On Tuesday we moved to the North mooring field.  This is where we were the last time we stayed in the park.  It’s much more protected from strong south or west winds.  As we motored around the rocks to the north, I saw a huge stingray jump out of the water–an awesome sight!  We did a little better picking up the mooring this time and managed to nab it on our second attempt.  As Onward approached the mooringfield, we had the brilliant idea of hopping in the dinghy and helping Joe grab the mooring line since he is single-handing.  I found it a little disconcerting to have a 47 foot boat bearing down on us in our little dinghy.  I’m not sure how much help we were as we finally managed to hand him the line on the 4thattempt.  The current and winds change so fast that it’s very difficult to control the boat.  At least we were some help retrieving his boat hook that he dropped overboard!  We hosted drinks and dinner on Moondance.  We polished off the mojito mix as everyone cooked their meals on our grill.

kayakingWednesday morning I did a bit of cleaning on the topsides of the boat.  A saltwater rinse was good enough to remove the most offensive stains.  I also washed down the sides of the boat to remove the big chunks of salt and a strange reddish stain coming off the bow that Joe pointed out yesterday (he said it looked like someone vomited over the side!)   I sat on the side of the dinghy and held onto the boat with one hand and washed with the other.  Oy, my shoulders were sore that night!

We took Bailey ashore for a beach run and checked in with Mike and Angie who were volunteering for the day at the park headquarters.  They worked all day splicing heavy lines for mooring pennants–a job that is very hard on your hands moving those lines between heavy braid.

The water looked calm enough in the afternoon for me to break out my inflatable kayak.  The first challenge was to remember where I put the foot pump!  After that, it was a quick job inflating and launching the kayak.  I maneuvered over to the sand flats just a few feet from our stern and went aground.  The water is so shallow there at low tide that you can just walk around the banks.  While kayaking, I met the folks on the boat next to us called Opus from Oriental.  It turns out that I had met Linda at the coffee shop in Oriental when we stopped there way back in November.  She and her husband Jim and their 11 yr old daughter are cruising on a 25 ft boat and loving life! 

While trying to get back on the boat from the kayak, I kind-of rolled into the water.  I wasn’t too concerned since I had a swimsuit on but forgot that I also had my automatic inflatable life vest on.  POOF!  Well, it really works!!  It was my older vest and I wasn’t sure if it still worked and I couldn’t find a replacement for the bobbin.  I bought a newer model to use offshore.  Anyway, I can still use this one manually with a new CO2 cartridge installed.

The evening wrapped up with dinner and a movie on Onward.  Mike brought over several movies from his extensive collection and orchestrated an elaborate process for selecting the movie we wanted to see (hard to describe–you had to be there!)  Anyway, we ended up watching ‘Cool Running’ about the Jamaican bobsled team–really funny!

boo-boo-hill-signYesterday (Thursday) was warm, sunny and calm.  After our bried daily morning rainshower, we took Bailey ashore for his running time.  Both Merlin and Lady of Lorien volunteered for the day and were on a distant island cutting trees with chainsaws.  Skip and I took a hike to the top of Boo Boo hill to place our boat sign that we made with a piece of wood found on the beach.  It’s fun to look at all of the creative signs and recognize boats that we’ve met or seen.  Afterwards, we ate our lunch near the blow hole and listened to the surf and wind moaning far below the rocks.  We dinghied over to a beach near Emerald rock for a swim.  No one else around but us! 

Later in the afternoon, I swam off of the boat during slack tide with my noodles for flotation.  While standing on the sand banks, Ed and Tina came by on their way back from volunteer work and picked me up for a swim at a distant beach they discovered.  We didn’t have much time to spend there as happy hour was approaching but plan to go back today for more snorkelling.  We continued the dinner and movie theme on Lady of Lorien last night.  Since they’re on the other side of the lagoon, coming back in the dinghy in the dark was exciting.