Our Latest Visitors and a Challenge at the Dock

We were recently blessed to have Ben and Kristie, our nephew and niece, spend a couple of days with us while on their Florida holiday. Ben, Cindy’s brother, Donnie’s, son and his wife, Kristie, arrived shortly after noon on Tuesday. We quickly prepared the boat for a brief sail and overnight stay at anchor, and left the marina without event. The winds were light, but we were able to raise the sails and enjoy a couple of hours of sailing out on the bay before returning to DeSoto Pointe to anchor.

The four of us

The four of us

Ben and Kristie on the bow

Ben and Kristie on the bow

Cindy assisting in lowering the mainsail

Cindy assisting in lowering the mainsail

Sunset at DeSoto Point

Ben and Cindy

Ben and Cindy

We spent a relaxing night at anchor. I prepared Bourbon Marinated Salmon and Asparagus on the grill for dinner. Upon awakening the entire anchorage was filled with dolphins swimming between the boats and playfully frolicking in the water. We had seen a couple the previous evening on our way in, but not this many. In fact, this is the most dolphins at once that we have ever seen. I would guess that there were at least 10-15 surrounding us that morning.

Dolphin!

Dolphin!

Dolphin acrobatics

Late the next morning, we motored the few miles up the river to Regatta Pointe. That is when things got a little interesting. Our boat is on the end of a long dock, and normally we just go around our slip and pull in forward through the slip which lies behind us. It has been unoccupied since we’ve moved aboard. We’ve heard, however, that later this month, we are going to get new neighbors. A Leopard 44 catamaran is going to be staying in the slip behind. It seemed like a good idea to go ahead and practice backing the boat into our slip since we would, from that time forward, be unable to pull through the slip behind us. It actually was a good idea, but suddenly when the boat had just passed the forward pilings, my port engine died. The starboard engine was still working, so I didn’t think it would be a big deal to continue docking. But the boat just wouldn’t budge. The stern was stuck out away from the dock while our bow was pointed diagonally into the slip to our right. Unfortunately, the corner of the dock was pressing into the starboard side of the boat. Our neighbor came out to help us, but was unable to pull the boat in. I started back up the port engine a couple of times, but it quickly died again when I put it into gear. Finally, we realized there had to be something holding us.

What should have occurred to me much earlier finally pierced my thick skull. The same thing that caused the engine to die probably is keeping me from docking Beatitude. A quick look over the port side revealed that the port bow line was stretched taut back toward my port engine. It had been lying in the water when I entered the slip and quickly became wrapped around my port prop. I grabbed a knife and leaned over the port side of the boat to cut the line. The only way I could reach it was to have Ben hold one ankle and Kristie the other, suspending me over the side so I could reach the line. Thank God they must like me since they could’ve easily dropped me into the marina water on my head. Immediately after the line was cut the boat was carried by the wind gently into the dock. During this entire fiasco, Cindy had positioned herself at the corner of the dock and was pushing with all her might to keep the corner from taking gouges out of the starboard fiberglass. When all was said and done, we were safely docked with only a couple of small scratches on the side of the boat. Whew!

The next morning’s task was to cut the line from the port prop. While not to eager about taking a plunge in the marina water, I donned my wetsuit, slipped on my flippers, mask and snorkel and jumped in. I found it difficult to hold my breath long enough to untangle and cut the rope while simultaneously expending the energy necessary for the job. So, I returned to the boat for my scuba gear. A month or so ago I acquired all the gear I would need just for contingencies like this. With scuba gear attached, I slipped into the water and easily cut the line, untangling it from around the prop, and returned victorious to the surface. I also earned a new nickname from the crew, Aquaman II. It was a great learning experience – one of many more to come, I am sure. Next time, I’ll make sure the line is not in the water such that the prop can become entangled with it. That line was actually too long anyway. It needed to be cut and now is. đŸ™‚

Aquaman II

Aquaman II

Prepared to dive

Prepared to dive

Holding the offending line which has been cut off the port engine

Holding the offending line which has been cut off the port engine

A New Toilet!

Alright. For all you landlubbers, a new toilet may not be news enough to post about in a new blog post. However, for anyone who has ever used a marine head (toilet), you will appreciate this. With an ordinary manual head, one must go through a series of flipping a switch from wet to dry interspersed with a number of hand pumps on a handle next to the head. We have three separate heads (and showers) on this boat (more than we really need and more that will require some dirty maintenance). Well, this week we have installed a brand new electric head. One just does his/her business and push a button on the wall next to the head… and you’re done! Woohoo!!

The old manual head sitting on the dock.

The old manual head sitting on the dock.

Installation of the new head underway.

Installation of the new head underway.

Our electric head!  Pumping handles and flipping switches replaced by one brief push of the button seen on the wall beside the head.

Our electric head! Pumping handles and flipping switches replaced by one brief push of the button seen on the wall beside the head.

Speaking of doing one’s business, here are some birds who obviously use the pilings next to Beatitude for their marine toilet.

Mr. Pelican

Mr. Pelican

Maybe someone can tell me what kind of bird this is?

Maybe someone can tell me what kind of bird this is?

Lastly, here is a new decorative item for our boat. I am finishing up teaching a 3-month course on The History of Christian Art. Two weeks ago, I mentioned how much I loved a painting by a French Rococo painter, Jean HonorĂ© Fragonard. Carlos DeLeon Campos, a wonderful artist from Guatemala and a good friend of ours who has been attending the class, presented me with his interpretation of Fragonard’s A Young Girl Reading. It is magnificent!

A Young Girl Reading, Carlos DeLeon Campos' interpretation of Jean Honoré Fragonard.

A Young Girl Reading, Carlos DeLeon Campos’ interpretation of Jean HonorĂ© Fragonard.

A Young Girl Reading in our Salon

A Young Girl Reading in our Salon