25 April 2017 | Port Antonio, Jamaica
23 April 2017 | Port Antonio, Jamaica
15 April 2017 | Port Antonio, Jamaica
08 April 2017 | Port Antonio, Jamaica
06 April 2017 | Port Antonio, Jamaica
01 April 2017 | Georgetown, Bahamas
31 March 2017 | Georgetown, Bahamas
26 March 2017 | Lee Stocking Cay, Exumas
20 March 2017 | White Point, Exumas
17 March 2017 | Staniel Cay
02 March 2017 | Governor's Harbour, Eleuthera
24 February 2017 | Little Harbour, Abacos
16 February 2017 | Green Turtle Cay, Bahamas
14 February 2017 | West End, Bahamas
11 February 2017 | West End, Bahamas
10 February 2017 | Offshore South Carolina
09 February 2017 | Old Bahama Bay Marina
06 February 2017
05 February 2017
04 February 2017 | Charleston, SC

Departing for Providencia, Columbia

25 April 2017 | Port Antonio, Jamaica
Michael
We hate to leave Jamaica, but it's time. We depart tomorrow at first light for Panama, with a stop-over in Providencia, Columbia. The voyage to Providencia is about 400nm. Conditions look good.

If you've never heard of Providencia, don't feel bad; neither had I till I began following sailors in the Caribbean. The island is located off the coast of Nicargua, but it is the territory of Columbia. And that's about all we know, except that it is a great stop to break up the long sail to Panama.

Our final days here have been filled with wonderful times meeting a colorful cast of dozens of sailors from countries around the world - old salts, retirees, young people, a Dutch female double-hander team - even a young couple from Germany with an infant. Most have crossed at least one ocean. We have discovered that, besides being a great place in its own right, Port Antonio serves as a stopover for sailors criss-crossing the Caribbean. Many are heading for Rio Dulce, Guatemala, a popular place to pass the hurricane season. Others, like us, are going to or coming from Panama. Still others are heading for the Bahamas, Cuba and Haiti. Sundowners are never dull.

If you care to follow us on our passage, I will have the tracker on. Click the link that says "TRACK US" below, or click here.

How Tammy Buys Bananas

23 April 2017 | Port Antonio, Jamaica
Michael
Life on the hook in Jamaica is, well, different. We love Clive, who lives in the mangroves at the harbor's edge. When it's not raining, he paddles to a nearby deserted island, picks bananas and mangos, then sells them to the boaters. As you can see, he can drive a hard bargain!

UPDATE: We are still in Port Antonio, Jamaica. We are waiting on weather to depart for Providence, Columbia, probably later this week.

Our Jamaican Life

15 April 2017 | Port Antonio, Jamaica
Michael
We have settled into a Jamaican rhythm here in Port Antonio. When we go ashore, we greet people by name. We end sentences with mon, not because it's cute, because that's how they talk. We go to the market for the day's shopping. We walk. We experiment with Jamaican produce and recipes on our own stove. We have our favorite ice cream parlor, coffee shop, restaurant, grocery, market. We consume so much data on our phones, they now know us by name at the phone company. Our wallets are filled with Jamaican money, and we recognize and make change easily with their strange array of coins. We've learned a few words of Patwan, their strange English dialect, e.g. "How are you?" equals "Wahgwan?" (What's going on?).

Today was market day, and we returned with a great haul. We particularly love the papayas, which are almost creamy and are great in smoothies. Also among our loot is soursop, mango, coconut, peppers, pineapple and much more.

Our plans may be best described as "fluid." We arrived here on our way to Cartegna, Columbia. We are now looking at the jungles, gorges and rivers of Guatamala with stops in the Caymans and Roatan, Honduras. But that could well change again.

While in the Bahamas, a cruiser noted our slow progress through the islands and commented that we were "circumnavigating 100 yards at a time."

Well, okay.

A Few Words About The Ganja

08 April 2017 | Port Antonio, Jamaica
Michael
On a busy street corner here in Port Antonio, Jamaica, the raft captain was giving us his excursion pitch, showing us his credentials, including an official looking license. I had a hard time getting past the marijuana roach tucked in the corner of his mouth. On another occasion we were in the market buying produce, and ganja sellers approached me with the ease of someone selling mangoes.

In a nearby park, we met a lovely man (pictured here), who showed us a few local fruits and vegetables he had gathered himself. He let us taste a Star Apple, smell the lemon grass and take home some large Bay Leaves that were the most aromatic I have ever smelled. Then, just as naturally, he moved on to the ganja.

Marijuana, or ganja as it is called here, isn't just here and there; it's omnipresent. Technically, small quantities are subject to a $5 fine, but for practical purposes it is legal. And it makes perfect sense. Alcohol, the vice of the first-world, is expensive and difficult - even dangerous - to produce yourself. Ganja can be grown with a few seeds, rain and sunlight, raw materials in abundance here.

As for Tammy and I? While we are all for walking in another man's shoes, we really don't need to take on yet another vice at this point in our lives. I'll stay with my cigars and scotch; Tammy with her wine.

A Caribbean Kiss

06 April 2017 | Port Antonio, Jamaica
Michael
We had just come through the Windward Passage, the northern door to the Caribbean Sea between Cuba and Haiti when a wall of water rose beside us, curled and broke directly over me flooding the cockpit with two inches of water. A Caribbean Kiss. Welcome to El Caribe!

It was the start of our third morning underway. Up to that point, we had a dream sail from Georgetown, Bahamas. We motored the first 18 hours in light winds, making all of our difficult easting right away. Then the trades filled in, we turned south, killed the engine and we sailed the rest of the way. In the Caribbean Sea - after our "Caribbean Kiss" - we quickly put the big waves astern and poled out the genoa. We ran in the manner nearly all the way to Jamaica. Fast and comfortable tradewind sailing. We arrived on Tuesday afternoon, cleared in after visits from four different sets of authorities - health and quarantine, customs, coast guard and immigration. The Q flag came down; up went the Jamaican courtesy flag. We were here!

We are now trying to learn our way around Port Antonio, Jamaica. This small town with a first-class harbor is known as being one of the safest cities in the country. We are told that we can walk the streets at night without worry.

Yesterday we hired a car and saw some of the sights. The highlight was Reach Falls, a lovely waterfall where we could swim, climb rocks upstream from pool to pool. There was even a cave behind the waterfall. Very fun!
We tried a few local specialities - goat curry and jerk pork - which were delicious.

Today we did chores, got a SIM card for our phone, bought fresh produce in the market and moved off the dock into the anchorage. The mooring includes access to marina facilities - swimming pool, showers, laundry, bar & restaurant, dinghy dock and 24-hour security. This setup suits us, and we will probably use this harbor as our base of operations for exploring Jamaica.
More Pics:
Tammy at Blue Lagoon
Tammy hiking to Reach Falls
Swimming at Reach Falls
Port Antonio Market

Sailing to Jamaica, Mon

01 April 2017 | Georgetown, Bahamas
Michael
We are underway this morning from Georgetown to Port Antonio, Jamaica. Our plan is to go non-stop, about 4-5 days. This will be our longest sail together, just the two of us.

Our route is shown here. Our tracker will be on, so feel free to follow us! Just click the little link (not the map) called, "TRACK US." It's at the bottom left. Or just click here.
Vessel Name: Aria
Vessel Make/Model: Island Packet 350
Hailing Port: Myrtle Beach, SC
Crew: The Hetzers: Tammy & Michael
About: Email: aria (at) webhenmedia (dot) com
Extra: We're on YouTube! You Tube Channel
Home Page: http://www.svaria.com
Social:
Aria's Photos - Main
33 Photos
Created 22 April 2016
65 Photos
Created 30 June 2015
Continued, beginning with Christmas Eve on Hawksbill Cay through Staniel Cay and beyond
73 Photos
Created 27 December 2013
This album covers a lot of sailing. First we sailed Aria from Little River to Nassau with Tom Leonard and Gary Miller. Later, while I remained aboard Aria, the family plus my old college pal, Larry Knipp, joined me at various times throughout the winter.
53 Photos
Created 21 November 2013
Conrad and I hiked 8 days through Bavaria beginning in Oy-Mittleberg and ending in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
28 Photos
Created 30 July 2013
June 2013: St. Helena Sound, Beaufort, Hilton Head, Bluffton
33 Photos
Created 25 June 2013
Tammy and I, sans kids, visit Beaufort, Morehead City, Bald Head Island and Southport
26 Photos
Created 1 April 2013
Instead of a bushing, I used two custom-made steel plates to repair an elongated hole that supports the alternator.
9 Photos
Created 15 February 2013
Photo essay of my project to replace heat exchanger, and make several other upgrades to the fresh water and sea water loops.
18 Photos
Created 26 January 2013
25 Photos
Created 6 September 2012
Tammy and I sailed to Cape Lookout Bight, then returned via Wrightsville Beach to Bald Head Island, where the kids and dog joined us. Lovely family vacation!
27 Photos
Created 12 August 2012
Michael's voyage from the BVI to Bermuda, May 7, 2012
25 Photos
Created 6 May 2012
Pictures sailing in our home waters, a stretch of the coastal Atlantic called, Long Bay.
5 Photos
Created 28 April 2012
Scott Jackson, James "JD" Dodd and myself sailing from Marsh Harbour, Abacos to Little River, SC, clearing in at Charleston, SC
21 Photos
Created 24 April 2012
Hetzers, Plus Sarah Martin!
32 Photos
Created 8 April 2012
Trying out the new mainsail, a mylar/taffeta laminate sail from Neil Pryde.
9 Photos
Created 3 April 2012
17 Photos
Created 3 April 2012
Six guys, two identical Beneteau 40s, a dozen islands and ample stores of rum - how I spent spring break, 2010.
20 Photos
Created 3 April 2012
Summer 2010
20 Photos
Created 3 April 2012
Christmas 2009
20 Photos
Created 3 April 2012
The boat was in Milford, CT when I bought it. We sailed it home... well, motored mostly, as there was no wind, and we got the mainsail jammed in the mast on the first day. We came ashore in Atlantic City to take on more fuel.
26 Photos
Created 2 April 2012