Our Boat

Caloosa Spirit

Catalina 42 mkII

Log #12 One More Thing…Then On Our Own

The rubrail arrived and got installed yesterday. Of course, Island Time dictated that it wouldn’t happen until the end of the day after we sat around waiting all day. So today we arrived back at the base for our final close-out. After diagnosing and fixing the problem with the radio, that is. We certainly don’t want to find ourselves out on the open sea needing someone to respond to our radio transmissions that apparently are not readily heard. There always seems to be one more thing.

Again we waited till day’s end for someone to look at the radio. There’s still a question of what’s wrong and about replacing the antenna and cable—a big job, but a safety issue. We did enjoy the pool and sunbathing for a while.

The problem was in the radio, so it got fixed and now it seems to be working properly. We probably still need to replace the antenna and cable, but we’ll put that off until another time. It’s too important to finish our business here and move on. We still have one more thing—a rivet in the boom vang. Oh, and one more thing—our financial settlement. (How could we forget that?) “Tomorrow??”

Here’s an answer to the question “What do you do all day?” I do some laundry in the galley sink, then hang it on the lifelines. Then I take it down when it starts to rain, then I put it back up again when the sun comes out. Then I take it down when it rains again and figure out how to hang it up inside the boat. That all kills several hours. Exotic, huh?

The rivet got put in and the check got delivered (to us). We’re done with Sunsail. Three months to the day after we moved aboard. Three days shy of 5 months after we left Indiana. Two weeks more than 6 years after signing on with the charter company and the idea of owning and living on Caloosa Spirit was conceived. It’s hard to describe the feelings as we motored out the channel this time—relief, apprehension, loss, joy. All the struggle is behind us, and now we’re on our own. No one else’s schedule will dictate when or where we’ll be cruising from now on. We’re as free as the wind.

However, all these profound thoughts and feelings only occurred after we had to get one more thing done. It seemed that Caloosa Spirit was not as eager to leave the charter fleet as we were. In celebration and preparation for leaving the base we pushed the starter button on the engine…and got no response. The moment was so ludicrous it had to be funny! After all, our life has felt like a cheap novel for the last several months, so what could be more fitting at that moment? Sure enough, the starter wasn’t working. Curt, the technician who had already devoted much energy and many hours to readying Caloosa Spirit for cruising, immediately came to our rescue and got the starter working. I’d like to say that we sailed away into the sunset to some idyllic island yet to be explored (or something equally romantic), but the truth is we only sailed to Road Town to do grocery shopping. But then, cruising is partly a state of mind, after all.

The grocery shopping was exhausting. Here’s another answer to the question above. First we figure out how many bags and carts we need to take in the dinghy to transport all the groceries we need. We take a wet dinghy ride across the harbor, because the anchorage closer to the stores is too rolly. Then we make the rounds to the various stores to get everything we need (no one-stop shopping, remember), then pack everything into the bags and carts to get from the stores back to the dinghy, then take the wet ride back to the boat. Then we have to put everything away before we can go anywhere. But at least we’re still on our own schedule. This is cruising.

Our schedule may need tuning up. We got to last night’s anchorage at Marina Cay late, so we didn’t get much protection from the 25-knot winds and accompanying 2-3 ft. seas. It was a totally sleepless night for us both as the boat rocked, rolled, pitched, and bucked. But today we moved the boat to more protected waters and went to do some exploring of the island that was the setting for the book I read, Our Virgin Island. The house that Robb and Rodie White built on the island is still there, along with the ruins of the rest of their habitation. In his book Robb White describes how, after purchasing the island and 3 years of living there, the BVI government notified them that they couldn’t legally own the land so they would have to leave. Apparently, he had been less than complimentary about the government in some of his writings. However, the history described in photos on the island gives the impression that they left by choice, or because of Robb White’s service in World War II. Hmmm, a whitewash? In any case, it’s awesome to think of living in such an isolated and primitive fashion in this place at that time. And from the story as written the Whites loved every minute of it.

Friends Greg & Carla on Magic arrived in the anchorage today. We haven’t seen them for several weeks. We have plans to sail together to North Sound tomorrow and on to Anegada the next day. We’ve actually started cruising! Now if we can just find a cyber café to get this sent…

We reached to Anegada and back with 7-8 knots of boat speed. Although the high winds (20-30 knots) interfered with sunbathing on the beach, snorkeling, sleeping, and made for wet dinghy travel, we had a nice time, and enjoyed being on our own schedule. We cut our visit a day or two short to come back to St. Thomas. We took shelter from the winds for the night in the Bight at Norman Island. The good night’s sleep was heavenly.

Yesterday we cleared out of Tortola (glad to say our good-byes to the BVI), then sailed downwind at 7 knots to a protected mooring field on St. John before clearing in today at Cruz Bay. We came on over to Red Hook on St. Thomas and did some shopping and picked up our mail. The anchorage was very windy when we anchored (it took 3 tries to set it where we intended), but is now very pleasant.

Today we are planning to go to Charlotte Amalie for laundry, a cyber café, and an AT&T phone line that will allow us to make 800 calls. (We didn’t get to a cyber café until today, so that’s why this is so late going out.) We have to get serious about getting some equipment installed before we completely run out of time to see any more of the Caribbean. It doesn’t help when we open equipment we’ve ordered by mail only to find that we got the wrong items! [For those of you who order boat equipment, we were disappointed to learn that Boat US has sold its Equipment Division to West Marine. This occurred right in the midst of our last large order, which is still not complete.] But the winds have subsided, the weather is beautiful, and the sailing has been great. We’re not missing the snow up north, and we hope everyone up there is staying warm and safe. Spring is less than a month away—by the calendar, anyway.

We’ll keep you posted on our whereabouts.
Smooth sailing until next time,
Alice & Jim Rutherford

Posted Wednesday February 26, 2003

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