Posts Tagged ‘snorkeling’

New Moon March 4, 2011

March 4, 2011

Aloha Beloveds,
I do hope that this time around the lunar cycle has filled you with more love, more bliss, more kindness, more compassion, more joy. It has been that for me. This is a long entry as I have been passionately embracing the water world and cruising life on this S/V Seabound.

Boating
Whitewolf and I have been so blessed to be aboard S/V Seabound. We are learning and remembering the ropes of being on a boat. I can finally tie some knots that I feel secure will hold. Besides sailing, there are so many systems to be aware of..refrigeration, engines, amperage in the batteries, pumping out the head(toilet), bilge pumps, zincs on the bottom, scraping the bottom…and then there is navigation, GPS, reading charts, catching mooring balls, anchoring on and on it goes. Yet all of this is “the how “to live on the sea. I am soaking up knowledge like a sponge. I am so full of excitement and passion for this cruising life. We hope to own a catamaran with some others by next year. More on that later.

Puerto Rico Adventures
We have taken a few trips around Puerto Rico by car. We went from Salinas in the south where the boat is anchored to Aricebo on the north side of the island. We went through huge bamboo forests, rivers and the green verdant mountains to visit the largest radio astromony dish in the world. It was very fantastic. Many interactive displays where I learned heaps about the stars, the planets, the galaxies. Then onto a huge cave that had some of the biggest stalagmites I’ve ever seen. Inside we all felt the elementals, heard the crickets and felt the ancientness of this magnificent place.

Taino Indians
Researching on the internet for Taino petroglyphs near Aricebo, I found out about a cave beside the ocean, We had an adventure finding it as it was in someone’s back yard who had handpainted signs on the road telling us to see the Indio cave for a $2 car parking charge. We arrived near sundown and hurried to the path behind the house to the roaring of the ocean. There on the cliff was a ladder tied to the rocks which we gingerly descended into a cave like area with the waves coming in and out that was covered with ancient petroglyphs. The Taino Indians who migrated up from South America about 3,000 years ago, were a peaceful, loving, gentle people who made wonderful pottery and baskets, played ball games, had ceremonies and carried an oral tradition. They carved petroglyphs in and around water sources which are in abundance still in Puerto Rico. In the fading light we felt like we had gone thru a time warp into another world viewing the ancient birds, people and faces in the rock.We met some wonderful young people there whom we shared the sundown conch ceremony. One of them Bepo, a muscian, later in the week showed us around an ancient site of ceremony and lodging of the Tainos-where we met some very old trees as well as a cork tree, walked some sacred ceremonial grounds and viewed more petroglyphs. There was also a musem that gave us some knowledge of the Taino people.

Swimming Hole
As it was hot day, this merlady wanted to go swimming. So Bepo took us on a search for a swimming hole he had gone to 16 years before. After talking to a few folks along the river who warned us to be cuidado, careful, we found it. It was a precarious hike down to the pools and then a very careful entry into a lovely cool refreshing pool of water. An even more careful way out for if you missed your exit you could go tumbling down over the next set of rocks into a waterfall. This was a special place as on a few boulders along the water were two more Taino petroglyphs, a face and two spirals connected together. The river has very strong energy here as folks had tried to dam it up years ago but had to cut holes in the structure to let the waters through. A very special place indeed.

Puerto Rican Family

Bepo invited us to his family home. We left our car on the side of the road and jumped in the family car to a gripping descent to the house. This decline made some of San Francisco streets look tame. In fact Bepo told us that one rainy evening coming home he actually slid down the hill to his house. We were greeted by the family dog, his mom and stepdad. I had brought my banjo and we proceeded to share music. Turns out his step dad is a well known face in the Puerto Rican folk music scene and we were treated to many wonderful songs. I shared some of mine and everyone sang, clapped hands in time to the music and played the percussion instruments I brought as well as some they had. I encouraged his mom to do a kazoo duet with me. Yes even the dog howled with the music…not sure if that was a compliment or not.

Whitewolf departs
Before Whitewolf left, S/V Seabound took a short journey with a stop at Adam and Eve island where we all ran around looking like Adam and Eve. Though the next day everyone except the captain,had a few red places to nuture. Whitewolf looked very confident sitting behind the wheel guiding us back to Salinas so that he could take off for California the next day. Our cook, jokester and buddy will be missed.

Bound for Vieques, St. Thomas and St. John
After getting our bottom cleaned, provisioning up with papaya, avocado, star fruit, a local root vegie and other delectables we motored out of Salinas to Patillas and a weather window to head east to St. John and St. Thomas. With the prevailing winds from the northeast and east, we were looking for as calm seas as possible. With a wakeup at 7 am from Vec saying let’s go we donned our sunglasses, sunscreen, and smiles and set off for Vieques singing gleefully. Seas of 3 to 5 ft. with about 20 kts of northeast wind and mostly sunny skies in the 80’s made for a delightful trip to Vieques even going into the wind the whole time. We saw a breaching humpback whale, turtles surfacing and flying fish on the way.

Vieques, Spanish Virgin
Vieques was mainly a military base for the US and though the military still has a presence it is much less than in the past. Although as we pulled into a bay on the farthest southeastern shore, we were greeted with signs on the beach and a buoy in the water telling us not to anchor due to possible undetenated ammunition in the water. Whoa..

Vieques Underwater Delights
We backed up into a cove nearby where snorkeling from the boat on a close reef I saw my first eagle ray of this trip. Oh my a flying angel of the sea whose black back is dotted with white like stars. Magnificent 4 ft wing span gliding effortlessly and gracefully thru the water with at least a 4 ft long skinny stinger tail. Then in a crevice between rocky crags was a lobster condo. That afternoon snorkeling in the turtle grass near the island in the mangroves, viewed a queen conch with her eyes looking at me from under the shell and saw my first octopus…a small light olive green creature moving sinuously amongst the grass. I watched it until my hands were numb from cold even with my 1.5 ml water suit on.

Vieques Phosperesence
We moved to a bay where at night in a still warm evening I eased into a phosphorescent wonderland. Creating patterns in the water with my hands and fins, I could create swaths of brilliant white sparkles. I could look up in the night sky to see the milky way above me and look down to the milky way I could create in the water. Below me on the bottom perhaps 12 ft down, I would see intermittent luminescent round glows with occasional darting silvery movements I think were fish. I giggled and played like a kid in a new playground. It was such wondrous fun.

St. Thomas, a busy place
We waited for a weather window to continue east. In 6-8 ft seas with again the wind prevailing from the east we headed to St. Thomas and the busy busy port of
Crown harbor. After fueling and watering up, we anchored by the red buoy number 6 across from the opening to the marina where some million dollar yachts were docked as well as cruisers needing some parts and repair. We too had a boat part to get, a belt for the bilge pump which Vec special ordered from St Croix. We would sit on the stern at sundown and watch the movie-huge cruise ships going out or in, tourist pirate boats coming back from a day’s adventuring, tenders and dingys buzzing back and forth from the anchorage to the marina dock , tug boats tugging barges, container ships loading, catamarans and monohulls anchoring as well as commercial jets ,seaplanes and helicopters zooming overhead. A cacophony of lights and sounds filled our senses. We provisioned up at the local Pueblo grocery and then got treats at the marina store which had goodies for the yachts. Here I could find rye crackers, shrimp salad and smoked salmon. Don’t know why I didn’t take advantage of the 50% sale on cavier? We met the local boaters hanging out on the wharf some of whom had lost their boats in last years hurricane. Hulls still abandoned and forlorn on the shore. I even went ashore one night to dance wildly with the crew of the yacht Joy Star to the one man band at the marina. What a difference from the last quiet peaceful anchorage in Vieques. Snorkeling was delightful in clear waters even right off the boat, one of my favorite ways to swim.

St, John, the national park island
With colder weather and high winds, we decided to take the ferry to St. John, go to the park headquarters and get information as to where would be a good place to snorkel out of the prevailing east winds. Beth and I also used this day of touristing to buy presents, get our hair braided and try on expensive jewelry. The park headquarters was as usual full of friendly faces and lots of information on mooring, snorkeling, hiking etc as well as had a fantastic collection of great books. I went for a hike to the top of the hill to view Cruz harbor and the cactuses along the way. As I sat on the bench overlooking the harbor, I watched a anole lizard drop his orange dew flap and court me. Wow

Speaking to local folks working, we learned that here as well as many other places in the USA, the local people are struggling to survive. Working more than one job to support his family the ferry ticket taker seemed a little bitter that he didn’t have the time to go to the beach. I did notice that all the folks to St. John and the beach were all white and the workers on the ferry were black. That seemed a theme here in these islands.
Hmmmm

Flavor and a little history
By the way the flavor of St. John and St. Thomas is so different than Puerto Rico. Here we have the laid back pace where a “good day” before asking a question will reap a polite response. The slang and rhythm of the language spoken amongst the black inhabitants has a quality and flavor of “the Caribbean.” These were the islands of the sugar plantations of the Danes in the 1800’s. These islands were bought by the US in 1917. St. John became a national park in 1956 with lands donated by a Rockefeller who was a cruiser and wanted all Americans to enjoy the beauty he saw when sailing the island.

Snorkeling, Cruising St. John
Looking at charts, the Garmin GPS, reading the pamphlets of the park service back onboard Seabound, we made a tentative plan to head to the southeastern end of St. John. East winds about 22 kts. with 6 to 8 foot seas met us as we motored thru the chilly cloudy sometimes squally day to Salt Pond. Here we took a mooring and jumped in to a delightful snorkel on jagged rocks in the middle of the bay. Lots of fish in brilliant hues of blues, yellows, sliver…long skinny sliver needle fish, big beautiful brown and yellow angel fish, square large eyed porcupine fish Long color changing trumpet fish, swimming amongst undulating sea plumes, rods and purple fans. Waves breaking over the rocks made bubbles appear in the crags and crevices of the rocky underwater seascape. The best of all was the sighting and following of sea turtles so calm and trusting they would breathe right next to you and dive to the sandy bottom to continue eating. Heaven

Flying Hearts
Whenever I hear that whisper inside on a beautiful place on the earth to create a flying heart art piece, I do. Three more flying heart portals exist now bringing the total to 73. One on Adam and Eve isle near Salinas called to be made in the cover of the mangroves out of bark and stones.Two more made their appearance on St. John. One high above Cruz Harbor where the anole lizard courted me and another on the shore of Salt Pond. At sundown these and the others are linked to pour love and light to our planet. I am always honored to carry this ceremony wherever I go. Blessing the waters is another ritual I have
continued to perform.

Learning about myself
Nothing like being in a small living space with others on a boat for a few weeks to get an opportunity to look at yourself= the qualities you like and dislike. I’m laughing more at the ways I respond to situations. Sometimes I get discouraged that I still get angry as a response. Trusting my instincts more and being more at inner peace. I feel stronger and more I tune with my joyful wonderful spiritual nature.

Culebra
Only a few more days before I return to Florida to reunite with my folks, Whitewolf and the dogs. I am cherishing every snorkel in the crystal clear waters behind the reef here in the Spanish Virgin of Culebra. Lots of star fish here in reds and whites where we are anchored as well as queen conch eyes staring at me. On the island, the pace is slower and laid back. Wandering thru the streets of the sleepy town of Dewey, I stop to watch and chat with 92 year old Jose who sits in his front porch chair bordering the sidewalk carving a sailboat. He has a kind and easy smile which erupts into laughter often as I listen to some of his story of being on the sea in some of the places I have just been to in St. John and St. Thomas.

New Moon Magic
Under a blanket of stars, on a mooring ball behind the reef in Cuelbra, cozy in our aft cabin with a single votive candle in a round heavy metal container, Beth (boat sista) and I honored the new moon by calling in our ancestors and spirit helpers. We sang a few songs, opened our hearts and atuned to the other sister circles celebrating this nite. I could feel surging thru me the beauty, power, sweetness of women around the world.

Such a mystery this life is- always presenting opportunities to change and grow, laugh and sing, listen and smile, ever spiraling into the moment of each breath, Breathe easy my friends.

Alicia Merlady

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New Moon, February 2, 2011

February 2, 2011

New Moon February 2, 2011

Greetings from Salinas, Puerto Rico
Yes Whitewolf and I are aboard S/V Seabound with Captain Vec and first mate his black kitty, Smokey anchored in Salinas harbor, Puerto Rico. I feel I am home. I love laying on the deck at night gazing at the stars through the main mast rigging. From here Orion is very present with the dog star, Sirius, and the Pleiades. I love from our spacious aft cabin watching the water reflected in the open hatch window with the fluffy clouds above our heads. I love getting in the dingy to cruise to a delicious place to swim and snorkel with those familiar fish in our birthday suits as much as possible.

Water Experiences
Our first snorkel around the corner had us swimming with a “pet fish”. Whitewolf and I were adopted for the duration of our swim by a small silver dappled fish with bright yellow fins and tail. She would dart about as we pointed to a large red thick starfish or
Watched a small barracuda glide by or dive to get a closer look at a conch shell on the bottom. We sometimes swam holding hands and our pet fish would move between us as if to say “I like this”. Whitewolf looks so comfy in the water in his blue water shirt, snorkel and fins. And me? I am home.

Hopi Prophecy
Before we left Florida, we attended a showing of the Hopi elders at Sacred Lands which was filmed in 1986. The elders spoke of the earth changes that we are experiencing now…the extremes of temperature, the earthquakes, the tsunamis. We are in the transition period of I believe a galactic event in which the poles of the earth are shifting and will shift by winter solstice 2012. What spoke to my heart the most was the grandmother who said to balance we need to be kind, loving and compassionate. I believe all the lightworkers who are continuing to send love around the planet by meditations, or internet love linkups or gatherings are assisting this species to evolve to a new frequency and assisting our planet in her changes so they do not need to be so catastrophic. This is the time I believe to listen inside my heart to not be in fear of these events yet welcome them in love and go where I/we are directed.

Bocca Ciega Yacht Club
Whitewolf and I went to the monthly meeting of BCYC, the club that offers a sailing school that we will be students of in March and April. We were delighted at the fellowship, the humor, the programs that this club offers each other and the community of Gulfport. There is the sea scout program for the youth, the fun day event in April which gives the greater community an opportunity to sail, to play to meet the members, the work party days once a month to enhance the club grounds, the racing schedule, the genuine caring and sharing for new members and guests and of course the sailing school which when we graduate we will be able to take out one of 9 small sailing Catalinas the club has available to its members of which we are given a 3 month trial membership.
We are very thankful to have been guided to this club.

First Anniversary, January 17

Yes we made it a full official year. Whitewolf and I rented a car and found a lovely beachside motel called appropriately, The Schooner, just up the road from my folks in Madiera Beach, Florida. We smothered each other in white orchid leis, danced and lay on the beach, I ate my anniversary full Maine lobster, even ran into the frigid water to get the ocean mother blessing for another year of married life. We are continually amazed by each other. We are diving into another year of continued exploration of who we are together and apart. Where do we live? What do we create for financial abundance? How do we integrate our families? How do we experience more and more loving bliss and clear compassionate communication?

Elder and Dog care
I am delighted to relate that my Mom and I found a perfect caregiver for not only my folks but for the dogs. Denise is a perfect blend of qualities that is supporting my folks in living on their own. I am soooooo relieved that my mom , who was the driver,is allowing Denise to drive them to errand and doctors appointments. Rosie and Little Deer love Denise and her 13 year old dog, Gypsy who I hear is playing with that insistent rat terrier.
The dogs get to come with Denise to work so that my folks can cuddle, talk and watch their antics. Yes thankyou spirit for the guidance to have Denise in our family.

OK that’s all folks till next new moon. I am fulfilling my dream of being on the water. I wish the same for all of you. Big hugs and blessings,

Alicia Merlady

New Moon March 15, 2010

July 4, 2010

New Moon, March 15, 2010
60th Birthday
In the last cycle of the moon I turned into a new decade. I am 60 years young now. It a actually doesnʼt feel much different than another day older or
younger. I had a quiet day, March 10, on the island of Pangumotu, off the main island group of Tongatapu in the kingdom of Tonga. I was blessed to snorkel not once but twice in the warm clear
waters watching yellow bug eyed and blue striped trigger fish chasing me, orange clown fish curiously looking at me through their long stringy like sea home, long slender skinny silver trumpetfish change colors from green to silver to black and white in an instant. It was a sunny quiet day..hot and humid..a day
to languish and contemplate. a day to give thanks for this gift of life. Whitewolf made me a beautiful rose colored flower flying heart when i came out of the sea. We even celebrated with a small chocolate cake brought in by my dear friend and Tongan sister Melaia.

Late Departure to South Pacific
Yes Whitewolf and I are in Tonga after a 2nd honeymoon in Fiji. We got delayed leaving for the the South Pacific as in LAX waiting 12 hours for the plane out we managed to miss it. It seems that TSA, the USA checkpoint closed earlier than expected and almost all the rest of the passengers knew
to go thru early. Though we were disappointed, we were gifted with an extra 36 hours in LA which we used to sleep and sleep and more sleep.

Fiji 2nd honeymoon
In Fiji, we met my friend John who had arranged for us to stay at the nabua lodge in the northern Yasawa islands off the main island of Fiji. We stayed in our own bure, a small thatched roof simple sandy floored cottage right on the ocean where the sounds of the waves lulled us to sleep at night. We climbed the grassy green hills and sat on rock outcroppings feeling as birds must overlooking the land. We partook in a local kava ceremony at which i joined the band of guitar and uke with my banjo as we sang a song then drank a brown dishwater brew which leaves a numbness in the tongue and a relaxation in the body. And of course many wonderful kayak and snorkeling adventures.

Yasawa Fiji Cave Adventure
The one adventure that stands out was a trip to the cave which we got to by a half hour boat trip. There rising out of the water as we approached was a green and rocky mountain island..impressive just to look at it. We landed and walked up a stairway to the inside of the cave which was full of a salty/fresh water mixture. The cathedral ceiling was impressive to behold. Even more amazing was the second cave that we dove under a stone shelf to reach. Inside here after our eyes adjusted to the dark we were treated to 4 to 5 swimmable water chambers. The light reflecting off the walls and the myriad stone shapes like ancient sea creatures gave a primordial feeling of timelessness to the experience. The best part was the echo acoustics in thechambers. Whitewolf and I stayed in when everyone else left to chant and sing to the elemental spirits whose presence we felt.I played with the echo to create multiple pitches and sounds as we awoke the crickets to sing with us. Truly an experience that could have been any time upon the earth.

Happy Fijians
Our time in Fiji seemed too short and we hope to return here one day to explore more of the Yasawas and
other islands and places of these friendly happy people. Oh yes, i revisted my friend Buma her family and
her tea shop which is thriving near the lodge we stayed.Her yummy homemade banana and coconut cakes with tea or coffee is a delightful way to spend an afternoon esp when the stomach rumbles before dinner. I brought with me pictures I had taken the year before to leave with her and we laughed and hoped to connect again in the coming years.

Tonga
Whitewolf and I are here now in Tonga until the next new moon.We are at present in a typhoon watch, Thomas, as the rain pours down and the winds rise and fall as the coconuts off the trees. A good day to stay indoors. We hope that you as we are having some great adventures in your life. Until we check in again, may your days be full of joy and your nights of sweet dreams.
Blessings, Alicia Merlady aka Mrs. Wolfe