Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Begging and pleading is an effective way to get what you want and Gord is a master of the language. Convincing the boat yard manager that he should let Mike and Betts park their boat into the haul out slip on Sun night, as they will be flying out at 6:30 am and their boat is not due for haul out till 9am. Mission accomplished and peace of mind for Mike as well as less stress on Gord. We'll do a little bit of work on their boat after haul out and we'll see them next year.

Mike and Betts in the Boatyard

Last Happy Hour on the Water

We head into the boat yard tomorrow, so we enjoy our last Happy Hour at Saba Rock.

There's a bit of chop so, we are utilizing our new detatchable windshield attached to our recently completed dinghy chaps. One of a Kind and I can tuck right in behind the windshield and my hair doesn't even ruffle.
Last visit to Saba Rock

Our Dinghy Chaps with Windshield

Saba Rock

Shielded from the wind

One of our other projects this year turned out fabulous as well.   I just cannot walk on the beach without picking up and saving pretty, unique or fancy shells.    Then with a whole tub full , it's what to with them.
Here's a fabulous mirror frame all completely covered in shells and adorning our salon.

Shell project

Back to the BVI's - April 13

Yes, It's time to start working our way back into the Bvi's for our haul out on the 23rd. After checking in at Sopers we headed to Cooper island to check out the snorkelling. Great place to dive and snorkel , so it will definitely be on our list for next year.

On to North Sound to start the nasty close up chores and get tucked in out of the hight winds that are coming. Anchored off Prickly Pear as usual and the high winds arrived as predicted. Our anchor is awesome and holds us tight, but we put  the tracker on our chart plotter as we skated back and forth doing 1 kt while on anchor in every direction imaginable.

Our overnight Boat Track while at Anchor in 20-25kt winds

Next day we moved over to Robin Cove on the opposite side of the Sound to our own private cove and beach where we held tight into the winds and got a great nights sleep.

The calm returned and the sails came down and the close up chores began.

Mike and Betts arrived to share our space and close up their boat as well.   Then at dinner aboard Ocean Wings on Fri evening Mike got a scare in the form of an alarm on his pacemaker. Doctor says come home right away.  Oh No, Not again!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Lobster Feast

Back in Francis Bay we ran into Anne and John on "Livin the Dream"  and Mike and Betts on "Papageno" shared a few happy hours and saw the giant lobsters that John and Anne caught out on Johnston Reef.


Lady J III

Sounds like a classey big yacht,  it's another cruiser that we met last year, Fred and Phyliss, so we enjoyed a great visit and happy hour with them. Then next day Ann and John on "Livin the Dream" arrive, so its happy hour on their boat.

Next day is a cruise into Francis Bay where Greg and Debbie on " Sonrisa" are on a ball. We haven't met up with them since Fatty Goodlanders birthday where we gave them our extra boat hook.

St Thomas Again

This time it's not to get anything fixed, It's social time.  A short relax with Jim and Patti ( they're between charters) dinner on their boat and then up to Island view Guest house with Jim, Patti, Joe and Jenn for one of their famous steak dinners. We were all so full I think we could have rolled all the way to the dock.
Then we had Jim, Patti and Kevin arrived also for dinner aboard Ocean Wings.
Afer dropping Jim and patti off at the airport for a weeks visit in Florida, I installed the engine cover I made for his new outboard and off we headed to Leinster Bay, on St John

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Dance Time- April 1

I need a dance fix badly so we have headed to Coral Bay to catch the Sun Mountain Fiddler with Tom, Meg and their 2 sons & girlfriends.
The place was so packed we ended up eating standing up, but we were so busy dancing anyway that we didn't notice.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Everybody Loves a Baby........Maybe

Lamshur Bay was our next destination, on the south side of St John. While at anchor here, a mother dolphin and her baby spend 3 days playing in the water and circling our boat. Lovely to see and a rare treat to get a look at her baby.

We felt a stretch and a hike was in order so we set off on a cloudy day on the 2.4 mile climb to see the Petroglyphs. Carvings in the rocks beside a natural waterfall made by the Tano Indians somewhere between 900- 1500 AD. Well that will be a one time experience, nothing but climbing for over 2 miles on narrow rocky trails in tropical heat. what were we thinking. But we took lunch and had a picnic and the petroglyphs were certainly magical.

Then we deeked into the next Bay, our favorite Salt Pond, which has a fabulous beach and exceptional snorkelling. The baby we say here is not every Moms dream child. A baby shark sleeping soundly on the sand in just 10 feet of water. Understandably we resisted the urge to go snuggle.

Here we met Kevin, on his Shannon and enjoyed a great chat and a couple of cold ones. He's from across Lake Ontarion at Youngstown and has been down here almost a year single handing his boat. Picks up that mooring ball by himself much better than the 8-10 people aboard most moorings charters.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


Not us!  one of those large marker bouys in a bright yellow ( which usually is a reef marker) was on a little holiday between St John and St Croix. As we were almost to Salt Pond bay from St Croix, there it was bobbimng where it shouldn't be bobbing and marking nothing. A quick call to the coast guard netted us a call back but not a lot of interest in what we considered a serious hasard to navigation. imaging hitting that in the middle of the night.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Culebra, Vieques & St Croix Mar 12- 28

CulebraA sleepy little island , reminiscent of what we all think of as a small Caribbean Island. Friendly, safe and it seems that they roll the streets up by 8pm. Not the kind of island to go to, to party the night away, that just doesn’t happen in Culebra. We made our own party by buddy boating with Meg, Tom, Maggie and Anne on Jewell of Paradise.   
Anne, Maggie, Tom & Meg

As we cruised around the tip of the island , someone was out for a stroll.... across the water no less.

Walking on Water.. are we having a religious vision?

Flamenco beach

Beach Bums
We rented a jeep to tour the island. Figured a half day rental should do the trick and it was on and off rainy with huge black clouds. So a great day for a tour. Zoni beach was a favorite, the surf was crashing in onto a pure white sand beach that seemed to stretch for miles. Some figured no one would be out walking so they were having their own little party. Hence the name “ Beach Bums”.

Extra Curicular Beach Activities

The coconuts were just dropping at our feet, so we lugged a few home to try our hand at drink creation. The snorkeling off the point near Luis Pena was fabulous.
Coconut Hunters


Just the opposite of Culebra, Vieques is loud , noisy and busy. Our first night out we visited the Bio Luminescent Bay and kayaked through the photocells. It was absolutely magical to watch the glowing fish as they darted around our kayaks. Although they do not allow swimming, there is the odd person that “falls overboard” and sure enough one girl decided she would go for a swim. After hearing that there was a shark attack last year we decided that we would stay in our kayaks.

It’s kind of a one horse town, with the entertainment of the evening being some young Viequean guy on his horse, trotting down the main street or tying up for a drink or dinner.

Horse at the restaurant

However it is a 2 gas station island, and both gas stations are side by side on the other side of the island at Isabella. Don’t let that tank get below a quarter!
345 yr old tree

The beaches were great on Vieques, and one of them is pure black, magnetic and deserted. Sun Bay was a favorite with a huge stretch of sand and the strangest beach chairs I’ve ever seen.

Gord on the Black beach

Funky Beach Chair on Sun Bay

The year of the Dinghy raised it’s ugly head again as we were dinghying out around a small island into Sun Bay for the beach. Out into the open Ocean it just quit. Try paddling a dinghy… not the easiest. At least the boat happened to be downwind so we had the assistance of the wind and the waves to get us back to Ocean Wings.

St Croix

We debated whether to go on to St Croix, as Tom & Meg headed back to St Thomas to drop the girls off, and St Croix is reputed to be a kind of unsafe place to hang out. And with the Refinery closing there will be lots of unemployment and the crime will definitely get worse. However, we are careful and should see it now before any change takes place, so out we head.

It was a great trip over until we hit the mouth of Christiansted harbour and our engine decided it had had enough travel and promptly shut down. After several tries to restart her and the reef looming ever closer on our starboard side, we decided it was time to call for help. Bill at Sea Tow answered instantly and was there in a flash to give us our very first tow.

Towed by SeaTow

Casey at st Croix marina was fabulous, he discovered that our filters were blocked from all the floating sea weed we had encountered on the way over. New filters, an engine flush and we were good to go. So, we think we’ll get him to look at that damn outboard as well.

Meg and Tom arrived back to join us , just as we finished the repairs.

Christiansted is a beautiful old Danish town, with the most colourful Buildings we’ve seen so far, including a huge yellow fort that guards the harbour. The harbour itself is rolly and even though the reef is huge that surrounds the bay, it does face north and has not much protection from the sea. We are luck and it is relatively calm.
Fort Christian

Bill at SeaTow is a busy guy, as the next day we watched from our deck as he towed a runaway boat off the reef and towed it back to shore.
Off the reef

Beer Drinkin Pig

We rented a car here as well, so we could see the island. Fredricksted was very pretty with a wonderful waterfront walkway and calmer anchorage due to it’s south side location. However the town is more than half boarded up and closed. St Croix is bigger than St Thomas and boasts 3 golf courses, a casino, mini golf and a multitude of diving spots as well as home to the beer drinking pigs. ( I do mean real pigs)

Our trip to Buck Island to snorkel was a bit of a disaster. We went in Tom & Megs boat with Nancy and Bob ( friends of T& M along). It rained all the way there and their cockpit is open , so everyone was cold and wet by the time we arrived, so the first thing we did was brew a hot cup of coffee. The snorkeling looked awesome but today was too rough and Bob , who was seasick wouldn’t get in the water. Nancy drank half the bay and threw up all the way back.

Nancy decked out to snorkel at Buck Island
There's a great Hardware store here and we finally found a wonderful double hammock for the bow of the boat. Now we get to relax with a cool one and watch the sun set.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Off to The Spanish Virgins - Mar 12

Monday morning, its up the anchor and head to Culebrita to the jacuzzis, gorgeous sand beach and hopefully some lobster, then Culebra to snorkel, on to Vieques to jump at night into the bioluminescent Bay and finally to St Croix where we can check out the Cruzan Rum factory and maby get a sample or two.
Jewell of Paradise

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Careful What you wish for!

With all our recent dinghy engine problems I was wishing for a new dinghy engine.

We upped the anchor in Charlotte Amalie and low and behold what is dragging from our anchor but an outboard engine. Not exactly the new one I wished for, but an engine none the less.

Outboard hooked on our Anchor Chain

Now how to get rid of it?  Cruise the bay with our anchor dragging while Gord lowers the dinghy, races to the front, attaches a rope to the motor while he frees our anchor. Then back to the deep it goes, along with all the other garbage and debris that is in the ottom of the bay. 

Mark that GPS waypoint Sue, as we'll probably be back.


Gord says he's being framed and here's the photo to prove it. Before long it will have a mirror inside and the frame will be coated in local sea shells and it wil hang out in our salon.


adding the shells

Social Time feb 29-Mar 10

Tom & Gord on" Jewel of Paradise"
After a dinner aboard Tom & Megs boat Jewel of Paradise ( also sitting in Charlotte Amalie) we both head to Francis Bay for prime rib night at Maho campground. That's the biggest prime rib dinner w/ salad bar around for the cheapest price.

And it seems like everyone is is here for the same thing, the beef and to tuck in from the heavy winds and high seas that are starting.


While we are grabbing the ball, a dolphin is chasing a fish ( for his dinner) around our ball and under our boat, finally leapping out of the water and over the ball in an attempt to secure dinner. he's so beautifull and came back to visit everyone every day for the next week.

At dinner we also ran into Mike and Betts with their friends Ken & Dorothy on Blue Star and Al and Helene on Island Girl. The same Island girl that Carl bumped into in Caneel Bay. Next night was happy hour with everyone aboard Ocean Wings.

Dinner at Maho
Mike & Betts
Al & Helene
Sue & Gord

Dinner at Maho

Ken & Dorothy

Then no other than Francois on Excalibur, from our Saint Martin advetures last year is knocking on our hull in the morning , inviting us to meet them in Anegada later in the week.  " Maybe"

Then Happy hour on Blue Star with Ken & Dorothy introduces Louise and Rick on "Grand Cru"

Daytime is beach, beach, snorkel and finally I finished and installed my Dinghy chaps. Wow! and they fit like I knew what I was doing.
The beach is a great meeting ground as well and we chatted everyday with Debbie and Bob from "Chimayo, Janice and Steve from "Salacious" and Dave on "Persephone". This group is all gettng ready to head to the boatyard for a few days to get ready for their trek down island out of the way of hurricanes. Perhaps we'll see them next season if they head back this way.

The winds are still howling out in the Drake passage, kicking up to over 30 knots. But, we are calm , quiet and snug here in Francis Bay and everyone here seems to be sitting tight waiting it out and enjoying the social time.

Anegada will have to wait, but we would have liked to spend some time time with Francois and his family.
Instead, as the winds are to finally calm down by Sunday night, we are going to wait and hook back up with Tom & Megs and their daughter Maggie and friend Ann, back in Charlotte Amalie and head to Culebrita, Culebra, Vieques ( for the bioluminesent bay ) then over to St Croix

As we check out  few trawlers ( there were 5 anchored here in the bay) so we can pass on the info to Peter and Thai, we were just leaving Des and Sue on "Desue"  when the dinghy engine sputtered to a stop. Not Again!  Told you it was the year of the Dinghy.  Along comes David and Nancy from "Vamoose" in their dinghy to make sure we get back to Ocean Wings safely. It's a great excuse for another  happy hour tonight and so Ken & Dorothy join David, Nancy, Gord and I aboard Ocean Wings.

A few boaters are getting restless or must get passengers back to airports. We watch Cameron & Linda on "Gypsy Moon" head out towards the reef, then shortly after come back towed by the Park Services wardens.
Did they forget to pay for their ball?  So, we dingy over to see how we can sign up for that ball pick up service. What a way to save diesel fuel.

Alas, they were having boat problems ( everyone must take a turn) They had lost their drive shaft, which hit their rudder, so they had no engine and no steerage. Their guests Tom and Brenda are due to fly from Charlotte Amalie tomorrow and everyone is looking glum.
We mention that it is prime rib night again at Maho campground and their faces light up.

They decide that they will join us and Dave and Nancy for a little of that beef.  The surf is pounding on the shore at Maho, so we figure the best course of action is to go to big Maho (where is quieter) and take the trail up thru the woods.

Dinner and lots of wine later, we realize that we can ferry Tom and Brenda Back to Charlotte Amalie to catch their plane. We're heading out tomorrow for there anyway. That will solve one dilemma for Cam and Linda while they sit and await a mechanic.

Now there is almost no wind ( 2.1 kts) so we motor and cruise into Charlotte Amalie with loads of time to spare.

back in Charlotte Amalie

Getting Tom & Brenda to the airport

Note: those nifty new dinghy chaps!!!!

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.