Thursday, January 25, 2007

Here Now, Gone Tomorrow.

If you've been reading Zephyr for the past several months you'll know that my folks are cruising this winter (click the "Voyagers" tab to recall the postings) in the Caribbean aboard their 46' Morris sloop. They had a rough passage down in November, recovered in St. Maarten, spent the holidays in Antigua and are now making their way to Dominica by way of Guadeloupe...which will be their southernmost point for the season. From there they'll turn back north and make their way to the Virgins where they'll take aboard crew and make the passage back to the Northeast U.S. in mid-April. I recieved an email titled "Here now, gone tomorrow" from my father via satellite yesterday and - as it's not only well written but paints a very clear picture of their experience - I'm posting an excerpt below.
From an email dated 1/24/07 "Here Now, Gone Tomorrow"
S/V Red Admiral anchored Iles des Saintes, French W.I.
Thought I would give you a sense of where we are. Things have settled out. Mechanical issues seem distant. We've now been at the "Saints" a week. Tomorrow we leave for Dominica.

We've slowed down a lot. Mentally. And in fact. We still get up at 6:00. One of us rises to turn the coffee on. Then the generator. Any work gets done before 10:30. After that, the sun's too hot and the shade too scarce.

Our boat gets prettier and prettier the longer we are on it. We completed a full clean and waxing three days ago. Yesterday afternoon we completed the last of the toe-rails, re-varnishing. A Captain in St. Martin introduced us to a new product called Awlbrite Plus. Its a three component mixture. Costly, but lasts and lasts. This morning, we started the cockpit combings and coach roof beads or eyebrows. We can do two coats a day so it doesn't take long. Need to miss the rain showers though. That could ruin a lot of preparation.

This has been a different window on the world, for sure. We have rented scooters, seen beaches and botanical gardens etc., but we don't go out at night generally, preferring our cockpit watching the sun go down. So far we haven't put on any of our movies--not one since leaving Oxford (MD). Its just too pretty. Hard to trade in for a DVD. There is no inclination whatsoever.

Dinners are over candlelight in the cockpit. We listen to music of all kinds every night. Drinks start at 6:00. By 10:00 we've generally retired. In some ways, this trip seems more about our own experience together than seeing the Islands, as such. A boat environment is a very good way to get close to your lady. And both of us, I think this is right, love being afloat. It is very simplifying. Challenging but renewing. We got used to rum punches at noon at Mill Reef and have been bothering them now for a week to get their recipe. "Settles out your thinking. . . ." BBC for news or not. No big deal.

Truth is, we don't care all that much about seeing every Island. So, we’ve slowed down considerably. The water is unbelievably clear. I've run the water maker 60 hours since arriving, making 18 gallons an hour. Still, the filters need no cleaning.!

The plan is to turn north after Dominica There are several stops, St. Kitts, Nevis, maybe Anguilla, before reaching the Virgins the first week in March. April 15 is our planned departure date.

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