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This is my new 3.5 metre traction kite pulling hard in a light wind.

Tuesday January 1st 2013
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Today is a warm day with a promise of a breeze.  I finished off the bookkeeping for now, and then the computer reset.  I tried running SpinRite on it, but the optical drive seems a bit troublesome and the disk that works fine on my other machine would not boot.  Anyhow, the computer seems to work fine otherwise, but BSODs and sudden resets are not reassuring.  I did an extra backup just as a precaution.

In spite of the forecast, the day turned out sunny with no flurries in sight. After lunch, I noticed a breeze, so I went out an flew my kite for a while.  The wind died and I went back in.  Later the wind was up to 10 MPH, so I went out again and had a good session in spite of winds that built up to where I was being pulled off my feet, then died to where the kite would not fly and which shifted direction 90 degrees back and forth.

I think I am getting the hang of it.  I was imagining today that I could actually be comfortable on skis and get a few rides.  A little more wind and I would be really cruising.  Exactly where to, I am not sure, however.  I can see how it is important to get to a point where handling the kite is automatic before taking rides behind it.  The kite can generate a lot of power. Maintaining control is important for safety, but also so that I don't wind up a mile downwind, having to walk back though deep snow with my gear.

Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.
Mark Twain

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Wednesday January 2nd 2013
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Today I have to be ready to go south tomorrow.  That means a trip to Three Hills, packing, and tying up loose ends.

Today I got moderate message from the BeeGadgets group.  I haven't seen anything there for a very long time.  The posting turned out to be an advertising message and I deleted it, but reminded me that the list exists and has 597 members.

It was a good list when active and maybe worth reviving.  Take a look and maybe subscribe.  It is a very low traffic list.

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Ellen and I went to town to run some errands and then I pulled the cover off the furnace transmission to verify that the gears are in good shape.  They are.  We always worry about furnace failure in mid-winter.

We are not retreating we are advancing in another Direction.
General Douglas MacArthur

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Thursday January 3rd 2013
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It's 5:45 and here I am sitting at the gate.  My flight does not leave for another hour and a quarter, but I like to be early.  There were no lineups when I came through customs, but I see things are getting busier now.

It was near zero when I drove in, and I hope the weather continues mild while I am gone.  The forecast looks good.

Tonight, with any luck, I'll be in the Virgin Islands.

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Friday January 4th 2013
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Well, I'm here on Compass Rose, tied up at Crown Bay Marina.

I arrived around eleven last night after 12 hours on planes and in airports and having been awake more or less since the previous midnight.  Frank and I sat up until almost two. then I slept like a log. 

Good to be back on Compass Rose.

We kicked around the boat and marina all morning, had breakfast at Tickles, did some shopping and chores until almost three, did a late check out, and sailed over to a bay next to SST to anchor for the night.

We swam, ate supper and turned in early.

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Saturday January 5th 2013
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Today, we'll sail upwind and try to make Nanny Cay on Tortola this afternoon.  Once out of the USVIs, I wonder if I'll have phone or Internet.

Frank and I decided we would never get to Nanny Kay in time since the wind was right on the nose and altered course for Soper's Hole.  We got to Sopers Hole around two, checked into the BVIs, and managed to find a mooring ball, then caught a cab to Nanny Cay where we met Michel and looked at a boat that is being offered as a trade to my charter company.  It's a 1999 Beneteau 505 with four cabins.  Michel gave us a tour.  Nice boat.  I thought I'd look at it for a friend, but a boat that age, even as well equipped and maintained as it is would have to be bought very cheap to be anything but a huge expense.

It is Frank's birthday, so I bought him supper.  The ribs were the best I can recall every eating.

Another cab ride brought us back to Soper's Hole and Compass Rose.

Tomorrow, we head in the general direction of Anegada.

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Sunday January 6th 2013
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In  the morning, we went to shore to buy a ferry ticket for Saturday when I have to get back to Saint Thomas and catch a 10 AM flight back to the Frozen North, then bought more eggs, returned to Compass Rode and cast off for Norman Island and The Caves.

We arrived mid-afternoon and tied up to ball, then swam and sat around.  The winds were strong and blowing offshore., making travelling in the dinghy risky.  We decided to snorkel The Caves tomorrow. and go to Willy T's, the bar on shore instead. but with the gusty offshore winds, even that seemed a bit unwise and we stayed on board.

 The man who goes alone can start today;
 but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready.
Henry David Thoreau

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Monday January 7th 2013
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The morning was calmer, so we motored Compass Rose over to The Caves and snorkeled along the shore for a half-hour and swam back.  We were early arriving and the sun was still behind the hills, so the colors on the coral were dull, but we saw quite a few types, and plenty of fish.  In fact, the second fish I saw was a nasty, barracuda-looking fish a foot and a half or more long with a 5-inch mouth full of sharp teeth. It eyed me and moved off.

The current swimming back to the boat was impressive and I was glad I had quit before getting tired. Swimming is easy in the buoyant salt water, but I have to remember I am not a kid anymore.

We set sail shortly after. headed again toward Anegada, planning to spend the night at Manchioneel Bay on Cooper Island.  Again we faced an upwind fight into 20+ knot winds, but we were making up to 8 knots and arrived mid-afternoon.  We caught a mooring ball right by the dock, had cocktails and a swim, then  went in for Happy Hour.  The Cooper Island Beach Club has (slow and spotty) Internet, so we managed to get some messages in and out.  It is a nice quiet spot, with good mooring and a dive shop on the beach.  I enquired and the prices seem reasonable, and their facilities quite high quality.

It was 9 by the time we dinghied back out, and cooked supper.  We were tired and I hit the bunk early.

During the night, the winds picked up and it rained heavily.

A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity;
an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.
Sir Winston Churchill

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Tuesday January 8th 2013
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The night was windy, with periods of heavy rain and the weather continued into the morning.  We watched as various charter boats cast off, went out, and got overpowered, but by noon or so, the conditions moderated and we resumed our trip.

It soon became apparent that we could not make The Baths as planned and we ducked into Lee Bay on Great Camanoe Island where we are presently anchored next to a very large, crewed private Catamaran with quite a few on board.  It took two tries to get a good anchor set, but we were anchored in sand and ready for lunch by 1:45.  We'll wait out the weather here.

The neighbours are waterskiing behind their dinghy.  Some dinghy.

Snorkeling was excellent here.

If stupidity got us into this mess, then why can't it get us out?
Will Rogers

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Wednesday January 9th 2013
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After a leisurely breakfast and a swim, we hoisted anchor and again set sail for Anegada.  After we got out of the wind shadows and settled down on our best possible tack, we saw it would be an upwind flight all day, with at least several extra tacks, so we turned 180 and ran down to Monkey Point where we were lucky enough to snag a ball without waiting.

Snorkeling was excellent and I took pictures with my underwater camera.  The swimming was easy out to the point, but when we turned back, the current was against us and we had to swim hard.

I kept my camera in my pocket when I was not shooting, but the kicking on the return trip must have worked it out and I soon discovered it was gone.  We looked a bit but decided it had gone down a crack somewhere.  Oh, well.  It was not in great shape anymore and had quit working just before I lost it.  Either it had leaked or run out of battery.  I'll never know.  I'd have liked to see the pictures, though.

On the way back, I found that I was gasping and could not get enough air when I exerted past a point and had to rest on the beach, then again on a mooring ball on the swim back to the boat.  This is something new and I wondered if I am getting emphysema or am just badly out of shape.  I'm not used to the snorkel I'm using and was taking on a bit of water.  That did not help with my confidence, and confidence is essential to staying calm and using less air.  Anxiety increases the need for air.  Swimming also requires considerable sustained exertion.  Shortness of breath is also a sign of heart attack.  At any rate, after a rest, I was fine again.

From Monkey Point, we sailed over to The Baths, arriving around two.  Along the way we saw serious rocks that are shown on the paper chart, but not the Navionics chip in the chart plotter.  Note to self: Don't trust Navionics.

The yellow flag was up at the Baths and that means there is an outgoing rip.  Yellow means caution.  A red flag means don't go. We were moored a few hundred yards off the beach and Frank figured we could swim in.  I was not entirely sure and wondered  about wearing a PFD in case I needed to rest, but spotted a series of buoys and mooring balls between us and the beach and figured, worst case, I could grab on and rest if I needed to.  I remembered my strange experience in the morning.

As it turned out, I did need a rest.  Once again, I found I could not get enough air to supply enough oxygen for the level of exertion required to make progress, and swam across the rip to a buoy to recover.  I was able to hold on and rest and Frank joined me there.  We flagged a passing dinghy and the young driver was happy to haul me aboard and take me back to Compass Rose.  Along the way he said that two men in a group he was sailing with previously had drowned while swimming in at that location.  I was glad I had started out with a Plan B, but Frank and I decided that we really should have had some sort of floatation, like a boogie board.  We also could have lowered the dinghy.

Frank said he figured he could rescue me if need be, and I said I doubted it.  One has to wonder why two men drowned at the same time swimming in at the Baths.  It seems obvious that one got into trouble and the other tried to help and got dragged down.  My mother has her lifesaving certification and one of the first things she explained to me when I was swimming as a kid is that a drowning person often panics, becomes desperate and can be very dangerous to a rescuer.  She was taught to be prepared to knock out the victim if necessary before getting too close, and warned me to be careful when trying to save anyone.  I did save a girl one time, but that is another story.

We returned to Cooper Island for the night, and as always, met some interesting people.

Well done is better than well said.
Benjamin Franklin

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