Saturday, November 30, 2019

Single Handed

I thought I would get a ton of things done when I got back to the boat after dropping the crusty crew off at the airport.

I bought a grease gun and gave a half hearted attempt at fixing Otto's rudder-reference-unit. That didn't solve the problem so I put a few things away, tidied up a little and napped until dinner - a leftover pork chop, of course. Read a little after dinner and was asleep by 8:30.

Next morning was another matter. I repositioned the boat at the dock a little as it was bumping the anchor against a shore locker.

Set about putting more things away to allow for a good interior scrubbing. The 3 able seamen who are home out of the heat arranged for a cleaning lady to come in. How nice.

Now that the aft cabin is no longer George's bedroom it becomes the garage in which to store all our stuff that has been cluttering the rest of the boat.

Installed the temperature sensor on the new Victron inverter/charger and put a check mark against that job. DONE!

Had to do this with photos and by feel. Hard to get in there
Put the panel back on the AC electrical box so that's another job completed.

Spent a couple of hours trouble shooting Otto but that didn't yield any thing positive.

Next day I returned the car and wasted time while Juanita cleaned the boat. Had a chicken quesadilla at the snack shop. 

Lunch - yum
Did a little more investigative work on Otto with disappointing results. Put away more stuff, did some trouble shooting on the fridge. Installed a new starter relay. Arranged for a rental car for Pam's visit.

New starter relay
Shower sump pump has given up the ghost. Time to dive back down into the bilge.

Lots of things to fix... but I'm a machine! And I'm on the boat in a place with services and easy access to parts. 

Yay Fajardo!!!

Friday, November 29, 2019


So here we are! We traveled from North Sound Marina in Antigua to Sun Bay Marina, PR... a total of 233 nautical miles.

The trip from Culebra was quite short... only 18 miles. We did it with one fewer crew member... Otto the autopilot kicked out. That's going to hurt.

Carmen from Sun Bay was very helpful with directions and soon we were tying up at the dock.

We knew we were near Fajardo 'cause we had just enough food to reach Fajardo... and we were out of food.

So we marched up the hill to a nearby hotel and enjoyed a display of billiards and a dinner with beer.

Next morning we made arrangements for a car and headed into Old San Juan. It's a great place and really needs more time than we had... but pretty cool nonetheless.

Hardware/Cafe at Sun Bay

Floating boats and stacks of boats

Cruise ships in OSJ

Pigeon Park

Sea faring men 


Sheep statue?

Morro Fort

Salty Crew

So that's the end of the epic voyage. We came back to the boat at Sun Bay. Ate our last pork chop dinner on board. Had a good sleep, a great breakfast and shower in the morning.

I dropped them at SJU, looked the other way... looked back and they were gone like Captain Rons.

Drove back to a quiet and roomy Blue Pearl.

Great adventures.


The sail to Culebra was nice... at first. Got a little lumpy a couple of miles out as a result of some huge rollers roaring in from the Atlantic. We arrived in the daylight, which is always nice and navigated the bouys in behind the protective reef. Took a couple of tries to anchor... not sure why... but we were finally able to settle in.


Clearing Customs is interesting. Even though we had cleared into the USVI, PR makes you clear in again. And Culebra is considered part of PR. So we used the new CBP Roam app which has all our information pre-loaded and after a time we were able to phone in and talk to an agent. Despite the fact that we are all NEXUS "Trusted Travellers" we were required to go into the CBP office in the airport.

But we were cleared in... just no Cruising Permit. So we cruised into the Dinghy Dock and had a light supper.

Ensenada Honda

Dinghy Dock Bar Restaurant

I wish I had ordered the ribs

Nothing left but bones

The next morning we had breakfast at the Pancakedeli and then rented a golf cart to get around. The Cruising Permit took forever. The agent had to fill out multiple forms by hand, which makes you wonder about the level of integration of the new Roam app.

Took the obligatory trip to Flamenco Beach. Then had a pleasant drive around the island looking for places to watch football. There was none so we retired to the boat for the evening.

Breakfast at PancakeDeli

Cruising Permit

Flamenco Beach

Ensenada Honda vista

Boat Penne - yum
Next morning saw us up anchor and head around to the Canal de Luis Peña Marine Preserve. The last time we were there we saw hundreds of turtles. Sadly, this time we only saw one big one, along with some fish and a stingray.

So that's Culebra... onto Sunbay Marine in Fajardo, PR!

Onto Fajardo

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Saint Croix... maybe?

So we set out in the evening again and once again, the winds were kind of goofy. Turns out we just had to get clear of the island before we ended up with a northeast wind. That would have been fine for Saint Croix but it meant a beat to weather to get from Saint Croix north to Puerto Rico the next day.

It would have been nice to show these guys Saint Croix... a very beautiful harbour in Christiansted that not many get to see. But not so nice to endure the trip north into the wind so we headed instead to Saint John. I've cleared in there before and knew the drill. Hard to find a spot to anchor in a very tiny, crowded commercial harbour. Not really looking forward to it.

We got into the east side of Saint John at Lamshure Bay around 7AM and took a mooring ball to have a rest, coffee and some breakfast.

Fancy Hilltop Saint John homes

Modest bungalos
Coming around the corner at Little Saint James (owned by the late, notorious Jeffery Epstein) we made the decision to skip Saint John and instead spend the night in the marina at Red Hook, Saint Thomas. Marinas have showers... that made it a no brainer.

Customs and Border Patrol, Red Hook

Cleared in and spent a nice evening ashore - went to a "not yet meeting expectations" restaurant for supper and had a look around. There is a charter boat operation there that specializes in Island Packets so Blue Pearl was quite at home. Nice place to spend some time.

American Yacht Harbour - with SHOWERS!!!
Around the corner into Charlotte Amelia Harbour

More of CA Harbour - Pam and I stayed in that place up the hill many years ago

Lookin' out the kitchen window

Warren and the Symphany of the Seas!
We cut our time short so we could enjoy an extra day in Culebra or Puerto. Off in the late morning for a quick 18 nautical miles to Culebra!!!

On to Saint Maarten

Sint Maarten (Dutch) or Saint Martin (French) was named for St. Martin of Tours on whose feast day, November 11, 1493, Columbus first saw these white sand shores. According to Wikipedia.

The sun was setting as we headed off from Antigua on our journey to SM. Very soon we were motor sailing past Nevis and St. Kitts on our port and Barbuda off to the starboard under starry skies. The winds had been light and flukey and I didn't want sail problems at night so we sailed with the main and the staysail for the first couple of hours.  Mike was at the helm and mentioned that he had seen 8, 9 and even 10 knots and so we stopped the engine and sped along at a respectable 6 to 7 knots.

We had a nice evening chatting until Warren started his 3-hour watch at 21:00.  Mike and George went below for a nap and I rested in the cockpit. Mike came on at 00:00 and then George from 03:00 to 06:00.

Glen demonstrating how not to wear a safety harness

Warren on watch
On each watch they reported seeing cruise ships and other traffic. Cruise ships are a sight to behold - lit up like the Madame Laroue pinball machine. The overnighter was mostly uneventful. On George's watch a giant wave flooded the cockpit. At night you have no idea what caused the problem but in the morning we found that we had company in the form of a little fish. George thinks he might have been wearing the fish as a sandal during his watch.

Cruise Ship
Approaching SM in the morning
In the morning while waiting outside the Dutch Bridge for an opening we installed the new motor on the dinghy for our eventual trip to town for clearance. NICE MOTOR!!!

Dutch Bridge at Simpson Bay

Causeway Bridge and thumb
After anchoring on the French side we went ashore to clear into Saint Martin. We wandered around a bit in the evening, then the next morning I went back to clear out so we could be ready for a night sail to the USVI the next evening. Crossed back under the Causeway Bridge and temporarily anchored on the Dutch side in prep for our next leg.

We spent the morning at Maho Bay watching the planes come and go, then off to the supermarket for supplies and boat parts. After a whirlwind tour of Saint Martin we were staged for our next leg on to the USVI.

Plane Spotting at Maho Bay

Catching our bus from the Dinghy Dock to Maho Bay

Such fun!!!

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

The Rest of the Crew arrives

There are always things that used to work when we put the boat to bed in the spring that don't work when we launch. This year it was the reliable Yamaha outboard that has always started on the first or second pull. This year it ran rough at the beginning and then quit entirely. Turns out the magneto was shot.

So that's great. Mike and George are arriving this afternoon and we have a rowboat to pick them up.

Luckily, the folks at North Sound made room for us at the dock so the rest of the crew could board easily.

After the crew was settled on the boat we set off for a Falmouth/English Harbour adventure... with a stop on the way at Seagull Inflatables. They have always provided excellent service so I stopped in to ask their advice. They took the motor for inspection while we went on the Middle Ground Hike.

Checking out the view at Falmouth
Warren with Freeman Bay in the background

Scaling down to English Harbour
Mike calling home
Happy crew... and a beautiful new Yamaha 15.

A couple of hours later they called us to say that the repair would be $500 or $600 for parts plus service. And the motor is 15 years old. So I bought a new one!! Hope Pam likes her Christmas gift.

As soon as she is cleared from Customs we are off on an overnighter to St. Maarten.

As soon as it is on Blue Pearl we are off to SM

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Starting Season 2019/2020

Well we are back!!! And have been back for a couple of weeks. I have been criticized by one of my family for not blogging... and although I have lots of excuses... fact is, I've not been blogging. Too much to do and not very good internet.

I arrived at the boat on November 10 and began the "putting together" that happens after the "taking apart" in the spring. Airing out, canvas, sails, maintenance projects to get the boat to a stage where it can be launched.

A rhinoceros bird mistook our cockpit for his outhouse.
Our chariot awaits
Fridge isn't running so it's dinner at "Ounces."
Stuff mostly put away... almost time to launch
Murphy the Dinghy ready for launch
Warren supervising
Doing these things on the hard is not very much fun and so it is great when you can get out on the hook in the breeze to do the final set-up chores.

To my great relief, Warren arrived just as we were to launch. Once we were in the water we were able to turn on the fridge so we could have cold beers to cool us down as we continued the readiness activities.

Great to have another body to wrestle things around. George and Mike arrive in a few days and we will quickly get ready to move the boat north.

More to follow...