Slow Dancing

09 February 2018 | Santa Marta, Colombia
04 February 2018 | Santa Marta, Colombia
07 December 2017 | Santa Marta, Colombia
25 October 2017 | St. Georges, Grenada
25 July 2017 | St. Georges, Grenada
14 July 2017 | St. Georges, Grenada
29 May 2017 | St. Anne, Martinique
22 May 2017 | Portsmith, Dominica
19 May 2017 | Nevis
06 March 2017 | Pointe a Pitre, Guadeloupe
04 March 2017 | Pointe a Pitre, Guadeloupe
17 February 2017 | Pointe a Pitre Guadeloupe
17 February 2017 | St. Lucia
08 February 2017 | St. Lucia
03 February 2017 | St. Lucia
03 February 2017 | St. Lucia
03 February 2017 | St. Lucia
03 February 2017 | St. Lucia
03 February 2017 | St. Lucia
03 February 2017 | St. Lucia


09 February 2018 | Santa Marta, Colombia
Melissa Windy Windy Windy
January 25-28, 2018

What a different city. Medellin is filled with modern skyscrapers—banks, financial institutions and cathedrals. There are so many restaurants it is difficult to choose.

The biggest surprise was the rapid transit system. The equipment is first world. The ticket prices are third world. The transit system consists of modern electric above ground trains, several cable car routes and clean buses. Elevators for wheel chair riders are in busy stations. (Cable cars serve as transportation for the some of the city’s poor because they live in villages along the hillsides. Well to do residents live in the valley.) Residents have magnetic cards. As tourists we purchased cards for a set number of rides. We bought tickets to Arvi Park, 30 kilometers from the center of Medellin, for 5,500 Colombian pesos ($1.98) one way for 2. At Avecedo, we transferred onto the funicular for a 20 minute ride to Santo Domingo. At the transfer station we bought tickets for second funicular ride to the park for 4,000COP ($1.44) for 2. Fun! Amazing!

Medellin’s history is colored by the narcoterrorist Paulo Escobar Gaviria and his infamous drug smuggling cartel. In fairness, there are historical and art museums near Plaza Botero, an outdoor sculpture park full of round sculptures. Jardin Botanica, Planetario de Medellin, and Parque Arvi are some of the attractions. I liked Arvi Park, a nature preserve and archeological site, with its funicular and gorgeous views. Dan enjoyed the Planetarium that contains quite a few touch exhibits. Dan was happy to support my “visit” to the botanical garden. My quest to visit a botanical garden in every country is uninterrupted.

Blowing a Hoolie

04 February 2018 | Santa Marta, Colombia
Melissa Sunny and WINDY!
February 4, 2018

Weather predictions:
Beaufort Scale prediction for 3 days last week. Daytime Force 6 (strong breeze (25-31 mph) and at night Force 7-8 (near gale (32-38 mph) with gusts near storm force (40-50 mph).

The Pilot Charts show a pattern of Force 4 and 5 winds from the North or Northeast for about 70% of February. They also show wave heights of 8 feet between 30%- 40% of February over a wide area.

This is a typical winter pattern for the windy areas off the Colombian coast.

Personal observations:
White caps everywhere with swells and surge in protected marina on several days last week.

M5, a 75.22 meter (246’9”) sailing yacht lay at anchor for about 3 weeks. We did observe the vessel depart one afternoon only to return the next morning.

Commercial freighters and cargo vessels at anchor sometimes rock in the waves.

Sailing Attitudes:
“There is a small window and we have a date for the canal,” comments Totem, an American boat near the end of a circumnavigation, while shrugging their shoulders.

Colombian Power Boats party on and on at the dock.

A Dutch boat, Charlie, says, “We will stay near the coast of Colombia and break up the trip. We hope to see you in the San Blas soon.”

Bellatrix, a 30 ft. Bristol Channel Cutter, comments, “There’s no rush.”

“It’s going to be messy, but we are going. We like to sail,” says Grandiosa, a Swedish family headed to Jamaica.

Slow Dancing observed that most of the departing vessels are European. We are waiting for a weather window that forecasts a bit more than a 5 mph wind speed drop. There does not seem to be any change in sight. We’re loving our land travel excursions!

Bonaire-Flamingos and Friends with a Bit of Diving on the Side

07 December 2017 | Santa Marta, Colombia
Melissa Sunny and Hot

We ambled along the esplanade among the cruise ship passengers. We had coffee and ice cream. Kralendijk did not seem over crowded. We walked past tiny fishing boats at the fishing boat pier. A huge Dutch Navy vessel that had been in St. Maarten and two US Coast Guard vessels visited the harbor. Sinterklaas (St. Nicholas) arrived on a huge tug spraying water everywhere. Fireworks exploded over the harbor to mark the beginning of the holiday season.

Brightly colored houses with red tile roofs, sparkling clear water, and arid landscapes make the island of Bonaire unique. We passed slave huts, salt pillars (red, white, blue and yellow) from long ago, mountains of salt, modern and classic windmills, cactus fences, rocky shorelines with carins of sticks and trash. We traveled to Rincon, where the slaves walked to get rations. Wild donkeys and a few goats watched us. We viewed tribal cave drawings. The land was full of cactus. Up the hill and down along Lake Gotomeer, we searched for flamingos. We found them standing in brackish water, walking on stilt like legs and diving their heads underwater to find food. The feathers were brilliant coral pinks, pale pinks, orangey-red.

Cruisers go dinghy diving, which is not to be confused with lazarette diving. Load up your dinghy with your dive gear, tanks, and zip to a yellow dive buoy. There are 106 marked dive sites. Jump into the water, don you BCD, and descend. Visibility is generally good--about 60 to 80 ft. Water temperature is excellent about 84.5* F. Coral and reef fishes are everywhere. We also saw a turtle and a few lionfish. Friends saw octopi, rays and sea horses. The coral is unbelievable coral--soft coral, hard coral, coral that looked like flower arrangements. Some of the coral was taller than I am, some of it spread out like a carpet of giant flowers. The entire coastline of Bonaire is a protected marine sanctuary established in 1979, surrounded by reefs. Park boundaries extend from the high water line to 200 feet of depth in the seabed, about 6672 acres. There is absolutely no anchoring. As the water temperature of the oceans increases, the opportunity to experience such underwater gardens will become more difficult. Breathtaking.

Bonaire is about friends. We met cruisers from our first season; we met cruisers from our second season; we met new cruisers. We had a charcoal barbeque by a cruiser's pool. We celebrated potluck Thanksgiving--early. We celebrated Thanksgiving at Captain Don's Habitat. We spent the afternoons at Yhonnie's Arepas after our dives. We laughed. We joked. We cherish our memories.

Market Day

25 October 2017 | St. Georges, Grenada
Melissa Sunny with a chance of showers
It’s Saturday. It’s market day. We hop on the Number 1. Buses, taxis, cars, vans, and people fill Melville Street. All the stands are open. Smiling Grenadians call out to each other.

We are regulars. “Mornin’ Mornin,” I greet Donna as I order my fry bake. She smiles as she gives me a Johnny cake with salt fish. Yum! Yum!

We are regulars. We check out the fish market for the catch—tuna, snapper, hine, swordfish, and sometimes shark. We chat with the men as they skin fish. I smile as I say, “Mornin’ Mornin.” I’ll be back.” Our vendor says, “I’ll save your fish.”

We are regulars. We weave our way down Melville Street to look for watermelon. The children greet us with big grins and giggles. We buy luscious red melon.

We are regulars. I stop to say “Good Morning” at my favorite stands. We buy the fruits and vegetables in season-----breadfruit, mango, avocado, mandarins, oranges, grapefruit, limes, lemons, plantains and figs, coconuts, seasoning peppers, papaya, watermelon, callaloo greens, eggplant, pumpkin. Provision—starchy root vegetables such a sweet potato, tania, callaloo—is always in season. We carry full bags.

We walk through the tunnel. We walk past fishing boats along the carnage. We watch vessels off load cargo at the commercial dock. We hop on the Number 1.

We are regulars. It’s Saturday. It’s market day.

Dinghy Concert

25 July 2017 | St. Georges, Grenada
Melissa Cloudy with a bit of breeze
July 23, 2017

Le Phare Bleu Marina hosts local bands on the back of an old rusting steel tug with barges tied alongside for the audience. Dinghies full of cruisers tie up behind the barges. Many Grenadians ride the marina launch to the barges. The sun shines. Clouds float overhead. The bar serves beverages. Occasional rain showers wet the audience. The music begins. The speakers blast over the bay. Kilia sings. The crowds feel the vibe. Feet tap. Bodies move and sway. Jump up. We have a mas. Every dinghy concert is unique-- only in Grenada. Whoo Hoo!

Wooden Boat Building in Carriacou

14 July 2017 | St. Georges, Grenada
Melissa Sunny and hot
June 15, 2017

As we wandered down to Grenada, Dan and I relished sailing again. We anchored at some of our favorite islands. We collected some “newbies.” We became tour organizers, produce gurus, and chandlery guides.

Each island still has a few wooden vessels—work boats, fishing boats, and racing sloops. Friendship Rose lies in Bequia. Zemi, hailing from Monserrat, is at Port Louis. The Carriacou sloop Genesis, chronicled in the documentary film Vanishing Sail, raced during Antigua Classic Week. I always enjoy looking at these boats and am amazed at skill of the shipwrights.

Cariaccou has a long history of boat building by the residents. The island has built and launched hundreds of wooden boats. One article reported Carriacou built more wooden boats than any other island in the Lesser Antilles. Alwyn Enoe, I believe now retired, began to build wooden boats again in 2003 to preserve the heritage and traditional techniques. Glenn on Foot Loose, Ken and Corrine on In Dreams and Mitch and Ruth on BreeZen traveled with us to the community of Windward. The community lies on the wind swept eastern shore of Carriacou behind a reef. Entry is though twists and turns around coral and shallow water—with buoys and poles to mark the channel or not.

We walked along the shady shoreline past small houses to see a 65 foot cargo boat being constructed using traditional techniques and a few modern tricks and tools. We learned that this is a replica of the first boat that Carl crewed and traveled on more than 40 years ago. I can’t imagine sourcing all the wood being used—white cedar from Grenada, greenheart from Guayana, and some from other islands. We were amazed that oakum would serve as the caulk. It seems that the shipbuilding traditions of Carriacou have new life.

Vessel Name: Slow Dancing
Vessel Make/Model: Island Packet 44
Hailing Port: Annapolis, MD
Crew: Melissa and Dan Kenshalo
About: We began sailing on Chesapeake in 2005 on a 34 ft. Catalina. We became full time cruisers in 2012 on our Island Packet 44. Our journeys have been full of fun and laughter.
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