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Barb
Somewhere in the Caribbean aboard s/v La Luna Actually, we are currently in St. Thomas -- until May 2014.
We lived aboard a Cheoy Lee Sailboat year-round in Maine for 8 years. In October, 2010 we set sail for the Bahamas and Caribbean.
Interests: travel, dogs, sailing, Maine, writing, sailboat maintenance, living on a sailboat, Bahamas, Caribbean, Cartagena, Grenada, Buenos Aries, photography, food
Recent Activity
So -- the Christmas winds that weren't died today and we are eeking along at 3 knots in 6 knots of winds from the East. It's that kind of passage. Meantime, our friends on Hobnob, who left Cape Verdes about 3 days after we turned West endured seas and winds so rough that they were under staysail alone for at least 2 days -- maybe more. Such is the sailing life. We have seen the occasional sea bird, and a number of flying fish. We've returned three of those to the sea - -one was still alive at the time... Continue reading
Posted 4 hours ago at Harts At Sea
It ain't what it's cracked up to be. Seriously. When we started out from Tenerife and had to go south, I bitched because EW had promised me an easy downwind sail like the one he had enjoyed on S/V Bear in 2008, and instead we sailed south almost to the Cape Verde Islands. (EW says he didn't promise -- he raised my expectations, but didn't promise. Sounded like a promise to me.) Now we have wonderful trade winds, directly from the east and could easily lay our line to Guadeloupe. But man, is it noisy and bouncy and ugly going... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Harts At Sea
As I start this post, it's 0845 UTC (quarter to nine in the morning), or 0345 (quarter to four in the morning) on the East Coast of the US on Sunday the 14th. We have not changed our clocks thus far and now a couple of hundred miles short of a pseudo half-way point, we find time to be relative. The sky is light, but the sun has not yet risen. That means that In Real Life it's much earlier than almost nine in the morning here, but on La Luna the sun rises late. I wrote about this on... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Harts At Sea
Tonight, we are sailing on the sea of our dreams. There is very little swell; we have between 10 and 12 knots of wind directly from the east (finally); sailing under reduced main, reduced jib, and staysail on a dark and starry night. The moon, bright but not full, won't make an appearance until after midnight, during EW's watch. I am sailing in the dark, the only way I can tell sea from sky is by the stars. Our speed sometimes reaches 5 knots -- a meandering for a horse, or a jog for a runner --- at sea on... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Harts At Sea
In 2002, my sister and her husband were the first family members to visit La Luna after we bought her. Neither of them were boaters, so they came when she was on the hard in Robinhood Marine. My sister climbed up the ladder with no hesitation, was excited for us, and helped me measure the galley for storage containers. She wholly supported our lifestyle and our life choices and in 2010 my sister and her husband hosted a family going away party for EW and me before we set sail. My sister and I talked on the phone as often... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Harts At Sea
Greetings from North 17 degrees 48.99 minutes and West 29 degrees 37.83 minutes. The good news is we are now moving more west than any other direction. The other good news is that I was correct in my assessment that we motor south last night and pick up wind from the east. It's not a big wind, and it's a bit north of east so we are currently heading to Guyana, but we are sailing, and we'll gybe tomorrow and head more directly for Guadeloupe. I've been thinking about Star Trek - the one with Jon Luc Picard - this... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Harts At Sea
Remember those people on the dock who opined that they were "waiting until the Christmas winds were constant"? Those people may have been right. This first 10 days has been a bit of a struggle. First we tore the jib, then we battled our way in rough seas, then we simply tolerated rough seas while we continued south, then we turned west to be hit with Thunder Alley. For brief moments in time we have been moving on our course, but mostly we are heading south or south west, and currently under the power of Pinetop. Still, we kinda like... Continue reading
Posted Dec 10, 2014 at Harts At Sea
So there we were, minding our own business and motoring in no wind, when we found ourselves being stalked by a pack of thunderstorms. I was on watch and EW was sleeping. Now there are two things I'm scared of: snakes and thunderstorms: I won't look at a snake in a movie and can't stand the harmless Maine variety; also, I've been known to weep in fear during a storm in Casco Bay. I'm not proud of that, but there you go. I watched the sky for about a half hour before waking EW. At that time we had heavy... Continue reading
Posted Dec 9, 2014 at Harts At Sea
The first order of business for the 9th was to make sure we both got some sleep. Instead of getting EW up at 6:00, as we'd planned, I held out until 7:00. He let me sleep until 11:00, and said that we would go back on normal shifts at 2:00. We started out with wind and clouds, and truly had to accept that the wind was our Thunder Alley prize and be thankful, as it wasn't predicted and we didn't expect it to last. By noon, Casey was struggling to steer in a nothing breeze and ocean swells and we... Continue reading
Posted Dec 9, 2014 at Harts At Sea
Yesterday we turned to the west. Finally. Our course is 263, which is quite close to the rhumb line course of 257. The GRIBs show a bunch of fronts over here and it looks as though the Canary Islands may get the higher winds we saw on Passage Weather back before we left Tenerife. I assume all of those fronts worked to give us a favorable shift and the opportunity to head in the right direction. Little things mean a lot. We placed a mark on the navigation software indicating where we'd like to be two days from yesterday evening.... Continue reading
Posted Dec 7, 2014 at Harts At Sea
Some of my Facebook friends have been posting three good things a day. I like reading them, and do believe that thinking about the good things puts one in a positive frame of mind. So there will be some good things mentioned in this post. (I think I've been whining and no wine is drunk on passages. That's a good thing but it's not one of the five.) I had trouble getting my GRIB weather files down the other night, and when we finally got them we realized that the front we were hoping to avoid by heading south to... Continue reading
Posted Dec 6, 2014 at Harts At Sea
So we're at sea. The seas are choppy, confused, and six feet. Our sailing neighbors to the south say they have nine foot breaking waves over the stern. They are having less fun than we are. We are fine, La Luna is fine, Casey the Auto-pilot is working his heart out, and we are moving at 6 knots (5.5 under sail, 6.5 when we're surfing down a wave). This is not what I think of when envisioning crossing, but it's what we've got for now. I told EW I wanted swells, not waves. He's working on it. In the morning,... Continue reading
Posted Dec 5, 2014 at Harts At Sea
It's important that this post is fair, after all we both have made errors under way. The day we left Tenerife, I messed up the auto pilot and EW thought he'd have to tear the electronics apart to fix it. (Fortunately I thought of and tried a soft restart fix and that worked.) Today was EW's day for a screw up. As I mentioned yesterday, the first couple of days are all about moving the boat and getting enough rest. I had the midnight to six watch last night, hadn't slept fully on any off watch to that point, and... Continue reading
Posted Dec 4, 2014 at Harts At Sea
It takes two or three days for us to adapt to the passage life, to learn to sleep in shifts -- 4 or 6 hours here, 1 or 3 hours there. We aren't racing anyone and have plenty of food and water on board, so we don't have to jump up and do sail changes unless there is a big change in the conditions. When I came on watch, we jibed the main. We'll probably jibe back when we change watch again at 0600 -- the wind is shifting to the east. On our first night, we had 20 knots,... Continue reading
Posted Dec 3, 2014 at Harts At Sea
One of the reasons we stayed until Tuesday was to let the waves abate after the storm. If this is abated, I'm glad we waited. The seas aren't massive, but they are confused, with lots of white caps. Occasionally, one will whoosh along behind us, coming up to La Luna like an asthmatic dog chasing a truck. Some of these canine waves catch the boat, slamming into her stern quarter, others pass us by. (Greyhounds, perhaps?) We were off the dock by 12:30 having said good-bye to our neighbors Kevin and Irene when they went off to town a couple... Continue reading
Posted Dec 2, 2014 at Harts At Sea
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Unfortunately, the front came early, and the winds shifted two days sooner than had been predicted by all sources. On Wednesday morning, we found ourselves beating north of Tenerife, which should have been a clue, especially when we had to tack to avoid getting too close to the island. Shortly after noon I was able to get the day’s GRIB files and realized that we were skunked. Fortunately, we were only 40 miles from Marina Santa Cruz in Tenerife. Unfortunately, the wind and waves increased immediately after we had tacked to our new course, and we found ourselves beating in 20-35 knot winds and 6-8 foot seas. Continue reading
Posted Nov 30, 2014 at Harts At Sea
Regarding that last post (rant)I feel like such a witch-with-a-B. Many cruisers do enjoy the Canary Islands, and if your from Britain, and don't want to live all winter in the cold, then I'm sure the Canary Islands are a wonderful retirement option. Brilliant! That was bitchy, still. Dang it. My apologies to those who love the Canary Islands. When we cross again to visit the Azores, we'll be better cruisers in the Canaries. I promise. We are safely at sea, having set out only an hour later than planned, but leaving 15 hours earlier would have been optimal. There's... Continue reading
Posted Nov 26, 2014 at Harts At Sea
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In the Canaries we sometimes struggled not to become “Ugly Americans”. And our impression is not fair to the Canaries, especially as we’ve only seen two of the islands. (Only one if you consider that Graciosa is part of Lanzarote. First of all, we have not seen any canaries of the feathered variety. In fact, the Canary Island Group is named after the island that is now known as Gran Canaria, and that island was named by the Romans after the multitude of huge dogs roaming about. There’s even a statue of these large, black dogs in Gran Canaria. So, we weren’t in bird islands, we were in dog islands. This was ironic, as you will see. Continue reading
Posted Nov 24, 2014 at Harts At Sea
For the first time in months, EW and I successfully exited a marina on the day we had planned. Perhaps we shouldn't have. We paid our bill on Thursday, and skillfully backed out of a tight slip on Friday morning, heading south for two hours to the only marina with fuel. We filled the diesel tanks, and motored back to Graciosa in no wind. The anchorage had emptied earlier in the week because south winds were predicted. They came as promised while we were safe in the marina. Yesterday, as we neared the bay, we were surprised to see just... Continue reading
Posted Nov 22, 2014 at Harts At Sea
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While having this quiet, boat work, contemplative time in Graciosa, EW and I thought about our Atlantic Circle trip and ultimately decided that we didn’t want to sail to Brazil and Argentina, but would rather sail back to the Caribbean. Our plan is to visit some of the islands we haven’t explored, hang a few weeks in the Virgin Islands, and sail west to the San Blas for a while. There, we’ll join Jaime and Keith on S/V Kookaburra, Carrie and Carl on S/V Firefly, and perhaps some of our new friends from the Canaries. We don’t plan to go through the canal, but would be delighted to once again help other boats transit it. Continue reading
Posted Nov 20, 2014 at Harts At Sea
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EW and I have no plans to join a formal rally, but were delighted to be asked to join the “Atlantic Crossing Group”. This Google Group of sailors was formed in 2013 by a couple sailing to the Caribbean who wanted to stay in touch and share ideas with others who were crossing. The folks we partied with three weeks ago in Graciosa all belong to this group. We were welcomed with open arms and made new friends from the US, Great Britain, New Zealand, Australia, Germany, Ireland, and Turkey. A number of them were very helpful during our double quest for solar power and butane. There are musicians in the group, and we took over one of the docks one evening for an impromptu jam session. This was our kind of group. Continue reading
Posted Nov 9, 2014 at Harts At Sea
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If we knew how easy this would be, we’d have installed solar panels years ago. What stopped us? We thought we really needed an arch over the stern in order to get enough power from the panels and having an arch built increased the cost by a whole bunch of lots (as cousin Jeff says). Installing a simple arch would probably still be less expensive than installing a real transformer, and one of our main goals was to find a safe way to get power in at least some situations while on the dock. I think back on our time in the Azores when we had to tie up due to weather or harbor rules. Solar would have helped us in every port except Sao Jorge, where we went into the marina due to bad weather. There was no sun, and the high cliffs and break wall prevented gramps from performing. In every other marina we’ve visited on this trip, we could have generated enough power to forego the transformer. (And we did so on the last two days at Marina Lanzarote.) Continue reading
Posted Nov 7, 2014 at Harts At Sea
Being at anchor in La Luna is "home" and we are delighted to be home. We finally left Marina Lanzarote, on November 3rd, 17 days after arriving, and 14 days past our expected day of departure. We had sailed there from Graciosa in order to check into the Canary Islands, gather groceries and provisions to last three weeks, fill our propane tanks, and to take in a bit of the larger island. We were most concerned about checking-in as we were two weeks past our Schengen sell-by date when we walked to the office of the marine police on that... Continue reading
Posted Nov 6, 2014 at Harts At Sea
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irst, I had to seriously absolve him of all guilt if things went bad. (This is where the inveigling came in. I know that means “persuading someone to do something by means of deception or flattery”. Of course you would have heard if I hated my haircut! Of course you all would know that EW did it.) But, after all, I did this to him, so how much worse could he do to me? Continue reading
Posted Oct 28, 2014 at Harts At Sea
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We had heard there was a “parade” at noon, so I told EW we had IMG_7769to get up there by 11:50. Of course the parade was late, but the officials were done with their speeches and on to beer, champagne, and little bites of food. Waiters went around offering all of the above to all present – including those of us not in suits, dresses, or heels. For. The. Win. Continue reading
Posted Oct 18, 2014 at Harts At Sea