North American Tour 2017-2019

From Portland, OR through Panama Canal to East Coast of USA and back via Caribbean, Panama Canal, and Hawaii

20 June 2015 | Pendrell Sound, BC, Canada
19 June 2015 | Prideaux Haven, BC, Canada
18 June 2015 | Gorge Harbor, BC, Canada
16 June 2015 | Campbell River, BC, Canada
16 June 2015 | Campbell River, BC, Canada
15 June 2015 | Dwenman Island, BC, Canada
14 June 2015 | Nanaimo, BC, Canada
12 June 2015 | Silva Bay, Flat Top Islands, BC, Canada
11 June 2015 | Silva Bay, Flat Top Islands, BC, Canada
10 June 2015 | Secretary Islands, Gulf Islands, BC, Canada
07 June 2015 | Friday Harbor, San Juan Islands, WA
06 June 2015 | Stuart Island, San Juan Islands, WA
25 May 2015 | Tongue Point
08 September 2014 | PYC, Portland, Oregon
04 September 2014 | Off Washington State Coast
04 September 2014 | Garrison Bay, San Juan Island, WA
02 September 2014 | Genoa Bay, BC
01 September 2014 | Nanaimo, BC
31 August 2014 | Boat Cove, Lesqueti Island, BC
30 August 2014 | Deep Bay, BC

On Our Way to Isla Muijeres, Mx

19 April 2018 | W. Caribbean
George Stonecliffe
This 60 hour passage to Isla Mujeres, Mexico, has included NE/E15 knot winds half the time, and the waves have slowly subsided from 6-8' to 3-5'. Numerous AIS contacts keep our attention, as the Big Boys move from the States to Panama and beyond. We changed course once today, missing one ship by less than 3 miles. We anticipate arriving at this Mexico port of entry sometime tomorrow afternoon. If we can find a safe marina, we will head inland to tour some of the Mayan temples and ruins. We actually wore jackets on watch last night; that's getting cooler.

Leaving Grand Cayman on April 20 for Mexico

17 April 2018 | Grand Cayman, W. Caribbean
George Stonecliffe
The front and related squalls have finished. We have checked out with customs, immigration and the Port. we are preparing to head out for Isla Mujeres, Mexico, tomorrow morning. We have 320 miles of downwind sailing. It should be a good trip. We had an enjoyable tour of the Queen Elizabeth II Gardens, in spite of the rain. The local flowers and trees were fascinating, and the birds were a pleasure to see. Cheers to all!

Doing the Cayman

16 April 2018 | Grand Cayman, W. Caribbean
George Stonecliffe
Our Cayman List included: 1. Two scuba dives with Red Sail Sports at the Westin (great dives in 100+ visibility; 2. the Sting Ray Experience where we snorkeled with sting rays, held them, and fed them; 3. the Crystal Caves walk through limestone caves that had oodles of stalactites and stalagmites; 4. around the Island drive British style on the left side of the road; 5. the Turtle Farm Experience where we saw hundreds of huge green turtles and their offspring, and learned about them; 6. two movies: Pacific Rim Uprising, and Return Player One (Spielberg); 7. a Thai dinner with friends Stan, Diane, and Christopher from mv Crossroads; and tomorrow, we will head over to the Queen Elizabeth Gardens for a walk through. Having a rental car has made all the difference in getting around and enjoying the Island. We have 'Julia Max' in the Cayman Island Yacht Club where she is plugged in (read air conditioning) and water is available at a moderate price of .06/gallon. We have enjoyed this port of call!!

First Day, Grand Cayman

09 April 2018 | Grand Cayman, W. Caribbean
George Stonecliffe
This morning we checked in through Customs and Immigration, along with FIVE cruise ships. What, easily 10,000 people! But, since we were a recreational cruising boat, they processed us through more quickly. English is the official language, since they are a British colony. And that made communications so much better, since Spanish has been spoken since last November. We left our mooring ball for the North Bay area. Here we anticipated going to the Cayman Island Yacht Club. What an intense ordeal. They said not to enter North Bay if over an 8' draft. When we entered over the reef entrance, we were relieved that it was not less than 10'. But then it got shallower inside, and we were sweating bullets as we crossed large areas of sand in as little as 5.9', meaning Julia Max was plowing through large stretches of sand. We never hit anything hard. We entered a track of waypoints to help us leave. Maybe we can be mid-tide (only a two foot tide), and sneak out in a few days. We dinghied over through a high rent district on dredged canals to a place to tie up. Then we walked over to a CostULess, like Costco without membership. Sue drooled over the fresh produce we bought. Tomorrow we anticipate renting a car. They are Brits, and they drive on the left side of the road! 'Stay left, stay left, stay left' is my mantra.

Arrived in Grand Cayman

09 April 2018 | Grand Cayman, W. Caribbean
George Stonecliffe
We made the passage between Isla Providentia and the Grand Cayman, 383 miles in 2-1/2 days. That's averaging 6.35 knots per hour. With favorable currents, our speed over the ground was often 7.0-8.0 knots! We sailed the final 36 hours!! On our final day of sailing, we were far enough north of any previous piracy locations, so that we turned our AIS system back on. We quickly learned that we were going to be crossing a major traffic zone. At one time, we had 6 contacts within a 25 mile radius. Some were on collision courses with Julia Max. So we took evasive action until it was safe to continue on. As we approached our final destination, we observed 3 cruise ships leaving Georgetown, and we heard another cruise ship arrives tomorrow. Today is a holiday in the Caymans: Queen Elizabeth's Birthday. As one of the remaining British Colonies, I was even surprised the Port was open for business.


09 April 2018 | Approaching Grand Cayman, W. Caribbea n
George Stonecliffe
As we planned to leave Panama, we heard of five incidents of piracy in the western Caribbean over the last 3 years. The incidents occurred in December and January with the last incident in January 2018. Boats were stopped, and money was taken. We're not aware of other details. So everyone was talking about it who was going north. How far east are you going to go through the Nicaraguan Reef Basin? Were these fishermen taking advantage of the opportunity? Three of the five were reasonably close, looking at their latitude/longitude. They were all northwest of Isla Providentia off of Honduras. We plotted the waypoints on our chartplotter with 'skull and crossbones' so we would remember them. Our path north to the Grand Cayman allowed us to go through reefs with a 1+ knot current, and 80 miles east of the January incident. So what would you do? We turned off our AIS identification in case the pirates were sophisticated. We didn't use any running lights at night. Only if we saw a big tanker did we turn the lights and AIS on, until we passed each other. Then we would turn them off again. Only the morning of the third day to the Grand Cayman did we feel safely past the danger area. And now our AIS is crucial because we are in the shipping lanes, seeing as many as six ships in a 25 mile radius at one time. That's busy! So, there was no Black Pearl this season, Mon!
Vessel Name: Julia Max
Vessel Make/Model: 45' Passport/Peterson Custom Ketch
Hailing Port: Portland, Oregon, USA
Crew: George and Sue Stonecliffe
About: Float Plan: July 1, 2017 Leave Portland, OR; head south along US West Coast; leave San Diego 10/29/17 with Baja Ha-ha Rally; go through Panama Canal 3/2018; Florida 6/2018; NYC and Rhode Island 7/2018; Chesapeake Bay 9/2018; Caribbean 11/2018; Panama Canal 3/2019; Hawaii 7/2019; home 10/2019
Julia Max's Photos - Main
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Created 4 July 2017
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