Pina Colada in a Pint Glass, Yes Please!

I thoroughly enjoy all of the music produced by Gaelic Storm but one song in particular, Pina Colada in a Pint Glass, I hold near and dear to my heart. This is the story of a working gal; all she wants to do is get outa dodge. Her dreams and mine are closely aligned, “…She wants a pina colada in a pint glass, she wants to be where the summer don’t stop! She wants gin clear water and milk white sand, a sunburned nose and a drink in her hand with a pink umbrella on top! I had successfully eliminated winter, found the gin clear water and milk white sand, had many a sunburned nose, and now finally…the pina colada!

Brian and I invited friends, David and Victoria, to join us for sundowners. Not just any sundowners, but excursion sundowners at Almond Bay where we hoped to find the highly sought after pina colada. We dinghied along the coast of Providencia about one-mile south from the anchorage. Almond Bay was a charming little sandy beach where the main attraction was a funky, Rasta-looking beach bar.


“Pina colada bar?” I asked a friendly hostess. I received a big smile, “Si.” We arranged some chairs and found a comfortable seat with a lovely view of the bay while we awaited four drinks.




Meantime, one of the most hilarious sights I have seen… We’re sitting with a lookout of a fantastic bay, behind us tall mountains and swaying palms, and we watch as a pair of tourists get out of the water and walk down the beach toward our dinghies. The tourists pause at David and Victoria’s dinghy. The man takes out his camera and begins backing away, nice time for a lovely photo in front of the water. But, no! The lady sits down beside the dinghy and poses for a photo! Seriously! She’s working the lens with at least three different seductive poses before the photo shoot ends. I couldn’t believe in this little slice of paradise that the inflatable dinghy was their choice backdrop!


When the pina coladas arrived we were still laughing. “Cheers!” And just like that it wasn’t the icy cold, tall, sweet drink in our hands that made our day but the experience of obtaining it. No pink umbrella necessary!

Tiny boat HUGE SAILS

While orienting us to Bermuda our new friend Audrey told us about the Bermuda Fitted Dinghy.  These crazy race boats are only 14 feet long, but carry a mast that is up to 40 feet tall!  Rode Trip’s mast is only 44′ tall!  We were intrigued and Audrey said she would make some phone calls and try to get us a spot on the committee boat.

As we were leaving the club to head back to Rode Trip a friendly voice called down from the balcony, “Are you the two interested in being on the committee boat this weekend?”  We stopped and looked up to meet Gary, a supporter of the St. George’s dinghy Victory.  Gary told us that there would be plenty of room on the committee boat and we were welcome to join in the event.  As we were saying our goodbye’s he asked if we had a lot of dinghy sailing experience.  After telling him about racing lasers in New Hampshire he informed me that there just might be an open crew position on the Victory.

Sunday morning we met up with the crew at the Sports club and started assembling the dinghy.  First step attach the bowsprit (12′) and launch the boat.


IMG_5201Then we loaded up the rig selection for the day.  Our skipper Tom chose the #2 rig.  There are three different sizes of rig for the dinghy # 1 is a light air rig with a 40′ mast, #2 is smaller with a 32′ mast and #3 is for heavy air with a 25′ mast.  We loaded the mast, boom, sails, spare parts and tools onto the support boat and headed out to a mooring to rig the boat.

All hands to raise the mast!


Here comes the competition!


Once the mast was raised we had to keep at least 3 people in the dinghy just to keep it upright, and this was without any sails!


With 8 people helping the sails went up quick and the crew headed out for the first race, unfortunately I didn’t get to sail in the first two races, but had a great time watching.


Stephanie helped on the starting boat for the first race.


For the second race Skipper Tom’s girlfriend Leatrice came by in her powerboat and followed the Victory giving us a play by play of everything that was going right and wrong on board the dinghy.  We learned that she had represented Bermuda in the 2004 Olympics for sailling!

During the second race the crew of Elizabeth didn’t move their weight quite fast enough and ended up sunk.  It took a long time to get the boat upright and floating again.


For race 3 Tom decided that a little more weight would help and I was selected as crew.  We had a GREAT race, taking first place!  I haven’t hiked ( held my weight out over the water by tucking my feet under a strap) that hard in a long time!

IMG_5300It was a great day of racing and meeting new friends.  Leatrice even invited us to come down to Hamilton on Wednesday for “big boat” (not dinghy) racing.

More pictures!


Dinkin’ Around

They say that most accidents happen closest to home and I don’t think that since our home is a boat we are exempt from that rule. Take, for instance, this example of a daily commute gone horribly wrong.

Getting to shore presents a continuous problem for me. I’m not entirely comfortable taking the dinghy on my own, although I do know how and am perfectly capable of starting the engine and steering around given practice. I typically wait out the day’s events to pair whatever I need to do ashore with what Brian is doing ashore; packing the computer, taking along the laundry, shower stuff, etc. so that when he goes I am ready for everything and anything I can fit into our shore time. It’s nice to have a driver. (Getting multiple things accomplished while out is a task I mastered while growing up in Podunk, PA when it was a 45-minute drive to civilization. That meant not only did we get groceries but also crammed in whatever other shopping, errands, etc. needed done while in the “big city.”) I am completely comfortable taking the kayak, which also boosts me with feelings of independence and strength.

Now that I’ve begun running once again, there is reason for me to go to shore on my time which happens to be early-ish morning when I prefer to run. On Monday morning I was up and ready by 8:10am and headed on deck to get myself into the kayak for the paddle to shore. The current was whipping though, “good,” I thought, “current toward the dock means less paddling.” Days prior I had taken the kayak into shore for a walk and encountered a strong current. I had no difficulty getting myself quickly into the kayak and on my way. On Monday there was one additional factor, however, to getting into the kayak. I had a backpack with shower gear that needed to be lowered and stuffed into the kayak along with me. So into the water goes the kayak – splash! Then into the kayak goes the backpack – plunk! I lower myself into the kayak and like I’ve done so many times before. I hold the rub-rail of the boat with one hand while I bend and shove the backpack behind the kayak seat with the other hand. During this maneuver, the kayak which is normally nicely parallel to the boat began to veer off with the current pushing it away from the boat. Two hands on the rub-rail now I was using all my might (remember those sore abs from the first day’s run) to pull the kayak back to parallel alongside the boat so that I could get myself seated and grab my paddle. Since the kayak had veered off the current had much more surface area to now push it backward and farther sideways. I managed to get it nearly alongside the boat and was trying to change my position in order to sit when it veered off again, current chugging along not helping. So now, still both hands on the rub-rail I’m pulling the kayak back toward the boat. Feet in kayak I’m getting stretched like Gumby and then the kayak tips just enough to pull in a bit of water. Uh oh! I can’t get it tipped back to upright and now my feet are in the water filled kayak clinging by just my ankles and the current is pulling it HARD. “Not…holding…on…much…longer…Brian! BRIAN!!”

Brian comes to the rescue, still sleepers in his eyes. He grabs hold of my wrists and directs, “let go of the kayak!” My mind is spinning. I’m now wet from the waist down, ankles straining all I can think is if I let go the kayak will float away in the current. But the now full kayak is HEAVY and I cannot risk letting go of the boat or I’ll be floating away in the current too. At least I have my lifejacket on, maybe I can grab a crab pot buoy on the way past. “Let go of the kayak!” he repeats sternly. “OK!” I free my feet from the kayak cockpit and there it goes, floating away while Brian heaves me up higher and out of the water. We both pause for a rest, he not letting go and me gripping around the side of the boat now up to my elbows around the edge of the deck. “Swing your leg up,” he says. Umph, swing my leg up that high!? Damn this running idea, my legs are dead weight! Ok, swinging…in slow motion. On the third try my leg is over the rub rail and Brian is pulling me by lifejacket into the boat. Safe, and shaking, we’re not done yet. “Into the dinghy,” Brian says, “we’ve got to get the kayak,” and paddle that went along with it.

Thinking all this through, I could have waited until the current lightened at bit. Always waiting for some element of weather. I could have put the backpack into the dry compartment on the top of the kayak before the kayak was even in the water. Might have even kept everything dry, what a concept! Or I could have taken the dinghy, easy to get into and powers right through current in any direction you would like to go. Hmmm…

So now I’m dinkin’ around, driving the dinghy each time we go to shore. It reminds me of when my brother gave me dirt bike driving lessons. Unfortunately I toppled the dirt bike over three times and then my dad put a stop to our lessons. But the dinghy engine has the throttle right there on the handle used to steer, so depending on what side of the dinghy I’m sitting I either speed up or slow down when steering. This is what practicing is all about. I’m a bit shaky getting the dinghy docked alongside the boat, but won’t be making solo trips for a while.