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Saturday, March 3, 2012

Wiping Out Along the Bow in the Middle of the Night...

Thank goodness for the change in seasons and that winter is almost a thing of the past. And it ain't just because of any chilly weather that might blow down to the Keys but rather because Garrison Bight simply doesn't offer much protection against northerly winds.

All of which means that northerly winds can and will invariably kick up some nasty swells for days on end. And believe me when I tell ya that it ain't no fun dinghying out to one's boat late in the evening after having indulged in a few cold ones for it can be a long wet ride.

Well just the other evening I almost met another untimely demise while aboard my boat. Winds had been gusting some 25 to 30 knots when I just had to climb up on deck in the middle of the night for whatever compelling reason to check on my mooring lines.

And that's when my little toe happened to snag some volleyball netting that had come unfastened and was now violently swaying in the gusting winds thereby sending me into a full and complete head first sprawl along the pitching deck.

In but an instant I was crashing across the bow of the boat and had it not been for the toe-rail that I happened to brace myself against at the last moment, I would have most certainly gone into the drink for an unscheduled swim in the middle of the night.

I did somehow manage to slightly bruise a knee and my other foot during my brief and unforeseen little incident yet I gotta believe that I got off rather easy if the truth be told.

It goes without saying that the volleyball netting that had been previously fastened to the lifelines by the boat's previous owner was unceremoniously removed and disposed of a few days later once the swells finally laid down.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Doing a Little Sailing For A Change... Key West

Well whada-ya-know... I finally found it in me to pull away from my mooring ball if only for a couple of hours the other day for some actual sailing. And of course it helps to have some company along to share in the experience. Otherwise I simply wouldn't have bothered.

Winds were relatively light and out of the south for a change and with it being a bright sunny day and with there being plenty of cold beer aboard the boat, my lady-friend and I raised sails and aimlessly putted around for a couple of hours.

If anything it was reassuring to know that the boat still worked as intended and that I hadn't forgotten how to sail after sailing into Key West some three or so months ago.

Perhaps I might even find it in me one of these mornings to get off my duff and clean off the grime that can now be seen thriving along Blondie-Dog's waterline.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Sailing the Spanish Virgin Islands, No Motor, No Problem....

Fajardo, Puerto Rico (cir. 1993)

Sailing my AMF 21' back to the marina after yet another blissful day of sailing and with a view of Condominios Dos Marinas in sight...

Once in the cove, I'd turn the boat back into the prevailing offshore winds, bring down the jib, secure it with bungee cords and then bring the mainsail halfway down the mast.

I'd then rest the end of the boom on a cockpit seat cushion and while standing, I'd grab the sheet with one hand and pull on it just tight enough to catch the wind.

And with the boat having just enough forward momentum and steerage, I'd turn the tiller hard on over and gently glide the boat into the slip.

Once inside the slip I'd make a mad dash fore to drop the mainsail the rest of the way down and grab on to my dock lines to avoid crashing into the pier and any neighboring boats.

No motor, no problem...

And I've said it before and I'll say it again... the so-called Cruising Lifestyle may indeed be a tad overrated.

Day-sailing on the other hand can most certainly be a much more enjoyable experience for after you've had your fill of sailing for the day, you can later go home. Yep, dat be my perspective...

Well heck, what's not to like about sailing on a clear, bright beautiful day? And now that I think about it, sailing the east coast of Puerto Rico was indeed a memorable experience that I will always cherish.

Marina Puerto Chico, Fajardo Puerto Rico

Hotel El Conquistador, Fajardo Puerto Rico

View of Isla Palominos off in the distance.

Marina Puerto Chico, Fajardo Puerto Rico

Isla Vieques on the distant horizon...

Marina Puerto Del Rey, Bahia Demajagua, Puerto Rico

One of a number of small keys commonly referred to as "Las Islas Cucarachas", by local fishermen presumably for their resemblance to said critters when seen from a distance.

Me sipping on a glass of apple-pine juice and not a Rum & Coke as some wags would suggest... and that's my story and I'm sticking to it. **hick-up**

Bahia de los Pescadores, Las Croabas Puerto Rico

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Inadvertently 'dissing a Fellow Bar Patron...

Contrary to prevailing perceptions I can and do get tired of the usual bar scene and of needlessly running up yet another bar tab.

Nevertheless this is indeed Key West and there just ain't much to do here in the evenings other than to plant one's rear-end on a bar stool and order a few cold inexpensive beers while furtively hoping that an attractive lady might happen to take a seat alongside for some idle conversation.

But alas... no such luck for this is Key West and these are the Keys and if you want a sensible girlfriend, then you better bring her here with you.

Incidentally I gotta believe that I might have inadvertently 'dissed a fellow bar patron the other evening while idly watching a sporting event in a local tavern.

A somewhat younger fellow happened to show up alongside of me and randomly start commenting on the game in progress when he suddenly offered to buy me my next beer.

It was an offer which I then proceeded to resolutely yet politely decline. I already had my own bar tab going on but even more importantly refused his offer because there would then be an expectation that I purchase his next drink.

And that fellow happened to be sipping on one of those goofy expensive mixed drinks and I certainly wasn't about to start playing that silly little game.

Well upon refusing his offer, the young man immediately began to profusely apologize and tell me in no uncertain terms that he hadn't meant to offend me in any way. And just like that, he was out of that bar just as quickly as he had entered.

It wasn't until later that it occurred to me that the young fellow might have perhaps been "hitting" on me. Ooopps. Sorry dude... no offense taken but you still ain't buying me my next beer.

Well heck, this is Key West and it was I who happened to be inadvertently sipping on a cold beverage in the wrong tavern and at the wrong time of day.

And as your typical French peasant is apt to proclaim while nonchalantly shrugging his shoulders...C'est la vie.

And Yep... I be but another Barstool Sailor.