Silver Voyage

26 November 2008
26 April 2008
04 April 2008

Silver Voyage Ch 25

26 November 2008
Silver Voyage 2008
Chapter 25

Al and I left Monti Christo on the North Coast of the Dominican Republic near the Haitian border at midnight, April 20. After much consternation about the Easterlies and strong winds from the North picking up before arriving in Luperon, it was a very gentle voyage. We did trip up on a fishing net, but we were able to undo in short order to continue into the anchorage. Happily, the first boat we see is our friends Mary and Dave on Pau Hana.
Luperon is a bustling anchorage (150 boats) located in an estuary surrounded by mangroves. The active boating community supports church on Sunday, game night, movie night, swap meet, and poker. There are also special events for example a pig roast for the Kentucky Derby. Some people come into the harbor and never leave; there is so much to do. We stayed 3 weeks before flying out of Puerto Plata for Miami where the truck is located in Miami Springs. Double Bells is on a screw being watched by Pau Hana. When we return in January 2009 we look forward to sightseeing in that physically beautiful county before continuing on.
A week later we were back in Raleigh getting the Dr. thing accomplished and seeing the family, Susanna, Claude, Rick, Abs, Sydney and Alton. One week after that Al and his friend Ray Roberts arrived at our new home (3 bedroom, 2 bath with its own dock) in Fairfield Harbor, New Bern, NC with all of Al's "stuff" that he had stored in Ohio. Two weeks and many boxes later we agreed we were moved in. Now here is the absolute truth, only three things in the house are mine....the rest is Al's. The nicest thing is we are two doors down from our friends Lloyd and Jane Moore formerly of the Raleigh Sail and Power Squadron.
After a swell visit, our first at the new house, from Rick, Sydney and Alton, we headed for Gore Bay, Ontario in Canada. We lunched in Winston Salem with Kathy (daughter), Austin (grand), Ray Roberts and family, Cincinnati, Ohio, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin with Ellen Balthazar, Ed and Pat (Al's brother and sister-in-law) in Madison, Wisconsin. With Ellen on the shore of Lake Winnebago, we finally began to unwind. Al sails with Ellen and friends in the yacht club races which this year included the Trans Winebago Race, while I do some provisioning and shopping. Finally we stopped in Escanaba, Michigan for one night with Glenn and Marilyn Brown. Always a treat with a couple really grounded in their community.
On June 26 we reached Gore Bay and launched Westwind on June 28. We have sailed to a few anchorages in the most glorious weather. Only a little rain sometimes spoils our fun. The blueberries are just beginning to ripen, so we climb the rocky islands in search of them. Al spotted a tiny cub and mother black bear when walking Morgan. Al has also caught a Northern pike and some nice small mouthed bass which we ate for dinner. One morning we observed an Osprey swoop down and catch a large fish with its talons not 50 feet from the boat. The Great Lakes Cruising Club Rendezvous (100 boats participating) in Little Current was a bunch of fun. Morgan won the biggest animal in the pet show award while Al and I won the blindfolded dinghy race. At present we are at anchor at the Wilderness Rally (45 boats participating) where there will be more dinghy races and a stew and chili dinner on shore. We are at an adult summer camp!!
Hope you are well and enjoying life to it fullest. Let us hear from you.
Fair Winds, Al, Ginny and Morgan

Mailing address: 88005 Overseas Hwy, Ste 9, PMB 576, Islamorada, FL 33036
Home address: 6002 Booty Lane, New Bern, North Carolina 28560:
USA Cell Phone: 919-810-3298 Canada Cell Phone: 705-282-4487
Email: sailor37@aol.com or vboppr@aol.com
Look for our site on sailblogs.com under D for Double Bells.

Silver Voyage Ch 24

26 April 2008
Silver Voyage
Chapter 24

Al and I left George Town, Exuma aboard Double Bells on March 4. Our stops so far along the way have been: Long Island, Conception, Rum Cay, West Plana, Mayaguana, Provo (Providenciales) and South Caicos (Turks and Caicos). It was in Provo where we befriended some mighty interesting folks on Nin, Bonanza, Crows Nest, Gap Year, Windigo, Pau Hana, Wanderlust, Sweet Dreams, Voyager C, Shaken not Stirred, Lillie Mae and Dream Maker. Most of the boats were anchored in Saphodilla Bay where we had several nice beach parties. Adam, Kevin and Karin on Windigo rounded up enough scrap wood to have a bon fire (which we called "non-fire" since there was an ordinance against bon fires). Each couple brought something to grill on the fire topped off by s'mores. What a treat! Another night the cruisers were shuttled over to Southside Marina for another fun BBQ.
On March 23 we left Provo to cross the "banks" with 8 other boats headed for the Dominican Republic. The wind chop on the banks was high and it caused the bolts on one side of the radar to pop out. Al said we couldn't continue until the radar was secure, so we anchored at dusk and up the mast I went. The bolts would not line up, so I put gorilla tape around the bracket and mast. We then changed our course to South Caicos Island to get repairs. As we exited the banks there was a loud snap....one of the back stays had snapped at the turnbuckle. We quickly took down the Jenny and secured the stay. Later, fairly sure we had had enough surprises, the post to the wind generator broke in half and fell forward landing on the seat where the helmsman usually sits. Al was at the helm, but sitting in the captain's swivel chair, thank heavens.
We limped into Cockburn Harbor, S. Caicos bruised, but not beaten. As it turned out Pau Hana had also tucked in to get out of the wind and waves. The rest of the flotilla continued on to Luperon, D.R. The next day Windigo seeks refuge anchoring nearby. In true Al fashion, workers were found in town and the boat repairs were completed in 3 days including a new welded patch on the wind generator post. Over the course of 2 weeks we ended up with 10 boats at anchor, so many that Kevin on Windigo started a morning cruisers net. I gave several clips about wildlife on Long Cay, Admiral Cockburn, and amenities on S. Caicos, plus the NCAA men's basketball game pairings and scores heard on Sirius Radio. Al gave a sea state report from the top of Long Cay while taking Morgan ashore for his morning walk. It helped pass the time as it "blew like stink" for 8 days.
So now, happily, I can report we have completed one of the longest legs of our journey this year...108 miles from South Caicos Island to Manzanillo Bay, Dominican Republic. We left at noon on April 7 and anchored after motoring all the way, at Big Sand Cay at 10P that night. This stop assures a better angle on the wind to Luperon, D.R. We pushed on at 8AM with all sails up the next morning, but at 10P that night the bolts came out of the radar again. So, we set a gentler course for a landfall at El Morro, a spectacular flat top mountain and the town of Monte Cristi (45 miles West of Luperon'). We anchored at 10A on April 9, fell into bed and slept for four hours. It was not a pleasant voyage. The auto pilot had not worked since George Town and the wind and seas never relented until 20 miles from the D.R. coast. We battled the wheel on one hour watches because it was so strenuous to keep Double Bells on course. We will have to find a better way to celebrate our wedding anniversary next year!
The next morning Al hoisted me up the mast again to see if I could secure the radar. The bolts had stripped out on the same side as before and we did not have larger bolts aboard ship to use, so I put the tape around it again and off we motored 5 hours down Manzanillo Bay to the town, Pepilla Salcedo, where we could check in with customs and immigration. On our way into the lovely anchorage in Estero Balza (Estuary) we ran up on a shoal and had to put two anchors out until the tide came up. Al actually walked the dinghy to shore to pick up the customs agent that had come to inspect the boat. The second day, Al was thrown off a motor scooter he rented. First Aid for the road rash applied twice a day has been the order of the day. One day was spent in Dajabon' at the large bustling, noisy and colorful Haitian Market. We bought a beautiful papaya, bag of limes and large head of cabbage there. With the radar bracket secure and autopilot repaired we are now listening to weatherman Chris Parker on the Single Side Band Radio each morning to find a 4 day window to make the trek along the North Coast in the night lee to Luperon'.
Hope you are well and enjoying life to it fullest. Let us hear from you.
Fair Winds, Al, Ginny and Morgan
Mailing address: 88005 Overseas Hwy, Ste 9, PMB 576, Islamorada, FL 33036
Email: sailor37@aol.com or vboppr@aol.com
Look for our site on sailblogs.com under D for Double Bells.

Silver Voyage Ch 23

04 April 2008
Silver Voyage
Chapter 23

Al and I left Raleigh, NC Jan 3 and drove to Miami Springs, FL where we left our truck. Jan. 10 we flew to George Town, Exumas, in the Bahamas Islands. We had left Double Bells on a mooring for nine months. There was quite a lot of work to do. Replacing all the batteries was the first order and then a new dinghy motor (my Christmas present) was next. Not before we spent several days in the dark, eating crackers, peanut butter, power bars and some cheese I had stuck in my bag. There was some mildew on the walls, but not much. The hurricane that went through in Oct. dumped a lot of rain here, so we found a few spots where the bulkhead leaked with sideways rain.
Our first visitors of the season were Tommy and Alice Dunn from the Raleigh Sail and Power Squadron. It was good to have seasoned sailors aboard who know the ropes (and who love to play Mexican Train). The evermore personable Alice quickly knew more sailors than me. A highlight was a tour of the Southern end of the Island by Christine a 70 yo who covers all the edible plants and those with medicinal qualities. She even had one for the men....who might need a little help with......You fill in the blank. She especially eyed Tommy for a potential husband, since she is single. Tommy said Alice wouldn't allow it.
We settled in to the community, playing volleyball, doing Yoga in the morning, going to art classes and seminars on sailing. Attended a cocktail party at least once a week on the beach. A group met to discuss the route going south from here, led by seasoned sailors who had done the route before. There is a book by VanSant called Passages South, The Thornless Path to Windward that outlines a route of least resistance and shortest legs for people not into long passages. It is meant especially for retired folks like us, who have the time to wait for the right weather before moving on.
Al took to time to study for his Ham general license, took the test and passed. In the future we will be more connected to the world which will increase my comfort level.
While he was doing that, I prepared to take down local weather conditions and report them to Bahamas Search and Rescue Assoc. radio broadcast on Single Sideband radio each morning as we move south.
In late Feb. our visitors were Bob and Maxine Stein from Charlotte, NC. They took immediately to Mexican Train, but Bob beat us all. Al and Bob had fun playing in a Volleyball Tourney on the beach while Maxine and I cheered them on. Our highlight was riding double on tiny scooters touring the South part of the island.
We have now provisioned the boat and with clean clothes, full gas and water tanks prepare to leave this lovely spot for harbors south. We experienced a strong cold front yesterday and the North winds will continue a few more days. We want a SE wind for our next leg to Long Island, Exumas.
Hope you are well and enjoying life to it fullest. Let us hear from you. Fair Winds, Al, Ginny and Morgan
Mailing address: 88005 Overseas Hwy, Ste 9, PMB 576, Islamorada, FL 33036
Email: sailor37@aol.com or vboppr@aol.com

Vessel Name: Double Bells
Vessel Make/Model: Prout 39, Manta
Hailing Port: New Bern, NC
Crew: Allan and Ginny Springer
About: We live on boats most of the year. Double Bells in the winter through May and our Islander 37 ,"Westwind" on Manatoulin Island in the summer. We like to be with the family fall through New Years.
Extra:
Allan is an accomlished sailor through most of his adult life. He has Phd in chemical engineering and for 26 years was a professor at Miami University, Oxford, OH. He is an expert in environmental control in the Pulp and Paper Industry. Ginny has a BS in Forestry working 20+ years for the NC [...]
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Double Bells's Photos -

The Crew

Who: Allan and Ginny Springer
Port: New Bern, NC