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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
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It’s been an interesting winter in St. Augustine. When we arrived before Christmas, we enjoyed 80-degree temperatures. In January, as regular readers know, things went north. EW had to buy blankets, and we both needed more long pants. Getting out of bed in the morning was shocking. Don’t even mention using the head. Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Harts At Sea
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It is no secret that I sail because EW is a sailor, and that I cruise because I adopted and fully embraced his dream, and this is true of biggest majority of cruising couples we meet. In some cases they learned to sail together, and in some cases they formed the dream together, but most we meet who are our age are cruising because the guy wanted to cruise. Continue reading
Posted Feb 6, 2016 at Harts At Sea
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Right after that I was scurrying up the dock to dump the garbage and met a couple coming down the ramp. I said “Good Morning,” and they replied with strong southern accents, so I performed a classic double-take when I caught a glimpse of the lady’s bright yellow sweatshirt, emblazoned: “Shin Pond Established 1982”. “Is that Shin Pond in Maine?” Continue reading
Posted Jan 24, 2016 at Harts At Sea
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For the past five years, we’ve shopped for parts and provisions by walking and riding in a a variety of local buses, so riding the clean, warm, local bus or the Port of Call Cruisers’ Bus is a joy. We have found an excellent farm stand just a one mile walk away, so I have good quality fruits and veggies at very reasonable (if not Grenada) prices. The locals are friendly, even if many are nonplussed by our cheerful “Good morning/afternoon/evening!” We were taught well by friends and strangers in the Eastern Caribbean, and still greet nearly everyone with whom we make eye contact. (OK. I admit it. Sometimes I just do it to be different or perverse. It’s kind of fun.) Continue reading
Posted Jan 18, 2016 at Harts At Sea
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Kirsten’s first choice would have been a 9 mile round trip jaunt, something I didn’t think my legs and feet would yet appreciate, so we shortened it to 5 miles, north along the water, through a beautiful neighborhood, past the Fountain of Youth, and one third of the way across the Usina Bridge to Vilano Beach. (And yes, now I have a goal of making it all the way to the beach and back, preferably on a morning when the temperature is above 60.) Continue reading
Posted Jan 14, 2016 at Harts At Sea
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While we are in St. Augustine I may have to get EW a guitar burgee so he can more easily find folks with whom to play music. Every time we’ve met new cruisers and exchanged cards he asks (hopefully and more and more wistfully), “Anyone on your boat play music?” Continue reading
Posted Jan 11, 2016 at Harts At Sea
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I did. To my defense, it wasn’t nearly as cold in Fort Lauderdale on the occasion of their 2010 Christmas Boat Parade as it was here this past week in St. Augustine, which, by the way, is about 350 miles farther north. As I recall, I had intended to purchase a few bathing costumes and was appalled that the stores had down jackets and no tank-top two-pieces. “Who would buy these here?” I exclaimed. Often. To EW. At the Christmas Boat Parade we learned that a lot of people purchased cold weather clothing, and many purchased down items, bundling their toddlers nearly like Ralphie’s little brother in “A Christmas Story”. OK. That may be a bit of an exaggeration. Still, for the past five years I have been continually amazed at the amount of winter clothing offered for sale in the Bahamas, Caribbean, and Panama. You will never make me believe that those who live in St. Thomas over the winter need footed P.J.s. Continue reading
Posted Jan 8, 2016 at Harts At Sea
Last night, EW and I played our new favorite board game, Tock. (Thank you Travis and Quincy from S/V Party of Five.) It’s a game for four, but Travis taught us that two people can play two colors and we’ve been having matches almost daily. I started to notice how often we laughed during the game—usually when “killing” or moving our rival’s marker. At one point we were laughing so hard I couldn’t count my move. That’s pretty cool for a couple married over 30 years. Continue reading
Posted Jan 3, 2016 at Harts At Sea
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For us, it’s all about the People: People who keep us informed and included on Facebook, People who sailed to Guadeloupe just because they knew we needed an English-speaking friend. People who offered medicine and aid when EW had shingles. People who cook; laugh; tell great stories; listen; help with projects; need help from us; show us outstanding snorkeling areas; walk with us for fun and exercise; need fur-fixes as much as I do; play music with EW; and organize hikes over hill, dale, mud, and cow dung. Continue reading
Posted Dec 31, 2015 at Harts At Sea
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By the time I arrived, EW had nearly completed filling out the first Health Department form. He failed form, as he had crossed something out and that isn't allowed. So, while he completed the form again, I reminded everyone (for the fourth time) that we knew we had caused problems by not planning to sail to Isla Mujeres and that we appreciated their patience. The second health department form asked us to list the three countries we had visited prior to Panama (Canaries, Guadeloupe, St. Thomas USVI) and that's when I realized they were looking for Ebola and typhoid and the flu. While they would have preferred to learn that we’d had flu shots, we were healthy. Still, part of the procedure is to have our temperature taken by the leader of the health department contingent (three people who all spoke English). Continue reading
Posted Dec 29, 2015 at Harts At Sea
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I. Miami We liked both Key West and Key Biscayne (and we are thrilled with St. Augustine). I’ve especially enjoyed the excellent “fur fix” opportunities. So far I’ve met a recently rescued wire haired fox terrier, a Labradoodle, a stunning Portuguese water dog, and a Golden who stopped by to visit as I sat in the dinghy. We miss having a dog but choose not to sail with one. I think I may feel that void more now that we are here in the states. This post goes out with special hugs to Mimi, Bondo, Scrumpy, Chewy, Sissy, and my... Continue reading
Posted Dec 23, 2015 at Harts At Sea
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Remember when you (or your kids) were young and delighted to make a new friend, and called that new friend by his or her full name? "My friend Kathy Hunt's parents own a restaurant." "My friend Kathy Hunt's mom crosses us when we cross Main street." Well, he doesn't know it but Chris Parker is my new friend and on this trip I have been referring to him as "Chris Parker": "Chris Parker got it right when he told us the squalls would end and we'd have 15-18 at 090 degrees." "Chris Parker is always so patient with all of us." "I wonder how Chris Parker keeps track of each boat." One morning, he was late getting to the Western Caribbean because he is helping the Salty Dog rally head to the Virgin Islands. In an unusual confluence of radio waves propagation, we could hear Chris Parker as he spoke to the subscribers at sea between Bermuda and the US. All of this has helped me to understand more fully how important 50 miles can be at sea. Boats 50 to 100 miles apart in the same ocean can be experiencing different weather patterns and may have different solutions available to them for missing a trof that contains 40 knots of wind. (We don't like 40. We don't love 30, but it's not horrible or horrific. We do not like 40.) So far my new best friend, Chris Parker, has been spot on for us. Continue reading
Posted Dec 22, 2015 at Harts At Sea
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The Harts won in the friend department. Have I mentioned that we had rainy weather in Key Biscayne? Well that Monday was miserable, with driving rain on their appointed hour of arrival. EW got drenched going in to get them. I got drenched helping EW with the lines, and Bob and Vicki got drenched getting out to the boat. Towels and a change of clothing all around, plus coffee with a shot of whiskey, and we were good to go. It was not a quiet night. Bob and Vicki also had boat problems in Panama and also have stories about getting parts and making things work. They spent time in Guatemala and Mexico, and left their boat for a few months to crew on a boat going from Australia to Africa. Along the way they took tours to visit with native populations, watch birds, and seek out snakes at night in South Africa. (Why?) We sold them on the Azores and commiserated with them about Panama. It was so incredibly wonderful to see them that I can’t even tell you. There aren’t many people you can invite to your boat in a driving rain, especially when they must take a dinghy ride to get here. However, I know that Bob and Vicki aren’t the only ones who would visit us in those conditions. We are very fortunate to have such wonderful friends. Continue reading
Posted Dec 21, 2015 at Harts At Sea
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We are on a mooring in ….. (see above). Looks like we’re back in Maine! This photo was taken moments after we picked up our mooring. in St. Augustine. We arrived in time for the 4:30 Bridge of Lions opening and were on our mooring before 5:00 PM after sailing some and motoring most of the way from Miami. We had hand steered all the way, doing “120’s” instead of “90’s”, except for the last day. On Wednesday the fog crept in before sunrise and we were both on watch at helm or radar until 2:00, when it finally lifted. Unfortunately, unbeknown to us, that fog simply moved to the entrance of St. Augustine. Yep, those of you you have entered that “interesting” channel in a rip tide heading out to sea…we did it without being able to see the markers until we were right on them. No worries. I was taught to sail in Maine. EW has driven boats in the rivers of Maine and New Hampshire. We got this. Continue reading
Posted Dec 18, 2015 at Harts At Sea
Quick update! We are safe on the Mooring in St. Augustine. There is a new blog post up on our timeline for this Trek and you will see that we arrived in … fog. Fog like you find in Maine. Fog like we sailed in when in Maine. We know fog. Florida boaters do no use fog horn signals. We saw them on the radar and we saw them on AIS and we talked with two of them, but we never heard or saw them in real life. They were out there. We made it into the channel in the... Continue reading
Posted Dec 17, 2015 at Harts At Sea
Sailing is about patience and, as Keith from S/V Kookaburra says, "Plans written in sand." In fact, the Kooks are a case in point. They left us in the San Blas weeks and weeks ago only to sit and for weather windows in Columbia, and around the corner somewhere before Bonaire. On Friday, they finally left the ABC's for Virgin Islands. Plans written in sand. We thought we'd not get a safe window to leave the San Blas before November 10. Instead, we here we are November 11, smack between Cuba and Mexico and heading north. With the now named... Continue reading
Posted Nov 11, 2015 at Harts At Sea
I made a bunch of new friends yesterday, during the last hour of my afternoon watch. I was sleepy but pretending to be alert, checking the horizon for traffic, when we were approached by a fleet (pod/troop/bevy) of dolphins. Now this isn't the first time we've had dolphins cavort near La Luna. It's happened before, but never by such a large group and never for nearly an hour. These appeared to be bottle nosed dolphins--just like Flipper---and they spent the hour playing and performing for me. I was a most appreciative audience. At first I stayed in the cockpit and... Continue reading
Posted Nov 8, 2015 at Harts At Sea
It always takes us a couple of days to settle in on a passage. We left Porvenir between one and two in the afternoon on Tuesday, and I didn't really get 'settled' until today, our fourth day at sea. Just as Chris Parker had told us, we had to motor for the first full day and the better part of the next 24 hours. (Jimmy Cornell in "World Cruising Routes" says that any yacht making this passage will have to expect to motor for part of it.) Motoring is no fun, but it's more fun that bobbing around with flogging... Continue reading
Posted Nov 6, 2015 at Harts At Sea
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This area is incredibly beautiful.The photo below was taken from the stern of our boat. I could and did swim from La Luna around this first reef and snorkeled, viewing eagle rays, the ever tasty ocean trigger fish, and the more beautiful queen trigger fish. Before they set sail to travel East, Keith and Jaime led an expedition to the reef you can see breaking in the background. There are caves, huge coral, sharks,and millions of fish.It was the most breathtaking snorkeling I’ve experienced. Continue reading
Posted Oct 26, 2015 at Harts At Sea
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In my new, patient, detail-oriented (“If I’m going to make the dang cushions myself, I am going to do it right”) persona I hung in there, assisted Dani in taking new measurements and cheerfully discussed the issues and millimeters involved. I was with her every step of the way. She was providing great insight and has become a friend; she’s helping me and I am grateful. Continue reading
Posted Oct 22, 2015 at Harts At Sea
Five years ago on October 18, we left Maine, heading for the Cape Cod Canal. As I write this, we are anchored in the San Blas on the 17th of October. The Digicel system here has been generally horrid and our personal Digicel situation has been worse. We have had to rely on the kindness of now friends/former strangers in order to borrow a dongle. We put my phone's SIM card in the dongle and raised it up the mast and got WIFI down below. (When Digicel worked.) Unfortunately, my SIM card needs to be renewed and I can't get... Continue reading
Posted Oct 17, 2015 at Harts At Sea