Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Back in the heat: fishing with Peter

Back home on Dorado, my sweet tiny floating home! I leave chilly, windy Cape Cod and emerge from JetBlue four hours later to warm & muggy, mild breeze. Low tourist season, so there are no taxis willing to take me on the last leg from Cruz Bay to Coral Bay... and no bus since it is Saturday. After 1.5 hrs of sweating profusely I finally hitch a ride.

My kayak was missing... borrowed... but Peter motored me out and we retrieved it. Both paddles were gone: one stolen and the other borrowed... and sunk. *grumble*. Well, I had a canoe paddle aboard Dorado, so got by until I bought myself new paddles a few days later. No worries.

We had lightning flashing in distant clouds most days and, even better, at night. Beautiful! None of it has passed over us, but plenty within five miles. Beautiful to see the thunderheads lighting up internally at night.

I took a walk over the mountain to Brown Bay to hunt lionfish.... and got ten! Another couple may have died from wounds, but the spear was too dulled by hitting the bottom to fully pierce them. Two days later I returned for the remaining fish and killed three of four (could not find the fourth). I love hunting lionfish: useful and applauded work that helps preserve the health of the reefs! And a very good reason to spend time in the water.

I found a very odd thing in the water being fed upon by a conch and several 3.5" gastropods. It looked like a pile of cream colored knitting, but on close examination is likely a cluster of eggs, probably already hatched. Each is about half the size of a watermelon seed. I placed some in my velcro pocket to bring home, but found it empty when I walked onto shore an hour later: the sample probably floated out when I stowed a cork marker for the lionfish.

Peter invited me over to fish when the last of his mahi mahi got spoiled. He pulled up the largest snapper he had caught on his mooring.... then I pulled in a black tip shark (which we released)... and then a tarpon that leaped twice and shook the hook from its mouth. A fillet of the snapper made a delicious dinner for us an hour later and I cooked the head for a large lunch for myself the next day.

I found upon inspection that one of the chainplates on the aft stays has a hairline crack.
 And when I used it as a pry bar the hairline crack opened up more:
It probably would have broken within the next couple years (even before I carelessly cracked it a bit), so I've ordered new ones. I could have gone to St Thomas and gotten some decent replacements at the cost of $80 each and several hours (or made my own for $80 total), but can get far better ones made up in the states for $110 each and delivered to me. Still a bit tempting to DIY as I like working metal, but the new ones should arrive in a week.

Some new bedding arrived, but is a bit too firm, so have ordered a softer topper. Without good sleep life sucks, so it is worth the time, effort, and $ to get it right! At least the blackout curtains around my cockpit keep the shore lights off me at night so I can watch the beautiful starry night sky when heat makes the cabin uncomfortable.

I climbed the mast yesterday (again) to remove some old rusting steel parts on a spreader and pull a cable that often tangles the sail and seems useless. I scraped bushels of oyster shells from the bottom of the boat. Hatches are leaking as are deck fittings. One LED strip died from moisture condensation or leakage. I AM going to finally tackle the engine, but first need to get the instrument panel fixed and install a coolant overflow tank. My list is endless! Get a sailboat and you will never have nothing to do!

Well, I suppose I will get started.... or take a brief nap and THEN get started.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Wrapping up in Cape Cod, preparing to head south.

The boats are out of the water: Andrew's Hobie on his trailer, the Rhodes 19 on Cynthia's spare one.

This was the first time that I removed the boats from the water without the help of the primary owner or a pro, but Cynthia and I did just fine and found it very satisfying... then found a deep puddle to drive through to rinse her car.

So much to do this winter on both boats: replace a connection point high on the mast of the Hobie, a long list of broken or stuck or loose bits on the Rhodes. Frankly, I am looking forward to working on both of them, but don't have the time now. I'll wait until after Thanksgiving when I am back here.

Yesterday we finished wrapping the Rhodes, bought 12lbs of cranberries at a roadside stand, then walked in the dunes near Provincetown and picked another 4.5lbs of wild cranberries! They look a bit smaller than the commercial berries, but a bit riper/darker. Can you spot the difference?
 The dogs delighted in the open dunes, sniffed the bogs in fascination, then competed with us to see if they could eat cranberries from the plants faster than we could pick them: no signs of indigestion so far.

The winds are strong, the skies changed from clear to thunderous in an hour this morning, the leaves are changing color, the mercury has been dropping for weeks so now seldom gets over 65degF... and will get down below 50degF today: fall is here. We waded waist deep a few days ago, important bits eventually and happily becoming numb in the cold cold water, but the few littlenecks we found taste wonderful.

I look forward to warm water, hunting lionfish, sailing in my little home, seeing Cynthia there soon. I already miss my gal and her pups.... as well as fast internet, unlimited inexpensive water, good fresh food, and shellfish.

PS: I wrote the above yesterday, before packing and seining for silversides... and accidentally putting on Cynthia's outfit. Well, these things will happen: at least she found mine old one quite comfortable as well, as you can see:

Now I'm sitting at the JetBlue gate, missing my gal & looking over pictures of our last adventures.... like sailing with Deb and Heather and the pups.

We collected a great quantity of delicious hard apples under a couple trees and Cynthia made them into wonderful apple sauce and hopes apple butter turns out as well. We shall see. I love having the tart tasty spicy sauce (better than commercial!) with no added sugar or the high fructose corn syrup so inescapable in commercial sauces.

 And we took a sunset walk recently with the dogs. They love the cool weather, although they are both learning to use the cool ocean when they get overheated in the summer.

 Ah, good memories! I look forward to creating many more.