Sunday, 29 April 2012

Rainy Saturday afternoon

The heavy rain, thunder and lightning began not long after I arrived home last night, not long after happy hour. It was lovely to lay in bed reading and watch the display of wild weather outside. It was one of those snuggle under the covers, it's cold outside or hot chocolate by the fire sort of nights. Well it would have been if this wasn't the tropics. It was a little chillier than normal, almost chilly enough.

I was supposed to have sailed today on the cruiser, Blue Runner, raced. That got cancelled. It was just too wet and wild. I was quietly pleased as I wanted to enjoy a home day. Tomorrow it's the 22's racing, my first as part owner so I'm really looking forward to that. I hope the weather holds, it's cleared a bit outside. 

Part of a home day is catching up on stuff, I caught up on Facebook today. Elmarie, a friend from the UAE now based in Malaysia, posts some inspirational quotes and clips. Her one for today is about coffee, a little like Forest Gumps box of chocolates analogy. I enjoyed it, especially the last piece so I'm sharing it here. Life is not about the cup, it's all about the coffee. Enjoy.

Monday, 23 April 2012

PS

Rollin on the river, Savannah Georgia
Oh dear, the sailing didn't go too well. A strong norwester put the sailing to bed. That means we couldn't get off the dock, not the best with a narrow channel and shallow harbour. We did get to talk and have  a beer, just disappointing to not get out and have a play. I hope next weekend is better. Here's some photos of boats a slight bit bigger than mine.

The river boats are really big, there was a wedding on one of them

Lazy Sunday

It's been an interesting week, one of ups and downs. I guess you get that with the big jobs. I've rested this weekend, there wasn't enough hours last week to get everything despite my best efforts. I'm sitting here looking out the window at something I can't photograph so will have to describe.

There are swarms of dragonflies, those graceful insects, flying around outside my door. They are all about the same size and are not settling. They seem to be dancing with each other, flying in random patterns almost colliding. There have been birds watching, squawking, they have now gone so it's quiet outside. A day of nature.

I made my herb garden today, hopefully I'll get back into cooking for myself more often if I have the ingredients I need. The basil is looking good, lots of lovely scented leaves for my pastas and salads. When the mint and parsley are big enough, taboula will be on the menu. It's really nice having some green in my kitchen. I tend to kill plants with neglect, these ones are close to water so should be okay.

This afternoon is my first sail on Mayhem. We are race training for next Sunday's event so it should be fun, lots of drills so the tasks become second nature. It will be good exercise too, something I need at the moment. A good stress release. I hope to add Mayhem photos soon. 

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Reflections

A revisit of a 2008 photo in Rome, I loved the reflections on the Tiber. 
It's funny, way back in 2003 I put out to the universe that I wanted to own a yacht and go sailing in the Mediterranean. In 2004 we went to Turkey, the cruise on a yacht became impossible as time passed so we settled for travelling through the middle, down to Fethiye and up to Ephesus. But that's another story.

My love of the sea began at an early age, I felt at home in waves and wandering on secluded beaches. When I was about 16 I had the opportunity to sail in the Bay of Islands with friends, it was fantastic and lit the flame that has smoldered for a few years. Well, quite a few years. Then there seemed to be no hope of realising the dream. Now I own half a yacht, I get to learn how to sail and realise the dream. All without too much effort. I just had to apply for and get a job on a tropical island in the Caribbean, say yes to an invitation during my first weekend and it went from there.

The post Sunburnt Knees tells that story. That was a year ago. It's hard to believe I've been here for that long and yet it feels like I've been here forever. I was reflecting on this during yoga this evening. I feel like I'm in the right place, at the right time, doing the right things. That's a nice feeling, one to relax by. Let's hope it lasts for a while, I sleep best when feeling settled. So tonight I've got reading to do, studying the sailing stuff Jo gave me to look over. A pleasurable bed time read.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Proud part owner

Of a J22 yacht called Mayhem! Yes, today I bought half of a J22 off Mark, Jo has the other half. I'm really excited, I've always wanted to sail and now I'll get to learn on a boat I part own. While racing and training to race. Today we had a look with Simon and made a list of things to do to get it up to racing standard. Next weekend we have our first practice with a new crew, although we all have sailed together at various times. There's work to be done and that should keep me busy for a few weekends.

I did get rather a little sunburnt today. I'm cross at myself because I didn't feel it burning, I was too busy looking over Mayhem. Seems the sun was burning through the clouds. This evening Kim, Brad and Jon came around with ice cream so I got a small dose of 2 year old fun. Talking to Noah on Skype is lots of fun. He really gets into chatting and took me out to the sandpit to dig holes yesterday. Nice that although I'm on a screen he still knows it's me. I'm off to bed now, will need a cool shower first to quieten the sunburn.

Yes, there is a place called Homerville in the USA

Friday, 13 April 2012

Miss Adventure part 2: My dad will know...

Well, there I was lost off an off ramp in Miami. I phoned a friend on Cayman who might know, he didn't answer. I drove around trying to find something familiar, then realised nothing was. By this time I was very hungry and needed the loo so I spotted a diner, as you do in the US of A. There was even a police car outside with the occupants dining too. The waitresses greeted me, I told them I was lost and asked how to get to the airport. They looked puzzled, I repeated what I wanted, they looked puzzled. The accent I suspect, then one lit up with a big smile.

"My dad will know!" she said looking very proud of her all knowing dad. It was lovely to see and she took me over to dad who was dining with mum and asked him my question. He started to tell me, I looked blank as he named landmarks. He sensed a problem, paused so I shared that this was my first drive in the USA. A lot of firsts that day actually. What a nice man, as I humbly apologised to his wife for the interruption, he drew me a map. One I could follow on to the I75 then off at the airport exit.

After thanking him profusely I ordered dinner and a beer, I deserved one by then. It was happy hour, I got two beers and gave one to my new friend as a thank you. Off I went, quite confident. That ended not much later. Renee by this time had managed to get out of the airport and to her patiently waiting sister. I called, she was able to guide me to Dorel where my hotel was. It took a while to get there. I've since found out one of the problems.

I broke my glasses in St Kitts, I got my eyes retested yesterday. It seems they have gotten much worse, no wonder I couldn't see the signs. I was amazed when the optician showed me the difference between the prescriptions. Seems now I need something a little stronger. Yesterday I tried contacts again, those who remember will smile at my last episode when I wore them to the ball. Not very successfully. This time it was better. At least I'll see the fishes more clearly and be able to call the wind lines when out sailing when I wear them.

I made my St Kitts, via Puerto Rico, flight although I had lost confidence in my ability to get anywhere without mishap. Luckily the airport is well signposted and all those big planes are a dead give away. I was relieved to drop the car and race to check in. I met a lovely lady there, a Cuban lady who chatted about the levels of literacy she encounters in her job checking people in to fly. She was soft with the young man, stern with the lady who couldn't use the auto check in, all the while chatting to me. She was impressed that I'd visited her part of the world.

St Kitts and Nevis from the air. Nevis is in the background.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Home

It was so nice to walk in the door last night to a nice clean house, my place, home. That didn't last long as I unpacked and showed Jo my purchases. Miami, we got only a short time to shop but I managed to do some damage. I suspect I may need to buy some new coat hangers or better still, cull the wardrobe. This seasons fashions seem to suit me, nice fitting dresses and retro tops. I could have bought more, how many dresses does a girl need. And I did get shoes too, an important pair that will replace my traveling shoes. Heels just high enough that I can touch the floor of the plane when flying. 

Yes, that is a problem when you're a little smaller than average. Heels are better than using a book, much more styley. The flying this trip was okay, just a few short hops. The immigration and security at Miami, well that's another story for another day. For now, I"m trying to decide which of the black dresses to wear to work, there are some with white and red so not all gloomy. I've already picked the shoes, black wedges with a shiny buckle. Think the red one might be today's. As Jo commented, they are all you but you may have to lose a few pounds to look your best in that leopard print one. Mmmm that may take some work and sacrifice, I'm up to it. 

I have plenty of stories, the road trip into Georgia was fantastic. Things just happened as they do to me. A small example, we wanted a convertible and they were really expensive so we booked a small car. When we got to the rental counter, the nice man said that he had convertibles on special. Did we want to upgrade? We most certainly did, giggling excitedly like a couple of school girls. So off we went, speeding down the interstates and exploring the lesser used roads with the top down. Now I need to get my head into work, I'm looking forward to seeing everyone and showing off my new gear. I actually love my job, life is good!

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Out and about in St Kitts

Now that's a lobster dinner, yes I did eat all that!
It seems that St Kitts is smaller than I thought, the population is only around 40,000 people with a further 11,000 or so on Nevis. The islands are certainly hilly, we drove around a coastline that reminded me of the Otago Peninsula in New Zealand, the road close to the sea with houses dotted up the side of the hills. It's volcanic as well so a similar geology.

There is heaps of evidence of colonisation, the stone buildings that are quintessentially English. The churches and colonial homesteads, some the houses of the slave owners who used slaves to harvest the sugar cane. Brimstone Hill with it's fortress protecting the land from the sea based invaders. I do need to so some more research about this place, for now I'll just add some pics from today.

Today we went out visiting the early years centres on the St Kitts, an entertaining excursion with lots of kids keen to get their photos taken then see the pics. It was a humbling experience, seeing so much done with so little and seeing wonderful environments created for the children to enjoy. As always, we were welcomed, this troupe of smiling women with cameras. I don't publish photos of other peoples kids without permission so scenery will have to do for now.
Middle Island Anglican Church

The Middle Island Anglican Church, the first Anglican church in the Eastern Caribbean, is now in ruins but was the hub of the community in it's day. The little white structure on the right of the photo is where Sir Thomas Warner, the first Governor of the West Indies is buried. He has the dubious honour of leading the colonisation of the island. Samuel Jefferson, ancestor of Thomas Jefferson, is also buried in this church yard. 

An interesting history like most of these islands and one I hope to explore further tomorrow morning. We fly at 3pm so have the morning to catch some sights. I'm hoping to get a photo of Nevis towering out of the sea, the driver today didn't slow down enough to make the shot worthwhile. Tomorrow hopefully. 

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Miss Adventure

Or so some refer to me, a little play on misadventure, I have the odd one. I had one on Saturday, not as bad as Renee's travel story but not so flash either. Tied to Renee's story as well. I was supposed to leave on the same flight as Renee. Lucky for me I had changed mine to an earlier one. Her flight hit a fierce thunderstorm and a tornado warning, severe turbulence and a landing at an air force base outside of Miami. Hours of waiting ensued, the plans to shop became a sigh.

They were told things by their captain. Things like; immigration will come here and process you illegal aliens; we will fly to Miami when it's clear; and the best of all, we have issues with our brakes so can't fly. Many missed their connections, including friends heading to the UK. It was a little fraught for all. I'm not sure I would have coped, the change in flights was a good choice for me.

Jo and I, blond Jo my boss, not sailing Jo, picked up our rental and drove to Naples. That's about two hours west of Miami. We had some fun with the officials on our way through, my resolve to make everyone smile this early morning worked well. The check in man laughed at my under weight bag when I made comment and said, with a big smile, that he should charge me for the under weight part. I suspect he remembered my small tanti last trip.

The security man asked me to remove my sweater, what's that? I'm a New Zealander, we call them cardis. I must have looked puzzled, he got that grumpy, you are defying the rules look I know so well and I clicked what he wanted. I commented that he just wanted to see my muscly arms, he grinned that grin that holds back laughter while Jo fell about laughing next to me. Opps, that quick quip can get me into trouble. There was more to come, even the Miami queue was amusing as we made two stern immigration officers laugh at the boss minion relationship comedy act.

The day in Naples was lovely. We checked out the sights and fixed up Jo's car so it was drivable. As she drove me out of town, well led me really, we stopped to check out some steam from under the bonnet of her car. Off we went again, Jo stopped again and came running towards my car, leaving hers idling. I looked over and it was moving, yep, still in drive. An elderly man came into the car park and was speechless with laughter as he watched Jo tottering off in her heels trying to catch the runaway car. I was kind of horrified, through fits of laughter. Mmmm I did promise her not to tell that story. All's well that ends well and she did manage to recapture her drivers seat.

We had Jo's satnav to get to Naples, I had no such thing on the return journey. I had checked out Google maps directions, sweet. First mistake, my head overruled my common sense and I left the freeway too early. Miles too early as it turned out. By the way, at this time, and it was well after dark and her expected arrival time of 3pm, Renee was still grounded at the air base. Still an illegal alien. But wait there's more, part two of this story tomorrow, watch this space. I need to sleep now, we have a presentation to do tomorrow.


St Kitts and Nevis

Wow, this place is so very beautiful! We are staying at this place so all is well. A little later I write....

I suspect I need to add to this, I was writing it in a break at the conference I'm attending and got interrupted. Well, what a time my lovely friend and colleague Renee and I are having. The hotel is amazing, very plush with friendly staff and great facilities. I went for a swim in the pool this morning and the sea tonight. There will be photos soon.

Photos of the fresh, sea run lobster (crayfish to the New Zealanders reading) we ate on the first night. A whole, rather large lobster that tasted of the sea it was so fresh. We were surprised when it arrived, delighted with the presentation and taste and too full to walk when we had finished. This wasn't in the hotel but in a small restaurant we noticed down the road. Renee and I both love kai moana (seafood) so noted the Rock Lobster restaurant as one to visit.

Today, as I lay on my back floating in the Atlantic Ocean, I realised just how many oceans and seas I had swum in. As I recounted to Renee, I got to seven. Then I just kept on going. Here's the list: Pacific Ocean, Tasman Sea, Arabian Sea, Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Aegean Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Tyrrhenian Sea, English Channel, Dead Sea and the Caribbean Sea. I'm sure there's more, I'll make sure there's more. So today I went for a swim at the resort beach. I soaked my soul in the sea for a bit, just what I needed. The sun had gone so reading on the lounger was a bit cool so I didn't last long.

It's been so hectic lately that this is a good respite for me. I needed some thinking time, I have it here. As well as the stimulating discussion only a conference can provide. It was nice catching up with people I met at St Vincent and meeting new friends to share ideas with. Tomorrow we go out and about visiting schools and checking out more of the countryside. I will take my camera. Thursday morning is sightseeing time.

Like St Vincent, St Kitts has an interesting history, a history of conquering and colonising. The remnants of the British involvement are still here, the first peoples largely gone. I'm looking forward to seeing more. Tomorrow we get to present to the group. We're fortunate that we have a strategic plan and have evidence of progressing the work it outlines. Makes our presentation easy to do. Sleep is needed now, amazing how tired one gets sitting around talking all day.