Wednesday, February 11, 2015

More new friends and a little lion hunting

I'm back in the warmth and sunshine! A midnight flight from Boston (two hours ahead of another storm), a four-hour layover in San Juan, then a hop over to St Thomas.... and the airplane door opens and we step out into sunshine and warmth and walk down the airplane stairs to the hot asphalt. I sat beside John (flying with his wife) and near Andrés & Tracy and their sons, Luca and Nico. Trips are always more fun if you chat with strangers!

I invited all six to give me a call and a couple days later Andrés dropped me a line, saying they would love to see me if I were over at Salt Pond. I replied that I was, coincidentally, on-route and halfway there. An hour or so later, aboard the Dorado, we discussed possibilities and decided to sail a mile to Lameshur Bay and snorkel there.

Luca seemed to find the idea of a home that sails quite wonderful. He bounced about irrepressibly, helping raise and furl sails, taking the helm occasionally, drinking the milk of a coconut I opened,

​leaped repeatedly off the boat (once we were on mooring), snorkeled, and paddled about while I held the kayak and snorkeled, and paddled the kayak on a long line.

 And Nico relaxed in parental arms and took a nap that reminded me of the many wonderful naps I've taken to the rocking of a boat and rushing of water.

​Tracy snorkeled a bit

while Andrés kept an eye on young Nico, who seemed fascinated by winches and cleats and lines, releasing as many lines as he could find (under watchful eyes, of course).

Or relaxed in his dad's arms

​And all enjoyed the coconut.

Once we sailed back to Salt Pond (nice sail, Luca at the helm!)

and caught the mooring, Luca and I spotted a turtle right off our starboard beam and pointed it out to his parents. Tracy went in first and floated for a minute or three while the turtle grazed peacefully below her. Once everyone had packed, we all loaded onto the kayak.... except Andrés, since there is a point where the kayak founders. He decided to swim to shore as he had swum out and, once we reminded him of the turtle (still beside the boat) he spent several minutes with it, even watching as it came to the surface an arm-length away!

They invited me to dinner, but I declined since I felt rather tired. I did invite them to call me again and, two days later, on Saturday, they did. Andrés and Luca met me at Johnson Bay (I screwed up the meeting: I was still on Eastern Time!) and we sailed to Hurricane Hole. There we finally convinced Luca to leave the wonders of the Dorado and go paddling over to a reef where, within three minutes, we spotted a large lionfish hunting! Luca tossed me the lionfish marker to place nearby on the reef and we debated whether to call it in or retrieve the spear from Dorado and hunt it ourselves. Ten minutes later the fish emerged from the water on the spear and thumped into the bottom of the bucket where Luca could admire it. There seem to be fewer fish in that reef now and I saw NO lobsters. Hmm.

Once we returned to the boat, we took photos,

​ ...trimmed off the poison spines and took more photos,

​ and headed home, racing the setting sun. We caught the mooring in the dusk, then headed to Concordia for a nice dinner with Tracy and Nico, who had stayed home. Nice place to eat, good meal, wonderful family.

Adventure shared = adventure doubled.

And sunrises are delicious.... and they, too, are better shared.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Lighthouse Beach: storm aftermath

Sitting in my boat in Johnson Bay after a dawn swim, the photos and memories of the wintery Cape seem a bit surreal:

The ice on the Mill Pond in the morning...

​The steps to lighthouse beach...

An outhouse tossed ashore from who knows where...

The wind-blasted sand...

with Lucy and Tio trotting across it, enjoying the sun and exploration despite low temperatures and high winds...

The salt pond, partially covered with a layer of slushy ice...

A shed we turned upright, with a couple of boxes for seats, makes a fine shelter from the wind. Who cares about lumps of snow falling onto one's head?

And, finally, here is Cynthia with the old ball and chain...