Tuesday, September 29, 2009

One Big Slumber Party - Harvest Moon Week (the middle days)

You might wonder what six people living on a 40 foot boat might do for days on end in a foreign port. I might wonder as well. Most of it is kind of a blur. The worrisome thing might be having three grown women in that small space... I'm proud to say that we worked well together and there was not one tuft of flying fur all week. We fell into a kind of system where each meal had a primary cook. Sometimes a secondary cook, as well. Then the cleanup was the responsibility of the third person with the help of the secondary cook. It worked quite well and naturally.

Bruce and I spent some time at the pool alone one day. He did laps while I sunbathed and read my book. I didn't get a picture for evidence to later use against him... but at some point in the swimming of laps, Bruce ditched his swimsuit. Something about causing too much drag... When I found out about it, I ordered him sternly to please put his clothes back on. Man... I can't take the boy anywhere!!!

Evenings we had kind of an informal dock party with crew from Windswept, Susan II and others. The guys swapped stories and the girls gossipped.

We hung out each evening until the mosquitoes drove us inside. The sunsets were always great!Don't say a word about how we look with no makeup and boathair!

One evening we had company. Steve and Ann, who had recently left CC and now live aboard their catamaran in Kemah dropped by for dinner. It was so good to see them and find out how the move had gone for them. They're really a fun couple.

The dinner offering was my giant pan of home made lasagna and there was more than enough to go around. We all piled around and had a great time eating my delicious-if-I-say-so-myself creation. Thank goodness I brought a lot!

The cleanup crew got a lucky break. Steve insisted on doing the dishes for his supper. He got no objections from us! It warms my heart to see a big guy doing the housework.

After our guests left, it got really crazy. We drank a bottle of 1921 (?) which is Tequila cream... yummy! Better than Baileys! Mark got to play out his Hugh Hefner fantasy. Don't worry... we're all too old and stuffy to really do anything strange. Obviously it wasn't too wild... my own husband is taking the pictures.

We came close to tripple divorce when Brenda brought out her "Catch Phrase" game. Of course the women's team was brilliant in the giving of clues and the quick answers. It did us little good however. The guys figured out quickly how to cheat the system and left us holding the buzzer every time. We played 5 games and the guys "won" 4 of them. They will pay for this transgression...

This video is proof of their treachery!

Wednesday afternoon, our crew met up with the Windswept people again. There were actually a few other people at our once private pool. I hadn't had much of a chance previously to get to know Lisa and we had a great little chat.

Last on the list of events was the installation of the new spinaker pole. Mark had scheduled these guys to come do the job and they came a day late... but oh well... what else did we have to do? They banged around getting the track onto the mast while we went about our business doing laundry and cleaning up around the boat. Even on the boat, a woman's work is never done.

Brenda's daughters came out for a visit and dinner. We ended up down below again due to the mosquitoe clouds. Our last crew member, Robert, arrived in the evening and that rounded out our stay. We went to bed early in preparation for race day.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

First Leg of the Harvest Moon Journey

Bruce and I had such a great week last year aboard Sea Flight for the Annual Harvest Moon Regatta, we signed on for another this year. We had 3 couples on board this year for the journey to Galveston before the race. Finally, Saturday morning arrived and I dropped Bruce off at the CC Marina to help Mark sail the boat to Port Aransas. Brenda and I did the errands and bought provisions and met up with them to load the boat down. Doug and Sally met up with us there.

We were all busy loading our gear on board and making our little nests. Once the food and gear were stowed, we had one last thing to do. Brenda found a little "Happy Harvest" placard that we hung from the back of the boat in celebration of the Harvest Moon Regatta. I couldn't believe Mark let us put that thing up there but he was game.

We all spent the night aboard and on Sunday morning early, we fueled up and headed for the jetties and the Gulf. Doug had the fishing gear out before we even cleared the end of the jetties. It would be many hours offshore with little to do until we reached our planned entry point into the ICW at Freeport, TX. Trolling a line would help pass the time.

We cleared the jetties at about 9 am. It was a gorgeous morning with light winds.

It's difficult to say what we did to entertain ourselves all that way. We were all using the Trans Derm Scope patch to avoid sea sickness except for Bruce. Maybe the patch causes a bit of a haze to descend upon us to help blur the passing of time...

There are many oil platforms of different sizes and types littering the path from Port Aransas to
Galveston. We maintained a constant vigil as we motored along with the autopilot doing the navigating. We rolled out the sails a couple of times along the way but the winds were on our nose so it didn't do us any good. Our goal was to get to our destination as quickly as we could so sailing was optional.

The big event of our day was dinner! We made sandwiches in the cockpit as the seas were bouncy and choppy the whole way. We had planned for this and didn't have any thoughts of sending someone down below to slave away in the kitchen.

I missed a major event while I was down taking a nap. Luckily for me, Bruce got pictures. Brenda caught a Spanish Mackerel! I've never even seen one. Doug had rigged the trolling line with a little gold spoon. I didn't even know you could fish offshore with such a tiny little lure, but it worked!

We all enjoyed the relaxation and telling stories as the sun began to drop lower in the sky. It had been a blissfully uneventful day on the Gulf. We began talking about how we would pass the night and who would team up for the watch schedule.

Mark divided us into two groups of 3 and it was decided that we would stand two and a half hour watches through the night. We watched the spectacular sunset with an uninterrupted view and began our rotation with Bruce, Brenda and I taking the first off time below.

The night passed in a blur of naps and time on deck. The moon was up lighting our way most of the time. It was indescribably beautiful as we looked behind us once to find our friends on Windswept sailing in the moonlight path on the water. Our radar provided the security of knowing what was in our forward path. There are some oil platforms with only a whistle to announce their presence... we passed two with no lighting or whistle. We were making good time... in fact, too good. We actually had to adjust our speed down to make our estimated time of arrival at the entrance to Freeport come at sunrise.

Before we knew it, the sun was lighting the sky and we had arrived at our planned point of entry to the ICW. The channel markers were a welcome sight. We came in through the Freeport jetties with not Windswept, but Susan II on our stern. Sometime in the night, they had caught up to us and followed us in.

The sun broke the horizon as we neared the ICW. It was a new day and we had made our Gulf passage with no mishaps.

We turned into the ICW where we would motor the rest of the way to Harbor Walk.

This part of the journey was much more interesting than the Gulf passage. We had flat waters and civilization.

We also had the countryside with all the creatures going about their morning routines... A coyote...

Many different types of birds...

Too bad guys! We made it in alive!

We took turns at the helm navigating the channel as everyone woke up and tossed off the Scopolomine patches. It would be smooth sailing from here on.

The main reason for doing the long trek out in the Gulf was to avoid the barge traffic in the ICW, which would cause us to go much slower. The trip would have taken two or three days. As it was, the trip from Freeport to our destination took about five hours.

We arrived at Harbor Walk Marina after 1pm. We fueled up and found our slip which would be home for the next few days.

It was a relief to be here and let the fun begin!

We had a reservation for a spot right behind another familiar boat... Ruthless. They have a permanent slip here where they spend about half their time split between here and Corpus Christi. Must be nice! Doug and Patty had walked over to handle the lines as we docked. Could be they were just ready to be on dry land for a while!

Hooray! Time to hit the pool! Bruce and I went over and joined the crew from Windswept in the beautiful pool at Harbor Walk. We were living in luxury and had it all to ourselves. This place was a ghost town. I don't know where all of the people who keep this place in business were, but I was glad of their absence. It was our own private playground.

We lazed at the pool until the lowering clouds and lightning drove us back to the boat. We were glad it waited until we were safely tied up at the dock before the sky came down. We rolled out the cockpit enclosure and hit our bunks to sleep in our cozy cocoon while the rains came. What perfect luxury!

We awoke to dry skies and made a wonderful dinner courtesy of Patty and Doug... fajita chicken and beef. Each couple had brought the main course for a meal and we would eat well this trip.

We piled onto Doug and Patty's bed and ate. It was one long slumber party and we were getting geared up for a week of fun! We drank a lot and gossiped on the docks until the mosquitoes drove us to bed.

Follow Us for the Harvest Moon!

You can click on this link to keep track of where we are on board Sea Flight. We'll be leaving Port Aransas on Sunday morning and sailing to Galveston for the week. The Harvest Moon Regatta starts on Thursday Afternoon. We should be back in CC by Friday night.

Check it out!


Friday, September 25, 2009

Impromptu Harvest Moon Kick-off Party

Terry and Richard called on Thursday to invite us to a little get-together at their home in honor of the Harvest Moon Regatta. We were the first to arrive and were rewarded with a special glass of Kir by our host Richard. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kir_%28cocktail%29 only with Champers. Early bird gets the Kir!

It wasn't long before the place was filled to brimming with BYC members. We had all brought something to go along with the delicious Arroz con Pollo that Terry made. It was all very delicious except for the Pate that I couldn't bring myself to try. I'm as culinarially adventurous as the next guy... but I draw the line at goose liver! (Yes, its a word... NOW)

I was trying to imagine all of these people in my own home. Maybe sometime in the next few months, I'll try it. Terry and Richard are all set up for entertaining.

Bruce took his turn at their outdoor bar.

It was discovered that Terry had a birthday coming up on Monday so we made it a dual celebration for her. She got the rousing round of Happy Birthday and blew out her candle.

The party was a lot of fun. Bruce made an observation that this party was supposed to be for the Harvest Moon participants... of which there were many. However, there was only one Skipper in attendance. I guess that is because while the crews were out livin' it up, our captains were hard at work preparing for our trip. Oh well...

Proud Parents of a Homeowner!!!!

After MONTHS AND MONTHS of looking at hovels and palaces... my oldest daughter Melissa, has closed on her townhome. She is a homeowner now! Here she is in her "Big Girl Panties" signing her life away for the American Dream!

She's moving in this weekend. Hooray and congratulations, Melissa! Oh, and we're coming to dinner...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Bad Day for Air Conditioners

We awoke in the V-berth with the uncom- fortable feeling that something was WRONG with the air conditioner! It wasn't hot... per se. Just not cool! Bruce kicked me out of my bed and tore it apart to find that the coils on the AC were frozen up. This can't be good. Long story short, we let it thaw out and tried it later and it worked. For now...

Luckily for us, there were no blood sucking insects waiting outside our door. The sun was just coming up and it was beautiful... again!

We had a very nice cool morning on the deck with our coffee and a magazine. The new Lats & Atts came on Friday and I was pouring through it.

Bruce even relaxed for a while.

We were never far from the watchful eye of our guardian. He was perched on the railing of a big boat down at the end of our dock and he misses nothing.

We lounged around until the Polly Anna came in, then we decided to go eat breakfast out so as not to heat up the cabin with the AC out and all. No argument from me!

That was when we discovered that the AC in the van was having sympathy pains. How can this be!? This problem seems to be in the switch. Bruce couldn't seem to find it so it's in to the shop on Monday for the van! Bummer! Thankfully it's not hot.

We had nothing on our agenda today but to get home in time to do the laundry. We took advantage of the near non-existant wind situation to take a dinghy ride across the channel to our favorite swimmin' hole.

Bruce wanted to do some fishing. He had caught some skip jack here on Thursday and had fun, so he wanted to try it agin.

I'm always up for some beach combing. We whiled away the morning in seclusion watching the baitfish jump out of the water, and a crab run from a mangrove snapper, and the ever present dolphin rolling gently as they grazed.

Bruce caught nothing and we gave it up and headed for home.... the end of another great weekend in Port A.