Zero to 21 Knots In Two Months

24 May 2016 | Sint Maarten/St. Martin
06 April 2016 | Cocoa Point, Barbuda
06 April 2016 | Cocoa Point, Barbuda
27 March 2016 | Green Island, Antigua
25 March 2016 | Green Island, Antigua
25 March 2016 | Green Island, Antigua
25 March 2016 | Green Island, Antigua
25 March 2016 | Green Island, Antigua
25 March 2016 | Green Island, Antigua
25 March 2016 | Green Island, Antigua
25 March 2016 | Green Island, Antigua
22 March 2016 | English Harbor, Antigua
22 March 2016 | English Harbor, Antigua
22 March 2016 | English Harbor, Antigua
09 February 2016 | Honeymoon Beach, Water Island USVI
15 January 2016 | St. James Island, USVI

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others-Gandhi

24 May 2016 | Sint Maarten
Tiffany Hodgson/sunny
IGY Marinas host a volunteer day twice a year for many of their locations. We happened to be in Sint Maarten during the February event. We joined many other volunteers (mostly cruisers and professional yacht crews) and spent the day working at I Can Foundation Orphanage. This is a foster home for children 0-13 years old who were removed from their homes because of abuse, neglect, or other social issues. It was a well-organized event with many projects going on. We were shuttled to and from the home and spent the day painting the exterior of the house, clearing the yard and garden of debris, setting up a playground area, cleaning toys, and painting a fence. We did not anticipate the level of excitement from the kids living there. Once we volunteers were given our assignments, we heard the kids saying, “I want to paint, I want to help.” They were really enthusiastic about helping improve the place they call home. It was a great day for all of us! You can see some video from IGY Marina below.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XvqiErC-eMc
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKi_6nMo4Mo

To learn more about I Can Foundation, click on the link below:
http://i-canfoundation.org/index.htm

Finding Saralane

24 May 2016 | Sint Maarten/St. Martin
Tiffany Hodgson/Sunny
St. Martin/Sint Maarten (French/Dutch spelling) is a unique island with a protected lagoon. Josh and I had been here last in 2008 aboard Tenacity. We recall spending the better part of a day driving around the lagoon by dinghy in search of fuel (“no more fuel, maybe tomorrow, maybe not.”) and eating a lot of croissants. So this stay was not much different as far as the croissants are concerned. Love the French baguettes, croissants, cheeses, wine, etc. They are so good! For us to enter the lagoon on the French side, we need to pass through the Simpson Bay Bridge and then through the swing bridge. Both bridges have scheduled opening times, but the Simpson Bay Bridge is exciting to watch as mega yachts pass through, some squeezing by with only inches to spare. If you have not seen the TV show "Below Deck," watch it. It is a humorous look into the life of the mega yacht crews. The first season was filmed here in Sint Maarten.
Once on the French side of the lagoon, we found our friends, Skip and Madeline, and their lovely sailboat, Saralane. I’d call them “expert cruisers” as they have been cruising for the past 6 years. They are a wealth of knowledge about boats, projects (more on that), anchorages, and how to navigate around the islands. On our first attempt to anchor in the lagoon, we managed to pick up a HUGE old chain resting on the sea floor. Thankfully, we had the aid of fellow boaters to help us release it.
We enjoyed spending time with Skip and Madeline in the lagoon with its easy access to marine goods, markets, restaurants, music, Wi-Fi, laundry, veterinarians, etc. There is an active cruiser net (via VHF radio) in the morning which gives all of the comings/goings of cruisers, local announcements, services, safety & security, barter/swap, etc. An energetic woman’s voice would come on in the morning saying, “I am Sylvia from Spain. I give super good deep tissue massage…” So, of course we had to indulge, at $30 for one hour, how could one not. AND she comes to your boat with her massage table. Luckily, we have a perfect aft deck to accommodate such luxuries.
We also revisited our screen project (I’m tired of getting bug bites) that my mom and I started back in November in Culebra and used Saralane for inspiration. Skip and Madeline were instrumental in getting this project completed. So now, Occam’s has 7 new screens. Thanks Skip and Madeline!

"Auto pilot, we don't need no stinkin auto pilot."

06 April 2016 | Cocoa Point, Barbuda
Tiffany Hodgson/sunny
Josh and I decide that the weather looks good for a 90+ mile crossing from St. John to St. Martin on February 13th. We left Caneel Bay before sunset and within an hour our auto pilot stopped working. Josh was able to contact his Raymarine rep who gave us a couple of suggestions (unfortunately to no avail). So, hand steering it will be for the duration of the passage. We encountered a few blasts of rain, usual small boat traffic, and a couple of cargo ships/cruise ships. Daybreak begins as we arrive into Simpson Bay and off in the distance what we think is the outline of the hills of St. Maarten, is really the mega yacht Eclipse. She is 533 feet long (the world's 2nd longest private yacht) and we had seen it previously in the BVI at Christmas. It was awfully nice of them to welcome us to the West Indies. We dropped anchor in the bay, rested up, cleaned up the boat, and prepared for the bridge opening into Simpson Bay Lagoon. I was "too excited to sleep" as this is where we would FINALLY meet up with Skip and Madeline.

Happy Birthday to you...

06 April 2016 | Cocoa Point, Barbuda
Tiffany Hodgson/sunny
January brought us another reason to celebrate. Our friend, Michael Keyworth, had another birthday. This was an extra special one as it also signified "official" retirement. During 2015, Josh and I had a celebratory countdown on the 11th of every month which included some little surprise gift with a quote for Michael. We celebrated together in Christmas Cove with a memorable meal (good laughter coming from Josh and Nancy as they worked on assembly of the meal in the galley). We finished it off with an island appropriate birthday cake, rum cake! So glad to call this couple our friends.

Pura Vida! The Neuberts are here...

27 March 2016
After Josh’s return from Germany, our friends from Chicago, Janet and Opie, arrived. As I mentioned in a previous post, Josh has awesome college friends. Janet and Opie also went to Cornell and are included in this most excellent group of people. Since we have traveled to other tropical locations together, usually resulting in sunburns and a few other mishaps, we knew we needed to be on our toes. The Neuberts brought us a great collection of boat games (which bring us hours of entertainment) and my replacement phone. So, I am back in business…so to speak.
The night of their arrival, we were anchored in Christmas Cove on St. James Island, where we enjoyed dinner and catching with Carl and Sarah. After a morning snorkel, we headed over to Caneel Bay (St. John) and into St. John Brewing for lunch. Over the years, Opie has gotten Josh and me interested in craft beers. Josh and I are always looking for new, interesting beers, and seek out breweries and brew pubs when we can. Our next stop is Jost Van Dyke for clearing into the BVI and a quick drink at Foxy’s. We decide to head over to Tortola for the night and drop our anchor in Cane Garden Bay. Janet and I went for a morning walk with Jacques and noticed a school bus full of kids stopped in the middle of the street. We suspected they were picking up a student, but when the bus remained stationary for several minutes, it peaked our interest. Well, it turns out that the bus driver stopped the bus at the bakery to get himself a morning snack. Ah, island life! We headed to Marina Cay for happy hour at Pussers with great live music. We checked out Trellis Bay on Beef Island. This is a funky, “artist” community, which hosts full moon parties complete with mushroom tea. Back at the boat we purchased produce from a local boat woman. She drives her skiff from boat to boat in an anchorage selling produce and crafts. She was lovely. Looks and sounds just like Penelope Cruz. Lovely!
The next day brings us with a spirited sail to the North Sound of Virgin Gorda, one of my favorite places. We spent time at Saba Rock, Bitter End Yacht Club, and Yacht Club Costa Smeralda. Josh and Janet spent some time here restoring Josh’s computer after it crashed. Thank God Janet was here as she has great technical skills. Putting these two on just about any technical task means it will get completed. This gives Opie and I a chance to sit back and relax…since we have nothing to offer in the way of help. Thank you Janet! We had a nice sail back to St. John to clear back into the US. We were able to put the anchor down at Water Island with just enough time to make it over to Frenchtown Brewing for tastings and debriefing with Carl, Sarah, and Sutton

Early Morning Rescue

27 March 2016 | Green Island, Antigua
Tiffany and Josh Hodgson/sunny with showers
We wake from a sound sleep to voices outside our boat. It sounds like someone is tying to get our attention. It is only 6:40 am. Josh gets out of bed and sees two young boys, about 5 and 10 years old, in a small skiff at the stern of our boat. They were there to collect a mooring fee from the previous night use. We were not expecting to be woken up this early to deal with business. Josh grabs his wallet to pay them and notices that they are now floating away, unable to get their outboard engine started. Josh hops in our dinghy to offer assistance. It turns out their engine died, ran out of fuel. The oldest brother is yelling at the younger one for running out of fuel. The youngest boy who previously was looking so proud being able to run the boat while his older handled business, was now looking deflated. Josh towed them to the dock so they could get off to school and received a discounted rate on our mooring. Running a mooring business must be the island equivalent of a paper route which needed to be completed before going to school.
Vessel Name: Occam's Razor
Occam's Razor's Photos - Happy New Year!
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Is this really a good idea?
Is this really a good idea?
Added 25 March 2016