4-12-08 through 4-25-08
Congratulations Doug and Lezlie, Happy Honeymoon!
Returning to Chinook after a two week hiatus with Dan's parents, we reenergized for another busy month aboard Chinook. Our first round of visitors (Doug and Lezlie) arrived on Sunday, April 13th and departed on April 25th. We departed Red Hook Bay, American Yacht Harbour and set sail for the British Virgin Islands to clear customs in Virgin Gorda. We continued our journey to Cane Garden Bay for an exciting night on shore with live music and our friends aboard Hot-Latte-Tudes (Pam and Gram). During our stay in Cane Garden Bay, we toured the famous Callwood Rum distillery, enjoyed burgers at Stanley's, and enjoyed a heavy rainfall. I disagree with the saying, "All good things must come to an end"...Blah! Unfortunately, Dan and I parted ways with sailing friends Pam and Gram. After sailing several hundred miles together... May the seas guide them safely home!
Our travel time with Doug and Lezlie incorporated several significant stops in the B.V.I's... Sailing to Leverick Bay (marina offers a swimming pool and free water), to the Baths in Virgin Gorda, Anegada Island for fresh Lobster and Loblolly beach, Trellis Bay for a Full Moon party, Cooper Island, Road Town in Tortola, Jost Van Dyke (Soggy Dollar Bar and Ivan's), and a safe return to Red Hook Bay. Exhilarating!
Dan and I quickly prepared Chinook for our final round of quest...Kim, Ralph, and Colin. They joined us aboard for an evening and a day sail to Caneel Bay, St. John, U.S. Virgin Island. Unlike previous guest, they took advantage of the Westin Resort on St. John. It worked out great! We were able to anchor in Great Cruz Bay and dinghy ashore to spend time with Kim and Ralph. Dan and I enjoyed a day by their pool, a night out on the town, and a full day sail to Maho beach with Kim, Ralph, and Colin. Our time together passed quickly! Thanks for making the journey!
Shelly's Birthday aboard Chinook! Dan and I went into Cruz bay for the afternoon and sailed to Salt Pond Bay. At Salt Pond Bay, we enjoyed an afternoon snorkel and a quiet steak dinner (only boat in the harbour).
5-01-08 through 5-04-08
Sailed to Coral Bay for an overnight and departed for Christiansted, St. Croix Island. A 30 mile sail to St. Croix was a welcomed treat after our short day sails in the B.V.I.'s. Arriving in Christiansted, we were welcomed by the International St. Croix Iron Man competition....Not sure, how we manage to make it to these big events, but there was a "Jump Up" party (a local town celebration). Once again, we were on time for another cultural experience. We plan to stay in St. Croix for a few days and continue our sail towards St. Martin, a 100-mile sail and another two-day trip.
Dan and I parted ways with Chinook for three days and traveled to Old Town San Juan and El Yunque National Rain Forest. Upon our arrival in Old San Juan, Dan discovered a beautiful small luxury hotel, Hotel El Convento (an old Convent). Of course, we made our reservations just in time for their wine and cheese happy hour! Actually, the location of our hotel was excellent! During our stay in Old San Juan, we toured El Marro Fort, the Bacardi Rum factory, San Cristobal Fort, and Old San Juans' beautiful historical town. The architecture is one of a kind and very well maintained. Departing Old San Juan, we drove about 1.5 hours to El Yunque National Forest, Rio Grande. This is the only tropical forest in the U.S. National forest system. An unforgettable back-to-nature kind of day...yes, we live on a boat but we were hiking on land!
Finally, a weather window opened and we were able to depart Punta Salinas, Puerto Rico and set sail for The Spanish Virgin Islands, Isla De Vieques, Ensenada Sun Bay.
After departing by 3am, we set sail for the Spanish Virgins (50 miles). Arrived at Sun Bay by 3pm., enjoyed a lovely dinner (cooked by Dan) and sundowners...After a refreshing rainfall, we traveled by dinghy to Mosquito Bioluminescent Bay. One of the finest bioluminescent bays in the world, it produces an eerie glow (in the water at night). One-celled organisms cause the bioluminescences, but their effects are magic. Such bays are rare because the fragile dinoflagellates causing the glow depend on protected mangrove shorelines in warm tropical waters with very particular conditions...Nature... Dan jumped in for a swim and glowed neon green...
Departed Sun Bay to Isla De Culebra, Ensenada Honda
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Just in time for the Culebra Heineken International Regatta...Several of our cruiser friends made their way to the annual event. Heineken knows how to throw a good regatta... As for the Island, the town offers a variety of restaurants, bars...etc. Most importantly, Culebra is quoted as having one of the top 10 beached in the world, Flamenco Beach! Whoever decided this, did not attend the beach during spring break...
Culebra to the British Virgin Islands, West Indies, West End, Tortola...Sopers Hole
We finally made it to B.V.I.... Dan cleared customs and we were ready for Jolly Rogers famous BBQ Ribs and Chicken...First, we needed to have a Rum Punch and a Dark an Stormy at Pussers.
3-17-08 through 3-31-08
West End, Tortola to Norman Island
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Eventually returning to U.S Virgin Islands, St. John and St. Thomas
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Ahhh, we did not forget about St. Patrick's Day! Dan and I managed to find our way to the famous Willie T's for a shipwreck of a good time! Before enjoying a colorful party, we spent the afternoon diving at the Indians from Chinook.
The Day following, Dan and I sailed towards the Virgin Islands, to prepare for his parents arrival...Barb and Jack joined us for four sun filled days. We had a very nice and relaxing time with them, and we celebrated a 76th birthday! Happy Birthday Jack!
Following his parents departure, our friend Mike and his daughter Page jumped aboard for a four-day tour! We were able to enjoy sunny weather, catching my first grouper and the St. Thomas International Regatta. After Mike and Page's visit, Dan and I took a short leave from Chinook. We traveled to Anna Maria Island, FL to spend two weeks with Dan's parents.
Dan and I departed Luperon with a full moon and a full lunar eclipse, a true sailing experience! We departed Luperon to Rio San Juan, D.R.
Rio San Juan is the first of three connections to reach Puerto Rico. Departing Luperon by 9pm, we reached Rio San Juan by 8:30 am (50 miles). Rio San Juan is a little fishing village and a resting spot for cruisers.
Our adventure towards Puerto Rico (day two)...Depart Rio San Juan to Escondido (50 miles in 13 hours, departing at 11pm and arrive at 1pm).
Our stay in Escondido was short but our favorite anchorage! Beautiful island untouched by civilization. Wish we could have stayed longer but we have a weather window to catch for the Mona Passage.
Escondido to Samana, D.R.
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Samana is known for their whale-watching season and is our last official stop before crossing the Mona Passage. We enjoyed a relaxing evening with Hot-Latte-Tudes and a dinner ashore (pizza)! Before our departure, we crossed the Napoleon Causeway over Samana Bay and collected some Dominican artifacts. Unfortunately, we did not manage to see 1 of the 3000 mating whales!
2-23-08 through 2-24-08
Crossing the Mona Passage and arriving in Ponce, Puerto Rico.
A perfect weather window for crossing the Mona...a 160 mile journey consisting of two nights and two days at sea...Dan and I slept in two-hour shifts, read books, and enjoyed a wonderful crossing. We decided to head for Ponce, Puerto Rico to clear customs, which led us into a short sail of ruff water but worth the journey! We are definitely back on U.S. territory...customs, security and Burger Kings. Dan and I took advantage of Ponce by touring cities historical sites and visiting their local Wal-Mart for provisions (yikes).
Depart Ponce for Caja De Muertos (coffin Island)
Caja De Muertos is a state park and a staging area for us to depart for Salinas. We enjoyed a hike to the light house built in 1891 and saw the largest cactus trees we've ever seen. Along the shoreline, we collected unique blue and green rocks.
Departed Caja De Muertos to Punta Salinas
While anchored in Punta Salinas, we ventured into the Marina, toured the local community, and found much needed laundry facilities (not much of interest). However, Punta Salina is a safe anchorage to leave your boat if you want to explore the island. Dan and I decided to rent a car and go exploring for a couple of days. We toured parts Puerto Rico including Old Town San Juan (El Marro Fortress, The San Cristobal Fort, The Bacardi factor and El Yunque National Forest in Rio Grande. Puerto Rico (Old San Juan) is rich with culture and architecture...beautiful...but we are ready to catch our next weather window and head for the Spanish Virgin Islands.