Thursday, March 31, 2011


Knitting & Diving, knitting and diving...

Knitting & Diving. That pretty much describes these past two weeks for me. One of my diving buddies, Cheryl took some underwater photos of me as we kicked hard into the current one day. Usually, there isn't much of a current, but a couple of days it was really strong. For safety, we swim into the current (hard work) for the first part of the dive, then drift back to the dinghy letting the sea work for us.

This day we spotted a darling Caribbean Squid - so cute! It was just hovering over this coral and wasn't shy at all. Most of the sea creatures are unafraid of divers. As this is a protected marine park, they are used to us bulky blobs of human matter moving slowly through their neighborhood and doing no harm.

Caribbean Squid
Blue Parrotfish
The colors of the reef are more colorful than they appear in these photos.

Human Blob Terry
Check out this big Blue Parrotfish! It was about 2 feet long. We see many different types of parrotfish but this guy is really special. The reef has all sorts of bizarre formations, walls that drop off to the deep, and canyons. Here's a small arch that we came across. Even snorkeling, you can see a lot of these.

The folks on the sailing vessel Footloose had an issue with their halyards (ropes that pull up the sails) being tangled way up at the top of their mast. So we had some good watching while Doris hoisted Tom up the mast. No, it's not all play out here. The definition of cruising is making boat repairs in exotic places.
There has been group knitting going on! That is if you can call 2 people a "group" - and I do. Pam from the sailing vessel Glide who is already a proficient knitter, came over for a lesson on knitting with multiple double pointed needles.

Oh yes, a kind reader asked for the patterns from the last post. The man-thong pattern is free on KNITTY.COM
Here are my instructions for the warmer:

size 5 dpns
DK weight yarn.
CO 24, join.
knit 2 rounds
YO, k2tog all around one round (for eyelet holes for ribbon to tie the thing on)
Continue knitting in the round until you have the desired length before shaping the end.
k6, k2tog around
k5, k2tog around
continue knitting one less stitch before the k2tog until you have 6 sts left. cut yarn and thread thru end to gather.
Find a willing wearer and Enjoy!

Friday, March 25, 2011


Host Vessel Job

Well, it has happened - we got a "job". Yep, we are now the new HOST VESSEL in the Roatan Marine Park mooring/anchorage here in West End, Roatan. It's kinda like being the Host vehicle in some of the National Parks in the USA. No biggie - in fact Jonesy has plenty of time to watch the NASCAR races in a comfy spot in the village.

So, in exchange for a free mooring (yippeee!), we help folks pass through the narrow gap in the reef, and get them attached to a mooring ball. Jonesy has spent a lot of time zooming around in his dinghy since we accepted this position. Also, we are responsible for verifying that everyone has paid their fees which is not a problem. Cruisers tend to be nice folks and are usually so glad to get off of the lumpy seas from their passages from Belize or other Honduran islands and into a smooth, safe place that they are willing to fork over some cash.

We are NOT entertainment directors nor are we responsible for the morals and behavior of the people on the 20 boats here. That being said...we did have 25 wild and crazy cruisers on our boat last week for a get-together! Everyone brought finger foods to share and there were plenty of adult beverages. Just before sunset, I presented Doug from the sailing vessel Highland Light with a little bit of knitting that I had done for him.

Willy Warmer
Look. Don't mess with a knitter who has too much time on her hands and a large stash unless you want to pay the price. Doug said he wanted a "willy warmer" and for several weeks there was a lot of teasing going on about the appropriate size. We joked about "measuring sessions" and what the opportunities were for using such an item. Jonesy selected the yarn colors and away I knit. While I was at it, I decided to also knit a man-thong as something Doug could actually wear.

Wear? Yes. Later that evening, in the dark of the night, he strolled out onto deck to model the man-thong. Lisa, his wife asked us all not to post photos of that event. Dang. It was some good watching! And yes, I do have the photos.
Everyone stops at the exact moment of sunset to see the sun sink into the sea. Why? Because it's special and also because we can sometimes see the "green flash" at that final moment of sunshine. All throughout the mooring field there are cheers and whooping from the boats to celebrate a green flash. Then Doris from the sailing vessel FootLoose plays Taps on her old bugle.

Knitting still happens every day on board the Niki Wiki where the Caribbean breezes keep me cool and comfortable. Even on the days that I go scuba diving with my good buddies, I manage to find time to knit. I have now made 9 dives!!! Because the gals on the sailing vessel Interlude have an extra set of gear, all I have to pay for is the rental of the tank + air which is $5 bucks - that's it!
Now that I have bought a replacement for my camera which suffered sudden death, I'll try to get more photos.

Monday, March 07, 2011


She be certified

I survived the PADI Open Water Diver course and passed the physical and written tests - Whoooo hoooo! I'm now a certified scuba diver! It was a hard, and exhausting week, but my new friend Mary and I made it through. Thanks so much to our dive instructor Christina and all the folks at Roatan Divers .

It was great having a fellow student who is my age and who has a positive attitude. Mary made the whole experience so very pleasurable as we laughed together at our awkwardness both in and out of the water.

So, as I was walking back to the dinghy with Jonesy at the end of the day, I was prattling on about how useful this new skill of mine will be. Well heck! If something goes wrong down on the keel of our boat I can go down and check it out. Oh! Jonesy YOU can clean the propeller for us! We won't have to hire anybody. Oh, yeah, I guess that is now one of the "pink" jobs on the boat for me. Yeah, and while I'm down there I can change the zincs on the shaft and then clear out the barnacles in the through-hulls (exit & entry tubes) to the heads (toilets).

Once I rest up I'll get back to my knitting. My brain has been full, and my body empty of energy this past week, but I'm really looking forward to picking up the needles again. We paid for another MONTH on the mooring ball here in West End, Roatan - we're stuck in paradise again.

Saturday, March 05, 2011


Girl's Days Out

The "girls", Karen and Cheryl of the sailing vessel Interlude and their guest, Michelle invited me to take a hike in the Carambola Botanical Gardens. Road trip? Hike in a jungle? Yes!

We took ourselves on a self-guided hike through different planted and natural areas. One interesting plot is planted with trees and shrubs that produce spices. We were able to crush a leave from a cinnamon tree - delicious aroma! From studying my spice book I believe that this tree was true cinnamon as opposed to "cassia" which is where we get the reddish-brown powder that we use and call cinnamon in the USA. It was a cruise-ship day and apparently a group of folks had gotten a guided tour before we got there, but we had the place all to ourselves. They had thoughtfully left out the samples of leaves, nuts and fruits on little display tables so we enjoyed looking (smelling and touching) those too.

On one of the hillsides was a small grove (plantation?) of cacao trees which had immature pods growing on the trunks. These pods have the seeds which after a fermentation process will produce chocolate! Yum!

So we hiked all the way up to the top of the hill and along a ridge to get some great views of the sea. Below us was the Anthony Key Resort and the reefs of the north side of the island. These are some premier diving & snorkeling sites.
We had a wonderful unofficial tour guide - a yellow and white cat who walked the entire trek with us. We kept asking him which trail to take, but he preferred to just go where we led him. There are a lot of pet cats on the island and a large number of them have this same coloring. We have seen very few cats throughout Mexico, Central America, and Colombia but they sure are popular here! And very friendly! Jonesy and I have been able to get our kitty-petting needs fulfilled these past few months (remember our boat is named after our long-departed family cat Niki).

It's not really the best time for viewing flowering plants but we did manage to spot a few and walk among some plantings. In the summer months is when we see the orchids blooming on the mainland.

The palm trees had GIANT bunches of big, hard palm nuts on them. There are so many different kinds of palms in the world - it's amazing. The fruit and the fibers from palm trees provide a lot of products that we use such as palm oil, dates, baskets, and other consumables.

Palm "nuts"

So that was one of the outings I've done recently with other cruising women. Another event was the Women's Day Out we had at a local beach resort. About 20 of us all met at the Luna Beach resort which is right on the beach in front of where we are anchored. We had a great lunch - a lot of chatter and introductions, then a swim in the fresh water pool.

Yes. That's me in the synchronized swimming stance. In the background you can see one of the boats at anchor in the bay.

So, that's been some of the activity lately. I've continued with my scuba diving lessons and have 2 dives scheduled for this afternoon for more instruction. Other than that, we've just been leading a quiet life and enjoying what we think is one of the best cruising area we've found so far.

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