Cruise of the Boundless

We've been threatening to do this for a while and now, by Jove, we've done it. We's gone sailing!

14 September 2020
09 June 2020
01 June 2020
14 March 2020 | Your Tired of Being Politically Correct Narrative Manager Samantha Wells
14 February 2020
12 February 2020
26 January 2020
14 January 2020
22 November 2019 | Coral Bay

Houseboating in Paradise!

14 September 2020
Your Friendly Narrative Manager Samantha Wells | Sorry for the missing
Ciao a tutti!

So, we're still stuck in the West Indies... alright, alright, go ahead and say it..."Stuck in the West Indies? Really? That must be awful...". Well, if, say, organized systems (and I don't mean as in the development stage of a hurricane with the same name), functional processes, clear-cut rules and regulations, up-to-date information and well-cared for civic structures are your thing, then it can be pretty awful. Otherwise I see your point: how can you feel "stuck" in a place whose best features include ocean blue, beaches white, sugar and spice (nutmeg and cinnamon in particular) and everything that's nice (local chocolate is excellent)? So, irony accepted. As a little reminder, being "stuck" here simply means we're waiting out hurricane season (for obvious safety reasons and our insurance won't cover losses from a named storm north of 12Β° 40', if you're even in a condition to claim them at that point, that is...) and we are limiting our sailing movements as we monitor the Covid 19 traveling rules for the islands (and the world, really), which are always... in continuous development.

So for the last couple of weeks and more (my apologies for the vagueness, but the need to keep accurate track of time seems to fade to the background on occasions; partly it's age, partly the location), we've been at a mooring off Sandy Island, off the west coast of Carriacou. We sailed here from Grenada, where we spent most of August hopping between our familiar hoods and were waiting for a new freezer install to be completed, including adding a second plate which has made a huge difference in its performance (it took several sessions of refrigerant injections to "get it going", think mad seasoned celebrity wanting more and more cosmetic fillers - but what eventually did the trick was tweaking the expansion valve...don't fall asleep, there will be a quiz at the end). It's been working great, knock on wood, and we've been able to stash meat, fish and bread no problem. Most important, we've been able to going back to make iced - rather than room temperature - caffè freddo in the afternoon!! You gotta focus on your priorities!

Once in Carriacou, we spent a night in busy Tyrell Bay (which, in charming Caribbean fashion, is spelled differently depending on what sign or building you're looking at). There were many boats at the moorings, we're guessing some out of quarantine from Saint George's, Grenada, and others doing quarantine in the area of the bay thick with mangroves. Tyrell is nice but the presence of commercial docks, a main road not far from the water, end-of-the-road boats and a general sense of the...rusty, both literal and metaphorical, (not to mention a gasoline stain with its characteristic iridescence on the water surface that welcomed us after we laid anchor) casts a "Heart of Darkness" tinge to it all. We were outta there the morning after and came here.

We're not sure if we like Sandy Island yet, that's why we're still here πŸ˜‰: a long and curvy sand-spit with lots of palm trees and surrounded by turquoise waters. Fish-feeding frenzies throughout the day (unfortunately I don't have a visual for this, so if you're not familiar with this type of event, here's an example in larger scale)bring together birds of all kinds: pelicans, boobies, sooty terns whose white breast turns aqua color as they fly over the water and geometric frigade birds which look like flying origami... At times the feeding takes place around our boat so we get to see all the action up close, including the motions and sounds in the water as the fish jump in and out or sprint through it. And the birds flights are amazing - think Caribbean Hitchcock - including the "bomb diving" by the pelicans, which is particularly impressive... unless of course you happen to be the fish at the other end of the bomb dive...

Swimming and snorkeling have been excellent. The water is the clearest we've seen in a while and makes you want to spend hours in it. The Cap'n has even come up with the idea of sitting on a couple of our life jackets - our version of the popular foam noodles - for when you feel just like floating around. It's been ideal, especially during the extremely hot, zero-wind and ultra-flat calm days we've been seeing at times, partly a consequence of the various hurricanes and hurricane wannabes that can suck in all the wind for miles. Yesterday, one of such days, back from a quick errand into the town of Hillsborough - which had to be scheduled for early in the afternoon, when the last thing you want to do is to be on shore, we literally went from dinghy to boat to drop down our stuff to swimsuit to sitting in the water on the life-jackets for the next hour or so.

Snorkeling both at the reef off the island northern tip and also at the reef at nearby Jack Adan Island NE of us, we've seen many juveniles of different species, including butterfly fish, damsel fish, rock beauty...then a population of trumpet fish - some really big, more like trombone fish if you ask me - cowfish, trunk fish, sand divers... schools of bright blueheads and wrasses. A small wave breaking against the reef seen from under water created a cloud of vivid white, and against such background, schools of gobies looked like long ribbons draped around it.

There are many varieties of beautiful and sculptural coral heads, mostly in excellent conditions: no "bleaching" or other damage from warming waters... hopefully they won't have to see it. Talking about warm waters, one morning we swam our way to the reef through small patches of sargassum, and what was new to us is how much heat can be trapped in an area of water blanketed by this rather problematic type of algae . One moment you're there thinking oh, what a nice and warm undercurrent I've just found, and the next you realize it's no undercurrent and this is what a spaghetti must feel like in boiling water! Can't be too good for the marine life...

A little more about marine life: an octopus lives inside one of the holes of the big concrete block to which our mooring is chained to (I've bashed Caribbean moorings many times in the past but these ones are checked regularly and seem to have a strong hold. We've been using moorings a little more frequently - when we trust their solidity, that is - because, especially after being still for some time, the anchor rode comes up be full of weed etc., and it's a bit of a pain having to clean it as it goes back into its locker. Although it would make good material for the tv show "Dirty Jobs"). I've seen it trying to pull a rather large and inhabited shell inside the hole and kept thinking maybe he was redecorating and that was its marine-themed coffee table?πŸ˜‚ I know, extreme heat can play tricks on your thinking patterns.

Also, during a very still night - an aftermath of hurricane n.5, not to be confused with the famous Chanel n.5, named Nana, who had dropped a big squall with thunder, lightning and all that jazz as a business card on her way to Belize - under a full moon and with the sea as serene as the corresponding Mare Tranquillitatis on the lunar surface, the water was so clear that we could see the shadow of our mast sharply defined on the bottom (about 14 ft) and a little later, as we kept grokking the almost supernatural atmosphere, a school of stingrays swimming very close to each other emerged from seemingly out of nowhere, with silent and elegant movements. We discreetly pointed a flashlight at them for a better look, and it was like following a group of ballerinas with a light as they twirled and leaped on the stage.

Stargazing has been great. Scorpio and Sagittarius have been a predominant sight for most of August and, as September unfolds, Pegasus, Cassiopeia, Hercules and Cygnus (and Orion, for those earliest risers amongst us) make their entrance. But the fact is that in the right conditions (new moon and as little man-made light as possible, for instance) many other stars and celestial bodies are visible to the eye, together with the more well-known and beautiful constellations. And did I mention the shooting stars? I was actually impressed at how much and how sharply our boat binoculars can capture of the night sky, my only complaint is that they should also have a screen capture function.

To catch several glimpses of the Neowise comet speeding away from the Earth while in Grenada in August was very special. We were able to see her both from Calivigny and Port Egmont, as she proceeded along her track at what looked like an...andante moderato 😊 pace, whereas she was actually traveling at a mean 40 miles per second! Her next stop in this part of the galaxy is gonna be in 6,800 years... it does make one think, doesn't it?

Recently we've been spending a little less time outside at sunset and after dark, as a brand of small and obnoxious mosquitoes comes out to party. Oh well, this too shall pass and we actually get some lovely "cutouts" of starry sky looking from our (screened) hatches.

Molto bene. I'm gonna stop the blabla and put together some pictures in the Gallery for your visual amusement. Circumstances allowing (wi-fi, weather, etc) I will post another music video. In case you've missed it or you need a quick music fix, scroll down to the entry previous to this one and you'll find one.

Before I close, I'm going to share with you the current map of the National Hurricane Center for the latest hurricane snapshot. Paulette is whacking Bermuda and Sally is cozying up in the Panhandle. Can you believe we've had already twenty between hurricanes, tropical storms and miscellaneous systems already, it's crazy! And peak season has just begun! Did you know that if they run out of the 21 names selected for the storms at the beginning of the season, letters of the Greek alphabet will be used instead? We better refresh our alpha beta gamma... and keep monitoring developments.

In the meantime, thanks for reading, for your fabulous comments (this website doesn't let us reply to them directly from the blog page, but we do read them!) and... καλίνιξα!πŸ˜ŠπŸ‡¬πŸ‡·

All quiet on the western front.

18 August 2020
Your Friendly and Houseboating Narrative Manager Samantha Wells
Ciao a tutti!
In a nutshell:

- lots of rain, squalls and rainbows.

- successful new freezer install, yay! It seems to be working, knock on wood. The previous freezer shed its mortal coils - and some thawed shrimp - some time ago. I may be repeating myself but fridge and freezer both win the Academy Award for fussiest pieces of equipment on Boundless. Mention them to the Cap'n and his face will turn into one of those demon masks from the Kabuki theatre.

- monitoring weather systems that eventually develop into hurricanes - or hopefully not. Gonzalo blew over us right on my birthday (I've always wanted a hurricane for my birthday, yay) but luckily it was a non-event, more like a giant-sized Sneezy from Snowhite blowing its nose on your head (yuk!) and generating a bunch of wind and rain. No harm to people, boats, land, etc. although obviously everybody prepped the boat for the worst. We had double anchors out - which was an opportunity to take the second anchor out one of the mast locker and re-organize such useful space - taking down the awnings, tying up the main, etc. The Cap'n even helped a tragically undersized - as far as anchor size and scope go - Catalina monohull upwind of us to re-anchor. He put the Catalina anchor chain into our dinghy, dropped it at a safer distance and even towed the boat!

- receiving a largish shipment in Grenada of various needed items from the US. Let's just say Homer's Odyssey pales in comparison.

- working on creative stuff:

- I know, I know... you want to see more of the grit of boat living, the gear, the sweat, the hard work, the drama, the sail hoisting, the " YOU GOTTA WATCH THIS! 10 KN WIND AND WE ARE DRAGGING!" of all those sailing YouTube vids... sorry. You get Schubert instead.😊

Thank you for all your comments to the last post (we cannot reply to them from this interface, bear with us), it was like having a little online party with all of you! I will post some pictures in the next days. Please be safe...

E adesso...musica! And now, a little music!

13 July 2020
Your a tempo and friendly Narrative Manager Samantha Wells
Greetings y'all!

Here is one of my oldies but goodies recorded for a longstanding and fun (virtual) jam here in Grenada! And, given that with the rainy season we get to see a lot of fabulous rainbows down here, what better song? Baci!

Hello from... guess where?

09 July 2020
Your Friendly and Gluten-Free Narrative Manager Samantha Wells
Well good morning Campers!

I hope you are all being safe and that the summer sun is infusing you vigor (how do you like that one? Eh?😊). We're still in Grenada and today marks three weeks since we've been back in the water after our haul out, which went very smoothly on the whole. Hull bottoms have been repainted, bits of interior revarnishing done, maintenance on both sail drives, check, props polished and trying a fancy new coating for them, putting new gaskets on fridge and freezer doors, fixing the fridge draining hole - which, untrue to its name, wasn't doing any draining to speak of, resulting in condensation from inside the fridge to leak onto the counter in front of it and into the cabinet located under it - and lots and lots of rubbydub on the exteriors - she's shiny! While on the hard, we organized a private ride to go and renew our cruising permits, get visa extensions and fully replenish our stock of non-perishables which were later neatly stowed under our settees. We otherwise spent the days between the boat, and the little..."colorful" apartment outside Clarke Court's Marina which we rented for that period and that included, among the neighbors, the cutest couple of white goats ever.

Lockdown and restrictions have been mostly lifted in the area since the end of Since the end of our time in the boatyard. There hasn't been a new case of the virus on the island in weeks and no active cases, gatherings of max 20 people are now allowed, restaurants are serving meals, etc. You still have to wear a mask in public and observe social distancing to some extent. Buses from the marinas run on a specific schedules to take folks to supermarkets and other stores and take in a limited number of people. Rumor has it that airports should reopen on July 15 2020, with entry in the country allowed to travelers from low-risk countries and test/quarantine procedures in place. Many boats have been pouring in from St.Martin, BVIs, USVIs and other Caribbean islands, whether to haul out or spend the season and, after completing quarantine in a specific anchorage in Saint George's, as required by law, they have been spreading (not a a happy choice of verb, sorry) to the other bays. Many people in the existing Grenadian cruising community, as well as many locals, have been very helpful to the new arrivals, the clueless and the slightly more clued, the eternally complaining and the more proactive alike, whether providing information (the Cruisers' Net widely listened to broadcast on Channel 66 Int.l starting at 7:30 am, Mon-Sat, covers local business infos, emergencies, departures and arrivals, local Covid info, weather, FAQs, and has even some interesting trivia questions!), running errands for them, clarifying the various rules and regulations, assisting with wi-fi and Internet (the no.1 request as it so happens) etc. Some cruisers are also trying to organize charter flights to weave their way back home to other countries, with mixed outcomes.

Us? We's just hanging out and sticking to the plan which, as a reminder, is to spend hurricane season here, with the blessings of our insurance company, keep monitoring things, and check out other parts of Grenada we haven't seen yet. We've asked permission to sail to Carriacou, including whether we can later come back to Grenada, do we need to quarantine again etc. and, in line with the charming-yet-slightly-irritating Caribbean "fluidity" of things we've been given a complete set of mismatching, at times even sibylline answers, blurring the boundaries between a Predict-o-Pen and fortune cookies: "Not in a million years!", "If you're lucky!", " A feather in the hand is better than a bird in the air", "Sure, but you have to call Immigration", "Sure, but you have to call the Coast Guard", "You will be unusually successful in business", and so on. So we said scr* it and, leaving once again our "home" off Calivigny Island, we've just been doing some nice day sails to let Boundless - and ourselves - shake off some cobwebs and hit her traditional 10-12 knots on a close reach, with about 22+ knots apparent wind and some solid wave action!With bottoms clean, repainted and barnacle-free, what a different feel that is!

We've spent a couple of nights at anchor in Old Harbour - including a solid stroll in the Westerhall area, a very pleasant and (sort of) gated community drowned in lush vegetation just revived by the seasonal generous squalls... In fact, a massive squall in the forecasts caught us right during our walk. The Cap'n decided to take shelter inside the open garage of a house just off the road we were walking on. I wasn't too crazy about the idea as it was private property, and decided to get soaked for a while instead before changing my mind... and in fact, nobody came by and if they did they'd have probably taken pity upon this couple of really wet ducks, especially yours truly. We then spent a couple of nights in Prickly Bay, whose pretty scenery was made even more special by the rising of a massive full moon over Fourth of July weekend, and then Mount Hartman Bay, where our first, more exposed anchoring spot of choice left us vulnerable to a bobble at the beam, very annoying on a light catamaran (for the record, there haven't really been many days of calm-seas-no-wind lest you think it's all rose e fiori down here, fun and games). We then switched to a more protected and mostly bobble-free section of the bay, with the only little disadvantage being that wind gusting through the "v-cut" of the mountains in front of us would make Boundless jerk a fair amount at the anchor chain. Oh well. The quest for the perfect anchorage continues aaaand now we're back to Calivigny, also so that we could do a little fresh food shopping at the one and only Meet and Meat.

Well, I believe that's it for now. As it's tradition, I'd like to invite you to visit our Gallery for some new pictures and thank you for reading, commenting and emailing, it brings you very close to us!

Quasi dimenticavo, almost forgot: last year today we arrived in Bay of Islands, Newfoundland after an overnight from Ingonish, NS. The beginning of a very special experience (which you can refresh if you like by scrolling to the older pages of this blog!) I see a commemorative toast in the near future (like, around 6:00pm tonight)πŸ˜‰.

Be safe and have a great month of July!

Haulout time!

09 June 2020
Your Friendly and on-the-hard Narrative Manager
Good morning y'all!

Just a quick update, yesterday we've finally hauled out Boundless at Clarke's Court Boatyard, where she'll be on the hard for a couple of weeks. It was heart-wrenching to leave our so-familiar-anchoring-spot off Calivigny where we had spent at that point 73 days in lockdown, but... let's get this done already so we can go back if we want to!

We're getting a bottom job done, we're getting Achilles, our sturdy dinghy, cleaned and checked out, Bounds props checked out, sail drive fixed, we're getting a little interior re-varnishing in the galley and some work on the fridge door. Nothing too crazy, the bottom job is really the main part. It's been very interesting and funny to look at the hulls while Boundless was on the lift, any part touching the water had a substantial... "beard" of growth, barnacles, and a few tiny crabs were seen scuttling away as they detected a... sudden radical change in the environment immediately surrounding them. 😊

While still on the lift, a powerful pressure wash cleaned the hulls, the daggerboards and the anchor chain of all the growth, and was followed by detailed scrubbing later with the boat actually on the hard. Then there'll be sanding, and after that, the bottom will be ready for re-painting! It made me think that I haven't had a good spa in a while, even a good body scrub would suffice.πŸ˜‚

While Boundless gets her spa, we've rented a small apartment nearby with easy access to the boatyard and the boat, so that we can do our own part of projects. So, for now, Tha-tha-that's all Folks!

Happy Anniversary!

01 June 2020
Your thrilled and Friendly Narrative Manager Samantha Wells
Last year on this date, which is also our wedding anniversary, we began our first 7-days passage from St. Simon's Island, Georgia, US, to Halifax, Nova Scotia on Boundless!
Vessel Name: Boundless
Vessel Make/Model: Atlantic 57
Hailing Port: Gorda Sound
Crew: David & Samantha
Boundless's Photos - Main
Just some pictures taken while in lockdown in Grenada.
44 Photos
Created 26 May 2020
98 Photos
Created 26 November 2019
74 Photos
Created 14 September 2019
My evil twin the artist.
13 Photos
Created 3 August 2019
Our favorite pictures in this part of the cruise.
242 Photos
Created 22 June 2019
All about the boat
45 Photos
Created 22 June 2019