Here we are in Hampton at Blue Water Marina, participating in various events for the Salty Dawg Rally to the Caribbean. We’ve enjoyed many talks from the US Coast Guard including a live demonstration of a water rescue from a helicopter. Since P has been working like a fiend to get our new batteries up and running, I’ve been attending majority of the events. I learned about what to check on a regular basis on the boat for preventative maintenance, and really enjoyed the talk on the medical emergencies at sea which was led by rally participants. This is quite a change from last year when we missed all the pre-rally events due to our delayed arrival to Hampton.
It really is quite something all the work Bill & Linda Knowles have gone to in order to get people educated and ready to go. There is significant focus on communication and weather, and rightfully so. We all want to know how to let people on shore know that we are moving along our float plan and are safe out there. Chris Parker has been giving us daily Skype chats to help us determine our best departure time. At this point it looks like sometime on Monday, November 3rd we’ll throw off the dock lines. We’ve been testing our SSB radio and sending out our Spot tests and providing our last minute float plan to those who need to know.
Over the week we’ve also enjoyed happy hours with our fellow Dawgs most evenings. One evening we had painkillers, sponsored by sv RumRunner, a fellow cruiser. We also participated in the two dinner events and a night in a restaurant with fellow cruisers Pete & Irene from Destiny. On Halloween night, I enjoyed my first ever Dark & Stormy’s (Dark Rum and Gosslings Ginger Beer) which were served prior to dinner. After dinner we all pulled out our draw tickets and they proceeded to draw numbers for 31 fabulous prizes. I (G) won 4 gallons of Sea Hawk boat paint worth over $1000, and a Salty Dawg t-shirt. I knew it was worth buying those tickets, I just had a feeling. It was such a joy to also have someone at our table win a t-shirt and a $250 fishing rod and reel. What an amazing night of fun and laughter.
Today we are getting the last preparations done. I’ll be making a big batch of Ginger Snap Granola and some vegan cookies for the trip. Yesterday I prepared my 2 bean chili, a Curried Cauliflower dish and a double batch of rice. The left overs will get eaten over the start of the trip and Charlie will be fed rice only for his first 24 hours so he won’t get sea sick (he loves rice).
All in all, although you are never as ready as you want to be, we should be mostly ready by the end of the day. We wish our fellow cruisers ‘fair winds and following seas’ and a safe and trouble-free passage. God willing, we’ll post an arrival to the BVI update in about 10-12 days from departure.