Right now, Roseann and I had been waiting for over a week to leave. The major delay has been that I had to attend graduation ceremonies at the University. I've enjoyed having Roseann here even if we are not traveling.
It was a week of parties - including the long anticipated Rums of the Caribbean party. Last summer, as I went through the Caribbean, I collected a bottle or two of the local rums that each island produced. The accumulation of these bottles was the foundation for the party. There were over 20 different types of rum. I plan to get more this summer.
Lori, a friend of Roseann's from SF was with us for much of the week. She came out to make sure that I was OK for Roseann and now has worries that Roseann might not come back (for good reason). After a week of Caribbean parties, I think that she might be worrying a little bit about her liver too. (We won't even mention how she has managed to make a few local girlfriends jealous.)
During the final countdown stage, some friends of friends of friends got in touch with me and asked if I would perform a marriage. So this summer's adventures started with a wedding (thankfully not mine; I'm pretty sure mail-order brides are sent to California). A pod of five porpoise that joined us as we sailed to Buck Island (a small deserted island off St. Croix) for the wedding. The groom almost fell in the water trying to get the porpoise on video. Kirk, an old friend, was also along as he hitched a ride to St. Thomas with us. Odd note; the couple never bothered to get their marriage certificate. I'm reminded of those signs that read "marriages performed on this vessel are only good for the duration of the voyage." I did try to get the certificate for them, but the court would release it only to the couple.
The only fault with the ceremony was that I got the bride's name wrong and had to start over from the beginning. Lots of giggles all around. A typical mistake for me. Roseann videod the whole affair and Kirk took pictures. After a few champagne toasts and some tears, we dropped the marriage party off on Buck Island where they planned to be picked up later by friends. It must be kind of interesting to be abandoned on a deserted island with nothing but champagne on the first day of married life...
The sail to St. Thomas was gorgeous and quick. Roseann slept part of the way and I was pleased to see that she was comfortable on the boat. I felt particular male proud feelings when I glanced back to see her sleeping. I was at the wheel and carrying precious cargo. Roseann looks so beautiful when she's sleeping. Kirk also crashed for much of the trip. But I had no special feelings for him.
Some sort of special sense must have woken up Roseann because when she came up her first word was LOOK! We had been joined by another pod of porpoise. I'd guess about 20 this time. They included some old bulls and young pups. It was fun to watch the pups as the speed around the boat and flew below and above the waves.
We docked at the St. Thomas Yacht Club. Judy, Kirk's wife, joined us for a few drinks before she took Kirk home. I managed to get a message to my friend Augusto and he joined us on Ubi as we were about to anchor. There were cocktails aboard before going to shore for dinner at my father's house.
Mary (my stepmother) had made whelk stew. As always, the food was great. It was great to see dad, Tara (my half sister) and Maggie the dog were there too. After dinner, Dad dropped us off at the Yacht Club where we spent a rolly night. I had anchored rather far out and we both agreed that we would not spend another night in that location.
After our errands, I dropped Roseann off at the Yacht Club and went with Augusto to get his two little girls. I had not known that the kids had a riding lesson planned so Roseann had a longer wait than either of us had planned. Even though she is not yet used to "island time," she took it pretty well.
Hours later, we took the girls out to the boat. I had bought the CD for The Little Mermaid and the girls had a great time singing along. Augusto made them some pasta and, when we threw the remains over, a Ramora joined us for dinner. (Ramora are type of fish that have a special sucker on the top of their head by which the attach themselves to larger fish and hitch a ride. When the larger fish finds a meal, the Remora lets go and feeds on the leftovers.) I'm sure that pasta is not the usual sort of leftover for Remora but it didn't seem to mind. I have not seen many Ramora but this was easily the largest that I had ever seen. It must have been three feet long. I didn't know that they got that long. I was fascinated by the arrangement of the mouth which is at the top of the head.
Back to shore, we had a lot of fun singing along with Garth Brooks as we speed through tropical roads to drop Augusto's little girls off. We taught the girls to make the Texas Long Horn sign at the good parts. They seemed to think that there were a lot of good parts.
After dropping the girls off with their mother, we picked up a friend of Augusto's and went on to Tashas (my favorite St. Thomas restaurant). As always the atmosphere was very local and the food great. After Tashas we went to a floating bar called Puzzles. We had some great conversation and played a game of Scrabble where everyone was limited to dirty words. It was agreed that Augusto was allowed to use any of the three languages he knows but it didn't help him much. Ya gotta lern howta spel ferst.
Before going to sleep, Roseann and I had some great pillow talk about what parts of Augusto's life style we agreed and disagreed with. I really love talking to Roseann. It's a treat to have someone who is willing to explore what is important and why.
We sailed on to Norman island and dropped hook next to the Thorton. The Thorton is an old wood ship that has been refitted to be a floating bar/restaurant. There are no buildings on Norman island and the Thorton is not only a great place but the only place to stop for a drink or meal.
Where we had a few drinks and invited a couple to come back to the boat for a few cocktails (Roseann asked me where the word cocktail comes from and I'm going to have to find out). After the couple left, Roseann cooked a great pasta dish with some of the spices that I had picked up in Venezuela last year. I was pretty tired, and, as Roseann put it, was lucky to stay awake through dinner.
Deciding the right moment was pretty much a matter of looking at each other and saying: "You ready?" "Ya, I'm ready."
It seems to be the story of my cruising life, but the wind was on our nose. When the wind is on your nose, so are the waves. Its is the most wet and most uncomfortable direction to travel.
I don't know why it is my Karma to have the wind against me - from now on I'm going to take control by moving with the wind. This may mean that I'll have to change my destination. Why not?
In afterthought, while we had a great summer, we probably would have had more fun if we'd done a straight shot to the Grenadines. It would certainly have been a better sail.
We elected to sail instead of motoring or motor sailing. Despite being from the wrong direction, the wind was gentle and the seas were light. A great time to be alive. We tied of the wheel and sailed at about four knots till sometime the next day. During the night, I set my alarm to wake me up every hour and look for other ships. There were a few ships out at one point and I watched till they were gone.
R - My first overnight with Charlie. I felt very safe, and didn't have any watches. I hope that all our overnighters are like this one. Nice breeze with small swells. I was a little scared of becoming seasick, but no such luck. Must be something about the way UBI moves through the water; she is very comfortable. I think she was showing off a little. Hopefully, in the future, I will learn more about sailing her so I can help Charlie. The only disappointment about this leg was not having Charlie next to me all night.
Sometime before noon I began to think that I was seeing islands. This was also the time I began to have second thoughts about my navigation. I don't have o those fancy new navigation aids; my only navigation equipment is a compass. Even though I have never missed – yet. I always have these anxieties about an open ocean passage. A sportsfisher that passed us around noon really got me worried as it was headed a good 40 degrees off my course. I couldn't figure that I was off course by that much unless my compass was off. I looked around the compass for any metal that might be magnetic enough to throw off the reading. Then spent a couple of hours chewing on my finger nails and acting like all was going as planned.
Nothing but ocean. It is a bit tricky to tack up over a hundred miles out of sight of land with only a compass to guide you. Kind of like a life or death trig quiz. Despite my worries, about 2, Saba appeared out of the haze where and when I expected it to. (That sportsfisher was probably headed to St. Kitts).
I wasn't happy with the idea of pulling in to St. Barts (our intended destination) after dark so I suggested that we pull into Philipsburg, on the Dutch side of Sint. Maartin instead. Roseann was agreeable.
We got into Philipsburg just after dark. It was moderately tricky finding a place to drop the hook among all the other boats. After getting Ubi safely settled, we decided that we weren't very interested in going to shore. I cooked an interesting combination of cabbage, eggs, cheese, onions and soy sauce and served it over bread. For some reason Roseann decided not to join me for dinner.
We settled in for our first night together on a new island (we decided that Norman and St. Thomas didn't really count because they were so close to St. Croix).
St. Martin is divided into two governmental districts. Philipsburg is the capital of the Dutch side (the Dutch spell the island as Sint. Maartin).
About nine, we decided to make a run for St. Barts. The wind was once again on our nose and very brisk but, with Roseann's strong encouragement, I decided to see if we could sail for it anyway. I knew better, but wanted to do what Roseann desired. We had barely stuck our nose out of Philipsburg harbor when a 40 knot gust knocked us down. The cockpit filled with water and much of the stuff in the kitchen decided to fly. I'm still not sure how some of the garlic cloves got where they ended up.
Roseann was steering and got the closest I've ever seen to fear in her eyes as she realized that she could not muscle the boat into the wind so as to right her. I quickly released one of the sails and the boat came up. The boat is designed to take that kind of abuse and the water quickly drained out of the cockpit.
We dropped the sails and spent about 20 minutes gathering a bag of trash and instrument cover that had been washed over the side. This was not an easy job as the swells were about 8 foot and the wind brisk. It was a good man overboard drill and Roseann learned a lot about steering.
After recovering our goods, we decided that we would try to power up to St. Barts. The universe did not want us to go to St. Barts. We faced squall after squall, rain, 15 foot waves and other kinds of yuck as Ubi slowly made headway. We were almost 3/4 of the way there when reason finally prevailed.
We're supposed to be having fun. If it was this stinky on the way up, the anchorage at Gustavia had to be terrible. We turned around, raised the sails and rode the waves and wind for a delightful romp to Marigot, the capital of the French side of the St. Martin.
We made a perfect entrance. Roseann could not have handled the wheel better as I dropped the anchors. Customs was painless and we decided that we had earned a great meal. We walked around Marigot and visited my favorite cafés. Had a few kirs and made some new friends.
We went back to Ubi in time to make the opening of the bridge to Simpson Bay, but decided at the last moment to stay where we are, which is nice. Another anchor drill was just not desirable. We spent some time cuddling and talking; something we do rather well.
Then back to shore for dinner. We stopped at a British pub for beer, but after inhaling too much cigarette smoke decided to keep going. We cruised the cafés and decided upon one that I had a great meal at while visiting here before. It was a very good choice (but it's hard to find a bad restaurant on a French island). We both had a fun time trying to figure out what we had ordered. The walk back to the boat was lazy as we worked off dinner and gazed at the choices of other diners. This is a land of cafés. I wonder if the people in them could be as happy as I am?
R - Today's sail (should I call it that) was not as fun as the others. For the first time I was really scared on a boat. I thought we were going to go over. UBI was leaning so far over, but Charlie let out the sails and she righted herself quickly. I felt responsible since I was at the wheel. I just couldn't handle the wind and seas. For awhile afterwards I was seriously doubting my ability to be of any help at all to Charlie. In my experiences on Neeleen we had never gone over that far; but I realize its not fair to compare the two boats. The weather made up for its shabby treatment of us later. Our decision to go to Marigot was very good. Downwind is a wonderful way to travel on UBI. She really cooks! I must admit I was gun-shy of taking the wheel the rest of the day. I can't let that experience make me wary of steering, especially now that I know what to do should it happen again. Charlie was great about talking with me about it and put my mind at ease about me laying the fault upon myself. But, hey, Marigot was a beautiful anchorage. I have started going topless (only in French islands); Charlie loves the image.
The translator makes communicating a bit easier and more humorous. A bottle of wine and several magazines later, we decided to go. The owner had a different idea. Despite our language barrier, we had become friends. He poured us shots of a banana liquor, with which I toasted his little boy, then he made us a plate of meat with a terrific sauce. We decided it was beef tongue but, on further thought, I now believe that it was sliced testicle. I'm glad I didn't know what it was while I was eating it. Very good and at least now I can say that I tried it.
Back on the boat we met three French guys off the boat next to us in the anchorage. They invited us over for drinks. It was some sort of French drink that tasted of anise. I liked it. We returned the favor and they came over for some wine (we served Californian, Australian and finally a French - for some reason they like the French best).
After they left, Roseann made a great pasta dish with some sausage and cheese that we had picked up during the day. We had an invitation to join our local friends to hear one them play guitar at a local club. But full bellies, wine and the desire to cuddle led us to bed.
I finally got a chance to pick up some French Franks (FF) today as well. The local businesses are more than happy to take US Dollars but the give a terrible rate of exchange.
We got a variety of cheeses and paté at the local grocery store and had them for dinner. I love having a gourmet assortment aboard and have enjoyed many great meals of cheese and paté in the French islands. Getting ice turned out to be a major adventure; we visited every store in Marigot (all eight of them - to bad cafés don't sell ice) before we finally found some ice. It seems that the ice got used up over the weekend and ice on a Monday is not high on the French list of concerns. Not very many things other than hanging out in cafés seem to be high on French concerns. Roseann was beginning to believe that they didn't want to sell ice to Americans for some reason. It reminds me of the adventures that Dave and I had last summer looking for ice on the French island of Guadeloupe.
We had a nice lazy morning in bed and tried to decide what to do. Time for brief aside...
These last few days have been Roseann's "time of the month." I was expecting mood swings and general irritation. I got what I expected. Roseann is not the PMS bitch from hell but I get a bit flustered when I feel like she's not happy. It often feels like there is nothing I can do to make her happy. I'm usually so full of joy that I can't understand why everyone around me doesn't feel the same way. I take it personally when my friends are not happy around me. After all, most of Roseann's interactions are with me. If she is not happy, it must be something I have done. I don't really understand this biological thing.
As a sensitive person, Roseann feels my frustration and gets more frustrated herself. It's a viscous cycle that is very tough for both of us (considering the reason for the start of it all, toughest for her).
We spent the morning trying to decide what to do. The weather looked funky (although the squalls we have endured over the last few days seem to be easing up) and, as noted above, our mood was also strange. We had talked about renting a scooter the day before .
Roseann sometimes clings to a plan with a feverish intensity. I, on the hand, am willing to drop a plan on a whim (or as circumstances change). Unfortunately, while I consider a lot of circumstances before making/changing my decisions, I have been known to neglect to mention all the things I considered to other concerned parties. For some reason my hidden agendas frustrate Roseann. As she often has a hidden agenda as well, this makes for some interesting discussions.
Today's hidden agenda for me was that I had begun to experience the after affects of accelerated spending which had occurred as a result of a pocket full of money and French atmosphere. My pocket was not nearly so full as the day before.
I was feeling poor and wasn't sure I wanted to spend the relatively minor bucks on a scooter that would take us to bunches of places where I could spend more money. Roseann had been promised an outing and wanted to explore NOW. I rapidly decided that the greater peace was to be had with a scooter. I'm going to be very careful what I promise in the future.
We rented a scooter and did a tour of the island. I have rented scooters several times on St. Martin but this is the first time that I have circled the island on one. It felt great to have Roseann holding on to me as we traveled. We both took time to cop a few feels along the way.
The best event of the day was in Grand Casé. We have both been to St. Martin before and we remembered Grand Casé as one of our favorite spots. We parked the scooter and visited a number of the beach stalls that specialize in inexpensive grilled food and beer. At Roseann's suggestion we wandered down to a bar that neither of us had been to before.
The Surf Club South is run by a Jersey couple (Andy and Cheryl) and, while marginally more expensive (beers are $1.50 instead of $1.00), a lot more fun. They play great music. We spent the afternoon doing our best to find out just how much Fosters draft they really had. They didn't run out but did have to adjust the tap.
Sometime along the way we met Denise and John, a couple visiting from Philadelphia, and decided that we would bring Ubi up to Grand Casé the next day. Andy offered us the use of the "Club's" mooring. As it looked like it would be a short and sweet run, we invited D&J to join us for the sail up. They agreed to meet us the next day and we scootered off into the sunset.
It was a really great day (the scooter was a really good thing). I'm glad we did it.
R - Today was a moody day for me. Charlie could not do anything right. I hate it when I get this way. Nothing seemed to make me happy. I don't like making Charlie feel uneasy, but I felt like I really needed a good argument. I am the type who occasionally likes a good argument and Charlie will not oblige me. I don't blame him. We have talked about it and I understand how he feels, but I still like a good argument! My mother says it's the Capricorn in me. Whatever it is, the mood hit me today. I don't know if it is my period or the fact that I'm starting to examine my boundaries with Charlie. Maybe both. It was frustrating to not get a response though. After awhile I decided we would both be happier without my complaints ands we had a wonderful day. I do wish I didn't feel the need to test Charlie.
Sometime in recent history I told Roseann I trusted her judgment and that she had every right to throw anything that she decided was of no use away. This led to:
THE PEANUT BRITTLE INCIDENT.
As I was gathering the trash I noticed a bag of unopened Rain Forest Peanut Brittle. I took it out and asked Roseann to put it away "In case somebody might want to eat it."
Unknown to Roseann, the PB had a bit of history. My friends Dennis and Laura invited me over for Christmas last year and the PB was one of their family's gifts to me. Even though I am not fond of PB, it was one of my very few presents that year (even most of my immediate family did not send gifts). For me, the PB was a symbol of a special time with special friends. I had also read about this brand in several magazines and liked that it's purchase supported the preservation of rain forests. In a superstitious way, it felt like throwing the brittle away would somehow undermine important friendships AND the world environmental conference now going on in Brazil. I know it's weird; but I get that way. Of course I didn't tell Roseann any of this. Oops...
A remote observer would not have been bored. By questioning her right to discard perfectly good peanut brittle, I had obviously drawn into question every facet of Roseann, her mind, her body, her upbringing, her parents, her friends, her country and every major philosopher since Plato. If I didn't think that it would have created another world crisis, I would throw out every peanut and peanut product on the boat. Then gone off for a good tear through the cafés.
It can really be difficult getting used to living with some one after so much time alone...
Once the dust settled (and the PB was once again enshrined), we went on to do the laundry. Roseann got major pissed when she learned what it was going to cost. This came as a surprise as we had checked the day before and knew what to expect (R was pissed then too). One load cost us $15 US to do ourselves. It was probably the last thing she wanted to hear but I suggested that if she got and stayed pissed she had been robbed twice. Once by an overcharge (actually the normal rate on the island – we did check another place) and once when she was robbed of her good mood. As always, we had the option of not using the service. I had trouble to keep from laughing out loud from the joy of her anger being directed elsewhere. I figured laughter would not help.
We got back to our dingy around 11 and had some fun visiting the Wednesday market. Once the possibility of fresh veggies and new cultural phenomena presented themselves, Roseann's mood improved considerably. I found a new type of rum and we both got some veggies. Denise and John were hanging out at one of the sailor bars along the wharf where we kept our dink when got back from the market. We went straight out the boat.
Grande Casé is just around the corner from Marigot and we could have been at our donated mooring in less than a half an hour. Instead the weather was so nice that we elected to sail out to Anguila and back. This added an hour or so to our the trip and gave us time to finish the large quantity of beer aboard. Towards the end of the trip the girls took off their tops and I got to confirm that Roseann has the better breasts.
Once on the mooring, we partied a bit then went in for "a quick one" at the Surf Club. It was a very long quick one. About 24 hours later I finally got back to the boat - still with no shoes.
We visited several other beach spots and then had dinner at some fancy restaurant on a hill (I kind of snuck in without my shoes Đ then again, I'm not sure that the French care about shoes), we ended up at Denise and John's very posh hotel room for the night. Each couple took turns in the shower. The long hot shower Roseann and I shared was great but not as sexual as I wanted. Because water is so rare, it is a rare opportunity for a Virgin Islander to have sex in the shower (with the water running). The night reminded me of my wild college days. Each couple spent the night in their own bed, but the beds were only a few feet apart. Denise and John put on a show better than the few porno movies I've seen. I was really worked up and got very frustrated when Roseann was slow to join me for anything and quit early.
Sex is very important to me. Responding to the desires (or lack thereof) of my lover is also very important. I was left feeling very frustrated that our desires were so different. If she did not want to play, Roseann and I should not have gotten ourselves into such a charged atmosphere. I worry that Roseann and I are going to discover that we have very different sexual drives. Denise was obviously enjoying herself.
R - I'm starting to wonder if this is a daily occurrence with me. Bitch until noon then enjoy myself. Must be the fact that I haven't had enough red meat lately. Most notable thing about today was Charlie's insistence that we have sex in D & J's hotel room. Especially since the other couple was going at it (I missed the show). I felt very drunk and very tired and not much in the mood. Charlie had to practically beg me to touch him, which is usually not the case. While I am very happy with our sex life, there are times when I would rather cuddle. This was not a good time for cuddling. I felt that Charlie wanted satisfaction right then and there and if he didn't get it he would be very upset with me. Which is sort of what happened. I'm getting ahead of myself, but the next day he was a little distant, saying he needed to talk to me. We had a wonderful talk about what happened and cleared the air on our frequency of sex. While I don't expect that all our talks will clear the problem so nicely, I love the communication we have. We talk things out and confront our problems/concerns right away.
We all hung around Grande Casé till noon when Denise and John had to leave to catch their plane. John and I did shots at the Surf Club and the girls went shopping. Later Roseann and I went out to the boat and discussed my over sensitive feelings of the night before. Roseann was quick to physically demonstrate in a that she did find me desirable. We talked a bit about the frequency of sex that we should be having and who could initiate and when. I feel that the issue is somewhat resolved but nothing is ever done. People and circumstances change. We my be dealing with this problem for a long time.
We spent most of the afternoon reading at the Surf Club till the bugs scared us back on to the boat for more great sex. Roseann does know how to prove a point.
Reading the log to this point, I feel that I need to clarify something. Roseann is wonderful. On the whole she is pleasant and fun to be with. She is often as amorous as I could want as well. If I am giving the wrong image, it is because I only tend to log those events that are exceptional. And most of those exceptional events are when Roseann's behavior is less than perfect.
Roseann went to sleep early tonight but I went out with Andy and Cheryl to a nightclub at Bikini Beach. It was the last night that the current owner would be running the place and many people showed up to dance. Andy insisted on buying all my beers. He explained that his wife had made a rule that they did not give away drinks at their place but that he wanted to show how much he appreciated our company. We left at two when the party was just beginning to hop.
I had wondered how I would handle a social scene without Roseann. I was pleased that I felt practically married. I did some dancing but was careful to do it with gals that I did not find in the least attractive. A few good looking ladies did give me the nod but I'm happy to report that I was not even interested. I did pound a lot of beers. It felt good.
I don't really remember, but Roseann says that, when I got back, I whisked the sheet off her and spent 20 minutes or so praising the finer points of her fanny. She reports giggling. Her fanny is certainly worthy of praise.
There was a big party on Grande Casé today. I had been kidding Andy all week that the reason that we were staying was that they were throwing a party for us today. Andy corrected me the first ten times but eventually realized that I was just jerking his chain. Andy got me back by asking me to be the MC for the whole thing. I said that I'd do it for free beers, Andy raised the ante by throwing in free food too. Since Sunday was Surf Club's end of the month dollar day party, this was not big bucks. I did my best to show what I could do with an unlimited tab.
And, speaking of jerking chains, the main event for the day was that a fishing boat was going to pull off a huge engine that had been sitting on the beach for about 40 years.
I managed to keep the beach clear of people during the pulling and was actually pretty good as an MC. Ronny, the boat captain, came up later to thank me for my efforts. We've got a big fish waiting for us in Grade Casé if we ever come back this way.
At the end of the day Andy offered to take us out to dinner but we were ready for bed (but not that sleepy). Besides we had plans to leave early the next morning for Guadeloupe.
Despite a late start, we left anyway. As we were passing St. Barts, we thought, "Why not stop and spend the evening?" We could think of no good reason not to and pulled in.
At first we pulled into a pleasant little day anchorage, but, after a half hour to catch our breath, we continued on to Gustavia.
Once in Gustavia, we spent about an hour figuring out that we really did not want to be stern to on the wharf. I had a bad experience there last year. This year was not great either. I may take St. Barts off my list.
As we were pulling into the harbor and getting ready to back into our space (you have to back in about 100 feet with the wind on your side Đ very tricky), the steering gave out! I was very cool. I just dropped the anchor and went back and fixed the steering. It took about ten minutes and when I came back up I reported that I was not feeling real lucky and that we would come in the safe way. So I launched the dingy and rowed a long line into shore. I then let out the anchor line (which had begun to drag a little) and pulled the boat into shore. A muscular task.
Once we were in, I rowed out the second anchor to make sure that things we would hold. It was quite a workout! The second anchor didn't help as gale force winds (well almost) kept blowing. After playing mightily with lines for over an hour we gave up.
Exiting was much easier than the entry. We released the dock lines from the boat and pulled out to get the anchors. I didn't like the normal anchorage area so we pulled around the corner. Later, it took a heroic row to get us into the city but we both slept better that night knowing that we had a good, safe anchorage.
We spent the afternoon and evening walking around town. We had drinks at La Select (THE café in St. Barts) and Cheeseburgers in Paradise from Jimmy Buffet's bar. The drinks were good but the burgers were only OK. The French are not real good at burgers (for some reason, they don't call fries "French fries"), we had drinks at a few more cafés and then went back to the ship.
As expected, the wind was on our nose as we left. Despite that, it was great sailing for most of the day. We were just pass Nevis when it got dark. With the night, the wind got a bit stronger but not to bad. Roseann went to sleep and I joined her after setting an alarm to wake me every hour. As the night wore on, I changed it to every half hour and around eleven had to stay at the wheel constantly till about three. At one point we passed an island (Redonda) so close that I had to turn the engine on to avoid it.
The weather kept getting nastier as morning approached. About five, as we got into the calmer shadow of Montserrat, Roseann took over the wheel while I took a nap. It was a bit rough while I took the sails down so that she could motor safely into the wind. At one point, a surprise wave had me hanging on to the wishbone with one hand as I swung over the ocean. Those years of gymnastics (rings) really helped.
R - Watching someone you care very much for test the elements by lowering sails in 40 knot winds with LARGE swells is not fun. My heart caught in my throat several times. I did keep UBI facing the wind so that Charlie didn't go over. I knew his mother would be very upset should anything ever happen to him. Turning UBI downwind to motor with the seas was a wonderful thing. Charlie went to sleep and I got the chance to feel proud of the precious cargo I was carrying.
I got another bottle of strange rum. This one is shine from Miss Sarah. I noticed her store because it was such a hole with a hand painted sign that read "Mrs. Sarah, licensed to sell strong spirits." The store had little more than about a dozen over ripe bananas, a five gallon bucket full of "strong spirits" and a bunch of empty bottles of various dubious origins. Mrs. Sarah, an old, huge, West Indian lady, offered us a free sample. She dipped one of the variety of glassware into the bucket and gave us a couple of ounces. I took a about a half ounce "sip" and smoke did not quite come out from my ears. I could not talk but offered some to Roseann in hope that I would not have to drink it all. Mrs. Sarah just cackled and gave me some water from another bucket (same glassware). While there was obviously no sink for cleaning glasses, if the glassware is used for these spirits it has to be sterile! This stuff is serious shine. Serious. I managed to finish the rest of the glass and was desperate for some water to put out the fire. Mrs. Sarah could make a lot of money if she gave the spirits away and charged for the water! Of course I bought a bottle to share with my friends. Mrs. Sarah poured the rocket fuel into a pop bottle with a dipper.
About noon we decided to give Guadeloupe one more try. The conditions had improved considerably and we pulled into the small fishing village of Deshaies. It was getting dark and I was going to miss the spot entirely, but Roseann, who had been there before, recognized it (when she came up from her nap). It was a perfect night entry and we went in around eight to check out the village. It took us about half an hour to walk all the streets of town (but we were walking very slow). We stopped in a few spots then went back out to the boat and slept like the dead. This is a great anchorage.
Clearing customs here is an easy experience. They leave the forms out and you put your completed form in a box (that's about as relaxed as I've ever seen). Got to love the French.
We also took advantage of the community wash tubs to do our laundry for free. We had to do it by hand but that was not a big deal. I'm not sure that I'd like to do it every time but as an occasional experience it's not bad. Almost as fun as the waterfall I did my laundry in last year.
Roseann and I had another lazy, loving champagné and French bread kind of morning (they don't get old) then pulled up the hooks to go to the Saintes. We have become quite a team when it comes to pulling up the anchors. We did things perfectly.
The sail along the west coast of Guadeloupe was wonderful and perfectly calm. We enjoyed a few cocktails with a coconut flavored club soda that we discovered (Schweppes Noix de Coco). We still haven't caught a fish but otherwise the day was wonderful.
We pulled into the Saintes about four and met Margo (who had flown down to meet us) shortly after. We anchored the boat next to a couple of guys that we had met at the previous anchorage. It was fun trading cocktails on our respective boats.
As always, it was great to see Margo. She joined us for drinks and dinner but elected to stay the night in a room that she had already rented. The place has the unlikely (or at least very French) name of Madame Bon Bon's. It also has the dubious distinction of being the cheapest place to stay in the Saintes. Both the fellas off our neighboring boat have shown great interest in an unescorted woman.
Later, we joined Rick (the other guy) and wandered around town for a while then had lunch at a restaurant I had enjoyed last year. The smoked fish pizza was as good as I remembered it.
Scott and the girls went off to check out the nude beach and other sights while Rick and I went back to our respective boats. I finished one book and got half way through another. I also got a chance to do some writing. A great afternoon. It was my first afternoon to myself in a long while. I need them.
As today was the fourth we had a party aboard the boat. We had my famous barbecued chicken, conch chowder from the guys next store, and tabuli. We ate and talked long into the night. A great French fourth!
This anchorage has been acceptable but a little windy and rolly. I'm looking forward to moving this Monday.
The local fleet is a large one-design class. The boats are about 20 foot long and almost cat rigged. The mast is just far enough back to allow a small jib. The main sails are attached to an extraordinarily long boom. The boom is so long that it extends for some feet behind the stern and prevents the use of the backstay. There were close to 20 boats and they all had some sort of colorful logo on their sails. The cockpits are very crowded with about eight persons (all men as far as I could observe). Throughout the race the racers must lean way out. They are very active about it.
We were very fortunate to have anchored right next to several of the race marks (but not so close as to interfere with the race). The race snakes through the local bay and a variety of marks must be passed in a confusing number of directions. Very French. One boat almost swamped as it was going around the mark nearest us. They had been in second and were bailing madly.
As we were on a French island and a reasonable distance from shore, Margo and Roseann went topless. I certainly thought that it improved the view and the racers and guys from "next door" seemed to agree (I know they're not "next door" but next boat, next companionway, and next hatch feel wrong).
A happy note. When we started this cruise Roseann felt uncomfortable going topless. Now I sometimes have to remind her put clothes on. I'm very happy about her change in dress.
Later, in a private moment Roseann asked me if I had minded her "exposing" herself to the guys. I replied that she had to be kidding. She looked great and I knew who she was with. She could do a lot more than expose her tits before I would even begin to feel jealous. It makes me proud and happy for everyone to know that such a wonderful and beautiful woman is with me. I don't really understand possessive feelings; I certainly don't feel them.
This theme of looking (only looking) at other people has been a part of several conversations. Roseann has taken the realistic position that she encourages me to enjoy the sight of beautiful women (in whatever state of dress) because she knows that, while I may enjoy the view, I am committed to her. It's kind of like that old saying "It doesn't matter where you get your appetite as long as you eat at home." Actually Roseann likes me to point out a particularly good looking babes that I am missing.
This realistic freedom that Roseann has given me, makes commitment easier. Being gorgeous probably helps her to be realistic. I have only dated one person who was better looking than Roseann and have yet to see anyone on this trip that begins to look as good as her. Our sex is frequent enough and wonderful. So why should I be interested in looking elsewhere?
Actually, I like to have the good looking guys pointed out too. I have never really have figured out what makes a guy good looking.
After a great lunch of conch chowder, mash potatoes and fish stew (a la Chez Charles), we explored town. Margo bought some very interesting coconut liquor that the natives say they make locally. I'm not sure how much effort goes into the process. But it is an wonderful concoction; it also tastes great blended. We found an elderly couple that sells ice out of their house on one of the back streets. It feels somehow better to be buying ice in a "local" way.
While we were exploring town, the guys in the next boat took off for St. Lucia. They are going to have one long hard tack with bad weather on their nose. They are leaving partly because they are meeting people later this month in Venezuela and mostly because their generator broke down. They have one of those boats that has all the comforts (like an ice maker) but nothing works on it, including the stove, unless their generator is working. I'm glad I use gas to cook with.
Margo and Roseann had great fun reading excerpts from the Kinsey Report on sex. It was very interesting listening to them share experiences and make comments. The three of us had dinner aboard. Margo has been her usual perfect company and I hope she comes back out to join us later.
Having Margo visit was great. I got a chance to converse with someone other than Charlie and it felt good for me to have someone from the "St. Croix gang" along to see how Charlie and I are interacting. Margo also brought all sorts of goodies with her. I welcome the chance to interacting with Charlie's friends on my own. Everyone I have met on St. Croix has been through Charlie, and I would like them to know me better as well. Margo and I had some good conversations together . She also mentioned more together time when we get back to St. Croix. I felt very accepted.
Eventually we pulled into Dominica. We had both forgotten how beautiful this island is. To make it even nicer as we got in close the wind became a gentle breeze and the waves disappeared. We stayed in a anchorage that Roseann had enjoyed last year with her parents. The free mooring that we have picked up is only about 100 feet from the dock. I love being very close in. Saves rowing.
The Coconut Beach Hotel includes a perfect little beach bar that is letting me run a tab on my credit card while we stay on one of their free moorings. The prices are reasonable (beer is $3.50 EC or about $1.25 US). For dinner, I had an six dollar plate of chicken that I could not finish.
We got in around two in the afternoon and after checking in with the Coconut folks went off to explore town and visit the appropriate officials. We easily caught a bus (2 EC each) in, then walked around. We visited all the so called yachting bars but we were either alone or the only foreign folks in them. They were not very impressive. I wanted to try a few rum shops but didn't see any that looked good. Rum bars are usually low dives with all male patrons. I've got to be careful where I bring a woman. I might take Roseann to one anyway just so that she can have the experience.
While walking around town, I did meet one of my ex students (he graduated this year). It was fun to see a familiar face even if he has not been one of my better or well liked students.
Roseann and I spent much of the afternoon talking about relationships, life and love. While we are not in total agreement the differences are not fatal to the relationship. They add some spice. I feel myself moving deeper and deeper into our relationship and have no desire to fight the feeling.
One of the biggest parts of the discussion was wonder at how we (individually and together) could tell if this was actually the relationship. I would be very hurt if Roseann were to leave me. As time goes by, if become more one than two, the pain, if she left, would become devastating. My biggest worry is that, sometime after we have committed, Roseann will change her mind and leave. I need to know her better so that I can trust that her ability to commit.
While I do not blame my mother for divorcing my father, I believe that my father has never fully recovered from the pain of their divorce (even though I don't know what they are, I know that my mother had good reasons, and certainly her own life to live). I see the possibility of devastating and self shattering pain from separation in me. I understand that people change and need to move on, but I know that, I must be very careful how deep I allow myself to enter into a relationship because I can go very deep. On the other side, provided that the relationship lasts, the deeper I go the better it is. Despite knowing the above about myself, my biggest problem is that I try to hold on to relationships longer than I should. Paradoxically, my second biggest problem is that, between relationships, I flitter from relationship to relationship and just enjoy that special magic of beginnings without even trying for the long haul. The latter is particularly scary in these days of AIDS. Hopefully I have something that I can hold on to for a lifetime.
But a lifetime is such a long time. After all the work I have done to understand and improve myself, I feel that I know myself well enough to know what promises I can follow through. How can I be sure of someone else? I'd rather live in purgatory than hell. But how sweet it would be to love in heaven!
How can I add to the above? Our conversation was very scary for me at times because I'm not used to letting someone too close. My past experiences have led me to bury my true self as protection against anymore pain, and to let Charlie in is a difficult thing. It was wonderful to examine ourselves and talk about what we feel is important. It gave me a chance to understand his feelings about commitment and relationships and I was very pleased to hear that they paralleled my own. I already feel that he is someone with whom I can share my whole self but that process is slow. I still need time to trust in someone else as well as myself. As our communication grows, I know I will find myself opening up to Charlie and giving more and more of my self and soul to him. Already, I feel that to lose him would be devastating for me. The magic we have found is an amazing thing!
Over the last few days, Roseann has earned a nickname. Kitten. She has earned the name for a variety of reasons:
I like the name. I think it fits. We could not be having much more fun. Today was a great day.
We spent one of our usual slow mornings aboard the boat. Very nice. Roseann had some questions about the lack of quality in our love making the night before and I got a chance to show that I could do better. I must have had too much to drink last night.
We went in to the hotel and had a beer before we went on our shopping expedition. It turned out to be one of the type of adventures that I remember so well from last year.
We met a local on the street who took us to "his father's" avocado tree. I bought 12 avocados for two dollars US and got to stand there while he climbed the tree and threw them down to me. We also got some mangoes for about fifty cents. Later he met us on the road and sold us a couple of beers. This guy wanted to sell!
As we continued down the road, Henry, the driver of the taxi that had taken us home the day before, stopped and gave us a lift. He also gave us an impromptu tour of town. Despite having charged us only bus rates yesterday (and taking us to our door anyway), he did not charge us at all for the ride and the tour.
We wandered around town and checked out many of the very small stores that are in abundance here. Each store (and some street vendors) would have a little of what we needed. Everyone was full of smiles and saying hello to us as we walked. One person (Peter) actually took us back into his garden and gave us some fruit. The town was clean.
By the time we finished our shopping, our canvas bag was very full and very heavy. We decided that we would just walk towards Coconut beach and catch a bus along the way. It rained and we ended up walking the whole way. Kitten was wet and wearing good leather shoes (they were not good for long walks). This was not a good combination.
While I do commiserate a little under such circumstances, I have an unfortunate tendency to smile a bit when the problem is of a minor and temporary nature. Kitten was having a little trouble appreciating the humor of walking together in the rain on a beautiful island. Perhaps, if her expensive leather shoes were not being ruined (or were a bit better for walking), she might have seen more humor.
Actually kitten did end up smiling a great deal and, after taking off our shoes and having a beer at the hotel, we were both back to great spirits. The walk had been beautiful, but next time we both need better shoes and I'd rather not be carrying a forty pound sack of groceries. We went out to the boat and had lunch.
My major problem with the day is that Ubi has been infested with flies. Kitten seems to have little problem with this but having even one in the same room with me causes me to grate my teeth and run around with a towel destroying things in my attempt to kill the noisy, tickly (I hate it when the land on me) demons from hell. We probably had about ten today! We are going to move the boat a bit further out tomorrow in hopes that they will not be bold enough to fly out so far (it worked).
After lunch and a nap we went in to the hotel for a few beers. I actually watched most of some movie on TV. It was OK. I also read my book and talked to the owner's son Chris. It was a good evening and we went out to the boat to barbecue a steak that we had bought while in town. Roseann made some rice and beans and we tried some of the veggies that we had picked up during the day. The meal was a success.
In reflection of the day, Roseann and I talked about how much we enjoy being on Dominica. Suddenly prices are reasonable and people are very friendly. We have had some good experiences but it is here that we are beginning to enjoy the hospitality that I remember so well from my trip last year. The magic is back. We have decided that next summer we will not be visiting the same islands that we did this year. Either we will make a straight shot to Dominica and work our way around to Margarita, do a straight shot to Dominica, or, if Cuba opens up, we would both like to spend a summer visiting there.
One of the movies was Barbarella, an old Jane Fonda science fiction flick. Despite the PG rating there are more than a few nude shots of Jane. Roseann looks better than Jane in her prime. I'm a very lucky guy.
For some reason Roseann was not in her usual good mood for most of the day. (If she had not had her period a week ago, I would think that she was pregnant).
We had an extensive discussion of what each of us enjoy in sex. By this time, we are both fine tuning acts that are already making each of us feel incredible. As Roseann alternated rapidly between bitchy and loving an interesting evening appeared to be developing. During the loving periods Roseann added embellishments to the sexual experience that she told me to expect once we got back to the boat. It was almost like I was being rewarded for passing some test (I think that the test was putting up with the bitchy stuff). I was very excited.
A late afternoon event changed the day. I was writing one of my books and Roseann came down to join me. She made a few good editorial comments then said that she was going to go back to the bedroom to read. Considering our earlier sizzling conversations, I asked her if she wanted some company (we were both primed). She said no. I asked her again and she said the same thing. I continued to write for a couple of minutes but kept thinking that about the interaction. I felt that Roseann had really wanted me to come back but for some reason had told me different. I did go back and discovered that I was right.
It makes it very difficult to do the things that I should when I am misinformed of my mate's true desires. Roseann would have sat in that back bedroom feeling mad/bad that I was not giving her attention while I wanted to give her attention but did not because she had told me to do otherwise. I do appreciate that Roseann understands that my reading and writing are important to me and that she does not want to get in the way. On the other hand we should both be able to say what we want. If Roseann wanted me to join her just a little and I wanted to write a lot, then I would probably keep writing. If the reverse were true, I would join her. We both need to learn not only how to communicate our desires but the strengths of our desires.
We discussed the mechanics of how we were going to live together over the next few months. One of my worries is whether I will give her enough attention. Even if I am physically present, at times, my mind will be elsewhere. It is my hope and belief that Roseann also needs time to herself. I know that I require it. No matter how wonderful the person, I need to have my own adventures, private conversations and just time to be alone with me.
Unfortunately this is not one of those things where we can say "OK, things will work if you give me X hours a day or Y hours a week." I look forward to spending each night with her. Not just for the sex but also because I love to hold her; our conversations and other times together are wonderful as well. Roseann is almost always perfect company.
But there will be some times that we will not be having quality time. Next semester, my Monday through Thursday schedule will make it difficult to see her during much of the week. I feel that this should not be a problem. We will be able to be with each other for the whole of each weekend. But, I don't think that we be with each other all that time. I enjoy being with Roseann but we don't need or want to be surgically joined. I also spend my time in school focused on being very social. I need some time on my weekends to be alone. I like people but not 24 hours a day.
After our conversation, we both asked the other to shower before bed. This is not trivial. I don't have hot water and showers take place on deck. At night, cold showers in the wind are a real sign of devotion. After our showers Roseann decided that she wanted a bite to eat and I went on to our bed. After doing the dishes, Roseann joined me. She had just started to do some of the things that she had been talking about all day when she rolled off and asked if I might "Get her a little excited first."
I got her very excited and, after she had a few good orgasms, she fell asleep. I was very frustrated.
Perhaps I should be proud that she trusts me enough to get her so sexually high that she gets knocked out. Perhaps she was very tired and the orgasms were enough to knock her out. Perhaps she was just being selfish.
Postscript: when I talked to Roseann about this later she told me that she had been worried that I would fall asleep after I had an orgasm and wanted to be sure that she got one herself. This is a real concern and so I was partially to blame for her falling asleep. Particularly because I encouraged her "To lay there and glow" after she could take no more.
As with so many things, I often read more into situations than I should. Among the many wonderful aspects of Roseann's and my relationship is that we usually can discuss the things that are bothering us and fix them. Even our tough discussions don't end up being the major trauma that many of the minor discussions I've had on similar topics with other persons have turned into.
My turn to bitch. It was bad enough to have to put up with her bitchy (sorry but that word describes it best) moods all day. Particularly when she would not or could not tell me why she was feeling that way. If it was something that I did, I'd like to know what it was. I take credit for loving feelings and assume that bitchy feelings must have some origin too. Since I am the major source of interaction for Roseann, I assume that when she gets bitchy it is because of something I have done. I want to know what it was so that I can stop doing it and/or fix it. Roseann often can't or won't talk about the source of her moods. I don't want to deal with things I can't work with. At all.
The warm, loving, sexy time that we spent together just before bed just served to confuse me more. I had been very sexually ready and stayed awake along time. I was thinking about how, because she fell asleep, it seemed, despite what she had said earlier, that she had not been very excited about making me happy that evening. It felt like she had been very selfish and uncaring.
I may be reading more into things than I should but I really feel like I am being tested. Test is the right word. Roseann and I are at that wonderful, scary point in a relationship. We have already promised ourselves to each other but those promises could be much deeper and stronger. The trouble is that increased promise is not something that happens in slow easy stages. It happens in big scary ones and both of us are worried that we will make the promise and the other person will either not reciprocate or turn out to be someone that we do not want.
I think that Roseann's current poor behavior is a test (maybe not even conscious) to see if I am really strongly attached. I hope so. I don't believe that this is all of the real Roseann. Once she appreciates that I am really attached things should mellow out. I want this test to end. If the test takes to long, I will fail. I will not spend my life dealing with bitchy feelings.
As we each feel more strongly about each other, we realize that it will be harder (and hurt more) should separation prove to be the correct choice. While not happy about it, I am willing to show that I am willing to put up with the bad because the good is so good. If things degenerate into a competition to see how much shit I am willing to put up with; the bitchy behavior proves to be the only "real" Roseann; or Roseann decides that she does not want to really work at being a perfect couple, I will need to re-evaluate things. My life should be a thing of joy.
I can understand how Roseann is feeling because I am also very scared and worried about the strength of the emotions that I feel and the commitments that I see in our future. Forever is such a long time. I'd also like to know whether our future is or is not going to be wonderful. But I feel that the best way that I can learn about what the future holds is to act as I would want to in the future now and discuss those areas that may be problems. Testing by fire is not a good way to see whether a relationship based on love will work. It's the depth of our love that we should explore (not how much shit we can take).
I am not perfect in this. When things are not as I wish, I escape into reading, writing and meditation. Part of the what Roseann may be worrying about is that, when my fear gets a bit to high, I disappear into a book or writing. I literally cut myself off from the world, including Roseann. My ability to do this could (and perhaps should) worry Roseann.
As today was such an up and down time for me, Charlie really suffered. I don't like seeing him tear himself up about it and tried to tell him that sometimes my moods are my own and not something to take personally. But that doesn't sit well with Charlie. He wants to know what the problem is RIGHT NOW and talk about it. While I don't mind that most of the time, there are moments when it's hard for me to communicate just what is troubling me. Sometimes if I just let myself think about it for a time the answer comes to me and I can fix it myself. Charlie likes to be in on this whole process with me. This is hard for me because I am so used to dealing with only me and not someone else. While I realize that Charlie interprets it as being a reflection on him, I now try to explain to him that it is not him and to just ignore me. He does do this at times, but I guess I can be pretty difficult to live with and it gets to be too much. It has helped talking things out and I am going to try to be more open about my moods in the future. It sure is a lot of work communicating with someone else. Explaining your desires or problems to your lover is very new to me and we both are doing our best to talk about everything. It is true that sometimes I feel I must test Charlie's feelings for me, and while I know this is not always a good thing to do, it gives me an idea of "how far I can go" with Charlie. Since our talk today I have decided testing is not a good method and that expressing my concerns is a much better path to finding the truth. Getting used to Charlie's print habit has been very difficult for me. Since I understand how much he enjoys it, it is hard for me to interrupt him whatever the reason might be. I think that I should let him finish what he is doing, and when I do that I sacrifice my own desire to either talk or cuddle with him. We devised a plan to help me feel better about interrupting him. While that plan might change at least we understand each others position more clearly. I still have concerns about how the print and/or computer will affect us once we are in St. Croix busy with school and other things. There is going to be less time to be together and that is going to have be a problem we handle when the time comes. We talked about it a little today, but I feel we won't have a real grasp of the situation until we start living it. Until then, we are communicating as much as we can about our fears and our happiness.
This was another slow day. We spent a lot of time on the boat and some time at the Coconut Hotel where we had lunch. They leave the TV on there and I'm watching way too much of the stuff.
The major event of the day was the changing of the cushion covers. I have two sets of cushion covers and Roseann could not rest until she had taken the other set out, cleaned them, and then installed the new covers. It's nice to have her here (pun intended).
I noticed a little bit of a belly on Roseann and we had a minor tiff when I asked Roseann if she was going to start an exercise routine like mine. Later I learned that she did not start just because she did want to use a wet mat. I had thought that she was just being difficult.
It is very important to me that Roseann remain in the wonderful shape that she has been in. Personally, I am not happy unless my body is in at least great shape. I understand that some people do not think that the effort to maintain great shape is worth it and that I have a "good" body that makes it easy for me to stay in shape. However, Roseann, as my lover and mate, should stay in great shape if she wants to remain attractive to me. While she is far from out of shape now, I like to catch these things while they are easy. I strongly believe that both partners should constantly strive to be the best that they possibly can be. I will not be with someone who does not strive to joy and perfection.
Roseann left her shoes on the boat so ot to go to Portsmouth alone to obtain our permit to switch anchorages. I got a ride on a bus for only 1 EC. This is the lowest rate yet. I have got the rate because I asked a guy also waiting for the bus what he expected to pay and he had told me 1 EC. I laughed and said that I had to pay the "white man's" rate of 2 EC and walked on. When the bus caught up to me the man I had talked to was aboard and the bus driver only asked me for 1EC. Maybe they talked.
Customs was pleasant and there was no problem getting our permit. I waited in the building for the rain to slow and then decided that I would try walking back along the beach. It was an interesting walk.
I stopped by the Portsmouth Hotel which also advertises yacht services. It was not as nice as Coconut Beach. But it was good enough to sit at while a patch of rain passed.
On the stretch of beach between the two hotels, I saw the hulk of an old island vessel. Later I brought Roseann back to look at it too. I have a dream of refinishing one of these vessels some day. They are incredible. What a home one would make!
Back at Coconut, Chris and I talked a bit then he offered to drive me out to get a fish trap. Under the guidance of one of his employees, we speeded off in his pickup truck to arrive at a very small village. It was about nine at night and we had to wake up the trap maker. This was a little difficult but he turned out to be one of those wasted away old salts.
He would not dicker of the price and I believed him when he said that "I have one price." His one price was 110 EC (about $40 US). I have wanted one of these traps since last summer when I saw a fellow cruiser pulling a lot of free meals out of his. I'm hoping that I'll be able to do the same – both cruising and at home.
The old salt threw in a lot of good advice. When I asked him if the trap would catch lobster he said "Sure, anything that comes in is welcome."
This was the second time today that I was separated from Roseann. And maybe the third time for the trip.
Once we got back to the boat, we were so busy playing that we did not close the hatch when it started to rain. Talk about wet spots! Roseann wisely decided that she could not take a wet bed. I was too relaxed to move (and did not want to face the major effort required to make the forward bunk comfortable for two) and remained in the bed. It was the first time that either of us had slept alone since the trip started. I missed Roseann. Thankfully, she joined me later in the morning. It was my turn to fall asleep on her. She woke me up in the best way then wore me out. She was still ready for more and all I could do was move weakly as I skirted the edge of consciousness. I did make it up to her the next day.
I hate being cheap, but I'm paying for almost all of this and my resources are very limited. Besides, I have found spending lots of money only means that your spending lots of money – not that your having more fun.
I've been getting disturbed at the way that I am charged on my VISA card. When I present my card everyone insists on changing the charges to $US from the $EC we were originally charged. They do this at a rate below the exchange rate. Coconut was pretty good but they still tacked on an additional 3% for whatever. And, for the first time since we were here, we were charged a 10% sales tax. I hope that it was sales tax cause I added another 10% for a tip (the traditional amount here). In addition I was charged 5% for use of the credit card. Because the additions were cumulative this makes for an effective 30% increase to our bill. I'm going to find out about this tax thing and start paying in cash. On the other hand I might have been charged $15 a day for moorings in the BVIs. If you subtract $75 (5 times 15) from our bill you have $61 for five days which is very reasonable. Then again, I should have paid about $105 (including the tip) not $136.
In Margarita, Filet Mignon is less than a dollar a pound. Beers are 20 cents. It's hard to spend serious money at those rates.
I don't like to give the impression that I am obsessed by these things but I like to consider them now, know them and then either accept or go somewhere else.
On to the rest of the day. Even though the hotel was very low on ice, Chris parted with a "free" scoop of ice which made Roseann very happy. We had not had ice aboard for five days.
We dropped the mooring and decided that we would just power up the coast. It was the correct decision as the wind often died along the way. It would have been up and down sails the whole way. Roseann and I are constantly amazed at how beautiful these islands and Dominica in particular are: friendly people, lush mountains, cliffs, perfect blue water and waterfalls here and there.
There was one incident worth noting on the trip up. Unless we think we are going to burn, Roseann and I have gotten into the habit of sailing nude and this trip was no exception. Somewhere, way off the coast, we got that twinkle in our eyes and Roseann snuggled up next to me on the captain's seat. We started to play. We had been playing for a bit when a boat appeared going the other way. I held our course but they altered theirs to get a closer look at us (this long before they could see that "anything" was going on). By this time Roseann's gorgeous fanny was humming and, as she had her back to them she could not see their approach until they had passed us.
Roseann was a little disturbed that I had not told her about the boat coming. I felt that we had been doing something wonderful and that, if someone went out of their way to look (and was offended) it was their fault, not ours. If anything, I thought the incident was funny. I know that I have been amused when I have been the observer of similar incidents.
Our moment was lost for about half an hour while we resolved our feelings. I will not set Roseann up like that again but she agrees that sex is OK in places where we might be seen (as long as we are not blatant). We both agreed that the risk adds to the spice.
We anchored off the customs dock in time to watch the finish of a race. This race was even more interesting than the one we had observed in the Saintes. This race included some open ocean from Martinique to Dominica. The boats were very primitive looking multihulls. They are built to a very old design in Martinique and are very small Đ about 12 foot. The amas were solid rough wood and looked like they had been shaped with a large ax. The sails were very colorful and square. I learned later that the amas are solid and that the wood is a local equivalent of balsa. They have been making boats like this in Martinique for over 100 years. It was fun to watch them.
As customs was taking their afternoon break when we showed up, we went off to market. Along the way we stopped at a roadside bar and had a few drinks with the locals. Much fun and bush rum. As might be expected, the local guys thought Roseann was the best looking thing that they had ever seen. Since I am never one to pass up a chance to play, I explained that Roseann was not my wife but my mistress. According to my story, my wife hates to sail so she selected Roseann to go with me. The guys seemed to think that this meant they could sleep with Roseann but I explained that it was OK to sleep with my "wife" but not my mistress. As an indication of how good looking Roseann is, I was not even really hit up for rides to various other islands (the usual case).
It is best to get to market early in the morning and we arrived around 1:00. Fortunately there was still plenty of produce. Dominica is one of the few islands in the Caribbean that grows it's own produce. The quality is excellent. We got a variety of vegetables including some fresh spinach and had a great meal that evening.
When we moved on to our anchorage, I had my usual argument with the boat boys as to who was going to bring the line into the beach. I brought it in but was so distracted that when the end fell off my dingy I had to dive in after it. No big deal. Currently, we are on a perfect three point tie up. As we were getting our act together, Al, the guy on the boat next to us, called us over. He had been in touch with Roseann's parents by radio and they are currently in St. Lucia. This puts us both one island away from Martinique where we have plans to meet in the middle of this month. Apparently Roseann's parents had put a wide call out to look for us on the Ham net. Despite what the Ham folks say, their coverage is rather spotty. They have not been able to report our position for about a month now (I guess no Ham operators were in the anchorages we've been in). I wonder if Roseann's parents have been getting communication from our faxes. We have yet to be someplace that is capable of receiving a fax.
We ended up crashing right after dinner. At least we tried to crash. While this is a calm anchorage it is almost too calm. There was very little wind and the night was hot. I fell asleep but, as I have asked her to do, Roseann woke me up several times as she was hot, bug bitten (from shore) and unable to sleep. Unfortunately, there was not much I could do.
After puttering around the boat, sending a fax, doing our exercises (Roseann started exercising today) and a long swim, we went off to see Middleham falls. It took less than five minutes to get a bus to Roseau. Once there we waited another five minutes until I was tired of hearing taxi drivers offer to drive us for $30 - $40 US (each) and we started to walk (I really prefer walking to standing still). We walked for about 15 minutes through some interesting country side (I think that all country side is interesting) when a bus came along. The route took us to the beginning of the trail (about 3,000 feet altitude). The whole trip cost us 9 EC or about three dollars and was a whole lot more fun than taking a taxi. I like my adventures.
It was a rigorous but not dangerous walk of about an hour each way to the falls. The path wound up and down steep wooded hills and flat spots. The flat spots were either full of either banana trees or mint brush. Along the path were thousands of carefully placed logs acting as steps on hills and as stepping "stones" over mud on the flat spots.
This was a rain forest so there was lots of mud. The forest was full of very large trees that had assumed strange shapes. While a multitude of vines formed a canopy above there very little underbrush on the ground. It was hard to believe that we had been in the middle of a scorching day when we entered it. The path was almost dark and very cool. Strange sounds could be heard, particularly when we passed bamboo thickets. Thankfully, there were no biting insects.
The falls were gorgeous. A good water flow falling through space for several hundred feet into a perfect pool. The pool was surrounded on three sides by fern covered cliffs and the water created perpetual gusts and spray as it fell. The bottom of the pool was an emerald color. I suspect that, if we had been there for the right time of day, there would have been continuous rainbows. There was even a small niche I could crawl into at the other end of the pool and various rocks that I could dive off scattered about. Great. After our long walk, the cold water was refreshing and we had the place to ourselves. It was a tough walk and I can't imagine that many people make it.
We stayed for about half an hour then hiked back out. Roseann was a great companion. She was right by me even over the tricky parts. Just that fact that she made the hike both ways without a complaint (she even enjoyed it) was impressive.
In our trail conversation, we figured out what had been making Roseann's breasts sore lately. It seems that she is consuming much more caffeine than she normally does. This has caused them to be tender in the past.
Back on the road we walked for a bit until Warren Ross, the owner of the medical school here, picked us up. His father started the school and he is a relatively young guy. He ended up giving us a ride all the way back to the Anchorage Hotel where we invited him aboard for drinks and eventually dinner. Warren had been thinking about buying a boat but this was the first large vessel that he had been aboard. He was impressed. We all had great fun talking into the late evening hours.
Life with Roseann is good (even if my kitten is tired and sore).
When Roseann feels ill I get sexually frustrated. She does not like to be touched at all (except for me to rub her back). While I like to rub her back, I find her front much more interesting.
I like the idea of being part of a couple but I'm not used to having anybody around me, especially somebody who stays ill for days. Illness is strange to me. When I'm alone, and there is no one around to stir up feelings, thoughts of sex are easy to take care off. Somehow I feel that masturbation is cheating and not "fair" to Roseann. Intellectually I know that she is ill, but my glands keep saying that she still looks good.
Right now, Roseann seems to find any task intimidating. I got to bring her several little things (such as a glass of ice water) today. I would be writing in the main cabin and she would lightly call my name from the back cabin (as if on her death bed). If I did not hear her over the stereo, she would prove that she was very much alive by calling louder. By the time I finally hear her all out yelling and pop my head up (thinking that there was a major emergency) there would be some trivial task that had to be done now. Oh and by the way, "since your back here now, could you rub my back?"
It's nice to cherish Roseann but, when I'm doing something and she isn't, I would prefer that she do the easy stuff. I think part of my bad attitude is lack of sex. I get like a little boy when I'm frustrated. I do my best to act like there is no problem but the desires and weird feelings are still there. I know that Roseann can't miss my poor attitude.
I worry that Roseann might somehow equate love with the way that her parents love. This is not realistic for us. Her father made very good money and her mother is paralyzed and needs (some) help. It is reasonable that Roseann's mother never worked outside the home. We are not Roseann's parents. I am a man who has chosen a life style that has many rewards but limited resources and Roseann is a smart, able-bodied young woman. Yet I the signs of a desire to get fat and nest. That is not the kind of a relationship that I want to be a part of and I would certainly not feel good about myself or Roseann if I were supporting such a lifestyle. I wish Roseann would more emulate her mothers spunk (but not the arguing) than her mother's body.
I have even noticed that Roseann sometimes gets "ill" when she wants attention. Usually mysterious problems that have no physical sign. I will not support that pattern at all.
Intellectually I understand that Roseann does not feel good but she still looks very good and I want to play. Right now I can barely even touch.
It is ironic that, in my usual life style, I often go for months or longer without sex. Now that Roseann is here, a few days go by without and I can think of little else.
I also talked to Roseann about the tone voice in which she calls me. There is no need to whine. I hate to hear a whine. I respond better if a request is delivered in a normal (or better yet humorous) tone. I also don't like "cutsy" "TV sitcom" affected tones of voice. They sound bubble headed and don't communicate anything more than a desire to hide behind a facade. Those tones make me feel like I've been given the role of "gruff old codger who has to be wheedled into eating his gruel;" "absent minded professor;" "young man who won't wash behind his ears;" or "typical bachelor." I'm me and don't like being stereotyped.
I really feel that I should not encourage whining. Whining feels to me like communication based on guilt (or illness). I want strength and happiness as the foundation of our interactions. I remember when I studied psychophysiology about how many persons develop serious physical problems because they learn to deal with life by incorrect actions (such as gritting their teeth). These actions begin to become the persons response to every stress. Gritting your teeth or hunching your shoulders won't make the traffic any better. Since I realize that I can choose my response to all situations I choose joy. I resent anyone who takes away my joy.
I want our relationship to be based on attention that is joyful and honest. I have a reflexive reaction against encouraging attention that is based on pain or confusion. I don't want my kitten to feel like she needs to be in pain to get my attention. We are building a foundation. I want it to be the right start.
Actually this leads into my feelings about raising children, it may sound Pavlovian but, if I do have kids, I am going to do my best to respond more positively when my children laugh than when they cry. Roseann and I are far away from even considering children.
Sometimes people really have a good reason to feel bad. Since there is little that I can do for Roseann right now but share her bad vibes, I try to keep busy doing other things (this also distracts me from my sexual tension). I understand that Roseann wants me to be around and very close but books and the computer projects really should not be considered rivals. (She has told me that she does not consider them to be rivals but sometimes she acts as if they were.) Books, meditation, and computer projects are my traditional ways of dealing with a reality that I am not entirely happy with. I figure if I don't like what's outside my head, I can improve what is inside while I'm waiting for my attitude (or the environment) to improve.
If Roseann had broken bones, I would be around her as much as possible. It's harder to feel the need for a death watch for general feelings of illness. But sometimes I feel like she wants me to keep a death watch.
On to the days activities...
Once ashore, we checked out the hotels on either side of the street but were not incredibly impressed by them. Next time we're here, I think that I will anchor a bit down the bay but only because I like the holding better there.
I went into town on my own (Roseann asked that I come back as soon as possible) and had my usual adventures. While clearing out of customs, I met Alex, the taxi driver that had given Roseann and company a good tour last year. He acted amazed that Roseann and I had been able to make it to Middleham falls on our own. Taxi drivers like tourists to believe that they are helpless without their native guides. We agreed that I was very lucky to be with Roseann.
I also met a French sailor from Martinique that had sailed one of those old fashion multihulls with a square sail that we had seen on Saturday. It turns out that Saturday was the first time that they had come down to Dominica in over a hundred years.
I shopped all over town. There are no major shopping markets here (although there is a large open air market). By visiting a variety of locations, I got veggies, cheese, bread, chicken and such. An old bag lady type at the market kept throwing stuff in my bag and saying that she needed money. I was weak and bought a lifetime's supply of Rosemary. From a store, I bought all the bellows fruit flavors that I could find. They make good mix for rum drinks.
I was back at the Anchorage in a couple of hours. Roseann and I talked with a couple from St. Croix for a bit, then invited them over to the boat to discuss cruising plans. I also invited Al, the guy off the boat next to us. Our cruising guide for Martinique got destroyed on the way down here and I wanted to make some sketch charts. Al showed up first and ended up having dinner with us. Roseann was a little miffed that I had invited him without asking her. I kind of wanted continuous company because when I am alone with Roseann I want to romp and she feels pitiful. I'd rather be doing something interesting than sit around feeling frustrated. Sometimes I feel that Roseann would rather hold on to an agenda long after it is appropriate.
In my head, any sign of lack of affection is blown way out of proportion. It's been less than 48 hours since sex and already I'm not thinking rationally. I'm a bit crazy to be worried the way I am but we are living together and that is the first big step to a commitment that will last the rest of my life. I want my life to be perfect. The sex is just an indicator. I'm not even sure that, under other more settled circumstances, that I would want sex with this frequency. (But I probably would).
While I was cooking dinner, the pressure cooker blew a gasket. I had to excuse myself from the cockpit for about 10 minutes as I removed chicken soup from the walls and ceiling.
Our conversation with Al had been interesting and I just assumed that it would be OK to invite him to dinner. Roseann said that she had wanted some time alone together. Alone time was low on my list of things I'd like to do. While sex is far from the only thing that I enjoy with Roseann, I don't like playing night nurse.
The predictable alone together scenario would be some talk and then I would try to get intimate with Roseann and she would say (verbally or physically) that she did want to be touched. I would then get frustrated and feel like I had done something bad. Roseann would start getting cutsy and affected.
Roseann's method of dealing with a critique is to get blazing mad. I'm about ready to stop critiquing and just make a decision later as to whether what she has chosen to be is acceptable.
I understand that this is normal behavior for both of us and that these small feelings are a very small price to pay for the wonderful times that we usually have together. It's just tough right now (obviously, I've been thinking a lot about this).
As we were starting dinner, the St. Croix couple showed up (so much for time alone anyway). The five of us talked till about ten about a variety of boating topics. After everyone had left, I stayed up for a bit then joined Roseann while she slept. It's nice to be close to her as we sleep.
We pulled into another great little fishing village. I am hooked on small French fishing villages. Unlike the Saintes, which have become somewhat commercialized, this spot still likes the occasional yachtsman. As it was middle afternoon AND Bastille day, the town was dead but there was all the fixings for a village party. We anchored within about 100 yards of the stage.
As you might expect, we heard French rock and role (it sounded like Salsa) into the morning hours. It rained a lot so we decided to stay aboard and snuggle. (I am now a satisfied guy). The other highlight of the evening was a fireworks display. We snuggled in the cockpit, listened to the band, and watched fireworks above us. Very romantic.
I don't like the pattern that I've got to develop an ache before Roseann responds. I don't even like having to ask for sex at all. If Roseann wants to be so close that we only talk to each other (or around each other), we need to fill each others needs. I advocate more space but am trying Roseann's methods.
In the late afternoon we met eight folks off a Moorings charter. They had been out for a little more than a week and were starved for company. We enjoyed inviting a few over to meet Ubi, then joining them for cocktail hours on their boat. We ended up having dinner with them at La Vague. The dinner was fairly good (basic food plus a glass of wine was 180 Franks or about 30 US), but I wanted to try the pizza place. French pizza is a favorite of mine.
Less than a hundred years ago this town was destroyed by the local volcano. There was only one survivor and you can still see the ruins. I was worried. Would I have to cut the anchor lines and run?
I watched for about 30 minutes and did not see citizens madly rushing to leave. Cars moved around normally and were not crammed with worldly possessions. But then again, who understands the French?
When I got out of bed this morning at 6:30, I noticed that the small French fishing boats were on their way back in. I think that the bell was to tell them that there were fish to catch. This is a fishing village.
Roseann and I had talked the other day. She told me that she wanted to be more involved in the operation of the boat. So we planned to let her raise the sails and such. But there was no wind and we powered up.
The charter folks had reported friends of theirs catching mondo fish so I tinkered with our fishing rig. We lost one of our new lures to something but still have not landed a fish.
As we approached Fort de France, we were joined by a huge pod of porpoise. Roseann and I estimate that there were about 200. They changed course to stay with us for about 15 minutes. At times we had 30 porpoise riding our bow waves. Porpoises were jumping and doing flips all around us. Roseann looked so beautiful; she was topless on the bow with porpoises jumping all around her. A very magical moment.
As I always look for deeper meanings, I could not help but think that we had an honor guard as we reached our Southern most point of our journey. We also were heralded by church bells in the morning. God loves us.
We anchored comfortably in front of the crowd of boats at Anse Mitan. I love my shallow draft. We had been in for about an hour when Neeleen, Roseann's parent's boat, showed up.
Roseann got very excited (I felt I could look forward to a few days of being a distant second in importance Đ that would have been OK but it's not what happened). Roseann's mother has perfect radio protocol and I do not. Despite this, we managed to communicate. It took Roseann's parents a while to find a spot that they liked and that their anchor held in.
Roseann kept exclaiming how beautiful Neeleen was. At various times during this trip, as we have sat in various cafés and walked along the shore, their have been some great glimpses of Ubi. I always exclaim how wonderful Ubi looks and Roseann agrees with a lackluster enthusiasm. Far from feeling jealous, I am happy that Roseann loves her parents and their boat so much. The capacity for love is a special thing.
After Roseann's parents were settled in we went over and joined them for a bit. It was great to talk to them, they are charming, witty and intelligent. We tried not to gang up on Roseann (Rose) to much.
We had extra vittles (great veggies and some lamb) aboard the boat and were lent the "car" to get them. The car is a super dingy. It's got everything: hard bottom, depth sounder, push button start, wheel etc. It's a great toy. Roseann kept telling me that it could go faster but I kept it to a stately pace as the anchorage was crowded.
Once we got back Ralph, (Roseann's) father, had only one question. Who had tied the dingy off? Apparently some past experience causes him not trust Roseann's knots...
While we barbecued the lamb and heated up the garlic bread on the grill, Ralph and I stayed on deck and talked about all sorts of boating things. The gals stayed below and prepared the rest of the meal. They also delivered drinks on a regular basis. It was great to do some male bonding. I really enjoyed the whole experience.
I was also glad to hear how the inventory and systems on Roseann's parents boat have grown over the 18 years that they have had her. At various times during this trip, Roseann's eyes have gotten glossy and she has said "Neeleen has this or Neeleen has that." When they first started sailing her, Neeleen barely had cabin lights. I don't feel so bad about not having refrigeration.
After dinner, we all watched a great sailing video. The girls promptly fell asleep. After the video, I rowed my Kitten home. It was a great evening; I am glad to be alive.
This was my first time to closely observe the transfer of Roseann's mother, who has no use of her legs, from the dingy to a dock. Ralph obviously cherishes his wife and they have the art of transfer down to science. Ralph secures the dingy to a low pier or beaches it close to spot where the wheelchair can be used; then he prepares the chair and goes back to the dingy where he sits in front of Kathy. Kathy wraps her arms Ralph's neck and Ralph stands up with his wife looking something like a backpack. Ralph then walks to the Wheelchair where he sits down in such a way that his wife lands in the chair. Kathy makes final adjustments herself. Kathy can maneuver the chair some, but for distance we all got a chance to help push. The transfer went quicker than it took to write about and went without a hitch. We were off.
It was a short wait to get to on the ferry to Fort de France. In Fort de France we spent the day throwing money around and standing in lines to get more money. The sun was hot and the supplies heavy. I was glad when we were done with it.
Once back to Anse Mitan, as various projects were completed, I got chance to spend about a half hour alone with each of Roseann's parents at one of the beach cafés ; they are absolutely wonderful people. We spent much of the time laughing together. Our laughter must have been appreciated, when I paid the beer tab, our bartender gave a free round. Maybe it was the unexpected tip?...
Roseann's parents are people who have met their weaknesses and overcome them. This frees them to be real.
That evening Roseann managed to clear her birthday, father's day, and mother's day obligations in one swoop by buying us all dinner. We went to an open air crepé spot that I had gone to last year. The food was wonderful and the conversation was better than the food. We had a lot of vin de table (rouge).
Kathy, Roseann's mother, made the comment that, kitten, my nickname for Roseann had a funny twist. Ubi is a Cat Ketch (get it?). Roseann has told me many times that the boat is a significant (but far from only) part of her feelings for me. I certainly would never have met her it were not for Ubi. I'm glad that this kitten is here and hope that I have caught her. I'm also glad that she likes living on the boat. I don't see moving off any time soon.
An amusing aside: both of Roseann's parents drew her aside on this first night and made sure that she did not want to jump ship. Her parents seem to be very happy that she is with me (it could just be that they are happy that she has elected to be on a boat - boating is a lifestyle that they obviously approve of). At any rate, Roseann's parent's approval of me as suitable for living with their daughter makes me feel 10 feet tall.
Roseann wore a very sexy outfit all evening. At one point when she rounded a corner ahead of us, her mother told me to go catch her so that she would not get in trouble. She did look like trouble waiting to happen. The fact is that she was trouble (only I knew that there was nothing but Roseann under that short miniskirt). By the time dinner was over I was very ready for some couple time. So was she. We had sex on deck for the first time. As always, it was wonderful.
The high point of the day was when we all saw the green flash while sitting at a beach café. It was Roseann's first time.
We had dinner on Neeleen. Dinner was barbecued turkey, stuffing, black beans, avocado salad, and wine. Who says that you can't eat well on a boat?
As we had previously planned, Roseann was in charge of raising the sails today. With a little verbal assistance from me she raised both sails perfectly. I am constantly amazed at how proficient and capable Roseann can be. I am proud that such a wonderful person is (usually) happy to be with me.
It was very uncomfortable on the boat until I finally drew Roseann out as to why she was pissed. I fell asleep during "a very important" part of our pillow talk last night. I tried to explain that was to be expected after rum all day in the sun, much wine at dinner, and a full belly. Roseann was not completely satisfied with this explanation and accused me of normally only staying up for sex. She felt that the incident indicated that all I was interested in her for was sex. (I felt that it indicated that the conversation had become boring/redundant).
I must admit that I am a very horny guy. Very often to the point where Roseann feels pawed and upset. I would probably be happiest with sex one to three times a day on a regular basis. I don't know what my regular basis is because nobody has ever kept up with my desires Đ I seem to be always in a rut. Oddly, if I'm living with someone and don't enjoy sex for three to four days, I almost literally turn myself off. After that time, I'm just not interested (there is a bit of resentment involved in the process). It doesn't take much to reactivate me, but it does take some effort. But those first days, while I'm waiting to shut down, are very frustrating. Roseann seems to want sex about 2 to 3 times a week. According to the Kinsey report this is normal but it seems to infrequent to me. When we first met, when she visited in October and for the first couple of weeks of this visit, sex was more frequent but that could have been the "still novel," honeymoon phase. Seeing that gorgeous body and knowing that she would prefer not to be touched leads to some tension. When I do get rebuffed, I take it much more personally than I probably should. It gets to the point that, no matter how much I want, I don't ask.
As we powered up the coast line (the wind was on our nose), the tale of my falling asleep emerged. There was no resolution but we both understand each other better. I told Roseann that what she says is important to me (her insights are what attracted me to her in the first place) and, perhaps, if she wanted me to stay up through a late night conversation, we should have it sitting up.
We went on to discuss why I "ignore" Roseann in the morning. My morning routine is to spend at least a half hour snuggling with Roseann (very slow and gentle so as not to wake her) then give her a kiss as she sleeps before I get out of bed. (I know Roseann would like me stay in bed and be close to her longer but I'd be either too bored or too horny). Once up, I usually get involved with something as I continue my morning routine. Unlike most people, I wake up happy and alert. By the time Roseann wakes up I am actively involved in something and she is neither happy or alert.
Intellectually I know that Roseann's morning growls are not really directed at me but emotionally I feel distressed when I hear them. I deal with this conflict by ignoring her until she becomes the sweet woman that she is so much of the time and that I feel so wonderful about. Sometimes these growls happen at other times of the day. At those times, I think that it is a learned method of "communication." Roseann has told me many times that she would like to get in a argument with me. It seems that this is a family pastime. I really can't judge this as good or bad, her family has stayed together better than mine. Then again, is staying together the ultimate goal? I want to live in joy and pride. Sometimes I think I'm living with Ms. Jekel and Ms. Hyde.
I love a discussion and can put up with an occasional argument. Arguments seem a silly way to communicate. Repeating yourself and yelling only show that there is some emotional content to what you are saying and/or that you don't have much more to say. It also sometimes means that you have learned that, for many people like me, you win because I would rather "lose" than argue/yell. There are better ways of showing that what you say is emotional and important. I suppose that, as a catharsis, arguments have some value. But I'd rather deal with a problem than just remove the pressure by blowing off steam. I know of only one way to argue or fight and that is to win. Win by any method. I don't compete against my friends and I certainly don't want to compete against my lover. I have no desire to get into a contest with someone I feel so strongly good about. Particularly when the whole thing has nothing to with either of our actions but is just brought on by a time of day.
We had dinner on Neeleen. Roseann made some Escargot appetizers which were very good. Before dinner, I had the opportunity to have a long talk alone with Kathy, Roseann's mother. She had been tipping the bottle (Champagné) a bit much and was a bit tipsy (very acceptable behavior on a Caribbean cruise). I had been drinking a bit much too.
Kathy, Roseann's mother, might be described as "crusty." She is a wonderful lady who loves to argue (I can see where Roseann gets it) and constantly shouts comments that I would consider hurtful to Ralph. Ralph gives as good as he gets. I can tell that they are both happy with each other and they have been together for a long time but I would have to do some adjusting before I could be happy in a relationship that involves so much infighting. I'm much too thin skinned. Some teasing is great and it could be that I am being to sensitive. It was easy for me to argue with Kathy as I did not have the emotional depths that I have with Roseann. Kathy was also confident in herself and did put her self value on the line. (I'm not sure that the last is true of Roseann. I may be hesitant to argue with her because she has placed so much self value on the line. Roseann gets very upset with any correction.)
Some of the most interesting things to come up in the conversation were:
Stuff deleted that is just Roseann's business. Her parents love her.
We celebrated with a champagné brunch and then gave Ubi a good scrubbing (I spell champagne with a é at the end when are on French islands). We managed to squeeze a lot of good sex in too. In fact it was pretty much sex all day. Just when I think I've got my kitten figured out she gives me a delightful surprise. Thanks kitten.
Roseann and I had the day to ourselves as her parents went the across the bay; when we were not otherwise occupied, we explored the wonderful little town of St. Ann. We enjoyed a round of banana daiquiris together before joining Roseann's parents for dinner on Neeleen (barbecued pork chops, zucchini, and rice). To cap the day off, we watched Robin Hood on Neeleen.
I could tell that she was in a good mood and should have joined her immediately to share it. But old habits die hard and I absent mindidly said that I would join her in a minute. I got so re-involved with my writing that I forgot to join her. Later, when I had my own breakfast, I decided to eat down stairs because it was windy. Roseann came down and tried to talk to me. I was distracted by the book that was in front of me and ended up growling at her. Not so much in anger but more that my mind was elsewhere and not reachable for "normal" conversation.
Roseann was hurt and went up on deck and I finished my meal and sulked for a bit at her anger. I've been alone a long time and have become rather set in my habits. I think that I've turned out rather well and have a reflexive annoyance at anyone who tries to change me. However, I know that being part of a couple means change so a bit later I came up and apologized. We had a long talk about what to do with my print "problem" and her need for immediate attention on her terms. I often feel that I am the one making all the changes and concessions (other than Roseann's very big concession to leave her job, friends and live with me on a boat that has few of the amenities that she deserves).
Roseann felt that my print was more important to me than her and that she did not want to be in second place. She also felt that all I thought she was good for was sex. We have come up with the three minute rule. Roseann has the authority to tell me that in three minutes the computer will be shut off or that the current book will be closed by that time. If I do not comply, I can expect that she will turn the computer off for me or remove the book from my presence.
Sometimes I find that it is easier to give up than to argue. I'm not sure that this is good for the long term of our relationship. But Roseann argues and pouts and gets angry. I can't deal with that at all. I hope that I will come to enjoy the living situations that she dictates and not decide that I have given up a long term relationship for short term peace. I won't accept a long term situation that I am not happy with.
Roseann and I know that there will still be problems but I am glad that we came up with some sort of solution. We should set a goal that, every time we argue, we are going to change or try something as a result. Even if the solution does not work, I like a constructive ending.
I also explained that, while our sex is very important to me, I really respect Roseann's mind. I have studied a lot of things but Roseann's memory is better than mine. (She has more ability; I have more experience). I am more the absent minded professor. I often cannot remember a name or spell a word to save my life. Roseann seems to never forget. I have grown to depend on her to remind me of important tasks that need to be done. She certainly has made Ubi a cleaner place to live. Most important to me, her presence often creates much joy.
After our talk, we both got into good spirits once again. My heart aches when we have an argument and it sings when we are once again lovers.
Shortly after Roseann and I resolved our differences, Ralph gave me a ride on his super dingy into the town at the other end of the bay where customs was to be found. In Martinique, Diesel is substantially cheaper for boats that have checked out as a commercial vessel. I was worried that I might get some hassle in doing this but checked out as a commercial vessel with no problems. The customs guys were fascinated by my sundial watch. Despite their reputation, the French can be good folks.
After clearing customs, I finally found out how to order rum "rum shop" style on French islands. It was quite a trick as the bartender and I did not share any words in common. I got a whole bottle of rum and a bottle of water and simply had to pay for the number of drinks I poured myself. Six franks a drink. It would be a great price if French rum wasn't so bad. They mix brown sugar with it to make it taste better. I had a few hours before I was expected back and celebrated with rum and a whole book (I am an addict). This was the second time that I had been alone this trip. It felt good. I like my "adventures."
I wandered around the main city for a while and did some shopping then took a bus back to St. Anne. It was a great bus ride. I saw some interesting French countryside.
Ralph and Roseann picked me up onshore and Roseann and I went back to the boat. We played a bit then Roseann put on my favorite dress in preparation for a night ashore.
Ralph and Kathy joined us in what they called my birthday celebration (we will be leaving tomorrow). We strolled around town and had dinner. During our stroll, we stopped at the beach bar that Roseann, Ralph and I have been hanging out in. Kathy wanted wine but they did not serve it. Ralph went to a nearby store and got her a bottle. The lady behind the counter even provided three glasses (I stuck with beer)! I was a little uncomfortable with bringing in liquor to a bar but relaxed as I saw that there was no problem or as they say here "pani problem."
Roseann's parents gave me a great wood bowl for my birthday. I have been needing one to keep fruit in and this one is perfect.
Roseann and I sailed to St. Pierre today. The sail was wonderful, perfectly flat seas and a good wind. One of Roseann's birthday presents for me was the first orgasm that I have had while steering a boat.
Along the way we stopped to get some fuel and water in Anse Mitan. We arrived just as the dock office was beginning their mid afternoon break. We could not have gotten to the dock anyway as some folks were camped out at the visiting boat area of the fuel dock. We had to wait for a couple of hours. It's no fun to wait when you know that you are going to be traveling a long way after you get going again. We had timed things pretty close and were out of water. We spent most of the time eating lunch and cleaning the boat. Ubi is looking very good.
Even after the dock opened, the boat we were waiting on did not move. I came in anyway and squeezed into a strange shaped spot (later I figured out that the boat must have been holding the spot for a friend Đ tough). Roseann was fuming at the delay and their lack of respect for us but I took a more philosophical outlook. Why get mad about something that I can't change or avoid? We got what we wanted.
After finally completing our dock needs, we sailed on to St. Pierre and arrived after dark. Roseann and I are getting real good at arriving after dark. It's a skill that I wish we were not getting so much practice with.
Roseann bought me dinner at the pizza place that I had wanted to try last time we were in this village. It was a great meal and a great birthday.
We had a very fast sail through a little chop to get to Dominica. It's great to be moving with the weather instead of against it. Ubi averaged about nine knots and we arrived at the Coconut Hotel anchorage by four.
Chris, the manager, was glad to see us and had a bunch of faxes and messages for us. Margo may be coming but its hard to tell.
During the afternoon's discussion, I realized that I had failed to tell Roseann something. I had told her about three of the four women that I had slept with while she was gone but had forgotten to tell her about the fourth. We probably could have gone our whole lives without Roseann finding out about it but I don't want there to be any lies in our relationship. We both handled the period of time when we knew we would be sailing together, but were not together, differently. I met Roseann for four days in Dominica; she visited me for ten days three months later; after which we had a seven month wait until she joined me for this trip.
I assumed (I know - make an ASS out U and ME) that she was dating and sleeping with other people and felt that gave me license to do the same. It was a bit wild of us to meet the way we did and I had heard Roseann talk of old boyfriends that she was still seeing and wild experiences of her past. I even sent her a copy of my log from last year which talks about my feelings on relationships and the other women that came aboard the boat last summer. My assumptions were wrong, Roseann was being pure for me and assumed I was for her. I really do feel like an ass. I wish that I had kept that thing in my pants. At any rate, I told Roseann about my omitted transgression and we worked it out. A few important understandings were discussed.
My feelings now are that I could be happy if Roseann is the last person I ever sleep with. She will hurt me if she leaves me. I believe that she feels the same. We both worry that the other will change their mind or not turn out to be the "right" person.
We walked along the beach to customs and town. In town, we got the usual great deal on veggies (including 12 avocados for 4 bucks) but had a little bit of trouble figuring how to do customs on a Saturday. While trying to figure it out I ended up under a tree drinking beer while having a great political discussion with a bunch of the natives who seemed to be at least interested in my views. Roseann listened in, I think that it was the first time that she has had a taste of my adventures. It's great to meet the people like this.
We worked customs out and caught a bus back as my back was giving me major grief. Back at the anchorage, I got chance to lie down for a few minutes and it really seemed to help my back. We also invited a few of the folks off nearby boats over for drinks and it ended up being a potluck dinner. I love these parties. Peter, a local we had met in town, also showed up. We served some of my famous barbecued chicken and banana daiquiris.
Don, the captain, is a great big fun loving guy. He is another "single hander" who has been blessed with the presence of a woman. We had a great conversation about how our lives have changed. He sympathized with my plans to buy an ice maker. (We have both spent major money keeping our ladies iced). The ladies seemed to enjoy talking too.
After town we hung around and a few people from other boats in the harbor joined us for cocktails and conversation (Ubi was once again party central). Shane, a kid from New Zealand who is trying to start a life working on boats, and Vince, a guy from Utah that spends a few weeks a year chartering boats in various parts of the world, were an interesting contrast. Shane looks and acts like a Rasta and Vince looks and acts like "Jake" as in "Body by Jake" on TV. It was a fun contrast.
After cocktail hour, we went over to Coyote for a potluck dinner. Don did his best to pickle me with the local dark rum. He did a pretty good job. Roseann put an end to the pickling attempt when she tasted from my large glass that only had rum and a few ice cubes floating in it. It was fun while it lasted. Don and I spent most of the evening discussing everything from Viet Nam to computers. We both had our own different intelligent views but were willing to consider other thoughts. I love that kind of conversation. The ladies talked about the antics of British Royalty. It was a wonderful night.
Don did his best to convince us to turn around and head South but we have to be moving on towards the North and obligations. Maybe Someday...
Till then, I hope to meet Don and his spiritual brothers next year.
It was a great sail. We had close to 60 miles to cover and were doing better than eight knots for most of it. It's great to be moving with the weather and waves. We pulled into Deshaies in the mid afternoon, spent a few minutes getting the boat shipshape then walked around town. Customs was closed so we just put our completed form in the box.
Roseann made a great dinner.
We had some folks from a nearby boat over for cocktails and conversation. It was a great day.
It was a great sail to Montserrat. A run the whole way. We arrived about one. Got the boat squared away and went into the yacht club for a beer while we waited for customs to open at two. I exchanged burgees with the Montserrat Yacht Club.
Customs was slow and Roseann took it personal and got disturbed. The trick to remember is that they hassle everyone and not take it personal. We had to do some fancy talking but were eventually allowed to check in and out and get a coastal permit to go to Old Road Bay. They wanted us to come back around to town on the next day to complete the paperwork. "What a bother." I reasonably explained and the officer finally agreed. Later we learned that other people, who got angry about it, had to go back. We agreed that Roseann does not have to do customs with me anymore.
We motored around the corner to our selected anchorage. After getting the boat together, we sent a fax to the St. Croix Yacht Club from the hotel and hung around in The Nest, a local beach bar. On our way back from cocktail hour, we invited a couple from a nearby boat over for cocktails. (I invite lots of people over to the boat because it is cheaper to have people over for two hours worth of drinks than to sit for two rounds of drinks for ourselves in even the cheapest bars ĐĘI should probably be given a sales rep job for Cruzan).
It turns out that these folks also knew Roseann's parents well. That's two for two. Roseann's parents are very popular. I am living with a celebrity or at least the daughter of celebrities.
FUNNY EVENT FOR THE TRIP
We took the dingy into the beach shortly after dark. On the way in, Roseann noticed a large cockroach crawling in the front of the dingy. She nervously asked me to get rid of it and I turned around and brushed it off. At least I thought I brushed it off. Moments later, as I was rowing again, it crawled back inside the front of the boat. Roseann was very quick to point this out and I was more vigorous in my efforts to remove the beastie. This time it seemed gone...
Apparently it had decided that the front of the boat was too troublesome. We were about 20 yards off shore when I heard a blood curdling scream! Roseann jumped up and ran past me to the front of dingy where she danced and screamed on the bow that the bug had crawled on her (Roseann's act was a physical feat that I'm not that I or she could duplicate). Sure enough, that confused one inch and less than an ounce of bug (with no teeth or claws) was on the seat in which better than 5 foot and a hundred twenty pounds of Roseann had been sitting. I leaned over, mashed and removed the offending beastie. Roseann continued to dance on the bow scream hysterically. It was a classical get up on the chairs when a mouse enters the room scene done to a nautical theme. I'd never seen anything like it and could not help but laugh until tears came to my eyes.
We made it to shore to discover that my computer recommendation had worked. Midge and Gill invited us to hang around a bit but we explained that we had a cocktail engagement on another boat. Midge gave me a copy of the accounting program/spreadsheet that she was using. It will be a useful addition to my class handouts.
The couple we invited over yesterday had returned the invitation and we went on to their boat for evening cocktails. They had also invited another couple that they had met in their day's exploration. It was a very international gathering. The country's of origin included two persons from America (though I tend to consider myself a world citizen), Britain, France, Italy, and Denmark. We all kept patting ourselves on the back about how lucky we were to have decided to live where and how we do.
I made an interesting observation today. When we started this trip, Roseann didn't like to go topless. Now she pouts a little when I tell her that we are in an anchorage where they might not appreciate the beauty of her breasts. She didn't really like to use the computer and often felt that it was a rival my attention. Now she enjoys using it so much that I have to schedule time. (Roseann is doing a great job as editor of this log and my book). I guess that I am having some effect on her.
I purposely slowed down my preparations for departure so as to give time to Roseann to wake up. She made a great effort to be ready to go early and was ready before I was. As an aside, Roseann has been an absolute joy on most recent mornings. In fact a pattern is emerging. Now that we are comfortable with each other (read the honeymoon phase is over), some continued behavior of Roseann or mine will irritate the other person the opposite partner will call the other on it then she or I will try to change the offending behavior. But we both slowly regress to the irritating form. I'm not sure what it means on a long term basis. Will we finally change, accept, or part?
Once we were about 15 minutes out, with anchors put away, sails up, and enjoying ourselves, I noticed that our fish trap was gone. We turned the engine on, dropped the sails and went back with hopes that it had just blown off the boat and not been stolen by a local fisherman. I prepared a float and line to tie to the trap if it was found. Once back in the anchorage, I jumped over the side when we were close to where we guessed the Ubi had been. I swam around for about 20 minutes while Roseann drove Ubi in slow circles. I finally decided that the trap had probably been stolen.
What a shame; visions of hundreds of lobster dinners regretfully drifted away. I made one more pass and was about to signal Roseann to pick me up when I saw it. All right! I dove down and secured a line to it (and found a golf ball and sand dollar in the process). Roseann pulled Ubi close and dropped the ladder, once I was aboard it was a simple matter to bring the trap aboard. The trap stays tied down from now on.
The rest of the trip was a delight.
At one point, Roseann jokingly asked me if I could arrange for whales and porpoises. About 10 minutes later as we were passing the island of Redonda, we sighted a pod of whales. At their closest approach they were only about 200 yards away; I'm not sure about how many, what kind or how big the biggest was, but there was no doubt there was at least five whales. Some of them were easily bigger than Ubi. They broached a number of times and we could occasionally see one with just its blow hole on the surface. We were both delighted. It was Roseann's first whale sighting.
The rest of the trip was fast and easy. We caught our first fish for the trip. They were a couple of Barracuda; unfortunately since this fish is often the host for a local form of fish poisoning we threw them back.
Carnival was in full swing as we walked the streets of Charlestown, Nevis. As might be expected on a carnival Sunday afternoon, custom's officials were impossible to find. We did manage to clear immigration which is handled at the police station. Immigration said not to worry about customs so we didn't.
We went back to the carnival village and spent the afternoon drinking very cheap beer and talking to locals, boaties and an occasional tourist. We ended up behind one of the carnival booths as various persons picked out excellent music on a guitar that was being passed around. "Sunny Jim," the owner of the booth, is the cousin of one of my fellow teachers at the University of the Virgin Islands. The connection was enough to get me practically adopted.
Back on the boat, Roseann and I passed out until about 10 when we went back into the carnival where they were celebrating Jouvet. Jouvet is a night long celebration where the local bands compete to see who makes the best music and decide on the best song. We gnawed on some chicken legs and drank some more beer before heading home around midnight. Our boat is a few hundred yards off shore and we could hear the party all night long. We had the best seats in the house. Lots of fun.
We enjoyed walking around the streets of Charlestown and got to watch a couple of tramps. Tramps are large groups of dancing people who follow trailers with huge piles of speakers on which local bands sit and play calypso music. There are so many speakers that many band members have to actually sit on the speakers. Walls of speakers. Mounds of speakers. It's very loud. The people who surround the trailers are often in some sort of costume.
I would have liked to join in the dancing but did not think it was safe for an white boy with a gorgeous babe to mingle among natives that had been up drinking all night (and probably feeling just a little grumpy). I doubt that there would have been any problems but why risk it? It was much fun to stand in the shade and watch.
Back in the carnival village, we met the couple off a demasted catamaran that is anchored next to us. They had demasted just the day before. They are a fun Danish couple that recognized Ubi from Virgin Islands' waters. We enjoyed talking sailing, boating and buying each other beers then invited the couple over to Ubi for a potluck lunch. It was a great afternoon. Roseann and I wandered the village again in the evening.
Sunny Jim was glad to see us. There was a very slight mar on the evening. As we were eating our chicken legs, Sunny Jim "gave" us a couple bowls of pumpkin soup. The soup was great but when I routinely checked to see if we owed him anything, he charged us for the soup. We would have ordered soup (if it had been suggested), the price was low and the soup was great but I felt a little funny paying for something that I had not ordered. In his defense, Sunny Jim has been up continuously for close to two days and is probably not thinking very clearly.
We spent most of the early afternoon exploring town then the late afternoon in Shazzy's. A good last full day on shore.
It was just as well that she could not take the wheel as the seas and wind had been picking up. (So much for the perfect boating weather report). I was having to steer further and further off our course to avoid a full run and the possibility of a jibe in gale force winds (a jibe in those winds would probably of broken the wishbone). It was tough going and I'm glad that Roseann managed to get some sleep.
It's good to be back. What a summer!! Everyone keeps asking about the trip but it's hard to put things into words. Charlie and I are so much closer. Now comes the real test. Living in reality mode, not vacation mode. We've talked about how life may be and we've set standards for how we want to live it but you never know until you DO IT!
Two months after we left, we have returned. We used the engine for 90 hours and traveled about 850 miles (that's about 14 miles a day). It was a great trip and we are much closer for it.
It has been said that history is what historians write down. While I did offer, Roseann supplied very little of her own thoughts to this log. I appreciate those thoughts that she did include but you, as reader, need to understand that this log is mostly a collection of my thoughts and feelings. I'm sure that "true" reality is different (or at least that Roseann experienced things differently). I know that as I read this I give myself the impression that I am a moody, sex crazed, drunk. I don't think that's true. And, heh, I was on vacation!
A final note. As last year, this log was written primarily for me as a vehicle of understanding of me. I believe that it also helped Roseann understand me. It is available to friends that would like to understand me and what it is like to explore the Caribbean better. This is me now. I will change.
Roseann and I lived together for another year and parted as friends.
Love to all.
Charles V. Balch
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