Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend 2010 with BYC at Mud Island

This is our second Labor Day Weekend at Mud Island with BYC! I have the whole week off to add to it! We took our time on Saturday morning packing up the boat. Work has been too brutal to allow me the energy to pack and provision during the after work hours so it's all left for Saturday. We got it all together and set off on the boat to cross the Bay and make our way towards Rockport in the ICW. We cut out and turned towards the anchorage in the late afternoon with many boats already there. We dropped our anchor and tidied things up with barely a moment to spare in getting to Cabaret for happy hour and dinner.

But... we're finally here and the Holiday Weekend has begun! What a great way to start... snackers and beverages with friends... away from the crowds in town.

We caught up on the gossip with Ken and Carrie... They keep their boat at Port A. We were dock mates before we brought our boat back to CC. They're always working on their boat. Glad to see them out here enjoying the fruits of their labor.

Just like last year this time... Linda was busily cooking up the dogs on the grill off the back of Cabaret. I've always said I eat hot dogs only about once a year. Looks like this will be my appointed time.

Everyone had fun lounging around on deck waiting for sunset...

We were not to be disappointed... Bruce and I didn't stay long after the sun went down. As usual, as soon as the first couple made the move... we followed suit and escaped back to our own boat for an early night after a long day.

Sunday morning was a slow and lazy one. Bruce puttered while I caught up on some reading. I'm loving my Kindle! There wasn't much on our agenda until mid day. That's when we got moving around and met up with some of the BYC people on Tiki Island (Mud Island).

Our plans for the day included another hermit crab race. Last year myself and a couple of others gathered all of the crabs for the race. This year, many more people got into capturing their own contestants. It gave us "purpose".

It wasn't long before we had a full load of crabs in our bucket. We tried to make them as comfortable as possible in captivity so they would be fresh for the races later. It's difficult to know if a hermit crab is happy or not.

It began to heat up so we all hopped into the dinghies and headed back to the boats to get into our swimsuits. Bruce and I were anchored right next to Griffin where Carrie was already in the water coolin it. Ken was on deck entertaining us with song and strumming his guitar.

We listened as we gathered off the stern of SeaFlight, always the "coolaid" boat. It didn't take long for the crowd to gather.

It's one of the fun things we do with BYC that never gets old.

This is the quintessential summer thing to do...

We floated around trying to be "zen" for as long as we could. We had planned to meet back on Tiki for a pot luck dinner at around 3 o'clock. We didn't make that mark but got it going soon after... The women got busy putting out the food while the men solved the problems of the world.

We held our Hermit crab races first so that we could free the little guys. We did it a little differently this year. No circle... we had a start line and let the crabs flee... I mean race towards the water. It was a little flat. I guess they were tired. Funny thing was, once we got the winners, no one actually claimed them. We couldn't remember which crab was ours!

Next on the entertainment agenda, was the drink holder judging. We had brought along decorated plungers to enter into the contest.

We chose Ken to be the judge as he had no entry. He really took his time and put some thought into it.

The winner was Johnny's entry for the "Patriotic" theme. It is Memorial Day weekend after all. My entry won the "San Francisco" honorable mention...

We had one late arrival... Adagio straggled onto the shore. Dean had to carry his Bride Aleta as she is not fond of getting her "little tootsies" wet. He very nearly got more than that wet! I just knew he was going to drop her on her "little buttsie" wet! We all sat around munching on the spread of "bad for us" food. It's difficult to eat right at an island pot luck dinner. When the sun dropped, the voracious mosquito hords came out and chased us all back to our boats. Well not all. There were some of the more inebriated revelers still out driving around in their dinghies as we were nodding off to sleep thankful for mosquito screens...

As usual, we were up before the sun. The moon was still out on one side...

As we anticipated the rising sun on the other.

We've enjoyed some of our more memorable and beautiful sunrises here anchored off Mud Island. Wonder what the poor people are doing today...

Our plan is to breakfast... tidy up and prepare to get under way... so that we can make a short stop at the Port A Marina. We need to top off our fuel tank and pick up some ice so that we can head offshore towards Port Isabelle for a couple of days. We left our sleeping friends at anchor as we motored away on Monday morning... this Memorial Day!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

BYC Saturday Series #3

One of the main reasons for joining the BYC bunch and moving our boat from Port Aransas back to the Corpus Christi Marina, is the local racing. I don't know if it's always been this way, and I don't think it has... but BYC is becoming the strongest racing contingent on our Bay. Despite blustery conditions, we had eight boats out for this 12 mile BYC Race.

The Saturday Series Races are just a small portion of the many races we do. In past years the MORF group has held the Bay in an iron grip. Cut throat handicaps relegated the "cruising fleet" to clean up the rear of every race. It's not much fun to know that every time out, you're going to lose unless you spend mega-bucks on sails and gear. Many women are hesitant to join such testosterone saturated pursuits. But the times... they are a'changin!

Bruce and I are happy to have among our friends, many couples who sail happily together week after week. No yelling... just couples out there sitting the rail... enjoying the racing together. Today's race was a long beat to #4, the weather mark. Our crew sat the high side with Brenda taking the "Sponge" position with no complaints.

Steve, Jacque and Mark remained in position close to the cockpit where they could spring into action as we neared the second mark with the pole out to jibe around #10 then beat back to windward to make #19 before turning for home.

The girls while away the rail time catching up on the gossip and chit chatting. The men spend their time focusing on tweaking the sails and trying to squeeze every tenth of a knot out of the boat. Now and then the boys have to get stern with us as we giggle. It's hard to keep our minds on the tacks when we have bonding to do.

We just keep on getting out there, trying to beat the competition, but congratulating the winners if we don't prevail. There will always be another race... but getting out there having fun and making wonderful memories to relive in my old age are two of my primary goals. Somehow, Bruce and I manage to each get something out of every opportunity to get out there! Today, the winds were in our favor. We made up time on the fleet with only Brigadoon ahead of us at #19. We passed them on the way to the gap to take a first place finish.

I hope, as I see the larger numbers of "cruising class" boats competing and fewer of the cut-throats... that change is blowing on these winds. Change where the handicaps are more fair and lend less to encouraging the dropping of cash, and lend more towards EVERYONE with a boat, getting out there! Adagio took second place today and there's not a more "cruiser" boat on the water. They're doing great as they hone their sailing skills in readying themselves for real cruising.

There is always the party after the race where the competitors have the opportunity to get together and go over the days events with one another, as only fellow racers can. Good thing about BYC is, every Skipper shares his knowledge with the others in order to bring every one's level of expertise up and leave no one behind.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Mini Vacation in May

My Practice just bought a huge new Practice Manage- ment and Electronic Medical Records system called NextGen. We have months of implementation ahead and I will have lots of job stress getting it all done. I decided to take an extra day off this weekend. We did the chores on Saturday and when Sunday came, off we went on the boat across the bay.

We could not have asked for better weather. I always worry that the winds won't cooperate with us when I have a day off. It's a shame to waste a day on bad weather. But... we really got lucky this day. The winds were light and the Bay was calm. Just enough breeze to carry us across, but not enough to spill the Bloody Marys.

Our destination was Ingleside Cove. We relaxed our way there and made our entrance. Bruce prepared to drop anchor while I guided the boat in through the invisible entrance off of the La Quinta Channel.

The first thing we did was to top off the air in the dinghy. There is evidently a leak somewhere. Bruce happily handed me the manual air pump.

We rode over to Cook's Island. It's a tiny little spit of land teaming with birds. Always a treat to get a close up look at these beauties.

We took a long walk along the tiny sandy beach.

The surprisingly clear water lapped gently at our feet.

I love to look closely at what's around me out there. You never know what natural treasure you will find. The beauty of a scrap of water flora...

The tinkling sound made by the shells as the tiny waves roll them in and out...

The lucky chance of catching a moth landing on the flower just as I focused for a shot...

The sight of a gull picking up a hermit crab, shell and all, and flying off to find a safe spot to pick the crab out in peace...

The still order of the grasses growing beside a brackish pond...
The sight of the birds in their natural habitat, nesting and pairing up...
The majestic pride of the master of his domaine strutting his stuff...
The random beauty of mud...
We had our fill of it all and turned back towards our boat, waiting quietly at anchor in this lonely cove.
There was more waiting there for us. We were curious to see what was causing all the commotion in the water. We looked to find these rays. There were three of them drifting one below the other. We have seen more of them this year already than we ever have in the Bay.
I made us a snack of my fav de jour... mango guacamole. We kicked back in the cockpit to read.
Bruce even took this opportunity to have a cigar. It's difficult to find a smoking spot on a 36 ft boat. He didn't have to go to the ends of the earth, I don't mind the cigar smell... but he insists as if it's part of the guilty pleasure of it.
Somehow, the time passed on to dinner time. Bruce fired up the grill and made us a lovely tuna dinner.
We ate and lazed around with full tummies as we watched another perfect sunset on the water. We passed a peaceful night with no mosquitos.
The next morning, Monday... when my co-workers were heading off to work and I was not... we took a dinghy ride around the cove to check out the fishing prospects.
I wouldn't say there was much going on as far as fishing goes for us, but the pelicans were having lots of luck! Once again, it was such a thrill to be out amongst these beautiful creatures as they went about their everyday routine.
We sat in the dinghy watching in fascination as they plopped into the water, waited while the water drained out of their bills leaving only the fish to be tossed back into their gullets. Then, with a wiggle of the tail feather, it's off to the sky to spot another unsuspecting fish so they can do it all again.
It grew warm as the sun rose on our cove. The next thing on our agenda was a swim off the stern ladder. Bruce is like a fish in the water and has no qualms about diving in. It makes me nervous however, so he doesn't do it often. I caught him in mid dive here.
The water was nice and cool. We floated around like the only two people in the world for a while.
Of course, Bruce can't stand too much relaxation... he had to be doing something. He went to work on a quick "Bot- tom Job". He worked his way around the entire boat with his scrubber. I'm just glad he doesn't expect me to do it. It's my Maycation!
As always, all good things must come to an end. We had to head for home. We said our goodbyes to our idillic two days as we motored out of the cove towards the Bay and home. It was everything I needed and more.
The winds were so light we ended up motoring for a bit. We had a dolphin show as we passed the area around marker 43. They were everywhere in groups of 6 or more. The water was very clear so we got a boost of "dolphin joie de vie" to carry us to the end of our day.