Ice, Ocean & Eggs… and lots’o smiles Album
June 14, 2017
Departure on 12th was planned and executed with the knowledge and expertise of a fine oil machine, except the machine… aka Maxim, hadn’t moved for over a year. Some great prep and experienced crew prepared us for the perfect untying the dock lines, reverse thrust perfectly combined with bow thrusters…. All to be slightly upstaged with the plume of smoke that had disguised Maxim for a moment as if in magicians late night Vegas act…. Only to have her reappear on the other side with the marina staff… all 12 of them waving goodbye to their long standing friend on slip B-27. Underway and eager to get to our first stop….
Oh wait, shake-down cruise, that’s right…. OK, side-note, for those of you paying attention but may have missed the ‘index’ of phrases… ‘Shakedown’ would be like a: get to know her, see what she tells you, what will rattle loose and above all….. what adjustments, tweaks and Oh shit gotcha’s she might have for us?
So a wonderful scramble by Krystal & I with Skip / Captain Craig @ the helm, secured and squared away those aforementioned items and gotcha’s… a few (of many) bruises later, we were out of the harbor, away from the coastline of St. Thomas and able to take in the ocean / islands & adventures that were before us. The moments wonderfully ticked away as Maxim’s hull sliced through this palette of blue…..
“Hey… look a turtle”….. Krystal exclaimed with an excited lilt in her voice, I remember thinking…. “Hmmmmmm turtle, how large could it be”? Just then, as I approached for my own look-see, it was a tortoise colored Volkswagen that my eyes did see….. perhaps a sailors tale / slight exaggeration, but…. HUGE it was and we’re officially ‘viewing sea-life’ of the water kind….. not the atmospheric & attitude changes of people once they / we got on the ocean. Did I mention large?
Sea-Life? Yeah…. I’m like a young person who tastes their first exotic… anything.
Like an adult that turns a corner in their respective life and remembers where their smile was,
Like an elder person that drinks from a fountain of energetic life, and forgets to stop their guzzling,
Better yet, it’s like… Sea-Life…
I had heard tales of adventures and witnessed firsthand the smiles that came from those before me, Dad… a Navy sailor, in Pearl Harbor by Feb 42’ as a new seaman aboard USS Tangier, stories of Subic Bay & S. Pacific, lathering up with Olive Oil from their mate in the galley and laying out on the black decks awaiting their next orders. Dix, who instilled in me some 26 years ago the life of a sailor, with thousands of nautical miles logged far-off ports and numerous adventures aboard many vessels… Mark, as he trekked northward, taking along with him Dix & I (my first cruising expedition) aboard Betty Jane, and countless others on various bodies of water throughout my small-boat racing world…. And now Capt. Craig…. Delivery captain, sailor with multiple…. Numerous…. Almost filling a passport full of stamps kinda nautical miles….So a sailor’s life it is for me…. At least until we reach our final destination of Don’s cabin up a small cove on Lake Ontario in 3-3.5 weeks. (Beyond that… I plead the 5th….)
Final destination of our first day was the isle of Culebra, 3.5 hours, we found a patch of sandy bottom, dropped anchor and cracked a cold one….
Ok, pause on the path of sailing and get down to the commonality between sailors, cruisers & ocean going hitch-hikers… the proverbial, end of the day coating of your parched throat with your choice of libations. My new fav, locally introduced to me by Hollyce- (hollyce_inwonderland @ instagram) a local bartender that quenched this weary travelers thirst in St. Thomas that first evening with Virgin Islands brewing / Island Summer Ale.. forever thankful and truly amazing w/ your pics and adventures of sea-life.
Yes, if you’re wondering if we stocked the boat with some of this ‘barley soup’…. ;-), pleased excuse me while I take a sip…..aaahhhhhhhhh….
Now…. Patchy bottom anchor…. Pulling into a protective cove Culebra was something that both Skip & Krystal has done before, so for me, as I mentioned before, was like that “exotic anything” for this first timer. A mangrove shrub, palm treed, red clay tiled casa’s w/ picturesque breakwaters to welcome you in and keep you safe for the night. That’s exactly what she did….
Beeeeep Beeeeeep Beeeeep….. the alarm of 5am came very early for this now blue water traveler, breakfast served, engine maintenance and securing and squaring away of everything was the call to action before setting sail…. into our 10.5 hour crossing on Wednesday morning (June 14th) and now….. a crossing. I had done one or two on the way north some 4 years ago, but there was Vancouver island or one of it’s archipelago neighbors with 2 miles at most points…. Not this time…. Big blue with shoreline 15 miles off and growing further away the longer the day progressed…. With every up & down, side to side and horizontal movement (all simultaneously happening) of Maxim, we too were being gently tossed as the blue water became the teacher of balance and equilibrium… No hiccups to speak of, no near misses.. (near miss? Always raised an eyebrow at that phrase… either it was a miss or a hit)…. And ounces & ounces & ouneces of bottled water to stay hydrated…. AND ICE! Wow… and ice maker… worth it’s weight in gold.. great invention!
Digression over… arrival into Ponce was equally mastered by Skip and crew, with docking and settling into this beautiful oasis…. The harbormaster’s crew welcomed us, a youthful group brought us smiles with their daredevil stunts off a neighboring trawler’s fly-bridge and agreed to pose and welcome us to their home…and then Thalia…. A young college student occupying one of the marinas abandoned / covered / outdoor eateries doing of all things, studying for her MCATs…. (don’t tell her, but I felt smarter just walking with her as she showed me where the showers were) Btw…. Congrats on the passing of those MCATs Thalia…. (stay in tough, I’ll need LTC after a few years of this cruising thing… btw… the shower….. cray-cray wonderful. The only dilemma I came away with was….. Goatee? No Goatee?
As I strolled along this amenities rich marina, I came across three ladies who’d just finished their Zumba class and were enjoying cold refreshments…. That is until a straggly tired gringo walked by asking, in very broken Spanish… what time the facilities closed…. Thank-you ladies for the information and cordialities….my summation of the day arriving @ Ponce Puerto Rico by 5pm, I’d have to sum up in another sip of this Island Summers Ale….(TY again Hollyce)
Now being gently called to bed by the softness of a cradles rocking of the boat here at the dock while being serenaded by PR’s local, phenomenal Julio Iglesias styling’s skimming across the harbor from a local night-spot…. I wish for you a peaceful slumber, as I’m about to have one myself….
Last note; FOOD….. yeah, we’re eating quite well.
Evening meals have included,
Grilled Porterhouses, veggies, potatoes & fresh watermelon
Grilled Blue Fin Tuna fliets, sautéed sweet onions & carrots, saffron rice
4 Bean chili with Jalepeno, onions, diced tomatoes, cubed steak from earlier in the week…. (Kelly's Chili - no cookoff awards yet)
Breakfasts we’ve almost polished of a dozen eggs in three days….. please don’t tell the pharmaceutical sales guys, I’ve stopped taking my cholesterol pills……. I’ll eat more Fish Oil and stuff… especially when you pile on the cheese and veggies and ham…. You can’t even taste the bad cholesterol.. AND… blueberry / banana pancakes…. ( please send letter regarding Banana’s to….. ;-)
Lunches….. Salads done the right way, which isn’t something I’d anticipated with a crew of sailors, but let me tell you….. great, creative & beautiful salads..thank you Krystal.
(pause… if you listen real closely, this very well trained vocalist across the bay, is owning! Frank Sinatra’s ‘I did it my way’….. WOW!!! Where’s Randy Jackson when you need him?....Oh I know…. Still in obsecrity…