Tropical Dreams

Picture this….warm turquoise water, white sand beaches, coral and tropical aquarium underwater views through my snorkeling mask.

Or how about this…. the sails filled with wind on a beam reach as the catamaran sailboat glides effortlessly through the water towards the island shore.

380That will be our reality shortly when we bareboat charter a catamaran in the British Virgin Islands (BVI) again.  Joe, Ethan and I will be flying to St. Thomas, in the US Virgin Islands, then boarding a ferry to the island of Tortola in the BVI.  A cab ride from the ferry dock to the east side of Tortola, and we will board the Lagoon 380 catamaran, which is a double-hulled sailboat (see picture, above).  Here is the layout of the boat, shown right:

Lagoon380saloonAs sailboats go, it is quite spacious, especially when compared to a monohull sailboat.  You have a main salon, consisting of a kitchen, dining table, and navigation station.

lagoon380_2You also have several staterooms, here is a typical view of one, shown below.

I have lost count of how many bareboat charters we have done.  A charter is considered a “bareboat” when you act in the capacity as captain and crew.  In this case, that would be Joe and I.  Ethan will be wearing a special offshore Personal Floatation  Device (PFD) and tether for safety while underway.  You would be surprised how often we get asked about how we keep 3 year old Ethan safe while sailing, especially when we are both busy at the helm and raising sails, anchoring or picking up a mooring ball.

bvibeachThis trip will be our way of introducing Ethan to a more extended sailing.  Previously, he has only experienced day sails on our current sailboat, SV Sea Glass, an O’Day 23.  We will soon be selling our O’Day 23 and  purchasing a much larger sailboat in early 2015, a bluewater cruiser sailboat about 42-49 feet in size.



Marina Cay, BVI

Chartering in the BVI is fun, relaxing, and there is lots to do and see.  You wake up in the morning and decide where you want to sail and do that day. Above is a map of the island group that makes up the BVI.  I plan to do a lot of snorkeling, sailing, beachcombing, and swimming during our trip.   Watch for my trip report when I get back!   Fair Winds, Carla

Bareboat Charter

Back now from our bareboat charter to the British Virgin Islands.  “Bareboat charter” means that Joe and I chartered a catamaran (Leopard 38) and operated it ourselves.   The opposite of this is chartering a yacht and then having  paid crew sail and  operate the boat.

Here is a map of the BVI’s:

This trip, we invited friends, Larry and Lori, to come along for the fun.  They were great fun; and we had many laughs together!

Getting to Tortola, specifically Wickhams Cay II, takes a bit of patience.  This trip involves a plane trip (or two) to Miami, then another plane trip (or two) to St. Thomas.  Then you grab a cab to the Ferry Dock, a Ferry ride from St. Thomas (in the US Virgin Islands) to Roadtown (which is in the British Virgin Islands). Exit the Ferry, then you grab another cab to the Charter company to pick up the boat.

Prepare to enjoy the concept of being on “island time.”  This is where you R-E-L-A-X and just go with the flow.  Feeling stressed from travel?  No problem…. just grab a cold drink, preferably one with rum and fruit juice involved and just chill.

The charter company, with a bit of pre-planning from you, will have your provisions all ready and unpacked on the boat.  Oops, turned out this was asking too much of our company, so I needed to inquire as to the snafu.  Finally, provisions arrived and put away; we were now one step closer to leaving base.

Joe and I came with our own boat checklist, and we made a list of questions and issues for the boat briefing the following morning.  Good thing we checked as our fresh water level was down a tank, so I grabbed a hose and topped it off.   By this point, you are eager to take off from base and start your charter.

Off we go!  First night was spent at Norman’s Islands, aka “The Bight.”  We love to moor on the left side of the mooring field and snorkel around the point.  We skipped snorkeling at the Caves this time.  Night time fun was at the William Thornton, called the “Willie T” for short.  The Willie T is a wild place, where Painkillers and Rum Punches flows and fun is all around.

The next morning, Joe and I motored over to the Indians, which features the best snorkeling in the area.  Be sure to get there early  to pick up a mooring ball.  This is the place where schools of tropical fish swim all around you, contrasted to the colorful coral reef.  For me, there is nothing more soothing than snorkeling over a reef.  Here is a picture of Larry and Lori snorkeling:

Next stop, Diamond Cay on Jost Van Dyke, which is the location of Foxy’s Taboo and the Bubbling Pool.  We learned that the Bubbling Pool was not so bubbly in July, contrasted to this picture taken last November:

For first time visitors, just ask for directions at Foxy’s Taboo.  Expect roughly about a 3/4 of a mile hike to get here.  Go at high tide if you can.

Foxy’s Taboo features good food and nice staff.  The nice young man remembered us from last November, my encounter with the sea urchin in the Cay must have been memorable!  LOL  If you go here in the month of July, bring bug spray to help with the voracious mosquitoes.  Everyone but Joe got bitten, we even had a contest to see who had most bites on their legs or arms.

The next day, after anchoring at Sandy Cay, one of my favorite spots, Lori and I decided to explore the island trails.  We also spent time looking for shells and beach glass.  Success on both scores!  After this stop, we decided to search for the allusive sea horses in White Bay.

White Bay was shallower than expected, and after a rather boring snorkel whereby we all agreed the sea horses were a myth, this was a pretty spot to spend the night.  During our snorkel, it poured, but this didn’t deter the amorous couple on the beach doing certain shocking things that belong in private. Enough said.

Next stop is Marina Cay, where of course we had to search out the Web Cam on the end of the dock.  You stand in front of the British Phone booth and they upload an image every 15 seconds.  As soon as I find our pictures, I will upload it to show you.

Virgin Gorda Sound  is one of my favorite spots.  We moored at Leverick Bay,  and then took the dingy over to Mosquitos Island, which is owned by Sir Richard Branson.  We have our favorite quiet spot on a beach, plus nearby is my favorite place to hunt for beach glass and shells.

Btw, here are pictures of Joe and I on this trip.  In case you are curious, yes, I am a blonde:

Here is Captain Joe, aka my DH.  Notice how happy we are?

At this point in the trip, we needed to get Larry and Lori back to Wickhams Cay II so they could catch the taxi to the ferry home.  We stopped for one last night at Cooper’s Island and had a tasty dinner there.  The snorkeling is great there, too.

Here I caught Lori on her kindle:

We said goodbye to our friends and then turned around and sailed back to Virgin Gorda again for our final 3 days.  Lori ad Larry were troopers, but I could tell they were happy to see normal flushing toilets again (marine heads require a pump flush handle and switch) and regular showers again (instead of showering on the swim step).

Joe and I love to spend hours at various beaches, just relaxing, snorkeling and beach glass hunting.  I came home with lots of beach glass this trip.  We also visited Saba Rock, and also had a nice meal there.   Also visited the Bitter End Yacht club, Cane Garden Bay, and Cooper Island before sailing back to the base at the end of our trip.

It was a wonderful trip and I can’t wait to do it again!  Next trip planned is tenatively set for next spring in the Bahamas.

Back now to the land of quilting and arts!  It is good to be home.  Hugs, Carla

Next Sailing Adventure

I am so excited to share that I have been making vacation plans for later this year.   One trip involves doing another boat charter to the Caribbean.  But this time,  we have invited our good friends, Larry and Lori, to come along for the fun to the BVI!

You might remember my creative pal, Lori, from the past “Lori & Carla Creative Adventure Week” visits I have done.  Lori was also behind my attending ArtFiberFest in past years.  She also has a wonderful blog named, “Art & Play.” Lori is also the owner and co-designer for this fun shoe quilt.  It was also her very first quilt, I think:

and here is a close-up for why this is called the “Hairy Leg Quilt:”

Funny, isn’t it?  I have had lots of requests for our quilt pattern over the years, too.

Lori and I have been friends for about 2 decades now.  She is married to Larry, who is a very kind man, funny sense of humor, and just good, all-around man.  Together, they have 2 daughters, Chloe is away to art design school, and Cara  (which is really Carla, minus the “l”) who has a vivacious spirit.

So when Joe and I were talking about inviting another couple along for the fun, Lori and Larry immediately came to mind.   We are bound to come home with lots of stories and hopefully, no one needs the services of the local witch doctor/taxi driver, like I did on our last trip when I stepped on a nasty sea urchin.

Joe and I are looking forward to  sharing our favorite places with Larry and Lori.  The bubbling pool on Jost Van Dyke near Foxy’s Taboo, snorkeling around the Indians, sea glass and shell hunting on Sandy Cay, and that one deserted white sand beach near Virgin Gorda Sound, and more!

Sound like a fun trip??    Cheers, Carla

My Entrance Gate

I realized that I never showed you all the finished entrance gate to my home on the hill.  It is rather  big and pretty impressive for a gate to keep out the cows, I admit.  Of course, I have a story for why it is so big here if you want to read the back story.

I thought it would be fun to take 5 pictures and paste them together for a panoramic view:

There is also a control pad, phone and camera system built into the gate.  Pretty cool, isn’t it?  Plus it matches my house.  Here is one reason to have a gate:

I thought I would share the view out my front door:

And here is my door looking back.  When this special ordered door was first installed, a cow decided to plop down against it and blew out the bottom of the door.  Can you hear me phone my insurance agent and tell them a cow ruined my front door?  LOL

Christmas is over, so I guess I had better lose the poinsettia  doormat?  LOL

Peeking in, you can see there is a quilt pattern in the travertine floor entry way.  And you can see the new fireplace mantle and surround.   Here is the picture I showed previously before it was finished and grouted:

Anyway, I love my home and it fits me to a “T.”  We plan to live here post retirement and hopefully for the rest of our lives.   What do you love about your home?  Regards, Carla


Here in California, living in the foothills, we only get a dusting of snow every winter if we are lucky.  Last night, a winter storm moved in, and so we woke up to over a foot of snow on the ground!   Also unusual, we had thunder-snow,  which is lightening storm with the snow.

Carla note: The snow continued for a couple of hours after I took the above photo.  In the end the snow on the patio furniture doubled in depth!

We also lost power, but I am able to type this thanks to our generator.  The oak trees are not used to the heavy weight of the snow, so they are breaking branches off left and right.  We have a utility van we use on occasion and it had several large branches fell on it.

We did take time to play in the snow.  I made a snowcat and Joe made a snowman:

I am staying warm right now by wrapping myself in my lovely snuggle quilt.  Yes, I use a snuggle quilt with minkee in the winter time.

I will update this post with pics as soon as I am able to charge my other computer when the power is restored.  I have a feeling that clearing up branches is in my future!  LOL

Regards, Carla

Happy Friday!


The above picture was taken on my last trip to Hawaii,  sand makes a lovely doodle board, doesn’t it?

My vacation this year is now all organized!  One 36 foot sailboat rented, 2 airplane flights booked, also one ferry ride, and one hotel arrangement made. It is time to put into practice all those sailing lessons we have taken this summer, so we will have 10 days to travel around the British Virgin Islands by ourselves.  We will visit deserted beaches,   snorkel,  and yes,  just relax!

Last time I visited the BVI, we chartered a 44 foot catamaran.  This time, we decided to just charter a smaller monohull sailboat- a Jeaneau 36i.  This gives us a chance to test drive a new boat to see how we like it.  Eventually, we will be buying a boat to go cruising, buy not until after retirement.  we are in no hurry.

I haven’t been blogging as much as I usually do, the last virus I had really zapped my strength.  I am back creating once again, so watch out for some new work to be shown.

Today is the day my cleaning gal comes, have I told you how much I love having her come??  Rachel is a friend of a friend, and does a great job of cleaning my house 2x per month.  I noticed it was quiet when she was here, so I made her a custom itunes playlist so she can enjoy music while she works.  I know she appreciates this.

Jack update!  Joe and I babysat Jack last Saturday night so my son and his wife could go out.  This weekend, we are planning our first overnight stay, so I cannot wait!  Jack is at a very fun age and is so adorable!

Hope you enjoy the coming holiday!  Anyone doing something fun?  Hugs, Carla

Back from Tahoe Again!

Seems like I am always heading to Tahoe and back, doesn’t it?  We had another fun weekend in South Lake Tahoe,

dock 1

we decided to try out a restaurant, Evans American Gourmet Cafe, that our son, Stephen, had been to just a week prior.  Stephen is always trying to expand our horizons, so he even called Evans up and made the reservation.

The last time Stephen suggested a place to eat out, he took us to Morton’s, a yummy meal which certainly qualified as the most expensive-meal-I-have-ever-eaten Award.   So we approached Evans with some hesitation, but as soon as we got there, we were put at ease by the friendly, down to earth staff.

Kudos to owners Evan and Candace and their staff as Evans is a culinary gem!  The chef prepared  our appetizer, entrees and dessert using only the freshest ingredients.  They also had a wonderful wine list as well.  A real treat, all-in-all!  Thanks, Stephen, for the recommendation!

Saturday and Sunday were spent learning more sailing skills related to coastal cruising and navigation.  Instructor Robert had lots of personality and fun stories- which made the time fly by!  (Hello to classmate Beverley, btw!)

The highlight for us was the extensive docking practice we received.  Robert had us spinning the 32′ sailboat around in the harbor over and over.  Yes, near all the other boats, too.

Once you have learned to use the wind, and boat helm controls to spin the boat on a dime, well… docking a boat is a cake walk!!  That exercise gave me the courage to do anything!

Sunday, we also were taught anchoring skills, and of course, the wind died down just before the “man overboard” drills.  What this means is we have to come back when there is more wind and do this part of the program before we are signed off in our log books.  Oh well.

Here is the boat we took out.  I remembered to take pictures only after docking.  I took the picture while standing in the cockpit of the boat:

dock 2 copy

Back home on Monday.  Today it is back to quilting again, and beading.     Hope your weekend was as memorable!

Chicken Collection and other art

The co-owner of the yacht and house shown in an earlier post also has a chicken collection- which people have given her over the years.  Besides having a chicken thing going on, we also share the same birthday, too.  I took some pictures of just a few:






I’ll switch gears to public art.  I found this fish hanging up on the north side of Bay Harbor in the shopping area:


and this butterfly bench that will be auctioned off for charity:


While shopping in Downtown

IMG_6336 , I saw this cute coffee shop with colorful stoneware cemented into the wall:


and more :


Pretty cool, I think!

Back to quilting in the morning!

First Report- Ft. Lauderdale to St. Augustine

Hello!  This is the first report of the trip- Day one and two.  Pictures and video to follow, too beat out from a LONG day- a 14 hour day!  Here is my blog diary covering Ft. Lauderdale to St. Augustine, FL:

Friday, May 15, 2009  Arrived safe and sound to Miami Airport.  Dave and Yvette picked me up and we headed directly over to the boat to unpack and get settled in.


Turned out I thought we would hang out in So. FL for a few days before leaving, but the window of travel opportunity presented itself, so Dave made the decision to leave in the morning.

So off to dinner to a restaurant called “Tropical”  something or another.  Had crab cakes, a rum drink, and key lime pie to celebrate my arrival to FL.  It was very good, so with full tummies we headed off to Publix, the local grocery store near the boat yard to provision for the first leg.

Jet lag caught up with me, so I slept well in my statesroom on the yacht.  I get a queen bed, private head,  very nice.  More about the boat later though.  Night night!

Saturday, May 16, 2009-   Up early to leave the boat yard by 7:00 am  and head up the river to the intercoastal, then out to the Atlantic Ocean.  At one point, we were held up for a train/ lift bridge, so I grabbed the video camera and took some feed for Joe, who is a train buff.

Life was good, until we hit the waves.  Some boats ride lower than others, some boats are tossed around easier.  Unfortunately, Odyessey is in the second category.  I kept my cookies for almost 2 hours of the sea waves and being pounded.  Then I figured out, for the first time in my life, that I could, indeed, succumb to sea sickness.

My sister has a similar sense of humor that I do, so she kept trying to get a picture of me praying to the porcelain gods for all you blog readers to enjoy.  Thank goodness, I had already finished, so my dignity is still intact and YOU are not grossed out.

Spent the next 5 hours flat on the salon sofa trying to sleep it off.  Finally I woke up a little while ago feeling better, so I can write this.  This is the very first time I have been seasick, so it tells you how rough it was for us.

Finally made it to St. Augustine, FL after dark, which was dicey.  As I mentioned above, a hard 14 hours since we stayed offshore and did not use the intercoastal.  Hard to see the buoys to safely make it into the harbor.  Docking procedure went well,  we had help on the dock, which is always appreciated.  We are all beat!

Part of the reason we are rushing is to get to Charlestown, SC before the  weather front hits us.  After that, the waves will be too big for us to continue, so we will hunker down in SC for a few days and sightsee.  (If anyone has hints of places to see and things to do, please post!).

When we are at Charlestown, I will upload pictures to share and- if I can figure out my new camcorder- I will attempt  to upload a video.

That’s it for now.  Does anyone  have a question, I will answer it when I can get wifi.  Also, I am able to twitter, even off shore, which is a miracle, so you could sign up for my Tweets- and also my sister, Yvette Andrews (real name and Tweet name).  Hugs, from Carla

Packed and Ready to Go

Tomorrow I leave for my 2009 boating adventure trip.  Think of it as a working holiday of sorts.  You all would be proud of me… I am only bringing one carry on and one suitcase.  More typical for me is 2 each, so I am being very good in a “less is more” kind of way.

We had a bunch of frequent flyer miles that were going to expire, so I am traveling first class, too.  I don’t know about you, but I love flying first class- at least the few times I have been fortunate enough to be upgraded.  You actually get real meals instead of overpriced snack boxes.  My suitcase can weight 100 pounds and no one charges you extra.  Life is good.

Ok, I did downsize the weight of beads I am taking.  Beads need to be carried on, since I don’t trust the baggage handlers one bit.  Who knows?  One of them may have a bead fetish or something, so best to be safe and put them in the carry on.

Are you like me?  I also carry on all prescriptions, would hate to enrich some airport employee who sells them on the street for profit.  Same goes with all my electronic goodies- the computer, the camcorder, the camera, and my iphone.  Oops, can’t forget that noise- cancellation headphones either.  You have to bring reading material, too, so my carry on is a bit heavy.  Thank goodness it has wheels, so I can easily cart it through the airports.

Ahhhh… South Florida.  I am craving Cuban food and stone crabs.  The sand and the ocean.  Of course, if I hit any new beaches, then I collect the sand for my sand collection:


So I hope you will follow my adventure!    If you are following the boat itinerary, I hope to at least meet one blog reader.  Right now, the starting point will be Fort Lauderdale, and our departure date depends on sea and weather conditions.   We will head north along the eastern seaboard.

Bon Voyage!  Carla