Friday, March 31, 2023

A Not-So-Good Turn of Events

Well, we survived some earlier glitches but we seem to be in a bit of a pickle.

Coming up from Antigua, Pam and I noticed a slight engine heating issue which we chalked up to some maintenance we had done before we left. Did a little fiddling and things seem to right themselves. Same when the trusty crew joined me in Fajardo. A slight problem on the first day but becoming an issue as we passed north of Puerto Plata. We made the decision to turn into PP but then rationalized that we might be dealing with a "false positive." That is, the indicator was indicating overheat but the warning buzzer had not yet sounded. To cut to the chase, we've definitely got a problem and we are in a queue to get the attention of master mechanic and friend of Vancouver, Les Harding. We are in an expensive marina (US $160 per night,) Les is busy for a few days, and we've run out of time to get the crew back to Florida for their flights home.

So lots of time trying to find flights - arrghhhh.  And lots of time trying to coordinate repairs. So, in the meantime, we've set out to explore Long Island with our new best friends Steve and Jane from Alma - a Texas built Valiant 40. We've rented a car and today we checked out the Deadman's Cay Airport, Seaside Restaurant and Conch Bar and finally Dean's Blue Hole.

Leonard show us his banana trees

Hamilton Caves

Blue Pearl Crew

How to feed an Osprey

Making conch salad

Swimming in Dean's Blue Hole - 700 feet deep

Beach Walkin'

Fearless crew

We are waiting for a call confirming Mike and John have a flight off the island. Then we can relax and enjoy our last few days together. Also waiting to find out the extent of the damage to Blue Pearl and when we can get moving north to Florida. 

All coming in the next installment of the Continuing Adventures of the Blue Pearl!

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Points North

 Hello Dear Readers,

We've roared 170 miles north to Clarence Town, Long Island and tied up at the Flying Fish Marina. This gives me a chance to reflect a little on our short visit to Matthewtown.

There was no parade or joyous celebration - all my people are gone. But everywhere we went we ran into folks with shared memories which was wonderful. Neicy Saunders was our virtual guide, giving us directions and pointing out folks who knew my folks. She guided us into the basin Monday night via social media and was there in the morning to say hello on her way to work. She was also there to wave us off when we left Tuesday morning. Thanks Neicy!!!

Hello Great Inagua Light

Looking out to the rolly anchorage

Miss Pearl's AfterWork Bar

View from the Light

Trusty Crew

Cracked Conch at SnL

Foundation from my old classroom

Elementary school across the street

Looking for a lost shaker of salt?

At the end of a long day we retired to the Blue Pearl in preparation for our trip up to Long Island. We had a few beverages and celebrated a successful day of touring. 

I remember when the school year came to an end in 1978 Pam and I had an important decision to make - stay for another year or go home. We had staked out our positions and were at an impass. We were sitting on the dock, staring silently at the water when the Harbour Master swam by. The Harbour Master was a huge hammerhead shark that patroled the harbour and ate the odd unfortunate dog who was having a cooling dip. After yapping excitedly to each other about having seen the legendary Harbour Master we got up and walked to a nearby phone booth and made preparations to return to teaching in Canada. So, that's that.

Decision Dock

More exciting news soon from Clarence Town!

Monday, March 27, 2023

Blue Pearl Back to the Beginning

Hello Again Dear Reader,

An emotional day! My daughter, Jen put pen to paper (or fingers to keys) to chronicle our journey over the years. And I'm not able to put it any better than her...

I hope I'm not breaking the internet... but here is her story that leads to our visit here in Matthew Town, Great Inagua. 

Here is a story that I think is pretty cool and deserves to be shared.
In 1978 my dad was teaching at the local school in Inagua - the southernmost island in the Bahamas. My mom was finishing her PDP back at home and so he was there alone for a few months and after work he’d often go to a bar overlooking the boat basin owned and run by a woman named Pearl Ingram. As he told the story, day after day he would come to the bar and watch the boats coming and going and dreamed of one day having a boat of his own. Miss Pearl, in her thick Bahamian accent would shake her head and say “Roger man, you’ll never have a boat.” And he would reply “Miss Pearl, one day I’ll have a boat, and I’ll name it after you.”
Well it didn’t take long. Just one year later and back in BC, while my mom was pregnant with me, they bought a shiny new red sailboat and named her Miss Pearl. Throughout my childhood, our weekends and holidays were spent on Miss Pearl, sailing around the San Juan and Gulf Islands. I hold those memories close and am ever so grateful. S/v Miss Pearl was part of our family for over 30 years, with a framed photo of her namesake on the wall. In 1992 we traveled to the Bahamas and got to meet her. She has since passed away.
In 2008 my mom retired, and my dad the following year. They flew to Florida and worked with a boat broker to find exactly what they were looking for. In early 2010 their retirement dreams of sailing the Caribbean were launched aboard the newly christened s/v Blue Pearl.
They spent several years sailing between Florida and the Exumas in the Bahamas, never quite making it to hard-to-reach Inagua where my dad always wanted to return in his very own boat. They sailed all the way down the Caribbean chain to Grenada, and then part way back to Antigua where they stayed several years, and then were stuck a few more during the pandemic. You can (and should) read their blog for some really excellent storytelling.
Now 14 years later, with the future of their sailing adventures uncertain, they have decided to return to Florida. Leaving in January of this year, their route from Antigua took them to St Martin and through the British, US and Spanish Virgin Islands before arriving in Puerto Rico in February. They came home for a bit and a few days ago my dad returned with a couple of friends who are going to help him sail north. Instead of heading offshore across the top of the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Cuba and catching the jetstream to cruise up the coast of Florida, my dad has an important detour to make.
As I’m writing this, the Blue Pearl is north of the Dominican Republic on her 2nd of 4 days of continuous sailing that should have her captain and crew setting anchor in the Inagua boat basin late Sunday or early Monday. And I just think that is just the perfect story and I’m thrilled for him and wish I could be there; however it turns out that despite growing up with a sailboat I’m a terrible sailor. Instead we are following their progress at home and eagerly awaiting news of landfall. I hope they have steady winds and smooth seas with dolphin escorts and that they catch the green flash every night. I hope they have starry skies and shooting stars and beautiful sunrises. We’re not sure what the future holds for the Roger Family Sailing Adventures, but this sure neatly wraps up that storyline.

Introducing s/v Miss Pearl

We played so many games, read so many books, caught so many crabs!

Miss Pearl's bar in 1992

Meeting Miss Pearl in 1992

Hello Blue Pearl!

Captain in training

So that's that. What a wonderfully written story about relationships.

We had a lot of fun wandering about Matthew Town today. I was able to connect with local family and friends who know our ghosts. Not so many left now but great memories.

Photos of our Great Inagua tour coming soon along with more of the continuing adventures of the crew of the Blue Pearl!


Fajardo to Matthew Town, Great Inagua

 Hello Faithful Reader,

We had some glitches on our way down with airline schedules and related changes so our idea of leaving really early seemed out the window. Mike got there before John and I and figured out that he needed to be responsible for shopping. Which explains why we have so many Hostess Twinkies. When Uber failed to deliver him back to the boat from Ralph's he explained his problem to the produce guy. And the produce guy drove Mike back to the boat and refused any compensation. There are some lovely people in the world.

I've got a trusty crew of salty sea-dogs to help me sail the boat back to Florida. I've known John and Mike for many years and I value their experience and friendship. So nice to spend time with good people.


Yes, it was a long trip. We've had time to exchange grooming tips, talk about winning in the stock market, why certain politicians need to clean toilets and many other important topics. 

The nights are challenging. We've been doing 2 hours on and 4 hours off. There isn't much sleep on the 4 hours off due to the banging and crashing and weird noises. And our conversations during the day keep us from napping so that needs to change. Less talking, more napping.

Supper in a YVR lounge

Yum! Toronto breakfast

Houston lunch


San Juan Sunset

Cruise ship

OK. Just a little bit of fun.

We caught a Blue Marlin on our second day. The line whizzed out of the reel and I worried that we would lose it. It was spectacular watching it leap into the air trying to shake the hook. As I watched its frantic attemps to free itself I realized I was rooting for the marlin. It would have been a gong show trying to get it onto the boat and then process it. But more than that, we saw a magnificent animal trying to survive and we were just fishing for something to do. So you will be pleased to know that the marlin won - but now he's going to have to explain to his mother why he has new hooks and bling attached to his cheek. I wish him all the best.

Inagua lighthouse

We've had contact from relatives and friends in Matthewtown who've been great about information on docking and making arrangements for things. We look forward to lots of activity tomorrow.

And after 4 days and 3 nights sailing we arrived at dusk to tie up and get some well earned rest.  Five hundred miiles at 6 miles an hour! A quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trip's over.

What will tomorrow bring?

All the best... and fair winds!

Captain Chaos

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Comin' Home for a Visit (and I said Alright!!!)

Hello Again Dear Reader,

We are doing last minute chores prepping Blue Pearl for a short stay-cation while we come home for a visit. Uber to SJU at noon AST and we'll climb into a bed same evening at midnight PST. Nice!

On the 27th we saw this strange apparation in the sky. Turns out it was Mr. Popular's SpaceX rocket delivering more StarLink sattellites into space. Wow!

SpaceX in Florida

We've been enjoying the amenities of this place. It is quite spectacular and caters to folks who have lots of disposable income! These boats that come past one after the other are VERY expensive. And they are just boats for running about.

Many, many expensive boats!

And this is a fairly small one with "only" 2 engines.

Down our "Dock 8" We are in a slip waaaay at the end.

Couple of Grady Whites with beastly engines.


Neighbour with his toybox open

Washrooms, showers and meeting room complex that was turned into St. Hogg Marina for Captain Ron

Everywhere we walk we see young men in snuba gear scouring the bottoms of the boat. Same thing for topside cleaning. It is constant.

Snuba Diver Down

Out for a beach lunch?

We've meet some lovely cruisers. A newly retired liveaboard couple, Andy 1 and Kristi on a Cabo Rico that they are retoring for ocean crossings. Also Heejung and Andy 2 on a nice Farr... doing a practice run from Annapolis to Saint Lucia. Practice for next year when they undertake the World ARC. Wow!

So we're home for a short visit and then John Burns is coming down with me for a salty adventure. We will do a 500 mile run to Great Inagua and then shorter passages up through the Bahamas to southwest Florida. Pam plans to rejoin Blue Pearl once we are moored at Stuart Florida to help prep the boat for summer storage in Indiantown. We've been down in the Caribbean for more than 10 years... it's time for something different!