Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Help!

Late afternoon, on a mooring ball, about a quarter mile off  the coast of Grand Turk Island, in the Turks and Caicos, while sitting in the salon of the boat, I think that I hear a very faint "Help!". I listen and soon it comes again, very faint, and not too close to Rhapsody. I go up on deck and look around and see a man on a Stand-up paddle board (SUP). He is probably half a mile off shore and 100 yards away from me. He repeats his cry and I shout " What do you need?"  " I need help". "Can you get over to our boat?" I ask. " No" he says. It is becoming obvious that the current is carrying him out to sea, and the sun is on its way down. 

By this time Bob has joined me on deck, and together we lower Melody, our dinghy, and Bob takes off to rescue the man. 

Saturday, July 17, 2021

What do you do when your dive buddies are sharks?

Dive buddy - One who you share the dive with.

Over the years I have had many different dive buddies, but the most memorable ones are when the underwater critters choose me to accompany on the dive. I have had a variety of animals join me, but the most impressive recently have been Caribbean Reef sharks.

Picture taken by Rivers as the shark swam between us.

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Blue

 One of the first things that struck me about the Turks and Caicos Islands was the color blue.  The sea is seen in incredible shades of blues and greens and turquoises. Herman Melville wrote an entire chapter in Moby Dick about the color white. This is my pictorial on the color blue.

Even the satellite shot has beautiful shades of blue.

The turquoise that is seen in the satellite is what first amazed me about the water here.

This shot was taken on our first day here.

Turquoise as far as the eye can see, unless you can see out to the deep water, where it turns to deep blue.

One of the difficulties for Rhapsody in the Turks and Caicos is that the water we were traveling through is shallow, the cause of the wonderful turquoise color. In many places we were sailing in water that is under 9 feet deep. Our keel is 7'2" and so any coral heads sticking up can be disastrous.  Fortunately there are shipping channels marked on the charts that we stick to fairly closely, but we still have to "read the water" looking for discolorations that might mean shallower water, or it might only be a passing cloud, sometimes it is hard to tell. I have, on occasion, carefully steered around a cloud shadow, just to be safe! Most of the darker waters in the picture above are cloud shadows, which look remarkably similar to reefs.

This is exiting the Caicos Banks and entering the deep blue waters

And then turning around and looking back at the banks from the deep blue.


And just enjoying the deep blue color by itself.


As the sun sets the water gradually fades from turquoise to a deep black.



I leave you with a sneak preview of many more blue, underwater pictures to come and a poem, written by a friend while visiting our boat in the US Virgin Islands.


Blue by Adam He

I awake
   It takes me time
To adjust
   The sun warms my heart
As I take in my surroundings
   Scintillating turquoise water

Lapping against the prow

   And a baby blue sky
Make me wonder
   How blue is not everyone's favorite color
I am flushed with awe
  When I realize
That real life
  Is more surreal
Than my dreams


Monday, June 21, 2021

The Journey from Panama: Chapter 8, Reflections

What a trip! Six days planned out to go straight from Panama to Turks and Caicos, sailing, avoiding high winds and currents, turned into  11 days with way too much hand steering, too little sleep, and too much wind and current in our faces.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

The Journey from Panama: Chapter Seven, We arrive, at last

Heading into Great Inagua at 2 AM, bone tired, slightly loopy, but oh so happy to be there, where we could get fuel and continue on. I was on watch as we approached the harbor, trying to make out which lights were on shore and which were boats we should be avoiding. Coming into a new harbor in the dark is something we try very hard to avoid. Fortunately we did have a Bahamas guidebook which said that the harbor at Matthew town, where we were headed, was an open roadstead anchorage, meaning that it was clear of obstacles and all we had to do was to pick a spot and drop the anchor. Super easy if you have a functioning windlass to lower and retrieve the chain, a little more complicated when you have to pause at 20 foot intervals to tie a retrieval line onto the chain, but we managed.

Sunday, June 13, 2021

The Journey from Panama: Chapter Six, We get a break

By Bob

As we rounded the south eastern tip of Cuba it was mid day of day 8.   24 hours more of hand steering from Navassa left us a bit fuzzy from all night cat naps again.  Light fluffy clouds and bright sun followed us past the rocky cliffs and wooded plateau that was our only glimpse of this 600 mile long island. 


Sunday, May 30, 2021

The Journey from Panama: Chapter Five, North from Navassa

 6 hours late, still low on fuel and having no autopilot and no windlass to assist in anchoring and we took off from Navassa. We knew we didn't have enough fuel to make it to Turks and Caicos so we weighed our options. The winds were still whipping down the channel between Haiti and Cuba, the same channel that we were trying to go up. We were determined to sail as much as we possibly could to save what fuel we had so our route was aiming us much further west into Cuba than we wanted. For hours I was watching Navassa recede into the distance, unfortunately it was remaining on our stern when I was hoping that we would be passing it on the starboard (right) side. If Navassa was on the starboard that would mean that we were making progress up the channel, in the direction that we wanted, but alas that was not to be.