Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Day 142- Deep Bay, Antigua

After recovering from the passage with a little R&R, Pablo took advantage of being at a dock to clean off the thick coating of salt that covered every outside surface of the boat. Sterling fixed the fiddle that broke during the passage. We re- provisioned with food, propane, outboard fuel, laundry and other necessities. The grocery store in Jolly Harbor has most items I would find at home, many at similar prices. The outdoor markets in St. John's, the capital, on the other hand, are not like those at home. The variety of fruits and vegetables is amazing. The kids had fun sampling new tastes and flavors. My head is still spinning from the chaotic busyness of the city. There were so many new sights and sounds to take in that I'll be processing them for a while still. After seeing our friends on Skylark arrive safely we left the dock this morning for more exploring. Deep Bay is a popular snorkeling spot, though the water visibility isn't as good as we hoped. We've seen numerous turtles swimming around the boat and the beach was a hit with everyone.
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Antigua street scene

On the bus to St. Johns

Sterling finds a mini pineapple at a mini fruit stand


Sterling's shot of Borealis (all the way to the right) in Deep Bay







Monday, November 28, 2011

Day 140- Jolly Harbor, Antigua

Yesterday was a day of exploring.  We walked to the beach and played in the waves for a while.  And took a trip out of Jolly Harbor to the more "real" part of the island.  We rode a van across much of the island to an old fort called Shirley Heights.  Shirley Heights sits high on hill over looking a beautiful Falmouth Harbour.  We spent the evening listening Antigua's best steel drum band and eating great BBQ in an amazingly scenic location. The roads in Antigua are narrow, windy and lined with interesting people and markets. Really looking forward to exploring the local scene a bit more.



Saturday, November 26, 2011

Day 138- Jolly Harbor, Antigua

We made it!!  It feels pretty good to be here.  We're in a marina, had dinner and drinks at the restaurant, the kids swam in the pool.  It doesn't get much better than this!  And Sterling caught a fish!!!  Will fill in a bunch of pictures from the passage tomorrow.





Friday, November 25, 2011

Day 6-Passage Bermuda to Caribbean

We're getting closer. We're seeing more and more birds. It is hot and humid. We may even be able to see the lights of one of the islands tonight. We had lighter winds overnight but managed to sail for most of the last 24 hours and now starting to feel the trades slowly fill in. It will be nice to have something other than ocean and sky to look at. Even though we've settled into the routine of the passage, which mainly involves eating, sleeping and being on watch, we're all ready for a change of pace. Sterling has been the ultimate crew. He is always ready to help, usually anticipates what we need help with ahead of time, is great with the kids, always cracking jokes, and just plain fun to have around. I'm hoping he'll decided to explore a bit more with us.
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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Day 5- Passage Bermuda to Caribbean

Happy Thanksgiving! Instead of Thanksgiving we are celebrating Sterling's birthday today. Good deal for me, since much less cooking is involved. The winds died overnight so we motored for 12 hours and now are motor sailing. We made about 135 nm over the last 24 hours. The water temp is 83 degrees and the air temp is over 90 degrees. Not too bad when we're outside but the inside of the boat gets stuffy. Since we're underway it is too risky to open hatches or ports so there isn't much air exchange. I had a good scare last night while I was on watch at 3am. It was pitch dark and I heard a thump and a lot of thrashing. I could smell a strong fishy odor so yelled "fish, fish!". Poor Sterling came running out all excited thinking he had finally caught something on his line. A 10" flying fish had landed about a foot from me. We're reaping the benefits of the water maker by being able to take MUCH appreciated showers today. A dolphin pod came and played around the boat again this morning. They are a lot of fun to watch. Sterling took some great video, will try to post it when we have wifi.
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Sterling's great shot of the dolphins



video
Watching the dolphins play

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Day 4- Passage Bermuda to Caribbean

We're still cruising along at 6.5 to 7 knots and made 168 nm in the last 24 hours. The waves are very slowly diminishing. We've had a very bumpy ride for the past four days due to confused 8 - 10 ft waves. We lost our boogie board as a big wave swept it off the deck. And a fiddle (the lip along the edge which keeps things from sliding off the edge) broke off one of the galley counters. I guess it was just getting too much use as we're all hanging on where ever we can. Pretty minor issues. The wind generator and solar panels are both getting a work out and are keeping our batteries charged. I've been using a pressure cooker almost everyday. I like how fast it cooks and even more appreciate the locking lid in these conditions. The girls are starting to come back to life after not feeling 100% for the first couple of days. Its funny they have no problem playing, doing projects (like making kites with Uncle Sterl) or watching movies but instantly feel sea sick when the school books come out...
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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Day 3- Passage Bermuda-Caribbean

We're still making great progress. Again we made 160 nm in the last 24 hours. Winds are starting to diminish a bit and the seas becoming becoming smaller, so we are not bouncing around quite as much. The first days of this passage have been physically challenging. We are more tired than on the last leg. Probably due to the fact that every task takes more effort under the bumpy conditions and in addition sleeping isn't as comfortable. Just before lunch a pod of 10-15 dolphins played around the boat for a good 15 minutes. It was entertaining while they put on a nice show; they were fast and very sleek as they surfed the waves around us. Sterling is trying to figure out how trolling for 800+ miles hasn't produced a single fish....
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Sterling checking out the dolphins

Monday, November 21, 2011

Day 2- Passage Bermuda-Caribbean

We're cruising along at 7 knots, making great progress. We made about 160nm in the last 24 hours, our best yet. The winds have been 15-20 knots from the NW, the waves are 8-10 ft making it very bumpy. Sleeping has been more of a challenge under these conditions. We have to wedge ourselves in to minimize flying around. My leg muscles got a work out last night as I propped them up against a bulkhead to act as a shock absorber. It seems to be taking all of us a bit to get back into passage mode, probably due to the lumpy bumpy conditions. Sterling has not given up on fishing. He restocked on lures and 100 pound-test line in Bermuda. Other than the yellow snapper he caught while we were anchored, only seaweed has to been attracted to the line.
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Sunday, November 20, 2011

Day 1- Passage Bermuda-Caribbean

We're off again. It was hard to leave the beautiful beaches and waters of Bermuda but we would of gone broke had we stayed longer. I was hoping to post some more photos but unfortunately the internet connection was not good enough. It was nice to have a few days to relax and some nights to get plenty of sleep. Another perk was to connect with friends on sv Skylark. The girls got to dog sit Luna, I got to have girlfriend time with Elizabeth, and Pablo and Ed seemed happy to trade technical tips. Good all around.
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Luna from sv Skylark come for a visit




Friday, November 18, 2011

Day 126- Bermuda

So... it isn't going to be easy to leave here.  Other cruisers that we've talked to seem to feel the same way.  Its warm, the water is beautiful, life is pretty good after being at sea for a bit.  It is going to take a little time to prepare mentally for another passage.  When we left Virginia it was cold and fairly miserable so we were very ready to go.  Luckily there are a few downsides to Bermuda which may get us going. Like how expensive things are;  a bag of corn chips is $7, cereal $9, a loaf of sandwich bread $6, diesel is close to $8/gallon.  We took a bus to Hamilton, the capital, today.  The roads are very narrow and windy and everyone drives on the wrong side of the road.  It is hard to remember to look in right direction when crossing the street.  Can't imagine driving here, walking is enough of a challenge. 

It looks like there will be a good weather window to leave on Sunday.  We'll see if we're ready...





Thursday, November 17, 2011

Day 125- Bermuda

We arrived in St. George's Harbor, Bermuda early this morning.  We made contact with Bermuda Radio at 1 am to let them know our intentions and they sequenced us in, very much like an air traffic controller.  Checking into Bermuda was very organized and friendly.  About 50 other Caribbean bound boats are here ducking out of the potentially nasty weather coming through tomorrow and Saturday.  We weren't expecting to stop here and didn't do any research ahead of time. The water is a beautiful turquoise and warm.   St. George is a very quaint small town with many colonial era buildings.  We are really looking forward to spending time at the beach tomorrow and exploring other parts of the island.  We are very pleasantly surprised by Bermuda.  I added some photos to the posts from the past week.
 




Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Day 6 -Passage

We're Bermuda bound. It is a good place to stay for a couple of days while a low pressure system with high winds passes by. Bermuda is only about 40 nm away but we don't want to enter the harbor at night so will wait until morning. We weren't planning on stopping in Bermuda so don't even have a guide book. Luckily, our friends on sv Skylark came to our rescue with detailed information. I think everyone is looking forward to a little break from the boat and some beach time. One flying fish has landed on the deck, other wise we haven't seen much wildlife. We made 122 nm today in light winds with some motoring in the night.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Day 5-Passage

You would think that we wouldn't have to worry about lobster pots hundreds of miles offshore. But no, we almost hit one about an hour ago. We've had no wind all day and thus have been motoring. There is a slight chance that we may divert to Bermuda due to weather. We'll make the decision in the morning once we have more information. Right now the ocean is eerily calm, like glass. The temperature keeps getting warmer. It was in the mid 80's all day. The water maker is working so we all got to take showers. Ypee! Sterling and I have been waiting with wasabi in hand hoping that he'll catch a fish. There have been plenty of bites and lost lures but no sushi on board. We've progressed 110 nm since yesterday.
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Lobster pot in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean

Monday, November 14, 2011

Day 4 - Passage

We're still plagued by light winds out of the South, but using them to get as far east as possible before making a turn south. We haven't seen another boat since early yesterday evening, when Pablo made contact with a tanker that was about one half of a mile away. The girls have been watching the new Harry Potter movie, doing projects, reading and playing games. Wishing I had a few more hands so that I could hold onto the boat and actually do things at the same time. Pretend like you are swaying 20 deg from side to side and pour hot water into a thermos which really requires 2 hands. Nothing that is set down stays where it is placed unless it is bolted down. The kids have caught on that they have to hold their dinner plate with one hand and eat with the other.
It is in the low 80's so most of us spent the day in shorts. Sterling is still waiting for it to warm up. Pablo is really enjoying Sterling as expert crew and we're all really enjoying his company. We accomplished 116 nm in the past 24 hours.
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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Day 3- Passage

It is warm!!! It was amazing to watch the water temperature go from 50's to 78 F in a couple of hours as we passed through the Gulf Stream yesterday. The air temperature increased as well and is much more comfortable at 77F. I, probably too optimistically, put away our winter hats, mittens and layers of fleece. We've been in unfavorable currents and light winds for most of the day so progress was only 117 nm. Mia lost a tooth so we're hoping to get a position report to the toothfairy before nightfall.
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Remi kicking back

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Day 2 Passage

We sailed all day yesterday and thru the night under the jib alone. The winds were behind us so it was easier not to deal with the main sail. We motored for 3 hours this morning when the winds died. We've progressed 135 nm so far, only another 1200 to go. The night was clear and well lit by the moon. There are a lot of sailboats around us, usually have at least five in sight. A tiny bird, that the girls named Fiddlesticks, explored the boat for a couple of hours. He liked Sterling especially and sat on him and took a nap on a pillow next to him. Everyone seems happy and getting into the swing of the passage.
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Sterling is getting used to the northern latitudes

The brothers

Sterl and Fiddlesticks

Friday, November 11, 2011

Day 1 Passage

We left Hampton, VA today at 10:30 am. Conditions are rolly. We've sailed all day under the jib alone, making between 6-8 knots. We are REALLY looking forward to warmer conditions. We have all of our winter gear on and its still chilly. No other complaints, everyone seems pretty happy to be underway.
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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Day 118- Hampton, VA

The weather looks promising for a departure to the Caribbean on 11/11/11.  We spent the day motoring south to Hampton, VA to be closer to our exit point to the Atlantic Ocean.  There was little to no wind and it was a very grey day.  The only excitement was when a big (over 100 ft) Navy hovercraft buzzed around us.

Hampton is packed with cruising boats.  Many are part of the Caribbean 1500 race/rally.  Others are participating in the Salty Dog Rally.  Most have been waiting since the beginning of the month for a good weather window and seems like everyone is planning to leave tomorrow.  There may be a traffic jam...



Navy hovercraft

Another in-depth weather discussion