Wednesday, November 21, 2012

East Greenwich, RI to ....

Sorry about my last blog it was a little late and out of date. It took me a while to write it and then I kind of forgot to post it.

Once we found a house we cast off the lines and set out for 2 weeks of cruising New England. We explored MA and the cape for about 4 days before doing an overnighter to Tenets Harbor, ME. We loved exploring Maine, climbing on the rocks, playing in the tide pools and collecting lobster buoys. We spent many days in little coves, happy to be reunited with Maine's beauty. And I'd like to say, we took the plunge (literally) and jumped in 60° Maine water. It was CCCCOOOOLLLLDDDD!!!! We also swam in a fresh water pond that wasn't nearly as cold. We slowly wandered up to Buck's Harbor, which is about as close to home as it comes, this being the 5th summer we've spent up there. We only spent one night at every place we've been in the past week and a half except for Buck's Harbor where we spent three days. We went from Buck's to Providence Town, which was an another overnighter, and finally back to where we started, East Greenwich, RI. Now we're landlubbers, living in a house and all, but we still visit Borealis every weekend. Today was Dad's first day of work. The trip was sooooo much fun and I hope to go on another one. It was (by far) the best year of my life!

Cape Fear, NC - East Greenwich, RI


Wow, we've been in the US for 2 months and I already want to go back to the Caribbean. I like the US, but I prefer warm places and clear water. From Cape Fear we traveled up the ICW and went to numerous marinas, (I like quiet anchorages better than marinas) and even passed the largest naval base in the world. I thought the ICW was boring, lots of motoring, long days, and tiny, river-like canals. There were some fun places here and there though. One such place was Oriental, a small shrimping town in NC, which had very friendly people, and an awesome restaurant called M&M's. They had shrimp and excellent potato skins. Potato skins are potatoes stuffed with cheese, bacon, and spices. YUMMMMM! We went all the way to Deltaville and hauled out of the water. Dad did bottom paint while Remi and I did schoolwork and played with our friend Celia. We met her last time we were at Deltaville and couldn't wait to see her. After that we went offshore to Block Island, RI which took 2 days. When we were done exploring Block Island we went to Newport, which was fun. It was fun because there were lots shops, there even was a Panera, one of our favorite restaurants. It's a little cold for us, though. From Newport we went to some small 'town-less' coves before going back to the place we started from, a Brewers Marina in East Greenwich, RI. I'm looking forward to being able to go to an air conditioned mall. We picked up our car and are going house hunting before going cruising in New England.

To all kids who are out of school, HAVE A FUN SUMMER!!!!!


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Swimming with Pigs and Sharks

Long Island was our first stop in the Bahamas. We met up with Tiger, my green-haired buddy, and walked to Dean's Hole, the deepest known blue hole filled with salt water in the world. We swam over the 663 ft water-filled hole and tried (unsuccessfully) to catch a glimpse of the bottom. Leaf Cay was a nice island with endangered lizards on it that scared Mom to death. She refused to be anywhere on the island with them. Stanley Cay had swimming pigs. They were hairy and loved to head-butt dinghies. They were incredibly fast swimmers, but looked out of place in the water. There also was shark. It's cool to be able to say that I've swam with pigs and a nurse shark at the same time. We went to the Thunderball Grotto. It was a underwater cave filled with fish. It was cool, you couldn't move without touching at least one fish. There was an underwater entrance, too, that I swam out of. We then went to Warderick Wells. There we climbed up Boo Boo Hill with Tiger from sv Alexina, and Tristan, and Raphael the French Canadians from sv Raftan. We wrote Borealis on a piece of driftwood and left it on the pile where many other cruisers left their mark also.  We then played on kayaks that were available from the Exuma Land and Sea Park. Tiger, Raphael, and Remi, the explorers aboard the kayak, Swallow, owned Kayak Island, Seagull Island, and Rock Pool Island. Tristan and I, the pirates aboard Amazon, stole Swallow and wouldn't give her up until they gave us Seagull Island. Our island, Blue Island, was taken over by ladies in bikinis off a big motor boat.

We traveled up the Exumas to the Abacos and provisioned in Marsh Harbor, which is a big town Bahamas-wise. We then went on a passage up to the US. It took 3 days.

Being at sea, or being on passage, can be very boring. Often you can't see land and,  and depending on the conditions, can be very uncomfortable when the swell is up. Most of the time the ports have to be closed so water can't come in the boat. It gets very stuffy on board, especially when the engine is on. Being on passage can also be fun because it usually means that you're going to a new place. Also, it's a great time to watch movies. Most people appreciate things a lot more on passages, like chips and cookies. Being on passage can be boring or fun, depending on how you like it.

It was sad to go back to the US because I like the Caribbean a lot. It was also nice to go back to the US because you can get almost anything, bagels, chips, shorts, you name it, the US has it. One thing that was definitely a downside in North Carolina, where we made landfall, was the cold weather. It was about 56° here in the morning. Unfortunately, all my jeans either shrank a lot, or I grew a ton because I don't have that many that fit me. Luckily I spent two days of the passage knitting a wool hat that I've been wearing. Remi is jealous of it and sometimes gets to wear it. I hope it gets warmer soon.

Catchin' a Ride

A Lionfish


Driftwood Signs

Tristan paddling while I talk to Tiger, Remi, and Raphael on the bow.



(P.S. My hair is still green! It has been over a month and a half and my hair is still green. At least it faded a bit, now it's just been-in-the-pool-to-long-green, not something-is-in-this-water-that-is-not-normal-green.)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Curse of the Orange Sea Glass

Right now we are in Georgetown, Bahamas and are anchored off of Volleyball Beach.  Volleyball beach has, as its name suggests, a volleyball court on the beach.  The beach also has wild stingrays that come up to you looking for a scratch.  We found out the hard way that there was also glass in the water when our friend, Tiger, stepped on some and cut up her heel.  For those who have been waiting for the next installment, here is the conclusion of Part I of The Curse of the Orange Sea Glass.  It’s a good one you don’t want to miss.

Waking Up

We were heading due north 800 miles east of the Windward Islands, with Africa 2,000 miles off our starboard.  I was at the helm navigating Skipchaser through a series of squalls.  Through the 40 knot wind that whipped my hair around, I heard a woman pleading with me,
"Eliza, wake up, oh Eliza, please wake up!"
I yelled down below to Desiree, "I'm about as awake as I could be, Desiree!"
"Don't bother me, it's not my watch," Desiree yelled back.  I suddenly felt very tired.  My eyes started to droop and no matter how hard I tried to keep them open, they just kept closing. ______________________________________________________________________________

My eyes flickered open in another world.
"Mom!" I yelled, "What am I doing here? Why aren't I on Skipchaser?" I was in a hospital room with my mom who looked very relieved.
"Oh, Honey, I don't know what a 'Skipchaser' is, but you passed out when you were snorkeling and later slipped into a coma."
"I remember passing out while snorkeling, but I also remember waking up and swimming to shore."
"Eliza, you didn't wake up.  Not until now, that is,"
"So you mean that it was all a dream, Skipchaser and the orange sea glass?"
"I told you I don't know what a 'Skipchaser' is, but it was probably part of a dream.  The doctors said it was common to have dreams while in a coma.  Here's something for you.  It’s a necklace that we made out of something that you had clutched in your hand.”
She uncurled her fingers to reveal a necklace that had, as its centerpiece, a piece of sea glass that looked exactly like the sun.
Three weeks later I had been discharged from the hospital.  I was searching for a book in The Unicorn Bookstore.  The old saleswomen introduced herself as Mrs. Iguano and recommended a brown leather backed book named 'The Curse of the Orange Sea Glass'.
"I noticed your necklace and I think it's time to pass it on." She said, and with surprising strength for such an old lady, lunged at me. I toppled over, but I quickly regained my balance.  The old lady wasn't as quick as I was.  Her sudden strength was gone.  I had to help her back to her feet.
She handed me the book and said, "Please write your entry in here."
I tried to say “What? Who are you?” but it sounded more like this, "Whaaaa? Reewhoo oo?"
"You haven't guessed who I am yet?" she said with a sly smile.
Then something amazing happened.  Her frail body started shaking very violently.  Her gray hair turned to white feathers and her musty shoal morphed into brown feathers.  She shrank to the size of my hand and her lumpy nose turned into a sharp, pointy beak, in which was my orange piece of sea glass.  My voice suddenly came back.
"Fiddlesticks!" I shouted.
 Fiddlesticks or Mrs. Iguano chirped with a smug laugh, "You now have the curse of the orange sea glass!"

End of Part I

Monday, April 16, 2012

Bright Green Hair!

Blog Culebra- Turks & Caicos

From Culebra we went to Fajardo, Puerto Rico where we spent a day in a marina to receive mail, though I think the real reason was to have some ice cream. It is a big treat to have ice cream down here. We don't have a freezer on board and many local stores down here don't have refrigeration, let alone a freezer.

It took a 2 day passage to get to Dominican Republic.

We spent a wonderful week in Puerto Bahia Marina, in Samana, D.R. The marina was part of the Banister Hotel, one of the fancier resorts on the island. Staying at the marina unlocked all the goodies of staying at the resort. It had two infinity pools, one on the roof, one overlooking the bay, and many other huge pools. It also had a well stocked grocery store that had ice cream! But our favorite part was the resort game room. It had a foosball table, ping pong table, and a TV in it. The game room was looked after by a nice woman who spoke no English. By the end of the week she knew our favorite games. There were a few down sides though, the nice LOOKING showers that lacked hot water, and the pools that succeeded in turning my hair green. Not just your regular been-in-the-pool-too-long-
green but, all out bright green that lasted for weeks, as if I dyed it. Now Remi and Dad are calling me Yogurt, the spin off of Yoda, in the movie Spaceballs, who has green hair. We rented a car for three days and drove all over the peninsula.

We arrived in Turks & Caicos where there was another green-haired 11 year old cruising kid named Tiger, who left the marina a week before we did! It was obvious that she had been swimming in the same pool as me. Besides being a great new friend she gave me the hope that green hair fades after a while... a little bit. I hope that mine fades as well as hers does. We plan to meet up with her again in the Bahamas. Now we are in Provo, the tourist destination of the T&C. We haven't seen Jo Jo the dolphin yet, who supposedly brings lobsters to boats and plays with snorkelers and swimmers, but are hoping to see him. We met up with one of my good friends form home, Sadie, who we played with on the beach for quite a while. It just happened that she was visiting the Turks and Caicos the same time we were. How lucky am I?! The day before yesterday we crossed the Caicos bank, it was really cool. No land in sight but we anchored in 12 ft. of water. Amazing!

I'm still working on the next chapter of my story. I'll post it when I'm done.

Sailing wing and wing

The pool that turned my hair green
It's a bird, no it's a plane, oh wait, there's nothing there!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Virgin Islands


 Well, we had a nasty upwind sail to St. Tomas (USVI) from Culebra. Then we went to St. John (USVI) and Tortola (BVI). We spent the morning of my eleventh birthday in Tortola that was followed by another nasty upwind sail  headed for Virgin Gorda. Did I mention that my one birthday wish was to see my friend, Julia? I thought that that was't going to happen, until we called them on the radio and changed our course to Marina Cay, where they were moored. I had a wonderful birthday making a 'Happy Birthday Cake' out of sand with Julia and Remi. This perfect day was ended with tacos and cake. We also went to Virgin Gorda, Norman Island, Jost Van Dyke, and finally back to Culebra with Arwen. We took the ferry to mainland Puerto Rico, where we went to Wal-Mart, a rainforest, and West Marine. We had to wake up at five to catch the 6:30 ferry. We planned to take the 7pm ferry back to Culebra and arrive at 8:30 pm, but it was delayed by two hours. We finally got on, but the captain told us a wire broke and that they needed to fix it after the cars got on. It was an extreme high tide and the cars could barely get on, so it was a good hour and a half before the cars were on and the wire was fixed. We left for the one and a half hour journey back to Culebra. It was a bit rolly and people who had never been on a boat before got seasick. I tried to take an unsuccessful nap when a crew member started passing out barf-bags. When we finally got there it was almost 1am and I was ready to go back to the boat. Our friends on Arwen are flying back to Germany soon, so we had to say goodbye. They are planning to visit us when we are back in Stow.

Here's more of my story:

We are in Tobago Cay, Grenadines now. This anchorage is filled with charter boats that can drive the boat just as well as I can and I can't drive the boat without breaking something. Anyway, Quinn, Desiree, and Jade are out snorkeling and I offered to stay behind because I didn't want to tell them that I don't know how to use fins. I was watching other boats run into each other and putting out fenders as a precaution, when I heard a beeping sound. Thinking that was on another boat beeping, I tried to read one of Desiree's books, Stowaway. It is hard to read when a beeping sound is being very annoying. Suddenly it hit me, could this be the anchor drag alarm Desiree was telling me about? I ran down-below and, yep, sure enough the GPS had red, flashing letters on it "ANCHOR DRAG ALARM". What should I do? What should I do? I racked my brains and started the engine. There was a small chance that my plan would work, but it was the only hope I had. I went to the bow and pushed on the button that supposedly pulled the anchor up. Nothing. Then I remembered that there was a switch that Quinn had to flip for Desiree to be able to put the anchor down. He always switched the wrong one and Desiree had to yell "THE WINDLESS! IT'S ON THE TOP ROW, ON THE FAR RIGHT!" So I ran below again and flipped the switch and ran up. Sometimes it's nice to have Quinn around. I pulled the anchor up and carefully navigated to a nice spot in front of where Quinn, Jade, and Desiree were snorkeling.

                                          •     •     •

Desiree looked up and said "Wow, that boat looks just like Skipchaser!"
Jade looked and said "Yeah, we should talk to them on the way back." All Quinn said was "OW! I stepped on a sea urchin!"

                                         •    •    •

I anchored, remembering the five times the depth for amount of chain, ratio. I pulled backwards on the anchor with the boat to make sure it set well. Then I attached the snubber and lay down. It wasn't five minutes before Quinn, Desiree, and Jade were back on the boat. I told them about what happened.
"You're getting better at this. I think you're better than Quinn!" said Desiree
"Is not!" Quinn said indignantly and then fell head first down the stairs hitting his head on the table. "Guess what? I just got that water out of my ear."

Friday, March 2, 2012

Grenada- Culebra


I'm sorry about the delay in posting my last blog. Even though it's a high priority for me to WRITE it, sometimes it isn't a high priority for Mom to POST it.

We had an uneventful 62 hour passáge going from Grenada to St. Croix, including a pod of dolphins that played with us for the better part of an hour. Although casting off the docks at 6am was hard, the even harder part was saying goodbye to our friend Julia who we had been traveling with for six weeks. She was up at 6 in the morning to say bye. They are cruising up the islands and we plan to meet up with them in the Virgins.

After the passáge we picked up a mooring in St. Croix while Remi and I were down below watching a movie. Since we were below we missed the excitement, or harbor TV as we call it, when mom missed the mooring (for the first time) and dropped the boat hook in the water. We went snorkeling on Buck Island and then took the six hour run to Culebra.

Larry, I wouldn't be exaggerating about a 2,000 mile flight that took six hours. For us a 35 mile trip is usually six hours. You were probably sitting in the air conditioned jet watching a movie and had food rolling down the isle for those that were hungry.

Culebra is an island off of Puerto Rico that is really nice. We spent 3 days with the Candells (Larry, Amy, Allison, and Jeff). In those 3 days, we walked all over the island visiting different beaches. We sailed to Culebrita with them, which is a pretty, small island that has two magnificent beaches. We only went to one, but we snorkeled off the boat, played on the beach, and swam from the boat to the beach.

Today we rented a Jeep so we can go back to our favorite beaches. We love the air conditioning!

Here's another chapter of my story.

Chapter 5

We left Grenada where we dropped off crew. Now there is only Desiree, Jade (Desiree's younger sister), Captain Quinn (Desiree and Jade's dad), and me. We are now sailing to Carricou and Jade and Desiree are down below. We are tacking back and forth because we can't go directly into the wind. I was up on deck while Captain Quinn was singing Queen songs. I heard beeping and knew something was up. I checked the wind instruments but all was normal. The depth, normal. I looked at the chart plotter as an explosion rocked the boat so I couldn't get a good look at it.
"Captain!" I yelled to Quinn. "What's happening?"
"Don't bug me! I'm picking my nose hairs." was his simply answer. "Another one bites the dust..." was added from him for good measure which wasn't good enough for me. Either he was concentrating on saving us or saving his nose. I'm thinking he meant the latter. Captain Quinn can be so out of it, sometimes. I looked at the chart plotter and realized we were going over an under water volcano.
"Quinn, Desiree, Jade! Someone help!" I yelled.
"Will you please shush?" the Captain ordered. "Your breaking my concentration. I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike...."
I knew help wasn't coming so I was the one who needed to give it. I marched over to the steering wheel, or helm, and grasped it tight. I pushed the hair out of my face and turned just as another burst of lava came flowing out, this time even closer. The sharp turn made the wind push into the other sides of the sails, causing us to heal in another direction. This made stuff go flying across the room. Desiree and Jade, knowing something was up, came running.  As they we coming, I heard a big splash.
"Captain Quinn's in the water!" I yelled.
"Not again" was the groaned reply I got.

Thanks for reading! Hope you like it.

P.S. Quinn, if you are reading this then don't worry. This it just the beginning of Captain Quinn.



Relaxing on the aft deck.
Some dogs from a local shelter on Culebra.
Spotting Dad (yellow fins) from the bow.