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GUESS WHERE WE ARE AT! July 2, 2015

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Today was the best day in a week. About 8 boats left for going south. Still rough and the mate really does not want to go out there. So we and are 2 boat buddies sit.

Yesterday on the beach we celebrated Canada Day. It is like their 4th. Met a lot of new people and had a lot of fun. We are going to do the 4th at one of the bar/restaurants that are along the bay. Tomorrow we will know what they can put together. There are more US boats here then I have seen in one place in a long time. It could be a good party.

The weather was to get better and today and tomorrow are the best this week. Tomorrow would be tolerable, but we would be stuck in another bay with a lot of expensive restaurants. Can not do expensive eating out very often. We try to limit meals out to lunches. Unless of course, it is a special place. There are some as we move up and down the island chain.

We could have gone today, but our friends that went said it was getting rough within about 3 miles of the destination. We want to go to Tobago Cays for at least one day and do some snorkeling.

We have been stormed out the last two times we were there. Next week looks like it might finally calm down for several day so we can spend some time Tobago Cays and still have time to move on to Union Island and check out of the Grenadines. Then we go and check in to Carriacou, which is the sister island of Grenada. There is a great restaurant there and we will do dinner with friends.

It is Thursday and I am just writing this. Getting WiFi out of here is a real problem. The other day I went and tried to pay for some stuff with a credit card and the credit card systems were down. So was the WiFi for the island. Could be some linkage there, you think?

I will try tomorrow to transmit this while the mate is picking up a couple items we forgot at the grocery store today. It was fine that we forgot them, I could not have carried any more. Retired male cruisers are know as pack animals. That is only the beginning of the fun. You get loaded up with an overstuffed book back pack, tote a cart behind you, and trudge off to the dinghy. There you transfer all to the dinghy and speed off to the boat. The 3 weeks of wind keep about a 1.5 foot chop in the bay. Now we tie the dinghy to the boat and hang on for dear life with one had and transfer everything onto the deck of the mother ship. Hopefully the light stuff does not blow off the deck while we were getting onboard. Transfer the stuff from the deck to the cockpit and then below to be put away.

Wish me luck with the technology gods of the islands and y’all have a great 4th.

WE MOVED ON June 29, 2015

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We moved on to Bequia, past St Vincent. It is a very pretty island. We never stop at St Vincent because of the terrible reputation it has for robbing and worse things to cruisers. Granted they have a couple years of no problem, but the government and all is still very suspect. If I want to tour the island, and I would like to, I would take a ferry from Bequia and a bus tour of the island. That way one is relatively safe. Oh, the weather…, on the north side, 6-7 plus and the occasional 8 footer. Makes the mate want to matinee.

So we are here expecting to be here for a week and have a weather window. No such luck. We want a day or two at the Tabago Cays to do some snorkeling in one of the best places in the world. We have been there twice. The first time the mate thought she was drowning, the second time we got there 2 minutes before a good 2 day storm. When we got up everyone was leaving. We left, do not want to be the last one out of town.

Still have not done some good snorkeling. Want to this time. We are also below the named storm box that does away with out insurance. We are about 10 miles north at this time. Yes we would make a run for it. We would go to South America to avoid hurricanes.

This week we have toured the island of Bequia with the group of boat buddies we are traveling with. They have not been here so it has been fun showing them the Turtle Sanctuary, and the fishing area on the Atlantic side, among other places. See our Facebook page.

Our next weather window, which was to be Tuesday is now Friday. It is also 1 day long. We want to do Tobago Cays and that takes at least 2 days. What will be will be. We have one more shot at it next fall. Yes we are pretty sure about coming back to the States next year. Of course there is the election. We could become expatriates. Sail on forever.

Only I would do that. The mate would see me kicked over the side first. She may have done that already if she could figure out how to get the boat back to sell. She reminds me that this is her home also. I may be safe. Seriously, if you recall she signed on for a one year tour. We are into year 2 year, and thing are the same. She is scared to death in heavy seas, but loves the islands between. I love the islands between, and work through the heavy seas and yes are somewhat fearful. One should be.

We will spend some time in Grenada and then go to Trinidad for a bottom job. Our bottom jobs have lasted us 3 years in the states. They have been in poorer shape as haul outs have been scheduled. This last coat lasted a little over a year. We have to scrub the bottom every couple of weeks. The preventive is gone. Thank you EPA. Practical Sailor Magazine says there last test, none worked. Suggested using Sears house paint. Would work as well. Thank you EPA. We cruisers are not killing the seas. Look at the shipping industry, fishing industry and the navies of the world that never have things growing on there bottoms. I do not have enough money of political presents to make a difference. Lets see, 35’ x 13.5 x .3 versus a 800 x 80 x 40 foot container ship or a cruise ship of 1000 feet or the navies of the world. Yea we boaters are killing the seas. What about the mound of plastic containers that is the size of states, floating around the Pacific.

See what happens when one is stuck in the same place for a period of time. We get a little WE MOVED ON

We moved on to Bequia, past St Vincent. It is a very pretty island. We never stop at St Vincent because of the terrible reputation it has for robbing and worse things to cruisers. Granted they have a couple years of no problem, but the government and all is still very suspect. If I want to tour the island, and I would like to, I would take a ferry from Bequia and a bus tour of the island. That way one is relatively safe. Oh, the weather…, on the north side, 6-7 plus and the occasional 8 footer. Makes the mate want to matinee.

So we are here expecting to be here for a week and have a weather window. No such luck. We want a day or two at the Tabago Cays to do some snorkeling in one of the best places in the world. We have been there twice. The first time the mate thought she was drowning, the second time we got there 2 minutes before a good 2 day storm. When we got up everyone was leaving. We left, do not want to be the last one out of town.

Still have not done some good snorkeling. Want to this time. We are also below the named storm box that does away with out insurance. We are about 10 miles north at this time. Yes we would make a run for it. We would go to South America to avoid hurricanes.

This week we have toured the island of Bequia with the group of boat buddies we are traveling with. They have not been here so it has been fun showing them the Turtle Sanctuary, and the fishing area on the Atlantic side, among other places. See our Facebook page.

Our next weather window, which was to be Tuesday is now Friday. It is also 1 day long. We want to do Tobago Cays and that takes at least 2 days. What will be will be. We have one more shot at it next fall. Yes we are pretty sure about coming back to the States next year. Of course there is the election. We could become expatriates. Sail on forever.

Only I would do that. The mate would see me kicked over the side first. She may have done that already if she could figure out how to get the boat back to sell. She reminds me that this is her home also. I may be safe. Seriously, if you recall she signed on for a one year tour. We are into year 2 year, and thing are the same. She is scared to death in heavy seas, but loves the islands between. I love the islands between, and work through the heavy seas and yes are somewhat fearful. One should be.

We will spend some time in Grenada and then go to Trinidad for a bottom job. Our bottom jobs have lasted us 3 years in the states. They have been in poorer shape as haul outs have been scheduled. This last coat lasted a little over a year. We have to scrub the bottom every couple of weeks. The preventive is gone. Thank you EPA. Practical Sailor Magazine says there last test, none worked. Suggested using Sears house paint. Would work as well. Thank you EPA. We cruisers are not killing the seas. Look at the shipping industry, fishing industry and the navies of the world that never have things growing on there bottoms. I do not have enough money of political presents to make a difference. Lets see, 35’ x 13.5 x .3 versus a 800 x 80 x 40 foot container ship or a cruise ship of 1000 feet or the navies of the world. Yea we boaters are killing the seas. What about the mound of plastic containers that is the size of states, floating around the Pacific.

See what happens when one is stuck in the same place for a period of time. We get a little hostile. Oh well. I am 5 days late unless I can get this out tonight. That would be good.

Lets see, I am to do the next installment in 2 days. Never can tell, I may mellow by then. Naaaa. That is why they call us old geezers.

STILL HERE AGAIN June 15, 2015

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It is Monday again and we are still in Rodney Bay. The plan of the day is to go further south on St Lucia and stage for going to St Vincent.

We have always avoided St Vincent because it has a bad reputation. We have some boat friends that have gone there several times. Always traveling in a group. Going there would cut the trip into a 35 and a 15 mile leg. Everyone likes that. St Vincent makes me nervous. There are many robberies there and have been murders of cruisers. The country is very corrupt and as long as people are paid off, you can get away with anything. I do not need that

We took a tour of the island that included several fishing villages, the Pitons, a good lunch, a botanical garden, a waterfall and a few stops where you get accosted by people selling beads, baskets etc. They get pretty aggressive and follow you around. You can tell them “no” many times. Rejection does not bother them. And this is an English speaking island. Oh well. The tour was nice.

Saturday we hiked up to a fort that dated back to the 1770’s. Not a bad hike. After the hike we had a nice leisurely lunch at the restaurant on the grounds. Sunday was back to boat projects and today grocery shopping.

It is time to be move on.

ALMOST WORKED June 15, 2015

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  • We did go through Martinique almost. Of course there were the bakeries. Then on the south end there was a good restaurant for a good dinner. But we were waiting for another weather window for a few days. One can not just sit on the boat and do nothing but boat projects.
  • We finally got out to Pitite Anse on the 6th. This is a nice bay on the south end of Martinique. We staged there ready to go to Rodney Bay. St Lucia. We left the next morning and motor sailed very early to avoid the later day winds. Left at 0415 and arrived at 0900. That was good. We had mid teens winds and 5 foot seas. Nothing big until we got to the north end of St Lucia. Then the occasional 6 footers got to be the norm. We were able to ride the current to the west and keep the swells a little forward of the beam. That kept the heavy rolls away. We did hit 30 degrees a few times and that did not make the mate happy at all. I felt it was very controlled and beat the hell out of 40 degrees.
  • We have noticed that it is getting warmer as we move south. Even at sun up it was 80 degrees and quite humid.
  • Rodney Bay is one of those places you can get things fixed. The anchor windlass started working after the second cleaning of contacts. Wahoo. The water proof connection for the remote control seams not to be that water proof. We now only leave the controller out when we are using it. Then it gets brought inside.
  • The plan was to spend half a day in Rodney Bay, do the shopping and head south to stage for the long trip to Bequia, 55 miles. The best plans and all that stuff. The immigration lady had a doctors appointment and did not come to work till after lunch. That is 1:30. To late to stage for the run to Bequia. So now we are stuck here for a week and a half waiting for a tropical wave and another weather system that was giving 30 knot winds with squalls to 40 knots and 10 foot seas. We do not do 7 foot seas if we know about them. They are scary enough. 10 footers would do me in. First it was going to be Monday we could go stage for the run. Now maybe Thursday with 6 foot seas. That means there could be some 7 footers out there. They say if you can not handle 30 knots of wind and 6 footers you should not be in the Windward. And here we are in our second year. It was not good last year, but it was not this consistently bad. We were able to sail most of the time from the Leeward south. This year we have had to motor sail almost all the time.
  • We are starting to discuss coming back to the States after this hurricane season. We will see. We are to young to sit and wait for the grim reaper. We sail, that’s what we do. We do not like to sit at anchor very long. What does that next island look like?
  • No Wifi again. Have to go to a bar or ice cream shop for internet. Eating ice cream is a nice change to beer for using the internet. Neither help the waist line, but ice cream is good. Especially with 2 dozen different flavors.

MOVING SOUTH June 1, 2015

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We left Les Saints for Portsmouth, Dominica to end up for another week waiting for weather. We did take a tour to the north east side of the island and up a river. The last was used in the second Pirates of the Caribbean movie series. Some stuff still there. See Facebook. Today, Monday we finally moved to the south end of the island to stage for our move to Martinique. We will not even go ashore here, just work on the new (3 months old) anchor windless, that died this morning. I believe it is an electrical problem. Quick check showed all ok. Still did not run. Have to check the electrical and jerk on the wires while testing them. Have to be patient looking for those electrical gremlins.

Did to much touring and eating out. Have to let the kitty build up some. We will run through Martinique and spend some time in the bays on the south end and then off to Rodney, Bay St Lucia. Will spend the money on repair items. Good marine store and the best hardware store in the WORLD. That’s saying something.

We have Wifi. This is going now.

TOURING NEVIS May 19, 2015

Posted by sailingnightwatch in Carabbean, Durbeck, FL, Florida, ICW, Pensacola, Repairs, Restoration, Sailing, Sailing the ICW.
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My touring of Nevis last year, was a trip to get my propane tank filled at the south end of the island. About a 5 minute cab trip. I also went to the gas station in town, to get dinghy gas. That was a total rip-off. The propane was ridiculously expensive, the gas was worse and the cab ride was the most expensive since NYC. This time we were smarter and propane prices are rock bottom low. The cab we had used to take us on a tour so on the way back, we worked a deal. We got the price down from last year, and Stan a boat buddy from Pensacola also needed propane, so we split the cab fare. Made the price of a bottle of propane almost normal.

We did two tours, one by cab and one by bus. We started with the cab. This was to a sugar plantation that has been restored and turned into a boutique resort. Great restaurant. Reasonable and great food. That is hard to beat in the islands. The grounds were beautiful. There was a swimming pool we could use, but it was overcast and windy. To cold for us tropical types. Wind and water around 80 degrees.

The next day we went to a botanical garden by bus. The ride there was good. They detoured and took us to the gate. The trip back was a little more arduous. We had to walk about a ¾ a mile, mostly up hill. Hill in these volcanic island are serious. We 2 old geezers made the walk and got the bus back to town without any heat attacks. For pictures see my Facebook page.

Weather window happened on Friday and we sailed to Montserrat for the night. From there we sailed on to Deshaies, Guadeloupe. The trip to Montserrat was not what was forecast. 20-25 kts on the nose with 4-5 foot lumpy seas also on the nose. Made for a super slow trip. I was one very unhappy camper by the time we got anchored. I had all kinds of excuses, but the biggest mistake was not sailing the boat right. I did not get the main ready to set, and when I needed it, it was so rough, I was not going out on deck to set it. Therefore, no speed.

The trip to Guadeloupe was almost a perfect sail. 3-4 foot seas and wind around 16 knots. Started out about 0630 on a tight reach. Around noon the wind picked up to high teens and back to a point we had a broad reach. Great sailing. Got anchored with a smile.

Time for a great bakery and more tours. Next week. See Facebook

MY ISLAND, ST BARTHS May 12, 2015

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I love the place. It is a beautiful island, very up beat and modern. The people are as the island. Now the mate is kind of over it. Our, or maybe my favorite restaurant needs to work on a new menu. We have a tendency to eat the same thing because we like it. I do not find a problem with that, but we are getting tired of the same food

The weather got worse so we were stuck there. This is the first time the in our visits that the anchorage was rolllie. The first couple days were bad. Also, it is expensive. Not only to go ashore, but to stay at your anchorage cost money for each night. Even though you are on your own anchor. We had planned on staying for only a few days, but it has stretched into a week.

On Friday and the weather looks as good as it is going to get, so we go. We got out about 5 am for a 52 mile reach past St Kitts to Nevis. Wind 16 – 19, gusting 23 knots. Seas 5-6 foot. Things are to get worse as evening approaches. As usual, our weather guru is a little light on reality. Wind was gusting to the higher 20’s and the seas were a lot of 6 footers and many 7 footers. Not good.

The mate took up residency on the deck in the saloon. She is afraid she could get tossed off the settee and does not like to be out in the cockpit. So, she feels that you can not fall below the deck. Well this is not all that safe ether. We secure the boat before leaving on a trip. We have not had anything go flying in the saloon in a year and a half…. Not any more. Books and other stuff that is wedged in very tightly came flying down on the mate. One banged little finger, but otherwise unscathed. The saloon looked like a bomb went off. We have had the forward stateroom get messed up, but it is paper products, swim noodles, life jackets and other light stuff. In the saloon we have books and other heavy things. Nothing that we could find broke. We got lucky.

The first 4 hours were with the wind a little forward of the beam. We started motor sailing with a reefed main, full staysail and mizzen. We started taking rolls approaching 40 degrees and I took in the mizzen. The seas were to have a 8 second period. That is pretty short and seas have a tendency to run in sets of 3. The first wave would roll us over and then we would rise out of the trough and fall off the next wave with another heavy roll. It was tough

I do not like to sit and look at big waves coming at us. I therefore sit on the windward side. I can still see them if need be in time to do something if I have to. We were rolling so hard, that I could not stay on the windward seat. I would fall off the seat therefore I had to move to the leeward side. The view to windward was scary. You could only see clear blue sky and then a wave would well up right beside the boat. This is when the big roll would happen and you would slam into the bottom of the trough.

After about 4 hours we got on the back side of St Kitts. At first the wind and seas were on our nose but, less than before, After about a half hour the seas got down to 3-4 feet and the wind got into the mid teens. I had a nice 3 hour sail up to our mooring ball. It was beautiful. My blood pressure needed the nice relaxing sail.

Guess what. We are stuck waiting a weather window. Seas out there are in the 8 foot range. That would separate me and the mate. By my untimely and suspicious death. Friday and Saturday appear to be out next window.

May 9, 2015

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BACK TO CRUISING

We went back to the boat rather melancholy after dropping off the kids. We then started to get the boat ready to sail. Saturday was suppose to be rather calm and very little wind. The forecast was right. Some wind and small seas. That is the third time we have crossed the Anegada Passage and had perfect weather for the mate. We are going to pay. Back in St Martin it was shop till you drop time. Could not believe we left less then a month ago and needed so much stuff. Also laundry and groceries.

Got all our supplies and could make it to St Barts on Saturday with a nice weather window. Well not quite. Should have had 15 to 18 knots of wind and 3-4 foot seas. Well the wind forecast is always 5 knots light. The seas are usually close. The wind was in the low to mid 20’s and the seas 4-6 and lumpy. Things were also suppose to calm down in the afternoon. Our weather guru missed that by 100 percent. The wind stayed and the seas started to form swells out to the southeast. That was the direction we were going. We made it about 2:30 PM. Averaged around 4 knots instead of 6. My bottom is so full of growth that it is limiting our speed and cutting my fuel consumption to 25% of normal. Tomorrow a friend and I are going to have a go at cleaning the bottom. In the mean time we are stuck here waiting for a weather window. Seas are forecast for 7 feet. After Saturday’s voyage, taking the mate out in 6 foot seas on purpose may cause the untimely death of the captain. We do not want that.

Our next stop is to be Nevis. We were there last spring, but did not go on a tour we wanted to go on. Going to try to accomplish that this time. From there it is back to Antigua and then south. Sure hope the trades calm down a little.

WHAT A WEEK April 29, 2015

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Son and daughter-in-law arrived on schedule Saturday evening. Now there were 7 of us. There flights had one interesting item. There flight from Tampa to San Juan was on a normal size jet. Then they transferred to a Cessna 440. A 10 passenger plane that only had 2 passengers. Them. My son got to ride in the second seat, next to the pilot. The flight from San Juan to St Thomas is short and they flew low so it was like sight seeing. I do not believe either of them had been on a plane that small before.

Then started a week of fishing and visiting the beaches on St John. My grand daughter wanted a beach trip each day, so that was the main plan. Thursday the ladies decided to go to Cruz Bay, the main city on St John and shop. Tuesday we had taken my son and his wife on the boat to Hurricane Hole in Coral Bay. There he fished and his wife kayaked all day. We had the daughter and granddaughter along and they also kayaked after the daughter-in-law wore herself out. The kayak is a one person affair, but when the granddaughter is around, she can squeeze in with you. Hard to miss hitting her in the head with the paddle.

Wednesday all of us went back to Hurricane Hole, but in another spot. It was a repeat of Tuesday, but with more people and a lot more activity. We also discovered that there were lots of starfish in the shallow water. See my Facebook for pictures.

Friday they packed up and went to Cruz Bay to await the ferry back to St Thomas. The mate and I rode the buss there and checked out of the USVI, so we could head to St Martin the next day. We then met up with the kids for lunch and good-byes as they departed on the ferry. The grandkid did not want to go home. Must have been a good vacation. It definitely was for grandma and grandpa.

THE ADVENTURE BEGINS April 22, 2015

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The granddaughter with her parents got here on time with no real incidents. Other then Southwest charges you to sit with other members of your family. Dumbest thing I ever heard of. What if a kid gets sick or there is a real emergency. Some stupid accounted thought that was easy money without thinking about all the ramifications. But I am retired and should not be bothered with poor management anymore.

Anyway, first week on St John was mostly going to the beach, sugar plantation ruins and finding the right grocery stores. Ate out a few times, rather expensive for what you get. Good quality, just expensive. $12 to $18 for a hamburger. Very good, but not in a cruisers budget. We will not talk about the group meal. But, that is St John’s. If you have to ask, you should not be here.

The grand kid loves the beach and it is a bit of an issue to get her to leave. We have been going to various beaches, but have decided on Maho beach as the most user friendly for a 7 y.o. I agree, soft sand, easy to drive to, only moderately crowded, some small fish about…, perfect.

Saturday our son and daughter-in-law arrive. That will be the first time we are all together in over 2 years. This will also be challenging. The daughter-in-law gets sea sick easily and the son-in-law is no better. Match that with a son who’s only purpose in life is to fish, and you may have a difference in opinion in what we should do from day to day. I am with him. He is a catch and release kind of guy. That’s great, neither of us eat fish.

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