Around the world

Off the beaten track & other interesting places

Vessel Name: Schooner Windjammer
Vessel Make/Model: Pete Culler - Integrity Schooner
Hailing Port: Airlie Beach, Queensland, Australia
Crew: Ashley & Cathie Kerr
About: We set off in December 2010 to continue our cruising adventures around the world after 25 years owning and operating a yacht charter company in the Whitsunday Islands - Australia
Extra:
Our voyage to date has taken across the Pacific to New Zealand, French Polynesia, the Hawaiian Islands and on to the San Juan Islands where we spent the winter of 2011/2012. We then headed north through British Columbia to South East Alaska and down the west coast of the US to Mexico and central [...]
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24 June 2016
21 June 2016 | St John's
15 June 2016 | Bonavista
14 June 2016
13 June 2016
13 June 2016 | St Pierre
12 June 2016 | St John's
09 May 2016 | Sailing to Nova Scotia
05 May 2016 | Newport RI
10 November 2015 | Newport RI - Photo: Berthed at Newport Harbour Hotel and Marina
02 November 2015 | Manhattan - Photo: Anchored off Ellis Island near the Statue of Liberty
22 July 2015
08 July 2015 | Portland - photo: L'Hermione at Castine, Maine
27 June 2015 | Savannah, Georgia photo: Docked at the Waterfront for the Jazz and Blues Festival
03 June 2015 | Cuba - photo: Near Baracoa Cuba
Recent Blog Posts
24 June 2016

Davis Strait

23rd June We haven't seen any ice since midday yesterday, but for safety sake we stand watches with 2 on during the darkest part of the night. One on the foredeck on ice watch and the other at the helm monitoring the radar. It never got completely dark as we had a clear night sky with an almost full [...]

22 June 2016

St Marys Harbour and departure for Greenland

#7 21th June A clear sunny day in Mary's Harbour. The mayor, Alton Rumble, told us there is now a population of 300 in town. There are not many options apart from fishing, so most of the younger generation have gone to St Johns or other major cities. We met several other Rumbles around town as they seem to have a share in the co-op fish processing plant, the port management, fishing boats and the town council. Alton kindly lent us his car to have a quick look around town (and that was driving slowly) and do some provisioning. The warm dry wind was ideal for drying out the boat and our wet weather gear. We also re-seamed some stitching on the mainsail and topped up the fuel using the longest fuel hose I have ever seen. They pull it 100m down the dock using a ute. Ashley and Cathie talked to the local fisherman about ice to the north. A tanker is stuck in the ice trying to get into Cartwright and the pack ice is well south so they have decide to leave Labrador in the morning and head under the bottom of the ice straight to Greenland. Also in Mary's Harbour was a nice 42' French designed Garcia aluminium yacht and its skipper Gilbert who at the age of 70+ years is going to sail solo through the North West passage. He came on board for a glass of wine and told us stories of losing his boat in Colombia and also rescues in Greenland and Iceland! 22nd June Departed Labrador at 0500hrs and set a course NE to Greenland. A little rain overnight but the skies cleared and we motored with no wind. Looking back at the icebergs grounded along the coast we saw an interesting mirage effect. This Arctic phenomenon is known as a "superior image" or :fata morgana" and occurs when a warm offshore breeze flows over cooler air lying just above the cold sea water. Light travels slightly faster through warm air than through cold causing a light ray as it passes from cooler to warmer air to curve back toward the cooler air. This means that to somebody observing a distant object, say an ice floe, through air that is warmer above than it is below, the floe will seem higher that it really is; it will also be elongated vertically making it seem taller than it really is. Sometimes cooler air can act as a duct between layers of warmer air and images appear of objects below the horizon. At 1030hrs the wind came in from the SE and we set Fore, Main, Balloon Jib and Fisherman. We passed through a band of "growlers" several miles wide, probably coming off the end of the coastal pack ice. These growlers range in size from that of a football up to the size of a container. I saw a wonderful iceberg mirage of a Tall Ship with sails furled on the yards floating above the horizon. We made good progress under sail despite a confused sea and by 2200hrs when we lost the wind and lowered the sails to resume motoring we had covered 130nm.

21 June 2016

St Anthony to Marys Harbout

18th June We tidied up the boat and then took Don's ute into town to get gas, outboard fuel and do the laundry. Caught up with the news and chatted to Mich once we got Wi-Fi. Ashley made some modifications to the fuel lines to further improve the diesel heater operation while at sea. In the evening we dined at the Lighthouse restaurant. Lovely view over the passing icebergs and nice food. 19th June Hitched a ride into town and visited the Grenfell museum. Dr Wilfred Grenfell, a 27 year old medical doctor came from England to Labrador in 1893. There were no doctors and the standard of health was terrible. He spent the rest of his life establishing a health care service which included hospitals, nursing stations and hospital ships. In the afternoon we hitched a ride 30kms out to L'Anse aux Meadows. This is the only authenticated Viking site in North America and the earliest evidence of the eastern migration of humans from Africa meeting their western migration cousins. The Vikings arrived here in 985 AD, but it wasn't until 1960 that their settlement site was discovered for European culture by Helge Ingstad. The sod houses have been recreated and there is an interpretive centre with enlightening video. The thumbs took a little longer to work on the way home, but we all arrived back safely after once more enjoying the hospitality of the locals. Today was the warmest day of the trip, reaching 18° C. The bright sunny skies made a pleasant change to the foggy damp conditions we have mostly experienced. 20th June Left St Anthony at 0500hrs and motored until the wind came in from SW @ 20-25kts. Sailing with main, fore and staysail. Water temperature is 3.2°C which chills the wind considerably. We passed several scattered large icebergs along the way. These are generally stuck in shallower patches of water, 80m or less. In the afternoon we pulled into the National Historic Site of Battle Harbour. The entrance was down a narrow snaking Tickle past barren rocky outcrops that open out into the tight harbour lined with white washed buildings with red trim. This island community at its peak with cod fishing and to a lesser degree seal and salmon was the hub to a population, including the surrounding area, of 4,000 people. When the cod fishing finished most of the population was relocated, but the young unemployed were encouraged to restore the old buildings. Today it is a piece of living history that caters to visitors with day trips from Mary's Harbour and accommodation in the restored cottages for those that want to stay. We could have stayed the night at their dock, but we thought the $2/ft charge was a little steep, so we motored the 9nm to Mary's Harbour.

21 June 2016 | St John's

St Johns

It was quite the shock when we sailed into the the busy commercial harbour of St John's, hosting cruise ships, large commercial fishing vessels and small boat tour operators. I had become so content with the pleasant and simple nature of the smaller fishing communities of Newfoundland that we had come [...]

19 June 2016

Lumsden Harbour to St Anthony

15th June Departed Lumsden by 0530hrs and motored north. No wind but thick fog. Two on watch to look out for ice. The radar picks up bigger icebergs and even smaller bergy bits show as intermittent blips. There are some interesting names on the chart. Having crossed Hamilton Sound we motored up "Dildo Run" to the "Main Tickle". Large icebergs have landed on then north facing bays and we motored around several as we entered the small fishing port at Durrell next to Twillingate. The small museum in Durrell has a stuffed polar bear on display. The 2 year old floated south on icebergs and became a menace to residents when he landed here. They couldn't tranquilise him so they had to shoot him. Walking towards town we came to a shop doing wine tastings. The wines are made from berries mostly found locally. Rather than being full bodied berry flavour they seemed to just have a hint of berry taste. Visitors from Gander gave the six of us a lift into town in the back cab of their pickup truck. Gander was for a short period one of the busiest airports in the world when the USA closed its airspace after the 9/11 attack and all incoming trans-Atlantic flights were diverted here. The locals opened their homes and looked after the flood of stranded passengers. We had a beer at the Anchor Inn with our transportation hosts before walking down the road to Addy's Fish Restaurant where we tried Capelins, small sardine sized fish. They had been baked and were very dry and salty - an acquired taste. Also on the menu were Cod Tongues which are highly prized, but we found them disappointing. Murray had some highly rated Snow Crabs and Maggie and I ate grilled cod fillets that had lovely and flaky white flesh. Ashley tried Moose Soup which he said was very salty. After dinner a short time with the thumb out soon had lifts with locals back to the boat. 16th June Departed Twillingate at 0500hrs motoring with no wind, grey skies and clear visibility. Very calm sea and a thin cloud cover around noon almost let the sun through. We covered the 80nm to Englee by 1730hrs. Englee is a small fishing village nestled in a cove near the entrance of Canada Bay. The fishermen were unloading Snow Crabs on the dock where we tied up. The town is quite isolated with no TV, population 400 and the Salvation Army building the biggest in town. 17th June We cast off from Englee at 0600hrs and headed north. Large icebergs have beached along the coast here and we saw a small section break off one as we passed by. It is blowing 15kts from the north and raining. We have better visibility with the cold northerly winds and despite the rain we can clearly see the icebergs and bergy bits, unlike the south westerlies that pick up moisture over the warm Gulf Stream waters which turns into fog over the chilly Labrador Current east of Newfoundland. A passage from John R. Bockstoce's book "High Latitude, North Atlantic" reads: "On the average the west Greenland glaciers calve about 27,000 icebergs each year. They then begin a 2-3 year voyage of about 2,000 miles, melting and calving as they travel, first north along the Greenland shore to Baffin Bay, then south, past Baffin Island and Labrador. On average about a thousand bergs per year reach Belle Isle, but most are bound down the east coast of Newfoundland to the Grand Banks where they meet the 60° F water of the Gulf Stream and vanish quickly." Now days this number could be more like 30-40,000 bergs heading south each year. The flat bergs are generally from the low lands around Baffin Island while the peaked ones are from the mountainous Greenland glaciers. The wind and sea built through the day and the motion stirred up sediment in the fuel tanks which caused a blockage in fuel filter which stopped the engine. We drifted for nearly an hour while Ashley changed the filter and bled the system. The wind was now blowing 40+ knots and the cold spray stinging our faces as we approached St Anthony. We dodged a final couple of bergs near the harbour entrance and entered quieter waters. Don, a trawler owner helped with our lines and came on board for a chat before we had a quick dinner and went to bed early.

15 June 2016 | Bonavista

Bonavista

Bonavista is one of the oldest towns in Newfoundland and home of the Atlantic Puffin. Before spotting the vibrant orange and yellow parrot-like beak, I quickly mistook it for a penguin diving beneath the water in search of fish. They are quite a treat to watch, they lift off from the water resembling [...]

14 June 2016

St Johns to Lumsden

13th June Left St Johns at 0500hrs. Fog and no wind with light rain. Wind came in from the SE and we raised sail at 0800hrs. The rain set in during the morning and we made good speed to the north in 15-20kts of breeze. We saw a number of icebergs - some well over 100m in size. Rounding Cape Bonavista we sailed into smooth waters and made 10kts down to Bonavista town in the freshening breeze. Ashley saw 32kts on the wind gauge by the time we were lowering the sails at the harbour entrance. Several locals braved the weather to assist us tie up at the inner fishing boat harbour. All lines secured by 1730hrs. Thoughts of a walk into town were dispelled by the rugged weather. Cathie cooked up a lamb roast with rice and veg and we turned in early. Along the way we have grappled with some of the local lingo, so here are a couple of terms we have picked up. Floater - Seasonal fisherman who leave at the end of the fishing season. Livyer - Those who choose to stay through the year Tickle - A short narrow channel between islands Rattle - A passage where currents can really boiled 14th June This morning we visited the "Matthew", a full scale replica of Cabot's 15th century carvel. Giovannini Caboto was a Genoese explorer, sponsored by the King of England, who in 1497 set sail from Bristol, England hoping to find a route to the Far East, but instead landed in Newfoundland. Instead of spices or silk he found cod which sparked settlement in North America and the establishment of the huge cod industry. Today in Bonavista fishing is still the main industry. With the 1992 moratorium on cod fishing still in effect, at this time of the year they are catching crab and lobster. We left Bonavista at 1330hrs and headed north. There is not enough breeze to sail and we motor across the lumpy sea in thick fog. There are a number of icebergs floating through this area which is known as "Iceberg alley". We maintain an iceberg watch on the bow and can only see 100m ahead at most. There is a tricky approach to Lumsden harbour with a buoyed passage between shoals and then a dog leg into a small fishing harbour. We only see the buoys through the fog when we are almost on them. A couple of local fishermen who came to help with our lines were impressed we got in. We were secure by 2030hrs. Cathie cooked up a pasta with the last of the scallops from Ramea.

13 June 2016

St Pierre to St Johns

9th June The storm has passed and we departed Saint Pierre at 0800hrs. A grey day with fog and a very lumpy left over sea. A light breeze turned to the SW and we motor-sailed with the main, fore and balloon jib. The wind died early in the afternoon and didn't pick up again until 2100hrs when we raised the sails again and turned the motor off. We sailed through the night at 6-7kts. The water temperature has dropped to 6° C, but it is quite reasonable on deck. We are standing 2 hour watches with 2 up. The barometer is reading 992. 10th June In the morning as we headed north we could hear the fog signal of Cape Race long before we caught a dim glimpse of it through the mist. As we approached Cape Spear Ashley spotted out to sea our first iceberg for the trip. Cape Spear is the most easterly point of North America. As we rounded the lighthouse there were many bergy bits calving off a large iceberg stuck against the shore. We entered St Johns harbour at 1800hrs and tied up in the security zone astern of the Venezuelan sail training ship, Simon Bolivar, to await customs clearance back into Canada from Saint Pierre. After a prolonged wait we cleared in without any problems or duty needing to be paid on our Saint Pierre wine purchases. Steaks were eaten at a dockside establishment before the younger folk took off to sample the delights of George Street. 11th June Went for a walk in St Johns and had a big cooked breakfast. Bought some camping mats as insulation to mitigate condensation in the forward berths we anticipate when we get into the colder northern climate. Received an email from Steph telling us she is engaged to Dylan!!! - much rejoicing in the Smail camp! In the afternoon we visited The Rooms Museum. This is an excellent display of the history and culture of the region. 12th June A sunny clear day for a walk around St Johns harbour entrance to Signal Hill. Cabot's tower on Signal Hill is famous as the site where Gugliemo Marconi received the first transatlantic wireless signal on 12th December 1901. Also at the tower we met the very handsome, 70kg "Chieftain", a 2 year old Newfoundland dog. This local breed is famous for their kind and water loving disposition. We walked past the tower and down to Quidi Vidi, a picturesque group of house built on the edge of a Tickle. We passed up a tour of the local craft brewery in favour of delicious fresh lobster rolls at the Mallard Cottage. We have enjoyed St Johns with its colourful terraced houses and broad selection of cafes, restaurants and pubs. Most of the pubs have live music and Matt says the party starts at midnight and they close at 3am. Matt gives George Street a 5 star rating. In June and July the weather is described as "Capelin Weather" as this time of year these small sardine like fish run and the weather is always wet and foggy. Maggie and I bought traditional sou'westers in St Johns. These hats are also known as Cape Annes' and are oilskin with a felt lining and flaps to cover your ears.

13 June 2016 | St Pierre

Where France meets North America

Following Windjammers extraordinary welcoming to Newfoundland, we headed south-east to where North America meets France. With Brie, baguettes and Bordeaux in mind, we set sail for St Pierre, one of the last two remaining islands belonging to the French empire in North America. St Pierre is like a little [...]

12 June 2016 | St John's

Newfoundland

The shiny green topsides and raking masts shined flawlessly in an otherwise dull morning as Windjammer took to its name as a "floating curiosity". Despite the long journey and early arrival from the opposite side of the world, I climbed out of the zodiac with great anticipation. The familiar sense of [...]

05 June 2016

South Coast of Newfoundland to St Pierre

5th June We left Francois at 0700hrs. Sea flat, no wind. 50nm to the island of Saint Pierre. The wind picked up mid-morning and we set main and foresail in 5-10kt breeze. The sea temperature here at 47° N is 8-9°C so any breeze blowing off it is very fresh. The sun is shining and we watched many Fin whales blowing just off the island. The first French island we passed was Miquelon and we arrived at Saint Pierre at 14.30hrs, but we had to adjust our watches forward 1 hour for French island time. Customs and immigration were waiting for us at the dock and were very pleasant. After we completed formalities we walked the short distance into town in bright sunshine. Being Sunday most shops were closed. We watched some local fisherman cleaning cod which they had caught on hand lines at 80-100m depth close to St Pierre. We called into the only bar open in town, the Txetxo. This is a Basque bar. The Basque were the first cod fisherman beginning fishing these waters in the 15th century. They supplied the European market with cod and jealously guarded their source. With Matt translating we had a good chat with Jose the barman. He worked the cod boats from the age of 14. He is proud of his Basque heritage and talked about his life and supplied us with tapas of whelks, cheese, salmon and sausage. He asked us back for lunch on Tuesday for a meal of traditional cooked Bacala. Back at the boat Cathie cooked up a wonderful risotto and Windjammer remained tied to the Eric Tabarly wharf for the night. 6th June It was a treat this morning to have croissants and baguettes fresh from patisserie. The yacht club has good showers and a washing machine so we tidied up before heading into town to the bottle shop. As this will be the best opportunity to buy good wine at a reasonable price we bought a good volume. Saint Pierre is a duty free port and has a long association of suppling alcohol. During the prohibition in the USA it was even one of the staging grounds for Al Capone. The wine and other liquor was delivered after lunch and Murray spent quite some time stowing it all aboard. In the afternoon Murray and I climbed up to the ridge above town for some good views of the island. Despite having a population of 6,500 the town is remarkably quiet with the locals friendly and considerate to pedestrians. 7th June (46° 47'N 56° 10W) Ashley has decided to wait in St Pierre for a strong storm cell to pass. I strolled into town to buy baguettes and croissants for breakfast. The sun has disappeared and the air is quite cool so I spent the morning reading on the computer and took a walk with Murray for a coffee break. We went back to bar Txetxo to have lunch with Jose and his special cod dish but he hadn't been able to buy any Bacala so he produced a family pot of steak and carrots with plenty of bread and also a scallop and saffron dish. He wouldn't take payment for the food as he doesn't usually provide food in the bar, but just enjoys cooking his family recipies. In the afternoon we took the tender over to I'lle aus Marin, the small island across the bay from St Pierre. The island was known as I'lle aus chiens (island of dogs) but they changed the name in the '60s. The island was the original centre for the cod fishing industry and in the late 1800s had a population of around 700. Today there are around 40 houses only and of these only 15 are original. Others have been renovated and there are some newer ones retaining the same architecture that are used as holiday homes. The cod fishing started to die out in the late 1930s and a number of houses were deconstructed and rebuilt in St Pierre. Some of the buildings are now museums recording the history and hardships of the residents. They were a very self-reliant and also strongly religious (Roman catholic) people. The biggest building on the island is the church "Notredame aux Marins". The museum curator did a marvellous job explaining the exhibits wearing only a t-shirt, long pants and gumboots while we were all rugged up to the eyeballs. 8th June Spent time this morning looking for insulation to go around the mast in the forecastle. The mast, being made of steel works extremely well in removing any traces of heat that might make their way forward from the diesel heater. The locals are all very helpful and a gentleman took me to his house where he had some insulation stored and gave it to me for nothing. It is a miserable day with strong wind and rain. The barometer is reading 999 and falling.

04 June 2016

Sydney Nova Scotia to south coast of Newfoundland

2nd June 2016 Arrived in Sydney, Nova Scotia at 2am and was met by Ashley and tendered out to Windjammer. Ashley and Cathie have sailed her up from Rhode Island where they had spent the winter. The rest of the crew, Maggie Kerr, Murray Spence and Matt Po arrived at various times on the 1st June. It is great to be back on board and share a new adventure with crew we have sailed with before. Sydney was famous for its coal mining and steel production. It was a gathering point for ships doing the Atlantic convoy crossings in the 2nd World War. These industries have stopped now and tourism is their mainstay. The cruise ship terminal has a small museum which records the early Gaelic settlers and later the battles for possession between the English and the French. A huge fiddle outside the facility is a reminder of the early settlers and their heritage of language and music. We departed Sydney at 1.30pm after fuelling and taking on water. A cold breeze was blowing in the bay but died out as we left the land and headed ENE on the 140nm crossing to Newfoundland. As we were motoring we stood solo 2 hour watches. A brilliant sunset over an oily calm sea was enhanced by the silhouettes of dozens of dolphins jumping and a few whales feeding. 3rd June First stop in Newfoundland is the small island of Ramea. The sea is flat calm and there is no wind. We arrived at 11.00am and tied alongside a large fishing boat. They were unloading scallops which they keep alive in the flooded holds. They generously gave us a basket of scallops and showed us how to shuck them. They did it very quickly and we ended up with several kilos of scallop meat. They also gave us some flounder fillets which Cathie cooked for lunch. Winston the skipper and owner was very proud of his vessel the "Burin Tradition" and showed us over her. He is licenced to fish for scallops, sea cucumber, whelks, cod and halibut and even allowed to catch 8 blue fin tuna a year. We had a walk on a board-walk out to the lighthouse. The country is boggy with stumpy little spruce scrub and weather rounded bare rock. We left Ramea after lunch and headed across to the main island of Newfoundland and entered the Grey River fjord. The town of Grey River has been largely abandoned as the fishing industry has declined since the moratorium on cod fishing in 1988. A local told us in his extremely broad accent there are only about 70 people left in town and only 14 children in the school. We anchored for the night a few miles up the fjord. We all battled to understand the Newfies "language". Their accent is quite unique and you need to listen very carefully to get their meaning. We dined in style with the fresh scallops cooked in ginger, sherry, soy and maple syrup and served with fresh asparagus and mashed sweet potato. 4th June Ashley changed the sump pump in the shower. It has lasted 6 years! We motored up the west arm of Grey River for a look around before heading out to sea and following the coast east to Lahme Bay. The coastline here is steep bare cliffs with little sign of vegetation. We entered Lahume Bay and anchored in Deadman's Cove. The massive hills here are well rounded by glacial action and waterfalls break the silence as they tumble hundreds of metres down the walls. We had a good climb up to the tops with views back over the bay and down on Windjammer at anchor. On the way down we noticed what we thought were white goats, but later we were told that they would have been young caribou. Leaving Deadman's Cove we motored 5nm along the coast to the small community of Francois which nestles at the head of a small cove with a backdrop of craggy cliffs and a river cascading through the centre of town to the sea. Like Grey River, this was a busy fishing village relying on the cod fishing but with its demise most residents have left. Today there are only 70 locals, but it seemed quite lively with several visitors staying in B & Bs ferrying in from bigger towns for the weekend. A quick stroll around the town was followed by pre dinner drinks on deck and then a delicious roast dinner. Later we went to one of the boat sheds where some visitors were having a sing along with guitar and lagerphone. Matt played some Spanish tunes and Cathie had a good bop.

09 May 2016 | Sailing to Nova Scotia

Sailing to Nova Scotia

The front has eventually passed and we are now on our way to Lunenburg. The extra two days dockside at Newport turned out to be quite productive and I was able to free up the engine stop cable that was forever challenging us to an arm wrestle. Cathie managed to add another ice breaker to her arctic collection [...]

05 May 2016 | Newport RI

Arctic Circle passage

Spring has finally arrived in Newport and it's time to get moving again. Just waiting for the weather front to pass, then we're off to Nova Scotia via Cape Cod canal and Provincetown on the end of Cape Cod peninsula. From there it is a 320 mile passage to Lunenburg where we start our meander up the coast [...]

10 November 2015 | Newport RI - Photo: Berthed at Newport Harbour Hotel and Marina

Newport Rhode Island - our winter home.

We are back in Newport where we will spend this winter berthed at the Newport Harbour Hotel and Marina in the heart of the old town. Our in water berth includes shore power, cable TV, heated pool and access to the hotel facilities all at a cost of $400.00 per month. During the on season they charge $5.00 per foot per day so a very good deal for us. We are part of a community of 25 live aboard yachts in the marina so looking forward to building some new friendships. Our first project though is to build a frame over Windjammer so we can shrink wrap her with plastic to keep out the snow ....mmm this is going to be interesting.

02 November 2015 | Manhattan - Photo: Anchored off Ellis Island near the Statue of Liberty

Bar Harbor, Maine to Newport and New York

After disembarking Tom and Sylvia at Bar Harbour in Maine we sailed down the coast to Newport with a quick stop over in Rockland and Rockport. Newport was going to be our home for the winter so we were keen to check out the place to ensure we knew what we would be getting ourselves into. The Newport [...]

22 July 2015

Cruising Maine

We finally made it to Maine, a bucket list destination with Penobscot Bay and all the wooden classic schooners. We had heard so much about cruising in Maine, how beautiful it was, best cruising ground in the world, lobsters etc etc. We therefore had very high expectations.

08 July 2015 | Portland - photo: L'Hermione at Castine, Maine

Nantucket to Portland Maine

Our next destination was the island of Nantucket famous for being the largest historical whaling town in the US. We had read good reports about the museum and after reading the Nathaniel Philbrick book, In the Heart of the Sea, (the story of the ship Essex from Nantucket which was sunk by a giant sperm [...]

27 June 2015 | Savannah, Georgia photo: Docked at the Waterfront for the Jazz and Blues Festival

Fort Lauderdale to Marthas Vinyard

We left Ft Lauderdale on a bright sunny day with not much wind and followed the coast line for Savannah, Georgia. There were recreational fishermen in droves out on the water so had to maintain a close watch. The city of Savannah is located about 10 miles up the Savannah River, so we made a left turn [...]

03 June 2015 | Cuba - photo: Near Baracoa Cuba

Jardines del Rey to Havana and Florida

We spent a wonderful week cruising through the Jardines del Rey, a 210 mile stretch of cays, reefs and sandy beaches on the North Coast of Cuba. On our first snorkeling/spear fishing session we managed to get a red emperor and our first fresh lobster. Ciguetera can be a problem in this region so we [...]

12 May 2015 | Cuba SE Coast - photo: Fidel

Entry in to Cuba

Friday 8 May at 11.00am we made landfall on the south eastern coast of Cuba at Pt de Vita. We were instructed by the Capitania de Puerto to drop anchor outside the marina and standby as we would need to be boarded and cleared by the local officials prior to entering the marina and Cuba. This we duly [...]

05 May 2015 | En route to Cuba

Antigua and the Greater Antilles

After nearly 3 weeks in Antigua where we had great fun preparing and then participating in the Classic Yacht regatta, we dropped off our hearty crew and headed for the island of Barbuda. As our South African friends who we were buddy sailing with said "Barbuda is the real deal". Beautiful sandy pink [...]

24 April 2015 | Antigua - photo: Soufriere, Saint Lucia

Jammin in the Trade Winds

Our first blog since the 28th February! - We have been so busy jammin between the islands with various friends on board that blogging just had to take a back seat. Since leaving Trinidad we have sailed up through the Windward Islands, Grenada, St Vincent and the Grenadines including, Union Island, Carriacou [...]

14 February 2015 | Trinidad - photo: Carnival 2015

Arrival in Trinidad

We are currently sailing down the north west shore of Trinidad on our way to Chaguaramas, ten days after leaving Brazil and we are ready for Carnival. It has been a wonderful trip, good winds all the way, lovely warm weather and great crew. This is definitely what cruising is all about. We are yet to [...]

09 February 2015 | Two days out from Trinidad - photo: Pirate of the Caribbean

Trinidad bound

Looks like about 2 days left to get us to Trinidad which will be a nice end to our 5400 mile crossing. Since the last post we have been maintaining good daily averages of about 170 miles thanks to the Brazil current and steady trade winds. Crossing the ITCZ was quite comfortable this time round with [...]

04 February 2015 | Brazil - photo: the 12

The Pirates knife

I half joked that disasters generally run in threes! The glue in our two dingy repair kits had gone off, the guy in the English yacht next door came to the rescue with some hypalon glue, nope also gone off, then the marina maintenance man turned up with a tube, nope also off. So it was tools down, stop [...]

31 January 2015 | Fortaleza Brazil - photo: shipwreck off the yacht club breakwall

Fortaleza

2nd February - Just another day cruising.....or was it? We arrived in Fortaleza under a full moon at 3:00am and made our way across the bay to the yacht marina. A shipwreck lay near the entrance but almost a mile closer than was noted on the chart. As we passed between it and the marina break wall we [...]

30 January 2015 | En route to Brazil - photo: Bahia San Antonio - Fernando De Noronha

Fernando De Noronha

At 16.30 hrs on Friday 30th,we arrived at Ilha De Fernando De Noronha, a small island roughly 7 miles long, 2 miles wide and 200 miles off the coast of Brazil, just in time to race Holly ashore to clear customs and sound out the immigration people. We were somewhat concerned that as the Island was not [...]

26 January 2015 | En route to Fernando de Noronha - Photo: Celebrating Bruce's 21st Birthday

Bruce's 21st Birthday

Yesterday (25th) was Bruce's 21st birthday and up until 3pm she could be forgiven for thinking that we had forgotten it was such an occasion. Other than a few hugs and quiet "Happy Birthdays" it was a quiet normal day onboard Windjammer. But, unbeknownst to Bruce, we had been plotting... As Bruce settled [...]

22 January 2015 | En route to Fernando de Noronha - photo: Bruce and Kirill baking bread

A day in the Galley

As some of you may have gotten the impression ,there are several things on board that provide an inordinate amount of pleasure. Cooking is one of them and, as I write, the pineapple and rum cake is in the oven. We all did the rounds earlier to lick the bowl clean of cake mixture and we now wait in [...]

20 January 2015 | En route to Fernando de Noronha

Becalmed and no one to talk to

20th Jan. Yesterday evening we ran out of wind. Having tweaked sails and course (and crew) trying to keep going we were eventually forced to conclude defeat and drop sail in the evening and motor. Back to a world of noise and vibration. On the plus side, running the engine allows us to get a good charge [...]

17 January 2015 | En route to Fernando de Noronha -Photo:Sunset over Jamestown with Jacobs Ladder lit up

Day 3 and settling back into the routine

After the excitement of leaving St Helena, getting back to sea and settling down, life onboard has resumed its normal routine. We have all passed the day - the one just out from port, when all the crew, transitioning from normal hours to watch hours suffer from a bout of exhaustion - and everyone is [...]

16 January 2015 | En route to Fernando de Noronha - photo: Cocktails at Government House St Helena

Departure from St Helena

0600 this morning the bell rang for all hands on deck to stow the tender and prepare Windjammer for her onward passage to Brazil. The crew were a tad tardy in responding and everything seemed to take twice as long, but then again, we did have a rather big final night ashore! It soon became evident that [...]

14 January 2015 | St Helena - photo: The Islands converted Chevrolet tour Bus

Tour of the Island

Our exploration of the island started with a tour of the island on an old classic 1929 Chevrolet open truck seating 16. There was a canopy which could be pulled over for rainy days however the weather was magnificent as we headed off with our local driver Colin whose family has been on the island for [...]

12 January 2015 | St Helena - photo: arriving at St Helena with a steady breeze and a full set of sails

Arriving St Helena

07.30 hrs Sunday 11th January and it is day 15 out from Cape Town. I have just sighted land hiding beneath a large cloud on the horizon. The isailor app on my Ipad confirms that it is indeed St Helena Island and we should be there in about 2 hrs time. There are now lots of red billed tropic birds and [...]

09 January 2015 | En route to St Helena- photo: enjoying the catch of the day

Day 13 - Trade winds at last

Day 13 and the St Helena high has finally moved back south allowing the trade winds to settle in at a steady 12 to 14 knots. The days are clear with polarized blue seas and fair weather clouds on the horizon. We are now 170 miles from St Helena and expecting to arrive early Sunday morning. We managed [...]

07 January 2015 | En route to St Helena - Photo: where is the wind?

Day 12 - End of race for us

Current position 20o 11'S, 000o 15E. - 422nm remain between us and Saint Helena but we're being pushed west by SSE winds. The winds continue to be fickle, tempting us with promises of breezes; clouds and ripples and dancing patterns on the water but a consistent, steady breeze is proving hard to find. [...]

05 January 2015 | En route to St Helena

Day 9 from Cape Town

After plain sailing for the New Year, on the 2nd of January the wind finally left us. 5 days of plain sailing then nothing, nada. The sails flapped in the swells, the blocks rattled and kept us awake as we attempted to ease Windjammer forwards on ever decreasing puffs of air. Finally we dropped sail [...]

02 January 2015 | En route to St Helena -photo: Kirill getting rid of some excess energy

A day for swimming and relaxing

900 miles to go until we reach St Helena, we have been without wind for most of the day. There is a high sitting just to the west of us and keeps moving our way. We motored for a while but then decided to stop and go for a swim to cool down. The sea was very calm and we came across a turtle also enjoying [...]

31 December 2014 | En route to St Helena

New Years Eve

And a Happy New Year to all our friends and relatives from the crew of Windjammer, may 2015 be everything you hope for and fairwinds and safe anchorages to all. We celebrated with an early sit down dinner this evening with a suitably good bottle of Cape wine followed by a sticky date and banana pudding [...]

30 December 2014 | En route to St Helena - photo: powering along

Sunny days and easy sailing

Have had a steady 15-18 kn breeze for most of the day but the wind direction put us further south of the rhumb line which is about 55 miles. Hoisted the fisherman at sunrise this morning which added another knot to our boat speed. The weather has been warm and sunny and the crew have been quick to exploit [...]

29 December 2014 | False Bay - photo: Working our way out of False Bay

Cape point to starboard

The start of the race out of False Bay was always going to be challenging and the 25knt sou'easter didn't disappoint. We worked our way out of False Bay to Cape Point which took about 4 hours and was wet and uncomfortable with a little "mal de mer" amongst some of the crew. You could read the "what have [...]

28 December 2014 | False bay yacht Club - photo: Race crew: Ashley, Kirill, Ashleigh (Bruce), Grahame, Cathie and Holly

We bid farewell to Cape Town

It was a busy morning at False Bay Yacht Club. The air was full of excitement and anticipation as the 17 yachts entered into the Governors Cup race from Cape Town to St Helena were doing their final race preparations. Crews milling around, chatting, having coffee and saying their goodbye's. The new [...]

02 July 2014 | Simonstown - photo: False Bay Yacht Club

False Bay Yacht Club

Alongside at False Bay Yacht Club for the winter we hope? A lot of uncertainty and hopeless bureaucracy, I thought we had left this behind in South America but South Africa has taken it to a whole new level!

17 April 2014 | 14 miles off Cape Town - photo: At last Table Mountain breaking through the fog

Capetown

14nm off the coast of South Africa and still no sign of land, the AIS is on overdrive. A slight fog creeps in and suddenly consumes us so that we cannot even see 5m past the bow. Desperate to see land we powered through dense cool fog, we would either run right into it or sail right past it and end [...]

16 April 2014 | Southern Ocean Crossing to Cape Town - photo: Cape lookout

140 miles off Cape Town

Finally arrived off the coast of Southern Africa only to be met by a big south easter and the north flowing Benguela current. Have been close hauling for the the past 55 hrs averaging 4 kn, but the good news is that the wind should veer and soften in 12 hrs then we can start heading back towards Cape Town. If all goes to plan (which has rarely happened on this leg) then we should be at RCYC by nightfall on Thursday, otherwise first thing Friday morning. Either way hoping to get some good shots of the "fairest cape of all" and Table Mountain without her table cloth.

13 April 2014 | Southern Ocean Crossing to Cape Town

Burgers, birthdays and bitttersweet winds

The South Atlantic has, and continues to deliver 'interesting' winds leaving Jammer confused and the crew frustrated! "What's the wind direction?" Someone shouts from the galley, "It's everywhere but nowhere" replies the helmsman. "Uh okay then what is the wind speed?" "It's kind of varying between [...]

06 April 2014 | South Atlantic Crossing to Cape Town

Tristan da Cunha

The lights of a small town were seen before dawn as the swell was rolling in and the strong winds prevailing, we dropped sail and hove to, allowing the current to take Windjammer the last five miles towards the Island of Tristan Da Cunha. A day of motor sailing around the Island with light winds and [...]

Pender Harbour/ Sechelt Peninsula

08 April 2012 | Garden Bay
Arrived in Garden Bay, Pender Harbour last night. Weather is warm and clear. Fanatstic inlet with lots of meandering bays. Got up early this morning to the sound of some busy woodpeckers ashore. Heading out for a cycle to see the sights.
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