Sunday, November 2, 2014

My Dirty Little Secret

Yes…..I’m embarrassed to say, I have a dirty little secret.

I have been a bit blogitorialy apathetic.

 After having over one full year of cruising under our belts, and finally solving our major problem of air in the fuel, which caused us to stop dead in the water with every passage (Yes – it was our Racor Filters), we find ourselves relaxed and almost taking for granted these beautiful Caribbean islands with turquoise to azure blue waters, that have now become our home. We periodically have to physically stop and remind ourselves how lucky we are, that this is where we live – every day - this wonderful nomadic and adventurist lifestyle.

We’re having so much fun in the Caribbean! Meeting new friends and exploring new places that I have found it difficult to interrupt the fun to bang out consistently regular blog posts. Shamefully, I have since taken a “shortcut” by way of my Facebook entries on our “Travels of Partners” page. But it’s not the same – and I apologize…. 

But ….Can you blame me? It’s exceedingly hard to focus on anything but the pure enjoyment of meeting new friends, exploring exotic islands, trying new tastes, and swimming in these gorgeous “50 Shades of Blue”! And I will catch you up on our adventures after completing a full circumnavigation of the Caribbean, as soon as I finish my spring cleaning and polish all the stainless!

You see…. it’s not always 24/7 fun and games for cruisers! We do have “work” to do with our boats. It becomes the main topic of conversation at cruiser get-togethers, too. We all discuss our different problems and repairs and often we help each other out. Sometimes one person is very much more knowledgeable about electrical repairs or generator stuff, for instance, and can help someone who is stumped. Or they may have the necessary spare part that you need in a remote anchorage where there is no chandlery from which to purchase it.

In our first year of cruising, my Cap blew me away with his knowledge of systems repair and his physical ability to collapse into a third of his size in order to access those remote areas of the engine room and boat! We also had such wonderful help from many friends to aid Cap with jobs that required more than “flashlight and paper towel holding” and handing him the tools. John Buzilow helped get our Pro Watermaker going on our maiden voyage and led the repair of the transmission oil cooler replacement, besides sharing his vast repair support and electrical knowledge with Cap. Once at dock in Longboat Key Marina, John helped us get our new dingy motor lifted to the flying bridge and installed on our Novurania dinghy "JP"(Junior Partner) Jeff Stevens helped us get and install the 400 feet of anchor chain, to ready us for any depth anchorage. He also helped us load our newly purchased Stressless Chairs and bicycles aboard, and taught us how to best use our Magma Grill, without making a mess! All our “dock neighbors” on LBK were so helpful with advice and stories to help us on our journey, Theresa and Rudy – who had firsthand knowledge, having sailed the Caribbean themselves, Pam and Ron gave us great encouragement as well as Nina Insinna, and of course where would we be without those great hats that Al gave us! 

In Prickly Bay, Grenada, Jim and Tammy Ennd gave us some cool (literally!) insulation material to replace our shredded sound shield on our generator and without Jim’s expertise, our bow thruster would have burnt our boat up. He did an amazing and unbelievably fast repair to some shorted wiring on our Vetus Bow Thruster, just when we were ready to cry! And he even re- strung Richard's electric Fender Guitar! 

Bill and Ann Miller were there for us when our beautiful trawler was conking out every fifteen minutes, by offering to “buddy boat” with us across the Mona Passage – a notoriously treacherous and unpredictable body of water between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, where the Atlantic and Caribbean converge and the seabed depths radically change. They offered encouragement, support and friendship at a time when we were unsure we could continue. 

Carol Buzilow, my BFF in Sarasota, and her husband John ( we call him FOJ - First Officer John - as he's guided our little ship over 1000 miles on her maiden voyage with Cap) - have given us an open invitation to make their home our “home away from home” and have done so much and offered even more, that we can’t thank them enough! My eldest daughter Jennifer and her husband Paul – giving up plans and hard earned salary to jump on a plane – twice now – to come visit us in Sarasota, when we do get a chance to return to Florida. And thanks go to our youngest daughter Georgina and her boyfriend David for putting up with us crashing in their Miami apartment, feeding us and shuttling us back and forth to airports, stores and banks There are probably many more instances and people that have helped us along the way, and I thank you all…..for your care and concern, your understanding and your friendship.

So now, here we are - in Culebra – one of the Spanish Virgin Islands, at the same mooring ball anchorage behind the reef in Ensenada Dakity that we took approximately two years ago when we  commenced our maiden voyage. We are once again with our good friends Bill and Ann and will enjoy several sunny days together before we part - but hoping and planning to meet up "down island" once again, at some point in the cruising season – that’s the way we cruisers roll. You make and meet friends and see them “up” or “down islands”. We are our own community and it’s surprisingly small. We see many of the same boats cruising in the same islands as we are and – voila! – a spontaneous get-together usually happens. From hiking up hills and to picturesque waterfalls and exotic jungle locations, to exploring via car rental or public bus, to swimming, snorkeling and fishing, to swapping recipes and dinners and Facebook addresses and boat cards, we keep in touch and enjoy each other’s company.

So, here we go! Starting into our third year as full time cruisers who are "dirtless" - M/V Partners - she's our only home - and we both agree - she's the best one yet! We've never been happier, and with God's blessing and a little bit of luck mixed in with common sense and  life and nautical knowledge - we just hope we can keep going for many years to come! Keep posted... More blogs to come as we cruise down islands!

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