Tuesday, June 11, 2013


Sailed and Bounced to Belize

Sailing away from Isla Mujeres, Cancun Mexico
We're in Belize again! It was another rough passage from Mexico south but then we knew it would be. It was simply time to go.

On the Pacific Ocean side of Central America we didn't have as much wind during the night hours as we did during the day. Thus, my night watch duties at the helm were usually pleasant and uneventful allowing for plenty of star gazing, reading, and of course knitting.

New Red Socks Teaser
But the nights in the Caribbean Sea are so very different! Night is when the squalls come up and the winds howl. Getting my knitting done (and Jonesy getting some sleep) is a lot more complicated these past few years in the Caribbean. This trip, the winds made my thin, red sock yarn swirl around my head and hands, constantly getting tangled around my toothpick-sized needles. The boat bounced and lurched as it was knocked by the waves from several directions causing my concentration to falter from my knit 1, purl 2, cross the cable, etc. pattern execution.

But with my trusty headlamp glowing Cyclops style from my forehead, and safely snapped into my inflatable life jacket and snatch hooked by cable onto the helm seat I was able to knit several inches down the foot and finish the toe of a new sock design.
Niki Wiki at anchor Blue Ground Range, Belize

During my night watch, I heard something slap the deck behind me…what was it? I looked around (still safely hooked to my seat, but on a leash) but saw nothing. Hmmm…maybe I imagined it. I returned to my knitting. But a few minutes later Jonesy's head popped up behind me out of the hatch over our bed and he bellow that a flying fish had landed on my pillow and was flopping around in our bed waking him up from a deep sleep. Eventually he managed to catch the fish (still alive) and came up on deck to toss it over the side. Well, our berth was quite fishy for the rest of the passage and was only habitable on one end due to the fish scales and stink. No, flying fish are not good for eating. If they were, I would have considered this a fishing success story.

We took a pit stop at Bahia de la Ascension, a safe natural harbor in southern Mexico to rest for one night. That broke the trip into 2 separate overnight passages and made a huge different in how we felt by the time we dropped the hook behind the reef in San Pedro Town, (Ambergris Caye) Belize at daylight following another night at sea. We actually felt pretty good, like humans, not zombies because we both had a complete night of sleep in that remote and quiet Mexican harbor.

Bow Candy: Terry watching the depth on approach to Tobacco Caye
Since arriving in Belize, most of our passages have been day-trips over VERY shallow water behind the reef – like in about 6 feet of water!! We draft 5 ½ feet so there was very little water under the keel at times. That's just how it is to cruise between the islands of Belize – nerve wracking for us sailboats and our traveling companion m/v JASDIP (Just Another Sh**ty Day In Paradise) which is a trawler. Over these areas, I was on bow-watch to make sure we didn't run aground. Sure, we have depth sounders, but they only tell you the depth where you are at the moment – not what it is a few feet in front of you so you can take evasive action if needed. At least these on these trips I remembered my hat and sunscreen on my lips so I didn't get fried like on the trip north. I'm always relieved when I see deep water – deep as in 12 feet – and I can go relax in the cockpit and knit again.
:Local art at a restaurant in Caye Caulker, Belize

We spent quite a bit of time on Caye Caulker again as we enjoy hanging out there. The island is beautiful and the people are just so dang nice. Jonesy forgot his wallet when we took a golf cart taxi down island to get our propane tank refilled (I cook a lot). The taxi driver PAID for our propane and took us back to the dock where our dinghy was tied so Jonesy could go back to our boat and get his wallet to pay him back and for the taxi/wait fare plus grateful tip. No worries – no complaints from the taxi driver. Thanks Clifton!

Fish art Caye Caulker, Belize
We both had noticed that Jonesy needed a haircut. So he left me at a restaurant where I could surf the internet and reconnect with my fiber friends while he walked over to the barber. I waited…and waited. After about an hour and a half I was really getting worried. Eventually he came back well-shorn. See, at the barber shop he not only had to wait his turn, but then all the dudes there were hanging about watching a funny movie about inner-city life in Los Angeles. Jonesy verified that yes, they really do have low-rider cars that hump up and down at the red lights. Soon he was just one of the dudes spending an afternoon in the slow pace of an island barber. The dudes (except Jonesy) enjoyed some ganja, and the barber took his time trimming Jonesy's mop. He certainly enjoyed this barbering experience!

Lollipop Ornament to knit
Let's talk knitting! Here's just another little knit ornament for our 24 ornaments for the Advent Calendar. It is nothing more than a simple I-cord rolled up with a stick in it! This LOLLIPOP ORNAMENT is easy and cute for your holiday tree, package decoration or even in a group as "décor". I used Knit Picks Palette fingering weight yarn with 2 strands held together for this photo sample, but you can use any yarn and needle combination that you want. This will be available first on the Holiday Mystery Gifts Yahoo group sometime soon, then on Ravelry of course.

Zig Zag Toddler Mittens
And I've been continuing on the mitten kick. Below is a photo of my latest little pattern, the ZIG ZAG TODDLER MITTENS. This is a really easy-to-memorize stranded knitting pattern. Again, I used one of my favorite yarns which is Knit Picks Palette fingering weight wool. It is so soft and comes in many colors. Yes, I have a few more ideas already charted out for more mittens. And my test knitter for the Zig Zag mittens has asked for a matching hat. Why not? I have the yarn and the time!

I can't show you my latest work on some new sock designs which doesn't make me happy. I love to share! But then they wouldn't be a surprise to the folks on the groups who receive new sock patterns periodically. But working on these has kept me out of trouble as I've had my nose to the Excel grindstone these past few weeks.

Also on the needles is a Bi-Colored Slouch Hat which is an old design of mine. I've been aware that there is an error in the crown decrease section and finally I am getting myself motivated to correct the pattern. I tried to reason it out in Excel, but with the brioche stitch work, double decreases, and instructions for both circular as well as flat-knitting methods, well, my brain got overheated. So I had to resort to yarn and needles. I'm using Caron Super Soft acrylic and will be donating the hat to the Sacramento Knitting Guild's collection of chemo caps for the cancer center patients.

That's all for now.

Hi! I found you through another sailing knitter. I love hearing about Caye Caulker, I did some free diving there in the 70's, long before hotel or any tourist development. Is there still a fisherman's coop? We just to get undersized lobster from them. Yummmm
Hey Terry, I thought you guys were on the Atlantic side of Central America! How did you get over to the Pacific side? Another Panama Canal transit?

No canal transit...Belize is on the Carribean side of Central America!
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