the journey


Bonaire






The Girl Rips



End of January - Beginning of February, 2011

Location: Bonaire, ABC's of the Caribbean



Nicole finally got her kiting stoke on. Riding both ways now, (but still a little tricky going right), she is on the board and slicing through the tropical turquoise sea. Her instructor, Mark, has been great (and possibly helping save our relationship if I was to try to teach her), not only being super patient and informative, but also just a ripping kiter.

Here's a few images of Nicole, her instructor, Mark, and the kid (me...who is now finally jumping too, though don't even try to compare me to Mark)
















the kid finally getting some air


Nic (in the h2o) shooting Mark with underwater camera housing


Mark going big over Nicole



The fridge takes a poop



February 3-4, 2011

Location: Bonaire, ABC's of the Caribbean



"What do you think we should do?" "I don't know, what do you think we should do?" Again and again, our conversation replayed, "What do you think we should do?" Gar asked, perplexed, scratching his head. "I don't know, what do you think we should do?" I replied already thinking of everything that would spoil in our fridge if we didn't fix it. This went on back and forth a few times before we started the same conversation with some potential solutions.

A little info, at 10:45 at night we found ourselves peering into the freezer touching the cold plate more than once as if to convince ourselves that indeed our faithful fridge was definitely not working right. Gar dug around, ass up in the lazarette, confirming that, no, we didn't have any air bubbles in our refrigerant sight glass, and that, yes, the compressor was still thankfully working.

What do you think we should do?
Defrost the fridge? run the engine to try to get the compressor running stronger? try to bypass the thermostat?... In the end we did nothing, got into bed and tried to forget about it and our plan to head to Panama.

We fell into a fitful sleep, at least I did. When I woke groggily, Gar wasn't beside me. Thinking that, of course, he was obsessing about the fridge as much as I was he was working on it. "Call me if you need any help," I hollered though the boat. "Help with what, taking a poop?" Gar called back completely confused. Ok, so he wasn't as obsessed as I was.



By morning I had decided we could live without a fridge for months if we needed to. We had an inch of water in the floor of the refrigerator and miniature ice blocks floating in the bottom of our freezer amidst lentil soup and chicken breasts, chocolate and romano cheese. It is never a good thing when something critical goes out late at night a day before leaving for a long passage, especially when we planned to finish the rest of our provisioning the next morning. As usual, our plans are really just a rough idea of what we'd like to do and ALWAYS subject to change.

So, long story short, we called Randy at Technautics who was eager to help. As per his suggestion, we defrosted the unit, involving hours bent over with a heat gun and scraper, let it warm to room temperature (a 55 degree room, not our 82 degree cabin) and drained all of the refrigerant. We were lucky, Gar scored the last two cans of recharge refrigerant and then loaded it in for another hour. Lucky us, the refer is working again, things are getting cold and we only lost 8 hours and not too much food.

It's two days later. We are leaving a day after we had "planned" to. The fridge is packed with carrots, cilantro, red peppers, goat cheese, feta, celery, purple cabbage, limes and lemons, and green apples. The crates are full of tomatoes, passion fruit, a papaya, and some mangoes. And we've got a case of beer in the hull. It's funny provisioning here in Bonaire, you'd think I'd be used to it, not knowing what's available. Today we got lucky. Everything is imported and the markets don't keep their shelves stocked, so we never know what will be available even on this very Dutch island two days after delivery day.





Just a few last things to do beside getting the boat ready, taking a swim, washing our hair, and picking up a couple of pizzas for passage. I've got to calm myself down. I've been obsessing about this passage for some reason, ever since reading Jimmy Cornell's thoughts on it being one of the "roughest passages in the world". So, please help us keep our faithful angels nearby. We'll keep you posted on the Blog.

Life on the Island



End of January - Beginning of February, 2011

Location: Bonaire, ABC's of the Caribbean



Not only have we had a chance to catch up on all the little boat projects that add up, but we've also been able to explore the beauty of Bonaire. On the boat project side we've fixed our refrigeration (total defrost and re-charge), fixed our propane system (new solenoid and regulator), fixed our VHF issues (new VHF and faulty wiring fixed for remote mic), replaced our cockpit lights (the plastic on the old ones disintegrated from the sun), pulled off our bow pulpit to run new electrical wire for running lights and replaced light with new LED bulb, put 7-8 new coats of varnish on our dorade boxes and cockpit pocket rails, replaced the boom vang 'knuckle' piece and customized the connection, off-loaded 3+ bags of books, and cleaned and re-organized all our food storage. Life on a sailboat is never boring.

Thankfully there is usually balance. On the fun adventure side of living this life, we have certainly enjoyed the landscape and natural life this island offers. Flamingos and pelicans do fly-by's, iguanas and wild donkeys roam the plains, and the cactus-filled desert landscape rivals some of the most beautiful we have ever seen. The highlight for us was a day trip exploring the NW area of the island called Washington Slagbaai National Park where the land and sea meet in a powerfully spectacular way. The mighty Caribbean seas smash full-on into the razor sharp limestone cliffs and the rocky cactus-filled hills stand watch. Definitely a "not to miss" part of Bonaire if you ever visit.

And one more "not to be missed" Bonaire attraction is right under the boat. Swimming and snorkeling the mooring field has been pretty sweet. Though not always best visibility, on our daily swims we have seen schools of pompano, a colony of garden eels, 3'+ long tarpon, moray eels, great barracuda, and many bonefish. Not bad considering it's all living right under your floating house.

Below are some images from our stay.....


Bonaire sailboat mooring field in front of town


clever mechanical advantage to get bow pulpit to line up again


gaining access to bow pulpit bolt/nuts


filling water for rinsing dive and kite gear






the best pizza restaurant on Bonaire






cruiser bookswap on Monday nights


scrubbing the deck during a rainsquall


the Bonaire salt pans...a big part of the economy here, most salt exported to the U.S.A.


salt pan


salt




don't we all love varnish?


happy varnish worker


























National Park cactus savannah


the girl








typical Bonaire cactus fence


checking out with customs and getting our flaregun back



Blowing Bubbles



End of January, 2011

Location: Bonaire, ABC's of the Caribbean



On our quest for the stealthy frogfish and seahorse, we have been unlucky so far. However, we have still been underwater everyday for this past week and enjoying the ease of diving here. Although not too impressive of a diving area to us (we are, of course, extremely spoiled), we are still finding happiness poking around on the reefs and saying hello to old friends as well as new discoveries. Super dinghy has been on fire taking us many miles away so we can access some of the better sites and still only pay a few bucks to have our tanks filled. How sweet is that?!

The water quality hasn't been great so I've only been able to shoot a few critters and only using my little Canon point and shoot so far....I'll try to get Nic to bring out the big gun soon....
Here's a few decent images from this past week:


Anenome shrimp at home


school of grunt


boxfish, one of our favorites here in Bonaire


massive 2 foot long crayfish(lobster)...one of the biggest we have ever seen


super camoflauged poisonous scorpionfish


crazy sponge


the scuba chick


suiting up in super dingy


beauty flatworm


trumpetfish


baby filefish. the tilefish here are super cool


crazy crab living on a sponge...not sure what kind


scuba guy


school of surgeonfish


big and beauty parrotfish...picture does it no justice


crabby


tying up to another dive mooring buoy


mooray eel...these guys are everywhere


super dingy waiting patiently

LINK HERE to see the Bonaire Family Gathering Story and Images from January 8-15