Friday, April 29, 2016

A day in the life

I woke up, got out of bed. Dragged a comb across my head...


I am way behind in blogging. Don't blame you if you moved on. Did you move on? No, you wouldn't answer would you because you are following that other blog. The one that posts regularly and has pictures of things they did every day. I don't blame you. Hey, I do things every day! Nothing you would want to read about though. Take yesterday for instance. We sailed to the other side of the island because of a wind shift. I ate some leftovers for lunch and read a book. I listened to a French radio station and had a beer. I made dinner. I went to bed. I got up in the morning and wrote this post. Boring. Very boring. Maybe you like that stuff though.

Let me expand that day a little and you can let me know if it was dullsville.

Our anchorage in Simpson Bay was too rough to live there anymore so we had to pull anchor. I had a swell bridle hooked up which kept our bow pointed into the waves. Once I removed that, which was not easy, the boat started to roll side to side violently. I was on the bow trying to maintain my balance as I manually cranked in the one hundred or so feet of chain. For every crank I haul in about six inches. That's two hundred cranks for a guy looking at sixty who has not been in a gym in...a while. I looked over at Odin and saw Bonnie waving goodbye. I gave her my best popeye arm flex and I thought I saw her spit her coffee out laughing.

I was leaning on the lifeline relaxing for a bit before I made my way back to the cockpit and I noticed a ring ding, or a retaining ring laying on the deck. What the hell? That's not good. I wonder what that fell off of? I looked at the lifeline pin and there was no retainer. Shit! I was putting my weight on a lifeline that was barely attached to the boat. Had it let lose I would have went overboard and Deb probably would have run over the top of me! Geez. Sailboats - so many ways to die.

Once on the leeward side of the Island the waves settled and the wind backed off. We sailed past the cottage we rented with friends about ten years ago and it brought back some fun memories. We pulled into Marigot Bay in St. Martin among many sailboats and found a primo spot. There were no waves and a gentle breez. Sweet.

I did not check out before we left the Dutch side so I got into the dinghy and drove through the lagoon to the dutch side to pay my fee to leave. Along the way I noticed the plug was out of the transom and water was coming in. I stopped to put the plug in and some other dinghy raced by only inches, and I mean inches away from me. I yelled out ASSHOLE! and the woman passenger looked back but the guy drove on. Apparently I was very loud because now all the people along shore were staring at me. I waved. Bonjour! Sorry! It's part of my culture. Have a nice day.

I drove back to the French side and waited until after lunch to check in else they would wonder how our sailboat made it around the island in thirty minutes. I get to shore but could not find any signs for immigration so I walked to the ferry dock. I was pointed to immigration and the two officers asked for my passport. I gave them two and they were confused. I said one was for my wife and they said, "Where is she?". On the boat. Do you need to see her? They looked more confused and finally said, "Ahh. Yachtie. Go to back building and knock on door." These guys were checking ferry passengers. Doh! I went around back and tried the door. Locals said just to knock. I did. A guy about seven feet tall opened the door. He was huge. I said I would like to check in and he pointed me inside and locked the door. "Sit in front of the computer and answer my questions." I did. He said twenty five Euros. I said US dollars. He opened the door to outside and said, "Go down the street to the
Levis
store. Next to that exchange those dollars for Euros and come back. He gently nudged me out and locked the door.
Shit. OK. Levis. Off I went. There was the Levis store and there was the exchange. I received my Euros from a gorgeous gal who wished me a lovely day and I went back to find the giant. As I raised my hand to knock he opened the door. Good timing! He laughed and said, "Yes, good timing indeed". I paid the fee, he handed me paperwork and told me to enjoy my stay. Then he smiled a huge grin and opened the door for me.
I got back to the dinghy and raced through the anchorage to our boat where I relaxed to a good book. I promptly fell asleep. I have been really tired lately and not feeling all that great. Mosquito virus? I woke to a sunny afternoon and the local French radio station playing some very cool tunes and opened a beer. Relaxing with Debra in the cockpit and talking about our plans while people watching was nice.

Dinner was whipped up from below (BBQ "Chicken" sandwiches and corn on the cob) and we settled in for the night of more reading and texting the children. We are without internet so we can only email and text through the Sat phone. We had a peaceful and motionless night where I slept like the dead. I feel better today.

OK there was a typical day with a little more detail. Sorry, no photos. No bandwidth. What do you think? I could blog more but it would be very texty until we get some internet. Posting photos really kills a data plan so we back off until we get free wifi. I await your comments but I may not see them for a while.

We are in St Martin in case you were wondering. Having a ball but you would not know that because I am a failed blogger. Promise to try harder.
Cheers!
PJB

Appologies to Paul and Ringo for attaching their lyrics to this sorry blog. Sad there is only two of the blokes left in this world.

Sent from Iridium Mail & Web.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

This blogs for you!

I start off the blog with a pic of myself.
I'm so vain. I probably thing this blog is about me.
You can see that cruising has not stopped the gray.
I forget sometimes that there are people that do not go on Facebook. Whaaat!? Smart people you are. It's mostly a time waster and unless you have really cool friends it's all just dog and cat photos, politics and inspirational memes. So in honor of you FB Free peeps, this blogs for you! Complete with pictures not seen on FB! Screw those people and their cute dog photos. You are getting sailing related photography first hand. Keep in mind that I do not take a lot of photos. So don't get too excited.

Guilligans Island kayaking

I really do not like carrying a camera around and I am somewhat paranoid about being viewed as a tourist. Not that I can pull of being a local in any of the last four countries we have been to. I am about as white as they get. I just do not want to look like the typical American tourist taking photos of everything they see. I leave that to Debra. Most of the time I am enjoying the moment and stopping to take a photo ruins it. You ever have that happen? A pausing of the moment so we can all smile into the device? Hate that. Pause this incredibly fun and instantaneous moment so I can get some forced smiles and revisit this photo ten years from now wondering who the hell you people are. Ready? Smile!

Some random Church(?) in Ensenada.
Facebookers don't get this kind of nonsense photography.
You`re special


You might see dolphins swimming on your bow and you run below to get your camera. You finally take a shot and all you get is a fin. You could have been watching them the whole time and enjoying the moment. There's the marvelous sunset you are taking 20 photos of so you can get the right one to post on Facebook because there aren't enough sunset photos (guilty). The whole time you could be hugging your honey watching that Sun go down and maybe getting lucky. Lucky to find another beer in the fridge that is :)



So I have some photos for you just not a lot of them and yes you are missing out. It's incredible out here some days. Some days are terrifying as well but those days make the others incredible. See how that works? It's like when you have a shitty day at work and Friday rolls around and you hop out to a bar with your friends and enjoy some laughs. You get home and think, "Boy was that fun! I wish I could do that every night!" Well, if you had recorded that night and played it back say, weeks later you would think, these people are idiots! Why was that such a good night? I laugh at the dumbest things and the pizza was horrible.

Your shitty day at work is what made that night great. Did I expound on this subject way too much? By the way there is always some sober person around to tell you just how lame that night really was.

Our current location. Stop by. We'll party. Bring beer. Vegetables too. Pizza would be great.
https://goo.gl/maps/z4zjtBUDaJ92

Pssst! We're not there anymore and we've had some good pizza so just bring beer.

We rounded Cabo Rojo on a relatively calm morning. We got lucky. Since that time the winds have been brutal. I imagine the seas are too but I'm not going out there to check. The anchorage inside the cape was rolly as hell which is still less rolly than Rum Cay. We were anxious to leave. Well, I was just anxious. That cape has some horror stories. We motored the whole way as it was directly into the wind. The whole time I was plotting what to do if the engine quit. "Let's see, immediate turn downwind and roll out the genny, then sail back while I try to restart". Does anyone else think like this?

Cabo Rojo

Parguera was cool. Kind of seedy but cool. Found a nice bar and restaurant with craft beers and veggie tacos! That was a nice surprise. This place looked like it was once a party town and is trying to make a comeback. No place to dock a dinghy though. We asked a guy on an anchored sailboat if there was a place to tie off. He hopped in his dinghy and lead us to a dock where he asked his friends allow us to tie off. Cool.



For some reason I had a slight hangover headache from the craft brews. I know, this sucks! My guess is that I have been drinking weasel piss beer for so long that my head needs time to adjust to the real deal again. By the way I am on the last of my good beer stores. Sad times.

We are also down to just two onions and three lemons. That is all the fresh produce that we have. What the hell am I going to do with that? None of the stores we found in the various little towns have fresh produce. The little market in Puerto Real had some rotting lettuce and peppers and the big market in Mayaguez had a horrible selection. Apparently we went to the wrong market as the other one across town had a treasure trove of fresh everything. We listened to the locals about where the best place was. Apparently locals do not like vegetables. They do like donuts though! Holy shit there are some incredible donuts here. Stuff will kill you but damn were they good.

Parguera has a fantastic harbor. Lots of little mangrove islands and reefs to dive on. Problem is the powerboats that go back and forth really get annoying. They all have to pass close for some reason.  Then there was disco night. Some local bar had a band at first and then switched to music with bass so loud and thumping it took your breath away. The tunes were OK but then the disco music started and my brain began to overheat. There was actually an hour long version of YMCA that was some sort of disco music compilation. Kill me! This went on until 2am. We left that morning.

So here we are waiting for the trades to subside a bit before we move on east. (Not really. This post is old) We have no agenda now except to get to Trinidad in one piece and before the hurricanes start up. We will stop at some islands and skip others. We will not see it all. We can't possibly do that on this trip. Come November we will be on the move again. Probably up the island chain and then back down again but who knows. One day at a time.

So for ALL you blog readers out there I hope you enjoyed our special moment . Those Facebookers don't even know this post is here. They can only read one paragraph anyway before they get distracted by a dog wearing clothes or a sunset photo.

Cheers!
PJ

P.S.  This was just a reminder post to let you know I was still blogging. I believe I left off with the arrival to Luperon which is ancient history now but I have a post almost done on our escape from Luperon, which was fun. Stay tuned. Don't leave me. Those facebook people are so shallow. They defriend and unfollow you at the drop of a hat when I say something disgusting or I violate their religious or political beliefs. You are all I have left. You are my only hope Obiwa...

By the way I have not seen the latest Star Wars movie yet. I feel so unamerican.
posted from Bloggeroid

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Escape to Luperon, Dominican Republic

Goodbye Turks and Caicos
We left Cockburn Harbour, Turks and Caicos in the wee hours of the morning and took a straight line to Luperon in The Dominican Republic. Well, a straight line would have been nice but we had those white things up and wanted to use them, so we tacked our way out of the Turks Passage. Not a bad sail even with the wind on the nose. Odin was tacking with us trying to get out of there, which seemed to take forever. Waves were easy and the wind light but the day was sunny and warm. Eventually we made some headway and set our sails for Luperon. The evening was fine because we had a moon to see where the hell we were going but we still do not like the overnight sailing because even with a moon it is still tough to see anything in the water ahead of you. There were so many whales in the area that we were constantly worried we would hit one. The wind and waves were cooperative for the most part. At one point we had to motor sail for a little bit but the wind came back.



We now take shifts down below to sleep instead of laying down in the cockpit. So much better this way because you are actually in a real bed and a ways away from the action. Hopefully there is no action but if a sail needs to be adjusted you are not waking the other person up. I actually managed to get a few hours sleep in the aft cabin which greatly improved my endurance while on watch. I still needed a little extra boost to keep me awake though. This is where the snacking comes in. It keeps me awake if I am constantly chewing on something sugary. Later on the stomach ache keeps my eyes open. I know I'm really bad when it comes to eating healthy while underway. Sugar and caffeine. Giddyup!

Remnants of the night shift

We got close to Luperon and we were starting to sweat the harbor entrance. We were desperately trying to slow it down so we would arrive after daybreak at Luperon Harbour. A couple freighters and a Cruise ship helped us out a little. As we drew close the sun started coming up and the Mountains of Hispaniola materialized out of the glowing morning mist. It was quite a sight to see. There was a feeling of accomplishment and we were both smiling as we motored on towards that elusive entrance. The place smelled like cigars. I know that sounds weird but it really did.







SV Odin was way the hell behind us coming up to the entrance and all I could think of was they were giving us room to run aground and then would pass us and wave one of those "Oh gosh, sorry, Ha Ha Ha. We will send out a boat boy to laugh at you, I mean tow you off! Adios!" They eventually tightened it up as we passed through the somewhat confusing set of marks. It's a narrow entrance but plenty deep enough. Debra did a fine job navigating through the entrance even with me badgering her about the marks and shoals. We simply followed the Garmin chart and all was well.




When the entrance opened up we saw a ton of sailboats anchored in the there. Holy shit! I hope there's room! Eventually we found a spot that looked good to drop the hook and then this guy in a small boat comes up to us and says he has a mooring for $2 a day. We declined and dropped the hook in the mud. We really are cheap bastards aren't we? Odin took the mooring. We soon realized how close we were to other boats and decided the $2 a day was a bargain. Papo, our boat boy came over and said he had one more mooring and we jumped on it. Now remember that we have a manual windlass. I was bathed in sweat after we landed the mooring. We were also extremely close to Odin and I was worried for their privacy. Not everyone appreciates accordion music and our Bavarian slap dancing.



Time to clear in!

I really could have used a shower because I smelled like an open bag of Fritos laying in a gym locker. I threw on some extra deoderant and we went ashore to find the officials. We saw the Odin crew sweating it out in some shitty little trailer and figured this must be the place. Either that or they have been arrested. When it was our turn I thought I saw the famous Freddie from immigration wrinkle his nose as the smell of corn chips and gym shorts filled his office.

Did you ever notice how bad sandals can smell after a year? Very bad. I wash my feet and I wash the sandals but it does nothing. Might be time for some new footwear.

After we paid all the people we needed to pay, or all the people that needed to fleece us, we bounced down to the local bar called Wendy's. We had a mini celebration and then went back to our boats to crash for the rest of the day and night.

22.5 oz for about $2. My liver and bladder are so
happy we left here.

Luperon is nuts. Motorcycles and cars and friggin horses going every which way and loud music pounding the streets. Old Toyota pick ups with loudspeakers duct taped to the roofs announcing loudly their wares for sale. I asked our waiter one day what they were screaming to the neighborhood about. He said, Potatoes.
These dudes yelled PATATA PATATA PATATA over and over again circling the block for like a half hour. It was driving me crazy. Cerveza por favor! And keep em coming. You would think I could figure out Patata. I swear I get dumber with every nautical mile.

We were eating lunch one afternoon at this major intersection and we saw motorcycle after motorcycle buzzing around and around. It was the same people making loops around the block! WTF are they doing? You also see the most ridiculous and absurd things being carried on a motorcycle. Propane tanks, milk jugs, many children, goats, bales of hay and horses. I made that last one up. We did not see one pony draped over a motorcycle. Disappointing.







The people here are nice. Most smile, some ignore the gringo but most except that you are here to enjoy their town and they appreciate it. I think Luperon gets a bad rap because of the "government" officials. The harbor is not anywhere near as bad as what we have been reading. There aren't turds floating by or dead horses bumping up against your boat. Imagine the horror of seeing something like that? Not the turd, the horse. People here dress really well. They are lean. The ladies look awesome. If you buy clothes here they will fit tight. I bought shorts. I think they hug my ass really nice. Deb said they are hugging what used to be my ass and is now my thighs.

The check in is stressful but not that bad. You just have to share those ten dollar bills with the four offices next to the gate. For some reason they think we are wealthy. Have they seen the way we dress?

We found several nice restaurants in town and one which was very out of the way for us tourists but we found it because of me making a joke while the Agriculture official was visiting our boat.


We had already paid a visit to the Agriculture inspector and dropped some dollars on her and then we are walking back to the boat one day and she waved us down for a an inspection. Well, OK. Let's go. We got in the dinghy and hauled her ass out to the boat. She's filling out some forms and notices that we already have forms filed and we have a receipt. She looks at me as if to say, "What the fuck! I already processed you people! I'm either nuts or you gringos all look the same." She smiled and put everything away and said OK. So I get her in the dinghy and I look back at Deb at the stern and jokingly say, "Be back later Dear. We'll be at the bar." Well apparently the Ag lady understood that little bit of English because this woman thought we were going to Wendy's for some beers. I felt bad because I left my wallet on the boat and she had told me it was her birthday tomorrow so I told her I would buy her a beer for her birthday. She said she got out of work at two. Uh oh.

This was the start of our Ag agents lenghty birthday celebration

So by 2pm next day we were sitting in Wendy's figuring no one would show. Well here comes Iris the Agricultural inspector strolling in at 2:30 all smiles. Then here comes Iris's son on a motorcycle all smiles. Oh hey there's Iris's daughter! Let's all have cerveza! SV Odin shows up to help us party and before long we are getting hungry. Iris excused herself but said she would be back. OK. Didn't know dinner was involved in this celebration but we are already off the deep end here so might as well go with it. Well we didn't know her husband was involved either because he showed up after Iris got her dinner clothes on. More beer for everyone!

We all strolled down the main street looking for a restaurant but they were all closed. Finally the Ag agent's husband said he knew of a good place and led us onward.
We ended up at Petulu's. A cool little shack with a super friendly dude who re-opened his kitchen for us, much to the disappointment of his mother out in the "kitchen". The kitchen is actually in the backyard and has a tarp over it. I didn't look too closely else it would ruin dinner. People who know me are wondering how Mr germaphobe survives out here. It's called ignorance. What you don't know will not hurt you. Maybe. It could possibly result in a horrible parasite living inside your intestines, wreaking havoc for months until you weigh 20 lbs less then when you arrived. The sad part is I'm already skinny so my body would shrink even more but my head would remain large. The locals would call me Headuardo. I would be in all the Carnival parades.

Best meal yet! Petulu catered to our vegetarian needs and made the rest of the folks happy as well. All in all a pleasant experience. We had fun despite the language barrier. We used google translate to get to know one another. Google translate doesn't always work too well. At one point in the night I think I told them I like goats wearing skirts. The husband elbowing me, winking "Me too." Could have been uncomfortable had that really happened. The restaurant is located off the "tourist" path so we got some looks as Iris's husband (wish I could remember his name) proudly led the way through town. It's like they hooked a prized Gringo for the evening and people were giving them a thumbs up. "Good for you Amigo! Order large!"

We crept back to the boat and called it another night in Luperon. Debra had her flashlight shining on the water as we motored back. I avoided something dark in the water in front of us. Was that a horse?

A little more on Luperon later. We need to talk about the exit, or despatcho scene.

Cheers!
PB

Sorry about my fascination with horses lately. I'm sure it will pass.



posted from Bloggeroid

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Pleased to meet you

While in Luperon I had asked our handler/boat boy Papo if I could get the zincs changed. No problemo! Days later he shows up with a sorry looking old boat with an even worse looking old pump and tank combo that was an air compressor mounted in the boat. Attached to the compressor was an old yellowed air line which resembled a long length of surgical tubing. At the end of the surgical tubing was a mouth piece that a super skinny dude was putting in his mouth.

Papo asked for a hammer, Pliers and an allen wrench. He threw the tools into the compressor boat. I gave him the zincs which he handed to the skinny diver dude. Skinny diver dude took the zincs and stuffed them into his pants. His Yoga pants. OK, maybe his wifes Yoga pants. They were a pink and purple tie dyed pattern. Something Mick Jagger would have worn on stage in the 80's. The guy kind of looked like Mick Jagger too. Rough looking wrinkled face and wild hair. So this brown Mick Jagger dude had two zincs and some tools inside these yoga pants while he fitted his mask and fell overboard.

Once brown Mick was in the water Papo sped off to do other things. "I be back soon." he said. Uh, you have someone in the water there buddy. Don't you think someone should watch? Apparently I was in charge of keeping an eye on brown Mick. We heard hammering on the prop shaft and then some clinking noise and then possibly someone swearing in Spanish. Not sure if I have new zincs on there or not but brown Mick popped back into his boat just as his air line broke in half.

I gave him the OK sign and I got a thumbs up in return. Bueno. I dug into the fridge to find the lightest beer I had and tossed it to him. All I had for him was an Oskar Blues Momma's Little Yella Pilsner. Good beer but I think he had a taste of hops for the first time in his life. It was total bitter beer face. Now he really looked like a brown Mick Jagger, singing Sympathy for the Devil.

I tried to talk to the guy but he just stood up and stripped off his wifes yoga pants and so I went below to put chlorine in my eyes. Eventually Papo came by and charged me $15. Wonder how much brown Mick got for swimming in Luperon harbor with a zinc covered pecker? Off they went with Papo towing the skinny semi naked dude back to shore.

If you are heading for Luperon bring extra yoga pants, about size 5 or 6 and maybe some 50 ft of air line. Dude deserves it. Camo yoga pants would be a nice touch. A bit more manly.





Cheers!
PJJB

Totally relaxed now. Enjoying not travelling for a few weeks.


posted from Bloggeroid

Test post from new app.

Just checking to see if this blogger app does not suck. The Google Blogger app for andriod does truly suck, so I am testing alternatives before bailing and moving everything to wordpress.

So, I enabled the gps for the app and it says I am in the Exumas. Fail number one.

Let's add a photo...


Is the photo there? I do not see it in the draft. Fail number two.

Looks like I have to use HTML to get any kind of font changes. Fail number three.

Well this blows.

P

posted from Bloggeroid