We are back in Falmouth Harbor on Antigua, which is only a short walk to the very pretty English Harbor where the ambience of 18th c. British naval history is well preserved. We are back here because Bob decided to call in the professionals to whack the mole that is playing havoc with our SSB. It turns out that the mole won this round; the SSB is dead. At the moment there are no new ones available for shipment from the US, so we wait.
Meanwhile, to bide time, Bob met a rigger name Bishop yesterday, and after watching him make some soft shackles, Bob asked if he would be willing to teach us how to do it. They made a date for Bob to bring Bishop out to Pandora right after work. I thought I’d stay out of their way (not that easy on a boat!), but Bob thought I’d enjoy learning along with him. And he was right! A soft shackle is a bit of rigging that is one of the strongest things ever….way stronger than a typical shackle. What a little bit of wonder–and Bishop is a good teacher!
First you make the splice, then with the two ends that come out of the splice you make a knot that ends up looking a bit like a small Turk’s head.
I practiced this little bit of splicing and knot tying about five times yesterday to make sure I learned it. Today I’m not so sure I can do it again–I’d better keep practicing. I’m fascinated by it! I think there must be some wonderful use for this in kumihimo. I have lots of time to ponder this, and then I can try a few ideas when I get home.
While we are back here in Falmouth for repairs and waiting out some strong weather, we went to dinner Sunday night at the beautiful Pillars resort. I did get my G&T under the canopy in the garden that overlooks English Harbor. It’s even prettier at dusk!
There was a bougainvillea that had been trimmed into small shrub right near my leg, and a little hummingbird was flitting all around it. He was not in the least concerned about my proximity. He has a little crested head and from certain angles his crest is a brilliant, tropical green. What a sight!
As dusk fell we began to hear very sharp tweets from what we thought were little birds that were starting to settle down for the night in the trees above us. But instead of settling down, the tweets became louder and more like sharp shrieks. It turns out there are lots of big tree frogs here that are quite loud. I’m glad we can’t hear them out on Pandora. There’s no sleeping when these things are calling.
After dinner we took a walk around English Harbor…as pretty at night as it is during the day.
Today is very unsettled with passing squalls that disrupt the bright blue skies and puffy white clouds that are sailing by in these high winds. The squalls darken the whole sky and send down horizontal deluges of water. In the midst of the quickly changing weather we happened to see a rainbow right behind Pandora! I have never seen both ends of a rainbow before! What a thrill! Shouldn’t there be two pots of gold?
P.S. It’s now afternoon. I have answered emails and made two two soft shackles for practice. Bob went ashore to consult with Arrougoo, our electronics repair guy, and while there he went to the rigger and bought some finer spectra ‘dyneemo’ line for me to try.
Both of these were supposed to be bracelets, but as you can see I made some miscalculations on measuring the materials for the first one. It is way to small for a bracelet, yet too big for a ring. Voila! A belt for Louis the sailor mouse. He really wanted a nautical belt. So, now I know that I must measure 4x’s the length of what the finished item should be. I now also know that the knot is called a stopper knot. Here is the first bracelet, along with little Louis and his new belt.