Monday, 26 January 2015

Life Aboard "Our Rose", written by Michael Langlois

For those of you who’ve been following the story of Our Rose but have not spent time aboard, I am here as a recent stowaway to tell you that Richard and Jen are, in spite of all the sunny prognostications on their blog and the myriad photos of smiling happy people in exotic foreign locales, truly suffering. 
How can that be, you’re all undoubtedly asking yourselves? 

All we’ve ever heard about is how fantastically outfitted the boat is, with every possible modern convenience, from an unlimited supply of fresh water and state of the art navigation system, a navigation system moreover that takes the boat from point A to point B with nary a lifting of the proverbial finger, unless, of course, that finger is Jen’s middle one, which she uses to great affect as various speedboats cruise by her home at full throttle tossing up a terrific wake, entirely oblivious of her finger or their own behaviour. 

And as for Richard, well, I don’t want to alarm those of you Kiwi’s out there who were smart enough to stay home to watch the America’s Cup on TV, but Richard doesn’t even know what day of the week it is half the time. His days are consumed by the number of hours he’s counting down before he needs to service his generator or replace the fuel filter on his dinghy. Sad. All terribly sad. 

Thankfully, I came aboard just in time to alert them as to how dire things had gotten and while I was there we did manage to get out of the “house” for a few excursions. 

We saw pigs swimming in the ocean then shortly thereafter heard the following on the radio from Staniel Cay in the Bahamas. “Attention boaters, it has come to our attention that some visitors are allowing our beloved pigs to swim too far from shore. We all love our swimming pigs and while they can swim, they are not Michael Phelps. Please stay close to shore if you go there to feed them.” This is the kind of high sea’s adventure Richard and Jen have gotten themselves into. Ten-dollar Bahamian loaves of bread and warnings about swimming pigs getting too much exercise. Hardly Pirates of the Caribbean, if you get my drift. 

In spite of the many onerous responsibilities that come with a lifestyle defined by bottomless glasses of Chardonnay and lobster on the half shell, life aboard Our Rose is at once more thrilling and more prosaic than one might imagine. 

Rising at his leisure, i.e., sometime around dawn, Richard typically spends his mornings poring over nautical charts before cooking breakfast, a meal that veers between cooked apples and yoghurt or canned spaghetti over raisin-bread toast with a spoonful of jam on top. Yes! I know it’s shocking, but a dollop of jam atop spaghetti on top of toast is apparently a New Zealand delicacy, alongside French fries dipped in vanilla ice-cream! or so Jen and Richard told me. 

But what the hell do I know? I’m American and I was only in New Zealand once and all I remember was the sheep and the nuclear powered sunshine. 

After a typical New Zealand breakfast we practiced our New Zealand vocabulary. Dick=Deck. Sex=Seven minus One. Cuds=Children. Fitter-cheney=Type of Pasta. Once I figured out what the hell Richard and Jen were saying to me, we generally discussed what the dinner menu might be (Fush or Chuckin) and once those life and death issues had been attended to Richard and I set off in the dinghy in search of lobsters. (Free food being something sailors, rich or poor, seem unable to resist.) Jen, meanwhile, spent most of her days depleting the world’s supply of household cleansers and scrubbing every inch of Our Rose to a state that would be the envy of any Swiss-German. Once the boat was sanitized and the laundry had been washed and hung out to dry, Jen set about concocting the evenings repast, a meal staggering in its ambition and execution. 

Entertaining and figuring out how much or how little to drink is, admittedly, the focus of life aboard any sailing vessel and Our Rose is no exception. 

And so, after 12 days aboard Our Rose, 
I lift Jen and Richard flew back to Miami on an earplane for some much needed wrist.  

Friday, 23 January 2015

The Bahamas Revisited...

It was beautiful arriving back in the crystal "bombay sapphire" clear water of the Bahamas.

The sunsets continue to be beautiful…

This outdoor chirstmas tree was at Spanish Wells,

We met a local man while taking photos of the Christmas lights, who took us down some back streets to the most wonderful light display in the tiny town of Spanish Wells…

We arrived into the Abacos and made our way down to Hopetoun.
Christmas day was a lovely day together, enjoying champagne and a very long lunch.

We met a lovely couple, John and Terri from Canada, 

who we enjoyed time with both on Christmas Eve and Boxing Day.

We went to the "famous" Sunday Pork Roast at Nippers at Fishers Bay

We slowly made our way down the Abacos, arriving at Royal Island Eleuthera 
where we said goodbye to 2014 and hello 2015

On 10th January, Michael arrived at Staniel Cay from Miami, joining us on Our Rose and flying out from George Town on the 22nd
(unfortunately Rebecca couldn't make this trip)…

We visited the swimming pigs at Staniel Cay…

We enjoyed lots of snorkelling,

at Marine Parks…

and also at Statues…

Michael playing the underwater piano with mermaid at hand
and Plane Wrecks…

Lots of Food and Wine (think our livers are having a huge workout!)

S/V Kairos also joined us during this time from Staniel Cay to Georgetown…

we caught up with Teresa and Brett, and also Annie and Daryl from No Rehearsal for a fire and Marshmellows at the beach (and the odd glass of wine or two)...

These blow-holes were amazing…

So you think Michael is fit (or what)???

It was lovely having Michael join us and look forward to our next visit!

We are now heading down through the Ragged Islands to Cuba and our internet will not be accessible, so the next update will be some time... until then lots of love to all our friends and family 

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Musings on America...

I think the thing that has been the most mind blowing, has been the hospitality that we have received.

From people we knew – Ashley & Graham, Michael & Rebecca, David & Diana and Beryl

To complete strangers (some of who became friends) – a stranger who offered for us to use her car in Maine, another stranger who drove us to a Supermarket in Maine, Martha & Warren from Rockford who took us to their home for a meal, The Lobster Buyer in Martinicus who “gave” us lobsters, Anne West, who drove us around Washington DC, Steve & Wendy from Annapolis who had us to their home for dinner at Halloween, Karl Weiss who helped us with contacts, Anna Hines who we enjoyed NZ wines with, Susan our Angel in Disguise from Beaufort and finally Peter & Carla, the not so mythical cousins…

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you to each and everyone of you
for your extraordinary hospitality…

The scenery has been amazing.  Having now experienced from Miami to Penobscot Bay (north Maine) some highlights were:

Maine – Islands of Matinicus & Butter, amazing cruising grounds, albeit with an excessive amount of lobster pots!

The Thimbles – granite rock appearing from the ocean

New York – the city that never sleeps

Charleston – the civil war feeling

Annapolis – the amazing boat show

Chesapeake/Shenandoah – the fall colors – extraordinary

Boston – North End, what a wonderful “Little Italy”

In General we noted there was little wind north of New York and we ended up motoring a lot more than we anticipated.

We found the people (in general terms) are VERY passionate about three things in particular 
– Politics, Relgion and Guns!

There are a “lot” of different accents, from South to North, 
a lot of Americans found it hard to understand our accent!

Thank You USA for a wonderful time!

Angel in Disguise...

Leaving Sarah Creek it was -1C…
A beautiful clear day of motor sailing to Hampton River.

It was time to wait for a weather window to get around Cape Hatteras.
It was very wet and windy, however we patiently waited.

Finally we had a weather window.  The afternoon before leaving we went ashore, and unfortunately I had a fall on the dock.  Richard helped me into the dinghy and back home to Our Rose.  The next morning getting up early to leave, I couldn’t put any weight on my left leg (knee) (oh no…)
Richard helped “lift” me up to the helm seat for my watches.  We had a lovely 25+ knot following breeze leaving, which slowly dissipated during the day.
Cape Hatteras, (which can be notoriously rough) was beautiful and calm for our night rounding.

Arriving at Beaufort Saturday afternoon,
we immediately went ashore and straight to A & E.
X-Rays showed no breaks, however I needed to see an Orthopedic Surgeon.

Sunday, sitting with my leg up, and we saw a lady and her beautiful doggie come paddling to Our Rose.

Turning out to be an “Angel” in disguise, this was when we first met Susan and “Kiwi”.  She had seen our NZ flag, and “had” to come and see us.
Susan insisted on taking us to the Surgeon when we got the appointment, then onto the MRI.  Driving us to get our propane filled.
Two days later, Susan collected us again to go back to the Surgeon – the great news was no serious damage to the knee.  I could slowly start using the knee and get rid of the crutches as soon as I could.

Susan even came and collected me and took me get get my hair done.
She was nothing short of an Angel and a wonderful friend to boot.

On a foggy night it was the Christmas Lighted Boat Flotilla,

Many boats with amazing Christmas lights and coupled to music...

This is Santa with his Dolphin Reindeer
 From Beaufort, we had a great weather window of sailing down to Fort Pierce, 500 (or so) nm.  This was our last stop in the USA before leaving for the Bahamas.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Beyond Halloween...

Steve Madden (from M Yacht Services) and his wife Wendy  
were kind enough to invite us to their home for Halloween
Arriving, they had the front of their property looking great...

The children, and parents that came knocking on the door were gorgeous,
All dressed up… We had many Ninjas, The Simpsons, Wonder Woman,  Little Policemen.  

Wendy had made us Roast Lamb for dinner, we had a great night of wonderful food, free flowing wine and great company!

We had spent one month in Annapolis.
Our Rose had all the jobs completed on her that we had organized (thank you to M Yacht Services)…

We reprovisioned to overflowing, taking the opportunity of having an address for a month and stocked up on filters, cleaning products and anything else we had found hard to source, then finally it was time to move on.

We anchored at a spot at Solomons Islands.  We walked to the Annie Marie Gardens and Sculture.

There was an art exhibition on showing “edible” type art - the first two are both "knotted" fabric

This mural is made out of plastic bottles…

The sculpture gardens were great, with lots of artistic bird houses

And many other sculptures, 

including this “miniture” park bench in a playhouse

We dropped anchorage at a beautiful spot in Irvington…

We walked to the local vineyard and had a winetasting

While in Irvington we bought insulation to wrap around our hot water cylinder – it is certainly cooling down!

It is now getting extremely cold.

This is "ice" in the bottom of our dinghy.