Sunday, December 18, 2011

Aquarius

That's Carl and Judy's catamaran,  they don't arrive till January, but as we wandered the boat yard we noticed that they have really let poor Aquarius down as they are not here in her hour of need. Looks to us like she has had quite an affair since they left and is now giving birth. They've left her too long on land and she has defected and a  little land cruiser is the result. Carl and Judy tsk! tsk! Get down here and regain some control.

3000 sq ft of Nylon

That's our spinaker!  Those sailing picures with the large colourful sail billowing out in front of the boat... that's a spinaker and we didn't even realize that we had one until we were told to come get our spinnaker out of storage. Its been in the hold for 2 years, so we figured we should at least take a look. Today we spread it out on the grass at the Yacht harbour and discovered its in great shape and even has a dousing sock ( designed to make pulling it in easy ) not sure if we'll ever get to use it, as it is only good in under 10 Knots of wind and its usually at least 15 knots here and it really takes a few few strong guys ( or I mean persons) to control it, but it's ours and worth about $6000.00 ( so we'll keep it for now)

Christmas in the Islands



Christmas festivities are non stop and the music plays from early morning to late at night. We still haven't quite gotten used to Steel Drum Christmas Carols, but they grow on you and as we work on our boat high and dry in the boat yard half a mile away, the constant music permeats the air from all directions and we find ourselves rocking to the steel drum beat of Jingle Bells.  Last night there was a Christmas parade down the main drag of Spanish Town, Virgin Gorda. The pick up trucks were decorated from front to rear with Christmas lights and huge speakers filled the back and belted out... Guess what, steel drum Christmas Carols! The kids were dressed in red and white and the music is just awesome. The warm rain was pelting down and not a soul seemed to care, including us.


The Bath & Turtle rendevous dockside bar hosted a huge Christmas party for the kids this afternoon and of course Santa visited with gifts from another fully packed pick-up truck, for every kid. The rum flowed with 2-4-1 drinks and again the music was awesome and never seems to stop. Pine trees are decorated with twinkling lights right next to the palm trees, and other than the tropical temperatures, it's just like Christmas at home, but without our "kids" Sadie, Owen, Ben and Nick, who we will really miss this year. Then memories of OUR own kids and Christmas's past, flood to mind like the surf pounding beside us on shore and we feel nostalgic and sentimental again. Next year we will stay in the far frozen north until Santa comes and goes before we spread our Snow Bird wings. (You know, you gotta feel sorry for Santa as he only gets to come once a year, and that is down a chimney!) Gotta go -- as Sue is confiscating my mouse!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Today we saved over $1500.00

We were told by our surveyor and by the boat yard here and a rigger last year that we had a severe crack in our forestay plate, which is a large stainless plate that houses the anchor rollers and which our forestay ( jib) roller furling attaches to. If it breaks and the forestay comes down it would probably take our mast with it. Ouch! and very expensive. Last year we were extra cautious and stopped using the jib, but figured we had to bite the bullet this year and get it fixed, so we loosened off the standing rigging and disconnected the roller furling to get the plate off. Gord decided to do a thorough cleaning to see how bad it was, and Guess what ?We have a shiney clean forestay plate with No sign of any crack. It was surface rust and it disappeared with a little acid and a wire brush.

The word BOAT stands for Bring Out Another Thousand.
This time we got lucky

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wow! there she is waiting for us!





It's gorgeous and warm at Virgin Gorda Yacht harbour and Ocean Wings has weathered the summer hurricane season amazingly. The decks are clean, all the hatch covers in place and the dinghy still wrapped and protected

 .
Bimini on 1st, so we have a little shade and a cool spot to eat our lunch as we look out over the harbour and the boat yard. Now she's ready for her new coat of bottom paint. Thank you to Peter and Thai for recommending "On & Off"  we tried it on our boot stripe and I've never seen it so clean and shiny.

Now comes the cleaning , organizing and Gords list that makes sure we're safe, secure and trouble free, or as trouble free as a boat could possible be.

In the meantime we're staying at Fiscers Cove, our little BVI haven and respite from boat drudge.


Launch Day hurry up.

Ferry to Virgin Gorda

After a sleep-in and finally, a relaxing couple of hours in the sun by the pool, we head to the Ferry with all that overweight luggage in tow. No weight restrictions this trip.


BUT, there should have been. There were only about 25 people on the small Ferry to Virgin Gorda, but the luggage and boxes were unreal! We watched as they loaded more and more and more, loading the whole deck filling the bow, and even putting large boxed TV’s on the bow against the rail, and a Christmas wrapped, cement mixer!

I’d like to say we took off, but no such luck...you just can’t put that much weight right on the nose and expect the boat to go anywhere.

We revved and we bounced and we pitched up and down with spray 5 feet high and half way back on deck, and we yawed sideways, but we just didn’t get anywhere.

So, move all the passengers to a big pile at the far back of the boat. Still no joy!

So, move the boxes to the back as well, squishing the passengers in. Still no joy!

Then the crew got the wrenches out, ran back and forth and started adjusting the trim tabs, all the while assuring us that’s its really OK, the boat is fine, they will get us there, But, frantically pointing out that the life jackets are in the bin behind us. Gord tells the first mate that is exactly what the Crew of the Titanic said to the passengers. We are an hour late, it is getting dark and raining now. Two other Ferries pass us on each side and their wakes, as they race by, wobbles us severely and we furtively glanced back at the orange life jackets and planned our escape.

Good news, we pounded our way up the Drake passage in stormy, 6 foot waves for another two hours but it was fine, we did get there, eventually, and we didn’t need the life jackets. It was a bumpy, squishy, rough ride and we arrived in teeming rain to a muddy Customs/Immigration boatyard where it took 3 pick-up trucks to unload the small Ferry.

Welcome to the Islands Mon!

Ft. Lauderdale Dec 4-7, 2011

Now that we are free of Mr Caddie, we have a few hours before The Nissan owner arrives so we are heading to Indiantown to drop in on Peter and Thai and get our first look at their trawler. Its a busy marina and we can't believe its sooooo far inland on the canal. But safe from bad surf for sure.It's a beauty little trawler and we are still working on getting them to ship it to the BVI's where you can jump off the back of the boat into turquoise water with no worries about aligators.



Now for the shopping and off to Sailorman Ltd., that wonderful consignment store that all cheap sailors love, where we find one of the elusive rollers for our sail track that we needed. Better than none at all, and we’ll keep looking for the 2nd one. Then we grab ourselves some “Keen” walking sandals and on to the computer stores to get a Netbook, as the new Tablet we just bought does have the USB port to plug in our Magic Jack Internet Phone, but no support to run it. Damn.


Shuffle, shuffle, shuffle as we repack every bag to it’s maximum, 3 duffels, a large box with our omni-directional 24” TV antenna and 2 wheeled carry-ons stuffed with our boat electronics.

Not one ounce to spare in any bag. So, No More Shopping.

We’re very proud of ourselves and patting each other on the back regarding our wonderful packing job as we head to the airport on the next leg of our adventure.

I’m dropped, along with all the luggage, at the Ft. Lauderdale Airport Departures and Gord heads to return the rental car.

Spirit Air personnel take one look at the box and go “no, no, no, we don’t take boxes in December”. What! I checked the website and have pre-paid the box. What now? We’re a long way from home and no one to leave a big box with.Yikes! They suggest buying a big suitcase to put it in, or jumping in a cab and finding a Fed Ex office, where Fed Ex will probably send it back to load on our flight. I plead a little and explain to the nice young Spirit clerk that their web site says no boxes on International flights only. Ft. Lauderdale, US to St. Thomas, US is domestic. He finally agrees, and because it was prepaid he lets me check it through. Problem solved before Gord is even back from the rental agency. (American Airlines would have cost us over $400.00 more for the same flight!)

St. Thomas here we come!

The flight was great except for the big, loud, gabby guy, sitting next to Gord, that was a chef on the Bounty, 3-masted Schooner, and we landed after 2-1/2 hours to 82 degrees and sunshine. A taxi driver wants $38 to drive us from the Airport, literally around the corner, to our Hotel! Gord tells him that he thought all the Pirates died over 200 years ago here! So Gord carries and drags all 5 bags and the 45 lb box, to find out that we are on the second floor – with no elevator – of course!

Our next trek is over to Tickles Dockside Restaurant about 2 miles away, where we hook up with our old friend/mechanic Joe, and his new girl Jennifer, for dinner. It’s so great to be back.

Heading South Dec 2-4, 2011

Well, we are on our way to the sunny south and hope our “Ocean Wings” is where we left her, and in one piece on Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands.

I'm a little sad to be leaving home before Christmas, I'll miss or Sadie and Owen. We've had such fun this summer, at the cottage, taking her to sports classes and helping install their family swimming pool. My Christmas wish will be that they can come visit us for a few weeks this winter. Santa... bring me my wish.
Sadie and Owen

Our little pirate






We are transporting two “Driveaway” cars down this time, Gord in a Cadillac and me in a Nissan. So many things happening last minute, that packing consisted of throwing all the things that we have piled on the bed in the spare room (it’s our place to put stuff to go to the boat over the summer season) into a few duffels and giving them a weigh to make sure they aren’t over 40 lbs and heading out. Toronto Driveaway gives us 4 days to get the cars down to Florida, but this year as we were delivering 2, we wanted to at least get one on the Thursday night before, so we could get it packed and pick up the other on the way through Toronto and be on our way.


Slight hitch. The owner will let us have the Caddy the evening before, but in return wants to be picked up when he arrives in Florida, at 5 pm on the day before the car is due to be there. What the heck, we’ll just put the pedal to the metal!

8:30 am Fri morning -- we’re out of the house, BUT, our new printed boat cards are ready for pick up in Markham. DETOUR, then -- Oh my Gosh, where is my cell phone? Must have let it in North York at my Thurday meeting. DETOUR. At least it’s close by where we pick up the Nissan. Grab the Nissan and we are on our way.

We hit the border by 1 pm and the border guard asks Gord, where is the car’s owner? He then informs us that the car can’t arrive before the owner. No way!! Got that straightened out and we are on our way -- AGAIN.

So, now we do the Indie 500 down Interstate 79, 77 & 95 to pick up Mr. Caddy by 1:30 (that’s right! not 5 pm as he originally told us) a full day and a half early! Lunch at the drive through and marathon driving. OH, My poor aching back! Ouch!!

But, we pull in to our hotel in Ft Lauderdale, ½ hour before his plane lands and I get to stroll along the beach while Gord takes off to find Mr Caddy at the Lauderdale Airport. Gord walks into Arrivals just as Mr. Caddy is pulling his luggage off the belt. We made it! Should be a big tip, right? Nope, not even a “Thanks”!

The Adventure has definitely begun.

We're back and Starting the 2011 to 2012 Season

Sailboat owners Gord and Sue aboard their 55' Whitby Ketch "Ocean Wings" share their adventures and travels as they start their retirement, living their dream of seeing the world from oceanside.
Ocean Wings is a recent purchase and our first foray into the Sailing Lifestyle. We're excited and a little scared. Join us in our adventure.