Parka on the Loop

1986 Niagara 35 Encore

14 October 2016 | Gulf Shores Shrimp Festival
12 October 2016 | Dog River
12 October 2016 | Dog River
10 October 2016 | Turners Mobile Bay
08 October 2016 | 14 Mile Bridge
07 October 2016 | Big Bayou Canot
06 October 2016 | Three Rivers Lake
05 October 2016 | Black Warrior River
04 October 2016 | Demopolis
03 October 2016 | Demopolis
02 October 2016 | Demopolis
02 October 2016 | Oxbow Heflin Lock
01 October 2016 | Waverly
30 September 2016 | Fulton Lock
29 September 2016 | Whitten Lock
28 September 2016 | Abe's Grill
27 September 2016 | Grand Ole Opry
27 September 2016 | Pickwick Lock
26 September 2016 | Wolf Island
25 September 2016 | Tennessee River Home

Ocean World Dominican Republic toPuerto Rico

04 March 2018 | Ensenada Anchorage
February 26/18 We finally got a weather window and permission to leave Ocean World. After clearing with Customs and Immigration, a member of the navy and DEA visited Parka, inspected then issued our Despacho.
The seas were a bit rolly but not bad. We motor sailed for the first 24 hours and came to Samana. We decided to push on as the weather was improving.
We crossed north of the Hourglass Shoal in the sometimes dreaded Mona Passage. The currents and waves switch around and are unpredictable. We arrived in the area at dusk. Over night we had a full moon and really nice conditions
The last 18 hours of the trip we sailed on one tack with no motoring.
A total of fifty one hours and 251.4 NM from Ocean World we arrived at Puerto Real on the west coast of Puerto Rico. We checked in with Customs and Immigration via phone and they decided that we needed to report in person to Mayaguez. Given the length of the trip we just had we were given permission to get off the boat and report the following morning.
The following morning we rented a car and drove the short distance to Mayaguez and the Customs House. Check in was easy and friendly. The Officer even recommended a place for breakfast!
Our Spanish was so poor that although we thought we ordered eggs and ham we got ham and cheese sandwiches!
We toured a bit of the west coast and did not see any damage from the hurricanes that had devastated the Island.
We stayed at Marina Pescaderia. It is very secure, even though we never felt that there were any security issues. The Marina has a restaurant on site that opens at 5pm and serves fresh fish that is brought in daily.
We had a tuna burger that was actually a large tuna steak.
Two nights at Marina Pescaderia and we were rested and ready to move on. Temperature was 92F and sea temperature was 84F. It was nice to leave the marina and enjoy the sea breeze.
We rounded Cabo Rojo with its newly refurbished light house. The landscape here is beautiful and mountainous. We continued around the Cape to La Parguera and picked a quiet anchorage. The sunset was beautiful.
The following morning we decided to take a 3 hour cruise to Gilligan’s Island! It actually took us three hours and seemed appropriate given the name of the Island!
We anchored at Gilligan’s Island and took the dinghy to shore. It is obviously a party island/ picnic site. There are lots of brick BBQ’s and families having picnics and enjoying the day.
It was a bit too crowded for us but we were glad we went there. Early afternoon the wind kicked up to 16 knots on the nose so we decided to move to a more protected anchorage.

We picked up the anchor and motored about 4.5 miles west to Ensenada. Totally protected from all winds. That is where we currently are.

Still in DR at Ocean World

22 February 2018
It has been very windy while we have been here.The Navy has closed all of the ports to any vessel under 70' for safety reasons. So we are still waiting for a weather window and permission to leave.
Most days it rains overnight, clears first thing in the morning, a few squalls with rain and high winds blow through then the sun comes out until the afternoon squalls return.
If you are going to be weathered in someplace this is a great place to be.
We had a weeklong visit from Harley so we took in quite a few activities. Starting with the Bravissimo Cabaret Show with professional singers and performers. The show takes place right here at the marina. The evening starts with a surf and turf dinner and then the show. It was a really nice evening.
We spent a day in Ocean World Park and took in the following:
Sea Lion show featuring "Mona Chita",Dolphin Show, Shark Show, Bird Show, snorkelling in the aquarium and my personal favourite was swimming with dolphins!!!!
We took a Jeep Safari through the countryside to 27 Waterfalls. We were treated to a buffet lunch at an indigenous village and watched as local artisans worked on stone carvings. We saw a cock fight, that is legal in the DR. The roosters were brought out and had small "boxing gloves" put over their spur so that neither bird was injured.
Two guides took eight of us to the 27 waterfalls where we hiked 480' up the mountain to a point about half way so we could do 12 waterfalls. It is a series of slides through natural rock slides and over waterfalls back down to the bottom. It was amazing.
Part of the safari included a ride into the forest where we had hot chocolate and coffee brewed over a wood fire. We saw where tobacco was grown and cigars being hand rolled.
We also took a tour of Puerto Plata and took a cable car ride up to the top of the mountain where there is a statue of Jesus.

Dominican Republic

04 February 2018 | Just east of Luperon Dominican Republic
We got up Sunday and the weather still looked good for a crossing to Dominican Republic so we decided to go.
In all the guides we have read we expected that the water around the southern end of Big Sand would be confused and possibly higher winds due to the cape effect. Sure enough the winds were 16-18 knots and ESE. The seas were confused steep and choppy. We decided to press on and at about six miles south of the Island the waves settled a bit. For the entire run to Dominican Republic we were on a port tack with a reef in the main and the headsail. The seas built to about 8-10 feet and still more choppy than we expected. Winds remained 16-18 knots all day and night with higher gusts. There were several waves that the bow dug into and water flowed over the deck. Just before daybreak we could see the lights of the DR. By 9:00 am we were secure at the dock at Ocean World. A fantastic sail of 107.7 miles.Although a little tired we were very happy to have made it this far. About 960 miles from Marathon Florida.

Big Sand Cay

03 February 2018 | Big Sand Cay
Shortly after 8 am we left Six Hills anchorage. Heading east the sun was right in our eyes so we took it slow through the coral heads following the charted path. The wind was east south east at 10-15 knots all day with gusts to 20 knots. The swells were from the north east but the sea was steep and choppy. We sailed the entire way to Big Sand Cay.
This highlight of the day was seeing humpback whales jumping high into the air and crashing back into the sea. This is the time of year they migrate south to breed, we were lucky to see them!
Approaching Big Sand Cay it looks amazing. Fantastic sand beach as the name implies. In the picture, looking across the sand beach is the deep blue of the Atlantic.

Six Hills Cay

02 February 2018
February 2nd at 9:05 we said our goodbyes and left the Marina. We were an hour before high tide and still only had 6' of water between the spars.
We had 10-15 knots of wind all day, mostly on the nose, with gusts to 20 knot. We had to dodge lots of dark spots that can indicate coral heads. We arrived at Six Hills Cay close to 17:30 and dropped the anchor in 12' of clear turquoise water. It was interesting that Six Hills looks like a little sliver of a reef on the chart but is actually a very nice protected anchorage with...six hills! The sunset was a perfect end to the day.

Time to leave Provo

01 February 2018 | South Caicos Marina, Provo, Turks and Caicos
February 1st and we are still at South Side Marina, Provo, Turks and Caicos.
The weather has been a mix of cold fronts, high winds and squalls. We have what looks to be a three day weather window starting tomorrow so it is time to go. We met with Customs and Immigration at 4pm who cleared us for departure tomorrow morning at 9am.
We will have a high tide rising so 9:00am is the best time to leave.
We will miss this marina as it is well protected, very quiet and the people are friendly.
We will take the day tomorrow to cross the Caicos Bank and anchor for the night at Six Hills Cay. The next day it is a 25 mile sail to Big Sand Cay, an uninhabited Island south of South Caicos. A rest day on Sunday during the day then an overnight sail to Dominican Republic. That's the plan!
Vessel Name: Parka
Vessel Make/Model: Niagara 35 Encore
Hailing Port: Pell Island Georgian Bay; Registered Midland, Ontario Canada
Crew: Joanne and David
About: David is a retired OPG Stationary Engineer. Joanne is a Registered Nurse retiring July 2016. We have been upgrading Parka in preparation for the Great Loop commencing August 2016 from Georgian Bay.
Parka's Photos - Main
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The Manatees swim into the marina looking for fresh water.
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Super busy port. These photos were on the weekend!
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84'Drop on our way to the Gulf
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Created 2 October 2016
These are only. Seen for about a mile but really beautiful.
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Photos taken down the Illinois River
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Crossing into Usa
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Created 18 August 2016
We took Parka out for a cruise down the Waubano Channel. Beam reach 7 knots!
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Created 16 August 2016
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Created 4 August 2016
Old wiring out and new in! Forced air furnace installed.
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Created 26 July 2016
David duplicated the grab rails over the winter so time to install.
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Created 12 July 2016
Some of the things we are changing or improving.
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Created 12 July 2016