Thursday, December 31, 2015

Christmas with K2F

With Peggy gone, I sort of forgot that it fell to me to keep the writings up to date, hopefully to turn into a blog soon.  To back track a bit, Peggy went home on Dec 24 to be with her mom for Christmas.  I accompanied her to south Bimini Island where the international airport is by way of ferry, a small noisy, smoky, fishing boat, and taxi, a family hauler van full of family stuff, kid stuff, last week’s groceries, and kids.

Peggy and Bob, Dec. 23, 2015

So here I am in the Bahamas, on our boat, with the prospect of being all alone for the next 5 weeks.  What to do?  Before Peggy left, we went through a honey-do list to keep me busy, and to insure that the K2F is kept clean, organized, and various small systems are brought up to date.  She has been gone for 1 week now, how have I done?  I have been jogging on the beach, snorkeling every morning, visited A Taste of Heaven 2 or 3 times for a cinnamon bun, grocery store for banana’s, apples and oranges, got the hole fixed in the dinghy, and visited with a whole new set of sail boat people that came in to replace the 6 boats that left Last Wednesday.   Notice that nothing on the honey-do list is on my got-accomplished list.

Getting my reward for beach jogging

Christmas day started with the usual jog and snorkel on Bob’s beach.  Odd that all these years of being in the Navy and doing 2 WestPac Tours, and doing over 100 Oceanographic sea trips on 30 different ships, this is the first time I have not been home for Christmas.  Such is the draw of the Bahamas.  Turns out that Kris did not come home either, and Genoa, Eowyn and her husband Ryan went to North Adams for Christmas.  Betty and Peggy got to enjoy a quite holiday together on the Cape and I had to go to the beach to check the warmth of the sand between my toes.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Laundry Day!

Bittersweet day.  Six sailboats left this morning.  We have been becoming friends over the last five days while waiting for a weather window.  With group cookouts, boat parties and conch hunting, we all had become best buds but the breakup finally came.  Winds and waves decreased and it was time for the travelers to move on.

Our friends off to the Berry Islands

We had another day snorkeling in the search of the elusive blue sea glass.  Walking along the shore on the way to Nathan's Bakery we did see a very large ray about 100 yards off the beach.   Other marina boat people reported the "swim by" of the local 8 foot bull shark this afternoon.

There is a laundromat (2 washers and dryers)  a short 15 minute walk from here but in addition to being expensive ($11 for one load - wash and dry) you are in competition for the machines with the ladies who do laundry for hire.  We washed laundry in a bucket on the dock and hung it on life lines to dry.

Bob rinsing laundry.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Another day picking


Going to the beach every day is now the norm.   Bob swims and I collect yet more shells as there are new ones with every high tide.
Back at K2F Bob found a fellow banjo player on the boat next door, so he and Rick spent the rest of the morning discussing music, frets, and playing together.

Rick showing Bob a new song

Winds are much less today and most of the sailboats are talking of heading out tomorrow.  The east wind is making it difficult as most people want to go east from here.  We have made a lot of good friends here so it is bittersweet to know so many will be gone tomorrow.  At least 4 sailboats are planning a 6am leave time.

It is finally time for the “Things To Do Tomorrow” list which for today meant “Find the dinghy leak.” After going over the seams several times Bob took off the motor so we could better inspect the bottom.  Still no luck until I heard a slight hiss.  We had a hole on the inside of the tube.  The cause – a conch shell we brought back from Conch Island had punctured the hypalon.  Butch had told us that the conch shell is the 5th hardest material in the world and we know for sure that it is harder, or at least sharper, than Zodiacs hypalon boats.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Dinghy Surprise and Cocktails

At 6:30am we were on the sailboat Honu listening to the forecast by Chris Parker.  Honu was trying to decide whether to shove off tomorrow or change directions to make it possible to go somewhere other than here.  They wanted to get some sailing in as all four people on board had finite time limits before returning to work.  They will be one of the few leaving on Tuesday as most of the sailboats will wait for better weather on Wednesday. 

Bob got in his morning beach run and dip in the ocean all alone this morning while I hung around the boat, answered emails, etc.  

The sun was out today!  Temperature was in the 80’s which was much nicer than the last few days of 70, overcast and windy.  It’s still windy of course.  Ed and Maureen from Manatee went at low tide and collected three large conchs.  We took the dinghy out to the island across the channel just after low tide.  The island is so covered in conch shells, all harvested, that I called it Conch Shell Island.  Then we ran up the harbor to the resort and back and discovered that one pontoon of our dinghy was leaking air.  After a filling it still leaked so it will be put on the list for “Things to do Tomorrow.”

We hosted an appetizer night at 5:15pm for all the boats and got a pretty good crowd and some fantastic food.  Summer sausage is an item we need to add to the cruising list.  Maureen and Ed brought their freshly caught, deshelled and chopped conch salad.  Some people left to attend the 6:00pm  Christmas Tree Lighting in front of the police station but some stayed on into the evening.  Reports were that the Tree Lighting was on “Island Time” and by 7:30 had still not happened.  About 150 people were in attendance and having a great time singing and otherwise making merry with each school grade 2nd through 6th having a turn.  It was reported to be terribly disorganized but everyone was having fun which is the point of it all.  

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Icecream, finally!


Another day at the beach in the morning and pancakes at CJ’s.  Bisquick pancakes and Log Cabin syrup but they tasted good eating them at a picnic table on the beach.  All the stores were closed today so we lazed around on the boat wherever we could find a sunny spot out of the wind.  The ice cream truck drove by and Bob chased it down so we could each enjoy an ice cream sandwich.  In the evening we visited Bill and Francine’s boat Honu, Hawaiian name for sea turtle, as Francine is Hawaiian or is at least physically from there.  As for the genetics part she described herself as a genuine mutt with Hawaiian, Chinese, Mongolian and some other part which I forget. 

Bill and Francine enjoying cocktails on K2F

They are both in the movie/TV business as a cameraman and a producer.  They also have a very nice 44 foot sailboat and are traveling with another couple, Mark (retired Air Force and now civilian employee) and Alice (elementary school teacher).   Ed from Montreal joined us and we topped off the evening with carrot cake from Trader Joe’s, complements of Francine and Bill!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Weather picking up


The wind picked up after midnight, just as predicted.  Boy, don’t I love saying that.  Prediction that works is an awesome thing and something we seldom saw on Cape Cod.  Actually you could almost guarantee the opposite of whatever the weather prediction was.  The only exception to that was Don Kent, a weatherman that Bob remembered from his high school days in Norwell and who was the weatherman for WQRC Hyannis when we moved to the Cape.  Don knew Cape weather and his were the only predictions that I would ever trust.

Bob's Beach on a windy day

 Winds from the north at 20 knots are ripping the grommets out of our used Bahama flag so down it came until the winds calm or I can repair it.  A walk over to Radio Beach this morning allowed Bob his daily salt water immersion ritual despite the rough water and churned up sand in the waves, his shorts, his pockets and his ears.  I stayed safely on shore and was steadily sand blasted as I walked the beach looking for elusive blue beach glass.  

Back at the boat we doubled or tripled up on all the dock lines and settled in for the day to avoid the winds.  And I thought Northeasters only happened in New England!  Clifford, a marina employee, was wearing a winter jacket and watch cap though we were still in shorts and t-shirts at 73oF.  It was still nice on the fore deck right in front of the pilot house which was south facing and therefore in the lee.  Ed and Maureen came over for a tour and Maureen showed me her jewelry making skills with sea glass and wire wrapping.

Bob's Beach, ever changing.

After another walk on the beach we had a surprise.  The whole beach terrain had changed drastically from this morning with cliffs of sand rearranged by the high tide to a sloping beach.  Only staying a short while, we returned to the boat to prepare our donation to the evenings potluck put on by the marina for all the boaters. 

The potluck was well attended and a very nice time as we met more people and tried to remember more names.  The Canadians all sat at one table and soon there was nothing but French to be heard by them.  What a wonderful thing to be bilingual.  Bill and Francine came over to our table as neither of them spoke French.  During dinner the wind picked up even more and was producing white caps off the stern of our boat.  Prediction: 30 knots with higher gusts but it seems pretty steady at rock and roll!