Saturday, May 2, 2009

We're Finally Relaxed!

The Bahamas did it to us... made us relax and play. The work aspect of boating has shrunk to a miniscule part of the day. Yes, toilet Tuesdays still occur and occasionally the vaccuum sucks the salt and sand out of the rugs, but the screeen for the forward hatch that I started making in Key
Biscayne sits unfinished.

A typical day starts at 8:00 when Vicki records the weather as it's broadcast over the VHF. Norm is still snoozing or reading in bed. Leisurely brekfast and coffee while chatting on the VHF with our boat buddies about the plans for the day. Turn on the generator for an hour to recharge the batteries, run the dishwasher, coffee maker, garbage disposal, or occasionally do a load of laundry. Norm may be reading or writing a blog to upload when we have WIFI or charting the course to our next destination.

Sometime between 10 and 1:00 we're in the dinghy and out for an adventure. It may be snorkeling, beach dwelling, hiking, body surfing, exploring tidal flats, shelling, or any combination. When near civilization, the focus may be getting on the computer, having lunch, buying a few perishable groceries, getting some new reads at the local book exchange, or any combination.

We're usually back at the boat by 4 pm. Showers and dinner prep. Since we've been hanging with 4-5 other DeFever boats, dinner is often a group affair on someone's boat or on the beach. Sometimes we play a game after dinner or, if on a beach, build a bonfire. About 2-3 times a week, Norm and I have dinner by ourselves aboard Tide Hiker followed by a DVD, game, or reading.

As the advertising jingle says, "It's better in the Bahamas." It's fabulous to unlearn filling one's day with work and relearn relaxation and play.

An update on our fellow cruisers:
Lynnie's finger is healing nicely - no signs of infection at all.
Gypsies' engine mount has been repaired and they're cruising at full speed again.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

New Postings!!

Dear Family and Friends,
This is just a short post to let you know that we updated the blog with three postings. So, to be fully up to date, be sure to check out "Reunited Again", "Medical and Mechanical Emergencies" and "Body Surfing and More..." Hope you enjoy them.
Love, Norm and Vicki

Monday, April 27, 2009

Body Surfing and more.......

We have never experienced winds that were so strong and lasted so long. It’s a constant 20-25 mph and gusts to 30 for almost 2 weeks. I wonder how much stress this 65,000lb boat is putting on the mooring lines in such winds. Seems to be holding, so C’est La Vie.

Let’s see, we could sit on our hands and whine about the wind, or we could go and play in it. Lynnie was tending to her injury, Stephanie was relaxing with a book and Doug and Tammy were sunbathing on the closest beach. Vicki, Norm, Bob, Colleen and John dinked over to “Rachel’s Bubble Bath”—a natural foamy briny bathtub carved out by tides and currents. Unfortunately, we only made it half way. The seas were too rough for our dinghies so we did 360’s and instead, headed for Honeymoon Beach. What a treasure. Honeymoon beach is long, deep, protected and very sandy (no coral or shells). And, the bonus is that the waves were pounding the beach. Soooooo, its body surfing time!! What a treat! So, the “geezers” (speaking for myself) body surfed. This was just what we needed. The waves were high and powerful. We got long rides on top of the waves. We had to do everything we could do to keep our bathing suits on—the surf was that strong.

Please come back to this posting again. More pics will be uploaded as we get them from our friends on Gypsies.

Of course the tide when out while we were playing. So we had to man-handle the dinks back into the water after the tide went out.

We were not done for the day, though. We dinked over to the Sand Flats--an island that is exposed at low tide. We explored this miniature aquatic sea-live-atlantis and found numerous plant and animal life that one would not see otherwise. We saw Heart Urchins, living Sand Dollars (and dead ones), Tunicates, Bivalves, Pen shells, King Helmet Snails, Conks, Zoanthids, Sponges, Tube Dwelling Anemones. (Impressed? We have a book and looked for the pictures of what we saw!)

There were many souvenirs, but, we respected the park rules prohibiting us from removing anything. We’ll sleep well tonight, if our boat surfing (rocking and rolling) does not keep us up.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Medical and Mechanical Emergencies!!!

Subtitle: Cruising--it's not for the Faint-of-Heart!

We went on a hike on Thursday. We dinked to the beach, but only got half way due to the low tide. We anchored our dink “Tide Hopper”, unloaded the hiking gear and waded into the beach. Then, after a short hike across the island we climbed Mount Bell to the peak. Mount Bell is,as expected, a bell-shaped hill. The climb was somewhat steep and covered with loose sand and stones. One mistake and we were mince meat on the razor-sharp coral outcroppings below. But, we made it safely and were able to take the following shots of the vista from there.

While taking those pics we also saw two dinghies rushing out of the southern cut. At the time we did not give them a second thought. There are small boats speeding through the anchorage from time to time. So, having conquered Mount Bell, we climbed down and back to the dingy and our boat.
While we were away on our hike, Rick and Lynnie decided to move their boat to a mooring ball closer to shore to be more “alee” of the strong gusts. While doing so, Lynnie severely lacerated a finger on her right hand by catching it between the line holding their 50,000 LB boat to the mooring and the hawse cleat on the bow. It was quite deep and her nail was flapping. Rick called our park hosts, Rick and Elena aboard their catamaran “Movin On”, for advice. Rick and Elena are long term volunteers to the Park and have been hosting this anchorage for years. Having some experience in such matters they suggested Lynnie see the doctor in the next Cay south, Compass Cay. So, Rick followed Rick in their dinghies to Compass Cay. That alone was quite a ride. Rick says they had to negotiate 2-footers in the Cut. Fortunately, the doctor and his wife (retired oncologist and retired nurse) were in. They were just about to leave for another Cay when Elena called ahead and asked them to wait. They did and Lynnie got the medical attention she needed. The doctor was most worried about infection. So, they have been in touch with the doc each morning via VHF radio for follow-up care. Hats off also goes to Todd and Brenda aboard Life’s 2 Short. They were anchored in Compass Cay when they heard about Lynnie’s accident over the VHF radio. They weighed anchor in Compass Cay and returned Rick and Lynnie to Cambridge and towed Rick and Lynnie’s dinghy so they would not have to endure the dangerous dinghy trip back. Then, if matters were not already serious, while anchoring to unload Rick and Lynnie aboard their towed dinghy, the dinghy’s line got caught in and wrapped around Life’s 2 Short’s prop and shaft. Todd had to don mask, flippers and weights and dive under to cut the line from the shaft. Doug (Gypsies in the Palace) was waiting at Rickshaw to help Lynnie transfer from the dinghy to the boat and help Rick secure the dinghy.

Of course we’re oblivious to all of this, having been hiking and climbing Mount Bell. This is all going on while we are dancing atop Mount Bell and celebrating our assent. It wasn’t until we returned to Tide Hiker that Bob, aboard September Song, relayed all the details to us. We felt badly we were not there for Lynnie. We now made the connection that the two dinghies we saw rushing to the Southern Cut were Rick and Rick.

Elsewhere friends, Rick and Elena, the same wonderful folks that helped Lynnie, also arranged for Gypsies’ motor mount to be transported to Staniel Cay to be welded AND be returned on Sunday. So, for Rickshaw’s and Gypsies’ sake, the stars were aligned. We’re all hanging here for a few days waiting for Gypsies’ part and for Lynnie’s finger to seal shut while watching for infection. The doc said if Lynnie sees signs of infection, she must get to the hospital in Nassau immediately. Rick says that if that occurs, they will instead fly directly to Ft Lauderdale from Staniel Cay. Sounds like a good plan to us, for many reasons. That night, we all took a day off from partying and everyone just relaxed aboard their own boats, contemplating the day’s events.
Friday afternoon was a beach day. But, being fully “party-rested” by Friday night, we celebrated Friday Fish Fry aboard September Song. Bob and Stephanie grilled the two huge Mahi Mahi caught by Colleen and John aboard Life’s 2 Short on Wednesday. Again, with all the sides and deserts and adult beverages, we feasted. Then, we all played “Catch Phrase”. Now that’s material for a book!

So, cruising is not for the faint-of-heart. While medical accidents and mechanical breakdowns are constant lurking possibilities, they pale in comparison to irreversible liver damage if this partying continues.