Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Reminding Storyville That We Love Her

Now that we're getting settled back into life afloat we decided that it was time to show Storyville a little TLC, you know, remind her that we still care. We are happier than ever with our Cruise RO water maker. Now that we can make 30 galllons an hour we are able to produce enough fresh water to keep everybody happy. Luna needs a rinse off after every trip to the beach, Storyville has decks covered with grime, we like to shower every now and then. Yep, we are more than happy to be able to make all that water. Of course, with all the rain we've had lately a rain catching system should be on the to do list as well.

The captain, swabbing the decks

We managed to spend the better part of a whole day swabbing the decks just to get rid of the grime and all of the Saharan dust that's been floating across the ocean, just to land right on Storyville. I have to say thanks to Africa for sending us dust and Chikungunya. So far we've managed to avoid the Chick V, but the dust, that's another story.

Now that the decks are clean, we moved over to a dock in Secret Harbor where we will be able to troubleshoot some of the other issues we are having. It seems that our chartplotter has stopped working, both bilge pumps gave up the ghost and the generator still won't start. Not to mention that our engine was wanting to overheat if we revved it up too much. I swear! It's always something when you live on a boat. That's why you will hear cruisers often repeating to each other..... "Cruising is working on boats in exotic locations" or another favorite.... "B.O.A.T. - Break Out Another Thousand". Oh well, the good part is the exotic location and we do manage to have some fun in between boat projects. Take a peek at a couple of pictures to see that it's not all work and no play.

Last night I went to a bingo game where the prizes included a flock of sheep, a cow and a brand new Ford Explorer. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, I didn't win anything. Tonight Troy will be playing at open mic again. It's hard to believe that we've already been here for a week.

A fun time limin' at Ruben's Bar - Stacy, Rene, Richard and Troy

NOTE: Due to s..l..o..w.. internet this blog post is several days late in getting posted. We've been at the dock for almost a week now and are getting most of the important issues sorted out. The weather has dried up and it's beautiful here. Hopefully some fun posts with great pictures will be coming up. I still haven't been able to get to a hash this time. Maybe this weekend.

Lobster dinner's on the beach - Thanks to Chris and Denise
Full moon rising over the marina

 

Local melon harvest

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Rain, Rain, Go away!

Storyville at home on her mooring in Old Harbour, Grenada

We're back home on Storyville at long last. A big thanks to Richard, who kept everything running smoothly and took care of Storyville for us while we were away. Of course, there are still plenty of boat projects to keep us busy, we just haven't had a chance to tackle them yet. We needed a few days to decompress and reset to "island time". As soon as we came aboard there was an explosion of bags, clothes were everywhere, mosquito spay, suncreen, computers, chargers for everything... It also took a few days to get our lives back to some semblance of order. So anyway, things are mostly back to where they belong, with the exception of way too many damp clothes. It's been raining almost constantly since we got back. It won't stop long enough for me to get anything dry and we got caught in a torrential downpour last night in the dinghy on our way out to Pipe Muh Bligh for dinner. Thanks to Terri, Stacy's mom, she provided me with a dry outfit since we arrived looking like drowned rats. Then, the clothes she gave me took a swamping in the dinghy ride back. Then there is the fact that it seems to be an unwritten rule that when it rains for 3 days straight, your boat will leak, somewhere, somehow. Did I mention all the wet clothes? I'm gonna need to find a laundry mat soon before the mildew can take over.

We've been catching up with cruiser friends and Grenadian friends. Troy played music at Nimrod's on Thursday night with Country Dave. Nimrod's is a local rum shop and, home of the best roti in Grenada. It was great to see him out playing again. It really does feel like coming home. It feels so right to sleep on the water.

Troy playing at Nimrod's (Photo credit Chris Badger)

Oh, and there's also this pesky mosquito bourn virus called Chikungunya. Apparently it has spread rapidly throughout the Caribbean. It seems that everyone in Grenada is getting it, even when precautions are taken. I've heard that as much as 65% of the population has gotten it, causing shortages of workers everwhere. We brought some OFF with 40% deet and we are slowly poisioning ourselves with it so that we can try to avoide then "chicken V" or "chicken virus" or "chickenganga". Whatever you want to call it, the name means "bent over with pain" and it causes fever and painful joints and sometimes a rash. It seems that some people are affected worse than others, not just because of general health. It's like some people just don't have the symptoms as severly as others and it lasts longer for some people than others. We are hoping to avoid it, but hey, the good news is that once you've had it, you are immune. Wish us luck.

Anyway, life is good. We are back on Storyville, so that's awesome. I've even had a chance to kayak over to the beach with Luna during a break in the rain. We are hoping to move from the anchorage where we are now around to our favorite spot at Hog Island in a couple of days. Gotta get to a couple of those boat projects first, like replacing the blige pumps that went out. Yeah, that might be an important one on the to do list.

Luna loves all the mud puddles from the rain!

Meanwhile - this song has been repeating in my head. I wonder why?

There's a place, where the boat leaves from

It takes away all of your big problems

You got problems you can drop them in the blue ocean

But you gotta get away to where the boat leaves from

 

Take one part sand, one part sea

And one part shade of a banana tree

And the drinks are cold and the reggae's hot

And I know this is the place for me

~Zac Brown Band (Where the Boat Leaves From)

 

 

 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Headed Back to Storyville!

Storyville in the anchorage at Hog Island, Grenada

Yes! That's right. We are getting really excited about our visit back to Storyville for several reasons. Mainly because we miss her and we miss our life on the water.

It's been a tough and emotionally draining six months that we've been back in Texas. My mom passed away in June after a long illness. Fortunately my family and I were able to care for her at home (with the help of hospice care) and that was a blessing as she was terrified of having to go to a nursing home. Still, the emotional drain of watching someone you love waste away is very difficult. Thank God that I have the best husband, friends and family in the whole world. When times were tough I always knew I had a shoulder to lean on or to cry on or to laugh with. Whatever I needed at the moment and whether they were near or far.

I feel so blessed to know that I have people who love and support me. And they are everywhere! One of the many reasons for that is our cruising life. I truly felt the love and support from my cruising friends and other friends that we have met along the way and I know how fortunate and blessed I am to have all of these awesome people in my life. Thank you all for your love and support.

As I mentioned in my last post, we've had some decisions to make this year. When we come back to Texas for a visit we almost always stay with my mom. Well, now that we are preparing to sell her house we started thinking about what that would mean to us and our visits. We are lucky that all of our children and grandchildren live in the same area so we know that we will be returning here every year. In fact, we have decided that we like the idea of returning here in the summer. It's hurricane season and we plan to leave Storyville under the care of Richard (our Grenadian family) during the summer and return to Texas to visit with our family here. So...... we decided to buy a land yacht.

When we starting thinking about our options this was the only one that really made any sense to us. It seems that we have become gypsies and cannot fathom planting ourselves in one place without the option to travel. We are addicted to the traveling lifestyle. Not to mention that we have also discovered that we really prefer living in small spaces. We are working really hard not to accumulate too many belongings since we have already been through the process of paring them down once. It seems that living on land (and also dealing with so many of my mom's possessions) has us once more dealing with an abundance of "stuff". It really is an ongoing battle.

Land Shark????

Anyway, once the decision was made we shopped around and decided on a 2003 Winnebago. She is in good shape, but of course, she needed a little work and some upgrades. Troy has been working hard on getting her ready for us by installing new flooring and a new airconditioning unit (after all, we will be living in Texas, in the summer - so A/C is essential). This week we are working on moving into the RV before we return to Storyville for a visit. It's been a busy week but we are both really excited about our new home - we are working on a name for her. What do you think about "Land Shark"?

We are also really excited about returning to Storyville. We miss her, our life on the water and our Grenadian family and cruising friends. We will be helping celebrate the marriage of two of our Grenadian family (Alesha and Bruce) and we can't wait to see what a Grenadian wedding will be like. Plus, Luna can't wait to get back to the beach. We will be back on Storyville for the month of October, then back to Texas to have an estate sale, get the house on the market and get other business taken care of. It's a busy time for us, but we are hoping that things will slow down soon and we can figure out just what normal will look like for us.
Luna can't wait to get back to the beach!

I should have lots of fun stuff to blog about in the coming month, I just hope I have good enough internet to get it done.

"The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page." ― Augustine of Hippo

 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Liebster Award!

Our blog has been nominated for the Liebster Award by Alex and David of s/v Banyan (click the link to check out their blog). Sounds prestigious right? Well, I guess it is in blogging circles. The award is sort of like a chain letter of the blog world. It works like this:

(1) Thank the person who nominated us and link back to their page.
(2) Answer the 10 questions they have asked and publish the post.
(3) Nominate 10 up-and-coming blogs and ask them 10 questions.

So, thank you Alex for the nomination and here we go.....
Alex's questions for us:

(1) Where in the World are you? Alternatively, where would you like to travel to?

Troy, Luna and myself are currently in Conroe, Texas. We have been here on an off for the last year and a half, splitting our time between Conroe and Grenada where we left Storyville. We've been here caring for my mother, who was ill and suffering from dementia. Sadly, she passed away in June and I am now working on settling her estate and getting ready to put her house on the market.

(2) Describe the funniest thing you've witnessed in your travels to date?

Hmmmm, the funniest thing? Well, this one time comes to mind when we were riding in a gua gua in the Dominican Republic. A gua gua is one of their forms of public transportation. They are privately owned vehicles and can be anything from a small car to a large van. Whatever the size of the vehicle, the running joke is - "How many people can you fit in a gua gua?" and the answer - "one more". You will most likely be sitting on someones lap and they may have a live chicken, a giant bag of coconuts, their grocery shopping, you just never know. Here is an excerpt from my blog about the one particular trip.......

Only one little bit of excitement on the 30 minute ride. It's not unusual to see herds of cows being driven down the middle of the road, in fact, it would be more unusual not to see a couple of herds along the way. We recognize the signs by now. Usually one guy is ahead of the herd and he waves a red flag to let oncoming traffic know what lies ahead. It could be anywhere from 2 or 3 cows to a whole big herd. We met a fairly good sized herd along the way and the driver slowed almost to a stop for the oncoming cows. All was going as planned until the cow directly in front of our car was mounted by a bull that came up right behind her. I could see my life flashing before my eyes (that's not ALL I could see, I got a pretty good look at the working parts of the, ahem, bulls reproductive system) when it seemed that the both of them would certainly come crashing through our windshield. Fortunately, the bull decided that he might have picked the wrong time and place to display his amorous feelings. It was all over in a matter of seconds and the driver never even blinked an eye.

It wasn't so funny at the moment, but as soon as I realized that I was not going to die in the middle of a big pile of cow sex, I could start to see the humor in the situation. I would hate to have my kids learn that I had died covered in bull semen and glass.

(3) Describe your favourite cruising grounds in your travels to date?

That's a hard one. One of the questions we are asked most often is "what's your favorite island?". I always answered by saying that we loved many of the islands for different reasons, almost evey place has something that makes it stand out above the others so it's so hard to choose.

We loved the Bahamas for the easy cruising and the fantastic beautiful clear blue water. We loved the Dominican Republic for the friendly people and the opportunity to practice our Spanish, the beautiful mountains and the fantastic locally grown produce. We loved the Virgin Islands for their beauty and easy cruising. We loved St. Martin for the great provisioning and easy access to boat parts, not to mention the beauty of the island itself. I could go on about every place that we've visited so far, but that doesn't answer the question.

Our favorite cruising grounds so far have been in Grenada/Carriacou. Not only are the islands and the waters beautiful, but the people are friendly, the sailing is great and they have wonderfully grown local produce. We have made lifelong friends in our travels but we've gained new family in Grenada. I am so happy that we can leave Storyville there in the summer, hopefully safe from storms and know that she is watched over by our Grenadian family. We have fallen in love with Grenada!

(4) This Sailing Lifestyle has obviously been a dream turned reality for all of us out here doing this. But if you could have another dream, another "thing" you would want to do... what would it be?

Interestingly, we have found another dream by accident. When we left for cruising we sold our home and cars and belongings and left the US without any ties except for our friends and family. I have been fortunate enough over the last 4 years of cruising to make it back to Texas at least once a year to see our kids and grandkids and to visit all of our friends. On these visits I always stayed with my mom. Now that she is gone we started wondering what we would do when we came back to visit. We also have realized that summers in the Caribbean can be really, really, extremely hot. Don't get me wrong, summers in Texas are about the same, but the difference is the fact the we have air conditioning here (in our cars, in our homes, in our stores). Anyway, I digress, we decided that we would need a place to stay if we were going to spend summers back here in Texas visiting our family, so..... we recently bought an RV. We will be starting a new RV adventure in the summers and I am hoping that we get to travel the US and see a little more of this beautiful country. I am hoping that we can bring the grandkids along on some adventures.

(5) If there's one thing you brought with you cruising, that is totally useless and you could take off your boat, what would it be? Alternatively, if there's one thing you didn't bring with you, and wish you had, what is it?

I would say that the totally useless thing is really more than one "thing". It's all the canned goods that we stocked up on before we left for the Bahamas. We really didn't need so many canned goods because they are available almost everywhere (except for some specialty items like Rotel, and canned green chilies and even those can be found occasionally).

As for the one thing we didn't bring and wish we had, I can't think of anything, but Troy wished he had brought along a small generator as a backup. We finally got one when we had a box shipped to Grenada and we've used it a couple of times when the main generator "took a break".

(6) In this world of So Many Blog's, have you followed a Blogger and not yet met them? Who would you most like to meet?

Yes, I do like to follow blogs, although I admit that when I am on the boat without much internet I don't get a chance to keep up with them. I am happy to say that I have met many of the blog writers that I follow and I am always amazed that it's such a small world when it comes to cruisers (especially in the Caribbean). It's always awesome to meet someone that you have been following in a blog.

A couple of blog writers that I would love to meet are Brittany Meyers of the famous Windtraveler blog (I love her writing and her passion for the cruising life) and Tasha Hacker of Turf to Surf (I love her passion for life and would love to meet her but she never stays in one place long enough).

(7) What time of day do you enjoy the most and why?

Typically I enjoy the afternoons the most. I tend to be pretty social so I really like happy hours and spending time with all the friends that we make along the way. Having said that, I have had some pretty awesome mornings, mid-afternoons, evenings, nights, etc. It's always fun!

(8) When we set sail, and told our friends and family of our plans, we received some pretty incredible (and also incredulous) responses. Have you? Describe the one that impressed/shocked you the most?

Here's a couple: "Where do you go to the bathroom?" and "Do you just stop and rest when you get tired out on the ocean?" What about pirates? You just quit working? How......

(9) With this travelling lifestyle we get exposed to wide variety of cuisines. Do you enjoy trying, eating, cooking with "local" foods, and if so, what is your favourite so far? Share your recipe ??

Yes! Trying local dishes is one of our favorite things to do. I also enjoy cooking local dishes and that´s just one more reason that I love Grenada. Our Grenadian family has shown me how to cook many local dishes. I've had a great time learning to cook Grenadian style!

A popular dish in the Caribbean, and one of my favorites, is Macaroni Pie (also called Bahamian Mac and Cheese in The Bahamas). Here is my recipe:
  • 1 pound of elbow macaroni
  • 1 onion - chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper - chopped
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • Your favorite hot sauce to taste
  • 2 cups evaporated milk
Boil the macaroni and just before it is done add the onion and bell pepper. Cook until the vegetables are soft. Drain, return to pot and add about 3/4 of the cheese. Stir until melted. Beat the eggs, seasonings and hot sauce together then add the evaporated milk and the egg mixture to the macaroni. Pour into a greased baking dish, sprinkle with the remaining cheese and bake at 350 deg for about 30 minutes. Let it cool for a few minutes and then you can cut it into squares to serve.

(10) If asked to give a random piece of advice about this lifestyle to anyone, what would it be?

This one is answered by Troy ---- Don't try to make your boat perfect before you go. Get the basics (and any safety issues) taken care of and get out there. Everywhere you go there are people working on boats and solving problems, upgrading systems, etc. It's more important to get out there and do it. You can sort the boat out as you go. You'll find cruisers to be very helpful everywhere you go [unless you're an ass] it's tough to know just what works for your cruising style without getting some time "out there". Make some mistakes but try really hard not to make the dream ending one!

So, my questions are.......

(1) Where are you now?

(2) What are your cruising goals (if any) for the future?

(3) What would you tell someone who is dreaming of cruising about how to make it happen?

(4) What is one thing you have learned from living this lifestyle?

(5) What is your favorite thing about cruising?

(6) What is your least favorite thing about cruising?

(7) Do you look forward to, or dread overnight crossings? Tell us why.

(8) With this traveling lifestyle we get exposed to wide variety of cuisines. Do you enjoy trying, eating, cooking with "local" foods, and if so, what is your favourite so far? Share your recipe.

(9) Can you tell us one of your favorite cruising stories?

(10) If asked to give a random piece of advice about this lifestyle to anyone, what would it be?

I realize that I copied some of Alex's questions, but hey, they were good ones.

And now, for my nominees. I'm not sure that I can come up with 10, but here are the ones that I would ilke to award the Liebster Award to.....

Pipe Muh Bligh

Genesis

Ke Óla Kai



Saturday, September 6, 2014

Return to The Virgin Islands

What better way to get this blog rejuvenated than to post about our recent trip to the US and British Virgin Islands? We've been in Texas for 4 months and really missing our floating home. When Steve and Deb invited us to spend 10 days with them on Alternate Latitude in the Virgin Islands, well, how could we say no?

We went with some of our other sailing friends from Kemah so we dubbed ourselves the Kemah Krew and hopped a plane and headed to the islands.

The notorious Kemah Krew consisted of Troy and Deana, Cory and Tammy, who live on s/v Menestheus, Capt. Rick Weiler and of course, our hosts, Steve and Deb on s/v Alternate Latitude. Alternate Latitude is a 44 foot Voyager Catamaran so there was plenty of room for us all and we had a fantastic and fun filled 10 days of sailing, snorkeling, swimming and just plain having too much fun.

Kemah Krew
Alternate Latitude

The Virgin Islands are fantastic cruising grounds. Easy sailing from one beautiful island to the next. White sand beaches and turquoise waters make sailing there a dream. We have been there on Storyville twice and spent several months cruising those islands. One thing that was noticably different on this trip was that we were there in the off season. When we were there on Storyville every anchorage was full with charter boats and mega yachts everywhere and sometimes, depending on where you were, you had to hope that there would be a mooring available. During the off season there are so many fewer charter boats and many full time cruisers are further south waiting out hurricane season. It was strange to see the empty anchorages, but nice to have them all to ourselves at times.

We flew into St. Thomas and sailed to Jost Van Dyke, Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Peter Island, Norman Island and St. John. What a fantastic trip and just what we needed. Some time on a boat, on the water in the beautiful islands. Oh how we've missed them. We couldn't have asked for better hosts or better friends to spend the time with.

Panoramic Views of The Virgin Islands
Swimming With Turtles
Perfect Beaches
Flying the Spinnaker down the Sir Frances Drake Channel

If you are looking for a vacation that you will never forget, think about chartering with Steve and Deb on Alternate Latitude. They can show you all the cool spots in the Virgin Islands, whether you want to party at the best beach bars or kick back on a beautiful white beach or snorkel with sea turtles. So click on the link to find out how to have a fantastic vacation, and be sure to tell them that Storyville sent you!

One of the coolest things we did was swim with the turtles at Buck Island. They were so cool and we loved every minute of watching them calmly swim and eat sea grass. Here is a video.......

Hark, now hear the sailors cry, smell the sea, and feel the sky, let your soul and spirit fly, into the mystic. ~ Van Morrison

 

 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Test Post with Blogsy

OK, I'm trying out another app called Blogsy. It looks much more comprehensive than Blogger and I think I will be able to edit and post pictures better with Blogsy, plus it supports html. We will see how it goes because it looks like there will be a pretty big learning curve, but I really want to get this blog back up and running. We've made some life changes, had some life changes made for us and had a few adventures along the way. I need to get back to blogging and I am hoping that if I can do it on my iPad then that will make things even easier and more convenient.

I wonder if this app has spell check? It does not appear to be auto correcting so I will have to see if there is a setting that needs to be changed. Hope I don't misspell anything! Did I just misspell misspell? I don't know. LOL

It looks like I am rambling so I will just post a few test photos and see how this works:

Panoramic Views of The Virgin Islands

 

Luna The Boat Dog
Luna the Boat Dog

Well, so far this is pretty easy to use. Now, just to see if I can post a link to another page - here is link to my friends Blog on Pipe Muh Bligh. They have been busy updating the sailing blog lately, so give it a look!

I think I'm a fan of Blogsy. Let's see how this post looks. Hopefully the Storville blog will be back up and running soon!

 

Is This Possible?

It's been a while since I tried to post a blog using my iPad and the Blogger app. This is just a short test to see if things have improved. The main complaint that I had before was posting pictures using the app. Let's see how that works now. 


Now for one more, just to be sure:



I can't seem to find a way to caption the photos. That will be a problem, but maybe something I can work around. I will see how this post looks once it has been published and determine whether I can start using my iPad to create blog posts.