Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Monday, December 18, 2006
Sunday, December 17, 2006
I am happy to report it was a relatively bruise-free passage. I also thought we avoided any breakage but on the last day we realized the centerboard was down because its cable had broke. So despite our beautiful surroundings we (especially my captain!) are preoccupied with acquiring the necessary parts to fix the problem. Meanwhile we now have about a 14 foot draft, which is too much for most of the harbours so we need to anchor outside in less sheltered areas, which also means longer dinghy rides to shore and limited internet options. But the main thing is that we have finally arrived safely to the Caribbean where it is warm, beautiful and there are endless areas to explore.
Geography lesson. The Virgin Islands are an archipelago comprised of several small islands and cays that are considered two groups of islands, the United States Virgin Islands (USVI) and the British Virgin Islands (BVI). The USVI consist of 3 larger islands (St Thomas, St John and St Croix) and over 50 smaller islets and cays. The total area of the USVI is 133 square miles. The BVI (which lie to the north east of the USVI) are made up of 4 larger islands (Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Jost van Dyke and Anegada) and 32 smaller islands. The total area of the BVI is 59 square miles.
Saturday, December 09, 2006
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
The once steady flow of boats stopping here for respite, fuel or repairs has slowed to a trickle. St Georges Harbour, recently dotted with lingering boats awaiting parts and repairs, has nearly emptied. Both are signs that the traditional southbound passage for a Caribbean winter is closing. It is time for us to depart.
So, we are in squirrel mode again, provisioning, storing and stowing in preparation for the next good weather window for passage to Spanish Town, Virgin Gorda, which is part of the British Virgin Islands.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
It was also a wet trip where the occasional wave caused the inflation of a lifejacket as shown in the photo.
With each trip lessons are learned and improvements are identified. The fast passing days in Bermuda have been spent applying our new learning by making assorted repairs and alterations, cleaning and organizing everything from lockers to ourselves. (Luckily our damages were minimal compared to most boats passing through this season.) And when not doing this fun stuff, my captain is steadfast with his engineering work and I am gradually getting back to my web clients and a normal day to day routine.
Monday, September 18, 2006
Thursday, September 07, 2006
We also had our baby weighed. She came in at a whopping 46,000 lbs (and not yet provisioned for long term cruising!)
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
On this trip we spent most days in the Penobscot Bay area, including Rockport where we experienced the launching of the impressive Spirit of Bermuda, recently built by Rockport Marine.
We also visited with our cruising friends who operate a summer charter business aboard their beautiful Schooner Heron, which we highly recommend if you are ever near the Rockland or Camden areas.
There are also many islands in Penobscot Bay, many of which are long time summer colonies. A trip highlight was visiting Carvers Harbor, a charming working harbor filled with lobster boats (more than I have ever witnessed in any one harbor) located on the southern end of Vinalhaven Island.
Upon arrival we were greeted by a lobsterman who took us to his spare mooring at a cost of $30 for the night. Other fishermen attach self-serve bottles to their spare moorings. Carvers borders the islands main commerce street which impressed us and includes a grocery, hardware, liquor store and several restaurants, including The Haven which was the dinning highlight of our trip and not to be missed on yours.
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
One dreaded task item was replacing my old swim attire since both suits are on the brink of disintegration. So off I went to my favorite department store. I quickly learned the only thing worse than shopping for bathing suits is shopping for bathing suits towards the end of the swim season. After a quick browse I did not find any to my liking, which I now realize should not have been such a surprise. Round two had me pulling anything within my two-size-range that I would not be embarrassed to be seen in. All I want is to be able to snorkel or clean the bottom of my home without incident. It was slim pickings. Most suits had more dangling trinkets and light catching devices than a high-end fishing lure. No thank you. I want to watch the fish, not have them following me or nipping at me like a snack.
After countless trips to the changing rooms, success was had. The best part was crossing off this arduous task from my list.
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
Friday, May 12, 2006
Friday, April 21, 2006
Departed Thursday, April 13th at 13:00
Arrived in Wickford, RI on Tuesday April 18th at 03:30
779 nautical miles in 4 days 14.5 hours
Crew of 1.5 (Captain Paul and still-healing me)
Day 1 we made excellent progress along the rhumb line despite 6-9ft seas but later needed to head west to keep a good wind angle and avoid foul weather developing to the east.
Day 2 we completed our second day of 170nm but the wind direction was no longer conducive for heading west so we encountered weather. Close-hauled, we began beating into large confused seas and I was confined to the safety of my bunk. (This is where I would spend most of the next 3 days.)
Day 3 brought squalls, winds gusting to 50kts and breaking waves (giant gray walls of water 20-25ft high) over the bow and sometimes from port, filling the cockpit. We were granted a 6 hour reprieve before reaching the Gulf Stream so I ventured out on deck for several hours where I was surrounded by the eeriness of a gray sky, gray air and grayer water. Meanwhile Paul got some much needed sleep. To our surprise, the Gulf Stream seas started off easier then expected, large but less confused. Now our battle was with the tide. After 4 hours of beating to windward at 7.5 knots, the stream was against us at over 5 knots so little progress was made, and there we literally stood bracing for the whiplash once the stream let go. Then there was another round of squalls, including a dramatic white squall. We continued under stay sail (storm sail) alone and took comfort in knowing things would get better soon, after all, our weather routing service was helping us avoid the worst weather.
My positive attitude diminished by the hour on Day 4 which brought the most uncomfortable conditions I have ever sailed. I also believe this was the day Paul decided to take up golf. Beating again, the boat excelled but brought me pain as it slammed down wave after wave or on occasion, the wave would slam down on us. Luckily we were, for the most part, out at sea alone and able to stay down below and safely keep watch through the hatch bimini window. (I was almost thankful to have a rib injury that permitted me to retreat to my warm, dry bunk.) By now, Paul had become my hero and an expert in single handling the boat, including all reefing configurations. I was amazed and encouraged throughout this adventure by the fun he claimed to be having practicing storm tactics. Paul said you would never knowingly go out in this stuff, but it was an excellent opportunity to validate those definitive heavy weather sailing texts. Day 4 was also Easter and some how the Easter bunny managed to deliver a giant Cadbury chocolate & hazelnut egg which was savored throughout the day. Ahh the power of good chocolate. Oh yes, back to the sail. For hours the wind direction prohibited us from getting to windward to exit the stream.
After what seemed like days of rain and crashing waves, we felt like we were living in an aquarium. Paul swears he saw a dolphin wink at him as it passed on the face of a wave. On numerous accounts we did see porpoise swimming alongside us or playing in our bow wake. At this time I would like to thank the makers of Ibuprofen (for the ribs) and Stugeron (seasickness) for making and living-through this trip possible.
Initially it was the last leg of the trip that we dreaded due to beating into the cold New England air, but it turned out to be a welcomed change that brought calm seas, sunshine and dry air during the day. That night our wind died and weather changed. We had to engine into the Narragansett Bay under a dark sky and rain. Upon reaching state-side Paul turned on the TV for kicks and we happened to catch a little of the news. We are still not sure if we were lucky or unlucky, but we learned that after 15 years of deciding what to do with it, the old Jamestown Bridge was slated to be blown up in a few hours. So we made a quick call to the Coast Guard to learn that the west passage was closed, which meant we had to go the long way around Conanicut Island to get back to Wickford. After 4.5 days in Mother Nature's amusement park, what is a couple of extra hours in the cold rain? We made it and after a few hours of sleep we got to witness the bridge center span blow. Now we are back in Rhode Island with a salty boat (inside and out) to clean and a long to-due-list before the next adventure.
Thursday, April 13, 2006
Our rhumb line to Newport, Rhode Island is 628nm and we hope to do an average of at least 7knots, so we estimate our passage back to Wickford to take about 5 days. You may track our whereabouts through Shiptrak, but do not be alarmed if these reports stop. This just means we are too busy attending to other things.
Thanks for all the good wishes and prayers!
Wednesday, April 12, 2006
It has been raining here for days. I keep telling myself that may mean clear skies for the trip home. If we hit the high seas before I can write again, you can follow our trip by using the link on the right-side of this page called Where in the World?.
Friday, April 07, 2006
Friday, March 31, 2006
Thursday, March 09, 2006
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
And the strong winds remain.
Sunday, February 26, 2006
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
Few would argue that the best swizzle can be enjoyed at the Swizzle Inn (in Baileys Bay) where the mantra is swizzle in, swagger out. I think the very tasty and refreshing swizzle is a perfect daytime cocktail, and is best enjoyed by the jug, shared with a friend. As the sunsets, I tend to take the locals lead and order up a dark n stormy. It is said that a true Bermudian prefers a dark n stormy, a highball made of black rum and ginger beer (pronounced burr), which is neither beer nor ginger ale, but a carbonated soft drink with a strong ginger flavor. Locals claim the real deal is made using Barritts Ginger Beer. I agree. Just about anyone can make a good dark n stormy but I enjoy them most at the White Horse Tavern in St Georges where they are commonly accompanied with sailing stories and weather talk.
For those of you who can not join me for cocktails, here is a taste of Bermuda to enjoy wherever you may be:
Bermuda Rum Swizzle
8 oz Black Rum
Dark n Stormy
Place ice cubes in highball glass
Add 1.5 oz Black Rum
Top with Ginger Beer
Monday, February 06, 2006
While sea turtles are no longer a common sight, my new home is very beautiful and surrounded by history. Smiths Island (61 acres) was Bermudas first settlement and remains accessible only by boat. 23 acres are now a recreational park area, much of which has been reforested in native cedar trees.
St Davids Island (650 acres) is unknown to the average visitor and is considered the way it was. Its perimeter road skirts St Georges Harbour and is mostly residential. From 1941 to 1995 most of this island was used by the US Military, who built the airport which is located on the west-side next to the mainland connecting bridge. The most significant landmark is St Davids Lighthouse, an octagonal red and white tower built in 1879, which continues to serve as a beacon for mariners. The island also has two beautiful public beaches, nature trails and picturesque sea views.
Oh yeah, the harbour web cam does not reach this far south so there will be no more spying on me.