Sunday, July 23, 2017

Working our way back. Brewer's Beach, USVI

A Brewer's Beach sunset
Whew!  Way behind on the blog.  Here are the photos and random thoughts you missed if you don't follow us on FaceBook:

"Drinking tea outside this morning, enjoying all the early a.m. activity that is Brewer's Beach. I'm leaning over the side, watching the tarpon have breakfast, when a pelican dives into the water, 4 feet in front of my face. I can hear the WHOOSH of air just before he splahes down. Tea spilled."


Things you need on a boat:

1). Metal skewers.  I'm not sure why I bought these.  We seldom used skewers at home.  Maybe I thought we would be grilling veggies more.  Anyway, they get used for lots of other things.  Today The Captain absconded with one to clear a locker drain...


2).  A really BIG magnet on a really LONG string.  Inevitably, a tool will go overboard.  It's the sound you hear when a kid breaks a toy.... "{splash} AWHHHHHH...".  A ratchet went in today.  He could see it, but we're anchored on 25 ft of water.  I was willing to get in but I can't dive that deep.  Out came the magnet on 30 ft of string!  A boat moves a LOT even in relatively calm water.  Add in some current.  It took me awhile.  The ratchet was under the boat and then "Whoops on the outside of the hull!"  "Nope!  Now I'm inside the hull...".  Got it!

Another beautiful sunset...

Pastelon

Puerto Rican Pastelon--it what's for dinner!  I had been wondering what to do with those frozen plantains I saw at the store.  The Captain said it sounded terrible but ate a bowl, even after catching me pour an egg over the top.  I LOVED it.  Hamburger, bell pepper, onion, tomato sauce & cheese.  What's not to love?  More leftovers for me.  I primarily used this recipe but followed some tips from a second one (added more spices).  Standby for a full write-up over at #OdinEats:  http://www.elboricua.com/recipe_PastelonPlatanoMaduro.html

Ahhhhh

"Don't be alarmed. This is smoking...". Wait, what?  
It could also be captioned, "boat life vs professional aircraft mechanic". 
That's why I'm short a canning jar!

"There's a leek in the boat!"

Bonita's Cantina for #TacoTuesday

So many ideas in my brain that I'm taking notes on my iPad AND a notebook, but not getting any ACTUAL writing done.  #goodproblem



#sailing #sunset #nofilter

For my STT peeps,
We finally got up enough motivation to take the safari bus halfway across the island to grocery shop at Cost-U-Less. We were rewarded with some treats (Ocean Spray grapefruit juice & Presidente) and good deals (if you have room for a case of tonic water)...

Awkward photos are an attempt to show pricing.








FB page, "Odin Eats":  Things are quiet here on Odin, as we count down the days until our haul out.  My current time-filler is flipping through recipes, which usually results in visiting the 5+ grocery stores on the island.  {gulp}:  I have an idea for a pasta dish for lunch.  After flipping through recipes, this looks like my base.  I've attempted versions of this before and they weren't up to par.  I didn't know I needed to look up a recipe for pasta, olive oil & garlic!  
Here's the proper technique for Aglio e Olio...


While scrubbing the dinghy bottom, I glance down & see a group of Blue Tang swimming underneath me.  #Priceless Thanks for the company 
#STT #USVInice

And here's your Sahara Dust #sunset #nofilter


Saturday, July 22, 2017

F.W. Kent Park near Iowa City, IA (Tiffin, IA)

The drive into the campground is about a mile but it's worth it!
If you’re looking for a stop in the Iowa City, IA area off of Hwy 380 & Hwy 80, here’s a little secret, take the detour to this park!

"Kent Park" as it's called, is a beautiful county park near Tiffin, IA (technically, Oxford).

There are no reservations.  It is first-come, first-serve but we were able to get a spot on a Saturday afternoon.

Our spot with the awning facing the woods
Directions:  There is good signage before the highway exit and all the way into the park.

We were greeted by a friendly camp host who advised:
North loop has more shade but fills up first.
South loop is closer to bathrooms (where the wifi router is) and has a few pull-thrus.

Park rangers stopped by twice as we settled in.

A view from the road
There are 86 spots, all with electric (30 & 50-amp).  Like many state parks we've visited, there is a water spigot every 6-12 spots, so arrive with a little water in your tank or bring an extra hose.  All spots are $20.  (The dump station is set up for departure, so it's not a convenient for filling up water on arrival).

The campground is WAY back in the park, but it's worth it!  The roads are plenty wide for our 36 ft Class A.
Not all spots are shaded but it feels much cooler down in the trees.


Courtesy of http://www.johnson-county.com/dept_conservation.aspx?id=4055

Websitehttp://www.johnson-county.com/dept_conservation.aspx?id=4055

Our T-Mobile (using Iowa Wireless) & AT&T phones had 2 bars & were still tethering.  The campground wifi had a good signal near the bath house and is sufficient for checking email during off-peak times.

The lake is currently drained for an environmental renovation (the first in 20 years).  Otherwise, it is a popular fishing spot.  Maybe that's how we got a spot on a Saturday...


Add caption



We had a few neighbors, but it was very quiet for a Saturday evening.

The park also has lots of hiking trails that we didn’t get to take advantage of.  Next time.

Gates close at 10:30 pm

Dump station on your way out.




We fell asleep to the crickets, awoke to the birds singing and could see a deer grazing while I drank coffee.  This is right up our alley & we highly recommend staying longer than on

On our way back to PR. Lindbergh Bay, St. Thomas, USVI

video

Here's a short clip from our sail to St. Thomas^^^

Look at that speed!
Whew!  Almost two months since I've blogged about sailing.  Ack! It didn't feel exciting enough for a blog, but there are some great pics to share (if you don't follow us on FaceBook).

It's time to depart St. Croix and head towards our home marina for hurricane season.

4/27 Tweet:  "Exactly 4 weeks after arriving, departing #STX for Lameshur Bay #STJ, or Lindberg Bay #STT.  Wherever the wind takes us, baby!"

Main sail & anchor up by 8:00 am (after loosing up wheel to fix a frozen autopilot lock) to motor-sail out of the channel.  (Phone rang.  Our permit for Buck Island?  Next time).  It can be a little rough in the channel, but as soon as we cleared the island, it improved and the genoa was 3/4 unfurled.  We were quickly doing 7 kts and both engines were shut off and retracted.  A beam reach is usually desirable but we're also riding over 4 ft waves.  At least today their more consistent instead of a washing machine.

Heading for St John would put us on a close reach and more into the waves so we immediately fall off for St. Thomas and hear from our friends on sv Eva.  "We're here until Saturday."  Lindberg it is!  Beach bar.  Wifi.  Safari to Havensight to return my non-waterproof camera.  Yeah!

We're not familiar with this point of sail. Gonna have to get out the book! 
(Double reef main, 3/4 genoa. Engines retracted)

We pass the propane tanker and the ferry that go back & forth to St. Croix along with a sailboat going the other way before dropping anchor in Lindbergh.

Tweet:  "Did I mention we sailed the WHOLE way?!  Departing the channel of Christiansted to the entrance of Lindberg Bay. Definitely a top 10, maybe a top 5 (which would include St Croix last year to/from different anchorages)" 



The marine environment is hard on things!  The Captain's first project was to finally dig this bin out of the locker & find out what was leaking in the bottom.  Turns out it wasn't the epoxy resin, but the epoxy hardener.  Messy, messy, messy.  
(Remember, we've lived on the boat 2 years.  Most of those rusty cans were purchased in that time frame!)




While playing around on the computer, we realize our friends on sv Outta Control are in the Google Earth picture for the anchorage!

We caught lunch at Beachcomers with our friends on sv "Eva" before they departed for their haul out in Anguilla.  Good times.  
Important info they shared:  

  • It's Carnival on the island (so DO NOT go downtown this weekend to return my camera!)
  • The new grocery store (VI Finest Foods d/b/a West Bay Supermarket) down near Brewer's is open!
  • Inspect all guests luggage for cheese they forgot to unpack!


A view of Odin from Beachcombers

Dinghying over to Krum Bay to get propane...
How come the propane only goes out when you're making coffee?  Never when you're making lunch or dinner!

The dinghy dock
I rode along on the dinghy ride around the corner to Krum Bay for a propane refill.  Shorter walk to Pueblo Grocery, quick stop Crown Bay Marina Gourmet Gallery for curry paste, & met The Captain at Tickles, Crown Bay Marina, St. Thomas, USVI's.  Dinghy ride back with groceries instead of walking was AWESOME!

A different view of the dinghy dock

It's Raven's (aka ding ding--our dinghy's) one year birthday.  It came with an awesome seat cover/organizer that we get a lot of compliments on.  However, it's starting to suffer and The Captain is going to use it as a template then improve on it.  He's cut into the VERY expensive spare roll of pfifertex that we've been carrying around for a year.  I guess that's what it's for!


Look at that brightly lit grocery store with wide aisles!  Nice.

Excitement for this cruiser is a new grocery store!  West Bay is 1.0 miles from Lindbergh Bay but only 0.6 (with a hill) from Brewer's (yes, along the safari route).  It is well-lit with big wide aisles (something I took for granted back in the States).  




The prices seem similar to Pueblo with lots of little things we like (the "good" grapefruit juice and some yummy veggie burgers) but missing some others (hamburger, bananas, vanilla & less than 2 lbs of chicken thighs).
  The staff is friendly (seriously Pueblo cashiers, at least look up...) and are actively asking customers what products they don't see that they would like them to stock.  The manager stopped me today to chat.  See below for some pricing (Yes, there's a vegetarian section.  Gluten-free pizza?  Yes!  With tofurky pepperoni.  No, thank you). Oh, and the baggers are excellent, even when you hand them a duffle bag!  This will always be our first stop.




The moment you realize oar locks are perfect for hanging grocery bags...


video

Watch the video above to see the big tourist draw at Lindbergh Beach.  People come out here from the cruiser ship dock just to do this!  (You need a Captain's 6-pack license to drive that jet ski!)

One of the best parts of living on a boat



You know you're a cruiser when your husband compliments you on your newest scent...
and it's bug spray!  (Citronella, lemongrass & cedar)

"Things I've learned in the Caribbean: Fixing potholes & installing speed bumps is redundant."


Good night, from Lindbergh Bay!
All of our neighbors have gone. No cruise ship in port, so a quiet beach day. This season is winding down.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Save Data by Sharing with Bluetooth

  

Any way we can save our precious cellular data is welcome!

Did you know you can share between Apple devices without using the internet?  Nowadays, we tend to text or email out of habit but there is another way, especially if it's a big file (no restriction on file size).

Since Blogger quit supporting their apps, I've been frustrated with getting photos from my iPhone over to the iPad for editing and to insert into the blog (without digging out the power hungry laptop).  Recently, a friend showed me AirDrop, which transfers photos (and other data) from one Apple device to another over bluetooth.  Brilliant.  No sucking up precious gigabytes.

It's also a way to share without exchanging info ie., that sunset pic for the tourists you just met in a bar.  

Additionally, it is more secure since it is a peer-to-peer connection vs the internet.

Here's how:


Control Center

  • Airdrop ON by selecting "Contacts" or "Everyone".  (This will also turn on your Bluetooth & Wifi if they weren't already on).

The Share button

  • Go the item you want to share (a pic, a website, a contact, a note).  Press the "Share" button.


Select recipient


  • Locate their device:  There will be circles at the top (recipient's initials or the pic from your "contacts"), with a header of "Tap to share with AirDrop".  Select recipient.
  • The recipient will be prompted to accept or decline, then it is automatically saved in the appropriate place (ie. Photo goes to "Photos", Note goes to "Notes")
  • If you AirDrop to yourself (same Apple ID) then you don't have to accept.
References:
Sometimes we forget going directly to the source is your friend. 

Here's Apple's support page on the topic:

Monday, May 29, 2017

Adding a custom widget to your blog

Windy widget or gadget on the right-hand sidebar

There are widgets (or as Blogger calls them, Gadgets) available for your blog, but as sailors, some of ours are customized.  I also have a double sidebar (on the left & right) so some need resizing.

Many of your favorite websites will have HTML code for sharing a widget on your website/blog in their FAQ's (Frequently Asked Questions).  Here's a simple one to start:

Windy.com

Windy.com is a fun website showing wind & current all over the world!  (try zooming in on the Mona Passage between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico on a windy day.)

To get their "HTML code" you can do a Google search "Windy widget" or go to https://www.windy.com/widgets?50.067,14.383,5

Windy Widget options

They give you the option of "Animated Map" or "Forecast for one location".  For this example, I chose "Animated Map".

Now let's adjust some settings...

  • Use the map on the right to drag then zoom in & out to find your desired location.
  • I resize to "width 200 px x height 200 px".
  • Adjust "Overlay" for wind or waves from the drop down menu.
  • Now you're ready to copy and paste the HTML code at the bottom.


I use Blogger (WordPress calls it a Widget), so: 
  • Log in at Blogger.com
  • "Layout"
  • On the sidebar, "Add Gadget"
  • "HTML/Javascript"
  • Paste into "Content"
  • "Save"
  • ("Preview")
  • "Save Arrangement"

Stay tuned for creating your own Google Maps and adding them to your Social Media or blog page.