21 January 2017 | Alse Marin
15 January 2017 | St. Anne, Martinique
11 January 2017 | St. Anne, Martinique
06 January 2017 | St.Annes bay, Martinique
22 December 2016 | Rodney Bay, St. Lucia
17 December 2016 | Chatham Bay, St. Vincent
16 December 2016 | Bequia
08 December 2016 | Secret Harbor, Grenada
27 November 2016 | Prickly bay, Grenada
26 November 2016 | Prickly Bay, Grenada
19 November 2016 | Grenada
14 November 2016 | Siesta Hotel, Grenada
06 May 2016 | Spice Island Marina, Grenada
17 April 2016 | Secret harbor marina, Grenada
13 April 2016 | Secret harbor marina, Grenada
06 April 2016 | Tobago Cays
31 March 2016 | Pricley Bay, Grenada
29 March 2016 | Pricley Bay, Grenada
26 March 2016 | Prickly bay, Grenada
26 March 2016 | St. Vincent
16 March 2018 | guadeloupe
This trip I have been joined by two long time friends Jim and Greg. Jim has never been sailing before and Greg has been with me on many trips before Mile High Dream. This is his second time on MHD. Their wives were left at home and we have had a boys trip.
Fresh baguette and chocolate croissants started our early morning adventures while we were in the French countries. Now we are in the Dominica and things are mush different. The hurricane this last fall was devastating to say the least.
Our boat boy Titus shared his experience with us. “The winds started out around 7-8:00 in the evenings and just continued to howl. It lasted about eight hours. When I got up and looked out side, it looked like five nuclear bombs had exploded. Trees were on the ground, every leaf had been stripped from the standing tress, and debris stretched as far as you could see. I lost my roof. My neighbors home was no longer there. It was terrible.”
“How are you doing now?” Jim asks.
“Just taking it one day at a time. It is getting better. We finally got power after 10 days and water after two. The areas further east of us still do not have power.”
Hiking yesterday, we walked around downed trees, climbed over ones to big to move to be moved and looked at the regrowth just starting to happen. The parrots that live on citrus trees are starving. Only now some fo the trees are bearing fruit. The farmers are concerned that once the trees bear fruit they will be totally stripped by the hungry birds. It is a total domino effect with the wildlife, the people and the jungle.
The Indian river which is a huge tourist attraction took 29 days and 15 boat men to clear the debris out of it so they could start taking people up the river.
This part of the trip is an amazing eyeopener for all of us.
Now it is off to French islands 20 miles away that had very little damage.
28 February 2018 | Sunset at Marie Galante
Once upon a time there was this boy who knew things around might make a difference but failed to listen to their suggestions. One day has he was taking the dingy over to the fuel dock to fill two containers with diesel fuel, he looked at the cap on one of the containers and saw it was broken. It was not the first time he had noticed it and one time even used epoxy to glue it back to gather but that had long ago failed and not been repaired.
“Not a problem,” he said to himself. “I am only going to fill it and then bring it back and empty it into the boat. I can do that.”
The caps removed on both bright yellow containers he filled them up, put the caps back on and went into the office to pay. He then dropped the one with the solid cap into the boat in it’s upright position and the second one he put on the raised area at the front of the boat. As he placed it there he thought to himself, “ That might tip over. I will need to be very careful.”
Getting back into the boat he placed his size 13 feet into the front raised deck nudging the container with the broken top to become unbalanced. It fell into the boat. He reacted quickly and jumped down into the dingy. Perhaps a little too quickly since as he bounced down his glasses flew right off of his face and into the water. The diesel fuel flowing into the boat was forgotten as he reached for his lost glasses, he touched them but could not get his fingers around them. He could still see them and in a valiant effort reached just a little further. With that weight shift, over he went into the sea with his glasses.
Sputtering and spitting out water he looked down but could no longer see his glasses. The diesel fuel was covering the bottom of the dingy and he crawled over the inflated dingy tube and into the boat where he righted the fuel container.
He assessed his current situation. His glasses are 20 feet down at the bottom of the mirky water, diesel fuel covers the bottom of the dingy and he just took an unplanned saltwater bath. Soaking wet he reaches into his pocket to find his billfold and money soggy.
“ Oh Fudge,” he says. Well maybe the language was a little stronger than that.
He pulls the cord on the outboard motor and starts it up and heads back to his boat.
“That was not how I wanted to start my day.”
All in the life of a cruiser. I soaked up the fuel, cleaned the bottom of the dingy with dawn, located my spare glasses, filled Mile High Dreams fuel tank and thought. “I wish I had put a safety strap on my glasses.”
They had been falling off at regular intervals before and the needle nose plier fix hadn’t lasted. I think i mentioned about this boy failing to listen to suggestions.
Now I have left the dock and am anchored outside of the town of St. Louis in Marie Galante, another French state. I will be sailing around by myself for ten days until my next crew arrives on March 6. This is the longest time period I have sailed by myself. Sailing may not be totally correct since I spent a couple of days at anchor before sailing 20 miles to here. I will probably only sail about 40 miles total until I arrive back at the Marina.
Thar She Blows
20 February 2018 | Bas du Fort Marina, Guadeloupe
The wind guru website tells us we will have a few calmer days for us to travel from Martinique to Dominica and then up to Guadeloupe which will be Sue and Gary’s final destination on Mile High Dream. It looks like we will be having two days of ok weather which will not allow us to do much playing but will get us there.
Off we go. The expected winds from the weather report is 15-18 knots with gusts to 21. That is what we would call great sailing conditions. My crew is not the earliest of risers so by the time we get under way we are definitely at the back of the mass exodus of boats thinking the same as we are. Approximately 25 boats sailed out of Saint Pierre that morning headed to Dominica. Dominica is sponsoring a cruiser’s appreciation week to let sailors know they are back in business after the hurricane. This week long event is going to be strongly supported. We knew that we would not be able to take part in the festivities due to our time commitment to get to Guadeloupe but we are there in spirit.
We are in the Martinique Passage and winds are anything but 15 knots. 20 plus with gusts to 30 are not uncommon so we reef the main sail and reduce how much head sail we have out and off we go sailing at a very fast seven knots. It is a little rough but eight hours and 50 miles later we drop the anchor. We talk about tomorrow and decide to do two short days even though the winds are expected to increase on the second day. After dinner, Sue kicks our butt in every game we play that night. We head to bed early so we can get an 8:30 am start.
Reaching the Dominican passage the winds are again well over 20 knots with gust up to 35 and waves around 6 feet. This is going to be a rough sail so we are glad we are only going 17 miles. Two and one half hours later we finish crossing the Guadeloupe passage and reach Iles Des Saintes our supposed destination. I am ready to be done but that was not going to happen. Every mooring ball is taken and the only place to anchor is in 40 feet of rough bouncing water. We look at each other and decide to keep going another 20 miles. The seas get worse, the tie down on the dingy explodes like a shot out of a gun. The dingy is floppy like a fish out of water and I am flaily around trying to get a line on it to get it back under control. Oh the joys of sailing. I have asked myself more than once why I do this and I have not come up with a very good answer yet.
Gary thinks he sees something strange about a quarter mile behind the boat. All of a sudden a whales flies out of the water and does a full breach in mid air.
“Oh my God. Did you see that? It’s a whale. I have never seen one in my last five years of cruising.” I said
As soon as I said that two more whales breach in tandem. What an amazing sight. Maybe these are those special times that keep me sailing.
We make it to Guadeloupe, drop anchor and settle in for the night. Rough seas, high winds, getting soaked with saltwater and seeing whales, it has been quite a day.
Trials and Tribulations
15 February 2018 | St. Pierre, Martinique
Well this is my fourth try to post this blog so I guess the title of this is fitting. Once I arrived in French territory my phone decided it did not work. I guess it does not speak french.
Trials and tribulations,
I picked up my crew, Gary and Sue at the airport in St. Lucia. The plan was for me to sail to Martinique and meet them there but the weather told me other things as high winds were predicted. Not wise to go and sail in adverse conditions by my self. They caught a shuttle and arrived in St. Lucia. The next day we sailed to Martinique just in time for carnival.
Each Island has their own Carnival. Martinique coincides with Fat Tuesday and the days preceding lent. The big parade and festivities started on Sunday. We took the ferry across the bay and arrived in plenty of time to start partying. Actually a little too early. Nothing was open and no one was around. MMMM, did I miss the day? I certainly missed the time. I had read that it started at five am. If this is the case it is already finished and everyone went to bed. Wandering around town and finally stopping at a place for a snack we discovered that it did not start until 3:00 or maybe 4:00, no one was quite sure. We ordered beers and frites( french fries). The beers were good but the frites never did arrive. Both Sue and I had gone up to order, even having a french phone app for them to read that we wanted frites. All of this was to no avail and we finally settled for chicken and macaroni pie.
The parade did start around 3:00 and by 4:30 we had experienced enough revelry and headed back to the boat.
What we also found out is that all stores are closed for the four days of Carnival. No fresh baguettes of chocolate croissants. Why am I here when I can’t indulge on the finer things that France has to offer.
The last day of Carnival ended yesterday with backfiring cars, loud music and everyone dressed in black and white. Today starts lent and the scarifies until Easter. We hope the grocery and bakery are open. I need a croissant or maybe two to make up for the ones I missed the last four days.
Warm weather break
04 February 2018 | Denver International Airport
It is cold out there
The warm sands and clear blue water soothed my soul and cleared my mind. Why did I want to leave this beautiful place and go back to the cold of Colorado?
Change is always good and I did not want to take things for granted. Last year I made two trips home during the winter and found out I really enjoyed it so once again off I went to trade in the swimsuit for the down jacket, mittens and wool stocking hats, along with the snow, skis, and good friends of home.
Colorado did not disappoint. Nine days of Cross country skiing, 2 days of down hill skiing and one evening of skinning up the mountain for dinner and enjoying the full moon. That was an amazing experience. Reconnecting with Colorado friends including a friend from high school, meeting new friends, and spending time with those I care about and Emi the Bernese Mountain dog made for an exceptional break from Mile High Dream.
I left her in good hands getting polished and cleaned while I was away and now I am at the airport on my way back to St. Lucia.
It is good to mix things up.
17 January 2018 | soufiere, st. Lucia
The inky blackness of night surrounds Mile High Dream. There is no moon and the clouds prevent the twinkling of stars far away.
“Is that a star I see in the distance?” I ask myself.
I watch it closely and the waving back and forth tells me it is another boat at anchorage with it’s masthead light glowing to let others know they are there.
We are tied to a mooring ball in Soufriere, St. Lucia. Today has been mix of sunshine and then lots of liquid sunshine (rain, heavy downpours). My fingers are crossed that it will clear off and we may keep the hatches open tonight to give us much needed airflow throughout the boat.
It really is not as dark as I have lead you to believe because the town is full of lights. Christmas lights still adorn the dock welcoming boats into town. The harbor is full of boats attached to mooring balls like we are. it is quiet with no loud music emanating from any of the local bars which is a nice respite compared to other nights. Our anchorage is a little rock and roily so it is hard enough to sleep without the blare of the local speakers system. It is still early so it may start up at anytime.
I am sailing with a family of three. It was originally planned as four but heir son was unable to join us so it is husband, wife and their college age daughter. They had a great time scuba diving today while I relaxed, read, did some of the never-ending boat projects, went into town and even did some snorkeling off the boat. The constant flow of power boats traveling back and forth is a little unnerving when snorkeling so I swam with my bright red inflatable buoy.
The harbor is part of this towns market place. People with hopes of helping you attach your boat to morning balls, selling you fish, bread, necklaces, carvings, land based excursion or even picking up garbage, fly around the harbor at max speed trying to be the first ones to catch the newly arriving boats. Young boy paddle up on paddle boards asking if they can take your trash into town for you. Most cruisers know well enough not to give them your garbage since once they are out of sight they just dump it overboard. If you have no garbage then they ask for cookies, cokes or other things to eat or drink. One even asked me for some wine for his mother. Uh, I don’t think so. It is quite amazing but it does get a little old after being asked if you want to buy some fresh fish for the tenth time today.
Fresh tuna was the main course along with local vegetables for tonight’s dinner.
Tomorrow is planned for land based exploration and checking out some working plantations. We are hoping it shapes up to be another wonderful day in paradise.