The only other "Back(b)log" I posted was back in December of 2011 when our friends Steve and Cindy showed up and all we did was play. No work. No blogs. No anything. I'm sensing a pattern here and will lay the blame for this back(b)log squarely on the friends and family that came down and encouraged us to spend time playing and totally ignore all other responsibilities. You know who you are. And if you don't.... you'll see yourselves here in this post!
First, there's Denise and Jean Pierre on Absaroque, whose company we continue to enjoy whenever we find each other in the same anchorage. They still whip us in dice games, though we win a few now and then. We did our usual meals together and again rented a car for a whirlwind shopping trip around the island. If you want to know where to get bargains on wine, foie gras, cheese or just about anything else.... track down Absaroque and ask.
|JP kindly holds my glass up for a toast to our friendship|
|Occam's arrives! Tiff photographs me, photographing her.|
|Who put that anchor chain there?|
|Jacques comes over for a visit|
The crews of Absaroque, Occam's and Saralane all love to cook (and eat), so we gathered on the big yellow cat for some food and drink and socializing. Denise and JP spoke French to Jacques and funny thing - he seemed to understand. Hmmmm...
|Around the table from L: Tiffany, Denise, Jean Pierre, Josh, Skip|
On the morning radio net we'd been hearing a very enthusiastic young Spanish woman advertising her services as a massage therapist... "Hi, I'm Sylvia from Spain! I give super good deep tissue massage...!" etc. I wish I had a recording of her energetic, cheerful and forceful delivery. She made us laugh each time we heard her on the radio, with her thick Spanish accent and happy self confidence. Since Tiff and I both love a good massage, and since Occam's Razor has a huge back 'deck', we called her and had her come over for massages. She was as energetic and cheerful in person as she was on the radio.... she's been sailing down here with friends for a few years, and is having the time of her young life.
|Dinghy + massage table + can do spirit = Sylvia|
|Brilliant rainbow caps off the crummy weather that had been hanging around St Martin|
Everyone had plans to make a break for somewhere new when the weather was right and it wasn't long before we all went off in different directions. We had friends and family coming to the USVI so we headed off for the BVI first.
|The familiar early morning departure from Grand Case, St Martin|
|Good thing we bought a new BVI flag - the old flag is looking a little bedraggled|
The good news is that the problem wasn't as bad as we thought. The better news is that we decided to have friends bring a replacement part with them when they visit in case the next time the windlass quits, it really quits.
We stuck around North Sound long enough to do laundry and ogle the big boats that were there for the annual super yacht regatta hosted by the YCCS. No fancy pool time for us at the YCCS while they were busy with actual customers.
|Looks big close up...|
|...and big from far away. That's Saralane in the bottom left corner closest to shore.|
|Big and beautiful|
For as much time as we've spent anchored here over the years, we've never hiked on Prickly Pear Island, so this time we followed the goat trails up and enjoyed the scenery.
|From top L: driftwood, flamingo in the salt pond, tamarind tree, trail along the pond|
Our Ithaca friends Rob, Marybeth, Jim and Heidi were due to arrive on St John, overlapping with a visit by Miles, Lex and their friend Becky - all were renting houses on the island and we decided to stay in Francis Bay to be able to connect easily with everyone.
|Boys in the water; girls on the beach|
|Heidi and Marybeth|
|Lex, Miles, Skip, Jim, Marybeth,Heidi, Rob, me..... missing is Becky who did the camera work.|
|The lovely Becky, with a Dark & Stormy|
|Jim, Rob and Lex get acquainted|
|Miles, Skip, Heidi and Marybeth|
|Heidi and Marybeth|
By not so strange coincidence, our Ithaca friends ended up renting the house that Miles and Lex rented previously. They were hoping to book the house again this time, until I mentioned it to Rob when they were looking for a rental. Seems the Ithacans hit the "book it" button faster than Miles and Lex did when they made their plans! It was really fun to have everyone there for an evening and Miles, Lex and Becky were good sports about missing out on the house this time.
We'd loaded up on food and drink in St Martin, where everything is less pricey and more available than in the Virgins, and unloaded it into the lovely house. There was an extra bedroom in the house and we had the unexpected pleasure of staying ashore with them for the week. A week in a square non-moving bed. A week of daily hot showers. Room to spread out. The company of good friends. Very nice.
|Lex, Miles, Skip, me in Francis Bay|
After snorkeling along the shore in Francis for a few days, we took the Ithaca crowd out on Saralane for a day and they got their fill of swimming and snorkeling off the boat. Along with the usual mix of pretty fish and coral, they got to see a nurse shark (those who didn't flee when I said "Look... a shark!") patrolling the shoreline. Mostly though it was an escape-the-cold-soak-up-the-sun kind of week.
|Heidi gives two thumbs up|
|Jim and Rob make lots of bubbles|
|Lunch on deck between snorkels|
|A hike to the America Hill house gives us a great view of Francis and Maho Bays|
|Heidi, Marybeth, Skip, Rob and Jim... notice a Block Island/Grateful Dead vibe in this group?|
It's normally just Skip and me in the dinghy and it seems that having six people in dinghy was just a little too much for the old John H. He popped a seam and started losing air fast. Sorry John! We mixed up a bubbly solution to spray on and once we pinpointed the leak we worked out a patch of sorts. It seems to be working pretty well so far but John's looking a little sad with all the patching we've done this year.
|Big bubbles give away the leaky spot|
|Lots of new patches|
It was pretty quiet after all the visitors left and we walked the beach, swam, snorkeled and spent time with friends on nearby boats.
|Waterline on the rocky shore|
|A crowd for sunset drinks on s/v Always Summer|
|Steve and Eva from s/v Music making their evening rounds as Bay Hosts, with super cool cat Kedi riding up front|
|One very cool cat|
|Lots of sailors come to the beach for a get together|
|Steve plays the guitar when we get together one night on their aptly named boat, s/v Music|
|Eva, also a musician, and always smiling|
|Me, Eva and Laurie from s/v Reality Check|
I first titled this post "Back(b)log but added the 'Mega' since it seems to have developed into a mega blog without me noticing and I think it's only right to give you fair warning that it's a long one! But, that brings us up to date and with no new plans for friends to visit I'll have fewer excuses for not keeping up with the blog.
Gotta end this long post with a simple sunset.
|Sunset in Francis Bay|