Gator Bait & My 1 Day of Employment

It’s been another 10 days and we have a new story for you!  In our most recent episode I find a few alligators in different areas of the marina, and discuss my new love for jumping spiders.  Have you seen how adorable those things are?  We also get to take a look at our new cherry staircase, which is not only a big improvement from our original set, but a vast improvement over our temporary set.  Spoiler alert, these stairs were built special with Georgie in mind.

I also find employment for the length of 5-6 hours before being let go.  It’s ok, it took me being gone from our boat for a day for Matt to realize how much he needs and likes having me there all the time.  I do tend to have just a little more free time on my hands these days though as I finally finished the project of making cushions in the forward salon!  Wow, what a difference it makes to that area.  Now we finally have one section that really feels like home.

Enjoy!

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Seam Ripper Come Rescue Me

Who knew vlogging could take so much time?  Oh wait, maybe it’s the sewing project I’ve been working on the past few weeks!  Either way, the blog has still been ignored, and I still apologize for that.  And probably will when the next video goes up as well.

While you’re waiting for the thrilling story of our trim (which is about the only lapse between the blog and videos), catch up on all the new things happening, including us finally getting cushions in the forward salon!  Only about a year after we thought we’d originally get them when we first started work on days off.  Although the old cockpit cushions we’d been using in place gave us some kind of padding and fluff under our bums, it was high time to put the real thing in there since all the heavy duty work up there had been completed and there wasn’t the same worry that we’d destroy the fabric right away.

I don’t get anywhere near finishing, and also take a break in the middle to help Matt apply the Kiwi Grip non-skid to our deck, but progress is being made!

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We’ve Got a Hurricane Headed Our Way

Hello everyone!  I know, I have been terrible about getting anything up on the blog lately, but trust me when I say the past week has been a fury of boat work where we’re up and at it from basically sunrise to sunset.  I have so many wonderful posts to share from the past few weeks (months?), although I just need to find the time to sit down and get them typed out.

We have, however, put another episode up on YouTube that we hope you’ll all enjoy.  In this episode we prepare for Hurricane Matthew, spend two days waiting for the worst of it to come and pass, and then get back into our daily routine of boat work.  The next project featured in this video?  The cabin sole.  We add our quarter inch maple to the existing half inch plywood we’d already cut, focusing on the area from the forward salon back to the pilot house.  We’re very happy with how it all came out, but take a look for yourself!

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Watch Us Now on YouTube!

That’s right, we’re transitioning ourselves to be vloggers!  Waiting until the boat renovation is only a few short months from completion (I know, I know, we should have started earlier), we’ve finally taking the plunge into recording our lives through video as well as writing.  We’d had the idea for a long time, although honestly, after watching the countless hours our friends the Sailing Conductors put in to filming for their documentary series on Soundwave2Berlin, we didn’t think we could handle all the extra work at the moment that comes with bringing out a camera every time you go to do something.  At least, that is the lesson we took from observing our German friends.

With so many fellow boat workers, bloggers, and blog followers passing through our yard though, we’d always get the question of ‘Why don’t you two do videos?’, and we’d explain it away that it appeared to be just as big of a project as the boat we’re overhauling, and if we did decide to eventually do it, it would be way down the road once we were on the water again.  It wasn’t until our new friends Cat & Will of Monday Never came to spend a few days at the marina while selling their boat where we watched them film a few short clips here and there, and talked the logistics of it that it dawned on us that maybe a video series would be possible at the moment.

Another month or two of failed attempts to actually hit the record button on the camera while we were working, I gave myself a ‘publish by’ date for our first episode and finally started filming.  Only two weeks behind my self appointed date, I’ve kept that promise. Video-logging is a completely different world from Web-logging, and we’ll definitely be spending a little time learning the ropes as we continue to capture our lives in motion.

What does this mean for the blog?  Don’t worry, it’s not disappearing.  As we finish work on Daze Off, I’ll make sure to publish the same amount of posts featuring the work with the same (fairly) detailed explanations as I always have.  Once we’re on the water and travelling I will try to keep up with two posts a week on the blog, in addition to the 2-3 videos I hope to publish each month on YouTube.  Ambitious?  Definitely.  But at least it will keep us busy and we’ll never be able to complain about being bored again.  Partially what got us into this boat remodel in the first place.

We hope you enjoy our very first episode of Welcome to the Boat Graveyard.  If you like what you see, please subscribe to our channel so you don’t miss any future videos.

 

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Behind the Scenes at Our Vineyard Vines Photo Shoot

Vineyard Vines initial photo

With so much going on with the boat and trying to keep up just with boat work post, I’d been putting this one on the back burner for months now, but I figured it was finally time to get it up.

For those of you who remember, back in February Matt and I went down to Miami for two days to participate in a photo shoot for the clothing company Vineyard Vines, with their summer theme of ‘Ever Sailor Has Their Story’.  Even though the shoot was in February, the catalog photos were not released to their site until May, so I had a few months to wait anyway before I had anything  to show.

Well, now that I’m only 4 weeks behind on keeping the blog  fully up to date, I think it’s time to get this post out for those of you who actually remembered we participated in this but never had the chance to see any of  the photos through either their catalog or Facebook promotions.

* * *

After our very relaxing and luxurious afternoon and evening in the Mandarin Oriental Miami, I made sure to slide between the sheets of our very nice king size bed before 11 pm in order to keep myself well rested for the next day.  With a 7:30 call time, it didn’t even matter that I would not be in charge of hair and make up before I arrived in the morning, I still didn’t want to show up looking like I just stepped off a three day passage from one of our boats. Getting up just after 6 am we packed up all our belongings, did a quick rinse in the showers, and made sure Georgie hadn’t lost herself in the couch again before heading down to the main floor for breakfast.

Basically breaking down the doors to the restaurant as they opened at 7, we opted to skip the $38/person buffet (even though the tab was being picked up) for omeletts and Belgium waffles. Big mistake.  Although we told our server we were in a huge rush, our food didn’t come for 20 minutes, leaving us only five minutes to scarf it down and throw our room number on the tab before running off to the conference room where we were meeting the Vineyard Vines team.  A sprint through the lobby and up a set of stairs, we found we were the first ones there. Waiting for a few minutes until one team member walked in, they said everyone was running a little late and so we decided to use those 10-15 minutes to run up to our room to grab our luggage, as well as Georgie, since it sounded like we’d be checking out of the hotel just after hair and makeup.

Getting back down with all of our bags, and a few strange looks from hotel patrons that just rode the elevator with a cat on a leash, we walked back into the conference room to find it bustling with stylist and production managers.  Making our rounds of introductions (“Hi Cat, meet Georgie the cat”), we were placed in chairs as the team got to work on us.  Matt had been instructed a few weeks before to let his hair and beard grow out a little to give him more of a salty sailor  look, so uneven ends were trimmed; while I settled in for the whole hair and makeup treatment. One woman went to work on my hair with a curling  iron to give me soft windswept curls, while another woman started on my makeup to give me a fresh, dewy, natural look.  Less than 30 minutes later we were being shuttled down to the lobby to check out of our room and get ready to leave for our first location.

It wasn’t until the valet was bringing our wreck of a van around that the team quickly mentioned it was time to get into our first outfits of the day.  Matt was handed a pair of floral chappies (swim trunks) with a gingham shirt, and I was given a striped string bikini with a pink gingham quick dry dress to slip over it.  Running back out from the restrooms into the lobby with our new uber preppy clothing on, we packed all our belongings in the van and followed the team in their Chevy Suburbans out to Key Biscayne where a chartered yacht was waiting to take us on the water for the first part of our shoot.

Getting to the marina (of which we’d actually been to before with our friend Ana Bianca, so we were able to recommend it to the production staff), we walked out to the docks to find a 57 ft yacht waiting for us, our pretend home. I should let it be known they originally contacted us wanting to shoot on our own boat….but there was no way that was possible.  So this pretend home of ours for the day?  HUGE upgrade.  Georgie felt right at ease in the marina and jumped on the yacht without a second thought, settling herself in the cushy cockpit with no regard to the 15 team members moving around alongside her.  For a few minutes, a set stylist gathered a few of the personal belongings we had brought with us to photograph, while another stylist pulled me aside to figure out jewelry.  While this was going on, other team members loaded up the cabin with clothing, cameras, and other equipment that would be necessary for time out on the water.

Before we knew it the lines were being tossed off, and Matt and I were told to relax while a hired captain brought us out of the marina channel and into Biscayne Bay.  The sky was a little overcast, and hopes were that it would not begin pouring rain down on us.  Getting to know the very friendly crew as we moved further out into the bay, it was fun chatting with them, and finding out more about what their jobs entailed and how the previous shoots of the week had gone.  With us being the very last shoot of this session, we got the scoop on the other sailing subjects, including our friend Johannes, whom we had dragged back from the Bahamas just a little early so he could participate.

When we did begin shooting it was all very casual and laid back.  A far cry from the very posed shots I was expecting, we were mostly told to go to a certain area of the boat and just kind of ‘do our thing’.  In my first outfit I stood near the aft deck where it went into the cockpit, and just kind of twirled around a backstay as I looked out on the water.  Matt was seated on the pushpit and was given a piece of rope to tie knots, and also look out on the water and smile and laugh like he was having the time of his life.  Each ‘session’ lasted less than five minutes, and then it was time for an outfit change.  I was told to keep my bikini on while I switched out my dress for a beach coverup, and Matt was sent below deck to change out of his chappies and into proper shorts.  Poor guy forgot to bring his boxers with him onto the yacht after our initial outfit change, and I think the girl styling him was in for a bit of a surprise when she went to properly tuck in his button down shirt.  After that point it was all verbal instructions instead of hands on assistance, at least from the waist down.

Vineyard Vines closeup page 1

Vineyard Vines on Facebook

Jessica VV coverup

The clothes kept changing and locations were moved around the deck and cockpit of the boat.  Some of the shots were individual, and others had both of us together.  We even managed to get Georgie in a few of the shots, as she was loving this luxe life on the water. After every session with the DSLR, a video camera was also brought out to capture the scene, all to be put together for an interview to be shown on the website with the clothing release.  One of the best parts for me is they paid close attention to our travels and tried to integrate as many things from our real life as possible into the shoot.  For me they incorporated my World Beer Tour, pulling out some Spanish beers for me to sip on the deck as I let the wind whip through my hair.  As far as Matt, they tried to recreate his big mahi catch during our Atlantic crossing, pulling out a 50 lb fish for him to pose with up on the bow.  I would have LOVED to capture these behind the scene moments with my own camera, but they were not allowed on set since the shoot was happening 3 months before the release of the clothing line.

fish comparison

Matt & Jess VV

We were having so much fun during the shoot and it did not feel like work at all.  Not one of those ‘You think modeling is glamorous, but it’s so hard’ things. Mostly it was just us on a boat, with the added bonus of having someone steer and handle the sails while we enjoyed the ride and looked pretty.  Apparently we did run into an issue though where the camera man told me I smile too much, but I honestly couldn’t find the right mix of facial expressions to look happy or content without a wide toothy grin showing.  Any time I *think* I’m pulling this look off, I’m told by Matt that I just look pissed off.  I guess I have to work on that more in the future.

There were certain times we did take control of the boat for specific photos or parts of the video.  I even steered us back for a few minutes, while being told by the videographer that ‘there’s no such thing as a bad point’.  So there we both stood, pointing at the chart plotter, pointing at buoys, and pointing at the Miami skyline.  If there’s no such thing as a bad point, I’m going to ride that pony until it’s dead.  I really had no idea what else to do in front of the camera other than, well, smile.  If anyone else has this mid-range look down, seriously, email me with instructions.  Taru?…..Elay?…

We ended the shoot that day with a location change to Monty’s Raw Bar next to Miami Marina.  This was to be our fancy shoot where we were gussied up in a few of the fanciest looks the line has to offer.  Hair and makeup went to work on us once more, combing out the knots in my hair and slathering Matt in sunscreen to give him that nice dewy look.  Customers of the bar sat and looked on as we were pampered, and multiple outfits were pulled off the rack and held up to us to figure out the best look for the shot.  I was handed a GORGEOUS linen dress with a beaded detail, along with a pair of Tory Birch heels (the first pair I’d worn in nearly 3 years), and Matt was given a sport coat and bow tie.

Escorting us to a section of the bar which overlooked the water, we were posed for this section of the photo shoot; elbow on the bar, sip your painkiller, give each other loving looks, ect.  I think part of the reason for the posing here though was the unbelievable amount of clips keeping us tight inside our clothing.  My dress was only slightly loose, so there were about two binder clips pinning the mid section tighter in the back, but Matt had clips running all the way up and down the back and arms of his sport jacket.  I’m surprised there were actually angles possible where you didn’t see them.

When this part of the shoot ended, before I could even slam the rest of my Painkiller (and Matt’s too for that matter), we were ushered once again to the restrooms to change back into a more relaxed outfit, and brought out on the boardwalk for the question and answer part of our interview.  Something I kind of knew was a possibility after paying attention to the release of their Spring line, but something Matt had no idea was coming.  I made sure to keep it this way so he wouldn’t think about it too much beforehand and get flustered.  At the end of the interview I think we were both happy with how it turned out. I think we did a good job of answering questions, and hopefully didn’t do too much mumbling or unprepared answers of “I personally believe that US Americans….”.

All in all, we had SO much fun participating in this shoot for Vineyard Vines.  The entire staff and crew were incredibly friendly and we had a wonderful time talking and joking with them between photos while just hanging out.  The clothes were fantastic, and except for the large yacht we could only wish was ours, they captured us perfectly as we spend our time on the boat and with each other.  Only in much better clothes than we normally wear.  Although don’t be surprised if you catch us in a lot more of their gear from here on out.

Make sure to check out any of their multiple stores nationwide, and tell them we sent you!  We don’t get anything from this, but after working with such an amazing company, we can only hope that you’ll give them a little of your support while staying stylish on the water.

Vineyard Vines closeup page 2

Vineyard Vines page 3

Vineyard Vines page 4

Vineyard Vines page  5

Also, check out the 90 second interview they put together on us from shots taken from the day!

 

*Just because I know you’re all wondering this, no, we did not get to keep the clothing when we were finished.  Not only did they probably put us in a few thousand dollars worth of outfits, but there is again the conundrum of releasing clothing to a person before the line is released through the company.  We were however paid in a hefty gift card, of which has now gone toward a lot of great clothing that you’ll be seeing me in once we start travelling again.

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Video Walk Through of Daze Off – 4 Months into Restoration

Monday October 12, 2015

Matt relaxing in forward salon

Today is one of those rare occasions that the boat is as spotless as we can get it.  This is because Matt’s family is here to come sweep us away for a week of fun in Stuart, and we wanted to make sure Daze Off was impeccable for their tour.  Or, as much as a boat under construction can be.

And since our boat is finally in show off condition I thought it was as good of a time as any to do a walk through to show you the progress we’ve made since starting and also explain what we have left to do.  The other month I put up a quick video of when we first purchased the boat and she was still sitting in storage, and wow, the difference between the two is amazing.

From when we first moved on to her to begin our complete restoration, inside and out, this video is always a good reminder that progress is happening and it actually is possible that one day we will be out cruising again instead of sitting in a hot and dusty work yard.  The thought of those days are what keeps me going, but visual reminders of our progress always help too.  I love flipping back and forth between the two videos to see what we’ve been able to tear down and build back up so far.

At that time I also promised that I would begin working on more videos to show you and I do like to keep my word (most of the time). So here we are, a full walk though and explanation of our work on Daze Off, four months into our progress.  Enjoy!

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A Walk Through of Daze Off

Friday August 21, 2015

forward salon Trisalu 37

I feel like August has basically been a wash as far as boat building goes on the interior. June and July we were kicking things out, only to find ourselves mostly stalled at the moment. That’s not to say that work isn’t getting done. Our welder has been out almost every weekday since the beginning of the month and with that project getting completed it will be a load off our backs.

It’s just us two that can’t seem to be productive. I mostly blame the heat.Everyone tried to warn us that August is a killer and you’re better off just leaving your boat in the yard while you find cooler locations to kick up your heels for a few weeks, but we did not listen. We should have. I could be sitting on the shores of Lake Michigan right now, but we were incredibly stubborn and thought the heat would not apply to us. Wrong. We were oh so wrong. With daily highs between 91° to 93°, and the Real Feel usually leveling out at 105°, we have become insanely lethargic and probably a little brain damaged.

All in all, it feels like we’ve barely accomplished anything these past few weeks.  Which may be true, but then I do have to remind myself that we still have come a ways from where we first started.  I was looking at a few photos the other day of the first time we got on Daze Off to look at her and had to remark to Matt, “Wow, I can’t believe how different the salon looks now!”. And “That’s what the galley used to look like? I can’t even remember since we ripped it out”.

It was when I was telling him that I should put a few photos up on the blog to show how far we’ve actually come that he reminded me he took a little bit of video to send to our friends Kim and Scott on Anthyllide just before we moved the boat out of storage.  I realized that we never really did a ‘walk through’ before we started demolishing everything and this might be as close as we have to it.

Since Matt had been making the video for our aluminum boat buddies there was a lot of focus on the areas that will need to be fixed.  Areas of corrosion, rotting wood, ect.  I ended up cutting a lot of the video out or else you might be staring at a section of the hull or the sole for 30 seconds while Matt explained what will happen there in the long run and also replies to some of the questions our friends Kim and Scott had asked. Leaving the narrative on while the video now jumps all over the place was also somewhat odd, so I replaced it with music instead.

I know….I’m sure you’d love an explanation of the boat as it gets walked through, but trust me, this was specifically geared for our friends instead of a general audience.  Although it does make me think I should begin shooting a few explanatory videos as we go along with our work now.  We’ll see.

Anyway, here is the closest thing we have to a walk through of Daze Off in her before stages.  Not the best video, but hopefully it will give you a better idea of what she looked like as a whole before we started work on her.  And also, to show there is proof that even though we are nowhere near the finish line, at least we’re not still stuck at the start either.

 

 

 

Daze Off, cleaned forward salon

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Throwback Thursday: I am a Nice Shark, Not a Mindless Eating Machine

Now that we’re sitting in Indiantown Marina and it’s obvious that we’re going to be here for quite a long time while we fix up Daze Off to sail, I don’t want to bore you with stories that are only related to boat work (but don’t worry, they’re still coming).   I know that’s what some of you crave, but if you’re like me, you also need a little fun in there.  A little travel and a little adventure.

So for the foreseeable future while we are doing nothing much more than boat work I will be adding a Throwback Thursday post in every week as well.  Cataloging our trip so far, giving you that needed sense of travel and adventure, and for those of you that haven’t started with us from the beginning, catch you up on some of the most important or memorable parts of our travels.

This week still finds us traveling the Bahamas with our good friends Brian and Stephanie on s/v Rode Trip.  After a few very enjoyable weeks in Long Island Bahamas the 4 of us decided to trek to the lesser traveled island group of the Jumentos and Ragged Islands.  Very private, beautiful, and filled with some of the best coral and fishing we’ve come across in our travels.

Having visited three islands in the chain already we were indecisive of where to stop next but found ourselves tucked into the beautiful little treasure that is known as Double Breasted Cay.  Surrounded by the clearest and most tantalizing waters we’ve ever seen, we found out after our first afternoon there that it would be wise to keep out of them.  We were sharing our anchorage with a group of sharks.

You can find the original post here.  To see the post on Picturesque Double Breasted Cay, with more photos of this beautiful anchorage, click here.

Friday April 12, 2013

4.12.13

Even though Buena Vista Cay had been previously described to us as ‘not to miss’, we decided the empty coral heads and lack of challenging walking trails were not enough to keep us there and we hauled anchor once more. Slowly making our way down to Ragged Island and the only settlement of Duncan Town, we thought we’d stop at one more cay on our way since we were in no real rush. Our biggest goal in mind now was not which island held the prettiest beach or a good pit for bonfires, but one that would shelter us from the terrible swells that would constantly rock our boats back and forth all day and all night. One of the days we had been on the radio hailing each other while traveling, we were overheard by another cruising boat a little further south that mentioned they were at Double Breasted Cay along with a few other boats and the swells were not bad there. This boat was now headed toward Hog Cay which is right next to Ragged Island, and we were invited to a beach get together should we decide to continue on the extra 15 miles south. Since we chose to visit the Jumentos and Raggeds mostly for their seclusion, a harbor full of other boats did not sound tempting so we planned to anchor that night at Racoon Cay which is the island just north of Double Breasted. It had a large cove that hooked around and we were sure the swells could not wrap around it and reach us. (I know this sounds like a geography lesson, but these islands are literally within 3-4 miles of each other and I feel the odd need to list them all)

Stephanie had listened to the weather on their SSB that morning, and according to weather guru Chris Parker, winds were supposed to be 17-20 knots out of the east. Coasting under the protection of Buena Vista Cay still (see, there I go again) we did see those light winds, but once out of the shelter, they settled into the 20-25 knots that we had been experiencing all week. This was fine as we were used to it and I still liked the speed that would carry us to our next destination as soon as possible. I should quickly mention here that one of the reasons we also decided on Raccoon Cay was that the harbor was easily accessible from the banks, and since we hadn’t broken our ‘no engine’ streak yet, we didn’t want to mess with all the necessary tacking to get into the impossibly hidden harbor for Double Breasted. Or at least, that’s how it looks on a map when you know it will require at least 18 turns and sail trims to get into it. On our way to our intended anchorage for the night the winds not only picked up to the 25-30 range, but began shifting so that we were pointing further and further into it. Not only did this make it harder to sail, but it also looked as if our spot we had picked out at Raccoon was not looking as protected as we thought it would. With a quick talk on the radio on the radio to Rode Trip we decided that even though it would be tricky to get to, Double Breasted probably would be the best place for us.

Matt and I had already been having issues at this point while sailing where our self tailing winch that was no longer self tailing had gotten the line wrapped in it to the point we had to tighten the line to another source, take apart the winch, free the line, and put it all back together. I was getting to the point that I was happy with our no engine streak, we proved that we could get through multiple days of sailing under sail power alone, but I was ready for it to end if necessary. Stubborn Matt on the other hand was ready to make those 18 tacks if necessary since, as he claimed, ‘What does it matter if it takes an extra hour?, We don’t have any place we need to be.’. Mmmm hmmm. So while we were on tack #4 avoiding a 3 ft sandbar just to our boat north and I accidentally let the line for the traveler slip out of my hand where it flew through the cleat and up on the deck causing the boom to now be permanently stuck on the port side until the line could be retrieved and fed through again (something I tried to do, but was quickly yelled at to get back in the cockpit even though I was on the high side), we decided to stop fighting fate or nature or whatever was causing our bad luck, and turn the engine on after 100 miles and three anchorages without it. The streak was now over.

I was even happier not to be messing with sails once the wind began gusting into the mid 30′s. Even though the mood was a little tense I couldn’t help but look at Matt and say, “I thought that 17-20 knot winds would be a lot less gusty than this. That Chris Parkers’ full of shit man.”. (Do you get the movie quote?) Luckily I was able to wrangle a big smile out of him too. The bay ended up being empty of other boats which was a nice relief to us, and we anchored Serendipity in ten feet of some of the most beautiful water we’ve ever seen. Even though it had been a slightly stressful twelve mile trip, it was still early in the afternoon and we were not ready to spend the rest of the day sitting on the settee and watching tv. Matt and Brian were excited to have new coral heads to check out for fish and Stephanie and I were eager to check out a new beach. The boys set off in one dinghy while us girls took the other, me with an ice cold Sands in my hand since, hey, it had been a stressful morning. Greeting us right on the shore of the beach where we landed the dinghy was a fire pit, but a much better set up than the one we had just used at Buena Vista. This one came complete with wooden benches and logs to sit on, along with a table made of milk crates and decorated with plastic owls. A little out of the norm, but entertaining nonetheless. We hiked a trail while barefooted which was not a good idea, so soon we quarantined ourselves to the sandy beach.

Along the shore were dozens and dozens of conch shells. Nothing new, there were literally hundreds littering the beaches of the last few cays we’d been to, but something about these ones made Stephanie very excited. These ones were not left overs from fishers after a clean with holes in the top of the shell where they had cut the conch away from it. These shells were untouched, as if the conchs were using them as hermit crabs do, willingly leaving a perfectly good one behind to move into a bigger or better one. Soon she was stacking them up in her arms, excitedly claiming that she could make horns from them or save them as gifts for family (sorry if I’ve ruined an early surprise for anyone). It got to the point where they were toppling out of her arms and I thought I might need to have an intervention for her. I’m not sure how it would go, but I think it would start something like “Stephanie, I really care about you…but I think you have a problem”. Scooping up just a couple myself, I mean, I do want a horn too, we piled 10 of them back in the dingy to head back to the ‘Dip, where we intercepted the guys on the way back from their fishing adventure. While we had been safely strolling beaches, albeit Stephanie’s new addiction, the guys regaled us with a tale of how they had a shark encounter while fishing and Brian flew out of the water and onto some rocks while Matt heaved himself back into the dinghy. It hadn’t stopped their fishing adventure though, they just moved to a new spot, and were still able to bring back a good number of fish for cleaning.

Since Brian decided he had too many fish and the lion-fish which was on his spear would probably not make it’s way to the dinner table, he flung it back into the water to let it be eaten by other fish once it’s poison’s had worn off. It hadn’t even been able to float away for five seconds when we saw a dark shadow rush past and snatch it up. It had been moving so fast that although we hadn’t been able to get a good look we assumed it could be nothing other than a shark. Sure enough, as if it knew where it’s last meal just came from, it sped back towards Serendipity and began circling the side we were all standing on. Now we could make out that it definitely was a shark, probably just over two meters long. This being our first encounter, we were all excited to watch it zip around at lightning speeds and dart from one side of the boat to the other. Soon it had a buddy join in and we thought we’d turn it into some kind of dinner theater. With all the fresh fish on the boat that need to be cleaned, we brought out the cutting board and fillet knife, ready to throw the scraps overboard and watch the sharks go at them.

Each time some guts or a head flew into the water the two sharks would race toward the surface and snatch it up before it even had a second to submerge. After the first two fish, we had the bright idea of tying the remaining body of one of our catches to a string and dangling it just off the side of the boat so we could get them to come in even closer and get a really good view of them. Even though the waters in this cove are crystal clear, there is constantly a 10-15 knot breeze blowing through causing ripples on the surface and obscuring anything below. With the string tied around the backbone of the fish and Stephanie and I stationed on each side with our cameras, Matt slowly brought the fish down to the surface of the water. I don’t know why we thought it would be any different than when we threw the scraps 10 feet out from the boat and the sharks still managed to be there within a half second, because this fish had barely touched the water before one of the sharks whizzed by, cutting the string with it’s razor sharp teeth and speeding off with the fish. We all sat there dumbfounded for a second with our mouths agape and thinking ‘Did that just really happen?’. Then we all broke out into a nervous laughter and made jokes about how we were definitely not going to dangle our toes in the water now.

The close up of the shark was enough for us to get a much better look at it and determine that we thought it was a black tipped shark. There actually are a few kinds of sharks in the Caribbean that don’t pay much attention to humans and shouldn’t cause worry, such as nurse sharks and lemon sharks, but black tips are not one of them. They are known to be aggressive and unpredictable. Now that water that had been looking so tantalizing earlier, calling my name to go for some refreshing dips, was now not looking so friendly. The most beautiful bay we’d come across yet in the Bahamas, and now I couldn’t even go for a swim in it. It was somewhat of a happy trade off though, to get to experiencing a couple of sharks up close and personal. They had no intent to leave us alone anytime soon, and so we kept doing whatever we could do to bring them close to the boat, throwing over scraps of lunch meat, leftover lobster and contemplating Georgie (aka: shark bait). I don’t know what their thoughts were on us, but one of the sharks actually did begin to show aggression a few times when it would swim cautiously toward our dinghy that was tied to the stern, and then smack it’s tail against the hypalon side before rushing away. It was then that we decided to call it a night. Brian and Stephanie carefully got back in their dinghy and she was even allowed to choose one of her conch shells to take back to Rode Trip with her. The rest were tossed over board, possibly in the direction that the sharks were still sitting. You know, … just to see what they would do.

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To help you further your geographic education.

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Video: Snorkeling in West End

Friday April 10, 2015

Old Bahama Bay
Holy crap.  This place is spectacular.  I’m serious, if you ever find yourself in West End make sure you come to Old Bahama Bay Marina.  The grounds are gorgeous and the amenities are more than any cruiser could hope for.  Normally we’re just happy for a shower, a wifi connection, and maybe a laundry facility if we’re lucky. This place has hall that and so much more.  A pool surrounded by palm trees; land games like basketball, corn hole, and shuffleboard; free bicycles for touring town; and so many water sports.

Completely free with your stay you get the use of kayaks, paddle boards, and even a hobie cat! (Although the rudder was broken when we were there)  Three of us did take advantage of the paddle boards our first day there as well as used the bicycles to run into town to find a welder for the broken alternator bracket, but today was all about satisfying Bob’s craving for snorkeling.  As soon as he found out their boat would be headed to the Bahamas he went out and purchased all the gear and it was the one thing on his checklist during our stay.

Talking to the friendly staff we found out the best area for snorkeling on the grounds was currently off limit due to rip currents but if we walked down the beach a bit there was a small jetty of rocks that we should still be able to find some fish in.  True to their word, we did find all kinds of little fish in this area and I was even able to follow a sting ray for just a moment.  And to think that Matt and I were worried that we wouldn’t be able to pull our gear out for a whole 9-12 months when we left the Virgin Islands….

I also had the luck of trying out a GoPro for the first time during this little snorkeling adventure.  It wasn’t until we were back at the boat that I was able to look back at the footage and I’ll admit that I may not have always been shooting where I thought I was (for the most part I was wearing it on my head), but it was still fun and I was even able to put together a little video from the footage! I may have been a little slapdash putting it together since I wanted to get it up right away, but I hope you enjoy it.  :)

Other than that, we’ve all been enjoying our time here immensely! The days are beautiful, the company is great, and Joni is an amazing cook that keeps us well fed morning, noon, and night.  This ‘job’ could not have come at a better time and I know we’ll be incredibly sad when it’s time for us to head home. Shamroga stern Shamroga side church West End Bahamas

mosaic window in church

Old Bahama Bay Marina

Old Bahama Bay Marina and Resort

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