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Sunrise: Chasing the dream
Life filled with adventure, both actual and spiritual.
City Island
Bill
06/12/2012, St. Thomas, USVI

Lara sails as close as she can to the wind as we exit Charlotte Amalie Harbor.

We are always surprised when we come into a city from the sea... And we keep being surprised. My memories of St Thomas are not kind to the place... And yet, arriving by boat, allows you to take the whole place in from afar. We arrived just before sunset and as the lights came on we were all struck by the beauty of this mountain in the ocean lit up like some Gerry squat Christmas tree.

When dawn broke the next morning, Isobel said, "The houses everywhere, and such great colors." The only places without buildings must be very steep hillsides. At around 0630, the cruise ships pull in... A little later the sea plane flights start taking off. And you have all the other sounds of the city: car horns, trucks backing up, motor cycles racing around.

Our expedition ashore yesterday netted us some very good Thai food and a very good green grocery, The Fruit Bowl, something that we have been wanting...

We had not planned on staying here for more than a day, yet there are some things we can find here that we might not find elsewhere...

06/12/2012 | Uncle Readie
Thank you again for making Isobel's world so much bigger. (Lara's was already pretty big. ;)
06/13/2012 | Mary Ellen
BEEN there - just beautifull-
Swimmers EAR--remove water-mix 1 tsp.rubbing alchol with 1tsp.vinegar.
use dropper-this mixture helps prevent bacterial growth.

FEEL better-----
love mec
06/23/2012 | audie sumner
such fun reading your adventuers fun@luck big hugs to all AA
A hard won 14 miles
Bill
06/10/2012, Saint Thomas, USVI

Underway, Isobel has to put up with her parents saying, "Are we there yet?"

We started the day with a hike to the light house at Culebrita... Which was hot even at 0700 hrs! And worth it. The building was beautiful, even though it had been let go for some time. The marble floors were still in good shape and the copper light roof was still in repairable shape off to the side. It is one of those places that would not take much to stop the decay and with a few dollars could be brought back to it's original form. A photo will come when we have Internet.

Then we hiked to the Jacuzzies, a place where the waves fill pools of water that slowly drain into the bay behind. Lots of coral growing in the pools...

A little after noon we set sail for St. Thomas. At first the wind allowed us a long tack bringing us to the west end, then we tacked out, against the current... It was slow going the rest of the way. We arrived in Charlotte Amalie at 7 pm.... 14 miles as the crow flies... In 7 hours...

06/10/2012 | Uncle Readie
Xplot in Timbuktu again. I can figure out where you really are, though. Hassell Island used to be a peninsula.
Culebrita lighthouse
Bill
06/09/2012, Culebrita, PR

We took an early morning hike to the light house on top of Culebrita. A beautiful building with marble floors and stucco walls. The old copper roof to the light itself is off to the side, maybe put there by a hurricane.

Although we were on the beach to start at 0730, it was pretty hot by the time we returned to the beach... so a dip in the water was welcome!

A dancing girl or fish bones
Bill
06/08/2012, Culebra, PR

On Culebra, just off the main street, on the same street as Momacita's is a little building with a sign on it saying, just, ARTE. We passes it several times before wandering in... There were some buitiful hand printed T shirts, some prints, signs, and other art... As well as quite an assortment of Conga drums and other beautiful percussion instruments, such as a collection of Cocao shells that made the most mysterious sound when shaken and a huge gourde with shells strung around it, again producing a delightful sound when shaken.

Lara started asking Jorge, the artist about the prints... Check them out... When we pressed him more he opened up with some really wonderful and thoughtful history/philosophy related to Culebra. Here was a young guy talking as though he was an old-timer... One of his prints held sideways looks like the bones of a fish, an vertically looks like a dancing girl...

This symbolizes the current situation in Culebra as well as around the world. The young dance and play in this beautiful spot, to the point of ruining the beauty, while the older generation talks about how these are only the bare old bones of the place, though which you can only glimpse what Culebra was like in the past when the beaches we not littered with plastic and the seas were filled with fish.

The next day we sailed to Culebrita's northern bay. A beautiful remote bay filled with turtles and ringed with reefs. The photo I will post shows that by noon, the beach is lined with power boats from mainland PR and St Thomas, anchored stern to the beach, overflowing with jet skis, power-wake-boards and dinghies with over sized engines... All of the boats ignored the DNR free moorings to put out two anchors that would hold them wading distance from the beach... The generators ran to keep the AC on and the lights and stereos powered... Wow!

06/11/2012 | Uncle Readie
Maturity takes time. Over and over again.
San Juan Getaway
lara
06/07/2012, San Juan, Puerto Rico

It took some figuring out. Our gathering location changed from St John to Culebra, and ultimately to San Juan. My Mom, my godfather Peter and his sister MaryEllen joined Isobel and me for a relaxing week poolside. Did I mention we ate? ... And ate, and ate. What a treat. Super comfy beds, no cooking, yoga, incredible views of the ocean, a full moon and a venus transit, multiple pools including a slick water slide that even made my Mom grin - until she went under and got her hair wet. How wonderful to spend time with family. Isobel couldn't get enough of everyone, but especially of Nana, of course. Isobel brought a new skill back to the boat that she is very enthusiastic about - howling at the moon.

Slide
Lara
06/07/2012, San Juan, Puerto Rico

One of the best things about our hotel was this incredibly fast curvy water slide. No surprise, MaryEllen was the first one down, then me, then Peter. Isobel was a bit reluctant but once she tried it all she could say was "one more time." Only the girl sweetly asking Nana to join her convinced my mom to partake in the fun. Woohoo!

El Yunque
Lara
06/04/2012, El Yunque Rain Forest, Puerto Rico

MaryEllen joined us for a jaunt to the forest. The majority of the hike up to this tower lookout was on an old concrete path crafted with neat little rocks that wound through the greenery. Very walkable. MaryEllen felt a bit cheated since there weren't as many flowers as she expected. Having seen enough green, she opted to head down slowly while we finished the last bit that was supposed to put us into a level of cloud forest. We wonder if weather may have changed enough that this is no longer true cloud forest.

Swinging in the breeze
Lara
06/02/2012, San Juan, Puerto Rico

Nana & Isobel enjoying a quiet moment.

New Technology
06/01/2012, Culebra, PR

Now, I have to wonder what I would do if I were outfitting a boat today. For $49 you can get a Navionics App for the Ipad that has wonderful charts and most of the features of our very expensive chart-plotter! It uses very little energy, has an internal GPS, which isn't as good as the Furuno but is fine for looking at charts. I would still want Radar, as that has been particularly handy.

Our friend Green at On Watch Sailing did a wonderful article on installing new electronics to take advantage of new technology and reduce cost.

In the US the IPAD was also an easy source for tides and currents as well as Active Captain, a wonderful interactive guidebook.

Isobel has some apps also! There are a bunch of Montessori based apps for learning letters and numbers as well as geometry figures and musical instruments (one of her favorites, although she doesn't like the Diggerydoo!)

06/02/2012 | Uncle Readie
A digeridoo is like a giant kazoo, much more fun to play than listen to. :)
06/07/2012 | Elizabeth Johnson
Wonderful to be back on land with internet and see your progress! Sounds like you've been having a wonderful trip and savoring the moments!
Hope to see you in Panama sometime in the future--perhaps in January when we return.
06/08/2012 | Alan
"Yes, there is an app for that!" Pretty cool stuff. It is good to see that every once in a while, technology can truly mean progress!
06/10/2012 | Scott Kuhner
Kitty and I have just been cleaning out our bookshelves and we have some cruising guides that you might find interesting and useful. Where are you going to be where we can ship them too you? Please send us an email so we can get them off to you.
The food Chain
05/30/2012, Isla Luis Pena

Isobel gets a tow through the school after snorkeling for 30 seconds.

We came here to snorkel the reef, 50 yards off shore. we didn't get 10 feet. The minute we put our masks in the water we were amazed to see 100s of thousands of little fish, a little more than an inch long, schooling in the most indescribable symphony in front of our eyes. Drawn into columns by some invisible force, then changing leaders and forming a fishy wall, the depth of the water and as far as we could see... then converting into mini tornadoes... then into a mass with holes in it. As we drifted along, like palm fronds fallen from an over hanging palm tree, the fish move around us following some unwritten rule for setting distance from a floating object.

Suddenly bigger fish enter our field of vision, they dart into the school of smaller ones... we can't see it happen, but we are quite sure there are less little fish out there now. The bigger fish are maybe 10" long and move in a pack of 5 or 10 fish, moving into feed individually.

Of course, the predator becomes the prey as the Pelican drops out of the sky like a dart, nabbing one of the bigger fish. He bobs there on the surface for a moment, letting the water drain out of his bill and sac, then points his bill to the sky so the wriggling fish slides down his gullet.

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