Category Archives: tapestry

Tying it all up

Time is short!  Bob and I are rapidly approaching our last week onboard Pandora– not only the last week of this sailing season, but the last week we may ever sail on her.  We are delivering her to a broker in New Bern, NC, tomorrow, and after that we’ll spend a week unloading 8 years of provisions we’ve put onboard– and we’ll do all we can to clean and polish her to a gleaming state so that someone else might want her as much as we did just a few short years ago.  We have enjoyed our time on her!

We have just spent a couple of days at Cape Lookout, a spot we have not visited before.  What a gem!  I think it is considered the most violent bit of sand and sea along the East Coast of the US, but it may also hold the record for the most violent bit of geography on the Atlantic.  Not certain about that—but I intend to look into it. Our photos tell a different story–peaceful and serene.

At anchor in the bight at Cape Lookout….

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The lighthouse at Cape Lookout at sunset.  The light flahses for one second every 15 seconds, and Bob managed to get it!–you have to have great eyesight to see that tiny point of light in this photo!

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There is fabulous shelling on the beaches at Cape Lookout, both on the ocean side and in the bight.  Amazing. We collected quite a trove of great shells.

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These shore birds, which I can’t identify positively (they might be a type of tern–Caspian? Forster?) really scolded me for invading their territory.  I am always impressed at how fearless most birds are.  En masse these guys were determined to get me off their bit of beach!

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 After many attempts to catch dolphins on camera–since we see them everyday–Bob caught this one! I hear that loggerheads come here to spawn, and that should happen pretty soon.

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Tomorrow we head back out into the Atlantic for a few miles, then into the ICW near Beaufort.  If we time the tide right we’ll be in Oriental before the end of the day.  By Friday morning we’ll head up the Neuse River and be in New Bern by afternoon.  And then the chores begin taking down everything that has been our winter home for a few years now.  End of an era….

Northlight Studio exhibition in Stromness, Orkney

There was a bit of exciting news in my inbox this morning regarding the exhibition of very small tapestries taking place at the Northlight Studio in Stromness.  Joan Baxter wrote to say that show went up as planned, about a week ago.

The exhibition is up and there are 65 postcards in total from Orkney, Yorkshire, Ireland, New England and Denmark. That is a really fantastic effort, thank you for contributing.

This is wildly thrilling to me!–that my tiny little scene of the St. Mary’s River has traveled to a place I’ve always wanted to visit–that it is hanging on a wall with other tapestries made by people in places I still hope to visit– and soon!  Well… I am undone!

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Shameless Landlubber

We have spent some wonderful days ashore between Fernandina, Savannah and Beaufort, SC.  I can’t walk 10 feet without taking a photo– of window boxes, planters, a beautiful front door or porch.  Clearly I miss land! –in spite of my little container gardens on Pandora.

Our last day in Savannah: camellias, cherry trees– even a few that have already begun leafing out!—azaleas, pansies.  It is full spring here.

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And just a few more doors…..I can’t help myself! Note the gas lamp at this door.  There were many in Savannah.

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Elegance on elegance…..would love to get a peak inside both these places!

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This gate with ivy is so pretty I can only imagine how lovely the garden must be on the other side!

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 Lunch was fun in a well known English style pub with good pub fare:  bangers and mash, shepherd’s pie, ploughman’s lunch.  I took this photo to show my dear friend Lesley, but I wish I’d taken a photo of my lunch so she could see I was having a Branston pickle!

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We visited the maritime museum that also happened to have a lovely garden surrounding it since the museum is housed in an historic house with beautiful grounds.

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The museum had quite an extensive collection of ship models, but what caught my eye were some of the very few other items, relics from various ships.  There was a wall of scrimshaw in one room, and I was intrigued with these lovely carved rolling pins. I don’t even have a rolling pin on Pandora since I only make a pie once or twice during our time onboard each year.  I use an empty wine bottle….we always have one on hand!

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And of course I had to take a photo of this lovely scene of children with a lamb.  Not your standard scrimshaw image!

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And just before leaving Savannah we had our photo taken by a couple of tourists after Bob offered to take theirs.

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From Savannah we moved on to Beaufort, where I looked forward to visiting one of the friendliest yarn shops, Coastal Knitting.  Just walking through the charming business section of town—so many beautifully tended shops and interesting restaurants—was delightful.  And the residential areas were beyond wonderful!  There were gardens in luscious bloom everywhere.  Here is just a sampling!

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This morning, just one day after leaving Beaufort, I found a comment here from a woman who lives in Beaufort, and who just returned herself from a couple of months onboard her trawler, armed with both knitting projects and a tapestry project.  It is a thrill to know that there are other weavers out there!  It can get so lonely out here without other weavers to talk to!

Non-weavers often recommend that I get an inkle loom or a little rigid heddle.  I love these small tools and enjoy using them when I have a certain project in mind that suits them.  But they in no way replace that urge to weave the type of cloth that I love.  It’s just not the same, and an inkle loom is never going to satisfy my need to design and create fabric.  Anyway—it’s very nice to be in touch with another weaver.  Laura Burcin plans being onboard for a longer period next winter.  I look forward to connecting with her in person.  In the meantime, I feel I have gotten to know her a bit through her blog.

Should I talk about my “For Irene” sweater, which I have ripped back in order to make the lower body smaller?  I certainly don’t want to!  It has not gone as simply as I envisioned!  I knitted most of this sweater in Portugal on my rosewood, interchangeable Knit Picks needles—size 4.  At the airport in Lisbon, as I was headed back to the US, they were taken from me.  Now that I’m trying to match the stockinette on the body of sweater, I am finding that none of my other needles are able to match the gauge of those particular needles I lost!  UGH! I have started and ripped back five times now!  This is a crisis! I did try to replace those needles in Coastal Knitting in Beaufort.  They don’t carry the interchangeables, but they did have size 4 circulars from Knitter’s Pride which I have heard is the same manufacturer as Knit Picks.  Alas, no luck on getting the same gauge!

I wanted to wear this sweater to a wedding in a little over two weeks, and now I’m rather convinced it won’t happen.  Ah well, time to make peace with that.  When I get home I can order a replacement for the needles I lost….

And Now for Something Completely Different!

We’ve been in Miami for a week….hard to believe since Bob does not usually sit still that long!  While the weather has not been quite tropical, it’s a far cry more pleasant than what is going on along the East Coast farther north of here! But I can’t help thinking about this year’s winter in parts of the world where violent weather is the norm.  And that brings me to Scotland….

Various tapestry weavers in New England, along with tapestry weavers from Ireland, Australia and Denmark, are– at this very moment– sending off  small works themed “Postcards from Home” to an address in Scotland.  The tapestries will have a little tour of northern Europe, starting with a show at Northlight Studio, in Stromness in the Orkney Islands off Scotland in late March.

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Our tapestries may take a ride like this on the Stromness ferry.

Roughly a decade ago I became acquainted with Elizabeth Lovick from Stromness, and ordered a Ronaldsay fleece from her.  At the time she wasn’t certain if the fleece would ever make it to me in its unwashed state, but it did, and I had a happy few months spinning yarn for a fisherman’s gansey for our younger son Chris.

knitting Chris sweater back detail

Since then Stromness has fascinated me.  I’m intrigued that now a little piece of my work is headed over there!

Here is a video taken just a month ago on Fair Isle in the Shetlands.  This makes me appreciate that not all sheep are….well…..sheep!  These are really tough animals, not easily intimidated!–certainly not by violent weather!  Tommy Hyndman took this footage and had this to say about the weather:

Fair Isle, Shetland – January 10th, 2015 – Gale rages to hurricane level as seen about the Isle on land and sea. Peak storm levels were at night, but it was still very outrageous weather, with strong gusts of winds almost knocking me off my feet several times, especially in the north of the Isle.

Fair Isle has a population of 60 people, 1200 sheep, 20,000 puffins and a few very rare birds. Hmmm….is that ‘rare birds’ of the avian type?…I’m thinking all 60 human inhabitants cold easily be ‘rare birds.’

I’ve always said that I’d never want to go sailing off England or any of these islands in the North Atlantic, even in summer!–though certainly the rewards for such hardship would be great!

I can’t help thinking of the nonchalant manner in which the Scottish talk about weather.  Even Archie, who has hardly spent any time on the water compared to me, is a far hardier sailor than I’ll ever be, just by virtue of being Scottish!  I can hear him saying any one of the well worn phrases about weather, such as this one:  “In Scotland there is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.”

So when this recent article by Nigel Calder crossed my path, I had to laugh.  What timing!  Just when our little tapestries go winging across the pond to Scotland to get on a ferry boat to Stromness, one of the most respected circumnavigators has written an article about the very area.

His photos from the trip are beautiful, as you can see below, and his tale is compelling. Check it out!

Mean Miami

What a bizarre experience to arrive in Miami by water!  The bright, almost acid green color of the shallow water in Government Cut juxtaposed with all the high rise buildings of Miami.  It looks like a computer generated set for a sci-fi movie.  I don’t think I could ever get used to it.

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 We are getting first hand experience of what we’ve been hearing about for several years: that boaters are not always welcome in Florida waters.  With year long mild weather, some boaters have become rather like vagabonds, living on derelict boats that can’t actually leave a harbor to go sailing because they have become so run down.  These boats sit at anchor in harbors for years unable to leave.  Naturally, homeowners in the various coastal towns don’t want to look out at their water views marred with old, rotting boats.

It is a dilemma because no one owns the water.  The homeowners don’t want their mega-million dollar views marred by boats that never leave, but we crusising sailors have achorage rights in any place with enough water for anchoring.  There have been some contentious moments over this situation, and we witnessed one just the other night.  At our particularly beautiful anchorage in Sunset Lake in Miami Beach, a homeowner came outside just before sunset and began yelling obscenities at a boat in the harbor.  It was hard to tell which boat he was verbally attacking!  No one was visible on the few boats anchored here in Sunset Lake except for Bob and me who were relaxing in Pandora’s cockpit!  I was very concerned that he was yelling at us, although he seemed to be looking toward a Canadian boat right next to us.  Eventually the folks onboard this Canadian boat came up from down below and it became clear that the homeowner was yelling at them.  He threatened to sink their boat numerous times, and all his threats were garnished with profanity.  It was quite uncomfortable for all of us.

Bob motored over to the Canadian boat in our dinghy to explain to them that they were not violating any rules, and that this anchorage is written up in all the guidebooks, in case the Canadians might be unclear about anchoring rights in the US.  The Canadians decided to move anyway because it had been such a distasteful experience for them.  Bob decided to call the police since the number is given in our guidebook with a warning to expect some problems with various homeowners.  The police officer who took Bob’s call said this man has caused problems in the past so he is well known to both boaters and the police.  The officer said someone would go out shortly to give the homeowner a warning.

We later heard that this same homeowner became enraged at a boat that was anchored here on Christmas Day, and that he began shooting paintballs at the boat.  Can you imagine that?  And the police were called out then too, but just gave him a warning.  I’m wondering how effective these ‘warnings’ are.

So, here in Miami there are almost no places where boaters can go ashore.  Yesterday we had to tie our dinghy to a stone wall at an empty lot under construction, and then walk along a path strewn with debris.  It made me feel quite unwanted here.  Since then we have scoped out various other options for getting ashore, and the best one looks to be a floating dock along the canal that runs next to Dade Ave.  The Publix market that is right across the street may have put in this dock, which is quite commodious.  However, when you get off the dock you find yourself on a very busy 6-lane road with no cross walk or traffic light.  Well, it’s still our best option, so that is how we’ll get ashore today.

Our lovely anchorage on Sunset Lake.

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Along North Bay Drive, where we have anchored, the houses are certainly beautiful and have stunning gardens as well. Here is one house and garden wall that we passed after getting ashore.

Just inside this gate is a courtyard where we saw a vintage Bentley parked.

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 While we were in Ft. Lauderdale, we made a new friend!  (Her parents are quite nice too!) Cricket and her family are from north of Montreal and are sailing to the Bahamas on their Nonsuch 36.  It took numerous visits for Cricket to warm up to me, but I was smitten with her  on our first meeting!   Isn’t she adorable?

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On her 3rd visit she curled up against me and I was so shocked that I was hesitant to touch her.  I figured she didn’t really mean to get this close to me!  Her ‘mom’ said she almost never gets that close to a stranger.  Eventually I put my hand down on her and began petting her, and she stayed curled up against me!  Friends at last!

In the past week I have done quite a bit of lace work, and enjoyed every minute of it.  These hearts are from a book of heart ornaments by Lene Bjorn, 24 Hearts in Bobbin Lace. After doing several projects that have taken me years to finish, and being thoroughly lost numerous times along the way, it feels great to just sit down to these hearts all by myself!.  I hope to have a small collection of these for next Christmas.  They will be wonderful ornaments on the tree.

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They are actually little baskets.  So the diagrams are for double hearts that are folded in half to create the basket, and they even have lace handles.  I’ll be making yards and yards of handles at some point!

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Well, I think I’ve beaten this subject to death!….but I couldn’t help it!  It’s thrilling to me to be doing lace without a lot of handholding!  One more…

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And my tapestry will go off on its journey sometime in the next few days.  Yesterday Bob and I headed off on a 4-mile walk to the post office in Miami Beach, only to discover when we got there that it was the Presidents’ Day holiday!  Duh!  That’s the cruising life for you….we’ll try again today, or I might have to wait ’til we get to Marathon later in the week.

I did manage to do the finishing and mounting work, never my favorite chores.  But all is well at last.  I used the half-Damascus finish from Peter Collingwood’s book, and I’ve mounted the tapestry to a small mat board that had holes punched along the edge every 1/8 inch or so.

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Please note that to weigh down my tapestry I am using our heaviest book onboard, Nigel Calder’s Cruising Handbook.  On any cruising boat anywhere you are likely to find a number of Nigel’s books, including this one.  He is a well known English sailor who has circumnavigated a number of times with his wife and with their children when they were younger.  I have a bit more to say about him next time!

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Nomadic Winter

For years I’ve been intrigued with miniature tapestry, and clearly its a growing trend.  In Wednesday Group classes, Archie often talked about exploring how little it takes to convey the essence of something:  a face, a gesture, a mood.  Then came the biennial small format tapestry shows which I found endlessly inspiring!  So many little tapestries conveying so many varying images and ideas.  And then came tapestry diaries, an idea started by Tommye Scanlin.

Susan Martin Maffei has a body of work in miniatures as well, which I have always enjoyed.  One of her pieces, “Travel Series: NYC to Mendocino, CA,” is a long horizontal strip of tiny tapestries depicting images from the long train ride across the US.  There are wonderful subjects in these tiny works: farmland, signs from nearby highways, railroad tracks, water towers.  This long piece is a gem of how much can be conveyed in a small work. And she worked on a very small loom which she could hold in her lap on the train.

Since I’m traveling on a modest size sailboat, I also need to work with a small loom!  I often tell people that we are living small with a very large view!

With that in mind, I began the first tapestry, a small 4” x 6” with warp set at 10 ends per inch.  This is the finest tapestry warp I have, and after struggling with this piece I placed an order with Joanne Hall at Glimakra USA for some 12/6 seine twine which can bet set at 12 epi.  I am looking forward to seeing what I can do with a slightly finer sett. (I won’t bore you with how hard it is to get mail when you do not have a permanent address.)

My series will be called “Nomadic Winter 2015.”  Here is #1:  “January fog on the St. Marys River”

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I’d like to do a small landscape for each month from January through April, but right now I have another January image from the St. Marys River that I’d also like to do.  I guess I can do whatever I want since it’s my series!

Summer’s Swan Song

A few images from our morning walk into Essex to have coffee at our favorite spot.

Today really feels like autumn, and I wore long pants for the first time this season.  All the gardens along our way are bursting with everything they’ve got in the last weeks before frost.  It is a breathtaking time of year!

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Sunflowers in a long border of sunflowers, zinnias, and roses.

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One of my favorite houses where the Kousa dogwood berries are framing a view of the front door.

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And right next door is my friend Jane’s house.  She has beautiful gardens, and at this time of year the focus is purple Russian sage and bright yellow sunflowers along her picket fence.

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Right near Jane’s house is a house where the older residents grow a very large vegetable garden.  To me it verges on being a farm.  They have pole beans, various types of squash, corn, tomatoes, and in late summer the pumkin vines grow almost out to the street.

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Clever Mr. Farmer has trained the longest vine onto his big apple tree.

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While having coffee we met a man who just returned from Portugal, where he and his family have a house in Nazare.  His wife was born there, so they visit each year, and he had lots of good advice for us.  I will get busy honing the details for our trip…

And on this first crisp day I will warp my new copper loom for the upcoming Joan Baxter workshop.  I am leaving tomorrow for a whole week at an inn in Rockport, Massachusetts, where 12 of us will spend time with Joan developing our individual cartoons for tapestries about the sea and the shoreline.  More on that when my idea gains some clarity.

Also, today, I am making the second batch of baguettes from the recipe in the current issue of “Cooks Illustrated.”  (If you want the recipe you have to buy this issue!) The first batch was the best baguette I have ever made myself (thank you CI!!).  I reached my goal of making a baguette that could rival Balthazar’s Bakery in NY….a goal I’ve been heading toward for decades!

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And while I wait for next round of dough to rise, I’m having a fresh tomato sandwich with mozzarella and basil on day old, lightly toasted, leftover baguette.  Hard to imagine anything better!

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A Trip along the Hudson River and Huck Weaving

This week was a beautiful time to be along the Hudson River Valley.  I drove up to participate in the Wednesday Group monthly class.  It was a stunning drive there and back, and it was beyond wonderful to be back in class after being away for several months.

I took my spool tapestry, hoping to finish it or at least draw the finishing line across the top.  After everyone took a look at it, the general consensus was to have a shaped ending.  I really liked that solution, mostly because it meant I only had one more spool to weave!  So….it is done!…well, except for all the finishing work.

2014-06-09 13.45.22 Now I can get back to my medieval spinner and an intriguing idea that has been on my mind for a while.

In the mornings before class, and in the evenings, I was so lucky to stay in place with magnificent views of the Hudson…..and to be in the company of two wonderful friends.  There is a lot of big ship traffic on the river, all day and through the night.  Very impressive!  And now that it is approaching summer there is plenty of pleasure boat traffic as well.

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On Friday my friends and I took a trip to the eastern side of the river to visit the OMI Sculpture Park, in Ghent.  First we made a quick stop at Frederick Church’s “Olana.” The Turkish inspired tile work is phenomenal, and I don’t know how all this tile work survives the climate here in upstate New York.

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The views of the river and the Catskills were as compelling as the views of the house and grounds.

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At OMI there was quite a bit of construction going on as they began installation of some new pieces.  The older pieces mostly looked really dated to me.  But in spite of the big equipment digging holes and moving artwork, and the noise, we managed to have a great time.  The weather was perfect June….

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Then, back at home, Bob and I took a walk along our own Connecticut River and enjoyed the beautiful gardens that are full of peonies.

2014-06-08 11.13.31My own deep red “Blaze” peonies have opened, right next to my “Knock Out Julia Child” yellow rose.  It’s a glorious time in the garden these days!

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While I’ve been writing this a sample of my huck lace fabric has been going through my washing machine.  It has fulled nicely in the wet finishing (no dryer).  I blotted it in a towel and have just ironed it. I’m happy to see that the pattern is square!  Three yards to weave to make a lunch bag with matching napkin as a gift, and four napkins for me!

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Here is the mug that inspired the fabric.

Weaving mug exchange

Short Time and Underway…

That’s a phrase I hear every morning when we listen to the Cruiseheimer’s net on our sideband radio.  Boats on the move to new destinations….some heading north to get above the Florida border before hurricane season starts on June 1….or people headed ahsore for provisions and/or sight seeing.

One week from today I will be winging back to the US for a visit with my older son and his girlfriend at their home on the outskirts of Baltimore for a couple of days. In the meantime, we have a full  week of beautiful destinations planned as our final week aboard and as a tour of the Exuma chain for Rob and Kandice.

Before they arrived I tried to finish up on my small tapestry exercise of circles within circles….didn’t quite make it!

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The piece will end in the area where the threaded bar is so I’m not too far from the finish line.  It’s been a fun project, but I guess I will have to spend some time on it at home.  I cannot bring it with me, so it will sail home with Bob.

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On our walk to the airport to meet Rob and Kandice, we passed lots of roosters and chickens with their chicks.  There were big black roosters and white ones, and lots of colorful chickens.  The roosters are very good at avoiding our camera, and the chickens are pretty good too, although they are encumbered by their brood of little chicks following them around.  The best shot we could get was the backsides of a retreating family!

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A very different kind of trip to the airport than what we normally experience! At the airstrip we sat in a gazebo to await Rob and Kandice’s arrival!

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And then there was Rob, waving to us from what should be the co-pilot’s seat!  He had a wonderful time sitting next to Chester the pilot.  Rob took some amazing shots of the flight and videos on his Go Pro of the flight and the approach to Staniel Cay.  He even saw Pandora at anchor as they made their final approach.

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The kids have played with the pigs on Big Major’s Spot, and we’ve seen just how quickly little piglets have grown! Bob probably could not pick up that little pink pig anymore!  Rob and Bob went snorkeling in Thunderball Grotto at low tide yesterday, and Rob took a lot of video of the fish and  a sea turtle that he swam with for a while outside the far end of the grotto.

We’ve seen some wonderful sunsets, some shooting stars, and some amazing clouds…

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Today we will have a short sail to Over Yonder Cay.  This is a private island, beautiful beyond belief, and entirely self-supporting with their own energy.  There are three large windmills on this island….later today we will get a guided tour from the island manager, Ethan, and I’m sure we’ll learn a lot more about how this stunning place operates.

The rest of our final week will include time at Warderick Wells, Compass Cay, and Shroud Cay.

My shawl is on the final repeat of the lace pattern….now what am I going to work on during my flights home?  Wondering if it’s still cold enough in Connecticut to wear wool/silk socks…

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So Much Water over the Bridge!

Weeks have passed since my last post….a combination of rough weather and lots of sailing has prevented me from keeping up here.  I cannot use my computer when I am seasick, and I’ve been seasick a lot!

But that is not to say that I haven’t had some wonderful times during the past couple of weeks.  We have had some great times on shore!

Today we are back in Staniel Cay in order to meet our son Rob and his girlfriend Kandice when they fly here tomorrow afternoon.  The weather is finally settled and promises to be springlike for the next few days! …Although at this very moment the dark skies to the southwest are rapidly approaching, and I think we will get quite a violent squall any minute now! During squalls like these we have sometimes seen water spouts….I hope we won’t experience one!

We have lots of plans for things to do with Rob and Kandice, starting with seeing the pigs on Big Major’s Spot and snorkeling in the local grotto, named after the old James Bond movie “Thunderball” where the filming took place. We have not seen Rob and Kandice since early January, so we are really excited for their arrival!

Yesterday we sailed about 50 miles from Rock Sound, Eleuthera, to Pipe Cay in the Exumas.  (Perhaps I should mention that just a week earlier I also endured a 70 mile ocean run from Thompson Bay, Long Island, to Rock Sound Eleuthera….go me!) While we were getting under way, Bob heard on the Cruiseheimers net (on sideband radio) that someone caught a big tuna, so he could not resist the temptation to try catching something himself.  He put out a line and within an hour or so he had a mahi mahi giving him a good fight.  As he got it closer to the boat we could see it was a whopper!

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That fish yielded us over 8 lbs of filets! We had our friends Maureen and Bill (from Kalunamoo) over for dinner last night, and we have at least four more meals waiting in the freezer.  We will definitely have it for dinner one night while Rob and Kandice are here.

And what a wonderful time we had on Eleuthera!  This was our first visit there.  Easter weekend was lovely in Rock Sound.  We decided to visit the Methodist Church for Easter service, while Bill and Maureen went to the Catholic church….there were numerous other choices as well.  As luck would have it, just before the service started Nancy and George from Trumpeter (Nancy taught me to make Bahamian coiled baskets last winter) came and sat next to us.  They have attended this church every Easter for several years.  The service was very festive, with lots of music, a liturgical dancer and plenty of enthusiasm in the congregation.  We estimated that there were over 100 people in the congregation, about 40% white and 60% black.  This Methodist Church is one of the oldest churches on the island, and has already celebrated its bicentennial.  The sanctuary is deceptively modern, with an elaborate sound system and a power point projector.  It was a hoot!

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On Easter afternoon we met Bill and Maureen at the local blue hole, right in the center of the town park in Rock Sound, for our Easter dinner picnic.  Maureen had baked some of their own frozen mahi mahi for us, along with freshly baked beer bread!  This blue hole is quite impressive since it is only a few feet shallower than Dean’s Blue Hole on Long Island, which is the deepest blue hole in the world.  And Rock Sound’s blue hole sits in the middle of a lovely park where we could have our picnic right at the edge of the water, in the shade of a big tree.  It was a perfect afternoon!

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We also rented a car for two days and toured the rest of Eleuthera with Maureen and Bill.  We visited the Glass Window on a mild day and were very impressed with the force of the ocean even in calm conditions. Our photo does not show how much force the calm waters have when they hit the tiny isthmus here.  It was dramatic! I can only imagine what that surging bit of the Atlantic must have looked like the day it moved the bridge about 12 feet.  Yikes!

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We drove north to a spot called Preacher’s Cave, a place where some English settlers found refuge after their ship was wrecked on the Devil’s Backbone (back in the late 1600s) at the northeastern side of Eleuthera near what is now Harbour Island.  The cave is impressively big, so it’s easy to understand that it provided a wonderful refuge for those weary and distraught settlers.

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Along the way on our 90-mile drive north we also stopped at the Queen’s Baths, another spot where the mighty Atlantic surges against the coast into a cave creating lots of foam and bubbles. Can you see Maureen and me picking our way across the far side of the Queen’s Baths?

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Walking along these craggy shores is a lot harder than it looks in this photo.  Here’s a close up to give an idea of how rough going it is!  The rocks are some kind of very sharp limestone….lots of small (and sometimes large!) craters have formed in these rocks so getting a flat purchase for walking is virtually impossible!

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The shopping and restaurant options on Eleuthera were quite a bit more civilized than we’ve experienced in the Exumas!  We had a lovely lunch two days in a row.  The first day we visited Rainbow Inn and sat on their upper deck overlooking Exuma Sound, and the second day we stopped at Tippi’s and sat in an open air dining room that overlooked the pink sand beach and the Atlantic.

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And here is a shot of the pink sand beach at Tippi’s.

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Eleuthera was so much more civilized than the Exumas that they even have a ‘camauflaged” cell tower.  All through the islands we recognize the distinctive red and white towers of the Bahamas Telecommunications Company (Batelco) and anchor nearby these towers whenever we can so that we can have cellular internet, such as now!  But Eleuthera has a cell tower camauflaged as palm tree!

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So now I am in the final stages of my winter away.  I’m not certain now much more work I’ll get done on my various projects.  Perhaps my tapestry will not be finished when I leave….sigh…  but I do have two pairs of socks finished (one of them being those fun ‘skewed’ socks!), a fair isle sweater knitted up to the armholes waiting for inspiration on how to proceed for the upper body shaping, several small table embroideries from decades back now finished!….and the last project:  Boo Knits “Sweet Dreams” shawl that I just started yesterday.  Shawl knitting is quite addictive… I often find that I knit the whole thing in one go.  I’m into the final lace area already, so I guess I would say this project is hard to put down. I’m using Verdant Gryphon “Mithral” in the colorway “Bathsheba,” which has lovely woodland shades of bronze/evergreen/burgundy that reminds me of fairies!  Queen Mab would love this shawl!

We’ll spend the next 10 days with our kids traveling north through the Exumas.  We hope to take the kids to Compass Cay to swim with the sharks and see the beautiful beach there, then to Warderick Wells for more swimming and snorkeling in the Exuma Land and Sea Park.  Bob has stumbled into a wonderful connection with the manager of Over Yonder Cay, where we may get a private tour ….if it works out I will definitely give details!

By the end of the first weekend in May we must be back in Nassau for the kids and I  to meet our flight back to the US.  I will stop in Baltimore with Rob and Kandice for a visit at their house and some time with my favorite dog, Bosun!  Bob’s crew will arrive the day I fly out with the kids, so he will begin his journey back to the US the slow way.

I am so excited to be headed home for a beautiful spring on the Connecticut River!  I hope some of my bulbs will still be blooming, and I hope I have some Danish flag poppies in bloom from the seeds I planted last fall!  On my first day home (if I can get one of the cars started!) I will be heading out to my local weaving guild meeting!  Lots to look forward to!