What Happened???????

Mar 7, 2017

Yes, it has been almost an entire year since updating our blog!   A LOT has happened in THE GAP.   We will have separate tabs, someday, at the top of the website,  that will have posts that will fill in the gap, and also for our land travel.  Those will be updated, someday.

Sail Up St A

There are multiple excuses.  The first one, and primary, is that Angie lost her mojo.  The outer islands of the Bahamas  (Conception, San Salvador, Cat) that we were heading towards in 2016 had been on our Bucket List for a very long time.  Diving in the exotic locations that we would read and dream about before the boat purchase,  was a very important reason for why we bought Uno Mas.  (Hey, let’s buy a BOAT,  sail to all of these places, dive, and stay as long as we want!)

Upon arrival at the uninhabited  Conception Island, we were in awe of the beautiful crescent beach. We had a surreal experience in a mangrove pond with dozens of turtles. It was paradise!  Then, we started looking for places to dive.  This was a mecca!  We were in the water for over 3 hours, looking for the colorful coral and fish.  We saw maybe 5 fish total. We experienced the tallest  Elkhorn pinnacle forest we have ever seen.  The spires rose from 30 feet on the sandy floor, all of the way to just under the surface.  But, it was dead.  Brown, white, nothing.  While the massive structure was spectacular, the lack of fish and coral life was devastating.  We could envision what it used to be.  Angie lost something that day.  Deep down, the disappointment was devastating.

So, we started researching what is causing the reefs to die. There are many reasons.  Human waste, pollution and fertilizer run off  is a factor.  However, not at Conception, it is uninhabited.  Another reason is the rise or fall in sea water temperatures over an extended amount of time. Coral needs to maintain a very small range to survive. Global climate change is happening.  Whether it is warming or cooling, it is happening.   Third, bleach bombing.  I have read posts from divers regarding this.  The Dominican Republic fishermen are known for this in these areas.  They will drop bleach bags on the reefs and scoop up the fish, killing everything.  Overfishing is also a HUGE factor.  Coral needs fish to survive.  The fish eat the algae and keep the coral healthy. The fish need the coral and the coral need the fish.  However, if the fish are removed, there is nothing around to help maintain the equilibrium.  The coral gets algae covered, or bleaches out, and dies.  Not only do the DR fishermen kill everything, the Bahamian fishermen scoop up the little ones as well.  However, Conception Island is in a marine preserve.  There should not be any fishing.  Well, upon our departure, we actually saw an unmarked, undocumented fishing boat with the outriggers down, fishing within the preserve boundaries.  Finally, a factor that can kill a reef is hurricanes and storms bringing in copious amounts of sand, especially if there are no fish to clean it.  Even though this area was devastated by Hurricane Joaquin the prior year, the coral was not completely covered in sand.  The dead parts have been that way for a very long time.

I know things

So, we decided to head to San Salvador.  Another diving Mecca in 2007, before we bought the boat. We found the reef dead as well.  There were more fish, but the reef was algae covered as well as bleached.

So, being melodramatic, Angie now feels that all of the good diving is dead.  The main reason we bought the boat does not existing anymore. She is in a funk.

Another reason Angie lost her mojo has to do with the idealism of doing our own diving from the boat or dinghy.  She is looking for shallow, easy,beautiful diving.  Well, the diving typically is on the windward side of the islands, a bit of a ways away. The wind is typically blowing from that way, making it almost impossible for us to anchor the boat or get the dinghy out to the areas at the depths we need to go.  When the winds finally do shift, calming the seas, instead of diving, we are moving the boat to the next anchorage to take advantage of the weather break or “window”.  It just isn’t happening.

Then, Mark tells Angie he deleted a negative comment that came through the blog.  At first, Angie does not want it to bother her.  She needs to rise above that.  Don’t let what other people say or think matter.  The blog is a diary of our experiences, thoughts, and feelings.  It is not for other people to critique.  Not all days are happy, sunshine, dolphins and gorgeous beaches.  There are many days the weather is crap.  Living on the water, susceptible to anchor dragging, boat damage, lightning strikes, other boats drifting into your boat, things always breaking , and MOVING constantly, is not always pleasant.  (Some days, all I want to do, is just be somewhere where every time I move, I don’t have to brace myself or keep from hurling from seasickness.   There are times when I need my “home” to not be moving.)  So, that being said, the blog may have some sarcasm, and some depressive posts.  It is, what it is.  I find it amusing that someone thinks they can dictate what and how I write my diary.   So, the “Comments” will most likely be filtered through Mark again. He just won’t mention what he deletes.  I don’t need that kind of negativity to send me into another bad mojo state.

Nola Stearns

Time.  Writing the blog and sorting, resizing, organizing , labelling the thousands of photos, takes A LOT of time.  Sometimes it is there. Sometimes it isn’t.   That is why we are on the boat….to not have to feel the pressures of deadlines and having “TO DO” something.  We were on the move constantly for most of the year, and having weeks, to go back, edit, sort, etc, just did not materialize.  We packed in a full summer of motorcycling, RVing, Car museums (a lot) and National Park sightseeing, all over the US this past year!  Someday,  it will be documented.

Breakdowns.   While out and about, we lost some of our ways to generate power.  Our generator and wind generator broke and  also a saildrive.  So, power conservation was important until we could get back to the states and get those items resolved.  Powering computers was not high on the priority list.  Thankfully, all of those items have now been fixed, under warranty (which is unheard of in the marine industry. Mark will elaborate later in an Opinion section of the blog). We are good to go until the next failure.

Service.  Internet service is spotty.  It is slow.  Most of the time, Angie wants to pull her hair out, dealing with slow internet.  (Someday, I am hoping to get to the point where this won’t bother me.)

Privacy.  Angie is a very private individual and doesn’t really like having our diary “out there.”  However, if family and friends enjoy it, then it is ok.  The blog is meant for them to share in our experiences, and to know that we are not dead. (Even though it can take weeks to be able to actually update…see Service note above.)

Facebook.  Is easy to do quick uploads of photos and captions.  It has been a crutch this past year.  It is going to go away soon for us.  We need to get back into the swing of creating blog posts. In theory, the website will link to Facebook and send a notice for when a new post uploads.

Getting the Mojo Back.  Angie needs to be in the mood to write.  It is finally coming back since the To Do list of getting the boat ready to live on is dwindling.  We have a few days until we will be out of internet range for a while, so we will be working on the blog a bit.  It can take some time to get Bahamian internet access.  Nothing happens fast in the Bahamas!  Island Time, Mon!

Early morning on ICW

Sooo, with all of that being said,  we are going to try to be better about being more current with posts, and back filling THE GAP period when possible.  We have some really great photos we would like to share.

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