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 Accidental Cruiser in the West Indies


Three Weddings and a Nav Station

This journal is a log of all the messages from Susie & Lance. For pictures, please see the Gallery.

Rodney Bay, St. Lucia 06/30/2010

B-B's at wedding two

Karl, Yuki, Emma Leighton
(Wedding One)

We are snuggly back aboard Queen Emma after a whirlwind visit home. This is our first time staying in the "off season" and we are really enjoying it. The visitors all go home to enjoy their summer and the islands largely go dormant. It is warm: mid eighties and humid: 80%. However, once out of the hot and noisy marina, we could enjoy the clear waters and trade wind breezes. Knowing that if you really feel hot you can always jump in takes the sting out. Plus, there is no one around so clothing worn is reduced to bare minimum. Everyone seems surprised and happy to see us and we felt like part of the "in" crowd since there were no other visiting yachties to distract us.

B-B's at wedding two

Karl, Yuki, Leighton, Emma, Susie, Lance
(Wedding Two)

We timed our visit back to Berkeley to line up with weddings of close friends of the family. Karl was best man for a wedding of a friend he had known since pre-school who was his ersatz brother since the age of two. He was also close to the bride at the other wedding as co-founder of the "money club" and co-star of many fantasy weddings in their grammar school days. Both weddings were lovely: one in a beautiful rose garden and the other in a lovely setting by the sea. Both served as reunions for the families who had raised their own and each other's children and a wonderful time was had by all. For the week of the seaside wedding, we were able to stay in a beautiful home on the beach and get to know our children's loves much better. Skype is good, but not even close to actually being there.

Bonus Wedding

Leighton, Emma, Karl
(Bonus Wedding)

Weddings are catching. Typically, Karl announced his engagement to Yuki on facebook. We were not surprised - but still! Emma was a little intimidated by the expense and complexity of the wedding arrangements we had enjoyed but was willing to talk (in front of her parents) about what kind of wedding she and Leighton might want to have. A few days after Susie observed aloud that it would certainly be convenient for us if they got married before we went back to the Caribbean (and offered Karl's backyard as a suitable venue), Emma announced their decision. A typical B-B Barbecue to both introduce the two families to each other and to serve as ample witness to their commitment.

Susie and Oliver play bagpipes

Susie and Oliver play the bagpipes

Yuki attends via Skype

Yuki, Mother and Sister attend via Skype

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Leighton and Emma

Leighton and Emma

Mad arranging of wedding, cooking, cleaning of house and yard, invitations, agonizing over speeches and borrowing of chairs and vases. Hillegass House has never looked better. Trees and roses were removed to reclaim space at the back of the yard.
The crowd approves

The crowd approves

The electronic toys in the living room were carefully plucked from the stack on the floor and packed more discretely in cabinets and on shelves. Piles of B-B clutter found new homes elsewhere. We've found even the most implausible items will disappear reliably if left by the curb with a sign saying "free". Old lumber and yard waste was taken away by the city for composting on the extra haul allowed by the city once a year. As Emma said: "we should have a wedding every year" just for the spring cleaning.
Cutting the cake

Cutting the cake

The surprise, bonus wedding was as lovely in its own way as the long planned ones were in theirs. The groom was handsome in his kilt and Filipino barong.
Cutting the cake

Susie setting out the eats

The bride looked radiant and the minister was her brother, Karl. The piano was played by her 96 year old great grandmother and the wedding cake was baked by herself and her mother to the recipe used at our wedding 36 years ago. The wedding part was very short as all that is really required is the signing and witnessing of the license. The bulk of the afternoon and evening was given over to eating, singing and getting to know each other's families. To our surprise, Leighton has a great number of family in the area many of whom are neighbors. The only down side is we were unable to fit any but the members of the two families and it was a close fit at that. The bride and groom intend to hold a bigger celebration with a little more warning given. This civil ceremony serves to get the INS started so that Leighton can work and they can get their lives moving forward. Plus, we don't have to fly all the way home again. Our son-in-law is most accommodating.

Organizing wires at Hillegass House

Organizing wires at Hillegass House

Organizing wires on Queen Emma

Organizing wires on Queen Emma

The trip back to St. Lucia was long but smooth. Except for an unbelievable 1 hour delay at "baggage drop-off", we were on time SFO to Atlanta and Atlanta to UVF. Simon has been working on some home improvements while we are gone. Shelves with fiddles in a couple of strategic locations and a rebuild of the refrigerator face which had been badly water damaged. He tore everything apart under the assumption that the water was coming from the refrigerator itself but it turns out that it was probably rainwater running along the under port gutter onto the refrigerator top and down through the box. This he discovered by leaving the port open one rainy night. He had made no progress at all on the Nav station. This probably is a good thing as it was entirely unclear what we should do with the rats nest of wires, boxes, knobs, dials and microphones. We had agreed to move the stereo/dvd player out of the tangle and that had been done. The rest really required some collaborative effort. The captain is very pleased with the result. You can now use the radar without forced neck contortions. You can see the chart plotter from the seat or tilt it up and inboard to be visible from the cockpit. It is now possible to gain access to the various wires without painful contortions and the painstaking dismantling of the rather cheesy black naugahyde covering the panels formerly sported.

Completed Nav Station

Completed Nav station

Plans? To stay out of the paths of hurricanes while enjoying the usually full anchorages we normally have to bypass. No jet skis out here. No charterers banging about after dark. A general air of lassitude that vastly suits the captain and crew of Queen Emma.


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