Feb 14 Update, 2016 from Sharon and Richard on Lucky

Being in the water was wonderful, but there was still lots to do. We had to fill up with water, gas and diesel, and buy more groceries – a lot more.

The first night, when we got back with supplies, there was an odd smell in the boat, from the saurkraut and sausage we cooked the night before, Richard thought. But I could detect a subtle hint of gas, so Richard shut off the propane tank, and went to bed, with the rain pouring down, as it had been doing all day. The next day when we turned on the propane, there was a loud hissing noise.

It rained all day. And all day, Richard climbed in and out of the locker where the propane regulator and hook-ups to the stove were – in the rain, as the tarp didn’t cover the whole cockpit and our bimini was away, a pattern for the new one being sewn by a seamstress in Tequesta. I spent the day driving back and forth from the marina to the hardware store and the Gas Company in that pouring rain. We replaced the copper line – had to lift the stove out to get it out. The hissing continued when we turned the propane on. Then the LPG line. Still hissing. I was getting frazzled from all the driving in the heavy rain. Late in the day at the gas company, I backed into a short metal post that I couldn’t see and now the van needs a new bumper.

Finally I went back for a new regulator, and when Rich installed it the hissing stopped. It kept raining. Richard climbed creakily out on the locker, a hero in my eyes.

And that was supposed to have been our day of rest after our three weeks of slaving in the yard!
But things got better. I did laundry quickly the next day in town, where there are many machines and I was early enough that I didn’t have to wait.

In the afternoon we went to Tequesta and waited an hour for Beth to finish the new bimini. She had forgotten to make the changes we requested and her grommet machine didn’t work. $335 U.S. Richard said he should have done it himself, but he already had so much to do.

We had a good visit with Richard’s old friend Ben, who thinks Trump will solve all of the problems in the U.S. if he gets elected.

I played a few wonderful Scrabble games with some very good players – Joy from Sandals, Joan from Tranquility, Debbie from Our Way and two or three others. They needed a little brushing up on the rules, as most played on the computer, but took that well.

On Monday we moved up the canal a little ways to the dock of Richard and Renita Brooks, Richard’s good and log-time friends. Most of the power boats that passed slowed down and left small wakes. Richard spent an afternoon helping Richard B. install a pump in his pool. We relaxed a bit.

Richard got out his 50-year-old Pfaff sewing machine out and started making cockpit cushions. (He had brought the foam and beautiful waterproof material from Canada.) He worked on them many days in our two different anchorages until now.

It kept raining off and on. One morning we woke up surrounded by a floating island of foliage that had floated down the canal. With the boathook and broom, we were able to get it off of our lines in pieces and sent it on towards Stuart. We have seen these large floating islands all along the way. Yesterday one was blocking the boat ramps near our current anchorage, and another stretched almost across the canal.

We took another trip to West Palm Beach to look for a replacement for the broken spring in the tensor unit of the sewing machine. After being sent from one place to another, Brad kindly agreed to fix it while we did more grocery shopping. We all agreed that it was a miracle that he had the part in stock. After that the sewing proceeded at a better pace, although Richard still had to keep taking those tiny pieces apart and putting them back together, with his reduced eyesight. I held the flashlight and threaded the needle.

On Feb. 1st, there was still a light drizzle, but we decided nothing was so crucial that it couldn’t be done farther down the water. Richard had put the car to bed the day before while I played two last games of Scrabble with those wonderful players.

We detached the electrical line and two dock lines, pulled up the four anchors and I motored slowly west down the canal while Richard tied everything down.

At the railroad bridge with the 49-foot clearance, Richard approached slowly into the oncoming current and went underneath the bridge. It cleared the light on top of the mast by about 6 inches and the aerial went “ping” as it bent to go under each girder. Phew! Once under, we anchored before the lock. We had decided to take the southern rim route and weren’t sure we could get to the next possible anchorage before dark. We watched “Sex Tape”, one of the movies downloaded for us by Bill and Eileen on Moshulu. Richard picked it for the reasons you would expect, but it turned out to be a good comedy.

In the morning we went through the Port Mayaca Lock and motored into the southern Rim Route. Late in the day we anchored in a little side-pocket just east of the swing bridge at Torrie Island. There we rode out a strong cold front and stayed three more days. We spent much of the time working on the cockpit cushions, Richard nursing his crotchety old Pfaff machine along.

In the evenings we watch movies that son Mike and Richard’s son Colin downloaded for us. We have become addicted to the Castle detective series (so nice with no commercials) and watched “12 Years a Slave”. Thank you Mike and Colin!

On Feb. 6, we moved here, to the enclosed anchorage just north os the South Bay Trailer Park and boat launch. All of the nights have been cold and we woke up to temperatures from 35 to 55◦ F. every night.
A few days ago I hand-sewed the last corner on the last cockpit cushion, and they are beautiful. Very subtle beige colour, but they give the boat a bit of class that was missing last year with the smelly damp old foam and the loose pieces of cheap plastic laid on top.

We met Steve from Maine, a winter resident in the motor-home park, on the dinghy-dock, and he has come over to raft alongside Lucky in Opa’s Island, his Bayside cruiser, with his wife and guests. They have offered help whenever we need it. We meet the very nicest people while cruising.

Jim and Lynda came in yesterday in Morning Star and rafted alongside and we shared the fish Steve had given to us for supper. Sue and Mick on Jennie may stop by on their way home tomorrow or the next day and Dennis and Kika, old friends of Richard will drive over tomorrow.

Today is lovely and warm but another front is coming through tonight. Jim and Richard got out their fishing gear. Now, at 3:30 p.m., they are both napping. They say the fish bite better at night.
At 4:30 the birds will begin roosting in the trees near us and I will watch for the beautiful roseate spoonbills I saw two nights ago to flutter  onto a roost. Perhaps we will stay here all winter!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Sharon and Richard, taking it easy on Lucky

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January 21, 2016 Update from Lucky

From Spring until Christmas, June 15 to December 28, 2015:

The summer of 2015 flew by.

My elderly parents had both died a couple of years ago, and I felt I had more time. Kamo had his passport and Rebecca took him back to the airport in Toronto, where he flew to Grenada, so I could resume my regular life.

There were still those twenty-five grand-nieces and grand-nephews and their parents (my seventeen nieces and nephews and their spouses) and the grandparents (my sisters and brothers and their spouses). We all enjoy each other’s company so the summer was filled with visiting and eating together.

My son Mike was now living alone in a little house in Vienna, south of Tillsonburg, Ontario. I tried to visit him as much as possible to see how his renovations and clearing out of the brush in the little forest around his house was progressing.

Sister Virginia had been looking forward to her time with me. We took the Canadian train with the dome cars through the Rockies to celebrate her sixtieth birthday, visited niece Dana and her husband Dave in Vancouver and flew home. My advice – take the plane out and the train back. That way you will pass through the most spectacular mountains in daylight. The dining car with starched tablecloths and napkins, wonderful food and attentive wait staff was the highlight. Virginia took a shine to both of the good-looking young men who kept the sleeper car beautiful and directed the entertainment aboard.

Oh, yes, did I mention that Richard and I got together once in a while? He changed his 1985 VW Vanagen for a “new” 1993 Westphalia VW van and we took two camping trips in Ontario. One of these was to visit Sister Vonny and her husband Ray, who were hosting another five couples with whom they had cruised. We knew some and would meet others again along the way, a special treat. In fact, Terry and Sandy had their boat Gambit in the work yard when we got to Indiantown Marina.

The big project that I worked on for most of the summer and fall was writing Book III of the Idiot Afloat Series. This book is called Still Floating. After six years of single-handing, I figured I could drop the “idiot” designation. It was the hardest one of the series to write, even though I wasn’t really making it up, just recounting what happened. It covers another three years of the adventure, including 2006, when I met Richard, a great mechanic and a good companion. Okay, we’re still working on the partnership part, but we continue to stick it out and we have had many wonderful times together. By the time I got to the year 2009 in the book, I felt the story had been told. Yet, many good times and adventures followed, but they were the same things that all of us aging cruising couple do out here, and lots has already been written on the subject. I included an Afterword, where I wrapped up or updated unfinished stories of the people along the way. I also described a couple of notable things that happened between then and now. To tell you the truth, I was having trouble remembering what I had already written. In the proofing, I and the other proof-readers discovered I had repeated myself quite a bit, a sure sign I should let it go.

Before I knew it, the book was published. I did four book talks in libraries – a less than spectacularly successful way to sell books, unless you are already famous. Book III was selling well, mostly to people who already had the first two of the series. And Christine was working on converting them to ebooks.

Then it was Christmas and time to go south.

Richard spent Christmas with his three grand-sons and their parents, and I stayed home for my big family’s events around Bothwell, where the best part was immersing myself in a sea of little kids – a sea from which I could escape and go home for a nap when it got overwhelming.

The “new” Westphalia camper appeared before noon on Boxing Day, loaded down with new things that Richard had bought for the boat, as well as my old 15 HP Johnson outboard that he had rebuilt during the summer. I was ready to jump on board. Three days later, after driving south through steady rain and sleeping aboard the camper in Flying J’s at night, we pulled into Indiantown Marina at 8 p.m. Sue and Mick on Jenny welcomed us with drinks and a visit and we crawled back into the van to sleep there one last night.

The next day we uncovered and opened Lucky, dirty on the outside from the sugar cane ash, but pristine on the inside, thanks to mothballs and our little solar ventilating fan in the head. Jess and Alex moved her to the work yard in the Afternoon and we got to work.

Slaving in the Workyard, December 28, 2015 to January 21, 2016:
We knew we had a lot to do after going to the Bahamas and keeping the boat in George Town for three years. The 45% import duty on everything there made the costs of repairs and replacements very high, so we postponed our work until we got back to the States, where we could at least bring replacement parts from Canada.

We slept and cooked on the boat. Richard got the propane stove and water pump working the first day and we got used to climbing up and down the ladder to use the nearby toilet.

The first full day of work, I scrubbed most of the dirty deck and cockpit and Richard installed the new head (toilet to you landlubbers) and the new water pump for the head. His job had him in a tightly cramped position all day. He was still at it when the light started to fail, so I held the flashlight so he could see the small parts with which he was working, and the hair dryer so he could get the hoses fitted together. We finished at 7:30, exhausted.

And so the days went. I cleaned the stern. Richard ground down the bubbled-up paint on the boot line and scrubbed the hull. He sanded the topsides and painted it. Later he put two coats of paint on the hull. I sanded the prop. I cooked, did dishes, vacuumed often, and did weekly laundry. I redid the lettering on the stern and bow of the boat after Richard painted. I took me three days, but everyone who walked by said it was a good job. It looked perfect, from a modest distance. I sanded and painted inside the hard dodger, and it gleams.

There were shared meals and cocktails on the patio some evenings with old and new friends. Some came for dinner on our boat – Bill and Eileen on Moshulu, from near Algonquin Park, whom Richard had known for decades, but I had just met for the first time. And Jon off Captain Cook, an old friend of Richard’s whom I met before I knew Richard. Jim and Lynda of Morning Star, hailing from Vermillion Bay, Ontario, arrived and we reconnected. Murray and Laurel Thompson from Hamilton, Ontario, even stopped by for a BBQ on their way to their mobile home in Bonita Springs and brought filet minyon (sp?) to die for.

We squeezed the painting in between the many rainy days and found jobs we could inside on those days. Many days were much colder than it should be in Florida. Of course one of those jobs was going shopping to stock the boat for the winter, which we did on at least five rainy days. Some nights we watched DVDs on board and I had the luxury of easily accessible internet so I could do email. A bonus – I was able to play a few games of Scrabble with some excellent and keen players.

Finally, on January 21, we were placed gently (splashed, they call it) into the water. More to come, but that’s enough for now. Sharon and Richard on Lucky

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June 25, 2015 Update from Sharon and Richard on Lucky

Update from Sharon and Richard, of the Sailboat Lucky, now back in Ontario

On April fourth, we sailed to Samson Cay, followed by and sometimes following Jim and Lynda on their little 30 foot eastward Ho!, Morningstar. Richard knew this place as a beautiful anchorage just off of a nice marina with a good restaurant, but the marina was gone, now private and closed to boaters. We cooked our own dinner, in the empty anchorage.

We made our way up the Exumas, enjoying exhilarating sailing, and stopping for a couple of days in Ship Channel anchorage, by Roberts Cay, and Bimini. We were surprised at the number of very large motor yachts we saw, up to 150 feet in length, with two or three stories, and tenders the size of our boat! Fortunately, they were too big to get into our favourite anchorages.

After two nights of luxury on the dock at Bimini Bluewater Marina, and sipping cocktails in the pool there, we set out across the Gulf Stream to Florida.

Right at the axis of the Gulf Stream, the prop stopped with a big clunk, and we were drifting in the light wind. Richard leaned over and looked under the dive platform. We had picked up a chunk of heavy commercial fishing net the size of three people. He could not go under the boat with just a snorkel in the strong current and choppy waves to free it. Since no one was in immediate danger, the Coast Guard was not interested in our plight. Jim and Lynda tried to tow us with Morningstar, but it was too dangerous.

After several hours of sailing at two or three knots and being pushed north, we realized we would get to shore after dark and past the harbour entrance. We radioed TowBoatUS (whom we suspect were expecting our call) and an hour or so later, a young man came out in a towboat. When he had towed us into Lake Sylvia, we anchored. He got out his hookah, remover the big clump of netting from the prop and took it away with him. It cost $1037, but by that time we felt it was well worth it. And divided by the thirty years that Richard has not carried insurance, it was a bargain. There was a problem with Customs too, but I’ll save it for the book. (I may never get there. I’m paging through the current calendar faster than I’m telling the story in my journals.)

After that we made the usual passage through the dozen and more bridges in the Intracoastal Waterway with very little waiting.

Back in Indiantown, Richard anchored us in a perfect four-point position off the dock of Richard’s old friends, Richard and Renita. Then we dove into the cleaning, organizing, getting rid of stuff and packing that must happen before heading north. There were also issues getting my car operational. And all those friends to visit. We had the Brookses and Chris and Divya for crêpes when we got tied to the dock.

Nine days later we were in the car and driving north. More than halfway to my house in Ontario, Richard remembered that he had forgotten to loosen off the seal on the stuffing box. As a result, it will have to be replaced ($400?) when we get back. I’m going to start the list of things to do before leaving as soon as we get back to the boat next year!

When we got to my place after ten p.m. , ready to fall into bed, we discovered that my sister-in-law Connie had put breakfast in the fridge for us. She is an angel. There were many reunions with family and friends, most involving food. Richard went home and I felt that a big piece of my life was missing.

I tackled Paypal, Smashwords and the editing of my art on my webpage, www.mydetour.com. I’m still working on all that stuff, but go to the website to see what’s there so far..

Christine had prepared Idiot Afloat, Books I and II for ebook publication in Smashwords, and now both books are available to Canadian libraries, and are available on Overdrive, Kobo, and many other ebook sites. (Book I still available on Kindle, but not to Canadian libraries, which is why I went to Smashwords.) Of course, both books are still available from me and the info about them is on the website.

The latest news: Kamo emailed me from to say his passport had expired and he was about to be deported from Grenada(which has no Canadian Consulate) and might lose his boat. After much investigation, old friends Rebecca and Laurel and I concluded that the best way to resolve the issue was for him to fly to Canada (the only place that will accept him with an expired passport – he’s Canadian). Actually getting on any plane with an expired passport in another whole issue and it took several phone calls to airlines and various government departments to work that out. I sent begging emails to those of you that knew Kamo personally or through Idiot Afloat Book II. Enough people responded that there is money for his flight back and a ten-year passport. Any extra money will go to Kamo for incidentals (photo I.D., emergency passport, repairing his boat, etc.) Thank you for your generosity. If you would like to donate and I didn’t send you a letter, email me and I can give you the donor info.

I didn’t use crowd funder or whatever they call it because they take a big cut, I understand, and the amount of money Kamo needed is relatively modest. Rebecca picked Kamo up at the airport and did research on documents needed, etc.. He stayed with Laurel and Murray a week and was able to work a few days at the yacht club in Hamilton. He is staying with me a month, waiting for his photo i.d. and passport. Then he will fly back to Grenada, where Immigration promises to welcome him back with his valid passport. All donors will receive a summary of money raised and how it is spent.

It’s nice to be back home, surrounded by my family and the many shades of a green Southwestern Ontario summer.

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April 3, 2015 Update from Lucky

This update covers the most relaxed period of the cruise this year.

I felt a little guilty leaving Rebecca in town by herself for the last night of her visit. But when she called to make sure I got back to Lucky safely in the dinghy, she was at the bar of the Exuma Yacht Club and making more friends already. I’m sure she will find wonderful things to do in her retirement when it starts in a few weeks.

The winds remained high and we watched many more of the great movies that Rebecca had brought down as gifts for us. Often Jim and Lynda came to watch them with us. I recommend The Imitation Game, about the British genius who broke the German Enigma code in WWII, also Boyhood.

We were still in Red Shanks and most mornings I got up before 6:30 a.m. to listen to Chris Parker predict more wind at 25 to 30 knots. Richard made breakfast and cooked many suppers. I made bread. Richard baked it. I worked on writing Book III, while Richard watched violent guy movies, wearing his headphones. When it wasn’t too windy to get off the boat, we walked back and forth on and in the white sand and turquoise water of the beach nearby. Gabe and Gail of Sea Wolf and Jim and Lynda usually joined us. We got used to the wind howling night and day and slept through it. Most evenings we shared supper with Jim and Lynda.

We missed the opening night show of the Cruisers’ Regatta. The entertainment, by all accounts, was wonderful, but the wind blew cold through Regatta Park. The four or five hundred people who arrived on Elvis’s taxis at 3 p.m. in shorts and tee-shirts had to stand or sit on the wall or the muddy ground for the show, then wait two or three hours to get rides back to their boats in one of the (3?) water taxis.

The six of us went the back way to town in our dinghies the next day, then crossed to Volleyball Beach to see the small boat races. The last day of the regatta we climbed to the ridge near the monument on Stocking Island to watch the Round the Island Race. In earlier years we raced, and I participated in the art show, but this year we didn’t have the wherewithal to race what had become our home, and the high winds kept us in Red Shanks and discouraged me from organizing an art show. Besides, an art group never really coalesced this year. (Or a Scrabble group, for that matter.) But one day I took all my paintings to Volleyball Beach just as Beach Church was getting out and set up my easel to paint. A couple of paintings and two books found new homes and I met and visited with many really friendly people. A great day.

There were two volunteer yoga leaders with different styles, and Lynda and I enjoyed both of their classes, when we could get there in spite of the wind. Richard and I went to three or four parties and enjoyed dancing and listening to the music. But by nine or ten p.m., we were both ready to go home to our V-berth.

We showed Gabe and Gail of the Kroegen the way to the Loyalist ruins on Crab Key, and went snorkelling in sheltered spots with them one day when the wind was high.

Our boats had now been in the water for two years. As fast as Richard and Jim cleaned the bottoms of the boats with scrapers, the grass grew back, and they had to go at it again. They could have hired a guy to do it for a dollar a foot, but Richard was having none of it. He still could do it himself, thank you very much. But he was glad of the help he got from Jim. I even helped a little, but got a lot of bites from little creatures that floated out of the grass I was scraping off on the waterline and got caught under the edges of my old bathing suit.

We saw lots of sea life this year – a two-foot-long red-finned pipe-fish with jaws full of sharp little teeth, the odd squid, and countless starfish and stingrays. Later we even had conch salad from a conch Richard found one day in the Darbys.

I managed to get about five pages of Book III written this winter, as well as the updates.

On March 15, the wind finally died down, and a week of calm was predicted. Off we went to Kidd Cove in front of George Town to reprovision and refill the tanks with water. Even though the number of boats in the harbour had dropped from 379 to 177, there was a long line-up of dinghies at the water tap on the dinghy dock behind the Exuma Market, where we got free reverse osmosis water. A day later Richard and I went to visit Helga, the German woman we met last year, who lives on Elizabeth Island. My favourite thing there: she has a rule – no bathing suits allowed on her lovely little beach.

Finally, on Thursday, March 19, we headed over to Kidd Cove to meet Jim and Lynda, who would lead us out of the harbour. Funny thing: As we were passing a boat anchored a little farther out, I saw the name Blue Streak on the side and as the stern became visible, I saw: Chatham, Ontario. I yelled that I was from Bothwell, and the couple on board said they knew the Kerrs from Bothwell (also sailors) and had read my books, loaned to them by the Kerrs. Small world.

Every day I look around at the clear azure 90 degree F water and swim in it, feel the warm air and go to sleep in the gently rocking boat, thankful that I’m here and not up there in Ontario. We go to town and the Bahamians are cheerful and helpful, and the kids are polite and charming. But there are more tourists and cruisers every year too, so I’m glad to have been wintering here since 2000, when it wasn’t quite as busy as it has been more recently.

We more or less followed Morningstar out of the harbour. After a couple of hours of slow sailing, there was a zzzzing on the fishing line we had been trailing with a flashy plastic lure on it. Looking back, I could see the stunning greens, yellows and blues of a large dorado (a.k.a. dolphin fish or mahi-mahi). Richard wound it in while I ran to find the net and gaff. Richard pulled it into the cockpit. It was fought until Richard poured rum into its gills. Sadly, when we posed with our four-foot catch, its beauty had faded to a dark gray. Jim cleaned it at our next stop, the old research center, now closed. Two big meals for four of us.

The water was much clearer there than in George Town and it was hot so we spent a lot of time in the water. We also went ashore and walked around. No one was living there and there were big piles of junk everywhere – a sad waste.

Heavy wind was called for, so we continued on the shallow route on the banks, followed by Hug, a Norwegian boat that was trying the shallow route for the first time. They drew 5 feet, same as us. Higher winds were called for so we took Lucky and Morningstar into a small anchorage between the Darbys, a well-protected spot where we could raft together. Jim and Lynda’s dinghy was continually springing leaks, so they came in our dinghy to explore. Richard had known the caretaker’s father in the old days, so we were cleared to visit the green mansion on top of the hill and other places of interest, despite the signs that said we would be taken to Fox Hill Prison in Nassau and our passports seized until our trial if we trespassed. But revisiting the green house was depressing. It was once a beautiful structure, but the rebar and steel beams are rusting and big chunks of concrete are falling through the floors. It has become dangerous. The new American owner is probably right to throw trespassers in prison. He is likely only concerned for their safety.

Some Bahamians have suggested that the reason most grandiose plans for resorts and the like never come to fruition is that the islands are purchased with money made by nefarious means and will eventually be resold to launder the money. The government goes along with this because so much employment is promised for locals, but often the project halts after a short time. There are a few successes. Emerald Bay is a notable example.

Two big catamarans came in and tried to anchor in this place, but no one uses two anchors anymore, and there is not room to swing there on only one. We had a total of seven anchors on our bows and sterns.

On March 30, we left this little haven and resumed the trip north, stopping at Little Farmers Cay and the secluded little bay south of Hetty’s land. Now we are in the pretty little village of Black Point and will continue to explore it today.

I have lost my address book, so if I sometimes phone you, could you please email me your phone number? Thank you.

Sharon and Richard on Lucky

 

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February 17 Update from Sharon and Richard on Lucky

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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