Ortolan Cat Floating Resort

View of Monument anchorage from the top of Monument hill. Ortolan is the only cat in the photo

View of Monument anchorage from the top of Monument hill. Ortolan is the only cat in the photo

After returning from Long Island Jan 6 we moved around to a few harbor anchorages, finally landing a great spot off the shore in the Monument Beach section. On the 10th, our son would fly out on the same flight that Cathy, our next guest, would fly in on. We’d hoped to hook up with our favorite island homeowner, Cort, (Carolyn, his other half isn’t being ignored, but she’s home in WA) before he flew home for a few weeks on Sat but site work for the camp house suddenly was in full swing that week. However, Friday the 10th was a new Bahamian holiday, Majority Rule Day and most businesses would close and that included the contractor and his workers. Cort offered his time, boat (which I have dubbed Island Runner), car and rental house and ferried us in, then taxied us to the airport, the market, back to the airport to pick up Cathy and back to the house for lunch and my secret laundry facility.

Customs and Immigration at George Town Airport

Customs and Immigration at George Town Airport

George Town International Airport is small and friendly; more substantial than Black Point yet not as large as Nassau. As we walk up to the door into the terminal, a woman stands holding the door open. “Benjamin Rackliffe?” she queries. If I’d thought faster I could have taken credit for arranging his own personal airline host, because after the flying down ordeal, didn’t he deserve it? Instead the truth was that he was one of two parties who had not checked in online (hey we tried) ahead and since the other one was a party of two, the person walking up had to be Benj. We hung around for a bit as parents are prone to do, then did a publicly acceptable farewell routine (the real mushy one we did earlier on board) before heading off.

One service that cruiser guests provide when they fly home is to take stamped mail and mail it when they get to a U.S., Canadian or where ever home is, mail box. Benj had a package to mail for us (a very special one) along with mail from two other cruisers. It’s an easy and convenient way to get mail out of the Bahamas because if you mail anything from here- kiss it good-bye for two months!

Cathy waits for us at Kermit's Lounge across from the terminal

Cathy waits for us at Kermit’s Lounge across from the terminal

Luncheon feast at Cort's Burger Villa

Luncheon feast at Cort’s Burger Villa

When a guest visits, you wish for the best weather possible and by some miracle Cathy’s 4 ½ days were some of the best so far. She got off to a busy start; we didn’t even let her get settled before our lunch date and tour of Cort’s property.  In true resort fashion though we provided accommodations, equipment, ideas, food, water, sunscreen and let her set the pace and activities. Not sure it’s any surprise that someone still working full-time and in need of relaxing down-time would choose anything but R&R activities- especially those that required slathering on sunscreen.

Cathy views the building site for the camp house

Cathy views the building site for the camp house

Getting up at oh dark thirty to fly then getting dragged around, requires a snooze before dinner

Getting up at oh dark thirty to fly then getting dragged around, requires a snooze before dinner

A beautiful day for a multi-island kayak cruise

A beautiful day for a multi-island kayak cruise

We tested our skills and our memories in playing this game.

We tested our skills and our memories in playing this game. The margaritas were helpful too

As the saying goes, be sure to leave with sand in your shoes.  Hang on to that tan- I say!

Canoe Catch a Cat?

Friends snapped an action shot from shore

Friends snapped an action shot from shore

An area we travel through twice a year is the Upper Indian River/Mosquito Lagoon stretch. Dotted with mangrove islands, Fishing and RV Camps on the west shore, the lagoon is a haven for manatees, egrets, herons, dolphins, osprey and more. Weekends explode with small boats; pontoons, fishing skiffs, kayaks and today, Friday, the speed demon of them all: an outrigger canoe. The day was overcast which was a bummer because the area is so lovely with sunshine.

So we’re just going along around 7kts, faster than usual in order to make our destination and get through the Addison Point Bridge before it closes for rush hour traffic at 3:30. We look over and spot a two person something; they turn around and begin paddling parallel to us. Then they angle toward our stern- me thinks they want a wake to ride, and then they get in right behind us paddling like crazy and we see it’s an outrigger canoe. Oh, this is makes up for lack of sunshine! Of course, photos are required and when I step out on to the stern, the woman in front yells, “we’re from CT too!”

I have her tell – more like shouting- me their email so I can send the pictures. A few minutes later they are still at it; paddling steadily but not aggressively. I think they’ve done this before.

Our stern wake gets a fun second use down the Mosquito Lagoon

Our stern wake gets a fun second use down the Mosquito Lagoon

We pass s/v Snow Goose who gets a kick out of our tiny parade while a short time later I warn our wake paddlers that we’ll be slowing down to allow a motor yacht to pass; a “slow pass” we cruisers call it. The camera goes into Movie mode- I mean after 15 minutes this needs more than a photo or two.

We learn Vicki and Del are visiting her Dad for a long weekend; soon they bid us adieu and head back to their launch location. Damn but that outrigger canoe looked more fun and maybe easier to paddle, than a kayak. A two-person one appeals to me. 🙂 So many possibilities in the small boat category.

Haul out 2013: Day 17- Visitors

Today’s song begins: I heat up, I can’t cool down. My head is spinning ’round and ’round.  Abracadabra! let’s make this heat skedaddle!  This is really yesterday’s song but we were too hot to open the laptop let alone type on it.

A forecasted high of 93 today fortunately did not materialize and how nice that a cooling breeze did.

Now for visitors; first the unwanted. While we are not getting the interesting critters that One White Tree (crossing the Pacific) finds on their deck most mornings in the form of tiny squid and flying fish, we do have those overly active birds, beetles (it’s that hot season) and other winged things, primarily at night. Flies check us out during the day and some even live to tell about it.  We also find tiny ant-like things with teeny wings; they like a bit of shade so we find them tucked under the hem of the Sunbrella, under the lines or in a corner of the stern steps. I attack them with Fantastic and so far the army has not grown appreciably.

Good visitors come in two sizes: adult and child. The adult ones are other boat owners, most of whom are working on their boats too, just all not living 24/7 on the hard as yours truly. They stop by to chat about progress or lack thereof, or in Mark’s case, he brings us 1 liter bottles of red wine. Red- see you don’t have to chill it to enjoy it. Something a boater with cruising plans would be tuned into.

Last week we enjoyed a visit from a friend and her two fantastic children; the youngest people (the kids) ever aboard. Now granted they (and I’m talking about the kids) know about camping, tractors, kayaks and attend summer camps with small boats, but their knowledge about the boat’s systems and how things worked was amazing.  Most the questions, and I fielded a boatload, were not of the “what does this do?” variety. In many cases the oldest told me what things did. They moved around the boat (ah, to be so young) like monkeys; inquisitive and observant. Full of knowledge to share; they did. I received intelligent and thoughtful answers to the “where would you find”, “where does XYZ come from” and “what does this look like” questions I posed to them as we inspected Ortolan inside and out.  The exclamations of “oh this is SO cool” and “you are SO lucky” gave a boost to our flagging morale.

Our youngest, coolest and most excited visitors ever!

Our youngest, coolest and most excited visitors ever!

Our next visitors are Benj and Lily who are driving down for a short visit with family and hopefully a two family brunch out before they head back to VT. Can’t wait to see you!

Today’s Stats:

Total fluid oz consumed by both: 128 (less than Tues)

Highest temp displayed: 90 (97.5 WSUN- your summer hot hits radio station on Tues)

Flies demise: 6

Fowl Weather Days

Swan and goslings

Come along now, practice looking pretty.

Ducks, swans, cormorants and delightful swifts entertain us daily and we are joyful that the lazy days of summer have fully blossomed. The moon has followed suit, rising each night lately by 8:45 with a golden full moon off our stern on July 14.  We saw fireflies…- how often does one spot those tiny flickering dots of “oh to be a kid again” light? We’d walked into town (my idea ) for ice cream and the return trip had us oo-ing and ah-ing as we spied a plethora of Photinus dancing in the bushes about 4 ft from the sidewalk- the perfect firefly hangout and party zone!

Life is good at home base. The only reason the lines are not becoming an integral part of the dock is that a couple weeks ago we turned around so that the “other side” could be waxed. Our pre-arrival visions of completing projects before enjoying the fun stuff have been clouded over with more stuff to work on and the upcoming annual haul-out.

So, perhaps you are thinking- “well, they will get to move the boat over the water, farther than the fuel dock!” True. Already determined the tide will be against us and in my mind this allows for beautiful weather because that would only be fair. Will be our first logistical nightmare of living on the hard; suffice to say we’re “dealing with it” except for Benj who, always up for an adventure, finds the positive aspects. Stay tuned for updates soon.

We join up with Ortolan

Our first in water view

We missed launch day, but arrived at  Broad Cove Marina 2 days later for our first time afloat & our first time sleeping aboard. Launch day happened to coincide with our 20th wedding anniversary so we had plenty to celebrate.
After unloading the packed-full Explorer, we set about to perform the all important naming ceremony and thus, christened Ortolan with enough bubbly while still leaving plenty for us.
Lunch was a delicious surprise of hot lobster rolls smuggled in by Russ and obtained from Lobster Landing in Clinton, CT- they are delicious (the lobster must be from Maine) and the rolls are unlike any other.
Dick met us at 3pm, filled up the water tanks (136 gals) and gave us a tour of electronics, switches and all sorts of foreign-sounding stuff that we need to learn and remember.
We took a very short jaunt from the dock to the mooring, with a flawless performance by Captain Russ and Dick got us snug on in no time. The weather was still cooperating, so after a dinghy run, we applied the name and hailing port to the portside stern steps, taking the requisite plethora of photos.
We prepped for a chilly night; the forecast called for cold, rainy and the same for Saturday with extra wind added for good measure. Personally, I was happy that we did not know the temperature, but we were prepared with several blankets, multiple clothing layers and plenty of hot food and beverages.
A tasty and favorite breakfast of coconut french toast was memorably enjoyed in the galley, using the corner of the queen bunk for a table.
Russ picked up Dick at the dock at 9am and we motored down the Medomak a short ways, deftly avoiding lobster pots and enjoying the rare sighting of a seal “porpoise-ing” close by. We decided it was likely a seal that Russ saw very early in the morning, gliding through the water.
Once securely back on our mooring, it was time for the dinghy drill; affectionately named thus during our Abaco Maine Cat charter. The process is no less than 10 carefully orchestrated steps designed to align and hoist the dinghy on to its form fitting chocks by means of a bridle and various maneuvers that I can’t begin to name, but will soon know like the back of my hand. Practice will make perfect.
The weather deteriorating and with no way to ward off the cold, we decided to pack up and head home. This would be accomplished by only one trip in with the dinghy and by not leaving it at the dock unattended until our return.  How did we do it?  The Captain is known for planning ahead, so…. we brought our inflatable kayak and Russ used it to get from the boat to the dock. Lucky move, as the marina was deserted. Did I mention it’s a working marina, not one of pleasure boats, but a fair amount of lobster boats.

Our first look-see

Our long-awaited Maine Cat factory visit exceeded expectations. The dinghy did not fall off the car, the weather was beautiful, the B&B delightful and Dick welcomed us to a clean and busy operation where our boat was front and center.
We got to see the guts of hull 21, with plenty of wiring behind the scenes that will be covered up by lockers, bookcases and equipment. We measured for lettering, rugs and dinette cushions, with our son providing sketches for future reference.
Two very impressive P-47s were under construction next to us; no- not even tempted, although they are beautiful and loaded with every comfort.
Our trip home was eventful. We stopped to collect a few birch logs to enhance our fireplace as the house was going on the market in two weeks; detoured to Boothbay for lunch and a view, then 20 mins from home our car broke down. Any surprise that the male reaction differed considerably from the female?
Managed to get to a service garage and called a taxi. Still wonder what the mechanics thought about the birch logs in the car.

Maine Cat factory

Inside cockpit, looking forward