The last update on Jan. 24 was a little rushed and had errors. I also screwed up the sending, forgetting to blind copy, thus cluttering up your emails, and sending twice to some groups. But I’m getting back in the writing groove and will try to do better. I hoping I can continue to communicate with you by email. Facebook and other social networks take a lot of time and require more internet than there is easy access to out here. And I don’t even understand what Twitter is for.

It took Richard two days to take out the old fridge kit and hook up the new one, with help from Jim on Morning Star. And we took another day to buy fridge groceries and get them onto the boat and stored. (The fridge has deep storage for a couple of cases of beverages.) Richard worked many hours just to organize and put the boat equipment away.

With clean laundry and full water tanks and jury jugs, we headed for our favourite usually almost empty anchorage, Red Shanks. Our spot was empty and a day later Jim and Lynda joined us there. Richard doesn’t like me to mention it, but I think the cat is out of the bag about this anchorage. There are more than two dozen boats here as I write this on Feb. 9.

There have been happy hours on land. The first was on the perfect beach that faces away from the anchorage. We walk and swim there every day. For the second one, Lynda and I dinghied around and invited everyone to the Red Shanks Yacht and Tennis Club, which is on the chart but slowly being drowned by the rising waters of global warming. But on those rare afternoons when low tide coincides with Happy Hour, it is a delightful little beach on which to gather. I also wanted to show off my paintings; there are now nine on the boat, which I have been unable to take home. The Yacht and Tennis Club is backed by a steep rough cliff face which made a perfect gallery wall on which to hang them.

A recent supper, salads and sandwiches prepared by Lynda, with custard made by me, was on Sea Wolf, Gabe and Gail’s luxurious Krogen. One night Bernie on Countess Cosel cooked spaghetti with lobster sauce. He likes to go down to the Jumentos and spearfish, and had just returned.

We have been sleeping nine to eleven hours a night, playing cards, and sharing meals and watching movies with Jim, and Lynda. We swim off of our boats. I have been squeezing in writing and painting and a bit of yoga. It doesn’t make for a ripping seafaring tale, but it’s what sailors over seventy years old like to do.

Life is not completely without excitement. The wind has varied between twenty and forty knots the last few days. When it was calm one day Richard squeezed into his wetsuit and he and Jim went snorkelling. They saw many beautiful (and possibly tasty) fish with whom Richard made eye contact and couldn’t bear to shoot for food. And one day Lynda and Jim watched from their boat as a medium-sized leopard ray raced toward their boat, leaping out of the water. It made a sharp turn at their boat and was bit into by the large shark chasing it. Jim and Lynda noticed a strong smell of rotten fish, probably the contents of the ray’s stomach spilling out as the shark chomped it down. Now we are waiting for a forty knot wind promised for tonight, tucked into the Red Shanks anchorage with lots of chain out. And friend Rebecca will fly in in a couple of days to get us doing things again.

Follow-up, Feb. 17, 2015: Rebecca arrived and shook us out of our quiet routine. We went on long  walks to the ocean, more Scrabble, lots of discussions, more swimming, exploring in the dinghy and properly planned meals. There have been fronts with strong winds. During one, many boats crowded together in the most popular anchorage, at Volleyball beach, dragged onto each other, lost their anchors, and had a terrible experience. It didn’t help that a large barge loaded with cement dragged on its anchor towards that beach as well. But we were tucked into Red Shank with a couple of dozen boats, well-protected from the wind and listening to the drama on the other side of the harbour. Now we are back in Red Shanks waiting for the next big front to blow through. I am at the Peace and Plenty today with Rebecca, who is staying at the downtown hotel, Marshall’s, tonight and flying back north tomorrow.

From Sharon and Richard on Lucky

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I think the last update that I sent may have been August, 2014, when we got back from Vermilion Bay and Jim and Lynda’s fish camp. I didn’t copy all my documents onto this little Surface so I can’t check.

So put them all in the Cloud, you say. But to get to the Cloud, you have to be on the Internet, and this is the Bahamas. I would have to have an expensive smart phone and pay a monthly fee for data access. This year I’m going to restrict myself to using the Internet in the half-dozen mostly free places ashore, about once a week. If you want to contact me, my phone number here is 1-242-464-1111.

For a few days around December 1st, I helped my son Mike move, after he sold the triplex he had in Guelph for 30 years. Now he is living on the outskirts of Vienna, Ontario, near Tillsonburg.

Sebastian, my nephew-in-law, is a good salesman, photographer and computer guy. He is helping me set up a site and sell my art online. If you would like to see it, it is at on www.mydetour.com. It isn’t altogether yet, but if you see something you like, email me and we’ll work something out. I may refer you to Sebastian.

I continue to do things with the books. I have them ready to put on the Smashwords publisher site, thanks to Christine, a whiz with computer challenges, but haven’t finished that yet either. When the choice is working ashore on the internet or water-walking and swimming on a perfect empty beach in clear turquoise water, which would you pick?

At Christmas, I dug out my decorations and put up a Christmas tree for the first time in 14 years. So then I had to have party and invite the neighbourhood and local family. Mike even drove over from Vienna in his newly acquired little pick-up truck.

There was the usual round of big family gatherings with all those wonderful little kids and their parents and my brothers and sisters and their spouses, the grand-parents. There are 23 grand-nieces and nephews now and one or 2 more on the way, each a very different little person.

Back at Richard’s, we planned to go to Vonny and Ray’s house on Adolphus Reach for New Year’s. But I got a nasty bug with a hacking cough, and we cancelled all of our intended visits. Richard cooked chicken soup. (Jewish penicillin, he calls it. I was still sick when we got to Florida.

Richard’s son Rick and his wife Rebecca and their 3 sons, aged 17, 12, and 10, went to our boat in the Bahamas and we stayed in Ontario with Pebbles the dog. Rock and family returned Jan. 4, and off we went in my van, across the border at Buffalo and south. The trip was snowy and stressful for the first two days, and I made a wrong call about the turnoff south at Erie which had us driving on unplowed roads for an hour or so. The air was blue with cursing and I had to make a new rule – no more temper tantrums when I made a mistake or I would take my car and drive home. Things settled down a bit after that. To be fair, he did a stellar job driving through the snow with no snow tires.

We met up with Richard, Renita and Belva, Renita’s mother, still perky and sharp at 89, for supper at the Cracker Barrel, their favourite restaurant. They had generously offered us a much appreciated room for as long as we needed it. Jan. 8, we connected with Jim and Lynda, our sailing buddies, and booked the trip to Georgetown. Friday, Jan. 9, the four of us went from Indiantown to Fort Lauderdale to Nassau to George Town, with lots of waits but no serious glitches. Richard was disappointed that we arrived too late to get the water taxi to our boat but I was happy to take a room at Marshall’s, the local inn, and stroll over to the Exuma Yacht Club for cracked conch and a goombay smash.

Loaded down with groceries, we took the water taxi to our boats in Hole 3 the next morning. Our boat was clean and the sails were on. We were out of there and anchored in front of the Chat and Chill the next afternoon. I think we should let Rick and family go down ahead of us every year!

There were several days of hard work, of course. Richard had to replace the defunct macerator pump with one Rick sent down with him. He removed the fridge that had burnt out last year and installed one of the two brand new ones Norcold sent last year to fulfill the warranty. And the family, with such a short few days of holiday time, had to leave the laundry. Five people use a lot of sheets.

I met with two people for Scrabble one day and that was fun. Jo and Anne were both delightful to get to know. I’ve done a nice painting.

We’ve been in Red Shanks for a week now and it is our favourite place. Unfortunately, many others are discovering it. Til next time.

Sharon and Richard on Lucky

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Roosters, Royal Winter Fair

Two Chickens, Royal Winter Fair

Two Chickens, Royal Winter Fair, framed ©2001 In Gina Hewitt’s collection

Acrylic on board 19″ x 24″ Includes frame

Chickens Royal Winter Fair, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, acrylic, original, one of a kind, Sharon Lehnert

For a time, my sister, Yvonne Brioux, and I would lug our paints easels and canvases down to the Royal Winter Fair, pay our admission. We would wonder around, find good models among the championship animals, and sit down and paint them. Vonny was a portrait painter and would get the faces perfect. The other visitors assumed we had been admitted free and were part of the display. “Oh look, Mummy! An artist! Take my picture with her!” I always came home with great pictures and a bad cold, picked up from the dust and the crowds.

2011 Winter 038

2011 Winter 038

 

Cistern on Robert Cay, Exumas, Bahamas

Goldie’s Well and the Roberts’ House, Roberts Cay, Exumas, Bahamas

Goldie’s Well and the Roberts’ House ©2006 Not for Sale 

Acrylic on Canvas 12″ x 16″

Roberts’ Cay, Exumas, Bahamas, Goldie’s Well, Ship Channel Anchorage, original, one of a kind, Sharon Lehnert

If you sail east from Nassau, you will arrive at the tricky little entrance at the south end of Roberts’ Cay. Inside, turn north and drop your hook in the deepest water, six or seven feet, beside this tiny house. There is no room for more than half a dozen boats, anchored both fore and aft. The little house and the cistern (Goldie’s Well) were owned by Mr. Roberts and his wife Goldie. There was a well-tended garden beside a little pond, palm trees behind the house and a tall platform beside it from which they could overlook the boats and watch the sun go down in the west. Peacocks, large iguanas and chickens roamed around. Cruisers joined them for Happy Hour on the dock. Mr. Roberts said it was his wish that cruisers could always visit there The first time I visited, the well water was still fresh and sweet. But Goldie was gone and Mr. Roberts was buried under the small circle of stones you can see in the garden. Termites were feasting on the palms. The last time I was there, the eavestroughs had fallen down and the cistern was almost dry. Most of the palms had fallen to the termites, and a hurricane had taken out the platform and the dock. You can google the key. It is now for sale for several million dollars and has No Trespassing signs on it. I’m glad I got this little painting, before everything is gone.

Mangrove Creek, Tarpon Basin

Mangrove Creek, Tarpon Basin

Mangrove Creek, Tarpon Basin, Florida Keys © April 25, 2011

Acrylic on canvas, 16” x 20”

Mangroves, Intracoastal Waterway, Florida Keys, Tarpon Basin, original, one of a kind, Sharon Lehnert

On our way back to Indiantown Marina that spring, we anchored in the northeast corner of Tarpon Basin. We were well away from the noisy Highway U.S.1 and just off of the Intracoastal Waterway. I loaded my painting supplies and a water bottle into the dinghy and poked along the shore until I found the tiny hidden entrance to the narrow creek through the mangroves, which came together over my head. I tied the dinghy to a root arcing out into the water. Birds flew and sang in the branches and fish swam around and under me while I painted. My favourite part of cruising!

Mangroves on Sand Spit, Redshanks, Bahamas Sold

Mangroves on Sand Spit, Redshanks, Bahamas Sold

 

SW Anchorage, Boot Key Harbour, Marathon, Florida Keys

SW Anchorage, Boot Key Harbour, Marathon, Florida Keys Sold

 

Tobacco Kiln for Wedding Gifts, built by Gerry Demaiter

Tobacco Kiln for Wedding Gifts, built by Gerry Demaiter, in his collection

 

Inland from the Dock, Hamburger Beach, Stocking Island, Bahamas

Inland from the Dock, Hamburger Beach, Stocking Island, Bahamas Richard Villmann collection

 

Old Railroad Bridge, Bahia Honda, Florida Keys

Old Railroad Bridge, Bahia Honda, Florida Keys Sold

 

Fishermen's Anchorage near Windley Key, Florida Keys Not for Sale (Cover of Book I)

Sponge Fishermen’s Anchorage near Windley Key, Florida Keys Not for Sale (Cover of Book I)

 

S.S. No.1, West Bothwell, Ontario, Canada

S.S. No.1, West Bothwell, Ontario, Canada Commissioned, not available

 

Adler Hoffman Anchorage, Beach on White Cay, Berries, Bahamas

Adler Hoffman Anchorage, Beach on White Cay, Berries, Bahamas Not available

 

Path to the Ocean, Peck Lake, Intracoastal Waterway, Florida

Path to the Ocean, Peck Lake, Intracoastal Waterway, Florida Sold

 

 

Lucky, Columbia 34, in the St. Lucie Canal, Indiantown, Florida

Lucky, Columbia 34, in the St. Lucie Canal, Indiantown, Florida In Richard Villmann collection

Red Pears

Red Pears In Diane Sansom’s Collection

 

Mangroves, Redshanks, Bahamas

Mangroves, Redshanks, Bahamas   In Elizabeth Miller’s Collection

 

View from Mary's Cottage, Isle des Allumettes, Quebec

View from Mary’s Cottage, Isle des Allumettes, Quebec Mary Brioux Collection

 

Monument, Stocking Isand, Exumas, Bahamas

Monument, Stocking Island, Exumas, Bahamas Resort on Stocking Island Collection

 

Clay Sculptures

Clay Sculptures Not for Sale

 

Palmetto Trees, Volleyball Beach, Stocking Island, Exumas Richard Villmann Collection

 

Tobacco Kilns, Bothwell Ontario Amy Dewulf Collection

 

Peace Boat, Boot Key Harbor Anchorage, Marathon, Florida Keys Not for sale,Cover of Book II

 

Lucky, Columbia 34 Collection of Josie Villmann

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December 11th, 2014

Artwork for Sale

Online order handling is processed securely by Paypal. You do not need a Paypal account to order. They accept all major credit cards. Simply click the “add to cart” button to add an item to your shopping cart. Please note: Shipping is extra and a quote will be given before the purchase is finalized, based on weight, value and distance to be shipped. Please email me to receive a shipping quote at sharonlehnert@gmail.com

 

November, 1998 Acrylic on canvas board, 16” x 20” For a few years, my sister Yvonne Brioux and I would go to the annual agricultural fair at the Canadian National Exhibition fair grounds in Toronto. It cold and dusty, and thousands of people came by and watched us paint. Sometimes one would even buy one of our paintings. Some thought we were part of the exhibits. We always enjoyed the weekend and brought home many fresh paintings.

Two Chickens, Royal Winter Fair. November, 1998  $65  Acrylic on canvas board, 16” x 20”

Two Chickens, Royal Winter Fair. ©November, 1998

$65

 Acrylic on canvas board, 16” x 20”

For a few years, my sister Yvonne Brioux and I would go to the annual agricultural fair at the Canadian National Exhibition fair grounds in Toronto. It was cold and dusty, and thousands of people came by and watched us paint. Sometimes someone would even buy one of our paintings. There were those who thought we were part of the exhibits. We always enjoyed the weekend and brought home many paintings of farm animals.





 

March 2000 $150 Acrylic on canvas, 24” x 20” When I was alone in the Vero Beach Mooring field, I often took my paints and went over to the nearby cultural centre. Sometimes artists gathered to paint models, and sometimes I just looked out a window or painted on the beautifully maintained grounds.

Palm Trees, Centre for Theatre and Art. March 2000 $150. Acrylic on canvas, 24” x 20”

Palm Trees, Centre for Theatre and Art. ©March 2000

$150

Acrylic on canvas, 24” x 20”

When I was alone in the Vero Beach Mooring field, I often took my paints and went over to the nearby cultural centre. Sometimes artists gathered to paint models, and sometimes I just looked out a window or painted on the beautifully maintained grounds.





 

October 1996 Acrylic on canvas, 18” x 24” It was a beautiful fall day and the leaves still clinging to the oak trees were mirrored in the calm water of the creek. I stood at my easel, looking toward the creek and the Royal Botanical Gardens, trying to get the mood onto my picture.

Grindstone Creek, October 1996. Acrylic on canvas, 18” x 24”

Grindstone Creek, ©October 1996

Acrylic on canvas, 18” x 24”

It was a beautiful fall day and the leaves still clinging to the oak trees were mirrored in the calm water of the creek. I stood at my easel, looking toward the creek and the Royal Botanical Gardens, trying to get the mood onto my picture.


 

c1980 Acrylic on canvas, framed, 21” x 25” The instructor had placed this branch of green apples that he had picked earlier under a hot light and the leaves were wilting.

Green Apples  c1980.  $95 Acrylic on canvas, framed, 21” x 25”

Green Apples ©1980

$95

Acrylic on canvas, framed, 21” x 25”

The instructor had placed this branch of green apples that he had picked earlier under a hot light and the leaves were wilting.





 

c1995 Acrylic on Masonite, framed, 20” x 16” Noni was a pretty but slightly petulant-looking young woman. I think that is how your face goes when you have to hold it in one expression too long.

Noni c1995  $65  Acrylic on Masonite, framed, 20” x 16”

Noni ©1995

$65

Acrylic on Masonite, framed, 20” x 16”

Noni was a pretty but slightly petulant-looking young woman. I think that is how your face goes when you have to hold it in one expression too long.





 

c1998 Acrylic on canvas, 14” x 28” Some hay, loaded up a long time ago, that never made it to the barn, and the machinery abandoned there with it, and the view across the rolling hills to another barn in the distance. A peaceful afternoon, enjoying and recording the moment back in tme when something caused this farm activity to stop.

Abandoned Hay Wagon  1998 $55. Acrylic on canvas, 14” x 28”

Abandoned Hay Wagon  ©1998

$55

 Acrylic on canvas, 14” x 28”

Some hay, loaded up a long time ago, that never made it to the barn, and the machinery abandoned there with it, and the view across the rolling hills to another barn in the distance. A peaceful afternoon, enjoying and recording the moment back in time when something, perhaps death, caused this farm activity to stop.





 

Abandoned Field c1996 Acrylic on canvas, 11” x 14” A favourite spot for our Dundas Valley School of Art painting class in the late nineties was this area south of Ancaster, Ontario. It was late fall and the red dogwood bushes were showing off the colours of their branches, now that the leaves were gone. This was one of those quick little sketches that is almost an abstract painting.

Abandoned Field c1996  $75 Acrylic on canvas, 11” x 14”

Abandoned Field ©1996

$75

 Acrylic on canvas, 11” x 14”

A favourite spot for our Dundas Valley School of Art painting class in the late nineties was this area south of Ancaster, Ontario. It was late fall and the red dogwood bushes were showing off the colours of their branches, now that the leaves were gone. This is one of those quick little sketches that is almost an abstract painting.





 

Green Apples, Red Pear

Green Apples, Red Pear $150

 Green Apples, Red Pear ©1977

$150





Hot summer day

Hot Summer Day ©2002 $130 Acrylic on canvas, 12″ x 24″

Hot Summer Day  ©2002 

$130

Acrylic on canvas,  12″ x 24″

Trees, hammock, shadows, Dundas Valley School of Art, original, one of a kind, Sharon Lehnert

Everyone in the class was hot and looking for a piece of shade from which to paint. I found mine. The dark patches of shade under the trees looked so cool, in contrast to the grass in the glaring sunlight.





View of Tortola from Norman's Cay, BVI

View of Tortola from Norman’s Cay, BVI

View of Tortola from Norman’s Cay ©February 1997

$150

Acrylic on canvas  12″x 24″

Norman Island, Norman’s Cay, BVI, British Virgin Islands, Benares Bay, Tortola, Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island, original, one of a kind, Sharon Lehnert

In the winter of 1997, I chartered a boat in the British Virgin Islands for six weeks. Friends, escaping Canada’s winter, came and went. We sailed, snorkelled and ate in many of the delightful restaurants. Happy Hours were celebrated on board or in local watering holes. From Benares Bay, I painted this picture.





Corn field in Autumn

Corn field in Autumn

Corn Field in Autumn  ©October 1997

$80

Acrylic on canvas     11″x14′

Corn field, Dundas Valley School of Art, autumn, original, one of a kind, Sharon Lehnert

It was early October. Our Dundas Valley School of Art class was painting at Westfield Pioneer Village, near Hamilton, Ontario. I had finished my painting of a quaint old building, and wanted to paint something with no straight lines in it. This ripe field of corn, rustling in the breeze, caught both my eyes and ears.

Children and sometimes adults get lost in cornfields in Southwestern Ontario, where the fields can be hundreds of acres big, and the corn grows to seven feet high. In this painting the corn has just ripened and mysteries lurk therein.





April 13, 2008 Acrylic on canvas, framed, 12” x 16” Richard and I often anchor here on Lucky. The dinghy ride to town is comfortable, but we are away from the closely-packed boats in the mooring field. And I’m close enough to shore to see something to paint there.

North anchorage, Stuart, Florida $95

North Anchorage, Stuart, Florida,  ©April 13, 2008

$95

Acrylic on canvas   12″ x  16″

Florida, Stuart, North Anchorage, Saint Lucie River, original, one of a kind, Sharon Lehnert

It was the spring of 2008. Richard (my partner of two years) and I were returning from a winter spent in the Florida Keys on his boat Lucky. We had dropped our hook in the North Anchorage, which was lined with beautiful houses, built in the Spanish style. I got my paint box out.





Rough Water $95

Breaking Waves, Sandy Beach $90

Breaking Waves, Sandy Beach  ©2009

$90

Acrylic on Canvas  12″ x 16″

Burlington Beach Strip, breaking waves, sandy beach, original, one of a kind, Sharon Lehnert

It was a cloudy, windy day and the waves were rolling over my feet as I painted. Far in the distance, beyond the range of this little painting, I could see the CN Tower in Toronto. Our Dundas Valley School of Art Class was a mixed group It included my seventy-five -year -old mother, a painter all of her life. There was also a woman whose long blondw hair had been replaced by a cap of tight blonde curls, following her chemotherapy. We all were immersed in our painting, and we all had wet feet.





Card Catalogue: Arc Welded Metal

Card Catalogue   ©1973

$175

Arc-Welded Steel  24″ x 12″

Arc welding, steel, card catalogue, libraries, University of Guelph, original, one of a kind, Sharon Lehnert

In 1973 I was thirty, and a librarian. Access to books in those days was a card catalogue that dominated the main floor of every library. Clerks spent hours a day filing title, subject and author cards alphabetically in drawers that had rods running lengthwise across the bottom. The cards had holes in them and when I was done checking the filing, I pulled the rod out, the cards dropped down and I put the rod through the lined-up holes in the cards. The drawers weren’t always full, and the cards could be flipped back and forth, sometimes standing up straight and sometimes lying down. If  you are over fifty, you might remember them.

In the evenings, I was studying art at the University of Guelph and took a metal sculpture course. I found a pile of cut steel the size of catalogue cards and voilà, a section of a card catalogue that is covered with the rust that makes it look like an ancient artifact, as  card catalogues have become.





The Old Fish Cleaning Station , from Keys Boatworks, Marathon, Florida Keys $300

The Old Fish Cleaning Station , from Keys Boatworks, Marathon, Florida Keys $175

The Old Fish Cleaning Station , viewed from Keys Boatworks, Marathon, Florida Keys ©January 8, 2005

$175

Acrylic on canvas, 20” x 16”

Old fish cleaning station, Marathon, Florida Keys, original, acrylic, one of a kind, Sharon Lehnert

I was at a dock in Keys Boat Works on the Gulf side of the Keys when I painted this. TowboatUS had delivered my boat My Detour and me there after the latest breakdown of my motor. My stern was facing an old trailer park where all of the trailers had been evicted. The only thing left was this old fish cleaning station and some floats, caught in the tree roots under the dock. I sat in the shade in the cockpit of my boat and painted it. When I returned to this spot two years later, the cleaning station was gone and there were condos in the trailer park. But there had been an economic downturn and most of them were empty.





March 2009 Acrylic on Masonite, framed, 12” x 16” For several years after we met, Richard and I cruised in the Intracoastal Waterway and the Florida Keys. We usually set out for the Bahamas, but something always happened to keep us from crossing the Gulf Stream. Richard had a quadruple bypass and wasn’t strong enough one year. The old motor became unreliable and we had to replace it. One year it was too windy and there was no window to cro4ss when we were ready. I had to return to Canada when my father passed away. And other things happened. So in the spring, we would spend a lot of time anchored in Saint Lucy Canal, waiting to go into storage at Indiantown Marina. And this was the view while we waited.

March 2009. Acrylic on Masonite, framed, 12” x 16” $95

St. Lucie Canal, Florida  ©March 2009

$95

Acrylic on masonite board  12″ x 16″

St. Lucie Canal, Indiantown, Stuart, Florida, Okeechobee Waterway, original, one of a kind, Sharon Lehnert

Every late fall or early winter, boats leave the Indiantown Marina and head out the St. Lucie Canal for points south, and return in the spring. They pass grazing cattle, the back lawns of the houses scattered along the shore, and some heavily wooded sections, where the trees reach out over the water.

I met Richard in 2006, and joined the annual parade with him. We usually set out to go to the Bahamas but things kept happening. Richard had a quadruple bypass one year. The next year the old motor had to be replace, a big job for Richard. The year after that there was no window to cross. Then I returned home because my father was dying. Each spring we would spend some time anchored in St. Lucie Canal, and this was our view.





Acrylic on canvas, 12” x 16” This painting was done from the cockpit of Lucky. I was cruising with Richard, the single-hander I met in 2005. We were waiting for Richard’s friend Jürgen to arrive and had done the laundry and had cold showers the day before. It was a Sunday and noisy little power boats were anchored all around us, playing Spanish music. Those on board were mostly cheerful Cubans with their families, splashing into the water off their boats and having a great time. Our stern was facing the shore, giving me this view of an old gnarly mangrove, and the roots reaching out into the water along the high tide line.

Mangrove at Low Tide, No Name Harbor, Key Biscayne, Miami ©March 2, 2008 $90

Mangrove at Low Tide, No Name Harbor, Key Biscayne, Miami  ©March 2, 2008

$90

Acrylic on canvas  12″ x 16″

Mangrove, tides. No Name Harbor, Miami, Florida, Intracoastal Waterway, Florida Keys Cruising, acrylic painting, original, one of a kind, Sharon Lehnert

I was cruising with Richard, the singlehander I met in 2006. We were waiting for a friend of Richard’s to arrive so we could head south in the Keys. I t was Sunday and little power boats were anchored all around us, the partiers on board playing loud Spanish music, splashing into the water off their boats and having fun. Our stern faced the shore towards this old knarly mangrove, the roots reaching out into the water along the high tide line.





2000 Acrylic on canvas, 17.5” x 20”, framed A dreary early winter day, but if I looked closely I could see the muted colours there. Those rolling hills kept beckoning, and there was no wind, so it wasn’t too cold to paint.

Late Fall, Ingstar Farm, November 2000. Acrylic on canvas, 17.5” x 20”, framed. $195

Late Fall, Ingstar Farm  ©November 2000

$195

Acrylic on board  17″ x 29″ includes frame

Autumn, Dundas, Ontario, Canada, Dundas Valley School of Art, acrylic, original, one of a kind, Sharon Lehnert

Our Dundas Valley School of Art class was out painting in the field. There we were, scattered around, after finding a place where we wouldn’t be standing in mud or snow. My eyes were drawn to the hilly fields rippling off into the distance, and the fall colous showing through as the snow melted.





c1997 Acrylic on Masonite, framed, 24” x 28” I often ran by this little bay between Burlington and Hamilton. I enjoyed painting here because no cars drove across the little bridge from which I painted the water, the wild grapes, the cliff on the other side of the water, and the trains with passed through on top of the cliff.

Wild Grapes, Valley Inn Road, 1998. Acrylic on Masonite, framed, 24” x 28”

Wild Grapes, Valley Inn Road, framed  ©1998

$245

Wild grapes, Valley Inn Road, Burlington, Ontario, acrylic, original, one of a kind, Sharon Lehnert

On a warm day in late summer I propped up my easel with my back to the Royal Botanical Gardens. I was on the edge of the Valley Inn Road, looking out over a little inlet hidden at the east end of Burlington Bay. The Valley Inn had disappeared, likely in a fire, many years before. All was quiet, except when this freight train lumbered through on the tracks high above.





NOTE TITLE CHANGE April, 2002 Acrylic on canvas, 12” x 24”This is another one of the Vero Beach landmarks that I painted whi;e awaiting crew in Vero Beach.

The Women’s Club

The Women’s Club, Vero Beach Florida ©April 2002

$95

Acrylic on canvas  12″ x 24″

Vero Beach, Florida, Women’s Club, heritage building, acrylic, original, one of a kind, Sharon Lehnert

I was staying on a mooring at Vero Beach while I waited for crew to arrive.. One day I took the bus into town and stood my easel up across the road from this lovely old heritage building.





Coneflowers August 1998 Acrylic on canvas, 20” x 24”, framed - 24” x 27.5” My mother and her best friend Myrtle often came to stay with me in Hamilton in the summer and we would paint together every day for a week. On the day this was painted, we were in the Royal Botanical Gardens, and at the end of the week, Mom took the coneflowers home with her. Now Mom is gone and the coneflowers have come back to me by default. I love in a small house and the walls are already full.

Coneflowers

Coneflowers  ©August 1998

$150

Acrylic on canvas,  23″ x 28″ includes frame

Coneflowers, Royal Botanical Gardens, Burlington, acrylic, original, one of a kind, Sharon Lehnert

They are both gone now, and, looking back, I realize it was a very special time. My mother and her best friend Myrtle often came to stay with me in Hamilton in the summer and we would paint together every day for a week. On the day this was painted, we were in the Royal Botanical Gardens, in Burlington, Ontario. At the end of the week, Mom took the coneflowers home with her. Now Mom is gone and the coneflowers have come back to me by default. I live in a small house and the walls are already full, so they need a new home.





 

Sea Grass

Sea Grass  © circa 1980

$85

Cotton Tapestry,  14″ x 18″ includes frame

Weaving, Tapestry, original, one of a kind, Sharon Lehnert

For several years I lived in Guelph, which had an art department that teamed up with other faculties. Home economics was one of these, and this small tapestry, in which I turned the weaving on its side, was one of the results.





c2000 Acrylic on canvas, 15” x 27”, framed Sharon Lehnert, original, one of a kind. It was a short stroll from my B&B on Inchbury Street to Dundurn Park, where this impressive gate was located. It no longer kept anything in or out, but a beautiful path led through it to the castle.

Rolph Gate, Dundurn Park c2000. Acrylic on canvas, 15” x 27”, framed. Sharon Lehnert, original, one of a kind.

Rolph Gate, Dundurn Park, Hamilton, Ontario  ©2000

$290

Acrylic on Canvas,  15″ x 27″ includes frame

Rolph Gate, Dundurn Park, Hamilton, Ontario, original, one of a kind, Sharon Lehnert

For many years I lived in Hamilton, Ontario, one block from Dundurn Castle. This entrance to the castle must have been very imposing when it was the only way into the property where the castle loomed. Now it is just ornamental, but it was always an elegant beginning to my daily runs around the top of the bay.





Canada Geese, Princess Park, Hamilton Ontario

Canada Geese, Princess Park, Hamilton, Ontario  ©2000

$290

Oil pastel on paper,  18″ x 23.5″ includes frame

Canada Geese, Princess Park, Hamilton, Ontario, original, one of a kind, Sharon Lehnert

One of my favourite places to paint was Princess Point, a fresh green park where Environment Day was always celebrated. I t overlooked the waterway known as Coot’s Paradise, where people canoed in the summer and skated in the winter.





Woman Washing Hair, Welded metal $250

Woman Washing Hair, Welded metal

$250



c1995 Acrylic on canvas, 20” x 24” I was not very far along on this painting when it started to rain big heavy drops that ran down through the paint. I packed it in for the day. Later I went back to the painting and liked the effect of the rain, so I finished it. Voila!

Tree in the Rain c1995. Acrylic on canvas, 20” x 24”

Tree in the Rain ©1995

Acrylic on canvas, 20” x 24”

I was not very far along on this painting when it started to rain big heavy drops that ran down through the paint. I packed it in for the day. Later I went back to the painting and liked the effect of the rain, so I finished it. Voila!


 

c1984 Acrylic on canvas, 20” x 24” I have painted Webster’s Falls several times, and love looking up at it from the bottom of the ravine. But up on top, in the park, is this fantasy-like structure which incorporates the trees and wood around it. This pavilion is a work of art.

Cedar Pavilion c1984. Acrylic on canvas, 20” x 24”

Cedar Pavilion ©1984

Acrylic on canvas, 20” x 24”

I have painted Webster’s Falls several times, and love looking up at it from the bottom of the ravine. But up on top, in the park, is this fantasy-like structure which incorporates the trees and wood around it. This pavilion is a work of art.


 

February 5, 2010 Acrylic on canvas, 11” x 14” This small bay was just between Whale Cut and Windley Key, in the Florida Keys. It was protected all around by keys and sand bars. It was tricky to get into and usually we had it all to ourselves, but we were in a very windy few days of weather (25 to 30 knots) and another couple of boats had joined us. We had lots of downtime and were very close to the mangroves, so I painted this little sketch.

Mangroves, Sponge Boat Bay. February 5, 2010. Acrylic on canvas, 11” x 14”

Mangroves, Sponge Boat Bay. ©February 5, 2010.

Acrylic on canvas, 11” x 14”

This small bay was just between Whale Cut and Windley Key, in the Florida Keys. It was protected all around by keys and sand bars. It was tricky to get into and usually we had it all to ourselves, but we were in a very windy few days of weather (25 to 30 knots) and another couple of boats had joined us. We had lots of downtime and were very close to the mangroves, so I painted this little sketch.


 

1998 Acrylic on cardboard, 16” x 20” My sister Vonny and I always painted lots of animal portraits from our day at the agricultural fair each year. Some were purchased by passers-by at the fair, But this one came home with me.

1998, Acrylic on cardboard, 16” x 20”

©1998

Acrylic on cardboard, 16” x 20”

My sister Vonny and I always painted lots of animal portraits from our day at the agricultural fair each year. Some were purchased by passers-by at the fair, But this one came home with me.


 

c1980 Acrylic on Masonite, 24” x 20” When I painted this, I was also weaving pictures, so it seemed a natural thing to paint a picture of a weaving. The warp is the black background and the weft is the lighter colours that come forward.

Warp and Weft  c1980  $220 Acrylic on Masonite, 24” x 20”

Warp and Weft  ©1980

$220

Acrylic on Masonite, 24” x 20”

When I painted this, I was also weaving pictures, so it seemed a natural thing to paint a picture of a weaving. The warp is the black background and the weft is the lighter colours that come forward.




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This year we have discovered and explored many weird, isolated and beautiful places here in George Town Harbour. is the most relaxing winter we have spent together. We haven’t even been out of the harbour.
We have had a few glitches, of course. I have been using Batelco Internet, and it is painfully slow. I’m still not sure if the problem is the T-Mobile device I’m using as a hotspot or Batelco’s lack of bandwidth for this service. And each data card expires 30 days after activation and a new one must be activated through a smart phone after it expires, not in advance. I have to go back to town to get it done, as the phone I have is just an ordinary cell phone. To fix all this I would have to buy another more expensive hotspot device or phone, and pay much more per month. Fortunately the local restaurants all offer free wi-fi, so whenever I get the chance I go to town. This is why getting and answering your email is a slow process. Oh well, I told myself I didn’t come to the Bahamas to fart away all my time and money on the Internet, and let it go. In the long run, that’s the most relaxing approach. The only thing I regret is not yet being able to see the pictures of my newest grand-nephew, Enders, born in Germany.

Another major glitch is the burning out of the 12-volt converter in the fridge. Our fridge is a conversion kit that makes the icebox into a fridge, and switches automatically from 12 volt to 110, depending on which power source is running. But now it only runs on 110 so we use the inverter when there is sun or the motor or generator is running, and the fridge is just residually cool the rest of the time. Not too bad. We just have to be careful what we buy, and use things before they go bad. The warranty was still in effect when this happened and Norcold promises us they will cover fixing it when we get back to the States in a year or so, as none of the technicians here are acceptable to them. Oh well, it’s another thing we didn’t have at all in “the earlier years” as Richard puts it.

On the other hand, we rejoice in all the free fresh water we can get here, although it keeps getting heavier to lift onto the boat for our aging muscles. In “the earlier years” we had to pay fifty cents a gallon for water, and carry it to the dinghy. We just heard someone on the radio saying they had to take the bumpy trip through high winds today to get to town because they have run out of ice. A different life style than ours.

Speaking of aging, we find we do less and sleep more. We take a water bottle to all those cocktail parties on the beach now, and can’t begin to remember the people and boat names we are introduced to there. We really did let loose at the first rock and roll party at the Chat and Chill. Vonny and Ray were visiting then and, boy, do they like to party! And they were not drinking water. Jim and Lynda from Morningstar travel with us, and they, being younger, also have more party and alcohol stamina than we do. But that’s okay too. We sit and listen and watch all those young folks that are here now, or stay on the boat in peace, watching the stars come out and the anchor lights come on and we are content.

We have walked on many trails new to us. Through Bernie, on Countess Cosel, we met Helge, the German woman who owns much of Elizabeth Island and used to own Crab Cay with her husband, now deceased. She is a rich source of local history and we love visiting her. When we were visiting her large coconut plantation (she’s not allowed to sell the coconuts, so they are gathered and burned), she showed us a small building full of large obsolete generators. She leaned against the counter and Richard asked, “Is that snake real?”

She was a little startled, but explained that it was a Bahamian boa constrictor. It seemed to be sleeping. It was maybe five feet long and black with a squiggly yellow-green line all over its body. Helge said these snakes keep the rat population down and are known to inhabit Stock Island, Elizabeth Island and Crab Cay. Too bad they weren’t at Masters Harbour Boat Yard when our boats were there.

Bernie loves to fish and a week or so later, Jim, Lynda, Uli, Richard and I were invited to Bernie’s trawler, Countess Cosel, for a spaghetti with lobster supper. He was anchored in Red Shanks with us, but closer to the shore of Crab Cay. The food was delicious and we listened to his wonderful music until late (9 p.m.). His cat Lisl was antsy. When we got up to go, I stepped outside onto the side deck. Something silky slid over and around my ankle in the dark. I said, “There is a snake sliding over my foot!” Bernie said, “It’s just a rope.” My sweet boyfriend said, “You’ve had too much to drink.”  Then a large black coil with a yellow-green squiggly line on it looped into the saloon, where everyone else was standing. Bernie snatched it up and tossed it into the water. In a flash the snake had swum to shore. Nobody said anything else about my drinking.

Lynda and I have managed to make it to quite a few yoga classes on Volleyball Beach, given by Susan, a professional yoga teacher who volunteers. She is a fine teacher and her classes always make me feel better. But often wind or distance put us out of reach by dinghy.

Visitors have come twice this year, because we are in one area, accessible to an airport. Vonny and Ray, my sister and brother-in-law stayed for three weeks. Uli, an old friend of Richard’s, stayed for a week or so. They all liked to snorkel and explore by dinghy. We watched movies together and visited, and they got to know Jim and Lynda, our buddies on Morningstar. We went out to restaurants more often. And both Vonny and Uli are great cooks. It was a pleasure to let them take over the gallery and cook old ingredients with fresh ideas, when my cooking was getting bland and predictable. Vonny made plantains flambé twice. As she mounted the stairs into the cockpit, the pan covered in foot-high flames, I noticed Richard looking in terror towards the two outboard tank of gas he stores under the seat at the back of the cockpit. But we weren’t blown into the sea by an explosion, and the plantains tasted great.

Vonny helped me stretch canvas on all the frames I brought from the north, and they are now almost all covered with paintings that I displayed in the art show on volleyball beach – paintings from the cockpit of spots in the anchorages where we have been. None have “found new homes” yet, but many copies of my book have. The restrictions in power usage have made it difficult to make much progress on Book III.

There are many water sports here. Sailboat racing is one. The regatta has just come and gone, and so has the rally to Long Island. There was lots of participation in both from the over 300 boats that were here (it’s down to about 150 now), but we were not among the competitors. We did take part in some of the social events. We just don’t have the wherewithal to tie down or stow all our loose stuff and engage in the frenetic activity of racing.

Another watersport that I love (now that my phobia is at rest) is snorkelling, and we have done that more than any other year we’ve been together. We snorkelled with Vonny and Ray, Jim and Lynda, Uli and by ourselves when the water was calm and the tide was not too strong. The reefs seem to be coming back a bit from a die-off a few years ago so there are more fish and more colour in the reefs. And Richard knows all the best spots. Two nights ago and yesterday at lunch we dined on tasty fish and lobster caught by Jim and Richard, and prepared on Morningstar, which has the best fish cooks.

Every time the wind pipes up, a boat drags or swings into another boat, usually in the Volleyball Beach area, where they squeeze together like sardines to get in on all of the social activities. I like to turn on the radio and listen to the action.
A sad story was that of Raven, who ended up on a reef coming into the harbour late one afternoon. The crew got her into the harbour, despite a hole in the hull, with help from cruisers who brought pumps. She made it to an inside sand shoal and the next day cruisers helped her off so she could be hauled out at Masters Harbour. Something went wrong during the haulout, and Raven suffered even more damage. She may not sail again.

Running aground happens a lot in these shallow waters and usually no harm is done. Marlene was a single-handed sailor who had been given my book for Valentine’s Day last year and written to tell me she enjoyed it and was inspired to sail alone when the giver of the Valentine didn’t work out. One day Lynda and I were in the laundromat near our anchorage in Red Shanks, when I read an update from Marlene. She had sailed from Everglades City, on the west coast of Florida, to the Bahamas, and had just anchored her trimaran Spray in Red Shanks. We visited her on our way back and invited her for supper, and she decided to move closer to us. The tide was going out and she touched the ground, with a rocky shore close at hand and the wind pushing her towards it. On the radio, she said she didn’t need help and would just wait for the tide to rise. But the wind and outgoing tide were pushing her closer to shore with each lap of the waves. With a little nudging from me, a former single-handed woman sailor myself, Richard, Jim and Gabe from Sea Wolf jumped in dinghies and went to her rescue before she landed on the rocks. Marlene moved Spray closer to us and came for supper.

That was a couple of weeks ago. Two days ago she set sail from Red Shanks, trailed by the trimaran Triad, who was a little slower getting his anchor up. She was heading for Long Island and into the unknown and new adventures. Marlene, if you are reading this, please email and tell me how you are doing. I think about you often.

Everyone else, let me know where you are, how you are doing and if you would like off of the update list. I will answer you eventually, but it may be when we get home mid-April.

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The last update was the December note suggesting that you go to the website www.mydetour.com to read about the German trip. The pictures made it too hard and too slow to send.

Last year, I sent a note about the problems that my sister Vonny and her husband Ray were having collecting insurance from Commandeur for a lightning strike on their boat, and how they had been given many excuses and been subjected to cuts in the reimbursement. Finally, after a year of waiting, they received a pared-down settlement.

The summer was busy. I did a little addition to the back of the house that turned into a large renovation, in terms of cost. Richard was a wonderful help. I am happy with the results and will live there until I die, but I may be paying for it well into my dotage.

In August my eighty-nine year-old mother died and niece Dana married Dave, celebrating with a big party in her parents’ back yard in Bothwell. Another grand-nephew, Henry was born and two more are now on the way which will bring my total grand-niece/nephew count twenty-three.

Fast forward to Christmas. After several family celebrations, on Christmas afternoon I drove to Richard’s and celebrated with his family. There had been a very serious ice storm and trees and branches were down throughout that area. The Villmanns had lost power twice and power had been out in parts of Toronto for a week. We had to wait two days for a part for the VW camper to arrive and headed south on the Saturday after Christmas, just as the hydro had gone off once again. After driving south with the masses of heat-seeking Canadians and celebrating  New Year’s Eve with our friends in Indiantown, they took us to the north end of the Tri-Rail. At the south end, we got off and took the shuttle to the Miami Airport for our non-stop trip to George Town, Bahamas.

There, friends Lynda and Jim were waiting at Marshall’s Hotel for us. Richard opened a window with a steel frame. It fell and crashed on his finger, and only stopped when it hit bone. A problem when we thought of the work we would have to do.

We strolled over to the Peace and Plenty for supper and it was Thursday night and Rake and Scrape. We ate, enjoyed the Bahamian music and danced. It was nice to be back.

The next day Jim drove us out to see our boat at the Masters’ Harbour Boatyard in their rental car. Jim and Lynda had already warned us of what we would find, but it was still a shock.  On our boat, the decks were pristine, not at all like we always found them in Indiantown, covered with green mold and black soot from burning cane fields. But when we took the boards out of the companionway the view below decks made me want to cry. Rat poop covered the carpet, bits of candle wax and matches mixed with rat poop were scattered across the table. All of the countertops had served for both dining, defecating and urinating. Most of the cupboards contained poop, dried-up little yellow puddles, and the remains of food and the plastic granules that had been gnawed out of tops of containers. Even Richard’s Tums were scattered across the V-berth (fortunately covered with plastic). The Tums had been enjoyed as though they were lollipops, with holes licked all the way through.

We arranged for another night at Marshall’s, then rolled up our sleeves and got to work. It is hard to believe, but in two days we were sleeping in the vee-berth and on January fourth Lucky was lowered into the water, clean, fresh and habitable. Morning Star, Lynda and Jim’s boat, followed the next day. We spent a few days in Red Shanks, resting, enjoying the perfect little empty beach there, and attending to things that needed fixing. It was sunny and 85 degrees all that time.

Then we moved to Kidd Cove, near town and continued stocking up. The outboard prop died and a new one was promptly shipped in by mail boat. Richard replaced it on the dinghy dock while I shopped for a cell phone and data connections, an ongoing problem that isn’t resolved yet. Over on Monument Beach, Lynda and I have participated in wonderful yoga classes. The four of us have had long walks on Stocking Island – up to the monument, through the bush and along the ocean. George Town is a wonderful place and the people, both cruisers and locals, are kind and friendly. The weather, despite rain and fronts, is way better than what we left behind. There are one or two shadows on the horizon, but we hope for a happy and uneventful winter here.

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Sept.3/4: We left from Richard’s home in Caledon, Ontario. Rick drove us to Pearson Airport, Toronto and we boarded the plane at 9 a.m. After a 3-hour layover in Newark we boarded the plane for Frankfurt, Germany. We watched movies and our position on the screen as we travelled overnight across the ocean. We got to Frankfurt at 6 a.m. The train to Köln was almost two hours late. When we finally arrived there, Sebastian, the young man who had rented the VW camper van to us, was waiting to tell us our van had been in an accident, one of three that had been damaged in the last week. He was equipping another for us, but it would take a few days. He offered to find us a hotel room, but we were happy when he offered us an empty van so we could visit Richard’s family. (Note: There are two Sebastians in this story. The other one is my niece Breanne’s husband.)

While we waited with our luggage and nibbled and sipped in the courtyard of a Spanish restaurant, the VW Sebastian took a train to Brűhl and brought back an empty former military van. He gave us a cell phone, and we were off north to Richard’s sister Josie’s place, in a southern suburb of Dusseldorf, around 5 p.m. The GPS, with her calm polite English voice, got us there. We christened her Emma, and she became our best friend for the whole trip. Richard’s half-sister Josie had cooked us a lip-smacking meal of goulash and noodles. Dessert was ice-cream with strawberry sauce. I was so tired that ny face kept falling into the food, while we ate and visited on the balcony. We were in bed by eight, which was 2 a.m. in Canada.

The next day Josie tapped on our door at 7:30 to wake us up. After the first of many hearty German breakfasts (boiled egg, sausage, brötchen – fresh-baked rolls – with jam and coffee) we went to another suburb to visit Richard’s full-sister Mausi and her husband Manny. We stopped at Manny’s printing shop and he loaned us a bike for the trip. (Sebastian was supply the other one. Mausi served us home-made pumpkin soup. After a long visit (made longer by my sketchy understanding of German) we visited Richard’s 96-year-old mother Maria, who lives in a fully-subsidized and very comfortable retirement home nearby. She wanted to walk to a nearby neighbourhood bar for Schnapchen. We walked down to it, Maria with her walker, and sat outside in the sidewalk café part of the bar, and visited with the people around us. Maria was lively and funny, but we had to cut her off after 3 drinks so we could go back to Josie’s. Josie had made plans for dinner at her favourite restaurant. We sat in the restaurant’s garden and ate fresh pfifferling mushrooms and drank wine until way past our 10 o’clock bedtime. On Friday I checked email at Manny’s print shop and we bought toiletries to use in the van. We both still had jetlag.

We expected to get our equipped van on Saturday, but Sebastian called to say he had sent his girlfriend off to buy a new fridge for it and he would deliver the van the next day. Richard, Josie and I went to see Margot, Richard’s half-sister on his father’s side (not related to Josie, his half-sister on his mother’s side, but they grew up together). She is a knitting fiend and has crates of beautiful wool socks that she donates to charity. She gave Richard and me each 3 pairs.

On Sunday Sebastian came with our camper and it was beautiful and clean. The motor was strong for an old VW camper. The roof was high, and he warned us to avoid parking garages. He gave us an internet flash drive, which worked well in Germany. We planned a tentative route. We moved into the van and unpacked into the ample storage space. Then back to Manny and Mauzi’s to visit and meet their son Thomas, in his forties, who had been working when we were there before. Thomas was damaged by surgery when he had leukemia as a toddler. Paralyzed on one side, deformed by the surgery, speaking with difficulty, and confined to a wheelchair, he is a gentle sweet-natured person and adores his little nephew Ben.

During all of the visiting, my German kept improving.

Mon., Sept. 9: We shopped for groceries to stock the van. Richard bought a lot of sausage, salami and other German meat which we never did get all the way through, even though I took to using it for hostess gifts. But it was well-preserved and kept until the end of the trip.

We drove up to Kartenkirchen in Belgium to visit Richard’s cousin Ula and her husband and children and grandchildren. Ula is an accomplished sculptor and I saw pieces of her work in the homes of all the other family members. Richard even has one of her sculptures on the boat. Josie came with us and, because she knew the way, overruled GPS Emma who, unbeknownst to us, was directing us around highway construction. We were lost until I finally persuaded Josie that Emma knew best and we should just obey her. On the way home Josie kept telling Richard to go a different way and slow down. But we ignored her and the return trip was much shorter.

Tues., Sept.10: Under way by 8:30 a.m. and by the Mösel by noon. Many mountaintops have castles on them, in various states of repair or deterioration. I wondered how they could have been built way up there thousands of years ago.

Every view looked like a postcard setting. The high houses crowded around crooked narrow streets and usually surrounded a large church with a steeple that towered over the town. The town was often encircled by a high stone wall with a walkway and guardhouses. I took way too many pictures.

We found a BauMarkt (like a Home Depot) and got most of the bits and pieces we needed to set up the camper. That night we parked by the Mösel, nestled into a row of larger motor homes.  It took a while to get ready for bed that first night – organizing the bedding, getting the curtains up, finding our nightclothes, but it was fun to finally be on our own.

Wed., Sept. 11:  We were awakened at nine by a bell rung by a baker with a little van full of fresh warm brötchen. I dressed and ran over to buy some. After breakfast we drove back up to the shopping centre to get more things that we needed. Richard loves shopping centres and we visited them often during the trip.

After lunch there we drove to the Waldeck ruins, where Richard had camped weekends and holidays as a teenager and young man. But the ruins were blocked by a large gatehouse which was locked. There are several buildings surrounding a large campsite and youth festivals are held there now. We had just missed a reunion of all the members, where Richard would have seen many old friends. We parked alone in the camper area, surrounded by woods, and with a porta-john nearby.  A gentle rain kept us asleep all night.

Sept. 12, 2013: We explored the castle at Kastellaum(?), then drove back through Cochem to Ernst. We parked for 8€ in a little RV park next to a winery, bakery, butcher shop and restaurant/bar. At the winery, we tasted and bought enough to last us for the rest of the trip and for gifts, and rode our bikes along the Mösel. After supper in the van, we sipped wine in the restaurant. The one-man band played old German music that brought tears to Richard’s eyes, and when the boss joined him, the sweet sound of his trumpet brought tears to my eyes. We danced waltzes and a polka.

Peer, an old friend from Richard’s youth, lived in Dommershaufen, near the Waldeck. On the way, we walked around in Burgen, where Richard and his friends had often slept in a hayloft, but the barn is upscale apartments now. Peer and his wife Lilo live in a house built in 1855, with large beams across the ceiling and a big Dutch oven in the kitchen. I could understand more now. They talked about the large Muslim population in Germany. Lido said that when the Muslim men requested that the law be changed so they could have multiple wives, the German government said okay, but the law must be equal, so women would be allowed to have multiple husbands as well. The Muslim men withdrew their request. Later, Peer and Lido took us for supper and drinks at the local pub with their friends. Then we walked back to our van, parked in a farmer’s laneway nearby.

Sept. 18, 2013: Breanne, my niece, and her German husband Sebastian were setting up inflatable beds for us when we arrived at their apartment in Bad Hersfeld, near the former East German border. They had moved their car to the street so we could have their spot. During a long walk through this beautiful old city (okay, they are all beautiful old cities), Sebastian took the picture above of Richard and me with Breanne. We went out for supper with Sebastian’s family to celebrating Lisa’s and Breanne’s birthdays, and Breanne made broken glass cake (mostly jello and delicious.)

Breanne is subject to vicious migraines, but has forgone her medication while she is pregnant. So on Sunday she stayed in bed in the dark, and Sebastian took us touring, showing us a house that had been divided in two when the DDR (East German)border went up. He took us to a piece of it, Point Alpha, that had been preserved to show how families had been divided and people killed if they tried to leave. Richard and his family walked through it one day when he was 12, disappearing into some woods in a blind spot. A family that tried the same thing a week later was killed. Our next stop was the castle Tannenburg, which has been restored and is staffed by people in Middle Ages costumes cooking, knitting and working at a forge An archer showed us how to shoot a bow and arrow.

Monday, Sept. 16, 2013: Sebastian had gone to work and Breanne was over her migraine and served us the usual hearty German breakfast of sausage and cheese and hard-boiled eggs and jam and bread. Then we drove to Hartzungen, where Richard had lived as a kid during the war. He showed me where the concentration camp had been. The children, playing up in the hills, could look down and see what was happening. Richard says those images are as vivid in his mind as if it were yesterday, and they are terrible.   It is a playground now. No one wants to build a house there, where, as the Americans were coming at the end of the war, the prisoners who were still alive were pushed into a hole by the Nazis, shot and buried. The villagers were made to dig the prisoners up and give them proper burials in a nearby churchyard. A day later we went to Mittel Dora in Nordhausen, where the U2 rocket was built with slave labour from concentration camps like the one in Hartzungen. Local villagers were forced labour but could return home at night. We visited the museum and went under the mountain to see where people lived and worked and died. It is too difficult to give you details. It is hard to imagine that the German military could treat humans that way. Modern Germans are determined to remember this part of their history, and school children are bussed in to learn about it, so it doesn’t happen again. Admission is free and many adults visit as well.

We visited Gerhardt, a friend of Richard’s and now a wealthy farmer who grows Christmas trees and hunts small deer and wild pigs. Many of their skulls are mounted on his walls, as you can see in the picture with Richard in the foreground.

That night we stayed in a real camping spot, about 14€, and had hot showers. We climbed up and explored the Hohenstein Castle ruins, where Richard played as a kid. The castle still isn’t kidproofed. There is an open well and many open spots along the wall where a child could fall to his death.

The van was cold and we didn’t really have enough blankets. Snuggling helped, but I was chilly all the next day. After our trip to Mittel Dora, we visited Richard’s friends Gunter and Dörchen. They took us to visit Barbarosa’s castle, really three castles on different levels, at various stages of restoration. They took us out for supper and loaned us a sheepskin blanket. I have liked all of Richard’s friends and family, and learned more about him by meeting them. We parked and slept near a row of little garages where Gunter and Dörchen keep their car.

Wednesday, Sept.18, we woke up warm, thanks to the sheepskin blanket. Josie would return it later, so we kept it for the whole trip. After our goodbyes, we drove to Őderan to visit my ex-sister-in-law and her husband, mostly travelling on the Autobahn. It is no worse than the 401, as long as you stay out of the far left lane. There is no speed limit and very high-end cars drive 200 kilometers per hour in that lane. They don’t take kindly to old VW camper vans getting in their way. Almost at the Műllers, we had to take a long detour up out of their valley, by a field with thousands of white geese being fed up for Christmas, and down a steep narrow road where we had to back up for a large tractor. Then a large bus and a truck met beside us. The bus backed up and all of the kids waved at us.

At Jutta and Siegfried’s, there were hugs all around. The last time I visited them was in 1990, just before the wall came down. Their son Jens lives upstairs. Very computer savvy, he translates my updates into German for Jutta by computer program. We watched Siegfried’s video of their 50th wedding anniversary and vacation pictures, and pictures of our trip so far on TV. It was a far cry from passing snapshots around in 1990. Siegfried is a beekeeper and Jutta gave us a jar of his special honey, made by bees that collect sap in the woods.The next day Jutta took us on a walk along the Hetzdorfer Viaduct, where we could see for miles over rivers and villages, and we walked back under it on the way home. Picture on previous page).

Friday, Sept. 20:  After breakfast, Siegfried and I took pictures before we drove away. It was so good to see them. I have known them for forty-five years, but we have only visited together five times, although the first visit, with Mike was a month long. Across the language and distance divide, we are old friends. They made us feel at home.

We had wanted to visit Dresden, but it was so rainy and cold that we drove south instead, looking for warmer weather. We passed large fields of solar panels, not collecting much sun-power on this dreary day, and blocking the light from so much farmland. In Forsheim, we followed the little motorhome signs to a pretty (but soggy) city camper park on the Sportsinsel (3€ plus 1€ for a shower at the stadium in a change room normally used by a whole soccer team. We took our bikes off the van and rode around the old city. More pictures.

Sunday, Sept.22: Angela Merkel was re-elected today. Germany does seem to be a sensibly–run country. We drove from Forsheim to Parkplatz #3 in Rotenburg ob der Tauber, the most touristy old town so far, crowded with people brought in by the busload, taking pictures and having Schnitzel und Bier and Kaffee und Kűchen. All very picturesque.

Monday, Sept.23: Drove most of the day, through the postcard scenery with its little scattered villages, the valleys getting deeper and the mountains higher as we approached Switzerland. We were in Waldhűt on the Rhine which is the border there, at 5 p.m., and Emma directed us up a steep hill in the city to Richard’s ex-wife’s apartment. Rick, Richard’s son, had asked if he would stop and check on her. She lives on the top floor of a small building with a spectacular view over the river. She seemed happy to see us and go out to dinner. We easily made the long walk down into town, but the climb back up was challenging for us two old ladies.

The Waldhűt camping area was on the river, 10€, with showers and a laundry, both coin-operated and complicated. But we got it sorted out and had lunch in the restaurant, watching the Rhine race by as we ate.

Crossing into Switzerland, Emma stopped co-operating. I could only get her to list German cities, until Richard noticed the “country” button. We ended up in Zurich at rush hour, messing up traffic in an area reserved for busses. Horns honked from all directions. A sweet policewoman came over and asked us what we were doing. Richard explained that we had no clue and were Canadian. She gave us concise directions for escaping. She also noticed how upset Richard was and patted him gently on the shoulder. He felt better. He said he had dreamed about her coming to rescue him the night before.

Back on the autobahn we went through several tunnels and came out into the stark steep beauty of the Alps. We stayed in a little camping place in Aldsdorf, where cable cars carried hikers clutching maps of the trails to the tops of the mountains.

Wednesday, Sept. 25: We kept going south and ever higher, the motor heating up, until we got to the top of the Gotthardt (sp?) Pass.  I snapped this picture of Neanderthals on the other side of the lake. They ran off and then came back and did it again. Then I noticed the guy with the movie camera on my side of the lake. (I know they really are extinct, but their brow keeps appearing in our relatives, who are Schleihaufs. We saw lots of people walking over the pass. Most were young, There were very tired-looking stragglers.

On the way down into Italy, it was the brakes that got hot. We stopped several times to let them cool off. We ended up in the municipal camper parking in Leiden, on Lago Maggiore in Italy. We couldn’t understand a word of Italian. It had been our most dramatic drive so far. And now the weather was warm and sunny.

Thursday, Sept. 26: We had espresso coffee and visited with the couple in the motor home next to our camper. We didn’t get away until late. We drove on the autostrada to Geneva, then turned right and went south to the Med. We were directed to our camping spot in Finale Ligure by a young couple who sang it’s praises. It was on the Med, but the Med was windy, grey and cold, and it was raining. The camping area was muddy, with no grass or trees. The toilets (squatters) were locked at 8 p.m., and when I went out in the morning to use one, they were being taken away on a truck. For this, 18€!

Friday, Sept. 27: When you get up in the morning, the first thing you want to do is use the toilet, and ours had disappeared. So we got on the autostrada and drove to a pretty picnic area, with washrooms that had toilets on which one could sit. After coffee and Brötchen, the day got better. We drove past San Remo and through Monaco and Nice. Too many people and too much traffic. We turned north and drove into an area of cliffs, mountains and dramatic pinnacles. Driving along the Var River and into France, we found a campground with a little lake surrounded by mountains, nice showers and toilets with seats, not squatters. Heaven.

Saturday, Sept. 28: A relaxing layover day, despite the 4-hour walk to Entrevaux and back – my favourite Medieval town. It really looked old, and hadn’t been tarted up. The city was occupied, and laundry hung on lines. We saw only two cars and they were all scraped from trying to get down the narrow streets. We looked at the citadel, far above us, and decided to leave it unexplored.

I have many pictures of this pretty place. It was hard to choose just one, but the town square, with its little restaurants, was quiet and noncommercial.

Saturday Sept. 29: We spent the next two days in the most dramatic scenery of the trip – les Gorges de Daluis. The first day we didn’t get very far before it started to rain really heavily. The narrow road had steep cliffs to the left and only space dropping to invisible depths on the right, with mountains on the other side of the gorge. I kept making gasping sounds and Richard was afraid to look anywhere but straight ahead. So we pulled over into a layby, put on the parking brake and ate lunch, snoozed and played cards until the rain let up a little and we could drive to Guillaumes and park down by the River Var in the municipal campground. We climbed up to the citadel. If you take the big path you can see it from a distance. But Richard took the small path and I followed, begging him to turn around and not looking down as I crabbed along the side of the mountain, clinging to weeds and bushes. We reached a narrow flight of stone stairs with no handrails and a deep open well on one side. And there was a little room into which we could climb. The trip back on the wide path was easy.

Monday, Sept. 30: We drove back to the gorge in the sunlight and got better pictures. Richard bravely walked out on this pinnacle, connected to the roadside by a natural bridge. After looking over the edge he felt a little weak in the knees and carefully crawled back to where I waited with my camera. After admitting to ourselves that we couldn’t capture the grandeur of this place with a camera, we drove back through Guillaume and continued to climb, in our little VW van, zig-zagging through sharp switchbacks, over the Cayolle Pass, 2350 metres above sea level. We drove slowly down into the valley and gave way for cattle and other vehicles. The one-lane road with no barrier between us and the shadowy depths was to be enjoyed slowly, we decided. We found a pretty campground near Barcelonette. After supper we watched a few more episodes of Firefly, which a friend in the Bahamas had downloaded onto my computer.

Tuesday, Oct. 1: The road got bigger – two lanes – and the driving became a little easier. We drove along a beautiful turquoise lake, the Lac de Serre-Ponҫon. That night we stayed in a campground near the city of Gap, Camping Napoleon. The next morning I read my emails beside the little pool, just closed for the winter. We hadn’t realized that most campgrounds would be closed on Oct.1.

Wednesday, Oct. 2: It was too soon to turn north. We decided that since we had no destination, we could not be lost, and there were no wrong turns – a relief to me, the navigator. We stopped often to take pictures. We started looking for a campground just after lunch, but they were all closed. Past Chancery, the woman care-taker at Riviere Bleu relented and led us a mile or so to an area where the water and electricity had not been turned off yet. It was a really big campground and we were the only ones there. We unloaded our bikes and explored the campground. Then we had a good hot supper, a bottle of wine, and more episodes of Firefly before turning in.

Thursday , October 3: Twists and turns, getting lost, and more heart-stopping mountain roads, and then a nice valley road. The heifer in the picture above is exercising its right-of-way privileges in a narrow spot. We kept missing the municipal camper parks, which were badly signed. Around dark we pulled off the road behind a rocky spur with trees on it. Cars kept pulling in for a few minutes and then leaving. It was a popular spot to run up into the trees for a bathroom break.

Friday, we drove up past Geneva on the southeast side of Lac Léman to  Yvoire. At the trailer park, Richard made friends with our neighbours, the peaceful dairy cows, who were curious. We relaxed, went for a walk along the lake, and had naps.

Saturday, Oct. 5, we drove through more Alpine pastures, and crossed the border back into Germany. At 5 p.m., we parked in front of Bárbel Horn-Schleihauf’s apartment building in Freiburg. My paternal grand-mother was a Schleihauf and Bárbel looks just like my father’s sister Aunt Vonni. She was expecting us tomorrow and was on her way out, but made us comfortable and directed us to a pizza place. It turned out to be an elegant restaurant and we dined in candlelight. Afterwards, showers and TV were a treat.

Sunday, after eating the classic German breakfast and catching up on each others’ lives, we walked around the new city (there was much bombing during the war) and the old city that survived. There were little plaques here and there among the cobblestones that commemorated Jews that used to live at that spot, with dates and places they were deported to, and where they wound up and when. One read “Auschwitz” and another “USA via Cuba”. Bárbel took us to a nearby village to escape the crowds and have Kaffee und Küchen. But it was Sunday and there were flea markets and festivals. Everyone was in the streets. The bakery was very organized and we enjoyed the best Kaffee and Küchen of the whole trip.

Monday, October 7: Bárbel sent us west to Colmar and back into France. Another historic old town. But we were getting blazé and didn’t stay long. There we met the only beggar we saw on the whole trip. He pretended to be an attendant in the parking lot and bustled up, took our change and put it in the machine for us. Then of course he needed coffee money. In this picture the tourists don’t look convinced that his services were essential. We travelled on the Autobahn all afternoon, heading towards Düsseldorf. Richard wanted to go to Hohenfels, a large manor house. He had camped on the grounds and spent time in the house  when he was a kid with his brother Peter, now dead of lung cancer. But when we finally got there, following Emma’s somewhat convoluted directions, it was locked and closed for rennovations.  It was getting dark so we stopped in an empty factory parking lot surrounded by fields. Nobody bothered us, but when we woke up at 8 a.m., the lot was full.

Tuesday, October 8: We gave the address of Richard’s sister-in-law Monika (wife of the deceased Peter) to Emma, and she took us there. Monika was happy to see us and told us about her new love, the perfect man. She had answered an ad in the local paper, and they met at Monika’s church. In the three weeks she has known him, he has never asked her for money. But he can only see her for a couple of days a week because he is busy taking care of his elderly mother, he told her. Peter was a tyrant, Richard says, and she deserves some happiness, but she would be very vulnerable to a predator. After we visited for a couple of hours, we left and tucked into a hidden corner of the lower parking lot at Schlossburg, a castle that Richard wanted to show me. Dinner at the castle restaurant.

Wednesday, October 9: Schlossburg has never fallen into ruin, and is now used as a tool to teach history to schoolchildren. They were all over the place, but in organized groups. I wasn’t looking forward to another castle, but still enjoyed this one. Each one has its own distinctive characteristics.

The Rest of the Trip: We moved back into Josie’s spare room and cleaned out the van. We visited family again. I couldn’t help but think, when I was taking their picture, that this might be the last time that Richard and his 96-year-old mother see each other. We did a huge laundry at a laundromat, and packed our clothes. Josie took us by taxi to the Hütte-Ho (means giddy-up) and we dined while overlooking the horses that trained on the inside track. Then she took us  to dinner with sister Margot and old friends Metchild and Blacky, We visited Manny and Mausi again. Too much eating. On Oct. 14, we took the van across the Rhine on a little ferry to another medieval walled town. North of Brühl, where we stopped for supper, I pulled a muscle in my leg, jogging to get out of the rain. From then until we got home, I could barely walk. The mechanic Sebastian’s Mom is a physiotherapist, and gave him an elastic cast and medication for me. Sebastian drove us to the train station. I had to hobble a very long way along the platform to our gate. Gallant men carried my bags for me, Richard being already loaded down. The train was late but it didn’t matter. When we got to Frankfurt Airport, we spent the night sleeping on benches until we could check in at 6 a.m. I asked for a wheelchair and the rest of the trip was a breeze. In Newark an attendant was waiting to take us and our luggage through customs and on a train to another terminal. Richard followed happily. A wheelchair and attendant also waited in Toronto. The distances were long and I could not have walked them. Rick, Richard’s son, was waiting for us in the Toronto Airport. A wonderful trip.

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On Tuesday, March 19, we sailed on a close-hauled course to George Town, Great Exuma. The swells were three to four feet, just enough to remind us that we were in the ocean.

Richard, with his usual flair, led Morning Star straight from the outside corner of Channel Cay to the mark for the reef inside the harbour, a totally different way than the course on the chart, with reefs close-by on both sides. Jim had all of the correct waypoints in his chart plotter, but tossed them to the wind and followed Richard. Lynda and I went along for the ride. What else could we do? So far our faith in the leader of this little expedition has not been misplaced.

After we anchored in Kidd Cove, we headed straight for town, to dump the garbage, fill up with the free water on the dinghy dock, check our email and get fresh produce and meat. Ah, the joy of being in a town again! We ended up at the Peace and Plenty Resort’s bar – where Jim and Lynda bought us drinks for leading them in through the rocks and reefs – Kalik for Jim, Goombay Smashes for Lynda and me, and a Bahama Mama for Richard.

Later, back on the boats, the wind settled down and we slept well.

The next day I made space for Rebecca, who would arrive soon. We were regular listeners of the 8 a.m. net now, so when Sandy from Anania mentioned art on the beach in the activities section, I loaded up my paints and headed over to Volleyball Beach, across the harbour. She and her husband Tom had shared a car rental for the day with Richard and me, six years ago on Long Island. The third artist to turn up was Lee from One-Eyed Parrot. I knew her from the winter I lived in Boot Key Harbor, even longer ago. The cruising world is small. That night Richard and I partied at the Peace and Plenty BBQ and Rake ‘n’ Scrape with Lynda and Jim. Good food, good music, and we danced a lot. Richard showed us how to dance in the sexy laid-back Bahamian way.

Rebecca arrived on March 22. Lynda had prepared supper, which included grouper cooked, but not caught, by Jim. Her plane was late, and I had been waiting for her, so the supper, ready when we got back to the boat, was most welcome.

For the next week, Rebecca and I played Scrabble, shopped in the tourist shops, visited and did yoga. We went for long walks on the ocean-side beach. Richard, Jim and Lynda often joined us on the walks. I made bread. We shared more meals with Jim and Lynda. We had sun-heated showers on the dive platform after swimming around the boat.

We ate lots of conch salad, sometimes so fresh that the meat had been quivering seconds before. I felt guilty and sorry for the conch. But I still ate it. Delicious!

We moved around the harbour, depending on wind direction.

Elizabeth Harbour (Georgetown) is fifteen miles long and has many beautiful places to anchor. The holding is excellent in most places. Monument Beach, Honeymoon Beach, Sand Dollar Beach and Volleyball Beach are all on Stocking Island, the barrier island, and these anchorages are well-protected from north and east.

There are moorings in Holes 1, 2 and 3 (little bays on Stocking Island) and in a small lake that only boats with less than a 4-foot draft can get into. There are also moorings added all around Volleyball Beach and the Chat and Chill since we were last there 6 years ago. While I was painting on the beach, I watched a boat drift by, backwards, with one of these new moorings dragging off of the front of it. So, despite exhortations from Elvis, the Harbour Master and owner of a water taxi, we do not use these $20 a night moorings. We trust our ground tackle more.

We anchored in Kidd Cove whenever we needed to go to town, or in Red Shanks, a little harbour within the harbour, when we wanted to get away from it all and be really sheltered all the way around. There is a perfect beach near the Red Shanks anchorage. I often dinghied a short way to a nice new laundry from there. And there were some lovely little reefs nearby, where I could work on getting over my snorkelling phobia. I loved to snorkel, but one little drop of water in my mask or snorkel and I was afraid I couldn’t breathe. It isn’t logical, but phobias aren’t. and the reward of overcoming the phobia is great. There are so many interesting surprises under the water – the many different kinds of coral, the fishes hiding in it and lobster showing only their antennae. The more you just hang there and look, the more you see.

There is a new anchorage on Crab Cay, created by a company that dredged out a shallow little bay to make a marina and then went bankrupt and abandoned it. This island has some really nice Loyalist ruins on it, which are accessible to the public, despite the many no trespassing signs which would suggest otherwise, and the watchdog person that asks you to leave until you explain that you are going to the ruins.

Of course, boats anchor all over the harbour. You just have to stay out of the mailboat route. In February, there were 400 boats in the harbour, but by the time we arrived, all but about 150 had left. When we flew towards home in May, only about 40 inhabited boats remained.

Richard’s back kept bothering him. He had pulled a muscle trying to get me back into the dinghy in Ship Channel Cay. Then we met Judy from Hey Jude at a potluck. She practices reconnective healing, which she does with her hands moving over the body but not touching it. We were both skeptical, but she got rid of Richard’s back pain! He is a convert.

Alan on Sinbad arrived in early April from Tavernier. He has a nice big cockpit on his 42-foot Morgan. There were lots of happy hours and delicious suppers on our now 4 boats, including Beth (a good Scrabble player) and Wayne on Gypsy Moon. Lots of visiting, laughing and stories. Many potlucks on shore too. But near the end of our stay we gave up on the potlucks. Too many names to remember! And too much effort to transport our food to shore. Laziness was setting in. And I was gaining weight.

 We all rented a van together one day and explored Great and Little Exuma. We learned about the real Raking and Scraping in the salt ponds. It was horrible work. The slaves who gathered up the salt with rakes became blind in the glare from the salt and died early, their bodies covered with ulcerated sores caused by the wet salt.

I got Internet that I could use on the boat, but it was very slow and often down. Batelco’s service is a bit spotty. Eventually I gave up and went back to taking my computer to Eddie’s Edgewater for free internet.

I stretched more canvas and painted more pictures, and Beth acquired the one of the monument. Some days, I went to Volleyball Beach with my books, paintings and paints, where I moved a few books, visited and painted. Back on the boat Richard made minor repairs and watched a lot of movies. We took turns cooking and ate and played cards in the cockpit until it got dark. We lived like retired old people. It was wonderful. (I turned 70 on May 11. Oops, now we really were retired old people.)

On Monday, April 22, Morning Star was hauled out in the boat yard in Masters Harbour. A couple of days later we motored back to Kidd Cove in Lucky. Lynda and Jim joined us when they finished putting Morning Star to bed on the hard, and we enjoyed the Family Island Regatta together.

That regatta was celebrating its 60th anniversary. Hundreds of Bahamians fly or come by boat from all of the other islands, ready to party and, if they are single, look for possible mates. The racing is a bit unruly, with spectator dinghies and power boats buzzing up and down along the course and bunching up at the marks to watch the elegant hand-made Bahamian sailboats tack, and the crew flip from one side to the other on the long prides (boards) sticking out abeam. The last race was unexpectedly dramatic, as the two front-running boats, both from Staniel Cay, collided due to a bad call on the tack, and the boat behind them won.

In the two months we were in George Town, we got to know many people with interesting stories. I’ll put them in the next book. This update is already too long.

Lynda and Jim flew home on Monday, April 29th, and we went over to Monument Beach to spend the night and have Alan on Sinbad and Beth and Wayne on Gypsy Moon for drinks and food. The next morning On April 30, Gypsy Moon left the harbour and headed back to the States. As they were going by Beth shouted over that she had started reading my first book and I never should have been a solo sailor. She could be right, but when I started out, how was I to know? Alan took us out for dinner at the Chat and Chill, and then he left on Sinbad.

On May first we headed for Red Shanks to get our boat ready to be hauled and chill. We took the sails off and folded them. I washed out the food lockers with bleach and sprinkled boric acid and bay leaves around.. We packed our bags. I dinghied to Baranki’s and did laundry. We met two other couples some distance away and chatted, but like us, they seemed to like the quiet.

We swam sans suits in 86◦F water. My distance increased to 5 times around the boat. We did some more snorkelling on the nearby reefs and I became more confident. I read to Richard and we watched movies. We went to town in the dinghy to get more groceries and exchange movies with other boaters again.

Lucky came out of the water on May 13th. Nochi and Dion were waiting to haul us out. It took quite a while to fit a hurricane cradle to our boat. The nuts and bolts were very rusty and the cradle had to be pieced together and moved. I hope our faith in this boat yard isn’t misplaced. By the next day at 11 a.m. we were finished and Dion gave us a ride to town and we  checked into our room. I hitch-hiked back the 10 or 15 kilometres to the boatyard to turn off the water pressure, which Richard had forgotten to do.

We were counting on the gallantry of Bahamian  men to get me out and back quickly. No one passed me by and I was back in less than an hour.

Two short plane rides to get to Miami, a shuttle bus to thr Tri-Rail and the Tri-Rail to Lake Worth. Richard Brooks was waiting for us there and took us to my car at Indiantown Mariina. At midnight three nights later, we turned into my driveway in Bothwell, where a large sign on the front yard said:

HAPPY

70

SHARON

It’s nice to be home.

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On March 5, we had a beautiful downwind sail from Allens Cay to Normans Cay. Being there brought back memories of 2000 when I was there with Vonny on Wishbone, and 2003 when I sailed with Vonny and Ray and Tim on Wishbone, and Voy on Fairwind.

March 20, 2013 Update

We walked through the abandoned marina and the garbage dump and along the airport to the restaurant that has replaced MacDuff’s. But there was no access to the restaurant, which was damaged in a hurricane (Sandy?) We walked past abandoned workshops and hangars with old planes, trucks and motors parked in them. Another day we walked almost to the top end of Normans Pond. Earthmoving equipment is ploughing through swamps and woods, pushing trees over and destroying habitat, but to what avail is not apparent. Lots of empty falling-down houses from pre Carlos Lehder drug smuggling days. The big trees are Norman Cay’s best feature.  We climbed to the top a hill in a wooded area along the one road, and up onto a houseboat that Carlos and his gang had used as a lookout. We could see the water in every direction. Richard could not explain how the boat got there. Another long-ago hurricane?

At night, the drifts of bright stars lit up our anchorage, where all of the boats had lots of room. We could hear the wind roaring on the west side of the island, but we were in calm protected waters. We found conch on another walk through shallow water and Jim cooked tasty conch fritters.

On Lynda’s birthday we dinghied through all the shades of blue and green and sandy white, through mangroves, out into Exuma Sound and back into the Pond in the north end.

On March 8 we sailed to Pipe Creek and rafted together in a very protected spot between Rat Cay and the Mice, three little Cays. Another long dinghy right through even more outstanding colours that were still glowing in my head long after dark. Lots of uninhabited islands, but on one with a large mansion and a full contingent of security people, there were three large wind turbines, a sensible kind of development, but not repeated elsewhere in the islands we saw.

On March 10, we left early so we could make it out through the skinny water while the tide was still high. Next stop – Staniel Cay. Back to phones, internet, and a bar/restaurant. It is possible we overindulged on conchburgers and mahi mahi sandwiches. A woman on the beach who wants to sail bought the book. She hugged me the next day and told me it was really funny. More provisioning.

Richard was still struggling with back pain and taking Tylenol. We waited out another front at Staniel Cay, but it was comfortable once we found the right spot (not the north end of the Majors).

March 15, we took the inside ziggy-zaggy route to the Darbys, an unusual spot that both Richard and I had been to many times before. It was fun to rediscover it with Jim and Lynda, who has never seen the green mansion or the goat caves.

Then we took the ziggy-zaggy, even shallower route to Children’s Bay. Yesterday we went out into the ocean to come to George Town, and the end of our travelling for this year. But not the end of our cruising life. We plan to stay in Georgetown for two months of relaxation and fun.

From Sharon and Richard on Lucky.

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march42013

The picture on the left is of the anchorage at Ship Channel Cay, but each anchorage was prettier than the one before. We were alone here, except for a boat anchored in the distance and the visitors to the Powerboat Adventures spot.

We had a great sail when we left this anchorage. In Allens Cay, of course we visited the iguanas, who ran out eagerly to snatch up our discarded lettuce leaves. Our boats are visible across the anchorage, and Richard is visiting with some other cruisers in the above picture.

When we arrived, the anchorage was empty and we anchored with two anchors. This ensures no dragging in the very strong current that reverses direction four times every 24 hours. Before we left 8 days later, there were as many as 15 boats in this small anchorage with the big sandbar in the middle. A big front went through and lasted several days. Boats dragged and went aground when their single anchor failed to flip over and reanchor. Other boats let out extremely long scopes and let the currents take them over long distances, sometimes surprising themselves and other boats to which they came way too close. Some just didn’t get the reason for two anchors in a small anchorage.

We hiked and swam, and I painted a picture, trying to capture the magic colours of the water. We checked out the palm tree Richard planted many years ago on Southwest Allens Cay. It has made it into the cruising guides as a landmark. But the termites have found it too. We were glad to see it before it dies. We made friends with other boaters and Richard and Jim (from Morning Star) organized the burning of the garbage on the little beach near our boat. It turned into a cocktail party, and we met two couples from the trawlers Hullabaloo and Partners. We  transported them to the beach and back because neither could get their dinghies into the water – mechanical problems. Jim fixed the motor on one the next day.

The wind got up over 20 knots at times, and on two nights the boat rocked enough to make sleep difficult.

 Richard’s back was really hurting, perhaps from pulling me into the dinghy when I was snorkelling beside it in Ships’ Channel. Now we keep the dinghy ladder in the dinghy if we are contemplating swimming.

In Allens Cay we were closer to the Batelco tower on Highborn Cay. I could talk to my family and didn’t feel quite so isolated. I learned that I had another grand-nephew, the eighteenth grand. I have asked for a picture. Niece Dana is engaged and there is a wedding date. My sister Vonny even called me.

You may remember that their boat was hit by lightning in No Name Harbor in May, last year. After several weeks of backing and forthing, Commandeur agreed to the necessary repairs and sent them about half of the agreed upon sum ($8000), less the deductible (about $5000). Since then all of the work has been done and the boat shipped back to Canada, all at Vonny and Ray’s expense. They are still waiting for the other $8000 (more or less). Commandeur has been ready with the usual litany of excuses – the person who issues the cheques was away for several weeks, etc. etc. Of course they don’t add interest for their delays. They are starting to sound very much like Northern Reef, the insurance company I had when I hit the bridge. They collected policy payments, but didn’t come through with money for claims. Monty Python had a skit about that, but it isn’t very funny if you happen to be the innocent victim who thought you had insurance. I’ll keep you posted.

We reconnected with Anne and Mike on Nimue, whom we had met at the home of Richard’s friends Blanca and Ben in January. They invited us and Jim and Lynda for supper on their boat, where we met Cherie and Joe of Narsilion and Lisa and Val of Rising Star. Both couples bought both of my books and I was thrilled. It encourages me to keep writing.

Richard became the white knight of Allens Cay. Shortly after a big sailboat arrived and anchored, one of the crew jumped overboard for a swim. The rapidly outgoing tide was sweeping him to sea when Richard noticed and jumped into our dinghy to rescue him. He was extremely glad to be able to get on board. When Richard returned him to his boat, all of his buddies were drinking beer and no one aboard had even noticed he was missing. Another boat went aground in low tide at night, then floated off and regrounded themselves. The next day the wind was up to 20 to 30 plus knots, when Jim and Richard dinghied over and helped them place a second anchor to which they could pull over when the tide rose again. They finally floated free and, now on two anchors, they didn’t reground themselves. When the wind was highest he noticed a dinghy drifting quickly by all alone. We jumped in our dinghy, chased the loose one, got a line tied to it and returned it to Joe and Cherie on Narsilion. Hmm, maybe that’s why they bought both books. For two or three days the boat rocked and rolled and it was very uncomfortable. I asked Richard to put out the surge line. He asked, “Which anchor will I put it on?” We had three down and a surge line would just tangle them up. Oh, well.

Finally, the wind eased and we got a good night’s sleep. The next morning, March 5, it was time to go south again.

More to come. From Sharon and Richard on Lucky

 

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