31 January 2016 | Seabreeze bar Falmouth harbor
26 January 2016 | Jolly harbor, Antigua
21 January 2016 | On a mooring ball in Nevis
18 January 2016 | Charlestown , nevis
11 January 2016 | Simpson Bay Marina, St. Marteen
07 January 2016 | simpson Bay Marina, St. Marteen
06 January 2016 | Sampson Bay Marina, St. Martin
25 December 2015 | Indian Rocks Beach, FL
14 December 2015 | Sandy island, Anguilla
10 December 2015 | Simpson bay Marina, St. Marteen
03 December 2015 | Grand Casse, St. Martin
03 December 2015 | Road bay
29 November 2015 | Simpson bay Lagoon, St. Marteen
26 November 2015 | Simpson Bay Lagoon, St. Marteen
22 November 2015 | Cooper's Hole, West End Tortola
19 November 2015 | Lameshure Bay, St. Johns
15 November 2015 | Marina Del Rey, Puerto Rico
08 November 2015 | Marina Del Rey, Puerto Rico
12 April 2015 | Isle de Vieques
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.
27 November 2018 | Prickley Bay, Grenada
Mile High Dream has been splashed. That is the terminology used for putting your boat in the water. After 5 hot and intense days of work both by myself and the yard crew, we were able to get the necessary projects done in order to get in the water. What are these projects you ask (or maybe not)? They included replacing the cutless bearing and shaft seal on the propeller shaft, filling the dingy with air to make sure it does not leak, prepping the outboard motors for the season, taking inventory and finding out what parts I might have and what I might need and the endless cleaning and organizing. There is a lot of work that goes into this idyllic cruising life of a sailor.
Did I mention, warm sunshine, cool water and sandy beaches. I spoil my self by staying at a local hotel while I work on the boat. It has air conditioning to help me cool off and is only 2 blocks from one of the most beautiful beaches on Grenada, Grand Ans beach. This beautiful white sand beach and turquoise water provides a nice respite from the boat work. Yesterday while I was swimming, I came across two sea turtles that allowed me to swim with them for a few minutes.
Today I move on Mile High Dream for the season. Lots more organizing and projects before my first crew member arrives Dec. 1st. I looking forward to another wonderful, fun filled year of adventures.
I'm Back (well Almost)
20 November 2018 | Miami Airport
After an amazing summer camping in Northern California, Sailing the 10,000 islands on the border of the US and Canada, bicycling in Croatia and taking a river cruise in Portugal, I am headed back to Mile High Dream. The snow in Colorado has been fantastic and I have logged in over 12 days of cross country skiing. The down side of that is where there is snow, there is cold.
I am currently sitting in the Miami Airport waiting for my final leg to take me to the warmth of Grenada. I have a couple of weeks of boat prep and then I will start heading north. I am looking for a great season with lots of fun crew. Some I have sailed with before and some will be a new adventure for both of us. Beach time is 7 hours away. Im ready.