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WPC: Rule of Thirds

Hmmm.  It’s rule of thirds…. I think.  Having fun too again with Lightroom.  Straightened out the water line.  I took this image while on a catamaran in the Caribbean and the original was completely irregular.  These are my favorite pictures to take.  Sailing adventures.  I don’t sail well though on a mono-hull like pictured.  I like the cats!  The picture may also be a bit on the grainy side with more noise than I like because this was taken with my first digital camera; an old Minolta several years ago.  This must be in the Nether Antilles near St. Martin or St. Barts.

Weekly Photo Challenge Rule of Thirds
Weekly Photo Challenge
Rule of Thirds

Weekly Photo Challenge – Rule of Thirds. See What everyone else is up to.

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Lone Sail at Sunset

 

Lone Sail at Sunset
Lone Sail at Sunset

 

I’m having a difficult time remembering all that was done with this image because I’ve been playing at backing up all my images to an external hard drive.  In doing so the history normally stored in Lightroom has disappeared. From what I recall most of the changes were in the lighting along with decreasing exposure, increasing whites and enhancing the blues.  I definitely did some sharpening and a vignette.

Here is the before picture that I wasn’t sure if I would ever use as it was too muted for my taste.  This made it an easy choice for my addition to Stacy’s AfterBefore Friday Week 27 Forum.  This is a great group to take a look at for ideas and creativity on how you might enhance your images.  I know that I for one have learned a bundle of new ideas.

Sunset Sail Before
Sunset Sail Before

AfterBefore Friday Week 27

Weekly Photo Challenge Minimalist

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The Beginning – St Thomas to Tortola

Great vacations for us usually start with a long trip from airport to airport and then a little recovery time. This one was that with a little added exaggeration which I will explain later. We started with a red-eye flight out of Phoenix, connecting at JFK and then arriving in St. Thomas USVI the next day. When this is our flight choice we like to add a one day hotel stay before going on to the catamaran for our sailing trip. It also helps to adjust to the time zones changes… somewhat…

After arriving at the hotel, we enjoyed a lovely walk along the beaches at our first night hotel in St. Thomas, USVI; the Sapphire Village Resort.  The hotel was located higher up on a hill a short walk to the boat docks and the beaches.  In the picture of the docks, you can see the Villas in the background.    We had a great view of the boat docks, but limited view of the ocean.  The room was appointed in typical Caribbean style with bamboo type furniture.

Marina at the Hotel
Marina at the Hotel

During our walk along the beach we, of course,  came across several beach birds and I, of course, couldn’t resist taking a multitude of shots at the little darlings.  This White-cheeked Pintail was begging for food but we didn’t have anything to feed him.

Beach Duck
Beach Duck

 

Staying for one night on the May 23rd at The Sapphire Village which turned out to be a good thing since Gus’ suitcase was nowhere to be found at the airport. Most of that first night was making phone calls, checking email and tracking the bag that the airline lost.   Finally, it was located not in JFK New York where it would have been put on a plane to STT (airport code for St. Thomas) to then be delivered to the hotel.

Imaging my surprise to find it was heading to  Dubai via Ireland and the next day we were leaving St Thomas to go to Tortola BVI.  Then we would be on Festiva Sailings Catamaran island hopping.  Just image the airline trying to island hop Gus’ suitcase and catch up with us.  I can tell you that would have been a nightmare.  So, after calling the airline and explaining Bob Dylan’s Style as in Alice’s Restaurant, the tale of the suitcase, the agent was able to reroute the bag.  It arrived the following day just hours before our ferry left to take us to Tortola.  And it was not the unnamed airline that found out where it was.  It was me.  I finally changed my method of search and tracked the bag via our connecting airline.  The bag was in Philadelphia ready to go on a flight to SLL (airport code for Dubai).

After convincing the airline agent that if they didn’t get involved the suitcase would have been following us by slow boat as we Island hopped and would probably never catch up. suitcase Poor Gus.  No swimsuits, no clean shorts of any type.  All was not lost though and the bag did finally reach us.  It appears that TSA took a look at the bag and it missed the plane.  It was then sent back to Phoenix where it was then rerouted using the code SLL instead of STT.

I was so aggravated by the lost suitcase that I can’t even remember much about the hotel.  Enough of this ranting, suitcase in hand, we are now on the Ferry and motoring onward to Tortola for a fun and relaxing Catamaran trip with Festiva Sailing.

Leaving St. Thomas on the Ferry
Leaving St. Thomas on the Ferry

 

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Smitten Kitten: Day 1 – St. Martin to Anguilla

Viceroy at Mead's Bay

We departed from Simpsons Bay on the Dutch side of St. Martin early enough in the morning to catch the draw bridge at Marina Port de Blaisance and motor to customs right away.  In order to depart from St. Martin the Smitten Kitten’s captain, Stuart, had to speed off to clear all those aboard through customs so that we could go into International seas and set sail to Anguilla.  We were pretty much first in line, though a hot-shot from another charter (to remain un-named) did try to one up us.  He almost “tagged” us as he tried to snuggle between us and the shore.  He gave up quickly, rounded about and moved away to allow for clearance. After clearing customs, we set sail along the coast of St.Martin heading towards the French side.

Stmartin

As we sailed along the North West side of St. Martin (French Side) we passed several sights of interest including a mansion in Meads Bay that sold a few years back for 11 million.  This same mansion was awarded the best worldwide architectural award 2012-2013 by International Property Awards and was the winner from over 2000 entries.

Very close to this mansion is a timeshare resort called the Viceroy. It expands the coast line on Mead’s bay for quite some time.

Viceroy at Mead's Bay
Viceroy at Mead’s Bay

Along the way to Viceroy on our first day sail to Road Bay and Anguilla,  Stuart, our captain made us up some of the best pain killer cocktails ever.  You have got to try them and the secret to the recipe is the nutmeg topper. I was hoping to get the actual recipe but have guessed at the measures.  I’m going to experiment diligently but until then here is my best guess.

Captain Stuart's famous Pain Killer
Captain Stuart’s famous Pain Killer

Pain Killer Cocktail

Fill blender with Crushed Ice
1 can Coco Lopez
1 cup Orange juice
1 small can pineapple juice
Caribbean Rum to taste!!
garnish each cocktail with ground nutmeg

The mid-day appetizer made especially delicious by Jenny, first mate on the Smitten Kitten, featured spring rolls, fresh ginger and a wakame seaweed salad.  I’ve never liked seaweed but this was different.  It was light and slightly sweet.  A lovely taste.  I was surprised to see a package in Costco back in Arizona a month later that looked very similar to the seaweed that Jenny served.  Maybe it was the same dish.  This seaweed salad doesn’t have that typical taste of seaweed which I normally do not like.  I didn’t buy it to try because it was to large a package for two people but I was tempted.   These were some yummy Appetizers.

Spring Rolls with Fresh Ginger and Seaweed Salad
Spring Rolls with Fresh Ginger and Seaweed Salad

Dinner that same night was chicken stuffed with goat cheese and lemon sauce over pasta noodles. A very original dinner served by Jenny and with the help of Stuart.

Chicken Stuffed with Goat Cheese
Chicken Stuffed with Goat Cheese

We were to have continued on to Road Bay to dock for the evening but the waters were rough enough that we decided to stay where we where over night.  I for one was in favor of anchoring the boat and our butts right there and not pitching with the waves to make our way onward so quickly.

Overnight there was a constant patter of evening rain on the decks.  The poor Greek hubby left side port window open and he got late evening bath.  In the dark of night, I had to help him close the window.  I don’t think he had ever closed them himself.  Oh, well…. he demanded to sleep on that side of the bed.  His loss!  My gain!  Of course, I would probably would have closed the window a little better than he did.

Up next… Day 2 Anguilla and Guadalupe.

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Smitten Kitten – Captain Stuart’s Painkiller Cocktail

Captain Stuart's famous Pain Killer

While stopping for a swim and at anchor along the Viceroy (a time share resort) on our first day sail to road bay Anguilla,  Stuart, our captain made us up some of the best Pain Killer Cocktails ever.  We also enjoyed a lovely spread of appetizers which will be in a different post.

You have got to try this delectable desert like drink and the secret to the recipe is the nutmeg topper.  It is rich and creamy like a robust Pina Colada but much better.  Stuart and Jenny are top-notch and I submit my vote for the best Captain’s and First Mate of the Festiva Sailing Fleet if not for their fine hospitality and vibrant smiles, then just for the great cocktails alone.  The Greek and I hope you enjoy the recipe for Pain Killer Rum Cocktail.

Captain Stuart's Pain Killer Cocktail
Captain Stuart’s Pain Killer Cocktail

Pain Killer Cocktail
Fill blender with Crushed Ice
1 can Coco Lopez
1 cup Orange juice
1 small can pineapple juice
Caribbean Rum to taste!! (Try Captain Morgan for great spices)
garnish each cocktail with ground nutmeg

Add crushed ice to blender, then the remaining ingredients, except nutmeg.  Run blender at the appropriate mix speed on your blender to crush ice and mix drinks.  Immediately pour into chilled glasses.  Sprinkle nutmeg lightly on top of drink.  Add straw and serve.

If you like the recipe from Stuart and Jenny, then give me a like or comment on this post. 😀  I’ll try to give you more fun drink recipes.

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Smitten Kitten – Welcome Aboard

Welcome Aboard – Smitten Kitten at St. Martin Simpson Bay.

Even though we arrived in St. Martin a few days early, our first night on the Smitten Kitten Catamaran was Saturday, the 16 of November.  One would think that it would be cold in November but the weather was a balmy 80F average during the day, the water around 83-85F, and the nights in the high 60’s to low 70’s.  Perfect for the snow dwellers or even for us desert dwellers from hot Arizona.

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

The feature image of the Festiva Sailing trip was taken of Sandy Beach near Anguilla .  The aerial of St. Martin below is not my image.  Stop at this Official Website for St. Martin.  There you can learn a lot about the island and exciting events, activities, hotels, island life, etc.  St. Martin and the nearby islands have been one of our favorite vacation destinations and as you will see in future posts it’s evident why.

 

First rule of thumb, off with the shoes and you hardly see them the rest of the holiday.  Drop the minimal number of bags in your

Arial of St. Martin

cabin.  Don’t over pack as this is a 4 cabin Catamaran with limited storage.  All you need is swim suits, a few wraps, shorts, light tops, sunglasses and suntan lotion. For some of the gents a hat would be a very good idea to stop the burn on the top.

We were greeted by our hosts Jenny and Stuart with a splendid happy hour set up a waiting for our 5:00pm arrival on board with along with our good friends, Fred and Basia.  This was a special trip and adventure as Basia was celebrating one of her “big one” birthdays but we’re not telling which one.  Stuart greeted us with a traditional island cocktail; a Rum Punch with plenty of local rum.  Dinner was a Shrimp and Couscous dish with chopped fresh vegetables.  I hadn’t thought at this time of posting about the holiday, so I’ve only one picture to share from dinner and it’s just one small piece of Jenny’s Kiwi Cheesecake.

2013-11-24T07-00-30_8I’m hoping to get recipes from Jenny to share with you.

The Cheese Cake was a creamy no bake dish with slices of local fresh kiwi.  Melt in your mouth delicious.