A Beach Day with Locals and Swimming with Manta Rays

A Week Aboard S/V Sabado: 6/23/2024 6/30/2024

Hello! Did you see our latest YouTube video? You can watch it here

Last Sunday, we assembled some to-go cocktails for a day at the beach with several locals from the village who had invited us to hang out on shore. We joined them around 10am and swapped stories, skills, songs, and booze. 

We learned some new dance moves, how to harvest giant clams and weave hats from palm fronds. Soon enough, a hoard of sailors joined us from the anchorage. Everyone was so kind! The party continued into the late afternoon. Admittedly, we had too much to drink and spent the following day in bed- aside from a quick trip back to the scene to ensure no trash was left behind from the previous day’s festivities.

Tuesday was bright and sunny. We’d had our eye on an incoming storm, so we took advantage of the solar power and baked two loaves of sourdough bread. We dropped some off to our neighbors and settled in for the night while the second was baking. Typically, we bake in the morning/early afternoon to allow our batteries to recover before dark, so this was a different routine for us. While we were watching our favorite show, we smelled something… unusual. We thought maybe someone was having a bonfire on shore, so we closed our hatches to see if we still smelled it. We did. The toasty smell was coming from Sabado. We leaped into action. Fire on a boat is our worst nightmare. Depending on what catches fire, you could lose your boat in minutes. Ray began unplugging everything while sniffing around. I was about to grab the fire blanket when we realized the bread machine was on. Duh! We restarted the machine and sat back down to finish our TV show, laughing at our overreaction. Better safe than sorry, though!  

We had teamed up with another boat earlier this week to order groceries to be delivered from Tahiti. We’re hoping to stay in the Tuamotus, where supplies are limited, for a while longer and were interested in our provisioning options. Our order contained fresh fruit and vegetables, two bottles of alcohol, and a small amount of meat and cheese. It arrived on Wednesday, and we received the invoice that night. It was 3X what we’d have paid at a grocery store in the Caribbean. Ouch! I don’t think we’ll be doing that again. We tried to make light of the situation over a grilled meat and veggie dinner, complete with a fresh, crunchy salad! We hadn’t had lettuce since Panama! 

The wind we’d been expecting began on Thursday morning. We kept our dinghy in the water, knowing the wind would hold for a week or so. This way, we can still go to shore or visit friends if we want. We got some chores done, and Ray worked on his latest tech project: a screen for our nav desk monitor that would show notable metrics while we run our water maker and generator (like salinity and temperature) in hopes of honing in on our predictive maintenance. We want to know if there’s a problem before it gets bad enough to sound an alarm or shut the system down completely! 

That afternoon, we noticed some spots in the water off our bow. They started dark and then would turn white. We convinced ourselves it was manta rays twirling around as they filter feed. So, despite the high winds, I put on my wetsuit and got in the water. Sure enough, there were four mantas right beneath me! It was a magnificent sight. 

Manta rays are my favorite animal; I haven’t swam with them in years! You can hear my excited giggles in the background of every GoPro video I took of them. 😂 I was on cloud nine for the rest of the day! 

Friday afternoon, we went over to our friend’s boat to help them install our new favorite navigation and weather routing software, qtvlm, which has completely replaced our use of OpenCPN

We plan to post a video with more information about this soon. After Ray had gotten them set up, we shared some sushi and crab cakes before heading home. 

We spent the day yesterday cleaning the boat and doing some food prep. We had three ripe avocados, so I made a double batch of sourdough tortillas for tacos and chips with guacamole. Then, I prepared some mashed potatoes and veggies for dinner later. We tuned in to several Caribbean weather updates, keeping an eye on Hurricane Beryl and our friends in its path. Grenada is considered a “hurricane season safe zone” for most boat insurance policies, making it a popular destination this time of year, but Beryl is heading in that direction. Most folks are currently running south, and our thoughts are with you all! 

We hosted some friends for dinner, air-frying a whole chicken alongside mashed potatoes and vegetables and a fabulous tomato basil salad. We have gotten in the groove of sharing supplies here. I bake bread in exchange for a jar of sprouts, or we trade tech assistance for a chunk of tuna. We host dinner one night, and someone else does the next! We’re all in this together. 

The wind is still howling this morning, but the sun is out. We have zero plans, so we’ll see where the day takes us. I hope you had a great week. ❤️

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