About PJ

We sold it all and moved onto a sailboat. We sailed the Caribbean and Bahamas for 6 years. Life is good

The Future?

Previous to arrival in the States I wrote..

What a world eh? Pandemic city. Who could of predicted this? A lot of people did actually, but that’s water under the bridge now so, what will happen in the near future? More people dying is probably a given though without testing we really will not know how many die from this virus now will we? It looks like maybe eighty percent of the people will get the virus and be fine. The older you are the more likely it will affect you. This of course sucks for me because I’m in my sixties. Lower sixties but still old enough to get the death blow.

This is more annoying than scary right now. It’s scary but mostly I’m annoyed with it. I see a future of young people out in public looking at me and wondering if I should be among them. I imagine myself out and about around town and getting the looks of scorn.

“Hey Pops shouldn’t you be in your bubble or locked in a room somewhere instead of taking up precious table space?

What you got a death wish or something? Get your groceries online!”

“I’m sorry sir but I can’t serve you here. You could be dead next week and I don’t need the lawsuit from your wife or kids thinking I’m responsible.”

Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe nobody will care that I’m out and about. Maybe people will just ignore me like I’m dead already. Maybe they will treat me better because they know I’m toast?

“Isnt’ that sweet? He’s getting ice cream. Eat as much as you want pops! Enjoy it while you can!”

“Hey look, the walking dead are doing Thai Chi in the park. Why do they even bother with exercise? I’d be eating a cheese steak sandwich with a cold one under a tree watching the ladies yoga class if it were me.”

I’m already seeing some reactions down here in the islands. While out getting propane some 20 somethings were walking down the sidewalk with a pizza and some growlers of beer. No mask. No cares. They did not move out of the way for me and my cart and propane bottle. I had to step aside into the grass and my cart tipped. I had the mask and I had to avoid. They laughed, sending droplets flying.

A local woman was passing another local while jogging and they passed close. As she came close to me she ran off onto the grass about 20 feet away to avoid the masked old foreigner. Lady I’ve been floating offshore for over a month. I should be avoiding YOU! I see the world has changed already and some things will never be the same again. I like to think people will just fall into the same old routine but now I have my doubts.

The handshake is gone forever. Good. I hated shaking hands. Being smallish, everyone I shook hands with (except another small person) would try to squeeze the juice out of my hand. Why are you trying to cripple my fretting hand asshole? (Guitar reference). So I’m happy with that tradition dying. People coughing into their hands, blowing snot into a tissue with it and worst of all wiping their butts with it and then shaking your hand. Me being left handed keeps my right hand relatively germ free but most of you pack a ton of nasty onto those hands and then spread it around in a Howdy Do You Do handshake. Gross.

Lines and Queue’s. Gone. Who would want to wait packed into a line or a wandering queue for entry anywhere? They were bad enough without the pandemic but now it’s suicide. How will this be handled? By phone maybe? I don’t know but I am not getting in a line without a ten foot space around me.

After arrival in the States:


Pandemic? What pandemic?

I see the occasional mask around town. Mostly people are carrying on as usual. Old and young, doesnt’ matter. They saw something on the news about a Covid or corona or something. They’re not sure but, “Hell if I’m gonna wear a mask. That’s for pussies and fking sheep.”

Old people? Who cares. Nobody cares. They’ll cough right in your face. When you’re checking out in the grocery store the cashier will pull down her mask to talk to you about your snack purchase. They don’t care. The guy on the other side of the gas pump will cough, spit and laugh out loud on the phone. Don’t care. The person who delivers your pizza will talk in your face telling you how mad he was because he couldn’t find you even though you were the only person wearing a mask, standing in the rain under an umbrella in a parking lot in front of the delivery address. Uncaring Moron.

The future for the USA? Nothing will change related to the virus. There will be fewer older Americans and fewer Americans with pre-existing conditions but basically there will be fewer Americans. I hope I’m wrong.

I had thoughts of just continuing on and crossing the Atlantic and running aground in France, making our way to Germany as refugees but we have family here so I guess we’ll stay. As a way of protest I did make a German dish on Independence Day instead of hot dogs and hamburgers. Sausage, sauerkraut, Spaetzle, breaded cutlets, broccoli. The shame!

I felt better after that. Mostly symbolic but it was a protest nonetheless. Germany and some other countries handled the response to the virus, America fucked it up. Some of my family were refugees from Germany prior to WWII so I have a relationship with Bavaria. In fact, visiting the area was in our plans until the pandemic struck. Now we will see how this all shakes out.

In a way it’s kind of funny. We fled an island with a small number of virus cases, sailed to the US and got touched by lightning and then the county our marina is in is now considered a virus hot spot. Son of a..

Being labeled a hot spot you would expect to see a quiet town but they recently had a first Friday celebration and a brewery opening. No mask required. Am I missing something here? Did some invasive brain eating bug creep into our water system and tweak everyone a little?

A temporary change of subject…

When we landed in the States we were out of beer. I went to a marina and got fuel and happy juice. Choices were Bud, Bud light, Busch lite, Corona. Wow! What a selection! Damn. I asked for a 12 pack of Bud. “Your lucky day sir. You get 18 for the price of 12”. Gee, thanks.

Yesterday I read about an employee of Anheiser Bush that has been pissing in the Bud tanks for the last 12 years. 😦


On a positive note we have seen family a few times and we are mobile. Joy! The marina is still nice and neighbors are friendly. We’re the oddball mask wearing quiet people without air conditioning that never puts meat on the grill, only flaming vegetables but I think we’ll get along.


Wrapping up this post I’ll just say that you should not take what I’ve said here as unpatriotic. I like it here but there needs to be improvement. We need to care more for each other and that means wearing a mask to protect each other. It’s not politics, it’s science and you’re not unmanly if you wear a mask you knob. “Yea well the president doesn’t wear one.” He wears makeup. If he put the mask on it would fuck up his face cake alright? That’s the only reason he doesn’t wear one.

When we start politicizing science then we’re in trouble. People die. When I get smirks and comments for wearing a mask in public I would like to shout back with some very well rehearsed comments like, “You think this is funny? You give me the virus because you want freedom for your face? Cause your fragile male ego prevents you from being seen in a mask? You give me the virus and I could bring it home to my 5 yr old grandson with kidney disease and he would most likely get very sick. You find that funny asshole?”

Instead, I just do the right thing and avoid conflict, wear a mask and distance as much as possible. It is after all a “free” country and you can do what you want…even if it’s selfish and not very patriotic at all.

Peace.

P

It feels odd but I like it

This boat doesn’t even move. The water is so still that the boat just gently rides up and down with the eight foot tide without a tilt or any motion we can detect. It’s weird for us to be this still. Occasionally you hear the water passing by the hull as the tide goes out. That’s it.

Unfortunately the air is as still as the water and it can get a bit stifling. Lately the mosquitoes have been enjoying the stillness as well as the fresh blood sacks walking around. I feel like a test subject for Deep Woods Off. “How much can the little fucker take?”  Once you’ve had Zika you tend to be a bit paranoid about bites so you spray up.

Even though things seem peaceful and quiet KN is not done with us yet. I think she’s pleading with me to wash her down and to clean and wax her hull but I’ve been waiting for the killer mosquitoes to die off. The county cropduster flew overhead and sprayed the area because I wasn’t thoroughly coated with enough chemicals. This seemed to kill off some of them. It took about a week for the little bastards to die and they did only to be replaced by biting sand gnats. 😦

So KN has been acting like a teenager not liking her new neighborhood and fighting back a bit. Yesterday the main water pump decided quit in the middle of Deb’s shower. This usually only happens to me so it was refreshing to see the First Mate get her turn standing in the shower full of soap and no water. I had to slide the garden hose down through the hatch for Deb to use. Grandma was not pleased.

I couldn’t work on the pump because I had to ride a bike to the rental car company to pick up a vehicle. “Here’s a hose. I’ve got to go.”  Deb’s mood was a bit unfriendly the rest of the morning.

I left soapy Deb and searched the bike racks for the best marina bike. Two on the rack next to us were shit. One had a wobbly back wheel. Been there. The other had no brakes which I discovered the other day. It’s not always easy to ride in tight circles trying to slow down to a stop. WTF.

One bike seemed OK but when I got on it the handlebars were too close to my knees. What the hell is wrong with this thing? I couldn’t turn without the handle bar hitting a leg. It was like a clown bike. It was like a kids drawing of a bicycle come to life.

I selected one but it had a giant crate strapped to the back rack. This means my dismount would not be swinging the leg over the back fender. Just like the old days of my Schwinn with a sissy bar. Only took one spill on that to remember that bar was there.

Except for the giant pool of sweat on my chest and back the ride there was uneventful and I even got a free upgrade so I could fit the crap bike into a hatchback instead of it hanging out of a trunk. We were supposed to get a car the day before but they stiffed us and had nothing until 2 pm. I think they were a bit taken back when they said our car was ready and we told them to fuck right off. Why would I take the car at 2pm when we asked for it at 9am? Unfortunately these rental companies are all going bankrupt because of the virus. Rentals will be scarce for a while.

We rented the car so we could drive to our own car and bring it back. We hit the road and when we pulled up to our car in storage I thought it was leaning a bit to starboard. Shit! Flat tire.

Call the auto club? I popped the trunk to check the spare and I found my foot pump for the bike tires. I jacked the car up and pumped that tire up no problem. Sweet!  I forgot I bought that quality tire pump. Good thing eh? So, we started her up and she ran fine. Phew! Now we have a car and our own bikes at the marina. 🙂  

This was an unpleasant surprise.

With the cars we went to see family after running some errands. It was great seeing the kids and grandkids from SC. It was a fun day outside with water activities even with masks on. These kids just give us a smile that lasts for weeks. Even though I’ll be squished under a sink with plumbing and electrical work most of the next day I will still be smiling.

So it’s quite a switch from how we usually live on the boat and it feels a bit odd but I think we’ll adjust easily if we ever get used to having neighbors so close. I’ll have more on that later. The next step, moving onto land will be the real test. It’s been life afloat for some time now and it will be a real change but I bet we’re OK with it.

The best part about being back? When we said goodbye to the kids we knew it wasn’t for nine months. “See ya next week!” felt so good to say.

Cheers!

PJJB

Side note: My grandson says, Grandpa pull your mask down. I pulled it down and smiled. OK, I just wanted to see your face. 💕

Welcome home! Have a virus.

When we got to the States we saw very few if any people wearing a mask. We wore ours. We got some looks and maybe a head shake or two from people who fought the idea of wearing one. We didn’t care. We didn’t care about the looks we were getting but we did care about them not wearing a mask.

Apparently the reason for not wearing one is basically, You can’t make me. Also, wearing one means you’re a liberal. WHAT?

Only in America do we politicize wearing a mask to protect yourself and others from a virus that killed over 100,000 people and has infected millions just in your own country. We’re absurd.

We went into the clubhouse to get free beer when we landed because captain Paul had zero beers in the fridge. We were masked newcomers and we were stealing free beer! Yep, after the 3rd pour and take away to the boat we saw the sign that said no takeaways of beer! Huh. We went back to the boat and thought about that, then went back to the clubhouse to get in one more “pour and run.”

Who were these masked assholes taking beers to go in giant water bottles?!

“Hi! We’re from Kelly Nicole. We disobey rules because you all are sitting here in the clubhouse unmasked and shoulder to shoulder laughing and carrying on like there’s no pandemic at all. So, we pour and run. Bye!”

and now….

Georgia and specifically this county are spiking in cases. I’m hoping we start seeing more masks and more distancing. We don’t venture into a store without one and I have not been within 12 feet of anyone else even outside. There are times we get closer but we have our masks in our pockets ready to deploy.

We were supposed to visit friends today but since this bulletin came out and the fact we all share the same public restroom here at the marina we figured it would be safer to avoid people right now until we can get tested. It’s been a rough week here on KN. Sad news from family and now this virus is working it’s way closer. We have plenty of work to do to keep our minds busy so we’ll be fine as long as the virus keeps it’s distance.

We don’t want to wear the masks but we know it’s the smart thing to do. Please mask up when indoors or when you’re in close quarters even outside. Forget about politics and think about the safety of your fellow Americans. In other words, don’t be a dumb ass.

Cheers!

P

The Final Leg of the Homeward Bound Rally

Here is a little summary of our sail from the USVI.

The wind forecast called for downwind sailing the whole way until we exited the Old Bahamas Channel we might face a bit of a north wind in the Gulf Stream. Ha!

So we left the Virgin Islands in a very light wind from the East. We have a heavy headsail, a 135% Genoa made for upwind sailing in tradewinds. We had to reach off.

We continued to Jibe our way across the top of Puerto Rico. PR is a long island. Longer than Long Island. It seemed to take forever and the waves and swell would knock the wind out of our sail at times. Annoying as hell.

When we got to the Dominican Republic we expected wind and we got some. We also got waves but we were moving. Other boats with a spinnaker or a light air blooper were making tracks. We continued to jibe. Eventually the wind completely faded and we pretty much drifted for a day in the sun which was actually kind of fun and relaxing but we were not making progress so by late afternoon the motor came on and we dropped anchor in Great Inagua.

This is where the weather turned to crap. We went from no wind to too much and all the areas around us were getting hideous storms in between periods of zero wind. We did not have the fuel to continue along the Bahamas Channel Route if there were three days of no wind. Crazy. So we waited for the weather to change.

While we waited the Bahamas government decided that they would let sailors who applied for safe passage (we did) stop to rest and refuel and wait out bad weather. Cool! Our decision was made to pass safely through the Bahamas along a regular route versus making a quick run through the Old Bahamas Channel. Interestingly our weather dude advised us to take the OBC route. I turned down the advice and damn glad I did.

It was tempting to follow everyone else and head that way but the allure of stopping to rest and refuel was too great so we watched the others pull anchor and head out while we waited for the wind up north to take a break. This was tough. Everyone moving while we sat there.

While we sat there Arthur formed and things got weird. If we had followed the others we would have got the shit kicked out of us and possibly broke the boat. Some of the others are in for repairs. Some are possibly in therapy after so much praying to survive. It was a good move on our part. My gut was saying “Don’t be a fool! Fool!” Best decision all year.

Arthur sucked the wind out of the area leaving pretty much nothing to sail with except the trip from Great Inagua to Acklins where we hit 8 knots with just a reefed headsail. I had to slow the boat down by pulling more of the sail in so we could sleep. After this we had to motor sail and get past Long Island which was a long slog in big swell. Pukey.

When we rounded Long Island we throttled down to maintain just under 5 knots and quietly and in still water moved through the darkness of Exuma Sound. The stars were incredible from Great Inagua to this point. Just amazing to look at.

Getting through the cut into the current near Black Point was fun. We nailed it dead center. We refueled at Staniel Cay and waited some more for the weather to clear.

I think we stressed for days about the DECCA Channel route through the Great Bahama Bank we were thinking of taking. There was a shallow section on the charts showing 6ft 9 inches. We draw 6 ft. We were making ourselves sick and second guessing our route. I went to facebook and friends (Odin) for help. I got some good advice and we left in the morning for the channel in poor light. When we got to the “Shallow” spot we never saw anything under 12 ft. WTF! A complete waste of stress.

We had 65 hours of fuel to burn for our trip home and we ran that diesel the whole way with the main up to catch any wind. There was no wind and we eventually dropped the sail when we hit the Atlantic Ocean.

The crossing from the Bahamas to the USA was the second best crossing we’ve had. Flat water and any waves (less than 2 ft) were behind us. Easy peasy! We got into the stream and were doing 9 and almost 10 knots and eventually we were in the glow of Florida. As we approached West Palm I looked at Deb and asked, “What’s that smell?” She couldn’t place it but with a crinkled nose was thinking is this what the US smells like?

Comet. Comet cleanser. That’s the smell. I figured it out eventually and Deb agreed. Home smells like Comet Cleanser. Oye.

We pulled into West Palm in the dark and poked around. We almost ran aground looking for a spot to anchor and then dropped the hook too close to another boat but they were asleep. In the morning the guy was like, “What the fuck man!” Then the storm hit and lightning struck and Deb screamed and the dude we were next to probably cursed us but eventually it all stopped and they left and here we are 😀

As you know by now from Facebook we had some damage from the lightning strike and lost our autopilot among other things. This forced us to motor up the ICW until we could jump out at St Mary’s and jump back in at St Simons.

I have to thank the Salty Dawgs. They were awesome! Great organization and a pretty darn good rally that was quickly organized to get us home safely. Cheers to the Dawgs.

Sorry I have not blogged in a while. Still trying to unload and clean the boat and come to grips with the fact it’s over.

Cheers!

P

SMS from 881623483335@msg.iridium.com

Ahoy!

We left the great Bahamas bank and are in the Atlantic heading for the FL coast. Hoping the gulf stream is kind to us today. We arrive in the dark which adds a little fun at the end.

Arthur has sent us a 9 ft swell. We will be doing the up and down elevator for a while.

The cruise ships denied port are all circling the Bahama banks. Quite a few of them. Bizarre.

I am really tired. Not sure I even slept. My whole system is whacked. I think we’ll need a few days to recover. I smell like bad 🧀. I might have those beers in the shower.

cheers
P

SMS from 881623483335@msg.iridium.com

Ahoy!

A jolly good start to the morning. I refilled the fuel tank, killed 5 flies, made some tea. Refueled, killed, re-energized. Other than staring into a chartplotter I think I’m done for the day.

We entered the Bahamas bank at 3am and the depth dropped to 9 ft. Nine ft is good in the Bahamas but we’re not used to it. We throttled down to a crawl and both of us stared into screens for 2 hrs while lightning flashed around us. It was a crazy scene.

Now we’re in 20 ft of water and way ahead of schedule even though we were dogging it most of the way. I guess we’re going into West Palm in the dark. Joy.

There are 10 or so cruise ships parked just off the bank. The crew for those ships have to be bonkers by now.

Flat seas and no wind. It’s far from ideal but I’ll take it. I told the old gal I would treat her gently on this trip back. So far so good.

Damn I want a cold beer. Soon.

SMS from 881623483335@msg.iridium.com

Ahoy!
Another installment of Capt Paulie’s night shift. Let’s talk about flies.

What posseses a fly to travel ten nautical miles just to land on my burger for 1 second and then spend the rest of its life landing on various parts of my body before ending in a splat from a disgustingly old fly swatter?

Why would it’s friends follow? There’s at least 15 flies in here! Why leave land? Land has garbage and shit and all kinds of other gross fly attracting crap. Is it a fly vacation? Take a boat? See the world?

It’s pitch black again. We dodged a t storm earlier. Seas are flat as a pancake 😁. So comfortable.

No wind. Diesel running. Breathing fumes. Getting really slee

SMS from 881623483335@msg.iridium.com

Well, the wind is lighter and the seas higher than predicted. it’s a washing machine out here but we’re still moving. Sooner or later the diesel will have to kick in.

It would be cool to make it halfway up Long Island before we burn fuel. We are making a fuel stop early Monday and then, hopefully we are heading for Florida. There is, much to our dismay, another front coming through. Don’t know yet if this will make us wait. If that happens I think we’ll both need therapy after we get back.

We still have plenty of food and water so that’s not an issue. Our sanity appears to be the only thing in question.

An unusual thing has happened. Deb can’t sleep. She hasn’t slept in 24 hrs. These rough seas are messing her up. Hope she manages to get some shut eye soon.

All for now.
Cheers!
p

SMS from 881623483335@msg.iridium.com

Ahoy! Again!

My shift in the cockpit. We got behind the Acklins and the waves calmed down a bit. it was pretty rough there for a while. We will be covered by the islands until daybreak.

I had to reef down the headsail as we were hitting 8 knots. Too much. Dropped her down to 6 and things are quieter. I also see lightning on the horizon and do not want to catch up to it. A bit windy up here further north bit it’s supposed to die quickly tomorrow. That’s OK by me. I love a relaxed ride.

Going past Long Island will be a long trip cause it’s a long island. We want to time our entrance to Staniel Cay in daylight so we will see how we are time wise when we pass the top of the island. Might have to pull over for a few hrs.

More lightning. Oye.

cheers
P

SMS from 881623483335@msg.iridium.com

Ahoy!

About 25 miles out from the Acklins. Hitting 7 knots on an off wind broadish to beamy reach. Waves on the beam. Gets lumpy at times.

Totally black night. One very bright star is guiding us but it’s basically sailing into darkness. Not my favorite kind of night.

I look over the sides and imagine a creature moving along with us just below the water. Watching me watching.

I half expect a tentacle to snap out of the water and wrap my neck in it’s grip to pull me down. A tasty prize on a black night.

We should be at the Acklins about midnight. Hoping there’s a cell tower on the island. This will give me something to do on my next watch.

cheers
P