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Thursday, 1/8/09                                                                                Day 341

Here we are, back to normal.  I did get $5 from the Tooth Fairy.  We did school for normal hours.  At one point, Mom went to a cruising medical seminar for an hour or two.  We got to the beach around 1:45.  Our tunnels had been leveled (filled in, not flattened down) by the tide.  At 2:00, I went to a little class Ms. Sue (Nice 'n Easy) was teaching on basket weaving.  She weaves really neat baskets out of special palm fronds only found in the Exumas.  All the kids wanted to check it out, but I was one of the few who stayed.  I did pretty well for my first day.  I worked on and off (mostly on) all afternoon until Ms. Sue left.

Once, I went with Josh and David to get fries.  I definitely got my dollar's worth!  And, we let no one steal from our bowl!  Geneva, who got her own bowl, ended up being robbed by all the non-paying kids.  An inner craving was satisfied today.

We went home at the normal hour.  We ate Wahoo for supper.  We were going to play Gin Rummy, but it got too late.  Today was great.

Friday, 1/9/09
                                                                                Day 342

Today was quite exciting from the beginning, starting with school.  I did a double dose of Geometry to get ready for a test before Dad flies back to the States.  That's 3 hours of math.  Tomorrow I'll get the exam done and dad will send it in when he gets home.

While we did school, Dad ran in to town.  He got a cake and buns from Mom's Bakery.  Mom is a Bahamian lady who runs her business out of her own van and makes delicious baked goods.  All the cruisers love her.  Her van has been in the shop for 6 months, and this is the first time she's been around this season.  We ate a bun with lunch and a piece of cake for dessert.  It's all good stuff!

We hitched a ride with More Cowbell to get to the beach because Mom and Dad were taking too long.  More Cowbell has guests, including a girl who joined in our games.  We played Capture the Flag twice.  David invented two cool games that you can play with a volleyball and a picnic table.  The first is called volley-pong.  Two people stand in the middle of the long sides of the table.  You hit the ball back and forth, letting it bounce as many times as you want, and hitting it any way without carrying it.  The ball must hit the table at least once.  It the ball hits the ground inside a marked off zone, the point goes to the opposite side.  If it gets hit out-of-bounds, whoever touched it last does not get the point.  The first person to get 5 or 10 points (whichever you're playing to) wins.

The other game is headball.  You stand on the benches of a picnic table with your teammate(s) and you catch the ball and hit it with your head.  The goal is to get the ball past the opposing team.  One of the only rules is that you can move the ball, but not the position of your hands.  You can also have a teammate hit a ball you caught.  It's quite fun.  The first team to get 10 points wins.

A variation of headball I made is where you and one opponent try to score into one of two small goals.  You have the field and goals set up like in soccer.  You run down the field picking up the ball and hitting it with your head.  Like in basketball, you may not travel, and you can only pivot on one foot.  The first person to score in his/her goal wins.

We played those types of games all afternoon.  Eventually everyone left and we brought David home.  Ms. Rosemary (David's mom) lent me their guest book to write my poem in it.  We had pasta for supper with cake for dessert.  We played Crazy Eights 9 (a card game) and I won both hands.  I'm reading a good book - The Wreckers, by Ian Lawrence - that I want to finish.  It's only 8:30 and Mom's already asleep.  Maybe I should take that as advice!

Saturday, 1/10/09
                                                                                Day 343

I didn't get my exam done today.  But that's okay!  I got to go do fun stuff instead!  At 10:00, after the slightest bit of school and a bunch of my nose stuck in another Ian Lawrence book, we went to a fishing seminar.  Nick on Escargot did the seminar.  He did a fantastic job of explaining what you should have and how to rig and handle stuff.  We learned some good techniques, and Dad has a list for Fishing Tackle Unlimited, our great store back in Texas!

We came home from the seminar long enough to have lunch, pick up mail, and get ready for a great afternoon of volleyball.  Since Dad is going back to the States, he offered to take back flat, stamped mail for cruisers so they wouldn't have to pay international rates.  Dinghies just flock to our boat!  We even have two bags - one to go throughout the United States, the second to go to Canada.  It's all stamped in US Postal stamps.  Dad will be fully loaded going to Texas!

At 2:00 we went to the beach for a kids' volleyball clinic.  Mr. Alan (Nutmeg) got it organized and Mr. Ollie (short for Oliver, from Dejarlo) taught it.  Rio Dulce, Gotta Life, Adam & David showed up.  After some instruction and drills, we played until we were tired.  I played two games of kids and mixed adult volleyball.  Then we played volley-pong and headball for the rest of the day.  At the end, David, Josh, Ms. Rosemary (David's mom - Niña), Tom, Monika (crew along with Tom, on Niña), Mr. Alan, a guy named Josh, and I all played a game of volleyball to end the day.  My team won!  It was a good end to our beach day.

Dad and I got Independence almost completely done, and with a few things that I can do, I'll sail tomorrow.  We came home and supper's cooking.  Dad leaves at 6:45 tomorrow.  Boo hoo!   We'll be fine.  We're all good!

Sunday, 1/11/09
                                                                                Day 344

Today was busy, busy, busy!  Literally sun-up to sun-down! (Actually, before and after both!)  We are like the Energizer Bunny - we "keep going and going and going!"

At 6:45 this morning, Dad left.  He's on a business trip.  He'll land in 9 airports in  days!  His pre-arranged water taxi never showed up, nor did his land taxi.  We took him to George Town in the dinghy and then he finally got a taxi 45 minutes late.  Luckily, he got on his flight, only to be delayed 3 hours upon arriving in Fort Lauderdale.

We got Dad on his way and went to Beach Church.  We were all stressed, so Mom didn't bring her flute and I didn't sing in the choir.  Ms. Tina off Scud gave a wonderful sermon.

After church, David came to our boat so his parents could go into town and he could go to the beach.  We ate lunch and David taught me how to play Texas Hold 'Em (poker).  We had to go to St. Francis to get internet for like a half hour.  That was at 12:30.  Two hours later, we finally left.  And Mom said we needed to leave the beach at 4:00 today.

On the beach, we met Ayla (age 12) from the trawler Three @ Sea.  We showed her how to swing from the tree.  We played volleyball and had fun like usual.  Mom played bridge.  Rio Dulce and Gotta Life didn't come today.

We left when Mom wanted.
L We had to get ready for a little private bonfire party Ms. Tina had invited us to.  It was us, Three @ Sea, Scud, Zing, Whisper, and a boat with a 9yr. old on board.  Why we in particular were invited, I'll never know.  We don't even know Ms. Tina that well.  We made a big bonfire and roasted hot dogs and marshmallows.  There was lots of good food.  Towards the end, the four kids decided to make our own fire.  We got wood and other materials together and brought hot coals to our pile.  After a bit of blowing and a lot of kindling, it caught on fire.  Finally, when the fire was large and I made myself a pillow of  sand and laid down near the flames, we were told to put it out.  It was below the high tide line, so we just put some sand on the coals and let the water do the rest.

Now we're back on the boat and it's 8:24.  I'm not allowed below until I shower.  I smell that badly of smoke!  So, I'm waiting for Bro to finish while I do this.  I had a really great day.

Monday, 1/12/09
                                                                                Day 345

Another happy Exuma day!  That's what they say on the net most mornings, and it is definitely true.  Today was a normal day, but "normal" here in George Town is great!  During school today, I made two nice advancements.  1) I finished my Geometry Exam for part 1 of 6.  2) I completed some extra tests that I was late in starting.  We finished late, but got to the beach on time.

Today's fun activity (kind of) was launching Independence.  This was her first sail since, I think, Onset, MA.  There was one design flaw.  Because of how my rudder/tiller is set up, if I press down on the tiller, the rudder pops out of its pintles and gudgeons.  But that can be overcome.  What actually caused me to stop sailing this time is the wind.  It was too light for me to go upwind, but I was already downwind of the beach.  Some French-Canadians towed me back.  I didn't sail for the rest of the day.  I'll try tomorrow.  I just thought this up - Independence is the official vessel of the Sons of Liberty!

We got together an awesome volleyball game of 5 on 5, all kids.  The game was great with lots of volleys and good serves, sets, etc.  After an excellent volley that my team won, the game ended.  Brady hit it out of bounds, and the whole other team chased after him.  The game ended 10-10.  I had fun.

We had to leave at 4:30 and ended with a good night on board.  Mom made one of our favorite dishes, chicken with McCormick's chicken gravy and egg noodles and a small salad.
J  Yesterday I advertised for Energizer batteries; today it's McDonalds - Ba da ba ba ba; I'm lovin' it.

Tuesday, 1/13/09
                                                                                Day 346

Oh my gosh!  Exhaustion is taking over, and it's only 6:15 in the evening.  I have had quite a tiring day.  Actually, only the last 3 hours have been tiring.  The rest of the day was pretty blah.

We did school like usual and went to Nice 'n Easy at 1:00.  Mom was practicing her flute with Mr. Bill on the keyboard.  They practiced for church on Sunday.  They did well.  I talked with Ms. Sue and sang along to Mom and Mr. Bill's songs. 

We went straight from Nice 'n Easy to Chat 'N Chill.  There were no kids at all on the beach.  Literally every kid was at the poker clinic that Brendan (Erin & Geneva's cousin on Sand Piper) was giving.  Mom said it wasn't for kids and wouldn't let us go.  Actually, Brendan had said that it was fine for kids. 
L  At like 3-3:30, everybody finally came.  We played.  Ayla invited us all over to her boat tomorrow to have a movie night.  After a lot of asking around, I got Anne to come sail with me in Independence.  Right when we got over there, she chickened out on me.  But Mark (Brendan's brother) said he'd come.  We sailed it off in 15-20kts. and had a great time. (Almost)  Everything was working out fine.  The two exceptions were:  1)  there are two screw holes that leak water through the floor, and 2) the folding rudder won't stay folded down.  But we were sailing along fine anyway.  At the end, we decided to sail to St. Francis to get a bailer from Mark & Brendan's dinghy.  To get from Volleyball Beach down through Gaviota Bay to St. Francis, you have to make a 90 degree turn.  Going downwind to that turn, disaster struck.  We jibed - a dangerous maneuver in those conditions, at least for my boat.  The boom slammed over and we couldn't move to the upwind side fast enough.  I tried to turn up towards the wind, but by that point, the downwind edge was already 6 inches under water, the point of no return.  The boat went down and we couldn't do anything about it.  Luckily, Mom and Mr. Alan saw us and Mr. Alan came out to our rescue.  We pulled it in to shore and were able to recover everything.  Nothing broke, thank goodness.  We cleaned all the sand out of the boat and got everything right and then I sailed it back to the place we tie it up.  Something kind of funny is that we met Brendan on the beach; his poker clinic had finished early and their dinghy wasn't even at St. Francis. J

We had to leave after all that.  It is a late evening - past 6:00 when we got home - and Mom is kind of fussy.  I love George Town.  J  We are having such a nice time here.  We'll have to leave eventually, but I hope that's not soon.

Wednesday, 1/14/09
                                                                        Day 347

Today was awesome!  It's been a long day, but a great one.  We started with a little bit of school after breakfast (Josh's yummy toast) before taking a break.  We went to Oceanside at 9:00am to collect trash.  The whole operation was led by Mr. Alan.  He thought it would only take an hour, but we worked for 2 ¾ hours.  We walked really far (like a ½ mile) and dragged huge bags of trash all the way to the dinghies near volleyball beach.  We got way more stuff than expected.  The team starting from Sand Dollar Beach (south of Volleyball beach) got 9 bags.  From Volleyball, Joy took 7 bags, Mr. Alan took 6 more, and I think Tortue took around a dozen bags.  And other people took more.  That comes out to around 35+ bags!!  It was amazing!!

It was 11:45 when we got home.  We were all exhausted and hungry.  We ate an early lunch and got back to school.  We ended up getting a pretty good day in.

Like normal, we went to the beach at 1:45.  We met Kaeo (11) and his younger sister from Osprey.  We did all the normal stuff, including playing a game of volleyball.

We had to leave at 4:00 to get ready for Ayla's movie party.  Mom made a small supper of pork and rice.  I made a dressing for the salad.  Mom gave us drinks and pub mix to bring to the party.  We went over to Three @ Sea at 5:45 like planned.  They have a really nice boat.  It's like a really little megayacht.  It's got real showers, lots of computers and technology, a giant flatscreen TV, stabilizers for rocky anchorages, a big kitchen, and more!!  There were 15 of us kids - Osprey, Joy, us, Rio Dulce, Gotta Life, More Cowbell, and Ayla herself.  We watched Get Smart!  I've really wanted to see that movie.  It was AWESOME!  The movie was rated PG-13.  Mom was apprehensive to let Josh go, but she did.  In the end, the movie really wasn't for him and his age, but whatever.  It doesn't matter.  Ms. Kathryn (Ayla's mom) made enough popcorn to go around and also made fresh chocolate chip cookies.  Apart from the little thing that the Osprey kids were yelling and hollering the whole movie, everything was fantastic.  We had so much fun!  And, there were practically no adults.  We need to do that again sometime!  It was like, the best way to end today!  100%!