06 February 2019 | guadeloupe
05 February 2019 | guadeloupe
27 January 2019 | guadeloupe
16 January 2019 | les Anses D'Arlet
10 January 2019 | St. Anne, Martinique
20 December 2018 | Rodney Bay, St. lucia
08 December 2018 | Rodney Bay, St. Lucia
27 November 2018 | Prickley Bay, Grenada
20 November 2018 | Miami Airport
23 April 2018 | Anse noire, Martinique
22 April 2018 | Martinique
20 April 2018 | Martinique, Le Marin
21 March 2018 | Rodney bay St. Lucia
16 March 2018 | guadeloupe
28 February 2018 | Sunset at Marie Galante
20 February 2018 | Bas du Fort Marina, Guadeloupe
15 February 2018 | St. Pierre, Martinique
04 February 2018 | Denver International Airport
17 January 2018 | soufiere, st. Lucia
Friends part duex
06 February 2019 | guadeloupe
Greg and Amanda
We had spent an extra day in Dominica and it would have been easy to spend one more night and join our friends for a big Barbecue held every Sunday evening but the bakery search compelled us to move on. That and it is more enjoyable to do two shot sails instead of one long one especially if weather makes a change for the worse. We were fortunate and the weather held as we sailed 18 miles to Il Des Saints, an idyllic French island. 20 years ago when I first sailed with Mary in Guadeloupe we asked the charter company where we should spend our ten days of sailing.
“Go straight over to Il Des Saints and don’t leave,” was his suggestion.
It is still beautiful but it has been discovered. Everyday multiple ferry boats filled with tourists invade the island.
We arrived around 1:30, grabbed a mooring ball for the night and headed in to shore. Amanda was in heaven with all of the french shops and the masses speaking French. We headed to the rental shop where they rent mopeds and electric bikes. We needed to wait 45 minutes before they opened so that allowed for a pastry stop and more browsing. Ahh yes, we are back in the land of French bakeries. The big one was already closed for the day so we settled in the corner cafe patisseries for some liquid refreshments and treats. mmmmmm so good.
Having fortified our body’s we headed back to the bike rental and hopped on the electric bikes. Amanda has never been on and the first one I had ever been on was when I was here last year. These bikes have improved over last year and they were rocket bikes. We headed towards a small sandy beach that I saw last year but never had a chance to swim at. It was wonderful and felt so good to be in the salt water. We had not done as much swimming this year as compared to other years so this was a treat.
Amanda was amazed at the power assist that the electric batteries provided. On a long hill, she was not quite convinced that her’s was fully charged. I was in the lead and soon I was standing up pedaling with all my might. There was no way I was gong to stop and let Amanda catch up. I would be eating crow for days or months if that happened, so I slogged on. I am sure my heart rate was close to 175 but I did finally make to the top first. Maybe I needed another chocolate croissant for fuel.
Well, Greg, you’ll have to wait until morning for that croissant. My radar, not some Francophone version of Yelp, tells me that closed bakery will be worth getting up early. Rise early we did. Put in some pushups on the foredeck and a few squats before heading by the dinghy into centre ville. We witnessed the village wake up, void of tourists. Parents on mopeds are zooming by to deliver their kids to school. Older elementary kids hammering on pedals determined to make it on time. As we walk and mind you my calves are screaming from the waterfall hike en pointe, I fret that the bakery will already be out of the good stuff if any of those kids stopped a la boulangerie. Alas we make it and I can tell by the smell it’s going to be good. In the display case were heaps of croissants. Greg was so taken back that he didn’t see the the pain au chocolat camouflaged behind the croissants. We decide to be good and order one twisty flaky delicacy, one pain au chocolat, and a croissant with jambon et fromage for a sailing snack in case lunch is pushed back due to the seas or wind. Yes, such restraint. It would have been so easy to have ordered a second pain au chocolat. Oh and don’t forget the daily baguette! We head out to the shoreline park and inhale the sweet goods while our eyes inhale the turquoise water. Poof! The pastries vanish. Oh mon dieu! They are the best all week. Let’s go back and claim another pain au chocolat. So worth the calories. And we do go back. Zut! We were too late! Well at least now we don’t need to do the rest of those squats or pushups.
As we meander back to centre ville, we pass by an atelier where the artist is cracking open the doors and shutters. We peer in, thinking it will be a bop in and out. The paintings are of classic scenes of paradise and island life. Then the artist’s style captivates us. His depiction of the hurricane balances force and chaos pulls you into the eye of painting or storm. Another image is a wave stopped in time, ready to curl and crash. Alain Joyeux sees our joy in his talent. He engages us in a mélange of Frenglish telling us the workshop was his grandmother’s. She was an artist of sorts, crafting dolls. And one of her most famous guests was Jackie Kennedy Onassis who dropped in and conversed in mais bien sur French with his grandmother over a cup of tea. The atelier had survived many a storm and if we had our guess would be passed down to Alain’s son, Martin. We were so enchanted with the haphazard cultural moment we decided to take a little piece of it with us. Greg has a small sailing scene by Alain on wood and I adopted a sailing scene on canvas by thirteen year old Martin. Oh la la! Quelle chance we had by venturing early to unearth treasures. My hope is Greg will continue to do bakery research this season. We all benefit from his dedication and sacrifice.
fun with a friend
05 February 2019 | guadeloupe
Greg and Amanda
The sun is about to set, most projects have been completed for the day, so it time for a rum punch.
"Oh this ones got a little to much rum in it." Did I just say too much rum. That's blasphemy
for a pirate to say. Let me rephrase that so that all is well with the sailing pirates. "This one has lots of good rum in it."
My last sailing first mate is back home enjoying the cold whiteness of Colorado. Quite a change from the warmth of the Caribbean. She is no stranger to Mile High Dream so sailing with her and being on the boat comes very natural. She is also very fluent in speaking French. This is a great bonus since we are in the French islands or were for the most part. Bon jor amigos, cervasas see voo play, prego prego just doesn't seem to get the meaning across.
I had a tentative plan on where I wanted to go on this trip. There is a saying that all sailing plans are written in the sand at low tide, ready to be washed away and changed at any time and this was no exception.
We headed over to Maria Galant. Our start was little later than planned since the downtown area of Pointe a Petri was calling us to explore. A large vegetable market, fish market, spice market and then a flower market all stimulated our senses. The town is filled with eyeglass stores so I decided to splurge and purchase a fun pair. It was very nice to have a translator.
Maria Galant is a sleepy island with some amazing beaches. My original plan was to stay in the french islands. That got washed away and we decided to go to Dominica. The only problem was that we needed to check out of the coin try and find a customs office. We hopped the local bus to the large town at the end of the island. The custom officer was out and about. we finally gave up on trying to find him and saw a sign that the small town we were anchored at has just started dong customs there. A bus ride back and we were ab le to clear out of customs. The afternoon was spent taking the dingy over to a beautiful beach and swimming and walking on the soft sand.
The next morning we are off to Dominica, The Nature Island, or as I see it Greg's favorite island. It's a mélange of raw rainforest, hearty humans, amazing adventures embedded in its nine volcanos and 365 rivers. Perhaps its only downfall or opportunity if you think like the shoes salesman in Africa is a good bakery. In fact thus far on our sojourn we have yet to unearth a bakery worth the calories consumed in our research. Surely we've worked off those calories on the hike to Middleham Waterfall, a 275 foot cascade of power enhanced by recent rain and strong enough to produce white caps in the pool where Greg had swum last week and prevent the classic rainbow bouncing off the spray (the rainbow that his last crew member farted out of his armpits). During the three-hour walk we are ballerinas on pointe teetering on each log laid for trail perseverance in this jungle. For the next days my calf muscles scream for all the micro balancing they were forced into. The day's adventure continues to a freshwater swim through a crack in a rock wall. Despite English spoken on Dominica, we had no idea we would swim through a canyon gorge to a roaring waterfall. Enchanted! Spoiled! A day to be etched in life's scrapbook for sure. And it didn't end there. We went to the natural hot springs. And perhaps what made this magical was seeing the Dutch cruising couple with whom we spent the day with lose their hot springs virginity. They are sold on the wonders of thermal waters. We are too. The day turned into night as we returned to the boat and hosted a finger food dinner aboard Mile High Dream. For MHD, this was her second social event in Dominica with 8 other cruisers (Brenda & Alan, Phil & Crystal, Lauren & Bill, Nancy & Mike) this week. Greg and MHD will be back to Dominica. As much as we'd like another adventure, we need to continue our bakery research.
27 January 2019 | guadeloupe
One of the great pleasures with my sailing life is the ability to have guests on board. I do not like solo sailing so I like to always have others on board to share the experience. I do run into other solo sailors that cant wait to get rid of their guests and have the boat all to themselves. As I spend time with them I understand why they are alone in the first place.
Cindy and I pick up a wonderful younger couple in Martinique to sail with us north to Guadeloupe. The weather is wonderful and the sailing is easy, until the last stretch from Les Saints to the anchorage in Point a Petrie. It starts out nice and calm with gentle seas and a nice breeze. The further we go, the worse it becomes. The row of clouds in front of us keeps getting closer and darker.
“Let’s take some sail down,” I tell my crew. We start getting some of the sails in but not quite soon enough as a squall hits us with 40 knot winds. (Thunderstorm in landlubber terms.)
“Put more wraps on the winch,” I say to Cindy
“It isn’t coming in.”
Brad runs over to help and between the two of them they are able to start getting the roller furling moving to roll up the front sail.
“Oh Crap,” I say as the jib sheet runs out of the blocks and is wrapping itself around the working jib sheet on the other side. I forgot to put in a keeper knot on the end to keep that from happening. It is those little oversights that cause big problems when you least want them.
Loving the adventure, Brad is on the foredeck bouncing up and down with the wind and waves as he unwraps the line so we can get it all the way in.
We arrive safely at our anchorage and drop the anchor and heave a sigh of relief. I examine why the line to the roller furling was so hard to pull in and see the leader block that guides the line back to the cockpit is a twisted man of stainless and plastic.
“So that is why it was so hard to get the head sail in.”
I had added this new block last year to make it easier to pull it in but I made the mistake of getting one too small. You always seem to pay for those small mistakes when you are sailing.
I realize that for very active people who depend on exercise everyday, sailing is not the best solution. There is too much sitting time. As soon as we hit the shore, they are off running up the hillsides, renting bikes or swimming to get that endorphin fix. When we reach Dominica we hire a driver to take us to the southern end of the island. There is a 45 minute hike to Milford falls where we can swim under the waterfall. It takes us a little longer than 45 minutes but it is a gorgeous hike through the rainforest. We are all tired by the time we get back and head to lunch and then to a hot spring for an afternoon soak. This is so good I might have to do it all over again if I have another opportunity.
All in all a very fun trip and a fun month. Cindy who was a very good first mate, excellent cook, and loved being in charge for the well being of our guests.
Wonderful seaside villages
16 January 2019 | les Anses D'Arlet
The rooster’s are crowing, the dogs are barking, the doves are cooing and the goats are doing whatever noise they are suppose to do. How is a person to sleep and listen to the waves lapping on the boat and the wind gently blowing through the shrouds? And then the church bells start ringing. A few minutes later they start ringing again just like someone had hit the snooze button. The trials and tribulations that one must endure when sailing.
We are in the idyllic harbor of Les Anses D’Arlet. The picturesque church (with the hourly ringing of the bells) sit right at the end of the dock. The beaches are filled with sun seekers and the beach bars are bustling. We hike to the next town on the other side of the hill.
It is another beautiful town with a wonderful beach and a bar with wifi. T mobile has let me down. They are in some dispute and I no longer have wifi or any connection while I am in Martinique, Dominica, or Guadeloupe. I got spoiled last year with connection everywhere and now I have to resort to finding bars and restaurants offering wifi.
“Another rum punch please,” I ask the waitress. The sacrifices I have to make just to be in communications with the outside world.
A great swim and snorkel and we are headed to town to explore some more and get a little walking exercise. Maybe some wifi if we get thirsty or hungry.
Cindy loves to cook so I have been kicked out of the kitchen. With all of the fresh produce that is available she is in heaven and our tastebuds are tingling with every bite.
We have a few more days for relaxing before picking up our next guests on Saturday. Then we will head north and finally reach Guadeloupe where Cindy and our guests will fly back to their mainland homes.
Back on the water
10 January 2019 | St. Anne, Martinique
The holiday season was great fun, spending it in New Hampshire with all of my family. The cold weather, snow and ice made me appreciate the warmth of the Caribbean even more on my return.
My return to St.Lucia was uneventful and I was met at the airport by Cindy, my new crew for the month of January. We do not know each other and met via find a crew website. We had talked on the phone, exchanged emails and checked out each others profile. Cindy did a little more checking by reading my sail blog and checking to what my voting preferences were.
I have never thought of doing some of that. It is a rather scary proposition of going on a blind sail date for almost a month. Some people say I am totally crazy to do this and others just think
I am a little crazy. They are all probably correct.
Cindy is a free spirit mountain girl from California. She is versatile, happy cleaning, working on the engine or in the kitchen. Her girl cave is 200 square ft of living area while she rents out the main house. Being on the boat is like living in a top floor penthouse by comparison. She tells everyone we meet about the huge bed she has on the boat and all of the room. Cindy is also brutally honest and enjoys talking. She has shared that both have gotten her in trouble on many occasions. So far it is all working well between us. I have had to interrupt her on a few occasions. Did I tell you she is a massage therapist by profession. I am basking in her healing, soothing touch after a rough day of sailing or beach sitting.
We completed some repairs while on St. Lucia and sailed out of Rodney bay to St. Annes in Martinique. A beautiful sail with fairly calm seas. It was not like another time when cabinets flew open and dishes crashed onto the floor breaking into millions of little pieces that I still find one year later. It was not quite calm enough for Cindy.
“Cindy are doing ok”, I asked?
“It’s great. I wish I hadn’t eaten as much for breakfast.”
“You’ll be fine it just takes a little while to get your sea legs and used to the motion.”
She survived the four hour sail and we dropped anchor. The rolling seas did not provide her much relief but the next morning all was good. Nothing like some greasy sausage and eggs to get the system back to normal. Oh that’s right, that was what we hade the next day.
St. Anne, Martinique is a beautiful little town with a very large bay where close to 200 boats easily anchor. Around the corner is the town of Le Marin with a huge marina that can handle over 800 boats. Needless to say there are a lot of stores that sell boat parts. We were able to replace the switch for the windlas, purchase new anchor chain, and of course indulge on chocolate croissants and baguettes.
Beautiful beaches, clear water, and warm weather, it is nice to be back in the Caribbean.
completed first leg
20 December 2018 | Rodney Bay, St. lucia
The cruising community is an amazing group of people. Everyone I have met sailing are exceptionally wonderful and giving people. We have to be because we know that we will need someone else’s help at one time or another. We have all come from different walks of life and ended up on the sea for one reason or another. Myself coming from landlocked North Dakota, I am often asked how I developed my love for sailing and now the sea. I really do not know. Maybe it is just the pure adventure of it all, the unknown that faces us on a daily basis or the constant challenges that we have to accept and solve. It could also be the warm sun, the rainbows, white sand beaches, different cultures, women in bikinis, or men in speedos. Mmm definitely not the last two. Well maybe a bikini on occasion.
My friend arrived by dingy in the morning. I asked him to look at my propeller shaft problem. I explained what my plan was to get it fixed and he agreed with my thinking. He asked if I wanted help and I quickly answered “yes.”
A short time later we had it fixed the way it should have been done in the boatyard before we left. That evening we shared a wonderful dinner together and met another couple sailing north.
The next morning we are off to a new country and the chore of checking in thru immigration and customs. Customs goes just fine but no one is in the immigration office and no one seems to know where he is. Island time. We walk a mile to the airport so we can get checked into the country and we are now legal visitors. We explore the small harbor side village, have a delicious lunch and head back to the boat. Destination, the Tobago cays. A natural park and turtle sanctuary. The wind is blowing and the water is churning like the wash cycle on your laundry machine. Oh well, we are safely attached to a mooring ball, the water is a beautiful turquoise color, so we can just relax and enjoy where we are.
The next day is much calmer and we have sea turtles feeding on the seagrass next to the boat.
“Have you ever swam with sea turtles,” I ask Carol?
“Then lets go.”
We get our snorkel gear on and we jump off the boat. Soon we are right above two sea turtles gently munching on the grass below us.
When we get back to the boat Carol says” That was beautiful. They are so graceful. They just seem to glide suspended int the water. The was totally amazing.”
After that I go up front to check on my shackle connecting the anchor to the chain. The survey had a recommendation to replace it and sure enough it was starting to spread apart and could let go at anytime. I get my spare shackle, hammer, punch, and spare cotter pin and I head to the front of the boat to start working on it.
“I’ll be upon in a minute to help,” my first mate says.
I check to make sure the rope is securely attached and I start banging away to get the pin out. Carole walks up and asked “ need any help?’
“No, just knocking out this pin,” as I take one last swing and the pin falls out. Unfortunately the anchor fell out too, overboard into the clear water. I stare stupidly at the anchor down in the sand below.
“I can’t believe I just did that. I checked to make sure the rope was attached but it was attached to the shackle and not the anchor. “
I am dumbfounded .
Carol says “It is always good to have a second pair of eyes when doing a project. I was getting ready to say something as you took that last swing.”
“I am sure glad it happened here in eight feet of clear water. I can just dive down and tie a rope on it and bring it back up.”
So I did it and all is good in the world again. A lobster dinner on the beach that evening completes our stay and we head off the next morning. We have a beautiful sail with no problems. The weather is good so the next day we complete our 53 mile trip to St. Lucia. This is where Mile High Dream will stay over Christmas while we both head back to the mainland. It wouldn’t be a good shakedown cruise without a few adventures. My first mate flies back to Canada a few days later having enjoyed the trip and all of it’s problems.
I will be doing boat projects until I fly out the next weekend.