17 April 2017 | Prickly Bay, Grenada
07 April 2017 | Rodney Bay St. Lucia
25 March 2017 | The Saints
04 March 2017 | Jolly Harbor, Antiqua
20 February 2017 | Summit County, Colorado
07 February 2017 | Marina Bas Du Fort
03 February 2017 | Iles Des Saints
29 January 2017 | Les Trois Islets
24 January 2017 | Martinique
21 January 2017 | Alse Marin
15 January 2017 | St. Anne, Martinique
11 January 2017 | St. Anne, Martinique
06 January 2017 | St.Annes bay, Martinique
22 December 2016 | Rodney Bay, St. Lucia
17 December 2016 | Chatham Bay, St. Vincent
16 December 2016 | Bequia
08 December 2016 | Secret Harbor, Grenada
End of season
25 April 2017 | Grenada
Hot, time to go to cooler weather
SailBlog April 25,
"What happened to the motor. I can't hear it running," my first crew mate asked.
" We just sailed close to that fisherman, maybe he hooked his fishing net," as I try to restart the motor. " I think our sail trip will be cut short until we can figure the engine problem out,"
"Holy crap that was a big wave," I say as we both sit drenched from salt water that just flooded the cockpit.
"It covered the entire boat," exclaimed John my crew ate at the time.
"Oh my gosh. This is unbelievable. How fast are we going." Asked another crew member.
"We are around seven knots. That is a great speed for this boat," I answer. "There's a turtle just sitting on top of the water. That's a big one too."
These are just some of the events of this year. Mile High Dream is starting o show her age. Things are breaking and other parts just need to be replaced. It's a boat. Break out another thousand.
Is it worth it? Absolutely. The challenges keep me young and the new adventures keep life alive.
It was a wonderful year sharing this experience with family, old friends and new friends. The gift of sailing is something I enjoy giving to others.
Mile High Dream is now on the hard (on land) in Grenada. I will be doing some necessary repairs on it this summer to get me ready for next year. In the mean time I will raft down the Grand Canyon, travel to Italy to sing in Rome, and then be back to enjoy Colorado. It is a tough life but someone has to do it.
Remember the good times
17 April 2017 | Prickly Bay, Grenada
SailBlog April 17
My Caribbean sailing season is reaching it's end for this year. I picked up my last crew member, Gwen, in St. Lucia.
She agreed to take some of her Easter break while her students were gone and help me sail Mile High Dream back to Grenada where she works at the university. I had just finished a wonderful week with great friends and excellent sailing.
This week proved no different. Winds were excellent with calm seas. The motor ran only for a short time every day since we could raise the sails and move right along between five and six knots.
We took time to climb Grand Piton in St. Lucia. I asked Gwen if she was interested and she told me it had been on her bucket list ever since she read an article about it. Ok off we went, only two miles one way. One way straight up and then straight down. What a view and what a work out.
We then did a long sail to Bequia. Here we met with old friends, both mine and Gwen's. We were there for the start of Bequia's Easter race week. Some sailors from Grenada had come up to race so we stayed long enough to watch the start before sailing south.
The last five weeks of sailing with family and good friends, fair winds, and calm seas reminds me of why I do this. I forget about the dingy flipping over creating a yard sale on the ocean bottom, the leaking keel that needs repair, dingy davits that finally failed, or the constant attention to the motor to keep it running. These are part of the cruising lifestyle that I have chosen and the wonderful days that make it all worthwhile.
07 April 2017 | Rodney Bay St. Lucia
Guest Blogger, Jen
I’m pretty sure Amanda thought I would say ‘no’. This last week has been heaped with adventure and new experiences:
Arriving is just the beginning Our driver got us to the marina in one piece. A couple of detours - scenic vista, hot island bread, back to the hot island bread place because he dropped money, chasing down the other driver that picked up his money…
St. Anne’s was our first stop after leaving St. Lucia. As we sat in the cafe Sunday morning, feasting on pastries and checking email / catching up on Facebook (hey, you grab wifi when you can), Amanda noticed a picture of Vanessa holding a mahi mahi and hijacked Greg’s newsfeed to ask ‘when do we get to see you again?’. Turns out, Francois and Vanessa were on their way to St. Anne and found themselves anchored next to us. The next morning in Marin we met up with fellow cruisers Barb and Winston (former Coloradans on their boat My Island Girl) and their friends Lu and Sheila, and shared a morning beverage break while swapping stories. Next we loaded up on supplies (read: goodies from the patisserie, groceries, boat fixing supplies and more goodies from the patisserie), we got to have dinner with Francois and Vanessa, sampling Vanessa’s catch. Chantal and Marco joined also and the night went late sharing food, laughs and more stories. Our planned early morning departure departed a little later than planned.
It’s all fun and games until someone sits on the bananas: After St. Anne, we sailed on to Grande Anse d’Arlet where we anchored to ride out the impending North Swells. Lots and lots of swells. Like the kind that knock a slightly over-confident newbie off the ladder and onto a batch of bananas sitting on the counter. On the bright side - Greg now had a good reason to make banana bread.
Wednesday, still besieged by swells, we rented a car and drove up to St. Pierre, toured the ruins left by the volcanic eruption of 1902, found a wonderful cascade hike, and discovered parts of Martinique not usually seen by tourists, as we tried to avoid traffic in Fort de France. We also discovered that there was a gasoline strike, and only 8 gas stations on the entire island were open - and then only for emergency vehicles. Thursday’s excursion to find gasoline before we returned the rental car landed us at an amazing patisserie, wishing we had interchangeable stomachs so that when one got too full, we could switch it out for an empty one.
With the swells still swelling, we sailed to Les Anses d’Arlet for a calmer bay and snorkeling! And turtles! And more turtles! (Though not while snorkeling, unfortunately.) And a meet up with Barb, Winston, Lu and Sheila again who were anchored in the same cove.
The Three Day Tour. I find it amazing that out of an entire ocean, we catch sight of Why Knot IV and Invictus (Francois & Vanessa, and Chantal & Marco, respectively) heading out on their three day sail to Bon Aire. A quick call to wish them a bon voyage, and we continued on to St. Lucia. A few big swells, and quite a bit of heeling, underscored what true adventurers the cruisers are.
A huge thank you. Seriously, this is not something that I would have ever thought to experience. And what an experience it has been. Sleeping sideways on a bed so that the swells rocked me head to toe, not side to side; motoring over to say ‘hi’ to a neighboring boat; finding new friends around the corner; seeing lion fish, Sargent Majors and sea turtles somewhere other than an aquarium - not my usual scene. Your heart cannot be heavy on the sea, and the drunk guy on the plane ride over was right - it was truly a wonderful time.
30 March 2017 | St lucia
Sail blog March 30
Man testing the elements, waves crashing over the bow, winds blowing at gale force, every part on the boat testing it's maximum strength are what many think sailing is all about. Then there is today, with very light winds and almost a glassy sea.
I am sailing ( motor sailing actually) and writing this as I cross over from Martinique to St Lucia. I got Cherry off to the airport and I pick up my next two guests tomorrow. Today is the first day I have solo sailed Mile High Dream this season. With my current rate of speed I should arrive in time to clean the boat and take a nap.
After the terrible experience in Guadeloupe, the days have been quite calm and thankfully uneventful, except for beautiful beaches, calm soothing swims, dinners, and time with friends.
There is a saying that sailing is 10% of work and possibly terror, and 90% of boredom. I am enjoying the boredom hoping a whale will appear or a pod of dolphins or even a sea turtle. Until then it is just time to relax.
good Days, Bad Days
25 March 2017 | The Saints
“Open this card for a crappy moment when nothing is going your way,” the outside of the card read. I have carried this card with me since November and was hoping not to open it.
When I started this day it was the farthest thing from my mind. The weather reports had predicted stable weather with 12-15 knots of wind and gusts of 12-15 knots. That is a pretty calm day with just enough wind to move us along. We were on the leeward side of Guadeloupe. The other times I have sailed along this coast, the Island provided a giant wind block.
We had just finished two evenings in Deshaies, Guadeloupe where I ran into another couple I had buddy boated with last season. I had not seen them since December so I was very excited to spend some time with them. A walk over to the beach, lunch, and then a nice climb over the hill back to the anchorage gave us some fun time together. My current crew mate Cherry is not that much of a hiker right now and more of a walker so she decided to walk over with us and skip the hike over the steep hill. Happy hour that evening finished a very nice day.
The next morning we were up early and weighed anchor around 7:00. We were headed to Iles Des Saintes where we plan to meet two of Cherry’s close friends and then sail with them south if weather permits.
The 26 mile sail should get us there right around 1:00. The first 15 miles went just as planned. There was a little more wind than usual but not that much more. As we reached the south side of the island the wind started to howl. 30 knots of steady blow were common and the worst part is that it changed directions so that it was right on our our nose. The seas had become rough and we were slogging through the clear water making very little head way. I had turned the motor on to help us out but it was not helping much and soon decide to quit running entirely. We headed in closer to shore to get away from the waves so I could change the fuel filters. Some bad fuel must have clogged something up.
After numerous tries we finally got the motor running again. The was a relief but the wind and waves continued to build. Soon we were getting no where and just beating ourselves up. I had remembered spending the night in Base Terre last season. It was safe but was a very rolly anchorage which means not much sleep.
We head in towards Base Terre and find a mooring ball available. The French provide mooring balls in a lot of their bays to help protect the sea bottom but the big problem is that they are not maintained well. They also install them so they are almost impossible to use. That has never made any sense to me.
We get to the ball, I grab the eye to pull it up and try our rope to it and the ring doesn’t budge. My morning pole is ripped out of my hand firmly attached to the ball as we float away.
Have I mentioned that the wind is still howling with 35 knot gusts that always appear whenever we want to do something. The waves are pitching us around like a rubber ducky in a jacuzzi.
Plan B. I untie the dingy and motor over to the ball. I connect the line from the dingy to the morning ball and wait for Cherry to bring Mile high Dream close enough for me to grab the mooring line and attach it to the ball. After five attempts she finally get it close enough for me to reach the line. As I grab for it, a wave catches the boat and the dingy and over I go, pitched into the sea with the dingy upside down.
“This was not the plan,” I say to myself. “Crap what do I do now. The dingy is upside down and the motor is soaking in salt water. Time for plan C.”
The line form the overturned dingy is wrapped around the rudder preventing either Mile High Dream or the dingy to go anywhere. “At least we aren’t floating out to sea,“ I say to Cherry. Let’s get a morning line hooked to the back of the Mile High Dream and then we will walk it up to the front.”
A good idea except that the dingy line is tied tight and won’t let the boat go froward. I grab my knife in my teeth and dive overboard and start slashing at the line in order free ourselves from the dingy. Well not quite but I did jump back in the water to cut the line.
We finally get attached to the morning ball, get the dingy flipped over and get the line unwrapped around the rudder.
The water is so clear that I can see the bottom, 40 feet below me. And I can see the seat to my dingy, my bailer pump, my mooring pole, various lines and other parts that have fallen out. The dingy did need to be cleaned but this is not how I had planned it. It looks like a giant yard sale down on the bottom and way out of reach for my abilities to dive down and save any to it. The life preservers are floating out in the bay somewhere and I no longer have a pair of oars, only one. I will be destined to row around in circles for ever.
Then we had a glass of wine and let the adrenaline wear off. No red wine tonight since we are sure that it will go flying off the table at any minute. I opened my card and tried to figure out how to make a lemon pie out of the lemons life has thrown at me today.
Tomorrow will be a new day once I get through this sleepless night of pitching and heaving.
We are both safe and that is what is important.
A good time was had by all
19 March 2017 | Antigua
Rays leeaping out of the water, dolphins swimming along side Mile High Dream and turtles galore. This is what greeted us when we arrived in Barbuda after a very salty sail. During the crossing I looked back over where we came and said to my self. " The dinghy davits look like they are twisted."
Dinghy davits are the metal super structure that holds your dinghy out of the water. With the strong winds and huge waves there was no way I was going to check it out at this time. When we got anchored in calm water, sure enough it was bent out off shape and the welds had broken. Crap! Another project and some more dollars needing to be spent.
Barbuda was beautiful. Long endless stretches off soft sandy beaches and turquoise waters.
The added addition is the frigate bird colony on the north end . We hired a guide to take us by power boat to see this national sanctuary. We not disappointed with the hundreds of Frigate birds soaring over head, the males puffing out there red ballon breasts while others tend to the baby chicks.
My family and I had a wonderful week. Time for my new crew to arrive and start heading back south.