Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Waiting for a window

What is a window? Well, when you're "out and about" on a boat, a "window" is a break in the weather that allows you to get to your next destination, in one piece. Now this doesn't mean we're sitting in bad weather, it just means that you need weather that's going take you where we want to go, wind blowing in the right direction, being sailors and all. Who ever said "hell hath no wrath as a woman scorned", didn't go sailing in the wrong weather.  It doesn't start out this way. Oh no, you have to make a bad decision first. No sailor is spared this lesson. At some point in time, we always have this place that we need to be at by a certain time, no matter what, and so we head out against all that we have been taught. It is only after this pommeling that we develop the respect for weather that it deserves.
We took this picture while in Biscayne Bay, get the point?
The Captain and his grandson, two of a kind! Can life get any better? Funny, I've caught bigger lobster!
Did you think I was lying?
One of the biggest challenges when you are out here, so far from civilization, is how to get the weather information that you need to make a good decision. We follow weather reports in several ways, and always obsessively. The traditional method, a radio called the "Single Side Band" was the choice for all long distance communications and weather reports. The problem with this type of radio is the amount of training and practice needed to extract what you really wanted from it. You see, you need to select a frequency range based on how far from your target you are. For example, if you're 200 to 400 miles away you select a certain frequency range, if you're  400 to 600 miles away, well then it's another frequency range, and so on. I only manage to talk to anyone except the person I was trying to reach to unless I stumble across a cell phone tower, and then I just phone them, but those can be hard to find out here. Now, I don't have a SSB radio because I deduced, based on the way technology is progressing, that remote area communications will go the route of the satellite phone. Satellites now have almost complete global coverage and they are as easy to use as the cell phones that we are already using, and the data is billable so companies can invest resources into the continued development of this technology. So what's the problem? We don't seem to be there yet! Almost, but not yet. I bought the phone and they said "yes, you can data." Even with the help of professionals, we can't get the data we need. After several unsuccessful attempts a little more equipment was suggested, and so it is that I continue to dig a "financial hole", but I have yet to extract any weather information.
Okay, all whining aside, here we are in Elizabeth Harbor. There are now about 300 boats here for the festivities, and more arriving every day. There are gatherings day and night. Plenty of kids and adults that behave like kids to keep all of us on Mirador entertained. The farther we explore, the more amazing the discoveries we make. We are meeting the most interesting people that anyone could imagine, all walks of life. No imaginary boundaries here! You cannot tell these people, "I can't", I wouldn't dare. You would be hard pressed to scare them with a gun!
Eva celebrating another sunset by blowing the conch.

The cruising community is just wonderful, they come up with all kinds of activities. They nurture the cruising kid's confidence, and hone their skills to back up all that confidence. My impossible son is even letting down his facade, and joining the activities. We all learned how to use a conch shell as a horn, surprisingly Eva is the best at it. She kinda reminds me of Dizzy Gillespie.
There was a model boat building activity. All of the tools, fasteners, and materials were donated by this generous group, but even more precious, they donated their time. I'm sorry to say that from the results you would be hard pressed to guess that we are all sailors. The important thing is the day that we all shared. With all the tools buzzing, I thought for sure someone is going to the hospital, maybe an Air-vac, but no, only one person let a knife fall off the table, and onto her foot, but I won't mention Pam's name. 
Hadrian with his boat. I see naval architecture in his future.
So you see, weather window aside, this is a very hard place to leave.

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