Monday, December 28, 2009

Xmas 2009

Xmas 2009

Great to see family and friends and all....
Sort of kewl to have a white Xmas until you have to stress about family traveling in weather....
And just snow - Oh no. First rain, then sleet, then a bit of ice, then snow and then the wind...for 3 days.
Blizzard city!

We spent three hours shoveling our walk and drive.
Later Mother Nature chose to blow in more snow so that it didn't look like we shoveled at all. BITCH!

Our next door neighbor finally came out and started on his drive. I think we shamed him into working on his driveway when he heard us. Luckily the reverse does not happen when it's summer and I see him getting out his lawnmower as I pack the car for the lake. LWOAB! (Loser without a boat - pronounced L-Woab, meant in the kindest way.) Some of my best friends are LWOABs. His first comment was "I thought you two would be somewhere warm on a boat." BASTARD - meant in the kindest way.

shovel or paddle? Hum????
I reminded Tom of one Patrick's (of s/v Stolen Child) cruising moto's..."it's a good cruising day when I don't have to put on a shirt."
BASTARD! Meant in the kindest way.

Maybe Xmas next year?

Or this?

Or this?

Or even this?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Holiday letter 2009

Official Holiday Letter 2009
The year of learning

Please read the following and circle the appropriate answers - honor system for grading (no need to respond or return to us).

In 2009, Tom and Sabrina....
1. Took and PASSED ASA (American Sailing Association) 105 Coastal Navigation Class
2. Got CPR and First Aid Certification (actually only Sabrina did this)
3. Took ASA 108 Passage Making Class
4. All of the above

In 2009, Tom and Sabrina traveled to....
1. The Bay Islands off Honduras to visit Patrick and Nancy aboard s/v Stolen Child
2. St Augustine FL dor delivery of s/v Gratitude to Brunswick GA
3. Norfolk VA for ASA 108 Passage Making Course to Bermuda
4. Bermuda via s/v Celestial
5. All of the above (*s/v = sailing vessel)

Sailing from Norfolk VA to Bermuda, Tom and Sabrina....
1. Learned how to prep a boat for an off shore passage
2. Were 2 of 4 students with a captain and first mate
3. Had the best time
4. Can't wait to go back
5. All of the above

During the sail to Bermuda, Tom and Sabrina ....
1. Sailed day and night until reaching Bermuda
2. Stood two 4 hour watches every 24 hrs
3. Experienced 3 storms with winds 41 knots during one particular blow
4. Made landfall in Bermuda 4 1/2 days after setting off from Norfolk VA
5. All of the above

In 2009, Tom's appraisal firm....
1. Experienced a slowing in business
2. Saw a shift in the types of appraisals - more foreclosure/workout orders
3. Maintained core customer base - area banks
4. Helped with overall market correction on house values
5. All of the above

In 2009 Sabrina's career....
1. Has continued with BSI now WKFS as an account executive
2. Covers customers in 2/3 Missouri
3. Saw record level of banking legislation
4. All of the above

Tom and Sabrina sail their Catalina 30 Distant Drum on Lake Perry. Over the summer, they....
1. Spent most weekends on their boat
2. Also sailed their 19ft day sailor s/v Riot
3. Enjoyed seeing lake friends again
4. All of the above.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Ditch is a Bitch

We took off November 4th for Brunswick, GA for another sailboat delivery. Tom's third, my second. Our friends Paul and Judy needed help moving their center cockpit Island Packet "Gratitude" from Brunswick GA to Jacksonville FL. Let's see....take off work, blow town for warmer latitudes south, help sail a really nice Island Packet? Hummm? As you can imagine, it took us all of 2 seconds to say "yes."
We arrived in Brunswick late the evening of November 4th. Luckily Captain Paul is a very early riser and quiet. He headed to the grocery store way before any of the rest of us got up and got us provisioned. After securing items topside and filling the water tanks, we took off for Jacksonville around 10:30 am the morning of November 5th.

Captain Paul opted to take the IntercoastalWaterway - ICW at the recommendation of admiral Judy. She wasn't terribly interested in an off shore romp down the coast. This would be my first trip on the ICW. We actually had some wind so we motor sailed.

The scenery was great. There were wild horses on one island.

My second delivery - "what is so hard about this delivery stuff?"

Oh- crew work. Argh! Judy shamed Sabrina into actual crew work on the brightwork. (Look Patrick and Nancy...the freeloaders can and do actually know how to work as crew.)

What is Tom doing?

Uh oh!

Yep, that is 2.6 ft of water depth. We ran aground again while crewing on Gratitude. If you will remember back in April we ran aground on that delivery as well Gratitude. Du-oh!

We aren't the only ones to get stuck. We just didn't have the engine power like the tug to get ourselves off so we waited. Four hours later we are able to float ourselves free.

Day two - Unfortunately Captain Paul likes to rise early. I mean it's fine when he's off to provision the boat and all but now? Here? On the ICW? Seriously?! We hear the engine fire up at 5:15 am. We were in the forward V berth by the anchor locker so....Captain Paul is up and so is the anchor at 5:30am...all 100 ft of it grinding through the very loud electric windlass! We dressed in our foul weather gear to keep the chill off and head out into the cockpit to join Captain Paul and greet the day.

As the sun rises, we warm up and we shed our foulies. I didn't want hat head hair the rest of the day so I wore my purple wig. Actually the KSU - KU football game was the next day and since poor Paul is a graduate of KU and Tom and I went to the superior school (KSU)....I couldn't resist throwing in one of my purple wigs.
The ICW was busy that morning with tons of motor yachts heading south for the season. It seems most of Canada is going south. Can you blame them? One guy in particular radio over as he passed to say he liked my purple hair. We also got a horn blast from a draw bridge operator in approval of my hair. But then who doesn't like KSU purple hair!

We were delayed getting through downtown Jacksonville FL for about 20 min as the Coast Guard were doing practice maneuvers. We circled in front of the police and fire dock until we could pass through.

Just west of Jacksonville and 3 miles from our final destination we ran aground again - HARD! Dead stop in the water. We were motor sailing with the current so we were doing about 8 knots. Judy was at the top of the companion way and fell backward down onto the cabin sole. She remained conscious but badly injured her back, breaking three vertebrae. None of the rest of us were injured. The wind spun us off the shoal. Paul called Mayday and 911. The police, fire and sheriff were on the scene in less than 5 mins. They strapped her to a back board as Paul motored full speed back towards Jacksonville - towing the fire boat on one side and the police boat on the other. We were quite the sight I am sure. **Mental a boat with a big ass diesel!! They took her to Baptist Hospital for many tests. The neurosurgeon that just happened to be on call that evening is one of the top in the country and recommended surgery. He preformed surgery the next morning to put two 7 inch rods and a bunch of pins and such along Judy's spine. She was a trooper the entire time. Not once while injured on the boat did she cry. When they lifted her out she didn't even swear. I believe the EMT boys would have been hearing some colorful pirate language had it been me. Judy was in the hospital approx a week and then in a rehab facility another week before flying home to KC. What an experience! Both Tom and I have talked through it many times thus learning from the experience.

Paul insisted that we continue on down the coast as planned so Saturday morning Tom and I took off in a rental car driving south.

We explored and meandered until we reached Ft Lauderdale. There we connected with Tom's college friend Bob Warren and his wife Shirley. It was great to catch up with them.

We flew home on Tuesday.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Sailors Philosophy

Tom and I get a substantial amount of boat porn in the form of monthly sailing magazines. Five are delivered each month to our home. Several others come in the form of email newsletters. Unfortunately we only get one copy of each of the magazines so the trick is to beat the other sailor in the house to the mail slot and get the newest boat porn first each month. We devour each page whether it's an article on sailing to St Kitts in the Caribbean, an equipment review, or how to re-wire your new bilge pump. Even the ads are fun to read...Boat for sale, charter to Greece, marina for sale, and so on. The October 2009 issue of Cruising World celebrated 35 yrs of publication at the magazine A magazine for non-racing sailors and arm chair sailors. Quite an accomplishment in the world of publishing. The are some terrific articles by and about many legends of the sailing community. However the below quote came from the editors log. I think it fits the time we sail in now.

"We live in a curious time, when circumstances way beyond our control have forced us all to shorten sail to some degree. Some of us have tucked in a reef; some have gone directly to the storm sails. But that's what sailors do. They learn to gauge the conditions, consult the forecast, re-chart their course from here to there, maybe pick a new destination and adjust their schedule as needed." Cruising World Editor Mark Pillsbury

Well said Mark.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Summer Sailing Summary on Lake Perry

2009 Summer Sailing Summary on Lake PerrySisters Under Sail classroom studies complete - Let's go sailing !

Renee takes the helm on Distant Drum. Looking good my Sailing Sista - two snaps!
Ta Keel La aka Clown Boat - no wonder Renee is on Distant Drum. There is no room on clown boat.
The annual Cinco De Sea Salt party complete with the tortilla toss.
Special guest at this years Cinco De Sea Salt were my parents ( mom seen here at left) and Janice Keech all the way from New Zealand. Captain Sea Salt himself made sure the ladies were taken care of on this sunset cruise.
Cap10 Tom found his very own cougar on the sunset cruise.
Captain Jack Sparrow and his arch enemy showed up for pirate Mike's bday celebration.
Pirates on board!
Just another Saturday night pot luck on B-Dock. Thank you Denny DaBloon for buying the electric smoker. It has served us well this summer.
Special K and Compy Comp sailing along.
Terry and Sheila steal some quiet time.
Cool weather and double rainbows make 2009 an unusual summer at Lake Perry.
We were even able to do some scientific research this summer at the lake. Our very own Lake Perry Mythbusters proved the myth false. Cell phones DO NOT pop popcorn.
B-Dock night sails became a regular event. If there was wind we sailed. If not, we danced in the cockpit and sang along to all the songs...loud, proud and badly.
Bruce and Susan came for a return visit. Brunch on E-Dock gave them a chance to see everyone.
Special K's bday present to herself. Little Red Skate - zoom zoom!
Annual High Tea with 8 boats this year.
Riot got her fair share of sailing too this summer. Zoom Zoom!
Despite our busy summer and all the group sailing activities, Cap10 Tom and I were able to find some quiet time for just the two of us to sail and anchor out.
Another beautiful sunset on Lake Perry.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Help reading about the Bermuda trip

Ok. I am still figuring out this blogging stuff as is apparent if you look at the Bermuda trip. Mainly it cut off some of the pics. Deal with it. I am not doing that posting again. Simply click on the pic and it will pull it up full screen for you to view. Beware...full screen. As in details. As in we didn't shower for 5 days.

Our first Blue Water

As part of our 2009 learning kick, Tom and I recently took an ASA 108 Ocean Passage Making Course from the Maryland School of Sailing. This course took us form Norfolk Va to Bermuda, leaning the entire time. "Blue Water" is a term used by sailors for any passage that takes you out of sight of land - "Offshore" is another term used. The course outline is fairly simple, learn the skills necessary to prep for and complete an ocean passage. We have been back for several weeks now but our little sailing brains are still jibbing from all that we learned and experienced. It was intense and we loved it!

Our voyage was aboard a 2005 Island Packet 440 named Celestial. The distance is approximately 670 nautical miles and it can take anywhere from 4 1/2 to 7 days depending on the weather. As it turns out, our trip was extremely quick.

Captain David Appleton was our fearless leader. He is an experienced captain who has made this particular voyage numerous times. Very animated, he encouraged us at every turn as a constant instructor.

David Gifford was our first mate. He has been first mate on several occasions in the past and some of those trips with Captain Appleton.

The other two students were Paul Hurley from Virginia and Paul Cargill from Texas. Yes, this was to trip of the Davids and Pauls. We all introduced ourselves, sharing our sailing resumes and what we hoped to accomplish and take away from the trip. All of our sailing experience and goals lined up pretty well.

A big part of the training was learning how to prepare the vessel for an ocean passage. We were scheduled to spend 2 full days at the dock prepping Celestial. However all the students arrived fairly early the day before so we got a head start on all the prep work and training. Captain Appleton was monitoring the weather. He wanted to see if we could depart on Thursday, June 18th vs Friday, June 19th.

Celestial was docked at Vinings Marina at Little Creek VA, a short cab ride from the Norfolk airport. The Vinings is a large company that also happens to own our Lake Perry Yacht and Marine back in Kansas. However, this marina in no way compares to ours. This was a very, very nice marina. I took several pics to show the sailing gang back in Kansas. The bathrooms and laundry alone were enough to make me cry with joy. Never mind the pool and real restaurant. The knowledgeable, helpful staff and lovely landscaping (with herb boxes) was cruel torture in comparison to our marina.

First on the agenda was training on various heavy weather tactics. We learned to deploy the storm sail. This is generally used in winds above 50 kts. It is made out of heavy duty Dacron and is neon orange in case of a rescue situation. The shape of the sail is similar to a mainsail turned if the foot of the mailsail is threaded in the slot and then the boltrope or long part of the mainsail is along the boom.

Next we learned to deploy the sea anchor. This is a parachute that is used in heavy weather to help slow the boat and cause drag. This can be very helpful in large seas. The slip next to Celestial was empty so we were able to rig it up and then take it across the empty slip and down the dock for the real feel. I have read many articles about sea anchors but never really got the complete concept of deploying one until now. It finally clicked for me by actually doing it and seeing it.

The next item on the learning list was to deploy a collision mat. This is a triangular piece of thick, red vinyl with lines attached at each corner. This would be used if Celestial was holed somehow. This mat is deployed on the outside of the vessel over the hole. The water pressure and lines help keep it in place and it stems the water entering the boat, hopefully keeping it afloat.

The emergency whale pump was dug out of one of the deep cockpit lockers. This baby will pump 1 gallon per stroke as we soon learned. Of course each of us had to give it a try as we pumped water in from one slip and out into another. A very good thing to have on board in case the standard automatic bilge pump and the built in manual decides to give up the fight.

Below deck, Paul H worked to set up the log book. More later on this. Paul C, Tom and I worked on setting up two plotting sheets that we would use on the trip.

Captain Appleton then gave us our official assignments for the voyage. Tom was assigned head bosun. This made him responsible for all things above deck: sails, rigging, lines, hardware, lights, etc....Paul H was assigned assistant navigator to first mate David and assistant bosun to Tom. Pre-departure he and Tom went over everything above deck, changing out the headsail furling line, putting the repaired bimini back on and securing the life raft in the cockpit. A trip up the mast by Tom revealed a twisted shackle and chaffing on the headsail halyard. Another trip up fixed the problem.

Paul C was named chief engineer. This made him responsible for all systems below deck including the engine, generator, heads, thru hulls and such. He gave us an instruction tour before departure.

I was given the role of safety. This included safety equipment, medical and provisioning. Each role had a long list of duties and checklists. We all set about accomplishing our individual duties. I inventoried the medical kits. There were actually two. One old one and a very kewl, new one. The new one was like a square duffel that unzipped down the middle to reveal 8 clear vinyl bags velcro'd into place. Each was labeled with the type of emergency it would assist with. I also reviewed and prepped the three abandoned ship containers. Prior to setting sail I gathered all the wallets and passports and placed those in one of the containers along with some ships papers. I had to pry the wallets from a few hands!

Captain Appleton and first mate David had already provisioned the boat. They purchased enough for the trip to and from Bermuda as provisions in Bermuda are very expensive. I simply inventoried what we had and made a map so we could find where various provisions were in the boat. I soon found that we had enough food to miss Bermuda completely, bypass the Azores, cruise into the Med and spend 4 weeks before we would have to provision again! We were loaded. I know Island Packets are beefy, ocean going vessels with storage but I had no idea. The navy destroyer around the corner had nothing on us in terms of provisioning!

Watches were assigned as well. Captain Appleton and I would take the mid-ships watch 00:00am to 04:00am and noon to 16:00pm. First mate David and Paul H had the 04:00am to 08:00am and 16:00 to 20:00 watch. Tom and Paul C rounded it out with the 08:00am to noon and 20:00 to midnight watch. It was a bit strange coming up into the cockpit at midnight for my watch. It was a new moon and therefore pretty dark. There was nothing around and no lights. Tom would tell me the course they have been steering, the sails they have up, conditions and anything else. I would then take over the helm and steer course 135 but other than the compass reading of 135, I had no way of knowing which way I was headed. It was a weird sensation.

We worked hard and were able to complete all the necessary pre-voyage duties and tasks. We set sail Thursday, June 18th at 15:15. The wind was somewhere around 18 kts as we scooted along.

Mal De Mar is otherwise known as sea sickness. Tom and I have not been bothered previously by this but were unsure if a true "blue water" passage might affect us. Just in case, my doctor prescribed anti-sea sickness patches. In discussions that night before our departure, we discovered that Paul H is affected by Mal De Mar and had been popping pills since his arrived in preparation for the actual departure. First mate David said he is affected a bit too. Paul C said that he had never had Mal De Mar but does most of his sailing on a catamaran, which of course moves very differently than a monohull. He brought the patches too. First mate David suggested that we should already have our patches on to adjust to them and check for side effects such as hallucination. Tom and I decided to wait. We put our patches on the morning of our departure just in case and we got along great. Paul H still suffered despite the meds and Paul C had a touch. Both were troopers and continued with all their watches and duties.

Once we cleared the mouth of the bay, we settled in pretty well. Captain Appleton and I would end up cooking all of the dinners because of our watch schedule. I was fine with this as I wanted to try out my galley skills during the passage. Dinner the first night was three cans of baked beans with smoked sausage, red peppers, garlic and onions added. A mixed salad started it all off. However, not all were up for eating. Captain Appleton LOVED it, having a second - cold helping after our 04:00am watch and a third serving for lunch the next day. Other dinners were stir fried chicken and rice, spaghetti with meat sauce, Captain Appleton's Skid Row Stroganoff with noodles and lemon chicken with pasta salad and broccoli. Lunches were sandwiches and PBJs. Breakfast was oatmeal. Snacks were peanuts, granola bars, apples, yogurt, pudding, ginger cookies and all abundant. Balancing in the galley was quite an impossible task. The stove was generally gimbled back at a crazy angle with pots a boiling! I tried out the galley belt but the previous user didn't set it up right so it wasn't much help.

It was hazy on Friday so we weren't able to take sun sights. Instead we learned and practiced our knot tying. Saturday was much clearer so we were able to have a sun sightings lesson. I couldn't really see much when I tried out the three various sextants. I volunteered to record the sights instead. Our lesson was delayed a bit when Paul C spotted whales off our port side. We were not able to tell what type they were. Other sea life spotted during the trip included some dolphins on Tom's watch and flying fish. Once particular flying fish made it through the portlight in the aft head and was only found much, much later because of the smell. P-U!

By the second day we all had become accustomed to clipping in before entering the cockpit. We still fumbled a bit as our particular tethers have a safety feature that makes them a bit tough to open. We wore our harnesses most of the time except while sleeping.

Balancing while below was an impossible task. One look at the gimbled stove tilted back at a 45 degree angle reminded us that we were not walking on a flat, even floor. It was a weird, demented fun house below. The safest place was in the cockpit. Once we finally reached Bermuda, we found it took several days to get our land legs back.

WATCH ROUTINE - (Example Tom and Paul C watch). They would come onto the watch at 20:00. Tom would clip into the jacklines on the opposite side as the current helmsman. This allows an easy hand off of the helm. They would get the current course, sails inventory (what sails are flying and size), weather conditions, and any other relevant details. Tom would steer strictly by compass. Paul would trim sails, watch for ships, and keep Tom company. After 1 hour Paul would take the helm and Tom would go below to record his log entry. SAMPLE LOG - TIME 20:00 COURSE 135 LOG 12994 WIND DIRECTION s sw WIND SPEED 24-26 WAVE DIRECTION W WAVE HEIGHT 8-10 BAROMETER READING 998 SEA TEMP 82 CLOUD COVER 90% CLOUD TYPES Alt Strat BATTERY READINGS #1 12.8 #2 12.4 #3 13 BILGE STROKES 10 BOAT CHECK (accounting for everyone & general check of all things below) Anytime the engine or generator was started, this was recorded as well as when we shut them off. We also recorded any weather issues. The Captain kept a narrative log in the back. At 22:00 Tom would take the helm again and Paul C would go below and make his log entry. When you are on the helm steering by compass, the hour goes really fast. In fact, the whole 4 hour watch goes very fast. At 00:00 I would come on watch and take the helm. Tom and Paul would then record their average course over their watch, distance and plot the DR on our plotting sheets. Twice a day first mate David would get a GPS reading and plot that position. It was amazing how close our DR was to the actual GPS position. Or as Tom said "hey, this navigation shit really works!" Good to see it in action after all that navigation studying this spring. The Captain used our watch time to catch up on log entries and paperwork so during my hour at the helm I sometimes had the cockpit to myself - sweet!

The hourly checks were good because battery #2 didn't seem to be holding a charge very well and the bilge had more water than it should. We actually switched to using the manual bilge pump and timing how long we ran it for each log entry. Captain Appleton decided we should break out the emergency whale pump at one point. Not because it was an emergency or because the main bilge pump quit. He just wanted to use it at sea for the first time much like a kid with a new toy.

We did get to experience some storms at sea. It always seemed to happen on my 00:00 to 04:00am watch. Tom said "I give you the helm, go off watch and within an hour, all hell is breaking loose." The first storm was Friday night. When I came up for watch there was some lighting around. Tom said it was warm and I wouldn't need more than my light weight jacket. I opted for my foulie pants, sea boots and light weight jacket. Good thing, we got soaked. I have a whole new appreciation for my foul weather gear. I LOVE my foulies! I got water everywhere but in my boots.
Captain Appleton was at the helm when the storm caught up to us. The wind steadily built to 38 kts with gusts to 43 kts. With the rain and waves, he couldn't see the wind direction and speed instruments mounted above the hatch. He would ask me what the wind speed was. We had to yell because the storm was loud. Paul C told me later that he and first mate David were in the salon trying to sleep unsuccessfully when they both heard me yell "wind speed 41 kts" and they both shot straight up out of their bunks. The cockpit was getting drenched by waves. We had a wind gust and wave hit at the same time. It was enough to lay Celestial over on her side. The port rail and portlights were buried in the water. Captain Appleton yelled that he had no helm control at all - I yelled back "I know." But Celestial did what she was designed to do, she sailed through it and we eventually pulled the rail out of the water. Captain Appleton yelled for me to get Tom up to help reef some sails. Both Tom and David suited up in their foulies and clipped in. The three of us stumbled and slide around the wet, bucking cockpit trying to reef the sails. We eventually got them reefed down. Our tethers were so tangled that it took 5 mins to untangle them. The storm subsided and we went off watch. The Captain crashed. I was too jazzed from the experience and stayed in the cockpit for a while just winding down. It was intense.

Our next storm happened Saturday night on my watch. This time we were better prepared and had Tom and Paul C help me reef before they went off watch. The winds were 33-36 kts but there was quite a bit of lighting with this storm. I suggested to Captain Appleton that I should put one of the VHF radios and a handheld GPS in the oven to protect them in case of a lightening strike. He thought that was a good idea.

Our third storm came Sunday night...on my watch as well. The winds were 30-34 kts. The next morning we awoke to find the seas 10-12 and 15ft at times.

We were on target to set a new school record for the shortest crossing but steering difficulties on approach to Bermuda slowed us down so the record didn't fall.

I was the first to spot Gibbs Hill light so the first round of drinks in Bermuda were on me. Tom was appointed by Captain Appleton as navigator to take us into Bermuda. He did a terrific job although it got a bit hairy. David stood by to assist Tom. Dusk quickly turned to night and we all searched for the various buoys Tom called out. Once we spotted a particular one we needed, I would take a bearing on it. This was tough as I was using our unlit hand held compass with a red light shining into it as the boat pitched and bucked. The weather started to deteriorate. Soon the rain came. A few times raining hard enough that we couldn't see Bermuda or the navigation lights. I took the helm while the guys brought in the sails. I couldn't maintain a course. The captain finally took the helm in frustration but soon discovered that he couldn't hold a course either. We had snagged something. He struggled and struggled with it and finally we were able to make some head way and shake it loose. He said it felt like it was alive. First mate David agreed when he took the helm to relieve the captain. We decided it must be a 600 lb squid. So that is our story and we are sticking with it!

We finally spotted the lights to Town Cut, the entrance to St George's Harbor. Once inside, we navigated to an assigned anchorage and dropped anchor at 02:00am Tuesday morning. The captain poured us each a large glass of wine that he had hidden away and we all toasted to a successful voyage.

The next morning we made a big breakfast and then motored over to the custom house. Captain Appleton quickly cleared us into Bermuda while the guys sent Tom up the mast to bring down the torn headsail and torn staysail. Bermuda Sails promptly arrived and whisked them off to their sail loft for repair. We motored around the corner to Hunter's Wharf to tie up.

"What is that smell? Oh, it's me. What the hell, these shores have seen and smelled a lot stinkier sailors than us." And with that, we scrambled ashore for cold, well deserved beers. After a late lunch, Paul H bailed for a hotel. Captain Appleton went back to s/v Celestial for a nap. First mate David took Paul C, Tom and me on a walking tour of St George's. Bermuda is very beautiful, historic, friendly, clean and expensive.

Once we got back to the boat, we started cleaning up and drying out. Everything was wet.

Paul H showed back up later via cab looking strangely clean and touristy. We all walked up the hill towards the St George's Dinghy Club. First however, David walked us out to the end of the island for a look at Town Cut and what we came through the night before. Paul H put it best "holy shit, we sailed through there last night!"

Back at the dinghy club we all enjoyed our first Dark and Stormy on me. This is the official drink of Bermuda. It's made with Goslings Black Rum and ginger beer - which isn't beer but pop. But not like ginger ale, it's stronger. This is the traditional drink for sailors who sail to Bermuda. (We have since made them for our sailing friends at Lake Perry and they have gotten big thumbs up.) Paul H headed to his hotel an the rest of us crashed on the boat that night.

The next morning we had a big sailors breakfast at this kewl little island dive. There were other sailors there. The Marion to Bermuda Race was going on during our voyage and several of the sailors from the race were at breakfast too.

The racers departed Marion RI Friday 19th. They had storms as well and 1/3 of the racers dropped out. Those that came on through to Bermuda were battered and bruised with torn sails and boat issues. We saw first hand evidence of this when we stopped by Bermuda Sails after breakfast to check on our sails.

We cleaned up the boat and then Paul H and Paul C headed to the airport. Paul H was meeting his wife. Paul C flew home. Tom and I chilled on the boat with Captain Appleton and first mate David. That afternoon we hefted our hear up the hill to Aunt Nea's B&B. We spread all of our wet hear throughout our room trying to dry it and then took a long, deep nap.

That evening we met Captain Appleton and David back down at Celestial for a tour of Bermuda Radio. This is the equivalent to our FAA headquarters and Captain Appleton's friend Dan works there. All ships clearing into and out of Bermuda must first contact Bermuda Radio on approach for approval. It started raining and we got soaked walking up the hill. What should have been a spectacular view was cloudy but it was still very kewl. Dan wasn't able to spend much time with us since several of the racers on approach to Bermuda needed his assistance. We had the run of the place while he worked. It was truly amazing to watch him with a phone of each ear, talking on the radio and running the computer. He was funny too. If you are ever on your way into Bermuda, listen for Dan and tell him hi.

Tom and I played tourist on Thursday. We took the high speed ferry over to the Dockyards. There is an outstanding museum at the Commanders Place there.

We rode the bus to the capitol of Hamilton. The business men all wear dress shirts, ties, jackets, Bermuda shorts, black knee socks and black shoes. No lie.

We TRIED to get into the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club. We had about as much success as we did trying to get into the San Diego Yacht Club and the New York Yacht other words - NO entry!

Then we headed over to the Hamilton Dinghy Club. The club was the sponsor of the Marion to Bermuda Race so most of the racers were berth there. This dinghy club was much, much fancier than the St George's Dinghy Club. Tom put on his foul weather jacket and I carried mine and we snuck in and walked the docks. It was kewl seeing the racing boats. However my favorite racers where not the professional teams but the boats with just a bunch of average Bob and Suzy sailors onboard. One came in while we were there. When the dockmaster came down to direct them to their slip, we decided we should scoot before we were found out.

We had quite the adventurous bus ride back to St George's but we got to see a lot of the island. Captain Appleton made us PROMISE not to rent scooters. Soon enough we saw why with all the crazy driving and were glad we made that promise. A few more Dark and Stormy's at the St George's Dinghy Club were in order.

Friday morning we woke to a clear skies and sunshine. Two thirds of the yachts that had been waiting for a clear weather window had already cleared out by the time we got up. These vessels were off to the Azores or the USA. Bermuda has been struggling with a drought since March but most islanders said they have never seen it rain for an entire week which it had been. Of course we flew home on Friday so we didn't get much of a chance to enjoy the sunshine. But hey, we were already wet when we arrived in Bermuda so it was ok. Plus we had foulies!

We strolled around St George's and chatted with a local guy before heading to the airport and home.

Blue water indeed! It's tough to describe the experience. How can you fully explain the rush of going through a storm at sea? Or the odd combination of heightened alertness and yet calm on the midnight watch? Or the pride in accomplishing a well done voyage. It's like trying to describe the sapphire blue water color, you can tell someone all about it and even take pictures but you can't truly capture it. Only through experience can you really know.