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Sailing Centime
Heidi Love & Dennis Jud
Three Great Days
Heidi
11/29/2012, Grand Anse D'Arlet, Martinique

The SCUBA diving is literally and figuratively breathtaking here in Martinique. The reefs are filled with colorful corals, sponges, fish and many invertebrates. As we made our descent the sea garden spread in every direct and blossomed in every hue. There were basket sponges measured over four feet tall and small brightly colored sponges in fluorescent yellows, reds and blues. There were hard corals that and soft "Gorgonian" corals, such as sea fans and others that wave and dance with the current. There are schools of small fish and pairs and individual large ones, some that were very well camouflaged and others of stark contrast to their surroundings. We saw large black and white spotted moray eels and white and pink dotted sea snakes.

The most amazing scene for me was a beautiful coral and sponge grouping with about six Lionfish swimming through it. Lionfish have dramatic feathery and somewhat delicate looking fins, and as they swim and hover around the coral they move these fins in a way that reminds me of Metropolitan Opera players with the most intricate costumes and movements. Their coloration is equally stunning with stripes of orange, brown and white. Lionfish are native to the South Pacific and Indian Oceans and have become a more recent invasive species here in the Caribbean. They are known to have venomous spines which can deliver a very painful and serious sting that affects a human's nerves and muscles, so we were careful to watch them from a safe distance.

We have been diving, hiking and enjoying life with our good friends Michel and Danielle from Quebec and their friends, Guy (our knowledgeable dive leader), Johanne and Regil, all from Quebec. In addition to two spectacular dives we had a lovely hike from Grand Anse D'Arlet to Anse Diamont. One our return from Anse Diamont we passed a fisherman who had a couple of tunas weighing 80 to 90 pounds each. Michel and Danielle bought two kilos of fresh tuna and invited Guy, Dennis and me over for a gourmet feast. The fish, the wine, the company all made for a wonderful end to another great day.

11/29/2012 | Lauren
What a great story, and I love the photo.
You've really found a great spot to snorkel!

It's no wonder there aren't many blogs by people who do the daily grind... the highlight of their day is reading yours!
Arrived at Marina de Le Marin
Dennis / Beautiful day
11/22/2012, Martinique

Tired, but happy we are safe and sound at Le Marin, Martinique after a peaceful sail / motor for 18 hours direct from Bequia. We passed St. Vincent and St. Lucia on the way up. Nice moon, lots of stars, a few planets and some nice wind here and there. Now for a rest.

11/26/2012 | Jon Perruzzi
Enjoy the stay. A balmy 28 in Maine this morning. Might hit 40 today which is better than yesterday! The sun is out though......
Sailing into Bequia
11/20/2012

This is Centime sailing into the calm and peaceful Admiralty Bay, Bequia, after a windy and wild ride from Tabago Cays.

11/23/2012 | Lauren
What an amazingly cool photo! Thank those folks who took the picture and sent it to you!

If I spoke French, I'd say something in French about what a marvelous trip you're having, and please enjoy every moment!
Back in Beautiful Bequia
Dennis ... Great Wx
11/19/2012, Admiralty Bay

We just arrived in Bequia after an unbelievable sail up from the Tobago Cays. We left at 0820, exited the confines of the Cays, rounded Horseshoe Reef, passed Petit Tabac island and headed up on the windward side of Canouan, part of St. Vincent. We were bashing on a very close reach in larger thjan expected seas with greater than expected winds at 4 - 5 knots, not having a lot of fun. Then things changed ... we cleared Canouan, fell off the wind just enough, and started to fly! We were, for 16 miles or more, screaming along at over 8 knots. This is great, because our hull-speed is only 7.8. We kissed 9.1 knots for a few seconds, then danced between 8.8 and 9 for a spell. Unbelievable. We are now comfortably anchored in Admiralty Bay, Beguia about to make some dinner. After a couple days here, there looks like a great weather window to do an overnight to Martinique, where we'll hang for a week or two. You know ... French wine, cheese and baguettes ... and a great marina/chanderly for some quick repairs (definitely a way of life).

The attached picture is just so you don't think I am making this up ... :)

11/20/2012 | vern
At 9.1 knots, it's time to get the knotmeter repaired. ha ha
On the Sea Again
Heidi
11/15/2012, Flamingo Bay, Grenada

It's amazing to be sailing once more.  Repairs in check, weather outlook favorable, we're starting chapter two of our sailing dream.  We left Prickly Bay, Grenada, around noon, raised our sails and smiled with excitement as we headed up the coast.  We had a perfect sail - a beam reach much of the way.  

Over the summer we had made some changes to our rig.  First we changed the staysail (small, forward, middle sail) from a hanked on sail (clipped temporarily on a wire stay and rigged onto a heavy on-deck boom ) to a roller-furled sail.  We can now raise the sail and adjust her size quite easily from our cockpit.  We moved the main halyard (the line that allows us to raise our large mainsail), from the mast on deck, to the cockpit.  And we added an electric winch to make her easier to raise.  This new rig is much easier, lighter and safer to handle.  And now that we've tried her out for the first time -- We love it!  For most of our sailing now Dennis won't have to go forward on the deck with me sometimes anxious at the wheel contemplating how I would handle a Dennis overboard.  This new setup is awesome!  We can now more easily sail single handed, just one person, if we had to or wanted to, and with the two of us it is much safer and easier.

I can't tell you how wonderful it is to be underway again.  While Grenada is a beautiful, lush island, and her people are very friendly and gracious, Centime was meant to be sailing and not sitting on the hard (on land) or at a dock.  Yesterday, our first sail of the season, we had 15 knots of easterly wind filling Centime's sails as she glided along a sun-sparkled sea at a steady 5 1/2 to 6 knots.  

We stopped at Flamingo Bay halfway up the western side of Grenada.  It's a lovely bay surrounded by palm trees and hills with a few small homes dotting the landscape.  We were tempted to keep going as the sailing was so much fun, however there was not that much daylight left and the Bay was calling us.  This bay and adjacent bays are in a marine protection zone.  Two rangers motored out to greet us and direct us to a mooring.  Once settled we welcomed them aboard and had a lovely chat about the marine park and life in Grenada.  They told us the best snorkeling places which we later sampled.  

We were the sole boat in this lovely, peaceful area. We had drinks on deck, talked about life and watched a magnificent sunset. After dinner Dennis got out our hammock.  The boat gently rocked the hammock while we in turn laid back and gazed at a splendid sky filled with stars.  A perfect end to a perfect day.  And we, are on the sea again!

Cuban Gunships
Heidi
11/11/2012, Hog Island, Grenada

This week we had a lovely anchorage off Hog Island is the South of Grenada. This scenic area of lush green palm-studded islands, sandy beaches and calm seas, also holds reminders of a more turbulent past. You may recall that in 1983 the then Head of State, Maurice Bishop, was dreaming of making Grenada into a socialist state, courting Fidel Castro and throwing anyone who disagreed with him into jail. This was the cause of great alarm for the OECS - Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, the American Government and Bishop's second in command - Bernard Cohen. Cohen organized a coup and threw Bishop in jail. A large number of Grenadians sprung Bishop from jail and in the process Bishop was executed. In the meantime, America organized a so-called "rescue mission" to supposedly rescue American and foreign Medical students in St George, while Cuban gunships gathered on this southern shore.

Today Grenada is an independent, democratic state. The people, while relatively poor in a material sense, seem well informed, hard working and very friendly. The government appears to have its many problems. (This summer the opposition tried to vote through a no confidence vote for the current leadership.) And interestingly, Bishop is held up by many as a hero while are Americans are heartily welcomed. Grenada receives massive support from Hugo Chavez while also courting capital investors, i.e a new hundred million dollar Sandals resort.

Sitting at this very peaceful anchorage on this picture perfect day, Havana, Caracas and Washington seem so far away, yet in some ways not so far at all. There is a saying here however that "in Grenada the sun will always shine." We see it in the faces and spirit of her people everyday.

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