Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Full Moon Party

The Full Moon Party, February 18th, was a grill-out with the fishermen on Lady J providing the fried fish and the cruisers bringing their own meat and a dish to pass, the last get-together for First Edition with the Jumento gang. And we were really just getting to know the regulars, Stanley and Randy, the fishermen, Kokomo the Ketch and Kokomo the Trawler, Lucky Touch, Fooling Around, Blue Jacket, all a good group of folks, and like us, vagabonds living the dream. We love it here. We will be back.

We can’t wait.

On The Mend

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

A couple of entries ago I documented the gifting of the lucky thong decorated with one of our wishbones to Bob for his birthday. Years ago I attached a wishbone to the mast belowdecks, and each Thanksgiving I replaced it. Two years ago I broke the new wishbone as I was inserting it into the bungee cords holding the old wishbone, an eagle’s feather, a never-used fishing rod, and two bike helmets, purchased after the unfortunate collision I had with the daughter of Annapolis’ most powerful lawyer. I convinced myself that I needed to leave the old wishbone, because it could be that a broken wishbone did not have the same protective powers. This year, while having Thanksgiving with Jay and Di, I dug the wishbone out of their turkey and claimed it as my own. But when attaching it to the mast under the bungee cords with all the other crap, I thought it also might not have protective powers for ME, since it was really Jay and Di’s wishbone. So, until the gifting, I had 3 wishbones assuring good luck to the crew of First Edition.

Since Bob’s birthday, I took a nasty fall on the razor rock on the Oceanside of Hog Cay where I was collecting sea glass. Every once in a while a piece of razor rock will come loose from its larger self, becoming unsuitable for walking upon. The fall resulted in a very large bruise to the copious fat located on the side of my left thigh, several small abrasions on leg, elbow, and hand, and a dramatic scrape on my left knee, where several inches of skin were removed to expose the second layer of the body’s largest organ, which remained white as snow for several long seconds until copious bleeding began. Being out on a walk, we had no first aid supplies on hand, so when we finally arrived back to the dinghy I was a bloody mess.

Yesterday, following a cocktail consensus reached the prior night, The Group decided to move to Raccoon to assist in the search for Danny, an elderly deaf dog who took off during a potluck ashore in chase of one of the several goat herds residing here in the Jumentos. Danny had been missing for two days, and as cruisers like to do, we figured we needed to rise to the occasion and help out. Danny’s owner suggested everyone wear long jeans and a long sleeved shirt, and eye protection, as the bramble was thick and hard to blaze. It was 90 degrees. This was not going to be easy. As one of our friends dinghied by us, I noted to them that they weren’t wearing protective clothing, to which I was informed they were covered by their righteousness.

This Good Samaritan act was a bitch. It felt like 120 degrees, with no breeze. The brush was so thick we had to hack our way through with our bodies, not having a machete or hedge clippers available for necessary pruning. We climbed (yes, Raccoon is steep) for over an hour when we decided to turn back for more water, as we were almost dry. We saw lots of goat poop and a small herd, but none of Danny’s hair which we had been told should be clinging to the underbrush if he had passed by. With only 300 yards or so to go until we hit the clearance, I took a spill. This one was a lot more serious than the last. While I did not lose consciousness, I did lose a bit of my recollective abilities, and I was unable to stand. Blood was everywhere, but I had no idea where most of it was coming from. I did know that I had a deep hole inside my mouth, thanks to the explorative inclination of my tongue and the vast quantity of blood I needed to expectorate at frequent intervals. Our handheld VHF’s batteries had gone dead, so we were unable to call for help.

I was unable to get up to move when Peter declared that he had cut a short distance ahead to reach the clearance. I became faint, my pulse raced to 160, and I started to hyperventilate. This was not a pretty sight. I lay on the razor rock for over a half hour until I announced I was ready to give it another try to get out. Fortunately, the last stretch took no more than another half hour, and we waved down friends who were speeding by in the dinghy to contact a doctor friend and take me directly to his boat.

I am so freaking lucky. Not only was the doctor in, two ER docs from Johns Hopkin were nearby and came on board as soon as I arrived. The medical team all agreed I needed stitches in my face, and my very expert friend quickly numbed me up and completed the surgery. I could have lost an eye (I hit my orbital bone) or chipped a tooth, or even worse, a veneered tooth. Instead, I will be eating soft foods and applying ice for several days. I guess I have no future in modeling.
I plan for this to be a delayed post until I am better and can show a photo documenting my recovery. No worries, mon. We still love this crazy, crazy vagabond life we have chosen.

Oh, I called my friend with the wishbone. It is back aboard First Edition. And Danny is still out chasing goats, on Raccoon Cay or in heaven.

Monday, February 7, 2011


We left Celebrian and Synergy to head to Raccoon, in search of more hunting opportunities and other friends. Upon our arrival, Veranda announced that afternoon’s activity, a co-ed snorkel for shells and lobster. I knew I had to get in the water sooner or later.

Having lost my camera overboard as it slipped from my pocket (the second in this manner I embarrassingly admit), we loaned our underwater case to Christy and Bill who took some masterful shots during our outing. Judy and Christy pointed out millions of tellins and sand dollars, and I dove for only a few, having no bag to collect them in. The Savages found yet another emperor helmet, their second of the season. I had not even heard of them before their first discovery.

While snorkeling the shoreline, Bill pointed out a lobster to Peter. Trying to spear anything in front of Bill is sort of like being the first to tee off at a golf outing in front of a massive crowd of professionals, and, accordingly, Peter took many, many shots before he bagged his first of the day. Not too much time passed before he found his own and speared him. OK, that takes care of dinner.

Lobster and the Birthday Thong

One of the reasons folks enjoy the Jumentos so much is the fabulous hunting. While some use fishing rods and dinghy around for their catch, most spear fish or spear lobster. Peter has tried his hand during many runs, and was usually the only hunter returning empty handed. Everyone had their tips for him and various recommendations on different methods. He tried borrowing spears which appeared better than his. He talked to all the successful guys, and finally one took pity on him. Steve on Fine Lion promised him if he came out with him he would catch lobster. So yesterday morning the first lesson was arranged for.

Peter hardly sleeps the night before the lesson. Finally, dawn breaks, and Peter is suited up hours before the planned departure, which eventually arrives. We get to the secret diving hole (more protected than the holy grail) and Steve jumps in the water, and tells Peter, there is lobster here waiting for you. Peter swims over, while I dinghy around and look for sharks. I worry that Peter will spear Steve. Fortunately he doesn’t. But he doesn’t spear anything despite Steve continually pointing directly at the target. After what seems like hours, we move to a different reef.

Steve jumps in the water. He tells Peter they are posing for him. Peter swims over, while I continue to dinghy around and look for sharks, and worry about what is getting speared. Once again, Peter successfully misses Steve but does not hit lobster. We move.

Steve says something like “the Rockettes are lined up”. Peter jumps in the water. I look for sharks. Peter shoots. Steve’s arm raises up from the water with a clenched fist signifying victory. Peter breaks through the water, with the world’s smallest lobster ever clinging for dear life on his spear. But plastered on Peter’s face is the biggest, proudest smile. My hero.

Steve has the patience of Job. And a new title: The Professor.

That afternoon when we arrived at the school lunch, word had already travelled and perfect strangers were congratulating Peter on his success. While all the back slapping was going on, all the food was consumed, so we had a long wait for one of the local women to prepare some baked chicken at her home. Accompanied by Junkanoo champagne and Heineken, the usual good time was had by all. And a picture of the victorious lobster-shrimp spearing master had made its rounds.

On Day Two of successful hunting Peter snagged three lobsters, one slightly larger than his first catch, the second and third constituting the motherload. Every one hunting had a great day, so Savage Son decided to host a lobster grillfest, attended by us and The Professor and his wife, Steve and Kim from Fine Lion. While at Savage Son we took note of all of their lucky talismen, just in time to create an idea for Bob’s birthday the following day.

A friend from Florida, who is a big girl and proud of it, hangs a teeny weeny thong from her clothesline when she does laundry, and everyone gets a big laugh. So I asked my stepmom to pick me up a thong to hang on our lifelines. That joke now having been played out, we sacrificed the thong for Bob’s birthday present, and I sewed on one of our several wishbones, First Edition’s lucky charms.
So in addition to Synergy’s 18 pound catch shared for dinner, everyone had a good chuckle.

Coco Bay and Hog Cay

As planned, with the winds settling down and moving to the east, we said a temporary good-bye to The Group and hauled anchor to sail south with our old friends on Celebrian. For the last three years we have sailed a good part of each winter with Rob and Christine, so we were happy to reconnect and catch up on our exploits over the off-season when they return home to their cottage on Lake Huron. As Celebrian approached South Side, we joined up with them for a short ride to Coco Bay, which is uncharted for the most part. Fortunately, it was a sunny day so the coral heads and a vast reef were obvious. We nestled fairly close up to the beach and dinghied ashore for some mutual affection.

We had a good walk along the beach, with little traffic coming this way we had hoped for some good sea treasures. Of course, Rob and Christine found most of them, snagging a beautiful hawk wing conch and other goodies. We at least had good exercise and conversation but failed to find a trail to the east side near Lovers Leap, where Kim from Fine Lion told me I would find gobs of sea glass. An adventure for another day.

The following morning we awoke to the rolling seas we had experienced for a good part of the night and decided to abandon Coco and head to Hog Cay. Hog is the epicenter of activity for cruisers in the Jumentos, and no sooner had we had the anchor down than Bill from Veranda approached bearing gifts for my collections--- sea glass for my chandelier, in the design stage, shells for my craft project, a tellin-bordered mirror, and sand dollars for my Christmas tree. What a treasure trove!

Here in the Jumentos heart beans lay all over the place. No one even bothers to bend over to collect them. I, being an addict, cannot help myself and gathered a pile which I plan to sift through, keeping the really good ones for Willow to share next Valentine’s Day with her classmates, and dumping the others in the waters of the Abacos where so many first-timer cruisers go. I remember how thrilled I was to be given my first bean, and I have tried to continue the tradition when I am travelling with newcomers. Maybe some of this bag full will find their way to somebody starting their collection.

Hog is a great place to be for any east component wind. We anchored in the Southern most anchorage, and were very comfortable in 18 knots of wind. You can get closer to shore for less fetch in the Northern Hog anchorage, where the waters seemed flat as a pancake despite the hefty breezes. There are several trails, leading to the ocean where heart beans are a dime a dozen, and a long, long walk on a trail that will remain unidentified will, at low tide, uncover mounds of sea glass. I hope one of these days to time it right.