Sailing Bahamas

Throwback Thursday: The World is Not Enough

 

Now that we’re sitting in Indiantown Marina and it’s obvious that we’re going to be here for quite a long time while we fix up Daze Off to sail, I don’t want to bore you with stories that are only related to boat work (but don’t worry, they’re still coming).   I know that’s what some of you crave, but if you’re like me, you also need a little fun in there.  A little travel and a little adventure.

So for the foreseeable future while we are doing nothing much more than boat work I will be adding a Throwback Thursday post in every week as well.  Cataloging our trip so far, giving you that needed sense of travel and adventure, and for those of you that haven’t started with us from the beginning, catch you up on some of the most important or memorable parts of our travels.

Sometimes they’re not always the highlights but instead the downfalls.  Because sometimes, cruising sucks.  You can even be in paradise yet still find it sucking for a multitude of reasons.  This is where I found myself in late June after 10 months out, while sitting in the Bay Islands of Honduras.

We had just come from they Cayman Islands where we said goodbye to Brian and Stephanie, but made new friends of Nate and Jenn, a couple our age living on the island, and even brought Nate with us on our sail over as he was headed to the same place as us anyway.  Cruising through these beautiful islands I should have been so happy but for some reason being on a boat in the Caribbean, or anywhere really, was the last place I wanted to be. Read on to find out how you can have the whole world in front of you and sometimes it’s still not enough.**

You can find the original post here. Along with a lot of wonderful comments from a lot of readers and one really rude one from some guy.  What the heck?, man.

Friday June 21, 2013

Sailing Bahamas

I was hoping I wouldn’t have to admit this, but I don’t think I can hold it in any longer, especially with all the negative hints I’ve probably been dropping lately. I’m burnt out on cruising. At this moment I don’t want to do it any more. Neither of us really do, actually. I don’t know exactly how or when it came about, when the excitement and thrills turned to dread and loathing, all I know is that I want off of this boat and out of this lifestyle. Lately every day has been a struggle, and the worst part is, I can’t even figure out why. It’s not like anything has suddenly changed, that we’re in a terrible place, or have just faced weeks and weeks of bad weather, which could leave anyone yearning for their life back on land. The situation is the same. It’s somehow me that’s now different.

To figure out where this may have started, we’d have to go wayway back. Both of us had been thoroughly enjoying our travels until Hurricane Sandy hit us last October. The storm wasn’t bad, in fact, we had a nice little hurricane party in honor of it, but right after that the weather turned to shit. We spent the next month where the highs were in the 50′s, low’s in the 30′s, and the sky was overcast every day. But, we held out hope that things would get better. Traveling from Georgia to Florida, the sun broke from the clouds, I was able to peel off a few layers, and white sand beaches with clear waters were almost within our reach. I should not have spoken too soon. That evening we had our accident, which left us in Florida’s First Coast for three months while we waited on insurance, fixed the boat, and prepared ourselves to leave once more. Christmas was spent alone, on the hard in a boat yard, but we both still held hope that things would get better.

Finally, they did. We entered the Bahamas in mid-March, to the sunny days, crystal clear waters, and white sand beaches we both had been dreaming about. Reunited with good friends we traveled the islands, caught and cooked fish and lobster for dinner, and had bonfires under the starts at night. It was perfection, everything we could have dreamed of. Holding out hope had payed off a thousand times over. From the Bahamas we crossed over to Jamaica and Cuba, still with our friends, and still having the times of our lives. There were the normal hardships, sure, living on a boat doesn’t come without it’s difficulties, but for the most part all of these initial annoyances had become second nature by now. My rage didn’t pop up when I had to move all the pots and pans from our oven to the navigation station so I could use it for cooking, or when I had to use three of the steps on the companionway to temporarily store the contents of our chill box as I searched for the strawberry jam all the way at the bottom. We both became masters at unpacking and repacking our aft cabin/storage area to reach the paper towel stored all the way at the back. It wasn’t really hard anymore, it was just….how it was now.

So this still leaves me grasping at what has changed. I can tell you that it happened in Cayman. Here we were on this beautiful little slice of paradise, and after about three days there, I could have cared less. I wasn’t interested in walking the streets or browsing through the windows. After a couple of fun days of snorkeling, I didn’t feel like getting in the water anymore. Our lives became centered, for a short time, around boat work, and I figured that it, along with our rolling anchorage, was what was putting me in my foul mood. I think the only reason we got off the boat most of the time was because our friends made plans that involved us, and even though I’d go back to my ol’ happy self while we were with them, as soon as we got back to Serendipity, the unhappiness sank back in.

Matt was going crazy in his own mind with never ending boat repairs, and this constant creaking noise that’s been in some of the floor boards ever since our accident. I think he was tired of the cost and the work related to cruising. I was just…tired. I wanted creature comforts again, I wanted to go home. One night, when Matt did his usual song and dance of not wanting to cruise, I gave in. (For those of you who don’t know, even though cruising was originally his idea, by the time we were getting ready to leave, he changed his mind and decided he didn’t want to do it anymore. He was happy with his life at home, and with all the money we’d saved up, we could have had a very comfortable lifestyle there. A condo on the 14th floor in the heart of downtown? That’s all starting to sound very nice now. But back then, it was me who still wanted to go, dragging him along, somewhat kicking and screaming at the beginning.) I never knew if these were serious request before, I’d always talk him back into the cruising lifestyle, saying that when he got older he’d regret that he didn’t travel the world, but this time, I wanted out just as bad. When he said “That’s it, I’m done with it”, as he tends to do at least every other week, I replied, “Me too, let’s go home”. But, to switch up roles, it was him that talked me into staying, stating that we’d at least get ourselves to Guatemala and re-evaluate there.

Which, while on the topic of traveling, I have another confession to make. We HATE passages. Seriously dread them. It’s not that they’re scary or overwhelming. They’re just incredibly boring and uncomfortable, and for days at a time. I didn’t mind them too much while going down the eastern seaboard. It was mostly just day traveling down the ICW, and the few hops out into the Atlantic, usually only for 24 hours, or 36 max. Were those passages comfortable? No, probably some of the worst we’ve had (damn you Northern Atlantic!), but, the excitement was there still, because every passage meant more miles south. Closer to warm weather, closer to clear waters, and closer to sandy beaches. But ever since we left the Bahamas and there are no more ‘day trips’, and neither of us are now too fond of the thought of traveling in a boat. Worst.Cruisers.Ever.

I thought a change of scenery might help, but the feelings haven’t changed since we’ve gotten to Utila. For the past few days, Matt’s been doing his best trying to cheer me up, telling me we can do whatever I want, but it still hasn’t made a difference. Have I already become jaded? It almost feels like no matter what island or location I could place myself right now, the Cook Islands in the South Pacific, or the azul waters of Greece, I wouldn’t be happy. Which, in the end, makes me feel ten times worse about the situation. How spoiled must I be to lead the life I do, and not have it be enough for me? Who knows, maybe it’s just the waves rattling my brain around too much, and I haven’t been able to think straight lately Or maybe, the world is not enough. I really hope it’s the first one, because I can’t wait to get those feelings of excitement back.*

Ragged Islands Bahamas

I feel like my life has gone from this

Chesapeake in fog

To this.

 

*Editor’s Note (a few weeks later):  We are now in Guatemala, and back to our regular selves.  Time spent in a marina, living a somewhat normal life again, has done wonders for our attitude.  I can’t say I’m still looking forward to crossing the Caribbean Sea again, but, maybe after a few more months the excitement will restore itself.  I’m also finding out from a herd of other bloggers right now, that cruising can make one…a little bipolar.  As bad as I feel for anyone else going through these emotions, I’m also glad to know I’m not the only one.

**The good news is, after all the miles we logged in 2014 with passages ranging from 3 days to 28 days, we’ve discovered that we do like sailing again.  The hard part is in fact those 36-96 hour passages where they’re not over in the blink of an eye yet you don’t have the time to settled into a groove.  Maybe not the worst cruisers ever anymore?

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Throwback Thursday: A Three Hour Tour – Day 2: Roger, we Have Stingrays in Our Sights

Now that we’re sitting in Indiantown Marina and it’s obvious that we’re going to be here for quite a long time while we fix up Daze Off to sail, I don’t want to bore you with stories that are only related to boat work (but don’t worry, they’re still coming).   I know that’s what some of you crave, but if you’re like me, you also need a little fun in there.  A little travel and a little adventure.

So for the foreseeable future while we are doing nothing much more than boat work I will be adding a Throwback Thursday post in every week as well.  Cataloging our trip so far, giving you that needed sense of travel and adventure, and for those of you that haven’t started with us from the beginning, catch you up on some of the most important or memorable parts of our travels.

In this weeks post we have left Cuba and moved ourselves over to the Island of Grand Cayman. After just coming from Cuba (and having spent 6 weeks in the Bahamas before that) it was like we were in the land of plenty again.  Grocery stores with fully stocked shelves of things we actually recognized and needed to provision with.  Electronics stores, marine stores, and even fabric stores so we could go about adding better shade to our roasting boat.

Along with our friends Brian and Stephanie of s/v Rode Trip, we enjoyed the spoils of going out for ice cream, enjoying a pitcher of beer over the waterfront, and experiencing some of the best snorkeling we’ve ever done.  With the whole of Grand Cayman being a protected area out to 80 ft depths, the shallows were teaming with brightly colored fish for us to gaze upon for hours and days on end.

With our days as buddy boats being numbered since Brian and Stephanie had changed their plans to an Atlantic crossing this season, we knew we needed one more epic trip before the four of us parted ways.  So it came to be that one afternoon Matt and I piled some of our belongings on to Rode Trip and we left Serendipity behind on her mooring in the West Bay to head up to the North Sound with Brian and Stephanie.

The reason we were headed to the North Sound is there is an area there called Stingray City, where local fisherman had spent so long throwing scraps into the water that groups of stingrays began to gather there and soon it became a tourist destination, groups of people getting dropped off in boats to swim with them.  Since it was open to the public as long as you could get yourself there, and hey, we had two boats at our disposal. we decided to make a go of it ourselves instead of paying an insanely high price for a tour boat to take us.

The ride up from our moorings turned into an all day adventure even though we thought it would take us only three hours to get there.  Storms, currents, and a setting sun turned this afternoon outing into an unexpected slumber party. None of us were sad about it as we had no place we needed to be, and the next morning we got exactly what we came for.  Swimming with the stingrays.

You can find the original post here.

Thursday May 30, 2015

5.30.13

There was something very strange about being anchored in the North Sound last night.  It wasn’t that we had four people packed into a West Sail, getting tipsy on a game of Settlers of Catan, that’s actually quite normal, it’s that we were on a boat that was absolutely still.  It was so calming that I almost told Brian and Stephanie that this would be Rode Trip’s permanent location until Matt and I decided to make our next passage, and hey, by the way, we’ll be staying here every night until then.  Having enjoyed ourselves way too much at our little slumber party the night before, alarm clocks didn’t go off until after 8, and even then we were rubbing weary and bloodshot eyes.

Brain took the remaining leftovers from the previous night of chicken and potatoes, and tossed them around in a skillet with a few spices and an egg on top.  I really must try this thing that people call cooking.  Spirits were high as we had full stomachs and the sun was shinning.  I think the words ‘perfect day’ were uttered too soon though, and as soon as that phrase fell into the air, more dark storm clouds rolled in overhead.  We’ve noticed that when the rain actually does come, it passes by fairly quickly, so we’d just wait it out in the cabin before traveling the few miles across the sound to the shallow banks of Stingray City.  Settlers of Catan was broken out once more, without the distilled sugarcane and molasses this time, but Matt decided he wouldn’t get suckered into playing again.

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Beautiful morning we’re having!

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I think Settlers of Catan was more than his brain could handle.

 

When the rain finally let up, even though the sun was never looking like it was going to make it’s way out, we upped the anchor and began making our way to Stingray City.  Visually we could see right where it was by the plethora of other boats packed into one tiny area, but we did still have to keep our eyes glued to the charts since the North sound is full of shallow areas only 5 to 6 feet deep (with the sandbars around the rays at only 3 feet).  Still keeping a safe distance, we dropped the hook in a patch of sand and lowered the dinghy in the water.  Maneuvering our way through jet skis, we dropped the much smaller hook on the dinghy and fell back into the water with our snorkel gear on.  For a few minutes we floated around only staring at sand and the occasional conch, until a few dark spots began drifting our way.

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It’s a stingray floating by us!

 

As soon as one came by, the rest of them began to swarm over as well.  Since we weren’t part of a group and didn’t get the ‘swimming with stingrays’ lecture, I was still a little unsure of what I could or couldn’t do around them.  Both the guys told me to keep my feet firmly planted on the ground so I wouldn’t accidentally step on one, but with the waves that were just rolling in enough from outside the sound, keeping my feet flat on the sand was much harder than I thought.  So I instead floated at the surface, watching the stingrays swim by and weave in and out of people like they were cones for a drivers test.  It wasn’t long before Matt and Brian wanted to go a step further than having the stingrays just swim around at their feet.  They wanted to feed them.  So pulling out some squid that Brian had picked up at the marine chandler the previous day, they wiggled the tasty treat between their fingers….until the stingrays came to suck it out of their hands.

I tried to hover for a bit with the camera as swarms and swarms of them came by, the whole time worried that I was going to accidentally kick one and end up with a stinger through my food.  In the end though, it wasn’t me who got hurt.  Brian had a nice little chunk taken from his hand when he let the stingray suck on it for too long.  Maybe it was more of a bite than a chunk, but it still looked pretty nasty, and we’re pretty sure he’s going to mutate into some kind of sea creature.  It didn’t keep Matt and I from feeding and playing though, and even I had my turn with a feeding, trying to hold my ground as the ray literally kept pushing me back with it’s force.  I decided I was better off with the camera than feeding them, and went back to taking pictures of the guys until one came up to me and basically suctioned itself to my back as I floated there.  Sneaky little bastards…

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I’m sure I would have been stabbed by this point.

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Here fishy, fishy, fishy…

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Like sharks being drawn to blood.

Stingray City, Grand Cayman

There goes Brian, getting his hand eaten off.

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But they still ended on good terms.

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Mmmmm, finger lickin’ good.

Swimming with stingrays, Grand Cayman

stingrays in Grand Cayman

Before long, another storm started making it’s way in and we made our way back to the dinghy so we could get to Rode Trip before a downpour let out.  It seemed like once more for our trip, we had to hide out for bad weather.  I thought this was supposed to be paradise?  I guess that’s what we get for staying in the tropics at the beginning of hurricane season.  When it finally let up we started the long trek back home, making a few light bumps on the sandy bottom while trying to get to the deeper waters of the sound, but clearing any coral through the channel this time.  Once all eyes were not needed on deck anymore, I was put below with a cup of tea, soon zonked out with the wonderful memories of our trip to see the stingrays swimming in my head.

North Sound, Grand Cayman

anchored in North Sound, Grand Cayman

Stingray City, Grand Cayman