After the crossing of the Atlantic Ocean in 2004, we are sailing in the Caribbean

22 May 2017 | Grenada
06 August 2016 | Belize
28 October 2015 | Curacao
31 March 2015 | Point a Pitre
02 May 2014 | St Martin
22 July 2013 | Aruba
08 June 2012 | Martinique
04 June 2012 | Martinique
07 November 2011 | Grenada
01 July 2011 | Grenada
29 October 2010 | Curacao
13 June 2010 | Curacao
24 April 2010 | Guadeloupe
06 April 2010 | Guadeloupe
24 March 2010 | St Maarten
14 February 2010 | St Maarten
14 February 2010 | St Maarten
26 December 2009 | St Maarten
16 December 2009 | St Maarten
09 November 2009 | ABC Islands

Sailing with Laura

22 May 2017 | Grenada
Herewith the experience of my friend Laura, who sailed with me for 5 months from St Maarten ro Grenada. We had a gread time.


'Wannabe' sailor

Hi Crusiers, I am a new, 'wanna be' sailor and have been sailing in the Caribbean with Captain Bob on his 32' foot sloop; Pauwke (and Baby the dinghy) for 5 months now, it is THE adventure of my lifetime!

Belize to Sint Marteen and beyond

I was living in Belize, Central America when Captain Bob invited me to sail around the Caribbean from November 2016 until June 2017 ending in Grenada for hurricane season. Although I had lived in a few of the former British islands; Antigua, St. Lucia and Grenada, I had not visited the smaller ones nor any of the French islands.

Bob met me in St. Marteen and suggested my first month on Pauwke could be spent 'settling in' to boat life before we set sail for the islands. It was a very BIG learning curve in my life; getting over sea sickness, not showering every day, only washing dishes once a day, washing clothes in a minimum amount of water, not being careless in using electricity and more importantly keeping everything in its place so the boat was clear of 'stuff' at all times!

Happily for me I was introduced to the magazine Compass and read some great stories about sailors and sailing and the pros and cons, very, very helpful, I now read the publicaion on line or a hard copy every month, thanks guys!

Do not step on a cockroach
One of the firsr rules I had to learn when I began my sailing adventure! Captain Bob explained that if we crush a cockroach underfoot, 'roach eggs may be carried onto the boat. Having lived on land in the Caribbean, 'crush a roach' is a very common mantra! However, I learnt this first and essential rule!

Take out – Put back
Another rule; I learnt this one very quickly, I could not get into bed due to my clothes, books, bags, bikinis etc on the bed, I had meant to put everything away but............. Then I left my my wash stuff in the bathroom, I could not get through the door due to piles of essential products needed to present a clean, glowing and beautiful image for the Captain!!

Funny moments
Captain Bob has the most amazing eye sight; he can see a flag, a vessel, a fish, a dolphin, and on occasion, a mermaid on the horizon and I cannot! So, we have frequent dialogues that go like this; 'Can you see that sailboat on the horizon?' I say; 'almost!'

Bob asked me take the tiller while he lowered the anchor. He shouted from the stern; 'push, push' I was very anxious as I hadn't yet done this, all I said was; 'which way??????' Maybe I will not be a sailor???

Scary Moments
During these early days of my sailing experiences, Bob said he wanted to sail at night, the journey was 100 miles! I took a sea sickness pill and collapsed on the bed! I woke in the morning to find Bob on deck, exhausted and freezing! On another occasion I experienced 32 knot winds and we were heeling like crazy. I was scared to death, Bob had said the forecast predicted winds of around 10 or 12 knots!

A contribution at last (from me)!!
Captain Bob says I have brought luck to the boat! He has never been able to catch fish in the Caribbean waters. However, since my arrival on board, every time we put our rods out, we catch a good sized fish which lasts us two days!

We spent Christmas and New Year in Sint Marteen and St. Martin then set sail for St. Bart's and St. Eustasius. Positive and enjoyable experiences!

As I had previously lived in Antigua, Captain Bob agreed we would take a 'side trip' and visit the island. It was great seeing friends and re-visiting my old haunts, a perfect treat for this 'wannabe' sailor!

Our next stop was Guadeloupe, full of chic...ness, a mini Paris really! Plus my first experience of a marina for a few days!! Loved the luxury of showers, laundries, shops with gourmet food and French expresso!

Another scary moment!
We sailed on to Dominica and chose Roseau to anchor............very high, choppy seas, torrential rain and rocking and rolling all night, everything on Pauwke crashing and banging and for me, as a novice, terrfying! We took Baby to a nearby pontoon and had great difficulty securing her due ro the high seas. On our return, Baby was on the pontoon!! Local lads had dragged her out of the water as the rain and waves were so bad, she was full of rain and sea water and looked very sorry for herself. The lads came to our rescue, we pulled Baby's plug so the water drained out but then the lads lowered her nose first into the water.............without replacing the plug!! The weather by this time had become storm conditions! Eventually Baby was emptied again, plugged up and horizontal in the turbullent seas, Captain Bob dropped from the 10 foot high pontoon and the lads lifted me up (120 pounds) and dropped me into Baby................scary, scary, scary!!!

Martinique was a delight, we spent many happy days sailing around the island and stopped at Fort de France and St Anne, great fun! We then sailed to St. Lucia, another former home for me and I had a very special reunion! We then sailed on to Bequia and stayed for a night or two.

Mustique deserves a paragraph of its own! Bob had explained it was a private island and only for the very wealthy. I took off on my own and found a wonderful, extremely well maintained nature trail along the coastline. I can say with all honesty it seemed to me the last, unspoilt Caribbean island; no tourists and no cruise ships!

We then sailed to Canouan followed by Mayreau and after stopping for a few days we changed our plans and sailed straight to Grenada as the weather forecast was not good.

I used to live in Grenada so 7 months here for hurricane season is another great treat for me after my 5 months as a 'wannabe' sailor!!

Laura Hall

Belize Earl Hurricane

06 August 2016 | Belize
Laura Hall /Bob
On August 3 we had a hurricane that past over Belize, very few people know about it and not a lot of attention was given by the media. A friend living on a Belize island, was there when it happen and wrote down what she experienced.
Thanks to Laura Hall for this article

Hurricane Earl August 2016 Belize Central America

Caye Caulker (pronounced Key Corker), is one of Belize’s inhabited islands and has a population of approximately 1300 people. The island is 5 miles in length (split in two by Hurricane Hattie in the 1960’s) and 1.2 miles wide.
Monday 1 August The Belize Weather Centre announced there was a strong storm coming and people should prepare for it. The main industry is tourism throughout Belize and therefore the first priority was to evacuate tourists from Caye Caulker either by the two water taxi services or by air from the tiny airstrip.
Hotels were not allowing any new guests to check in and across the island shops, hotels, restaurants, bars and homes were being boarded up.
Most tourists and many island people evacuated although there were a few tourists who remained on the premise that the storm would be an exciting experience!

Tuesday 2 August The announcement came that the storm was now a tropical storm and given the name Earl. People knew from past experience the power and water supply would shut down so preparations were made for emergency packs which included; food, water, candles, flashlights, matches, lighters and pet supplies. The stray dogs and cats on the island would fend for themselves!

Wednesday 3 August Our reef looked as though the water was boiling and the ocean surges were very high. Boats were brought onto land and sandbags were placed outside properties along the beach. The Weather Centre now informed Belize that Earl was a category 1 hurricane. By 9pm Earl hit Belize City, Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye. It raged until around 3am Thursday morning.

Thursday 4 August By 5am people were beginning to go outside to be met with such devastation! The Weather Centre informed Belizeans that Earl may have been a category 2 hurricane! The 3 streets of the island and the beaches were strewn with roofs, almond, sea grape and coconut trees, piers, boats, parts of buildings and broken concrete! The destruction of homes, properties and trees was unbelievable! There was no electricity or water, cell ‘phones were not working and the only news was from battery operated radios.
Clean up operations started and the majority of people were out all day helping to clear their own property and then help others. Fallen trees were cut to allow for movement around the island and all the wood from so many broken piers was collected and put into safe piles. Large pieces of metal roofing were everywhere and difficult to move, loose nails were everywhere so people had to wear shoes which is not a Caye Caulker trait!
Friday 5 August Power was restored and cell ‘phones were operating again. However, water was still off. Cleaning up is a continual process and teams of people are getting together and doing their best.
It will take some time for the island to recover. People are saying; ‘We survived!’

Raymonde in the Carib.

28 October 2015 | Curacao
In October 2015 Raymonde moved in to the boat and settled down with an amazing speed and ease.
It’s good to have a companion to share my adventures with.
Raymonde wrote down here first experience (prior to moving in) with the boat and I think it became a must to reed for all future live aborts.

Also have a look at our picture collection : https://picasaweb.google.com/107431176398252783466/2016RaymondeInTheCarib
An amazing experience in a “nutshell”
It is not “once upon a time”, it is only one year ago when I set my first footsteps on s/v Pauwke. Since I did not know what to expect, I did not think too much before leaving from home… but then again maybe I should have, or maybe not.
Before packing, my skipper friend recommended to use a travel bag rather than a suitcase, given the limited storage space on board. He also recommended to limit the luggage to a minimum for a fortnight. Quite a “mission impossible” for a woman.
In Point A Pitre, the dingy (that looked like a nutshell to me) was waiting for us to take us to Pauwke. Once aboard, I realized where I was whilst doing my utmost to remain on my feet and ignoring the waves. I had a sleepless night due to jetlag, high temperature a bed moving with the waves.
After getting a little acquainted with the boat, comes the immersion in the local culture and the people. Coming from a city where racism and violence are daily news, it felt great to realize that no distinction is made between white and colored people, whatever the religion is. Never did I feel watched, threatened or insecure and I felt like a charm! When talking to local people, they open up like a waterfall and will tell everything you need to know and more.
A few days went by, matter of getting over the jetlag on one hand, and accustomed to Pauwke on the other hand. Learned that cutting off lights, using a minimum of water, showering outside, flushing the toilet (man oh man, what an experience this was and skills are needed to avoid overflow!), cooking with dimmed lights using as less gas as possible, is the unavoidable way of life aboard. Easier said than done when coming from a comfort zone so to speak. Also, the limitation in availability of local products, especially food, and the flexibility to switch and do with what’s offered for the day, taking into consideration the small cooling storage takes some time.
Eventually we went sailing, for a short trip of a couple of hours, to get a feeling of it and to find out whether I would be sea-sick or not. Short trip or not, preparation starts the day before and my host skipper put everything in place for a safe journey. I was thrilled! It very quickly occurred to me that trust and confidence are very important ingredients as well as, being a novice in sailing, knowing your place on the boat. We were lucky, I was not sick and e few days later we planned a trip of about 3 hours that took us nearly 12 hours in the end due to weather circumstances. We had waves of 4, 5 meters and heavy winds, but I lived bravely thru it. Sliding or bumping over the waves, I lost my heart right there; I was sold!
The complicity and friendship, though sometimes temporarily, amongst boaters is also impressive. They share travel information, spare parts, security advice etc. and also food and…drinks. A nice crowd in what feels like a small village.
One year later, regardless the restrictions and limitations so to speak, my skipper and I decided to share our lives on Pauwke. Our ambition is to sail for some 10 more years at least.
At this very right moment I am struggling hard to try to manage the dingy on my own and eventually I’ll get there, somehow…
Our great complicity and trust, the immense freedom of life, the beauty of the sites we visit, diving into different cultures etc makes this way of life priceless. I feel blessed.
The new crew member Raymonde.

Vessel Name: PAUWKE
Vessel Make/Model: Etap 32i
Hailing Port: Antwerpen-Belgium
Crew: Bob De Pauw
Extra: After sailing for 10 years in the Med we made the crossing to the Carib.
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PAUWKE's Photos -

S/V Pauwke

Who: Bob De Pauw
Port: Antwerpen-Belgium