Friday, January 2, 2015

sunrise showers & sunrise sailing, new friends, fixing the chart table, found an anchor!

Well, things have been busy.... for a change.

I went hunting lionfish again on Christmas morning and saw one.... but did not get it. I did, however, see my first octopus peeking out from under a coral head! Also found three sub-legal lobsters under a ledge. The waves stirred up sediment (one could barely see ten feet), but still wonderful fun. Maybe one more try tomorrow or Sunday morning before heading to St Thomas.

Early does it! Whether heading north across the hills from Coral Bay in the gray dawn, waiting only until I can see buoys to sail into the sunrise, enjoying yoga on the bow as the east turns from black to gray, or just lying on the deck and watching the stars go out while the wind ruffles my hair, this is the time when the air is cool and the sun does not burn. I spend a lot of daylight under water, or indoors, or bundled up in while shirt and hat. Just like now, using some of my excess PV electricity while the sun provides... and I love those sunrise photos, 
either with storm
or while I'm sailing into it..

​​ Rob invited me to his Christmas potluck party on the beach. Four of us (out of the twenty or so on the beach) went snorkeling around the reef at the west side of the bay and spotted a nice lobster crawling through the corals.  Too bad it was deep and none of us had the gloves or snare to catch it. Beautiful coral and wonderful jumble of huge boulders, 10' to 20' in diameter. I invited everyone to snorkel at sunrise to look for lionfish, but few seemed interested and only one showed....
In the morning Stephanie and I snorkeled the reef and, happily, saw no lionfish. Then we sailed to Salt Pond Bay (ten minutes or so) and snorkeled there a bit, then over to Hurricane Hole.... and snorkeled there. There we found a cute little 4' nurse shark or lemon shark resting under some coral and I swam down to touch the tail very gently. Excellent adventure, conversation, and company. Stephanie even treated me to a tasty and welcome dinner in return before she headed back to Rob's guest room. Now she is back in sunny, warm Wisconsin.

A couple days ago I met another stranger, Ted, down here from Boston with his family for a week. They were sleeping in while he enjoyed coffee & breakfast at Pickles.... and he thought that sailing and snorkeling might be a great way to spend most of their last day. At 10am I snagged them in my neighbor Peter's dinghy, "Plan B", and brought them (Ted and Kelley with their sons Teddy and Luke) out to my boat. We set sail and headed to Hurricane Hole, snagged the mooring I favor, pulled out the masks and snorkels I have collected over the last year, and, after tossing out a couple problematic masks, hopped into the water. I pointed out the corals among the roots of the mangroves the tube worms popping their little fans back into their tubes as in Avatar, and retrieved one of the impressively prickly sea stars for everyone to pass around.

What else? Refinished the top of the chart table, but I may need to redo it before too long. Still, a big improvement.

Found an anchor near the Hurricane Hole mooring we were using and Ted helped me pull it up from 25 feet deep or so once I tied a line to it. Not a sign of existing line or chain, but the anchor looks sound and may work well for securing the boat near the mangroves next hurricane season...

Finally, this black Sunbrella cloth curtains the cockpit at night. Now I can sleep in comfort even though the harbor shore glares with sodium vapor lamps. What a relief!
Now we shall see how long my half-baked tailoring lasts.

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