Leaving Antigua, W. I.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Lost in a Storm!

And the last post was all about the joys of a calm anchorage! 

Shortly before the last hurricane season began, we stored Play Actor in Grenada and flew back to the States for a couple of months to visit family.  As we were packing for our first visit ashore in over three years, I (Bud) discovered that I didn't have any shoes.  We're warm weather sailors, and we don't normally wear shoes on the boat.  We each keep a pair of heavy-duty flip flops in the dinghy, to wear when we go ashore.  Our real shoes are stored in a locker below the hanging locker where we keep our clothes, and my good boat shoes came out of there rotten.  They were only 15 years old, but the marine environment is harsh.  It was late in the day before our early morning departure, so I was in a bit of a bind.

It's not easy to find a good, inexpensive pair of shoes in the islands.  People down here either wear dress shoes or flip flops  The dress shoes are only for office wear, and then only sometimes, so they tend to look all right, but they aren't very good shoes, and like most things, they're expensive.  Boat shoes are sometimes available in limited sizes and styles from the marine supply stores, but they are even more expensive.  There was no time to go shopping, anyway.  

On top of this problem, one of our planned activities in the States was our nephew's graduation from the Air Force Academy, which was going to require that I cover my feet in something that went with a suit.  The suit, I could borrow from a family member, but I already know (done this before) that his shoes won't fit. I've been planning to buy a decent pair of everyday shoes in the States anyway, but I don't want to fly in my flip flops.  After all these years in the tropics, my blood is thin, and my bare feet get really cold in air-conditioned places.

Well, after digging around in several lockers, I found an old, disreputable pair of boat shoes that were still intact, although the soles were worn out.  I flew in those, and just didn't walk any more than necessary.  When we got settled in California, I found a nice looking, serviceable pair of casual shoes with a Vibram sole, good for wear ashore and afloat.  I bought them, thinking I had solved my problem, and I could even use them for boat shoes, too.

Leslie and her step-father, in their role as fashion police, didn't think they were dressy enough to wear with a suit.  After some debate, they presented me with a pair of nice, almost-new black dress shoes that they found on the half-price table at the Salvation Army store when they dropped off a donation.  I've never had a finer pair of shoes for $2.50.  That's only a quarter a toe!  I left those at her folk's place in California for future use.

We've been back aboard Play Actor for several months now, and my feet are back to normal -- brown, callused, sporting a few cuts and a sprained or broken toe or two.  So what's this about a storm?

Oh, yeah.  I got distracted, thinking about my feet, and shoes.  When we're settled in a place, as we are in St. Martin, we usually hoist the dinghy along the side of Play Actor at night.  That keeps barnacles and other assorted critters from growing on the bottom.  Last night, just as we were going to bed, a squall blew through our calm anchorage, with some gusty winds in excess of 40 knots.  We were feeling snug and cozy when there was a loud smack on the side of the hull.  Leslie went up on deck to see what happened and discovered that the dinghy had gone airborne, flying up on its tether and landing on edge alongside the big boat.  The smack was the top of the outboard hitting the hull.  That's about 300 pounds of dinghy flying around.

I climbed in the dinghy and managed to get it flying right-side up, using my weight for ballast.  We dropped it in the water and moved it to trail off the stern of Play Actor for the night.  After a good night's sleep, under covers, even, (a rare treat, in the tropics) we took a look at the dinghy in daylight.  Everything is fine, except…

There were only three flip flops in there!  Between us, we have four feet, so we knew right away that we lost one.  Of course, since I'm the one with limited footwear options, it was one of mine.  Now I've got to hop to the dive shop and see if I can buy a new Reef sandal.  With my luck, I'll probably have to spring for a pair.


  1. Tag! You’re It, and a winner of the Versatile Blogger Award @ http://rwwgreene.blogspot.com/2012/01/versatile-blogger-award.html

    1. Thanks, Rob. I'm slowly putting this together. I apprecaite the award, and I promise not to break the chain. 7 random things...

  2. Have you ever read Farley Mowat's "The Boat Who Wouldn't Float?" I think that's what first turned me on to the nautical-voyage genre.

    1. Yes! Years ago, before we started sailing full-time, I read all of his books that I could find. Back then, we were making do with paper and ink, I recall. He's a great writer.

      Since we've been out here on the briny blue, non-fiction sailing books aren't as enticing to me. I suppose they're too much like my day-to-day life. I get more pleasure from reading about things I haven't experienced first-hand.

      If you enjoy such works, find a copy of "Voyage," by Sterling Hayden. I don't know if it's still in print, and it doesn't have the humorous element that you find in Mowat, but it's still good reading.

  3. Hi Bud and Leslie, just came across your blog and would love to follow along if you don't mind. Looks like a great adventure and a beautiful boat. I hope to be out there with you some day!

    s/v Skylark

  4. Welcome, Jim! Thanks for following, and thanks for the comment.

  5. Hi Bud and Leslie, It's so nice to make contact -- lovely blog. Our old boat sits quietly on a mooring in Grenada, waiting for us to earn the cash she needs to get fixed up..within the year, we hope. When we get back, I'll keep an eye out for you. In the meantime, I'm looking forward to settling down with my kindle and a good "thriller on the seas" story. Cheers, Lyn, Steve and Katie, syHaven. (www.sleepingdragon.info)

  6. Thanks for visiting, Lyn, Steve, and Katie, and for leaving a comment. Glad you enjoyed the blog; hope you like the book. We'll be on the lookout for you and Haven next year. We'll be skipping Grenada this summer -- headed back to the States for a few months with family. Thanks again!

  7. Ha ha, I really enjoyed reading that! It gave me a really god picture of both of you on board - and also made me think about how different your life is to most people's. How much more preferable, I think. When I lived with my 2nd husband we often went on long barge holidays and felt completely at home on the canals, in that parallel world. When we divorced, he bought a boat and has lived on it ever since. Just read further up about this Farley Mowat dude. I shall check him out, too..

  8. It's not everybody's idea of a good life, but it is ours. I've always thought the canal boats would be a wonderful way to see a country. We've met several folks who have seen France that way. It sounds great.

    I haven't seen any of Farley Mowat's books for years, but I'm sure they're around, and they're worth finding.

    Sorry for the delay in answering, but I just found your post. For some reason, Blogger has put a couple of yours in the 'Spam' folder -- not all, though. It appears to be random; I guess they're trying to teach me to check it regularly.

    Thanks for visiting and taking the time to post. I'm looking forward to reading one of your books in the next few days.