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Sailing with Inspiration
a journal detailing the cruising adventures of the sailing catamaran Inspiration
In South Caicos, TCI
Gary
05/22/2012, Cockburn Harbor, South Caicos

We left Provo, Turks & Caicos Islands (TCI) at 8am on Sunday (May 20) for what was predicted to be a easy wind and sailing day. In addition to Inspiration, Free Fallin & Mandolin also headed out for the same destination.

An hour out we ran into a massive rainstorm with lightning scattered around (none close). After getting out of the rain, the wind was not quite what was predicted - so no sailing. Finally, close to noon, we veered off course by 10 degrees, put up both sails & throttled back to 1 engine at a fast idle (to power the autopilot). That gave us 7kts (about 8.5 mph). (: We held that course for just over 2 hours before we had to drop sail & motor back to our original course. After another hour of motoring against the wind we rounded the south end of Lonf Cay and sailed NE along its eastern shore to the entrance to Cockburn Harbor and South Caicos. We pulled in along the western side of Long Cay about a mile south of the harbor entrance and dropped anchor before 6pm.

We had met another couple at Sapodilla Bay the day before leaving. They are Cynthis & Mike in a Lagoon 42 (catamaran) and they were just ahead of us the whole trip. So we went into the town of South Caicos yesterday - saw most all of it in a couple hours. Although, the sun beats down so hard that we saw several places from a distance & skipped walking around them (including an awesome, huge, deserted house up on a hill overlooking the ocean). The people in S Caicos are all extremely friendly, but it's still rather expensive - $6.50/gal for gas or diesel fuel, $4 for a loaf of home-made bread.

Our next destination is the Dominican Republic - Luperon if we can make it. That's a bit more than 100 miles from here. we can (in theory) sail it IF we get the right winds, so we'll be here for a couple more days waiting for the wind to swing more to the east (from the SE).

The picture is Margi on Long Cay with Inspiration in the background & S Caicos across the water.

05/22/2012 | Laurel
You're looking good Margi - hope you are loving it - think of you each Monday and Wednesday at lunch - best to you and Gary, Laure - love the blog
05/22/2012 | Laurel
05/22/2012 | Laurel (ohullerman att hotmail dott com)
You're looking good Margi - hope you are loving it - think of you each Monday and Wednesday at lunch - best to you and Gary, Laurel - love your blog - think first comment didn't work
05/25/2012 | Carol
where is your hair?
05/25/2012 | Rachel
Looking good Margie love your blog and following your travels Windy seems right at home on the high seas
05/28/2012 | Helen Lehnertz
Keep being safe and enjoy life. Love you.
05/30/2012 | Carol
I can read again! The Bribri Indian medicine seems to be working. First book in a year!
05/30/2012 | connie
Looks like fun. Margi - you look wonderful - life aboard the boat must agree with you!
05/31/2012 | Cile MacKinnon
Very exciting stuff! Hope you two are enjoying it - sounds like a trip of a lifetime!
In South Caicos, TCI
Gary
05/22/2012, Cockburn Harbor, South Caicos

We left Provo, Turks & Caicos Islands (TCI) at 8am on Sunday (May 20) for what was predicted to be a easy wind and sailing day. In addition to Inspiration, Free Fallin & Mandolin also headed out for the same destination.

An hour out we ran into a massive rainstorm with lightning scattered around (none close). After getting out of the rain, the wind was not quite what was predicted - so no sailing. Finally, close to noon, we veered off course by 10 degrees, put up both sails & throttled back to 1 engine at a fast idle (to power the autopilot). That gave us 7kts (about 8.5 mph). (: We held that course for just over 2 hours before we had to drop sail & motor back to our original course. After another hour of motoring against the wind we rounded the south end of Lonf Cay and sailed NE along its eastern shore to the entrance to Cockburn Harbor and South Caicos. We pulled in along the western side of Long Cay about a mile south of the harbor entrance and dropped anchor before 6pm.

We had met another couple at Sapodilla Bay the day before leaving. They are Cynthis & Mike in a Lagoon 42 (catamaran) and they were just ahead of us the whole trip. So we went into the town of South Caicos yesterday - saw most all of it in a couple hours. Although, the sun beats down so hard that we saw several places from a distance & skipped walking around them (including an awesome, huge, deserted house up on a hill overlooking the ocean). The people in S Caicos are all extremely friendly, but it's still rather expensive - $6.50/gal for gas or diesel fuel, $4 for a loaf of home-made bread.

Our next destination is the Dominican Republic - Luperon if we can make it. That's a bit more than 100 miles from here. we can (in theory) sail it IF we get the right winds, so we'll be here for a couple more days waiting for the wind to swing more to the east (from the SE).

The picture is Margi on Long Cay with Inspiration in the background & S Caicos across the water.

Chilling in Provo, TCI
Gary
05/17/2012, Sapodilla Bay, Provo

It's Thursday afternoon & we're still in Provo (Providenciales), Turks & Caicos. We had planned on leaving at sun-up, but 1 boat we're traveling with (Mandolin) decided they needed more fuel. So we decided to stay another day here. The wind & seas are supposed to be lighter tomorrow as well (a good thing since the trip to South Caicos will be mostly motoring against the wind). We'll get fuel & clear out at S. Caicos (Cockburn Harbor)before heading to Great Sand Key (the furtherest south island of the Turks Islands). Then it's an 80+ mile run to the Dominican Republic & Luperon. Although we may end up sitting at Great Sand Cay for a few days waiting for the winds to shift around more to the east.

We did find a nice little liquor store/bar that's just a 1/2-3/4 mile walk from an old pier where we bring the dinghys to from the boats. It's run by a great guy named Phil & offers wifi along with reasonably priced sodas & beer. Reasonable for the Bahamas/Turks & Caicos anyway - I hear beer in Luperon is $0.70 rather than the $3 here & $4 in most of the Bahamas.

It's nice traveling with friends. Although I realized last night that I don't miss I-95 traffic or the regular sounds of sirens or hordes of people all rushing to be someplace. Maybe it's partially the heat, but we're truly on "Island Time" - I'll do it when I get to it. (: We did cross the Tropic of Cancer on the way to Mayaguana from Rum Cay, so we're officially in the tropics now. There's no difference in the heat (it's about 90 every day), but the sun does seem to beat down harder in the afternoon. However, sitting in the shade with the constant wind blowing is VERY comfortable. At night, we have 1 or 2 hatches open in the boat cabin & it's totally comfortable - some nights even a bit chilly!

The one downside to being in Provo is that the city is spread out across the entire island & we're at the far western end. So to get most places is a $6 - $10 cab ride. South Caicos has just about everything that's here but it's all consolidated into a much smaller area.

Reflecting on just the start of our journey, this has been a highly interesting experience. I am no missing S Fla or the corporate rat race a bit. I do have work items that need to be done regularly, so it's not all "play." But it's much more relaxed & enjoyable. I do miss some of my close friends & activities and a couple movies I definitely would have liked to see, but I would not trade this experience for anything anhd am looking forward to sharing more adventures/experiences as they are encountered. (:

The picture is Bill (Mandolin) & I hauling diesel fuel back to his boat. This is the road we've been traveling back & forth to town each day.

05/18/2012 | Tammy Burns
looks like u could use a wagon
05/20/2012 | Carol
beats the corporate rat race...told ya so!!!! Someties I watch Fox news for giggles
05/21/2012 | stuart
Greetings my brother !!!!! Im going to the movie with mike tonight so you know we will be thinking of you and missing you of course. I like the adventure but i have to admit being on a boat at night in the middle of nowhere with a storm would make me cry like a baby, lol. really enjoy the pictures , can i request more sunsets ? sunrises ? at some point if you dont mind i could make them into a slidshow with music and post on utube.
game night just isnt the same without you :(
In the Turks & Caicos Islands
Gary
05/14/2012, Providencials, Turks & Caicos

We left Mayaguana, Bahamas Friday night (about 9:30pm) for an overnight sail to the Turks & Caicos (Provicailes Island). The weather forcast was for 12-14 mph winds with widely isolated possible squalls. Of course, immediately after getting the anchor up & raising the sail we get 25+ mph winds! So the sail came back down & we motored (along with Mandolin - the 40' ketch) throughout the night. The winds did finally moderate enough that at 3am I pulled out the jib & sailed with that, running 1 engine at a fast idle (mostly to provide power for the autopilot). It was a rocky, rolly ride but not all that bad. We got to the channel for the Turks & Caicos Islands, which runs across a shallow bank, at 7 and motored the 8 miles to a nice anchorage (Sapodilla Bay). As we came into the bay, there was Free Fallin waiting for us.

The Turks & Caicos are grouped as 1 entity, but are actually 2 separate island groups. We're in the Caicos right now, but will head for the Turks before clearing out.

This is another tropical paradise, tho it seems at times to be trying to mold itself after S Fla too much. We're waiting here for 3-4 days for the winds to moderate a bit & then will head 40 miles east to South Caicos Island. I have heard that S Caicos is much more of an unspoiled tropical island. From there, we'll head to Great Sand Cay (part of the Turks Islands). From there, we'll wait for a weather window to make the 85 mile crossing to Luperon in the Dominican Republic.

Sailing at night, alone with the boat & the wind provokes a lot of miscelaneous thoughts. A couple of the night trips have not been a whole lot of fun, but have not been really as terrible as they could have been. It's like taking a long distance trip on an unknown road (NOT an Interstate!) that twists & turns, goes up hill & downhill and you have limited visibility because of the rain. Of course, there's no place to pull over & wait for the weather to pass by. Nor are there motels where you can check in for the night. Still, when the moon is out, the wind moderates & the sail is moving the boat at a brisk pace (i.e., 6-7 mph) it's very enjoyable. The sky is alive with stars, the sea whooshes past and there is a feeling of calm and peacefulness. (: Then, you come into a brand new island/country and get to experience whatever it has to offer. We hav e a good, solid boat. We're not taking any rash chances with the weather. And (as Stu commented :D ) we have escaped the corporate rat race! Life is good.

05/16/2012 | Bud*
I'm Impressed..... Nice job Gary...
05/20/2012 | Moksha
Gotta be the biggest Bahamian lobster I ever saw!!
05/20/2012 | Carol
Margi!!! did you cook it?
Long crossing to Mayaguana
Gary
05/11/2012, 22 21.89'N:72 58.67'W

A LOT has happened since my last update!

We left Rum Cay for May Mayaguana Cay at sunup on Tuesday, 5/8 even though we were heading straight into the wind. The forecast was for very moderate winds - 8-10 mph & 1'-2' seas. So we left with 2 other boats - Free Fallin with Travis & Legion (20-somethings on a 27' sailboat) and Mandolin (Bill & Mary, retired on a beautiful 40' ketch).

We started out great but then ran into a current. Then we slowed down more because Free Fallin could not keep up speed. Then heard that Free Fallin had a gas shortage problem, so we turned back, gave them our spare dinghy gas (5 gal) & took their dinghy in tow. It turns out, the dinghy acts more like an anchor!

What I had estimated as a 24 hour easy motor became a 33 hour slog. We did keep in hourly radio contact with Mandolin (who was also in contact with Free Fallin who was way ahead since they didn't have a heavy dinghy slowing them down). Still, it was better for all that we took it for what turned out to be a not fun crossing. We ended up at a little cut in the rocks that is used only by the mailboat for Mayaguana. As it turns out however, someone answered Mandolin's call on the radio for fuel. A native (Skully) brought diesel in his car out to the VERY crude dock area. As Inspiration also needed diesel & Free Fallin needed gas, Skully headed back into town with Travis & Bill and returned with the fuel we needed. From George Town, we motored for a bit over 40 hrs & used 30 gallons of fuel (pretty good).

After anchoring for the night off the NW end of Mayaguana, we headed to the south side of the island and Abrahams Bay, which is almost 4 miles long. Mandolin came along while Free Fallin headed for the Turks & Caicos. We went into the town at the east end of Abrahams Bay in the dinghy only to find that if you don't follow a narrow channel into the dock area (actually just a big concrete wall) you need to walk the boat to the channel! We met Skully at the dock & he took us around the town area - Customs, the grocery store & bar. A terrific guy named Reggie runs a guest house (Reggie's cottages - named after his dad) and the grocery (Loraine's Market - named after his mom). The island is beuutiful, pristine, quiet and would be a wonderful place to hang out for an extended period - if we were not trying to get south before hurricane season.

We left Abrahams Bay this afternoon and moved to SE Point for a temporary anchorage. We - along with Mandolin - are leaving tonight for a night crossing to get into the Turks & Caicos just after sunup tomorrow morning. I would have liked to stay for a few days but we have favorable winds & seas now and should be able to sail thru most the night. Naturally, that's a good thing. (:

Picture added - our hitchhiker from Rum Cay (who flitted between the 3 boats on our way to Mayaguana)

05/14/2012 | Helen(Mom)
I had not checked this web sight for awhile and ssssso interesting and feeling like you are going through a lot of discomfort for this adventure. I pray each night for your safe travels. Love to you both. Getting up at 8 !!!! Unbelieveable.
05/14/2012 | Carol
Love reading the adventures of the NOT old man and the sea. Just out of curiosity, how much did thirty gallons of delivered diesel cost you all? Love ya Helen too a bucket a beer at cha!
05/14/2012 | Gary Lehnertz
Mom - some discomfort, but there's always a price for doing what you want (:

Carol - it was $7/gallon plus a $35 delivery fee for the diesel
In Rum Cay eating fresh fish
Gary
05/07/2012, 23 38.55'N:74 50.54'W

We left Calabash Bay, Long Island yesterday morning about 8:30 and motored around the north end of Long Island. It's called Cape Santa Maria because Columbus' Santa Maria went aground on the reef there. Once around the island, we headed SE towards Rum Cay (about 22 miles). We motored straight into the wind, but as it was only 2-4 mph the seas were flat & the trip easy. The last 8 miles the wind swung around a bit so we put up the sails just to get a little added push. We got into Rum Cay and anchored by 3 pm.

I put out just 1 fishing pole after we got going and even detoured out of our way & slowed down a bit a couple times to follow weed lines in hopes of getting a fish - without any luck. Shortly after leaving one of these weed areas the pole bent over & line started going out. I put the engines in idle and starting working on the pole. It turned out I had a dolphin (mahi-mahi) that was a bit over 3' long (about 5 pounds). (: It went into the fridge (minus head & insides).

A couple hours after we got into Rum, 2 other boats from George Town & Long Island came into Rum as well. There is Travis & gf Legion on a 27' boat (Free Falling) and John & Mary on a 35'-40' monohull. Legion had also caught a couple smaller fish, so Travis fileted those and the dolphin. I got the barbeque going on Inspiration, everyone else brought a little bit (fresh salad, beer & fresh bread) and we had a great dinner. The full moon rising over the horizon was just awesome too!

We're staying here a day to hit the reefs & then continuing SE, hoping the wind will be favorable for us.

05/08/2012 | Carol
I love reading yo9ur reports. Doesn't living so close to the challenges of nature make you feel alive? I know I love my open house to heaer the rain on the metal roof and the loud howls of the howler monkeys. I am in the middle of a battle again. The monied interests are trying to overturn the Coastal environmental protection law here. They are hiding under the banner of protect the poor black fisherman who lives on the coast... not true, but effective.
05/09/2012 | Bud*
Now thats what I call living.
I'm hoping for the same kind of luck when we are in Oahu during our vacation Memorial Day week. Our Villa comes complete with an outdoor bbq and you can bet that I will be out trying to catch something to put on it...
Live Large ***
05/10/2012 | Laurel
So you are finally in your new life, Margi - hope it is all you wished for and more - we miss you here - say hi to Gary and Windy whom I've never met - have your blog address on favorites now so will check it often - best, Laurel
05/10/2012 | stuart
Gary,
wanted to check in, i enjoy reading your blog and the fact that you have broke out of the corporate rat race. i wish you smooth sailing :)

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