A Different Kind of Journey


Pete and I have embarked on a different journey this year than the one we had originally planned for. We will not be returning to Delphinus this year and plan to return to Grenada and sailing in the fall of 2018.

In early fall this year I was diagnosed with breast cancer after my annual mammogram. I feel like I have a very good prognosis but am undergoing chemotherapy until late spring, with possible radiation treatments after that. Then, I’ll have final reconstruction surgery. That takes us firmly into hurricane season, so we’ll wait for fall.

After multiple tests in September (mammogram, ultra sound, biopsy, and MRI) we, along with the surgeon, decided a mastectomy of my right breast was the best course of action. No evidence of cancer was found in the left breast.

Surgery was successful, with good margins. Unfortunately, some lymph nodes were involved, hence the chemotherapy course. Recovery from surgery has gone well and I am now in physical therapy to restore my normal range of motion in my right arm (almost there!). Follow up CT and bone scans don’t show any signs of the cancer spreading beyond the lymph nodes!

I’ve had my first chemotherapy treatment and will have a total of eight treatments every three weeks. If I stay on schedule I should be done by the end of April.

We have become avid consumers of our local medical industry. So far, not a week goes by without some kind of medical appointment. It’s a good thing we’re retired as I don’t know how we would keep up with this and a job too. One of my doctors pointed out that my job now is that of a cancer patient until this is all done. I’m working hard at making this job obsolete.

Pete has been by my side throughout all of this with the same steady hand he uses as skipper of Delphinus, helping me through the rough waters and keeping my spirits up.

We are looking forward to spending Christmas with family and friends and making the most of our land-based life (unlimited water, electricity and internet, among other things) until next fall when we return to 360 degree water views and balmy breezes.

P.S. Ladies, if you haven’t had your mammogram this year it’s time. Early detection saves lives! (OK, I’m off my soap box.)

Stay tuned and stay in touch!

Guadeloupe and Points South


We have definitely been on the move since my last post. We continued north to explore the islands of Guadeloupe and then turned southward to return to Grenada and finish up this year’s cruising season. Since we arrived on Grenada in January and launched Delphinus we have visited 12 different islands, many of them more than once.

Iles des Saintes

Iles des Saintes (or The Saints) is a small island just south of the main island of Guadeloupe. Guadeloupe and its island group are a department of France. We visited this island last year and enjoyed it immensely, so were glad to return.

One day we hiked up to an abandoned fort overlooking the harbor. In addition to the beautiful views, we were greeted by this very friendly goat. In the back of Pete’s backpack is fresh-baked baguette we had picked up in town. I think the goat may have smelled it and was hoping for a treat.

The town is very quaint and the streets are lined with boutiques and restaurants and we took full advantage of them. We enjoyed several wonderful meals and snacks along the way. Pictured below (along with the beer) is a dish of “accras.” Accras are on almost every menu in the French islands. They are deep-fried fritters, usually with salt fish in them. We discovered along the way that every chef puts a different spin on their accras and enjoyed trying out as many different ones as we could.

We also crossed paths with our new friends from s/v Cinderella and shared a very nice meal in town with them.


Another afternoon while we were enjoying a gelato with our friends from s/v Nancy Lu and Sea Frog when we heard the church bells ringing loudly and continuously so we walked up the hill to investigate. We got there just in time to see the bridge and groom emerge from their wedding in the town’s church.



Our next stop was the main island of Guadeloupe, which is actually two islands joined by a bridge – Basse Terre and Grande Terre. We treated ourselves to several days in a marina. While there we rented a car for a couple of days to more thoroughly explore the islands. On the first day we drove around Basse Terre, armed with a map of various hiking trails. Basse Terre is the more mountainous island with lots of the area being a rainforest, with waterfalls, lush foliage and brilliant flowers.

The next day we drove around Grande Terre which has a flatter terrain, much of which is used for farming. Our drive took us along the Atlantic coast, with beautiful beaches, to the northernmost point of the island with its rocky cliffs.

On our way south again we made a quick overnight stop in Dominica before leaving for Martinique.


Next we spent a couple of days in Les Anse d’Alets, a small town on the western coast of Martinique. Like so many of these small towns in the French islands the church is a focal point of the town. We did manage to score a fresh baguette and a chocolate eclair from the local bakery.

We make our final stop in Martinique in La Marin for our final provisioning in a French Island. We stocked up on wine, foods and baked goods. On our way out of the harbour we found ourselves in the middle of a race among local boats called Yoles. They have large colorful square sails and long poles that extend over one side. As the boat sails the crew climb out on the poles to balance the boat, sometimes even dangling over the water from the ends of the poles.


On our way north we only made a quick overnight stop in Bequia in our haste to get to St. Lucia and our new dinghy. This time we spent a relaxing few days anchored in Admirality Bay.


Rainy Day in Paradise

Bequia is one of many islands in the island nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The waterfront is lined with many restaurants, shops and produce vendors.

The vendors in the produce market were all anxious to sell their wares. As we picked out a Caribbean pumpkin from one stand, a man in the next stand told me to cook it with curry and saffron (which of course he was selling). He threw in a fresh nutmeg as a gift. We tried his suggestion and it was very good!



We have never visited Mustique before and decided to stop there on this trip. Mustique is a privately owned island. It was initially developed to sell homes to the very well off people who wanted privacy. As more homes were developed, the owners decided they wanted to control development and formed The Mustique Company. Today The Mustique Company manages the entire island. Visiting boats are welcome but are asked to respect the privacy of those in residence. The time we were there felt like we had the island to ourselves.

A big part of the mission of The Mustique Company is conservation of the natural resources and ecosystems of the island. They’ve developed nicely marked hiking trails which follow the coast and then turn inland to a lagoon which also serves as a bird n.


Our next stop was Canouan. It is a small island that is a study in contrasts. Most of the island resembles other Caribbean islands with narrow roads, modest homes and small businesses. The northern part of the island is a gated (and guarded) community of exclusive homes.


Someone had a bad day – A recent shipwreck washed up on the beach


The Caribbean Version of Planet Hollywood

We rented a golf cart for a full day and toured the entire part of the island we had access to in about two hours. The Atlantic coast of the island had spectacular views. When we reached the gates of the private community we received a friendly greeting but were not allowed any further.

Shortly before leaving for Union Island we bought a lobster from a local fisherman, which we planned to grill that night.

Union Island – Chatham Bay

Soon after dropping anchor in Chatham Bay we were greeted by Vanessa who runs a small beach side grill. As she tried to convince us to come have dinner on shore we explained that we already had a lobster to cook. Being the great sales woman that she is, she suggested we bring our lobster, she would cook it for us along with a variety of side dishes and rum punch. It was an offer we couldn’t refuse! We had a delightful dinner and met an interesting French family who were there on a charter boat for the week.

Back to Grenada

On our way back to Grenada we have to sail by an area with an active underwater volcano, Kick-em Jenny, which is clearly marked on the nautical charts. Mariners are advised to stay clear of the 1.5 nautical mile exclusion zone. If the volcano erupts, the gases rising to the surface of the water can actually cause you boat to lose buoyancy and sink. We have always given the area a wide berth when passing through. The day after we passed Kick-em Jenny this time she had an eruption, with people in the northern end of Grenada feeling the tremors. I’m glad we missed that event.

We arrived back in Grenada, first anchoring in St. George’s bay and then a few days in Port Louise marina to get some work done.

On Sunday afternoon we went into the town of St. George’s which was deserted, with all the businesses closed on Sunday. We climbed up the hill to the old Fort George, which was originally built by the French and then claimed by the English. Parts of it are still in use today as police headquarters and a training facility. The church tower below is what remains of the Anglican church after Hurricane Ivan blew through in 2004.

After moving to Prickly Bay we arranged for a day long tour with Cutty, who is known as one of the best tour guides on the island. He will pull over his bus when he sees something worth sharing with us, pick it and pass it around for everyone to smell or taste. Below is a cocoa pod full of cocoa beans and a nutmeg.

Along the way we visited a nutmeg processing facility and an organic chocolate factory. It was amazing how much of the work in both is done by hand, the way it has been done for decades. Hurricane Ivan, in 2004, destroyed about 80% of Grenada’s nutmeg crop, but Cutty pointed how the crop is beginning to make a come back. Of course we got to taste the chocolates and enjoyed every bit of it.


Can you spot the Praying Mantis?

Another stop was for a tour of the River Rum Company, which makes rum the same way it was done 100 years ago. It was maybe not the best tasting rum, but still impressive seeing how they crush the sugar cane using the power of a water wheel, boil it down, ferment, distill and bottle it. Much of the rum distilling today is done with already processed molasses and aged quite a bit longer than River Rum.

In the central area of Grenada there is the Grand Etang Lake, which is a crater lake in an extinct volcano. The lake and surrounding areas are part of a national park. Living within the surrounding rain forest are Mona monkeys, some of which will come out and interact with people if they think there might be some fruit available. They have come to know Cutty’s van and that he usually has fruit for them, so a few of them came out to say Hi.

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Pete’s New Friend

After enjoying much of what Grenada has to offer, it was time to get serious about preparing Delphinus for her summer hiatus. One of the major concerns with leaving a boat in the hot, humid climate here is mold. To minimize that we wash down every surface inside the boat with vinegar and water and store all of our clothes and linens in vacuum sealed bags.

Our next step was to have Delphinus hauled out and stored “on the hard” in Grenada Marine. We have about a week here to do the final preparations that need to be done out of the water. Pete is doing most of this work because I don’t tolerate the sun and heat of the yard very well.

The very nice part of this is that we are staying at La Sagesse, a small boutique hotel in the next bay over. As I write this final blog of the season I’m sitting on our balcony with this view. It’s a tough life but someone’s got to do it!

I know this was a long entry, so if you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading. We’re looking forward to getting back home, catching up with family and friends, and enjoying the amenities of land based life. We are planning to return to Grenada in November to do it all over again.

Stay tuned and stay in touch!

Martinique and Dominica


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We have been very busy since my last post taking full advantage of what Martinique and Dominica have to offer. They are two very different islands, but equally beautiful. Martinique, a French Department, is very developed and has all the modern conveniences. Dominica is an independent island nation and works very hard to preserve the natural beauty and resources. More on each later.



We arrived in St. Anne, Martinique just in time for their Carnaval, which is a week of themed parades and celebrations leading up to Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. We caught up with friends we met in Grenada – Carl & Carrie on s/v Brilliant and Mark & Kathy on s/v Nancy Lu.

St. Anne is a quaint little town with narrow one-way streets. The parades were all relatively short, with musicians and dancers outfitted with that day’s theme. When the end of parade passed the town square the revelers joined in to dance their way down the street.

After Carnaval, we moved to nearby Le Marin – a very large anchorage and marina complex – in preparation for our daughter Colleen’s visit. Brendan and his girlfriend Alex arrived the day that Colleen left. For each of their visits we rented a car and spent the first few days exploring the interior of the island and a few more days exploring by boat. Unfortunately during Colleen’s visit we had less than ideal weather – high winds and rain – which made for wet dinghy rides and limited where we could go on Delphinus.


Lunch before the distillery tour

We took the kids to the Clemente rhum distillery. In addition to creating a wide variety of rums, they have planted beautiful gardens and installed contemporary sculptures throughout the grounds. It made for a nice stroll around the grounds before making it to the tasting room.

Next on our driving tour was St. Pierre, the original capital of Martinique. The town sits at the base of Mt. Pelee which erupted in 1902 destroying the entire town and killing everyone in it. Today it is another quaint seaside town. They have preserved what is left of the theater and jail and rebuilt around them. The local beach is made up of black sand from the volcanic rock.

From the town we drove to the observation area near the top of Mt. Pelee. The day we were there with Colleen a cloud covered the observation area and completely obscured the view all around. When we were there the next week with Brendan and Alex it was a beautiful clear day. What a difference!

After turning in the rental car we moved Delphinus back to St. Anne to continue to explore. On a walk we happened upon a cemetery at the top of the hill overlooking the harbour. The family crypts are very ornate and the view is spectacular. We also stopped at this tree house like bar for a quick cold one before heading back to the dinghy dock.

Pete, Colleen and I took a hike to Grand Anse d’Salines. Another sailor suggested the hike and described where to start and that we would be able to have lunch at the other end. It had rained quite heavily the night before and trail was very muddy, slowing us down as we kept trying to scrape the accumulation of mud and muck from our shoes. The lunch at the other end was definately worth it.

While Brendan & Alex were with us we were able to take Delphinus to Grande Anse d’Arlet bay, which has a nice beach and is used primarily by locals. The beach is lined with small restaurants and shops. There we ran into our friends, Ian and Joy, from s/v Reberth and tried their recommendation for the best place for mussells. It did not disappoint! Brendan and Pete accompanied Ian on a very challenging 3 hour hike over to Anse Dufour that included 20-30 degree rocky trails up and down, and then similar inclination roads getting back. Alex and I opted to hang out on the boat and relax.


Rainbow over Grande Anse


Soon after the kids’ visits were over we bid “au revoir” to Martinique (my French was improving ever so slightly) and headed for Dominica. The two islands could not be more different. Dominica primarily promotes eco-tourism. We once again met up with old friends and met some new ones. We reconnected with s/v Brilliant, Nancy Lu, Sea Frog and Profasea in Rosseau, the capitol.

On the way to Dominica we got an escort from a pod of dolphins.

We became very active in Dominica with snorkel trips and hikes. Pete went along with our friends on two different snorkeling trips and observed thriving reefs and fish populations. During the first snorkel trip he also saw an area known as Champagne, for the bubbles coming from the rocks/coral surfaces. The bubbles were from gases associated with volcanic activity on the island. I had come down with a chest cold and didn’t want to snorkel with the cough I had.

We also arranged for a tour/hike with one of the local guides, Octavius (aka Sea Cat). First, we drove into the rain forest for the hike to Middleham Falls, which is a 275 foot waterfall. The hike was quite challenging but worth it once we reached the waterfall. Along the way Sea Cat pointed out various plants and their purposes in local cultures. He even found wild raspberries which were a nice treat. At the end of the hike he found some sugar cane, peeled it and squeezed lime juice on it as a treat for all of us.

Another stop that day was Trafalgar Falls which are actually twin waterfalls. They are referred to as Papa and Mama. Part way up the Papa fall is a hot spring. Sea Cat led some of the braver souls (Pete included) climbing up the boulders to soak in the pool created by hot water escaping through the rocks. Sea Cat, Carl and Pete climbed to the top pool of the water fall to experience the falling water directly.

Dominica has a large number of volcanoes – 11, of which 8 are active and being monitored. As a result there are a number of different activities for hikers – boiling lake, sulfur springs, hot water pools, etc. Next visit we’ll explore more of these geothermal areas.

The island has a series of 14 hiking trails called the Waitukubuli trail. During our stay we managed to hike portions of a few segments while searching for waterfalls, elusive parrots, and rain forest vegetation. The hikers guide indicates the south to north trail can be completed in two weeks. Hmm, maybe in the future says Pete.

While we were in our dinghy in Roseau we noticed a boat with the hailing port of Virginia Beach so we had to stop and introduce ourselves. We met Raleigh and Cindy on s/v Cinderella on their brand new Antares catamaran. They had just taken delivery of it in St. Lucia and along with their crew member Marco are working their way north through the island chain to bring her back to the states. Our group of boats was getting ready to move further north to Portsmouth, so we invited them to join us.

Portsmouth has an organized group to support the cruising community – Portsmouth Association of Yacht Services or PAYS. They provide moorings, security, transportation to customs, tours and best of all is their Sunday night beach barbeque. Almost everyone in the anchorage comes in for all you can eat grilled chicken and fish, side dishes and rum punch. When dinner is over, they push back the tables and the dancing begins.

Out first trek was a short walk from Portsmouth to Fort Shirley, formerly a British fort. The local government is working to restore the buildings and preserve the history with the support of the EU. It’s a beautiful spot and likely offered a good defense of the port. A little American history – this port was the first landing, on 24 March 1607, on the trip of the Godspeed expedition from England, to Jamestown, Virginia.

We had a wonderful guide for our tours out of Portsmouth, Alec. He has a wealth of knowledge about the island’s history and the local plants and their many purposes for bush medicine. Our first tour with Alec was to Milton Falls and Syndicate Nature Trail. Both were nice hikes. The Syndicate Nature Trail is an area known as a parrot habitat. We did see parrots flying overhead but I wasn’t fast enough with the camera.

The next day we took a full day tour of mostly the north and eastern coasts. The tour included the ruins of the Hampstead Estate; a small chocolate “factory”;  an area overlooking the Atlantic called Red Rock; and the Kalinago Reservation.

The Hampstead Estate is now in ruins but was once a thriving sugar cane plantation and rum distillery.

Dominca is also where Pirates of the Caribbean 2 was filmed. The scene involving the large wheel that the characters were rolling in down hill while sword fighting was filmed in the area of the estate. In fact, the wheel was patterned from the water-wheel in the picture below. Alec, who was Depp’s driver during the filming, pointed to the area where the actual filmed wheel was left. Of course if is heavily overgrown now.


We visited the Pointe Baptiste Estate Chocolate Factory. We got to see every step in how the chocolate is made from cracking open the pods, sun drying the beans, roasting, and processing. The best part was the sampling at the end of the tour. Of course, we had to buy some too!

Red Rock is lava rock formation on the eastern side of Dominica. The rock is porous and appears white until water is poured on it and it turns red. The views of the Atlantic Ocean are spectacular.

The last part of the day was a tour of the Kalinago Reservation. The Kalinago are the indigenous people of the the Carribean islands, also known as Caribs. On most of the other islands they were virtually wiped out after the Europeans came. Legend has it that they were able to hide in the mountains and survive to this day. When the island was under British control they were granted a territory on the Atlantic side of the island. Today, they are working hard to preserve their heritage.



Sign under a bridge

We are now in Iles des Saintes, which is part of Guadeloupe, another French Department. We’re already enjoying the baguettes and wonderful French cooking.

Stay tuned and stay in touch!






Grenada to Martinique via St. Lucia

We’ve had a busy few weeks since our last post and put a lot of nautical miles under the keel – some of the sailing delightful and some not so much.


We spent quite a bit of time in Prickly Bay, but decided to move to Secret Harbour because we hadn’t been there before. It is a small bay tucked into the southern coast of Grenada. There were not as many boats here as in Prickly Bay, but a nice marina and restaurant. Pictured below is the view from the upper level bar.

We stayed in Grenada for their Independence Day celebration. One of the local bus drivers, Shade Man, organized a trip for cruisers to attend the formal Independence Day military parade in the national stadium. It’s not obvious in the pictures below but nearly everyone in attendance were decked out in bright combinations of red, green and yellow, the national colors.

The ceremonies were full of pomp and circumstance. The parade units included the military special forces, coast guard, police, police band, youth cadets, girl guides and boy scouts. The local politicians gave speeches and inspected each unit. The police band played throughout, but gave their best show when they got to march. Their band leader danced and pranced around the field to the crowd’s delight.

After the parade, Shade Man took us all to a small local rum shop for Oil Down, Grenada’s national dish. The story goes that it was a mainstay in the slaves’ diets during plantation days. It is made with salt fish, chicken, breadfruit, callalloo, dumplings, coconut milk and whatever other vegetables and meats are on hand.

After lunch, Shade Man stopped at a favorite cruisers spot, Nimrods, for rum punches. Like our lunch stop, it is a tiny wooden structure on the side of the road with only a few seats inside and some benches and picnic tables outside. A very nice way to end a fun day.


One of the highlights of our stay in Grenada was an island tour given by a taxi driver named, Cutty. He is know throughout the cruiser community for giving one of the best and most entertaining tours. We had booked our tour and unfortunately Pete had been trying to get some electrical work done. The electrician couldn’t make it on the committed day, but was available on the day of the tour. We opted for me to go alone while Pete stayed on board Delphinus to wait for the electrician.

Cutty’s tour did not disappoint. There were eight of us in his taxi and he started the day by asking what everyone wanted to see and do. One of the biggest highlights for me was when he would suddenly pull over to the side of the road and take leaves and/or fruit from trees and pass it around the taxi for us to smell or taste. The first taste of the day was pigeon peas right off the vine. Throughout the day we tasted all kinds of things, including the apple like fruit that grows below the cashew nut. One of the things I found amazing was that he would go into people’s yards to pick these things and no one said a word. It is accepted that these fruits are available to all. Cutty said that no one in Grenada should go to bed hungry as so much is available to pick along the roads.

The modern history of the island includes a coup in 1983 followed by the US invasion. As I understand it, most Grenadians see the US action as a liberation. Below is an ad hoc tribute to America’s actions.


In addition to touring some of the beautiful spots in the rain-forest and along the coastlines, we visited a rum distillery that still makes rum as it was made over 100 years ago. We also visited a small chocolate factory that hand makes and wraps each bar. The samples were delicious!

With all of the work completed, we were now ready to begin our journey north. We had been debating for some time whether or not to sell our current dinghy, which is large, heavy and has limited space, and to buy a new dinghy.


Pete put out some feelers with people we’ve met on the island and on the day before we planned to leave we got a call that someone wanted to see the dinghy. They looked at it, liked it and made an offer. We scrambled to ensure the dinghy and engine we wanted were in stock at the local Island Water World and were assured both were there.

The next day, Sunday, we sold the dinghy and moved Delphinus to a marina in St. George’s since we now had no way to get off the boat while at anchor. First thing Monday morning Pete went to Island Water World anticipating purchasing the dinghy, engine and various accessories. When they showed him the dinghy it turned out not to be the one we wanted – just one digit off on the stock number caused the confusion. They had one of the specific model we wanted, but it was marked sold.

What followed were several phone calls to Island Water World in Grenada and in St. Lucia. St. Lucia confirmed they had the dinghy we wanted, but did not have the engine. Grenada had the engine, so we bought the engine in Grenada and strapped it to the table legs in the cockpit.

Carricou and Bequia

Our original plan was to spend about two weeks in Carriacou and Bequia on our way to St. Lucia. Without a dinghy, this was no longer practical so we planned one night stays on both islands to get to St. Lucia and the new dinghy.

We spent one night each in Carriacou and Bequia and left before first light to make St. Lucia before dark that evening. While crossing between Bequia and St. Vincent, which is open to winds and waves from the Atlantic, we had winds of 30 to 35 knots and 6 to 7 foot waves with short period (close together) so we bounced our way along, feeling quite beat up by the time we got through it. I was reminded that this is what happens when you have a schedule. If we didn’t need to move we would have waited an extra day for a better sail. The pictures below show rain clouds that came over the top of St Vincent while we were underway. The weather projection for the crossing from St. Vincent to St. Lucia  was 10-15 knots from ESE. Not anywhere near that: 20 to 25 knots NE and 6 to 7 foot waves again. We were headed NE of course. The good news is we made it safe and sound into the marina in Rodney Bay, St. Lucia in late afternoon.

St. Lucia

After showers and dinner on shore, we both got a good night’s sleep. The next morning, after clearing customs, Pete was at Island Water World to purchase the new dinghy. They got it set up, attached the engine (which had been riding in the cockpit) and launched her.


We ended up spending another week in St. Lucia to take care of more maintenance items and provisioning. There we caught up with Ian and Joy from s/v Reberth, whom we met when we were both recommissioning our boats in Grenada Marine and staying at La Sagesse in January.

While we were still in Grenada, Pete made some modification in our cabin (extra lighting, power and fan) so I can have a dedicated sewing space. While we were at the dock in St. Lucia I managed to finish this quilt top. I’ve enjoyed the space to set up and work.


Although we didn’t explore much of St. Lucia this time, we did enjoy our stay. On our way into the marina we saw Gregory (the man who sells produce from his small boat). See the small boat (blue top) in the first photo below. He found us in our slip and visited us everyday to sell us produce from his mother’s garden – or so he says.


We are now in Martinique, anchored off the town of St. Anne. We had a delightful sail here in 15 to 20 knot winds, we have already taken advantage of the French food and wine, and caught up with new friends we met in Grenada who are on s/v Brilliant (Carl and Carrie) and s/v Nancy Lu (Mark and Kathy). Baguettes and croissants abound! This week is “Carnaval” which is the island version of Mardi Gras with daily parades and celebrations. More on that and our other explorations in my next post. “Au Revoir.”

Stay tuned and stay in touch!

Returning to Grenada

Welcome back to Delphinus after our seven month hiatus! We enjoyed our time at home catching up with family and friends and are quickly getting back into our boat life routines.

On January 5 we arrived in Grenada after a long, but uneventful day of travel. The day started with a 6:00 am flight from Norfolk, VA to Miami, FL, followed by flights to Trinidad and then Grenada.

We stayed at a beautiful little hotel, LaSagesse, while we got Delphinus ready to go back in the water. LaSagesse is located in the next bay over from Grenada Marine, where Delphinus spent her summer. There we met several interesting folks. Some were fellow sailors also readying their boats for this cruising season and other travelers there for a laid back holiday. We caught up over rum punches and gin & tonics before dinner.


View from LaSagesse

The owners and staff were exceptionally friendly and accommodating. They provided us with transportation to the boat yard and back each day; although Pete found out from a fellow sailor that there is walking path that takes about 30 minutes to the boat yard. He and his new friend Ian walked there most mornings. Ian’s wife, Joy, and I both struggled with the heat in the boat yard and stayed back at LaSagesse for a few days.

We were pleased to find the boat in good shape. All of the cleaning last May paid off in that there was almost no mold.

Finally, on January 17, all of the work was finished and we were ready to launch Delphinus. It is quite nerve wracking to watch the staff lift her into the travel lift, drive her to the dock and lower her into the water, but all went well. We still weren’t ready to leave yet, so we tied up to the pier to await parts we had shipped here to clear customs and final work to be done. It sure was nice to be back on the water. Any boat yard, by nature, is a noisy, dirty place and we were both glad to be out of there.

About two weeks ago we left Grenada Marine and motored into Prickly Bay, a place we enjoyed from our last trip here. It is a popular place with cruisers because of the many conveniences on the bay. At one end of the bay is nice dinghy dock with a Budget Marine (think West Marine in the states). There is also a restaurant there that is unfortunately closed for renovations.

Across bay is the Prickly Bay Marina, which is small marina with a large open air bar and restaurant and different activities every evening of the week – Movie Night, Trivia Night, Bingo, Steel Band and more. Also, on the property is a small butcher shop called La Boucher which we discovered this time. It is run by a French couple who stock French cheeses and wine, in addition to meats from local farms and a wide variety of house made sausages. We’ve sampled some of each and enjoyed it all.


Enjoying a cold one at Prickly Bay Marina!


Steel Band Night

It is still the rainy season here which means we deal with showers that pass through on an almost daily basis. They rarely last long but can be intense. It sends us scrambling to close up hatches on Delphinus (good aerobic exercise?). Afterward it is usually a bit cooler. Below are three photos taken from different places on deck within moments of each other at sunset after a rain shower.

We have ventured out on shore to shop and explore. Getting to the local shops can be quite the adventure. Some of the local cab drivers arrange group shopping trips, designating a day, time and place to meet. You take your dinghy to your chosen place, along with eight or ten other cruisers and all climb into the van. First we went to a local bank and everyone piles out to line up for the ATM. Next stop was the IGA grocery store. Afterward we all line up with our shopping carts and the driver works his magic to get all of us and our groceries back in the van. We made a couple more quick stops at the request of our fellow shoppers and repeated the process of piling out, rearranging bags and getting us all back in. It’s almost like a party atmosphere in the van as we get to know each other and swap information.

One day we went ashore and walked to find a wine wholesaler we had heard about. After about a one and half mile walk we found it and stocked up on wines for the trip north. The good news is they delivered our order to Prickly Bay Marina so we didn’t have to carry it back.

Along the way we discovered a local micro brewery, West Indies Beer Company. We stopped in for a cold draft on the way back to the boat and brought back growler, which we enjoyed later that evening.

This past week has been the Grenada Sailing Week with different races daily. We’ve caught site of some of the very high tech boats with their crews as they sail through Prickly Bay. Quite a site!


Grenada Sailing Week

On Tuesday, February 7 Grenadians celebrate their independence from Great Britain in 1974. They are still a young country as an independent state, but have a very long history from before Columbus landed here in 1498. In preparation for Independence Day many public spaces, businesses and homes are all decked out in the national colors of red, green and yellow. We’re anxious to see what kind of celebrations take place.


Traffic Circle Celebrating Independence

Pete has been trouble shooting an electrical problem on Delphinus. The batteries just aren’t staying charged the was we would expect. We had a technician out here this week and he took the alternator in to bench test it. We hope he finds the problem.

After nearly a month in Grenada we are ready to move on. Our next stop is Carriacou which we enjoyed last year. Looking forward to getting back.

Stay tuned and stay in touch!

Grenada: The End of This Year’s Journey


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Our last stops with Delphinus have been in the country of Grenada; the island of Carriacou and the main island of Grenada. The weather has grown increasingly more hot and humid the further south we go and shade and cool breezes are becoming more important.


Lazy Turtle Entrance



We dropped anchor in Tyrrel Bay on the southwestern coast of Carriacou. It’s a popular spot with cruisers so we had a lot of other boats for company.  There were plenty of restaurants and businesses along the waterfront and we enjoyed our days of walking through and sampling local beers and food. Dinner one night at the Slipway Restaurant and lunch at the Lazy Turtle another day.

20160413_135456Since there was much more to see than we could easily access from the bay we booked a taxi tour to see more of the island. We got a thorough tour and background on the island’s history and culture from “Linky.” The views from the high points of the Carriacou were outstanding. The island’s only hospital sits atop one of its highest points.

20160413_142633The island also enjoys a long tradition of boat building by hand which started with Scottish settlers in the 1800s and is still carried on today. This boat was on a small beach just off the road. When a boat is ready to launch the whole community comes out to help and celebrate!

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20160414_104423After several days of enjoying the warm welcome of Carriacou we pulled up anchor and headed for the main island of Grenada. On the way there we caught a tuna which provided a couple of delicious meals.

There are lots of places to explore on Grenada and we made it to most of them. We spent one night in Dragon Bay on the western coast. From there Pete snorkeled on an underwater sculpture park designed by Jason DesCaires Taylor. Sorry, but we didn’t get pictures. You can see some of his work here.

As we moved further south down the coast of Grenada and we stopped in St. George’s, which is a bustling commercial port with large ships, local fishing vessels and lots of other cruisers. We enjoyed a visit to the Grenada museum which traced the history of the island from prehistoric times through modern history, including the US invasion in 1983.

20160415_172907I was very excited to find a shop, Art Fabrik, which makes hand dyed batiks. Of course I had to purchase a several pieces and am looking forward to getting them home to figure out what to do with them.

Our next stop is Prickly Bay which is a nice protected cove on the southern coast of Grenada. It is a very popular place with cruisers as the local businesses provide easy access to anything we may need. Every morning at 0730 on VHF Channel 68 there is a “Cruiser’s Net.” The net begins with a weather report for the day, a chance for new arrivals to announce themselves and those leaving to say goodbye. Next the local businesses announce their activities, meal specials and land excursions, which are many. We came to feel like we in an adult summer camp with all the fun choices available.

20160425_181104There were almost daily lunch and dinner specials at the local restaurants. One of the best values was lunch at Whisper Cove Marina for $27EC (about $10USD) including a beer. Prickly Bay Marina hosted activities each evening of the week, including trivia night, movie night, BINGO, and local musical entertainment. It was here that we got to know Skip and Betsy on s/v Ducks in a Row and their dog Drake.

We came to know a bus driver, Shade Man, who caters to the cruising community by providing several different types of regular trips including:

  • Weekly trips to the north side of the island to see the giant leatherback turtles come up on the beach and lay their eggs
  • Transportation to the weekly Hash (more about this later)
  • Shopping trips which includes planned stops at the bank, hardware store, marine supply store and grocery store.

20160423_162724If you’ve never heard of a hash or Hash House Harriers you can read more about it here. The group here on Grenada hosts one each Saturday which is widely attended by locals, students from St. George’s Medical school and cruisers. They bill themselves as “drinkers with a running problem.” It is a walk/run through the countryside on a marked trail followed by an apres-hash party with food and cold beer. The locations/trail changes each week. Our first hash was billed as an easy one suitable for any fitness level. I’m not sure who decided that (probably a marathon runner) because I couldn’t even get half way up the first hill before turning back to home base. Pete finished and had such a good time he went again the next week. It’s a great way to see the countryside in different parts of the island. Plus Shade Man makes a stop at a rum shot on the way back.

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20160427_125137Another of the activities organized for cruisers was an “oil down” prepared and served on a local beach. Oil down is considered the national dish of Grenada and traces its roots to the days of plantations and slavery. Today it is served at most family gatherings on holidays and special celebrations. It is made up of breadfruit, pumpkin, saltfish, chicken or pork, callaloo and dumplings – all simmered in coconut milk. It was delicious and very filling.

20160504_170454After anchoring (and playing) in Prickly Bay and Whisper Cove for a couple of weeks it was time to start the process of decommissioning Delphinus. We moved into La Phare Bleu Marina. It was a nice treat to be in a marina after so many months at anchor. We spent our days there cleaning, cleaning and cleaning. We’re told that if you don’t thoroughly clean everything and wipe it down with a vinegar/water solution, it will be covered in mold when we get back. At the end of each day we rewarded ourselves with happy hour and a dip in the marina’s pool. We enjoyed getting to know Bruce and Colleen on s/v Serenity as well as John and Nina on s/v Sunkist and sharing stories of our sailing adventures.

20160510_105057Alas, it is finally time to haul Delphinus out of the water to be stored “on the hard” until next fall at Grenada Marine. We are staying at La Sagesse, a small boutique hotel on a beautiful beach. The heat of working in the boat yard has gotten to me, so Pete has been handling the remaining tasks by himself while I relax and try to stay cool at the hotel – no air conditioning, but nice breezes most of the time.

We will leave Grenada on Sunday, May 15 with plans to return sometime in November to continue exploring the Caribbean. There are several places we look forward to visiting again and some we missed along the way.

Stay tuned for our next update in the fall!





Sailing the Windward Islands


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20160318_181536After leaving St. Lucia we sailed north to Martinique and anchored near the towns of St. Anne and Marin. St. Anne is a quaint little town with a market where we found locally grown fresh produce and fish. Of course, like in all the French towns we’ve visited, we found the local patisserie where we could get our daily fix of fresh baked baquettes and pain au chocolat – yummy!

While in St. Anne we also caught up with our friends Rick and Helen from s/v Symmetry III. Rick arranged to rent a car one day and the four of us explored the interior of Martinique. The first thing we noticed was the very modern highway system throughout the island (as compared to the narrow, often crumbling, roads on most of the other islands we’ve visited).

Schoelcher Library

Schoelcher Library

St. Louis Cathedral

St. Louis Cathedral

We found our way to Fort de France, the capital city, on the west coast. It was quite a mix of old and new in terms of architecture and infrastructure. We visited the Schoelcher Library, which is still in operation. The building was built in France, disassembled and shipped to Martinique where it was then reassembled. The structure of the building was very interesting and it was easy to see how it was put together. There were many books that were probably as old as the building. We also explored the St. Louis Cathedral which was undergoing renovations but still quite beautiful and in the tradition of European cathedrals. Later when walking around the city Helen and I found a small fabric store and purchased a few cuts of fabric each.

Sugar Cane

Sugar Cane



From Fort de France we wound our way through the interior of the island to reach the east coast. We passed acre after acre of sugar cane and banana fields. After lunch at a little seaside fishing town we found the Habitation Clément, an old sugar cane plantation which still produces rum. Much of the grounds have been converted to a botanical and sculpture garden.  After touring the gardens and the old manufacturing facility we found ourselves in the tasting room with a couple of dozen different rums to try (and of course purchase).  We tried a drink of white rum, cane syrup and crushed lime – very refreshing!

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Rum Barrels

The next day Pete and Rick took a two-hour bicycle ride through the town of St. Anne. They came back soaked from a rain shower, but feeling good anyhow.

Mount Pelée

Mount Pelée

Theater Ruins

Theater Ruins

We sailed further north up the coast of Martinique to St. Pierre. St. Pierre was rich in history as it had been the capital of Martinique until it was destroyed by the eruption of Mount Pelée in 1902. Approximately 30,000 people were killed within moments due to the super heated gas cloud that settled over the town. The town has since been rebuilt but some of the ruins have been left intact, including the jail (where the lone survivor was found) and a theater. They’ve created a “volcanology” museum with displays of some items found in the ruins afterward. Picture a box of nails with the box burned away and the nails melted together. The beaches we saw here were all black sand due to the volcanic rocks.



Le Tamaya

Le Tamaya

Today it is a thriving community with a large open air market where one can find locally grown produce, fresh fish and arts & crafts. There are many shops and restaurants on the waterfront. We had a delightful meal at Le Tamaya, a small French restaurant owned and operated by a French couple who had cruised the Med and Caribbean for many years.

Moving south again we returned to Marin (Cul-de-sac du Marin) for a few days to wait out a weather system and have our refrigerator thermostat replaced. It was just working too hard and drawing too much power to keep it cool, so now our batteries are keeping their charges for longer. Since we would be leaving Martinique soon (and French territories) we stocked up on French wines, cheeses and sausages. For about 5 euros a bottle we found some great wines which would probably cost $20 to $30 back in the states.

IMG_20160325_173315069Next we made a brief stop at Grand Anse D’Arlet, which is a beautiful little cove with sandy beaches all along the shore line. It seemed to be a popular spot for locals to spend the day on the beach and eat & drink at the small restaurants along the beach. At about 5:00 p.m. the beach and restaurants all began to empty, leaving just the sailboats at anchor in the harbour.



On April 1 we left Martinique and headed back to Rodney Bay, St. Lucia for a few days before we began our trek south. We picked up some boat parts, celebrated our 33rd wedding anniversary with grilled salmon on Delphinus, and just relaxed. We also caught up with Gregory again and I finally remembered to take a picture. Gregory brings his small boat, loaded with produce, around to all the boats in the harbor. His prices are reasonable and the quality of produce is great. He’s told us most of it is from his mother’s garden. We look forward to his visits every day and have purchased limes, fresh herbs, mangoes, lettuce, tomatoes, papaya, and more from him.

Admirality Bay

Admirality Bay

Our next stop is Bequia (pronounced bekway) which is part of the country St. Vincent and Grenadines. We bypassed the main island of St. Vincent because of recent reports of crime against cruisers. We anchored in Admirality Bay, which has a very nice waterfront area, complete with newly reconstructed beach walkway. The town, like so many others we’ve visited, has a thriving open air market for produce and fresh fish, as well as local crafts. The people here were very friendly and helpful.

Baby Turtles

Baby Turtles

One day we hired a taxi to give us a tour of the island. We’ve found this is great way to see more than the anchorage and learn a bit more about the history and culture of the island. Our tour included stops at an old fort, a turtle sanctuary and a maritime museum. The turtle sanctuary rescues baby turtles and raises them until they are about five years old before releasing them back in the wild. They also had several adult turtles which were injured and may not survive in the wild. We enjoyed our time at the Maritime Museum where Lawson Sargeant gave us a tour through his collection of scale models of large ships, including photos of when he presented one of his models to Queen Elizabeth. He did not allow photos inside the building, but was happy to pose in the doorway!


Lawson Sargeant



DSCN2039DSCN2038Our next stop further south down the island chain was Tobago Cays. The cays are surrounded by a large reef called Horseshoe Reef that protects the boats moored there. The lagoon is a protected area and full of lots of sea life, including turtles. Upon arrival we were greeted by Kojak on his boat. He helped us tie up to a mooring ball and invited us to his beach barbecue for dinner that night. For a reasonable price we had a whole grilled lobster, grilled potatoes, salad, plantains and banana cake, plus rum punch and cold beer. Kojak, his wife and son cooked and served the delicious meal.

20160411_121752We finished out our visit to St. Vincent and the Grenadines with an overnight stop at Union Island. Our prime task here was to complete the customs check-out from St Vincent. After completing this task we walked throughout the town, bought some produce from the local market and had lunch at the Big City Grill. There is a small airport near the anchorage and when the planes come in for a landing they go right over the town – so close that it seems you can touch them! I never had the camera ready at the right time.

We’ve now arrived in Grenada where we will leave Delphinus for the hurricane season, but more on that in my next post.

Stay tuned and stay in touch!


Leeward Islands and St. Lucia


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It has been quite a while since I’ve written and this is a pretty long post. We’ve stayed busy with guests and are finding unlimited WiFi (needed to upload photos) not as readily available the further south we move in the island chain. Since my last post we’ve visited seven islands, each one a separate country (St. Barths, Antigua, Guadeloupe, Iles des Saintes, Dominica, St. Lucia and Martinique). We’ve been switching currencies from Euros to Eastern Caribbean Dollars and back again. As we’ve learned a little history of each island, most have changed from French to British control and back again several times throughout their histories. Some are now independent countries (Antigua, Dominica, and St Lucia), while the others are departments of France (St. Barths, Guadeloupe, Saintes, and Martinique).

Mega Yachts

Mega Yachts

View from Fort

View from Fort

We spent a few days in St. Barthelemy (St. Barths), which is quite the playground for the rich. We anchored in the harbour off Gustavia and took a hike up to Fort Gustav overlooking the harbour. The views were spectacular! The yachts, both motor and sail, lining the waterfront were huge, measured in the hundreds of feet. We were especially dwarfed going past them in our dinghy. The waterfront is lined with high end shops (i.e. Hermes, Tiffany, etc.)

DSCN1706Our next stop was Antigua which required an overnight crossing. We had waves on the nose most of the time which made it a bit uncomfortable, although we made it safe and sound into Jolly Harbour about 0730. Antigua is an English speaking island, which made communications easier for us. We met fellow Virginians, Neil and Shawn, on S/V Escapade in the mooring field and enjoyed a meal with them at a local pizzeria. They are in their third year of cruising through the Caribbean and had great information to share. The next night they showed us the way to Jolly Beach where we watched a beautiful sunset while enjoying drinks on the beach.


Doris & Dad

DSCN1719 My Dad and his friend Doris joined us for several days aboard Delphinus. We made the most of our time with them, starting with a helicopter tour of the island. The helicopter ride was a first for Dad, Doris and I, and was exciting. The pilot took us over the marina where Delphinus was docked and many other highlights of the island.  We passed some sailboats practicing for the upcoming Caribbean 600 race. We finished the day with dinner and drinks on Jolly Beach.


Delphinus at Dock


Race Practice







Steel Drum Band

We moved Delphinus to Falmouth Harbour, another place filled with mega yachts. Here there were more sailing yachts than motor yachts. We took advantage of the Sunday night barbecue at Shirley Heights, a high point on this end of the island and a great place to watch the sunset. We were entertained for three hours with non-stop playing by a local steel drum band, followed by a reggae band. Both bands played with incredible energy and talent.



Nelson’s Dockyard

Race Start

Race Start

The next day we walked to English Harbour and Nelson’s Dockyard. We arrived in time to climb to Fort Berkley Point and watch the start of the Caribbean 600 race. This is a 600 mile sailing race with about 100 boats participating, in several different classes. The fastest boats (triamarans) finished the race in about 30 hours, while the rest of the fleet took three to four days to complete the course. We finished off the day exploring the exhibits at Nelson’s Boatyard and admiring the yachts.

20160224_180855Too soon it was time for Dad & Doris to depart and for us make our way to our next stop, Guadeloupe. We anchored off of Deshaies (pronounced day hay) for a few days. Guadeloupe is another French island and we’ve found that the further south we move through the island chain the fewer French islanders speak English, making communication a bit more challenging. We have the basic greetings down (i.e. bonjour, au revoir, etc.) and can usually order in restaurants, but have found that understanding the locals is still a big challenge.

DSCN1828The highlight of our stay in Guadeloupe was the visit to the Jardin Botanique (Botanical Garden). They maintain a very large collection of tropical plants from around the world. Although the signs were only in French, we could at least tell where the plants were from originally. There was an enclosed area with beautiful, brightly colored parrots who would land on you if they thought you had food for them. So many of the colors in the garden and on the birds were so brilliant that they appeared to be almost artificial.

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Next we made a brief stop at Terre D’en Haut, Iles des Saintes (The Saintes). Pete wanted to hike to the top to visit Fort Napoleon and I opted to “hike” through the town and all the little boutiques. We each had a good time and met for lunch at a nice little waterfront restaurant.

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20160229_174429We spent the next couple of days in Dominica. Dominica is an independent country today which was alternately controlled by the French and English throughout its history. Here is where we met our first “boat boys.” These young men approach your boat as you enter the harbour to help you find a mooring ball and then offer any other services they have available. The “boat boys” in Dominica are an organized, professional group of men in a group called PAYS. They provide security in the anchorage and on the dinghy docks, in addition to helping with clearance, arranging tours and other local activities.

We were approached by Maverick who introduced himself and led us to a mooring ball and then offered to take Pete to shore to clear in. Maverick also told us about the barbecue that evening on the beach, organized by PAYS. He obtained tickets for us and then arranged for the Indian River Tour the next morning. The beach party was great with unlimited grilled fish, chicken, ribs and rum punch, followed by dancing. All for just $20 each.

Indian River

Indian River

The next morning Maverick picked us up from Delphinus and took us to meet our tour guide, James “007” Bond, at the mouth of the Indian River.  James was a wealth of local information and quite entertaining as well. We had another family on the tour with us who were from France. James switched easily between French and English. He pointed out wildlife, native plants and even Calypso’s house (from Pirates of the Caribbean). The midpoint of the tour is where the river becomes too shallow to continue and there just happens to be the Jungle Bar for a break from the tour.

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We didn’t have the time to fully explore Dominica like we would have liked to and plan to spend more time here when we return next year. It is probably the most undeveloped island of those we’ve visited so far and the locals seem to want it that way.

DSCN1915Our next island stop was St. Lucia to meet our daughter Colleen and her boyfriend Brendan. A bonus was catching up with our good friends, Rick and Helen of S/V Symmetry III.

After meeting Colleen and Brendan at Vieux Forte which is near the airport, we sailed back to Rodney Bay. The shoreline of Rodney Bay is lined with resorts and is a popular anchorage. We added our paddle boards to all the other recreational vessels (jet skis, Hobie cats) in the bay.

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1044828_10153432316626088_4299394316848690090_nFrom Rodney Bay, we sailed down the west coast to Marigot Bay. There, if you pick up a mooring ball owned by the marina, you have access to the amenities of marina and the neighboring resort. The mooring field was very crowded and busy with local boat traffic. We took advantage of the resort pool for a relaxing afternoon. That evening we all saw our first green flash! Sorry – no pictures.


Petit Piton

The next day we sailed further down the coast to the Pitons (Petit and Gros). The Pitons are two distinctive peaks next to each other and separated by a small bay. This is part of a national park and no anchoring is allowed. We were greeted by a boat with three young men onboard as we entered the bay who guided us to a mooring ball. Here the “boat boys” are younger and more aggressive in wanting to sell us services. After paying them for their “help” with the mooring ball and repeatedly refusing any other help they reluctantly left us alone. We were able to snorkel near the Sugar Bay Resort at the head of the bay, and saw quite a lot of different sea life. We all saw another green flash at sunset that night – two in a row!

We traveled next to Soufriere where we arranged a tour of some of the sites away from the coast. We were met at the dinghy dock by McGavin who drove us to Diamond Botanical Gardens, Maho Falls and Morne Coubaril Estate.

DSCN1948At Diamond Botanical Gardens we were met by a tour guide who explained the plants and agriculture of the island while leading us to the waterfall. The colors behind the falls are the result of the many minerals in the water and are said to change daily. The falls are a mix of fresh spring water that flows through volcanic rock. No swimming allowed here.

DSCN1960Maho Falls allows swimming in the pool beneath the falls and appeared to be a popular tourist destination based on the number of buses and cabs there. Since this is also spring water it was quite chilly.

10385414_10153432326446088_7279699921009361920_nOur next stop of the day was the Morne Coubaril Estate to go zip lining through the rain forest – probably one of the most exciting adventures of our time on St. Lucia. Sheldon and Dalton were our guides and were very good at their jobs. Now I have a pretty strong fear of heights but decided to try this since Pete, Colleen and Brendan were so enthusiastic. At the first line I couldn’t bring myself to step off the platform and asked Sheldon to just push me. Being the professional that he is, he refused to push me but did offer to ride with me in tandem. That worked and eventually I got up the nerve to try a couple of the lines alone. I think it took about an hour for my heart rate to return to normal after we finished. We had fantastic views from the tree tops in the rain forest, which I don’t think we would have seen otherwise.

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As I write this, Colleen and Brendan have returned home and we have moved on to Martinique. More on Martinique in my next post.

Stay tuned and stay in touch!




St. Martin / Sant Maarten

St Martin Lagoon 1


The island of St. Martin is actually two countries. The French side (St. Martin) is on the northeastern side of the island and the Dutch side (Sint Maarten) is on the southwestern side. The countries’ borders run through a large lagoon, Simpson Bay Lagoon. The rules allow people to travel in cars or dinghies between the two countries without having to clear customs, but if you move your boat from one to the other you have clear out of one country and into the other, paying fees to each country.

Marina Royale

Marina Royale

We had a calm overnight crossing which went faster than we anticipated, so we arrived in Marigot Bay, St. Martin in the wee hours of the morning. Marigot is on the western side of St. Martin within the French side. After getting some sleep we checked into the customs office in Marina Royale and enjoyed lunch at one of the many French restaurants lining the waterfront there. The restaurants are all open air and display their menus on the walkway. If you slow down to look at a menu you are immediately greeted and offered a table. The waitress from La France offered us a beer or glass of wine “on the house,” so we had our lunch there. The Tuna Tartare was delicious.

View from Le Shambala

View from Le Shambala

We spent a couple of days in Marigot Bay getting settled in, provisioning and exploring the area before moving on to Grand Case, which is a small bay on the northwestern side of French St. Martin. There we found our friends, John & Jennifer of Noel’s Delight and enjoyed a wonderful dinner with them at Le Shambala, overlooking the bay.

There is an old concrete dinghy dock which makes for an adventure just to tie up and get out of the dinghy, especially when the wind and waves are up. It is up higher out of the water than most and has no footholds for climbing. And then it becomes even more of an adventure to get back in the dinghy, especially after drinks with dinner.

Our Escort

Our Escort

Pete’s brother Bob and his wife Peggy came to spend a week with us. In preparation for their visit we moved to the Dutch side of the island to Simpson Bay and then into a marina, Port de Plaisance (PDP). All around us were boats that are measured in the hundreds of feet, most with professional crews on board. We felt somewhat dwarfed, but enjoyed being treated with the same courtesies that the big yachts receive. They even sent a dinghy out to escort us to our slip! When Bob and Peggy’s taxi arrived, the marina staff loaded them and their luggage into a golf cart and drove them right to Delphinus.

Dingy RideThe next day we left PDP and returned to the French side of the Simpson Bay Lagoon. We spent a couple of days exploring the areas around Marina Royale and downtown Marigot before returning to Grand Case. The dinghy dock was just as challenging as last time but we managed to get all four of us on shore for another great meal at Le Shambala. The next day Pete and Bob tried their luck with snorkeling at Roche Creole but said there wasn’t much to see there.

Drawbridge from Lagoon

Drawbridge from Lagoon

We decided to return to Simpson Bay Lagoon where the dinghy docks are much easier to use and there is plenty to see and do within walking distance of the dock. Access into and out of the Lagoon is through drawbridges which only open at certain times, so we had to plan our moves accordingly. We wandered through the many shops and ate some wonderful French food along the way. Too soon it was time for Bob and Peggy to return to the states, so we took them over to the Dutch Side by dinghy, had lunch at a small French Bakery and put them into a cab bound for the airport.

Cruisers Party

Cruisers Party

On Saturday night there was a Cruisers Party at Buchaneer Beach hosted by Bob and Jody Bitchin’ of Cruising Outpost Magazine (formerly of Latitudes & Attitudes). Once again we caught up with our friends John & Jennifer, and met new friends Matt and Christie on S/V Sugar Shack, and had a great time. Live music, cold beer and good food! We’ve read about these parties in Bob’s magazines and it was great to be there and be part of one.

Sunday afternoon was the big Carnivale parade through the streets of Marigot. There were dozens of groups of costumed dancers with each group accompanied by a DJ or live band on a truck to provide their music. Each groups’ costumes were more elaborate than the last and I think the music got louder with each passing group.

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After nearly a month in St. Martin it was starting to feel like home. We had become familiar with the grocery stores (Simply on the French side and Carrefour on the Dutch side), had found favorite restaurants (Le Shambala and Le Galion) and bakeries (Serafina and Le Creperie), laundry with WiFi  (Shrimpy’s), wine store (La Gout du Vin), and even figured out a couple of shortcuts through the winding streets. We had a wonderful time in St. Martin and will miss it.

On Thursday, February 11 we left St. Martin for St. Barthélemy (St. Barth’s for short). We’ll spend a couple of days here before we make the jump to Antigua. We’re looking forward to a visit from my Dad and his friend Doris in Antigua and exploring that island with them.

Bonus photos: Just some beauties we’ve passed along the way.

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Stay tuned and stay in touch!

The Virgin Islands

Anegada 1

We thoroughly enjoyed our time at home over the holidays. As always, it was great to catch up with family and friends, sleep in a bed that doesn’t rock, and enjoy unlimited water and electricity. My Dad and Colleen were with us for Christmas. Brendan went to Massachusetts with his girlfriend Alex, so we celebrated Christmas again a few days later with them.

Soon we were packing our bags and heading back to Red Hook in St. Thomas, USVI. Delphinus was waiting for us in the marina and we took advantage of the services available locally. We took a cab to the TuTu Park Mall to restock provisions on the boat. There was even a Kmart in the mall, which has a reputation for the best liquor prices around. Everything about the Kmart looked like any other Kmart in the states except for a full liquor store within the store.

Francis Bay, St. John

Francis Bay, St. John

On Saturday, January 9 we left the conveniences of the marina behind and started cruising again. We stopped for the night in Francis Bay, St. John, USVI and saw another beautiful sunset. It was so nice to be in a quiet place with nice breezes.

The next day we returned to the British Virgin Islands at Soper’s Hole on the West End. We were able to get a mooring ball and take the dinghy into Pusser’s for dinner and to watch the Redskins game. Dinner was great … the game not so much. Oh well, there is always next year.

The Willy T

The Willy T

Our next stop was The Bight at Norman’s Island. The Bight is a medium sized bay on the western side of the island that provides great weather protection, and superb sunset views. We had lunch on the Willy T – an old steel schooner previously named William Thorton – that had been converted to a restaurant, and moored in the bay. On the lower level is the bar and galley. There is a sign next to the spiral staircase going to the second deck that says any jumping or diving from the Willy T is prohibited. It seems the sign is just a suggestion as a lot of patrons, including Pete, jumped from the upper level and swim to the ladder conveniently attached to the dinghy dock. The other hint of complicity is the camera and monitor in the bar that shows the illicit jumping acts to the bar patrons.

DSCN1462Later that day we took the dinghy to a great spot nearby for snorkeling. In order to protect the coral reefs, the BVI government has installed dinghy moorings so you can tie up without having to drop an anchor and potentially damage the reefs. The reef was full of all kinds of life … many types of corals, fans, and fish of every size, shape and color. The pictures don’t do it justice.

Lunchtime Visitor

Lunchtime Visitor

We made a stop the next day at Cooper Island and had lunch on the island. We’ve noticed at most of the restaurants we’ve visited here there are cats, birds, chickens and roosters roaming freely. This rooster was looking for handouts. Again we found some great snorkeling after lunch.


The Baths

Our next couple of days were spent around the island of Virgin Gorda. Our first stop was at The Baths, an area of huge granite boulders (some 50’ in diameter) remaining from a volcanic eruption, stacked and arranged in a rock pile at the water’s edge. The waves move throughout the boulders creating “baths.” We tied Delphinus to mooring ball and then took the dinghy in as far as was allowed and tied up the dinghy on the “dinghy mooring”, and then snorkeled the rest of the way to a beach. From there, we followed a trail through the boulders that involved lots of crouching and some crawling to find ourselves on another beach. The rock formations and the “baths” within them were quite impressive. Eventually we worked our back through the trail and rewarded ourselves with a cold beer at the beach bar.

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Since the moorings at The Baths are for day use only, we sailed further north east into the North Sound of Virgin Gorda to an area called Leverick Bay and settled in for the night. The next day was a housekeeping day (eventually we have to the normal stuff we all do). Leverick Bay is a small resort with everything we needed. We loaded our dirty clothes into the dinghy and went ashore to do laundry. The upside of this laundry day was we could sit in lounge chairs on the beach while waiting for the washer and dryer to finish. After lunch at the beach bar, we went to small grocery store to restock our fridge with fresh produce and eventually returned to Delphinus for the evening.

Anegada 3Next stop – Anegada. Anegada is an atol, not an island. An atol is an island formed by a ring-shaped coral reef encircling a lagoon. Anegada is nearly flat and surrounded by shallow water and coral reefs. In recent years a channel has been clearly marked allowing more boats to safely visit the beautiful anchorage.


Waterfront Dining

There are several waterfront restaurants lining the anchorage. We decided to have dinner at the Anegada Reef Hotel and Restaurant. As with many small island restaurants we had to make our reservations and place our dinner order earlier in the day. The casual appearance (plastic tables and chairs set outside in the sand) is deceiving. There was a formal dinner seating at 7:30 pm. The railings and gazebos were strung with twinkle lights, creating a magical atmosphere. There were also a couple of large groups for dinner that night which added to the festive atmosphere.

Pete and I both had the house specialty – Anegada lobster (picture a giant crawfish or a Maine lobster without claws) cooked on a large grill. Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of our dinner.  The service and the food were fantastic.

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The next day we took a taxi to the other side of the island to Loblolly Bay Beach. We had lunch at the beach side restaurant and proceeded to walk it off along the beautiful cresent-shaped beach there. Upon closer examination of the sand one can see the tiny pink flecks of coral that are washing up from the reefs surrounding Anegada. On the return cab ride our driver stopped to point out the central lagoon, called Flamingo Pond and we could barely make out a group of flamingos on the far side.

Anegada 21We returned to the other side of the island just in time to see one of the more beautiful sunsets this trip. The next morning we returned to Virgin Gorda to wait for the right weather and winds to make the crossing to St. Martin – about  90 miles.

As I finish this post, we have safely arrived in St. Martin and are anchored in Marigot Bay off the French side of the island. We are both looking forward to enjoying the French food and wine available here.

Stay tuned and stay in touch!