Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Liz Holm for Angela; Cat Nap

Mabel on Deck
S.V. Tamara
Grenada to Norfolk Voyage

Angela's journal theme is places. I don't know if it's spring fever or feeling a bit stuck in place or both, but I've had a bad case of wanderlust lately. I started thinking about the places I've felt most content, and realize most of those places involve the sea or companion animals or both.

In the late 90s, lifetimes ago it seems, I helped a friend's mother bring her Alberg 37 from Grenada to Norfolk. We made the trip in one shot, no stops, across the Caribbean and then up the Atlantic. 20 days at sea. It was just the two of us, and sweet Mabel the cat.  During calmer weather Mabel would wedge herself between the air vent and companionway hatch, and doze in the shade. During bad weather, she'd snug in the cabin, and during my 3 hour sleep shifts, she'd bunk with me for company.  Tropical Depression Danny hit us just before it was upgraded to hurricane status.  Gusts to 60 and sustained winds of 45 were a challenge at the helm. The week before we landed the forestay snapped (which holds the mast upright), and we had a thrilling rollercoaster ride down some huge seas while we wrestled the head sail out of the surf and hooked up an emergency forestay.  We also hit the doldrums-- endless days on glassy seas.  The water tanks fouled, we ran out of propane, and blew an oil gasket that needed repairing.  It was one of the best times of my life. Every day was new, and the colors of the sea and sky changed hourly. On calm nights, I'd lie on deck.  Millions of stars above reflected in the water, and it felt like floating through the universe.  When the wind was fair, and we'd make good headway, dolphins would show up and play around the bow wake. Bliss.

I don't know what happened to Mabel once back in the States, but like to imagine she's living out another of her 9 lives, belly full of fish, dreaming of far-away lands.

(a few photos on my blog)


  1. Oh my, Liz, what a great story!! Exciting experiences like that, though sometimes terrifying, are mixed with enough priceless good happenings to make them "crown jewels" in our treasury of memories. Thanks for sharing. And the accompanying artwork is so skillfully illustrative of the saga. You did a marvelous job, and I'll bet Angela will be thrilled.

  2. I was immediately transported by your painting, had to stare at it a long time so I could appreciate all the subtle nuances of color -- stunning!!! And then I read the story... call me Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel, I am agape and awed by that story. WOW!!! Liz, as if your skill with paint isn't already impressive enough -- ShuhZAM!!!! That is fantastic. LOVED hearing about that! Thank you! My brother in law Roy would love to have you on his crew anyday. DANELAW is his boat. I need to get you two together when you're more footloose :0)

  3. A beautiful painting and recounting of grand times, Liz! I enjoyed the vicarious cruise!
    I, too, hope that Mabel continues to cruise to this day.

  4. Great painting Liz, and a great story. I'm in awe of your accomplishment, but it sounds like that little cruise could've gone either way. A landlubber like me would not have fared very well I'm sure.

  5. The kind of spirit you describe, to do what you did, awes are quite a woman, and obviously a fabulous artist too!

  6. Wow, what an adventure, Liz, and you've created such a wonderful piece to go along with it!

  7. Liz, let me say right away that my stomach is a churnin' from the most descriptive best 20 days of your life, oh my! I feel as though you took me on that trip with you, but that would be impossible because I am one for land only! Your painting is wonderful and I love Mabel, she's my kind of vacationing partner, taking catnaps here and there. Thank you so much for such a beautiful painting, I will treasure it for sure!

  8. Wow.... such an adventurous spirit
    (btw that's the word I wanted on your blog but forgot the spelling)
    I love how we are discovering added talents from each.
    Dodging hurricanes and such wins the prize especially since it includes great writing with a fabulous painting.
    Who would of guessed ! = )

  9. A sweet story and a sweet painting! I love the angle from which you captured this scene. The colours are all in harmony and the sleeping cat creates a kind of deeamworld on its own. Great interpretation for Angela's places!

  10. Wow, what an adventure Liz! And I can't imagine having a cat hang out on a boat, but Mabel looks so content! What a fun, unique painting. I love the sun and shadows... I can just feel the warmth of the summer sun.

  11. Makes me want to crawl up and nap next to her! Perfect colors to depict a blissful day.

  12. Can I just lay next to her?
    Looks so comfi.
    Beautiful Liz.