Mile High Dream

20 April 2018 | Martinique, Le Marin
09 April 2018 | St Lucia
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
06 January 2018 | Prickly Bay, Grenada
20 November 2017 | Prickly bay, grenada
25 April 2017 | Grenada
17 April 2017 | Prickly Bay, Grenada
07 April 2017 | Rodney Bay St. Lucia
30 March 2017 | St lucia
25 March 2017 | The Saints
19 March 2017 | Antigua
04 March 2017 | Jolly Harbor, Antiqua
20 February 2017 | Summit County, Colorado
07 February 2017 | Marina Bas Du Fort

Martinique

20 April 2018 | Martinique, Le Marin
The sound of the chain rattling as it is being raised awakens me from my slumber. We are in a very small bay called Anse Noire, located on the western shore of Martinique. A slight breeze blows over the water sending little ripples all the way to shore. It is a well protected anchorage but the key part is small. The raising of the chain had not woken me up since I have been sleeping on deck since 4:00 AM. I got up around 3:00 to check things out and it seemed like I was practically touching the boat next to me. With the calm winds and no current, the boats seem to just move around on there own accord without much organization. With wind or waves, the boats react to the water in the same way and would all face the same direction. This is not so in the dead calm. The last time I was here, I was the only boat but last night there were 6 boats in this tiny bay. That is about two too many. But all is well that ends well. A little less sleep but no boats crashing into each other.
Yesterday in addition to some fabulous snorkeling, we spent some precious time on the beach.
Two of us kayaked to the beach. Once we stowed the kayak, we headed down the beach, soft sand kissing our feet. We passed two female sunbathers without their tops.
"No wonder you like this beach so much." she says.
The local beach bar calls our name for lunch. While waiting for our food to be served, a man in a speedo stands close to the table.
"That speedo would match your shirt," she says.
"I don't think you are looking at the colors," I reply.
"Is that a baguette, demi baguette or a flute? It is certainly not a boule," She states.
We both try to control our laughter but with no results.
We have five people on board this week. For three of them it is their first experience sailing. With snorkeling with turtles and the brightly colored fish, beach time, some sunny weather, the rain and rough seas are a long gone memory.
I am starting to wind down this sailing season. In a little over two weeks Mile High Dream will be pulled out of the water in Grenada to spend her summer on shore and I will head back to Colorado. The year has been different, interesting, fulfilling and fun. I did more solo sailing which was ok but I really do not enjoy it as much as sailing with others aboard. I did not go as far north as I had planned either. Some of that was due to the Hurricane damage from the summer and some was due to scheduling of guests.
Other boats are pulling up their chains and getting to head out to a different place. We will do some turtle searching and snorkeling before we head out to our last anchorage with this crew.
"Hey can you pass me some cream for my coffee?" I asked the boat next to me. "You can just hand it over on the next swing by."

Headed south

09 April 2018 | St Lucia
The wall of water crashes over the boat and i feel like I am inside a tunnel. I have my own sea aquarium with fish swimming around in the cockpit. Well it is not quite that bad, there are no fish. I turn Mile High Dream into the wind to let the water flow out of the back.
"I sure am glad I closed those hatches under the seat or the bed would be soaked.' I say to the crashing waves. "And this is suppose to be the calm day."
I had dropped my last crew mate off the day before so she could catch her plane back to Canada. She owns her own boat and does a fair amount of solo sailing herself. We enjoyed sharing stories and adventures and she also gave me a few tips on some blocks(hardware that let the lines run though) that would make my life a little easier. The sail from Guadeloupe down to Martinique was very enjoyable. We stopped at The Saints and rented e bikes to help us climb the steep hills on the island. We were hoping for a motorized scooter but we did not get to shore early enough and had to settle for the electric bikes. I have never ridden on one before out side of a parking lot and I am Pleasantly surprised how well they work. No this will not be my next bike. At least not in the foreseeable future.
From there we sailed to Dominica to tour that island. I have doe this a few times before and it is always enjoyable. A few days here and then a long sail to Martinique. Weather has been pretty good and the two crossing were a little wet but quite comfortable.
Back to the land of Croissants and pastries. A very wonderful sailing experience.
My next crew arrives in St. Lucia so I need to get there to pick them up. It is only a 24 mile sail which I have sailed by myself before so I was not too worried about the crossing. I looked at the weather and picked what I thought would be the calmest day to travel and maybe this is it. It is still a little salty.

Changes

21 March 2018 | Rodney bay St. Lucia
The boys are gone and now I am waiting for my family to come down and sail. I am once again at the dock in Guadeloupe. The one disadvantage at the docks this year is lack of power due to the hurricane. Other than that you would not notice anything wrong compared to 40 miles south. Yes some of the homes look a little worse for the wear and could use some paint. I think the French on this island have an aversion to paint so you can’t tell if it is the aftermath of the Hurricane or just normal. All of these places could look amazing if someone took some time to put on a little color and cover up the exposed concrete.
Wow, I just realized that today is Saint Patricks Day. I wonder what they do in a French island for that?
Walking over to a large grocery store about 20 minutes away, I notice a bar with Shamrocks on the door and a beer tent being set up outside.
“Maybe there is hope for a little green beer and Irish music tonight.” I think to myself.
Sure enough around 7:00 the music starts playing. “
“This is great. I need to go check it out.” So off I go.
The inside is full of patrons and the outside parking lot is overflowing with partiers. I go up to tent and order a Heineken. It may not be green but it is in a green bottle. Close enough. Even better, I ordered one and got two.This is a great start.
Now one would assume with Irish music playing in English, St. Paddy’s day started in an English speaking country, that there might be some English speaking people attending. I walk amongst the tables and groups of people trying to catch a bit of English. I finish my first beer with no luck hearing any English. The Irish music blares from the giant speakers. MMMM an English party but no English speaking patrons. The beer was still good and I head back to my boat.
The one thing I have noticed about this Marina is the lack of Americans, Canadians and English speaking in general. I guess I will need to practice my French.
It is time for my family to arrive and bad news. Mary and Kevin cannot get their flight out of Boston due to weather so will not be able to join us. I feel sorry for them but I do get to keep my berth instead of moving to the galley. Time to explore some more of Guadeloupe.

hurricane

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.

Story time

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.
Vessel Name: Mile High Dream
Vessel Make/Model: Catalina 400
Hailing Port: Dillon, CO
Crew: Greg Seebart sailing with Mary in his heart
About: Greg has been sailing since he was 21. I grew up in North Dakota and started taking advantage of the constant winds. After selling my bicycle store in 2006 we got more serious about living our dream on a sailboat. We purchased Mile High Dream in 2013,.
Extra:
Greg and Mary have owned Nada Mas, a 23' South Coast, on Lake Dillon in Colorado for 27 years. We have chartered in the Caribbean and Calif. numerous times. We are excited to begin our dream. While waiting for a weather window in the Truks and Caicos, Mary died unexpectedly Jan. 6 2015 after a [...]
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