Slow Dancing

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
29 January 2017 | St. Lucia
05 December 2016 | Martinique

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.

The Nature Isle--Dominica

29 May 2017 | St. Anne, Martinique
Melissa Breezy and cloudy
May 21-24, 2017

Dominica is a unique Caribbean island with some of the highest volcanic peaks, dense rainforests, waterfalls, and many rivers. The Dominicans are gracious and welcoming. We decided to walk along Section 13 of the Waitukubuli Trail between Penville and Capuchin. As Alexis drove the 4 of us to the trailhead, he relayed stories of his youth. He showed us the "old walking path" to Portsmouth as we bounced along a lumpy road. The path looked in better condition than parts of the road!

Alexis said the trail is all downhill. We weren't sure about the distance or the duration of the hike. Mmm, we weren't in a hurry. Greg and LizAnn on Lagniappe led the way. It was a good way to start--downhill. The green forest surrounded us. We saw small hillside farms of callaloo and plantains. We easily crossed a small stream. Oooh, I see uphill. We hiked to a switchback. The air closed in as sweat poured down our faces. We stopped at a break in the trees. The breeze dried our faces. Haze over the water occluded the views of Guadeloupe and Les Saintes. We trekked past a few blazes on the trees and rocks. We climbed uphill. We walked downhill. We stopped for lunch, water and more water. We approached a large sign saying Grande Fond. Whoa, we have been walking 2 hours and we are not even halfway. The birds filled the trees with song and calls. We passed goats and donkeys tethered along the trail. We walked uphill and downhill. We spotted Alexis. We drank coconut milk and shared a couple of mangoes. Refreshing! There are 14 sections of the Waitukubuli National Trail Project that circle the island of Dominica. The sign said that this section was approximately 8 kilometers (about 4.9 miles). My Fitbit recorded 7 miles. Mmmm, we were tired.

Traveling with those Canadians!

22 May 2017 | Portsmith, Dominica
Melissa Partly sunny over hazy mountains
May 19, 2017

Lequesteau, friends from Canada, said that we should learn about English history in Nevis. After all Lagniappe and Slow Dancing, Americans, suggested that we visit the Alexander Hamilton Museum. Everyone agreed, since we are neighbors and neither country has built a wall. We wandered down the street enjoying the lively ambiance and friendly greetings. We listened to a friendly resident give us directions to the museum. We read about Hamilton's vision and contribution to the United States. Well done.

Let's find the Lord Nelson Museum. We wandered up the street enjoying the lively ambiance and friendly greetings. Hmm, signage? Hmm, a question to a resident? Hmm. We strolled past the bus stop, past the market, and past the cricket field. Perhaps we should ask for directions......hmm. A very friendly mechanic said, "Go across the street, up the steps by the Bath Hotel and Bath House to the concrete road. With a flourish of his arm, as he tapped his forehead, he said, "Go past three buildings. It's right there." We climbed up the steps, along the road, and past three buildings to the Museum of Nevis History, the Horatio Nelson Collection. Well done.
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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