Quote of the Month

"Not all those who wander are lost." J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, 1954.

“We must change our attitudes toward the ocean. We must regard it as no longer a mystery, a menace, something so vast and invulnerable that we need not concern ourselves with it … Instead we want to explore the themes of the ocean’s existence—how it moves and breathes, how it experiences dramas and seasons, how it nourishes its hosts of living things, how it harmonizes the physical and biological rhythms of the whole earth, what hurts it and what feeds it—not least of all, what are its stories.” Jacques Yves Cousteau, 1910-1997.

"It's the glory of the sea that has turned my head." Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island, 1894.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

A Puppy Rottweiler, Geese, Dead Batteries, New and Dear Friends

Cielito, Ceiba with Palomino in the distance

Friday, February 3. I met with dear friends and fellow sailors (Sue, Margarita, Betty and me) in Cielito, Ceiba to celebrate life. From Sue’s beautiful home, one can see Palomino, the island that, little did I know, I would sail to in the morning. After an 8-hour lunch and joyful day, I spent the night in Andariego.
Four sailing women on land
Saturday, February 4. The plan was to sail with Ángel and his young family early on Saturday morning to Luis Peña. There were five souls in Andariego. The engine would not start in the morning. After much problem-solving, that which true sailors do best, it was deduced that the batteries were faulty. Neill, in San Juan, helped us conclude that the lead oxide in the old batteries had been converted to lead sulfate, short-circuiting against its next-door serial neighbor. We took both batteries to West Marine, where their meter declared them dead batteries and adviced, “Replace Batteries.” New batteries later, the engine started without a problem. Our late afternoon start made us reconsider our destination. We sailed to Palomino instead.
As we left Isleta Marina, I saw a black small head in the water. At first I thought it was a turtle, then a seal (but the last Caribbean Monk Seal spotted in these waters was in 1952, now extinct), finally realizing it was a small dog. The puppy Rottweiler was swimming toward Andariego, seeing us as his only salvation. Had we not passed by, he would have swam himself to exhaustion; there was no shore nearby. I went in reverse, as Ángel grabbed the net on a long pole from down below. The puppy was rescued in the net, brought aboard, and wrapped in a towel. We went back to the dock and gave the puppy to Kurk, from Andariego’s next-dock sailboat. I live with two rescued dogs at home, Desie and Falcor, but I never thought I’d rescue a dog at sea. We felt very proud, happy, and celebrated the successful rescue quite a ways into Palomino.
We grabbed a mooring on Palomino’s north side, near the interesting rock formations, protected by the hill from east winds. Ángel, a geologist, explained how the rocks that look like stacked blocks were natural formations, shaped mainly by the rain. After a swim and an early night, scattered clouds played peek-a-boo with the moon, and played misty on me, until I secured the hatches.
Palomino sunrise
Sunday, February 5. The sea gremlins were not done with their mischief after rendering the old batteries useless. The engine started beautifully in the morning, but the gas stove died soon after starting it. The meter read that there was propane gas left; it was lying. The Cobb barbecue came to the rescue. Ángel managed to almost boil water in the Cobb, enough to make coffee. He made scrambled eggs with cheese for all on a flat pan on the coals. For lunch, you guessed it, a barbecue grill. Midst barbecue extravaganzas, we saw a flock of geese flying northwest in perfect V-formation. South to north, north to south, without a stop in the tropics. What a treat to see these beautiful birds flying so high in their ancient migratory display.
We docked in the afternoon, and my new friends helped to clean Andariego after our short adventure, making him look shiny and new, ready for the next new adventures.
Andariego's new caring friends