24 January 2023
The elk migrate. The wildebeest migrate. The North Americans migrate; mostly to Florida and the Caribbean to avoid the crippling freezes of the far north. (In Scotland we just put on a wee jumper over our T-shirts).
So, no sooner are we in the Caribbean than we hot foot it to Canada, passing all the Canadian and American “snowbirds” heading south.
Back at boat we haul, antifoul and make a crucial decision to replace the big bits of rubber around the saildrives that stop us from sinking. A close call!
This season we’re heading up the Caribbean island chain then over to the USA. When the sun is back out.
Want a look???
Don’t Look, Ethel!
23 January 2023 | Mayreau, Caribbean
What is it with Europeans and nakedness? I mean, there weren't that many solid reasons (as it turns out - the politicians' lies finally exposed) to vote for Brexit, but this alone would swing it for me.
I still have the image in my memory, I mean SEARED in my memory of a fat European chap walking into the pool area of a ski hotel we were staying at in the alps once. It was just us, Anne and I enjoying the jacuzzi after a hard day on the slopes and in walks "yer man". All belly, hairy legs, boobs a porn star would be proud of, even pay for, and, heaven forbid, his winky. In he waddles, fortunately doesn't do any warm up stretches, then plunges in beside us.
Being from Glasgow and having spent many years working with an ex regimental sergeant major, I at least mentally suggested he f&@k off. In most places I've lived you'd get locked up for less.
This horror story is oft repeated in anchorages around the Mediterranean. You can get boatloads of guys, out on a charter, waltzing into a crowded anchorage, not a stitch between them. Horrified mothers hustle their children below. Males, even Europeans strangely, avert their eyes before they too get their memories SEARED.
Fortunately, having now spent many years on the clothed side of the world the scars in my mind have been slowly healing. Almost healed actually. Right up 'till now.
I said in previous blog the Caribbean is busy. Busy with all nationalities but why, why out of all these worldly travellers do we seem to always be anchored beside or behind a flasher boat?
So, if by any chance you're reading this having Google'd our boat name, and earlier today, or this week were strutting your stuff around the deck. Consider this a RED CARD.
Going on Holiday?
13 January 2023 | L’esterre, Carriacou, Grenadines
It was our first summer in Boston, Massachusetts, when my office door was pushed open and Tom said, “You going on holiday?”
“Yes, we fly on Saturday.”
“Where are you going?”
Tom looked at me, a confused expression on his face. “Stuart. You go to the Caribbean in winter”.
Now, I know Americans can be quirky but what’s not to like about going on a Moorings yacht charter for your summer holidays? Well, firstly, as the average American gets fewer holidays than sweat shop workers in Bangladesh and secondly, USA weather can be extreme; summer is really quite lovely while conversely winter weather can be arctic. It is therefore normal practice to keep a few of their precious Dickensian workhouse days off for some winter Caribbean sun when it’s minus twenty in Nebraska.
It was also apparently hurricane season in the Caribbean although I didn’t recall seeing that in the brochure when we booked.
Anyway, off we went, maw, paw, the weans, teddy bears and multiple copies of the newest Harry Potter - all of the studious little buggers wanting to read it first, none prepared to wait on a sibling to finish. Or trust them not to tell them the ending.
And that was the first of our four “summer” charters in the Caribbean and we lived to tell the tale. What we didn’t appreciate until now was that while we were cruising to the alleged and oddly quiet hotspots of the Caribbean, enjoying peaceful, uncrowded anchorages, ashore in the many, many boatyards were several thousand boats of all shapes and sizes, laid up waiting for a December launch and for Time Bandit to arrive for our first “normal” cruising season.
It’s mobbed out here and I’m beginning to think the Caribbean is getting like the Lake District or Yellowstone at peak holiday - FULL!
Cunningly, like many anchorages from Scotland to The Med and now here, in many places anchoring is now banned and it is mandatory you pick up one of the dodgy, weed and shellfish encrusted bits of old rope tied to goodness knows what. And no, they’re not insured. If your boat ends up on the rocks, “nothing to do with us mate.”
I’ve already been a hero and anchored one boat that went drifting past in the dark towing its old mooring rope and shells, complete with ball. Another hundred yards and it would have become just another wreck on the beach. (Still waiting for a word of thanks from the owner).
Nonetheless, after a week in the now deserted boatyard the antifouling and saildrive diaphragms have been replaced and we’re finally off “up island”.
With luck and some commitment on my part you might even get a video……. although Suriname to Grenada is still long overdue.
Happy new year to all our readers.
Wild Ride To Finish Line
24 December 2022
At this time of year, if only to recognise and reward Anne for maintaining the log - her admin skills know no bounds - here's the data from 2022.
- 17,000 kilometres on the motorbike round Southern Africa
- 6077 miles at sea over two oceans
- 36 days and nights at sea
This time last year we were in Cape Town, most of it touring. We left in August for the Caribbean via Namibia, St Helena, Ascension, Brazil and Suriname and either we're feeling our age or it was a very long way. We thought we were "done" when we got to Cape Town. We were certainly done when we got to Grenada which is where we closed our circumnavigation.
It all kicked off in 2011 - and the following is an extract from and hopefully a teaser for my forthcoming book - which has been forthcoming for some years right enough so dont hold your breath.
"One night, way back in early 2011, our son called up his mum to ask if her carelessly thrown away remark, made during one of his flying weekend visits from deep down in the depths of England, was serious. Anne had said that if he wanted to abandon his thankless, corporate grind and take over running our business and that as a bonus, he could have our car and our house then he just had to say the word and we'd go sailing. Ha Ha. How she laughed. It took all of the drive south, or, more likely, the end of the driveway to make up his mind and so, here he was, on the phone, less than twenty four hours later, "Remember what you said about me, work and running the business? Well, thank you." says he. "I'll take you up on the offer"........"but, one thing, I couldn't work with dad". Like unsuspecting baby sparrows, before we could say, "Ready about", our cuckoo had us out the nest, out the business, out the house and sat on the boat wondering what the hell just happened. I don't think he even drove us to the marina....in our car. Fortunately, earlier in the year we'd made a provisional booking on the 2011 Atlantic Rally for Cruisers; the ARC."
Since then, eleven years and three months on, we've......
- sailed 74,572 miles from 69 degrees north to 43 degrees south
- put 4,397 hours on various engines and
- visited 62 countries
Some of it we quite enjoyed.
And the business has gone from strength to strength.
And so, lastly dear reader, thank you very much for following; reading my nonsense and for your welcome comments and feedback. It makes it all seem less pointless.
If you've waded through one or two of the YouTube videos (SV Time Bandit), well done. We don't have the mass following or unfortunately for some viewers, the exposed flesh factor of Vagabond or Delos but it keeps me amused. We hope it lightens your day. If you make it to the final scenes, give yourself a clap on the back.
So, with that, thanks again from us two and Happy Holidays or Merry Christmas, even Joyeux Noel - whatever floats your boat.
We are back again in the New Year when we head north up the island chain, Bahamas then either east coast USA or perhaps a jaunt to Nova Scotia.
19 December 2022
One of the risks of engaging in the social media sphere is one of inadvertently causing offence. Look at what’s happened to Elon. In my last post I carelessly omitted Sky Blue Eyes; Karl and Julie from our list of medics out cruising.
Odd really as my take on having a nearby medic whose specialisation is geriatric care was tongue-in-cheek.
On the other hand, Karl and Julie have particularly relevant medical skills.
Cheers all. Hic.
12 December 2022 | Prickly Bay, Grenada
One thing we've noticed among the many cruisers we've met over our years sailing around is that the medical profession seems to be disproportionally represented. While their services aren't often called on, most of us respecting their right to time off, it's reassuring to know they are around although I do seem to have enjoyed their attentions. Disproportionately. Such are the challenges of keeping this racing frame in top condition.
Over the miles and years we've had Dr David, always ready with advice and a handful of super-strong painkillers that would be worth a lot of cash "on the street". Nurse and wife Gitte who worryingly has a catheter in her toolkit - and knows where to poke it. Chris the midwife - widely travelled sharing her expertise among less advantaged communities around the world, and a great sounding board for a fretting grandmother. Dr Ross, dentist and skilled facial surgeon, whose stories would make your hair curl, ready to fix your nashers or perhaps a facelift. Doc Tibby, happy to not only dispense sound medical advice but diving lessons, Doctor Catarina guiding us through early days Covid at our beach surgeries, Doc Annie keeping wayward cruisers warm and off the rocks and the partnership of Colin and Izzy for any, well, let's just say "below the belt" issues. Dr Tony happy to boldly go where others might not, giving this passing sailor the once over and a sail round the bay. We're thankful to them all; even if it was just for being there.
However, most recently and perhaps with excellent timing, having just this morning left Anne's phone in Suzie's car, my sun specs in the shop and Anne's hat in the beauty salon, we've just met a medic whose expertise is right up our street. Her speciality?
She's a geriatrician.
03 December 2022
There’s a Tom Hanks movie, I don’t recall what it’s called, but in it, Tom plays the character of a Russian newly arrived in the USA. In one scene, Tom visits a supermarket for the first time and essentially has a breakdown, stunned and overwhelmed at the sheer abundance of food and apparently unlimited choice.
That was us in the Super U of French Guyana.
It took a three hour drive through the jungle followed by a major river crossing in a leaky, open boat but once in the Super U, the food dash was on. How sad are we?
21 November 2022
Followers will know we made it to Grenada. Those that also follow us on YouTube will know I’m a tad behind on my videos. With apologies for the delay, here’s something to keep you away from the endless hours of football you’re now having thrust upon you.