Month: July 2016

Music from the soul

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This morning we woke to another beautiful day, and met Dan Zwerg and his group (sailingthebahamas.com) out on the road to wait for our ride. They are such a fun group of people. Loving, happy and non judgmental. There were 19 of us in all.

Glade and Aidan practiced their super special skateboard skills while we waited.

Our group was transported to a church where all the children would meet us, in 2 vehicles, a van and a pick up. We took the pick up and the creatures loved their ride in the back.

When we walked in, beautiful little Bahamian faces were smiling curiously, excited for the days activities. We immediately began interacting with the children and watched their beautiful faces light up from the attention.

We talked, teased, arm wrestled, showed inquisitive little munchkins the camera, and soaked in their sweetness.

Glade plays the trumpet and taught some of the kids some tricks to help them play the trumpet, and he taught Aidan a few things too.

Dan and his group taught children how to play saxophone, clarinet, trombone, trumpet, recorder and drums and they sounded great.

Chad helped fix a guitar, and Marci and I helped serve snack and drinks at different times.

I played with this little guy who was very curious with my camera.

At one point Chad and Marci and I stepped outside for a few minutes to breathe in our beautiful surroundings. Right next to the church is a quaint little cemetery.

By the end of the day, Dan had the kids playing some fantastic songs.

Many have asked how they can help. If you have instruments you’re not using and want to donate them to Dan’s humanitarian efforts. You can reach him from his blog at sailingthebahamas.com. They are especially in need of clarinets and saxophones.

This afternoon we returned to the boat and after all the creatures from both boats interacted they came up with the bright idea of hunting for conch then bringing them to me to make conch fritters. Mycah returned with 4 conch, and i kept to my end of the deal too, and made a huge batch of fritters. Everyone gathered on Tanda Malaika to eat, and when a swift rain storm broke out we all fit inside.

I am so tired tonight after a wonderful day. I will dream of sweet little angels playing lullabies to me on the instruments they’ve learned to play.
Tomorrow we will leave here and travel to Great Isaac Cay where the haunted lighthouse stands.

Bimini

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Today has been a blast and a half. This morning we lounged around the boat for a while and then sat conversing on the stern. I was eating a mango, trying not to make a mess, when I saw what I thought was a young whale shark, off the port side of the boat. In my excitement, I yelled “shark’ as I sprinted across the stern deck from starboard to port, and flung myself in a graceful dive, with my swimsuit cover up still on, off and into the water. As I dove down I realized that everything was blurry and that I wasn’t wearing a mask, so I surfaced to ask someone to throw me one. Everyone had a look of confusion on their faces and I told them I saw a whale shark as they threw me the mask. I dove down once again and saw a large dark form in the distance and swam toward it to find it was a massive bull shark swimming away from me. I told the creatures to watch for it, and I swam out again trying to find it. When I couldn’t find it, I asked Jude to throw me a plastic water bottle, which I dove down with and squeezed it in my hands, causing it to make a crackling/crunching sound. This sounds like bones crushing to the sharks and they come in to investigate, and the bull shark did, and watched me from a distance then left once again. What a thrill it is to see these beautiful creatures in the sea.

We pulled up anchor and motored in to Bimini. Danny and I have texted back and forth and we’d looked on weather forecast apps, and it looked like a big storm is coming in on Tuesday and Wednesday. We thought the smartest thing to do would be to dock at a marina in Bimini – especially since we wanted to help Dan Zwerg (sailingthebahamas.com) and his crew with humanitarian work. The wind was blowing like crazy and Chad took the helm and like a ninja, docked us perfectly right where we wanted to be. It was right next to Dan’s boat.

The Creatures headed for the beach while Chad, Marci and I walked into town to take care of customs and immigration paperwork. Bimini is an interesting little town. Marci walked with the cutest little boy for a minute.

Being a big jeep fan, I love the police cars here.

$420 later we were done with all the check in paperwork and walked over to the beach to see if we could find the creatures. It was such a beautiful sight when we passed over the top of the hill and saw the paradise below us.

We walked along the beach and found tons of sea glass and shells.

It wasn’t long before we found our sweet creatures, who were loving their beach time, so we joined them in the water.

When we finally walked back to the boat, Sierra and Emma sorted through their treasures at the stern table.

The rest of the afternoon and evening was spent relaxing, listening to Mycah and Sierra sing, and chatting with Dan, his lovely daughter, and their crew.

After dinner, the wind picked up and beautiful big cloud formations towered over us, so we figured it was time to prep the boat for the possible storms. Everything was tied down and stowed.

A full moon rose over the water, and creatures from Dan’s boat migrated over to interact.

It was so fun to listen to them converse, making each other laugh. What an amazing group of creatures!

While they were all chatting I decided to run the bilge pumps, and found that the port side was not working. I opened up the floor boards to find a little more water than I’d like to see, and tried trouble shooting it to figure out what the problem was. Before long i had both Chad and Dan helping me, and they figured out that the bilge pump had died, which means I will need to purchase a new one tomorrow.

I am so grateful to Chad and Dan for their help. It is 2:15 am now and in 6 hours and 45 minutes we will be meeting Dan and his crew to go over to help them out. I’d best get some much needed beauty sleep!

The road to Atlantis

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This morning we enjoyed a beautiful church service, then spent time relaxing in each others company. We decided that a good activity for today, (after the creatures visited SS Sapona one more time), would be to sail over to the North side of Bimini and check out a dive site the the girls read about. It’s called the Bimini Road and some think it may perhaps be the road to Atlantis. I told the creatures that we were on a top secret mission and we had to be really cautious. That all sorts of snipers and government groups would be watching and to suspect everything as a danger – even sea cucumbers. When ever a boat passed I told them it was probably the FBI watching us. When the creatures tried laughing or smiling at me because I was being goofy I told them this was no laughing matter and we had to be really serious. Hush hush. Top secret.

On the way, Glade and Marci each caught a fish. Glade threw his back since it was small, and Marci had no choice because as she was reeling hers in, it was attacked by a greedy shark!

The water was a bit stirred up so visibility wasn’t great, but we dove the area and found it quite interesting geologically. Large flat rocks – some the size of a vw bug, lay neatly in a line, the same distance apart, for a long stretch in a ‘J’ pattern.Here are pictures of Aidan and Mycah diving down over some of the rocks…

Several times I swam through a lazy school of snapper, who were very patient with me interfering their zen moment, and once again a barracuda came to say hello.

Mycah is the queen of bubble rings.

Some of the creatures decided to brave the hot afternoon and set out on an expedition to check out the beach. They loved it and collected all sorts of shells. Thank you to Sierra for these awesome photos.

Marci made a delicious meal which we all sat around the stern salon table and enjoyed together, then we chatted and laughed till we were too tired to any longer, and retired for the night. Tomorrow we will try to find Dan Zwerg and his group ( sailthebahams.com) to help with their humanitarian work here in Bimini.

Return to the SS Sapona

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Everyone enjoyed a restful nights sleep and in the morning while all were still in dreamland, I went for an hour swim. A huge ornery looking Barracuda followed me the whole time and several graceful stingrays glided by beneath me. A bright blue school of blue tang swam in perfect time along the reef where old worn down conch shells lay – rolling back and forth in the sand. When I returned the Creatures were getting ready for an adventure to the lighthouse after a swim over the reef. As Marci and Chad and I sat at the stern watching them, we often heard excited phrases like, “come look here guys, there are two sharks,’ or “wow, look at this stingray.” We love it.

The expedition to the lighthouse was a hit, and they allowed me to use their GoPro photos.

When we were all ready, we pulled up anchor and set sail for the SS Sapona. A concrete hulled ship, wrecked during a hurricane just outside of Bimini. We caught a swift wind and sailed at a speed of over 10 knots.

Everyone loved exploring her worn down body and the Creatures made their way to the top and jumped 50ft down to the water below. It’s a magical place. The Creatures told me that they saw some iguanas on the wreck and I didn’t believe them until they came back with documented evidence.

During the course of the morning Chad finished installing the scuba rack. He was on a moving platform, working with a moving target, and impressed us all with his skills.

We only had one casualty, and our trusty nurse, Marci, had her fixed up in no time at all.

Marci laughed at me at one point during the day because Emma came to the boat after being in the water and told me to look at her hands. They were stained purple, so i asked, “Emma did you play with a squid and get inked again?” Marci thought it was really funny that that is a question I would even have to ask my kids. It’s part of everyday life for us on Tanda Malaika! You just never know….

Aidan has an interesting hair situation going on. He brushed hi hair out and ended up with a hilarious fro, so he put funky glasses on and a groovy sign. There’s never a dull moment!

We loved our day of exploring and are so excited for church tomorrow and then whatever else Sunday brings.

Freedom!!!

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Leaving the Harbour Towne Marina was so exhillerating! We untied from the dock and navigated through the waterways, making our way closer to open water, and as the minutes passed more and more crew on the boat woke up and gathered on the bow to watch. We were all so excited, but none of us showed the excitement as much as Jude!! She just couldn’t contain herself!!

Finally we reached the last of the red and green markers and turned to starboard, headed in a south east direction to Gun Key, Bahamas. A small rainbow marked it’s stamp of joy and approval in the sky just above Fort Lauderdale, as the wind and current hit us right on our nose.

Marci decided she didn’t like the way the Bonine (motion sickness medication) made her feel – she was groggy all day and would have done fine without it. Everyone was so relaxed and happy that there were bodies taking naps sprawled all over all day long.

Chad and the boys set the fishing lines and caught a small Cero at one point, and set him free to grow some more, Jude wandered around and helped at the helm and kept exclaiming how happy she was!

We raised the main (Chad did a god job raising it manually as far as he could) but were headed into the wind, and a couple times tried the jib, which looks so great after the work they did on it, but for the most part just relied on the engines.

After about 10 hours we yelled Land Ho, as Bimini, Cat Cay and Gun Key lay across the horizon, and a US Coast Guard boat slowly made its way back and forth, patrolling the area.

Since the windlass is out of commission, Chad, Jude, Aidan and Emma prepped the anchor chain and when we were ready, used their muscle to set it. Our new 88 lb Rochna anchor bit into the sand and held Tanda Malaika tight, and Mycah came barreling from stern to bow and launched herself off into the water. Before we knew it, everyone forgot that it was dinner time and we were all immersed in the coolness of the ocean.

While swimming around we saw several nurse sharks, one of which had 3 hooks in its mouth. Poor thing. We also saw several sting rays and all sorts of reef fish. It felt SO GOOD for us mermaids/mermen to finally be back in the water. Even as I write right now, a Spotted Eagle Ray is gliding around off the starboard side below me.

We enjoyed a big Taco Salad and Key Lime Pie for dinner in the stern salon and I got to talk to my love, who landed safely in Taipei. I worry about him going to France but he keeps reassuring me that he will be fine.

It wasn’t long after some of the crew played ‘spoons’ that everyone was sound asleep in their berths, gently being rocked by the beautiful Bahamian water. A new adventure begins….

Finally!!!

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Yesterday we discovered that the windlass has given up the ghost. Danny has ordered a new one which we won’t have for a couple of weeks, so our crew will be working their muscles for a bit as they raise and lower the 88 lb anchor.

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Danny took Aidan go cart racing as a last hurrah before leaving US soil, and was surprised at how speedy Mr Aidan is.

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We also were surprised by some sweet friends who stopped to visit. We are surrounded by such beautiful people.

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Speaking of beautiful people….

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It’s been quite the day for the Tanda Malaika crew! It began with me driving to the airport and picking up our 4 new crew members, Chad, Marci, Sierra and Glade. We are so excited to have them on board. They have been quite the troopers – after catching the red eye and arriving after a sleepless night, we provisioned at Costco and Walmart, and Danny and Chad took the old generator to a guy who bought it for a measly $300. We simply didn’t care anymore and just wanted it out of our hair.

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Of course after provisioning the interesting part is figuring out where to stow everything, and while I was running the rental car back, Marci, Jude and Mycah did an amazing job of stowing things in every storage area on the boat that they could find. Here they are storing cans in the galley and main salon floor.

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We are planning on setting sail for Bahamas in the morning and are beside ourselves with excitement. We have been stuck in this marina for far too long and are so anxious to be out on the Atlantic.

Danny left on a work trip this evening. We are going to miss him so much as usual and can’t wait till he hurries home to us. He’ll be gone for two weeks this time which is a miserably long time. We will pick him up at the end of his trip in Nassau.

We have a friend (Dan Zwerg) who has the blog, sailthebahamas.com. Read it and see for yourself what a great guy he is, and the amazing humanitarian work he does for the Bahamian children in Bimini. One of the things is that he takes student from where he teaches in Mississippi, and they sail to Bimini and teach the children there how to play musical instruments. If ever you have instruments or books you’d like to donate, they would love it. We will be meeting him there and helping out in the humanitarian work.

My goal is to start the engines at 0600, so I am going to get some rest now, and will no doubt dream of open ocean and turquoise, clear water.

 

 

Looking good

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One of the things we have had done on the boat while here in Fort Lauderdale, is had cushions made for the stern salon. It was fun a fun project which we did through ‘Creative Canvas’, which is a company I would highly recommend to anyone who needs work done. We picked out a taupe color because it is neutral and we could brighten it up with throw pillows. Mycah, our little designer, selected outdoor pillows from Pier 1 Imports. Here’s what it’s looking like:

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We also recovered the seat and backrest at the helm…

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Vladamire from Creative Canvas did a fantastic job!

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I decided to try make a lure, and though I need to make many improvements, I just know that this lure is going to catch us some fantastic fish!

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Yesterday a gentleman stopped by to talk to Danny and when I looked out at them I had to do a double take. It looked like Danny had a twin lol

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Danny got done repairing something in the generator room yesterday so today we will move everything back in and then the bow will be clutter free once more. We will also defrost and clean fridges and freezers and take inventory of what we have so we can start making a food provisioning list.

I went to use a spice while cooking and noticed this…

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Jude is a jokester! She bought several plastic cockroaches and carefully places them around the boat to freak people out. After living in Hawaii where there are cockroaches big enough to carry a small child off, it still gives me the creeps!

As I’ve mentioned before, Danny and Mycah are constantly teasing each other, and yesterday just by chance I captured a photo that proves that they really do love each other!

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We have a lot of love flying around this place!

We are so excited because our friends, the Nell’s will be here on Thursday morning. The grand adventure is about to begin. Before we know it they will be good little sailors. On Thursday evening Danny will be leaving on another work trip, so the rest of us will head to Bahamas without him and when he’s done he’ll meet us there.

The day has begun and we are off to work on more projects now. The final count down is on!