Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Trinidad to Venezuela

We arrived back from the Orinoco on Thanksgiving Day and spent the night at the Customs dock to check in the next morning. Said hello to Infinity, and Vindomar stopped by to say hi too.
Did some provisioning, checked email and then headed out to peace and solitude at Scotland Bay and Chackachackare. Hiked around Chacka, which used to be a leper colony. Looked, but didn't touch! Walked up to the lighthouse for some exercise and great views. We then headed back into Chaguaramas and Crew's Inn Marina to do a good provisioning and get some internet things done (Xmas baskets for the kids). Our two days stretched into five while we waited for the birth of our 9th grandchild. Needed to be in phone and email contact for that! Emerson Grace Murray was born to Shaun and Kristine on December 6th at 7:08 p.m. at 19" long and weighing 5 lbs. 13 oz. We can't wait to see pictures!
Back out to anchor, this time at Monos Island. This has to be the best kept secret in Trinidad! We loved it, especially since we still had a phone signal there and could hear the morning 'net' in Chaguaramas.
Listened to weather on Saturday and Chris Parker was saying that Sunday/Monday was a better day to travel than Monday/Tuesday, which is what we had planned. Another change of plans! Took the dinghy back in on Saturday to arrange for our duty free to go to Customs, then back in again on Sunday to pay the overtime, pick up our duty free and head out Sunday night.
Left the anchorage at Monos after making sure everything was stowed. Just left Monos and we heard Infinity calling us on the VHF - they were on their way back from the Orinoco before heading to Grenada. We left out of the cut between Chacka and Huevos since it cut a little off of our journey and it was a wider cut than the Bocas coming into Scotland Bay. It was still pretty rolly. Had an outgoing tide (6-7 knots), but incoming rollers, and I think some of them were about 10 feet. Felt like I was on a roller coaster. Oh, and I don't like roller coasters!
Had a pretty decent sail till about 2 a.m., when the wind went light and variable and then just died. Unfortunately, it was still pretty rolly. Turned the motor on and the diesel smell kept coming into the cockpit. Made for a long night and a sick Dennis! Also, I need to remember NOT to drink coffee on my first watch, to save it for my last watch. Didn't sleep until about 6 a.m.
Pulled into Los Testigos at 10 a.m., straightened up the boat, went for a refreshing swim and took the dinghy over to the Coast Guard to check in. I had all my Spanish phrases written out since we wanted to stay at least 5 days because of weather coming in, instead of the 3 they usually give you. They must have felt sorry for us - we got 15 days!! They came around the anchorage Friday night looking for rum 'donations', which we were only to happy to supply and got two fish out of it as well. Lots of wind and roll while this weather is going through and a lot of reading and dominoes.
On to Margarita on Monday, the 17th when the weather is supposed to settle. ~~_/)~~

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Orinoco Delta

We start off with a home on the Manamo River, then Audrey Paige surrounded by 'bora', Dennis trying to stay dry in the cockpit, the one nasty storm that we had and a beautiful little Wareo girl. What a wonderful trip across the Gulf of Paria (well, until we got close and then it was like travelling in the Chesapeake, shallow and bumpy) and then anchored in the Pedernales River and checking in there, and over to the Manamo River, down 75 miles to the power lines and back up again. Along the way we visited quite a few villages. Most had nothing to trade but we gave away cookies and 'other stuff'. Travelled with Mark and Deb on Sea Cycle, and they had lots of good 'kid stuff' to trade and give away.
Visited the Orinoco Delta Lodge, which is just fantastic. Lunch for 2, dinner for 2, a bottle of wine and 6 beer cost a whole $50 US. Met up with Brian and Sue on Darramy and Troy and Jo on Malarky. We were the only boats for the month of November.
Learned to anchor well before a village or well after since it got to be a bit overwhelming with what seemed like a million canoes paddling out! And us with a new paint job!!
Ourselves and Sea Cycle really enjoyed our trip in the Manamo River - quiet, solitude and no pressure!

Gorge Trip

Took a day off from boat work to go on the Gorge trip with Jesse, Snake and Gaston. The trip down the road and back up again was the worst - more than a 45 degree angle.
It was, again, another great Jesse and Snake tour - informative - lessons on plants and fruits - wild oranges, plums, apples, the bread from coconut.
The torrential downpour didn't start until we'd left the waterfall and river, so we were lucky there. Although, climbing up the hills in mud was definitely a challenge. Thankfully for me, I was behind Gaston and hanging on to him while we worked our way up!
Our 'Jesse' group was ourselves, Mark (Sea Cycle), Rose (Sojourn), LeVonne (Transition), Paul and Janey (Shian), Ann and Steve (Receta), and one other couple that we never got the name of.
Made it to the waterfall and were told that we were the first group in a long time to make it that far. Tell that to my legs the rest of the week when I had to climb up the ladder on the hard!!
Jesse stopped by the airport on the way home to get us doubles, since the usual stand was closed in the morning. Doubles are served on a piece of waxed paper, which is considered your napkin. It's two pieces of an Indian flatbread with a curried chickpea filling, with hot sauce and other spices. The big trick is to not dribble it all over yourself, since the one piece of bread is supposed to act as your spoon to scoop the stuff off the second piece of bread! Yeah, right!!! The doubles were Jesse's treat. Wow, how great is he??
We finally got back to the boat, exhausted and filthy, about 7 at night. A 13 hour day, but well worth it.

Back in Trini!

Back 'home' at last. Audrey Paige finally in the water, and Dennis standing with our painter, Nigel, who did an amazing job. Mark and Deb on Sea Cycle supervised the last of our paint job and prodded Nigel along. We are so, so pleased. Audrey Paige looks like a new boat!! Of course, it took us an extra day to clean up from the break-in, in the secure yard at Coral Cove, right after we left.
Luckily, the only things of value that they took were 3 bottles of Dennis' Pusser's rum, my French olive oil, a backpack and travel iron. Go figure!
Moved back onto the boat and had no water pressure for almost two weeks, so that meant hauling buckets of water up from the ground and over the side of the boat. Let's see, that's okay at anchorage when I'm not paying ... but, I'm paying for this?
Nigel recommended Troy and Lisa from Custom Signs to put the name on the boat and, again, a great job. Seems like all the tradespeople are great this year, but Coral Cove Marina seems to be going downhill fast! Nothing works right.
Off the dock and off to Scotland Bay for peace and quiet -- and a lot more work on the boat!
We didn't see the Coast Guard or Customs at all last year - they're making up for it this year, making a tour of the anchorages at least twice a day. Guess we can't complain, unless we're trying to hang out before we leave.
Stocking up and planning to head to the Orinoco with Sea Cycle.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Summer of 2007

Back for a visit in Michigan to see our family. Here we have Kelly, ready to deliver Brooklyn at any time, with Taylour and Cody. Taylour is our oldest granddaughter, just turned 12, and Cody is 9. (How did we get old enough to have all these grandkids?)

Kelly and Charlie had a barbeque for us while we were at home, and this is Shaun and Kristine with Avory and Ryenn, along with Taylour, Cody and Parker. Love those grandkids. Guess we'll keep the kids too.

We also headed up to Lapeer to visit with MA and Chris and spend time with our oldest grandson, Zachary, on the left, and his brother Jake. Zach turns 10 in October and we're not quite sure where the time went there either.

Just hanging out in Florida right now at Mom's house. Allayne has a job selling carpet, vinyl and laminate flooring (real useful in boating!) and Dennis has the prized job at West Marine. Very few hours, but love that discount.
We've had emails from Trinidad that Audrey Paige has already been sanded and primed and the paint should be going on shortly. Can't wait to get back to a 'new' boat. Miss our home on the water!!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Out of the water in Trinidad

Well, here it is, June, 2007 and we're out of the water for the first time since December of 2005. The bottom didn't look too bad, considering we spent last summer here in the water, with Rodney, the diver, scraping the bottom every month. Since we haven't been off the boat since that time, getting everything cleaned and prepared was quite the challenge. Getting rid of a lot of extra 'stuff'!
We feel like we've done nothing but spend money since we pulled into the dock at Coral Cove, but it's all worthwhile in the long run. Finally bought the flexible perforated deck tiles to put behind the storage areas on the port and starboard side behind the setee cushions. I had some light matting, but still had our pop and beer hit some part of the fiberglass and puncture. Nothing like Diet Coke sprayed all over!
We've decided to add another solar panel next year (which we've already ordered) since we are both really against having a Honda generator. Nowhere to store it and we really don't like the noise. Walked down to the Dynamite Yard and found Dexter in a machine shop there. He was out the next day and had our new solar panel rack installed the same day. That's service! Getting new lifelines has been a challenge that we'll have to wait for in the fall. We had Riccardo from Coral Cove sand the bottom, raise the waterline and work on the little blisters that we have. Well worth the $200 for Dennis not to look like a smurf, full of blue bottom paint! The most exciting is, by the time we get back to Coral Cove in November, Audrey Paige should be freshly awlgripped. Light grey hull with a dark blue stripe. Can't wait.
So, here we are, out of the water, in the sling. We've been put into our summer storage place, jackstands in place with chains and boards underneath the stands. It's been an exhausting three days since we've been out of the water working ten hour days. Dennis is trying to get some things done so he has one or two less jobs when we get back, and I'm hoping all my cleaning and teak sealing means everything will be set to go in the fall, since I have all the outside wood and stainless to do!
We did have time to do a little fun stuff - arranged with Jesse James, from Maxi Taxi Service to take us to the movies on Tuesday night for the new Pirates movie. It was great to see Jesse and his wife Sharon Rose again and it felt like coming home!
Heading back to the States June 5th, with a taxi pickup at 4:30 a.m., renting a car and driving 7 hours to Mom Coon's house, looking for jobs to pay for all these extra little things. Stay tuned!! ~~~~/_)~~~~~

Photos from Union Island to Trinidad

I've had a few issues posting photos to my last couple of blogs since I switched to Google, so I thought I'd do one with mostly photos. First off, we have Sharky from Union Island doing a Sunday night bbq, then the wonderful little children in the kindergarten and grade one class in Carriacou, with their teacher.
The next photo is Audrey Paige passing through the Bocas, with Kyeta sailing in ahead of us. We left at the same time and passed one another all night long. They sailed past us through the Bocas, but then we cheated and started the engine and beat them into the Customs dock. That actually worked out well, because then we were able to help them raft off to us so we could head into Customs and Immigration (after a much needed shower!) Kyeta called Coral Cove and headed into a slip while we backtracked and anchored in Scotland Bay.

That's the great shot of Sea Cycle anchored in Scotland Bay. We felt like we were in the land before time. Turned out to be a good decision to stay in Scotland Bay for 5 days since we got a lot done without the distractions of a pool, shopping and restaurants. It's taken us a long time, but we actually have mastered taking down the sails and folding them on deck!
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Thursday, May 31, 2007

Carriacou to Grenada

Picked up anchor from Tyrell Bay at 8:15 a.m. to head to Grenada. Watched a couple of boats motor out, but we had some slight winds and put up the main, with a reef, and the yankee (the main jib). Caught a couple of gusts, which made things exciting, but then the winds and seas levelled off and we had a nice sail. Decided to head over to the east of Diamond Rock and Ronde Island, instead of tucking in between the Sisters and trying to avoid the underwater volcano, Kickem Up Jenny. Had a great sail going until we hit the current (we never seem to time those tides right), but slowly sailed our way out and around to the leeward side of Grenada. Winds and waves settled down so much that we agreed to take the reef out of the main. Well, that didn't last long. Had a great sail for about an hour and then the gusts kept hitting, one after another. I really don't like sitting in the cockpit and being able to put my hand in the water, or watching the propeller from the dinghy motor, mounted on the stern rail, spinning in the water. Dennis put on his lifejacket, attached himself to the jacklines, and climbed his way forward to put the reef back in the main. We sailed all the way to the entrance to St. George's Harbour in Grenada.
We got a good hook and stayed put for a couple of days, picking up internet, doing laundry and visiting the wonderful Saturday Grenada market! Visited Art Fabrik and picked up gifts to take home and bought myself some earrings as my Mother's Day gift to me! Took the dinghy over to Grande Anse Beach - beautiful sand and water!!
Final town things to do and we got prepared to head down to Prickly Bay on the south coast of Grenada, where we'll leave to head to Trinidad. Aurora and Kyeta picked up anchor and headed out before us, sailing away, and we finally finished errands and picked up anchor about 10:30. Motorsailed to Prickly and arrived around 12:30. Sun shades up and we took the dinghy in to Da Big Fish for lunch, since Aurora was heading out that night for Trinidad. Da Big Fish has great food!!
Hung out for a week in Grenada, visiting the Spice Island Mall, just because it was a mall and had stuff, and getting boat chores done. Time is winding down.
We have a weather window for the 21st and 22nd of May, so we're preparing to head out. Time to head to Trini!! ~~~~~_/)~~~~~~~

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Bequia to Carriacou

Finally left Bequia on Saturday, May 5th, heading for Chatham Bay on Union Island. Had a wonderful sail with a beam reach and all sails up! Sometimes the sea gods smile! Had a rip on one of the fishing lines and after heaving to it was a barracuda too big to keep. Then, just off the anchorage at Chatham Bay, another rip on the line and we brought a great blackfin tuna aboard. When the winds and seas are kind, we do quite well heaving to and locking the wheel down, getting the fish on board and doing everything we have to. Unfortunately, you have to bleed tuna, because otherwise the blood heats up and taints the meat. Not quite sure how it happened, but this tuna bled from the time it was caught, and for some reason DW decided to drag it off the opposite side of the boat that we brought it up on. Once again, blood everywhere in the cockpit! Took awhile to clean up after we anchored and marinate the tuna (Little Gidding had a great recipe in Cruising World that is our favorite). Kyeta caught a small barracuda, and offered to do dinner on their boat with their friends Paul and Nancy on Aurora. Combined the fish had a wonderful meal with appetizers.
Spent a couple of days in Chatham Bay and the snorkelling was fantastic. The weather was great and it was a beautiful anchorage. Sharky does a fish dinner on shore when there's a few boats, and had a great dinner of snapper (I asked him to please cut off the head so I didn't have to look at eyes), potatoes, coleslaw, and local vegetables. Left Chatham, hoping to meet up with Casa del Mar and Ticketoo in Frigate Bay on Union, but as we passed them by we could see they were rocking side to side quite a bit. Decided to go into Clifton Harbor where we anchor behind the reef. It was still quite choppy because of the high winds. Had drinks at Happy Island and met up with new and old cruising friends.
Left Tuesday for Carriacou. Kyeta and Aurora left before us - it was 10 miles, so we knew we'd make it there sometime during the day. They anchored in Hillsborough and then sailed over to Tyrell Bay to anchor. We decided to press on those extra couple of miles to Tyrell and take the bus back to Hillsborough. Another day of a fantastic sail. Put up a double reef with the stay sail and just had a great day. Pulled in and saw our sistership, WindBorne III from Toronto. Anchored, put the sun shades up and took the bus into town to check in. This was Dennis' first time in Hillsborough. I forgot that it was Ann (Kyeta) and I that always went in to check in, take the bus to the bank, pick up groceries and all that other good stuff.
We met up with Dan and Jaime on Nereia again, and it was great to see them. Dan took Ann, Nancy and myself on a walk one morning to get our exercise. They've spent a lot of time in Carriacou so we got a great tour and saw some adorable little kindergarten and grade one children who gave us great smiles for our photos. Met up with the principal from one of the schools who was telling us about an event celebrating different cultures, and their school was in charge of doing a presentation on Guyana. They needed some ingredients for the local dishes that they couldn't find - Ann (Kyeta), Nancy (Aurora) and Dan (Nereia) came up with the spices they needed and Ann and Nancy took them back. Then there was the shipment of books that came in from the States (go to www.boatersforbooks.org). Melodye from Second Millenium was gone, and Carolyn and Rick from WindBorne III (Carriacou is their second home) took charge. They asked if I would help take books off the ship from Grenada to the restaurant across the street, where the schools could pick them up. I asked a few friends, and we ended up with myself, Ann on Kyeta, Paul and Nancy on Aurora, Dan and Jaime on Nereia and Kathleen and Roland on My Lady Kathleen taking over 40 boxes of books off the ship, onto a truck, then off of the truck and into the restaurant. The two Dennis' were out fishing! Had fun and it felt good to help. These children really don't have any type of library books, so if anyone wants to go to the website and/or send books to any of the Caribbean islands, it's always appreciated.
Unfortunately, time is getting short and it's time to start heading south. Where did our winter cruising season go??? ~~~~~_/)~~~~

Thursday, May 03, 2007

April and May in Bequia

We arrived in Admiralty Bay in Bequia in time for all of the Easter Regatta festivities. We had a great vantage point to watch the start and finish of the races. Nice to know that racing boats can hourglass their spinnaker just the same as we can! The anchorage is crowded again, only this time it's mostly charter boats. At Christmas and New Year's it was cruising boats, and a lot of the boats that had crossed the Atlantic in the ARC. Went in Monday night when they announced the winners of the races because there were free drinks!
Our plan originally had been to leave for Tobago after Easter when Kyeta's company returned to the States. Frank and Gretchen on Infinity had picked up friends, Chad and Marsha (Rebel Rouser), down in Tobago and they, who never complain, complained about the deep water and rolly anchorages. Made us re-think our plans. It turned out we didn't have to think very hard since I needed to stay in Bequia to wait for legal paperwork from home. We spent time with Dan and Jaime on Nereia and Barb and Winston on My Island Girl. Then Casa del Mar and Ticketoo pulled in. Old home week. A few days later, Infinity sailed in with Chad and Marsha. We met Chad and Marsha on Rebel Rouser back in 2004 on the way down the Erie Canal. They were travelling with their then 18 month old, Keegan, who gave me my baby fix all the way to the Bahamas. They were flying out of St. Vincent to head back to Trinidad, and we had planned on sailing over on Infinity to spend some time with them. Well, Frank on Infinity got sick, so we took them over on Audrey Paige, with Gretchen along for company as well. Had a great sail, and it sure is nice to have extra hands on board, especially when they know what they're doing. A boat boy came out while we were offshore and told us he'd tie us up to a temporary mooring, arranged a land taxi and was the water taxi to take Chad and Marsha to shore. Everything worked out great and we had a wonderful visit. Especially when Chad told me how I could make movies and put them to music. I've had fun with that! Two hours there and two back and a good battery charge!
Spending time in Bequia exploring, doing boat chores and enjoying the beach. Needed a good battery charge so decided to take Denny and Ann from Kyeta on board and sail around the island. Really nice day, but no fish. A week later, decided to leave the anchorage again and see if Baliceaux would be a good day anchorage. It's a little anchorage west of Bequia. Had a great motorsail, but the closer we got to the island the bigger the rollers were, and there was no way you could have either swam to shore or put the dinghy to shore as the waves were so big. Turned around and headed back to Admiralty Bay, but had a great day just getting out on the water. It's so quiet now, we've left three times and arrived back to drop anchor in the same spot!
Murray and Nadine on Squiz arrived the other day. We haven't seen them since before Christmas in Grenada. Bill and Judy on Be Be (used to be called Security) arrived the day after. We spent the summer with them in Trinidad. Had Squiz over for happy hour one night and Be Be the next. So many people pulling in again that we decided to get together at the new bar that opened at Easter, called Jack's. It's on the beach and they finished it right before Easter. Ended up with about 20 boats getting together, visiting old friends and meeting new ones.
The paperwork is finally in. It was supposed to be in on Wednesday's ferry, but the ferry was running an hour late (what else is new) and Customs closed before they arrived. Hopefully we can leave on Friday! While we love it here, it's time to move on and we need to be in Trinidad in 3 weeks!! Where did the time go?
Will update when we get to Grenada. ~~~/_)~~~

Bequia to Union and back to Bequia again

Left Bequia around 8 a.m. and had a great sail down to Union, even if we did get wet once or twice from a couple of squalls that came through. Everyone told us what a great anchorage Frigate Rock was, but when we pulled in the winds were coming from the wrong direction and we rolled all night. Picked up anchor the next day and motored up to the anchorage in Clifton where we were protected from roll by the reef in front of us. Kyeta's company, Kelly and Glen, arrived in Union and Dennis took our dinghy over to help transport them and luggage to the boat. We had dinner and then went over to visit on Kyeta since Kelly and Glen had brought all of us goodies from home!
Spent two days at Clifton, walking around town and snorkelling. Went to Happy Island for drinks and then out for dinner to celebrate Dennis' birthday. Dennis got an email from our daughter-in-law, Kristine, that our granddaughter, Avory, had colored a picture for him for his birthday. For her birthday, she was wondering if grandpa would get her a shell necklace and a mermaid with purple hair and a purple tail. Kristine had to tell her that if grandpa could pluck mermaids from the sea, we'd never see him again. Isn't that the truth!
Left Union and had a short but great sail to Mayreau. We had planned on anchoring in Saline Bay but the roll was so bad that even the catamerans were rolling about. We looked at the chart and decided to try the anchorage called Windward Bay. I was a little nervous with all the reefs around, but you could see them quite well, even with the choppy water. The reefs broke up the waves and it turned out to be a great anchorage. We snorkelled and I have never seen so many starfish! I need to get an underwater camera!!! We walked into town and had drinks and a light lunch. It rained all afternoon so we just relaxed on the boat.
Tuesday morning, after the sun was high, we picked up anchor and left for the Tobago Cays to do some more snorkelling. Lots of reefs, but coming in the south entrance was easier than the north entrance. It was overcast and rainy off and on, so we decided to head to the beach and play dominoes. Well, then it rained too hard to even play dominoes under the trees, so we headed over to Kyeta for dinner and to finish the game. Wednesday was a much nicer day so we got some snorkelling and exploring in, and then had pizza with a dominoes game on Audrey Paige.
Thursday morning, again, after the sun was high (so you can see the reefs) we picked up anchor and sailed to Canuoan. Dennis and I walked around and climbed what has to have been the steepest hill we've climbed yet. You could see the windward side of Canuoan and it was beautiful. If you were brave, on a calm day, you could get in that anchorage. I'm not quite that brave! Dennis' back went out so we took our time leaving Canuoan to head back to Bequia. We had wind against waves and ended up with some 7 footers over the bow and found some leaks on the boat we didn't know we had. Just off Mustique the water calmed down some and we caught a blackfin tuna. Luckily, we brought it in quickly.
It was the start of the Easter Regatta in Bequia and as we came around Isle a Quatre we saw all these sailboats heading right for us. We were on a starboard tack and had right-of-way, but I don't think they cared. Especially the 70 foot Santa Cruz that was heeled over so far we could see his keel. Luckily, we all avoided each other and we anchored at Petit Nevis, which is the old whaling station on Bequia, and snorkelled and walked around the island. Picked up the anchor around 2 and headed into Admiralty Bay where we got things ready for tuna dinner on Audrey Paige. We have to change this, 'whoever catches the fish does dinner' thing! ~~~/_)~~~

Martinique to Bequia

We were up early, after our long two days from Dominica, so that we could do laundry and provision. The nice thing was, there was no one in the laundrymat at 6:30 in the morning. Dan and Jaime from Nereia stopped in to say hi and it was so good to see them again. They're staying on for the rest of the week to do some land tours. Finished mid-day and headed out to anchor at St. Anne's to do internet and pick up bread from the bakery there. No play time!! Saw Winston and Barb on My Island Girl (a 40' Bayfield) and invited them over for happy hour the next night. They were getting together with Jim and Pat on Mirus, so we invited them as well. Mirus is from Ohio and we saw them for the first time when we were travelling down the Erie Canal in 2004. It sometimes turns out to be a small world!
Infinity left Sunday morning to head south because they needed to get their boom repaired before they picked up their company in Tobago. We headed out early Monday morning and had a pretty good sail from St. Anne's to between the Pitons on St. Lucia. Of course, the wind picked up, gusting from 20-25 when we came into the anchorage, so we decided to pay the boat boy 10 EC (about $3 US) to help tie us up. Money well spent! What a beautiful place to spend a night or two.
Up early again to sail from St. Lucia to Bequia. We had anywhere from no wind to 20 knots at the tip of St. Vincent. That was interesting - wind one way, waves coming from the other direction. It took us 10 hours to get to Bequia, sailing, motoring and motorsailing. It seems deserted here after Christmas! Kyeta came in an hour after us, having caught a good size tuna, so dinner on their boat. Not too much play time with boat chores and land duties. Kyeta is expecting company so they're working way too hard! Only here for a day and a half before we head down to Union and the rest of the Grenadines. ~~~/_)~~~

Friday, April 27, 2007

Les Saintes to Dominica and Martinique

We ended up leaving Pain de Sucre on Sunday morning to head to Dominica. Had a reef and the stay sail up and it was still pretty rough at first. At least heading through the cut of the islands! Had a pretty good sail and dropped anchor in Canefield, Dominica mid-afternoon. It's a pretty secluded anchorage just north of the capital of Rosseau, but it was a Sunday and the beach was busy. Kyeta pulled in about an hour behind us. While I was down below getting lunch, about eight young lads, ages eight to twelve, swam up to the boat. At first they all decided to just hang on the anchor line. Ann from Kyeta called to ask if I knew this - yes, I could actually feel the boat bobbing with them hanging on the line. The next thing we knew there were little fingers all along the side of the boat wanting to come on board. They were extremely persistant. Finally, Dennis tried to explain to them about the yellow flag. Normally, in the real world, this means we are just stopping by and we're quarantined, not going to shore. They didn't understand that, so he thought he'd expand a little. Told them what the yellow quarantine flag really meant was that his wife was extremely ill, no one could come aboard, she had a full blown case of AIDS. Hey, thanks for that! But, they all talked between themselves and we didn't see them again!!!
Did get off the boat to row over to Kyeta to have dinner.
Up the next morning and underway before 6 a.m. We'd listened to weather on Saturday, and everything sounded good. This was Monday morning, and there is no weather on Sunday, so we were still relying on all of Saturday's forecasts. It was dead calm when we left the anchorage just before six. Put the main sail up at anchorage and Dennis put the fishing poles out before we'd even left the anchorage. Amazingly, we hooked a 4 ft. wahoo before Kyeta even had their main sail up! Headed down the coast while Dennis cleaned the fish and we tried to find room in our fridge/freezer for it. Had another hit about half an hour later that seemed to be an even bigger wahoo. Luckily (I'm saying) it got off.
As we got down to the tip of the island the waves and winds seemed to build. So not what was called for in the weather forecast for the weekend. By the time we hit the tip of the island and got a mile offshore, we had consistent 20-25 knot winds with gusts to 35 and pretty steady seas at 8-12 feet. It was not a good time. Denny and Ann on Kyeta tow their dinghy on a reverse dinghy lift. It was filling up with water and he was pretty concerned. He called us on the radio and asked if we'd consider turning back. Doing something like that had never crossed Dennis' mind, but he turned around before Kyeta did.
We ended up at Canefield for another two days waiting for weather, but got a ton of boat chores done since we couldn't go to shore. Did enjoy that wahoo with Kyeta. Ended up with about twelve meals out of one fish!
Finally left Dominica and sailed to Martinique. Kind of lumpy but we made it into Grande Anse D'Arlet in 10 hours. Probably would have made it sooner if Dennis had been paying attention to the GPS. I guess I left him at the helm too long and he saw a pretty beach and didn't pay attention to the GPS. I called Kyeta to ask their co-ordinates and wondered where they were going. We seemed to be going to the same place, yet we weren't. Then I got behind the helm and discovered that Dennis wasn't paying attention at all to where we were going! I'm always the one that takes us in and out of anchorages, and I guess I need to keep doing that!!!
Had a real calm night in Grande Anse D'Arlet and headed out early the next morning to head to Marin to do laundry (which we haven't done in a month) and groceries. It's Ann's birthday (Kyeta), so we definitely want to get into town to celebrate. Infinity finally caught up as well! We pulled in early, since we sincerely believe in motoring, checked in and picked up forms for Kyeta. They ended up having major motor problems and having to sail the whole way in. Infinity pulled in about an hour after them and we all got together for dinner that night to celebrate Ann's birthday and all the birthdays we've missed!
Next log coming soon! ~~~~_/)~~~~~~

Les Saintes to Guadaloupe

Greetings all - Sorry to have been so lazy in catching up with the blog. We picked up anchor off of Pain de Sucre and headed out through the cut to get a better angle up to Isle de Cochon in Guadaloupe. One thing about being in the Saintes - the weather is always bizarre. I have never seen so many waterspouts, daily, in my life!! Had a great sail up to Guadaloupe - all three sails up and no reef for a change - and missed all the squalls we saw either ahead of us or behind us. Sometimes, life is good!!
Anchored off of Isle de Cochon (Pig Island). Tucked in close so we didn't get any roll from passing boats, but in the middle of the night we got a little close to the boat next to us, so first thing in the morning, we re-anchored and then had a great spot for a week. There was a French boat anchored close to us with five little ones under the age of eight, and she was pregnant. Some women are amazing! These kids were like little fish and we loved watching them every day. Plop, plop, plop, swim around the boat, chase their parents around, plop, plop again!
Took the dinghy up the river a bit to see what that was like, and then visited the town of Pointe A Pitre. A great market, quaint shops, and we enjoyed ourselves walking around. However, it wasn't the marine warehouse Doyle's book said it would be. We've been looking for the styrofoam snorkelling floats and finally found them. They'd obviously been there forever (I worked at West Marine, I know what old stock looks like, especially when bugs and garbage come out when you shake it out!), but they wouldn't come down on the price of 28 Euros. That would be about 35 US. Guess they didn't want the sale that bad since they wouldn't bargain!
Took the dinghy up through the marinas and then went to the mall with the super grocery store. Glad we thought to bring not only the freezer bag but the cart with wheels as well!
Left Isle de Cochon and headed over to Isle de Gosier. Explored with Kyeta and Conch'd Out and then left the next day to head back to the Saintes. Heard Infinity on the radio. They're close!
Again, a great sail back to Pain de Sucre to hang out until we were ready to leave on Saturday.
Till next blog, which will follow ~~~~~_/)~~~~~~

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Frustrating Communications

I have to say, the most frustrating thing I do all day is try to communicate. I don't remember this much of a problem last year, but everyone with the Globalstar phone seems to be having the same problem with receiving and maintaining a signal. Globalstar was kind enough to double our minutes this year, but that doesn't really help if you can't get a signal to last long enough to have a conversation! It's a miracle when we get a signal long enough to send and receive emails, and then if there's a long email in there, well, that will take two or three times to download everything.
For anyone setting out cruising, I really don't know what to tell you. What you really want is the ability to send and receive email in remote places, not where you have easy access to internet. We've tried Pocketmail, and that's good for travelling back and forth from the States to the Bahamas, but that's about it in our opinion. We thought, after spending all this money for a phone, data cable to have the ability to do emails and the yearly fee, we'd be all set. Turns out we're wrong! On top of that, Globalstar's Accounting Department leaves a lot to be desired. They're quite good at charging your charge card for roaming, where you've never been - I was told the one time I must have picked up a Peruvian satellite - ????? - long distance where you've never called, and just a charge because they messed up. Oh, they forgot that I paid that yearly fee and started charging me for my minutes used. That wouldn't be bad if they gave you a credit right away, but that never happens until you've sent nasty emails a month later to a supervisor. What a way to run a business!! The best was when I first purchased the phone and couldn't get it to initialize. After many, many conversations with people who answered the phone and tech support, they told me to send the phone back and they would take care of it. No phone ever went out without the ability to initialize and I must be doing something wrong. Three days later I received a brand new phone because they couldn't get the phone to initialize either!
We'll have to figure out something by the time we head west next year because then we will be roaming with Globalstar. If anyone has any suggestions (aside from through SSB), let us know! Ocens, as an email carrier is wonderful, but it's just trying to connect.~~~~_/)~~~

Monday, March 12, 2007

To Dominica and Les Saintes

Well, we had quite the run from St. Pierre to Dominica. The waves were a little higher than forcast! Woke up around 4 a.m. with the boat rolling around and the sound of rain. Had been hoping to leave early because of the full moon, but with the rain were also clouds covering the full moon. We wanted some light, since there are fish traps all over the place, so we decided to wait an hour. Finally got tired of rolling around so we got underway at 5:30 a.m., with Dennis on the deck looking for fish traps. Just missed one! We had a great sail up the coast of Martinique, and then when we rounded the tip of the island, the waves were more like eight to ten feet, with an occasional twelve thrown in, instead of the six that had been forcast. It was an interesting sail. (The photo is not of us sinking, but Conch'd Out got us between the waves) We were going anywhere from seven knots to a dead standstill during the 10 hours it took us to get to Portsmouth in Dominica. At least the waves calmed down once we hit the coast of Dominica. Pulled in, dropped the anchor, Dennis repaired the main sail while I washed the salt off the boat, made a quick dinner and went to bed!
Left the next morning after listening to Chris Parker, our weather guy, and sailed the 15 miles over to Les Saintes, off of Guadaloupe. A wonderful sail and much better than the day before! We were the last in, just after Break & Run, who had to stop to clean the mahi mahi that they caught. We had a bet going that whoever caught the largest fish got a bottle of wine from all the other boats. Needless to say, Al and Joan on Break & Run got wine!
The anchorage near the town is deep, was crowded and was rolly, so we made the decision to head back to one of the little coves to anchor. It was only a 5 minute dinghy ride and was so much nicer. Headed in, checked in, picked up some fresh produce, bread and wine, and went back to the boat to enjoy the rest of the afternoon. We rented scooters the next day to tour the island of Terre D'En Haut and I've never been so afraid. We've put thousands of miles on motorcycles, but this was quite the challenge. Dennis hardly had any room for his knees, and he was one of the shorter guys. Denny from Kyeta had his knees almost to his chest. The island is very hilly and in a couple of places we had to take turns getting a running start from the bottom of the hill! But, it was a lot of fun.~~~_/)~~~

St. Anne's to St. Pierre

After Carnival was finished, Infinity and Conch'd Out left for St. Lucia. Infinity for company arriving, and Conch'd Out for a propane refill, which is not to be found on any French island. We took the boat into Marin, with Ann and Denny as passengers, to do laundry and stocking up on food and wine before we left St. Anne's. Rumor was there was supposed to be a favorable sail for using the spinnaker, so we cleaned out the back berth, dug it out and got it ready to go. Headed into the town of St. Anne's for some fresh vegetables and bread and then got underway to Grande Anse D'Arlet with Kyeta and Break & Run. Memory and Conch'd Out were on their way from St. Lucia. Had a fantastic sail with the spinnaker flying! Changed tacks twice and didn't mess things up too bad. We thought we did well considering this was only the third time we'd used the spinnaker, and the first time in two years.
Pulled into Grande Anse D'Arlet and spent a relaxing couple of days swimming, snorkelling and reading. Break & Run had caught a 45" wahoo and were kind enough to share it with us. So far this year Kyeta and Audrey Paige are fishless underway!
We left Grande Anse D'Arlet on Tuesday and pulled into Anse Mitan where we met up with Memory again and picked up the goodies they had brought us back from their visit to the States. Anse Mitan is a nice resort town with shops and restaurants everywhere. Dennis craved Chinese food, so we went out with Al and Joan on Break & Run and had a wonderful, but very expensive meal. The weather finally co-operated and we were able to check out and head to St. Pierre for the night before leaving for Dominica and Les Saintes.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Martinique Carnival

Well, we arrived back in St. Annes after a 4 hour sail, stopping by to say hi to Kyeta and then head into town to pick up the fresh fruit and veg that we missed in Petite D'Arlet. Casa Del Mar and Ticketoo pulled in just after us, and everyone got together to celebrate the first night of Carnival - the crowning of the Queen. One would normally think that would be a young beauty queen, but it was the older women, and they were wonderful. On Sunday morning Frank and Gretchen on Infinity decided that we needed a good hike to Salinas Bay in the southern tip of Martinique. We left at 10 a.m., hiked, swam, hiked, body surfed, hiked, ate, body surfed, hiked - you get the picture. Got back to the dock around 5:30 when the young kids were going to parade, but we headed back to the boat to collapse, while Infinity stayed in town. Monday came with clouds and rain - ALL DAY! It was the transvestite night, but we passed it up because we were tired. While we missed it that night, they continued for the next two nights, so didn't miss much!
Washed the boat in the rain and got a lot of boat chores done. Infinity decided that we should have dinner on their boat, so we brought over our Mexican Train domino game and I kicked everyone's butt!! Missed the parade, but had a great time! Went into town the next two days. Tuesday was red and white day, and Wednesday was black and white day - burn that devil! It was a small Carnival, but a lot of fun. Wish I could figure out how to post more pictures! The first photo (when it gets posted) will be of Denny and Ann on Kyeta, Tom and PJ on Conch'd Out, Frank and Gretchen on Infinity, Anna on Sashimi and, DW on Audrey Paige.
Loving the life!!!!!!!!!!!~/_)~

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Enjoyed a couple of weeks at St. Anne's, and then it was time to move on before returning for Carnival. We had brunch on Kyeta to say goodbye to Equinox who, sadly, have to make their way north. We picked up anchor around 11:30, along with Equinox, to head to Grande Anse D'Arlet. It was a downwind sail and we thought we'd try a trick we'd been told to try - double reefed main and wing on wing. Well, it didn't work. We slogged along at around 2 knots and finally gave up and motored in. (Two weeks later we used the spinnaker - more on the 7 knot sail later)
Picked up Dick and Moira (Equinox) in the morning and walked the beach with them before they headed out. Spent 3 days in Grande Anse D'Arlet, snorkelling, hiking over to Petite D'Arlet and back, cleaning the bottom of the boat and just hanging out. The water here is warm, clear and beautiful. Left Grande D'Arlet, planning to head to Anse Noir, but it looked too crowded, so we motored up to Anse l'Ane. Spent a rolly night there with the ferry traffic, walked the town, then headed back to Anse Noir. Had a great anchorage, snorkelling and hiking. Left Anse Noir and motored down to Petite D'Arlet where, again, we did some great snorkelling. It was a pretty good anchorage until about 2 a.m., when the winds changed and the roll came in. We had planned on going into the market in Petite D'Arlet, but decided to leave at 7 a.m. and hit the market in St. Anne's instead. Pulled into St. Anne's around noon, headed to the market, picked up supplies and then into town for the first Carnival parade!
More later!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Martinique, c'est bon

Martinique - that means, it's good. And, oh, yes, it is. Since I made Dennis reef, we had a very slow sail from St. Lucia to Martinique, until I took pity on him and let him shake out the reef. Long story, but he needs to learn!! Pulled into Marin, hoping to check in before they closed at 12:30 on Friday. Equinox and Memory blew by us and were in their dinghy on the way to Customs while Kyeta and ourselves were anchoring. We dragged at first, and then decided to re-anchor. We were too close to another boat and then couldn't get our anchor up! Denny on Kyeta and the Memory and Equinox dink came over to help untangle us from the 65 lb. danforth anchor we had hooked into. Quite the challenge, since we almost had to get into Kyeta's cockpit to get the anchor free. Ann came over to pick me up and we actually got to check in so that we could leave on Saturday to head to St. Anne's.
Ah, a French island. Brie, french bread, pain au chocolat, cafe au lait and that good old French wine! Could life get any better? Hit the ATM, then the grocery stores and bakeries and headed out to the anchorage at St. Anne's. This is a wonderful little tourist town with bakeries, two grocery stores and a wonderful market. Know of a cruising couple who were of the opinion that 'seen one island, seen them all'. Can't believe that. Every island and every town is unique, and we love visiting all the little markets.
The best thing was - Infinity pulled in a week later after catching two 46' mahi's, so we all got to benefit from their great fishing. We've had a great time catching up with Frank and Gretchen. We travelled with them from the Turks to Puerto Rico, and then off and on from St. Martin to the Tobago Cays. Rented a car with them and toured Martinique. What a beautiful island and I can see why people can spend years and years down here, never seeing the same thing twice.
For those of you who think we do nothing all day, let me tell you that we've had many boat projects. This working on the boat in exotic places gets kind of old sometimes, especially when you've missed the lunch closing of the marine stores. West Marine would never go for this closing for two hours!! The toilet was having a problem with a leak because sea grass kept creeping into the valves, so Dennis put a vented loop into the toilet to prevent it from overflowing. He decided to do that at 4 p.m., after we had moved the boat into Marin, done laundry, a water run, groceries, visited all the marine stores, then headed back out to St. Anne's. Finally finished everything around 9 at night and then collapsed.
Last weekend we got to see a pre-Mardi Gras parade. Quite interesting and a lot of fun. Heading out for a change of scenery for a week, and then back to St. Anne's for the big Mardi Gras. It's a quaint little town with a lot going on, and from what we've heard,it's a pretty good parade. Can't wait!!!!!!!!!!! ~~~/_)~~~~

Friday, February 02, 2007

St. Lucia

We had a wonderful sail from St. Vincent into St. Lucia, arriving at Soufriere in the rain with Kyeta and Equinox. We tied up to the mooring balls beneath Petit Piton, with a line to shore, with the help of the many, many boat boys, all with their hand out for helping or trying to sell you something. Memory and Columbine pulled in later that day, making for a full house.
It was a beautiful anchorage and we had one of the best meals at Harmony Restaurant, right beneath the Pitons. Did lots of exploring, seeing the waterfall, springs, botanical gardens and the town. St. Lucia had a bad reputation with cruisers because of crime, and they really seem to be doing something about it. The only bad thing we can say about it is the boat boys, or the men and boys that hang out at the dinghy dock, wanting to help tie up your dinghy - for cash!
Spent a night at Anse Cochon, where we did some snorkelling, and then a couple of days at Marigot. Marigot, while beautiful, is not a good anchorage and we'll skip that next time. We left Marigot, under full sail, on our way to Pigeon Island in Rodney Bay, where Dennis caught a small shark and I put letters on the mast saying, 'Yes, reef!!'
We spent a relaxing couple of weeks off Pigeon Island, swimming, hiking and exploring. Rick, of Memory, offered to be our driver on an island tour, so we all split the cost of the van and had a great day with Rick and Carey (Memory), Moira and Dick (Equinox) and Ann and Denny (Kyeta). St. Lucia is a beautiful island and the roads are probably some of the best we've seen - well, except for the curves!
Well, the winds and waves look good, so it's off to Martinique! ~~~~_/)~~~~