Daily Routines aboard Pandora

It’s Sunday morning here in Antigua, and it’s the first day of Daylight Savings Time on the US East Coast, so now we’ll be in sync with our family and friends.  No DST here in the islands.

I’ve got a load of wash going in our washing machine.  It’s been going and not going for about two hours now.  We keep losing power to our generator which is the only way the washing machine can run when we are not tied to shore power.  We are almost never tied to shore power, so we need our washing machine to work on the generator.  Bob has spent all morning trying to figure what might be wrong with the generator.  Meanwhile, I am beginning to worry that our sheets may not get on the bed by tonight if they end up hanging out to dry during the afternoon squalls that blow through here.  I like to have the sheets dry before noon, and now they may not even be out of the washing machine by noon!

During this time Bob is also washing the cockpit with fresh water and a brush–think swabbing decks from the old days!  I’m down below, out of the sun.  I’ve finished writing some emails and am turning my attention to an orange linen sweater that I set aside some months ago.

The yarn is Shibui linen, made of several very fine linen threads cabled together.  I chose an orange that is bright–but not too bright–like a happy pumpkin.  I am making a light weight, top-down, A-line, simple pullover.  How’s that for a lot of adjectives strung together?  The pattern is by Cynthia Parker, and I got the pattern and the yarn from Churchmouse Yarns.  Churchmouse is my absolute favorite online newsletter about knitting.  They send it out several times a month. They have such a great sense of style in their newsletters, and I always want whatever they feature, even tea and Emma Bridgewater pottery!  In reality, I can only afford to buy things they have on sale.  This color of Shibui linen was discontinued, and I think I was lucky to get enough to make the pullover.


Here is the finished sweater as shown on the Churchmouse website.  I have adjusted my version to make it more A-line, to nix the pockets since they would not actually be useable on such lightweight fabric, and to add a bit of length to the sleeves.

Later when I knuckle down to knitting for the afternoon, I will plug in to my earbuds and listen to The Muralist by B.A. Shapiro.  Not a bad way to spend an afternoon when you live on a boat and want to stay out of the tropical sun.  Not a bad way to spend an afternoon anywhere. I loved her book The Art Forger, so I have great hopes for enjoying this one too,

I have made some progress on my small Portuguese Man of War tapestry.  I am not feeling at all confident about my decisions on depicting this creature who got badly blown off course and into our path near Palm Beach, Florida, a couple of years ago.  The water in the harbor near the dock was definitely not clean enough for this ocean going invertebrate.  It was already showing signs of ill health when we came upon it.  It was during a time when I kept stumbling on Portuguese Man of Wars (Men of War?), and I was thinking they might be in my path every year.  But this ailing one was the last I have seen since then.

I warped a small loom which means as I weave I need to advance the warp and pull some of it around to the back.  Not being able to see the entire piece at once is giving me lots of qualms.  If I don’t like it in the end, at least it has given me plenty of hours of creative problem solving and enjoyment weaving.

I’m going to try to show most of what I’ve done by putting the separate photos of the front and back as close together as possible.  It’s the first time I’m seeing it too.  Unfortunately there is a bit missing — the part that is going around the copper pipe.



As luck would have it, I began to realize I would run out of the darkest green/blue the first year that I had this onboard.  We were still in Florida, and I was able to mail order the yarn from my local embroidery shop at home, in Connecticut.  The package was sent to Marathon in the Keys, and I got it delivered to a marina there.  Now, fast forward two years, and I am running out of the medium shade of green/blue.  Bad luck!–and yet a pretty common occurrence for me.  I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to judge how much I need to do a project.  And now I’m in a place where mail would not reach me until sometime well after I returned home!–possibly not even this year!

I tried looking on websites, including Amazon, to see if I could get this yarn sent to my son in California, who will be arriving for a visit mid-week.  No luck with expedited shipping from any of the websites I checked.  It’s a good thing I am weaving this small piece with an easily available embroidery thread, mostly DMC cotton floss.  The thread I am almost out of is DMC floss #502.  In the long run I used my local embroidery store yet again. I called them on our international cell phone for only $.02 per minute (that would be T-Mobile). They were willing to send the yarn 2-day priority mail to California, and Chris will now bring it with him.  Problem solved!  It’s amazing how often this happens to me, and even more amazing how often I am able to solve the problem!

One year I forgot to bring any tapestry bobbins!  I was in St. Mary’s, Georgia, before I even got out my tapestry gear and noticed the missing bobbins.  A wonderful friend in Virginia, packed up five of her bobbins and sent them to me in St. Mary’s.  By the time I stop sailing, I think I’ll have a treasure trove of stories of missing items that I need to keep sane and how these dilemmas were solved–good friends being at the top of the list for jumping in to assist.

Before I left in January, I’d been through rather a roller coaster of family events.  A friend of mine sent me a package of goodies with cards, and the note that was attached read: “It’s a testament to the cycle of life that in one package I am sending you congratulations on the birth of your granddaughter, sympathy for the loss of your mother, and a birthday greeting as well.”  How true….it was a crazy month in which all that happened.  In the package was a kit for a beaded bracelet that I had admired my friend wearing back during the holidays.  With red and green crystals, it was very festive for Christmas, and so sparkly!  A couple of days ago, I sat down to make the bracelet, which thank heaven was easy enough for a non-beader like me.  It took me longer to search for the beading needles I could swear I brought with me, give up on that, and then search for the finest embroidery needles I had onboard, than it did to make that bracelet.  Voila!



We go ashore almost every day, and now that we’ve been here three weeks (due to very high winds), it has begun to feel that there is nothing new left to do ashore.  But it’s still a very different place than home, and there is always some little something that we haven’t seen before.  This week it was a donkey tethered to the town dinghy dock.  It had such a sweet disposition, just chillin’ while she waited for her owner.

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And the sight of a phalaenopsis orchid growing on a tree near the restaurant where we celebrated Bill Woodroofe’s birthday (as in Bill and Maureen of Kalunamoo).

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Here’s Bill opening a present just after we sat to down to lunch at Catherine’s.  What a spot! — an elegant dining room, open right onto the beach in Falmouth Harbor.  The chef is French, and so far it was the best meal I’ve had this winter.  So, I know you are dying to what I had for that best lunch of the winter —  Tuna tartare with a wonderful mango sauce to start, and then a lobster salad that was so tender I almost didn’t believe it was Caribbean lobster.  Yum! That empty glass in front of Bill was a Rum Ti, something I’d never heard of before.  It is white rum with cane syrup and lime juice.  He loves them!


Many days we play with our little mouse, Louis, who came to us in St. Martin, via Denmark.  I made him a couple of books to read when he gets left onboard alone.


This may be proof that I am losing my marbles.  Maybe it’s just what anyone would resort to if confined in small quarters for too long.  Like prison? (I am remembering a quip I once heard that ‘sailing is like being confined to a prison cell, with the added posibility of drowning.)  Well, maybe, but this is considerably better than prison.  Louis really belongs to our granddaughter Tori, but I cannot give him to her until she is a bit older.  So, in the meantime, he is living with us, and we figured we should document his adventures and perhaps even write a little book for her about his travels and adventures.  I would much rather have drawings or watercolors as illustrations, but since I cannot do that, I am taking photos.  I have to do what I can.

Here is Louis playing in the garden. (Okay, so it’s really just a small vase of local flowers…please don’t tell him!)


And Bob gave him some instruction in the use of our VHF and SSB radios.  He likes electronics.

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Quiet time onboard seems very different than at home.  There are simply less distractions, at least for me.  Bob is very busy whacking moles these days, so I’m not sure he has much quiet time.  During mine I have had some very productive creative thoughts about what direction I might take on a number of projects that I have left at home as well as on projects that I have in mind for the future.  I have made some notes for my large Portuguese Man of War tapestry and am looking forward to starting that!  It will make use of different techniques and skills that I have picked up over the years, and some of these have nothing to do with tapestry.  I hope this project will be a successful blend of techniques that I’ve used over many years.  It’s time to bring such things together in one statement.  Or so I hope.

I’ve also thought about the little book about Louis.  I wonder if I can use Photoshop to turn some our photos into more interesting images that evoke drawing or watercolor.  This might be cheating, but I’d like to do the book entirely myself and I really want something simpler than photography to illustrate it.

And then there are the sights each day brings here.  I’ve complained a LOT about the wind for the past weeks.  I should balance that with some photos of wonderful things that also define this place.  We have a rainbow almost everyday, and sometimes two!  And one time we had three rainbows in one day. Of course this happens because there are so many squalls!  You gotta take the good with bad.  Here’s one from this week–can you see the very faint double rainbow on the outer right?

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We hardly ever sleep through the night.  Who does, at our age?  But above and beyond the call of nature that wakes both of us in the night, there are the squalls that come through.  Since I sleep on the outer edge of our pullman berth, I am the one who gets up to close all the hatches when I hear the rain start….every night.  And I am the one who gets up again to re-open all the hatches once the rain has passed.  We always need the breeze. I should note that most nights have several squalls, so not a lot of sleep is going on for me.  Too bad these squalls don’t coincide with that other reason for getting up.

Bob often gets up to check all the other things that might be cause for alarm in the night.  Mostly these are odd sounds or odd feelings.  Are we dragging?  Is the anchor chain chafing?  He got a beautiful shot of the moon setting over the western hills of the harbor this week during one of his wake up calls.

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And then there is dawn…a new and beautiful one every day. And sunsets like this one.

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So that’s how we spend our days.  The sheets are dry on the line now, and the towels are ready to be hung up on our make shift laundry line.  I’d better get to it. Then I’ve got a good book calling to me and a bit of knitting.


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