Monday, 1 March 2010

Virgin islands pics

The three moustached sea dogs.. as a tribute to Layne flying out for a little visit Herby and I thought it would be rude not too... the girls were not so keen!!

Roast chicken dinner while at sea... hard life on the Can't
Bolders at Spainsh wells in the BVI's

Wooden boat regatta at Jost Van Dyke

St Martin
It was honestly this big... and a "quiet" reunion with the lost boys after parting company in Peurto Rico with visa challenges.
While In St Marten, Liz left the boat after some 1800 miles and 4 months on team Can't for Uni and the real world in Aus. Cheers Lizzy

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Caribbean Style

RUM Cay - Mayaguana for Lizzies Bday
2 tuna, 2 mahi-mahi and a couple of Wahu strikes

All dressed up as girls, bikinis, shelf butts and moustaches.. Mint
Of course the night ended with blood!

Ran out of fuel the next day.. 50 gallons yeah right.. luckily we had a load of fish to give away so managed to get that problem sorted out.

Nothing doing and the wind still having a northerly component we decided to continue to the Turks and Caicos Islands for a little English influence.

We were greeted with a gearbox empty of oil, and very friendly English couple and a very cheap marina!!

Birthday No.2 for the week.. Penny Ropati.
Penny wanted both the boats on the marina and a boozey lunch on the beach (the rumba) and a barby in the evening.

In true penny style she was the first one drinking (Jager and red bull) and leading the charge with tequila all arvo. This resulted eventually in Herby deciding he was a turtle and tying to ill the neighbouring boats guitar with stones (funnily enough we haven’t seen them much since).
Oh yeah for pennies birthday I shaved a Mohawk into my head,, the idea was soon taken up by Herby and Jake… she now had a bunch of complete Muppets to play with!!

Turks and Caicos was the source of cheap wine and some great hospitality by Simon and his wife at south side marina..
Our next entertainment was at south Caicos island
we had a crazy night boozing with the locals and some serious domino training (which I have yet to win a game to-date).. a lot of fun with people who vary rarely se tourists at there little out of the way fishing village.

Via Big sand Cay for a barby on beach and a few final beers in this beautiful country…
Were off to the DR. This little leg of the trip holds a lot of memories and importance for me. Firstly this was the last sail Brent and I did on our original boat the FRENCH TICKLER, this being the originator of the Bahamas missions for our group of mates with myself, brent, Jon boy, Richy, Steph and Kirsty all being involved in a mad learn to sail mission. Secondly WE are sailing with the Lost boys of which one is Pete Vandy,
his and practically my brothers Paul and Jon boy did this crossing in the DOUBLE BRUYN 2 years previously before crossing the Atlantic. SO I have the Double Bryun's charts and marks.. therefore in the sprit of brotherly competition “the race is on”, LOST, CAN’T and the DOUBLE BRUYN.. Exciting stuff especially if you forget all that handy cap stuff .

Staying up all night and a fairly rough and windy ride gave us the chance to beat the DOUBLE BRUYN and LOST, though being that my boat is longer than both and the conditions were in our favour ……..I have to concede that the result was “inconclusive”.. haha great to wind Jon up!!

Our approach to Luperon in the DR was exciting and.. hilarious… sailing into the harbour and picking our way through the reefs and shallows I spotted the FRENCH TICKLER.. and was pretty damned excited… pointing and explaining where it was I ran aground in front of about 100 boats at 5 knots.. needless to say despite my efforts to save face by dragging the boat off we had to sit through an entire turn of the tide….

Luperon is cheap and full of very friendly faces, a great town.

We had about a week to explore the island, surf, party, and drive around the country.

We had some hard case 4 wheel driving missions Jakes (Lost boys) Bday in Santiago on the day we collected Jas Healey and Daniella from the airport, this Bday was the longest extending 2 full days.. 4 wheel driving, fried chicken, nightclubs and piles of booze!!

Whether was on our side again with a great window appearing, cutting our Tour De DR short and allowing us to jump for Puerto Rico in perfect mill pond like conditions. 250 miles up wind was a walk in the park.

Great arrive in Puerto Rico until we woke in the morning realising were anchored in sewerage like water (not a good start… but we had NO IDEA!!) going ashore we found that the visa waiver program does not include private vessels… you have come onto US soil with out a visa, “Sailing in US waters is a privilege not a right” we (me, Ann and Herby) were faced with either being deported and excluded from the visa waiver program permanently or paying the $540 visa waiver charge (EACH).. being that we rely on us for transit we decided to part with the cash.. not stoked SO just when we thought things couldn’t get any worse……

While trying to get the paperwork sorted to be allowed to stay in PR a crazy squall came though the bay… (bad anchorage) the lost boys by this stage had gone to town and we were not allowed to leave.. both boats start dragging anchor towards a large rock wall… “fast” we begged to be allowed to bail to the boats and eventually we were allowed this “privilege” racing out in the dinghies for both boats, me failing to get Lost Boys motor started or find another anchor, managed to beg the help of a great guy with a powerful tender!!

He used his tender (in reverse) along with a bow line between the 2 boats to save the lost boys boat about 2m from being badly damaged.. we managed to get it dragged out to a navigation buoy and tied off. Mean time Herby is on CANT with the engine running and second anchor poised in case of further dragging!!!

HAHA dramas on boats.. we were “in a way” lucky that we were held at customs or the boats may have had decent issues.. and some custom scratch work.

Next and in the same day the engine failed due to biomass in the diesel.. lucky for us by this time the Lost boys are experts in this field and are able to hook us up with the gear to get running on a plastic Tote tank.

Not all Beer and skittles… sometimes you gotta mix it up with a rum punch!!

Were off for new pastures and hopefully better luck.

One bad day in amongst a great adventure is definitely manageable… and what we remind ourselves that people pay $4000-7000 a week to charter boats in these waters… so we are still on top!!

Via Bouqueron where we had a few great days tarpon fishing, exploring and dwelling on our recently reduced budgets we ended up in Ponce after a great upwind sail.

Here we found great provisions, explored the town, anchored in the middle of the party area for the whole city. We got to watch concerts from the boat, entertain the locals with out hardcase attempts at the local dances…oh yeah and some drunkin tarpon spearfishing.

Gotta mention 2 full days at Burger king taking advantage or Free WIFI and aircon……. Love those plastic seats!!

Layne (Herbies Dad) arrived on 19 May, we packed him onto the boat, fuelled, serviced and fully stocked for an over nighter towards the Spanish virgin islands. A couple of short steps over night and we were back in paradise.

Empty anchorages, white sand beaches and amazing mountainous terrain.

We (Lizzy, Ann, Herby, Layne and I) are now in the British virgin islands.

Words Cannot honestly describe this place… All I can advise is that if you ever get the chance.. charter a boat here… don’t be a CAN’T!!

We have sailed in racing regattas, dived among boulders, swum in rock pools, caught crayfish that are just sitting on the rocks (not even in the water)… there are hundreds (probably an ridicules exaggeration!!) of islands to explore, you can see 10 at any time(again!!) sitting (in the boat… just amazing. Hundreds of charter boats.. with a suprisingly proportion of Cats.

All I can really do is add some pics… as my raving is over.
Haha.. i got no pics here.. so will add em next time

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

A view from 5' 2"

Health and Safety Log/Incident reports

What: Black thumb nail
How: Spaced out moment staring at the waves while leaving finger at edge of hatch - super efficient Gary slammed it shut
How bad: neeeearly cried
Treatment: refused to let Jas drill a hold in it so had to suck up the throbbing

What: Sore face
How: Face planted into the cockpit reaching through the door and sconed face on bucket edge
How bad: golf ball cheek, not v impressive bruise, mostly embarrassing
Treatment: wodka…

What: Galley-ho overboard
How: don’t really recall, but both once from dingy to boat (think I was blinded by 6 million candle strength spotlight) and once climbing ashore on way to dance comp
How bad: So bad I carried on into the pub dripping wet, and my 2 week old camera died.
Treatment: Lost Gary’s fantastico spag bol over the side, missed the karaoke Borat performed, missed el Snako placing in a dance comp, gave away my captains hat to the local fish fry lady then didn’t recognise her the next night, kissed the pavement a bit, and Jas had to roll me home.

What: Belly Burn
How: Cooking a mean feed of wahoo we were given in my ‘kini
How bad: didn’t notice till the next day
Treatment: ……didn’t notice till the next day (Ann and Herbs arrived so all bets were off)

Weirdo’s with 3D shades and glam rock wigs met me at the airport on St Paddy’s day, and then you’ve seen the rest of my welcome gig with the Lost Boys putting on a show in green top hats and loincloths (?), so I think the tone was set for the next few weeks.

Was great to see the boat improve piece by piece as Jas got his mechanic/builder/plumber on! Had a ball, the trip was awesome, I didn't want to leave.

Some highlights I can remember in no particular order are:
- The traffic lights disco and finding some of the crew up a tower
- Supervising the shark tank swim at Atlantis
- Eating Liz’s ‘extravaganzas’ and Gary’s chilli sauce
- Feeling bad about feeding the iguana’s cheerios, then seeing the tourists arrive half an hour later
- Watching the boys swim back to the boat with about 6 crawfish after a half hour snorkel
- Getting the sails up on Can’t
- Having a beer with Hawk
- Jake’s form when he finally made it to our boat after being stranded and drinking alone on Lost that night at Nassau (see Gary’s vid)
- Catching a ‘Dolphin’

Things that sounded like fun that I can’t recall just now:
- several Borat outings
- wind-down drinks at the end of any night

- much sun the first week i was there...
- running around a lot in Nassau
- Meeting Sue and Corey the first time
- Ann nearly being picked up in Nassau by a lovely local lady
- Getting a ride home that night with the friendly local con-stab…

Thanks to the Can’t crew and the Lost Boys for an epic trip. Hope the weather is not ‘less than favourable’ for the rest of your journey, and I look forward to seeing you all again soon.

Big hugs from Paula B

Monday, 13 April 2009

48 hours with cabin boy Gary (aka Captain Sandbank)

The sea starts to build as we get out past the banks. I'm at the back of the boat trying to set the set the lure and adequate distance from the boat. The ratchet wines away as the line drifts out the back of the boat. The Lure has been in the water about 20 seconds, flying fish are jumping everywhere behind us infront and to the side. Then I see it, the water violently rising as a light green flash pummels towards the lure. It's all a bit of a shock and let out the yell "BIG DOLPHIN INCOMMING", BANG! The line smokes of the reel, its at this point that cabin boy Gary realises that he hasn't tightened up the spool, being mesmorized watching the dolphin strike. There are two ways to know this, one how quickly the line is peeeling of the back and two the intense pain as my thumb still rests on the line and burns away! Quickly locked it up , but the boat was doing a steady 7 knots and wasn't going to stop quickly. As soon as the slighest drag waqs on , the acrobatics began, it was a pretty large fish, at least a metre and really thick, the whole thing lastest only a few seconds before it bit through the steel trace! Gutted
Got some good sailing going on the CAN'T raced along at 7-9knts , then we got another strike. This time it was nowhere near as impressive and managed to drag the Dolphin up to the boat. Unfortunately we had no Gaf and the boat is about 4ft out of the water. Jason made a valiant attempt to land it but it was too heavy and broke off at the hook.
Continued the good sailing into Highbourne Cay and set the anchor. Just as we were doing so, heard a strange beeping noise coming from inside the boat. OH NO! turns out a pipe had come of the engine and turned most of the cooling water into steam! So stopped for some maintenance, meanwhile the boys showed up (narrowly avoiding a reef at the last minute when Liz radioed them, "lost boys, lost boys you are approaching a reef turn around".

After that dissapointment, they redeemed themselves by showing us the remains of the 2 filleted Mahi Mahi. Which was delicious.
Got up early in the morning and headed over to the stunning and unihabited Alan's Key.
Anchored up and headed ashore to have breakfast. Were there for about a minute before the 1st of the Iguana's came down. Our respectable captain decided it would be a good idea to feed them some Cherios. Iguana's like Cherios. Soon enough about a dozen had gathered for the Cherio feeding frenzy. I'm not expert on Reptile digestive systems but im sure CHerios aren't that good for them so resigned to taking pictures. They got a bit mad when the Cherio supply was withdrawn and it looked like we might have to make a bolt for the dinghy as the edged closer and closer.

Luckily the lost boys showed up and upon smelling the occupants, mainly Jacob I think they scattered into the forest. Went for a dive around the rocks and Jas got 3 decent sized Crays and headed out into the ocean towards Nassau.
Got a stirke not long after leaving the banks, Liz got the fish up to the boat but again its pretty hard to get a fish this size into the boat without a gaf and it too got away.
Had just about given up all hope of landing a Mahi Mahi when just as we were approaching the banks again one struck. Paula handled it perfectly and insted of risking getting it in the ocean , decided to drag it into the Banks and try and get it with the dinghy. Jas jumped over and grabbed the fish like a pro, at last we have finally got one on board.

With a good wind in the rear quarter , sailed on to Nassau at 7knots pretty much the whole way. Pretty awesome day.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Nassau and Beyond

Nassau was a crazy week... hello Penny, Anne and Herby, and goodbyes to PB and Anthony! We scored a great spot in a Marina that had a swimming pool and perks, so it felt like luxery living there for a week after a month on the boat. Anne and Herby rocked up with a whole heap of fishing stuff (thanks Guys!), so the crew were chomping at the bit to get out to deep water!

We pretty much tested the patience of our neighbours at the Marina with our carzy dance parties!

We were next to a German couple who were getting married on their boat, so the Lost and Cant crew were invited to ceremony and reception, being photographers/videographers, with Jas and Liz the official witnesses, and generally just boozing on their spanish Cava.

We soon found ourselves a routine of getting smashed and ending up at Atlantis, a huge resort that apparently has the world biggest outdoor aquarium.

Disaster zone for boys that love to swim with sharks! This place is soooooo big that it ususally took a few hours to get out of it, and more when totally incapacitated by vodka/rum/tequilla...
One night at Atlantis saw Jas and Herby attack the Hammerhead sharks and Manta Rays with Steve Irwin style enthusiasm, Jas letting off fire extinguishers in the garden, Liz and Anne spraying an empty bar with post-mix soda. We scored a ride home in a stretch limo... lucky cos I dont think many of us had legs left to stand on. In general, we shouldnt be left alone, especially Jake, as in one case he found himself on Lost with no dingy and no where to go, and alot of rum.

Buts its not all kicks and giggles, Jas and Herby attacked the list of jobs that needed doing on the boat, and Liz, Anne, Penny and PB pushed through hangovers to shop and re-stock.

Lost and Cant left Nassau and headed back to Allans Cay for another iguana encounter. We left there with 2 new crew members; Ron Jon the Iguana and Larry The Maori the Gecko. Im sure they found Cant a peaceful home for the few days we had them, until we couldnt find them anymore.

A weather window came through and we chose to take advantage of the winds, and pushed through from the Exumas to Rum Cay, a 120 mile sail overnight. Jas and Herby took the helm through the night while the girls slept.... thanks fellas!
We thought about sticking with the wind to Myaguana and just stopping at Rum Cay for a rum, but 5 days later, we are still here. We have made pals with a guy named Bobby, who pretty much runs the island, and has a whole heap of fun toys for us to burn around in.

We went cattle hunting on the first night, and surfing, using paddle boards and jet skis. Jas and Herby rigged up one of the rods and caught Jake, who was scurfing behind the boat. Pretty impressive watching the boys real in a 80Kg!!!

Every night we have a massive feed at the island marina with fanastic shashimi tuna, snapper, conch.... Yum Yum! Tonight, we are goat hunting and having a spit roast.
The weather should be turning and we will prob push out in the next few days... Rum Cay has been amazing!