Thursday, June 29, 2017

Kim visits!

We'd been putting off repainting the cockpit sole for a while and since we were in 'clean up the boat' mode now before my friend Kim arrived, we decided to go ahead and get it done. It wasn't a big job and it looked so much better once it was finished.

Remove tape.... then stand back and approve of paint job.
The afternoon Kim arrived we whisked her off to Francis Bay where we spent a few very low key nights before heading over to the BVI. Kim and I met on Tortola over 20 years ago (!) and chartered here a few times together, but she hadn't been back for a long time and wanted to see some of the old familiar places as well as places that have become favorites of ours since we've been down here on Saralane.

Skip and Kim zip over in John H to visit her fellow Pittsburghers on s/v Megerin in Francis Bay.
Getting right into the swing of things with painkillers on Jost Van Dyke.... or "Hey honey, hold my drink while I take a photo!"
Kim, literally getting into the swing
We'd been to the bubbly pool while Steve and Cindy were on Jost Van Dyke in April and it was crashing and wild, but when we went with Kim it was hardly even a pool, much less a bubbly one. Still, it's a nice walk out there.

Bubbly pool? What bubbly pool?
Kim was on a quest for roti which was just fine with us, since we're always up for a good roti. First up was the Roti Hut in Trellis Bay.

Brown food was the bane of my existence as a food photographer. It's not very pretty but it sure tasted good.
Yep... it tasted good.
Very attentive, and ultimately disappointed, kitty waiting under our table hoping we wouldn't eat everything on our plates.
Local art and questionable information at Aragorn's studio in Trellis Bay.
We rented a car one day to take in all of Virgin Gorda, which is really something to see from the ridge road. The Baths were a must and we walked through the boulders through to Devils Bay. Of course we had another roti for lunch.

Watching the rain approaching from the east
The Baths

Baths visit and Virgin Gorda ridge road view
Devils Bay
Boulder that looks like it's eating a bunch of little rocks. (Does anyone NOT see this?)
View of North Sound from Hog Heaven along the road.The tiny boat close to shore at the very bottom of the photo is Saralane.
Another day, another roti for lunch... us, fat and happy and full of roti at the Fat Virgin Cafe.

Kim has no trouble lounging at the fabulous pool at the YCCS.... it's most definitely a favorite spot.

Kim was such an easy guest to have on board and her visit was really too short. It's taken her all these years to come for a stay and we really, really, really hope she comes back. Soon. Any time. Anywhere. (In case you're reading this Kim!)

Bye Kim! Come back soon!
It was back to business when Kim left; we moved Saralane into the marina at Nanny Cay where I stayed for two weeks or so while Skip delivered the Outbound 46 Wynot from Tortola to Rhode Island. Aside from a short diversion to Bermuda to wait out some bad weather, his trip was uneventful which is just as it should be.

Seeing off Wynot - Skip at the helm, crew Ed and Matt sort out things up on deck
I had a couple of sweltering weeks in Nanny Cay, slowly doing boat chores and a few fun things mixed in. Our friends Dave and Wendy were down on a charter of their own and we caught up one evening for dinner. 

Dave and Wendy, all smiles after ten days in the BVI
Once Skip returned we hightailed it out of Nanny Cay and had a few cool evenings in Benures Bay on Norman Island where the water is clear and inviting. We pulled John H up on the rocky beach to scrub off the evidence of his two weeks in the not so inviting water of the sweltering marina.

Saralane in Benures Bay with Tortola through the haze
Seagrape along the shore
Yuk. John H needed some TLC.

John H and Saralane tethered
Blue blue water and sandy bottom
Having spent our allotted time in the BVI, we cleared out and have been in St John for the past two weeks. We quickly became set in our ways here, doing things on the boat through the mornings. Around 2:00 or so one of us says "It's 2:00 already?! Geez... we should go to the beach before it gets too late." Tough life I know, but that's our day to day. I partially blame the wifi that we seem to magically have on board.

If we tear ourselves away from Francis Bay I'll have something to write about, but for now we're pretty content.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Blogger's Block

Perhaps it's not so much blogger's 'block' as blogger's 'inertia'. Or blogger's 'lack of focus'. Blogger's 'not enough attention span to sit down, edit photos and write a post'? Take your pick. Whatever you want to call it, it means I have way too many photos from the past two months. So, in the spirit of getting things up to date I'm just going to plaster them all over this post and call it done!

I left you in St Martin and can wrap up our time there in this collage...

Clockwise from top L: On the lawn of the St Martin visitors center - a creative way to use all those plastic soda bottles, bridge tenders at the Sandy Ground bridge, relaxing my way across the Anegada Passage, lovely red sky the morning we left St Martin.
We can always find things to do to keep us in St Martin, but we had friends arriving in the BVI and we took a weather opening to make our way there. First up were John and Lauren, friends from home who came down to bareboat out of Tortola. We caught up with them about halfway through their week and had a fun few days.

Lauren and John - laughing and happy in spite of the week of steady rain and tricky mooring ball pick ups they had!
We wanted to spend some time with our friends Cindy and Steve who rented a great house on Jost Van Dyke for a few months. You'll remember them from their round house on Farmers Cay in the Bahamas, as well as for our time buddy boating with them a few years ago in the BVI. Luckily there was a perfect anchorage just below their rental house and we were the only ones there most of the time.

Evening sky heading in to the JVD anchorage
They brought along m/v Sunny, a speedy boat, to zip around the islands during their time there and we tagged along. Snorkel trips, trips to the killer pool at the YCCS, trips to take their visiting friends to and from ferries, trips out for swims and meals. We got accustomed to getting places in a hurry and had to readjust to the slower pace of traveling on Saralane after they left.

Skip, Cindy and Steve in the fabulous YCCS pool.
Having not spent much time around this part of Jost, we did a little exploring by dinghy and by foot. The bubbly pool is well known and heavily visited, but on the other side of the anchorage past some mangroves we found small deep pools carved by the waves around a few small boulders.

Take a right past the mangroves, and follow the shoreline
Deep pools around/between rocks. Nice!
View back toward the anchorage
When we spent time with Steve and Cindy in the Bahamas, we met a bunch of their friends - including Malcolm, who came to Jost for a visit while we were there.

Hi Malcolm! Steve waves from Sunny's helm
Little mangrove gets a foothold
Flowering cactus seen hiking on Jost Van Dyke
Big crashing waves on the windward side of Jost - the bubbly pool was pretty frothy this week
Tree hanging in there despite an eroding hill
Cindy takes the lead on the hill toward home
Kitty guarding the water tank
Papaya tree watches over Saralane, alone in the anchorage
Back at the house, Skip and Steve.....

.... and Cindy and Sally.
Sally, Cindy and Steve come over in Sunny to pick us up and go on an adventure
Steve in burrito/hammock in Great Harbor
We were joined in the little anchorage by Tim and Nancy on Larus, though they spent most of their time sprucing up Larus, getting her ready to head to the US to explore, and by Geof and Talia on the Outbound Wynot. Talia was kind enough to whip out the tools of her trade and give haircuts all around. Thanks Talia! We're all a lot less shaggy thanks to you.

Steve gets a shape up
Cindy, Skip, Geof and Talia on the haircutting dock
Eventually we all went our separate ways and it was time for Saralane to skeddadle from the BVI lest we overstay our welcome (and our immigration limit). Before we left, we lucked into a quick visit with Claudia and Ted from s/v Demeter, who are living aboard in Nanny Cay. When did these kids get so grown up?!

Anya and Claudia in Nanny Cay
Max and Claudia in Trellis Bay
Off we to the USVI first, then back to the BVI to stash Saralane for a few weeks to give work/family/house a bit of attention. We left her looked after in Trellis Bay where we have a new favorite place. Not a restaurant or cafe or secret place to swim. A fabulous new (to us), clean, inexpensive, do-it-yourself laundry. For better or worse, we're often compelled by places with good wifi and good laundry. One out of two isn't bad. If good wifi magically appears here we may never leave Trellis Bay.

One reason we went home was to celebrate my dad's 80th birthday... almost the whole extended family was there; cousins, aunts, uncles, sisters, brothers, kids, cousins' kids, grandkids etc etc. It was a really, really nice gathering and it was worth all the traveling to be there. Happy birthday Pop!

Happy birthday tooooo youuuuuuuu.......
I know I'm on the verge of rambling, so I'll wrap it up with a few shots that will bring things up to date. We're in Francis Bay St John, which we always love. Saralane is getting a little TLC in advance of my friend Kim coming for a visit this weekend. We had a nice catch up visit here with our friends Greg and Barbara on Spitfire, who we haven't seen for a while.

Sailing along with friends Greg & Barbara on Spitfire
We're getting in daily walks and swims and we finally have strong enough wifi that I'm completely out of excuses not to get this post up.

These final few pix can go under the flora and fauna heading...

Crazy thick mangroves between Francis Bay and Annaberg Plantation
From top L: Walkway through mangroves, deer by the beach, water colors seen from Annaberg, lovely and fragrant Frangipani
Clearly not worried about me being too close
Climbing vines
SO fragrant!
That's it from me for now.... thanks for sticking with me through this long and winding mega blog. More soon?!