Frisky Cruising Adventures

Sailing our new Maverick catamaran from Cape Town South Africa to the US East Coast

10 December 2017 | Marina Puerto del Rey Fajardo Puerto Rico
04 December 2017 | US Virgin Islands
30 November 2017 | Caribbean
29 November 2017 | Saba
15 November 2017 | Caribbean
08 November 2017 | Caribbean
27 October 2017 | Trinidad
25 October 2017 | Atlantic Crossing to Trinidad
23 October 2017 | Atlantic Crossing to Trinidad
22 October 2017 | Atlantic Crossing to Trinidad
20 October 2017 | Atlantic Crossing to Trinidad
17 October 2017 | Equator Crossing
17 October 2017 | Atlantic Crossing to Trinidad
11 October 2017 | Atlantic Crossing to Trinidad
10 October 2017 | Atlantic Crossing to Trinidad
09 October 2017 | Atlantic Crossing to Trinidad
03 October 2017 | Ascension Island
03 October 2017 | Ascension Island
03 October 2017 | Ascension Island
02 October 2017 | Ascension Island

Frisky in Puerto Rico

10 December 2017 | Marina Puerto del Rey Fajardo Puerto Rico
Linda
After considering many possible locations for leaving "Frisky" while we headed home for Christmas, we finally decided on Marina Puerto del Rey in Fajardo Puerto Rico. Yes, we knew that Puerto Rico was still recovering from the hurricanes in September (see photo of sailboat -
NOT Frisky!, pushed up over the road) , but the Marina itself was in good shape.
Electricity is still not available in all the neighborhoods of Puerto Rico but we saw more electric repair trucks that we imagined were in Puerto Rico, working day and night, 7 days a week, to repair downed power lines. It was amazing to see CEMENT electric poles snapped in half and laying beside the road. Some of the traffic signals were still out, and a few of them were staffed by police and/or civilians directing traffic.
We rented a car one day and did some errands which included going to Home Depot to buy a dehumidifier to use on "Frisky" while we are gone. (Yes, it is quite a delight to have such conveniences as Home Depot for shopping!). There must have been a new shipment that arrived that day because almost every shopper had a medium sized portable generator in their shopping cart. Some of these people have had no power since the September 15 hurricane. They are amazingly patient, I think! Other parts of the US without electricity for more than 2 months would riot in the streets.
While the Marina is in good shape with all the docks intact, there is no electricity to the docks themselves. Since not all neighborhoods have electricity, it would seem an unnecessary luxury to supply a yacht marina first. Yet, we bought a dehumidifier in the hope that during the next few months, electricity would indeed be available. We were fortunate to have a recommendation for Samuel, a professional "boat tender". He has his own portable Honda generator which he will bring to our boat to run our dehumidifier when he checks the batteries, bilges, dock lines, etc.
To help keep the boat cooler in the Puerto Rico heat, wonderful boating friends (from "Island Spirit") gave us their left-over boat cover, called "CoolaRoo" which is a sun clothe to protect again the heat. Linda also bought 8 car windshield sunshades, and cut them to fit the large windows in the main salon. We certainly noticed the reduced heat in the cabin after installing the sunshades and the CoolaRoo.
So "Frisky" is safely tucked in the marina, cleaned and protected. We headed back home to California to enjoy time with family and friends for the holidays.

Entering the USA for the first time

04 December 2017 | US Virgin Islands
Linda
Despite having cruised for more than 6 years now, we had never visited the US in our boat. So entering the US Virgin Islands at St John was a new experience for us. We didn’t know what to expect. Our friend, Don Roy, on “Fuzzywig” graciously sent us the address and phone number for the Customs Border Protection office on the island of St John at Cruz Bay in the US Virgin Islands.
After a long overnight passage from the Dutch island of Saba, we arrived at Cruz Bay early Friday morning, picked up a sketchy-looking mooring buoy in the harbor and prepared to go ashore to report to the Customs Office. A friendly fellow in a rowing dinghy welcomed us as we tied up to the buoy, noting that these buoys were private but were not all used right now and it was unsafe to anchor with so much debris on the water bottom after the hurricane damage. When we told him that we were only going to be on the buoy for a short time while we checked in with Customs, he sort of smiled and said, “Well, I don’t think that office is open now since the building where the office WAS located, has NO ROOF!” Hmmm.
Because we had the phone number and for the first time in a long time, our US cell phones worked, we phoned the Customs Office only to get a recording asking us to leave our info and they would call us back. We waited for several hours and after no return call, we decided to move over to another nearby bay with visitor buoys. We had lunch and then met up with Don and Meloney on Fuzziwig as well as Bill and Lauren on Sea Star. Both crews told us about the importance of having the proper “Decal” and advance boater registration done online. Now that we had internet, we made the proper application, received an email confirmation and even printed it out for proof.
All weekend we waited for the return phone call from Customs which never came. So we concluded that when we arrived on Monday in Puerto Rico, we would check in there. We telephoned Customs in Fajardo Puerto Rico when we arrived in the Marina, and after several hours, two friendly officers came to our boat and were surprised to hear that we had arrived from Saba, an island of which they had never heard! They checked our documents, copied the information about our purchase of the “Decal” and gave us an Arrival Number, which made us “official”. Not nearly as burdensome as we expected. It IS good to “be home”.

Our last night passage....for a while!

30 November 2017 | Caribbean
Linda
Tonight, November 30, is our last night passage….for a while. It is an easy passage of only 99 miles from the little Caribbean island of Saba to the US Virgin Island of St. John. We say “easy” because the weather is stable with few squalls….so far. We say “easy” because the waves and swells are small, meaning that the boat’s motion is very steady. We say “easy” because we left Saba after lunch, had a calm afternoon while underway on "Frisky", which included playing games in the cockpit while having pre-dinner snacks, and therefore we had time to get settled before the darkness came. Mostly this passage is “easy” because of the presence of the moon. It won’t set tonight until 4:03 am which means it will brighten our night watches for most of the time. No, the moon isn’t yet full this month. If the moon were full, our night passage would be “beautiful” and not just “easy”. But the moon is over half full and peaking in and out of some clouds, it still provides enough light to identify the horizon and even see moon shadows on deck. Night sailing with NO moon is a bit disconcerting, moving along in total darkness with no horizon separating a dark ocean and equally dark sky….sort of like, flying an airplane in complete cloud cover on instrument flight controls. But tonight’s moon makes this passage “easy”.
For night watches, we have long used the 3 hour schedule, starting at 6 pm with a shared dinner time. The watch person who has 6-9 pm does the dinner dishes while the off-watch crew try to get an early evening nap before covering the 9 pm – midnight shift. The midnight – 3 AM shift can be the “dog watch” because it is when the body normally is really ready for sleep….unless you are a college kid!The 3 AM – 6 AM watch isn’t too bad because the sun is usually rising around 5:30 am here in the tropics. (See photo of our Watch Schedule log)
So this night passage is unique for us in quite a while in that the wind is too light to even sail. When we left Saba this afternoon, we tried to motor sail with the main and code zero. But the wind soon lightened so much that both sails collapsed and flapped, so we took them in and resorted to motoring only. So Dave listens for engine noises!.

Saba - that special little island

29 November 2017 | Saba
Linda
Most people have never heard of the little Caribbean island of Saba. It was one of the few Caribbean islands that we had not visited previously…and it was directly on our route, so we planned a stop overnight.
Saba (like St Eustasia, Curacao, St Maarten and Bonaire) is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Everyone speaks English, although Dutch is the official language. The US Dollar is their currency.
All the water around Saba is a Marine Preserve so moorings are provided for visiting yachts and dive boats. Diving and snorkeling are some of the best in the Caribbean. Due to our time schedule, we didn’t dive, but did take the dinghy to a special snorkeling site about ½ mile from the mooring buoy where “Frisky” was tied up. This snorkeling site included swimming through a large tunnel and the chance to swim into a cave or two. Tropical fish were abundant and the warm water made for great snorkeling.
When we arrived, we tied up to one of the moorings on the west side of the island, and then took our dinghy the 1.5 miles to the island’s only “harbor” at Fort Bay. For the first several hundred years in this island’s settlement, there was no harbor at all. Just a very small rocky “beach” at Ladder Bay. It is appropriately named because the settlers carved steps into the rocky cliffs.
Christopher Columbus “discovered” Saba in 1493, but it wasn’t until 1632 that some shipwrecked Englishmen first set foot on the island. It changed hands from Spanish to French and English to Dutch (like many Caribbean islands) and finally was taken over by the Dutch for good in 1812. Dutch engineers declared the building of a road impossible, so an islander named Josephus Hassell took a correspondence course in engineering, and the islanders set about building “The Road” which connected the rather unprotected harbor at Fort Bay to the primary town called “Bottom”. This road has the steepest hair pinned turns we have ever seen! Taxis and other vehicles creep up the steep road in low gear. This is still a huge improvement over the prior ladder dug into the side of the cliff! In fact, before the Fort Bay harbor and “The Road”, the islanders hauled a piano ashore with 12 men up these steps. The first Jeep on the island was landed in 1947 on two sloops lashed together to form a makeshift raft. Today “The Road” connects the island’s villages, and two main “towns” called Bottom and Windwardside. You have to love an island whose towns have such names!
Today the airstrip which is only 437 yards long accommodates small airplanes from nearby St Maarten and provides passengers with an “E ticket ride” from the cliffs to the ocean. The unique volcanic underwater landscape has created a dive and snorkel tourist trade which supports most of the island. The Saba National Marine Park was established in 1987 and surrounds the entire island.
After clearing into Customs, Immigration and the Harbor Master, we hired a taxi to give us an island tour. George was a most gracious taxi tour guide who knew much about the island and was a skilled conversationalist. He picked us up from Fort Bay harbor where we had tied our dinghy and drove up the road to the first village. “UP” is an understatement for this road. It has a hair pin turn and steep angle that require vehicles to stop and let one pass at a time. All the roads on this island are well built of concrete….clearly at great expense because the roads all survived the recent hurricanes. The only evidence of hurricane damage was to tree limbs and branches ….and many new red roofs. The roofs have to be kept clean on Saba because there is no natural water and all the water is collected from rain.
We always fly the country flag on our boat (as required) after checking in with authorities. Linda usually orders these flags on-line and brings them from home. But because we hadn’t planned on stopping at Saba, we didn’t have the country flag. We discovered that, one day after our visit, was Saba Independence Day and the King and Queen of the Netherlands were coming for a royal visit. Almost every car on the island was flying a Saba flag. Our tour guide, George, told us all about the upcoming visit and when we lamented that we didn’t have a Saba flag for our boat, he surprised us at the end of the tour by giving us a Saba flag. We will treasure it for our collection…and for memories of the special little island that is Saba.

Caribbean Deja Vu

15 November 2017 | Caribbean
Linda
We had cruised the Caribbean in our prior boat, “Purrrfect”, before and after both Atlantic crossings. So this time, we planned to go quickly. However, our stop in Trinidad got us accustomed to “island time” and we slowed down enough to stop and enjoy some of our favorite places. We also visited one island which was new to us (See blog on Saba).
Our Caribbean itinerary included:
Trinidad – where we made landfall after the 6000 Atlantic Ocean southern crossing from Cape Town
Grenada – snorkeled over the underwater sculpture garden (several new sculptures since our last visit)
Carriacou – Enjoyed dinner ashore at Paradise Beach…same great little restaurant as last time
Bequia – One of our favorite islands – walked to beach and had lobster dinner ashore
St Lucia – Picked up a mooring at the famous Pitons, visited the town of Soufriere, took taxi tour to warm waterfall and the rainforest; Stopped for two nights at Marigot Bay, one of our favorites, where we splurged and stayed at the Capella Marina. HAD THANKSGIVING DINNER AT THE CAPELLA HOTEL and even had two boxes of left-overs of turkey with trimmings to enjoy back on the boat.
Iles des Saintes – Another one of our favorites. Little French islands south of Guadeloupe. Small French town. Rented scooter, visited museum in Fort Napoleon, stocked up wine at reasonable prices, ate bagettes for 3 meals in a row, and bought croissants for breakfast on passage. (See Linda at view point)
Guadeloupe – northern town of Deshais where we anchored, went ashore and enjoyed our last French meal.
Saba – new island to us (see blog posting about this unique little island)
All in all, a whirlwind tour of the Caribbean. Hurricane damage? We didn’t visit the islands hardest hit like St Martin, St Barts, and Dominica, mostly because of our limited time and because we had enjoyed these islands on prior voyages. However because most of the Caribbean Islands depend on tourism, it is essential for tourist to return to help the islands recover.
For the islands we did visit that had some hurricane damage, much of the clean up had been done, except for lots of rubbish of unrooted trees and branches. Several islands, like Iles des Sainte and Saba, had many new red roofs.
In the US Virgin Islands and in Puerto Rico, we saw many places where boats had been pushed ashore.

What is THAT noise?

08 November 2017 | Caribbean
Linda
For the boaters among our “readership”, you will relate to this question. Every noise on the boat creates awareness….and possibly concern.
If the noise is new, it is a concern.
If the noise is unidentifiable, it is REALLY a concern.
Therefore, on our new boat, with lots of new unidentified noises, we ask “What is THAT noise?” often.
Our prior boats had lots of squeaks and rattles – all of which we had identified and most of which we had tried to eliminate. One of the noises was the slapping of halyards and wiring INSIDE the mast. This noise could not be eliminated without pulling the mast so we learned to “live with it”,but it was always annoying.
On our new boat, some noises related to the new engines are monitored closely by Dave, who has the ability to hear and even diagnose engine noises that Linda doesn’t even notice. So if we have to motor for a long time, Dave is always listening. Linda just hears a subtle “white noise”.
Because of our advancing ages, some noises are heard more easily by one or the other of us. Linda hears the softer high-pitched noises easier than Dave. The soft beep when the electronic barometer buttons are pressed will wake up Linda quickly, while the occasional “alarm” beep when GPS signal is lost takes Dave longer to identify. It is a good thing our collective hearing covers the sound spectrum.
After more than 4 months and over 7000 miles, we are starting (thankfully) to ask the “What is that noise?” question less and less. But as boaters, we are always listening.
Vessel Name: Frisky
Vessel Make/Model: Maverick 400 Catamaran
Hailing Port: Ventura California
Extra: Sailing our NEW Maverick catamaran from Cape Town South Africa across the southern Atlantic, crossing the equator into the Caribbean and the East Coast USA
Frisky's Photos - Main
Island 1200 miles from west coast of Africa. Stop en route across southern Atlantic Ocean
4 Photos
Created 10 November 2017
Crossing the southern Atlantic Ocean from Cape Town South Africa to Trinidad in the Caribbean with new catamaran, Frisky. 6000 miles
7 Photos
Created 10 November 2017
Racing round St Lucia and Heineken Regatta in St Martin
17 Photos
Created 14 March 2015
From Canary Islands to Cape Verde to St Lucia
88 Photos
Created 28 January 2015
Mindelo marina and island tour Nov 2014
22 Photos
Created 28 January 2015
30 Photos
Created 28 January 2015
Photos from Dec 2014 through spring 2015
35 Photos
Created 28 January 2015
Inland Turkey with amazing rock formations
56 Photos
Created 8 September 2013
Mosques, churches, palaces and forts
22 Photos
Created 8 September 2013
Resort on Sicily Italy
6 Photos
Created 22 July 2013
Ancient city ruins
6 Photos
Created 22 July 2013
Monastery and Windmills on Patmos Island
6 Photos
Created 22 July 2013
Anchorages and harbors in Turkey
6 Photos
Created 22 July 2013
Ancient ruins at Ephesus
4 Photos
Created 22 July 2013
Sites in Malta
13 Photos
Created 23 May 2013
Sites in Tunisia and Boat Yard
14 Photos
Created 23 May 2013