20 November 2017 | Prickly bay, grenada
17 April 2017 | Prickly Bay, Grenada
07 April 2017 | Rodney Bay St. Lucia
25 March 2017 | The Saints
04 March 2017 | Jolly Harbor, Antiqua
20 February 2017 | Summit County, Colorado
07 February 2017 | Marina Bas Du Fort
03 February 2017 | Iles Des Saints
29 January 2017 | Les Trois Islets
24 January 2017 | Martinique
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
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.
on our way
08 December 2018 | Rodney Bay, St. Lucia
We are off and sailing. Today will be our first day actually sailing and putting up the sails. Motoring out of Prickly bay, we turn the Mile High Dream into the wind and put up the main sail. It has not been raised since last spring and everything appears to be ok as it rises to the top of the mast.
Our sailing start was delayed because we had to have a survey done on the boat before we could leave. Insurance required this since it had not been done for five years. Unfortunately it did not turn out quite like I had hoped and some last minute needed repairs had to be made before we could leave. Little things like cracks in the fittings that hold the the mast in place. I decided that might be an important thing to have repaired before we left so we wouldn’t have the mast falling down on us. Kinda important for a sailboat.
We turn the corner to start our journey north and we unfurl the brand new headsail. It looks great. It is a little smaller that the one I had. The sail maker recommended it for the areas that I was sailing in. With the consistent heavier trade winds that we get here, I found my self constantly bringing in the head sail to make it smaller so it was an easy decision to just get a smaller one to begin with.
With our sails full of wind we turn off the engine and enjoy the quiet and pure joy of sailing. It is a beautiful day as we head north for our 12 mile shakedown sail.
Having dinner with friends two nights before we left, they recommended anchoring in Halifax harbor. I had only been there once before and had not liked the bay very much but they told us where to go and a great restaurant if we decided to eat off the boat. Arriving there around four o’clock we proceeded to drop the anchor in a very calm bay.
After dropping the anchor I tell Carol my first mate for this part of the trip, “ Put it in reverse so can set the anchor.”
I wait. “Do you have it in reverse?”
“Its not going any where. Put in forward.”
Nothing happens there either. This sucks. I go down to the engine and take a look. Everything appears to be normal.
“Maybe the propeller fell off,” I tell Carol.
Putting on mask, fins and snorkel I jump overboard to take a look. Propeller is still there so that good.
Back on the boat I head back down to the engine. I had a new cutless bearing installed and a new seal on the shaft to prevent water from coming in before putting the boat in the water.. Another important component of boating.
“Turn on the engine and put it in gear while Im looking at it.”
“Ok here goes.”
Wow the shaft isn’t turning but the engine and coupling are.
“Turn it off, ” I yell back up.
The mechanics had not tightened the bolt down correctly when they had removed the shaft and the square key to make the shaft turn had fallen out. I put it back in and retightened the bolt.
“See how it works now.”
She starts the engine and all is good. We re-anchor and settle in for a nice quiet evening. Time for first sail rum punch. This is the life.
The next morning we get up, have breakfast and talk about today’s sail plan of going to Sandy Cay. It is one of my favorite spots with a beautiful soft sand beach and fantastic snorkeling. Off we go on our 25 mile sail. The propeller shaft seems to be just fine and we soon raise the sails and turn the motor off.
“Its around four o’clock and we are six miles away. I’m going to turn the motor on so we can get there faster. The wind seems right on our nose.”
“Sounds good to me. I’m ready for a swim,” answers Carol.
I turn the engine on ands put it into gear. Nothing happens.
My first mate jumps to the helm as I go b below to find out the problem.
The propeller shaft has come completely off of the transmission coupling and is just dangling there.
“Turn off the motor,” I yell up.
This time when I slide the shaft back into the coupling, it pulls on the shaft seal and water flows in. Not a good sign. It is all fine if we don’t run the engine.
I go up and discuss our dilemma, and we talk about options. My first mate has her own boat and is a very experienced sailor. We start sailing and tacking towards Sandy Cay. I go below and try to figure out a temporary fix. We start the engine and water is coming in as fast as I can bail it out. 30 minutes later and not much closer to our destination, I admit defeat and we turn off the engine.
Carole looks over and says” we can sail right into Tyrrel bay. The point of sail is perfect.”
I head back below and empty out the water that has collected. We figure we can use the motor right at the end to drop the anchor and set it and then figure out a fix. I also remember that some good friends who had left a week before we did might still be here. He is a take charge fix it kind of guy so my spirits are lifting.
We sail in and get the anchor dropped and sure enough my friends are there. They make sure we are ok for the evening and we make plans to connect the next morning.
This was quite a day but are safe and sound.