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.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

The Journey from Panama: Chapter 4, Six Hours to Raise an Anchor?

Navassa Island- where to go when you really  want to get away from it all!

Navassa Island as seen from the Space Station

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

The Journey from Panama: Chapter Two, Morant Cays, Jamaica

Click here for Chapter One if you missed it.

Hand steering. No other thoughts or activities. Hand steering, through the night, through the day and through the night again. The first night was not too bad, energy-wise, but by the second night we were both feeling the effects of sleep deprivation. Cruising couples usually come up with their own schedules of how to share the time at the wheel at night. For us the schedule is often sleep driven. Bob will go down early (9 PM ish) and sleep for 4 or 5 hours. Then when he comes up I get to go to sleep. I can hang on longer because I know that when it is my turn to sleep I get to sleep as long as I want. 

Friday, May 7, 2021

The Journey from Panama: Chapter one, Departure

 It should only take 6 days. The weather, wind and waves should all be mild. It should be a relatively easy passage.

Lies, all lies!

Passing through "The Parking Lot" at the entrance to the Panama Canal. Apparent Wind speed, 14 knots, True wind speed (not taking in the speed of the boat) 7.8 knots,  depth 139 feet, 612 miles to go at 7.3 knots. All our clothespins clipped below the plotter.

Sunday, May 2, 2021

The Mighty Jungle Part 2

 The upside of not escaping Panama has been the chance for more jungle walks. 

So join me on my walks and I will share some of the things I have seen.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

We did it!

 We broke free of Panama, however Panama did not let go easily. I am tired of posting sad stories, so I will make this one a celebration. I will tell you that our predicted 6 day passage took us 11, and we arrived in the Turks and Caicos battered and exhausted. But that story will have to wait because I am so happy that we made it! I know that the disaster stories (fires, lightning, mechanical failures) are what more people read (you people have issues!) but you are going to have to be patient and celebrate with me. We are finally free of Panama after over a year and five different attempts to leave!

Friday, April 2, 2021

What's that sucking sound?

 Oh, that's just Panama not letting go of us.

This is not what leaving for a passage is supposed to look like.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

In the Jungle, the Mighty Jungle

Sometimes you find a place that speaks to your heart. For me it has been hiking in the jungles of Panama, just outside the Shelter Bay Marina. The access is wonderful, the jungle begins right across the street and the paths are easy and plentiful. This is a sampling of some of the things we have been enjoying in the jungle. 

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Things Happen... part 2 Through the Canal

 Transitting the Panama Canal is certainly an accomplishment to add to my life list of things to do and i have now been fortunate enough to do it three times. I was informed that I was not so special because I was not the first in the family to do so, my grandmother did it in 1914 when she travelled from Nevada to Massachusetts to christen the USS Nevada.

My grandmother, Eleanor Siebert christening the USS Nevada

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Things happen.. (part 1)

 "Things happen" said our Panama Canal advisor shortly after he boarded Rhapsody at 5 AM for our canal crossing and we told him the engine wasn't running.

I didn't want to tell him just how often "things" have been happening!

Moises, our Canal Advisor, safely on board

Sunday, February 28, 2021

A bolt, a bolt, my kingdom for a bolt!


For want of a nail the horse was lost...

What other nursery rhymes fit the bill?

Following up on our previous post of our aborted jaunt to the Galapagos...

We made the assumption that when the chartplotter gave us the message : "No Autopilot computer" that it meant our autopilot computer was not working. Silly us! Apparently the issue was simply a broken bolt. A very important bolt, but not an electronics issue. The bolt was the connection from the hydraulic autopilot arm to the steering quadrant, and it sheered completely through. 



Thursday, January 21, 2021

Well, that didn't work...

 When you tell a lot of people they can follow your track while making a passage, it falls somewhere on the spectrum between "Hold my beer, I got this" and "Mommy, mommy, watch me do this" often the result is not quite what was expected.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Both Fred and Frieda have been re-homed!

For several years we have had one or more geckos living on our boat. We suspected more than one, but only recently did Bob see two together. We have enjoyed their company, watching them dart around the boat, hopefully munching on any unwanted insects we have aboard. We were sad that their lives were in danger because we have to get the boat fumigated before we go to the Galapagos, and we were even sadder when we heard that geckos can live up to 15 years. They certainly do no harm to us, and they eat bugs, so we appreciate them being aboard. We have tried to catch them in the past, but they are very quick and very elusive. 



Monday, January 18, 2021

Raccoon Picture test

This is one of the many raccoons in the marina. 
When we first arrived in the July 
it was the height of the lockdown. 
No one was about and the raccoons
 were running rampant.
 Up and down the docks, onto boats, 
up on top of buildings, 
there was no stopping them. 

Test

Trying to figure out how to send a post from my satellite phone. Next step, sending a picture.

Sent from Iridium Mail & Web.