Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Makiko and Anna visit

Written March 11...

On Wednesday March 4th, my niece Makiko arrived. After seeing Cynthia off on the 3rd, I had sailed to Buck Island and caught a mooring. I snacked for dinner (simple food and staying out of the kitchen seemed wise at this mooring where a side-striking swell made the boat rock chaotically), slept indoors to avoid the searchlight moon, then left in the wee hours to ensure enough time to handle chores in Cruz Bay and meet Maki on time.

Sailing to Cruz Bay took about five hours, during much of which I read, occasionally dealing with storms or snapping pictures of rainbows.

​ The errands worked fine: laundry, groceries, ice, and water.... and I arrived in Maho Bay with enough time (despite excessive wind and a wave that split my dodger)....
but all the moorings near the beach were full... and Peter did not bring his dinghy with him. So, as I sailed about looking at moorings, I reviewed the possibilities:
      >walk with her a long way along the beach or road, then paddle out to the boat.
      >Paddle a looong distance... with luggage
      >bum a ride from someone with dinghy.

Then I saw a powerboat motoring off, probably leaving a mooring I'd like... and came back to snag the best possible mooring in the bay. YES! A half hour later Makiko was aboard, carrying a nice coconut she picked up on the the roadside, a few feet from the taxi. She worked on opening it and we enjoyed the sunset over Angels' Rest.

​The next day we snorkeled along the shore near our mooring and out at Whistling Cay, the island to our north (you can see it beyond Angels' Rest above) , seeing quite a few fish and a nice large (legal!) lobster despite seriously strong wind. Too bad we did not have the lobster snare with us.

Friday we sailed to Cruz Bay, did more shopping, visited the chiropractor, bought more ice and water, and picked up Maki's friend Anna when she arrived on the ferry. We ran into Jason, a friend from Coral Bay, taking folks out for a charter and he kindly brought Makiko out to the boat while I paddled the kayak with Anna and her bags.... then we set sail for Maho,

​ but only got as far as Caneel Bay before catching a mooring for the night, hooking into local wifi (for Anna's graduate class) and inviting Peter to come by for coffee and breakfast. The gals paddled ashore in the sunset, perhaps to crash a rather loud wedding reception.

Makiko and Anna slept so deeply and well in the V-berth it made me envious. Peter and I enjoyed the last of my coffee, chatting quietly, enjoying the morning, and waiting for them to wake. Once they woke, after the sun had risen well above Caneel, after omelets (Peter made them for us with our ingredients (eggs, mushrooms, sharp cheddar, onions) and his arugula),
after the gals tired of relaxing on Peter's second-story deck, after spending Saturday afternoon sailing through whistling wind and foaming whitecaps to Maho, we moored just inside the bay and snorkeled before the sun got too low.

On our way back to the boat my eye caught a familiar pattern and the lionfish alarm went off. It took a couple minutes for the gals to see the fish relaxing beside a coral head, but then they pointed out that there were two, not just the one I could see! Shivering with mild hypothermia, I managed to retrieve one, but the other escaped. These were a couple of the smallest ones I've seen.

Sunday morning we went swimming early and spotted no more lionfish, but lots of parrotfish, angelfish, and a school of six 30” tarpon that hung around near us for minutes before lazily swimming off into the blue distance.

After breakfast, our several-hour sail to Coral Bay involved sunshine, rain, loads of wind, and being briefly becalmed.... but we finally made it to the mooring I had left two weeks before and settled securely into place. The gals hit the shore and explored Coral Bay for the last few hours of daylight while I cleaned up and went online.

​Our final couple days included sailing to Haulover and snorkeling in Haulover Bay in some of the best coral on the island, the gals' night out in Cruz Bay, and a sail to Salt Pond Bay, where we hiked to the top of Ram's Head and swam with mellow grazing turtles, little dirigible trunkfish, long needlefish, and the local large barracuda... although the latter was a bit intimidated by our excessive enthusiasm.

The sail home included MORE excessive wind (every single day of the gals' visit!) and a loud “BANG” that left the jib hanging loose.... so I ended Tuesday with climbing the mast twice, working to repair the jib halyard (the prior owner had run it through the weak spinnaker block rather than the far stronger sheaves built into the masthead). It should work now... but I may install a spare halyard just in case... The jib also needs to be re-stitched. Endless!

This morning we went ashore to catch the bus to the ferry, but hitched a ride before the bus arrived. At 12:40 I left the gals to board my flight, a half hour before their flight back home to California. I have really enjoyed having them aboard and look forward to their next visit... although I definitely could use more electrical power with the extra laptops aboard (we had enough, but barely)... and there are a few other ways my home needs improvement.

I'll order stuff while in Cape Cod and work on it when I get back. Stove, head, reefing car repairs, sail repairs... Such a list!!! Adventure!

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