Thursday, December 30, 2010

Doctor, Doctor

Bequia Hospital, Bequia, Windward Islands, Caribbean---I sat slouched on the cement step leaning on the wall for support. Below me was a gathering of locals who were waiting for medical attention. There was no system, no written list, no waiting room except for the wooden benches along the building where the heat was beating down.

I had just knocked on the "door with the glass window" as I had been told when I asked around where to start. There a lady opened the door and looked a bit bothered by my arrival. I quickly explained my situation and she said I needed to see the doctor and to wait outside. As I sat and waited, I noticed that the sign above the door I had knocked on said "Casualty." Oh my.

A little girl saw my camera and wanted her picture taken, another boy stood banging on an oxygen tank larger than him. Flies. But none of that mattered because I was feeling worse and worse. It had started 7 days earlier, when I first got to this island. A queasy stomach, and what goes with it. But now, I was running a fever and had the shiver shakes in bed the night before.

So far on this trip, going to a Pharmacy was all you needed. In the Med, the Pharmacist could hand over whatever you described you needed---everything from antibiotics to antidepressants, none were required to see a doctor first. And they were cheap! But I was lucky, I had a few eye infections and the pharmacist fixed me up with but I was never sick. Until now.

But in the Caribbean, the Pharmacy said no. I needed a doctor first. So, off I went and there I sat.

Finally the lady came out of the Casualty Room with a dark skinned man in plain cloths, and said "That's the doctor, follow him." I don't know, I wasn't expecting a surgeons outfit but even a lab coat would have made me feel better.

And so I followed, up the stairs, through a room, down a hall, into a back room, out the back door!, through a field of grass and rock, down the road, into a yard down the street, up the stairs of this house...all the time, just following, never being talked to. And yes, at the point where the goat was tied to the fence, I got a little nervous. But at the top of the stairs a small plaque read "Doctors Office..."

And into a tiny examining room I ended. It was more than sparse. After explaining things, he got my blood pressure and lectured me about not coming sooner, that I was dehydrated. But he was very nice and really listened. Then he requested I hop up on the table and lay down. Now I had rushed out of my room that day wearing only a little sun dress and no bra...but I was also wearing my special Christmas thong underwear. Darn it. As he requested me to lift my dress so he could push on my tummy, I did a quick assessment of the situation:
"1. I can run
2. I feel like crap...and that IS a pun
3. I will never see this man again
4. He is a professional, I am a piece of furniture"

So in all my jingle bell glory, I lifted and he pressed. Diagnosis: Curry and Conch.

I had been eating it everyday in all the outlets and cafes. Turns out if not prepared correctly, you can get an infection, or bacteria, or whatever was giving me the runs. It was common among the natives.

So there in his office he pulls out a load of drugs and puts them in tiny envelopes...except he doesn't have enough antibiotics for 7 days, only 3. So I need to go to the pharmacy but only after 6pm because that is the only time the pharmacist comes from another island. Oh, better write this down.

So off I go with 3 sets of different kind of pills in search of the homeopathic version for this ailment: coconut water. With the doctor's approval, he agreed that what the locals had told me was correct: fresh coconut water straight from the coconut will help.

For days I had noticed that behind the street vendors by the beach a group of men were constantly working on the crafts that they sold. One was a coconut boat, so I headed there. Now this also happened to be the area where a cloud of weed smoke permeated the sidewalk most of the day. I could not help but notice how huge the joints were, they weren't hiding it. Not being a smoker in either way, I still knew that they would be mellow if anything. So I marched up to them and requested fresh coconuts. A kid about 13 years old was selected and off he ran to climb the tree and bring me three. One that they made me drink right then and there.  As I did, I sat on a boat trailer that was being used as the seating area for several men and women making crafts: necklaces with many kinds of beads and shells, coconut boats complete with sails and string, wood carvings.

I finished up and headed to my rental. Good thing because within a few hours my fever went to almost 102 degrees.

So what do yachties do about medical needs? We carried a lot of different prescription drugs on Juno, my old boat. I have a year's worth of my personal needs with me which took a lot to arrange before I left! I also have emergency evac insurance if something terrible happens and I need to fly home or to a "real" hospital. 

But when you are out there, you really must be self sufficient. I had dental bone grafting done in my jaw before I left and the procedure did not go well. Even though I had a month to heal before I left, it hadn't. TWO MONTHS later, we are anchored far from anywhere and tiny bone pieces drop out. I FREAKED. Well...freaking for me is I get very quite when I'm scared and I cry. So that's what I did, but I still didn't see a doctor and guess what? I survived! In fact, as soon as those pieces cleared my gums, I healed up for good.

What have I learned? Perhaps I run to the doctor too often, for every little thing and that my body has the ability to heal better than I give it credit.

What else? The costs. It cost me $75 for about 40 minutes of solo time with the only hospital doctor on the island including all the drugs he gave me. Then, filling the prescription for the rest of the antibiotics was $5.  Translate that into US and my insurance company would have laid out much more than $500 to walk-in to a hospital and pay for drugs.  

However, one doctor on this island's hospital is not enough. The conditions are not good and this is BY FAR NOT a third world country! When I talked to the locals about this they laughed and said, they know the remedies and fix themselves. But the owner of my rental had a real problem several years ago and explained her luck of having the right surgeon at the next island where there is a private hospital.  She was lucky she explained.

So as much as we complain about our health care system, the availability and conditions are top notch. I imagined walking the family I saw waiting with the tiny sick baby through the halls of the brand new Ormond Beach hospital in Florida. Marble floors and designer leather sofas...

The world in not fair but we are the lucky ones. We are the lucky ones.

Mediterranean Rock Potpourri

Bequia---I love rocks. I once carried a small boulder from Boulder, Co. home, I named it Peter and I still have it. It's a perfect round rock with one side sheared off.  So on this trip it has been impossible to not pick up a few as I go. Okay, many.

One thing I decided to do in the Mediterranean, when we were anchored in the Peloponnese and the shoreline had the most amazing, beautifully colored rocks, was to make Rock Potpourri for a few friends back home. 

I filled small net gift bags with different rocks from many of the places we had been. Then I bought some vanilla incense and crumbled it among the rocks. After that, the rocks "cooked" for several months in a air tight zip lock, absorbing the scent. Each little bag had one rock I had found that looked a little like a heart and on that rock I painted the heart defined in red finger nail polish. A sprinkle of heart glitter in each bag and they were finished.

The note on each read: Mediterranean Rock Potpourri: Pebbles from Santorini, Volcanic Rock from Mt. Etna, Pumice from Vulcano, Sicily, Shells from Ios, Rocks from Kimolos & Porto Kayio: the Maniote Pirate's Hamlet, Sea Glass from Paros, and ancient Pottery washed up as Terracotta...Gathered with Love by Edee.

Of course The Captain hated my rock collecting or, possibly my rock obsession. Granted, the boat was loaded down with more than he knew until I moved out. I had them hidden everywhere in my bunk!  I randomly selected 12 friends to get the potpourri (If I could have made 100 you know I would have!) and I hope they enjoy them. Meanwhile, the rest of my rocks, especially one very large yellow crystal rock I named Pierre, are in undisclosed locations off the boat.

Note: the story behind Pierre is that I found it in the Greek Island Ios and wanted to take it back to the boat. I dressed it with a seaweed mustache, sunglasses and a barrette to make it look adorable but The Captain refused because it was...okay, 8-1/2 pounds.  Since it looked like a french man, the name Pierre was born. But it was left on the beach. The next day we sailed to Crete and one day at the beach, his youngest son lost his favorite rock that he had been playing with in the surf. It was a small triangular shaped gray rock (that made the perfect space ship I was told). So after an hour of searching, anguished father and son came back to the beach towel and told me what happened. I decided to look, just for the heck of it. After only 15 minutes, there in the rolling surf my toes felt a flat rock. I  picked it up and there it was! WHAT ARE THE CHANCES?!! So, when we returned to anchor at Ios, I couldn't believe it. My big rock, Pierre was there. I decided that it was my reward for finding a tiny rock in the surf of Crete and it gained entrance onto the boat.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I HAVE A NEW BOAT...but not just any boat!

Bequia Island, the Grenadines, West Indies---I was jumping around my room doing the happy dance. The email came and it said, "yes we will take you on..."  I have a new boat to crew on. But the most exciting, amazing part is it is a boat for a world wide organization called OCEANSWATCH. They are a humanitarian/conservation non profit. go to http://www.oceanswatch.org/   Note: It only costs $25-$35 to join and be a member. Everyone should look into it if you love the ocean! Let me know by comments if you join,  but please, see for yourself first!

I am beyond excited. There is something wonderful about knowing that I will not only be seeing the beautiful places in the Caribbean but that there will be purpose behind what I am doing now! As I prepare for my next career, that means everything to me.

The boat in a 50 foot yacht with 5 people aboard. I will have a cabin to share with another female!!! That alone is exciting after having 3-4 male roommates for 9 months.

The other thing that is a miracle about all this, is that the hours and hours that I have spent searching for a boat uncovered a LOT of single older men wanting a female crew. I had answered one yes, that I would consider him...he seemed the least harmless. His boat was getting closer and closer to Bequia. Tick, Tick. But still I was scared of all the possibilities of being stuck far from land with some crazy!  Now all that is null and void. This is an organization and a crew with a cause, although they do seem fun. I had 10 boat offers and have answered them all no and cut my membership on the site.

Now, I fly to Trinidad soon and start my new Changing Courses story. Another wonderful irony (or is it a God thing?!) is that my landlords here, that I have become friends with are from where...oh let's see...TRINIDAD!  So they are helping me with flight info and lodging there until the boat gets to the Marina.

I have this position until March 1. Then I will be re-considered by the captain to continue with them to Panama.

It would be hard to explain everything OceansWatch does but here is a sample of what was done recently based on the most recent Annual Report:

 2009 Achievements
Sustainable Livelihoods & Education
Our Vision is that the people in coastal communities are empowered, educated and have sustainable livelihoods.
Our Mission is to work collaboratively with coastal communities that
request our support to empower them and facilitate their needs.

Vanuatu
OceansWatch worked in consultation with the Vanuatu Fisheries Department who
lack the resources to visit their own remote coastal areas. Outcomes included:
 35 Reef Check surveys completed in 19 coastal communities. Natalie Riddler
(NZ marine biologist) supervised the surveys and was supported by two other
marine biologists.
 6 OceansWatch members’ yachts hosted them.
 48 people from Vanuatu were introduced to Reef Check surveying.
 5 Vanuatu men were trained in SCUBA.
Chris at Vanuatu Fisheries with Katie
Thompson and some SCUBA trainees

Papua New Guinea
 19 Reef Check surveys were
undertaken from Magic Roundabout,
in 5 communities.
 A network of 3 Marine Protected
Areas was created on Karkar Island.
 14 people were Reef Check trained
and 1 was SCUBA trained.
 In Kavieng and Nonovaul OceansWatch repeated
their 2008 surveys and consolidated relationships
with local NGO’s and Fisheries agencies.
 The OceansWatch team on Magic Roundabout
went with local Keithson to Moussau Island where
he was trained in SCUBA. The locals on the island
are Seventh Day Adventists who do not eat turtles
or shellfish, so both abound in large numbers. The
team was able to participate in some good
awareness-building meetings and undertook some
initial marine resource surveys.
Meeting with the community

Solomon Islands
 At the request of the Tehakatu’u
tribe, Rennell Island. OceansWatch
helped the community set up a 40
hectare Marine Protected Area
(MPA) which is currently awaiting
approval from the Solomon Island’s
Fisheries Department .
 3 Reef Check and numerous rapid
assessment surveys were
completed.
 4 Solomon Islanders were Reef Check trained.
Marine conservation awareness talks were given to school children and adults
in all communities that OceansWatch visited.

Papua New Guinea
 51 scholarships were awarded to primary school children at Mater, on Karkar
Island from funds raised by students at Kamo High School , New Zealand.
 A pen-pal scheme was set up & letters have been exchanged between 5 schools.
 White Oak Primary, NC, USA was partnered with a school in Garove, PNG and
letters and art work were exchanged.
 More than 200 reading glasses were distributed through health centres.
 An engineer from Auckland, New Zealand joined the OW team on Karkar Island
to clarify the design for a fresh water supply system for 1800 people in 3 villages.
The PNG government have agreed to finance the project.
The existing water system in Karkar
Other 2009 / 2010 Achievements

Solomon Islands
 OceansWatch members David and Gail Funk delivered 50m of canvacon (sail material) to the community in Anuta so they can make sails for the canoes donated by James Wharram and Hanneke Boon on their
Lapita Voyage.
David and Gail from Fifth Season hosting Natalie and Lyndsey

Vanuatu
 OceansWatch members Isabelle and Schelmi Lammens delivered resources for the community of Utupia on the remote island of Asubuo in the Santa Cruz chain. These ere bought in New Zealand by Soenke and Judith Roever and transported to Vanuatu by David and Gail Funk.
The community in Utupia displaying the resources delivered to the community

Australia
 An OceansWatch promotional tour of the East Coast was undertaken in Magic
Roundabout visiting ten ports.
Plus

 Chris Bone was awarded a scholarship to attend a conference in Jan / Feb 2010
in the Cook Islands - Planning for Eco-system Based Management: Managing
the Environment in Small Island States.

 Our new website was launched in April 2009 and is still a work in progress, as is
the automated membership system.

 With the support of Sequoia Sun and Donna Lange OceansWatch set up an
organisation in North America, which is already doing great work in Haiti.


 Trustee Jane Pares attended a Permaculture Design Course in New Zealand
with a view of incorporating the design principles into OceansWatch projects in
the future.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

My Sailing Resume

I have been asked how someone could do what I am doing. For my current crewing, I was lucky to have had experience and to know a family in the middle of a two year sailing trip. But now I am in the Caribbean looking for another boat who needs crew for two to four months.


But what if you would like to do this and don’t know how to begin.

To embark on an adventure in sailing here are my suggestions and my personal history of sailing.



I have a little over 9000 miles of sailing in my log book, not counting any racing that I’ve done.


At 25 years old, I owned a 16’ Hobie Cat and raced with the Daytona Beach Fleet 80 for about 10 years.


My first larger boat experiences were crewing on chartered boats from Miami to the Keys and then later to the Bahamas; crossing the Gulf Stream round trip 3 times.


Later I crewed from the Azores to Gibraltar, a 10 day passage. The boat was a 32’ Southern Cross.


For one summer, I crewed for Daytona Beach Yacht Club races on Gitana, a 1973 Nautor Swan, 44ft sloop designed by Sparkman Stevens/ Built in Finland. All races were off the coast of Ponce Inlet, Florida.


In November 2008, I crewed with a captain and one other to bring the captain’s newly purchased boat from Deltaville, Maryland to Fernandina Beach, Florida. We motored in the intracoastal until Moreshead, NC and then went offshore into heavy (and cold) weather.


In March of 2010, I joined the crew of S/Y Juno, a 44’ Alten Cutter, in Italy to sail the Mediterranean, Atlantic Islands and make the transatlantic crossing to Barbados.


All boats have been small yachts (32’-48’) where repairs and projects are spread among the crew. Special skills include sewing, deep cleaning, organizing and baking a great chocolate cake at sea. General crew duties have included night watches, sail changes, anchor duties, helm and other normal crew activities that cause bruises and sore muscles.


I do not get sea sick. I LOVE to sail in all conditions except very cold weather.



Now, if you do not have experience you can gather it by volunteering at yacht clubs or ask to post a sign in a marina offering free service in exchange for learning to sail. Sailing schools of course, are the other popular option.

The number one book that I would suggest reading is the Annapolis Book of Seamanship. This is a text book that really goes over all aspects for a serious sailor.

Although I had sailing experience, I still took a class on Marine Boat Safety that was offered free of charge from the Sailing Auxiliary branch in the city I lived in. This might be harder to come by if you do not live near the ocean or gulf.

Then, to get placed on a boat, go to the internet. There are several internet crew finding sites. Start with: Crewfinders.com or findacrew.net

Monday, December 27, 2010

A great day in Bequia: Friendship Rose

Bequia---As I ponder what to do with my future, I decided that I needed to shake myself out of the funk of indecision and take a break. So today I signed up for an excursion on a wonderful ship called the Friendship Rose. This big wooden schooner was built by hand right here in Bequia...in Friendship bay where I chased my laundry down at.

The trip was to go to the Tobago Cays and snorkel.  There were only about 80 people aboard and from the moment we stepped aboard we were wined and dined first class.  For three hours we sailed in a big swell towards our destination.

Then God had a sense of humor. Entering the bay to anchor, we passed the ship Squander who I last saw in Morocco and was my first choice to crew on...but 3 emails have gone unanswered. From Africa to sliding right past her 2000 miles later. What are the chances?

And then the second ha ha (ironically speaking), once anchored among the thousands of options in these islands, who is anchored ahead of the boat? Juno. My home for the past 9 months that I just left.


Juno is the middle boat. It can be a very small world!






Again I ask, WHAT ARE THE CHANCES!

So, I was suppose to be observing sea turtles but I swan over to Juno to say hello. They were as surprised as I had been. I was a little embarrassed because these mass excursions are what we make fun of when you are a yachty...but  please note: they did NOT make us wear the bright orange life jackets to be ferried back and forth! ..in fact, there were no waivers and they didn't even take a head count when we left! Ah yes, we are in the Caribbean. Don't worry, be happy and all that.

But, it was good to see everyone. My heart wanted to climb aboard and stay, my head said stay in the water, say hello and swim away which I did.


The same captain has owned this boat since it was built in 1967. Originally there were no ferries to the island and it was this boat that brought animals, lumber, food and people to Bequia.

We snorkeled the reef and I got to see my first puffer fish in the wild. It was huge.   The food on board was amazing and everything was served with glass and china. Breakfast and Lunch. I met some amazing people on board, really interesting. And that is one of my most favorite things, to hear other people's life stories. I probably told my story too much and need to remember no one wants to hear about problems until they are solved. They love to hear about successes and conflicts overcome.  I plan for those stories will happen to me soon!  We returned close to 5pm and I felt like I had seen and experienced some of this beautiful area.

I have until Jan. 2 to decide on another boat. Today I ship boxes of my excess things home reducing my bags to 3 manageable bags. Continuing my goal to "move my life forward a little everyday."

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Dealing with Disappointment

Bequia---How do you really deal with disappointment? You made a plan after everything else was crumbling around you. But immediately, it's not what you expected. But you go on, caught up in the wonder of the world around you. Stumbling through right and wrong. But it's not right. Nothing seems "right." So the plan can't continue, it needs to change. However, your heart and brain had it all set, how it would be. You even visualized how the future would feel. How do you deal?

For me, I had visualized sailing into U.S. waters on the boat Juno. Meeting friends to show them the boat I had spent a year on. Unloading my things from the boat to the car. Now that it's clear that this is not going to happen, I am so very disappointed.

I took a year to get my head together after a 26 year career and now, 9 months later I feel more messed up than before I left. How can that be? There was a morning in Barbados, after The Captain lost it with me, that I felt about as low as I could ever imagine.  I walked slowly to my cafe with the free wifi with my head down trying hard to count my blessings. That doesn't always work.

The things I've been told about myself and how it has made me feel took me down. I was humbled to the lowest level of despair. I could go into all sorts of details but that would do no good. The fact was, I had to shake it.

I'm listening God but I just can't hear you right now.

My adventure of being at sea for a year, making the long crossing for the reward of seeing the Caribbean might not be realized.

Do I go home? Do I find another boat? ...it's not that easy and well, I'm scared. There. I said it.

When I had to move my dog, The Captain kept saying, "Things change, people change," ...this now continues to ring in my head.

I fell in love with those kids on the boat. Even though it was hard and I wanted to stick an ice pick in my head many times, I became attached.

And The Captain, well yes we fought and his kids started saying "Why are you so mean to Miss Edee?"...most of it was in jest. I knew that. He was my roommate for this long, the longest I've ever lived with a man. He can fix ANYTHING. He can not communicate. He thinks he is always right. But he is the best, safest Captain ever. And when times are rough, he can be so caring and offer good solid advice.  Even though I am figuratively bruised everywhere from this man, I have grown because of him.

I can feel myself healing, alone in this studio. Processing it all and letting it go. Forgiving. Working on finding a new boat everyday for hours on the computer. Trying my best to move my life forward.  Enbracing some time off the water in this studio appartment on this tiny island of only 4,000. Walking down to the village each day, buying a cappuccino or a Roti.  Laughing with the vendors on the street.  The beauty all around me is contagious.

And so it goes, my plans did not work out. My Changing Courses changed courses. I just can't tell what direction the compass is pointing.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Day Don't Worry, Be Happy...

 Bequia (Beck-way) Island, Windward Islands in the Caribbean---He looked up at me with his deep black face shiny from sweat, it was 90 degrees in the shade. His big smile showed bright white teeth in contrast. It was 10am in the tropics and between the pot I smelled and the rum I saw, he had a lot to smile about. And there I stood, looking for cardboard boxes to ship things home and trying not to tear up again.   And then he said it, "Ay mon, why you look so sad? Don't worry, be happy!"

Yes, I am in the Caribbean.

So, as a gesture to try to get in the spirit, I wrote this to be sung to the tune of "Don't worry, Be Happy," by Bob Marley...

Here's a little song I stole,
you might want to sing it big and bold,
I worry,  and fake happy

My Studio Rental

Two days ago I left the boat because of trouble,
so now I worry, pour me a double
Less worry, kinda happy

I found a place to lay my head
mosquitos swarm but the 5 inch spider's dead,
No west nile virus, be happy

The landlord says that I can stay,
if US dollars is what I pay,
I worry (small laugh), but a little happy,

The boat, it leaves with my Laundry still there,
Oh taxi man chase them, I'm in dispair.
Please hurry, while being happy

My view


It's Christmas day and that's my story,
So shouldn't I damm well worry?
but he says, don't worry, be happy

I find a new boat, to take to me where?
I wont know until I'm there...
so don't worry, be happy!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

From Barbados to Bequia (Beck-way)

Barbados---The Captain has asked if I would consider going on to Bequia. Even though his wife flies in to Barbados in a couple days, that is where they want to spend Christmas. It's an overnight passage, about 80 miles and I really don't think he should single hand it.

It was a rough morning. I packed up things to ship home and The Captain realized how much I have collected during 9 months.  But to my defense, I kept my things in my given area and thought that I would be on this boat when we got to America. I thought I would unpack from dock to car. Now I'm shipping home as much as I can, even things I packed for a year's stay just to lighten up.

I've never seen him so angry. He screamed obsenities at me all morning. He scratched his ankle lifting my heavy suitcase.  I fell at his feet with neosporin rubbing his wound, crying and saying I was sorry. I felt so terrible. He took me to the dock by dinghy and dropped me, surrounded by suitcases at a park bench alone. I sat there crying as he huffed away to do some grocery shopping.  I sat for a long time, just to gather myself. I cried openly as people passed and paid no attention to my distress. Barbados...this is your country. Cold hearted yet beautiful. Tramatized, I just needed to get all this shipped so I could leave the boat ASAP.

I have completely missed seeing anything in Barbados, only an internet cafe and now, today, after spending hours searching for a shipping company, I need the post office.

One cab. One driver. One crying passanger.  The kindness of a stranger changed it all. The cab driver took pity and personally walked into several offices until we were at the right spot. His careing eyes gave me hope, embarrassed by my behaviour, I thanked him and even so, he lingered like a worried father.   Barbados...I have changed my mind. You are warm and you are beautiful.

Now at the Post, I thought it would be an hour to process... but I kept getting told the wrong information there. First they say they ship freight but after all is packed and done, they change their mind. Then they say they take credit cards, but then they don't..the ATM is around the corner.

And it's out of order.

I run, RUN to a bank blocks away and get Barbados cash and return to pay a small fortune.

When all is said and done, I've been at the post office for four hours. I am about ready to tape shut the mouth of the kid that has been screaming non-stop for the last hour with my packing tape when I realize I need to just pay and leave.

Now, back on the boat, I have a long talk with The Captain. He is sorry and I feel as sorry as he does, maybe more because I'm a girl and it's all my fault...always. We have all been together for a long time...9 months in small quarters. Is it taking a toll? I feel so sad.

Then he informs me that his wife has said I am only bluffing. That I am not really going to leave the boat.  I laugh. That alone is not even worth my energy to re-buff. I don't bluff. They are crazy. I am leaving for my own sanity.

Still, I agree to go on to Bequia.

Friday, December 17, 2010

A musical tribute to our transatlantic passage

From Africa to the Caribbean what will be, will be. There is nothing quite like the feel, the freedom, the magic of sailing.


video

Thursday, December 16, 2010

LOCATION of Sail Boat

http://www.findmespot.com/mylocation/?id=3zoaa/13.09045/-59.61172

Day 18: Transatlantic Passage and arrival in Barbados!

Bridgetown, Barbados---Land!  I switched places with Mark on our night watch at a few minutes till 5am. We did the normal transition of updating me on sails, wind and any ships and then he scampered down the hatch to go back to sleep. I looked behind us, checked the compass, then the GPS and turned around and let out a big gasp. Ahead of us were the lights of Barbados at a distance. What a sight for many a weary sailor I'm sure.

We motored the final miles and went straight to customs. Mark said goodbye and left the boat, anxious to be free I think. They had us tie up next to a tug boat, a little unusual but the docks there are made for cruise ships and are huge. It felt like waiting for the Captain took forever. Finally we left and went to the bay and anchored. Of course, nothing is that easy as we found the windlass not working and knew we had to make the one attempt hold.

I was so anxious to go ashore but The Captain needed to look into the Windlass so I fell fast asleep in the cabin. And so it went, when I woke up we were in a storm and the sun was setting. I would need to wait another day for my feet to touch the soil or land.

Video Diary Day 18: "Hi, this is Edee on Sailing Yacht Juno, this is day 18 and what you see behind me is Barbados. We are here. It's about 10:30 in the morning and it has taken us 18 days. It is December 16, 2010 and for me personally it's kind of bittersweet because this is a crossroads of my journey. And if you want to hear more about my story. Go to Changing Courses by Edee Dalke dot Blogspot dot com."



video

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Day 17: Transatlantic Passage

Atlantic Ocean---Where the heck did the wind go? We started out this way...no wind and making 3 knots. It's painful. Now we are on countdown. Especially with night watches: only two more to go. We are seeing cargo ships now so being alert on watch is really important.

I wonder if I will be "land sick"? I can't wait to step ashore.

Video Dairy Day 17: "Hi, this is Edee Dalke on Sailing Yacht Juno and this is day 17 of our transatlantic crossing and things have turned a little melancholy because the wind has completely died we're going about 3 knots so it's sort of anticlimactic. We only have about 80 miles to go and 2 night watches left.  So that means we have so far done in total  when we get there 34 night watches. 34 times we've crawled out of bed in the middle of the night. 34 times we have stood watch for 2 hours...and that's one thing I wont miss. But tomorrow, we get to Barbados."


video

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Day 16: Tranatlantic Passage

Atlantic Ocean---The water generator fell and the cord was cut off. Now the propeller and cord are at the bottom of the sea. The Captain was sad but not too bad. We are only 200 miles!!! Still rocking like mad.

Video Diary Day 16: "Hi, this is Edee Dalke on Sailing Yacht Juno on our transatlantic crossing to Barbados this is day 16, did I say 16! to go, wait that we've done. Let me show you something. This right here is the first sign (missed the cargo ship on the video). And other than that we caught a dolphin fish but we had to let it go, it was my first dolphin that I pulled in all by myself. And what I'm wearing is a sad situation that happened this morning. We lost our water generator. It's a cable that is tied to a rotor, metal heavy rotor that spins in the water and then that cable is tied to a generator. And the generator fell and the cable got sheared off and now it's at the bottom of the sea. But umm, this lovely piece that I'm wearing is a peice that would be fixed to the cable and we would send it down the cable to stop the rotor from spinning so we could haul it up on the boat. But now it makes a good party hat. And speaking of parties, we are only 230 miles away from Barbados which is a day and a half. And I'm kind of ready. Think?"

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Monday, December 13, 2010

Day 15: Transatlantic passage

Atlantic Ocean---I am missing "home"...wherever that is I'm not sure anymore. I miss friends. I miss diversity. Plus this boat smells. I have to keep busy. That is the key. I try to plan a little schedule everyday...something to make me feel a sense of progress or accomplishments.

We are now 400 miles away. Seems unreal that we have been at sea for half a month.

I do exercises at night during watch. I've made up a routine of stretching and using what is around. But I have to be really careful since the boat is rocking to be secure in a stretch. It has helped. Sitting for this long is nothing I am used to.

I attempted a pedicure yesterday and got so mad when I tried to paint my toes. You don't notice the boat rocking as much when you are just looking out or reading, but when you do detailed things like pour hot coffee or art drawings it is really annoying. Anyway, I ended up with red nail polish all over my toes, not just my nails. Even the nails were a mess. I told the kids that the closer we got, the happier my toes would be so I started out with black polish and now I've changed to red.

We changed our clocks for the second time yesterday (back), its like going through daylight savings time four times in one month!  It looks like we will be arriving in Barbados on the 16th. Everyone is talking "only X more days". But, this means Mark misses his flight by one day back to the UK. He's all freaked out about it because he has never had to change flights. I keep forgetting how young he is and so many things on this trip he is doing for the first time.   When I was his age my first flight alone was with my best college friend Lisa, we were so dumb. After a conference we were heading to Spring Break. We went to Washington National only to find out our flight was from Baltimore...who knew you needed to read your ticket! We missed our flight and spent the night in the airport lugging around a case of diet Coke because it was new to the market and we were afraid Ft. Lauderdale didn't have it yet.  Okay, so give Mark a break.

Night watch: Heavy wind at 20-39 gusts. Only 2 hours twice but it can seem so long. I am out of I-pod power, computer power, camera power and my little boom box ran out of C batteries long ago. ONLY 4 more watches to go. After my last watch I was so tired I didn't even make the coffee and sit with The Captain, I just went straight to bed.   I made bread and it turned out good, nice and round in the pan. Then I put it in the oven, we hit a wave, it slid across the oven shelf to the back of the oven and went "poof". Flat bread. 

We had tuna stir fry from yesterday's catch. So good!  I made chocolate chip cookies with no eggs (one child is allergic). They turned out great. I am keeping the dough in the fridge and making hot cookies each afternoon. Nothing like a hot chocolate chip cookie, especially at sea!

Video Dairy Day 15: "Hi it's Edee Dalke on Sailing Yacht Juno and it's day 15 on our transatlantic crossing  and it's hard to believe that we've been out here for a half a month. Umm, you can tell that it's getting a little bit...we're all getting a worn down. A couple of things that have happened is we caught an eight pound yellowfin tuna yesterday which was awesome, delicious, two meals. Other than that we eat a lot of rice and pasta. And then there was this gorgeous full rainbow. And the rainbows out here are amazing because they are so clear. On the flipside it rained all of last night during our watches and by looking at the clouds it looks like were in for another wet foul weather gear night. But we are 350 miles from Barbados. We're looking at maybe 3 more days."

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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Day 14: Transatlantic passage

Atlantic Ocean---We caught fish number two! A yellow fin tuna. It was really, really good. I helped clean it and pretended to know what I was doing like any good Kansas girl should. We had it immediately for lunch. I am missing having more protein in my diet since we eat mostly rice, beans and pasta. We bought some canned tuna in Cape Verde but it is the dark tuna in oil and I have doctored it up with lemon and hot sauce but I don't think I can take any more of it.   This yellow fin was sushi perfect and it lifted everyones spirits. Mark made sad looking bread but it tasted good. I cleaned out the lockers by the fridge because last night I had a major allergy attack, like hay fever. The only thing I can think of is mildew in these lockers that get moisture from the cold of the fridge. Wind has picked up. It's nice and steady towards our bearing. Night watch was again full of rain and squalls but The Captain had it the worst. Wore my foulies...good thing.

Video Dairy Day 14: "Hi, This is Edee Dalke on Sailing Yacht Juno and it's day 14 on our transatlantic crossing and this is night watch. I have two watches. One from 11:30pm to 1:30am and 5:30am to 7:30am. You'd think that it would be getting easier but it's definately our body clocks are waking up but its just...you wake up and it's like 'are you kidding me', you get about 3 and a half hours of sleep. Right now we are going down wind with two poles so there is little to do with the sails. We have self steering which is a wind/air vayne and we're 540 miles to Barbados. I am wearing an EPERB, if I fall overboard they can find me, if I remember to turn it on, and then I also have something around my ankle that alerts the boat." 

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LOCATION of Sail Boat

http://www.findmespot.com/mylocation/?id=3ynnp/12.28369/-51.74448

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Day 13: Transatlantic passage

Atlantic Ocean---The captain was back to being obsessed with the water generater. I cleaned out one of the kids bunks to look under it for a possible spare generator. No luck. However, he continued to work with it and it turned out to be the brushes inside the generator itself. Now it is working again.

It's a really hot day. The Captain's turn to make the bread. Even though it's not a competition, it feels like it...each day testing how the bread turned out.  I made tomatoe, basil and mozzarella cheese over angel hair pasta for lunch. Another day at sea...

Video Diary Day 13: "Hi, this is Edee and this is day 13 of our transatlantic crossing across to Barbados which is 580 miles away. And you know, nothing really prepares you to be at sea for a long amount of time in this fashion. It's like being on a bus that you can't get off of with four other people and you don't realize that no phone calls, no internet, no communicating with your friends, it's a little hard. But we've had better waves and the Trade winds are definately in our favor now.  Finally. We had some roughness which is going to prolong our trip by 4 or 5 days."

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Friday, December 10, 2010

Day 12: Transatlantic passage

Atlantic Ocean---We made course through the night and have 780 miles to go. The Captain thinks 7 more days for a total of 19. Yesterday he suggested I go to Bequia from Barbados and then leave. I asked to pay for a phone call on The Captain's satellite phone. The cost is $2 per minute so it feels like rushing every word. But it was so clear. Amazing to be in the middle of the ocean and speak to someone like they were next door. However,  I was embarrassed because everyone could hear my entire conversation since I had to stay in the cockpit for the call.  I asked her to do some of my banking and write a couple emails for me. It felt good to talk to her and I felt so much better after our conversation.

Video Diary Day 12: "Hi, this is Edee Dalke on Sailing Yacht Juno and it is day 12 of our transatlantic crossing. Today we caught our first fish and it was a dolphin mahi mahi. The captain cooked it with coconut milk and lime and it was sooooo good. And we are baking bread everyday and you can see above we make electricity with wind generator as well as a water desalinator so we could stay out here for... well...no."

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Thursday, December 9, 2010

LOCATION of Sail Boat

http://www.findmespot.com/mylocation/?id=3xpVd/11.98079/-43.86487

Art at Sea

A project I started working on as a joke turned out better than I thought. Early in the trip, we were invited to a fancy yacht that had personalized napkins. I thought I would make my own. Here is my exhibit: Watercolor and ink on paper napkins, by Edee Dalke










Day 11: Transatlantic passage

Atlantic Ocean---My record at sea: 11 days. My crossing from the Azores to Gibraltar in 1994 was 10 days. And FINALLY a day with no rain but still the constant side to side heavy rocking. Mark made bread today, it was a first for him and he did a good job. I repacked and reorganized my suitcases and slept more than usual. The rocking is getting on everyone's nerves, but NO RAIN.  The sky is cloudy and we have 15-20 knot winds...except it is blowing us to Brazil! The Captain changed around the sails and got us closer to course. Night watch was heavy seas and I sat behind the helm to correct when the sail luffed. At 11pm I had half of a Red Bull and then couldn't sleep after my watch. It is still very dark out at night.

Video Diary Day 11:  "Hi, this is Edee on Sailing Yacht Juno. It is day 11 on our transatlantic crossing from Africa to Barbados. And we finally got through the squalls. We are a little tired of the constant swell and the rocking of the boat. But that's okay because we are making some good speed.  We took one of the sails down to have a better angle to the West. And as you can see, always enjoy a lovely sunset."




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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Day 10: Transatlantic passage

Atlantic Ocean---The Captain made bread today. I studied in the Seamanship book and researched the islands ahead. I just don't know what I'll do when I get to Barbados and even though there is nothing I can do here and now, it's hard not to worry.  There are STILL squalls and it's overcast but at least it is not so hot. Hard to not be depressed in this weather and CONSTANT, ENDLESS, CONTINUOUS ROCKING.

Not like you can walk away and take a break from it. Onward. We are half way there.

Video Diary Day 10: "Hi, it's day 10 on our transatlantic crossing. And we are in the middle of a squal. I've never seen the sky this color so I thought show you. Our sails are greatly reduced for the weather. This is what the middle of the ocean looks like. We are half way. Got 985 miles to go and outside of the rain and the wetness all day on and off, things are all going pretty smoothly. Day 10. Transatlantic Crossing."



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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Day 9: Transatlantic passage

Atlantic Ocean---More squalls all day. I decided to make bread, and then a cake, and then lunch for everyone and then I ended up doing dishes for the entire day.  The cake batter started spilling over so I had to hold the swivel stove for 20 minutes until it set enough. Still, the cake looked like it had been rocked from side to side. I called it the tsunami cake but cut off the sides and frosted it with dark chocolate chips that melted on top. Making bread is interesting also, how can something rise when it's constantly being knocked around the oven. Did Betty Crocker or Martha Stewart think of a work around for this? By late evening I was exhausted and hot from the galley. We took a couple of waves but nothing serious. Still big waves and overcast. For night watch I got our my foul weather gear...thought I was done with it! It's so dark out with no moon and being overcast. The waves roar around you and the sails whip. You just keep looking forward.

Video Diary Day 9: "Hi, this is Edee Dalke on Sailing Yacht Juno it is day 9 of our transatlantic crossing from Africa to Barbados and today I tried to do some baking. This is bread that I made in 15 foot seas (script across screen reads "She's lying, they were 8-10 foot seas.") and this is chocolate cake that says '9 days' on it. It kind of had a tsunami happen. But we have this really great swivel stove and it makes are baking and cooking possible when we're at sea especially when we are in heavy waves. This is our coffee disaster. There is no Starbucks and it blew a gasket or whatever so we fixed it with tin foil. So I will see you tomorrow."


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Monday, December 6, 2010

Day 8: Transatlantic passage

Atlantic Ocean---The Captain caught a fish! A dolphin/Mai. I sat along side the boat with gloves on ready to pounce thinking only of a knife and fork in my hands with a beautiful fish dinner in front of me...but just as it was alongside the boat it twisted and swam away. Silence.

I felt just like the time we chartered with The Captain and Larry and our grouper meal was on the grill ready to take off and as we attempted to slide it to the plate, the entire grill pivoted down from loose connections and our meal went splat, into the bay off Key Largo. Silence. Then cold ham sandwiches.

The Captain felt so bad but it was not his fault. I am beginning to relate to The Old Man and the Sea as we become more and more determined to catch our dinner. I made popcorn (the old fashioned way) in the afternoon hoping to cheer everyone up. I started the book Tales from the Alhambra by Washington Irving wishing very much I could have read this prior to my visit there in Spain.

In the afternoon it started to rain and all through the night were squalls making our night watches miserable but hey, it comes with the territory. In the morning we had the most incredible dolphin show I have yet to see. I got 10 minutes of video of them jumping and dashing back and forth in front of our bow. So cool.

Video Diary Day 8: "Hi this is Edee it is day 8 on Sailing Yacht Juno of our transatlantic passage from Africa to Barbados. We are all getting a little sick of these big swell rolls that we have been living with for a few days. The wind is just now starting to pick up. We are expecting some good wind for the next few days. Up until now we have only done 100 miles in the past 3 days which is really under what we expected to do which is kind of discouraging thinking that it might be more than a 2 week trip, well possibly 21 day trip. I can see where mutiny happens at sea! Trying to compare this with a marathon,  and umm it takes some character in the middle. But in a marathon you can walk off the course.   I think I'll stay on the boat."


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Sunday, December 5, 2010

LOCATION of Sail Boat

http://www.findmespot.com/mylocation/?id=3wr_1/13.2326/-36.16934

Day 7: Tranatlantic Passage

Atlantic Ocean---Watches were busy with one cargo ship on The Captain's watch and it's so very dark with no moon. I am now reading President Obama's first book Dreams from my Father  and I like it. I finished Nelson Mandela's Long walk to Freedom at the beginning of this trip. I feel like after time in Africa, I want to know more. And there is so much I know I don't know.

Reading has been one of the luxuries of sailing, I have read more than 12 books.

After my watch I went right back to bed skipping my one cup of coffee with The Captain in the sunrise. I just was exhausted. By 10:30am the sun was coming through the companion way hatch and burning my legs and I felt like crap. I'm used to waking up cheerful and rested and this sucks---feeling like a train wreck. I warmed up the coffee and it tasted like a pot that had been sitting on the burner of an old gas station all day.

The day was lazy. I read, slept more, showered.

We are going SO SLOW it's painful and frustrating. It will take 20 days at this rate. Only 100 miles a day at 4-5 knots.

It's been one week and it is overwhelming to imagine another 10-15 more days. But, like a marathon, it's all about what's in my head. Keep one foot in front of the other...or one day at a time. Celebrate the miles we have accomplished. Break it in parts. Right now we are 13 lat/ 35 longs. I can do this.

Video Dairy Day 7: "Hi, this is Edee Dalke on Sailing Yacht Juno and this is how we take a shower every day! This is a wash down pump it brings salt water up so that you can wash and then we have a fresh water Sun Shower that we can rinse clean water, if the captain allows more than one cup that is. We have 1300 more miles plus to go we're at latitude 13, longitude 36."


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Saturday, December 4, 2010

Day 6: Transatlantic passage

Atlantic Ocean---Dec. 4 and it's a Saturday...not that we pay attention to what day it is. And days are not days but 24 hour periods since we are up at night.  Last night, during watch, The Captain noticed a rip in the 150 sail. This is our huge, light weight said that we count on to take us down wind. He immediately took it in and in the morning told me about it. So EVEN BEFORE MY COFFEE, we were all up taking off the 150 from the from gib position and bungee cording it to the life lines. From here I could sit and sew the rips. There were about 3 places that really needed attention. I just used the loop stitch and doubled it up and back. It will hold.  Then we also covered my sewing with Duct tape for added security. I'm wondering if the sails will be 50% Duct tape by the time we get to Barbados. But it worked and we are up and running.

We backed our watches by 1 hour. We cross 4 time zones and have decided to do this in stages so our body clocks can get used to it easier than a 4 hour jump when we get there.

I had some personal hard news. A call from the Satellite from gave information that I need to leave the boat earlier than I had planned. I'll have little time to look for options. Here I am in the middle of the ocean and can't do anything now, except worry...which I am very good at.   My friend was coming for new years and I am so very excited but I need to contact her and get the word to change the timing to Christmas.  God keeps trying to teach me patience and I am a terrible student at this lesson.

The Captain was obsessed with the water generator. He is the McGiever of the sea, fixing everything in amazing ways but in order to find the solution, he become absorbed in the problem until it is accomplished.

Finally I couldn't take the ruckus and took a nap, when I awoke it was fixed and giving up 4-6 amps and he is happy.
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NOTE: a water generator is a shaft with a spinning prop at the end. This is attached by a long cord to the generator on board. This shaft is dropped in the water and trails the boat spinning and turning the generator giving us power from the sea. It is an amazing mechanism.

Video Diary Day 6:"Hi, this is Edee Dalke on Sailing Yacht Juno and it is December 4 and day six of our transatlantic passage. Last night the captain noticed a rip in the 150. So God's gift to mankind: Duct Tape! As you can see we have sewn, then duct taped over our sewing. So we are good to go. Just praying for the Trade winds."

Friday, December 3, 2010

Day 5: Transatlantic passage

Atlantic Ocean---The watch last night was hard and I'm exhausted. The 150 sail kept backing (wind gets behind it from the wrong direction) and a oncoming wave would turn the boat. The moon is not out so it is really dark. The Captain woke and came up to inspect once. I pulled to starboard many times but the sound of the sail snapping makes me cringe.  Plus, I woke up at 4:30am and couldn't fall back asleep.

During the day I took photos of my napkin art and finished my potpourri project so it was a day of art work.  Wrote Impressions of Cape Verde and loaded new photos. The Captain did some problem solving on his newest obsession: the water generator, and then he made "Insatiable Soup" for dinner and it was great. Sunset was gorgeous.

Mark and I are taking turns on the dinner dishes which is great. Having him aboard to help with night watches makes a huge difference then when it was only The Captain and me.

Video Dairy Day 5: "Hi, this is Edee Dalke on Sailing Yacht Juno it is day 5 of our transatlantic passage to Barbados which is also December 3, 2010. I also just got off my morning watch. I watched from 5 in the morning until 7. We have three adults aboard and it's split up with two hour watches twice a night which gives me 4 hours sleep in between. But the good news is, I get to watch the sun rise every morning, so that's cool."


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