29 March 2008

Rod gone wild: St. Martin

March 29, 2008

Rod is already relaxing and fitting in on his first day of vacation in St. Martin.

26 March 2008

In St. Martin

March 26, 2008

After a very fast couple of days sailing we arrived in St. Martin on Monday afternoon. Kristen's parents are flying in on Thursday, so we have a couple of days to get familiar with the area and get Whisper cleaned up a little bit.

Whisper at anchor in the St. Martin lagoon. The lagoon is huge with hundreds of boats anchored everywhere.

The sail here from Antigua was very different from our slog to windward last month when we were going in the opposite direction. We left on Sunday morning for St. Barth's at 6.30 AM and averaged 5.8 knots over ground with the wind about 15-20 on the starboard quarter. We never got a single drop of water in the cockpit, and sailed with our sun awning up, reading, doing crosswords and just relaxing. Quite the contrast from the battle simulation of last month.

The next day we sailed from St. Barth's to St. Martin, 25 miles or so, which took us (gasp!) 4 hours! We were on a beam reach the whole way, with winds around 25 knots and 6 foot seas. Whisper was surfing down the waves, regularly hitting 8.5 and even 9 knots. The highest speed we saw was 10.3 knots over ground. Granted, these figures come from the GPS so they might be a little bit off, but we were definitely flying. Very exciting.

Helen and Rod, Kristen's parents, arrive tomorrow. Can't wait!

22 March 2008

Just chillin'

Footage from a very nice day spent drinking rum, lying in the hammock and swimming at the beautiful Buck Island in St. Croix.

20 March 2008

Hitch-Hiking in Saba

The way to get around in most of the islands is by hitching a ride. Sometimes it feels a little bit hairy, like this ride we got on a Daihatsu flatbed truck going up and down the "road that couldn't be built" in Saba. If you were to go over the edge, you would have several seconds to contemplate the meaning of life and your imminent departure from it as you tumble down 2000 feet of sheer rock face to the ocean.

In Antigua waiting for weather

March 20, 2008

How funny that we find ourselves yet again waiting for weather, this time to go to St. Martin, 80 miles to the northwest! The tradewinds almost always blows from the east, but for the past few days we've had winds from the north, and a huge swell from the north as well, making it an unattractive option to head out for St. Martin. Just our luck that we find ourselves with the wind on the nose yet again after slogging hard to windward in a southeasterly direction to get to Antigua. I suppose all sailors know that the wind always comes from the direction you want to go.

Nice spot in the North Sound of Antigua

Bugs... the big one is a Caribbean Spiny Lobster, while the smaller one is a Spotted lobster... the spotted ones never seem to get very big, but they are much tastier.

Another nice spot in the North Sound.

Kristen with her first loaf of bread from the bbq. It was wonderful!

Thomas from a Norwegian flagged boat anchored next door puts a lobster in a pot of boiling water. Thomas are traveling with his wife Rakel and their baby son Nicolai as well as their friend Per.

In any event, we can't complain too loudly. We've been hanging out in the North Sound of Antigua, which is spectacular with beautiful light blue water, lots of coral heads for snorkeling and lobstering, and almost no other boats.

Our plan right now is to wait for the seas to lie down some and then we'll set off to St. Martin, probably on Sunday/Monday night.

13 March 2008

the Fulmers take over Antigua

March 13, 2008

We've spent the past week hanging out with friends Ellie & Chris Fulmer who came to visit from Pennsylvania. We almost circumnavigated Antigua, starting at Jolly Harbour on the west coast and ending at Dickenson Bay about 5 miles north of Jolly Harbour. The week was filled with sailing, swimming, lobster hunting and eating, the best calzone Hans has had west of the Greenwich meridian, and a few cold beers at beach bars.

Hans grilling up our first meal on the new BBQ. Thanks Hiroshi!

Chris and Hans at the helm.

Maybe this is our next sailing yacht...

United Colors of Benneton on Whisper.


snorkeling and beer: a perfect combination.

Ellie gets the wahoo ready for the grill

Chris has to settle for Spam.

Lobster dinner anyone?

Chris and Ellie taking in the sunset off Green Island on the east coast of Antigua.

Antigua is for lovers.

07 March 2008

Saba to Antigua via...

March 7, 2008

We've been sailing! We left Saba on Monday morning and sailed to Statia, Tuesday sailed to Nevis, Wednesday sailed to Montserrat, Thursday sailed to Antigua. Phew! We arrived at Jolly Harbour Marina wet and tired, but glad to be here. Yes, we're at a marina. Luxury! Our first marina stop in a long time and it is great! Our friends Ellie & Chris arrive from the frozen north tomorrow evening and we'll start exploring Antigua with them.

Sailing to Statia (St. Eustatius) from Saba.

Nearing Statia.

The waterfront has a few hotels and restaurants and a lot of ruins from old merchant buildings. Statia used to be the hub of Caribbean trading. Now it seems to be the hub of oil! Lots of tankers and tugs in the harbour.

Images from the historical part of town in Statia.

At the top of the slave road in Statia that leads from the harbor to the main town. This is the road they used to bring slaves on when they arrived from Africa.

Sailing along the western coast of St. Kitts.

It was a squally day...we wore our foulies ALL day. Hey, isn't this supposed to be the Caribbean?!

Nearing Nevis.

A typical scene of how Kit Kat spends her time while we're underway: we lay out a blanket for her so she has something to sleep on; her food and water bowls; our bag of snacks to eat underway; and the trash bag is full of wet clothes!

When we neared Nevis, we hooked a King Fish (or a King Mackarel). We gave about 75% of the fish to fellow cruisers and still managed to get two dinners!

Sunset at Nevis. After Nevis we sailed southeast to Montserrat where we spent one night just to sleep. In Montserrat we had a our second fish meal: fish fingers. Yum! We plan on going back to Montserrat to check out the impact of the volcano on the south side of the island.

Yipee! Land ho Antigua!

We did it, we checked into a marina. SHOWERS!

Laundry was way way too expensive, so we washed all our clothes, sheets, quilts and towels by hand: first we soaked them in soapy water in trash bags on the dock, then while Hans worked on plugging up leaks on Whisper, Kristen rinsed and hung up all the laundry. it took 3 hours!

It's a bazaar on Whisper...not really, just laundry. There is no self-service laundromat here, and it costs about $25 to wash and dry a large load, we think we had about 4 loads so we opted to do it by hand. Needless to say, we generated a lot of laughs today.

We'll publish more pictures tomorrow... now it's time for dinner!

03 March 2008

Pictures from Saba

March 3, 2008

We had a great time last Saturday and Sunday exploring Saba. The island is small and spectacular. It's too bad there is no good harbour for boats though. It was pretty rough and rolly, only bearable for two nights!

Arriving in Saba.

Are we ready for this hike?

Hans checking out the view from the summit.

We saw lots of birds of paradise growing alongside the trail.

Windwardside, the more touristy of the two villages with cafes and bars.

Kristen at the peak of Mt. Scenery, the summit of Saba.

back in the day, Sabans carved steps to reach the summit. It was easier than walking along the muddy path...just hard to imagine building the 1700 foot staircase.

Kristen checking out the mossy wall.

Hiking down.

The view of the anchorage from the top. Those small white spots next to land are sailboats, including Whisper, furthest to the right!

The road leading to the harbour, lots of switchbacks.

The other village, "The Bottom" as seen from the summit.

Reflections, an Island Packet sailing to Saba from Statia.