day. Think I’m going to just stay the same.

More Adventures #4 – Caroline Style

Back to reality….I think this post must be dedicated to refrigeration…or the adventures thereof. The challenge of keeping food in a warm climate is an obvious one. On the boat, we have a tiny fidge (like a small bar fridge) with an even tinier freezer. We also have a cooler that sits right under our (tiny) counter (making cooking a challenge when you need something underneath your only work space!). It has a small coolant system with a small fan, but without the addition of ice, it really doesn’t keep things cold enough. While in Antigua, our cooler fan broke and the coolant piping froze into a solid block of ice. Okay, throw out that pile of foodstuffs. We replaced the fan (a computer cooler fan, no less), thawed the ice and then Paul had the task of resealing the entire system…using plastic and exercise bands as added insulation (it really was a bit McGuiver-ish). Back in action, right? Then, sourcing the internet, we decided that in order to keep the system from refreezing again, we would try without the added ice…only to conclude that this was insufficient to keep food fresh. (This conclusion was reached after opening the chicken I had purchased fresh the day before…need I say more?) Hmmm. Another pile of food wasted. I think the system is currently working. Having said that, food wastage continues…after buying the fourth litre of fresh milk (at $6/L) only to find it sour upon opening, I temporarily gave up on fresh milk (sorry, Ethan). Fortunately (for all except Ethan who dislikes the stuff), there is UHT milk, which is essentially milk that has been treated to allow storage on the shelf for months until opened: a godsend to the Caribbean climate. Fruits and vegetables are the other challenge…if you buy in bulk when it is available, there is the constant challenge of eating it before it goes bad. If you buy as you go, there is never any guarantee of what you might find or when you might have easy access to a store. I bought a special treat of strawberries (which I inspected at the store…at $8+/pack) last week, only to find that a number of them were white by the time I made it back to the boat. Go figure. It makes the cooking adventuresome (and yes, a tad expensive!) Nonetheless, I no longer take for granted my big fridge and freezer at home.

We have just finished a delightful visit with Paul’s brother and family. The boys were SO excited to have them down for the week. Needless to say, much fun was had by all, and they are greatly missed already. School has started again in full force…there is a lot to accomplish in the next week before our next adventurers arrive. We have had some fun with geography using our inflatable globe, and I am amazed at the kids’ knowledge. What sponges (oh, to be able to learn like that again!)

More “life on the boat” stories to come…!

Photos…

Just thought that since you are all seeing a fair number of photos from our adventure that you might be curious as to how many photos we’ve taken so far.

Over 4000.

I can hear some of you saying, you should have had a raffle, I could have guessed that! Maybe next time.

Okay, I have to go now to download some more pictures.

The Feline Canine Attack

Before I explain this, I need to set it up properly or it will make no sense to you at all. In fact, it still might not, that’s okay.

Matthew, our youngest, is quite attached to the canine persuasion. He loves dogs and, in fact, plays one in real life, much to the surprise of some. Okay, now piece of information 2…. boats with 2 hulls are called Catamarans or Cats (not to be confused with Cat Boats which are something completely different). Now, piece number 3. Because Cats have 2 hulls, he sees monohulls as being Dogs because they’re different. You can see that we must celebrate free association in our family, but still stay with me.

So, in Matthew’s world, when he saw the following scene as we came into The Bight to spend a night and to get internet access, he saw an attack going on. He saw a sailing catamaran on the left and a power catamaran on the right, sandwiching a monohull in the centre. This was clearly a feline attack on the canine. Fortunately for us, we were okay to just observe and didn’t have to go over and provide assistance.

What was happening in actuality was the 3 boats were rafted or tied together to make one big floating platform so that the members of all 3 boats could move free from one boat to another. Having said that we are still monitoring the situation and will provide assistance if needed.

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More Adventures #3 – Caroline Style

Being back in the BVI, I am impressed with a few revelations…one, how much Nanny Cay (our home port) feels like “home” to us all. The boys kept talking about looking forward to going “home” to the BVI; when we arrived at the marina, all the staff greeted us like long lost family members; the familiar bays and anchorages were like a balm to the somewhat stressed sailor that I am. (And no, Christine, fear not….home still is in Perth and we ARE returning at the end of the 8 months!!!) The second revelation is how idyllic sailing in the BVI really is….anchorages galore, all within short sailing distance from one another, good services and really REALLY flat waters. Having sailed now through open waters, I find the water here incredibly calm, which makes for pleasant nights and delightful sails. The BVI really is “Natures Little Secret” for sailors, as their licence plates claim.

Oh, and did I mention that I am living on a boat of males? I am reminded every night time visit to the head (aka bathroom). I now take my light with me…

Our New Secret Password

One of the projects that we had to do was to put together a buoy for our stern anchor. Caroline decided that we should label it while I worked on the rope system for attaching it. The end result is seen here.

Interestingly enough when I looked at her labelling of the boat name on the buoy I realized that it could be misconstrued as …. LEG END…. so we now have a new secret password for the family… FOOT. Guess I maybe should have kept that to myself. Oh well, we’ll think of something else.

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The Magic of Nature

It’s amazing the power of nature to just make an island disappear. David Copperfield eat your heart out. We were down below working and then noticed that the island of Tortola was slowly disappearing before our eyes as the rain came in. We were enjoying a relatively sunny day but just a few kilometres away, not so much.

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Having said that we got rain the next day that ended up being a record for the weather station in St. Thomas. 🙂

More Adventures #2 – Caroline Style

As Paul mentioned, we sailed back across the Sombrero Passage through the dark hours of the night over a week ago. After seeing the dolphin earlier that afternoon, we were very excited about heading out to open waters. Paul failed to fully highlight the adventures at Dog Island before heading out…trying to lift a very heavy outboard motor off our dingy and onto the boat in very rough waters was quite the challenge. Then imagine hoisting a very heavy rubber dingy out of the water (to strap it down on the deck for the passage, rather than drag it behind and risk losing it en route). At one point, there we were rocking back and forth, with Paul trying to balance this swinging pendulum. I wasn’t sure he wasn’t about to swing right off the boat!

The passage itself started off delightfully…downwind sailing with the waves behind us and the sun setting before us. I took the helm at about 9:30 with the almost full moon behind me and happily sailed for a few hours. Just when I was remarking to myself how well I was doing, the wind picked up rather quickly (as it is won’t to do), and suddenly there we were flying at 11.8 knots with just the foresail up! It’s one thing to break racing records during the day…quite another at night! I very happily woke Paul up to trim the sails and take over. Even with a tiny section of the foresail up, we still kept up speeds of 8 knots…amazing, the power of the wind. We passed a number of vessels along the way, most off in the distance, although there was one sail boat that passed quite close by going in the opposite direction (heading into the wind, poor things). I’ll admit…I really don’t like sailing in the dark, especially around large (or small) islands. As the sun rose, we passed between the islands into Sir Francis Drake Channel and on to Road Town Harbour where we dropped anchor. I was exceedingly happy to be in port again.

Clear Water

Here are a couple of pictures to show you just how amazing the water is just off the back of Legend in Benure’s Bay. What you see are coral heads and rocks. And, for those who are wondering, we are not anchoring on coral. We have the anchor in sand and are backed up to the edge of the coral.

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Not a bad place to do some work and school. Daddy even got a chance to snorkel this water!

Next Steps

Well, with no guests for the present, what is going to keep us busy. After saying goodbye to Garth, Catherine, Naomi and Eric at Sopher’s Hole, we decided to stay an extra night. It would allow us to change gears, get some work done on the boat, and to also get some more serious school work done.

Speaking of school, it’s going pretty well. The boys sometimes find it hard to focus but are still moving right along in their different ways. Ethan is keeping up very well in most subjects and is pushing to complete a number of them. Noah is excited to complete his Social Studies and is the only one completely caught up on his journaling. And, Matthew is doing his work and having as much fun as possible. In many cases when the boys are doing the same work related to the boat, navigation, astronomy, or marine stuff, he is able to keep up with his brothers. In fact, as a mariner, he is very intuitive, and often correcting or at least alerting Daddy to things Daddy should be aware. If he’s not already running the boat, he and his brothers will be comfortably be doing it before too long.

So, as the sun sets on our guests’ visit (how’s that for poetic prose…. I’ll stick to inserting pictures in posts), we continue the more practical side of the adventure – schooling, provisioning, cleaning, repairs and something I’ll losely call “adjustments” to the boat. We are getting a lot of projects done and feeling good about that. And, truthfully, we’re doing it in paradise.

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To give you a sense of that, once we left Sopher’s Hole, we went back to Road Town for some supplies but then we took off to a bay we really love called Benure’s Bay. It’s actually where we christened/renamed Legend.

This time we found a spot we liked and anchored with our normal anchor and a stern line to shore for a number of reasons. Here is the shoreline that we had off the aft of our boat. Beautiful.

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The edge of the bay just off the starboard side of Legend.

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An example of the trees that grow on the island. Very different in their trunk and branches… and no, right now I can’t tell you what their name is. I’ll have to put that in a later post.

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But, one of the most spectacular aspects of this anchorage is the water…. stay tuned for the next post.

More adventures, Caroline style.

I read some interesting discussions on the blog about the mutiny we had aboard, with particular reference to the boys tying me up. Yes, it’s true…they (the three boys) jumped me coming out of the head (aka bathroom) and promptly tied me up. I am apparently doing a poor job of teaching them their knots, as I was able to extricate myself with ease. The funny part, however, was the discussion around gagging me…Noah asked his brother, Matthew, to run and get the blue masking tape to use for my mouth…when Matthew returned with a two inch piece, Noah exclaimed, “Oh, that won’t be big enough”!!!