Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Office

BVI officeAfter locating the proper cable and Norseman fittings in Road Town, Tortola and several days of planning the underwater operation, the event horizon dive team successfully replaced the centerboard cable without any problems. (I am still in awe of my captains ingenuity.) So we are back to business as usual. Speaking of which, the view from our office has been changing daily as we continue to search for a reliable internet connection.

Monday, December 18, 2006

18 30 N, 64 30 W

After a good night sleep, I spent most of the next day in the water, just outside of Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbour. It started out as a reconnaissance mission for the injured centerboard but turned into a day of underwater exploration. I saw an amazing array of sea life around and under the boat including several sea turtles, a sting ray, a barracuda, and endless schools of beautiful fish I have yet to identify. (Must buy a reference book!) It has felt good to stretch the muscles, and I do believe the water is calling me again.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Bermuda to BVI 2006

Upon nearing landfall in the early morning hours of Friday, Dec 15th, a tall gray mass began to appear on the horizon. Eventually a volcano mountain took shape and kept me entranced for miles. We reached the British Virgin Islands in less than 5 days thanks to steady 20-30 knot northeast winds that allowed us to sail 955nm on a one-tack beam reach. As recommended by many sailors, we cleared customs and immigration in Spanish Town on Virgin Gorda where all important services and amenities surround the harbour area.

I am happy to report it was a relatively bruise-free passage. I also thought we avoided any breakage but on the last day we realized the centerboard was down because its cable had broke. So despite our beautiful surroundings we (especially my captain!) are preoccupied with acquiring the necessary parts to fix the problem. Meanwhile we now have about a 14 foot draft, which is too much for most of the harbours so we need to anchor outside in less sheltered areas, which also means longer dinghy rides to shore and limited internet options. But the main thing is that we have finally arrived safely to the Caribbean where it is warm, beautiful and there are endless areas to explore.

Geography lesson. The Virgin Islands are an archipelago comprised of several small islands and cays that are considered two groups of islands, the United States Virgin Islands (USVI) and the British Virgin Islands (BVI). The USVI consist of 3 larger islands (St Thomas, St John and St Croix) and over 50 smaller islets and cays. The total area of the USVI is 133 square miles. The BVI (which lie to the north east of the USVI) are made up of 4 larger islands (Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Jost van Dyke and Anegada) and 32 smaller islands. The total area of the BVI is 59 square miles.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Caribbean Bound

Finally, we are off to the Caribbean! We are leaving early tomorrow morning on the back of a cold front that has just passed over Bermuda, providing good NE winds to take my captain and me south to the British Virgin Islands . We expect the 830nm passage to Virgin Gorda to take about 6 days. During this trip I will celebrate my first birthday at sea, turning 39 years young for the sixth time (you do the math). I was hoping to be on land for the occasion so that I could have a cocktail in hand (we never consume alcohol while at sea) but that is not to be. Instead I will look forward to celebrating two things in Spanish Town, my birthday and a safe passage.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


Our stay in Bermuda has been longer than intended (over a month!) but rewarding thanks to our Bermudian friends.

The once steady flow of boats stopping here for respite, fuel or repairs has slowed to a trickle. St Georges Harbour, recently dotted with lingering boats awaiting parts and repairs, has nearly emptied. Both are signs that the traditional southbound passage for a Caribbean winter is closing. It is time for us to depart.

So, we are in squirrel mode again, provisioning, storing and stowing in preparation for the next good weather window for passage to Spanish Town, Virgin Gorda, which is part of the British Virgin Islands.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Wickford, RI to Bermuda 2006

It is hard to believe we have already been in Bermuda 12 days. Long enough for the trips bruises and unpleasantries to fade. Our passage was 720 nautical miles from dock to dock and completed in less than 4 days. It was a very fast trip thanks to steady southwest winds and our determination to out run an approaching storm towards the end of our trip. Most of the voyage was made under a double or triple reefed mainsail and storm staysail creating an average speed of 8 knots.

It was also a wet trip where the occasional wave caused the inflation of a lifejacket as shown in the photo.

With each trip lessons are learned and improvements are identified. The fast passing days in Bermuda have been spent applying our new learning by making assorted repairs and alterations, cleaning and organizing everything from lockers to ourselves. (Luckily our damages were minimal compared to most boats passing through this season.) And when not doing this fun stuff, my captain is steadfast with his engineering work and I am gradually getting back to my web clients and a normal day to day routine.

Monday, September 18, 2006

All Aboard

As of August 31st my captain and I became full-time boat dwellers. We thought we were moving aboard gradually (I thought I had moved aboard last year!) with weekend car loads yet the last load required precision packing and our body weight to close the doors. It has taken days to unpack, organize and further cull our belongings because not everything fits as things should on a cruising vessel. And despite hauling bagfuls of stuff off the boat, she is still too heavy! We are floating right on her waterline and have yet to provision for long term cruising. Therefore everyday is a contest where each of us tries to find something that is not important or we take one for the team and part with something personal. We are nearly there, but the game continues.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

A Lifting Experience

While in Maine we decided to take advantage of our time and the reputable facilities at Rockport Marine to have Event Horizon hauled to replace the PYI shaft seal which required removing her shaft. Normally getting lifted is a nerve-racking event where something inevitably gets damaged. After too many bad experiences, we now carry a photo showing her in the travel-lift straps and Styrofoam padding, plus we remove the head stay before lifting. We had the usual nausea as the process began but the haul out ended with smiles. Despite this being a simple job, no less than 8 people came in direct contact with us and the boat. Each person (who first introduced themselves) specialized in one step of the process. From escorting us to the dock, lifting, cleaning her hull, the job at hand and launching, the Rockport Marine team was professional and flawless. A few hours later we were safely back in the water and incurred costs less than what most comparable New England boatyards charge.

We also had our baby weighed. She came in at a whopping 46,000 lbs (and not yet provisioned for long term cruising!)

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Whales, Porpoise and Seals. Oh My!

With each trip to Maine, I am reminded why I love it. Nature abounds both on and off shore to the point that wildlife and sea life sightings become common yet always exciting. Her coast is dotted with little towns full of character and each is inhabited by characters.

On this trip we spent most days in the Penobscot Bay area, including Rockport where we experienced the launching of the impressive Spirit of Bermuda, recently built by Rockport Marine.

We also visited with our cruising friends who operate a summer charter business aboard their beautiful Schooner Heron, which we highly recommend if you are ever near the Rockland or Camden areas.

There are also many islands in Penobscot Bay, many of which are long time summer colonies. A trip highlight was visiting Carvers Harbor, a charming working harbor filled with lobster boats (more than I have ever witnessed in any one harbor) located on the southern end of Vinalhaven Island.

Upon arrival we were greeted by a lobsterman who took us to his spare mooring at a cost of $30 for the night. Other fishermen attach self-serve bottles to their spare moorings. Carvers borders the islands main commerce street which impressed us and includes a grocery, hardware, liquor store and several restaurants, including The Haven which was the dinning highlight of our trip and not to be missed on yours.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Dressing for Success Underwater

Along with work and sailing our usual New England waters, I have started to prepare for life outside of the US this winter. The latest word from my captain is that we are headed south - further south this time where swimming is a daily option of exercise - The Caribbean! I am currently surrounded by cruising guides and making to-do lists. We (my captain, me and our floating home) are not accustomed to hot weather living. Heck, we are barely used to 3 months of warm weather. Among my long list of things to do is stuff like stocking up on natural sunscreens & insect repellents, buying roach traps and fly strips and switching our cold weather wardrobes into one more suitable for idyllic island living.

One dreaded task item was replacing my old swim attire since both suits are on the brink of disintegration. So off I went to my favorite department store. I quickly learned the only thing worse than shopping for bathing suits is shopping for bathing suits towards the end of the swim season. After a quick browse I did not find any to my liking, which I now realize should not have been such a surprise. Round two had me pulling anything within my two-size-range that I would not be embarrassed to be seen in. All I want is to be able to snorkel or clean the bottom of my home without incident. It was slim pickings. Most suits had more dangling trinkets and light catching devices than a high-end fishing lure. No thank you. I want to watch the fish, not have them following me or nipping at me like a snack.

After countless trips to the changing rooms, success was had. The best part was crossing off this arduous task from my list.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Seeing Green

A good sailor tries to be environmental with every tack in life. Thoughtful and resourceful, Ideal Bite is on a mission to help the planet by helping us change our (sometimes bad) habits. They offer clever ideas that are good for you and our earth. And believe it or not, many of the suggestions are easy small steps that yield big results. Have fun and get smart by hanging out in their Tip Library. Or perhaps you have green wisdom to share?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Back On The Water

For a while there I was afraid that I might need to change my blog name from Life Afloat to Landlocked! You see, with my return to Boston a strong force took hold and quickly pulled me back to the ways I had worked so hard to wean myself from. Oh yes, it has been wonderful seeing friends, visiting my favorite shops and haunts, attending museum exhibits and other special events, and having access to just about any and everything, but clearly I was (ok, still am) too weak to have returned this soon. The pull of American society (norms) and consumerism is stronger than me, and I am ashamed. I have bought numerous pieces of non-boat-appropriate clothing, shoes AND fashion conscious accessories, none of which will properly fit in my locker space when it is time for a real offshore passage. And I have returned to my lustful ways of wining and dining beyond a sailors budget just because I have had paying website gigs and access to so much. Apparently the Betty Ford Center does not handle my addiction so it is back to boat living in Rhode Island for me. I am physically removing myself from Boston and her temptations. Then I intend to pull myself together and get back to what really matters; proper provisioning, a clean boat, ready-to-wear foul weather gear, planning the next trip and blogging.

Friday, May 12, 2006


It took us days of washing and wiping (praise to Murphys Oil Soap!) and countless loads of laundry to desalinate our home, but we are again squeaky clean. Now I am ready for the next adventure. But when? Where? These are the questions my captain and I have been struggling with everyday while the magnetic pull of work and society take us off course, despite our planning and toiling over the past 3 years to escape these norms, if only temporary. As we endeavor to stay on course, my days are filled with taking advantage of my local amenities, working to fill the coffers, spending cherished time with friends and catching up on news. Speaking of news, are you aware that the US House of Representatives will soon vote on whether or not to preserve Internet freedom? Please take the time to take action before it is too late! Just click on the attached graphic. Save the Internet: Click here

Friday, April 21, 2006

Bermuda to Newport

Departed Thursday, April 13th at 13:00
Arrived in Wickford, RI on Tuesday April 18th at 03:30
779 nautical miles in 4 days 14.5 hours
Crew of 1.5 (Captain Paul and still-healing me)

Day 1 we made excellent progress along the rhumb line despite 6-9ft seas but later needed to head west to keep a good wind angle and avoid foul weather developing to the east.

Day 2 we completed our second day of 170nm but the wind direction was no longer conducive for heading west so we encountered weather. Close-hauled, we began beating into large confused seas and I was confined to the safety of my bunk. (This is where I would spend most of the next 3 days.)

Day 3 brought squalls, winds gusting to 50kts and breaking waves (giant gray walls of water 20-25ft high) over the bow and sometimes from port, filling the cockpit. We were granted a 6 hour reprieve before reaching the Gulf Stream so I ventured out on deck for several hours where I was surrounded by the eeriness of a gray sky, gray air and grayer water. Meanwhile Paul got some much needed sleep. To our surprise, the Gulf Stream seas started off easier then expected, large but less confused. Now our battle was with the tide. After 4 hours of beating to windward at 7.5 knots, the stream was against us at over 5 knots so little progress was made, and there we literally stood bracing for the whiplash once the stream let go. Then there was another round of squalls, including a dramatic white squall. We continued under stay sail (storm sail) alone and took comfort in knowing things would get better soon, after all, our weather routing service was helping us avoid the worst weather.

My positive attitude diminished by the hour on Day 4 which brought the most uncomfortable conditions I have ever sailed. I also believe this was the day Paul decided to take up golf. Beating again, the boat excelled but brought me pain as it slammed down wave after wave or on occasion, the wave would slam down on us. Luckily we were, for the most part, out at sea alone and able to stay down below and safely keep watch through the hatch bimini window. (I was almost thankful to have a rib injury that permitted me to retreat to my warm, dry bunk.) By now, Paul had become my hero and an expert in single handling the boat, including all reefing configurations. I was amazed and encouraged throughout this adventure by the fun he claimed to be having practicing storm tactics. Paul said you would never knowingly go out in this stuff, but it was an excellent opportunity to validate those definitive heavy weather sailing texts. Day 4 was also Easter and some how the Easter bunny managed to deliver a giant Cadbury chocolate & hazelnut egg which was savored throughout the day. Ahh the power of good chocolate. Oh yes, back to the sail. For hours the wind direction prohibited us from getting to windward to exit the stream.

After what seemed like days of rain and crashing waves, we felt like we were living in an aquarium. Paul swears he saw a dolphin wink at him as it passed on the face of a wave. On numerous accounts we did see porpoise swimming alongside us or playing in our bow wake. At this time I would like to thank the makers of Ibuprofen (for the ribs) and Stugeron (seasickness) for making and living-through this trip possible.

Initially it was the last leg of the trip that we dreaded due to beating into the cold New England air, but it turned out to be a welcomed change that brought calm seas, sunshine and dry air during the day. That night our wind died and weather changed. We had to engine into the Narragansett Bay under a dark sky and rain. Upon reaching state-side Paul turned on the TV for kicks and we happened to catch a little of the news. We are still not sure if we were lucky or unlucky, but we learned that after 15 years of deciding what to do with it, the old Jamestown Bridge was slated to be blown up in a few hours. So we made a quick call to the Coast Guard to learn that the west passage was closed, which meant we had to go the long way around Conanicut Island to get back to Wickford. After 4.5 days in Mother Nature's amusement park, what is a couple of extra hours in the cold rain? We made it and after a few hours of sleep we got to witness the bridge center span blow. Now we are back in Rhode Island with a salty boat (inside and out) to clean and a long to-due-list before the next adventure.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Bermuda - Day 149

Commanders weather routing service (our wise second opinion) agrees that a good weather window is upon us. We have only a few tasks to complete and then we will clear customs before setting sail from Bermuda mid-day.

Our rhumb line to Newport, Rhode Island is 628nm and we hope to do an average of at least 7knots, so we estimate our passage back to Wickford to take about 5 days. You may track our whereabouts through Shiptrak, but do not be alarmed if these reports stop. This just means we are too busy attending to other things.

Thanks for all the good wishes and prayers!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Bermuda - Day 148

Provisioned (again), stowed (again) and ready to go. Paul continues to carefully review satellite weather images and forecasts for the right 5-day window of sailing opportunity. Day by day we wait. Day by day I am grateful for the extra day of healing in comfort. The ribs improve daily. (Now I can laugh freely, but still fear and try to avoid sneezing.)

It has been raining here for days. I keep telling myself that may mean clear skies for the trip home. If we hit the high seas before I can write again, you can follow our trip by using the link on the right-side of this page called Where in the World?.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Ribs To Go, Please

Provisioned and everything stowed, our weather window looked promising for an early April departure. Then I got thirsty, in the middle of a dark night, and during my quest for water managed to fall on a 5-inch-high doorsill resulting in a mean bruise and couple of cracked ribs. I spent the next few days managing the pain and watching the clock for my next ration of ibuprofen. After months of rough weather and assorted adventures, I managed to hurt myself while the boat was perfectly calm. How embarrassing. I was fortunate to have had the good Dr (in electronics) Kettle on board who carefully monitored my injuries and tended to my every need, and believe me, there were many. By day five, I was able to climb up the hatch, and today (day 6) I was able to get ashore to visit a doctor. Full recovery is 3 to 6 weeks, but the doctor says I am making excellent progress and good to sail whenever I wish. After leaving the hospital we realized the doctor thought I was on a cruise ship. Oh well. As long as I continue my current rate of improved mobility and diminishing pain, a departure next week seems reasonable to me. (I was fearful that I might have to fly home.) So, its time to provision and stow everything again.

Friday, March 31, 2006

On Holiday

Mid March I traveled to the good ole US of A to visit by best bud Carey in the Philadelphia, PA area and my family in Oklahoma. Carey orchestrated fun-filled days that had us visiting museums and assorted exhibits by day and music venues or concerts at night, including exceptional shows by James Blunt and Lunasa. A certain highlight of my trip was visiting The Barnes Foundation which houses one of the finest collections of French early modern and post-impressionist paintings in the world, including the worlds largest collection of work by Renoir, Cezanne and American artist Maurice Pendergast. FYI, a visit to this gem of a place requires a reservation, but this unique art experience is alone worthy of your visit to the Philly area. Oklahoma was all about eating, visiting with family and eating more, often my grandmothers signature coconut cream pies. My grandmother was relieved to see me unharmed and happy despite my life afloat, and I relished, as always, being spoiled. I spent fun days with my Dad exchanging news about mutual friends and him updating me on the latest in the beef cattle industry, and with my aunt, uncle and their kids (7 of the most adorable and loving miniature schnauzers) or hanging around my uncles newly restored Corvette funny car, Moby Dick. Now I am back on the rock (in Bermuda) where my captain and I are carefully studying 5-day weather forecasts in preparation for our return sail north to Rhode Island. Visit here to see when we officially set sail.

The Rock

Bermuda, locally referred to as The Rock, is a land area of only 21 sq miles long (56 sq km) and about 2 miles (3 km) at its widest point, made up from several islands, many of which are now connected. One can travel from one end to the other in just over an hour (or in my case, about 90 minutes via the pink public buses) and from north to south in 15 minutes. Bermuda began as a volcanic mountain, but most of the volcanic rock is now 450 feet below sea level. The island appears to be made of limestone, clearly visible along the roadways and shorelines, which originated as sand from the reefs that formed dunes and subsequently cemented through the action of rain into rock. Upon close inspection, it is amazing what you can find inside the limestone! As I travel the shorelines there is frequent evidence of quarrying and cutting. Apparently the limestone was commonly used as a building material for protection against hurricanes but the laborious process is used little today (mostly for roofs) and now Bermudian walls are made with concrete blocks. As I roam the island I can’t help but think the concrete companies are doing well as new construction abounds and repairs are still being made to destruction caused by Hurricane Fabian in 2003.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Intoxicated by Flowers

After yet another 7 day stint of only looking at land through a thick wall of wind and rain, today was a cherished play day ashore. And oh what a day. The sun is shining again and the flora is as happy as I am. Influenced by trade winds, Bermuda has a subtropical, not tropical, climate. That means winters are cool and damp, and summers are rarely very hot. Gardens flourish and arable land is farmed year round. I find it interesting that only a few of the many species of plants growing in Bermuda are endemic. Most were introduced and many have become native, meaning they arrived by natural occurrence without the aid of man, but can be found in other places too. For example, Hibiscus, which is not endemic, is everywhere, including exotic red, yellow and white varieties. One of my favorite walks in St Georges takes me past the the Bermuda Perfumery which has been producing fragrances inspired by the flowers of Bermuda: Easter Lily, Jasmine, Oleander, Passion Flower, Frangipanni and Bermudiana since 1929.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Goodbye February!

Just in case you don't believe me, Bermuda Weather February 2006 Summary: "Cold and Windy. Temperatures, including the sea surface temperature, were below normal for the month. A series of well developed low pressure systems brought strong winds, with hurricane force gusts. Precipitation was nearly an inch above normal, with hail being recorded on three different days."

And the strong winds remain.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

2 for 1 Bermuda Special

I have been trying to keep my blogs positive, which may explain why I do not write as often as I should. With several poor weather days behind me and several yet to go, I am compelled to tell you more about a real Bermuda winter. At this moment I am experiencing the second of back to back storm force weather patterns, which I call 2-for-1 Bermuda Specials. I will spare you the meteorological spiel but know that this is a common occurrence here. As if one storm of this caliber is not enough to cause sleep deprivation and make you beg for mother-natures mercy. By no. 2 you are in an I-can-not believe-this-is-happing-to-me-again fog and fantasizing about things you do not believe in, like mind altering substances or anything that might help you execute a wake-me-when-its-over strategy. Storm no. 1 was rough with frequent gusts into the 50 knot range which emptied the contents of my dinghy, including an external fuel tank. (This is sill too painful to talk about.) But this time storm no. 2 is a doozee. Or should I say doozeer? Anyway, its not pretty and the barometric pressure continues to fall. Like many storms before, I try to sleep but can not because it is like trying to sleep on a carnival ride. Instead I sit at the chart table and watch the instrument panel, my entertainment center, to confirm that the wind IS as bad as it sounds. I try to distract myself from the sloshing noises all around me, the howling in the rigging (it sounds like a tribe of banshees) and the creaking of the cabinetry, and hope. Hope that the weather will improve soon. Hope is a wonderful, powerful thing. I should be grateful that I have internet access and a weather knowledgeable captain (in Boston, the lucky dog) giving me updated reports based on the latest satellite imagery, but sometimes it hurts to hear the truth. Or in my case the forecasted truth, which is always subject to change, or so I hope.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Cocktails Anyone?

According to local knowledge, rum has been the drink of Bermuda for some 300 years. They certainly do like their rum as you will find it in so many things - even the jam! The two most popular rum drinks are the Bermuda Swizzle and the unofficial national drink, the Dark n Stormy.

Few would argue that the best swizzle can be enjoyed at the Swizzle Inn (in Baileys Bay) where the mantra is swizzle in, swagger out. I think the very tasty and refreshing swizzle is a perfect daytime cocktail, and is best enjoyed by the jug, shared with a friend. As the sunsets, I tend to take the locals lead and order up a dark n stormy. It is said that a true Bermudian prefers a dark n stormy, a highball made of black rum and ginger beer (pronounced burr), which is neither beer nor ginger ale, but a carbonated soft drink with a strong ginger flavor. Locals claim the real deal is made using Barritts Ginger Beer. I agree. Just about anyone can make a good dark n stormy but I enjoy them most at the White Horse Tavern in St Georges where they are commonly accompanied with sailing stories and weather talk.

For those of you who can not join me for cocktails, here is a taste of Bermuda to enjoy wherever you may be:

Bermuda Rum Swizzle
best made by the pitcher

8 oz Black Rum
Juice of 2 Lemon or limes
5 oz Pineapple juice
5 oz Orange juice
2 oz Grenadine or Bermuda Falernum
6 dashes Angostura bitters
Crushed or small-cubed ice
Stir or shake vigorously until a frothing head appears. Strain into sour glasses.
Note: extensive research has confirmed that the best swizzle is served at the Swizzle Inn.

Dark n Stormy
Place ice cubes in highball glass
Add 1.5 oz Black Rum
Top with Ginger Beer


Surprises at Sea

One of my favorite parts of ocean sailing is the joy of seeing something interesting in the water, ideally a creature of the sea. You would be surprised by how little you typically see out there, but I always hope. The other day we went out for a day sail off the southeast coast of Bermuda on Event Horizon with new found cruising friends from Maine. A few miles out we started spotting small objects several meters apart floating in the water. Is it trash? Is it some type of line in the water? Upon closer approach, one of our guests was able to identify the mystery object as a Portuguese Man-Of-War, a jelly-like marine animal that looked like a fragile blue bubble. Man-of-wars are well known for their painful and powerful sting, apparently seventy-five percent as powerful as cobra venom, and can be found in warm water all over the world. (I regret not spending money on cable TV to receive an Animal Planet education.) They are not Portuguese but named for their resemblance to a Portuguese battleship with a sail. These sea creatures are four different polyps that rely on each other to survive. The body is a gas-filled translucent bag-like float. It can be anywhere from 3 to 12 inches (9 to 30 centimeters) Underneath the float are clusters of polyps, from which hang coiled stinging tentacles of up to 165 feet (50 meters) long. The crest above the float is only a few inches tall and acts like a sail. Like us, it relies on the wind to move it from one place to another. Man-of-wars commonly float along in large groups and can deflate their floats so that the weather will not harm their delicate structures. Above is a close-up view from one of our sightings.

Monday, February 06, 2006

We Moved

Moving has never been so easy. No packing or change of address cards. Only coordination required was entering our new neighborhood at high tide. Still in St Georges Harbour (east end of Bermuda), we have moved into Smiths Sound, which is between Smiths Island and St Davids Island. Event Horizon is on a custom anchorage consisting of a 4,000 pound metal plate laying at the bottom of 20 ft of water, connected by 26 ft of ships chain and a rode of 30 ft 5/8 chain, connected to two bridles and a third chain which is secured to the mast. Our new location provides more shelter from all wind directions and easier access to a dock on St Davids, which should allow me to collect visitors in most weather conditions. Hallelujah.

While sea turtles are no longer a common sight, my new home is very beautiful and surrounded by history. Smiths Island (61 acres) was Bermudas first settlement and remains accessible only by boat. 23 acres are now a recreational park area, much of which has been reforested in native cedar trees.

St Davids Island (650 acres) is unknown to the average visitor and is considered the way it was. Its perimeter road skirts St Georges Harbour and is mostly residential. From 1941 to 1995 most of this island was used by the US Military, who built the airport which is located on the west-side next to the mainland connecting bridge. The most significant landmark is St Davids Lighthouse, an octagonal red and white tower built in 1879, which continues to serve as a beacon for mariners. The island also has two beautiful public beaches, nature trails and picturesque sea views.

Oh yeah, the harbour web cam does not reach this far south so there will be no more spying on me.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Bermuda Farmers Market

Most Saturdays you will likely find me enjoying the Bermuda Farmers Market. The market is held from November through June, which is the local growing season. Each Saturday from 8am - noon, on the north side of the Bulls Head Car Park in the city of Hamilton, you will find an assortment of island vendors selling only items grown or made by them. It is a fun way to shop for local produce, baked goods, plants and crafts, which range from knitted items to contemporary jewelry. A vendor may be a farm with an array of produce, while another is a backyard gardener selling tangelos from their tree. I treasure the selection of just-picked produce, especially the bunches of fresh herbs that turn my stores (canned food, rice and pasta) into gourmet meals. I also never leave without a bunch of Bermuda bananas - tiny bananas full of flavor. Other must haves? Organic eggs from Wadsons Farms, freshly made basil pesto and olive taupenade by Bouquet Garni and Sallies Bermuda Preserves. Bon appetit.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Bermuda - Day 60

It is day 3 of a Gale Warning. Yes, I am into my third day of being hunkered down in my floating home while gale force winds (30-60 Knots or 35-70 MPH) howl through the rigging and swing me from side to side. I keep reminding myself that most people have to buy expensive tickets for rides like this. Occasionally I get the urge and courage to pop my head up (out of the hatch) into the great wind machine that surrounds me. Then I quickly retreat to the sanity of down below. As if the rocking and swaying is not exciting enough, I have also been visited by intermittent thunderstorms that have warranted keeping equipment and systems-of-comfort turned off for most of this 3 day period. Thank goodness for cell phones, computer batteries, Petzl headlamps and books. The gale force winds are forecasted to ease today becoming light to moderate by tomorrow, as a low pressure moves away. This means that it should be safe to journey ashore tomorrow, wearing my latest badge of courage.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Holiday Season in Bermuda

Just like most of the world, the holiday season in Bermuda is filled with special events, bright lights and good cheer. The festivities kickoff in early Dec when the Bermuda National Trust hosts their annual Christmas Walkabout in St George. One of the islands most popular events is the Christmas Boat Parade in Hamilton Harbour, which features boats of all sizes decorated with festive lights and decorations, all vying to win one of several categories and the attention of thousands of spectators. In the midst of the celebrating, most homes are decorated inside and out, towns adorn the trunks of palm trees with lights and nearly all have a Christmas tree, most of which are imported from Canada. Eggnog laced with rum is clearly the seasons popular libation, and while each is slightly different and many a secret recipe, all are quite tasty. The shops are filled with traditional British treats - Christmas cakes, mincemeat tarts, Christmas puddings and those fun but noisy Christmas crackers (a small cardboard cylinder covered with decorative paper that holds candy or a party favor and pops when a paper strip is pulled at one or both ends and torn). Most pubs and restaurants are open on Christmas Eve but close on Christmas Day and the following day, which is observed as Boxing Day. When asked about Boxing Day, most people could not tell me much, and according to, its history remains unclear. The islands biggest holiday finale is New Years Eve in St George where Kings Square is alive with people of all ages enjoying live bands, street vendors and just before midnight, the lowering of the onion. Yes, a giant onion sculpture encased in bright lights, instead of the typical big ball. ('Onions’ is the unofficial name for Bermudians and 'Onion patch' is the unofficial name for Bermuda.) Last but not least, the New Year is greeted with an impressive display of fireworks over the harbour. Happy 2006!