Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy New Year 2010! Sailing Salinas-Coffin Island and back, January 2-4, 2010

So here we are again after the holidays. Kids went back to college on New Year’s Day, which thankfully fell on a Friday…in other words “Oriontime” for us, escaping from a painfully empty house! We spent the first night of twenty-ten on Orion at the slip after running into Paul and Lynn and joining them for BBQ at the marina. Saturday morning it was “dock lines away” at 0930 (9:30 a.m.) and off to a new adventure at Coffin Island, our beloved destination.

We briefly contacted Paul and Lynn on “Kiana” on VHF to let them know that we were on our way. “Kiana” is anchored at the entrance to Salinas Harbor. Because of a long fixed keel they cannot come into the marina. Lynn wanted pictures of us leaving on Orion for her scrapbook, so we happily obliged. You can see Paul and Lynn's photo here which I publish with their kind permission. Soon after passing them we shut off the engine and set sail. The wind was not very strong, but enough to move Orion at a slow pace…at least for a while.           

Eventually we had to help her along with the Diesel. After we passed the reef we saw the Ramos family on Ronnie and Babbie’s catamaran “Campechano”, a Catana 47, which they bought in Greece and sailed in the ARC (a famous ocean race) to Saint Lucia and finally to their dock in Salinas. We had the honor of running into Ronnie Ramos a few days earlier in Salinas when we were there with our daughter, and he gave us a tour of this magnificent catamaran. Thanks again Ronnie! Of course being a fast cat “Campechano” passed us by easily, although I am sure they also had a little help from the engine.

All of a sudden things became really exciting when a pod of dolphins (we counted six) appeared from nowhere, or so it seemed.They frolicked around Orion, riding her bow wave (wave at the front), then falling back, then sliding next to us, then jumping to get a look at us, then starting the cycle of fun again. Of course I grabbed the camera, worked my way to the bow, and started shooting these delightful mammals.

There is nothing like having dolphins with you…it’s such an honor to see them happily playing with the wave the boat creates. Why do they come? I don’t know and it doesn’t matter…they are here…that’s all that counts! We are so blessed! A great start of the New Year 2010! Their smiles stay with us long after their bodies disappear into the endless emerald ocean. God’s creatures! We love you!

Before we know it we are at Coffin Island and find a nice place to anchor.

Doing what we do best, relaxing on Orion, we are delighted to see “Andariego” sailing towards our anchorage. We spend a wonderful time with Richard and Mercedes, celebrating the start of the New Year and our continued friendship! We give a toast to Bob and Joan, who also belong to our little group but are spending the holidays with their children stateside. “Andariego” departs for Ponce late afternoon under motor, because there is no wind whatsoever and the sea is as flat as a mirror. There are not too many days like this at Coffin Island.

Well…it’s “sundowner time” for the Captain and his First Mate followed by “what’s for dinner time”! The Captain gets the BBQ going and grills chicken-black bean-cheddar cheese sausages and slices of yellow squash that the First Mate seasoned earlier.

Just as he gets them off the grill, we hear “Hi Rick” from the crew of “Campechano”, as they are passing us by on their way back to Salinas. We wish them Happy New Year and wave them good-bye. Now the sun is setting in an orange ball, drenching the surrounding sea in spectacular golden ripples. A picture perfect background for our dinner!

After a heavenly night where the full moon shoots silver rays across the water, we wake up to another beautiful day. We relax with a nice cup of coffee. For some reason the cleaning bug catches me and I start cleaning the V-berth (forward cabin) ceiling and woodwork where mildew has started to grow. This is a normal occurrence in a sailboat that is used mainly on weekends. Every once in a while we need to wipe down the inside of Orion as a preventative measure. No big deal and once we start living on her full time it will hardly be necessary, because we will air her out on a regular basis when the hatches are open every day. I guess it is only fair that I did the cleaning this time, since Rick cleaned the hull last weekend, which – I do admit – is a much harder job! Of course everybody knows that when the cleaning bug bites one has to attend to it straight away before it is gone again. So I also cleaned the sole, which is the interior wood floor, with clear water to rinse out a few salt water stains. It worked! We put back the carpets and Orion looks spiffy again inside and out, ready for the New Year! Too bad I didn't take any pictures, but cross my heart and hope to die...the Captain is my witness!

We set sail around 1300 (1 p.m.) Sunday, and again have to start the good old Diesel to motor under full sail back to Salinas. We were tied up in the slip at 1530 (3:30 p.m.), had a late lunch and an early sundowner, and drove back to Ponce.

Happy New Year 2010 to all!

We still miss you kids!