TivoliCruise

30 May 2019 | Bocas del Toro / Upper Sardine Lake
18 March 2019 | Providencia
13 March 2019 | Montego Bay, Jamaica
10 March 2019 | Montego Bay, Jamaica
07 March 2019 | Port Antonio, Jamaica
26 February 2019 | Ponce YC, Puerto Rico
15 February 2019 | Jolly Harbor, Antigua
03 February 2019 | Porthmouth, Dominica
25 January 2019 | The Saints, Guadaloupe
12 January 2019 | Simpson Bay, St. Martin
04 January 2019 | Francis Bay St. John
31 December 2018 | Francis Bay St. John
15 December 2018 | Dewey, Culebra
07 December 2018 | Puerto del Rey, Fajardo
26 March 2018 | Wyndham Beach Resort, Rio Grande, PR
25 March 2018 | Fajardo, Puerto Rico
19 March 2018 | Christianstad, St. Croix
15 March 2018 | Caribbean
03 March 2018 | Deshais, Guadaloupe
28 February 2018

Bocas del Toro, end of season

30 May 2019 | Bocas del Toro / Upper Sardine Lake
Torben & Judy Bentsen | Light snow
Our last outing hiking to Upper Sardine Lake, Sierra City, CA.

OK, it should be clear to everyone that we are not in Providencia anymore – we have run into most of our friends, been to several family gatherings including a reunion in Denmark, taken a few trips out of town, been to the dentist and general practitioner for check up’s and dug into work! Actually, today marks the 2-month anniversary of ‘home’.
The final sail from Providencia to Panama ended up being a nice reach for the first 24 hours, then, as we approached the Bocas region, a motorboat ride for the last 12 as the wind went away and got replaced by light rain. We came in around midnight through the now unmarked channel and anchored outside Red Frog Marina at 2 AM.
Then followed the now all so familiar routine of boat put away, this time actually a little easier than the last few times. We decided to leave Tivoli in the water as Red Frog is south of the hurricane zone. According to the harbormaster the most wind they typically get during summer is below 20 knots, mostly a lot less. They do get rain, though, so after stripping sails, packing up the dinghy, shipping off the outboard for service and doing our regular ‘back out of the empty boat with peroxide’ routine we deployed some substantial tarps in hope of keeping things dry. We also put a dehumidifier to work 24/7 and hired a local guy to keep an eye on things.
Red Frog is located on Bastimentos Island. It is an eco resort with monkeys, sloths, and……little red frogs. It is also home to some nice restaurants and a high end, modern marina. We did take advantage of access to the infinity swimming pool a few afternoons as it get’s pretty hot during the pm.
To get from Red Frog to Richmond, CA is pretty easy. You just catch a Panga for the 5NM ride into Bocas Town, once a sprawling banana shipping port. Now it is full of young folks on vacation and ex-pats who has relocated. A quick overnight stay to catch the early morning puddle jumper to Panama City, transfer between airports and then non stop to SFO…….and 36 hours later you are in your own bed.
As seasons go, we liked this one. After the regular fixes of stuff that automatically stops to function the second you leave the boat, we had good fun. A good porting of the season was hanging out with friends, old and new. Some were friends from Richmond YC, now cruising the Caribbean. Others were folks we met 8 years ago hauling out in Trinidad. And some were on their first year, full of enthusiasm and with lots of questons.
The highlight for us was different. It was taking the boat over the course of about 4 weeks downwind to Panama from Antigua, some 1600 NM. Just the two of us, doing cool downwind overnights, waking each other up for the night watch, sharing the sunset, having that cup of coffee as the sun starts over the horizon, trusting each other when sleeping, visiting familiar places along the way and exploring new ones.
The future is uncertain, but next year Tivoli will likely be back in California while we look for the next sunrise.

PS, for a while we failed to upload pictures to the gallery – just did a selection of ones we liked from this season. – Enjoy the blindfold selection!

Providencia

18 March 2019 | Providencia
Torben | Nice
Judy in the kitchen with cook getting chocolate cooking tips.

We always try to plan our trips to arrive in new, unfamiliar places in daylight. But the adverse currents and lighter than anticipated wind had us come in to Providencia a little after midnight after averaging 6 knots for the 370 N trip. Rather than go into the main anchorage we snug into Low Cay, basically a reef extending 7 Miles N of the main island and dropped the anchor in what really seems like the middle of the ocean. If felt a lot like Minerva Reef off Tonga that we visited on Cinnabar in October last year.

The next morning we made the last 7 miles into town. Providencia is a little off the beaten track, so we anticipated just a few boats in the anchorage. We got a little surprised as AIS showed a bunch of yachts anchored. Yep, we ran into the Suzie Too cruising Rally that has like 50 boats touring the region for the ABC's to Roatan!

Still having no working outboard we hitched a ride to the town dock with a fishing panga for our check in ($ 100 using the mandatory agent Mr. Bush). Knowing it would be difficult seeing the Island without dinghy access we had packed an overnight bag.

So we ended up spending 30 hours on the Island.

The only way to get around is on a scooter, so we rented one. Not wanting to look like tourists, we naturally declined helmets as nobody else were wearing them. Amazing to see a family of 4 with groceries and a pet cat all on one scooter speeding down the bumpy roads!

We stayed in a funky hotel to get a long, hot shower ( did not happen as there was barely any water at all coming out of the shower head ). The hotel breakfast had some fabulous hot chocolate on the menu, so time was spend hunting down the raw materials needed to make our own.

We hiked Catalina Island, walked the town, lunched with some nice Swedish guys cruising a 29 footer and in general enjoyed the colorful, remote island before hitching another ride back out to Tivoli.

All in all, a very cool place, we think we might come back in the fall for more.

Montego Bay encounter

13 March 2019 | Montego Bay, Jamaica
Torben | Wndy and sunny
Sales meeting in progress.

We were anchored off Montego Bay Yacht Club when Bow Tied, a Beneteau 45 from Point Richmond CA came in from Providencia.

On board was my co-worker from Passage Yachts, Jim Tull, helping the owner on a delivery from Panama to Miami.

With 50 % of the sales staff present, we thought a sales meeting might be in order.

Other highlights from Montego Bay included the best steaks yet on the trip at the YC. Fortunately, any extra calories were quickly burned off by rowing. The outboard totally refused to start, even after being ripped apart for hours. So while it was easy to go downwind to the dinghy dock it was offset by rowing into 18 knots of breeze getting back to Tivoli.

Port Antonio

10 March 2019 | Montego Bay, Jamaica
Torben & Judy Bentsen | Nice
Iced coconut water on the street

We left Port Antonio Saturday morning after a 5 day stay. This was our first visit to Jamaica, and was quite different from the more tourist saturated areas of the Eastern Caribbean.
The Errol Flynn Marina was nice and checking in was easy– very friendly people. The health, customs and immigration officials were super professional and as opposed to many other places it was free to clear in and have a cruising permit issued. I can’t count how many times we were welcomed to the Island and wished a good stay.
The 6 -7 boats at the docks were pretty much all European, long term cruisers except the 130’ Dutch superyacht waiting for charter guests. We spend time with some Dutch folks and did an inland tour with Andrea and Andres from Germany to the Blue Mountains. They have been going at it for 15 years non stop and been just about everywhere in the world.
As soon as you step out of the Marina Gates, it is a different world. ‘Downtown’ Port Antonio is right there with wall to wall people. Loud music, 3 legged dogs, cars with speakers making political announcements, total gridlock traffic of trucks, taxis, scooters and bicycles.
A big outdoor market dominate the town – this is where it seems like most people are doing their shopping for everything from produce to pot, not that you can’t get pot from helpful, smiling dudes right at the Marina Gate ( as well as coffee, sandals, lemongrass, a tour with my cousin to the waterfalls or an opportunity to donate the shirt your are wearing!) Everyone seems to be smiling and friendly, but it is pretty poor and there is constantly a feeling of having to be on your toes to avoid being hustled. The smells are a mix of ganja, jerk chicken, smoking garbage and sweaty body parts.
Everything you do takes patience. We did a ‘supermarket run’ for some beer - the local one is Red Stripe – and that took about 45 minutes for the checkout. We stood in line at the ATM for local currency for 30 minutes, only to have the machine eat my bank card! So, add another hour go get someone inside the bank to call security and dispatch a couple of dudes to extract the card.
Fortunately, fellow cruisers recommended George – a cop at the local station – as a free lance tour guide on his days off. So, one day we piled into the Toyota Corolla with the bald tires together with the German Couple for a Mountain tour.
The Blue Mountains are beautiful and home to some of the best coffee in the world. We could have gone on an organized tour to a brand name coffee maker, but instead George introduced us the Rasta the coffee man where we got a tour of his plot. Quite primitive, but a walk around the area and seeing how 3 or maybe 4 generations of farmers live with their coffee and plants was fun. Rasta only sells out the back door and seems to make it work. We also got to do a little hike to the top of the Blue Mountain Ridge with a view to Kingston in the South and the Caribbean Sea to the west.
On leaving we slid down the N side of the Island for a 100 NM sail to Montego Bay. Stopover was Discovery Bay, first stop of Columbus in Jamaica. We arrived in Montego Bay Sunday PM.


Mona Passage 2.0

07 March 2019 | Port Antonio, Jamaica
Judy | Hot and muggy
Yep, still downwind

So far so good. We’ve sailed to Jamaica without incident. I must admit I had some anxiety about crossing the Mona Passage again. You would too if you had pounded up wind and broke a thru-hull and then sailed sailed around with a bung in your hole! But as you can see from this picture, our crossing was quite beautiful. No moon meant lots of phosphorescence and a unmistakable Southern Cross on our port side.

We made a pit stop on Isla Beata which is off the southern corner of DR near the Haiti boarder. We thought for certain we’d be eating lobster that night but apparently the lobster blew away in the hurricane or maybe the lobster fishermen blew away in the hurricane. (our Spanish isn’t very good.) The fishing village on Beata is very poor, so before we left, I put together a bag of clothes, some first aid items, tooth paste and tooth brushes and beer. I motioned to a nearby fisherman who was gathering his net near Tivoli. When handing him the bag, I used hand motions to explain what was in it. He looked up at me and gave me a big toothless grin! (Guess I was too late.)

From there to Jamaica was a double over nighter. Again, beautiful and a piece of cake. We motored the last 6 hours into Port Antonio and are now sitting in a slip flanked by European cruisers, in the Errol Flynn Marina. Unlike any other British Caribbean island, the Jamaican people are extremely friendly! The other characteristics are the same, slow internet, dock power that works in some slips not others. One working washing machine and a swimming pool you wouldn’t dare push in your worst enemy!

Our boat chores are pretty much done for now so these next few days we’ll be exploring. Mi see yuh likkle more den- I’ll see you later then.

Leg one out of four done

26 February 2019 | Ponce YC, Puerto Rico
Torben | Hot and windy
Saba under the spin pole.

Last week we did the first of our downwind legs, about 325 NM from Antigua to Ponce, PR. We managed to do the whole trip with only 3 hours of night sailing in winds from 12 - 32 knots from behind.

Best leg was the one where we left a completely flat anchorage at Saba Island at 3 AM under a pretty full moon, poled out the jib and managed to do the 90 NM to the Virgins in 12 hours flat!

Worst leg was from Antigua to St. Kitts where we said g'bye to our carbon # 3 jib. It looked great until the last moment when it suddenly gave up the spirit and ripped in multiple spots simultaneously. Oh well, 12 years of service is pretty good - Dave Hodges of Santa Cruz sails did a nice job building it.

We managed to run into cruising friends in St. Johns and Puerto Rico and said our farewell's. We have now been at Ponce YC for 3 nights waiting for weather and prepping for some longer legs. Judy precooked some yummy food, we have our departure paper work signed off. The forecast for the next few days are 15 - 25 knots from the East, we should be in Jamaica by Monday.

This year we totally forgot to activate our SPOT tracker, so we just did that - to follow along, just look on the blog under 'Where is Tivoli'



Vessel Name: Tivoli
Vessel Make/Model: Beneteau First 42s7
Hailing Port: Point Richmond, CA
Crew: Judy & Torben Bentsen
About:
On September 11, 2010 we cast off the dock lines from our home port of Richmond Yacht Club, California with an agenda of a multi year cruise. Season 1 took us down the coast of Mexico and we ended the season in Bahia del Sol, El Salvador. [...]
Extra:
TIVOLI is a 1994 Beneteau 42s7. Once upon a time she was a fairly competitive race boat, now - in her old age - she is content being weighed down with a lot of cruising stuff. We raised the waterline twice before leaving Richmond Yacht Club to compensate for the anchors, chain, water maker, extra [...]
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From Bequia to Trinidad to San Francisco with a stop in Nova Scotia
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Shelter Bay, a short stop in San Blas and then 600 NM North to Gand Cayman
28 Photos
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Final outing with Connie and Steve to the Spanish Fort guarding the mouth of the Chargres River.
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Cap't Steve ready to drive the ferry across the Canal.
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Party on, mangofish
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Going to Thanksgiving at Betsy's in Pedesi
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Visit to the old transfer city of stolen gold and silver
35 Photos
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Getting a few projects done.
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If I hold the lobster, will you shoot it Steve?
46 Photos
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Sun, Blue Water, Double solitaire!
71 Photos
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Hello CARIBBEAN SEA
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Gatun Locks
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San Miguel Locks
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Miraflores locks
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Connie and Steve arrives, Betsy and Stu joins.
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Shots from Amador and Las Perlas Islands
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Coming back to El Salvadoe
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Acapulco to El Salvador with stops in Huatulco and Puerto Chiapas.
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Barra Birthday, Santiago Bay, Los Hadas and Manzanillo
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Christmas time in La Cruz.
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Random shots from Torben's trip to SF, Ricky visiting prior to Christmas, will he change his shirt before going back?
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San Blas & Chacala
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Pictures from Thanksgiving in Los Frailes and from 5 days in Mazatlan
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The solitude of Espiritu Santo and the metropolis of La Paz.
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Ensenada to Quintin
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Random shots from the last days in San Diego, including provisioning at the farmers market and finding a spot for it all
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