Archive for July, 2015

Now What?

July 13, 2015

posted from Leland, NC

You will remember from our last post that during the first week after we returned from Grenada we spent less than two days in our house.  Finally we are here.

Now what?

We are trying to figure out how to live in our house.   OK, so we usually know how to turn the lights on and off (…but there are three wall switches that work that light and I can’t find any of them…), adjust the temperature in the shower, open and close the garage door, run the dishwasher, cook on the stove (at least Jackie does), play the stereo (more or less), etc., but it takes time to settle in to a rhythm.  Where do you sit and read (do we even have the right furniture)? How do you decide whether to eat dinner on the porch or at the island or at the dining table and who sits where at which place?

Probably the biggest is figuring out where to keep things – and then remembering where you moved it to when you decided the last place it was in wasn’t right.

This is serious stuff.   It can’t be taken lightly.

We tend to visit furniture stores at lot.  The people at the consignment store have us on speed dial in case certain things come in.

But we are managing despite not knowing where anything goes.  It feels like a Sisyphean effort sometimes, but the general clutter seems to be diminishing as more things find homes or at least temporary hiding places.

So what else do we do?

NEW TOYS

Alas, Jackie’s beloved iPad bit the dust.  It served her well, but it just wouldn’t work anymore, so she bought herself a new tablet.  We’ll see how she does with an Android.

We will soon embark on another adventure where it would be really nice to have a good underwater camera.  We have a camera with a waterproof housing, but it’s too clunky to travel with and besides it’s on the boat.  We started camera shopping and picked an Olympus TG-4 because it takes good pictures and it has a reputation for being rugged (we’ve drowned our share of cameras).  Many of the pictures in this blog posting were taken by me while getting used to the new camera.

Still trying to discover the secret of taking a good selfie

Still trying to discover the secret of taking a good selfie

 

HANGING OUT

We are retired.  Sometimes we just relax on the screened in porch and read or watch the world march past.  One day we got energetic and went on a bird walk at Airlie Gardens.  Another day we went to a bird supply store for a presentation on raptors.  It seems we see a lot of birds.

A group of turkeys walk by at the back of our yard.

A group of turkeys walk by at the back of our yard.

This group of wild turkeys wandered through the back yard one afternoon.  There were at least three adults and quite a few young ones.  Later we saw the group crossing the entrance drive to the community.

We see a variety of birds in the trees and birdbath behind the house including cardinals, mocking birds, bluebirds, finches, thrashers, and a few other small species.

The birdbath is especially fun because it’s in the open and the birds usually hang out almost long enough to get the camera.

Here is a finch we saw at Airlie Gardens

Here is a finch we saw at Airlie Gardens

Here is a finch in the birdbath

Here is a finch in the birdbath

A blue bird tries to splash out all the water

A bluebird tries to splash out all the water

 

C'mon in, the water's fine. Not if it makes me look like that!

“C’mon in, the water’s fine.”
“Not if it makes me look like that!”

A dragonfly we saw at Airlie Gardens

A dragonfly we saw at Airlie Gardens

The screech owl we got to pet at the Wild Bird Center's raptor presentation

The screech owl we got to pet at the Wild Bird Center’s raptor presentation

We hear a lot of insect noise in the evening.  One night we thought we heard an interesting bird, but when we described the call to our next door neighbors they told us it is a bobcat that lives in the area.  Previously we had seen some deer tracks and some other tracks that we couldn’t identify at the time, but now we are sure they were the bobcat’s

GETTING IN SHAPE

The community has a nice complex for sports and socializing.  There is “The Grand Lanai,” (Lanai is the trendy term for enclosed porch) a large open building used for all kinds of gatherings.  It has a kitchen, giant TV, and a local restaurateur is now running the bar in the evenings.  No cash accepted – credit cards only although I think they will put you on a subscription.

Behind the building is a nice pool.  To one side are tennis and basketball courts and to the other side is a fitness center.   Jackie likes to use the fitness center in the mornings and we often go to the pool and swim laps after dinner when it isn’t crowded and the sun is down.

The bottom of the pool

The bottom of the pool

Bathing beauty

Bathing beauty with surrealistic head

Jackie tries out her new mask and snorkle

Jackie tries out her new mask and snorkle

We also have the bicycles in working order and ride a little although it’s hot during the day.

BOTTEGA (1. the studio of a master artist, in which artists, apprentices, or students learn by participating in the work.)

Bottega Art and Wine is one of those places you might never wander into based on what you see from the street unless maybe you had an appliance you needed to get fixed.  It’s a rather plain, nondescript storefront with a few old portable black and white TVs in the window.  (It must be the block for places that aren’t what they seem.  Next door is Hell’s Kitchen, which turns out to be a big sports bar.)

Step inside and you find a long bar on one wall in the front half.  The back has couches, chairs, and small tables.  The walls are festooned with paintings and other artsy things.  It’s a bit reminiscent of college in the late 60’s/early 70’s.  We found that a drumming circle forms on Tuesday nights, so we stopped by.  It took a while for a quorum to form and for the drummers to settle in, but soon they were beating out African rhythms.

Drum circle (looking towards the street)

Drum circle (looking towards the street)

Drum circle (looking towards the back)

Drum circle (looking towards the back)

The drumming went on for a short time and then one of the women who was wandering around started belly dancing.  The drumming picked up and she danced for a while.  Finally she stopped and another woman started belly dancing.  Evidently they are regulars there and enjoy dancing to the drumming.

Sometime during the evening people started wandering through the drum circle and going out the back door into a little courtyard.  After it was dark someone started fire dancing.  When the first person stopped another started and about five or six people eventually took turns.  Nothing like beer, wine and flaming kerosene to get the party going.  The whole evening was quite a show and evidently it was a typical Tuesday night.  We will be back for sure.

One of the many fire dancers

One of the many fire dancers

Fire dancer gets going

Fire dancer gets going

ROAD TRIP

OK, so it was only to Shallotte – less than an hour down the road. I found out that an old sailing friend, Captain Jim and his wife Debbie, have been spending time at a waterfront house not too far from us.  The house was Debbie’s grandfather’s and it (along with most of the houses on the street) is still in the family.  Jackie and I visited them recently and although we haven’t seen each other in eight years or so, it felt like we had just seen them yesterday.

The Intercoastal Waterway just around the corner from Captain Jim's

The Intercoastal Waterway just around the corner from Captain Jim’s

NEXT: Crossing the line.

 

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Hard Aground (unless sailing)

July 3, 2015

posted from Leland, NC

Well here we are back in the US of A, but we aren’t quite done with tales of Grenada.  There remain a few things to talk about that we did before we left the island.

Compass Rose in Mt. Hartman Bay.

Compass Rose in Mt. Hartman Bay.

BIRDING IN THE DOVE SANCTUARY

One of our favorite things to do is take morning birding walks through the Grenada Dove Sanctuary.  Amazingly we only did it once this year and that was in late May.  It was a nice walk, but the brush is fairly low and dense so the birds easily hide in the bushes and trees.  We eventually saw quite a few birds, but not much out of the ordinary.

Grenada Flycatcher

Unidentified Bird

Mangrove cuckoo

BOAT BUILDING

I’m not the only one who had a major project this year.  Dick from Lady Sybil decided to build a dinghy.  He arranged with Secret Harbour Marina to use some space near the restaurant to do the work.  Charles from Margaret Sharon helped him with the project.  It was fun to watch the dink go together and it was beautiful when it was done.

Dick and Charles build a dinghy next to the marina restaurant.

Dick and Charles build a dinghy next to the marina restaurant.

They clamped the gunnels on with split pvc pipe.

They clamped the gunnels on with split pvc pipe.

Charles prepares to fit another piece.

Charles prepares to fit another piece.

GRAND ETANG

Monty, Jackie’s drumming instructor has talked about going to Grand Etang, a park in the Grenada highlands, to drum and play music as the full moon rises.  Jackie organized a bus and invited along Monty and a few other musicians.  Once there, a few of us hiked up the mountain to take in the view.

Looking down at Grand Etang Lake

Looking down at Grand Etang Lake.  Notice the low cloud layer.

 

Southwestern point of Grenada

Southwestern point of Grenada

Islands manufacture their own climates to some extent.  The trade winds force warm, moist, sea air up the mountains where it cools and creates clouds.  Luckily for us, the clouds stayed above us instead of enveloping us in fog.  This made it a bit damp and chilly feeling and blocked out the moonrise, so we didn’t stay as long as we thought we might.  Despite the weather, the musicians jammed and enjoyed the afternoon.

(L) Monty, Jackie's drum instructor and (R) George, our bus driver and boat watcher

(L) Monty, Jackie’s drum instructor and (R) George, our bus driver and boat watcher

The Musicians: (L to R) Hella, Fleming, Trudy, Jackie, xx, Andy, Jack, and Monty

The Musicians: (L to R) Hella, Fleming, Trudy, Jackie, André, Andy, Jack, and Monty

RETURN TO THE US

Finally it was time head back to the States.  Once again, the pilot took us over the south coast of Grenada and we got a bird’s eye view of the anchorages.

NE portion of Mt. Hartman Bay and Compass Rose

NE portion of Mt. Hartman Bay and Compass Rose

South coast of Grenada. Mt. Hartman Bay is in the lower left corner.

South coast of Grenada. Mt. Hartman Bay is in the lower left corner.

Here is the south coast of Grenada looking east.  The SE portion of Mt. Hartman Bay is in the lower left corner.  Up a little and to the right is Hog Island with the anchorage to the left of the island.  beyond the Hog Island bridge is Clarks Court Bay.  Right edge of the middle of the picture is Calvigney Island and just beyond it is Le Phare Bleu Bay.  We can reach any of that area in our dinghy in 15 minutes or less.

Other than a flight delay causing us to get a later connection, the trip went well and shortly after arriving we had all house and car systems running.

DICKERSON 50th ANNIVERSARY RENDEZVOUS 

Not to long before we were to leave Grenada we realized that we would get back in time for the Dickerson 50th Anniversary Rendezvous in Oxford, MD, but we wouldn’t have much time to spare.  We can’t go to a sailing rendezvous and stay in a motel, so we started looking for boats with extra berths and in need of crew.  Dave and Siobhan heard of our plight and invited us to stay with them on their Dickerson 41, Down Home.  We have stayed with them and their puppy, Kip, before and had a great time so we were really looking forward to it.

The offer included sailing from their marina in Baltimore to the rendezvous and back, but we had to move fast.  We landed in Wilmington late Tuesday night and we were in Baltimore by late Thursday afternoon.  Dave and I finished some boat projects including installing his new chart plotter.

Friday morning we headed down the Patapsco River and then south down the Chesapeake Bay. We motored in light winds at first, but eventually did some sailing.

Sailing on Down Home with Siobhan, Dave, and Kip

Sailing on Down Home with Siobhan, Dave, and Kip

High tide had just passed so we were able to cut through Knapps Narrows.  We arrived in Oxford and had time to spare before the evening get together.

 

We exit Knapps Narrows without bumping the bottom or top

We exit Knapps Narrows without bumping the bottom or top

 

Lots and Lots of Dickerson Owners

Lots and Lots of Dickerson Owners.  From left to right they are….uhhh… never mind.

Saturday is the big regatta where we race around in the Choptank River and the winner becomes Commodore for the next year.  We did well leading most of the fleet, but our rating – based in part on past performance – kept us from winning.  Don and D Wogaman on Southern Cross finished close behind us and won our class.  Bill Toth won the show on Starry Night.

Old Dickerson woody

Old Dickerson woody

Pre-start action

Pre-start action

Close mark rounding

Close mark rounding

 

Vigilant race crew

Vigilant race crew

That evening we all gathered at the Tred Avon Yacht Club for the big dinner, prize giving, installing of the new Commodore, and other sundry entertainment.  There were a lot of Dickerson owners in attendance and  Dickerson 41 owners were well represented.  To the best of our knowledge nineteen 41s were built, but one sank in the Caribbean.  We had six boats at the rendezvous and two more represented by their owners. Not a bad turnout!

Dickerson 41 owners

Dickerson 41 owners

Jackie and I are in the back row – Compass Rose

The man to the left of me and the woman in front of me are Hank and Denise Cope – Toogoodoo

The pirate is Bruce Franz (Tucky skipped the picture) – Hemisphere Dancer

Dave Fahrmeier is to the right of the pirate and Siobhan is between the ladies in blue and yellow – Down Home

The man with the red cap and beard is Don Wogaman and D is in the blue dress – Southern Cross

The man in the blue shirt and the woman in the yellow dress are Daniel Pomerleau and Louise Maillette –Douce Folie 1

The man in the red hat is Jeff Stephenson and his cousin John is in the black shirt – Cavu

That leaves the couple in the lower right, Bill and Chris Burry – Plover

The rendezvous officially ends on Sunday, but there is usually a post-rendezvous cruise and this year was no exception.  Part of the fleet sailed across the Choptank River and up Broad Creek to anchor for the night.  Five of the Dickerson 41s (Southern Cross, Toogoodoo, Down Home, Cavu, Plover) participated as well as a few other boats.  They were Harriet and Parker Hallam on Frigate Connie,  Randy and Barbara Bruns on Rhythms in Blue who joined the 41’s in the raftup.  Barry and Judy Creighton on Crew Rest and Jim and Phaedra Hontz on Troubadour (ex Klame) anchored separately.

Seven Dickersons rafted together

Seven Dickersons rafted together

Bill, Chris, and Flaco of Southern Cross

Bill, Chris, and navigator Flaco of Plover

Hank and Denise on Toogoodoo

Hank and Denise on Toogoodoo

D on Southern Cross

D on Southern Cross

The raft broke up for the evening – a little late – so it was interesting to watch everyone anchoring in the dark.  All went well.  The next day it was back to Baltimore and the day after we drove back to our house near Wilmington, NC.

Next: We stay at the house for…