Friday, January 29, 2010

Chillin in Francis Bay

Well I just turned 60 while sitting here in Francis Bay which is part of a National Park. Had a great day just enjoying the caribbean beaches and a lovely dinner at hilltop overlooking the Bay.
It's O so beautiful here and there is a wonderful eco campsite in the connecting   Maho Bay , rising from the beach there sre hundred of steps going up in a miriad of directions to eco friendly campsites.  They are canvas sided cabins built on platforms and accessed by  wooden walkways and of course staircases.  There is a great restaurant run by the campsite situated in an open pavillion at the top of the hill overlooking the ocean.  We just had a fabulous regular friday night prime rib dinner and we're using their internet connection to chat with home and post this blog.  We dinghy'd  over to Trunk Bay  ( one of the most photographed beaches in the world)  yesterday and did the underwater snorkel trail  around Trunk Cay.  Now that was facinating and beaching the dinghy was a challenge as the surf was pretty wild.  There is always a 20 - 30 min discussion , and I mean discussion on the best way to accomplish this task as every beach is different and so is our opinions on the matter of beaching  It was so wild yesterday that we ate our picnic lunch in the dinghy while the " discussion " took place.  However mission was accomplished and we enjoyed the snorkel, the beach and a nice fresh shower before heading back to the boat.
The Caribbean Rain Dance continues as we have had showers just about every night.  We're grateful for the water alarm that wakes us for the start of the dance.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Caribbean Rain Dance

Last night Gord and I went dancing.
This is a well know activity of all boaters in the Caribbean.  It requires a clear starry night without a hint of rain, best to have a couple of painkillers throughout the evening. Open all the hatches so a great breeze flows thru the boat while you get a terrific nights sleep rocking to the gentle motion of the waves.
The rain drops hitting your face thru the open hatch are the start to the dance.  Then its leap out of bed, probably naked then dance from hatch to hatch, leaping up on beds, furniture or toilets ( whichever is handy) shutting  8 hatches, 3 side ports and zipping the bimini windows . This MUST be done in record time to avoid soggy beds, cushions. It's a quick dance over before you know it , so you get the most fun if you can aim for at least one dance every night.
After your nightly dance just tuck your wet body back into your hopefully dry bed and let yourself rock to sleep again.
Ah!!! boating. Don't we love it.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Honeymoon Drive In

Or maybe it should be Honeymoon Dinghy In. That was to be our evenings entertainment.  A huge sheet stretched between the Palms, beach chairs in rows  and Heidi's open for Beer, hotdogs and popcorn.

That was the plan, dinghy over from Lindeburgh Bay to Honeymoon Bay, Beach the dinghy, watch the movie, dinghy back.

Beaching a Dinghy is NOT always a piece of cake.
 What with the waves and the shifting sand and faster than you can say  "incoming Wave"  I was on my butt in the surf.

The movie was funny and I was wet.   Now ANOTHER SHOWER

Oh No!!! Not Again

Lindeburgh can be a bit of a rolly anchorage, so we put out a stern anchor to keep us pointed straight into the rollers. Trouble again when we went to pull it up.
I just can't believe it keeps happening to us, Do we, and we alone find all the old lost forsaken stuff on the ocean floor. This time it was attached cables that look like an old abandoned mooring line. We managed to get the anchor about 3 ft from the surface of the water and it just ain't gonna budge no more.

Guess who after just washing off all the days salt  with a nice fresh water shower, gets to don a mask and go check things out.
We were definitely tangled, three good loops of cable around our anchor. I dove, I pulled, I dove, I pulled. Once I was half drowned and standing on the anchor I managed to get the loops back over and free it

Now another shower! cause we off to Honeymoon Drive in.

Finally Sunshine

The rain has finally let up, 3 days of non stop drizzle or downpours.  It did however give us time to put all the stuff in those 8 big boxes away where it belongs and head to the beach for the day. Were still in Lindeburgh Bay and the beach here is wonderful.  The free WiFi is pretty nice as well.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Rain, Rain Go Away

I think the kids took the sunshine with them.  It's been raining steady since Tif, Bob and Sadie got on their plane to head home.  Got a lot of boat cleaning done.

Today there was one break in the weather and we dinghy'd off to Crown Bay Marina to pick up the boxes that have finally arrived packed with the boat stuff I shipped from Florida back in mid december.

Remember that funny anchor we snagged a few days ago, Gord's thinking that maybe we should go snag it again, someplace to keep all this stuff.

Bon Voyage

I'm already missing them.

Grammy & Gord had a wonderful time , hope Tif, Bob , Sadie did as well.

Kids Last Day

Lindburg Bay ( named for Charles Lindburg landing here) is our last bay.  There was misty rain all morning as we travelled, but the weather cooperated and the sun came out just as we anchored.

We spent a lovely day at the beach and had a great dinner at the open beach side dining room of the Best Western here in Lindburg Bay

St. John's USVI

Time is getting short so we are heading back toward the US.  No need to check out from the BVI's , they let us check out at the same time we checked in.  Not exactly your frisk and search like the airport.

We decided to check in at Cruz Bay on St John's  which is a crowded harbour, so we moored outside at Caneel Bay and dinghyed in, then walked around the harbour front to customs.   Very colourful, very Caribbean town with music going, beautiful pastel buildings and layed back atmosphere, right down to us being the only ones checking ourselves in at customs.

The beach at Caneel was better than picture perfect.

Next Stop- "The Bight at Norman Island

Reputed to be the original treasure island , with pirate gold buried somewhere - possibly the snorkeling caves we explored just on the western tip of the Island.  No wonder they don't allow metal detectors, wouldn't want some tourists from Canada carting off their Pirate Booty.

We did take a visit to the Pirates Den, but it was pretty tame, we lounged in chairs, swam a little and sipped Pina Coladas.  Not scary at all.

In fact a great relaxing day.

Willie T's  on the barge was really rockin that night but Sadie said she didn't feel up to jumping off the roof topless like the rest of the girls, so we opted for a quiet evening on the boat instead.    
Maybe next trip.

Trellis Bay

After The Baths we headed straight into Trellis, with the sails up and a great wind, we made it in no time. 
The little beach grocery was the 1st order, all this sun, sand and surf seems to be making everyone hungry. So we hit the "Groceries & Tings "  to stock up.  A leisurely walk on the beach and Tif came up with a large red starfish.  Sadie wanted nothing to do with it. 

While Sadie slept that evening the fish were jumping around the boat like crazy.  With flashlights in hand we spent hours peering overboard into the water and spotted our first shark.   We're sure it was a shark, Gord thinks maybe a little Bull Shark and Bob thinks it was some kind of bottom feeder. Tif and I know it was a little shark, about 2 ft long with VERY distinct fins and when we accidentally dropped a silver can lid in the water, it attacked agressively. 
Low and Behold it was still swimming around the bat the next morning.
Guess we won't be swimming there again any time too soon.


Up the Drake passage from Soper's to Leverick we happened to pass Tif's dream boat- right down to the helicopter on the back deck.  Think they'd notice if we hooked it up and towed it Home? 

Sadie always did the love the wind in her hair and this passage was just what she wanted. Fun with Daddy and wonderful wind in the hair.

The Baths

The Surf was really up at The Baths today, with no dinghy's allowed on the beach it makes for quite a challenge to get from a moored dinghy and into shore with the waves rollin in.  Bob got the job of dropping us off then mooring the Dinghy and swimming for shore.   Thanks Bob
Sadie had a nice little swim in her Meooow at a secluded , warm little tide pool away from all the waves.
The huge boulders just dwarfed all of us, and formed a great frame for Ocean Wings

Friday, January 15, 2010

Leverick Bay

Next stop Leverick Bay, it was a bit of a grey drizzley day so a great day to travel, then on arrival , out came the sun
The pool there was a wonderful change from salt water.

The buffet by the shore was terrific and we ( including Sadie) danced with Jumbies  


This Cruiser lifestyle is not just about turquoise water and gorgeous beaches. There's lots to do aboard the boat as well.

Nap time is always a favorite!

 Snack Time is another good one.
Then there's Creative time, Activity Time and Elmo Time on the Tv

Last but not least there's "Miller Time" for the adults which  Sadie has renamed " Bubba Time"   ( Bubba being her sippy cup of milk)

Check Out Time

That's cruiser lingo for leaving one country and arriving at the next.
Charlotte Amalie was check out- sailed over, anchored and took a little visit to customs to let them know we're heading to the British Virgins to see a few sights. The lady at customs was wonderful and helped us fill out the forms.  But it is hard work so we had to stop for a bite.
Hey,  I'm beggin for more than "A" bite. This boating business is hungry work.

Now on to Soper's Hole, our check-in in the British Virgins.

Very cool little drive up window style customs that they have here at Sopers Hole.  What could be more convenient.

Soper's Hole is a picture perfect pastel Caribbean port with shops and docks and restaurants and loads of boats of all kinds.

Brewers Bay

The wind and the water seem to get a little confused with all these Islands in the way, with the wind pointing the boat one way and the water rocking it the opposite.
Now here's the challenge...........  how to pull the stern of a 55 ft 20 ton boat with a 12 foot blow up dinghy and drop another anchor to hold it there.
Tif and I thought we'd bust a gut laughing. 
"O", why would we want to perform that feat?  To point the bow the way we want instead of the way it w.ants. Finally managed to get an anchor set and winched the boat to it.  MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.  

Head to the Beach time.  Oh no, not another perfect , sandy beach , again.   Sadie's becoming quite an accomplished Dinghy traveller, wearing Sadie's Jacket. As she looks out and proclaims it to be Sadie's Water.

The waters great, even if it doesn't taste so good. But crystal clear and ever so warm that even daddy gets in and splashes around

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Bathtime Aboard

Little Ladies need their boudoir space wherever you can find it. Nothing wrong with an au naturel bath in the sunshine to keep a girl sqeaky clean and fresh.

Anchors Away

Well we've spent our first night and it was a little rollicky. But convenient to pick up guests.  The cruise ship snuck in during the night and was sitting there off our port side in the morning. "Boat" was Sadie's summation.

We're going to head over to Honeymoon Bay
by dinghy today for our first day at the beach.

There's a couple of cute beach bunnies,
very pale bunnies I might add, but working on a tan
Honeymoon Bay was  wonderful. There is a sailboat  moored up close to the beach, about 40is ft long and there is a family that lives aboard with 5 kids ranging from 6 to 14.  How do they do that??? and why would they want to??? However they do have this wonderful playground at their doorstep.  Heidi's a well know cruiser spot is set up on the beach serving everything form fries to Pina Coladas. There are some tall palm trees shading the beach and every Monday night a huge sheet is strung between the palms, chairs are placed in rows, Heidi's gets the popcorn poppin and its movie time, Caribbean style.  What a life!!                                 

We decided we'd head to Brewers Bay for the night in hopes of a smoother nights sleep.  So anchors away!We sure don  know how to show our first guests a good time and that we know what we’re doing.

Bob’s getting a tutorial on how easy the windlass pulls up that anchor. Whoops!!! What the heck is that??? Sure doesn’t look like any anchor I’ve ever seen. Now were adrift between the yachts and the cruise ship dragging a what with us. A trailer?

Gord kept telling me that if I brought too many shoes with me then he’d have to tow a trailer behind the boat. He couldn’t have been serious, Could He????

Not everyone can mange to snag the only trailer that’s been submerged in the bottom of the anchorage in West Gregerie Channel.. Bring on the shoes!

Next the challenge. Of how to free the anchor and give the trailer back to Davey Jones. Took 4 guys collaborating a strategy. For my part I had to just drive the boat and keep from hitting anything, especially anything expensive. Piece of Cake.

Free at last- ready to drop and off to Brewers Bay for the night.
Our Thanks to Bill - on "Dream Maker" and Scotty -on "Silver Streak" for their help in the untangling process.

Sailboat owners Gord and Sue aboard their 55' Whitby Ketch "Ocean Wings" share their adventures and travels as they start their retirement, living their dream of seeing the world from oceanside.
Ocean Wings is a recent purchase and our first foray into the Sailing Lifestyle. We're excited and a little scared. Join us in our adventure.