Friday, August 12, 2011

Additions to the family

Over the last few weeks we have added a few friends to the family

 On the left we have Ruby, belonging to Isabel, and on the right Bob, belonging to Dominic.

The kids begged and begged for a turtle. Vicki went out and bought the whole turtle set up, tank, heat lamp, big rock to sunbathe on, etc., just to be sure he would be happy here.  This is Squirt owned by, and thoroughly disliked by, both kids.  Squirt is mean - he hisses and snaps and does not like children! Look at that face! He LOOKS like a grumpy old man.

And this my dears is Thomas the Tortoise.

Thomas is mine :). I have wanted a tortoise since I was about 5 year old and fell in love with my friends pet who used to hibernate under their sofa in the winter.  Thomas will not hibernate.  He comes from North Africa and will grow to about 150lbs and live 120 to 150 years.  My great grandchildren will ride him I expect.

Thomas is one spoiled little pet.  He loves the kids and pokes his head out when he hears them.  They pick him up so quickly and swish him through the air so fast I am amazed he puts up with it without complaint.  See how he has his legs and head out as Dominic holds him?  If it's a stranger holding him he is tightly tucked in his shell.

He is not too keen on Chewy the dog.  Chewy gave him a big doggy kiss and Thomas hasn't put his head out around the dog since.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A gentle weekend sail

We decided that a 3 day weekend meant we could take Gypsy and sail down to the Cape on Friday, returning Sunday.  Lovely, lovely long summer weekend.

Thursday night we motored out to Middle Brewster and spent the night there.  We left early Friday morning, as soon as we had enough daylight to see the marks leaving Boston Harbor.  It has been a few years since we left via Hypocrite Channel and there are some really bad rocks out there so we wanted to be a little careful.  As the sun rose higher and higher the wind dropped lower and lower.  So we motored, and motored and motored.  We did get a little sail in, maybe half an hour, about two hours from Provincetown,  (P'town),  but that was all.

I was steering at the time, ( Derek was napping ), and it was hot and sunny - a little breeze was welcome.  All of a sudden we were surrounded by a group of Blue Fin Tuna, jumping right out of the water and slamming back down again with great splashes of white foam .  For about a minute they swam and jumped just ahead of us, and just as suddenly they were gone. I love to see our finny neighbors when we are out in the middle of Mass Bay, but about half an hour later it did occur to me to wonder what had been chasing those big Tuna???

We motored into P'town arriving about 4 o'clock, and were greeted at the harbor entrance by a big grey seal.  One of the biggest we have ever seen.  A good trip, ten hours, even if it was mainly under the Iron Genny, (outboard motor).  Derek dropped the anchor and we were sitting down with beer and snacks 5 minutes later. It is so beautiful down there.  You can see the bottom off the side of the boat and watch little crabs walking around and fish swimming about.  If an orange flag wanders by you know that a diver is below searching for lobsters to make a visitor a good supper.  The seal popped his head out as if to say, "What, you lot back again?" and then swam off and we went to bed.

Saturday dawned fair but with bad weather in the offing.  We ran into P'town for supplies, came back to the mooring and just relaxed.  Derek cleaned the bottom of the boat and fiddled around with a few things.  I read.  Ahhhhh!  Peace!

Sunday dawned with a lot of wind, and promises by the weather radio of rain and thunder storms. We left the harbor at 7am with a reef in the mainsail and under motor because the wind was blowing in the wrong direction.  We went out into a really, REALLY rough sea, a nasty short chop.  We were tossed around quite a bit.  I had the tiller so I could hang on to something which was good.  I have to admit I love it and racing over waves yelling "Yeehah" is probably not what everyone would do but it is like a wild roller coaster and great fun.

We had agreed that the best plan was to head straight to the mainland rather than our usual track which takes us up the middle of the bay. Because the tides force the sea to bend around the Cape the waves get confused, some of them headed for the beach and some for the open seas beyond the hook.  The further out we got the less chop there was and we ended up with big old 5' waves but further apart than before, not so choppy.  I can only describe it as a roller coaster ride where someone takes a bucket of water and slings it in your face every so often. No more "Yeehah"!  Just hang on and keep going.  Eventually we had the waves behind us and the boat surfed on the big waves for miles up the coast.

We would have been fine if we could see.  The rain came down in buckets and we hadn't put batteries in the GPS yet so we had to guess where we were.  Kind of worrying when we got to Minot's light area, but eventually we saw the light through the rain and headed into Boston.  As we entered Boston harbor the skies cleared over us and we had sunshine and some of the most beautiful rainbows I have ever seen.  One of them laid flat on the water.  The spray blowing off the waves in Hull Gut was so dense the rainbow formed right along the sea itself.  Gorgeous.

Ten hours from P'town and we were home.  I must admit I was VERY glad to moor the boat!  A great trip but a wild one.  Monday I could hardly move.  My right arm ached from holding the tiller straight, and my legs felt like I had done a hundred knee bends from continually bracing to stop myself sliding.  Derek is laughing at me.