28 February 2009

Back in the DR

Saturday, February 28, 2009.

We're back in the Dominican Republic, one of our favorite places that we've visited during our travels. Tim and Heidi signed off the ship in San Juan after battling with seasickness. They will have a wonderful vacation in Culebra instead.

It has been a pretty eventful couple of weeks. Hans flew out to Philadelphia to interview at Temple University School of Medicine this past Monday, and while he was away, Kristen sailed Whisper singlehanded (with some assistance from Tim and Heidi) from Culebra to San Juan. Way to go Captain Kristen! This was the first time that Kristen sailed Whisper on her own in the open ocean and quite a confidence booster for her. Hans' interview at Temple went well (we hope), and he should hear from them within the next week or two. Keep your fingers crossed.

After spending a couple of days in beautiful old town San Juan with Tim and Heidi we set off at 1am on Thursday morning and arrived in Samana, 200 miles west, about 36 hours later. Nothing like downwind sailing! When we entered Samana Bay, we were greeted by lots of humpback whales breaching, splashing and having fun in the water. The humpback whales swim down to this area in the wintertime to mate and fill their stomachs with Caribbean fare! It was really awesome to see these huge animals come all the way out of the water and make a huge splash.
Coincidentally, we arrived in Samana on the 27th of February, the National Day of the DR. Last night there was a huge party on the streets with live music and lots of Presidente beer and Brugal rum flowing. Unfortunately we were too exhausted to stay up very late and we hit the sack at 9pm.

From here we'll probably travel to the Turks and Caicos and then to the Bahamas.

Hans spent the weekend before his interview with Ellie and Chris up at their camp in Pennsylvania. If it looks cold it is because it was.

Tim takes the helm on Whisper for a while.

Kite flying is a popular pastime, it seems, in old town San Juan.

A huge tanker ship leaves San Juan harbor as seen from the women's bathroom window at the old fort.

Looking east along the coast from the old town fort in San Juan.

Hans' typical sailing attire.

Tim, Heidi and Hans in the Ding Ding V (we got yet another free replacement dinghy from Achilles.... talk about customer service!)

What is stuck on our anchor? Your guess is as good as mine.

Yellowfin tuna caught off the north coast of Puerto Rico. Very tasty!

Beautiful sunset in the Mona Passage.

Ahhh... Presidente.

Whisper at anchor in Samana Bay, Dominican Republic.

14 February 2009

Sofia & Patrik on the loose!

February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

We just said goodbye this morning to Hans' sister Sofia and her fiancee, Patrik. They spent two weeks with us in the BVIs and we sailed all over: Norman Island to Jost van Dyke, to Marina Cay, to Virgin Gorda, to Anegada, back to Virgin Gorda, the Baths, to Peter Island, and finally back to Tortola. Phew! The sailing was fun and easy and we all had a lot of fun together. A little bit too much fun at the Willy T's (as can be expected...) Why don't we ever learn?

On Tuesday, Hans' friend Tim and his fiancee Heidi arrive to sail Whisper to the Turks & Caicos, about 450 miles northwest. Yes, in spite of the crystal clear water, white sand beaches, palmtrees, $6 rum, (free) lobster, (free) tuna, reggeton, bachata and ISLAND TIME, that comes with life in the Caribbean we are still sailing north... Med school and law school are calling... really? are you sure? Yes. Well, really? Are you sure? Hmm... I think so.

Sofia and Patrik arrive in Road Town, Tortola, BVI.

Sofia and Patrik at Michael Beene's pirate show. arrrggggh!

Kristen has a go at the conch horn blowing contest...third place.

Sofia gets a birthday shot. Happy Birthday!

The view from Peter Island.

Hanging out in the cockpit.

Sandy Spit, a little island east of Jost van Dyke.

jib sailing downwind.

Kristen and Hans relaxing in the hammock at the best bar in the world: the Soggy Dollar on Jost van Dyke

In case you didn't know by now (no comments Mik!) good food is always the case on Whisper.

A squally day in Anegada.

Sofia enjoys a painkiller while Kit Kat keeps watch.

Patrik makes the best drink there is: rum tonic (thanks Jim!) two fingers white rum, juice of half a lime, tonic water, ice (or not if you're on Whisper).

singing in the cockpit after we closed down the willy T's.

The Ericsson's at their best the morning after the Willy T's.

Lobster! a 10 pounder!

Our future boat.