2007 Admiral's View
We have only a few more weeks left of this wonderful 2007 adventure of the SPECIAL BLEND. Here are a few things I have learned/discovered.
I have a thimble full of knowledge about amps, voltage, inverters and generators.
I can be a crane operator now that I have been the controls person to raise and lower the boom and control the dingy on and off the boat ,all without smashing my finger in the rope and cleat.
Our time with Christy, Holly and Brad is to be treasured forever, and we look forward to Lesley and Dane coming to join us next season.
Friends on board have added to the spice of the adventure. Dee Dee, Sylvia, Dick, Travis, Mary Ann, and finally Mike and Lauri (Mike and I go back to the 4th grade, Lauri I met the first year they were married. 41 years ago)
I can wash wash my face with 10 drops of water and rinse with 20. Water usage is never to be taken for granted again.
I can go out in public with my bare face hanging out and my hair not done to perfection, sometime it's even wet!
I love hearing from friends via email and get bummed when there are none!!!
"Well stocked stores" are not always what we think of in America. It means 50lb sacks of sugar and flour and a 5lb tin of corned beef and powdered milk.
2 Fort Meade-eites CAN find their way 3 miles across the water in the dink, 9:30 at night, with a spot light. 4ft seas, rain and 35kt winds, waves over the bow, to pick up Capt Jim on his return from New Zealand--------- laugh all the way, drenched in salt water.
We have made very special friends along the way, Tuhoe and Yvonne in Fakarava, John and Veronica in Suwarrow These two places and the people will always be fond memories.
Our boat families PRISCILLA, SILKIE, ADELIA, CHANTEL, 5TH SEASONS, RASA MANIS, and SOUTHWIND III have shared our food, drink, fun and bad weather we will miss them greatly.
Some we will catch up with next season.
All in all I love the boat life, we have done and seen so many incrediable things,all of this is just life changing
my favorite pictures are the boobies and frigates. My new favorite is an underwater shot of tiny little shrimp on an anomie, will share that when we finally get wifi
I still miss my girls and their boys
Wednesdays with my Mother (HEY MAMA)
my little white car
Hot daily showers AND clean hair
I wonder what the REAL world will be like when we get back home, I know one thing, we'll start planning for the 2008 adventure!!
Admiral's reflection on Suwarrow
Our time in Suwarrow will forever have a special place in my heart. John, Veronica, Johnathon(12) Josh(10) twins Tino & Vinnie(6) will be a outstanding chapter of our first cruising season. The boys called Jim cowboy
We were the 1st boat to arrive, John and family were on another island for a camping trip. We had the private island paradise to ourselves for a day. By the time we left there were 13 other boats, all sailboats Special Blend being the only trawler.
On our way to Suwarrow of course we fished and had a big dolphin(Mahi-Mahi) and wahoo, first order of business was to find a way to cook it on the beach. Jim hunted around and found a piece of rusty metal, like maybe part of an old griddle. He took it to the water, with sand and a rock cleaned it well, "seasoned it on the fire with oil and cooked the best fish he has ever done. We had some left over(John's biggest peeve is people cook too much and throw it away) so we took some to the boat, Jim made fish dip for the next day, Erin on BAREFEET made a baked fish dip with cheese whiz.
The 5 days we were there we enjoyed the fellowship of our boating and Suwarrow families. Veronica made coconut pancakes, Gail on 5th SEASON bakes.... cinnamon rolls are her specialty We snorkeled in beautiful clear water with coral like I've never seen before.. Katie on ASLYUM is the tropical fish expert. She uses a magnifying glass to look at the small stuff. Says there were specimens not listed in any of her books. We took a long dingy ride across the motu to Bird island and the 7 islands area.We walked around one of the 7, helped John pick up trash as he told us about the birds, islands and how lucky he and his family felt to be able to do a job they loved so much.
Our last night there was the biggest treat of all. Not only does Gail (5th SEASON) bake she has the voice of an angel and plays the harp. She shared her gift with us on the beach in the middle of the Pacific ocean. John welcomed everyone to his wonderful island and blessed our food, he thanked Jim for being such a wonderful fisherman and teaching them how not to waste. Later in private he offered us our choice of islands if we would stay, fish and cook.
I know down the road when I open my jeweled box of memories, Suwarrow will be one of the first to fly out.
Admiral's View on Jim's Heritage
During our time in French Polynesia I think I know why the people embraced us so, They thought Jim was one of their own. Staying in the sun so much his skin has gotten really dark, the other day in the pearl shop the young man kept asking Jim where he was from. Jim kept saying USA, the guy said, NO where from here!! You look Polynesian, you have dark skin and the features.
Christy has always said she could pick her Dad out in any crowd 'cause he looked different, she never could find him here, he blended in. His cousins Darlene and Cindy have the same genes, all three of them could move here and vote. No one would ever question them----------as long Jim didn't open his mouth. THAT has been the dead give away.
Jim has said many times when he retired he was going to move to some Polynesian island wear a grass skirt, get a tattoo and rent surf boards. I think he could do it no one would ever bat an eye, they would say, Oh go see Jim, he's one of the old timers!!!
When I was young I spent most of my summer in Avon Park Fl with PaPa and Grandmother Roberts. Swimming in the lake, paddling the boat and eating. My PaPa was very proud of all his fruit trees. Avocados, I remember the year hurricane Donna came thru and the back stoop was entirely covered with them, grapefruit, oranges (his favorite was the Parson Brown). He would peel down about a third of of the way, cut a hole in the top and give it to me to suck out the juice. Peaches, plums, cumquat's, loquats, mulberry, guavas and papaya, across the street from them the lady had a mango tree the small kind that tasted like pine tar if they weren't ripe. Every year I could hardly wait for the fruit to get "ready". I learned to appreciate green, almost ripe and um um good just at it's peak fruit. I would go from one tree to another, climbin', stittin' and eatin'. In the back of the house down by the lake were the two big guava trees on one side was the fruit pear shapped with red inside, the other was a round with white meat. I was so excited when I got to talk guava with the guide in the Galapagos. Jim and both have fond memories of the mulberry trees, but we did get into lot of trouble, MaMa would say "don't get in that Mulberry tree with your good cloths on" Yes MaMa we'd say. The next thing you know that tree with those big berries would call our name, up the tree we would go pick the berries blow off the bugs and pop them in our mouth, but NEVER do we remember getting away with it, the juice seemed to always be on our cloths and or faces.
This trip we have had a wonderful selection of fruit some we know about and some we don't. In Panama we bought pineapples, a watermelon that looked like a gourd. DeeDee served some of the best mangos I have ever had, they were off her Mother in laws tree. The Galapagos we bought oranges from a lady that can out to us in a boat, Bay of Virgins a guy wanted to trade whisky and bullets, said money was no good. (Didn't get fruit that day) Holly and I picked limes in Hananoena Bay stuffed them in our bathing suits so we could swim back to the dingy. We picked guavas on the side of the road near the airport in Nuku Hiva, bought more fruit just up the moutain from a local farmer. Bananas just off the stalk, mangos, the lady climbed the tree to get them. Bread fruit was served by Desorea' and Leopold, I think it's like guavas you have to grow up eating it. The papyas are hugh and tasty.
I am missing mango and guava season at home but I will be back in time for my naval oranges and ugly fruit.
Several months before we left I decided to take a trip down memory lane and go by my Grandparents house inAvon Park, to my horror the house and all the trees were gone, all that was left was sand and a few rocks. Thought I would throw, up, but the sweet memories are still there and I seem to smile every time I enjoy really good fruit. Thanks to PaPa.
The Admiral's View of Fishing
All of us that have fished with Jim for 30 some odd years know very well his theory about catching the "FIRST FEEDING FURRY OF THE MORNING" that means being on the water before the crack of dawn.
Jim's excitement and enthusiasm is not always shared by others, but blurry eyed and lunches packed we stumble on the boat and enjoy our day, with many, many fish stories to show for it. Zoe Duggan and I feel (which we have expressed numerous times) that the crack of noon would be a much better time to go fishing.
Somehow the fish here in the Pacific did not get Jim's memo, believe me when I say we are the FIRST in these parts to have rods out at daylight. We have been draggging these lines now for almost 3 weeks loosing expensive lures to many billfish, landed some small dolphin, but that early morning flurry has eluded us. Jim says he didn't come all this way to get small dolphin, and has cursed the bill fish, he wants to know where the big tuna are everyone talks about. So for now we are waiting to hear the zing of the rod. At least I don't have too far to stumble out of bed for the first feeding of the day. I'm sure soon a yellow fin tuna will be added to Jim's long line of fish stories.
Being confined for the last couple of days I decided we needed some structured exercise, SO I got out the DVDs I brought with me, sizzling salsa dance off the inches,walk away the inches and yoga for wimps!!
Right off the top I go for the salsa moves, Holly and Jim look at me like I have lost my mind, but my mind says we need to move some. So I start moving to the beat, and my body starts flying around like a rag doll, when we stopped laughing over that I thought well maybe something with a little more control YOGA. Sooooo I get in the floor, finding my center of balance a big wave hits from the side, PLOP over I go and not very graceful. I think I have decided we are getting a good enough work out just trying to keep ourselves steady, my core muscles are doing just fine and I will walk off the inches when we get to dry land. If my arms need a work out I'll fish a while..
my love to all
Admiral's View #8
Isla Isabela, Galapagos Islands
Captain Jim set us up on a couple of tours in Isabela. We made an informal emergency stop in Isabela and were given 72 hours before we HAD to leave.
First was a bay trip near the area we were anchored. We got to snorkel with the eagle rays and the penguins. When the penguins swim on top of the water they look like ducks, but under water they glide like you think they should. The water is really cold but well worth the look. There was lots of lava rocks and some soft coral. Saw some of the biggest parrot fish I have ever seen, not as colorful as the ones in the Keys though. The last part of this trip was a lava walk into a cove that had white tip sharks, marine iguanas and sea lions, all so close we were up close and personal. I swear one of the sea lions smiled when I took his picture. ( It will be a while before anymore pix, the email on Isabela was more miss than hit.)
Yesterday Friday April 27 we did a horse back ride to the Sierra Negra Volcano 4,890ft. The first 30 miles out of town was in a 4x4 pick up truck(Jim had to ride dog with the other guys) then we picked up the horses and rode them another hour to the rim of the crater, which is the second largest in the world and was active in 2005 still has some steam vents. Got back on the horses rode another 30 min to the BIG TREE where we were to have lunch. We all decided (9 in our group) to do the 40 min walk into the lava fields before we ate. Now mind you I don't know anyone except Nancy Ingram and Holly that have ridden horses in the last 15 years, certainly not Jim and I, by this time my legs would hardly hold me up much less climb rocks. Thanks goodness I only slipped and fell once and it wasn't down the mountain just a little slope. The really young enthusiastic group went an additional 20 min walk on down, we opted to pick the brain of the guide about the Galapagos. The trip back to the pickup truck was really long. Holly as usual was happy as a clam on her horse, the guide was most impressed at her riding skills, Jim on his horse Trigger was at the head of the pack and mine, choosing to take the path less traveled, was in the back. All in all it was a fabulous trip one like I'll probably never do again. In a day or two when I can walk straight again it may be like having that baby I'll forget the pain, and I'll be on a horse with Holly in the Marquesas.
We left Isabela at 8:15 AM, around 1:00 PM we had our 1st whale sighting, humpbacks, we stayed with them about 45 min, they were so close to the boat we could hear the blow. Two hours later more whales, this time Minkes. Needless to say Holly was in heaven.
Not sure what the next three weeks has in store for us, the Captain has the course set and Holly and I will take our turn at the wheel. We'll all eat and sleep in shifts and try not to have any bitchy days.
We're hoping for calm seas and more whale sightings.
Admiral's View #7
A Lazy Day from the Admiral
Puerto Ayora, Galapagos Islands
Not much going on with us today, but all around us here in the harbor was as busy as a ant bed.there were 8 of the small cruise ships that go from island to island. The water taxis have been non stop into the little town and the nearby hotels. Went to an internet cafe' and it was packed. Will try to send pictures in a day or so. For us it was a house keeping day, Jim changed oil and stuff, I changed beds and stuff. That is a never ending task on land or sea.
We are so excited about Holly's arrival tomorrow, we have a taxi for the day so when we pick her up at the plane we can play for awhile. She is coming into Baltra which is an island that is a hour taxi ride , a ferry ride and another taxi ride away from Puerto Ayora where we are. She is bringing us some spare parts for the boat so she will be loaded down.
We will spend a few more days here then we will check out and head to the Marquesas but we might have to make a stop in Isabela for what we aren't sure yet. we hope we can spend a day or two there if we catch the port capt in a good mood. Not suppose to island hop but if we forget something we'll just have to stop and get it :)
Hope this finds everyone doing well
Love to all
Admiral's View #6
Jim promised me when we got to the Pacific we would have calm big easy rolling seas,not the wishy washy seas we had been in the past 8 weeks. Yesterday we had those big easy rollers it was a gray rainy day but very comfortable. We fished, cooked, did laundry, enjoyed a great day on the water.
WELL today the wind is whipping 18 to 24kts and the seas are like a washing machine. We have the BIG rollers with a 6ft chop on top of that. Were you cannot control your own body. I have hit everthing on this boat and have bruises on top of bruises and Jim wants to know what's for dinner. Sylvia is ready to jump ship except we are 359nm from land. That's a long swim!! She said the cruise director is not doing his job. I'm sure tomorrow will be a better day. Our sailboater friends Pricilla and Ivy-Ruby need the wind to get to the Galapagos but for the moment we sure could use a break.
So for now I am trying to understand amps, volts, inverters, non inverter service, that's another story for another day.
Love to all,
Admiral's View #5
Here on Pacific Side from the Admiral
We are at Flamenco Marina in Panama City 08*54',741N/079*31",291W. Our crew Jim, Martha, Sylvia, Dee Dee, Ian, John, and Larry arrived here about 3:30 pm our time. Tom came to get Dee Dee and bring us some supplies. We had a champaign celebration and everyone went their seperate ways. Jim is not feeling well and is already asleep.
We had so much fun last night and today. The two advisors (Roy and George) that came on board with to give us directions were a delight. We had heard all kinds of horror stories about the demanding advisors and being behind the big ships, well we can put those all to rest, and the big mystery of the CANAL is behind us. Easier than I thought ! We were rafted to a tug that was on the wall in the Gatun lock with a sailboat rafted to us. In the other locks we were in the center of the chamber with the same small sailboat( 2 young men from Norway) headed to Galapgos.
Had hoped to have WiFi here, but being good Friday, the person with the pass code is not here. Dee Dee and Ian are going to send pictures.
Happy Easter to all
Admiral's View #4
I have been really busy this past week, on March 29 Sylvia and I took a trip into Panama City with our driver Stanley. The day before I had emailed my best friend from high school,(had just gotten her info from Lesley) checked my mail before I left and what a pleasant surprise there she was! Got directions to her house and Stanley said OH YES!! I know where that is. So over the river and through the woods we went. After a two hour drive we were CLOSE to Dee Dee's house, several phone calls later she finally came to meet us. We sent Stanley off to do his thing while we had lunch at the Union Club with Dee Dee her daughter Stasia and granddaughter Gloria Valeria. Did some mola shopping, sat in traffic, picked up Jim from his canal crossing and Stanley got us home after dark.
Dee Dee married Tom Drohan in 1969, He grew up here in Panama, met her when he was at Tulane. Tom was the head engineer for the Panama Canal when he retired after 31 years. They have two daughters Laura and Stacsia. It has been almost 20 years since Dee and I have seen each other. Needless to say we had a lot of catching up to do, and one day was not enough. So Sunday Jim and I got another driver to take us that way. This one did not speak English, should have been our first clue and he did not get us even close to their house, so again Dee Dee had to come get us.
Of course Jim had on shorts and his favorite boat shirt, Tom ask him if he had a shirt with a collar and long pants, because we were going to the Union Club for dinner. Jim replied "I have a shirt with a collar" So off we went to a to a REAL mall to get pants. There we ran into Stasia, her husband Ravli and Gloria Valeria. Stasia is a dermatologist and has just moved back to the area.
We went to dinner, spent the night, Dee Dee fixed breakfast for us. Cheese grits and all, and my all time favorite fruit mango. I needed to do some grocery shopping. We had lunch and Tom and Dee brought us back over the river and through the woods to the boat. She has never done the canal in all her 38 years here, so she is joining us Thursday afternoon for the big day.
Admiral's View #3
We are on the move, today is Saturday the 10th of March left San Pedro about 8:20 this Am headed south to Roatan to pick up Sylvia and Dick.
We were in San Pedro for three days, interesting little place, people very friendly glad to have tourist. The roads were dirt, as were most of the restaurant floors, not sure if it was for real or just show.Four main roads, Beach side, not really a road, Front street, Middle street and Back street.Golf carts were the main form of transportation,few taxi vans.John Deere tractors pull wagons with beer and soda(coke is big) There were vendors sitting around sanding wooden bowls. They wanted you to believe they had made them by hand , in fact we went into the place that makes them on a machine.Middle Street had a produce market
called the Greenhouse paid $3.75 for a head of lettuce, other stands on the street were cheaper bananas papayas ect.
we did find a bakery,Ruby's, that had the most wonderful sweet rolls I have ever put in my mouth, wish we had stocked up!
We took the dingy out for a snorkel trip yesterday, still have not done that!!!! Made our way about 6 or7 miles south to Cay Caulker my what a quaint place that again was dirt roads, golf carts and John Deere tractors. Wandered around looking for a place to eat and changed our mind. All a little too homey, did find a bar right on the water front had a drink.The young woman was so cute and friendly she had grown up there on the island. She and her husband had just leased this place and today was their grand opening BBQ and all. Jim was ready to invest in their picture perfect venture..
Heard today one of the sailboats that was in Isla Mujeres when we were hit the reef going into Ascention Bay, I mentioned before Jim had taken us safely inside the reefs. They are a little hairy if you get off to on side or the other. The openings are not very wide they are manmade cuts in the exposed reef that were done years ago.
We are doing well, enjoying the boat very much, learning as we go. I still don't like dirty hair, and it's hard to put red polish on your toes riding a bucking bronco. Miss my girls and the boys, and of course my Mom.
More to come
Just a side note....Holly and I are sititng in the parking lot of one of Martha's favorite places to shop and posting this for her. Love ya Mom.....missed you shopping with us.
Keeper of the Stuff
the Other Sister
Admiral's View #2
Sat March 3 07 3:45PM pulled anchor in Ascention Bay and headed out. Earlier in the day we did a dingy tour of the little islands around us. No fish No lobster No conch!! What we did find was the international nesting place for frigits. I guess when they are mating the males have this red thing on their throats. There were hundreds of them, what a site.
During the first part of our overnight trip we had some really big waves, about mid-night it flattened out. Tonight was a beautiful full moon, no clouds and almost flat seas, it's like the ones you read about in books. Every night should be a full moon night.
This AM, Sun March 4, we had a visit from the Mexican Navy, they ask where we had been and where we were going.Jim had two big fishing rigs out and one of their questions was "are you fishing?" Jim very matter of fact and a big grin said "NO", so they said for us to have a safe trip and if we needed any help at all to call.
We arrived in Xcalak (ish-lax) go figure, about 10:30 AM made our way inside the exposed reef and anchored, took the dink into "town" this place is a little more rustic than most we have seen.( I am getting better with the dingy, didn't have us in such a bad death spiral this time. ) We found one of the almost sober locals to ask directions , we missed the carnival last night. Had lunch in one of the two restaurants here.. We'll see the port Capt tomorrow so we can clear out of Mexico, wait for a weather window then move on south
Love to all
Admiral’s View #1