27 February 2012

Another Day in Paradise

We've been here for two and a half months, now and our lives are surprisingly settled (or maybe not so surprisingly).  In some ways life on a boat isn't much different from life on land on a day-to-day basis.  Instead of mowing the lawn, I grease winches; rather than change the oil in the car, I change it in our diesel engines.  Yes, it's true that we didn't have to think about our energy or water consumption back at the house (though we should have) and didn't have to worry about fetching our prop out of the canal (a stroke of luck, that one) or Percy out of the canal (do they EVER learn?), but we also don't have to think about shoveling snow, or snow even as an abstract concept and whenever it happens that we're not so keen on our neighbors, we can relocate in less than 15 minutes.  A more than fair trade off, I'd say.  Thanks to iTunes, we can even keep up with our favorite TV shows, not to mention find new ones--when we have an Internet connection, that is.  Someday, some $15000 from now (plus monthly charges), we'll be able to be online whenever we want.  For now, it's catch as catch can.  For instance, just now, I'm sitting at the local watering hole, which isn't open, or rather, isn't serving (it's an open air bar, so it's always "open"), but has wi-fi, and thanks to our having stayed at the marina when we first came to Treasure Cay, we know the password... until they change it.

We did finally make it Green Turtle Club to toast "the idea" with Tipsy Turtles as a provocative hour. We'd actually accidentally gone to a Valentine's Day dinner at different marina on the same island the night before.  I wanted to walk around the harbor to get a little exercise, but Jane felt that it didn't count if we didn't dinghy over, so we did.  She dinghyed back; I walked (those Tipsy Turtles are chock full o' calories).  On the way back I ran into Phil and Sally and Karin and Klitzer--fun to run into folks you know.

Last weekend, T-Cay (as it is it known to many of the residents), held a marine flea-market and because I've stared uncomprehendingly at all of the 3,127 spare parts on JOY, I though it was time to look at some new unidentifiable objects.  We were also hoping to get a larger anchor, as ours is a little undersized.  No luck on the anchor, but we were pleasantly surprised at how many of the items' identities we did have a guess about.  No need to buy anything, we decided as we're already overwhelmed by the prospect of deciding which unidentifiable items in our own inventory to keep, space being at more of a premium all the time.  We have provisionally settled on three organizational categories.  Not because three suffices better than any other number, but because we (and when I say "we" I mean I), can't keep more than three consistently separate.  The categories are: 1) "Know What it is and Know We'll Need it at Some Point"  2) Don't Know What it is, but it's Heavy and Therefore Probably Expensive to Replace" and 3) "It's so Small, it Can't Possibly Be All that Useful and/or Expensive."  Of course, it would seem to make sense to keep the small parts just cause they don't take up that much room, whereas the bigger parts do, all else being equal (such as our equal ignorance of their functions).  We may have to rethink our categories.

Our friends, Michel and Danielle on Gatito are back for a few weeks.  It's good to see them again.  We'll actually be leaving before Michel this time to return to the States for a major refit.  And then, parts south.  We're looking forward to moving on, much as we love it here.

17 February 2012

JOY fishing

First fish

Fish CLEANING, lesson from Phil with Klitzer looking on
Big Excitement on JOY - a fishing expedition. Phil was our teacher and guide.  Sally, his wife, made the best Wahoo salad you'd ever hope to eat, along with some awesome cookies.  Phil and Sally brought their good friends, houseguests from Germany, Klitzer and Karen; and Max, my mom's friend, also came along.  What a fun day.  Great weather and great company, even though the fish weren't biting.  But, hurray for us, we didn't return empty-handed.  This is Ean's FIRST FISH EVER.  It is a Bar Jack, they tell us, and after Ean got his lesson in fish cleaning and Karen shared her cooking secrets, we had a very tasty meal.

03 February 2012

Pete's 18th Annual 50th Birthday Party: A Pilgrimage of Sorts

We have sailed to Little Harbour to attend a party in honor of Peter Johnston's 50th birthday.  We have never met Pete, as far as we know, and it's not really his 50th birthday and the whole affair is just an excuse to raise funds for a charitable organization known as "Every Child Counts."   ECC is a philanthropic organization which, without benefit of governmental funding, seeks to provide educational opportunities for children with developmental disabilities.  Pete's "birthday" is one of several annual fundraisers they hold.

We're that much more happy to attend the party knowing that the proceeds are going for a worthy cause, but it is not really the reason we're going.  We first discovered Pete's Pub in the summer of 2008.  We'd decided to rent a car and drive the length of Abaco just to see what there was to see.  Pete's Pub and Gallery was listed in the guidebooks and online as a not-to-be-missed stop and so, we didn't.  At the time, vehicular access to Pete's Pub seemed recent.  Something about the 2+ mile extension cord which T'd off the main highway and provided electricity to the pub, gallery and the rest of the Little Harbour community.

How to Buy a Sailor's Knot Bracelet

If you've ever wondered how to find that quintessential accessory donned by all style-conscious sailors, worry not.  One of the many perks of living the life aquatic is the veritable wealth of fashion advice for all things nautical that one acquires without even trying.  
The sailor's knot bracelet, indeed basic to the accoutrement of any salty dog is steeped in maritime history.  These were not only items of practicality as one could use them to wipe the sweat from one's brow whilst swabbing the deck, but attested to the knot tying prowess of their owner.

These days, of course, the preferred way to obtain your own seafaring fashion statement is to purchase one and in my never-ending quest for such necessities, I have discovered several ways of going about it.  

01 February 2012

Wine Down and Sip Sip

Our second favorite cay (or maybe first in a different category), is Elbow Cay, specifically Hope Town, the commercial district of Elbow Cay.  It's cozy, yet bustling, old yet always new.  It's one of those singular places, places where you find townfolk who like to play with their town.  It's got in spades what I call "ititude."  Ititude is that hallmark ethos of places that are cool and know it.  Hope Town is cool and knows it.  It's not pompous, it doesn't have to be--that's part of ititude.

Bay St., Hope Town

We're in a lounge from which the title of this post gets its name.  We've come here, in addition to getting internet access, to experience what I was told by Andrew, our electrician in Marsh Harbour, is the perfect martini, available in all of the Abacos, only here.  Andrew strikes me as a man who knows the perfect martini when he drinks it.  So, here we are.  Only problem is Bonnie, the owner (I think), is not on site when I make my request.  So, Simone, our bartender, calls around town to track her down because she knows she can't do "the perfect martini" justice.

Several minutes later, Bonnie does indeed arrive.  "Where did you hear that we have the best martini in all of the Abacos," she wants to know.

"From Andrew the electrician" I reply.

"I've made Andrew several martinis," she says.

"I'll have what he's been having."

Our time, prior to Bonnie's arrival has not been wasted, entertainmentwise.  We apparently walked in on the lounge's Wednesday afternoon aerobics class: several middle-aged white ladies, not sure of their nationality, sweatin' to the oldies. We were invited by Simone to join them.  "As soon as I've had enough drinks to see a disco ball, I'm there," I said.

Oh, and about that martini...  I hate, hate hate, winter, I tell Simone.  "But if I liked it, it would taste like this."

Our water heater is still cobbled together and we have to remember to turn off the fresh water pump whenever we're not using it so that it doesn't pump out all of our water into the Sea of Abaco.  We've determined that we need to start over completely with both our refrigeration and electrical system.  Both of which (along with a permanent fix for the water heater) and a new bimini will be taken care of in March when we return to the States for a refit.  Meanwhile, we've decided to just hobble along as best we can, tragic as that is, ameliorating our stress with liberal doses of goddess Bonnie's perfect martinis, sunshine, and ititude.

Gas delivery day
Yet more miles of pristine beach, ho hum