Monday, January 04, 2010

Sunday, January 3.
I've just applied the handy Therapik-thingy to a mosquito bite on my instep, and I'm hoping relief will follow. It's a gizmo I got at Lee Valley (yay, Lee Valley) in Toronto. Intense shot of heat on a mosquito or no-see-um bite is supposed to neutralize the itch (and pain!). Works better than scratching, but not that much better. I've become quite the hardware/guy store afficionado. An aquired taste, something about embracing the inevitable. Why do men not ever embrace the solace of any other type of store? A valid question. I leave it with you.

End of a looooong day. We left St. Martin at 3 am on Jan 2, under a very nearly full, sort of egg-shaped, nerf football moon that lit our way until the sun came up. When the sun is up and you see the moon still in the sky, your brain sort of applies the roundness that you know is there, but in the dark, it looks like a nerf football.

Really nice crossing, no breeze, not even enough to keep the diesel fumes out of the cockpit sometimes, but a glassy sea and a slow north-east swell was tolerable. I stagger around in those early hours of the am. Randy made me green tea for starters, then coffee at daybreak, then the fishing gear went in the water, and then I had focus. Sort of. Thank goodness that he also understands the nuances of trolling lines and has the specialized skills to watch for wildly stretching bungy cords, because I do often doze off.

So, long day. Oh. I said that. Straight shot from St. Martin to Virgin Gorda, but we were anchored by 4-ish, boat sorted out and rum drinks in hand shortly after, rehashing the crossing. We saw dolphins, they came to cavort on the bow wave briefly; whales! a group of three or four spouting, and then another sighting later - long black back with a small pointy fin. Maybe Fin whales? It's a cheering thing to see. Big life!

Less cheering is sailing through the oil and garbage slicks. Not too bad here, but they are always with us. Snerds of styrofoam, plastic bottles, condoms - they float forever I believe. And in spite of fishing with heart and soul, no fish was brought aboard. I rigged the smaller lures that our friend Buck in Port Maitland gave me - they've got smaller "lips" on the front and they stayed underwater at 6 knots. In the cockpit, hanging on the mizzen boom, staring at the two lines dragging aft. Nothing. Those lures are SO Perfect. Everything underwater with an appetite should be lining up.

I give lures a couple of hours to do their thing, but after a while, I went back to dragging a green squid and a tuna plug (red and white, full of toothmarks). Nothing. I go below to update the lip sunscreen and fetch ginger ale, and when I pop my head out of the cockpit, of course, I look aft at my lures.

Holy hannah, there's a blue torpedo headed for the bleached out little green squid. "Fish! Incoming!"

Randy says "What is it?" and I'm all "MAHI! BIG blue fish!" Then it hits, the bungy goes BA-WANG, and in seconds we realize that it's come, it's gone. I hauled in the line and checked the lure, and it was split from the top, and looking a bit dazed, and from then on had a tendency to pick up passing weed on its poor split nose. Damn. And that's today's fish story. Chicken for supper. I'm glad it was tasty, because we were both really disappointed about the fish.

It was a good thing to move the boat after being in St. Martin for a month. We had a really great time with Patti and John Loach. They were here for a week in Grand Case before Christmas. Some people get gold medals for being happy boat guests. And some people you would just like to visit with anywhere. Patti and I made first contact in kindergarden at Edgewood Public School about 45 years ago, so there's not a lot we have to explain to each other. And John is one of the finest men anywhere, so all things put togther - food, drink, swimming, beach walking, music - it was just a lovely time.

That takes us up to Christmas. Dinner on "Chinook Arch" with Dawn and Gerry and Michelle and Charlie from "Mi Amante" and Bill from Voyageur C (Leona was in NS visiting with their son and his family and their first grandchild, Samantha). It was a real Christmas dinner: turkey, gravy (oh thank you Dawn) veg, roast patats, salad, wine, nanaimo bars, talk, talk, talk, home to bed.

New year's eve, in true cruiser style, we invited a dozen people (Kim and Sandy on Keewaydin, Bud and Leslie on Play Actor, Bill and Leona on Voyageur C, Dawn and Gerry on Chinook Arch, Charlie and Michelle on Mi Amante, and Roy and Michelle on Bonanza) to our boat to celebrate Zulu time (Greenwich time, aka 8 pm) new years. Lots of food, lots of wine, and everybody brought their iPods with four tunes. Perhaps the most memorable tune was provided by Voyageur C - Barrett's Privateers. Too many of us knew the words and it was a bloody rousing sing-a-long.

Midnight Zulu time (8pm local time), eight bells were rung by the most senior member of the crew, Kim from Keewaydin, and then 8 bells by the most youthful member of the crew (bit of a dust-up over this one)- Michelle from Bonanza, lots of champagne, and then everyone was off home and the ND crew was in bed before 11. You really don't want to be up at midnight. It's just a bad idea unless you're getting up to check the anchor and have pee. Just saying.

Next day. We've checked in at Spanish town, awful anchor spot, then beetled back up to Gorda Sound. Laundry tomorrow. The worst of intermittent laundry is the storage issue. During the pile of rain we had over the hols, with hatches closed, we were reminded that we were sharing our space with two weeks worth of laundry. There's a certain festive feeling about spending an hour or two or three at the laundromat tomorrow. With wifi next door. Must remember the bug spray.

Happy new year everyone.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Trying to post photos, eat lunch, drink a beer, and get back to the boat in time to hoist the new dinghy and make the 2:30 bridge opening on the French side. We're leaving to head north to the BVI at about 3:30 am, so there's lots to do to get ready (run in circles, have palpitations, prepare fishing gear, etc.)

We had a great time with Patti and John Loach before Christmas, and as soon as I can, I'll post all kinds of photos. I've managed to get some posted below. Sorry for the long delay, but a blog will come, I promise.

Cheers, and happy 2010.

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