Black Butterfly

15 August 2016 | Cape Canaveral
20 April 2016 | Bimini
17 April 2016 | Governors Habour
06 April 2016
06 April 2016
20 March 2016 | Puerto Bahia Marina Samana
05 March 2016
05 March 2016 | Isla Caja De Muertos
25 November 2015 | Clarkes Court Boatyard, Grenada
26 October 2015 | Grenada
20 October 2015 | Rivers Rum Distillery, Grenada
18 October 2015 | Grenada
17 October 2015 | Grenada
11 October 2015 | Mt Horn near Grenville, Grenada
20 September 2015 | Grenada Hash House Harriers at St Davids
20 September 2015 | Grenada Chocolate Factory
06 September 2015 | Clarkes Court Boatyard, Grenada
21 August 2015 | Grenada
31 July 2015 | Carriacou

And on with our sailing

15 August 2016 | Cape Canaveral
Glenda and Jay
Having arrived in the USA and lifted the boat late April, then spent May in Australia, arriving back to work on the boat mid June, we are finally ready to go back in the water. We have spent the last two months living on the second floor of a 2 story yacht and tonight we sleep in a hammock!

The anti fouling we expected to "just touch up", sold to us by Island Water World in St Martin, and told it could be obtained all over the USA, can't be. Consequently we had to go right back and redo the whole lot! There were also some bumps to be smoothed out on the keel where coral reefs jumped out at us; wish they stay in one place!

A few other bits done, like rudder gaiter replacement, engine service etc, radar housing and wire to be replaced, a very expensive time. Looking forward to anchoring out again. The other reason is around here there are no flies, a few mosquitoes, but LOTS of no-see-ums. (See picture above). These are tiny, tiny critters that have jaws that part your skin to make a well of blood they can suck, and they hurt. I mean mosquitoes only hurt sometimes but these hurt every time! Hoping they are not on the water.

I will miss our constant companion in the yard, a female Sea Hawk. From the debris on the ground she eats small alligators as well as fish. This whole area is fairly low lying and there are lots of " lagoons" around. We found this sign on one of them

and kept our eyes open but saw nothing for over 2 months, then a few days ago we found this...

over 5 ft long and close to the footpath. Bit big for the Sea Hawk.

Good Bye Bahamas!

20 April 2016 | Bimini
Glenda and Jay
Well as we sail off in the sunset to the USA...... well ok we will sail away at sunrise but the island of Bimini will be in the way of that so here is the sunset as we arrived to Bimini.

We have had a long couple of days. With the wind staying NE we headed toward Rose Island near Nassau but we were having such a good run we kept going across to the Berry Islands, 80 NM, anchoring at 730pm just east of Frazer's Hog Cay in the only small piece of sand we could find at that time of the night. What we didn't realise was that the anchor chain wrapped it self around a large piece of coral rock and there it got stuck, so next morning at 8am had me swimming to try and free the chain and anchor. I got it to a point that I just told jay to Gun the engine and we pulled both the anchor and chain free. We lost an hour, didn't wreck any coral and headed off for the next 90 NM travel across the Grand Bahama bank toward Bimini. We had a great run whilst the wind was above 15 knots and thought we would make it by 6pm but the wind died down and we traveled at a slower 6-7 knots arriving at 830pm.

Another sunset view as we arrived to Bimini

We had to "waste" a day to check out we thought, although we were both looking forward to some R&R that didn't involve sailing. We moved the boat closer to the opening of the channel and took the dinghy in to customs, which wasn't were all the charts and books say, to be told we don't need to check out just go, and send the form back in the post. Oh well we enjoyed our walks and swims here and they have the best shells I have seen anywhere.

I caught another Mackerel family fish which we both enjoyed at our 930pm dinner and am looking forward to catching something big as we cross the gulf stream towards the US.

Damn that wind!

17 April 2016 | Governors Habour
Glenda and Jay
I am beginning to question going to the East Coast of America for the next hurricane season. The wind, which for the last 18 months has come from the East, is all over the place. April was supposed to be the month to travel north and west as the "north" winds would have stopped. NOT SO this year! they are heading across out of the States every couple of days. OK so they are supposed to last maybe 24 hours at this time of the year, NOT SO this year!

Our Plans to go from Eleuthra to the Abacos, NNW of Eleuthra, and traveling up the chain of Islands is now dashed. We have a 5 day NE wind settled on us. Ok we could tack all the way there but we are cruising not racing so that's a no go! The winds did provide some squalls so we got some much needed rain water for the tank but that is all good for. We have decided to change our direction yet again and move directly east to get to the US coast. The plan "today" is to head towards Nassau and then the Berry Islands, across the Great Bahama Bank (yes Jay is getting used to crossing shallow water Banks), to Bimini then to Palm Beach, US. it will then only be a 150 NM hop up to Canaveral.

We have had some great swims where we are here at Governors Harbour, some of the best fans we have seen and lots of shells and fish.

Cambiosa to The Bahamas

06 April 2016
A small swell had started to enter the bay of Cambiosa but it was not a major problem, but it did increase during the night and by morning was rolling our boat so much it woke us up with things rolling around. The was no wind so we ended up side on to the swell. We listened to the weather on HF, then packed the boat up and headed the next 65 NM towards Manzanillo(pronounced Manza neo).

We had an amazing downwind run with the sails "butterflied", we don't goosewing anymore, in 20 - 25 knots wind. We were hoping to get into Mananillo before the forecast 25-30 knot winds forecast for the late afternoon. We almost made it, but not quite, the last 10 NM were in the higher NE winds, we had already put 2 reefs in and we're still surfing along, with Jay recording 12.2 knots. I wasn't going to take the helm!

hidden in the swell
Whilst we sailed along the north coast we saw some small open craft with red/brown sails, and a branch for a mast, they must have been over 6 NM from the coast in 2.5 metre rough seas, crazy!

We sailed through some small islands approaching Cape Manzanillo, we were on the look out for an abandoned Canadian ferry. Can't wait to here that story! Well the book that supposedly had been updated in 2015 was again incorrect... No ferry. We headed towards Manzanillo this was a deep bay that cut the wind in half and totally no swell.
Unfortunately the forecast which we had worsened and we were in for 4 days of strengthening winds 20 -25 with gusts to 30, during the mornings 25-35 in the afternoon into the evening, with the wind funneling through the Bahamas channel. Looks like we are staying in Manzanillo for Easter.
Manzanillo is very different to the other small parts of the DR that we have seen and very different to the other islands of the Caribbean. It is dry and arid. The town is said to be for the workers in the banana plantations, but there is a small container port here also. The whole town is very run down. The trees are green but the ground is rocks and grass is all but dead. You can see the infrastructure was there but there has been no maintenance and most things are crumbling and falling down, including the container wharf.

We had toyed with the idea of going via Cuba to the East coast of the U.S., planned the stops etc but decided that it would be too long a sail, when we could have easier jaunts through the Bahamas. We have lost time already to weather and just want to get up as far north as possible to leave us time for weather issue later in April. We have a deadline of leaving the U.S. at the end April.

It was awfully hard sitting in a fairly protected bay thinking surely we can leave?, but then listening to the weather, no still 30 knots. It finally moderated and we headed off Easter Sunday afternoon, in what we expected to be E/SE 15-20 knots. We had 30 NE. Not what we want so headed back to the protected bay. The next morning was calm as again and we worked out that the wind was coming up in the late pm evening along the cost of DR, so we left straight after breakfast, 8 am. We changed our plans and instead of heading to Great Inagua, the southern most island of the Bahamas, we headed north as quickly as possible trying to get away from the winds funneling through past DR and Cuba in the afternoons. Our destination, the island of Mayaguana (pronounced Maygwana)
We actually had to motor out from Manzanillo as there was no wind! Once we cleared the coast line we had a nice 15-20 knots, from the NE, the wind was supposed to be E/SE but we hoped that was still coming, on a comfortable reach we were off to the Bahamas! The wind did eventually go E with a smattering of SE and gradually increased so that for the most part we were in 20-25 knots. As dark fell we had about 2 hours where the wind was 25-30, by this stage we had dropped the main. We hurtled along at 8-9.5 knots with some nice surfs to 12. We decided to overnight, or what was left of it, at West Caicos, part of the Turks and Caicos, islands not part of the Bahamas to the East, neither of us enjoys a night of little sleep. As we got closer to West Caicos both the swell and wind dropped and we arrived doing 6 knots at 2am, found a dive mooring to attach to along the coast and by 3 am was sound asleep. We left just before 8am as that is when the dive boats were due in.
We arrived as Mayaguana around 2:30pm, and prepared to go from a depth of 300 metres of water to 5 metres in roughly 100 metres distance. Daunting. We followed some tried and tested waypoints in to amazingly light blue crystal clear water. We very quickly got to 3.5 metres and continued into this huge bay, surrounded and protected by reef. We anchored the boat about 2NM into the bay and dropped off the end of the boat for a much deserved swim. The clarity was amazing; the sandy bottom had lots a sea potatoes, a very large sea urchin that lives under the sand, and queen conch and other sea shell life.

From the western entrance we had come through it was a 6 NM dinghy ride to the township and customs, into the wind and fetch. We checked out app (thank you Pauline!) and found a round and tracks from further south so we put the bikes in the dinghy and motored 1.5 NM to the beach and rode into town. We got to see the abandoned buildings and airport that the Americans left behind sometime in the 70s. There was supposed to be a capsule that took the first photos of earth from afar and landed not far from the Island but all we found was a derelict monument to the occasion. The ride in of course was also into the wind, but we weren't getting wet! We completed Customs and immigration and bought a SIM card, US$371 poorer after that we had an almost free wheel ride back to the dinghy, with the wind behind us.
We went for a snorkel out near the reef and found a good sized cray fish, but it got the better of me when I had to come up for air and had scuttled away. We decided to stay an extra day and do some more cray hunting. I fashioned a cray catcher out of plastic tubing and a computer security cable I wasn't using, not like I am used to but it should work I hope. Well we found a cray and spent 1/2 - 3/4 hour getting it out......yeh......but the discovered it had eggs! Damn, I got coral scraps for nothing, I put her back where she came from. We wondered off to find another which we did but that also evaded us. Oh well chicken for dinner again.

We moved out of the bay and headed up the west coast so we could get a clear water exit at first light the next morning. The area we were going to was supposed to have plenty of sand but was struggled to find any to anchor in, finally I took the dinghy and scouted around, found a patch about 600 wide and 2 metres long and we maneuvered and dropped the hook there. We recently bought a Rocna anchor and it catches almost every time very quickly and digs in quickly, we have greater confidence with this anchor than we did with the Bruce style.
We headed off the next morning and stopped overnight at a small bay on Acklands Island, a little rolly as with our draft we could not tuck in well but it didn't keep us awake.
After listening to the weather at 0630am we headed to an area on Long Island called Salt Pond, or Clarence town. We stayed here a couple of day finding cray ready for taking the next morning with tanks on. The Northerly that we were expecting came in lighter than expected so instead of crayfishing we headed off to Rum Island 30NM north. There were stronger northerly's coming and Rum Island offered better protection.
I managed to catch a small tuna on the way so was very happy.
Rum Cay as been a good place to be in these 25-30 knot NE /E.

Samana to Cambiosa

06 April 2016
The Navy chap turned up about 530 pm the night before we left and gave us our clearance. Jay asked if we owed anything and he said no, it was up to us if we wanted to give a gift. Which we did ($20)! It is sort of expected and we were already forewarned, these chaps apparently only get the equivalent of US$250 a month. We headed off at 6am and motored to the entrance of the Bay, about an hour and half, with me catching a small "little tunny", a mackerel species, hoisted sails and headed north, motor sailing as we had 200 NM to go.

The wind was a bit light but was ok until we turned west and it came behind us. The Van Zant book, "gentleman's guide to sailing south" gives a little stat on sailing west and he recommended keeping close into the coast and then doing a broad reach to the point from half way into the next bay. We tried that as it was only 5 NM different to the rhumb line. We were probably not close enough as the wind was all over the place, we had the motor was on and off for the next hour and half, but eventually we reached the area he said turn and sure enough we had great broad reach to the point.
The DR coast here has lots of small peaks, like thick jam boiling. Amazingly picturesque.

We turned the next corner and with the wind right behind us sailed along for a while although at a slower rate......then the wind died. We motored for nearly 10 hours. There were no published bays or regions we could get into along this coast, especially at night. Jay had had an early break and kip and I was down for mine, when Jay woke me and said he had found a bay that looked like we could enter even at 2 am in the morning. We had a nearly full moon, being close to Easter. He was over the noise and expense of motoring! So we headed in, dropped anchor in dead flat mirror seas and slept.
The next morning the local Navy man turned up at our boat, brought out by local fisherman. You are not supposed to anchor anywhere except where they say. He seemed happy with our explanation and we requested staying an extra day, which he agreed to. This Bay was lovely. Long stretches of sandy beach, clean clear water, reef on both sides with a small coral island and reef across one side of the entrance. We had not tucked in behind this as suggested, to keep out of most swell but there wasn't any.
The fisherman wanted us to come in and buy fish, octopi and crays from him which we readily agreed too. We swam in from the beach about lunch time thinking to choose our evening meal. He was charging an arm and a leg and we had to bargain down. He then informed us it would be 40 minutes, it took us a while then realised he was going to cook the food for us straight away.

That took care of lunch! The octopus was made up as a salad with onion and celery, and the extremely small crays were BBQ, plus fried plantains. Both Jay and I would have like the cray cooked a bit longer so we could eat more of the body but we did not go hungry and I assume they cooked the rest up for themselves.

We had a walk along the beach and did some beach combing, picking up some very seasoned calabash, no big ones but good enough to make bowls for nibbles etc. the beach was covered with large pieces of drift wood, one in particular we thought had been carved to look like a crocodile but it was all natural.

Mona Passage going West

20 March 2016 | Puerto Bahia Marina Samana
Glenda and Jay
Sorry we have been a bit tied up with things. Pictures will have to follow as the internet is not cooperating.

So we headed out of Mayaguez, Puerto Rico in a 6 knot northerly, presumably land induced as we were expecting easterlies, but we made good time doing 5 knots. My good trimming of course! As we got further offshore and closer to the Isla Desecheo our easterlies filled in. We headed off towards Dominican Republic (DR), leaving the hourglass shoal way to port, sitting on the 300-400 metres depth contour. We had 15-20 knots of easterly wind with swell from the NE at about 1.5 - 2 metres, which was great. We had 140 Nm to do and we had calculated that at 8 knots we would get in about 18 hours and at 6 knots 24 hours. We left at 1130 am thinking this would be good timing. What we didn't plan on was doing 9 knots and above. Now don't get me wrong, I like the T shirts that say "Sail fast. Live slow" but our problem was the Dominican Republic Navy, who control the coasts don't allow boats entering or leaving their shores between 6 pm and 6 am. At this rate we would be in at 3 am, not good, I do not want to upset the constabulary. So we double reefed the main, dropped pretty much no speed; partially furled the jib, dropped ½ a knot. Still not slow enough so we totally furled the jib and got the speed down to 7.5-8 knots. That was going to have to do. We were past the hourglass shoal just before sunset so we knew we were ok there and the sea was not excessively rough. As we approached the Coast of the DR the winds lightened and our speed crept down to the point we were doing 4 knots but we decided to wait for sunrise to shake the reef out, we were cruising after all.
Samana Bay where we were going is a large bay at the top of the DR known for the Whales that come in here between Jan and March, to birth. That was the other reason for slowing down we did not want to come across sleeping whales at the entrance.
We approached the bay and I (Glenda) went forward to change the courtesy flag over, I looked up to check what the banging was to discover that the radar dome had come off the mast and was swinging around attached only by its cable. We had heard a bang about 5 minutes early but thought it was the jib on the lifelines, which we had just furled and so we dropped the main and I prepared to go up the mast to secure the radar dome when the cable gave way and it tumbled to the deck, luckily not going over the side. All 8 rivets holding the bracket on had given way! So we packed it away raised the main and jib and continued on our way.
Unfortunately we saw no whales at the entrance into the bay although we had seen some along the south Puerto Rico Coast before we went up to Mayaguez, via Boqueron.
We decided to use the Marina instead of anchoring in case we could get the radar fixed back on. This is an expensive marina at $52US a night, but for that you are in a resort. We have 2 horizon pools, lots of people offering to get us drinks (that you pay for), a spa (massage style, not a bubbly pool), free wifi, HOT SHOWERS!!!, laundry and more. Well somebody has to help the economy. We checked in and Jay was informed that there was a small 2 lap regatta on over the weekend and you 2 free nights if you entered it. Red rag at a Bull!
Around DR you cannot move your boat without asking permission of the Navy chap for your region. Across the bay from us here on the south coast of the north peninsular there is a huge rainforest, mangrove national park, Los Haitises.

Sunrise at Los Haitises
It is very hard to get to and is mainly done by boat, at the navy chaps discretion. We asked to go and was informed his boss said we could have one day but he knew that was hard for yachts so he gave us 2 days. Whooppee! Now I am not sure if we got it correct but we took that to mean 2 nights which was actually 3 days. Any way we headed over to this amazing place which contains a number of different habitats and consequently has a great diversity of mammals and birds.

There are caves and caverns containing pictograms and petroglyphs, and an interesting Ecotourism resort hidden the other side of the mangroves.

We were the only boat there other than the odd tourist boat that came around the coast during the day.

Very quiet except for the bird noises, and there were lots of them. The main birds we saw were herons, turkey buzzards, which at first I thought were eagles, brown pelicans, and a few others I have not identified.
derelict jetty being put to good use

We came back to the marina on the Friday to free cocktails for the start of the "regatta". The next morning we were given nice long sleeve regatta tops and headed out for a 2pm start. There was supposed to be 6 monohulls and 3 multihulls competing, the multihulls turned up but only 3 of the monohulls turned up. Needless to say we were first monohull across the line and almost lapped one of the other boats that seemed to go in some very funny directions, I presume they didn't like to heel. The multi hulls started 5 minutes after us and on the very last leg I couldn't get the jib inside the lifelines but we didn't worry, so we got caught by a Catana 48 cat, which passed us just before the finish line. Then it was back to the marina for paella and more drinks. I have to say I hate this not drinking when there is all this free alcohol around. The partying, band and presentation started at 930pm, Island time so that was 10pm start. We got a nice trophy to say we were the first monohull but we missed out on the 4 litres of Chives Regal. It hurt our pride but I can't drink it and Jay doesn't like scotch so no real loss.
We have decided to stay another night (paid $52US, Jay is cringing!) as we had a late night and I have been up since 4am downloading maps for the Bahamas. There are some strong Northerly winds coming down so we will not be heading to the Bahamas, Great Inagua, until Thursday or Friday. We have decided to move along the coast of DR a further 200NM, to Monti Cristi, leaving tomorrow morning at 6am. The Navy chap has just said he would meet us at the boat then....or 0630am, presumably island time that means 730am, oh well we are in their hands.

Grenada statues diving

05 March 2016
Before we left Grenada for places north, we decided to dive the underwater sculpture park at Moliniere Point of Grenada. We had taken a mooring buoy the night before. The next day, we set up the hookah system (this was the first time we had used it other than for cleaning the boat)and then swam fom the boat to the underwater sculpture park. The photo above is how this most famous one looked just after it went in. It now has a lot of coral on it.

Overnight Stay, Isla Caja De Muertos

05 March 2016 | Isla Caja De Muertos
J Brown, cloudy warm light winds
We left the island of Viques at 7am and sailed all day intending to finish the day at Ponce. As we rounded the Isla Caja De Muertos just before Ponce we decided to anchor in the lee of the island as it was identified as a good anchorage.
While Glenda cleaned the barracuda that she caught on the way, I put the boat away including putting up the rain catcher that Glenda made which is shown in the attached photo.
It then rained overnight and the water tank is over three quarters full the rain adding about 75 litres to the tank.
The island in the background is Isla Caja De Muertos, which is 'Coffin Island' because from the side, the island looks like a body laying on its back.

Goat Shed in Grenada

25 November 2015 | Clarkes Court Boatyard, Grenada
J Brown. Hot at midday
When does a boat become a goat shed?

At midday under the hot Grenada sun!

Halloween Hash,Oct 31 2015

J Brown, warm and humid
The 2 jellyfish joined 100+ cruisers and Hash club members for a well run Halloween event. The event started at 6pm, just after sunset. The club went to a great deal of effort to produce an interesting and enjoyable time with a number of club members along the path scaring the runners and walkers. The trail went through a partially completed building where there were more scary people.
Vessel Name: Black Butterfly
Vessel Make/Model: X-yacht, Xp44
Hailing Port: Adelaide, South Australia
Crew: Jay Brown, Glenda Neild
Black Butterfly's Photos - Main
BB becomes a goat shed
3 Photos
Created 20 November 2015
1 hour Halloween Hash House Harriers event, Grenada
8 Photos
Created 1 November 2015
Oil down being cooked on the beach in Grenada
2 Photos
Created 26 October 2015
Part of Cutty's Tour
12 Photos
Created 14 October 2015
5 Photos
Created 20 September 2015
St Davids September 19, 2015
3 Photos
Created 20 September 2015
242t travel lift
4 Photos
Created 6 September 2015
5 Photos
Created 25 January 2015