Thursday, December 20, 2012

Almost Christmas 2012

As you can see our little Value Village tree is back out of the closet and hanging in place after a 2 year break.  It still looks good, does the job.  Last year we were crossing the Atlantic, and even though I did cook a Christmas dinner which we ate out of deep tupperware containers, the gimballing of the tree might have been a bit much.   We'll not be aboard Moondancer this Christmas - not sure which Barefoot boat we will be aboard, but that's where we'll be.  Originally were both booked on separate boats with 2 different groups of people who didn't want to spend Christmas at home, but preferred to spend it learning to sail in the Windward Islands.
So now by the grace of Liat, our monopolizing uncaring for its customers airline one of those groups' flights were cancelled resulting in the cancellation of their Christmas plans.  So that either meant that one of us would stay home alone over Christmas - or we both go on the same boat.  That's my vote and that's what we're doing.
Tony is out this week and I have done little other than put up said tree and spend alot of time making a power point collection of photos as a kinda Christmas Card.  It took ages to make and then proved to be a great disappointment in the sending department, the file being too big to attach to an e-mail.  I did find the 'large file send application', but it took so long that anyone I sent it to would definitely give up on trying to open it.  So that took 1 day - and then the next day I put together a photo album which is posted on facebook. 
Here's the link.
A year in the life of Nancy and Tony 2011 - 2012

I've also talked to my children to wish them a Happy Christmas, Mary and her family in Saskachewan, Johnny in Ucluelet and Josie in China.  My call to Josie this morning was lovely.  She was actually teaching her grade 11 class and when I got through to her she turned around her computer camera and her whole class sang We wish you a Merry Christmas to me.  Even though they are all Chinese I recognised all of the words.    Still have 1 call to make to daughter Georgia in San Fran.

So there is alot of talk here about the Christmas winds. These are the trade winds which brought us to the Caribbean last year.   When I was out last week my group and I experienced these festive winds.   Most of the time about 20kts with much more in the gusts and  more north than east. The easterly trade winds mean that we can sail on a beam reach down and then back up the windward chain.  When it goes more north the going down the chain is good on a fairly rolly broad reach, but the coming back is a beat and alot of tacking.  So the students certainly know how to tack by the end of the week.  And the value of a sheltered anchorage.  By May we will have spent a year here in the Grenadines and will have seen the full weather spectrum  which definitely changes according to season, even through its pretty much always hot.

We are very busy, either one of us is out every week or both of us at the same time.  It will be this way for the next couple of months and Barefoot has got a couple of other instructors coming to help us out.  Its very good for us to have this much 'work' - its what we came here for.  Note the way I write 'work' - it is our work, but it often doesn't feel like it.  Each week we are sailing with a new group of people who are pretty much always great and up and  very happy with everything we teach them and show them.  We teach them as much as we can about sailing - we take them snorkelling in spectacular locations that we love, short hikes on uninhabited islands, introduce them to this lifestyle, tell them our stories and have fun with them.  We walk around 'town' with our ducklings all in a row, knowing that they are seeing all this for the first time.  Its a very cool 'job'.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Four months later - how time flies?

Alot of water has flowed under the bridge since the last post - or it would have if there was a bridge.
We've been with Barefoot since May of this year and have gone through their 'slow' season which really was quite busy - we've been home to Canada for 6 weeks, seeing our families and friends.
I was lucky enough to have my arrival at my daughter Mary's home coincide with the birth of Isaan,
her second child and my third grandchild.  During that visit I had some quality time with Mary's first-born, Mission, a lovely little boy who is almost 3.  Now I understand what happens in a Grandmother's
heart - it tops many of the other things I have going on in my life.
Tony and I are both working alot now - I got my cross-certification to the American Sailing Assoc. as an instructor teaching levels Basic up to Bareboat Skipper and Catamaran Skipper. Tony is also teaching a more advanced course - level 106.
This is good work, we are both sailing on several different boats and meeting many people - mostly from US, Canada and a few have come from Europe.  The locations we sail to in the Grenadines are quite stupendous; when I stop being the instructor for a few minutes and look around me I really can appreciate what it is that so many people come here for.  We have almost constant wind - sometimes quite strong winds - our students are often exposed to winds in the 20 - 30 knot range and if nothing else they learn to reef early.
We have also made new friends some of whom have been here for many years, and some are the people we meet on our courses.  The courses are 1 week long, live aboard, where we are in very close quarters with each other - and in some cases the bond is instant and mutual. 
There have been a few occasions when Tony and I are both booked out at the same time on different boats - I really like that because we can 'race' from one location to the other and we can join our groups together for some mealtimes.  The students like it because its kinda cool that their respective instructors are husband and wife and it expands the group dynamics.
My brother Michael and his wife Ann are visiting here from England - this is their last day before flying back.  They have been staying at Bequia and I think are enjoying themselves.  I took a week off and was able to spend some time with them over there - we sailed Moondancer over together.  Unfortunately Moondancer's starter motor failed quite dramatically last Wednesday when we were about to head out fishing; Mick's passion - so instead of fishing Mick spent most of the day working on my engine.  The next day we sailed her back to Barefoot in St. Vincent - not a pleasant sail by any means - so I hope all of the other days of their holiday have made up for the 2 that sucked.

                                  Pic.Mick and Ann in the back of a 'taxi' on a tour of Bequia 
We spent a few hours one day touring Bequia - most of our time on Bequia has been working so it was a real treat for me to see the other side - Friendship Bay looks beautiful, like a small coastal village in Cornwall.
                   Looking down onto Amiralty Bay - Moondancer's in the middle of the anchorage
                                                                     Friendship Bay It doesn't look too easy to sail into though maybe a good anchorage in a strong northerly, depends if the swell wraps around the east side of the island.
Now that its early December we are looking ahead to Christmas - it seems so bizarre to hear Christmas music playing in public places when we seem so removed from anything remotely Christmassy.  Tony and I are both booked out over Christmas on different boats but are definitely planning to move around in tandem and will join forces on Christmas Day wherever we are.
We're also booked out separately over the week of New Years and Tony's birthday on January 1st - again we will try to be in the right place to make that celebration special for our students - and ourselves.