Tuesday, August 22, 2017

On to Tobago

There are certain areas, countries and islands that attract cruisers. Communities develop, activities are set up, friendships are quickly developed. St. Martin and Grenada are two of those places that we have visited. Places like these are great spots to get repairs or upgrades done to your boat and to replenish your emotional/friendship needs. We certainly took advantage of all of these. With the benefits of these countries also comes the difficulty of leaving them, knowing you will be traveling without other companions and going to places that are less well equipped for cruisers, but leaving the comfort zone is how we discover new places, experience new things, meet new people and have new stories to tell. We made the decision to leave Grenada and head 75 miles SE to Tobago, the smaller of the two islands that make up the country Trinidad and Tobago.

Conventional wisdom says that this passage is best done at night, for two reasons.  One is the distance. It is just long enough that sailing would take longer than the hours of daylight in a day, so the choice is to leave in the wee hours of the morning and arrive before dark, or to leave in the evening, sail through the night and arrive with plenty of light to navigate the unknown waters of a new country. The second reason is a safety reason. A few years ago there were some attacks on boats heading from Grenada to Trinidad. These happened during the day and since then most cruisers have chosen to go at night, and there have been no attacks. Since we are going to Tobago and not Trinidad we feel that we are safer, but we still chose to go at night, and chose to run dark, no lights shining to announce our presence.

We left Prickly Bay in the early evening having said our goodbyes and made all of our passage preparations. We pulled out of the bay, all systems go and then in about 1/2 mile our instruments quit. The only thing we had was depth. No GPS, no wind speed or direction, no autopilot. We do have backup charts on the Ipad, and we discussed trying to make the passage using it, but we were not comfortable using just the Ipad with no other backup. We made the choice to pull into another bay in Grenada, put down the anchor and try to fix the instruments.

After setting anchor we wiggled connections, turned things on and off, pulled fuses to try to locate the source of our problems. It took about an hour, and some combination of what we did turned the instruments back on. Now came the question,  do we pull anchor and head to Tobago now? We decided to wait another day and see if the instruments would continue working, and then we would head out the next night.
Instruments working!

24 hours later, all instruments still working, we head off again. This time we were over a mile out when the instruments conked out, after having been fine all day. Bob was down below testing fuses and wiggling wires. This time the instruments returned quickly and we made the decision to continue and fortunately the instruments worked all night (although they are not working again as I am writing this).

This was our second overnight passage, and it was different from our passage to St. Martin. The weather was warmer, the winds were more favorable  (we were able to sail almost the entire way), and there were very few boats, no sailboats,  and no one going in the same direction we were. Being able to sail the distance gave me a sense of accomplishment. We did it ourselves. It is so nice to be able to harness the power of the wind, rather than fossil fuels.

Bob and I alternate our watches. I started out with a 2 hour shift and Bob reciprocated. My next shift went for 3 hours both because I was awake enough for it and because I wanted a three hour block of time for my sleep. After that we went back to 2 hours, the day began and we were both up for the final push into Tobago.
The pink glow of dawn, and the first glimpses of Tobago 

There is a real beauty to sailing at night. The stars were out in full. I have discovered Scorpio, a lovely curving constellation, and right in front of Scorpio is Libra (fun for me as that is my zodiac sign). Libra was once considered to be the claws of Scorpio. The moon rose on one of my watches. It looked quite like a watermelon slice, rind and all. Behind the boat we could watch the bioluminescence sparkling in our wake. The lights of Tobago became more distinct, guiding us toward our destination. The rising sun made the entire ocean take on a soft pink hue. As the day got brighter the lights of Tobago began to go out. There was a time in the transition that actually made it harder to see. The lights had gone out, and yet there was not quite enough light to make out the details of the land. That was followed shortly by full daylight and enough clarity to find our way into Store Bay, Tobago, our first destination in Tobago. Next adventure- Customs and Immigration, what fun.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Rivers and Laura and Rhapsody

We had the pleasure of sharing our adventures with Rivers and Laura at the end of their epic trip to Southeast Asia. Admittedly they were a little burned out, having been traveling for three months. We tried to make their time here easy on them, at least they didn't have to keep packing up and moving from place to place.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Night Passage

This is a blog post I wrote but never posted. It is about about our first overnight passage, from BVI to St. Maarten back in January. 

5 PM We release the mooring lines to begin our trip to St. Maarten, the Dutch portion of St. Martin /St. Maarten.
6:00 The sun is setting off of our starboard stern. We are rewarded with a bit of a green flash to celebrate our journey.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Oh Don, we barely knew ye

Tropical Storm Don, headed straight for Grenada,  the second named storm aiming for Grenada already this Hurricane season, the fourth named storm in the Atlantic overall. 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

All clear

Tropical Storm Bret has come and gone and we are safe and dry.

Bret took the most southern route predicted and passed below Trinidad and Tobago. There were some strong winds all the way up to where we were in Canouan, part of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, but we were never in danger.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

The storm's a'comin'

And we're a'runnin'

Invest 92L is the system we are watching. Invest is short for Investigation and it designated a weather feature that the Hurricane Center is watching. The numbers run from 90 to 99 and then start again. The L stands for atLantic.

92L is not a named storm but could develop into one and it is headed to Grenada.

The colors on the chart above for Tuesday are new colors to us. The highest number is 61 knots.  Pretty as it is, it is a color I would rather not see!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Preparation for a passage

Note: This is out of sequence.  This post was written in January before our passage to Sint Maarten 
Our first night passage, our first passage over three hours, our first passage out of sight of land and we need to get ready for it. We are fortunate enough to have veteran cruisers Mike and Robin on Mermaid helping us and crossing with us. They have 15 years of cruising under their belts, have made many passages and are a wealth of knowledge for us.

Here is an annotated list of what we were preparing :

Friday, June 9, 2017

Picture Story in Carriacou

A picture story of a hike in Carriacou, Grenada

What are these strange things on my feet? Where are my toes? We spend most of our days barefoot, sandals when we go to town, and these full foot enclosures only come out for hikes.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Grenada is our Ithaka

Grenada has been our goal for many months now. We launched Rhapsody in November with the general plan of heading to Grenada for the hurricane season.  We have been reading about Grenada as a place that many people leave their boats during hurricane season, sometimes staying with their boats and sometimes flying to other places to return during the next cruising season. A large part of the reason that people do this is insurance. Many insurance companies have rules about where you have to be during hurricane season.  In the Caribbean there is a "hurricane box", the area in which you are not covered by insurance.  

Friday, June 2, 2017

Laundry wars

There are some things about living on a boat that are just not simple. Laundry is high on that list. Back in my former life laundry was once a week, throw it in the washer,  go do something else, come back in a while, throw it in the dryer. It was in my house, I could do laundry as a passing thing, pass by the washer- is it done? Move it on. Laundry is not so simple now.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Shopping on small islands can be a challenge!

I enter the small dark building. There is one room, about 400 sq. feet. The lighting is very dim and the ceiling is low. There are two sets of shelves going one direction, and another two sets perpendicular to these. The shelving units are about 4 feet high with three shelves on each. There are a few shelves along two of the walls, and a cooler on a third wall. The cashier is sitting behind a counter along the fourth wall, by the door. This is a typical "Supermarket" that we have been encountering for the last two months, ever since we left Martinique.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Double Dumb, Double Danger

First we heard the crunch, then we heard the yelling, but somehow we were not surprised.

We had sailed from Petit St. Vincent , the southernmost point of the Grenadines, to a neighboring islet and reef, Mopion, for some swimming and snorkeling. Mopion is and reef encircled sand spit 1/2 mile off of Petit St. Vincent offering clear waters, extensive reefs and a tiny but idyllic spit for a lunch stop.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Johnny Depp was here...and so were we

Not exactly at the same time, however. Petit Tabac was where Elizabeth set fire to Jack Sparrow's rum in the Pirates of the Caribbean.
The same beach. I think Bob is hoping that not all the rum casks were burned!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Iconic Tropical Paradise

White sand, turquoise waters, uninhabited islands ringed by palm trees. Imagine your iconic "Tropical Paradise " and you have the Tobago Cays.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Starry Starry Night

When it is not cloudy, and when the moonlight doesn't get it the way, the stars here are amazing. When we lived in Oregon, Bob and I often liked to stargaze and identify stars, planets and constellations. While we are getting better at it, we are still very much at the novice stage.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Chatam Bay..a friendly refuge

After topping off our water and quick goodbyes to the friendly and helpful staff of Glossy Point Marina, we headed for Saline Bay on the island of Mayreau. We heard there was a regatta and beach party scheduled for that day, and were hoping to go ashore, take in some of the festivities, try for some local fresh produce, and remain overnight. We'd been told that the noise was not too loud or went too late, but shortly after we arrived at noon a beach bar acting as regatta central began blasting music and announcements with ear shattering volume..and we were at least 600 yds. away. Our hull was literally vibrating from the bass and it felt like someone was broadcasting from a boat that had just pulled alongside. I guess when you rent the big bank of speakers for the day, and you're a young rappin DJ it's a matter of might makes right....So we ate a quick lunch and checked the charts and headed off to the next island south...Union Island. We passed by a smaller and crowded bay on the northwest corner and continued down the leeward, or western side and around a small headland into Chatam Bay.

Monday, May 15, 2017

A Marina all to ourselves

No other boats in a marina built for 120 boats.
All alone.
How nice.

Glossy Point Marina opened two weeks before we arrived, or as the manager said "It was a soft opening" with the aim of a big celebration at the beginning of the next cruising season in November. It is located on the island of Canouan in the Grenadines.

When we arrived the entire staff was on the dock to assist us with the lines. We docked right in front of their office and bathhouse facilities. Everything is brand spanking new, or still under construction.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Musings on Safety

Safety and security. It really is a subjective matter. When do you feel safe and secure? When do you feel threatened. I grew up in a house that was never locked, and I carried that habit through to our house in Florence. We did not lock the house on a daily basis, but only when we were going on vacation, at which point we usually had to search for a key. We felt we were in a very safe neighborhood. Did our neighbor feel safe? Probably.  Did they lock their doors? Probably.
Putting our dinghy "Melody" up on the hip for security 

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Newly Salted, Rhapsody at 6 months

Newly Salted is a website that posts interviews of cruisers that have been cruising for less than two years. I read all of these interviews before we started cruising, and dreamt of the time when I could be a part of this project. Now we have officially been cruising for 6 months and I am excited to be able to participate.

A little about us: We are Bob and Sarah aboard Rhapsody, our 49' Jeanneau Sun Odyssey. We sold off our belongings in Oregon and began cruising in November of 2016. We bought Rhapsody in the BVI and that is where we began our journey through the Caribbean. You can follow our story at rhapsodyontheblue.com

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Turtle Sanctuary in Bequia

Hawksbill turtles are beautiful and critically endangered.  They have a very distinctive pattern on their shells which is what made them so highly valued. These are the turtles that have their shells commonly sold as "tortoiseshell " for such things a jewelry,  combs and ornamentation.

In Bequia  (Beck-way) we had the chance to visit the Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary where one man is trying to help save the Hawksbill.

You can see the distinctive head giving rise to the name.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Sailing by...

Dolphins have not been a part of our trip thus far. We spotted them twice in a particular bay in the BVI,  but at no other time nor place. Crossing from Martinique to St. Lucia gave us another glimpse of these wonderful creatures. I was at the wheel when I noticed some strange breaking of some of the waves. I looked closely and it was a pod of 8 - 10 dolphins. They approached the boat from the side and then turned 90 degrees to swim alongside Rhapsody. They were darker than I expected and swam just under the surface parallel to Rhapsody. A few jumps in the air, but mostly just swimming along beside ud. Gracefully,  with power and speed. And then they were gone. Just a quick "Hello, how are you? Welcome to our world" and they were off to other waters.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Finishing up Martinique

Our pace has definitely slowed down and we are no longer rushing from island to island.  This is a good thing. We have spent over a month in Martinique but it is time to move on now. These are some pictures of our last few days in Martinique.

Traditional Martinique sailing boat, now used for youth instruction.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Veggie plate for you...

Cheeseburger, cheeseburger,  Pepsi, Pepsi, Chips (transcript here) had its Caribbean counterpart in a small restaurant on the west coast of Martinique.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

A Gorge-ous Hike

What are the top rated activities in _________? This is a frequent Google search for me. When I typed it in for Martinique I got several lists of different recommendations and on each list was "Gorges de la Falaise", a walk through a Gorge and up to a waterfall. It sounded very appealing and something I thought would be a good thing to do with my brother, Nathan, and his daughter, Hannele when they were here. The guide book I have said it was a three hour hike, so we made the decision not to include it in their itinerary since we had several other places we wanted to go and this would take a larger chunk of time than we were willing to allot. We were able to do some other hikes and tours, but did not make it to the Gorges de la Falaise.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Marinas - Bah!

I understand the need for going to a Marina, and I am usually very happy to get the things accomplished while we are at a Marina, but I do not like staying in a Marina. It amazes me that people stay at marinas for weeks, months or even permanently. I know that there are reasons to do so, I just am not happy when we have to. Marinas are noisy, and crowded, I can't swim in the waters, there is no breeze to keep the temperature down, and we get to pay for the privilege.

Sunset view off the stern at the Marina vs...

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Met the Bloggers

St. Anne, Martinique 

Learning the Cruising life. This is something that we have been working on for quite a few years now, beginning with the seed of the idea in 2010 in Costa Rica and sailing school in 2011. A great deal of the initial research and learning was done online. Websites about sailing and cruising were helpful, but I really enjoyed reading the blogs of people who were out experiencing cruising right now. One of the blogs I discovered early on was written by and about a Canadian couple who began cruising in 2010, Mike and Rebecca Sweeney and their blog Zero to Cruising. Mike has been posting almost daily since 2008 and the beginning of their dream of cruising. I stumbled across their blog in 2011 and have been reading it ever since.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Family and Bananas

One of the joys of cruising is getting to set your own pace. Moving from island to island as you are ready. Unless you set a schedule.  Some schedules can have dire consequences, while others can be just mildly annoying.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Cat on the loose

Ok, it wasn't a catamaran,  it was a trimaran, but the title flows better with a cat. In my defense I thought it was a cat at first!

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Begin with a waterfall and end with a waterfall

Waterfall to waterfall. We began our day at the waterfall of Emerald Pool and we ended with the double waterfalls of Trafalgar. Both of these falls are very popular destinations for the cruise ships crowds, but we timed it perfectly.  We were at the Emerald Pool before the crowds arrived and we hit Trafalgar after they had returned to the ship. Both areas were empty which made them oh so much more enjoyable.

The left hand falls of Trafalgar

Wednesday, March 29, 2017


If I am embarking on a long journey, whether it is several hours or several days, the first hour will appear to fly by, but if the journey is only an hour long that same distance seems to take much longer.
 "Are we there yet?"
"Hush, we have only been traveling for 15 minutes"
It's all about the mindset.  What are you expecting? What are you getting yourself ready for?

Friday, March 24, 2017

Dominica, The Nature Island

Dominica (pronounced Doh min eek a,  not to be confused with the Dominican Republic) bills itself as The Nature Island and as such is building a reputation for eco-tourism and adventure tourism, going beyond just the sun and the beaches. There are many hikes to go on, waterfalls to see,  volcanos to climb and reefs to dive. Along with this is the push to hire a guide for everything, even the simplest of hikes and they do not allow you to dive without a certified Dominican guide.
That being said, we rented a car for the day and took off to do some exploring on our own, ignoring the advice/pressure to hire a guide. The following pictures are from the first half of our day discovering Dominica.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Which way do I look?

The British drive on the left, the French drive on the right. Traveling in the British countries we think to ourselves- "drive left, look right", referring to checking for traffic when crossing the street. Adding to the confusion, in the BVI the steering wheels are on the left, even though they are driving on the left. In the other Caribbean countries that drive on the left the steering wheel is on the right, unless they are on the left, but then they are usually labeled "left hand drive".

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Vive la difference!

As we go speeding through various countries we are struck by the differences between the French and the English islands. We are passing through so quickly we are not getting a chance for an in depth analysis of the differences but a few things are currently sticking out for me.

Weighing in on the British side we have the BVI, Antigua and St. Kitts.  Representing the French we have St. Barts, Guadeloupe and Martinique. BVI is a British protectorate and while Antigua and St. Kitts are independent countries Queen Elizabeth is still their queen. St. Barts, Guadeloupe and Martinique are overseas departments of France.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Feeling kinda blue

This post is dedicated to the color blue.
The island is one of The Saints. Part of Guadeloupe. The main island of Guadeloupe is in the background.
I love all the different shades of blue in the water here.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

A Tense Night

As much as we are learning about waves and wind and swells, and as much as we try to avoid rolly anchorages,  sometimes they are inevitable. The Caribbean is known for its trade winds, winds that consistently blow from the east to the west. Towns and cities have grown up on the western sides to take advantage of the protection that the islands provide. Everyone knows the wind blows from east to west, until it doesn't.

Friday, March 3, 2017

The Birds and the Trees

Another post in pictures. These are from the Botanical Gardens in Deshais,  Guadeloupe.

Seeing all the birds there was definitely a highlight.
Many of them allowed us to get very close.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

A picture is worth a thousand words

If a picture is truly worth a thousand words, then this is certainly my wordiest blog post yet. And with a slow and inconsistent internet connection, one of the most time consuming! These pictures are all from English Harbor, Antigua 
 (pronounced An Tee Ga not An Tee  Gwa).  We started off with a visit to Nelson's Dockyard National Park and Museum,  then hiked around the peninsula. 
Pillars from the old Sail Loft in Nelson's Dockyard

Monday, February 27, 2017

Yet Another Day in Paradise?

A beautiful day. The sun is shining and birds are singing. The waves are lapping gently against the boat. I have lots of fun things on the agenda.
Early morning view 

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Would you like the red sweater or the black?

What a difference the wind and waves (or lack thereof) can make. Our next destination is Antigua, almost due East from St. Kitts. We are traveling West to East and the trade winds blow East to West. We wanted to have a calm day to make the passage because it can be very uncomfortable heading straight into the wind. We wished for a calm day, and we got it.
Calm waters as we leave St. Kitts 

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Unexpectedly Generous St. Kitts

Three cruise ships were in when we pulled in to the harbor at Basseterre, St. Kitts. All three left in the evening to transport their passengers through the night to the next port. That seems to be pretty standard for cruise ships around here. We often see them pulling out in the evening or cruising by at night, like well lit apartment buildings on the ocean, large floating light shows.
One of the cruise ships on the pier. The yellow building is the entrance to Port Zante. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

St. Barts to St. Kitts

Sailing at last! We were able to sail the entire way from St. Barts to St. Kitts.  Not motor, not motor sail, but actually sailing. That was the good part. The challenging part was the wind. We picked this particular day to go because the winds were forcast to be 14 - 18 knots, a very pleasant speed for Rhapsody to sail in, and less wind than had been blowing the previous days, or was forcast for the following days. We thought we had a good weather window.
Rhapsody under sail, although this picture was taken in the BVI (thanks Bob and Tammy!)

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Only $17,000

It is difficult to compete with Dave Barry when he gives a description of St. Bart. He explains well what we experienced there.  Click  here  to read his description then come back, I'll wait.

For those of you who could not get the article, or chose to wait to read it another time, he declares that everything in St. Barts costs $17,000, from the smallest purchase of sunscreen to the rental of a car.We have now adopted this as the standard designation of the cost of everything, particularly in St. Barts.
(Not unlike the standard length of time left on a trip that some of you may be familiar with- no matter how much time is left on a journey,  the answer to the question "how much longer" is always "15 minutes") 
The last time I talked about prices I mentioned the "sticker shock" we were getting at restaurants. I believe that St. Barts has cured that. Every other place is cheap in comparison!
Downtown Gustavia, St. Barts 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Ile Fourchue

Ahh, it feels so good to be in the water again! Almost two weeks in the lagoon in St. Maarten where the shallow water, lack of water movement and hundreds of boats make the water unswimmable, the bacterial count is just too high. But now we are moored at Ile Fourchue, about 20 miles SE of Sint Maarten and about 2 miles from St. Barts. After the lack of swimming off the boat in the lagoon, one of the first things we did after safely mooring the boat was to jump in and swim to shore.

 Ile Fourchue belongs to St. Barts and is one of their marine reserves. It is a small island denuded by goats whose population died off when the vegetation was gone. They say the vegetation is coming back, but it still looks pretty bare to me, although I did meet a woman who said she had been here 10 years ago and is amazed by how much more growth there is now. All a matter of perspective.
Ile Fourchue 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Lagoon

Simpson Bay Lagoon, on the west side of St. Martin /St. Maarten, our home for almost two weeks. We anchored at the end of the runway and next to the causeway that cuts across the lagoon.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Windy Day in the Lagoon

When we arrived in St. Maarten we anchored in Simpson Bay. It is a beautiful blue. The bottom was clearly visible and littered with sea stars. The problem was, it was very rolly.

A rolly anchorage is a problem for several reasons.
 1) It makes it difficult to sleep
 2) It becomes difficult to function on the boat during the day, cooking, eating, moving about all with a constant side to side motion
3) getting on and off the boat from the dinghy can actually be dangerous if the swell is large enough.

All of these reasons sent us out of the bay and into the Lagoon.
Evening picture taken on the "Hike from Hell"
Simpson Bay in the center of the picture, Simpson Lagoon is at the bottom

Friday, February 10, 2017

Sint Maarten

Our first impressions of St. Maarten  (the Dutch side of St. Martin) were through groggy, sleep deprived eyes having motor sailed through the night from the BVI. We arrived on Saturday morning, checked in and did a bit of exploring. The streets are narrow and crowded, the shops are small and close together. This is the section that we have arrived in, and I certainly don't want to judge the rest of St. Martin /St. Maarten by one section of one town. We found a wonderful Indian restaurant for lunch, but as seems to be the case with most restaurants we go to in the Caribbean - when the bill comes it is a bit of sticker shock. I know that this is something that we had figured into our budget,  but that does not help that sinking feeling when the bill is presented.

The next day was Sunday. A very quiet day. We took our dinghy over to the French side of the island. When taking a cruising boat from one side to the other you have to check out of the first side and check in to the second. If you are on foot, in a car or in a dinghy there is free movement between the sides, no customs, no border checks, no fees. We did not spend much time that day on the French side, just long enough to get some wonderful baguettes, soft cheese and chocolate croissants. At this point we were wondering just what Sint Maarten had to offer us.
The dinghy dock on St. Martin (French side)

Friday, February 3, 2017

More BVI activities

There were a few more activities that I left out of the last post. Last minute things to do before we move on to other islands.

Although not BVI specific, one of the things I did was to learn how to use my new heavy - duty Sailrite sewing machine. This machine was bought specifically to repair our sails. They had ripped once before (you can read about that here). We got the sails repaired professionally then but there were some seams that were starting to go. The plan had been to purchase the sewing machine to save money on repairs.

Sometimes the best laid plans go awry. 

Shortly after becoming full time cruisers we purchased new sails. Now we don't need the sewing machine for sail repair (we hope, for quite a while) but there are other projects that it can be used for. Our friends Robin and Mike on Mermaid had some dinghy chaps (covers) that needed to be fixed. Robin had the sewing knowledge I needed, I had the machine she needed, so she brought the chaps over and we worked together, setting up my machine and repairing her chaps. A win - win situation!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Hurry up and Wait

We have made the decision to make the leap over to St. Martin / Sint Maarten. Now we have to wait for a weather window. Waiting for the Christmas Winds to abate.

It turned out it was  a two week wait. So what do we do while we are waiting? Check things off our BVI/Virgin Gorda bucket list.

We have had Rhapsody for two years now, and the vast majority of that time she has been in the BVI. We have been able to see and do many things here, but there have been some things that we either still had on our list, or wanted to experience again. There were several dive sites that we wanted to return to, but the high winds and waves prevented that, so those will have to remain on the list for another visit here.

We were fortunate to have friends here to wait with, sharing the need to get off the boat and explore. Robin and Mike on Mermaid are also in North Sound,
North Sound, Virgin Gorda , BVI

 waiting to make the passage to St. Martin.
Official North Sound Welcoming Committee with Mermaid to the right

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Oh Rolly Night

The Christmas winds and the North Swell- these are the forces that whip up problems in the BVI this time of year.  The Christmas winds are self explanatory,  winds that build up and are greater in strength around Christmas time, and after. Greater in strength means 25-30 knots (28 -35 mph) and they can last for several days at a time. North swells are not any different from other swells, or rolling waves, they just come from the north and it affects those harbors that are exposed to the north. These tend to be the largest waves of the year and can make some spectacular crashing over the rocks, but some very uncomfortable nights if you are in an exposed anchorage or mooring field.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

A very satisfying snorkle

Just out for a swim to get some exercise, but it turned out to be one of the nicest snorkels I have had in a while.

It began with a swim with a small Green Sea Turtle.  It was lying still on the bottom, started eating some sea grass and slowly made its way across the ocean floor as I swam above it.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

What kind of cruisers are we?

Recently I read a blog post (Zero to Cruising) by a couple that we have been following since we first began dreaming of cruising. Mike Sweeney wrote about 5 reasons why he doesn't want to sail about round the world.

This got me thinking, there are so many different types of cruisers out there, not just those that circumnavigate and those that don't. There are cruisers that go faster and those that go slower. Even designating faster and slower among cruisers is tough. Are you going quickly when you only stay somewhere for a week, or are you going slowly if you stay 7 days in one spot? It is all a matter of preference, and that is what we are trying to figure out, what kind of cruisers are we?

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Guest Blog- Free Verse Poem

Recently we had some guests on board with us. This is a poem written by Adam who is currently a freshman at Columbia University in New York City. Thank you for this Adam.

I awake
   It takes me time
To adjust
   The sun warms my heart
As I take in my surroundings
   Scintillating turquoise water
Lapping against the prow
   And a baby blue sky
Make me wonder
   How blue is not everyone's favorite color
I am flushed with awe
  When I realize
That real life
  Is more surreal
Than my dreams

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Turtle Encounter

Arriving in the bay after a long day of motor sailing  I am hot and sticky prompting me to go for a snorkel. I dive off the back of the boat, grab my mask and snorkel and head for shore. Some days the water seems to be teeming with fish and other sea life, other days not so much. This was one of those "not-so-much" days.

After swimming along the shore and seeing almost no fish- a stray ballyhoo, a single bar jack-