Thursday, April 16, 2015

Northing

We had three days of excellent sailing. Sometimes cruising is like that. Lot's of times it isn't. When we get these days we enjoy them immensely. Yesterday we sailed about thrity miles to get twenty. We could have motored straight there but we are a friggin sailboat after all, so we sailed. It was great. We set the sails and auto pilot then trimmed to the wind when required. We talked a bit, sometims taking turns to read a book or nap. There is always someone on watch. We broad reached right up to our anchorage.

Today we were worried about the cut we had to go through. We were leaving close to max ebb current and the wind was not directly against the current but close enough to make us sweat about it. We had already been through one rage and did not want to start the day with one. When we got to the cut is was a pussy cat. We rocketed out the cut at about 9.5 knots and then trimmed for close hauled sailing for thirty miles across the sound. At first it looked like we were the dumbest of the bunch today with big waves and wind on the nose. No wonder nobody else left today! As we got away from the shore the wind fell off a bit and we relaxed the sails a bit as well and man oh man did we fly. We were just off the wind enough, and the seas were not quite on the beam, and we took off.

Have you ever been out on the water and looked around and thought, why the hell are we the only people out here? Something we don't know about? Squalls? High winds? Krakken? Today was one of those days. All I can say is we were right and you jerks still at anchor were wrong baby! I know I know. Next outting I'll be screaming like a little girl.

Last afternoon at anchor Deb was considering going into the crystal blue water for a swim. Good for Deb. She rarely goes in. Neither one of us are big swimmers so it's a big event when I go in and it's a photo op of the year when Deb dives in. So Deb looks out at the water and says, "Oh my God it's a shark!". I hop to that side of the boat and lazily floating by next to our hull is a six foot shark. Deb says, "Well that ends any thoughts of going in the water!"
I agree. I do have to check the zincs so sometime soon I have to go in. We always think, what are the odds? But then you see one floating by the boat twice now in a month and well, it gets you thinking. Thinking about being a meal.

We can't complain much about the Bahamas. We sailed most of the time we were here. We are about as laid back as you can get right now. I wish there were more palm trees and the islands are pretty dry. I think we had maybe ten minutes of rain the whole time we've been here. The place is still beautiful and we are glad we got the chance to see most of it because next year we need to move fast.

We still have the Abacos to go through and yet here we are already planning for the fall. We still have some fun left in Eleuthera and some more cuts to go through. Maybe we will rage one more time. I hope not, but I'm beginning to think Deb likes it. We have a few days of lazy light wind sailing up the island before we think about crossing to the Abacos, which looks interesting, yet developed a lot more than the other islands. We may be there for a whole month so I hope it's somewhat enjoyable and not too much like Florida.

That's all I have for now. We've been boat bound so I have no stories of interesting people. Sooner or later a bar will serve me a cold one and then we'll just let the weirdo magnet do it's thing.

Cheers!
PB

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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The ocean was weird today

We finally left Georgetown and started north. Yes, North. Frigging north. We started with a broad reach in not too bad waves. Maybe three footers. The wind was about 10-12. We were moving. Then the waves picked up and the wind died to about 5-7. Damn. Slam , bang, roll. Then the wind picked up and the waves dropped. We were reaching in relatively calm waters doing about 7 knots in 9-10 knots of wind. Not too shabby. Best reaching boat I ever sailed.
We made some serious miles.

The wind dies again and the damn waves pick up! What the hell! We got within a mile of the cut through the island and we drop the sails and motor on. RAGE!! We get into the cut and we have our first rage. The current was against the wind and wow, washing machine time. Deb had the helm and I was right next to her, working the throttle and watching the chart plotter while Deb's extremely wide eyes were focused on the boiling cauldron ahead. Girl did good! Proud of my soulmate! I can't tell you how much it means to that talent aboard. It's a huge weight lifted. So Debra plows through the waves and we both smile as we get through and go, "Rage on!"

We rounded a corner of a rock and settled into a quiet harbor for a change. A couple of anchor drop beers and we've settled in. Georgetown was way too bouncy for us. Tonight we will be rocked gently to sleep by the rippled water of this protected bay.

The sunset was even strange today. Huge sun for some reason, and it seemed to melt into the water tonight. I guess today was just a reminder of how nature is unpredictable and surprising. Or, it may be natures way of just getting us to notice.

Thanks to the folks who reminded us that it's the journey, not the destintion.
Cheers!
PJ

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Monday, April 13, 2015

One year out. Holy Shit!

It's been a whole year already! No shit. Really?

Yep. Deb says to me, "Hey, we left St. Augustine a year ago today. We've been out here a whole year!" Wow. I was stunned. It went by so damn fast! What have we done I thought.

We went south to Vero Beach and stuck ourselves to a ball for a while and then went back north for the summer while being pursued by hurricane Arthur. We Chesapeaked and then went south to Miami and stuck ourselves to a ball in Dinner Key for too long. After the holidaze we crossed the Gulf Stream to arrive in Bimini. At this point we were just wide eyed newbie cruisers feeling our way around the sandbars and reefs and cuts. When we left Bird Cay to Rose island in 17-22 knots and 6-8 foot swells we earned out first stripes. Going through the cut to Rose with waves breaking on the rocks around us we earned a few more. Jumping from island to island on our way to Georgetown maybe got us a jump in rank. Not sure. Doesn't feel like it, but we are all newbs compared to some of the folks out here.

Having a beer with circumnavigators really puts you in your place, yet the earth voyagers treat you like equals. We have met so many people that are so very cool. If we could do it over again our kids would be raised on a sailboat. We have seen many families out here having a blast. They have their classes onboard every day and then afterward they have fun in the sun. What a life. Not a cell phone or device of any kind to be seen.

I have to say since we got to the Bahamas we have yet to run into an asshole. Yes, there were a few people we found strange, like the Frenchman and his "Kitty", but for the most part this trip has been free of the jerk squad. Maybe because the place is loaded with Canadians. They are just too nice. I even try to get them going at the bar by talking of the Quebec resistance. I get a laugh and a head shake, but never a really bad word about their Frenchies. I totally respect the Canadian fleet. Brits. They make me laugh. I have never met such jolly people. Love their humor. I get it.

So we've met all these nice people and we've sailed through blue water you can only believe until you see it. We have had some fantastic sails, some boring motoring, some tricky maneuvering through cuts, and some lazy reaching on the banks in the sun. After all that we've accomplished and experienced what do we think so far?

Should a done it earlier man. Should a done it earlier.

We're celebrating our anniversary by trying to unplug the waste plumbing. The macerator sounded like Tom petty being strangled by Stevie Nicks and wasn't moving anything. I was not a happy germaphobe. I dreamt all night of being covered in feces with two waste hoses in my hand, both of them puking their contents into the bilge, followed by my own puking. We would never again have a visitor to the boat without vicks vapo rub under their nose. Fortunately I put my manly instinct into use and just shook the hose repeatedly until something started moving through. I consider myself fortunate that I did not have to celebrate my anniversary afloat with my thick rubber gloves, hoodie, dive mask, respirator and a Purell shower.

Shits still flowing. It's all good.

Cheers!!
PJJB


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Friday, April 10, 2015

Garattmauryan. We go back.


Garattmauryan. What the hell does that mean?

A long time ago in a state college far far away, there was a group of friends that actually graduated and became productive within society despite their antics within the institution of higher learning.







Eventually some of them paired off and found living together was beneficial. Unions were formed. Rochester NY and the surrounding area  became their base of operations. They all hung out together.
Two outsiders (way out) were eventually allowed to become members in order to fill the voids. The selection committee must have been drunk at the time.



With the new additions the group became... The Garattmauryans.

The name is a combination of letters from the last names of the unions. Garnsey, Daratt, Maurinus, and Bryan. For a while there were just the adults. So called. Sometimes you would be hard pressed to assume adult as a descriptor for this bunch. Without going into lengthy tales of their adventures let's just look at some photos and assume they were clever and lucky enough to live this long without serious mental harm or malady associated with liver disease.




























Eventually the group spawned. Generation 2 was born.









Gen2 then created Gen3 models, which are quickly showing signs of their inherited design from the Gen1 model. I refrain from posting Gen3 photos without their parents permission. Gen 2 will obviously scoff at me posting pics of them :)

For over 35 years the Garatmauryan gang, including all generations, has kept their association intact. The frequency of get together's has decreased over time because of relocation to other parts of the country and beyond. Getting the whole gang, including gen2 and 3 together takes careful planning and coordinating similar to a wedding and in fact that is exactly what it takes to get us all together again.

My beautiful God daughter Michelle Garnsey is getting married! Gen2 expands again with the addition of Jason! A nice addition. He fits right in. The gang all agrees that this may be one of the few times where all generations are together again. This is the last Gen2 wedding and possibly the last good location for us all to come together to party one more time. We would be totally bummed to miss it.

Miss it? How could you not go? Well, not knowing where we would really be on our trek south we held off booking flights and rental cars until we were sure we could make landfall someplace where we could store the boat and get a cheap  flight. We selected Grenada as our departure point to head back to NY, drive to Providence, then drive to Rochester, Savannah, and Florida. We started booking.
When we were done making all the reservations for hotels, cars, and planes we were up to five thousand dollars travel expenses. $5k!!!! We can't do that! We're retired! Our whole budget would be wiped out for the year for a three week visit to the states. Can't happen. We had a tough decision to make.

We could continue south to Grenada, fly to the wedding from there and blow the budget, eating rice at anchor somewhere in Grenada for the whole summer.

We could skip the wedding, send a nice gift and our apologies, then spend the rest of July crying over the pictures of our friends holding our grandsons and watching the good times we missed and the beauty of seeing one of our gang starting a new life together.

We could turn around, make port somewhere close to Savannah, share a ride with our daughter to the wedding and continue this journey south in October.

I think we made the right decision. We got a late start this season, the weather keeping us in Dinner Key way too long. This fall will be different. We plan to get through the Bahamas before the winter fronts start playing their games. Christmas in the Caribbean sounds good.

This was not an easy decision. We love our friends and missing the wedding was only a remote possibility. We would have most likely just forked over the big bucks and then figured things out afterward. Cooler heads prevailed (Deb's head) and the option of going back was floated across the salon. Tears flowed from Deb while I sat quietly in shock. It was a rough night of no sleep. There really is no other option. The Garattmaurians go way back, and so are we.

I promise not to whine too much about the ICW again. It's getting old. We decided not to go too far north. The thought of waiting for bridges again chills my bones. We will likely stay south of Charleston and close to Jacksonville in case we have to duck a hurricane. We will be at anchor unless we have to leave the boat. My whole issue with this, and I know I shouldn't care what people think, is that we never got further south than chicken harbor. Top that with my Paranoia Passage post and I feel like people think we bailed out of fear. The fear of that passage is still real but its never going to stop us from going. We would not have traveled this far if fear stopped us.

We were are running out of time anyway. It's already April and getting to Trinidad for hurricane season would have been a push. Having a deadline and rushing is not the safest way to travel. So, think what you want. Come October we will cross to the Abacos and work our way east and south and fast. For the rest of this season we will slowly make our way north with stops in Long Island, Cat, Eleuthera and the Abacos. We should be looking to cross by the end of May.
Cheers,
P


There were so many photos to choose from and combined with our low bandwidth I decided to select at random. Believe me, there were many more pics I could have posted but I didn't want to get beat up at the wedding :)

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Debra gets her say.

You ever wonder what Debra thinks about all the shenanigans going on with this adventure? Well, wonder no more. Debra now has an online journal. Now you will get the real scoop. Tired of panicky Pauly's paranoid postcards from paradise? Check out the facts at boathippies.tumblr.com

Debra is very good at keeping a journal. She has been writing one since the day we left on this adventure. I tried, but I appear to be pretty lazy when it comes to writing something every day. I need inspiration, where Debra just needs an hour at the end of the day. Somebody has to record this stuff! Years from now we will not remember most of it. Don't even remember what we had for dinner yesterday!

Deb just started entries dating back to when we left so it will be a while before she's blogging in real time. It is fun looking back though.

OK. That's all for now. Next post is due soon and some people are going to be surprised.

Cheers!
PJJB