Abaco Bahamas. Too much sand, too much fog, too much beer.

I idled into the fog  and almost broadsided a dark blue sloop. We were within a few feet of the passing boats and I could see ours ahead.

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We sailed into Abaco not realizing that it was so shallow. When the depth indicator started beeping and I could see the shadow of the sail on the bottom, the time to relax was over. My boat has a 5′-8″ keel which cuts into the wind very nicely. It does however require a little studying of the tide tables when coming ashore. It was an hour or so after lunch, and my first mate had located an interesting place to drop the hook and spend the night. Ahead, was a sandbar that extended into the path of my present tack. I played the strong wind like a game of chess. Tighten the sails, pull tighter into the wind… adjust for a shift in the wind… get it back… almost there… almost dead into the wind! CRUNCH!

We ran aground on what my navigator identified as Porgee Rock. I quickly started the diesel, left the sails full for the keel angle, and by some miracle… backed it out. The sails were whipping back and forth and I released the tension from the main sheet and furled the head sail. We motored into deeper water. (Not a lot deeper.) We dropped the anchor, fixed an overdue lunch, and took a long nap.

I didn’t want to be sitting out here overnight, so I motored toward a big red and white light-house. “This is Hopetown.” said my first-mate, “It says the channel is 6′ deep at low tide. We should have no problem since we are mid-tide.”

“Good enough.” I stayed in the darker water until I was on a lineup approach to the channel. I idled slowly watching to stay in the deepest areas. The channel was narrow with no room to reverse course. Passing a boat leaving the harbor would be really tight. About the time I was standing at the helm, leaning from the bimini to see the full lighthouse… CRUNCH! The boat was still moving but was cutting a trench in the soft sand bottom. I revved the diesel and continued pushing. The water became deeper and I came around the curve toward the bay. There were only a few boats in the bay so I found a comfortable spot, dropped the hook, and let the chain run out until I felt the anchor grab. We secured the sails, put a snubber on the anchor chain, and dropped the RIB into the water. We took the dinghy to the south side and walked on the small roads into a residential area. A small boy walked beside us and kept looking at the tall American with a beard. I glanced down and saw a bent piece of wood that he was carrying like a gun.

“What is that?” I asked
“It’s my gun!”
“GUN!” I put my hands up. “What are you going to do with a gun?”
“Shoot you!” He laughed.
“If you try to shoot me… I’ll have to put you in jail.”
The boy was confused and looked at me for a while. “Sir… what is a jail?”

While we continued walking, we talked to a few other people… adults… and found in fact they didn’t have a jail. On the way back to the boat, we saw what looked like a large shed. Inside was a gulf-cart fully outfitted for fire-fighting. On the glass of the door it said. “In case of fire, get the keys from the grocery across the street.”

Safely back on the boat, we took another nap and woke as the sun was setting. More sailors had anchored around us and we could hear laughter from a bar on the docks. We grabbed our money, a few towels for the dinghy, and all of our old paperbacks to trade for new ones. We headed for the dock.

We walked into the bar and found a table along the wall. Several people had ordered before us, so we had several drinks before our food arrived. We ate, talked, laughed, and yelled across the bar at a Canadian captain that was making jokes about Americans. More drinks were served and we sat picking at our Dirty Bird Pie.

It was late. Anyone with family was already gone. We paid the tab, picked up our cloth bag of paperbacks, and checked to make sure the keys were still in my pocket. Normally, when we return to the boat, we have to sort through the tangled knots of 10 or 15 dinghies to find ours. Tonight there were only two or three. The bar lights illuminated the dock, but out in the mooring area a thick fog had settled.

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I motored slowly toward the fog. The masts of the sailboats looked like a forest of dead trees. The rotating light of the lighthouse gave us a short glimpse of the hulls shrouded below them.

“David?”
“Yeah.”
“I have to pee.”
“Good grief! You couldn’t have taken care of that at the bar?”
“I didn’t have to pee at the bar. Hurry up.”

I idled into the fog  and almost broadsided a dark blue sloop. We were within a few feet of the passing boats and I could see ours ahead. I went past the stern, flipped the outboard to do a 180 deg. turn and brought it to a stop against the scoop like a pro. While I tied off, Ayrn left everything on the dinghy and jumped onto the sailboat. I started gathering up the books, the towels, and a pair of heels.

“David.” She whispered.
“What?”
“Is this our boat?” Her eyes were wide open, and her sobriety had returned. I glanced down at the name on the transom. About that time…

“HEY, I HAVE A GUN!”

“Shit!” Both of us started laughing and as she fumbled back into the dingy, I started the motor and got away from that, boat. We cruised up and down the mooring field, from one boat to the next, reading all of the names and laughing. We finally found ours. By the time I got out of the head, Ayrn was already asleep.

We decided to spend another day in Hopetown and have dinner in the bar again the following night.

The music was loud, the voices were loud, and the Heineken was flowing. “YEAH! Last night some drunk sailor came aboard my boat after midnight and pissed in my cockpit.”

Ayrn and I just smiled across the table.

 

#Islands #Sailing #Transportation #Bar #Hopetown #Weather #Aground #Drunk #Bahamas #Lighthouse #Adventure #Boat #Vacation

The KoKo Plant. A pomeranian with roots.

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The KoKo Plant

A Pomeranian with roots.

I was walking through the woods and noticed a small dog ahead of me sitting on the ground. It was KoKo! She looked hurt. I walked over to her to find that she was buried from the shoulders down in the ground.

Something didn’t look right. Her eyes were seeing me, but not moving and focusing as fast as they normally did.
“How did you get buried in the dirt?” I said to her. She turned her head away from me as I rubbed her ears.
“Something is weird here.” I was starting to get concerned and reached down to the side of her head and raised her lip. She had her normal white teeth. Her eyes slowly moved down to see what I was doing. The ground around her had not been disturbed, and leaves had drifted against her body. I started poking around in the dirt to see how deeply she was buried.
“What the Hell!” I started digging with both hands trying to find her legs as she watched me in silence. After getting a ditch dug all around her I realized there was no biological body below the dirt.
“What has happened to you girl?” I grabbed her shoulders and gently lifted her out of the ground.

 “ROOTS! She has roots!”

She continued watching me and acted as if she felt no pain. I wrapped moist dirt and leaves around her roots, gently held it all together in my arms, and slowly walked back to the house. When she saw the house come into view she tilted her head back and licked my face.

    I found a towel, wrapped the roots, and set her in the kitchen sink while I hunted for the right sized flower pot.
“That one’s nice. It is not too heavy and has handles on the sides” I planted her in it with some premium potting soil, a shot of Mericle Grow, and set her by the glass patio door. I heard a tiny growl.
“Oh yeah girl! There are your squirrels!”
“Woof… Woof!”
Later on that evening I moved her over by the couch while we were watching TV.
“Here’s a potato chip KoKo.”
Crunch, Crunch, Crunch.
I poured my melted ice into her pot.
“Bedtime!” I said as usual.
I saw her ears tweak up, so I picked her pot up and set it in the middle of the bed, and went to sleep.

 

(This is an actual dream) #dog #animals #Nature #Dream #Pomeranian #Author #Sleep

Insomniac in Jamaica

An affordable Caribbean hideaway for the creative traveler.

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I am a writer and cabinet maker. I travel when I can and often include my vacation experiences in my books. Although my first Jamaican experience was not what I hoped, I’m sure that other travelers with different ideals of fun… may love it. I’m not into bars and drugs and am pulled more toward nature, the ocean, and honest interaction.

I had never been to Jamaica. I rented this little house at Rhodes Hall Plantation. The owner is also a woodworker and has his shop behind my house. This patio, with a big round table, is at a vantage point where I can see all of the activity on the property and miles out into the ocean. It is covered, so even in the rain I can sit out here with my laptop and produce a few more pages.

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Right now, (Feb 18, 2019), I am working on my next three books, Longue Duree’ I, II, & III. They were written in Florida USA, where my sailboat lives at present. While sitting on this porch, I wrote Insomniacs, which still resides in this hard-drive. I love writing, but there is so much more to it. Editing, Beta-readers, the real-editor, marketing, marketing, marketing…  It takes a lot of the fun out of it. I have been off work, (I also build yacht interiors), and am returning to work tomorrow. While nursing my double-hernia back to a safe spot, I created some imaginative advertising that will start surfacing as the books become available. Follow my site, and let me know what you think as they appear.

“JAMAICA! OH yes, we’re talking about Jamaica.”

I was actually not that impressed with Jamaica. The nature aspect is a phenomenal credit to our creator, but some of the natural inhabitants ruined it for me. There were some that were exceptions, but in general I described it as “Dawn of the dead” walking the streets in search of tourists, hands outstretched in front, moaning, “Give me money.” Any time I was outside of the plantation, there was an angle being played to get tourist money. Not in a free-trade manner, but attempting to apply pressure or fear into the tourist as they put their hands on you trying to push you to an area where their scam could be deployed. The smiling faces in the markets were good as long as you were spending money, but if you walked past and did not spend money in their shop, the expressions changed and the poor, poor me was vocalized loudly. When I left the airport, rented a car, and headed along the coast, there were areas that traffic became congested and locals on bikes would ride beside the car asking you to put the window down. Their angle was telling the insecure driver that he was going the wrong way. Regardless where you were going, it was the next left, which routed you into an area saturated with tourist trinkets.

Even the Police were on the take. I popped over a hill and the speed limit suddenly dropped to 35. Before I could reduce the speed, the radar cop aimed the gun at me and another cop waived me off the road. They went through my ID, ask what I did, where I lived, and how much money I made. They had my passport and were running it while I went back to my car and had the woman with me start filming video on my conversations. After they asked me how much cash I had on me, I started writing down their names. What I had wasn’t enough, so they wanted my passenger’s cash too. “NO!” I told them “Write me up! I’ll see you in court!” I was getting very angry, and no longer hiding it. They talked among themselves and decided to give everything back and told me to slow down.

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I Imagine that if you stay in the cruise ship areas and don’t explore outside of the walls of the fabricated paradise, you would love it here. But then, we have Disney World in Florida.

Rhodes Hall Plantation keeps calling me back. If I do return, I will just plan on spending my time in this natural sanctuary, producing another book, or even do a painting with all of the bright colors and panoramic sunsets that are common here. They also have a bay that has a healthy coral reef, a shipwreck, and even a downed plane. They own the property around it, so it remains private. It is almost a farm, with horses, peacocks, goats, and cats roaming freely.

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Sometimes, I cooked at the house, but usually I would walk up the mountain to the open-air restaurant. The chef cooked my breakfast every morning. As I left, he would ask me what I wanted for dinner and I enjoyed his creations with backdrops such as the one above. On the way to breakfast, I took the shot below with a cel-phone.

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As things change in the airline industry, my travel preference leans more toward the slower and more rewarding method known as, my sailboat. For a writer, it fuels my data base of exchanged stories and the experiences that are inevitable when nature and mechanical failure find their way into your pages. Leaving the U.S. this time, I bought my first… super cheap… ticket. I reasoned that Jamaica wasn’t that far so I could do without the luxuries and add some money to my publicity account.  What I hadn’t considered was that tickets that cheap would be flooded with other budget minded persons.

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Many of us sat in the floors for hours. On the plane, the seats were tight. Your knees were in the back of the person ahead of you, and if you wanted to work on your laptop, it was too close to focus on the screen. They did not recline and seemed to lean a bit forward. Fortunately, we all had the same problems and worked together with smiling faces. We were going on vacation… not working. Customs was a little different too. I suspect it is the way all systems will eventually go. Instead of collecting stamps in your passport, we are now furnished a little piece of paper with our black & white photo and information on it. You keep it in your passport during your vacation. It is all processed through a Kiosk and actual human help is only there if you get confused.

I’m sure some of you at this point have questioned if I travel alone. Never. Due to keeping a professional appearance in her career, and avoiding letting her office find out she hangs out with me, I keep her out of my posts. She too, is an experienced sailor, diver, and Caribbean traveler, shown here examining another of the Chef’s creations.

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Somewhere in this blog, is an article I did about the island of Nevis. I loved Nevis and hope that Big Money doesn’t move in too fast. It has been several years since I went to St. Croix. (I used to live there.) I will be returning in May and June. Follow this blog for my reports from the U.S. Virgin islands.

Arachnid Crunchitus

 

I am up every morning at four-thirty. Today, I got ready, loaded my lunch box, and went out to my Nissan Pickup sitting in the driveway. It was a moonless morning, so I moved through the darkness by a trickle of porch-light. I sat my lunch in the passenger seat, reached across my left shoulder, and grabbed the seat belt. When I pulled, I heard a crunch sound and it stopped half-way to the latch. I let it retract and pulled again… crunch! I did it a few more times and each ended with the same crunch.

I turned on the overhead light and looked at the seatbelt’s roller attached to the door post. On my side of the roller was four or five big spider legs. Goose bumps shot down my body as I released the belt, opened the door, and prepared for war with this huge spider.

I never found it. It either dropped onto the driveway, was somewhere in the items behind my seat, or was making his way under the seat to attack my legs as I drove. I felt… things, on my legs and arms all the way to the shop, only to find, nothing.

My truck has the little vents on the top of the side windows. You can leave the windows down about an inch, and the afternoon rains do not saturate the interior. I suspect that a spider of that size crawled in through that opening. The shop is basically in a swamp area, on a channel, that goes out to the big water. I will be cleaning the interior out thoroughly today.

#Insect #Spider #Bug #Cabinetry #Florida #Swamp #Nature #Travel #Writer #Transportation

 

The Island of Nevis. Research for my next three books.

Through his prolonged life, and several wives, he escaped to a home in Nevis, in all three books.

Basseterre, St. Kitts, was quiet first thing in the morning. It was humid, 85 deg. and we stopped at an open air bar for a cold soda. The shops displayed all of the same tourist products that you see all through the Caribbean, and at 10am we were still walking with empty hands.

A few minutes later, the gates were opened for the cruise ships and the cattle hit the grazing grounds. We waddled through the lines of the shops and heard similar sales pitches in each one. I am a sailor, with my own boat. I usually avoid tourist areas and drop my anchor away from the cruise ships. Here, the economy survives on tourism. Four Seasons Resort employs 10,000 of the Kitticians. I like to find the islands that have not been corrupted by the desire for wealth. I have lived on other islands only to watch cable TV, and tourism, turn a peaceful society into roving gangs and drug dealers. It is still years out for St. Kitts, but they are on that path. The outside force… and big dollar investors, are already here.

All of the original people of the island were very nice, sociable, and honest. Many times in the exchange of East Caribbean Dollars to US Dollars, they were quick to inform me that I had overpaid. The taxi fee from the hotel into town was only $12.00 US. Most of the shops in the tourist areas seem to be owned by Asian investors. I am a watch collector, and used to cut gemstones, so I can appreciate the quality and knowledge that they bring to the business. Tourists from the cruise ships are still overpaying even after they haggle for several minutes. In Nevis, and I suspect, St. Kitts, you must invest $400,000 to live here. That may be the smart move that saves them.

This woman, at Newcastle pottery in the mountains of Nevis, had formed all of her creations from Nevis clay. When she is satisfied with her work, it is fired behind the building in coconut husks. I bought the piece below for $18.00

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When I lived in St. Croix, I usually had my breakfast on the boardwalk in Christiansted. It was an open air restaurant and I poured some water into a bowl, dissolved a few packets of sugar in it, and the banana birds came from all directions. One time, I had eight birds fluttering around the sugar water. This piece reminded me of that. In the picture, it is on my coffee table in Florida with the left-over EC coins in it.

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I buy coffee cups everywhere I go. What can I say?

Below, I am at the stern of the ferry, with St. Kitts in the background.

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At last, I am walking up the dock toward town. Good vibes here.

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The main purpose of this vacation was to get a break from the fifty-six hour weeks I’m working now. I build cabinetry for 70′ yacht interiors. Each night when I return to my home, I add about 4 hrs a night for my writing, and advertising. (Such as this).

The strangest thing about this vacation was that Nevis / St. Kitts, were the safe havens for the main character in my next three books. As Louis refined a chemical that embellished and extended his life, he became prosecuted by the elite wealthy, politicians, and pharmaceutical companies. He became wealthy and the demand exceeded the supply. Through his prolonged life, and several wives, he escaped to a home in Nevis, in all three books. Nevis is a sovereign country and a safe haven for wealth. I had never been there and had done all my research on the internet.

In my books, Louis played chess with an old island man in the square by the police station. The old man named Charles had never been beat. I went up to a security guard at a bank and described my park. He pointed up the road and told me where to find it. I told him about the book. He said there was a man that played chess and checkers there, and is never beat… but his name is not Charles.

It was so strange to be walking through the pages of my books. They are all three finished, and presently being edited. Watch for Longue Duree’ I, II, III.

longueduree123I used to live in St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands. I will be there in May and June this year. The alley in book 1, where the original chemical was acquired, is in Christiansted, St. Croix. I will hire a photographer and shoot the alley at night. I remember the alley from many years ago. I hope no one has remodeled it. Book 1 is being edited now.

#Nevis #StCroix #USVI #Sailing #Romance #Travel #Murder #Florida #Pharmaceutical #trilogy #Medical #FountainOfYouth #Health #Youth #Yacht #WestPalmBeach

The beginning of my dragonfly experience.

Some of you know about my history with dragonflies. They’re attracted to me every year.

Lately, they are back. I have had at least one visit every day for the last two weeks. Most of them, flutter around, unbalanced by cobwebs from the ceiling in the shop, and come to my workbench for help. I hold them down in the palm of my hand and carefully pull the cobwebs from their legs, wings and tails. I always calmly talk to them as I work and take them outside and release them. Everyone at the shop makes fun of me, but also wonders why they only go to me. Personally, I wonder too?

Monday, I was pushing a large cart back from the vacuum table. I had just taken some doors over to the other room, glued them up with veneer, and applied the negative pressure on the table. On the way back to my workbench, a dragonfly kept fling ahead of me erratically. Up and down, back and forth, and finally landing on my rolling table directly in front of me, I laid my hand over him and continued to my bench. I made the repairs to his wings, etc., and released him.

Tuesday, I went back to the same room, and was returning to my area. A dragonfly, with the same erratic flight problems, flew a foot or two ahead of my face for several steps.

“Having a few navigational problems?” I asked aloud. I held out my hand and it clumsily landed in the palm of my hand.

I about lost it.“HEY! CHECK THIS OUT!” I yelled. I did repairs and released this one. Everyone laughed and joked about the dragonfly whisperer.

Today… Friday, I found a big one under my bench, covered in webs. It was the biggest one this year. Again, I fixed him up and released him. Every year, the dragonflies come to me. I feel honored, but confused.

Now… everyone in the shop talks to them too. I hear them all the time.

“HE’S OVER THERE!” and they point.

tumblr_ntj2v2qm8d1qh41oao1_1280#Dragonfly #Damsel #Cabinetry #Carpenter #Travel #Florida #Insect #Nature

A Yacht Cabinet Maker’s Dragonfly Experience

We joked about him all morning and started calling him George.

When not writing, I build cabinets for a local yacht company.

Yesterday morning, a cold front came into Florida. It was 65 deg at my workbench when I unlocked at 5:45 am. I sat my coffee on the toolbox and noticed a large dragonfly hanging on the side by my clamps. I moved around him all morning as I worked, sometimes within inches, and he just watched me and occasionally moved himself around.

We joked about him all morning and started calling him George. After lunch the temperature was near 70 and George had left. About 3:30, George came back with a friend. His friend had cobwebs tangled on his wings and tail, and I cleared the webs and released him. They both flew into the upper level of the huge shop, and I suppose they plan to stay warm in here… until tomorrow.

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I was building this cedar cabinet for a 70′ yacht.

#dragonfly #cabinetry #insects #woodworking #yacht #Florida #WordPress #author #writer