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!


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