To All My Patients:
I know many of you knew, and it was just a matter of exactly when, I would be leaving the office and dentistry. The date is set: just before Christmas this year, Dec. 21st, 2017.
Those of you that may want to see me for your dental care before I leave, please call the office well in advance of my final departure. I will be out-of-the-office for most of October so I am sharing this news now in hopes of allowing you plenty of time to make decisions for your dental health needs.
I will miss my patients that I have had the privilege to serve over the years. For many of you this has been fifteen to twenty years that I have taken care of you. I thank you all most sincerely. I will miss you. My decision is both sad and hard.
The sweet side is that I will step slightly out of the conventional box and live much of the year traveling on my boat with my wife. A dream turned into a new reality; something that I believe is best done when you are young and healthy enough to manage the numerous daily physical challenges. It guarantees to be quite the adventure. I believe people on their death bed regret more the opportunities they let slip by then some things they did. I have had that point cemented into my mind by many of my patient’s life stories. I thank you for sharing your words of wisdom.
I leave the office in the very capable hands of Dr. Soule. We will have worked together for two years, learning each other’s ways and have found that we share many of the same core beliefs and core principles. He is not fresh out of school but has ten years experience, which is a big plus. He is here to listen to what your needs are and help you. I hope and expect the transition to be easy for all our patients.
I thank you for your past support. I hope to see you in the office or around town.
Dr. Robert Erdman
ANTIGUA SAILING ON “OUR TIME”
APRIL 19TH - APRIL 26TH, 2017
Crew: Robert, Toni, Robert Anthony, Dad, and Leonard
First Day - WEDNESDAY, APRIL 19TH, 2017
ENGLISH HARBOR (ANTIGUA SLIPWAY)
“Our Time” ready for us to begin our eight-day adventure.
Arrival to the island went smoothly. We settled in on the boat, assigned cabins, and proceeded to stow all our belongings. Leonard and Robert A. made a run across the harbor to Nelson Dockyard to the small marina food store (50% of the store shelves contain some form of alcohol) for a few grocery supplies to tide us over until we were able to make it to the supermarket the next day in Jolly Harbor.
Paparazzi, the Italian restaurant along our side of the harbor walkway, was our first night meal. Perfect.
It is always fun to see all the wonderful and varied yachts in English Harbor. We were pleased that our week began with the Antigua Classic boat races. Some of the yachts were very impressive, and even more impressive and a bit scary was witnessing these exquisite boats maneuver the confines of the Harbor.
Second Day - THURSDAY, APRIL 20TH, 2017
EXPLORED NELSON DOCKYARD, FORT BERKLEY AND OVERNIGHTED IN LIGNUMVIATAE BAY
Before we took off up the hill to Fort Berkley, we stopped into the Nelson Dockyard bakery, located in the detached former kitchen to the Admiral’s house, for a quick to go snack of empanadas and cinnamon rolls. The Admiral’s house is now a museum downstairs detailing the history of Antigua and specifically the rich past of English Harbor with a number of business offices located upstairs.
Leonard was totally enjoying the cute goats. The view from the fort was beautiful, 360 degree views of the harbor and sea. From our vantage point, we viewed yachts leaving English Harbor and many others out at sea practicing for the regatta. A splendid sight.
After our hike we headed off for our first group sail on “Our Time” to provision in Jolly Harbor. The sail was magical. Upon reaching the harbor, we knew yachts are only allowed one (1) free hour of dockage to visit the Epicurean Supermarket, and with a quarter mile hike one way, it was controlled chaos. With minutes to spare while the dock master hovered nearby, we pulled the lines and the two Roberts headed towards one of our favorite bays, Lignumviatae Bay. Best sand anywhere!
Leonard taking a dip and simply chilling, literally in the cool breezes we had on this trip. The temperatures stayed in a comfortable mid-80’s.
Third Day - FRIDAY, APRIL 21ST, 2107
SAIL TO BARBUDA, AND OVERNIGHT
We were planning to walk the beautiful crescent beach at Lignumviatae Bay in the morning, however, the weather conditions were ripe for a sail over to Antigua’s sister Island of Barbuda. We have never seen such comfortable seas, so, off we went at exactly 7AM. The seas and sun were lovely for a 4 to 5-hour sail. The hope for this almost month trip on “Our Time” for Toni and Robert is to hone Toni’s boating skills and become more familiar with “Our Time” and the ocean.
The feeling of nervousness, uncertainty, and insecurity stems anxiety that can sometimes be paralyzing in new situations, and even familiar ones. Some refer to this as being outside your “comfort zone.” However, to be able to grow and experience our full potential, it is important to recognize, understand, and conquer the root of this uneasiness and realize it is the lack of knowledge we do not posses that frightens us. Knowledge is only gained, by definition, with time and experience. Self admittedly, Toni needs a lot more experience at the helm, especially when it comes to pointing the boat into the wind when raising the main sail, pulling anchor, and sailing in rough conditions; practice AND patience from all is highly appreciated. Spoiler, by the end of the month long trip, Toni has become far more knowledgeable in all aspects of boating and thus more comfortable with a sailing lifestyle. While there is still much to learn, progress can only be achieved by taking that first step.
The best sound to listen to on a sailboat is the lack of engine noise and the rush of water over the hull of the boat. When under sail you become attuned to the wind and waves, you can feel the boat being pulled forward by increased wind and hear the flutter of the jib or main when the angle of the wind changes and sail trimming is needed. Sailing is about the experience of the journey, a proactive endeavor where enjoyment comes in the doing and the participating.
Well, sometimes the enjoyment comes from simply relaxing. Dad Erdman falling asleep on the passage to Barbuda.
Our first view of Barbuda - B E A U T I F U L !
The miles of beach stretching along the Southwest area of Barbuda are a dream Caribbean destination.
The sunset that night in Barbuda was stunning.
Fourth Day - SATURDAY, APRIL 22ND, 2017
Dad never went ashore or in the dinghy without his trusty life vest. Dad does NOT swim so that qualifies him for the super brave award for all the boating he has done, and does, and will continue to do. Of all of the boating, a dinghy ride could be the most challenging. Getting in and out of a dinghy can be tricky, especially the “Our Time” dinghy which has a “V” shaped floor base opposed to a flatter bottom.
Dickenson Bay has the Sandals Resort among a number of establishments like Sneaky Pete’s bar. Dad Erdman and Toni joined the guys for a drink at Sneaky Pete’s once they finished exploring the beach scene and a little grocery store for rice and a few additional necessary supplies- chips!
Our bartender was a Rastafarian guru who preached to us the “God at the river” and “honesty and judgment.” As Leonard commented, “He must have just smoked a big fatty” before our arrival. He was a true Caribbean character from Dominica trying to earn enough money to get back home and start a business.
Over a couple of sailing trips we have come across native Dominicans who could not make a living in their home country and where on different Islands. Dominica is definitely an Island Robert and Toni hope to explore. It is known for it’s many rivers, forests, and mountains and only a few beaches. Dominica, from what we read, still is not a very tourist driven island, not a lot of taxis or services.
Dickenson Bay is also a lovely place to float and have an evening beverage.
Packing floats (with drink holders) is ALWAYS a brilliant idea. Although they can be cumbersome to stow during passage (they usually end up stowed in the main cabin shower) and difficult to inflate, it is well worth the effort for such wonderful “floaty” moments.
Dad E. and Toni thoroughly enjoyed their wine at sunsets.
Fifth Day - SUNDAY, APRIL 23RD, 2017
DEEP BAY Visit, climbed to fort, overnight in LIGNUMVIATAE
One of the most protected Bays on the North Western side of Antigua is Deep Bay. The fun challenge for this anchorage is the old fort on the north coast. To hike the steep rocky path or not to hike the steep rocky path was the question for Dad E. Pictures can never really do justice to the steepness, height, and slipperiness of this particular cliff.
And by golly he made it all the way up and out of necessity, back down the rocky, pebbly path. Our trip up was a bit more rushed than we would have liked as there was a giant grey and ominous rain storm dumping water just to the east and heading our direction. Luckily for us, the storm passed just to our north and we only received a minor drizzle. However, it was enough to make the ground that much more slick for the trip down. Those scared of heights (hum, Leonard) also faced their own personal challenges. Those of us balance challenged (hum, Toni) always seem to find a way to slide part of the way down. Toni blamed it on her shoes.
Dad E. preparing for the arduous hike to the fort on top of the steep hill.
View from the top. “Our Time” is the furthest boat to the left.
View looking East. In the center of the picture is the open cut to allow salt water into the salt pond.
These are definitely times to remember and cherish. Yet, we still had to get down the hillside.
Top of the fort. Flag pole to the left.
After returning to the boat, each of us thought it was well worth the effort. The views from the top and the fort ruins were very rewarding. Later in the day we saw a cruise ship leaving the neighboring bay from the main port in St. John’s.
Sixth Day - MONDAY, APRIL 24TH, 2017
Saildown the coast to Cades Reef, cross the path of the Antigua Classic Sail race and overnight in mAMORA BAY; St. James Club for drinks, dinner, and a dance
Cades Reef requires full attention at the helm. The shallows go on for miles. Navigation is tricky in general and especially if you try to find the “cut-though” used by those with local boating knowledge. On blustery days it is best to stick with known routes as the reef is quite exposed to the Atlantic swell and the easterly trade winds.
Robert Anthony was the dinghy driver for Robert and Leonard’s snorkeling excursion of Cades Reef. This amazing location is best handled with a one-way drift/swim along part of the long barrier reef. Although most reefs on Antigua show signs of deterioration, there are still sights to behold. The guys came back telling us about a large grouper, leopard rays, and schools of fish. It is always refreshing to get in the water and Robert’s new swim skin provides comfort and most importantly skin protection from the suns UV rays.
After a nice snorkel we motored east, into the wind, and came across the Antigua Classic Yacht Regatta in process. This was a spectacular sight! One hundred (100) or so boats of all sizes each with full sails up zigzagging across the ocean. Robert was at the helm as we approached the course. Sandwiched by the jagged, shallow rocks on the port side and approaching regatta racers on starboard, Robert was spurred on by Robert Anthony, “Dad, keep going.” The racers would maximize every bit of their line as they would tack (change course by turning a boat's bow into and through the wind) back and forth beating into the wind trying to maximize their eastward movement to the next mark they needed to round. This meant boats would come as close to shore as they dared before changing directions, and ultimately placed them, or rather us, in their path. Robert exercised proper etiquette by pausing and holding position as the grand boats and their smaller competitors prepared to tact in front of us multiple times during our passage to the east side of the island. Eventually five (5) other boats with our same intentions formed behind us as we made our way. We figuratively had front row seats to this event. So close, it was as if we were apart of the excitement. We were all glad Robert Anthony insisted that we motor through the race area as this was an amazing opportunity for Leo as he snapped great pictures of the classic beauties in action.
Leonard and Robert enjoying drinks at St. James Club pool bar.
We made our way past the race and into Mamora Bay, welcomed as we entered the bay by a dolphin that swam up in front of our boat and literally looked us in the eye.
Later that evening we enjoyed the water-side all you can eat Italian buffet and entertainment by a local singer. Dad E. and Toni shared a dance. It was a lovely evening.
Seventh Day - TUESDAY, APRIL 25TH, 2017
GREEN ISLAND, NONSUCH BAY OVERNIGHT
We were able to pick up a mooring (A buoy device that boaters may tie to instead of anchoring) at Green Island for the first time this trip. It was the perfect spot to enjoy Green Island and view the wind surfers and cruise-ship-day-trippers.
Same beach, different time of day. The beach seems to disappears at high tide.
The shallow, calm beach allowed dad his first dip in the water. Dad did not want to get wet and only agreed to dip down to his waist when he realized that his bathing suit looked two-toned, one part deep wet gray and the upper half light dry gray. It is surprising how the wind cools your body off making it less inviting in April to go for a swim. Leonard likes his sea at least 85 degrees; at 84 degrees he was debating at times whether to go in or not.
Cocktail hour on the front of the boat and late night star gazing were evening favorites all along the trip. We saw Jupiter, Neptune, and of course the Big Dipper and the North Star. It is always amazing to see the density of stars in the night sky when there is an absence of city lights.
Eighth Day - WEDNESDAY, APRIL 26TH, 2017
BACK TO ENGLISH HARBOR
We pulled off the mooring and took a leisurely cruise around the large Nonsuch Bay.
This is NOT Harmony Hall. Just a pretty structure.
Toni was eager to find Harmony Hall art gallery and restaurant to see if it was open. Unfortunately, Robert Anthony found their Google listing which said the facility is permanently closed. We located what we believe was the location from a map we had and there was not any visible activity. However, we did find a house that had an awesome slide.
Off we sailed up the west coast heading back to English Harbor with the wind behind us. The sailing with the waves at our back would seem to be more comfortable than beating into the wind that we have been doing most of the trip. However, Toni found the lack of wind in her face and the roll of the seas more nauseating. Ginger candies and ginger cookies are definitely the way to help alleviate potential sea sickness. In our experience, being proactive is vital. Ginger, very good hydration (water), and staying cooler, seem to be key factors in feeling well on the boat. Also, simply relaxing and not allowing fear to take a grip contributes to overall well being.
In English Harbor we once again get to be up close and personal with the big classic boats. And I mean up close. One yacht dropped their anchor feet away from our bow with their bowsprit towering over “Our Time.” Much like a classic car show, it is a rare opportunity to have so many yachts of this caliber in one spot side-by-side, med-moored (a technique for mooring a vessel to a pier at a perpendicular angle) into the docks, nestled together in some instances with only fenders separating one to another.
We used our time in harbor for getting “Our Time’s” inverter swapped out and having the frayed bridle replaced. Robert Anthony, Leonard, and Dad E. were departing the next day.
Dad LOVES going out for drinks and dinner. He really enjoys dining, which is distinguished from a quick dinner. As he puts it, dining is a process that involves pre dinner drinks, then appetizers, your meal, after dinner drinks, desert, and some entertainment. Tonight was our last night together so we planned a celebratory dinner at the Pillars Restaurant in English Harbor. What a beautiful, magical, “movie set” evening. The facility, staff (Reggie, our bartender man-about-the-restaurant), and Karen the hostess, plus the gentle breeze and light comfortable temperature made for a perfect farewell dinner.
Dad had his lobster and one very weak, maybe virgin frozen drink due an oversight by the waiter, and then a makeup second drink that as he told Reggie, “Put me in reverse.” It must have been a strong second drink because Dad encountered sneaky steps into the restrooms. After we knew he was okay, we all had a good giggle, even Dad E., as Dad’s balance was tested by the hidden steps twice throughout the night.
It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening. Perhaps the best of many enjoyable moments was on our return to our dinghy to cross back over the bay. With Toni and Dad E. trailing behind the rest of the group and Dad E. escorting Toni to the dock, arm in arm, the dock security guard commented, in a non sarcastic manner, that it was nice dad was taking his wife (Toni) out for a lovely evening. Sometimes, it is just best to let some comments ride and we all had a nice chuckle.
Ninth Day - THURSDAY, APRIL 27th, 2017
TIME TO LEAVE ANTIGUA FOR HOME
Dad, Leonard, and Robert Anthony leave Antigua. This is a mixed emotion day…. our family separates, and yet Robert and Toni will have their first week plus on “Our Time.” A long anticipated dream coming true.
Where in the world is Dr. Erdman-Our First Night on “OUR TIME”
Finally, I made it to Antigua and into English Harbor the morning of December 29, 2016. I stopped blogging for awhile because we had major issues with the boat and the manufacture was giving us a hard time covering the sail drives under warranty. It is a long story that goes over a number of months and we were advised not to discuss. Happily, the boat was restored to working order and many of you have seen me working in the office January through mid-April. I thought it might be fun for Toni to give you her perspective of her first experience with the boat. This is from my wife’s perspective.
I am not a sailor-yet. However, I am in love with a man who loves sailing, so, I go with him- sailing. Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoy my time on the boat. At first I typed, “thoroughly enjoy my time on the boat”, and then thought better about it and took “thoroughly” out. There is the nagging issue of sea sickness. My, oh my, as I literally expel a heavy sigh; only if blogs came with sound effects. My life holds great promise of adventures filled with both people and places to get to know. There are future sunrises and sunsets to inspire and and stories yet to be written. All this lovely hopefulness is cast with worry over being able to handle the seas.
After 30 years of owning and running a small business we sold. It made great business sense to turn our profit (and save on taxes) over into a new business adventure. So we bought a brand new 45-foot catamaran and plan on living our dream before our bodies tell us it has to remain only a dream. Yes, Robert agreed to purchase a catamaran for stability. The new cats are terrific, roomy and steady. We have decided to put the new boat in charter until we can fully finalize our work commitments. So, in the meantime, someone else is enjoying my sunrises, sunsets and people and places. We expect to get to sail our boat a couple of months per year.
My husband, Robert, was part of the three-person crew who sailed her from her birthing port of Les Sables d’Olonne, France. He arrived in France November 5th, 2017 and finally took off from port on Thanksgiving Day, November 28th. After very rough seas, weeks of delays and sail drive issues the crew and boat arrived into English Harbor, Antigua on December 29th, 2017. It was a joyful sight to see my husband at the helm and cry out “Ahoy” as he approached the dock. Our lingering hug was memorable. We gave him two nights of land rest before our family of five jumped aboard for our short acquaintance sail.
Our dream of sharing two weeks with family aboard “Our Time” was cut short by the multiple weather delays. We were so happy to at least have seven days and six nights together to get to know our boat. But that does not qualify me as a sailor nor instill the confidence I need to be a worthy sailing mate. I have three twenty-something young men for children and they are all doers. I have to remind them and myself that mom needs to learn the water maker, the bilge alarm, the navigation system… I have to learn to trust the boat and myself on the boat. I still fret every time we drop anchor questioning, “Will we hold.”
I have had a whole six nights on our boat, “OUR TIME”. The very first night aboard was December 31st. This very first night out represented years of dreams, hopes and anticipation. We were happy, excited and exhausted. Imagine getting your first brand new car. It still smells so good, is clean and you feel so free. You can go anywhere! Until you simply get tired. Whenever we are out on the water we tend to rise and set with the sun. And soon after leaving English Harbor we went a very short way, and tucked into the lovely Carlisle Bay with a hotel on the beach. Truthfully, I cannot even remember what we did that first night. Did we cook a fancy meal? Pop a bottle of wine?
What I do remember in going to bed soon after sundown and worrying if the anchor would hold. Darn that big rock on the downwind side of the bay. I kept dreaming we would drift towards it at night. I even began to imagine what boat against the rock banging would sound like if we did hit. As I dozed off to a restless sleep I got up once to peek out the cabins windows to get my bearings. Were we dragging? Are the hotel lights in the same general direction? And there snored my man oblivious to my cares and concerns. Heck, he just finished a two month crossing in horrible weather, this bay peacefully calm to him. I went back to bed, rolled over numerous time, said my prayers again and knew I would have to learn to relax. I did fall back to sleep. Until I wasn’t asleep any longer.
I was startled awake by that banging noise I dreamed up in my head. Only, I was not dreaming. I literally fell out of bed in a rush yelling out to my sound asleep husband, “Rob, Rob what is it?” I laugh now because I clearly remember that just a bit of light from the hotel or moon reflected off his bare bottom as he stumbled out on deck. Thank God neither one of us broke a leg in our haste. What day did I mention was our first night out? December 31st. Apparently, on the island of Antigua, in this Carlisle Bay, the hotel was shooting off fireworks along with two other celebratory showings north and south of us. At least I can honestly say that I will never forget my first night aboard our new boat.
We were both so shaken up and tired that we barely watched the beautiful show. It was loud. We assessed the potential harm from firework shells launching out over the water in our general direction and simply went back to bed. We just wanted quite. I carried another concern to bed. I was wondering if my brand new boat was going to show scars in the morning light from firework debris. In hindsight this would have been a great photo opportunity for a future blog. That thought never entered my worrisome brain. All I could think about was what would it really sound like to hit that big rock and how would I even know it with all this noise.
Toni, is a trooper and is keeping an open mind, heart and attitude with my dream of sailing. She has never done a long sail that extended also through the whole night and I plan to push, I mean, encourage her to do longer and longer sails as we take a month off this Spring to “test-drive” a new lifestyle. Our next trip we will continue sailing around Antigua and head over to the Island of Barbuda which is about a five hour sail. I hope to bring my ninety-year-old father along for a week. He inspired my love of boating and I with trips to the Bahamas. I look forward to sharing time with him out on the water, again. Stay posted for our next update. And please, if you see Toni, tell her how lucky she is to go sailing, I could use the help.
So Christmas dinner was good. The chicken was cooked perfectly and the roasted potatoes brushed with duck fat, a French thing, was also very good. My peach cobbler was fine but not great as we are low on sugar and butter so I used less then I would have liked. The microwave that also can be used as an oven worked but cooks slower so more time is needed when using it. We tried using the microwave for the veggies after the chicken but the microwave portion of the oven no longer works. Shame as it looks so nice. (It Will probably be replaced with a straight forward more reliable microwave.) The boat has a gas oven which does not do a good job and the captain does not allow us to use it on this delivery voyage.
The day after Christmas we washed the boat down and cleaned the salt off the chrome. It does not take long for the salt to try and pit the metal. This will be a chore to be done every time I see the boat along with many other boat duties.
So I have been asking the captain if it is normal for the waves to be this big all the time since we started all the way back in France. He says it will get better in a few days or he simply ignores me. At this point in the trip, we have put in a lot of miles and we are less then 400 miles to our final destination and now he admits that this has been a rough trip. He says he has never had a trip that did not have breaks of nice calm water. This one has never been calm. He said that the last crossing he was on just before he came on my boat, he considered their roughest day as being still calmer then this trips best day. Read that twice. And say "yuck". So, ah-hah, I knew I smelled a rat. He did not want me to get discouraged so he kept saying in a few days it will be calmer as he thought it has to get better. It just never did.
So let's talk about what the constant hour after hour tossing does to you mentally. I am trying to wash dishes bracing my body against the cabinet, dealing with sloshing water and setting the dishes so that they do not slide off the counter to the floor. After doing this simple task, that is now not as simple,day after day some four letter words that you normally do not use start flowing freely. Everything is difficult. Walking must be done with a free hand or two holding on with every step. If you do not hold on tightly you will fall.
The captain fell today when he was up high working on the boom. The waves knocked him and he'll fell a couple of elevation changes of the boat down. I saw it happen and gasped as I saw the fall but was busy holding on tight myself. He was fine but that was close as he was heading in the direction of overboard. So the constant movement would be fine for a day or two but over many days it is draining and it starts making you mad that it will not give you a break. Not complaining but giving you reality.
Tonight it is clear and the stars are out and Venus is so bright in this pitch black ocean. It is so wonderful without the light pollution. I do not see half the number of stars when I am on land with all the lights.
Tonight at dinner we discussed the remaining food what we would/ could like to make or eat. For me it was opening the can of corn, draining it, adding some chopped onion and tomato and sprinkling some balsamic vinegar on it. The captain is eyeing the frozen sausage and Christine, she will make the frozen meatballs. We agreed to have everybody try something and maybe share. The captain hates corn and will stay far from it; so, yet another dish he will not eat of mine.
Today was also a big laundry day. Clothes were hanging up wet on the outside of the boat. That is my big excitement, to have a clean shirt to put on. Hence, laundry is done a lot by me. I have the time! So with my time I can read, write, watch a movie, do dishes, do laundry or throw the dead flying fish overboard and clean up the big mess they make.
Tonight on my regularly scheduled watch, I am writing this and the captain was down below. He noticed on the navigation system a ship going in the opposite direction, and going to pass close to us. My job is to know this when I am on watch. I am to view our surroundings, at minimum, every 8- 10 minutes. He did not tell me and wanted to see how long it would take before I noticed. Well to my amazement a half an hour went by and the ship went past and my face is glued to writing this story. Oops!
He made me aware of the situation and asked me how much time went by before my last get up and check and I said about 10 or 15 minutes. He said no it has been 30. He said that he sees this all the time. People on watch think they can be on the computer or iPad and they easily loose track of time. Danger is that in that time a ship can close in on you. He wanted me to learn that lesson very clearly and that I did. So he is now on watch and I am now practicing safe typing off my watch.
So the crossing is nearly done. I flew to France at the very beginning of November and will be done with it at the end of December. Weather and mechanical delays have really made the whole thing go a lot longer and slightly delayed my return to the office. I will squeeze in some family time on the boat at the end which I am enormously grateful. I will find quiet bays with beautiful beaches to make sure the time with family is the best it can be.
During my time away I lost a mother. I always knew the importance of family and this time away was very reflective and reinforcing of many of my guiding life principles. So was it worth it? I was out of the office for a long time and that makes things more difficult for many people. I thank them all for putting up with it. I learned more about what it takes to go further then just the next island on the horizon. I do want to sail further than I felt comfortable in the past so that experience is vital. When I add up what I learned against the cost and the challenges it created then, yes, it was worth it. If possible, I encourage you to take extended time for yourself as a retreat to sort things out. We all need that. If you can and choose to take a break for your norm, go ahead and add to it, make it interesting too!
I start writing this as I am half way from the Cape Verdee Islands to Antigua; the final big push to OUR TIME's home base. We left the Verdee Islands, just off the coast of Africa, with real concerns about water intrusion into the saildrive of both engines and the oil being contaminated by water. Water in the oil that lubricates the gears is a bad thing. We arrived in the islands with water in the gearbox so the proper thing is to haul out the boat to fix the problem. Not possible to do haul out here. So a diver did what he could to replace the seals and we flushed the gear box with fresh oil multiple times. May have worked, not sure yet. There is some water in the oil but may be a little bit that did not get removed with the multiple oil changes.
The first six days on this leg was all sailing with huge swells and waves. I found myself apprehensive and I got up multiple times when I was not on watch to check on the boat. The thunder of the crashing of the waves against the side of the boat and the howling wind and the tossing of One's body below gets you concerned-at the minimum. Ok, yes I was scared. I know you wanted to know that. We sometimes just had a small triangle of the forward sail (jib) up with the rest pulled in tight, no main sail raised at all and the wind and sea still pulled this heavy beast along faster then many would go with all the sails up.
Today it is choppy and we continue to experience big swells; however, not as bad. I am rejoicing over the calmer water. Calm? Not at all! It is all relative. It is amazing what you can get used to. Most people would say it is a rough day and if you have a choice you would opt to stay in port. No port for me. Not for another 1100 nautical miles. Who's idea was this? I am actually not complaining, just laughing at myself. It is no different then the people who decide to run a marathon, hike a mountain, bike across the state or country or take a year to knit a huge quilt. Many of us chose to do something that may not be easy ,but do it for the experience and the accomplishment. I totally solute all you out there who get up off the couch and do your "thing." Good for you! You will regret more at death what you didn't do then what you did do!
Now where was I? So still trying to squeeze in some time with the family in Antigua if I can get there. We have planned, re planned and re planned the family timetable. I know Wind running around 18 to 24 knots. Sounds good doesn't it. Could be if I had the right downwind sail on board. The wind is straight from behind with fluctuations of 15 degrees or so on either side. The genoa sail I have needs it more steady or it backwinds and can damage the sail. Best not to risk the damage. A good downwind sail has been picked out and is on my wish list. For now this is what I we have so we are now motoring until the wind changes. This all means, it simply takes time and patience.
Motoring makes it easy but burns diesel. This boat can easily do 1500 miles on a tank of diesel with no sailing and much much further when motor AND sail. With really good fuel management for only battery charges you can go over three months without refueling. Add a couple more solar panels and it can be much longer. Food, water(if you do not have a water maker)and repairs are the typical limiting factors.
Yes repairs! The starboard engine is not charging. It is responsible for charging it's own starting battery and the "house" batteries, not so today-the battery went dead. The bad news: this is happening and will have to be fixed. The good news: in the short term we have a switching mechanism that can dump power into that battery from the port side. At this moment we feel we will be ok wth this situation.
Today our reality is lots of rain squalls which means on the flip side of life, lots of beautiful rainbows! We had to pull out the cameras. At one point ,we were sailing to the end of the rainbow. Perfect heading! We did not get there in time, I surmise the pot of gold must have already sunk. Rats. Our reward comes in The rain washing the boat. A heavy rain is welcome as long as it is short term and does not drag on. We have not had long term rain yet, so yeah.
Fresh food is something that goes quickly on a boat. Publix still does not deliver on the Atlantic Ocean. The bananas are gone, half a cucumber left, one apple, no more oranges, a couple of onions and about four potatoes. Our after dinner conversation circles around the canned peaches and fruit cocktail and which of those yummy items we will have for tomorrow's Christmas dinner treat. Hah, what are you having? The main course will be microwave/convection cooked chicken. With a few spices on top. Have to let you know how that dinner goes. Tonight it was leftover rice and peas with frozen meatballs heated up. I liked it as I was hungry. What really are my choices? So, I choose to like it all.
This website includes materials that are protected by copyright, or other proprietary rights. Transmission or reproduction of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use, as defined in the copyright laws, requires the written permission of the copyright owners.