Posts Tagged With: Eulalie Sullivan

The Captain’s Burden

Over a beer following our first season of cruising, I debriefed with a good friend, a navy man who had spent years of his life at sea, many of them in command.  In response to his question regarding what we had learned that first year I shared with him the extent to which Eulalie took to heart her captain’s role.  It appeared, as I recounted it, the weight of her role was a hard thing for her to set aside.  My friend, in turn, confirmed that this burden was real and could be relentless.  He confided his own methods for shouldering the weight and the palpable relief that followed his last sea command.

As co-owner and partner in our travels, I shared much of the burden.  Yet, a part was uniquely Lal’s—the Captain’s burden.  For shouldering that extra load she has my respect, gratitude and love.

Last Monday, Lal celebrated her birthday—hundreds of miles off shore.  In a not altogether surprising turn of events, Lal accepted Luiz Goncalvez’s offer to help sail Elizabeth Jean another 1300 miles to her winter cruising grounds in Antigua.

Happy belated birthday Captain Lal.

Lal at a particularly dramatic moment in the Panama Canal.  Off camera a Canal Authority Tug has just gunned its engines pushing Elizabeth Jean towards the canal lock wall.

The blue dot 0001 marks Elizabeth Jean’s position on December 11, the good captain’s birthday.  If it looks as if they are pretty far off shore it’s because they are, on a direct course to clear Puerto Rico and reach the Caribbean’s windward islands.

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“Eleutheria the bells are ringing” Lenny Kravitz

Upon our return to Nassau, we set our course for Eleuthera, 60 miles to the Northeast of New Providence Island. Upon arrival, we secured Elizabeth Jean at a marina in Spanish Wells and rented a car for a land tour to Eleuthera’s southwest corner. There, we enjoyed a guided tour of the inspirational Island School.  That evening near Gregory Town we enjoyed, dinner and lodging at the Surfers’ Manor.  We completed our whirlwind tour on Harbor Island, once the Bahama’s capitol.

Albatross outdid himself on this view of New Providence Island and the Exuma’s (to the picture’s left) and Eleuthera, the slender land mass to the picture’s right.  The image captures the shoal waters on Eleuthera’s western shore.

We sailed into Spanish Wells in the north east part of the island group and rented a car which we used to travel to Eleuthera’s southern tips.


Spanish Wells is home to the most productive Bahamas’ lobster fishing fleet.

The Island School, located on Eleuthera’s southern tip, teaches sustainability to high school children from  around the world.  Stay tuned for a more detailed post on the Island School.


Harbor Island’s waterfront boasts many well maintained colonial era houses.

Captain Lal with a vintage Harbor Island runabout overlooking the pink sand beach.

Lenny Kravitz, who spent much time in Eleuthera, sings about the island at the link below.

 

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Third Treasure: Warderick Wells Sperm Whale Skeleton

This sperm whale died from ingesting a plastic bag, as Marion Vokey correctly answered.  The skeleton is at Powerful Beach on Warderick Wells, the Island Headquarters for the Exuma Land and Sea Park.  The park is a no catch zone and the snorkeling is particularly good as a result.  Many of the reefs are in less than fifteen feet of water and have abundant and varied fish species.

Albatross-eye-view of Warderick Wells.  The park has mooring balls that make accessing the park for hiking and snorkeling particularly easy.

Thanks to those intrepid treasure hunters who participated in our Exuma exploration!

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“Around Nassau Town we did roam” Bahamian Folk Song

As was the case with the folk song’s author and his grandfather, Elizabeth Jean‘s crew and friends roamed Nassau Town for the better part of a month.  During that time, we eschewed “drinking all night and getting into fights.”  Instead we savored separate visits with our daughter Beth and friends Bill, Amy and Anna Ferron (and their Nassau-based nephew and niece-in-law Andrew and Emily).  Highlights of our Nassau sojourn included Beach Soccer championships, overnight sails to West Bay anchorage with its stunning sun sets, rich history and fine snorkeling, tours of Nassau’s cultural museum and museum of slavery and emancipation, conch fritters, salad, cracked conch and snapper at Bro B’s (under the bridge), and the flamingo parade.  In contrast to the Sloop John B‘s crew, Nassau did not leave us “wanting to go home,” but whetted our appetite for further island exploration.

Disney cruise ships lit up the night sky with fireworks during our night passage from Grand Bahama Island to New Providence Island (home to Nassau).    This ship’s larger than life mural only hints at the beauty lying under the sea.

FIFA’s regional beach soccer playoffs were in full swing during much of our Nassau stay.  Here the U.S. team stands for the pre-game flag ceremony.  The U.S. met the Bahamian team in the playoffs.  We were a decided minority in the stands.  Both teams advanced to the world championships in Nassau at the end of April.

The local fans fervently supported their team.

The flamingos paraded for us at the Adastra Garden, Zoo and Conservation Centre.

After the Revolutionary War, the British Government gave large land grants to British loyalists from the former colonies.  This map from the Clifton Beach Heritage area shows these large tracts.  The map also shows West Bay, a perfect anchorage when the wind is from any direction other than the west.  The Lyford tract is now a beautiful residential area that includes a marina.  Andrew and Emily hosted us and the Ferrons for a marvelous dinner in their Lyford Cay home.

These ruins suggest a harsh and primitive existence for the Royalists who fled the colonies with their slaves.

To access Jason de Caires Taylor’s Girl Holding Up the Ocean, our dinghy, Schooner, braved high winds and chop.  We secured her to a mooring ball and snorkeled over.  The water’s clarity made for excellent snorkeling here and at other West Bay sights.  For an account of the statute see:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/travel_news/article-2792659/18ft-atlas-sculpture-dropped-coast-bahamas-form-incredible-underwater-art-garden.html

For a brief history of the “Wreck of the Sloop John B,” first published in 1916 and popularized by Carl Sandburg in 1927 and the Beach Boys, see:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_John_B._Sails

 

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“We cannot cage the minute within its nets of gold” Louis MacNeice

In his poem “The Light On the Garden,” MacNeice captures the sun’s inexorable movement as it tallies our days.  One Floridian, A.E. Backus, spent his life capturing the tropical sun as it played across the landscape.  While lazing in Central Florida, we enjoyed an afternoon at the A.E. Backus Gallery savoring his depictions of sun on clouds, waters, sails, and wildlife.  His eye for tropical light heightened our awareness of the sun’s stunning palette during our visit.

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One of Backus’ captivating images.  For more on Backus see: http://www.indianrivermag.com/articles/winter17/BackusBook.pdf

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Life imitates art in this photograph of a gathering with our Treasure Coast hosts, the Garritys and Humphreys on Elizabeth Jean‘s bow.

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“The World Turned Upside Down” Old Scottish Ballad

Yesterday, Elizabeth Jean scudded past Virginia’s York River under a reefed Genoa with 25-28 knots of north winds. The York was the scene of the British surrender to General George Washington, the end of the colonies’ revolution, and the United States’ entry onto the world stage. Legend has it that the British Band played “The World Turned Upside Down,” a traditional Scottish Ballad, as the vanquished Cornwallis paraded his troops past the victorious Continental Army.

Two days ago on November 9th, we awoke to our own upended world. As we prepare to head south through the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida, we have some appreciation of how the British troops must have felt as they moved past people who shared a common heritage, but who were on the other side of a deep and bitter divide.

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With centuries of history providing perspective, we can reflect on how Great Britain and the United States found common ground. In time, the two nations together unified to defeat fascism during World War II and rebuild a free and democratic Europe during the Cold War.
We, however, live in the present and do not have centuries within which to enjoy the fruits of our shared roots. How then do we navigate our immediate uncertain times and the chasm that separates us from our fellows?  Elizabeth Jean and her crew have watch words that serve as our compass as we travel. We turn to them now.

We live in joy. Now, more than ever, we will find and create joy in our lives. We will do so in the everyday moments—a brisk sail to a quiet anchorage—and the major milestones—such as daughter Jean and Max’s June wedding.
We surrender to this moment. Surrender has many meanings. Here we commit to live in the present even when we cannot help but worry about the future that may unfold. We do not surrender to that future’s inevitability.
We share our lives. We are now on a different adventure than the one that might have been. With those of like mind, sharing this adventure will be easy and a comfort. With friends and family on the other side of the divide, such sharing is essential if difficult. We choose to believe there are common values on which we can build the community and world in which we want to live.

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“Zen and the art of [sailboat] maintenance” Robert M. Pirsig

Working well, and caring “is to become part of a process of achieving an inner peace of mind,” according to Robert Pirsig whose description of maintenance in his book on traveling by motorcycle with his son, elevated maintenance, (properly performed), to a life philosophy.   At Stingray Point, near Virginia’s Rappahannock River mouth, it  helped to think we were achieving inner peace, rather than sanding, stripping paint, rebuilding leaking plumping, and otherwise getting Elizabeth Jean ready for our trip south to Florida.  Fortunately, the first week of November offered flawless clear skies as we prepped and painted.

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The Rappahanock River is known for its quality boat work at a reasonable price.  We had professional help on installing new seacocks and resealing some windows and hatches, but we did much of the work ourselves.  The River is also strategically positioned for cruisers heading south as it is a day’s travel from the Chesapeake Bay’s Mouth or Norfolk and the beginning of the Intra Coastal Waterway (ICW).

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Testing bottom paints for compatability.  No we are not changing colors.  Once we knew the brands were compatible we ordered red.

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Our dinghy, Schooner, sporting her two tone look.  The green stripe is frog tape that will be removed leaving a very clean line.

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She’s too sexy for her Tyvek suit.

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The prop will be test driving some new fangled anti-foulant paint.

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Seeing Elizabeth Jean gleaming in the late November sun, we think Pirsig had a point.  After “working well and with care” we proceed south with a sense of accomplishment and, dare we say, a touch more inner peace.

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“The best thing you could do would be to leave it alone” Halsey Herreshoff

As Halsey Herreshoff noted, some things are best left alone.  Halsey, a boat designer and builder and grandson of Nathaniel Herreshoff, was speaking of the design of his grandfather’s famed Long Island Sound sailboat, the S-Boat, more about which in a minute.  Halsey’s advice, however, might apply more broadly to Long Island Sound itself where Eulalie honed her racing skills while in high school and where forty years later, Elizabeth Jean relaxed and recreated for much of this July and early August.  Our time in the sound offered Eulalie a poignant trip down memory’s wake spurred by her encounter with the proud and patient owner of an S-Boat.  Later, as we sashayed up the Sound, an array of stakes poking above the water kept us alert.  “Oyster Stakes” our charts informed us.  More abundant than Eulalie recalled, the stakes signify an oyster boom.  The Sound’s restoring health, much the same as the S-Boat’s Phoenix-like renewal warmed Eulalie’s return to her early proving grounds.

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Our arrival at the Brewer Post Marina in Mamaroneck, New York coincided with the marina’s annual barbecue.  There we met Bill who showed us the S-Boat he was restoring.  The vessel’s age–well over sixty–can’t hide its sleek form (I should look so good).  According to Susan Buck, the S-Boat is the oldest one-design class still actively racing with its original boats.  In three years the S-Boat Association will celebrate its 100th season.

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The S-Boat transported Eulalie back in time to the 1970’s when she often saw the S-Boat fleet as she raced out of the American Yacht Club in Rye and the Huguenot Yacht Club in New Rochelle, a short drive from our Mamaroneck berth.  Photo credit: Herreshoff S Boats of Long Island Sound Facebook Page.

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Iroquois (#17) leading, Allegro (#20) and Kandahar II (#22).  In all Hereshoff built 95 S-Boats.  Many are still racing.

For more about the S-Boat see:

http://www.herreshoff-s-wlis.org/History.html

 

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“To have a daughter is to know a special joy” Anonymous

As we were preparing Elizabeth Jean to depart Seattle three years ago, our daughter Beth (the Elizabeth in Elizabeth Jean) sent us a picture of an attractive New York City boat basin.  “Here’s where to come in when you get Elizabeth Jean to New York City to visit me,” she enthused.  While we have worked hard to manage our own and others’ expectations about our journey, we privately kept alive the goal of arriving in the New York area to visit Beth.  July 4th, therefore, provided a dual celebration: fulfillment of Beth’s optimistic prediction, along with our nation’s 240th birthday.  This visit also provided a daughterly bookend to our 2013 visit with Jean after our 1000 mile trip from Seattle to Newport Beach, California.  Our daughters’ enthusiastic support  of their namesake’s journey has buoyed her and our spirits along our way.

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Joyously together.

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Seastreak, a high speed ferry, docked ten minutes from our marina, provided an attractive alternative to accessing the Big Apple for a  busy holiday weekend.

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From the ferry’s deck we relaxed and enjoyed New York Harbor and scouted Elizabeth Jean’s route to the East River.

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Forty minutes after departing, Seastreak deposited us near Wall Street where July 4th celebrations were in full swing.  A short walk from the ferry dock is the site of George Washington’s inauguration as our first president.

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We celebrated the festivities at Riis Beach to the vocal stylings of Raycee Jones, one of Beth’s college friends.

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Captain Sullivan.  Action Hero.

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We both got the memo to wear blue, but apparently not the memo about looking at each other while we dance.

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A captain’s kiss.


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 In September 2013, Jean helped us celebrate our arrival in Southern California. To have two daughters is to know joy’s abundance.

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“Cigar smoking knows no politics” Anonymous

Anonymous, who is so wise about so many things, appears to have been born before the U.S. embargo, which among many other things, outlawed Cuban cigars in the U.S.  In addition to the forbidden fruit aspect of the Cuban cigar, the beauty of the Pinar del Rio, Cuba’s tobacco growing region lured us to Vinales, the region’s center.   Our 1954 Plymouth managed the two and a half hour drive from Hemingway Marina with a bit of encouragement from Raul, our driver.  Our hosts for the day were Juan and Elena owners of Villa de la Finca.  After serving us lunch, we mounted Mojito, Mulatto and Coco Loco for a four hour horse back tour of tobacco country, coffee growing station and the national park.  As dusk descended over the Valley, Elena served us a lobster feast on the roof top of their house.

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Our ride to the valley.

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Villa de La Finca, our base for exploring the countryside.  The Villa is a Casa Particulares, a privately owned and operated guest home.  We did not spend the night but the guest room was well kept and had its own bathroom.  Further information can be found at villalafinca@nauta.cu wwwtriptovinales.com.  For more on tourism and entrepreneurship in Vinales see:

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/article77418227.html

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The chair is as comfortable as it is beautiful.

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Our ride through the valley.

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Tobacco plants against a backdrop of mogotes, the steep sided remains of limestone deposits that makes the Pinar del Rio so stunning.

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Photo credit: Keith Seiler

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Our host Josel, dubbed the “holy roller” by Keith quickly rolled a cigar.  He dipped the end in honey, a local tradition, before offering it to us.  Photo credit: Keith Seiler

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Twenty unmarked, handrolled Cuban cigars for $60.  We were unaware that the rules for bringing in cigars back to the U.S. had recently been relaxed and passed on the deal.  Photo credit: Keith Seiler.

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Eric has his hands full.  Photo credit: Keith Seiler.

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Half way through our trip we stopped at a hut where coco locos almost magically appeared.  Photo credit: Keith Seiler.

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Our guides, Andres (who also helped us explore Havana) and Juan of Villa de la Finca.

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Eulalie and Juan exchange hats.  Photo credit: Keith Seiler.

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More mogotes rising majestically out of the valley floor.

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Coffee drying at the hill station.  The plastic bottles hold the finished product.

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Lobster tails in the mid ground, yucca, cucumbers and tomatoes, rice, beans and flan capped off a memorable day in the mountains.

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Elizabeth Jean’s crew and our host and hostess, Juan and Elena.  When we left it felt like leaving family.

 

 

 

 

 

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