|S/V BeBe from aloft
|Lori & Judy watching Dan at top of mast
|All this and more was stored in the cockpit lazarette.
Dan attempted to organize it 'his way' - but I think
he will find that the lazarette will be re-arranged
almost every time he gets in there.
One day we went out for the first sea trial and all went well. Winds were about 20-knots. We sailed from Francis Bay northward to off western end of Jost Van Dyke; turned around and returned to Francis Bay. Seas were lively and winds were a little high, so perfect conditions for a sea trial. Dan and Lori could see that this 53-foot ketch handles differently than their 30-foot sloop back up on Lake Michigan. Much heavier (and slower, most likely) and very comfortable and safe.
|Lori & Dan celebrating on day we finalized the sales paperwork
After a few days we motored over to Soper's Hole to clear into BVI; then sailed in ultra-light winds to The Bight on Norman Island. Dan flew the Secret Sail for awhile. The Secret Sail is the mizzen ballooner which we have had placed into a sock; basically an asymmetrical sail flown from the mizzen mast.
|Bill & Judy also celebrating on day sales
|White Bay on Guana Island, British Virgin Islands
|Sunset as viewed from White Bay on Guana Island. That is
Jose Van Dyke in center background.
|Lori & Dan settling into their new boat.
The next day we moved over to Great Harbour and we all met up for lunch at Foxy's. We enjoyed this very much. Great to meet up with fellow Texans. And I very much enjoyed listening to Tammy and Janet Lee tell stories of their first year or 2 out cruising. Both boats just arrived in the BVI after spending last hurricane season in Puerto Rico followed by short visits to Culebra and the USVI. So, while not really newbies, neither are jaded long-term cruisers. I enjoyed seeing and listening to their excitement about their 'new' experiences, which caused Bill and I to remember how we felt at that stage of our first few years out.
|Judy with Foxy. Photo taken on
Christmas Eve day
|A famous hammock. Guess where?
Next day we motored over to Caneel Bay to pick up a mooring in order to clear into USVI once again at Cruz Bay. Officialdom satisfied, we motored back to Francis Bay for our final night on a mooring. The following morning we removed the bimini extension and mesh shade panels and folded down the bimini so that Dan could practice using the bow thruster to maneuver the boat in reverse as practice for docking stern-to in a marina. He backed up perfectly to a mooring several times and it appeared that he could handle the boat in reverse just fine.
When we arrived at the marina another boat was in our reserved slip -- the only slip that this marina has which can accommodate a boat the size of BeBe. A smaller sailboat named Sunquest was in the slip and refused to move. He was waiting for a new transmission to be delivered in 2 days and said he would not move from our reserved assigned slip. The marina office advised us to temporarily dock at the T-dock. Dan tried to reverse BeBe to the dock but got confused at some point and turned the helm the opposite direction and also pushed the joystick for the bow thruster in the wrong direction. The wind caught the bow and there was no way to recover correct direction because of the strength of the wind off the bow. We came within inches of ramming the stern of BeBe into the dock but Dan managed to go hard throttle forward just in time to avoid collision. A learning experience. He recovered control and re-positioned the boat and was able to reverse to dock the boat on the second attempt. Now to settle the problem of that boat in our assigned slip. I loved it when the guy told me that "It is all taken care of; I am not moving." I told him he might be all taken care of but we were not yet taken care of; and that we could not remain on that T-dock.
Bill and Dan visited the marina office and soon Sunquest was moved to another slip which could accommodate that smaller boat. Do not need an engine to move a boat; lines and dinghies can do that just fine. Now that guy really was 'taken care of.' And so was BeBe.
Dan was able to reverse BeBe into the assigned slip perfectly. Bill stayed with him, standing near the helm to talk him through the process. At one point the boat was reversing too rapidly and Bill moved the throttle from reverse to forward to stop the backward thrust or we might have hit the dock. Other than that one little issue, Dan docked in reverse just fine on this attempt. This process is something that becomes easier with practice and BeBe is still new to Dan and Lori. So docking and reversing in tight quarters is stressful for them, I'm sure. They will gain confidence with more experience and practice.
For our final night aboard BeBe, Dan and Lori hosted us for dinner at a nice restaurant. It was a pleasure to enjoy a fine meal in a nice restaurant; a true treat for us. Our flights home were uneventful. We arrived in Houston after 1 a.m. and had booked a room at the Marriott right there in the airport. We had rented a small SUV to handle moving all those duffle bags to our home in Galveston; ended up making several trips transporting as many things as possible the following day; then that long drive back up through the city out to the airport in order to turn in that rental vehicle. Shame they do not let people rent vehicles at IAH and return those vehicles to Hobby airport; that would have been much more convenient.
Adjusting back to land life is going to take awhile, I think. As I have stated to several people who have asked about this, we are returning to a different country than the one we left 11 years ago. It was time for us to stop living on the boat because my hip has become too painful and movement limitations were difficult in that marine environment. I ran across this quote from a State Department employee recently fired by new President Trump and it sums up my feelings about giving up our cruising life. Tom Countryman served the nation for 35 years and at the time of his discharge he was the Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation. He was in Amman, Jordan, booked to fly to an international meeting on nuclear arms control when he received notice of his discharge and orders to turn around and fly back home. At his retirement gathering, he stated:
""I leave you with one last thought, from one of my favorite philosophers. If you've never read him, or not for many years, I urge you to take the time now. His name is:....Winnie the Pooh.
And he said:
"How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.""
Please note a new blog tab titled "Next Step (new)"
|Bill & Judy stepping off BeBe for the final time, with lots of luggage for the flights home. (So sad!)
It has been a fabulous 11 years!