Cruising with Vida Dulce

22 February 2017 | West End Roatan, Honduras
19 February 2017 | West End Roatan, Honduras
13 February 2017 | West End Roatan, Honduras
06 February 2017 | Fantasy Island Marina, Roatan, Honduras
05 February 2017 | Fantasy Island Marina, Roatan, Honduras
21 January 2017 | Fantasy Island Marina, Roatan, Honduras
12 January 2017 | Fantasy Island Marina, Roatan, Honduras
08 January 2017 | Fantasy Island Marina, Roatan, Honduras
02 January 2017 | Fantasy Island Marina, Roatan, Honduras
01 January 2017 | Fantasy Island Marina, Roatan, Honduras
31 December 2016 | Fantasy Island Marina, Roatan, Honduras
30 December 2016 | Fantasy Island Marina, Roatan
29 December 2016 | West End, Roatan
27 December 2016 | Tres Puntas, Guatemala
27 December 2016 | Rio Dulce, Guatemala
21 December 2016 | Rio Dulce, Guatemala
19 December 2016 | Rio Dulce, Guatemala
16 December 2016 | Rio Dulce, Guatemala
15 December 2016 | Rio Dulce, Guatemala
12 December 2016 | Rio Dulce, Guatemala

Cold Front

22 February 2017 | West End Roatan, Honduras
Susan / mostly cloudy, windy, 83 degrees F
The forecasted cold front sweeps through right on schedule. This morning, early, the winds shift to the West setting off AnchorKing’s alarm, even though the wind is still light. Along with the wind shift, seas start running over the reef directly into the anchorage giving us some chop and swell. By 9am the front is passing overhead with steady winds in the high 20kts, gusting 30kts, seas running into the anchorage have built accordingly. Interestingly this winter cold front carries very little rain and no thunderstorms, plus it arrives while daylight with the worst of conditions here mid-morning to mid-afternoon. Much appreciated. Nonetheless, it is a bit stressful, moderately swelly day. We regularly check mooring lines and the safely line. We’d already made sure the anchor is ready to deploy and engines ready to start.

The necessity of all regular safety checks and backup plans is reinforced when a monohull on a mooring buoy towards land from us experiences trouble approx 7:30am, before the front arrives; their mooring buoy pin breaks and they start to drift toward another boat and shore. Radio calls confirm they know they’re adrift. We all watch to see if they are able to handle the situation themselves or need assistance. Luckily for all of us in the anchorage, they do. They pull up their mooring line and safely line along with the severed pin; reset their line and catch another mooring pennant farther south in the anchorage. By then, the sea conditions are too rough to set a safety line so I’m sure their day was much more stressful than ours when the winds and seas picked up.

As night falls, winds and seas have calmed although still from a westerly direction; it’ll be tomorrow mid-day before that changes. We’ve been here in the West End in worse conditions lasting a much longer duration, nonetheless we are thankful for a safe, largely uneventfuly cold front passage today.

The forecast for Friday, the weekend, and everyday next week calls for abundant sunshine and easterly winds, making this anchorage again a slice of paradise.

Catching Up On Boat Projects

19 February 2017 | West End Roatan, Honduras
Susan / a beautiful blue-sky sunny day, 84 degrees F
We have had fantastic weather since arriving at the West End. Under bright blue sunny skies during the day, mid-80s, and breezy conditions overnight, 78 degrees F - perfect sleeping weather with the hatch open - we start to get caught up on postponed boat projects and general maintenance. Cleaning and laundry is a given, as is making water. Ideal water-making conditions with the sea so clear it’s easy to see the bottom and whatever swims under or beside the boat. We’re also taking a little R&R time. Part of the recharge is our nearly daily walk on the beach - 2.75 miles round trip - timed to return for a cold Noon beer.

Boat project-wise: Jerry replaces the spark plugs on the dinghy motor. I restring the dinghy motor cover and bbq cover. Jerry finishes the installation of the Pioneer radio and new remote inverter control switch. He organizes his lab so that we can reassemble the “garage” to free up the guest suite for guests.

Life is pretty darn good here.

Nice Passage to West End

13 February 2017 | West End Roatan, Honduras
Susan / mostly sunny, calm winds & seas
It was a great day to move from French Harbour / Fantasy Island Marina to the West End anchorage. Mostly sunny, 83 degrees F, a bit of a breeze and following seas for the 3 hour journey. Plus we caught dinner, a "football" blackfin tuna, along the way.

There are 10 sailboats in the anchorage when we arrive. Nonetheless we find a mooring buoy early on; it's not ideal with a short pennant but we make it work. Jerry dives it and it looks in good repair, nonetheless we'll set a safety line thru the base when higher winds are forecasted. It takes us a couple of more hours to get completely settled and have lunch with an arrival beverage. By early afternoon, we're feeling good.

It's nice to be out of a marina.

2017 Cruising Season Itinerary

06 February 2017 | Fantasy Island Marina, Roatan, Honduras
Susan / AM rain, PM sun, 84 degrees F
We've determined that we do not need to attend the Miami Boat Show, which would have had us rushing back to the States in just a week. With that decision made, and the fact that we now have product ready to sell, we're unpacking and getting settled back on Vida Dulce, and starting to plan this cruising season.

Our draft itinerary is:
Roatan: Feb / Mar / early Apr
Caymans: (1-2 weeks only) Apr
South coast of Cuba: (2 weeks only) late Apr / early May
Cancun / Isla Mujeres: mid-May
And back to the Rio Dulce for the hurricane season (end of May)

All depends on the weather, of course. Usually the strong "christmas" or winter trades ease sometime in March, sometimes early in the month, sometimes late. The longest passage will be from here to the Cayman Islands, northeast travel, so we'll need a decent-sized calm trade winds & seas window for it. Once there, it's mostly north to the planned check-in town in Cuba. From that point we'll travel westbound with the trades, which should be relatively easy going, until the passage to Isla Mujeres, which crosses the strong northbound current.

Once we leave Roatan, we'll be moving most good passage days making visit-timing uncertain so if you have a thought about joining us in this wonderful place, the clock is ticking.

Goal Accomplished!

05 February 2017 | Fantasy Island Marina, Roatan, Honduras
Susan / a warm rain, 80 degrees F
Goal Accomplished! We now have the full Mintaka Innovations product line - Mintaka Duo, Mintaka Duo+ and Mintaka Star - available for sale through our worldwide distributor, Weems & Plath (and their dealers) along with an initial set of user guides, reference guides and marketing materials. We even sold a Mintaka Star to a customer at the Seattle Boat Show (photo) in the Captain's Nautical booth!

Our new website is live - - still some missing some support items and short a shopping cart, all of which and more will be added in the coming weeks. Our marketing partner, CHIMERA Communications - - is a true partner and fantastic to work with. After spending quality booth time with the President of Weems & Plath and his wife, we're well on our way to a productive partnership there, as well.

And we're back to Vida Dulce just in time. When we woke up on Friday in Seattle, there was a dusting of snow on the ground. It continued to rain, a cold rain, until we caught our red-eye flight out. It's raining here as well, however it's 80 degrees F. LOL.

It's been an intense several weeks, and our short Seattle stay was a whirlwind, but all signs are positive that it was well worth the effort.

Mini-Flotilla of Friends Depart to Panama

21 January 2017 | Fantasy Island Marina, Roatan, Honduras
Susan a bright sunny 88 degrees F
We say a fond "until we meet again!" to Charlie & Saundra, s/v Island Sol, in the very place we met them 3 years ago, @ the Tiki Palapa, Fantasy Island Marina, French Cay Harbour, Roatan. They sail off tomorrow toward Panama via Providencia / San Andres with a few other boats as we fly out to Seattle for Mintaka product assembly and packaging for the boat show and on-line sales. Many miles, smiles, adventures and laughter; good times. Wx looks good for their passage. One bit of concern for their route however. A report of piracy just a couple of days ago at the small island located off the coast of Nicaragua where sailers typically take the turn South. There was an earlier reported piracy incident in late December in the Vivario Cays, in the same general area. They, and others traveling the route toward Providencia will need give both areas wide berth, extending the passage another full day.

Our wx arrival in Seattle looks typical of the season, highs of 46 degrees F, lows in the 30's with clouds and rain showers. Not thinking I'd be back in Seattle until next summer, I left all of my warm clothes in the car or in the storage unit. My regular shoes as well. So I'll be arriving in a rain jacket over a dress and flip-flops freezing my ass off. Jerry had taken some of his warm clothes and shoes back to the boat so he is in much better shape for arriving in cool wet conditions. Being the gentleman he is, he'll go get the car in the morning while I wait in a warm & dry hotel room.
Vessel Name: Vida Dulce
Vessel Make/Model: Lagoon 440
Hailing Port: Seattle, WA
Crew: Jerry and Susan Barber
About: Jerry and Susan moved aboard Vida Dulce in late October of 2010. We are currently in the Caribbean.
Vida Dulce's Photos - Main
4 Photos
Created 15 December 2016
9 Photos
Created 17 October 2016
20 Photos
Created 1 September 2015
North Coast, West section 2015; Havana to Baracoa Bus Trip 2016
100 Photos
Created 15 May 2015
38 Photos
Created 11 March 2015
50 Photos
Created 25 December 2014
The road trip included 7 States: WA, OR, ID, WY, CO, UT, MT
16 Photos
Created 3 August 2014
Hurricane Season 2014
1 Photo | 5 Sub-Albums
Created 14 June 2014
Pictures of our stay in Honduras 2014
1 Photo | 5 Sub-Albums
Created 4 January 2014
10 Photos
Created 18 October 2013
4 Photos
Created 20 September 2013
Our Dec 2012 - Feb 2013 visit
55 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
Created 31 December 2012
Happy Holidays from Isla Providencia, Colombia
11 Photos
Created 31 December 2012
Photos of my on-board garden
16 Photos
Created 28 September 2012
4 Photos
Created 26 December 2011
Pictures of our time in Panama, Sept 2011 - Dec 2012
1 Photo | 5 Sub-Albums
Created 29 September 2011
Pictures of our visit to Columbia, May-Oct 2011
1 Photo | 5 Sub-Albums
Created 15 July 2011
Photos of our series drogue and May 2011 practice deployment and retrieval
24 Photos
Created 13 May 2011
Pictures from our brief visit to Bonaire, Curacao & Aruba in May 2011
35 Photos
Created 11 May 2011
Pictures of our short stay off Isla Pelona in May 2011
17 Photos
Created 11 May 2011
Pictures of our time in Grenada, April 2011
48 Photos
Created 23 April 2011
Pictures of our island stops in the Grenadines, April 2011
36 Photos
Created 4 April 2011
Photos of St Vincent, April 2011
11 Photos
Created 2 April 2011
Photos of St Lucia March 2011
46 Photos
Created 15 March 2011
68 Photos
Created 7 March 2011
Photos of Dominica 2011
3 Photos
Created 7 March 2011
Photos of Iles des Saintes, Feb 2011
12 Photos
Created 17 February 2011
Photos of Guadeloupe, Feb 2011
49 Photos
Created 13 February 2011
Photos of Barbuda, Jan 2011
15 Photos
Created 14 January 2011
20 Photos
Created 30 December 2010
2 Photos
Created 26 December 2010
Photos of Red Hook, St Thomas and Vida Dulce getting a new bank of batteries and the installation of her new custom made arch which will support 4 solar panels.
28 Photos
Created 9 November 2010
Haul out of Vida Dulce in November of 2010.
23 Photos
Created 9 November 2010
Lots of photos of various places not in other albums. Most are included directly in a blog entry.
27 Photos
Created 31 October 2010
15 Photos
Created 11 September 2010
A "Working" Trip with Jim to start outfitting the boat for cruising.
31 Photos
Created 10 September 2010
11 Photos
Created 5 April 2010
34 Photos
Created 5 April 2010