In follow-up to our recent guest blogger’s blog, I thought I should add my take on the experience of having a mystery guest aboard. I’ll begin with the night of Leslie’s arrival, New Year’s Eve. I was excited to have a guest on board, even someone I’d never met, but felt at ease with through the Women Who Sail site and our Facebook chats and emails. We rarely have guests, and I was feeling a little melancholy when hearing our cruising friends boast about their numerous guests scheduled to visit during the season. Knowing the chances of family coming for a visit this season was unlikely, it was this nagging need of mine that inspired me to ask Paul if we could say yes to Leslie’s request for a sailing adventure during her break from daily mothering. I responded to her on Facebook and the following morning she’d booked her flight.
With that we cleaned up the guest room. Paul removed all his tools and I readied the bed, cleaned the head and put out our new guest towels. I love the look of our guest room when it is ready and awaiting a guest.
Leslie arrived on New Year’s Eve around 7pm. I had made chili and rice, knowing that she’d be hungry after her travels. We then enjoyed a few cocktails as we got to know each other better. Fast forward a few hours and Leslie is asking, “can we swim?” I’m thinking, it’s dark, we don’t swim in the dark. But anyone who knows Leslie, knows she can be convincing and she got both Paul and I to swim with her. Yes, I was nervous stepping into that dark water, and I only swam to the bow of the boat and back, but I did it. I stepped away from my fear and went for it. Would I do it again, probably not, but I’ve done it and it was exhilarating.
Shortly after our swim, Leslie retired for a rest in the hopes she’d wake back up for midnight. Travel has a way of wearing you out. She slept straight through to the next morning. Paul and I enjoyed the movie ‘Almost Famous’ on the computer, which Leslie kindly brought along with her. We made it to midnight and then also retired for the night.
Speaking of bringing things, you’ll find if you are ever visiting a cruiser, you’ll likely be asked to bring something with you from the mainland. I asked her to bring a few movies along and some onion powder. Yes, I have trouble finding certain spices and this was one I didn’t think I’d run out of so didn’t have a second one on hand when I ran out.
Since Leslie explained in her blog the places we went, I’ll focus on my joy in having a guest on board. First, I’ve found since cruising that I really do enjoy cooking and have found many recipes that I like making and sharing. Leslie did tell me she wasn’t a fan of curry so she missed out on 2 of my very favorite recipes, but I had plenty of other recipes to cook up. She asked for a few recipes, and rather than write them out for her and for others who’ve asked in the past, I have since had Paul set up a recipe tab on the blog, so I can now share these as I go along. So for Leslie, fellow cruisers, and friends on shore who want to try a few new recipes, feel free to try some of those I post and let me know what you think.
Back to the joy of having Leslie aboard, it’s like I’ve known her all my life. Strange as that sounds, she was a lot of fun. Her enthusiasm for sailing and being here was pure joy. It made us feel good, but it also reminded us of how lucky we are, to be floating about, exploring places, and experiencing things like night sailing. Leslie showed us our life through her eyes and that was a gift.
That night sail was one of the best sails we’d ever experienced on this boat. I remember back to the days when this was just a dream and night sailing was a fear of mine. That last night sail was so far from being fearful and I now wonder what all my fussing and fear was about. Just another of those tricks my mind plays with me.
We went places we normally wouldn’t have gone (Soggy Dollar Bar), did things we normally wouldn’t have done (swim at night, swim ashore), and made a new friend out of pure faith. From the bottom of my heart, I’m so grateful for the Women Who Sail site, for Margaret who invited me to join the site about 1 year ago, and for Leslie for putting it out there and asking if anyone would be willing, for my wonderful husband who said sure, let’s go for it, and lastly for Leslie, bravely coming into unknown waters with us and inspiring us to step out of our norm and see this wonderful life through her eyes.
After spending 5 days doing as much as possible for our guest, P and I needed some down time. This means, let’s go somewhere, drop the hook and not move for a bit. We headed to Beneurs Bay on Norman Island. Here we sat for 8 days and nights. We got ourselves into some yoga, snorkeling, swimming, making water, reading, taking Charlie ashore, taking hikes over the island to the Bight, and star gazing. This is how our days are when we are just us.
The hike from Benures Bay to the Bight:
[Paul] And some fish from the snorkeling. What is missing is an amazing encounter with a peacock flounder. I didn’t have my camera but pictures on the internet are great. I was watching some fish on the bottom when suddenly the flounder appeared out of nowhere and grabbed something, startling me. It turned a brilliant purple, swam along for a little ways then settled into the sand and if by magic turned into a textured version of the sand barely visible – purple gone. And once you turn your head away, you couldn’t find it again. Who knows how many flounders I have seen while thinking I was looking at sand and this was in about 12 feet of water.
[Gwyn] We also spend time trying to get on the internet and update the blog. This can be a long slog in the islands when the internet seems best only in the very early morning hours or the very late evening hours. Everything in between is a slog that we’ve resigned ourselves to. Our friends from Chill joined us in the bay after their return from Christmas in the US. We’ve since followed them back over to North Sound where we are now as I write this.
It’s been a wonderful start to 2015. I look forward to stepping onto new islands this season and having more visitors. For now we are readying ourselves to make a passage to St Martin/Sint Maarten, weather permitting, we hope to leave the afternoon of Monday the 19th of January.
[Paul] Just recently received some more photos from Leslie that had gotten missed in the first post. As Leslie explained in her post, on Jan 3 she and Gwyn took a hike from Bitter End to Byras creek and back after which we sailed from North Sound through Trellis bay to Cane Garden Bay then explored ashore that evening and the next AM before sailing to Jost (photos are in chronological order). Be sure to click the photo for a larger lightbox presentation that you can then cycle through.