Happy New Year from Colomba!
Left the dock yesterday at 11.30am. Aunt Barbara, Guy (aka Uncle John), Gary, Kaylin and Paul (from Tibbets) came to see us off. Barbara and Kaylin came with us out of the dockage, through the draw bridge and over to the fuel dock where Guy picked them up. Abigail says sailing was more fun with Kaylin (even though we were only motoring).
We awoke this morning anchored off shell island. What a way to start the new year. The southerlies are still blowing and it is relatively warm. We watched the fireworks last night. From our deck we could see the shows on the beach, St Andrew’s Marina and the P.C. Fairgrounds. There are 5 other boats anchored out here.
We shall venture over to the beach today in the dingy. I am unsure how we will get onto the beach without getting our feet wet when we arrive. I haven’t purchased boots for this occasion. The water is quite cold. Anyway, it is quite exciting really.
We will put the name on the boat today, secure the compass and double check its accuracy as well as the GPS. We will also try out the water maker.
January 3rd 2005 by Catherine
Water Maker not working. Spirits are gloomy. Weather not conducive for departure. Not sure the north winds will blow again until next winter. Children are restless. Grown ups are anxious. The reality is we may have to motor to Key West. Something none of us wanted. Noisy engine, diesel fumes and the churning Gulf Of Mexico with no wind. It is not quite how we imagined it all.
Keeping positive, we have been to Shell Island twice. The temperature has been in the 70s. It is a treat to see all of the wildlife there. We have found numerous conchs, hermit crabs, sea urchins, clams and mussels. Aaron is too young to appreciate what he is seeing but Abi seems to be curious enough, albeit cautious. We dumped our Christmas tree yesterday and found it washed up on the beaches today. Oupa stuck it in the ground so we could use it as a landing point in the dingy. We decorated it again – this time with sea shells and fake snow (a.k.a. sand – that was Abi’s idea). I learned how to drive the dingy today. That was quite good fun with no major bumps or problems. I am glad to be learning inside the Bay and not having to deal with crashing waves.
Abi has learned how to cast a fishing rod. She quite enjoys it. Aaron still tries to throw the whole thing in. Good thing we got them floating rod & reels! Next step is a real hook for Abi and bait. She has tried with Justin’s rod which has a hook and fishing lewer but hasn’t yet caught anything. Aaron has learned to use the potty. We are equally proud of them both. (Of course he’s not fully potty trained – just the beginnings.
Saturday, January 29th 2005 by Catherine
Hello from Key West, Florida! We made the trip in 5 days. There was much seasickness in the first 2 days for everyone except Lewis. We got through it without too much fussing and now all seem to have our sea legs. Lewis says the kids are officially pirates now.
Abigail and Aaron are great little boat kids and have truly adopted this way of life without any qualms whatsoever. If only the grownups could do the same! Today is the first day I feel like I am at home. I have finally gotten on top of my cleaning. A boat seems to get twice as dirty as a house for some reason. I am also getting used to the laundry chores. I washed on the boat once and then it rained for 3 days while the clothes were “drying”. Several rinses later I could not get them to dry out for anything. I hung them all over the boat to no avail. Now, I do the laundry mat thing. It is easier while the weather is still so unpredictable. I hope when we get to the Bahamas the sun will be more on my side.
Key West is an interesting place. We have dubbed it Key Weird since it is more fitting. The tourists and locals both are from all over the world. A lot of people here speak French and of course, being south Florida, Spanish speaking folk are here too. There is a gay beach and Aids monument. We have not been there. There is a “Clothing Optional” bar and a restaurant specializing in the “Naked Lunch”. We haven’t been to those either. We have been to the Aquarium which was really wonderful and Aaron’s new favorite animal is the Sea Turtle. The kids got to pet a shark and hold a starfish. The seafood here is wonderful of course. Not cheap though. Key West is the #1 diving center in the world for reef exploring and attracts 10 times as many snorkelers and divers than the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. It is too cold for us to get in the water so we will have to wait until we get to the Bahamas for underwater exploration.
I have mastered the dingy! I can start the motor, drive it, dock it and secure it (sort of – I am challenged when it comes to making sailors’s knots – in fact one day while everyone napped I got out 5 books and my knot making kit and still could not figure out the stupid bowline knot. Jus has since shown me and sometimes I get it – sometimes not.) I can sometimes do the clove hitch, a half hitch, a stopper knot and properly secure a line to a deck cleat.
Update - Water Maker is now working, however, it does not produce the amounts of water it claims it can. Apparently conditions have to be just right in order for it to perform at optimum levels. You know at low tide, with full moon rising when the water temperature is exactly blah blah degrees. We have accepted we will never get optimum performance out of it and are content to get what we do which really is sufficient for our family. This just means our consumption of water has to be curbed. We (I) now wash dishes in saltwater and rinse with fresh, we have shorter showers and sink baths etc etc. It’s really not that bad.