Thursday, February 20, 2014



Charlie, Terry, Saundra, and Jonesy
It's that time again. Time to say "Good-bye" to our cruising friends as we all go our separate ways. Yes, we've been doing this hello-goodbye thing for 8 years, but it never gets any easier.

Here's a photo of us with our cruising buddies Charlie and Saundra on s/v Island Sol at Temporary Cal's restaurant deck on the island of Roatan, Honduras. We first met these new cruisers in the Rio Dulce, Guatemala last summer. Well, that is met them face-to-face. Saundra and I had been corresponding via email for quite some time before that after finding each other on the Sailors forum of Saundra has been my crafty/fiber buddy and I'll miss her company dearly. S/v Island Sol has many more cruising adventures to experience, but in the opposite compass direction than the one we're taking. We did change our plans for these past few months to return to Roatan rather than head up to Mexico just so we could hang out more with these folks - and we're glad we did.
The infamous Derelict Dock

Last Friday, we tossed off the lines to the docks at the Roatan Yacht Club and motored over to West End. This move not only puts us 2 hours closer to our next destination but it also puts is smack dab in what we consider to be the primo location on Roatan! What's not to love about beautiful reefs to explore, cool breezes, fun bohemian village of dive resorts, and beaches to walk. We're BACK! We loved our times here in previous years, but there was some political nonsense and cruisers were turned away from the moorings.

Thankfully, there is a new mayor in town and the Roatan Marine Park is standing by ready to re-install the mooring buoys (pending legal paperwork)! We have picked up a private mooring because we know those folks have left the country - but there are also many sailboats anchored out here - like 15! That's a sufficient number for a traditional "Derelict Dock Party".

Over the years, we have gathered here on what used to be a nice, but never used, dock for a real estate development (that never developed except for the dock). At 5pm, we set up folding tables and all bring finger foods to share and our own beverages. Here we can chat without loud music and enjoy the last
couple of hours of the day and watch the sun set. Although the dock has continued to decay due to neglect, there is still enough square footage and strength left to support our event. Last night we had a couple dozen cruisers come share food, swap stories and celebrate the end of another glorious day in paradise.

Monster Socks
And it certainly has been glorious! I took a scuba diving refresher course and then went out for a dive on the reef. Lovely. Then I had to do my diving chores - clean the barnacles off of the prop and shaft and clear the thru-hulls, run a safety line to the mooring concrete, and inspect the tackle. We are in only about 15 feet of crystal clear water so all these chores were actually enjoyable (after all the physical effort of getting geared up that is - whew!). So our boat bottom is ready for the long passage up to Florida. We are heading out day after tomorrow!!!

Besides doing chores and eating out with friends in the village, there has been a lot of knitting going on (duh). Just socks...more and more socks. These child-sized monster socks were knit with various left-over and donated yarns. Again, I used a 2-round pattern of 1x1 alternating stitches each time I changed colors. I think it adds a little pizazz.

With the last little amount of leftover Socks That Rock Lightweight sock yarn, I added some plain navy blue Regia and knit up another pair of child-sized socks. The Socks That Rock yarn is thicker than the Regia and does not have any nylon added for protection against abraison. So that yarn goes on the legs and the tough-wearing Regia goes on the feet.

I'm still behind on my 52-pairs in one year challenge but I am catching up a bit. I'm at 30 socks in mid-February and I should have completed 32 by now. No worries...I have several single socks awaiting their mates and a few more socks on the needles. Sitting here in the cockpit of the boat at the West End and knitting while watching the dive boats on the reef is one of my favorite ways to pass the time.

Finally, here are another pair of child-sized socks knit where I combined that ghastly self-striping yarn with the soothing navy blue Regia yarn. I only used the green and white mottled stuff in the leg as stripes against the blue. Then I cut it off completely for the foot. Ah, much better.

Tomorrow will be a busy day for us. First we must clear out of the country with visits to customs, immigration and the port captain.
Then we'll head to the grocery store to finish provisioning for the long trip. We've read that there is nothing to purchase on the Dry Torgugas so we really need to have some shelf-stable foods aboard. Then, we have to get rid off (eat or toss) any fresh produce, meats, etc. that we have before we are boarded by US Customs in Key West.

Life is good.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014


ROSA Socks

A few months ago I simply felt like knitting up some lace socks. Plus I wanted to play with some chevron stitch combinations because I LOVE how separating the increases from the decreases makes the stitches lean sideways. So out came the needles and after a few swatches I liked what I had. No, I'm not very creative with the name of these socks..."Rosa" is simply Spanish for pink and I used pink Opal brand yarn.

The new pattern is free during the months of February and March 2014 to members of the Six Sox Knitalong Yahoo group.

So that was my fiddly sock knitting. No, I haven't knit up the second sock yet. It's been cast on, but I've been distracted by other sock knitting including the Knitalong event on the Holiday Mystery Gifts group. Mostly, I've been working up socks for the orphanages in Kazakhstan.

First up is a pair of broken rib socks knit with Knit Picks Stroll in the caper color. I thought I was using a broken rib stitch pattern shared by a fellow knitter on Ravelry. But I messed up and reversed the knits and purls on Row 2 (of only a 2 row stitch pattern) and ended up with something totally different! But some kid will like the simplicity, ribbing, and softness of these socks.

From more (yes I still have more) of the sock yarn donated by the campers at Meg Swanson's Knitting Retreat, I selected this soft purplish colored yarn for a very simple pair of socks. I love how the plies of the yarn are different colors at some points. It didn't have a ball band so I don't know who the manufacturer is, but I did enjoy working with this yarn.

Now, the next pair completed is worked in a yarn color combination that I find GHASTLY (Online Supersocke Savanne). There is just something unsettling about the colors. Kelly green with burgundy red? It just gives me the shudders. But, I know that color appreciation differs from person to person so there must be somebody out there who won't mind these socks. Like somebody who is colorblind.

Unfortunately, I have 2 more full skeins of this yarn! I bought it online in a "grab bag" sale - fantastic price and good quality wool sock yarn. I'm pondering reskeining these so I can over-dye them with a soft grey to mute the colors. Otherwise I may just go blind knitting with that yarn again. I almost had to wear sunglasses for this first pair.

CAUTION - Wear protective Eye Gear
And of course there have been a couple of pairs of "monster" socks on the needles. I like to use up those odd balls of yarn hanging around the boat.

My current mixing method is to knit two rounds of a 1x1 mix (knit 1 first color, knit 1 second color) with stranded colorwork, switching the colors for the second round. This finished pair has the Knit Picks Stroll caper green, Sophie's Toes in blues, Koigu wool orange, and some ugly Opal sock yarn that I had overdyed with some brown years ago. The Koigu and Sophies Toes yarns are only used on the leg because they don't have that work-horse fiber - nylon - and will wear out quicker if used for heels and toes.

So now you know what I've been up to these past couple of weeks - what about Jonesy? Well, he's been filling his time up with boat chores of course!

Cruising in exotic locations means that he's had the opportunity to make boat repairs in scenic locals. The motor for our electric roller-furler actually arrived on time (!!!) and was exactly what we needed. You can imagine the joy we both had when he flipped the power switch for the first time and the roller-furler roared alive!!
This will make it so much easier and safer for our big passage from Roatan here up to Florida.

There's always something to tinker with on the boat. During our wait for the motor to arrive I mentioned to Jonesy that the rear toilet (head)
Build up in blackwater tubes
Monster Socks
wasn't flushing efficiently. More sea water was coming in than going out and I was having to turn off the inlet valve in order to clear the water from the bowl.

Well, it turned into a BIG project. Jonesy had to remove all the outbound tubing from the toilet - eeewwwy. This meant that he had to remove the paneling in the bathroom (head) because the tubes run way up high overhead to prevent siphoning. Then he had to pound the tubes against the dock to break up and shake loose the hard solid build up in them. Look at how clogged up these tubes were! There was hardly any space for black water to exit!!! That's because there is some chemical reaction that occurs when urine meets with sea water. Just another chore that live aboard cruisers must deal with that day-trippers never see.

As we all know, sometimes a simple job keeps growing into more jobs and this was true with the head. The plastic base had a broken bolt. Fortunately, Mr. Spares Jonesy had ordered a spare many years ago upon the advice of another cruiser. It only took us an hour to find which cubbie it was hidden in but we found it! Whoo hoooo! Anyway, I volunteered to clean up and sanitize after he was done. He'd done enough work.

Now, we have nothing on our "to-do" list except get ready for our next passage. Mostly, that will be special provisioning for foods to eat while underway while the boat is heeling (tipping on it's side). Because of the wind directions we're expecting, it will be very hard to get into the refrigerator/freezer because the contents will fly out if we open the doors. So we'll be packing coolers with drinks and quick-to-grab snacking meals. This means I need to do some planning, shopping, and pre-cooking and packaging. It also means that I'll have MORE TIME TO KNIT while we are at sea!

We've been enjoying life here on Roatan and socializing with our boating friends. The other day, the folks on the motor vessel Cabaret gave a Cruiser's Breakfast at Brooksy Point Marina for all of us. They served up biscuits and real Jimmy Dean Sausage gravy, eggs, french toast, strawberries, mimosas, and bloody marys. They made me a special plate which had some real bacon on it (because I can't eat the wheat in biscuits, gravy or french toast).
Then after we ate our fill and chatted with the other folks, we dinghy'd over to the Fantasy Island Resort and enjoyed some beach time. Biscuits and gravy and beach time - these are Jonesy's reward for all the jobs well done.

Life is good.

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