Sunday, December 26, 2010

Cruisers' Christmas Dinner

We've had a fun few days here, although we haven't had the best of luck in getting out to dive. The winds continue to kick up the seas, thus visibility hasn’t the best, since it’s been getting rather stirred up (story of the month, apparently). But, we still had our fun with Ally, lobstering from the dinghy and simply hanging out on the boat. Ron is getting much better with the lobster snare, yet despite all our efforts on Friday, we managed to snag just one tail. The water is cooling off now (a couple of degrees colder since our arrival a month ago) and after a good hour of swimming and snorkeling, we all were chilled to the bone! We couldn’t wait to return to Equinox for hot showers aboard. 
Christmas Day arrived beautiful and sunny (albeit windy) and the focus was on the marina cruisers' dinner, courtesy of South Side Marina manager and Dock Master Simon Anderson and his wife, Charlyn. Simon was the chef extraordinaire and dinner was a much-awaited affair attended by all the cruisers in the marina -- folks from several boats, various continents and all walks of life. We dined under the cabana on the marina waterfront, with dinner being  a truly traditional English Christmas dinner, from the appetizer of sliced smoked salmon, to the standing rib roast and Yorkshire pudding, Brussel sprouts, carrots and roast potatoes. Equinox added a few items to supplement the menu (since we had quite a large crowd) with a baked ham, Daphne’s mashed sweet potatoes, steamed green beans, caprese salad of vine-ripe tomato, mozzarella and fresh island-grown basil, orzo salad and champagne. A roast turkey appeared, as did some other offerings from other boats, so we had a veritable feast!
Everyone socializing after the many courses
Conversation was animated, wine flowed freely, plates were piled high and we all indulged happily!! The food was all delicious, which we enjoyed leisurely amid interesting tales of boating, folks' backgrounds, memories of holidays past, and hopeful plans for the coming year. Which is the best aspect of cruising: having people come together, share stories and appreciate everyone's different backgrounds, customs and experiences! As if all that food  wasn't enough, dinner was followed by a homemade plum pudding, with rum butter and cream as one of the dessert choices, followed by yet more traditional fare: a very British tawny port to accompany the Stilton and Brie cheese platter. Folks literally couldn’t move after dinner -- we were pinned to our seats, sated and full! We all remained, lingering over the table long after the last bite, just enjoying one another's company.
The port and cheese platter, rounding out our feast! the spirit of the season, we wish everyone a happy, healthy holiday!! 

Friday, December 24, 2010

Family time

Equinox back in South Side Marina
It's been a busy week! We spent a couple days tucked into the marina basin at West Caicos waiting for the winds and seas from the passing cold front to abate, then made our way back onto the Caicos Bank. We returned to our "usual" slip in South Side Marina, where we've been doing a bit of bicycling, boat work and playing. Bicycling has included another lunchtime trip to Da Conch Shack, and to the IGA for produce; boat work dealt with a thorough interior cleaning of the pilot house and lower cabins while Ron got the exterior of the boat washed after our salty ride back onto the Bank. We had some waxing done topside, including the antennae, and have had Orville, the refrigeration tech, come and repair the "work" done on the flybridge freezer. It's now back in action, having had the innards repaired properly and charged with the correct refrigerant gas. We checked its temperature and calibrated the thermostat controls as well, so it is in fine order. Of course, now that we've not been using it, we don't have any pressing need to do so, as we've gone through enough food that the galley freezer is adequate for our needs. 

It hasn't been all work and no play though, as we went out in Eclipse on Wednesday morning and tried our hand at lobstering yet again. We unfortunately had the same results: having the big ones hide under ledges well beyond our reach, laughing as they send out the little ones as decoys to taunt us. Ron laments being unable to use his sling spear, but it's illegal in the Turks and Caicos, so we are reduced to being neophytes with the snare pole. Still, we know where they are, and will be back to try again, I'm sure! After all, a bad day of lobstering in the sunshine here isn't exactly a hardship! 

Ally meeting the marina dogs, Effie and Gemma
The biggest news of the week is that Ally has joined us, having flown in on Wednesday afternoon! We've been eager to have her join us, and are having a great time together. We went down to French Cay in Eclipse yesterday morning, and made a fabulous dive at "The G Spot" dive site. Ally was eager to dive, and she wasn't disappointed, for shortly after we descended and started to swim east along the wall, a large spotted eagle ray gracefully approached, swimming up and over the wall above our heads! Reef sharks occasionally swam along the wall, and a southern ray swam up from the depths beneath us. As we turned to retrace our route back along the top of the reef well, we spotted a large Hawksbill turtle meandering along ahead of us, and on our return we were joined by the resident juvenile nurse shark as well. A great dive!! We saw the same turtle yet again, taking a breath at the surface, when we were rinsing off in Eclipse and shedding our gear.

Our return ride back to the marina was somewhat eventful as we neared Provo, as the engine kept sputtering and losing power occasionally. We haltingly -- but happily -- made our way back, relieved that the issue hadn't occurred farther out in the middle of the bank! It was a bit of bad fuel, which was solved by a quick change of the fuel/water separator once we were back in port. It'd just been changed out a month ago when Paul and Muriel were here, and we needed to restock the dinghy with a spare. Usually, we make sure we have a few spares aboard at all times, along with the filter wrench, but Murphy's Law caught up with us!

Palm trees under the stars at Da Conch Shack
Family time!
In the evening, we went over to Da Conch Shack for dinner and music by Stanley Roots, our musician friend. Fresh seafood and conch are prepared fabulously there; we had a delicious dinner of conch salad, conch creole and grilled shrimp, made to order! Yum! We had a lesson in how to crack and clean a conch too, while we were enjoying the beach after dinner. A good time, enjoyed by all!
Demonstrating how to crack and clean a conch
Pulling out the conch

Sunday, December 19, 2010

West Caicos: On the mooring, and in the basin

Rental car Blitzen's pal, Donner -- knew I'd see him!

After two weeks of exploration by bicycle, boat and Blitzen, we got a weather window to leave the north side and head back south to West Caicos for some diving. We left early Saturday morning just after high tide, negotiating The Bight and Sellar’s Cut without incident, to moor in the lovely lee of West Caicos for the day. Ron was delighted; he’d really chafed at the enforced hiatus from diving due to the winds, rough seas and diminished visibility last week. Conditions at the reef were great: winds were from the east, long 4’ swells were from the northeast, so Equinox was protected from both, being tucked in where we were. It was delightful, and we rode quietly on the mooring ball. There were no other dive boats out at all on West Caicos (neither the Aggressor II nor the Explorer II had charter guests this week) so we had the wall to ourselves.
We made two dives at The Gullies and enjoyed them tremendously. We were happy just to be back in the water! Visibility was decent, about 60’ - 70’, and there was little current. Just west of the mooring is a deep crevice in the wall where you can sink down into it at the top of the wall and descend through it to about 90 feet, amongst gorgeous barrel sponges, sea fans, wire coral, bushy black coral and clouds of blue chromis and striped grunts. We had our usual escort of reef sharks as well -- the same trio that we’ve seen each time here. It’s unusual for sharks to be so blase about divers, but these fellows are clearly used to them here and apparently don’t mind our swimming through their neighborhood. They definitely make their presence known, though -- they pass by rather closely, and occasionally circle around you in pairs before swimming away. Watching them is mesmerizing, yet sometimes their presence makes it hard to focus on the smaller reef life tucked in along the wall! After the sharks have headed off down the reef, I turn my attention back to admiring some sponges on the wall or checking out a coral head replete with damselfish, only to be startled when I realize a shark has circled back yet again and practically have to stop in my tracks to keep from swimming into its path. (I always yield the right of way to them, believe me!) 
After the dives, we noticed the winds were clocking around to the southeast a bit sooner than forecast, so knew that we were soon to lose the lee protection that our mooring was currently enjoying. Rather than move onto the Caicos Bank and anchor in Sapodilla Bay where it would be unprotected from southerly winds, we debated staying on the mooring for the night, but decided to drop the hook inside the basin at the unfinished marina at West Caicos instead. It’s part of the unfinished Ritz-Carleton project that was started a few years ago but all work has stopped and its future completion currently in limbo due to the poor economy. The marina basin with its concrete bulkhead walls and the entry channel are finished beautifully, with plenty of water (~12' deep). There are only a couple of small working piers jutting out in the back portion of the basin, so we had the basin to ourselves. After anchoring, we waved to the caretaker on the grounds who cheerily waved back, and we enjoyed a secure night on anchor, protected on all sides. It turned out to be a smart move to do so, because a few hours later, high winds clocked around from the west and nasty rain squalls moved in to churned up the ocean. It would have been miserable out on the mooring!
View to the northwest inside the unfinished marina basin

Far marina wall of the turning basin, with concrete bulkhead 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Bicycling and Blitzen!

We biked all over the east end of Provo Wednesday, all the way out to Leeward Going Through and back again. As we couldn't dive (the winds are still whipping up the waves and reducing visibility) it was something to do and a nice way to see more of the island. We made our way along the main road along Grace Bay and down some side roads, eventually getting to the working shipyard area at Heaving Down Rock. (Love the names here!) On our way back, we stopped briefly to take a peek at the Conch Farm, with their numerous conch pens in the water and the hatchling ponds. The farm was hit very hard by the hurricanes Hanna and Ike in 2008, which destroyed a great deal of their facilities, from their dock to their processing house, so it's in the rebuilding stages now. We opted not to take the tour, since we are quite familiar with conch, and have seen enough of them in the wild to know they aren't exactly riveting to watch. Fabulous in a fresh conch salad, though!

Ron at the ferry dock at Leeward
Conch pens as far as the eye can see
Thursday morning, we actually rented a car, with the aim of getting farther afield and doing a bit more sight-seeing off the beaten path. I had to laugh when Ron pulled in with the car,'s a tiny little thing, with the name "Blitzen" across the front bumper. I saw "Prancer" yesterday (also a white car) so will definitely be on the lookout for Vixen, Comet, Cupid and Donner, et al. the next few days. I'll bet Rudolph is a red car....!

"Blitzen", ready to roll!
We went down to the southwestern end of the island and explored a bit around Chalk Sound National Park, a stunningly beautiful shallow lagoon with rocky limestone islands dotting it throughout. The colors are incredible; the sky is reflected off the white sand of the sound, producing an ever-changing array of tones and hues of turquoise water continually transformed by passing clouds and the position of the sun.  We stopped for lunch at a restaurant on Chalk Sound called Las Brisas, a fabulous little Mediterranean-flair/tapas place with a very extensive menu. The views from here are breath-taking -- not a bad seat in the house! There is seating around its pool, pool bar, along its porches overlooking the water, and along its beach. We were seated out in the porch gazebo, which sits out on a point of land at the edge of Chalk Sound. It was glorious! We indulged ourselves with conch salad and their special lobster pizza, and Ron was delighted with their mojitos, clearly freshly made, with real mint.

One of the 1001 amazing views of Chalk Sound
After lunch we did a little more exploring, driving out along the Chalk Sound Drive and then back, and made our way to Sapodilla Hill. There was one lone sign pointing the way down one of the island's "improved roads", nothing more. Street signs are few here, and other markers are not exactly plentiful, so we weren't exactly sure if we were on on the right path or accidentally trespassing! The road ended in a a scrubby parking lot near the beach where I got out and looked around. Sure enough, at the edge of the lot there was a partially hidden trail leading up the hill. (Also unmarked, of course!) We hiked the steep scree trail to the top, and were rewarded with magnificent views of the Caicos Bank, from The Five Cays to the east to Sapodilla Bay at the base of the hill, and westward to West Caicos. One neat thing at the top were these old carvings scratched into the limestone rocks. Dating from the early to mid-1800s, the guide books ascribe them to shipwrecked sailors or even to marauding pirates, but one local we asked said they were more likely done by merchant seamen who arrived in nearby Sapodilla Bay in the late 1780s and 1800s. (Makes sense, since Sapodilla Bay Beach is known to the locals as "Children's Beach", since the waters are so heavily protected here. It would  be quite a feat to be shipwrecked this far inside the Caicos Bank.) Some of the carvings are quite worn, but others have initials and dates that are still legible. But it's a neat little bit of history, in an unexpected place!

E. Pay from 1821 and W.Wlims (Williams?) 1812, respectively
1832 -- love the script!
N. Eames, also from 1832
Undated initials -- there were lots like these
Date of 1869 but no name visible
No dates, but beautiful script. Like the backwards S,
typical typography of the 1800s.
Views from the top of Sapodilla Hill

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tropical Tubers and Toys for Tots

The weather has been kicking up a bit, windy, rainy and definitely chillier. It’s due to a cold front approaching -- the one that recently gripped the upper midwest and is now sliding over the eastern seaboard, bringing temperatures down everywhere. We really can’t complain being here in Turks & Caicos, since a windy, sunny 73 degrees is a decidedly better situation than being in sub-zero temperatures with snow! 
Winds whipping up the seas and surf. No one's on the beach...
Nevertheless, with diving and lobstering not being an option in the rough seas, we decided we’d take a trip to the IGA today to get some provisions, as we were out of fresh vegetables. We bicycled along Grace Bay and up a lengthy hill to Leeward Highway, finally arriving at the local Graceway IGA. (This is a busy grocery store for most local folk, as opposed to the "Gourmet IGA" that seems to cater to the tourists staying at the upscale resorts.) I was pretty happy, as fresh green beans were available for a change, and we also got some nice broccoli, cucumbers and scallions. Again, as I've mentioned before, I enjoyed the novelty of all the different starches and tubers next to the easily recognizable white potatoes and yellow onions: there were piles of Malanga Lila, mounds of Yuca and Boniato and a large bin of  Dasheen piled high. They are definitely a bit intimidating in appearance: lumpy and bulbous, grubby, hairy and unappealing -- they really don't look edible, to my poor untrained eye! 
Boniato is a sweet potato native to the tropical Americas. 
It has a creamy yellow flesh and supposedly tastes like a cross 
between a sweet potato and an Idaho potato. 
There are many varieties of malanga, but most are usually
categorized by the color of the flesh inside:white (malanga 
blanca), pink (malanga lila) or yellow (malanga amarilla). It
reportedly has a slightly nutty flavor and potato consistency.
It's often confused with taro root.
Dasheen has a white flesh inside, and can be boiled and mashed.
It's often confused with taro or cassava, which look very similar,
but it's a different species, apparently. The leafy part of the
 Dasheen plant is used for a popular dish called Callaloo.
I did some research when I got back to the boat and discovered that these tubers and roots are staples of Caribbean cuisine, naturally durable and easily cultivated. Tropical tubers have much more flavor and more starchy sweetness than white potatoes, but with nuances of earthy, nutty flavors. They can also be a bit bitter, and their texture is also different, but can be prepared just like a regular potato in most cases: fried, boiled, sautéed, baked or roasted. They can be mashed or puréed, or added to soup as a thickener. Perhaps next trip to the store, I’ll be brave enough to actually buy one and prepare it instead of potatoes or rice...!
Monday evening we went over to SharkBite's on the other side of the marina for dinner and to watch the game between the Ravens and the Texans on MNF. (More "cardiac football" stress of never knowing if we will hang on to win, but thankfully, the Ravens did win, albeit in overtime.) Anyway, while we were there, we started talking with some local folks and found ourselves invited to a Toys For Tots holiday party on Thursday night! How fun is that? Ron and I are very excited about it; it's a great opportunity to give a little something back to the island community, especially since everyone has been so welcoming and gracious.
So, to that end, we spent today biking about the island in search of toys. We had a few errands to run anyway, so started by going to  the "DoItCenter", Provo's Home Depot-type place, and got a great little cut-off valve that we can install on the water line to the ice-maker. (That way, if we ever have another issue with a leak, we can shut off the ice-maker water line itself and not be without water throughout the entire boat.) While the DoItCenter had a few footballs, basketballs, water toys and bicycles, that wasn't the type of games and such that we were looking for, so made a few more stops at various local stores in search of some kids' games. One place we stopped at had a weird assortment of cheesy Chinese-made knock-offs: so-called Transformers, faux Barbies, stuffed Scooby-Doos, as well as a Spanish version of Twister called Colocho! that I'm pretty sure wasn't sanctioned by Hasbro. We opted not to buy anything there, since the stuff was not only poorly made, but incredibly expensive. ($25.00 for a floor puzzle?? NO thanks!) 

I remembered that the Unicorn Bookstore near the IGA that had all sorts of toys, in addition to books, so away we went, and hit the jackpot! They had a fabulous selection of reasonable priced toys for kids of all ages, from elaborately huge pails of Legos to simple sketch pads, painting supplies, crayons and the like. We spent quite some time trying to decide, but eventually bought a couple Lego sets, some adorable coloring and painting books, as well as the board games CandyLand and Operation. In an interesting twist, on the way out of the store, we saw some local school kids literally drumming up support for their Junkanoo team, parading around the parking lot with their drums and cow bells kaliking away, along with a sign that said "Sponsor Junkanoo". When one young lady shyly came up to ask for a donation, we gladly obliged. Clearly, today was a day for the kids!
The local kids' Junkanoo band, soliciting donations at the IGA
Their music was actually quite good!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Blue Hills and Da Conch Shack

Ron and I went out to dive this morning, as conditions looked very promising: light winds, sunshine, fairly calm seas with just some northeasterly swells undulating in slowly. We picked one of the Grace Bay dive mooring buoys and descended, only to find visibility extremely limited once again, barely 30 feet. The coral in Grace Bay has suffered from all the development and dredging the past few years, as much of the reef is compromised. It looks almost like a lunar landscape, heavily dusted with fine silt and sand, which has choked and killed much of the reef. Small coral patches remain, but it isn't the vibrant reef we once knew here. We returned to the boat after just ten minutes; the lack of visibility and the sadly barren reef wasn't worth the air fill.

Diving being a bust, we focused on exploring a bit. We decided we'd head over to "Da Conch Shack" for lunch, where we had the pleasure of some of the best conch salad we've had. It's made slightly differently than in the Bahamas: larger chunks of conch, less salt, but more hot spices, still mixed in with tomatoes, green peppers, onions and lime juice. The conch are literally fetched from the sea, cleaned and cooked while you wait. It was hard to decide which was better, the scenery or the food! Atoll, our gregarious and humorous server, was a delight, making sure our food and drink was made with a "lotta love"! Ron really liked his conch creole, and the cracked conch was as tender as I've ever had it. Yum!! Ron even bought a "conch horn" from one of the shell vendors on the beach, so now he can announce when it is sunset!
Ron's new conch shell horn

The outdoor seating at Da Conch Shack is just stunning. We loved it here!
Atoll displaying his famous rum punch,on the porch where we dined.

Walkway to the front porch of Da Conch Shack
More picnic benches and gorgeous beach view
The RumBar at Da Conch Shack

After lunch, we bicycled along the beachfront in the Blue Hills area of northwestern Providenciales. Blue Hills is one of the oldest residential area on the island, overlooking some of the most gorgeous views of Grace Bay. In the 1800s, Blue Hills was the wrecking capital of these islands and a fleet of small sloops were stationed here to attend to the many unfortunate vessels which frequently foundered on the treacherous Northwest Reef. Their cargos of timber, flour, wine, salt and other provisions were salvaged and auctioned off. Today, Blue Hills is dotted with local homes and small businesses, churches, schools and cemeteries, away from the hustle and bustle of the luxury resorts. While not picture-postcard pretty, its sand dunes, palm trees, Caicos pines, beach-side cemeteries and pastel-colored homes have a peaceful charm. 

The lone pier at Blue Hills, with Grace Bay in the background
A small beachside bar and restaurant in Blue Hills
Tiny cemetery overlooking the waters. Still in use, as the
most recent headstone on the right was for a 87-year old
 woman who passed away in July 2010

One of the numerous centuries-old gravesites and headstones,
some totally overgrown with vegetation, others still neatly tended.

A sailing sloop stored ashore, aptly named Tradition
Karyn in front of one of the local homes in Blue Hills

Sunday, December 12, 2010

North Caicos!

Sea meeting sky en route to North Caicos in Eclipse
Winds were light from the NE at 8-12 kts, the sun was shining brightly and we wanted to see more of the Caicos than just Providenciales, so we took ourselves on a little dinghy expedition! We'd been told the other nearby islands - North, Middle and South Caicos - were a must-see, although getting there was an issue. From Provo, it's extremely shallow on the inside on the Banks as its basically all mangroves and tidal flats, and the fringing reef outside on the Atlantic prevents any large vessels like Equinox any entry, not that there are any deep draft anchorages inside the reef. So, we decided to take Eclipse along Grace Bay, and continue to follow the shoreline all the way over to North Caicos. 

While there is now a ferry that can take you to the westernmost point of North Caicos (across from Parrot Cay), Ron checked the charts that we had for use in the tender -- none had great detail in close-- and briefly consulted the cruising guide as to possible settlements and restaurants that we could visit once there. We just wanted a taste of the Caicos "out islands", and hadn't done much research ahead of time. we went. The sky was cobalt above the water, which was every shade of turquoise, teal, and aquamarine, blending and shining, crystal clear and glittering. 
There are no words for how beautiful it was!
It was a delightful day! North Caicos is remote and beautiful -- if you want secluded beaches, the north end around Whitby has seven miles of pristine and isolated beaches that are just unimaginably gorgeous. At its tip, we passed the Three Mary's Cays with ospreys and their nests and saw from afar the the resident wreck way out on the reef. Depths varied from 6 feet to 3 feet as we wove our way through the coral ledges and shallow areas on the inside of the reef area. We had a rising tide, and the winds were were light, and it was so amazing to see such beauty. This is the stuff that most folk never see!! 

The wreck on the reefs north of Three Mary's Cays
We made our way into the North Mouth of Bottle Creek, and followed the most obvious route along the deeper blue water until it became aqua, then pale blue, then changing to barely white....basically until we were in tidal flats stretching from horizon to horizon. We crept the dinghy through the waters as far as we could, marveling at the empty serenity of the place. It was amazingly beautiful but incredibly desolate, too. Supposedly there are flamingos here in great numbers, but all we saw was the water. 
The water in the tidal flats was only about 2 feet deep
We finally turned around when we couldn't go any farther. We retraced our route to the outside reef again, and continued east all the way around to East Bay Cay. We followed the shoreline there south in fairly shallow water, riding the waves from splintered incoming swells, avoiding coral heads, and finally making our way in through Robin's Cut, although we zig-zagged so much I'm not sure there was much of a "cut" at all. We followed the deepest water we could find, meandering quite slowly along a route marked by barely discernible stakes poking up here and there. It was hot and desolate, with nary a soul in sight! We finally ended up near The "Crossing Over Place" over on the west side of Bottle Creek. Talk about a maze of shallow water!

Thankfully, we found deeper water quite close to shore, and followed that north again, hoping to find the actual town at Bottle Creek. We'd wanted to stop for lunch, but there was really no place to do so; a few private homes were in obvious use, but most buildings were either boarded up, abandoned or in disrepair, isolated and empty. We waved to some local fishermen along the shore, (the first people we'd seen all day) and pulled up to ask if there was a restaurant nearby, only to to be told, "" But, local knowledge was key, as they did tell us that there was plenty of water to get through to the North Mouth from there, so we didn't have to back track through the labyrinth of shallows to the south again. Whew!! 

A few homes along isolated Bottle Creek
Friendly North Caicos Belongers heading back to Bottle Creek
Continuing north, we found ourselves back at North Mouth again -- exiting from  a hidden and less obvious channel of deep water, and avoiding the tidal flats. We did make our way to the west side of North Caicos for lunch, following in a local ferry to the North Caicos "Yacht Club". The marina basin and canal infrastructure, like many other endeavours we've seen here, were completed a couple of years ago when the economy was in full swing, but as is the case with the economic downturn felt worldwide, work came to a grinding halt. Nothing is finished, nothing is built beyond a Higgs' restaurant/giftshop and car rental place. Seems like the place is really only a solid hurricane hole for local boats. The controlling depths on the way in from the reef is only 4-5', so we were baffled as to what size boats the yacht club was hoping to attract! More dredging was on the agenda before the recession, clearly.

Just one slip along the million dollar bulkheads here
Anyway, after an amazing six-hour expedition aboard, we have only scratched the surface of seeing North Caicos by land. By water, we've seen quite a bit --- more than more folks, I dare say! Remote, isolated and stunningly neat it is to take the road less taken. That is why we cruise!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Rainy Days and Rescue Tape

A gray couple of days, with torrential rains early one morning and high winds and low clouds all day another. We didn’t do much but lie low, do crosswords or sudoku puzzles, handle some e-mail correspondence and phone calls, relax and do a few boat tasks. We’ve gotten spoiled with all the wall-to-wall sunshine of late, I have to admit! Ron readily admits to being a bit dangerous when bored, as he is a man of action and can only read so much before going stir-crazy. So, we did some bicycling along Grace Bay and a bit of shopping, as one of Ron’s flip-flops had a blow-out and thus a new pair was needed. We bicycled the next day as well, again when the weather was only cloudy and windy rather than raining. Still, a very quiet couple of days.
We did have one exciting episode Friday evening, however, when we realized the salon ice-maker was having an issue. I went to get a refill of some ice, and there was a bit of water at the base of the ice-maker...not much, just enough to make me wonder if I’d dropped an ice cube accidentally. But, it looked like there was water coming from the second thought was that because power had been intermittent all day (due to the stormy high winds), maybe it caused the ice maker to defrost a little and leak. But, to be safe, we opened the front access panel, and there was water inside too.....hmm? After a thorough inspection, however, we realized there was a pinhole leak in the water line, because water was misting everywhere! Oh no!! (We didn’t even see the leak at first, it was that fine a mist, but we found it soon enough.) We shut off the fresh water supply and proceeded to troubleshoot and investigate our options. Unfortunately, there is no shut-off valve to the ice-maker itself in the engine room where it is plumbed into the fresh water supply (we need to add one!) so despite the tiny nature of the leak, it actually presented quite a large problem, because if we didn’t fix the leak, we wouldn’t be able to use the fresh water system! Not a happy situation!
We considered our options: scavenging through the supplies that we had aboard, or going to the local hardware DoItYourself-type place to look for compatible plumbing supplies, to repair and replace the leaking line. (Happily, that was actually an option here as they have a well-stocked store very much like a smaller-scale Home Depot!) But....even better, we had an answer aboard: Rescue Tape to the rescue!! 
I’d gotten a few sample rolls of assorted types of Rescue Tape, made of this very fabulous silicone self-sealing material, a few years ago at one of the Trawlerfest/PassageMaker University sessions when we were up on the Chesapeake. We’d not had any real need for it before, but thankfully, I remembered that it was there amongst all the tape in the tape cabinet. So, we gave it a go, stretching it and wrapping it tightly around the icemaker line --- and --- no more leak! The stuff is amazing! It’s supposedly rated up to 950 PSI, and all we needed it to do was handle the 22 PSI in the ice-maker water line, which it did quite handily. Gotta love the stuff! We’re definitely getting more when we’re back in the States! Needless to say, we are monitoring the ice maker with an eagle eye to make sure that it is operating normally with no leaks. So far, all is dry and we're quite happy!
The repaired water line, wrapped with Rescue Tape