“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain


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St.Thomas living -First three months of 2017

Wow – we are now three months into 2017 and I haven’t written a blog post yet this year! Well, let’s fix that…

I feel like we have been on a bit of a roller coaster over the past couple months. In January, we were supposed to go to St. Maarten to see family, but the winds were honkin’ with sporadic gusts that churned up the seas during the exact time we had arranged to take off from our work obligations. Unfortunately, we had to cancel the trip. We were really bummed since we were looking forward to seeing our family for so long. I know it’s pretty far out, but we are already planning to make the trip next January when they are in St. Maarten again. Since we were already off from work, we decided to play tourist on St.Thomas. We rented a car and hit the popular tourist spots and went to all the beaches that you cannot get to by public transportation, including Magen’s Bay (where we got married 15 years ago).

Also in January, the pilot for Flying Fish Seaplane Tour quit and the company could not find a replacement. Unfortunately, since there were no more seaplane tours happening, there was no longer a need for a captain to bring guests to the seaplane, so Stacey no longer has a Captain job. And, now that it is high-season, all of the Captain-Crew jobs are filled; Stacey is currently working at a jewelry store. Jesse, on the other hand, has been busy sailing the 42-foot trimaran, Tribal, just about everyday.

We haven’t been out sailing much, my dad is in the hospital, and we have been busy working, in other words, we really needed a change. We did manage to sneak in a short trip to Christmas Cove to have pizza from the pizza boat, Pizza Pi. While there, we bumped into Lauren & Brian from Nightengale Tune – we had not seen them since the Bahamas. The next day, when we got back to our mooring after the night at Christmas Cove, I thought I heard a hail on the VHF calling Smitty. Odd, since we never have our VHF on when we are home (aka on our mooring), so who would try to hail us? ”Smitty, Smitty, Smitty, this is sailing vessel Wrightaway”. I was so excited to hear Deb’s voice! We had missed Deb, Keith, & Kai since we last saw them in the Bahamas. We knew they were making their way south but we didn’t expect them to be here so soon. Their timing was the real pick-me-up that we needed!

Over the past three months we have made new friends, but we have also watched as friends sailed away. We have recently learned that Jamie & Keith on Kookaburra are leaving St.Thomas to head to Long Island Sound. We wish them all the best but we will surely miss them! And lastly, Stacey said goodbye to her phone as it dove into the deep blue sea (a new one is on it’s way). 😦

And so, the boat projects continue on (we just completed the installation of a water maker!-WooHoo!) and we try to fit in sailing and fun. We are looking forward to a fun next couple of weeks: our friend Tim will be visiting, the St.Thomas Sailing Regatta, Carnival (think Mardi Gras) and Stacey’s family visiting in May.

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mermaids chair

Magens Bay


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Chapter 7: Lee Stocking Island

Lee Stocking Island may be our favorite stop that we made in the Bahamas.  There is enough to do that we could stay for weeks, which we did! But, we had to pile Smitty up with 30 gallons of extra water in a bladder and as much extra gas as we could, because there are no stores or other means of getting water or fuel on this island.

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The island marker and the cut (entry/exit) for Lee Stocking

The Abandoned Institute

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In order to pursue his interest in marine research and renewable energy, the 600-acre Lee Stocking Island was purchased for $70,000 by John Perry in 1957. He developed the island as a scientific field station and tried to make it self-supporting by incorporating working models of new technologies.

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Wind Turbine – the cables were used to pull the blades to the top of the post (which looks like a mast of a boat on land)

The Perry Institute for Marine Science included laboratories, housing, an airstrip, a dock, boats, and dive support facilities.  Up until SCUBA technology became more advanced, the field station featured shallow-depth submersibles.

From the institute’s website: 

The Perry Institute for Marine Science is dedicated to making a difference by protecting our oceans. We do this through ocean research and education that informs the public and encourages action. We operate a tropical marine laboratory on Lee Stocking Island in the Bahamas. Scientists, students and educational groups visit our facility from around the world to conduct ocean research in this remote, pristine stretch of the Caribbean. In the areas on and around our island, we study things like coral reefs, fisheries, ecosystems and the biodiversity of undersea life.”

After the death of Perry in 2006, research funding dried up and the institute was closed. However, the Institute was not cleaned up; tons of garbage (including hazardous materials), buildings and equipment remain on the island. 

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A couple of the many abandoned buildings and a pick-up truck

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Live-wells used for research

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Airstrip

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Hazardous chemicals and the remnants of a decompression chamber

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The tanker trucks were used to hold fuel for the generators that supported the island

Hunting

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Where the conch live

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Conch:  Before                                      Conch:  After

Beautiful Beaches and clear water in every shade of blue

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Hiking

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Summer leads the way on the trail hike

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Snorkeling

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Anchorage with spectacular sunset

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Farewell & Following Seas

One of the saddest days of of our trip so far was parting ways with Deborah & Keith and their pup, Kai on sv Wrightaway.  Thank you so much for the pleasure of your company, sharing the hunting and snorkeling spots with us, showing Jesse how to clean conch, and especially for sharing all of the super yummy fish & conch meals. 🙂

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As I suspect that this island (or at least a portion) will be sold and developed into some sort of luxury resort over the next couple of years,  I am glad that we had the opportunity to explore this island now, especially in its current state (which, we found to be quite interesting and fun).


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Why Delaware? Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales…mmmm….Beer

20 Off-Centered Years! Dogfish Head Exhibit at the Lewes Historical Society

20 Off-Centered Years! Dogfish Head Exhibit at the Lewes Historical Society

Several years ago, while we were shopping for all of the wines and beers that we bring to friends’ and families’ houses during the holidays, Jesse came across Dogfish Head 120-Minute Ale and immediately popped the 4-pack into the cart. He then very excitedly rambled on about the craft beer and their other craft beers, which apparently are hard to find (at the time). When we were checking out, I was mentally preparing myself for the big bill (since there were a couple of expensive wines in the mix). I was taken aback when the cashier got to the Dogfish Head 120-Minute, he then stopped ringing up the items and began to tell me what a great purchase I was making, and, even though it is quite expensive, it is well worth the price. I then thought to myself – this is a strange conversation, especially since the 4-pack I picked up only listed the price as $14.99 on the shelf. After paying the bill and leaving the store, I was scanning through the receipt when I stopped at the Dogfish Head 120-minute Ale. HOLY SMOKES – those babies were $14.99 EACH BOTTLE!!! We kept the 120-Minute at home in our private stash of beverages that are only busted out for special occasions. The last two that Jesse and I shared was on the day that we signed the papers and officially sold our house to move aboard the boat full-time. To this day, the Dogfish Head 120-Minute is the best beer that I have ever had. Jesse and I also enjoy most of their other brews. Needless to say, when we started to plan our cruise south, Delaware was added to the itinerary so that we could tour the Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales brewery in Milton (the next town over from Lewes – the nearest port of call). I highly recommend to everyone to take this tour – what a great experience – and Bonus – you get free beer!

Heading to tour Dogfish Head Brewery

Heading to tour Dogfish Head Brewery

Our tour guide, the man with the fabulous white-man-fro, Kevin (I think). Ans yes, that is what he referred to as his “sorority girl pose.” 

The Fun, Brew-Loving Tour Guide

The Fun, Brew-Loving Tour Guide

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Bostonian Bucket List

This is one of those posts that I have had in draft for too long.  I started this post months ago when we started noticing that we might be doing certain things for the last time.  This weekend we did one of the things on this list, so I thought I should get the post up.

Stuff to do before we leave Boston:

  1. Duck Boat Tour – Yup, never did this.  Always seemed too touristy.  But something we should do before leaving the area.
  2. Red Sox Day Game & Cigar Bar Trip with Frank
  3. Museum of Fine Arts – My Bride has been asking to go here for years.  Yet we never seem to make it.
  4. Harvard Library – Peruse the stacks and take in the air where some of the greatest minds have sat.  The oldest library in the US and the largest private library in the world.
  5. Head of the Charles Regatta – This might be the hardest one on this list since we missed this years and might be gone before next years.
  6. A drink at my favorite pubs: Black Rose, Top of the Hub, Omni Parker, Green Dragon, Doyles, Union Bar (some of my very favorite places, like the Littlest Pub, have closed)
  7. Harvard vs. Yale Football Game: The Game – One of the oldest sports rivalries in the US at 139 years.  We went to the game this weekend.  It was great (except for the bands, big disappointment there).  College Game Day broadcast was from the Harvard Stadium.  The winner of this game would be the Ivy League Champions.  IMG_2577The game lived up to all the hype.  We were lucky in that almost all of the good action was right in front of us.  Harvard took the lead 31-24 with 55 seconds to go but Yale was marching towards a score when Harvard intercepted the ball to secure the win with 10 seconds left in the game.  It was great.
  8. New England Aquarium – We have gone here many times, two of our friends even got married at the aquarium and we went to a fundraiser where we got our picture taken with the 2004 and 2007 Commissioner’s Trophy.  We definitely need to go here one more time before we sail south.
  9. Boston Public Garden
  10. Bunker Hill Monument