Monday, March 25, 2013

Alpine Reflections

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Alpine Reflections

Sitting in the giants shadow

I am humbled by its walls and spires

I have lost my vanity

My spirit is naked in the giants shadow

Friday, March 22, 2013

Dao

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We have a new h0me and are continuing on our transition to land. There are so many luxuries that I know we will take for granted within days. A full size fridge, a freezer, and ice cubes are immediate pleasures of the kitchen. Then there is a stove , a boat galley has 2-3 burners frequently with no oven or broiler, oven and a microwave. Rounding out the joys of the kitchen are a dishwasher. It’s amazing how much time and luxury these items provide. Judy does’nt know what to do with her spare time! Even stranger is that the kitchen does’nt move or roll at all. Other new joys to be found are a washer/dryer that does’nt take quarters and a full size bath tub and shower. I know I sound like a recently arrived luddite but we truly are noting & enjoying these comforts.

I am excited about my sitting practice and encountering the phenomenal world. I just need to continue developing descipline that promotes quietness.

A shout out, what language is that, to our friends both in the Carolinas and here in Colorado. Jim the book is lovely!! Gail & Dan what a lovely landing in Colorado you provided for us. Cathy, Jess it was wonderful visiting both of you and look forward to the June graduation. Sally, how simply wonderful to see you again ! Rick great job on holding our moving boxes and how nice to celebrate your birthday with you. Adelle I look forward to seeing your new home. Cameron come and see the cycle training. Best to all….Pat

We have a new h0me and are continung on our transition to land. There are so many luxuries that I know we will take for granted within days. A full size fridge, a freezer, and ice cubes are immediate pleasures of the kitchen. Then there is a stove , a boat galley has 2-3 burners frequently with no oven or broiler, oven and a microwave. Rounding out the joys of the kitchen are a dishwasher. It’s amazing how much time and luxury these items provide. Judy does’nt know what to do with her spare time! Even stranger is that the kitchen does’nt move or roll at all. Other new joys to be found are a washer/dryer that does’nt take quarters and a full size bath tub and shower. I know I sound like a recently arrived luddite but we truly are noting & enjoying these comforts.

I am excited about my sitting practice and encountering the phenomenal world. I just need to continue developing descipline that promotes quietness.

A shout out, what language is that, to our friends both in the Carolinas and here in Colorado. Jim the book is lovely!! Gail & Dan what a lovely landing in Colorado you provided for us. Cathy, Jess it was wonderful visiting both of you and look forward to the June graduation. Sally, how simply wonderful to see you again ! Rick great job on holding our moving boxes and how nice to celebrate your birthday with you. Adelle I look forward to seeing your new home. Cameron come and see the cycle training. Best to all….Pat

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Adieu Sweet Spirit

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Adieu………..Sweet Spirit

In your embrace

Luna has emerged from the sea to fill the darkness with golden hues……

Constellations have scrolled across the night sky……..

The morning light has bathed the coastal lands and welcomed us to its harbors

We have witnessed the wind stirring water into torrents

While we felt secure

Adieu Sweet Spirit

On March 2 our life has continued to evolve as we stepped off Thalia for the last time and began our journey westward. I must confess sadness in abandoning a dream of sailing offshore, however, life is change and to hold onto something when it is more difficult then anticipated only creates unhappiness. So, we have moved on to yet another iteration of our live’s unfolding.

I now look forward to seeing old friends, exercising and engaging in my Buddhist practice.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Reflections

Not going, not coming,

rooted, deep and still,

not reaching out, not reaching in,

just resting, at the center.

The single jewel, the flawless crystal drop,

in the blaze of its brilliance,

the way beyond.

Shih Te

Cold Mountain

We are in Charleston Harbor on our way back north to Oriental. We have both been reflecting on our experiences on this and the prior cruise. I will only speak for myself which is a full enough task. Spending hours on watch, seeing and endless ocean, I can feel my roots. These are the same tendrils I’ve felt in the mountains. They are for me the path beyond. I can feel it in water, the immense openness of the ocean, the giant shadows of the mountains the path is there if only I will take it. There is another life there……in these places that I have touched. It is the warmth of a sunrise on my face, the big dipper scrolling across the night sky. The pure joy and beauty of this planet simply overwhelms me…..again……and again. That is the beginning of my journey. An authentic journey is not always easy and full of bliss…..love & compassion can be hard but to immerse myself is my reason for being.

Sailing and the mountains have allowed me to experience this spacious world. However, these ways can also be distracting since there can be another sail another mountain. Never quite there just a little more and it will be good. Samsara…….this is the reaching and grasping for more….but that inner beauty can be more directly encountered by following my Buddhist roots of meditation, love and compassion. Quietness giving to others will be more joyous.

What does all of this mean in practical terms. We are both individually evaluating the issue do we keep the boat or sell it? Do we move back to Boulder where I can resume my Buddhist practice?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

THINGS THAT GO BUMP IN THE NIGHT

NEW YEARS GREETINGS FROM PORT LUCAYA, GRAND BAHAMA !

We have retreated to a lovely marina at Port Lucaya on Grand Bahama Island. This was not our intended port of call but we choose to go north from the Berry Islands at 02:00 hrs on Sunday 12/30/12.

On Thursday 12/27/12 we left North Bimini and headed north 30nm and then east for another 50+nm to arrive of the Berry Islands at first light. We pulled into an area between Little Stirrup Island and Big Stirrup Island. You could see the bottom it was mixed sand and hard rock. We anchored in 14 ft of water in an area of mixed sand and rock bottom. We backed on the anchor first slowly to set it and then 1000 rpm followed by 2000 rpms. We did not move, no chain jumping etc it all looked good. During the remainder of the day we napped and enjoyed this idyllic place. No other boats around. The cruising guide mentioned that the anchorage could get busy when a cruise ship arrived since Little Stirrup was used as “A day on an island for the passengers”. Surveying the island revealed groups, fifty per group, of blue beach lounge chairs. We estimated the total at 400-500. Early morning light revealed “The Majesty of the Seas” sitting outside the breakwater. There were two ferries with a capacity of 30/boat doing loops outside the breakwater and the liner. We were not disturbed since we were about 0.5 nm away and inside the breakwater. The depth in the harbor varied from 21ft to 4 ft so we knew we would not see a cruise ship inside the breakwater. We spent the entire day being entertained by the antics of the passengers. Life guard stations appeared, kayaks glided out from the beach and jet skis with tour wranglers. A lead wrangler out in front 10-15 jet skis and then a sweep wrangler on the tail end. They would shoot off some place in a nicely spaced line and reappear in a hour…circle up at shore for a head count and it would start all over. I checked the weather forecast for Sunday and was content with 10-15 its out of north during the night but did not swell on the weather synopsis of “brisk winds” with the passage of the front over us. The anchorage has no protection from the North. Concerned about the passage of the front I got up at 0130 hrs Sunday morning to check the anchor alarm. As I stepped up into the cockpit it was obvious the winds were 15-20kts and gusting. Not good at all! Checked the chart plotter and we had dragged a little maybe 15 -30 ft. I fired up the diesel and thought I would watch it. Reassuring Judy that it was just precautionary. We had a 10-1 scope out with anchor chain on the bottom. Over the next 5 minutes the wind picked up and we were doing 0.8kts in a straight line due South and we were 600ft from our anchor way point. No reset tonight. Dragging quickly toward the 4 ft depths. Judy got dressed PDQ while I drove us back to the north. With life jacket on, head lamp etc. she went forward to pull the anchor. By this time it was 4ft short steep waves in the area from the north. The weather was deteriorating and with no anchorages around with north protection I decided to go out. The bottom had not looked that promising when we came in with small sand patches and rock bottom. Well, whatever visions I had about coming out with big surf was unfortunately true. 10 ft + steep crashing surf, water flying thru the air, 10 footers breaking was the instant reality in the darkness. The only saving grace was the channel out is wide and easy to find and heads due north. So we banged our way out to 1000 ft water it only slightly improved. The only choice was to head north over to Grand Bahama about 60 nm away. We were running at 2800 rpm and in the first 3 hours doing about 1.5 its. Later Judy asked if we would get there before dark and I shook my head. We spend 17 hours before being in the southerly lee of Grand Bahama. I picked the best marked channel, the Bell Channel, and decided that I would go in as far as the outer buoys at 20 ft depths and assess the sea state and the channel. Once I reached the outer buoys the sea state had decreased to 4 footers on the nose. I slowed the boat to 3 kts and still had enough way to maneuver so we went in. In the jetty it was flat…..wonderful flat slow water…I backed off to forward idle and proceeded slowly. After being up for 17 hours we now needed to find a marina fuel dock and tie up until the morning. Thirty five minutes later we did our first pass of the Port Lacaya Marina fuel dock so Judy could see the pilings for the control line and on the second pass she nailed it. By the time we were completely tied up the dock master showed up and said we could not stay there the night but on the other side. We lined the boat into a slip on the other side, tied up and went to bed. It has been a while since I’ve been so tired. The bed felt warm and welcoming. Best wishes to all.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Slip ….Sliding Away to North Bimini, Bahamas

So…….Here we sit in Miami waiting for a good weather window to cross over to N. Bimini. We’ve had two days of 20+kts winds from the North. The forecast for the sea state is 8-10 ft swells with a short period. I really do not even want to back the boat out of the slip with 20 its on the stern! Sunday has a better forecast for 10-15 kts out of the East and dropping to 5-10 its Sunday night/Monday morning. The good news is this is extra time for boat maintenance. The temperature gauge for the engine has stopped working. Yesterday I inspected the connection plugs from the engine wiring harness and the connection plug behind the gauge panel. They were firmly connected and seated. Stanley at Beta Marine has send me a new gauge overnight.

The new gauge has arrived and we don’t leave until tomorrow. Judy helps me install it since someone is needed in the cockpit to hold it in while lay on my back in the crawl space under the cockpit to thread on the retaining ring. It goes smoothly. We fire up the engine and after 20 minutes no change! Dejected, I decide that I have all day to do this in a methodical fashion. I drag out the wiring diagrams for the engine and instruments. Next, I ground the temperature sending unit and confirm that so I can trace it thru the harness and each of the connecting plugs (2) to the temp meter on instrument panel. I slide back the rubber boots on the starboard engine connector and use my ohm meter on both sides of the connector. Beeps and beeps from the meter. This connector is OK and the signal is headed to the connector in the crawl space beneath the cockpit. One beep on the first side of this connector but none on the other side!! I take the plug apart and there it is……..the little copper connector, there are 11 of them, for the temp meter is pushed back slightly! I pushed it forward. Problem solved. The temp meter now works. Nice to have the better part of the day to do this. I check the weather and we’re good to go on Sunday. The distance to North Bimini is 60 nm as the crow flies, but we will be crossing the Gulf Stream. With currents of 2.5 to 3.5 kts the standard advice is do not go straight across. Rather go south as long as possible on the western edge and when approaching the central part head north with it and towards the eastern edge. The turn south again while on the eastern edge. Its described as an S course. Our course was 15nm of SE by 30 nm of NE by 15nm of SE. We decided to leave about 13:00 hrs on Sunday to arrive off N. Bimini at first light on Monday.

1300 hrs 12/23/2012 Miami Beach Channel

After doing the ups (fueling, watering, eating, resting) we headed out government cut into the channel on a light wind 600 day. Four miles out to the save water buoy.

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Miami Beach from Government Cut as we enter the channel

1503 hrs @250 44’.824N 0800 03’.982W

We turn southeast on a course of 1370 M to head into the Gulf Stream for approximately 15 nm before turning northeast. Winds and seas at the moment are very light. I pull out the genoa to see if we can sail for a while. After 30 minutes of moving the boat about in the wind the closest into the wind is SW (hello FL. Keys) or NE but far too early if we want to go to Bimini. I started the diesel and we motored at 2000rpm and 4.5kts. The next several hours were instructive about the Gulf Stream on a good weather day. As we motored into the early night over the next 4 hours our SOG slowed to all of 1.5kts. I maintained 2000 rpms on the motor. Close enough to our way point so I changed fro 1370 M to 0510 M and sure enough we rocketed up to 6.2 kts. Additionally our COG prior to the turn was 1370 but our heading was 1600. Basically, we were slip sliding sideways into the GS. The GS is a powerful and difficult force and between it and the winds weather windows are complex.

2000hrs @ 250 42’.377N 0790 52’.057W in the Gulf Stream

Judy staggers up to the cockpit since we’re rolling and takes over the helm for her 8pm to 2am shift. We exchange info about the last 4 hours i.e.: traffic, course, course changes, sea state. I recount that all the cruise ships (5) came out during the evening and two freighters. The cruise ships are like floating palaces with christmas tree lights all over. At night you can see their lights above the 7 mile visible horizon when they are over 10 nm off. Radar and night vision are great assets at night. Judy maintained our course as I went below got out the lee cloth on the stbd settee so I could sleep in a confined area and not roll back and forth. This was nice seas with only 4-6 ft swells on the front port bow quarter of the boat. The problem was they had about a 6 second period. Too steep and close together.

0200 hrs 12/24/2012 @250 47’.304N 0790 27’.870W off N Bimini

I come up in seas that are quieting down to see the lights of Bimini on the horizon. We’ve crossed the GS wonderfully and can now back off and wait for sunrise. I have 5 hours to tour the coasts of N & S Bimini before we head into the channel. I wait for sunrise while touring the coast.

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Sunrise off the Bimini Coast (the coast is to the left of the sun on the horizon)

0700 hrs 12/24/2012 @ 25040’.562N 079021’.352W

I’m done shuttling along the coast. I go below to fix coffee for Judy and then back to the helm. one hour later and we are 1 mile from the channel.

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Approaching N. Bimini and channel

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In N Bimini Channel LOOK AT THAT WATER! 10FT DEEP……GEORGEOUS!

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NORTH BIMINI HARBOR

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SEACREAST HOTEL & MARINA

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BIMINI HOME

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@ THE BIG GAME CLUB N BIMINI

We tied up, I took the boat papers, passports etc to customs & immigration and were good for 90 days as cruising permit. Bring cash for the permit ($300.00) since its cash only. Great little place, warm people we’ve been wished Merry Christmas and happy Boxing day often.

Thursday 12/27/2012 we hope to do an overnight to Little Stirrup Cay about 70nm NE off us. Belated Merry Christmas to all from us…….Pat

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Ft. Pierce to Miami Beach FL.

Well, we really liked our anchorage in Ft. Pierce. It had all the attributes I value. Free, 12 ft of water, nice weather and good cell and WiFi signals from Verizon. There were five or six boats in the anchorage and during our stay I gained some sympathy about Florida residents not always appreciating cruising boaters. Many lovely condos no more than 0.1nm on shore and we just pull up in their paradise and drop the hook. When we lived in Colorado we had open space and trails behind our home and at times we just hated it due to its use. This seems similar. We will try to be considerate of the people who reside here. We are their guests! We lazed around four days waiting for weather to do the jump to Miami. The western edge of gulf stream is four miles offshore from Ft. Pierce down to Miami Beach. The weather that caused us to wait was 20-25 kts North winds with 8-10 ft waves with a period of 4-5 seconds. I believe Capt Jim, yes you Privette, would urge us to wait. We almost always take council from either Capt. Jim or Scout the weather dog. The weather we choose to go out on was winds from the South 10-15 kts with 4-6ft seas and 8 second period. Nice when the gulf stream and the wind are in the same direction.

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Boats at anchor in Ft. Pierce FL.

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Canadian Neighbors

12/16/12 0600 hrs Ft. Pierce Anchorage

I’m up first to start the coffee. No automatic Mr Coffee machine when you’re living off house batteries over four days. Heat the water, wait…..wait the tea kettle whistles now pour the water….wait…wait. Twenty minutes later we have coffee. Thats all I did for twenty minutes. Frankly, at 0600 thats all I good for! Lattes are a long distant memory of being coddled by Starbucks! We both have coffee and dress for the work of the morning. Bringing up the anchor and getting out to sea. By 0730 hours Judy has pulled the anchor and hosed down both the rode and anchor while bringing it into to locker with our manual windlass. Its a vigorous morning task for her to bring in 120ft of chain and a 60lb anchor. Her reward is when she is done with this she can sit and enjoy the sites while I get us our to sea.

12/16/12 0930 hrs @ 27026’.060N 080013’.122 W

Finally, we’ve reached the outer safe water sea buoy and are ready to set course to Miami Beach. So I lay in a course of 1460 magnetic to deal with the westward curve into the Atlantic from here down to Miami Beach. This will put us either in the western edge of the gulf stream of nearby. If we choose a more southerly course we would be ashore with the boat . Not a good solution. Judy has been enjoying the ride and sites four about an hour but now she goes below to fix breakfast. We are in 6-10ft seas and doing a lot of rolling. The result is bars for breakfast. Our normal oatmeal and dried fruit and nuts will wait as a pleasure for another morning.

1600 hrs 12/16/12 @ 27005’.452N 079059’.974W @ 3.8 kts

We are definitely in the gulf stream at this point. The wind is on the nose and we’re motoring at 2800rpm’s. Normally our SOG, speed over ground, would be 5+kts. Gulf stream currents in this area are 2-3kts. We stop the engine to change fuel tanks and since the seas are really rolly its bars for dinner. Its been bars and water all day. YUM!

2300 hrs 12/16/12 @ 26040’.700 N 079055’.470W @ 3.3 kts

We as far east as we need to be so Judy lays in the new course of 1880 magnetic. Its straight to Miami Beach for another 14 hours. When I take over at 0200 we are rolling 200on either side of the centerline. I can’t head west enough to change our angle to the waves so I changed course by 200 to port and things are better.

1300 hrs 12/17/12 @ 25046’.477N 080005’.137W

FINALLY, the outer sea buoy for Miami Beach. As we are approaching it , about 2 miles from it, two huge coast guard cutters come screaming by us on the port side. They idle down at the entrance and remain there on station. The Miami welcome for some unlucky boat probably carrying drugs. I quietly go astern of them and head in. My afternoon with law enforcement is not yet complete! We cruise thru the inlet into “Government Cut” and I’m respecting the no wake speed. Judy is admiring the cruise liners down ahead of us. The radio crackles and its “white sailboat heading west coming in from the sea …..this is the Miami Harbor Patrol”. So I look around and to see if there are other white sailboats. Before I finish the survey the radio crackles again and its “white sailboat heading west coming in from the sea …..this is the Miami Harbor Patrol”! I acknowledge the call with our boats name. The radio bursts again with “ this is a closed security zone. Turn around and head east immediately” I acknowledge turn around and thank them for the warning. I also inquire about a alternate route and they reference a route to the south of us. So its check the charts motor out of government cut and choose the alternate route to our anchorage.

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In the Miami Beach Inlet

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Chart Plotter with the raycon signal, pinkish, at the safe water buoy.

After using a alternate route we reach our anchorage at 1500 hrs both tired. The first attempt is not successful but in the process we got a line caught in the propeller. YUK! YUK!# These are the ugly moments!*# I get ready to go in the water. OK ..goggles, shorts and a knife and I’m in the water. I can see the line wrapped around the prop shaft. No easy fix and I can not stay under long enough to do anything useful. Thank goodness for Tow Boat US. I reach them on the VHF to at least get us towed to a marina. They offer diving at $300 above their normal fee. Our insurance will pay for the call at probably 700-800 dollars but we opt for the diver also since we want to anchor.

At last, in the dark, we got the anchor down and secure. Next morning we head for our marina which is on the ICW. However as I’m approaching the last bridge I’m looking at the chart and it says 57 ft clearance fixed bridge. We contacted the marina and they told us the contractor made a mistake and yes its 57ft for clearance. We found a new marina. So we have been at the Miami Beach Marina for several days. We went to a dive shop nearby and I purchased a hookah diving system. It will allow me to dive beneath the boat or anchors etc without a diver.

We are now looking for a weather window to cross over to Bimini in the Bahamas. Probably this Sunday or Monday. Judy & I send to each of you our best thoughts. Have lovely holidays …Be well ….We miss you all. Pat