Saturday, April 30, 2016

Too busy to blog.... and the computer died

Yes, just after my last post in March, my computer had a couple little issues that I thought I could solve. One thing lead to another, I took days running repair programs, reinstalling windows, etc.... and finally the computer would not even boot to the bios, would not even respond to the power button. At this point, I pronounced it dead. Fortunately, I had managed to get it running briefly during the repairs and had done a full copy of all my data (I hope) to a backup drive, so I bought a new computer and loaded it up. The whole thing wasted about three days... and I am STILL installing some of the programs I need and adjusting things. *sigh*

So... Cynthia and I flew back down to the islands for more adventures. We ran into Rebekah and Bella, a mother and daughter down for a week, and took them out sailing for a couple days. Lots of fun, including getting caught in a torrential downpour, then having a nice hot lunch.

Then the post-flight incubation period ended and both Cynthia and I came down with horrible colds that lasted about five or six days. We still managed to take advantage of low winds to anchor in places that were normally too exposed and hunted lionfish and explored new reefs. Wonderful stuff, even sick.

We also unpacked our new sewing machine

and tried repairing the jib
before (the foot has been poorly repaired over the years... and needs more repairs)
and after (trimmed off several inches)

 and the head of the new used mainsail (the head of the sail was nearly ready to rip off due to sun exposure and fatigue.)

Interesting, fun, and somewhat frustrating, especially when I broke the needle and we had to sand the burrs, scars I had made on the sewing machine parts. Still, now that we have the machine and have watched videos, we can look at the sail I bought or the old genoa jib and see ways to improve them easily instead of seeing them as fixed quantities. We both love that.

We took off to the BVIs (British Virgin Islands), checking in at Jost Van Dyke. The folks at customs made everything easy (just make sure to wear decent clothing and shoes and to be polite: I have heard that walking in shirtless, smacking your beer bottle onto the counter, and then belching may increase your fees several hundred percent.... after you have been sent back out to dress properly.). The folks on Jost are delightful and we enjoyed chatting with Foxy, the most famous inhabitant. The prices are rather high: expect to pay four or five bucks for a bag of ice.

We sailed around the islands, to Little Jost, to Cane Garden on Tortolla, to Little Harbor on Peter Island (one of our favorite anchorages), to Haulover on Cooper Island (we walked over to the other side and found incredible trash on the beach and pretty darned nice coral and fish in the water), to Spanish Town on Virgin Gorda
 (we also pulled baby chickens from a concrete drainage ditch, but mom was gone. Later we pulled more out and these DID get back to mom), to The Baths and The Caves

 (very cool, but make sure to get out before the 9am crowds), to Gorda Sound (mob tourist scene), then worked our way back home.

Cynthia read a terribly depressing bit about the die-off of the corals and, apparently, it is continuing apace through disease, sedimentation, algae, climate change, etc. Folks who came here a half century ago would probably be in shock at the change. Cynthia and I find so many places to be so sad (dead and rotten coral and nearly no fish) that we just climb out of the water and sail away. On a more cheerful note, I recently heard a piece about methods for regrowing even giant 500-yr-old corals in five years or so, although one needs to listen to the depressing bit of the radio piece first: Science Friday Future of Coral.

We found nearly no lionfish (until we paddled far from the beaten path and found an awesome reef), the wind died and we spent a week of frustration considering a 3 knot wind to be wonderful, I found the masthead welds had cracked (probably on our stormy trip to or from St Croix),

 we will never go through customs in Tortola again (OMG!), and I spent two nights and two pots of coffee sailing us the last ten miles home.

Now Cynthia is back home, trying to get back into real life. I got the masthead welded a couple days ago, reinstalled it yesterday, and will get a new one made soon. Every trip gives new memories.


  1. Always a great read! and love the pictures...

  2. I can hardly believe that picture of you way up on the mast. Funny you should talk about getting sick after being on a plane. I am suffering the same 4 to 5 day cold after a chilly night flight from Los Angeles to Newark. It's rough. I love how enterprising you were with the sewing machine and fixing the sales. Never a doll moment and always new memories.

    1. Those flights can be rough, especially if one is already tired and then are stuck in a tin can with someone coughing for six hours.

      I love having the ability to make my own repairs. Some might see it as a way to reduce my interaction with others when I need repairs, but I've already offered to sew my neighbor's small sail so new doors have opened.

      A big "Amen!" to making memories! What else should we live for but memories of adventures, love, and friends?