LeuCat Adventures

Join us in sharing our adventures as we sail around the world. NEW!!************************************************************************* GET A COPY OF OUR TECHNO-TIPS DOCUMENTS--JUST CLICK ON THEM UNDER THE "FAVORITES" HEADING ON THE RIGHT

26 October 2016 | West Of Martinique By 50 nm
24 October 2016 | Oranjestad, St. Eustatius
23 October 2016 | Oranjestadt, St. Eustatius
22 October 2016 | Ile Fourchue, St. Barts
22 October 2016 | Oranjestad, St. Eustatius
20 October 2016 | Ile Fourchue, St. Barts
19 October 2016 | Ile Fourchue, St. Barts
19 October 2016 | Ile Fourchue, St. Barts
18 October 2016 | Ile Fourchue, St. Barts
17 October 2016 | Ile Fourchue, St. Barts
16 October 2016 | Ile Fourchue, St. Barts
15 October 2016 | Ile Fourchue, St. Barts
14 October 2016 | Ile Fourchue, St. Barts
13 October 2016 | Ile Fourchue, St. Barts
11 October 2016 | Bobby's Marina, Phillipsburg, Sint Maarten
11 October 2016 | Bobby's Marina, Phillipsburg, Sint Maarten
09 October 2016 | Bobby's Marina, Phillipsburg, Sint Maarten
08 October 2016 | Bobby's Marina, Phillipsburg, Sint Maarten
07 October 2016
07 October 2016 | Bobby's Marina, Phillipsburg, Sint Maarten

Year 9 Day 267 Passage To Grenada Day 1

26 October 2016 | West Of Martinique By 50 nm
Dave/Partly Sunny

Year 9 Day 265 A Disappointing Dive

24 October 2016 | Oranjestad, St. Eustatius
Dave/Mostly Sunny

When I went onto shore two days ago to clear in and to buy some Internet Vouchers I also talked with the folks that run the local dive shop. They have been here for 22 years. I asked how good the diving was here and they swore it was one of the top places in the world. I asked if it was better than Bonaire, which is the best diving we have seen so far in the Caribbean. They response was “Bon-where”? They bragged about how great this island was for diving and that it even had one of the top 5 ship dives. I have heard all of this before from just about every little island we have visited here in the West Indies. We have been so disappointed in all of our dives here as compared to the South Pacific, Indonesia, the Indian Ocean and yes, even the South China Sea.

Well, today we thought we would go check out the great reefs that St. Eustatius is so proud of. The Marina Park lady had told me where to go to dive on the best spots here in the marine park so Mary Margaret and I launched the dinghy and off we went.

We only stayed in the water about 30 minutes because the reefs were in poor shape and there really was not much to see. We tried three different spots and each was equally disappointing. Damn!

We returned to Leu Cat realizing that we would not be seeing many more decent reefs during the remainder of our cruising lives. It was a depressing thought. We will be spending next spring here in the West Indies and then in late spring start our passage over to the Med. While the Azores may have some good diving, we have read that the Med really does not. Since we hope to spend a few years there and then return to the Caribbean to sell our boat when the time comes, this means no better diving. What a depressing realization. We will just have to make our wonderful memories of all of the remarkable diving we have done around the world carry us forward. We have been so blessed and do really appreciate it.

Year 9 Day 264 Hot, Muggy And Then Rain

23 October 2016 | Oranjestadt, St. Eustatius
Dave/Hot, Muggy, Rainy
The days here in October have been unusually warm this year in the Leeward Islands. I discussed this yesterday with my taxi cab driver Bobby. He said this type of weather is typical of July and August and is so unusual for October. Today was even more so as the humidity rose all morning and then this afternoon it rained and rained. There was only a short period of about 30 minutes of heavy rain but hours of drizzle as the sky was too rich with water vapor.

We were planning to spend the day on Leu Cat since it was football Saturday and we had Internet access using Mary Margaret’s 15-year-old laptop that runs on Microsoft XP. My laptop’s fan has stopped working and after a while the computer overheats and turns to molasses before it shuts itself off.

We discovered that the Internet WIFI bandwidth is very limited, like so many of the other smaller islands here in the Caribbean. Our Michigan football game started at 1530 and for the first hour it was great. We were able to listen to the play-by-play broadcast, given by my former high school buddy, Jim Brandtstader. He and I played some high school football together. He went on to play at Michigan as a tackle and finally ended up being the voice of Michigan football each Saturday. He has become really good at it and both Mary Margaret and I so much love listening to him do the play calling.

However, today, after about an hour, the Internet turned into molasses as more and more of the locals here in St. Eustatius fired up their computers and went onto the Internet. We could still get the game on Game Tracker, which is a neat little program that puts into writing the play by play of the game. But we could no longer listen to Jim do his announcing. I ended up reading out loud what the Game Tracker wrote so Mary Margaret could also follow the game. Michigan won its 7th straight game, this time against Illinois, 41 to 8. We are now ranked 3rd in the country and should move to be 2nd as our archrival, Ohio State, was upset by Penn State. Whoo Hoo!

Tomorrow we hope to go snorkeling on what is supposed to be a great reef that runs along the shoreline. Then on Monday we hope to tour the island. We have decided to leave on Tuesday and sail straight back to Grenada. It is about 330 nm and we should arrive Thursday. This will give me time to get a local SIM card for our cell phone so we can listen to the Michigan vs. Michigan State football game next Saturday. This is our big in-state rivalry and MSU has beaten us consistently over the last 6 or 7 years. Fortunately, Grenada has pretty good WIFI bandwidth so we hope we can listen to the game. We shall see…

Year 9 Day 257 Simply Paradise

22 October 2016 | Ile Fourchue, St. Barts
We have been informed by our daughters and my brother, that is blog did not post properly. We are having some problems posting right now. I am not sure what the problem is but I suspect that my computer is starting to fail. The fan has stopped working and it overheats and shuts down after 45 minutes of use. Sigh. I hope this blog posts this time around… HERE IT IS****************

I know when we have found a spot that Mary Margaret really likes. After a day or two of being in a place she really, really likes, she will shyly make the suggestion that maybe we stay here for a week or two. She makes this suggestion rarely, since she is very discriminating in regards to finding her “prefect paradise” and she knows I have an “itchy butt” syndrome. Whenever she makes this suggestion, I listen very closely as I know she is so content at being where she is.

Today, she made this suggestion and I am of a mind to agree. Our anchorage here in Ile Fourchue is just so nice that I know whenever we do leave it will be with a heavy heart. The water is crystal clear; you can look down under our boat and see a number of larger fish enjoying the shade Leu Cat makes. The gentle tropical breeze keeps us nice and cool and the skies are blue with just occasional puffy, white cumulus clouds drifting by overhead. The island is small but very rugged, making for dramatic views as we look out from our boat. The anchorage is nice and quiet and most of the time we have it all to ourselves. If another boat comes in, they are usually gone in the early morning because those are charters and when to see as much of this part of the world as they can during their limited charter period. Thus, Ile Fourchue has been our own, private paradise so far.

Even though we are in our own little paradise, we continue to work on cleaning the hulls. Today we finished scrapping barnacles off the bottom of the boat. It was funny because neither one of us meant to keep on working so much. Mary Margaret wears her mask, snorkel and fins and works on the first few feet of the hulls that is underwater. I don our hookah gear and stay submerged and work on the lower parts that she cannot get to. It ends up being about a 50/50 split in regards to the areas we each are responsible for cleaning. We try working on opposite hulls so we stay out of each other’s way while cleaning. Today, after we were both a bit tired, we would individually look at the other one and see how hard that one was working so we just kept plugging along. Finally, it was all done. It took about two hours. When we had finished and showered off using the shower hose that is built into the sugar steps, I said how impressed I was with how much stamina she had and how it motivated me to keep on going. Mary Margaret laughed and shared with me that she felt the same. As it turned out, each of us wanted to quit working after about an hour but we each saw the other working so hard that we each just kept on going. If I had only known…

Year 9 Days 263 and 264 St. Eustatius

22 October 2016 | Oranjestad, St. Eustatius
Dave/Sunny and Hot

We spent yesterday waiting for the winds to shift more to the east so we could sail the approximately 32 nm to St. Eustatius, our next destination as we head back to Grenada to end our cruising season. However, it was not until noon before the predicted wind shift occurred. We opted to stay put one more day because the winds would be even more to the east on Friday and would be a bit stronger also. Those two conditions would make for a great sail to St. Eustatius. As it turned out, the winds today were ideal and it was a remarkable sail.

We left our anchorage around 0630 to arrive in St. Eustatius as early in the day as we could. Once there, it would take time to clear in and I wanted to be able to get a SIM card and top up with a data plan that would give us Internet access during our stay.

The winds were from the east at about 15 to 18 knots and with full sails and a clean hull, we were making between 8 and 10 knots through water. We were fighting about a knot worth of current because the winds had blown from the south for the last few days so our speed through water was between 7 and 9 knots. The swell were from our beam but were only 2 to 4 feet so the ride was great.

On the sail over, Mary Margaret spied a dolphin leaping next to our boat, reach upward of 7 feet out of the water. Wow! We were also amazed at the number of fishing pot buoys we spied. Even in waters over 2000 feet depth, we barely missed two sets of clustered balls. The choppy water made seeing the balls difficult even through we had our eyes peeled on the lookout the whole way over.

We zoomed over to St. Eustatius in just under 4 hours and were tied up to a mooring ball by 1100. You need to grab a mooring ball here as the anchorage in front of the main town of Oranjestad is a marine park. The mooring field was not as orderly as our 9-year-old cruising guidebook indicated. We were supposed to find two orderly rows of orange with blue stripped balls. There were none and those balls that we found were not marked. We ended up just grabbing one of the ones available and hoped that it was a marine park ball.

Once settled and the quarantine flag was flying, I launched the dinghy and motored over to the small harbor area to clear in. The clearing in process was easy but did take over 1.5 hours as I had to wait for the Immigration officers to arrive. Once done I next went on the marine park office to pay for the mooring ball. However, as I was approaching the office, a lady ran out from the dive shop next door to the marine park office and informed me that I was on their boat’s mooring and it would be returning shortly. I apologized for being on their ball and said that I would move once I was finished with the marine park and had a better ideas as to which mooring I would move to.

Once the mooring fee was paid ($30 US for either 3 days or one week, I chose the 1 week period) I returned to our dinghy and drove around the little mooring fielded and found a grayish ball that someone had painted “M. Park” on it. Then I returned to Leu Cat and Mary Margaret fired up the engines while I released our mooring lines. In five minutes we were secured on our new mooring. I then re-launched our dinghy and returned to the dive shop. I asked the young lady if she could call me a taxi as the store that sold the SIM card I needed was in the little town of Oranjestad, up high on the steep bluffs that over look the anchorage.

Soon, Bobby, with his nice minivan arrived and off we went in search of a SIM card. To make a long story short. I discovered that a SIM card here would only get me a slow connection to the Internet and I had to buy connect time vouchers to the EUTel hotspot for $5 US for 6 hours of connect time. Fortunately, I had checked out the strength of the hotspot on our boat before I came ashore so I bought 18 hours worth of Internet time.

While I had Bobby and his taxi, I also stopped by a couple of markets and pickup up some fresh fruit and veggies to restock Leu Cat of its perishables. Returning to the dinghy dock I discovered that St. Eustatius has only 2700 people on the island and few people come to visit it. Bobby and I talked about the possibility of a tour and he said in would only take 2 hours and just cost $40 US. Mary Margaret and I just may do the tour on Sunday or Monday.

Returning to Leu Cat I discovered that I did have Internet access with the vouchers but the Internet is up and down so it is not the best. Plus, my computer is slowly dying due to a fan that no longer works. Thus, things overheat and everything slows way, way down before the computer turns itself off. Thus, I am forced to rely on Mary Margaret’s 15 year old computer as a back up and it uses Microsoft XP as its operating system which is no longer supported by Microsoft or Goggle. Thus, I have to switch between my dying compute and the backup to surf the Internet and get access to our emails. It is a real pain in the arse! For example, I write the blog on the backup, save to a thumb drive, turn on my computer, load the blog, fire up the internet, post the blog and then turn off my computer before is turns to molasses and shuts down. I will need to buy a new computer in a couple of weeks when we return to the US.

Year 9 Day 262 Waiting On The Wind

20 October 2016 | Ile Fourchue, St. Barts
Dave/Partly Sunny
As sailors, we hate to motor when we can sail. Although, I have to admit, we have done more than our fair share of motoring this year and we do not loath it has much as we used to. My brother and sister-in-law have a wonderful 45 foot Grand Banks trawler and it is wonderful. We love cruising with them and since it is a motor yacht, you have to motor. However, with a sailboat, cruising with the wind in your sails is the most enjoyable thing we can do. For that reason, it looks like we will be here in paradise another couple of days.

The winds have persisted to blow from the S to SSE. Since we wish to sail SSW to St. Eustatius the winds are just not favorable to do that. We could motor there but the course that I have plotted is about 31 nm and with the wind and swells on our bows, it would take almost 8 hours. That would not be much fun. Thus, it looks like we will stay put until Friday when the winds are supposed to move more to the east. They actually will begin moving to the east tomorrow but it looks to be a slow process and Friday is looking to be more favorable to sail than Thursday.

Today, we stayed on board Leu Cat again. The wind and the seas were just too much to go snorkeling in. Plus, they have churned up the water and stirred up the silt some so the visibility is not the best. We did notice that the swells were moderating this evening and should continue to do so as the winds slowly move from the south to the east so we have hopes of snorkeling one more time tomorrow.

Year 9 Day 257 Simply Paradise

19 October 2016 | Ile Fourchue, St. Barts
Dave/Partly Sunny

Year 9 Day 261 It Rains Even In Paradise

19 October 2016 | Ile Fourchue, St. Barts
Dave/Partly Sunny
The hazy skies turned to overcast as the morning progressed today. By early afternoon we had our first good rain in a couple of weeks. While it only lasted about 30 minutes, it was more than enough to wash the salt that had accumulated on the decks and windows during our sail from Sint Maarten. The wind was still from the south, as were the swells. However, the swells were a little bit bigger today, making our anchorage bumpier. A charter cat had come into our anchorage this afternoon but by 1630 they had had enough and left. I am not sure where one would go from here to be protected by the southern swells and still arrive before dark. Maybe they went to St. Barts, who knows?

During this morning I had a thought to take the dinghy to shore so I could explore the island a bit. There are not trails that I can see and the island is very steep but it was something that I was anxious to do. However, one look at the beach and I was discouraged from attempting the landing. The swells were breaking on the steep cobble beach and then running steeply up its face. There was no way I could make a safe landing. Thus, Mary Margaret and I played cards, read and listened to music for the rest of the day.

No much excitement but it still was a lovely day.

Year 9 Day 260 More On The Weather

18 October 2016 | Ile Fourchue, St. Barts
Dave/Partly Sunny
The hurricane season is typically thought to be from June and extends to the end of October. Actually, if you look at the dates of hurricane formation through time, by mid-October onward, the formation is very unlikely. However, this year seems that it may be an exception. I just read that Hurricane Nicole, which is now way up north, east of Newfoundland, has been downgraded to a Tropical Storm. However, she is predicted to re-strengthen back to Hurricane strength shortly. To me that is utterly amazing since the waters that far north are typically so much colder and a Hurricane draws it power from warm water. Also, a low is approaching the Bahamas that has a 50% chance of become a hurricane in the next day or two.

It is this powerful low pressure system that is now drawing the winds we have here in Ile Fourchue from the south. This means that we are exposed to the winds and the swells that the winds generate. Fortunately, the winds are light (10 to 12 knots) and the seas are not too bad. Our anchorage is now a bit rolly but being on a catamaran, it is fine.

The winds will remain from the south tomorrow and will not start to return to the SE until Thursday and then the E on Friday. Thus, we will not be heading to St. Eustatius until either Thursday or Friday. We will look at the winds on Thursday to make a decision.

With the skies just partly sunny and the swells running into our bay, we opted to just stay on Leu Cat and take a day of rest.
Vessel Name: Leu Cat
Vessel Make/Model: Lagoon 440
Hailing Port: Dana Point, CA
Crew: Mary Margaret and Dave Leu
About: Our goals are to spend the next 10 to 15 years cruising around the world and sharing this adventure with family and friends.
Extra: S/V Leu Cat is Lagoon 440 rigged for blue water sailing. It is 44 feet long with a 25 foot beam
Leu Cat's Photos - Wedding Reception and Dinner
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Added 1 April 2009

Who: Mary Margaret and Dave Leu
Port: Dana Point, CA