Little Green Boat

Spruce visited Japan and Alaska in 2018 after time spent in the South Pacific, NZ, Australia and Asia.

26 March 2020 | On Passage - Mexico to South Pacific (Day-15)
24 March 2020 | On Passage - Mexico to South Pacific (Day-13)
23 March 2020 | On Passage - Mexico to French Polynesia (Day-12)
22 March 2020 | On Passage - Mexico to French Polynesia (Day-11)
21 March 2020 | On Passage - Mexico to French Polynesia (Day-10)
20 March 2020 | On Passage - Mexico to French Polynesia (Day-9)
19 March 2020 | On Passage - Mexico to French Polynesia (Day-8)
18 March 2020 | On Passage - Mexico to French Polynesia (Day-7)
17 March 2020 | On Passage - Mexico to French Polynesia (Day-6)
15 March 2020 | On Passage - Mexico to French Polynesia (Day-5)
15 March 2020 | On Passage - Mexico to French Polynesia (Day-4)
14 March 2020 | On Passage - Mexico to French Polynesia (Day-3)
13 March 2020 | On Passage - Mexico to French Polynesia (Day-2)
12 March 2020 | Manzanillo - Colima - Mexico
03 March 2020 | Bahia Chamela - Mexico
03 March 2020
03 March 2020
03 March 2020
28 February 2020 | Yelapa - Banderas Bay - Mexico
28 February 2020

Dances with Waves

26 March 2020 | On Passage - Mexico to South Pacific (Day-15)
Sue & Andy
Day 15�- 27/3/20 at 00:06utc - Distance logged:1,802M �- Distance to Go: 1,365M - Ave Speed: 5.2kn
We are close reaching in around 15kn trade winds. It is a bouncy ride but we hope to be a little more onto a beam reach tomorrow. The waves are somewhat disorganised and we are angling I to them so this is not very comfortable sailing...much nicer to be going downwind. Although we are now doing 6.5-7kn.

More Wind Tomorrow

24 March 2020 | On Passage - Mexico to South Pacific (Day-13)
Sue & Andy
Day 13�- 25/3/20 at 00:16utc - Distance logged:1,537M �- Distance to Go: 1,615M - Ave Speed: 5.1kn
After a fast night, the winds have eased a little today and there is a little more east in them...but not for long. We are making good progress south and soon expect to have stronger winds from ahead of the beam. A wet close reach is anticipated. Blog updates may necessarily reduce over the next week or so, typing while bouncing excessively is much more difficult.
By tomorrow morning we should have passed our half way point.
Photo shows Sue enjoying the last of the smoother conditions before we hunker down. Even so, this next leg still should be much more pleasant than the slog in the NE Monsoon 2-years ago, sailing up to Japan: there we suffered days of 25-30knot winds.

Seventh Time Lucky

23 March 2020 | On Passage - Mexico to French Polynesia (Day-12)
Sue & Andy
Day 12�- 23/3/20 at 23:59:30utc - Distance logged:1,413M �- Distance to Go: 1,736M - Ave Speed: 5.2kn (Oops got date wrong y'day)
At 05:00 local time today we crossed the line (equator) for the seventh time aboard Spruce. This was probably the best experience yet, in terms of minimal convection activity and winds that have enabled us to sail almost the entire way through.
We are now very close reaching in 10-knots of wind. It is already getting bouncy and we are making around 6-knots. Although we are once again bucking a half knot of foul current. It is hoped the wind will ease back a little more into the south eas,t instead of SSE biased as at the moment.
Photo shows us paying homage to Neptune. But a wee sip for the two of us, and a tot into the ocean to give thanks for the generous weather.

South East Trades!

22 March 2020 | On Passage - Mexico to French Polynesia (Day-11)
Sue & Andy
Day 11�- 23/3/20 at 23:59utc - Distance logged:1,290M �- Distance to Go: 1,857M - Ave Speed: 5.1kn
Mundane chores must go on. We are taking the opportunity in this lighter wind zone near the equator to get some washing done. We are sure we are in the SE Trades now. For 24hours we have had SE winds and we hope to cross the equator during the night ahead, another 50-miles and we shall pay homage to Neptune & Poseidon with a nip of the strong stuff. A sniff for ourselves and a tot for the gentleman beneath the waves.
Another couple hundred miles of southing and we shall get stronger winds, possibly from ahead of the beam. Life will get boisterous, the hatches will be firmly clamped shut and below decks will be come humid and stuffy. Washing clothes will become pointless as spray across the decks will make drying them impossible.
We shall continue aiming east of our destination, so when we get into the stronger trade wind zone, farther south, we can bear away to make the ride for the final thousand miles more comfortable.

ITCZ Astern? - We Hope So!

21 March 2020 | On Passage - Mexico to French Polynesia (Day-10)
Sue & Andy
Day 10�- At 23:27utc - Distance logged:1,169M �- Distance to Go: approx 1,900M - Ave Speed: 5.2kn
The Inter-tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) is the line approximately parallel to the equator where the SE Trades and the NE Trade winds meet. This place is where the sun's heating effect causes hot humid air to rise into the troposphere, leaving a low pressure zone at sea level. Along with this convection comes condensation as the rising air cools with altitude, the formation of thunderheads and in the worst cases strong localised winds, allied with torrential rainfall can make sailing through the doldrums quite tedious and sometimes challenging. The latest forecast this morning seems to indicate we have slipped through encountering winds of no more than 20-knots and more typically less than 16-knots. Although the shifts in direction associated with each passing rain shower have been a feature. However, this is not a constant moving belt of weather. Depending on local sea temperatures the ITCZ may suddenly re-materialise in a different location. It could still reappear south of our present position at latitude 2 degrees 40 minutes North. We hope not, as we slowly plod south, close hauled in a SSE breeze of around 5-10knots. Another 100-miles of southing and we should be clear of these troublesome doldrums.
Photo shows us looking back north this morning at the band of cloud we passed through along the ITCZ during the night.

Bouncing Along

20 March 2020 | On Passage - Mexico to French Polynesia (Day-9)
Sue & Andy
Day 9�- At 23:19utc - Distance logged:1040M �- Distance to Go: 2,022M - Ave Speed: 5.2kn
Winds have been up in the 14-18knot range today. Now things are a little less at up to 14-knots but with the wind slightly ahead of the beam. There appears to be some moderate convection clouds ahead but hopefully they will not build too much through the remainder of the afternoon and evening.
GRIB weather models are notoriously inaccurate, but the GFS model has proved quite close to reality over the past few days, perhaps a knot or two understated, direction and timing predictions have been good. We hope that continues as we approach the ITCZ, (the zone where the north-east and south-east trade winds meet near the equator), the model is showing a slight reduction in strength but enough easterly quadrant winds to keep sailing through to the equator. We wish it will be so.
All is well aboard and we continue to make steady progress.
Vessel Name: Spruce
Vessel Make/Model: Hallberg Rassy 42 - Enderlein Design
Hailing Port: Portsmouth, UK
Crew: Sue & Andy
About: Sue is an artist, plays the flute and guitar. Andy enjoys technical challenges and hoped to learn to speak more Spanish. Unsuccessfully:-( Maybe this year?
Extra: During 2013 and 2014 we sailed across the Pacific to New Zealand and then Australia. 2015-18 brought us from Asia to Washington State via the Noorth pacific Rim. In 2019 we aim to cruise BC and then head south to Mexico.
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Spruce's Photos - Dominica - A Green and Pleasant Land.
Photos 1 to 51 of 51 | Main
Heliconia - Lobster Claw
Flower in the rain forest - Sue can
White Begonia
Pipeline taking water from the reservoir. Like at St Lucia this one is made of barrel like staves of wood, coated in bitumen and held together with rings of bolted studding... just like a very long barrel.
Alex & Daria (Alerians) enter the Titou Gorge to swim through.
Trafalgar falls after a small rainfall.
The two waterfalls at Trafalgar falls in panoramic view.
Rocks in the plunge pool below Trafalgar Fall.
Look closely at the name of the vessel. An oxymoronic expression for this part of the world:-)
A water wheel and press for extracting the syrup from the sugar cane. The name cast into the equipment indicated it was manufactured in Britain by a company based in both London and Derby. Vestiges of a bygone empire.
Close up of the disused waterwheel and sugar factory beyond.
A view of the upper parts of Roseau, capital of Dominica, as we ascended into the rain forest.
A poster at a Heritage Centre showing the resident birds. Some were so shy we saw nothing of them.
The shape of Dominica - The Sandemans Port Man from Oporto leaning forwards to insist we don
Lush foliage in the rain forest. We think this is a type of Aechmea which grows on the trees rather like Air-Plants.
Orchid in the forest
Iguana perched on a tree while visiting the Indian River near Portsmouth.
Covered market in Portsmouth on one of the two market days each week. If you don
Preparing sugar cane for sale in the market. People seem to take this to suck on for breakfast.
Not much of this Blue Marlin left for sale. Large hunks were chopped off with the ubiquitous machete and sold for £EC 8 per pound weight. We managed to get one of the last pieces and it was only 07:30 am. The market starts before light at 05:30!
Andy and Daria, from Aleria, en route to the snorkeling sites in Douglas Bay, Dominica.
Alex, from Aleria, en route to the snorkeling sites in Douglas Bay, Dominica.
Martin, boat boy and guide en route to the snorkeling sites in Douglas Bay, Dominica.
The settlement of Tanetane in Douglas Bay, Dominica..
Alexis, boat boy and guide, taking us to Indian River near Portsmouth, Prince Rupert Bay.
Iguana lounging on a tree in the Indian River.
Blood Root trees alongside a river. The Carib Indians used the sap, red in colour, to paint their bodies.
Market day at Portsmouth, Dominica.
The photo shows sugar cane being prepared for vending. In the foreground are Carrots and Breadfruit. Beside the table in the distance are coconut "Water-nuts" these are sold as a substitute for canned drinks. Again the machete comes in to play to hack the top off ready to drink:-)
Blue Marlin being "cut" with the ubiquitous machete. We got in just before the last of the large fish was all sold.
Farmers from the countryside bring their produce to market in pick-up trucks - some are very battered but still going.
In the margins of the covered market hall. Really just a roof rather than a whole hall.
Inside the covered market. Most of the action is in the back of cars and pick-up trucks outside this building.
Another view of the market hall.
Shoreline at Portsmouth, Prince Rupert Bay.
Make do signage - the most simple of shop fronts:-)
A traditional carib dwelling. Palm leaves for the roof with poles to secure against the wind.
Two Caribs. Dennis on the left and Clem. Dennis
A stream lined with fantastic shaped trees.
A close up of the tortured roots.
Entrance to the Indian River at Portsmouth, Prince Rupert Bay.
A local boat, dug out canoe made from a Gommier Tree with extra planks to increase the freeboard (distance from the water to the top of the gunwhale).
Climbers heading for light at the top of the tree canopy.
An impressive tree in the rainforest.
They claimed they are Danish and can
Melta Skywalker challenges his father to a light sabre duel! ... must mean Michael is really Darth Boe.
Our lunch stop. Coye with her husband holding grandchild number five.
A nutmeg still encased in its shell.
A view from Spruce looking towards the town of Portsmouth. Dominica has a total population of 72,000 people and Portsmouth is the second largest town with only a few thousand souls resident.