Sailing with Inspiration

a journal detailing the cruising adventures of the sailing catamaran Inspiration

03 July 2016 | Prickley Bay, Grenada
14 May 2016 | Ste. Anne, Martinique
05 April 2016 | Prickly Bay, Grenada
05 April 2016 | Prickly Bay, Grenada
20 March 2016 | Chaguaramas, Trinidad
20 March 2016 | Chaguaramas, Trinidad
29 February 2016 | Chaguaramas, Trinidad
08 July 2015 | Prickly Bay, Grenada
03 July 2015 | Grenada, WI
06 June 2015 | Fort de France, Martinique
25 May 2015 | Portsmouth, Dominica
17 May 2015 | Barbuda
15 May 2015 | Portsmouth, Dominica
30 April 2015 | Barbuda
24 April 2015 | Falmouth Harbour, Antigua
13 April 2015 | Falmouth Harbour, Antigua
30 March 2015 | Deshaies, Guadalupe
23 March 2015 | Rodney Bay, St Lucia
23 March 2015 | Calviny Bay, Grenada
12 March 2015 | Grenada, WI

Notes on sailing back to Grenada

03 July 2016 | Prickley Bay, Grenada
One geologic feature that we pass regularly in our trips through these
islands is Diamond Rock. It sits at the far west end of the south coast of Martinique. It's 574' high and gets its name from the reflections that its sides cast at certain hours of the day, which make it look as though it's made of diamonds. The rock has an interesting history in that at one time it was officially commissioned as a ship in the Royal British Navy as HMS Diamond Rock (a "stone frigate"). Diamond Rock is in the top picture, below is another view.

In 1803, the British commander in St Lucia (20 miles to the south) was
charged with disrupting ship traffic to Fort de France in Martinique. He
realized that the island was in a perfect position to do that, so during a
period of calm weather, had ships move cannons to the rock along with navy
personnel and supplies. They used lines with block & tackle to move 2 cannons
to the summit and 4 others to caves part way up the side.

After about 18 months of disrupting ship traffic into Fort de France, the
French made a concerted effort to re-capture the rock. After a 2-week blockade, the British garrison surrendered to the French. While it's not mentioned in any accounts of the battle, I had an elderly local guy in Martinique tell me that the French purposely sent an empty ship onto the shores (to break up and sink)but they had loaded it with casks of rum. So the British got drunk on the rum, which made it easy for the French to take an otherwise almost impregnable position.

After leaving Martinique, we had a delightful 4 1/2 hour sail to Rodney Bay,
St Lucia. We stayed there for a couple weeks until we had a good weather window to head south. While the weather forecast was for good winds and small seas, sometimes these islands create their own weather due to the mountain rages running along their length. As we were leaving St Lucia behind, what looked like a nasty, massive weather system came rolling toward us. Luckily, we were far enough south of the island that we missed the effects.

Here is a shot of the sky behind us as we left St Lucia.

While we originally planned to do the 140 mile trip to Grenada in 2 hops,
when it got towards the end of the day we had such good wind and seas that we decided to just continue throughout the night. After leaving St Lucia at 6:30am, we arrived in Prickly Bay, Grenada at 5:30 the following morning. Tired but happy to be "home."

Finally, just a note about our new crew member. Compass Rose is doing good. After one small bout of seasickness, she did excellent for the rest of our trips. She has also almost doubled in weight and definitely gotten much bigger over the past 2 months! Here's a couple pictures of her.

With Gary in the cockpit

And with some of her toys in the salon.

Sailing North

14 May 2016 | Ste. Anne, Martinique
After having Rose on the boat for a month, it was apparent that she took to it extremely well, so we decided to head north for a while before staying in Grenada for hurricane season. We had her spayed a week after adopting her and the incision had healed fully as well. With favorable winds forecasted (18 - 20 mph out of the SE), we headed out of Prickly Bay, Grenada on Friday before 6am.

It's difficult to estimate ahead of time just how far you can go or when you'll arrive anywhere when traveling by boat. The winds can vary in speed & direction and you can encounter favorable or unfavorable currents. We decided to head for Rodney Bay, St Lucia and see what progress we made before deciding upon where we would end up. As irt turned out, we did quite well the first day and were near Bequia (the northern-most island in The Grenadines, which lie between St Vincent and Grenada) at 5pm. Rather than push on through the night - it was a bit rocky with a swell out of the NE - we decided to pull into Bequia. We anchored for the night in the harbor and put up our yellow (quarantine) flag to indicate we had not cleared into the island and were not going shore. Before 6am the next morning we hauled anchor and left for Rodney Bay. It took us 11 hours of delightful sailing - for the most part - to reach Rodney Bay.

We tend to sail on the leeward (West) side of these islands. While the winds can be lighter and sometimes highly variable, which means running the engine(s) to get past them, it also means a much smoother ride as they break all the waves coming across the Atlantic. About 3/4 of the way up the coast of St Vincent, the wind dropped considerably and switched to mostly a headwind, so we furled up the jib (the foresail) to continue on engine with maybe a little help from the mainsail. Suddenly the wind increased significantly. I immediately dropped the mainsail as Margi steered into the wind so it would not take the mast down. Our wind gauge showed winds of 40-45 mph! At this point, we were about 3 miles from the north end of the island. The above picture is of the St Vincent coastline. We motored the rest of the way north and by the time we were two miles north of the coast the winds had dropped to 25 mph and we unfurled about 1/4 of the jib. A couple miles later, we let the whole jib back out as the winds had dropped back to less than 20 mph. We left the mainsail down as it's more difficult to raise and we didn't need it.

St Lucia has a pair of old volcanically created peaks (almost like "bubbles" on the SW coast called The Pitons. Here they are as seen from the water looking north.

You can see part of one solar panel and the mainsail in this one.

After almost 11 hours, we got into Rodney Bay at 5:30 pm. After anchoring, we saw friends on their boat (Robin & Cheryl on Just Imagine) as they came past us to anchor nearby. We called them on the radio and they stopped by for a visit with two friends who had just flown in from Michigan. They were heading for St Anne, Martinique in the morning and said there were quite a few folks we knew already there. So we left the next morning - not so early, 9:30 am - for the 25 mile sail to the south coast of Martinique.

We have gone past St Anne but had never anchored here or gone ashore. It's a delightful, quaint small village / town. We ended up going over to Just Imagine the 2nd day here for happy hour and seeing friends from four other boats plus meeting a couple folks for the first time. Two days later - after taking the dinghy for a 20 min ride into the larger city nearby for shopping - we met everyone on the beach for a pot luck barbecue. We took Rose with us. She was intrigued by all the land crab holes and knew there was something interesting in them, although she spent much of the time running and running (after having been on the boat continually for over a week).

Here is a picture of the Ste Anne church

We'll stay in St Anne for a while before heading back to Rodney Bay and then slowly making our way south back towards Grenada.

New Crew-member

05 April 2016 | Prickly Bay, Grenada
Margi & I went to the Grenada ASPCA Monday afternoon (April 4th) to again look at puppies. We found one that we think might get to be medium size, is a female & young, so she's easier to train and acclimate to the boat. The vet estimates her age at 3-4 months but said we can tell better by seeing when her adult canine teeth grow in (about 6 months of age).

She's still a bit unsure of the boat and riding in the dinghy but we're sure she'll be fine as soon as she gets familiar with boat living.

Rose with Gary in the cockpit

Her name - after LOTS of discussion - is Compass Rose (Rose for short).

We're really happy to have her with us and look forward to many years with her.

At the Prickly Bay Marina bar checking things out

More Trinidad Happenings & Back in Grenada

05 April 2016 | Prickly Bay, Grenada
I still have some blogs to post about our adventures in Trinidad & will try to get them up over the next few days. Margi was going to play Mexican Train dominoes at the Crews Inn marina every Sunday. That's about a 3/4 mile walk, so she was getting exercise as well as enjoying the company of other cruisers. While she came in 2nd a couple times, one Sunday she was the over-all winner and brought back the Dominoes Burgee!

We left Trinidad at 7 pm on Saturday night (April 2nd) and arrived in Grenada (attached to our mooring) at 7 am the next morning. The 80 mile trip was a bit bumpy the first half of the trip, but then it settled down as we got closer to Grenada. I was at the helm at 3 am when a tiny sliver of the moon rose above the eastern horizon. The seas were comfortable, the sky FILLED with stars (as there were no lights to interfere with them). It was an awe-inspiring sight that evoked all sorts of philosophical thoughts (most of which I can't remember now :D ). However, I did feel a sense of being a minuscule little piece of the universe, yet so lucky to have the life I do with friends in so many posts and family that I love with all my heart & soul. And moving at 5-7 mph just emphasized the absurdity of hurrying everywhere when it's so much more peaceful to take one's time getting to our next destination.

Once we got the Grenada, we had lots of friends welcome us back & wanting to know about our trip. There had been 2 instances of piracy (probably drug-runners from Venezuela as they were in open, 20' pirogs) at the end of December / beginning of January). Immediately after the 2nd instance, the Trinidad Coast Guard set up extensive ship & helicopter surveillance in the area. I never felt safer making a crossing between 2 islands than I did going or coming back from Trinidad. Still, it's a nice feeling to be back in our "home" port!

Boat Work Update

20 March 2016 | Chaguaramas, Trinidad
We've now been in Trinidad for more than 2 weeks longer than we originally anticipated. The good news is that we're almost done with all our planned work items. Part of the delay concerned the replacing of our refrigerator. We had this work done by three great guys in Power Boats boatyard. They are Tony, Amos & Darian of Perfect Finishes. They had committed to work on another boat and as so often happens, that took a bit longer than originally anticipated due to unforeseen circumstances with the original boat construction.

We had decided to buy a new, upright 12V refrigerator & have it installed where the original had been. Unfortunately, this was going to take out a cabinet where we stored all our dishes, bowls & glasses. So they first built a custom cabinet to replace the one being lost.

Here's where the new cabinet is going. We had a microwave here, but only used it 2-3 times a year because of the huge power draw.

And here's a shot of the old refrigerator and cabinet being replaced.

Here, the old fridge has been partially cut out to fit the new one. The foam insulation around the edges was wet! That's why we were getting condensation on the outside walls of the fridge! They took out a couple inches of the foam & filled it with an epoxy mixture to give some regidity to the new installation.

The new refrigerator installed and ready to be enclosed and made to look good.

The new cabinet installed and ready for use. One problem they had was that nothing was really square or entirely level, so they had to custom design the cabinet to look good rather than be perfectly square. One example is the edge along the doorway (to the front cabin). If they had built it square with the cabinet, it would have not been parallel to the door edge.

The refrigerator installation completed with a cabinet enclosing it.

The top photo shows the completed installations. We now have a refrigerator that works and even has a small freezer. I need here to give a BIG thanks to my mom - Helen Lehnertz - who helped tremendously with this project through her delightful Christmas present to us.

Asa Wright Nature Center & Caroni Swamp

20 March 2016 | Chaguaramas, Trinidad
One of the joys of this lifestyle is the opportunity to visit different attractions on the various islands. Trinidad has a large number of sites that are quite interesting. Our latest trip took us to the Asa Wright Nature Center & the Caroni Swamp.

Asa Wright is up in the mountains in the midst of a tropical rain forest. This a huge tract of land that's been preserved by Trinidad and it's full of birds, monkeys and other wildlife. Unfortunately, we didn't get to see as much of the wildlife as we had hoped, but the short hike we took - with a quite knowledgeable guide - was still interesting.

One of the areas he showed us were some "leks" for a species of bird (Golden Headed Manakins). We didn't see any birds unfortunately. These leks are all grouped together in a particular area and can best be described as a singles bar for birds. Each male clears out a spot on the forest floor where he dances, sings & cavorts with the goal of attracting a female. The males spend the majority of their time here, while the females are the ones who tend the nest & raise the young. When a female is ready to mate, she goes to where the leks are and chooses the male who impresses her the most.

Here's the sign pointing to an overlook to the leks and views of a lek.

"For a good time - look here" :D

This is a vine called a Monkey Ladder

Right outside the Nature Center building was this tall tree - maybe 80' tall that was full of unusual bird nests. I tried but couldn't get a picture of the birds entering as they would dive at these at what seemed to be full speed & just disappear into one.

A view of the whole tree top

Outside the veranda, where we had lunch, were a group of hummingbird feeders. Here's one I managed to snap before it zipped off.

After lunch and a break, we headed to Caroni Swamp. This is the home of huge flocks of Scarlet Ibis - the Trinidadian national bird. They fly out and forage for food all day and then return to a group of islands at dusk to settle in for the night. We took an open boat (about 25' long) through a canal to where these islands were and waited for them to return. It was amazing to see all the red as they flocked back to the trees.

The top photo is of Scarlet Ibises coming back to roost for the evening.

Here's our boat gliding through the canal in the swamp.

These are land crabs that hang out on the trunks of trees.

Here's a little blue heron who pretty much ignored the boat as it looked for dinner

Another view of the Scarlet Ibises coming back to roost

And settled in for the night

Vessel Name: Inspiration
Vessel Make/Model: PDQ 36 LRC
Hailing Port: Milwaukee, WI
Crew: Gary Lehnertz / Margi Lehnertz
About: Margi has wrapped up her tax returns and has now joined the boat. (Brad is back in Alaska - until next winter. Brad has lived in Alaska for the past 30+ years. He's now wintering in south Florida and is assisting on the trip to the eastern Caribbean.)
We are taking my sailboat cruising through the Bahamas, then to the Virgin Islands followed by the eastern Caribbean (Leeward & Windward Islands). With the late start we go leaving George Town, we are working our way East & South. We will probably skip the Virgin Islands & the Leeward islands [...]
Inspiration's Photos - Main
Photos of Martinique
3 Photos
Created 3 July 2016
Pictures from visiting Trinidad
214 Photos
Created 25 February 2016
7 Photos | 2 Sub-Albums
Created 15 April 2015
pictures from Dominica
18 Photos
Created 17 March 2014
Parades & sights during Carnival at Port de France, Martinique
95 Photos
Created 19 February 2013
Pictures from the Grenada Carnival
20 Photos
Created 14 August 2012
more sunsets - sun rise comes too early!
29 Photos
Created 2 June 2012
Places we have been, People we have met
116 Photos | 4 Sub-Albums
Created 28 March 2012
Pictures of Inspirations crew (2 & 4 legged)
51 Photos | 2 Sub-Albums
Created 28 March 2012
shots around the inside & outside of the boat
39 Photos
Created 15 March 2012