Salty Again

It’s happened…we are salty again…we think that deserves a BIG Woo Hoo! It is so nice to be back in the water. This was the first time that we have stayed on the boat in a dirty, dry, dusty, buggy, yucky boatyard…oh, with the exception of when we first sailed to Key West and I was pregnant but I guess that I did not know any better then! Oh and wait, we stayed on the boat in the yard in Jamaica but somehow it was not as bad…must have been all of the Red Stripe that blurred my memories…lol! Anyhow we are out of there! Don’t get me wrong the yard was just what it was supposed to be a great place to store and work on our boat and it served it’s purpose. The nice thing about Saint Kitts Marine Works Boatyard is that they allow you to work on your own boat. Most other yards don’t allow this and you have to hire workers. Not only is that costly, who knows what the quality of their work might be like. We like to be certain that it is done right and that is why although painful we like to do the work ourselves.

 

 

Brian added some fiberglass for extra strength on the bottom of the hulls where the lift puts its straps when we are hauled out.

Almost done painting the bottom.

 

 

Brian had his work cut out for him too. Last season we had trouble with a small leak in our starboard ama. We figured that it had happened when the travel lift had put us in the water. Brian did some underwater repairs as a quick fix but the spot needed further investigating. He opened up the crack and removed all of the weak wood and replaced it with marine plywood and light foam board making the spot stronger than ever before.

 

 

We had a weak spot that had a small leak. If you read through some of our past posts Brian had to make repairs at sea on this spot before. While we are hauled out Brian removes all of the weak wood, installs some marine plywood and foam board and fiberglasses it for a strong repair.

 

Hole? What hole?

Repair completed!

 

He also put some fiberglass tape on the bottoms of the hulls where the lift puts most of it’s pressure when taking us in and out of the water to give the other amas more strength. Now Moon is good and strong in these key areas.

 

 

Leaving our dusty piece of land at the boatyard.

On our way to the Caribbean Sea… prepare for splash down!

SPLASH! We are in the water! Woo Hoo!

See ya later Saint Kitts Marine Works!

 

We made our last few trips to the local supermarket to load up on some supplies that we knew would cost more on the islands and we were ready to splash down. Now I will not miss the boatyard one bit but I will really miss the beach out front that I have had so much fun beach combing. In my opinion it is one of the best in the Caribbean (for beach combing). I can’t wait to start making stuff from the things that I have found there to share with you all. The treasures that I found on that beach are just outstanding!

 

 

 

When Moon was finally wet again it was about mid afternoon and we wanted to make sure that all was good with her before we got too far away from the boatyard, just in case. We decided to motor up against the wind and waves to Whitehouse Bay. This is one of the few protected bays that St. Kitts has to offer and it happens to be a favorite of ours. It rained a monsoon on us that night and the winds howled but we were as snug as a bug. It was a great first night back on the water. All of the repairs held fine, no new cracks from the lift, engine was running just as it should and we were good to go.

 

 

Our first stop after leaving the boatyard was one of our favorites: White House Bay, St. Kitts.

Monkey running along the shoreline in White House Bay, St. Kitts.

 

At the crack of dawn we set sail for St. Maarten. Lucky us we were sailing downwind and it was a fast and uneventful ride. We arrived in Simpson Bay around four in the evening found a spot and it was anchors away. We’ve only anchored in this bay twice now and it was a bit rolly this time just like the last but we still got a pretty sound sleep.

 

 

Sailing from St. Kitts to Sint Maarten we pass by the volcanic island of Sint Eustatius, also known affectionately to the locals as Statia.

The flying fish were really jumping and these brown booby birds were taking advantage of it. They entertained us for quite some time diving for their lunch as we sailed along.

Approaching the two island nation we are heading to the dutch side to anchor in Simpson Bay, Sint Maarten.

 

In the morning it was the same as the day before we were up early. This time we got started about 5:30 because we had a longer sail ahead of us…about 80 miles. Downwind again it was like a sleigh ride, very comfortable and very fast. We made the trip in about 11 hours where we anchored right before sunset in the protection of North Sound, BVI’s right across from Sir Richard Branson’s own Necker Island.

 

 

Approaching North Sound, BVI as the sun is going down after sailing around 11 hours from Sint Maarten.

Necker Island. Owned by Sir Richard Branson and bought for $180,000 in 1979. On first observing the islands, he envisioned using them to put up rock stars for his record label. Upon arrival, he was given a luxury villa and travelled around looking at islands for sale by helicopter. The final island he saw was Necker Island, and after climbing the hill and being stunned by the view and wildlife, he decided to purchase the island. After making a lowball bid of $100,000 for the $6 million island (due to his relatively modest funds at that time in his career), he was turned down and escorted back to the mainland. A year later, the owner, John Lyttelton,in need of short-term capital, eventually settled for $180,000. However, the government imposed a restriction on alien landholders: that the new owner had to develop a resort within four years or the island would revert to the state. Branson committed to build a resort on his tropical dream island. When Branson bought the island, it was uninhabited. He purchased the island at the age of 28, just six years after starting Virgin Group. It took three years and some US$10 million to turn it into a private island retreat.

 

 

After another night of a bumpy anchorage behind a reef but we were golden. Out of the open seas we were now in the protection of the British Virgin Islands and the rest of our trip was going to be nothing but bliss. Being away for so long I had forgotten how nice it was to sail here, anchorages galore and mostly protected waters. Not like sailing from island to island in the West Indies where you are exposed to the elements of what can be raging waves and seas. Here it is heaven. With not far to go and it being a downwind sail we were in our next destination in no time…Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas. That’s it…we have arrived…all is good. It is such a good feeling when everything works out as planned.

 

 

Sailing through the beautiful BVI’s.

Looking back at Tortola, BVI as we sail by.

Sir Francis Drake Channel

Passing through Sir Francis Drake Channel we have the island of St. John USVI on our left and Great Thatch Island, BVI on our right. St. Thomas is the hazy island way in the background left.

 

 

Finally time to get off of the boat and relax a bit. We spent some time walking around to get our land legs back after being on the boat for four days and we stocked up on supplies since we were on the “Big Island”. Next stop for us would be Culebra, Puerto Rico where we will be spending Christmas with our daughter Rachel.

 

 

Not the most spectacular sunset that we have ever seen but it was our first after leaving the boatyard and that made it amazing to us!

 

 

As we sailed off to Culebra again it was another sleigh ride downwind and we have arrived home, or for what we will call home for now. We love this island. The people here are wonderful and it is one of our favorite places to be. I can really get used to this downwind sailing stuff…it is what sailing dreams are made of. I told Brian that we should only sail downwind from now on. He said that the only way to do that would be to sail around the world…hhhmmm…it’s a thought! Take care for all now. If we don’t write again before Christmas we wish you and yours the best. Remember to hug the one that you love and be thankful for all that you have and cherish what a beautiful world this is.

 

Jennifer and Brian
SV/Moon

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One Day At A Time

Hello again. We are still in the boat yard and things seem to be moving at a slow pace. Brian was able to complete our new hatches and they look great!

 

 

Hatch completed!

 

The mosquitoes and no see-ums have been unbearable here in the boatyard and we’ve had lots of rain and wind due to a tropical system that passed over us. We don’t have much room inside to move around or hang out so it’s been pretty depressing. So much so that we decided to take a break and head to Bird Rock Hotel for a reprieve for a couple of days. There is a guest house that we normally use when we are here at the boatyard that is convenient but Bird Rock Hotel has air conditioning and a really nice pool. More like being on vacation and that is what we really needed, after all we are in paradise!

 

 

 

This is sort of an inside joke for Rachel…look mom’s camp side nachos are better than dad’s…you were right I over do everything!

Sunset at Bird Rock.

It might be small but this is the first time that I was able to catch the green flash with my camera! WOW!

 

 

We have meant to mention Karen’s guest house before but haven’t. Brimstone View Guest Apartments. If you find that you are in Saint Kitts and staying at the boatyard here, Saint Kitts Marine Works even for a couple of days that Karen’s Guest house is a great spot! It is very close to the marina and can accommodate even large crews if needed. Her prices are reasonable and it has a nice kitchen, comfortable beds and a washing machine. If you would like to give her a call here is her contact info: email: kaphipps@live.co.uk or kaphippswork@outlook.com , PHN: 869-465-8592 or 869-664-5558.

 

 

 

Brimstone View Guest Apartments right next to the boatyard.

View of boatyard from the Brimstone Hill Apartments. You can just see our Moon…she is the boat with the red bottom.

 

 

Now that we have had a chance to refresh our attitudes we are back at it. Moon has been moved to our next step. She is up on stands and we are getting ready to sand and paint. Brian is also working on removing our old cutlass bearing and installing a new one. I can tell that it’s not going as easy as it could be because there has been a bit of cursing involved. I’ve been tearing everything apart and cleaning areas that have not seen the light of day for sometime.

 

 

 

Moon is on the lift and on the move in the boatyard.

I always love seeing this warning sticker as I am riding on Moon as she is being hoisted!

Moons new spot up high.

Nothing unsafe about these stairs!

 

We still find ourselves at the beach for a swim most afternoons and I am as always with my eyes down, looking to see what treasures I can find. Recently I found my second body part…a head! Yup, just a head. I had found a porcelain arm a few years ago in a parking lot here in Saint Kitts but this was my first head. Pretty cool!

 

 

 

Found this head on my treasure beach. It’s about the size of a quarter.

 

 

It’s always so strange to be away for the holidays. Here it is just another day and nothing seems different. No family or friends to share time with. It’s kinda sad. I know that we are “living the dream” so to speak, (or at least we will be once we get out of the boatyard). It’s just not the same and the holidays don’t seem as special. They just make us miss everyone more. We hope that everyone has a great Thanksgiving and hopefully you will think of us just a little, have some of that special casserole or pie and and know how lucky you are to have friends and family close by. We will think of all of you and think of how thankful we are to have you in our lives too! Love and miss you all…especially you Rachel!!!!

 

Happy Thanksgiving All –

 

Jennifer and Brian on SV/Moon

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Look What the Sea Made!

The Boatyard is full of fun! Just look at all of the cool stuff that we have been able to do 🙂

 

A view of the boatyard from the street with the guard shack on the right side. Moon is along the row there to the left.

Another view of the other side of the boatyard.

It was the first of the month and a busy day for the boatyard….we had never seen five boats in their launch area!

 

We have been busy getting Moon back together from being put away for hurricane season. Here is just some of what we’ve done so far…We ran the halyards back up the mast, put the main sail and cover back on, put the jib back on, restitched the bimini top and put it and the dodger back on, mounted the solar panels back on the bimini, reinstalled the wind generator, put the forward nets back on, oiled our chains and anchors, cleaned in all of the nooks and crannies and I’m sure that there is lots of other stuff that we have done that I have already forgotten about! As you can imagine we have been busy!

 

 

The goats love the grass growing from inside the tires!

Brian putting linseed oil on the anchor chain.

 

We also have a few projects that we have to take care of while we are in the boatyard and Moon is getting some much needed TLC. We plan on painting her bottom while we are hauled out but we have to wait for 10 business (or island time) days for the bottom paint to arrive so this is the perfect time to get some needed projects done.

 

 

Three of the hatches starting to be built. Epoxy bonded foam to plywood. Then they are cut to size.

Look Ron, Brian still used the hand drill that you gave him years ago! He’s used it on lots of our projects.

 

 

We knew that we needed new hatches since last season when I stepped through one of them and broke it. Most of them on board are pretty old anyways and needed to be replaced too. When we ordered our bottom paint we looked in the marine catalog and hatches are very expensive! The least expensive ones were just over four hundred dollars apiece and some were over thirteen hundred dollars each! Brian decided this was something that he could build on his own so, he is making us four new hatches, from scratch! The plans are all in his head and he has been working hard to get them completed while we are here. So far so good. Brian never ceases to amaze me with the knowledge and skills that he has in that head of his!

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve been working on some inside projects. The paint on our galley cabinets was looking a little ragged and worn so I’ve begun scraping all of the old paint off and hopefully will be repainting them soon. I’ve learned from this project that being a painter is not a profession that I am interested in at all!

 

 

 

Laundry day…washed by hand!

 

At the end of the day we are close to a nice little beach and we go and swim to get all of the days grime off of us. It is so nice to be able to relax for a bit and just float. I always look forward to the beach at the end of the day because this is also my “treasure” beach where I find all of my cool stuff. If you know me then you know by now that I love to beach comb! One day I was at the beach and there were some locals swimming. One little boy came up beside me and I commented that I had seen him swimming and that I was impressed with how good of a swimmer he was. He smiled and reached down into the sand beside me and held out in his hand a beautiful yellow sea marble…”Look what the sea made”. I just loved this! He offered the marble to me. I asked him why did he not want to keep it because it was beautiful and he said that he already had many. What a nice gesture from this young man and I will never forget now when looking for my treasures that it is “what the sea made” somehow that makes it even more special!

 

 

My “treasure” beach.

Look what the sea made!

My treasures so far.

 

OK…I better get off of the computer and get back to work, enough time down below with the fans blowing on me for now…take care all!

 

Jennifer and Brian SV/Moon

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Never Check a Bag!

Hello there it has been a while since we’ve written anything. Well, we are back at it…back on Moon that is. As she sits we are in Saint Kitts on the hard (in the boatyard on dry land). We faired well this year and there was less rain here than last so Moon is nice and dry. We are very happy to see that we did not have any ant infestations like last year. That is a great thing! It is HOT here with no wind and the mosquitoes and no see ums are bad! We are staying on the boat for a couple of weeks to make some needed repairs and then we will be sea bound again….we can’t wait!

 

Arriving in St. Kitts.

 

The trip here was a fun one. It always is when you fly Seaborne Airlines. Last time we flew here they canceled our flight and we had to spend an unexpected night in San Juan, Puerto Rico. This time the airline did not disappoint and we were once again presented with an unexpected surprise…they “lost” all of the luggage for the entire flight! Yup you heard that right, not just a bag or two, the whole flights luggage was “lost”.

 

We get lots of questions on where we are exactly…

 

When we were in the airport we were pleasantly surprised that Seaborne now had a new spot in the regular terminal where all of the other airlines were. This time we did not have to go to the old terminal that we dubbed the “zombie” terminal because it was missing the ceiling tiles, had wires coming out of the ceiling and walls and barely had any lighting. What did not surprise us was that when it was time to board the plane that we had to descend a staircase and be put on a bus to be taken to the airplane. This was new but OK go with the flow.

 

View of boatyard with Brimstone Hill Fortress at the top of the hill in the background. Zoom in close and you can see the cannons protecting us 🙂

 

We got to the plane and boarded excited that at least the flight was leaving the airport when it was supposed to…well, close to when it was supposed to. As we were sitting on the plane a airport representative boarded and announced over the loud speaker a passengers name. Sitting right next to us a lady raised her hand.The representative came over and this is where I wish that our Spanish was better. They had a heated discussion that ended up with the passenger being ushered off of the plane. Not sure what that was about but it made us wonder.

 

 

The luggage was being loaded or so we thought and we were on our way taxing down the runway. After the stewardess went over the safety of the plane she turned to the passengers that were sitting in the front seats and said, ” Due to weight and balance we need some passengers to move to the center of the plane”. Huh???? This does not sound good. The flight was full with only a couple of seats left ,apparently in the middle. What was funny was that we did not get to pick seats on this flight, the airline assigned them. Only one man moved so we were praying that he was the balance that we needed to make it safely to our destination!

 

Not what we usually see when we look out our ports!

 

Thankfully we arrived without incident and landed safely. After we cleared immigration we headed to get our checked bags only to find out that along with everyone else on the flight that no luggage was there! We were ushered to another line where we waited for over an hour to look at photo books of what our luggage might look like and asked to provide what the contents were. When would our luggage arrive? Maybe tomorrow night on their next flight…maybe.
Never less, I had nothing to wear but Brian had carried on his bag so I looked real cute wearing his clothes that night….he’s a smart guy only bringing a carry on bag but, you guys already know that!

 

 

The next morning we called, e-mailed and tried to contact the airline to see if my luggage would arrive but got no response. So we headed to the airport to see if it was there. Of course we knew that we were not the only ones that had lost our luggage but we found out that night when one girl showed up in a wedding dress that the dress that she had brought to get married in was in the”lost” luggage and another person had packed meat to bring to her daughter! I was upset that mine stuff was “lost” but at least it was not something that would ruin my big day or become spoiled. We waited patiently for the plane to unload and then thankfully we were let in the lobby and our luggage was there! Woo Hoo! What a relief. One bag I could have counted as gone without too much regret but against my better judgment the second bag that I had checked had some really important stuff in it that I should have carried on. Needless to say I will never check a bag again!

So, with our case of the missing luggage now resolved, we are on the boat sweating, moaning oooh, ahhh and ooww because we can feel every muscle in our bodies as we start our hard work here…can’t wait until it’s over and we are on the sea again! We’ll post again soon with some boatyard stuff.

Brian and Jennifer S/V Moon

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On The Inside

Hello All –

 

Whew! It has been a busy past few months for us but work has started to slow down and we finally have a chance to breath a little. We’ve often been asked what the inside Moon looks like. Since we have not had any fun to share with you lately we thought that you would like to see what our “living accommodations” are like on our beloved Moon….Hope you enjoy!

 

This is the “sterncastle” the rear or back part of our boat. It has a seating area, in floor refrigerator, the galley, a bunk and the navigation station.

 

 

This is the “forecastle” the front of the boat. It has the head (toilet) a vanity sitting area and two bunks.

 

And drum roll please….the cockpit where we spend most of our time!

 

 

 

Hope you enjoyed browsing through our living quarters 🙂 and hope that your day is a great one!

 

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One Last Adventure

Hello all. Sorry for the delay in our posting but LOTS has been going on in our world lately. As some of you already know we are back home in PCB. Yup, we made our travels back safely and our feet are once again on dry land. More on that later though because we wanted to share our one last adventure that we had before we hauled Moon out to her familiar pile of earth.

 

View from the harbor of Deshaies, Guadeloupe.

I just loved this little house with its laundry hung out to dry along the harbor front!

 

Last we wrote we were in Le Saints, Guadeloupe and heading to Deshaies, Guadeloupe. We thankfully had an uneventful sail up the coast. Especially after all of the excitement that we’ve had with our last few jumps!

Last time we were in Deshaies the anchorage was crowded and rolly. This time it was much different. Seeing how it was almost June 1st (Hurricane Season) it looked like most cruisers were either further north or south and the middle cruising grounds were becoming an off season spot to be. There were still a few of us around but nothing like when we were here last. This was awesome for us because this meant that there was lots more room to anchor comfortably. There are also free mooring balls in the harbor and on the second night we were able to claim one up front near the beach. Now we are not normally mooring ball kind of cruisers but we made an exception. We had heard about a nearby waterfall that we could hike to but also heard that it was an all day adventure so we wanted to make sure that our home would be safe while we were away. Even though it seemed that there were less cruising boats this is still a main entry and exit point for Guadeloupe, meaning the possibility of lots of traffic coming and going in the harbor. The anchorage is pretty deep too in places and can become crowded so the mooring ball gave us a sense of the boat being secure while we were away. Brian jumped in the water and checked it out to make sure it was in good shape because you never know what they are made of and what the lines shackles attached look like. Brian said that he was actually impressed with it so we were safe and snug….now time for some fun!

 

 

This is where the Deshaies river runs through town and lets into the sea.

Some type of old road equipment we pass by as we head up to the river.

 

 

“The Hidden Waterfall” or “The Secret Waterfall” or the “Non-Tourist Find It Yourself Waterfall”.

We had read in few cruisers blogs that there was a waterfall nearby or not so nearby depending on who’s blog you read but we were determined to find it. (I love waterfalls!) We had also read that it was about a three hour hike up through the river and lots of climbing over giant boulders so we were prepared to get wet and have some fun!

 

This is where we first got our feet wet as we started our journey up.

Can you see the small rocks piled up on the boulder to the right? That’s a cruisers way of letting some else know that there is something cool to see. Means someone else has been here and we are on the right path!

 

 

There were really no directions other than follow the river that flows into the sea until you find the waterfall. The journey was soooo amazing! First we went down a small road that ran along the side of the river and then it was time to get our feet wet. Down the bank we went and we climbed in the river. At first it was not so bad, river rocks and a stream that was about 15 feet or less wide. Hopping from rock to rock we climbed higher. Every now and then we would pass small waterfalls excited by each one that we saw. I was taking so many pictures I was sure my camera battery would be exhausted before we got to the main fall. The plants and flowers were incredible! A couple of times we came across a fork in the river and had to figure out what way to go hoping that we made the right choice.

 

 

 

 

As we climbed, the rocks became giant boulders and the river faster. We were pretty sure that we were heading the right way. Then it started to pour rain on us. The rocks and boulders became very slippery and made it harder to climb up and over them. We were starting to wonder if we made the right choice at the forks below. We had been climbing for almost three hours and knew that we must be close. We were sure that every bend we went around that we would finally be at the waterfall that we had hiked all this way to see only to find more giant boulders to climb up and over.

 

 

That big leaf just about covers me up!

 

 

Just as we were about to give up and head back we came around a corner and saw a road close to the river. There was a small parking place on the side and a tin shed with a picture of a waterfall painted on it. We must be in the right place! We hiked on for another half an hour and as we came around a bend you could hear the rushing water. We were so excited! Finally we made it! As we approached it looked like the river ended and became a cave.

 

 

Brian wedging himself between the big rocks so that he can climb over to the falls. You can see the top of the fall just above his head and above the big boulder. Meanwhile the protector of the falls is watching us from his rock perch.

Power shower!

 

There was a small pool of water that lead though the large cavern crevice that lead to the waterfall. To get to it you had to swim through water that came up to my neck then as you got closer there was a large boulder that you had to climb over to get to the fall. The ground under the water was really mushy and I did not want to muck through it but Brian did. He wedged his way up the rock and had a spectacular view of the fall. It was still raining on us and the fall was really pouring out.

 

 

Brian enjoying the falls.

Me forgetting about the world for just a bit. It was an amazing view looking up at the forest!

 

 

It was such a magical place to be and we were the only ones there unless you count the bullfrog perched up on a rock that seemed to be the guardian of the fall. We swam and enjoyed this mystic place and decided to head back. We were not sure how long it would take to get back and we wanted to make sure that we had enough daylight. We did not want to end up on one of those survivor TV shows!

 

 

Beautiful big tree along the river.

Crazy looking mushroom that we came across along the river.

 

 

Heading back down we decided to take the road that we saw on our way up, (the one with the tin shed and parking spot). It put us out high above the town and about 40 minutes later we were back in the harbor. Hindsight we would have had a car drop us off here and took the shorter hike to the falls. We really have to work on our French because if we could have spoken the language we might have been able to ask one of the locals about the falls and they probably would have given us the shorter directions! But then again we would have missed all of the fun climbing up!

 

 

Moon on her mooring Deshaies, Guadeloupe.

 

 

After we got back to the boat Brian looked up the river and where we ended up and saw that we had climbed 900ft! Wow! I mean I knew that we were going up and up and up but I had no idea that we had climbed that high! The next day our bodies reminded us of the climb…boy were we sore and I was full of bumps and bruises that I did not even know that had happened. What a fun day though! We spent three days in Deshaies but it was time for us to clear out and get back on the move again. We have some more fun to share but we are saving the last of our journey for our next post. Hopefully I can get it posted soon. Take care for now all.

Jennifer and Brian

S/V Moon

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Plans Written In Sand

Hello All. Last we left you we were in Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia and heading south for hurricane season. Well… a lot has changed since then! We have turned 180° and are now heading north. But, what, why? Well, it all started out as it normally does….It was a bright and sunny day, We were planning our next passage and as Brian always does before we sail off into the blue, he was under Moon cleaning her bottom. Now, I don’t know if you remember but in a previous post we mentioned about all of the sargasso weed that we have been seeing as we’ve sailed through passages from island to island. It just so happens that when we were sailing across to Saint Lucia that Brian felt a vibration coming from under our boat. Thinking that we had caught some of the weed in our prop he stopped the boat and reversed hoping to wash the weed off. He had to do this a few times throughout the passage. So when he was cleaning the bottom he also checked out the prop, shaft and all of the parts down there. That is when he discovered that the cutlass bearing that is attached to the shaft was worn unevenly and that was what was making the vibrations.

 

 

Frigate birds…love these big birds!

A couple of local guys working as team to row to shore…Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia.

 

Now I am certainly no expert, but when calm, cool, collected Brian says that we might have a issue with our beloved Moon, I listen! Don’t get me wrong he was not all worried like we would be in danger or anything like that but he was concerned that it was a problem that we would need to deal with.

 

 

Now it was time to make some decisions. We have met lots of other cruisers in the past few months. Some traveling south and some north for the dreaded hurricane season. Seems that last years big hit had most trying to make hopefully the right choice for their boats. Also it seemed like lots of cruisers were choosing to go south! So we decided instead of going south into unknown territory for us to go with what we knew. Besides we were not sure if we would be able to haul out if we needed to in Grenada since so many boats were already heading that way with reservations in hand.

 

Small dolphins that we saw along the coast of Martinique.

 

So north we went. The first three days were quite the blur, at least when they were over. Brian does a great job with his weather forcasting and is usually spot on however here in these islands with the large mountains it can be a bit unpredictable to say the least. This lead to some very intense crossings for us. Here are some exerts from our ships log….

 

 

Always have to keep a sharp lookout for random things floating in the sea!

Banana bread that I made for us to munch on while underway…made in my Omnia oven.

 

Day one, Crossing from Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia to Saint Pierre, Martinique:
Hauled anchor at 7:30 am set for Saint Pierre, Martinique. Double reefed main sail, winds 18 – 25 knts. Arrived at 3:15 pm, 39 miles, 5.5 knt average.

 

The town of Saint Pierre, Guadeloupe.

 

 

Day two, Crossing from Saint Pierre, Martinique to Portsmouth, Dominica:
Hauled anchor at 6:15 am set for Portsmouth, Dominica. Set reefed main and jib in light air. Forecast was for 15 -17 knts. Motored on back side for 20 minutes with no wind then wind picked up at northern tip. North of island winds picked up to 18 – 20 knts, seas 6 ft for about an hour. Middle of passage winds picked up 25 – 30 knts seas 7 -8 ft. Made across Dominica/Martinique channel with a 9.1 knt average!!! (We typically have around 6 knt average) Once we were behind Dominica the wind died completely. We did finally see a humpback whale though! We took the reef out of the main sail and were about to raise our genoa (light wind sail), when we noticed white caps in the water ahead. Decided to wait to change sails, then it was full on again. Winds 20 – 25 knts with gusts to over 35 knts! Reefed main sail and got more gusts to over 40 knts! (Thats gale force!) Took all sails down and raised small stay sail. (small forward sail) Sailed in closer to land and into Rupert Bay Dominica where we picked up a mooring ball, strong winds and gusts continued through the night. Arrived at 3:30 pm, 55 miles, 6 knt total average.

 

 

 

Spray curtain that Brian made to keep us dry in the cockpit.

 

 

If anyone remembers our stories about Dominica then you know that when you arrive anywhere near the entrance to the harbor that the “boat boys” come out fighting for your business. This of course this is how they make their living. There was not a single boat boy in sight as we rounded the corner and we did not see one all night. This says something because we can’t imagine them missing out on making some bucks with a new boat arriving in the harbor, seems that the weather was too crazy for them too!

 

 

Flying fish!

 

 

Day three, Portsmouth, Dominica to Le Saints, Guadeloupe:
Left anchorage at 9:45 am. Set reefed main sail and #1 jib. Sailed in 16 – 18 knts seas 5 -7 ft. Picked up mooring at 1:20 pm. 21 miles, average speed 7 knts.

 

 

View of the harbor in the Saints, Guadeloupe.

View of another harbor in the saints as we hike up to Fort Napoleon.

Outside of Fort Napoleon…it was closed when we walked up to it so we only saw the outside of fort.

 

On our last day in the saints we had dolphins come up in the anchorage. Here are some people snorkeling with them!

 

I may have changed some of the wording and left some of it out but I think that you get the idea of what it was like. It was mostly the sail to Dominica that kicked our buts! When we got to the Saints, one of our favorite towns we took some down time and spent three nights to regroup.

 

 

The family car.

Not sure what is in these bottles on the fence of this house…saw them on some others too…it is either just decorations or a local punch that they sell.

Caribbean lawn movers!

 

 

Lots or pics here of some the fun that we had along the way too. Next stop is Deshaies, Guadeloupe. Take care for now all. Wish us fair skies and calm seas for the rest of our travels!

 

 

 

Jennifer and Brian
SV / Moon

 

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Saint Lucia By Land

First a little about the island…St Lucia is the second largest of the Windward Islands, and like most islands that we’ve visited recently it was created because of volcanic activity. It is 27 miles long and 14 miles wide, with a shape that is said to resemble either a mango or an avocado…depending on your taste 🙂 The earliest inhabitants of St Lucia were Arawaks from South America who called it Louanalao, meaning ‘land of the iguanas’.

 

Local boats

 

Tourism and bananas are the main industry earners for St Lucia. We passed soooo many banana plantations on our drive! The bunches of bananas are covered with plastic bags for three reasons: to provide a suitable micro-climate for the bananas to ripen more quickly, to protect the bananas (at least to some degree) from insects and other pests, and to prevent the bananas from being bruised when it is windy and leaves may brush against the bunch.

 

 

Surprisingly, Christopher Columbus did not discover this island for Spain. While it is true that the island was along the route he sailed, it is not credited to him. It is said that the history of the island’s European discovery is a bit hazy. It was long believed that Columbus had discovered St. Lucia in 1502, but recent evidence suggests that he merely sailed close by. An alternative discoverer is Juan de la Cosa, a lesser-known explorer who had served at one time as Columbus’ navigator. In any case, there was no European presence established on the island until its settlement in the 1550s by the notorious buccaneer Francois le Clerc, a.k.a. Jambe de Bois, or Wooden Leg. Peg-Leg le Clerc set up a fine little base on Pigeon Island, from where he preyed upon unwitting and treasure-laden Spanish galleons sailing by.

As a result of Saint Lucia’s strategic location, the French and British went to war repeatedly for possession of the island between the mid seventeenth and early nineteenth centuries, resulting in the island changing hands 14 times between the two powers.

 

Disclaimer….not a real Pirate Ship 🙂

 

I found this strange, but St Lucia is the only country in the world named after a woman. I did not believe this when I first read it, but it is true! There are some countries named after legendary figures and goddesses but Saint Lucia is the only one named after a real life person. It was named after Saint Lucy of Syracuse. (Saint Lucy was a young Christian maiden of Syracuse in Sicily.)
https://sanctoral.com/en/saints/saint_lucy_of_syracuse.html

 

Marigot Bay

 

Marigot Bay. James A Michener, the novelist, is famously quoted as describing it as “The Most Beautiful Bay in the Caribbean”, it is also a historic landmark having played a roll in a number of battles between the French and Royal Navy. The bay is so small and hard to see from the sea that legend has it that a British admiral hid his fleet from the French here by tucking themselves inside the bay and tying palm fronds to their masts to camouflage them. It is also famed as the setting for the 1967 film version of Hugh Lofting’s classic Doctor Dolittle books, which starred Rex Harrison and Anthony Newley. The bay is used for the scenes involving the shipwreck, the fictional Great Pink Sea Snail and the construction of the harness for the Giant Lunar Moth. This a bit before our time but some of our readers may remember it. (This may be our next anchoring spot so more pics on this beautiful bay later.)

 

Our first view of the Pitons at a pull off on the side of the highway.

 

For most the first image that comes to mind when they think of Saint Lucia is the majestic Piton Mountains. The twin volcanic spires are the iconic image of St. Lucia, the green hulking peaks rising from the sea side by side in dramatic fashion. Images of the Pitons are everywhere: from shirts to postcards to the labels on the local beer, Piton.

 

 

The Pitons are such an emblem of St Lucia that they are also resembled on the country’s flag. The Pitons were also a filming location for a scene in Superman 2. (Superman flies from the North Pole to fetch a rare orchid to take back for his romantic dinner with Lois Lane.) There is also a waterfall nearby called “Superman Waterfall”. The waterfall was featured in the films Superman 2 and Romancing the Stone. (We tried but could not find this waterfall but saw some others)

 

 

Visiting Diamond Falls Botanical Gardens.

 

Upon our first glimpse of the Pitons we also had our first chance to buy necklaces and souvenirs. Every stopping point to view the Pitons or to see a sight we were bombarded by locals trying to sell us their “homemade” necklaces ect. Funny though because every island that we’ve visited seems to have exactly the same “homemade” necklaces no matter what part of the Caribbean we are in. Some of these guys are very insistent and will not leave you alone. We do support locals by buying crafts and such but how many seed necklaces does one really need? Each one of these locals also insisted on telling us the history of the island and of couse wanted to be payed a little something at the end for the information that they shared. We handed out lots of coins as we visited each scenic spot to hear the same thing over and over again! Don’t get me wrong we love talking, really talking to the locals but being hassled with the same game is a bit annoying.

 

 

Diamond Waterfall. What made this waterfall stand out was that its waters were laced with minerals giving the falls a rather colorful appearance.

 

St Lucia is an island where a tourist must be careful about places they visit. We rented a car to see some of these towns so that we would not have to anchor in the harbors that were known to have high crime. Unfortunately, the bay and town of Soufriere at the base of these beautiful Piton mountains is known as an unsavory harbor. It would have been an incredible place to anchor but, needless to say we decided this was not a good idea so we drove there instead taking in the usual tourist sights.

 

 

Toraille Falls

Coco pod growing on a tree…this is where chocolate comes from!

 

Here is also home to the world’s only drive-through volcano. Supposedly there is no where else in the world can you drive up and park right next to an active volcano. We drove to the site and went to pay the entrance fee however were disappointed because it was much more expensive to just drive through on your own than to take a tour or pay to use the mud baths. We were really trying to watch our time because there was so much that we wanted to explore while we had the car. We`ve seen sulfer springs before, bubbling up from the ground with puffs of cloudy sulfer and that lovely rotten egg smell and did not think that we wanted to cover ourselves with the mud so we decided to skip the drive in. We were technically in the volcano crater just not at the photo spot and we still got to enjoy the putrid smell so that was enough for us.

 

 

Couldn’t really capture it on the camera but this fall actually starts way up the mountain and drops through thick foliage before finally falling on this boulder. Piton Waterfall

Piton Waterfall baths. This fall has lots of minerals in the water so people visit here to soak in these pools. They say that you will look 12 years younger after bathing in the mineral water!

This is a branch off of the Piton Waterfalls and it has hot water!

Piton Waterfall

 

Even though the island is only 27 × 14 driving along it’s main highway and a few off branches of winding and hairpin roads took all day (9-6). We did not want to drive after dark because the roads were skinny, very steep and full, very full, of potholes not to mention everyone either drives like Miss Daisy (that means slow for my younger readers that have not seen the movie), or they drive like they have a death wish. Even though I had a firm grip on the handhold by me the whole time Brian did an excellent job maneuvering through the streets and highways like a pro!

 

 

A man selling his fish on the side of the road. We saw lots of stands like this near the coastline.

 

We saw as much as we could, stopped at lots of overlooks and spent time at some beautiful gardens and waterfalls. It was a perfect day. We ended the evening with some pizza at a restaurant in the marina our dinghy was at and of course had a Piton beer to top it off!

 

 

If you remember from a couple of posts back I had to learn what to do with plantains. Well, meanwhile they ripened a bit and ended up being sweet plantains. I rubbed bit of coconut oil on them and browned them….they turned out golden brown and were yummy with our breakfast!

 

Looks like we might be here for a few more days. Wish that we could play every day but Moon calls and we have to give her some TLC. It’s not all fun and games here. Back to sanding, grinding, painting, glassing or whatever else needs to be done. Take care for now all.

 

Toraille Falls

Brian and Jennifer
S/V Moon

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Fort Rodney and Signal Peak, Pigeon Island, St Lucia

Rodney Bay, Saint Lucia.

From where we are anchored in Rodney Bay we have five beautiful stretches of beaches in front of us and to our sides and off to the north-west sits Pigeon Island. We have been looking at the island for a few days now so decided that it was time to check it out!

 

Pigeon Island. Fort is on the let hand side and signal hill on the right.

We motored our dinghy over to a little dock on the fort grounds, tied up and was greeted by a park official. She walked us over to the main gate entrance where we purchased our tickets and we were off on our way to explore. The buildings and ruins were similar to some of the forts we’ve visited before. We read that Fort Rodney dated to around 1750, including a fortress, barracks and now some rusting cannons.

 

The yellow color on the ground is all flower petals that have fallen from the trees…it was very pretty!

The grounds are beautiful with lots of flowers and big shade trees. There are two peaks to hike up to on the island. The highest point for Fort Rodney is 225 ft and for Signal Peak it is 330 ft. (That is almost as tall as the highest point in FL which is 345 ft!) The path to the fort although uphill was easy to walk, nice and smooth for most of the way with a tall ladder for the final climb to reach the top.

 

The hike to the top of signal peak was a bit more challenging with large steep boulders that we had to scramble over and around sometimes using all fours (hands and feet) to make it to the next level. When we came across a patch of shade we relished it as it was a very hot and humid day!

 

The pointy mountain tops in the middle of pic are the tops of the famous Pitons.

At the tops, both the fort and signal peak have amazing views of the coast. On a clear day you can see Martinique and in the opposite direction you can get a glimpse of the tops of the famous Pitons. (It was a bit hazy when we visited but we could still see them)


View of Rodney Bay from the top of signal hill….Moon is out there somewhere.

The island’s history starts somewhere in the 1550’s when Saint Lucia’s first French settler, Jambe de Bois used Pigeon island as a base for raiding passing Spanish ships. During the 18th century the British admiral George Rodney fortified the island, using it to monitor the French fleet on Martinique. It must have been easy to see what they were up to with the views from up here!

View from signal peak looking towards fort.

Early in it’s history Pigeon Island was a key factor in the Battles between the British and the French. In 1909 a whaling station was established at Pigeon Island. A lime kiln was modified to process whale oil in the 1920s, and did so until 1926. Then legislation to control whaling in 1952 put an end to this operation.

 

Kiln that was used to process whale oil in the 20’s.

Came across this shroom on one of the trails…ate a bit and felt funny for days! LOL… not really but wish that we knew more about mushrooms just maybe this one would have been good with some stir-fry!

After this, the fort was not in use anymore except as a small signal station by the US during WWII. Franklin Roosevelt visited the area aboard the USS Tuscaloosa in 1940. The US Navy built a Naval Air Station in 1941 and used the island as a communication station. A squadron of 18 PBY-5 Catalinas (amphibious aircraft) patrolled for German submarines. The station was deactivated in 1947.

 

In 1937 Pigeon Island was leased to Josset Agnes Hutchinson, an actress from England. When the US established a Naval Base at Rodney Bay in 1940 she left the island. When the navel station was deactivated in 1947 she returned to establish a thriving yachting industry, entertaining many guests and giving the island the reputation of being a paradise island. She relinquished the lease in 1970 to go back to England and retire. Remnants of her house still mostly stand on the property.

 

We had a great day exploring every nook and cranny that we could not wanting to miss out on anything. At the end of our hike we were rewarded with a beautiful beach to swim in, cool off and rinse all of the grime off from our explorations. What a fun day!

 

We rented a car recently too and have lots more stories to share so we will get working on that soon for all of you to enjoy. Until then….

Brian and Jennifer
SV/Moon

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Martinique to Saint Lucia

We hauled anchor at 8:30 in the morning…next stop the beautiful island of Saint Lucia!

We took a tour through the mangroves in Martinique on our dinghy before we left…beautiful!

It was a nice sail, not the best that we’ve had and definitely not the worst. Winds were ESE at 10 to 15 knts, waves around 4ft to 6ft with the occasional 7ft to 8ft and a combo of nice long swells, (We like this type best because we ride gently up one side and down the other) and there were also short choppy waves, (We like this type of wave least because they bounce the boat every which way and pound into us and give the boat a smacking. Makes for a uncomfortable ride and they slow down our speed).

These little boats are rented out in the bay we were at in Martinique. We thought that they were interesting…they look like bumper boats! The seating is circular and there is a grill in the middle!

A ship, shipping ships 🙂

We’ve been hoping to see some whales but no such luck yet. On a sad note, whale hunting is still permitted and practiced in the seas of the nearby islands of Saint Vincent and Grenadines. I read somewhere that the locals sometimes use small sailboats to hunt the whales. Approaching the whale pod, harpooning one or two then using small explosives to finish off it off “humanely”. I also read in that it is not uncommon for whales to ram sailboats…go figure, obviously they are intelligent and they have associated boats as a threat. We even have a friend Mike on S/V Imagine, who’s boat was rammed by a whale between the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos islands. What a scary thing to happen while you are just happly sailing along! So with that on our minds, we are not completely dissappointed that we have not seen any whales. (By the way Mike and his boat were OK…)

Bye, Bye Martinique.

We sailed over lots of large patches of Sargasso Weed. I read that during Christopher Columbus’s voyage of discovery across the Atlantic, he was amazed to find floating mass of seaweed as far east as the Azores. It looked like a carpet of little yellow grapes so they called it sargazo (a generic name in Spanish for seaweeds with a brown colour and with an obvious stalk and root; the Sargasso Sea is “El mar de los Sargazos”). Sargassum is a brown algae and the ‘grapes’ are the air bladders, which keep it afloat.

So far what we’ve seen of St. Lucia is of course, beautiful! We are anchored in Rodney Bay one of the the northern most harbors. It is large and horseshoe shaped. We had originally planned on skipping this harbor because of the crime that we’ve read about happening here. However, when we were sailing by we were surprised to see so many cruising boats in the harbor and that changed our minds. (The crimes that we read about were mostly dinghy theft.)
There is a website that we regularly log onto to keep us updated on any reported crimes:
safety and security net

We take extra precautions when we anchor anywhere new and try to avoid any “hotspots”. This is also the site that we made our report on when we were boarded, threatened and robbed in lovely St. Maarten in January 2016.

Approaching Saint Lucia.

Anyhow, Rodney Bay so far seems nice and safe. There are lots or shops and restaurants at a close by IGA Marina and also some big grocery and hardware stores for supplies. There is a fort…imagine that another fort protecting a harbor. Seems to be a trend, huh? We hope to explore it, we never get tired of hiking up to forts that overlooks a beautiful harbors.

Approaching Rodney Bay.

This is the Veggie Boat and that is Gregory on board. It did not take him long to approach us once we anchored to see if we wanted to buy any of his veggies. We bought some beautiful tomatoes. Brian asked him if he had any plantains…me, eyebrows raised wondering why because I have never cooked a plantain in my life….Gregory said that he did not….but, low and be hold the next morning he was at our boat bright and early yelling “Moon, Moon”. After wiping the cobwebs out of our eyes from being woke up he was happy to tell us that he had brought us some plantains…of course we had to buy them since he got them special for us. So now I am researching recipes, we’ll let you know how that turns out.

We haven’t seen the famous Pitons yet and will probably just take some pictures as we sail by. Sadly the anchorage there sounds very crime ridden so we’re passing it up. We have one more harbor that we will stop at while we are here called Marigot Bay that sounds like it is absolutely beautiful.

Moon anchored in front of Pigeon Island. Fort Rodney is to the left hand side but knowing Brian we will have to hike both peaks!

Well, gotta go for now. Time to explore and take more pics!

Jennifer and Brian S/V Moon

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