Thanks, all, for the questions. My responses are below, interspersed with some photos that didn’t make it to prime time (though some have been on Facebook). I take between 20 – 50 photos a day (most utterly expendable), and don’t know what I’ll do with them once this adventure is over.
Without further ado:
How many bottles of rum are left?
All of the bottles are left, but they are not all full. That’s actually true. We’ve sort of been rationing the rum we brought with us, because we’re rationing the mixers that we can’t get here – like diet ginger beer and diet tonic water. We’re drinking the rum that we can easily replace and/or easily get mixers for. Lately, that’s been Ron Ricardo coconut rum. We drink that on the rocks alone, or with pineapple juice.
We found a ton of sand dollars on one of the sandbars on Pipe Creek. Since we’d paddled there, it took a concerted effort to get them back to the boat. And, of course, we were going up-current and upwind.
Any skinny-dipping or naked sailing yet?
Nope. In the Abacos, where we had enough solitude, the water was a bit too chilly. In the Exumas, we haven’t had enough privacy. (FYI, Bahamians are very traditional and conservative people, so we’d only behave that way if we knew we wouldn’t be offending anyone.)
More of the pigs, and piglets, at Big Major’s Spot.
What are you craving?
Ice cream. And roasted suckling pig.
I think this is an egret. It’s prancing around on a drying sand flat east of Norman’s Cay. We really haven’t seen much bird life around here.
What do you miss most?
The same bird, but I asked it to pose against a higher-contrast background.
What do you miss least?
Itty bitty snails on a dry sand flat, leaving their curlicue trails.
What’s your favorite feature on the boat?
The chart plotter and the Rocna anchor. How people got around the Bahamas – with its shoals and shallows and sand banks – before GPS and chart plotters amazes me! And when the Rocna sets, it means business.
A lone palm on a tiny islet.
What do you do when you’re feeling cramped on the boat and can’t leave for a while?
Luckily, that hasn’t happened too often so far, as we’ve had decent weather. But when we’ve been stuck, we have lots of DVDs, books (on Kindle) and a newfound obsession with Candy Crush on our iPhones. Barring that, I can always scrub the head.
Where a mangrove creek ends on Shroud Cay. This beach will inhabit my dreams long after we leave.
What’s your favorite seasick remedy?
I stick my pinkie in my left ear and take 3 deep breaths. Seriously. I used to be so susceptible to seasickness that I never got on the boat without taking a meclizine tablet (Bonine, Dramamine 2). I even brought along a bottle of 1000 pills. But right about the time we started this journey, I read in Spinsheet about putting an earplug in your non-dominant ear (i.e. your left ear if you’re right handed) to quell seasickness, even after it’s started. I tried that on my first leg down the ICW, from Melbourne to Vero Beach, Florida; I didn’t get seasick.
As I became more confident, I skipped the earplug altogether. I’m not a fool, though; took a full dose of meclizine when making the passage across the Gulf Stream, and also when crossing the Whale Cay Channel in the Abacos. But aside from those instances, I haven’t taken a pill since mid-December, and am able even to read and cook and do chores below underway. If I do sense a bit of nausea coming on, I just stick my finger in my ear.
More of Shroud Cay.
Is there such a thing as too much conch salad and Kalik beer?
I’m willing to study this for you; is there a grant application I should submit? I have not found “too much” yet.
More Shroud Cay.
Do you worry about projects you left behind at work?
What is this “work” you speak of?
Sunset from Bitter Guana Cay.
Do you enjoy making up recipes?
It’s fun for me. It was fun before I became a cruiser, and now the challenges are different, but equally fun.
Calypso at Black Point.
Will you pitch a special “Cruisers” Chopped to the Food Channel?
That would be a blast! Let’s image what I’d put in that basket…. A can of pigeon peas; a Bounty candy bar [why, oh why, can’t they have Kit Kats in the stores?]; a freezer-burned bag of chicken wings; and evaporated milk.
The CBSA burgee hanging from the rafters at Staniel Cay Yacht Club. Naturally, we left our mark.
Any foods you miss terribly/can’t find substitutes for?
Sashimi grade tuna and avocados.
Sunset at Black Point.
What is the strangest thing you’ve eaten?
Conch salad isn’t all that strange to me, since I often eat raw seafood and/or ceviche. But I recently ate a conch salad that included chopped apple and pineapple. Strange, but really quite delicious.
Also, curried goat is a favorite food of mine, but I suspect many people would find that strange.
Underwater scenery in the Exuma Park’s Sea Aquarium snorkel site.
In the beginning you had some boat engine issues. Have they settled down or become manageable?
Our engine issues were apparent overheating, though the alarm never went off. One of our visitors brought an infrared thermometer, a new gauge, and a sender from the thermostat, so that we could check on the actual temperature and fix the problems. According to the infrared thermometer, we’re running within the acceptable range, but the new sender and gauge continue to show temps warmer that the infrared. We’ll have to be vigilant and cope.
More from the Sea Aquarium. You barely have to go in the water to get a crowd of these guys; they come swimming up to a hand dangled off a dinghy.
I know you’re part of the master planning society. What are some of the unexpected items that have occurred?
Am I that obvious?
We haven’t had that many surprises, but some of them include:
– Me no longer needing seasickness remedies;
– We haven’t killed each other yet;
– We are socializing less than I’d expected, so I’m not using as much of the appetizer ingredients I thought I would need;
– When we do socialize, how many really nice encounters we’ve had with power boaters (surprising largely because there seems to be quite a division back home);
– I am drinking more white wine than I prepared for;
– How we never ever seem to be able to rinse any saltwater away;
– How annoyed we get when we can’t get broadband whenever we want it (I got up one night at 2:30 a.m. to upload photos, and by 4 a.m. had only uploaded TWO – I was going bonkers!);
– Me surviving without a Diet Coke 3 times a day (now I’m down to about 1 a week);
– How comfortable and self-contained we’ve mostly been;
– How much work it takes just to sustain our existence.
The ghost crab’s shadow is more substantial than the crab itself.
I was wondering if you are losing weight from all the exercise and local ingredients.
I think we’ve each lost a little weight from exercise, but the local ingredients are not exactly better for us. At home, I’d use ground bison; here, it’s ground chuck. When we do go out – and it’s not that often – a lot of Bahamian food is fried.
The crescent beach at Compass Cay.
Do you get tired of too much sun and what, if any, precautions are you taking for your skin?
We are religious about sunscreen, and so far, neither of us has gotten so much as a sliver of sunburn. We are not nearly as tan as people would expect us to be. We hide under the bimini, and wear hats and sunshirts at times.
But, ugh, sunscreen is so messy. It makes you feel like a greaseball, ruins your clothes, clogs your pores (packaging claims notwithstanding), and forces you to stay off the furniture until you’ve bathed.
A sand dollar at Cambridge Cay. Since the Exuma Park is a no-take zone, all we could do with our beach-combing finds was take pictures.
Do you think you could retire and live on Calypso full time?
I think we could live on Calypso part-time, but not full time. Our friend Joe on Onward compared living aboard to being in AA: everything takes 12 steps.
For example, even if we were in the U.S. and could get everything on our shopping list, it still takes forever to do groceries. Loading them on the boat; removing them from the bags; removing all of the packaging (lest we get roaches); marking everything so that we know what it is without the packaging; inventorying it and putting it on a list or spreadsheet; stowing it in the various hidey-holes we have for everything.
What? That wasn’t 12 steps? Well, you get the gist. And it applies to just about every task. Year-round of this would drive me batty. It’s so nice to have solid ground to return to from time to time, so I wouldn’t be prepared to give it up completely.
We got these 7 lobster tails for $8 in Marsh Harbour.