Tuesday, November 23, 2010


A night visitor seen more clearly in the morning
We’ve been camped out here in our little basin the Grand Lucayan Waterway, waiting for weather to go south and getting some writing done.  Three nights now we’ve had newcomers arrive after dark.  The first were Bob and Jane on their working catamaran.  They create the Wavy Line charts, which have been referred to us as the best charts for the Turks and Caicos.  Chris visited with them on their boat, which was full of detailed charts that they’re working on for Abacos locations.  The second night, an unlit roll-on/roll-off craft, such as you see throughout the Bahamas delivering goods to islands, roared into the basin.  It looked quite large, but in the morning we could see that it really was relatively small, as these vessels go.  The third night we heard engines close by there was a well-lit, and very large, luxury yacht that first tried to anchor between us and a derelict boat, but reconsidered and set down in the open area on our starboard side.  It tends to make one a bit nervous when the sun starts to set, wondering what might be making its way toward your anchorage.  That’s what we get for anchoring where there’s an anchor symbol on the Explorer Chart!

A Great Review for Scimitar Sun!

Barbara Theisen, the editor for the Seven Seas Cruising Association bulletins, reviewed both Scimitar Moon and Scimitar Sun…and loved them!  The review for Scimitar Moon was in the April 2010 bulletin, and the review for Scimitar Sun was in the latest bulletin, December 2010.  For those of you who belong to the SSCA, the bulletins are conveniently online at www.ssca.org.  We got to meet Barb, along with her husband, Tom, and daughter, Kenna, at the SSCA gam in Eau Gallie, Florida, earlier this month.  Barb actually said that she had to fight Tom for who got to read Scimitar Sun first.  There’s nothing better that an author likes to hear!

P.S.  For those of you who have enjoyed reading Chris’ books (or Zellohar and Nekdukarr, which Chris and Anne co-wrote), could we ask you to please write an online review for them?  It doesn’t have to be long or fancy, just your opinion of the book.  Readers can leave reviews on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com, Borders.com, Goodreads.com, or any book-review site you prefer.  It really helps!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Captain’s Work Is Never Done

Chris spent a couple hours restitching our Mack Pack, which is a cover for our mainsail.  It’s quite handy, because it has a simple web of lines that extend up toward the mast and catch the sail as it comes down.  That way, the sail stays nice and tidy and can be easily zippered up into its cover, rather than falling this way and that and blinding the helmsman and having to be folded into its cover.  Ah, the little conveniences of life!

Back in the Bahamas!

We checked into the Bahamas at Port Lucaya this year.  The Port Lucaya Marina is smack in the middle of a tourist area, so there were lots of things to buy at very high prices; needless to say, we didn’t buy anything and left quickly.  Strong north winds were forecast, so we went a few miles east and ducked into the Grand Lucayan Waterway.  It’s a canal system that runs completely through the island north-south, with numerous offshoots and basins.  According to Skipper Bob, more than 5,000 lots were sold in the 70s, but a new government prohibited land ownership by non-Bahamians, which really put a damper on home building by the Americans and Canadians who had purchased lots.  Apparently the issue has been resolved, but only a few houses have been built so far.  The whole place is quite deserted, and dinghying past so many empty, overgrown lots and this abandoned hotel feels a bit like being in a ghost town.  It doesn’t help that everything you say echos around the seawalls.  But the protection here is fantastic; we felt only a bit of breeze, though when we went to look out the cut, white caps were rolling across the bay.  We did get a good snorkel session in before the winds kicked up; it felt great to be back in the water, and we had hogfish for dinner!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Beaches and B&Bs

Cheryl, Jeff, Shirley, and Chris
The Oregon coast has some beautiful long, sandy beaches that we walked one morning in Coos Bay.  The surf was rough but pretty, and we saw a dead seal (probably only of interest to the biologists, but what the heck, that’s what we are—at least I didn’t take a picture of it).  The kelp that had washed up was interesting.  One bunch looked like spaghetti or an orgy of worms, while another was like small palm trees.  En route to Coos Bay we stopped at a delightful B&B, the Apple Inn.  Our hosts Kathe and Harry couldn’t have been nicer, serving us brownies after dinner and a sumptuous breakfast the next morning.  Visit them if you’re in the Cottage Grove, Oregon area.
Harry and Kathe at the Apple Inn

Waterfalls and Wineries

We took advantage of the nice Oregon weather by driving up the Columbia River Gorge to view the numerous waterfalls.  The dramatic landscape here was forged by great floods at the end of the last ice age.  Near the mouth of the Columbia River was an ice dam, and when the glaciers melted and the dam broke, water flooded through the gorge at speeds up to 80 miles per hour.  Now that’s a power-washing!  Much of the water turned south into what is now the Willamette Valley, depositing loads of silt and mud.  This created the fertile soils where numerous crops are grown, including grapes.  We visited several wineries on our drive south, happily sipping both reds and whites.  We also took a winery tour at the King Estate, which has the largest organic vineyards in the world.  Try their NxNW wine—delicious!

Acres of vines at the King Estate

Vines and more vines to make wines and more wines

Can you buy them in this size?