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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
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We who cruise internationally make light of French sailors and their proclivity of anchoring very close to other boats. If there is a large anchorage with a few boats and lots of prime open space, odds are that the French sailor will anchor well within another boat’s safe zone. An international group of sailors who befriended us in the Canaries mentioned that all through the Med, Turkey, and Croatia, they prepared to defend their small circle of territory when ever any French boat entered the harbor. This is even acknowledged when self-aware French sailors discuss anchoring. In a recent conversation, one Canadian cruiser said that she had to repress a laugh when a friend from France complained about someone anchoring too close to her boat. The French woman caught the Canadian’s eye and had the grace to laugh first. The implication is that if a French sailor thinks you are too close –—you are most certainly to darn close! Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Harts At Sea
If The Pink Panther is my reference for the French language, you know I’ve got problems. EW and I are isolated here in Pointe a Pitre. Granted, the first week and a half we weren’t fit for company, but now that we’re feeling more social, we haven’t found any English speaking cruisers. In fact, it was much easier to find American and cruisers from other English-speaking countries while we were in the Canaries than it is to find them here. We have always liked Guadeloupe, but have visited more obvious cruising ports of Deshaies and Isles de Saintes where we... Continue reading
Posted Jan 15, 2015 at Harts At Sea
It’s been an exciting week in Pointe a Pitre, where all the women are strong and the men are good-looking, and the anchorages are above average. La Luna is still happily at anchor just outside the marina at Bas du Fort. The anchorage is a bit bumpy because the power boaters are without clue regarding waves and wake, but it’s close to the dock and we’ll stay here until the refrigeration is repaired, and then we’ll move to a quieter spot across the bay. In the meantime, EW has seen a doctor because the bug bites continue to poison him... Continue reading
Posted Jan 12, 2015 at Harts At Sea
EW just informed me that we arrived a week ago today. How time flies when .. Well, fun wasn't on the agenda this week, though, yes we have enjoyed a bit of French food and wine. Just a bit. We opted for Guadeloupe because I want to spend time at anchor in some of my favorite places. We chose to first visit Pointe a Pitre because we have issues to take care of. This week, some of the more difficult bits were crossed off the list, necessitating roaming the city and it's surrounding area on foot, in a bus, in... Continue reading
Posted Jan 4, 2015 at Harts At Sea
On our last night at sea, I had the 1800 to midnight watch -- the watch with the moon. It was so lovely, that I got my notebook out and wrote under the stars. "We are sailing on a moonbeam of brilliant light from a wisp of a La Luna moon, a curved sliver of moon that still somehow creates an impossibly brilliant night. Except for the moon, the stars, and La Luna's sails it is a grey night. The sea is a darker grey than the paler sky. We are reaching, powered by the wind and pushed a bit... Continue reading
Posted Dec 29, 2014 at Harts At Sea
The 27th of December was a beautiful day. During my watch at midday, I enjoyed swell swells (yet another thing that has been lacking during this crossing), rolling up and under the boat in a calming rhythmic motion. EW sat on the settee down below, playing guitar and singing. This was how cruising was supposed to be. Almost. For breakfast, I had made yet another hoebread, this one with oatmeal, served with peanut butter, and we each had a cup of tea. Heating water for tea uses much less butane than making coffee. EW had enjoyed a cup of tea... Continue reading
Posted Dec 28, 2014 at Harts At Sea
Back to being thankful, but first -- I hope all who celebrate Christmas had a wonderful Christmas day, filled with food, family, friends, and presents from the heart. And I hope that all for whom December 25 is just another day that you too had a wonderful day -- visiting with Christmas revelers, or spending the day doing exactly as you wished, perhaps with food, family, friends, and presence with your heart's desire. Three things for which I am thankful: 1. Grog. EW, formerly known as Captain Bligh, has a no alcohol rule under way. It's actually a good rule... Continue reading
Posted Dec 26, 2014 at Harts At Sea
We are still creeping to Guadalupe. We have fewer than 400 miles to go. The winds are still lighter than predicted. We still have no refrigeration and have just pulled out the last butane can for the portable stove. Today I had the glorious task of cleaning out the freezer. We fed the fishes. If sharks start following us, we'll know why. Frankly, this part of the sail is as boring as the previous paragraph. My biggest challenge is to plan meals with no oven, limited butane, and nothing left in the fridge or freezer. EW is deeply appreciative, and... Continue reading
Posted Dec 24, 2014 at Harts At Sea
Two of my Dad's swear expressions were "Balls!" or the infamous "All balled up!". Of course, as a teenager of the 70's I thought I knew what he meant, but my eclectic education at UMO convinced me that I may have been wrong. According to "Maine Lingo" by John Gould, those two terms are credited to men who worked oxen and horse teams in Maine's winter woods, as my dad did. Both expressions refer to wet snow balling up the heavily laden sled, causing it to get "all balled up". When that happened, the appropriate curse was "Balls!" (In true... Continue reading
Posted Dec 22, 2014 at Harts At Sea
Careful readers may have surmised that this has not been a stress-free trip, and they would be correct. We've messed up and La Luna has messed up and there has been no "at least it happened here" moments since the alternator died just outside of the marina in Tenerife. We've had so many "Oh S#O*!" moments that I started a list. It now numbers 15. Don't ask. Still, we try to keep both a sense of humor and a proper perspective. We are safe, we have plenty of food and water, and we are sailing to our goal. Just damn... Continue reading
Posted Dec 20, 2014 at Harts At Sea
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 Dec 18, 2014 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 Dec 16, 2014 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 Dec 15, 2014 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 Dec 14, 2014 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 Dec 12, 2014 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 Dec 11, 2014 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