Outrunning a Hurricane

Topping my to-do-list on Saturday was to find a place to watch the Georgia Bulldog game at noon. It was God’s divine mercy that ESPN (in Aruba) was showing Portuguese football rather than the expected college game. Georgia was blown out, and having not witnessed the slaughter, no doubt made for a better frame of mind. Rather than fret over the loss, we headed over to the private, Renaissance Island for a couple of hours of sun and fun on the sand and in the water.

The way out of the hotel by boat.

The way out of the hotel by boat.

On the boat, leaving the Renaissance Hotel, heading out for the private island

On the boat, leaving the Renaissance Hotel, heading out for the private island

Swimming in the warm Aruban waters

Swimming in the warm Aruban waters

At the beach on Renaissance Island

At the beach on Renaissance Island

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Cindy among the Flamingos

Cindy among the Flamingos

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You talkin' to me?

You talkin’ to me?

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My view on Renaissance Island

My view on Renaissance Island

The evening was filled with more Jazz. Friday evening clearly had a heavy dose of funk and R&B, while Saturday had a more Latin/Caribbean flavor. The Frankie Yanga trio kicked the festivities off. We were then treated to the captivating saxophone playing of César López accompanied by the Cuban sound of the Habana Ensemble. Next on the big stage was the wonderful Curaçao native, Izaline Calister, whose vibrant singing touches the soul. She sang most of her songs in the local tongue, Papiamento, although she introduced each of them in English. Her music was definitely my favorite of the night. Perhaps the least favorite was the next to last act of the night, a collaboration of Livi Silvan and Randal Corsen, which had a heavy dose of rap. I think they were clearly pushing the limits of jazz. Finally, we were treated to Unity: A Latin tribute to Michael Jackson with Peruvian-born, Tony Succar featuring the famous Cuban singer-songwriter, Jon Secada. The performance was great, although it was a little strange hearing Michael Jackson’s songs with a strong Latin flair.

Sitting in the picnic/food area of the Jazz Fest.

Sitting in the picnic/food area of the Jazz Fest.

The Frankie Yanga Trio on Stage

The Frankie Yanga Trio on Stage

Frankie Yanga and his fancy guitar.  Not sure what to call it otherwise!

Frankie Yanga and his fancy guitar. Not sure what to call it otherwise!

César López and the Habana Ensemble

César López and the Habana Ensemble

César López

César López

Izaline Calister

Izaline Calister

Izaline Calister and her band

Izaline Calister and her band

The Night-Two Crowd

The Night-Two Crowd

To the left is Randal Corsen on the keyboards; Levi Silvanie, forward on guitar

To the left is Randal Corsen on the keyboards; Levi Silvanie, forward on guitar

Levi Silvanie

Levi Silvanie

Unity: With Tony Succor

Unity: With Tony Succor

Jon Secada

Jon Secada

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Tony Succor: A master on the drums

Tony Succor: A master on the drums

Tony Succor

Tony Succor

Two... Tangoing.

Two… Tangoing.

A little Tango demonstration on the Jazz Fest Grounds

A little Tango demonstration on the Jazz Fest Grounds

Posing with the Tango Dancers

Posing with the Tango Dancers

On Sunday morning, Kenneth showed up to assist me with the windlass. After about two hours of joint-effort, we succeeded in breaking the old windlass free — literally, as we had to break the flange off the motor beneath the deck in order to remove it. It was clearly a two-man job, so I didn’t feel too bad about my previous capitulation. We were able to install the new one with minimal difficulty. It works fine although we’ll have to finalize a few wire-connections on Monday morning. I’ll let you know how it actually works when weighing a few hundred pounds of steel from the sea floor.

Kenneth in the chain locker; I above

Kenneth in the chain locker; I above

Success!  I, with the windlass top; Kenneth, with the motor flange

Success! I, with the windlass top; Kenneth, with the motor flange

Yes, we do!

Yes, we do!

Sunday afternoon was designated for provisioning. We took a bus the several miles to the grocery store and a taxi for the return trip. Why did we travel so far to the grocery store when others were nearby? This wasn’t an ordinary grocery store, but it was “Super Food!” I expected a lot given the name, and we were not disappointed. The store was awesome and had quantities and varieties we hadn’t seen since the states, and then some. It was the most fun I’ve had at a grocery store in months!

Super Food!

Super Food!

You know you're a cruiser when you are this excited to grocery shop.

You know you’re a cruiser when you are this excited to grocery shop.

On Monday, we are planning to leave Aruba for a 400-mile passage to Cartagena, Colombia. We might have stuck around for a couple of more days, if it were not for the high-probability of a hurricane or tropical storm making its way through the ABCs toward the end of the upcoming week. It is very rare for storms to affect the islands this far south, but this appears to have the makings of an unusual event. A weather forecast site I frequently use for passage planning predicts 40-foot waves and winds over 100 m.p.h. in the western Caribbean over the weekend. So, we are leaving Aruba tomorrow morning with plans to be safely anchored in Cartagena by the end of the week. We’ll obviously be watching the weather while underway, but feel confident that we will be well clear of the worst of it before it arrives. We will pray for our friends whose boats are in the southern Caribbean right now waiting our hurricane season.

One of our marina guests

One of our marina guests

Another marina guest

Another marina guest

Yet another marina guest

Yet another marina guest

What's predicted by Saturday a.m.  It will have already affected Aruba.

What’s predicted by Saturday a.m. It will have already affected Aruba.

Aruba… And All That Jazz

Cindy with Heather and her hosts while in California (Gordon and Deanna Swanstrom)

Cindy with Heather and her hosts while in California (Gordon and Deanna Swanstrom)

Cindy and I returned to the southern Caribbean island of Aruba on Wednesday afternoon, exhausted and jet-lagged. I had gotten one hour’s sleep the night before after working into the wee hours of the morning, and Cindy had flown all night from California to meet up with me in Atlanta. We slept almost thirteen hours that night and awoke feeling much better, though our circadian rhythms were not yet in sync.

A new sight since we've been in Aruba: Two cruise ships docked across the harbor

A new sight since we’ve been in Aruba: Two cruise ships docked across the harbor

On Thursday morning, we decided to try out our newly-purchased bread machine (which we purchased in the states and I stashed in my carry-on luggage on the plane). We were very pleased with the finished product. It will be nice to have fresh bread whenever we desire it. After our bread-baking experiment, it was time to ascend the mast. I slipped into the bosun’s chair and attached the main halyard and the topping lift. Cindy took her spot at the helm station and winched me 65 feet in the air to replace the cover on our anchor light. (For some reason, it falls off periodically. This time I tried to secure it with wire ties. The duct-tape I tried last time didn’t last too long). While up there, I inspected the rigging. I think I’m going to need to replace my main halyard soon as it is showing signs of wear from twisting on itself. I also resecured our single-sideband radio antenna which runs up our port shroud and is held in place by wire-ties which systematically succumb to the hot tropical sun and require regular replacement. The day was topped off by a 2-mile walk through town, followed by burgers on the grill aboard Beatitude. Since our bodies and minds were still feeling slightly jet-lagged, we soon retired to our berth.

Our Oster Bread Machine

Our Oster Bread Machine

Enjoying freshly made bread :)

Enjoying freshly made bread 🙂

How high can you go?

How high can you go?

Hanging on to the shroud to secure the antennae

Hanging on to the shroud to secure the antennae

Encountered on our two-mile walk

Encountered on our two-mile walk

Also encountered on our walk

Also encountered on our walk

Shopping mall on the waterfront in Oranjestad

Shopping mall on the waterfront in Oranjestad

Cruise ship leaving Aruba at sunset

Cruise ship leaving Aruba at sunset

The daylight hours of Friday were consumed with more boat work. I crawled down into the engine compartments to change the oil in our dual Yanmar 39-hp diesels. While there I checked fluid levels, filters and belts to make sure all was well and ready for our next passage. Then we turned to the windlass. Since purchasing Beatitude four years ago, we upsized our anchor from the 55-lb Delta to an 85-lb Mantus. We love our oversized anchor which affords a much more restful night of sleep when on the hook, but when adding in 200-feet of 3/8″ chain, that’s a total of around 420 lbs of tackle to haul up, plus the force required to break the anchor free from the bottom in which it is (hopefully) securely buried. Our 1000-watt windlass would usually trip the breaker once or twice every time we raised anchor. So, while in the states, I purchased a 1500-watt replacement in hope that it will perform better with the heavier load. Replacing the windlass, like most other boat jobs, tested my patience and fouled my mood. After at least two hours of trying to remove the old one, I had had enough! On a boat, the salt air tends to corrode most everything metal. A job that looks so simple (in this case, removing four nuts and pulling the windlass components apart) turns in to a Herculean effort of determination and grit. When at wit’s end, I walked away to try another day. Actually, I asked the marina office if anyone was able to take a look at it and help me. I was told someone will come today or tomorrow to assist. At least, while I was futilely toiling away on the windlass, a diver was in the water cleaning our bottom. So, the afternoon wasn’t a total loss. My foul mood was further exacerbated, however, when we decided to go over to the beach on the private island. We threw on our swimsuits, grabbed our towels and walked over to the pick-up dock, only to discover that I didn’t have our Renaissance Marina/Hotel cards which are required to use the facilities. After searching high and low, we wrote them off as permanently lost while away in the states and in need of replacement.

Disconnecting the chain to replace the windlass

Disconnecting the chain to replace the windlass

If all else fails read the directions (which in this case also failed)

If all else fails read the directions (which in this case also failed)

Diver in the water cleaning our hulls

Diver in the water cleaning our hulls

A Frigate with his impressive wing span and forked tail circling overhead

A Frigate with his impressive wing span and forked tail circling overhead

The frustrations of the day, however, were soothed by the activities of the evening. What fortune came our way when we discovered that the Caribbean Sea Jazz Festival was taking place on Friday and Saturday evening here in Aruba! And not just in Aruba, but here at the Renaissance in Oranjestad! The festival takes place on four stages with groups performing on each throughout the evening. We experienced a wonderful night of world class music. The jazz here was permeated primarily by music with a heavy dose of funk and R&B, interspersed with some latin rhythms and afrobeats. We started our evening by listening to the young group of performers known as Live Expressions followed by the big-band sound of the Franklin Granadilla Jazz Orchestra. Next, we swayed and moved to the sounds of Dumpstaphunk, a New Orleans-based band with a couple of Neville family members in the group. Our penultimate jazz performance of the night was by my favorite group of the night, New Cool Collective, the “Dutch pioneers of jazz.” Their style consisted of a unique fusion of latin, afrobeat, and jazz. During their performance, they also collaborated with Mark Reilly, a UK jazz singer, who brought an extra flair to the stage, although I much preferred Cool Collective sans singer. It was way past my bedtime when the final act of the night took the main outdoor stage, Kool and the Gang. At 12:15 a.m., this iconic group which began in the 60s as the Jazziacs, took the stage for a raucous conclusion to the night. We crowded close to the stage to enjoy some of their greatest hits. It was a high-energy finish to a wonderful evening of music and food.

Friends made at the Jazz Festival (First photo:  Yvonne and Jackie with Cindy) (Third photo: Ron and Jackie from Michigan) (Fourth photo: Yvonne and Jeneen, from Georgia)

Friends made at the Jazz Festival (First photo: Yvonne and Jackie with Cindy) (Third photo: Ron and Jackie from Michigan) (Fourth photo: Yvonne and Jeneen, from Georgia)

Live Expressions kicked off the night of Jazz

Live Expressions kicked off the night of Jazz

The Franklin Granadilla Jazz Orchestra

The Franklin Granadilla Jazz Orchestra

Dumpstaphunk with a Neville on lead guitar (center) and one on keyboard (right)

Dumpstaphunk with a Neville on lead guitar (center) and one on keyboard (right)

New Cool Collective

New Cool Collective

This guy was crazy!  Both in artistry and, I think, just generally

This guy was crazy! Both in artistry and, I think, just generally

The excellent bongo player in the New Cool Collective

The excellent bongo player in the New Cool Collective

The crowd at the Jazz Fest

The crowd at the Jazz Fest

Dumpstaphunk with a Neville on lead guitar (center) and one on keyboard (right)

Dumpstaphunk with a Neville on lead guitar (center) and one on keyboard (right)

Kool and the Gang on stage

Kool and the Gang on stage

Ronald Bell on tenor sax (one of the founding members)

Ronald Bell on tenor sax (one of the founding members)

Kool on bass

Kool on bass

Kool and the Gang and the crowd

Kool and the Gang and the crowd

We’re Grandparents!

Cindy and I left Aruba as the ordinary parents of three wonderful children. However, when we return we will do so having been transformed into proud grandparents! Two days ago, on September 10th, at 2:40 p.m., a 7 lb 13 oz, 21.25″ long beautiful baby boy entered this world. His name is James Anthony Elias Carey, God’s gift to our son, Jeremy, and his wife, Fran.

Mother and two Grandmas awaiting delivery.  Unbeknown to the trio, Fran would be in labor within about 12 hours.

Mother and two Grandmas awaiting delivery. Unbeknown to the trio, Fran would be in labor within about 12 hours.

Prepare yourself for multiple photos of a most beautiful baby!

Prepare yourself for multiple photos of a most beautiful baby!

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I was fortunate to be able to hold him in my arms for a little while yesterday. He made his grand entrance almost a week late, barely in time for me to see him in person. Fran’s due date was the 4th. I had scheduled time in California in between two strings of shifts in the emergency department in Florida. So, Sweet Baby James came just in time for me to say my hellos prior to flying back to the east coast. As I write this on the plane flying 35,000 feet in the air just north of Yosemite, my heart is filled with joy over his recent arrival and longing for the next opportunity to renew our young acquaintance. Cindy has remained behind to enjoy a few more days of James’ company and to offer help to Fran and Jeremy as needed. Nine days from now, she and I will meet up in Atlanta to board our plane back to the tropics.

Proud parents and grandparents

Proud parents and grandparents

Jeremy, Fran, and their bundle of joy.

Jeremy, Fran, and their bundle of joy.

Maw-maw is very happy!

Maw-maw is very happy!

Listening attentively to a lullaby.

Listening attentively to a lullaby.

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Nana Heather, Fran's mother, flew in from Florida for the grand event.

Nana Heather, Fran’s mother, flew in from Florida for the grand event.

Since our last Beatitude update, we’ve both flown to Vero Beach for a week. There, I worked in a new hospital (for me), Indian River Medical Center for six shifts while Cindy was able to travel to Lakeland to catch up with friends for a few days. Last Wednesday, we flew to California to await the birth of our grandson (by the way, our first grandchild). We were able to hang out with our son and daughter-in-law for a few days before the grand event occurred. Now, I am on my way back to Florida for another week of shifts in the hospital before our return to the Caribbean.

My little "troll."  We have enjoyed a couple of movies while here.  The excellent, new "Ben Hur" and the also excellent "Sully."

My little “troll.” We have enjoyed a couple of movies while here. The excellent, new “Ben Hur” and the also excellent “Sully.”

Sunday morning worship at St. Michael and All the Angels Church in Concord, CA

Sunday morning worship at St. Michael and All the Angels Church in Concord, CA

I miss our home, Beatitude, which awaits our return to Aruba. It cannot come soon enough. I yearn for the sea and the sun, the birds and the fishes, and the adventure and excitement of our life on the water.

Photo courtesy of Jeremy Carey

Photo courtesy of Jeremy Carey

Three Generations of Careys

Three Generations of Careys