Cruising with Vida Dulce

27 February 2017 | West End Roatan, Honduras
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

Preparedness & Good Luck Pay Off

27 February 2017 | West End Roatan, Honduras
Susan / sunny, windy, 86 degrees F
The combination of preparedness and good luck helped us avoid disaster today. With the continued windy conditions we double-check the mooring lines, safety line, mooring pennant and eye each afternoon. We leave Anchor King (Jerry's anchor alarm) running day and night. The anchor is ready to deploy, and we'd talked about where we would anchor should we need to in the dark. Other than the in the dark part, all of this came into play minutes after we return from our beach walk and secure the dinghy.

We had just popped the top of a couple of cold beers and were enjoying them when Anchor King goes off. I look out the front windows to see Vida Dulce sideways to the wind; the mooring may have just failed. I go to the bow to confirm. Yep, we're no longer attached to something attached to the bottom of the sea. The sailboat just entering the anchorage and motoring along side us confirms he saw it "go". I start hauling up lines: mooring lines, safety line, mooring pennant line.... Jerry starts the engines and comes forward to help me haul up the actual mooring, still attached to all of these lines. It had come "unscrewed" from the bottom! With everything out of the water, we slowly motor to a location that looks like more sand than turtle-grass and drop the anchor. It takes us several tries to get a hold but eventually we do, well outside the mooring field. Jerry snorkels and confirms there is plenty of chain on the ground and the anchor is set, although it is in grass & sand.

This is the 6th mooring failure of some type since we arrived. Two mooring pins broke off their bases and three pennants broke somewhere between the pin (base) and the pennant. We know of two other moorings whose pennants are down to just 2 strands, making them surely next to fail. At this rate, this anchorage could revert to being that again rather than a mooring field.

So the lucky part is we were on-board when the mooring failed. If we had still been on our walk or had gone to town, Vida Dulce surely would have been on the reef.

All of the other moorings are taken, which is just fine, I feel safer on our trusted ground tackle anyway.

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.
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 - Iles des Saints
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