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Barb
Back in St. Thomas again, recovering from the crossing and preparing for sailing to the Western Caribbean.
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, Azores, Guatemala, San Blas, photography, food, more of the Azores.
Recent Activity
I understand that those who follow me on Facebook, may have seen Gisele Young or some such automatic spell check when I posted about being in this part of Panama. We are in Guna Yala, the islands close to the shore of southeastern Panama. You may have heard of them as the San Blas, which is what the Spanish named these islands. The Guna Indians are an autonomous nation inside of Panama and have decreed that they want their region and people to be called by the correct name. Confusing the issue for we who cruise, most folks know of... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Harts At Sea
We didn't really have a rough last day at sea. We just hit the wall. And of course we had to hand steer for a while. We missed the weather report on Monday morning, but did manage to hear the San Blas Cruisers' net and did talk with Keith on Kookaburra, telling him we'd arrive around 2:00. They hauled their anchor and came out to meet us, our radio rendezvous and in-real-life sighting occurred at 2:02 or 1402. Jaime asked what took us so long, and said, "We've been waiting here an hour!" I called her the B-word and knew... Continue reading
Posted Jun 23, 2015 at Harts At Sea
Two in one post. First, written on the 21st at 1300 or so: Greetings from 134 miles from the goal. The end is in sight and the waves and seas have finally died down to 8 - 10 feet, and 20-30 knots, respectively. From that you can infer that last night was another night of 99s. We hand steered from 2000 (8:00 PM) until morning. When I forced myself out of the sea bunk around 7:00 I convinced EW to try Casey. Things had calmed enough and he's been operating beautifully, though it took a bit of work and configuring... Continue reading
Posted Jun 22, 2015 at Harts At Sea
Most of these posts have been about the adventure, what is happening (or not happening) and how I feel about it. We are nearing the end of this passage, and I have a bit of time to help you sense what we are experiencing. Sight. On deck we have had stars and a sliver of moon at night. I've seen three falling stars on this trip. On most nights we can see the dark shapes of the nearby waves, and discern the white froth as they break. We wear a headlamp on watch, with the red bulb operating so that... Continue reading
Posted Jun 20, 2015 at Harts At Sea
Most of these posts have been about the adventure, what is happening (or not happening) and how I feel about it. We are nearing the end of this passage, and I have a bit of time to help you sense what we are experiencing. Sight. On deck we have had stars and a sliver of moon at night. I've seen three falling stars on this trip. On most nights we can see the dark shapes of the nearby waves, and discern the white froth as they break. We wear a headlamp on watch, with the red bulb operating so that... Continue reading
Posted Jun 20, 2015 at Harts At Sea
It occurred to me that the last post may have horrified some folk. We had been doing our "99s" all night, when one sails the boat and the other sets the kitchen timer to the max---99 minutes. I was pretty tired. Allow me to clarify some things: First, one person's "horrendous" conditions is another person's "all systems go". When we were in Sint Maarten getting ready to cross to the Azores last year, we attended a meeting about the crossing and various routes. Mike from S/V Quinn organized the gathering and he had a burly man from Germany discuss the... Continue reading
Posted Jun 19, 2015 at Harts At Sea
With apologies to Bert (Burt?)B. We kinda screwed up this passage---mainly in the planning and navigation process, which would be my bad. It's embarrassing but I will share the truth at some future point. Keith and Jaime on S/V Kookaburra have been helpful and patient. Waiting for us, their parts, and sending emails in reply to my questions. We are about 500 miles out and actually see the light at the end of the tunnel. Note to family, friends, non-sailors and small boat sailors: We have never been in danger. Now then, we have sailed in the largest waves and... Continue reading
Posted Jun 18, 2015 at Harts At Sea
On one of our last trips the the ACE Hardware Store in St. Thomas, we were gifted with a small rubber duck for making a purchase over $X.00. Both of us were delighted for some reason. The clerk at the checkout counter and the nearby elderly security/greeter laughed at us, as she said, "More of the adults like the duck than the kids do." Of course we don't need a rubber duck; we have no tub and he would easily get lost in the vast ocean, so we keep him on a safe perch down below. EW did allow him... Continue reading
Posted Jun 16, 2015 at Harts At Sea
We are fairly careful when we sail, checking various weather sources, and avoid rough weather as much as possible. We have been fortunate that the only bad storm we've experienced in 5 years of cruising was the storm off Cape Fear in November of 2010. (You can find it on this blog.) We may have (did) mess up a bit on this crossing. Our sail plan was to keep just south of the south coasts of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic before heading southwest to Panama. The winds were from the east and once underway EW suggested sailing directly... Continue reading
Posted Jun 15, 2015 at Harts At Sea
Hi there. Things are hunky dory. Just fine. Love this boat and love my captain. Casey -- not so much. I've decided that when we are going downwind in stiff breeze and he gives up that he has two personalities. The second one is Freddy the Freeloader. EW and I are hand steering changing watch every 2 hours. It's not horrible. Most gusts aren't above 30, it's warm, and we've had no squalls. Just lots of wind and seas. Everyone is fine. Freddy the Freeloader is the only one getting enough sleep. Ciao! It's 2030 on June 14. Happy Flag... Continue reading
Posted Jun 14, 2015 at Harts At Sea
Or not. We call our auto-pilot Casey. When La Luna is steaming along a reach, she reminds EW of a locomotive. (He even got an engineer's hat back when we were in Maine. It was his favorite sailing hat for a time.) For years, I loved Casey. I believed in him. When we were in that storm off Cape Fear back in 2010, Casey never faltered in 36 hours of beating with 40 knot gusts. He never faltered. Casey failed us as we set off for the Azores last year, requiring us to hand steer back to St. Martin and... Continue reading
Posted Jun 14, 2015 at Harts At Sea
When two people put to sea for more than a few days, there's not a lot of time for sprucing up. If you've followed us for a while, some of this will be old, but I can't link to prior posts out here so you'll have to suffer while I bring the new folks up to speed. First, let's lay some groundwork about me and EW. When we were dating, I began to suspect that he liked how I looked, regardless of how I actually looked that day. Suspicions were confirmed once we moved in together and prepared for a... Continue reading
Posted Jun 12, 2015 at Harts At Sea
We've been sailing for just over 24 hours, and things are going well. It's a beautiful day. The winds are generally 12-15 with gusts to 2. We have the main and jib reefed a bit, and the seas are uncomfortably from the south, so we are lurching to port and starboard a bit. More than a bit when the occasional larger wave hits us broadside. Still no worries. It's a lovely sunny day and the solar panels are doing their charging thing. EW wanted to set the staysail as he likes to set the staysail and said it would even... Continue reading
Posted Jun 11, 2015 at Harts At Sea
Shortly after 1500 on June 10, La Luna was freed from her borrowed mooring with help from neighbor, Skunky Ron. We had used two lines for safety and one had tangled around the other, around the two pick-up bouys. (Who uses two pick-up bouys, MB?)It was a mess discovered after the dingy had been raised and all things stowed for travel. Either I was jumping into the water, or we needed help. We got help. Yesterday, I went into Crown Bay Marina for the next to last load of fresh water, and told Steve at the fuel dock that I... Continue reading
Posted Jun 10, 2015 at Harts At Sea
We don’t actually “Head ‘em Up” because a sail boat can’t go anywhere when it’s head up into the wind. (Although we do head her up into the wind to set the mainsail, and then we turn away from the wind in order to move the boat. So it’s kind of the same thing.) Continue reading
Posted Jun 8, 2015 at Harts At Sea
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In the meantime, we need to provision. The sail over to the San Blas should only take 8-10 days, and we’re going straight there, so it would be easy provisioning--- if things were available in those islands. Jaime’s message listed fewer than 20 products sold in the only store. At the end of the list, she said, “Notice there is no etc.” She did say they sell fresh fruits and vegetables delivered via small boats. We’ll purchase and stow enough provisions to last at least six weeks by which point Jaime and Keith will teach us, guide us, and show us the way to Panama City for the next round of provisioning. Continue reading
Posted Jun 3, 2015 at Harts At Sea
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Some people, as I do, forget a word, but remember the first letter and make up the rest. (Some of you do this, right? Please tell me I’m not alone in this.) This is not age, as it’s been a “challenge” for a long time, and probably is a result of doing too many things at once, having a conversation and thinking of something else, or of making intuitive leaps and landing on the wrong lily pad. In any case, confusion can result. EW was made aware of this very early in our relationship when he asked me to pick... Continue reading
Posted May 24, 2015 at Harts At Sea
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How to describe Open Mic Night at Tickles? On Wednesday nights the Tim West Band (Tim West lead vocal and guitar, Tommy “Bronx” on drums, and whoever joins in on bass, lead guitar, harmonica, or whatever.) Tim and Tommy have day jobs and numerous gigs around the island. On Wednesdays, they run the Open Mic Night with skill, humor, and an eye on the clock. Continue reading
Posted May 21, 2015 at Harts At Sea
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It’s been a busy week in St. Thomas. Most importantly, we were excited to have boat guests on Tuesday when cruising friends Steve and Lynn stayed with us on their way to the BVI. They are crewing on a boat heading up to Annapolis in the Salty Dawg Rally. Those who know Steve and Lynn know that they are outstanding sailors who have sold their boat and are renovating a home. But they’ve not given up the sailing life and we hope to entice them aboard for a longer visit. In the meantime, they flew in to St. Thomas late... Continue reading
Posted May 14, 2015 at Harts At Sea
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The next memorable Mother’s Day occurred less than two years after we married. We purchased a home one year and a 26-foot sailboat the following autumn. When Mother’s Day rolled around, we were working on a list of boat projects, but EW had joined the local volunteer fire department which had scheduled a training on Mother’s Day weekend. (You can bet I was all fired up about that.) Still, my folks drove down to Yarmouth where the three of us shared a picnic lunch. Daddy painted the boot stripe on the boat, and Mom played with our pup, Coffee. They didn’t get to see EW that day, but still sang his praises. (“Yeah, yeah. I’m proud he’s a firefighter, Mom.”) Continue reading
Posted May 11, 2015 at Harts At Sea
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As we’ve been stuck um blessed to be in St. Thomas until the new sail arrives, both EW and I have become addicted to Facebook. We pay a monthly fee for Wifi, and we are making sure we get our money’s worth. Once I learned to differentiate between ads, ads re-sent by friends and family, and actual messages by friends and family I discovered that I can learn a lot from Facebook. Some of the things I’ve learned have worked for me (us). Others have not. Continue reading
Posted May 8, 2015 at Harts At Sea
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Until I undertook this bit of research, I had no idea that the brown seaweed making entry and exit to Crown Bay so difficult is the exact same stuff I would have been delighted to see had we sailed through the Sargasso Sea. Look at that. We did sail through the Sargasso Sea, or should have. Neither EW nor I saw the sea last year. Continue reading
Posted May 6, 2015 at Harts At Sea
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First, I made a huge batch of popcorn, salting some with our new maple/spice salt from the Canary Islands. What that does for popcorn is sinful. The baby loved it; he leaned up against his mom, facing EW, and scooping up popcorn with both hands. He also loved his pizza. He’s a great boat guest and a very good eater. Continue reading
Posted May 4, 2015 at Harts At Sea
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So, even though I realized that time was moving more quickly than I anticipated, I didn’t get the logbook out until today, when I discovered that it’s Friday, April 24th! We are nearing the end of April, and while it’s apparently still snowing in the northeast (sorry, people) down here we are staring summer and hurricane season directly in the eye. It will soon be time to move on, and what will we have to show for it? Continue reading
Posted Apr 24, 2015 at Harts At Sea
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Chart tables are beautiful things. Ours is teak with a heavy lid and amazing hinges. Of course our chart table was created for La Luna when she was built 30 years ago. Before we bought her in 2002, various accoutrements had been installed that made it difficult to raise the lid past coiled microphone cords. In addition – well, charts...When we sailed in Maine, and all the way down the coast, through the Bahamas and to the Caribbean we used both electronic navigation and charts. The chart in use is usually on deck in a plastic cover, not on the chart table. The laptop, running navigation software, is on the chart table. Continue reading
Posted Apr 22, 2015 at Harts At Sea