Monday, May 13, 2013

Happy birthday... to me!

What a great day for a birthday!  Sunday we awoke to glorious weather, calm wind, and a beautiful sunrise. Paula allowed me to sleep in, and served me coffee in bed. Once I got up she had a Mimosa waiting on me. That sure took the sting out of being one year older today!

There were no problems during the night other than, sure enough, one of the sailboats dragged anchor around 2:00 am and got a bit close to us. The captain was quick to move further away and reset the anchor, and all was well for the rest of the night.

I went on deck at 7:00 am and stepped out to survey the anchorage. I was surprised to see that more than half of the little sailboats were already gone. The remainder were making preparations to get underway. I would have thought that after their beach party last night they would be a bit slow getting going this morning.

We had considered staying here until later this afternoon, but were concerned about how much jet ski and ski boat traffic there would be. The nice weather was going to have everyone out. Seeing the sailboats getting underway and heading west we decided it would be best if we did the same. If they were planning on stopping at our next anchorage, we wanted to get there first, while there was still room. We had the anchor up by 7:30 am and were underway. Looks like more Mimosas will have to wait. But, as soon as we were underway, Paula cooked one of my favorite breakfasts; homemade apple-cinnamon muffins, and served them piping hot slathered with butter, and a side of sliced fresh strawberries. Yum! Hmm, birthdays are not so bad, after all.

We spent the entire three hour trip to Big Sabine Point passing these little sailboats. Most were doing no more than 3-4 knots. We passed the final one just before we turned south into the anchorage. All of them were very courteous, and stayed in a line hugging one side of the channel. It made it very easy to get past them. One of the boats hailed us on the radio as we passed. He thanked us for sharing the anchorage with them last night. He also told us his was the boat that dragged in the night, and apologized for it.  I responded that I thought they were the most polite and courteous bunch of boaters we had ever shared an anchorage with. I meant every word, too.

We reached our destination at 10:30 am.  The only other boat here was a very nice Krogen 48' trawler. They were in the best spot, but there was room for me to squeeze by and anchor further back in, so we would have good wave protection. The wind was forecast to pick up to 20-25 knots overnight. While this anchorage offers no  wind protection from that direction, the shoals to the north of us are shallow enough that any incoming waves will break there, and not make it to us.

Once the anchor was down, and set, Paula immediately handed me another Mimosa and I was ordered to go get comfortable, and that I was off the clock for the rest of the day.  I made my way up to the bridge and deployed my hammock. Once ensconced there my awesome wife proceeded to ply me with champagne throughout the day, with occasional snacks. I spent a wonderfully dreamy day swaying to and fro in the hammock, drinking, reading, napping. Now, THIS is the way to celebrate a birthday! Thanks so much, honey!

Later in the day the owners of the Krogen came by in their kayaks to introduce themselves. Jeff and Julie out of Cape Coral, Fl.  The bought the boat in Annapolis, MD last October, and have been cruising on her since. They have only been home for three weeks in that time. They came down the east coast, around Florida, then up and around the gulf coast. They made it to New Orleans, and spent some time there. They are now making their way, slowly, back home. They plan to sell their house and then get back to cruising. Really nice folks.

The nice weather had lots of people out. Several boats came in and beached at various spots around us. Everyone had kids and dogs; all playing and having a great time. It was nice to hear all the laughter, and barking, mixed with the lapping of the waves on the boat. One group of four women drove in and walked down from the road. They pulled a cart full of stuff and setup for the day. They brought two half gallons of rum with them, and were making a nice dent in it. Two of them were fishing, and there was lots of squealing going on every time they caught something.  They did not keep anything they caught; it was obvious they were not even sure how to get them off the line. One caught a small stingray and that caused a bit of hysterical screaming as they ran from the water, dragging the poor stingray behind them. Fortunately, after a hefty round of picture taking with everyone, they figured out how to get the hook out, then used a stick to push it back in the water. They finally left around 5:00 pm, very sunburned and definitely feeling no pain. Tomorrow morning was going to be another matter!

Another fellow showed up with a kite surfing rig. I could hear him telling one of the fishermen that he had just purchased the rig, and this was his first outing with it. I remember another time here a couple of years ago someone else showed up with a new rig for his first attempt. So, I knew what to expect. The poor guy spent over three hours trying to get the kite up. For the first hour or so, it would just go up and do an immediate 180 and slam back into the ground. He eventually got to where he could keep it in the air for several seconds, doing uncontrolled loops before crashing. During that time it would drag him for several dozen feet. One one attempt, he kept it in the air for about 30 seconds. But it dragged him off the beach, across a small lagoon, and through the marsh grass before it finally crashed. The whole time he had his heels dug in, leaving furrows in the sand, then almost skiing barefoot across the lagoon. Once he reached the marsh grass he just sat down and slid on his butt for quite a distance. When the kite finally crashed he just sat there, exhausted, and rested for half an hour before bringing the kite back to the beach for yet another attempt. We could hear the guy talking to himself, berating for his lack of skill, then trying to encourage himself to keep trying. I have to give it to him, he was certainly persistent.  He never did get to kite surf. He finally gave up around 6pm, when he was just too exhausted to continue. To his credit, as tired as he was, he spent almost an hour packing everything up, meticulously cleaning the sand off everything before stowing it. I had thought of videoing the attempts, but just did not have the heart to do it. It was embarrassing enough for him to do this performance in front of several dozen people around the beach.

Before he left, a powered paraglider came over and buzzed around us a couple of times. We could see him taking pictures of Microship. The kite surfer guy was whooping and shouting, telling the paraglider pilot "way to go"; not that the pilot could hear him over the engine. I guess kite surfer dude was just happy to see that someone had gotten airborne that day.

After the kite surfer left, we and the Krogen folks had the place to ourselves again. So we had a very peaceful evening. I took Paula and Duke for our traditional sunset dinghy ride. We motored up into the shallows about a mile upwind and shut the engine off.  We just drifted for a while, looking over the side and enjoying all the marine life in the grass flats. Stingrays, trout, redfish, crabs, etc. I did not want to disturb the peaceful aspect of the evening, so just deployed the oars and slowly rowed us back to the boat.

After a great meal, and an evening of Survivor finale, I went out to adjust the dinghy mooring line, and noticed all the bio-luminescence in the water. Every little wave, or splash, would sparkle with little explosions of light. I decided to hop in the dink and take a spin around our little bay to enjoy the spectacle. The wake was ablaze with swirls of bluish-green light. It was awesome. As I returned I could see little bursts of light around where the anchor chain entered the water. It would have been great to get a photo of all this, but it is just not possible.

It has been a long, and wonderful, day. I could not have asked for a better birthday. Somehow I managed to stay up until 10:30 pm. The forecast wind was beginning to make itself felt. I checked the anchor chain, our depth, and location. The anchor was holding fast and everything was secure, so I headed to bed. The wind was blowing 25 knots, but waves of only about 1' were making it to us. Just enough to gently rock us to sleep. Which it did.


Scott Kolek said...

Wow, staying up until 10:30 on your Birthday, I couldn't do it, so you must be younger than me! :>

alison kolek said...

Wow! what a great post. Very poetic and had me laughing out loud at some of the images. Even thou we aren't able to be with you, your blogs have helped me to feel like we are there.