Cruising and Keeping Fit

Like most things in life, keeping fit is more fun if you have friends to keep fit with. I’m not going to talk about New Year’s resolutions, because I don’t make any, but I often get asked how do you keep fit while sailing. It depends on where we are. I run on the beach, swim laps, windsurf, kayak, walk, and with so many choices, I find yoga is an easy one to add in.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

The cost of equipment is low. If you don’t have a yoga mat, a towel is fine.

Yoga can be done almost anywhere, but a shady spot to hide from direct sunlight  is best.

It doesn’t matter what skill level you are at, everyone is welcome to work at their own pace.

Having fun is the most important part.

Thank for reading . . .

Farley’s Friday: Iguanas Bite Dogs?

Farley here.

My title was a little dramatic, but I got scared by a big old iguana. I think he was a grandpa protecting his gang.

Let me set the scene.

I’m in the dinghy leaning my head out into the wind, my paws are getting wet, and I’m excited about getting to shore.

I can see it, smell it, almost feel the sand on my feet when . . .

“Oh, there’s a sign posted,” Kristina says. “Maybe the island is private.”

My heart sinks.

“Let’s land and go read it,” Matt says.

Yay. As soon as the bottom of the dinghy hits the shoreline, I jump over Kristina’s legs and get to shore (just in case they decide we’re not going).

Now, I’ve never seen an iguana before and this one was pretty big.

Iguana

As Kristina read the sign, I heard her say, “No pets allowed. We better go.”

Too bad. I’m already out of reach. I’m going to have some fun.

The iguana charges me and tries to bite my nose. What’s up with that? Lucky for me, I am stellar quick and got out of the way. But does that stop me from chasing the iguana into the bushes. Nope. I’m off.

I can hear Kristina and Matt yelling for me, but my brain has turned off. I swear I’m not ignoring them, but I’m too excited to listen.

I stop abruptly in my tracks. “Wait.” I hear the dinghy engine start then fade away. “They’re leaving me?”

I bolt to the beach, my heart is pounding. “Don’t leave me,” I bark.

Too late, I realize it’s a trick. Kristina is in the dinghy, but where is Matt? I turn, and there he is standing behind me, leash in hand. I run to the left, then the right, but darn, he gets me. On goes my leash and Kristina comes back for us.

I should have known they wouldn’t leave me. I watch longingly as we drive away. I can see Grandpa iguana laughing at me.

Woof Woof.

Thanks for reading.

Farley’s Friday: A Kayaking Dog

Farley here.

So . . . I’m on a beach walk with Kristina when my friends Sue and Debi kayak nearby.

“Over here, over here, over here,” I bark at them.

Humans are too easy to train. The both kayak right to me. I go to Debi first for the mandatory head pet (my head, not hers), and then over to Sue.

I don’t like to go in water above my belly. I bounce and wag my tail, and Sue understands. She kayaks right into a foot of water. Now the opening of Sue’s kayak is big enough for me, so a lower onto my haunches and take one big leap.

“I’m in,” I bark. “Let’s get going.”

Everybody knows I love to kayak, so what are they laughing about? Like it’s a big surprise I jumped in. Maybe I got water and sand all over Sue, but really, it’s not that funny.

Farley Sue Kayaking

 

We take off, leaving Kristina alone on the beach.

“Wait, I didn’t mean to leave my human,” I whine, but Sue says, ”You’re okay,” and keeps paddling away. I rest my head on the top of the kayak looking moon-eyed back at Kristina. How can Sue ignore my cutest expression?

They take me to the mangroves and let me run free. What a blast! When Kristina finally arrives, I run and jump and show her how happy I am to see her. She needs to feel loved, and it’s my duty to make sure she does, even if I was having fun without her.

Woof. Woof.

Thanks for reading . . .

Communications while sailing in the Bahamas

Every year we add to our communication system. This year we bought an unlocked Samsung tablet, a cell signal booster, and a SIM card from Batelco.

Why?

Check out the anchorage below.  This is Bonds Cay. It’s 10 nautical miles from the nearest cell tower. We turned on our booster, voila, internet access. I chose this photo to show you how crowded (ha ha) the anchorage is. We’re the only boat here.

Mattina at BOnds Cay

Below, as we watched the sun rise, we drank our morning coffee and read the latest Windfinder we downloaded onto our tablet. It’s much easier to make plans based on the weather when we have regular weather reports. Without the tablet, we’d get up at 6:30 to listen to the weather over the single side band (okay we still do that too), but if we wanted to, we could sleep in.

Sunrise At Bonds Cay

We’ve come a long way from hiking to the nearest payphone to call home.

Thanks for reading . . .

MATTINA Enters The Bahamas

We had a wonderful entry into the Bahamas this year. We sailed from Biscayne Bay (just south of Miami) to South Bimini. We were welcomed in a lovely marina: protected from all sides, floating docks, beach and nature trails nearby.

We are at the same latitude as Miami, but it’s warmer here. I have no idea why. Today we filled our day with yoga, beach walking and swimming. Our boat is the second one from the right and we are surrounded by friends.

Gang at South Bimini

We haven’t had time to go spear fishing yet, so we hooked up with a local fisherman for some conch and lobster. We just couldn’t wait for the fresh seafood! Our friends are doing the negotiating.

Bahamian Fisherman

Thanks for reading . . .

Mattina: The Journey is the Destination

Well sometimes. For me it depends on the journey, the destination and the end goal.

Right now we are sailing with the goal of getting to the Exuma island chain in the Bahamas. To do that we have to get across the tongue of the ocean. That’s the journey part.

When we get there, I can focus on writing. I miss writing every day, but our plans change rapidly depending on the weather, and I can’t focus. I know, you’re feeling very sorry for me 🙂 Can’t have everything.

Here is a photo of why we are trying so hard to get to the Exumas and while I don’t mind putting my writing on hold for a bit. The clear blue water is world class.

Ray swimming by Mattina
Ray swimming by Mattina

Next blog: The next time we have internet access.

Thanks for reading . . .

Farley’s Friday: Dog in the Bahamas

Farley here.

I made it. I’m on the beach! My humans said we had an easy crossing, but it was still a little bumpy for me. And wearing a tether all day gets a little old.

Ah, that feels good.
Ah, that feels good.

Life doesn’t get better than this. I heard somewhere that ‘it’s better in the Bahamas’ and it must be true. I cleared customs with no problem. I even have my own paperwork, so if my humans leave the Bahamas I can stay. Ha Ha. Wouldn’t that be funny.

Oh, on second thought, maybe not. Who would feed me, walk me, groom me, and generally spoil me?

Right after clearing customs in South Bimini, it was off to the beach for a swim and a roll in the sand.

I forgot that when I get this sandy, I have to shower before getting back on the boat. I don’t like that part. What’s wrong with a little sand everywhere?

Woof Woof.

Thanks for reading . . .

Mattina Underway – so what happens to my writing?

It’s travel time again. Matt, Farley and I are heading south along the Florida east coast and hoping for a weather window to cross the Gulf Stream and enter the Bahamas. We are traveling with one buddy boat and trying to hook up with 2 or 3 more. It’s fun to arrive in a pack, with your friends already imported with you.

While we are traveling, I have no idea if I’ll have internet access along the way. My next shot at blogging will probably be once we are in the Bahamas. So if I’m quiet on this end, that’s why.

I always think I’m going to have time to write while we are underway, but it never turns out that way. Somehow, when the sailboat is in motion, I can’t concentrate on writing. Writing while sailing is a romantic idea to me. It’s a dream, really. The reality is I get busy.

I need to be in a quiet anchorage in calm weather to produce a good word count.

See you on the flip side.

Thanks for reading . . .

Farley’s Friday: Dogs in Restaurants

Farley here.

I really like Florida. It so warm that most restaurants have outdoor patios AND they let me join the party. It’s all so civilized. Finally a place that understands I belong with my humans all the time.

I mind my manners. I don’t beg. I don’t pester other diners. And I don’t play with other dogs that happen to be there. Kristina always orders a bowl of ice cubes for me, which keeps me entertained as I try not to let them slide out from under the table.

I do my best to look refined and dignified and so far, I haven’t been kicked out of anywhere.

The best is I hint to Kristina that she should order something with good leftovers for me. I don’t get to eat it until we get back to the boat and it’s in my bowl, but that’s okay with me.

Did I mention, “I love Florida.”

Woof Woof.

Thanks for reading . . .

Mattina: Final Provisioning Before Heading Offshore

It’s been a hectic couple of weeks getting Mattina loaded with our winter provisions.

One of my favourite outings is a trip to the Vero Beach Farmer’s Market.

The farmer picks the grapefruit and oranges the day before the market. There is nothing like eating fruit that fresh. The fruit hasn’t sat in a warehouse, truck, or grocery store. It’s a special treat for us.

We get enough for about six weeks.

Fresh fruit: Yum, Yum.

Our fridge can’t store bulk amounts so I’ve learned a few tricks over the years. Oranges and grapefruit can be stored unrefrigerated in a dark space. To make them last longer, I wrap each piece of fruit in tin foil. This will keep the fruit for 6 weeks, hence the reason I stock for that length of time.

Side cabinet in spare cabin. Easy access, but still dark and cool.

Now that we are ready to go, the weather isn’t cooperating. The next part of our journey means crossing the Gulf Stream. The stream runs south to north, and we don’t want wind against current – it creates sloppy seas and big waves. Wind out of the east doesn’t work because we’d be slamming into the waves. We certainly don’t want squally weather. Really, we’d like a beam reach at 15 knots.

Is that too much to ask for?

Thanks for reading . . .