Puerto Rico South Shore

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There are many ways cruisers can run the south shore of Puerto Rico and  that is because, along the 92 nm coast, there are so many places to anchor, explore and dock! The south shore of Puerto Rico is a great section of the “Thorny Path.” You feel as if you have finally made it, and you have! You have made it to the Caribbean Sea once you round Cabo Rojo on the SW corner of Puerto Rico. The run we made this second time was similar to our last run in 2017, but we pushed a little harder as our destination is St. Thomas. Take a look at the run we made via this graphic and you will see the many challenges due to the consistent easterly tradewinds during the day time.

Running the South Shore of Puerto Rico

Katabatic Winds and Diurnal Wind Patterns

Puerto Rico is such a large island that it creates its own wind pattern and in doing so, it overpowers the east tradewinds. The island heats up during the day and then cools down at night. During this cooling the winds downdraft off the mountains and flow out to sea. This downdraft pushes the East tradewinds to the southeast and slows them down. These slower trades will be 5-10 knots, maybe 15 knots from the southeast. When the island heats up, the katabatic winds stop down-drafting and the tradewinds take over again blowing from the east 15-20 knots. The well-known solution to moving east into these trades is to run between 0300 to 0900 when the winds are most calm. Then by 0900, you need to turn into shore and anchor, waiting for the next day. Look at this picture of us pushing into the calmer katabatic winds as we rounded Cabo Rojo entering the Caribbean Sea.

Pushing east into the calm AM winds. Welcome to the Caribbean Sea

Here is our happy selfie at this SW corner of Puerto Rico. This is a big deal. We have been running from Annapolis, MD, 1,000 nm down the coast, and then 1,300 nm to here and we finally reached the Caribbean Sea! THIS is a point to celebrate. A lifetime goal accomplished, not once, but twice!

TAKE YOUR  OWN PHOTO HERE!

Hayden and Radeen reach the Caribbean Sea for the second time at Cabo Rojo!
Cabo Rojo, the lighthouse on the SW corner of Puerto Rico. The North Atlantic meets the Caribbean Sea at this corner!

Stops along the way

With the knowledge of katabatic winds and moving just 3 to 6 hours each day, the next question is:  Where do I stop? We have enjoyed some of the logical places.

La Parguera:
This is the place where you can first swim near the mangroves in the state park at Caracoles and play on a beautiful sand bar. If lucky, you can take the dinghy to one of the 5 famous bays in the world to look for the bioluminescence.  We were unable to see it in 2017 because of high winds and we were unable to go this year due to pouring rain. You can also take a fun dinghy ride along the shore to see all the cool homes built over the water.

Typical home on the water

Gilligan’s Island
On the weekend there is a real party with the locals which makes it even more fun. During the week, you can have it to yourself. Again, you swim, crawl, hike thru the mangroves and float with the tide in little rivers pushing out to the ocean beaches and swells. This is soooooo cool. Then you can hike the trails and relax on the many secluded beaches. All the while your boat is anchored in a wide open cove all to yourself.

Island Spirit anchored at Gilligan’s Island
Typical cove at Gilligan’s Island
Sharing Gilligan’s Island with Team TIGER, always much more fun with children!

Salinas, a must stop
We anchored all the way in past all the boats and past the marina to the head of the harbor in Salinas. There is plenty of room here and the holding is amazing. Our 55 lb Rocna came up with so much sand and grass and mud it was bigger than the hoop on the top. This is a hurricane home for sure. Many yachts are stored here on the anchor, just look around. From here we dinghied into the wonderful Marina de Salinas with their great pub and cafe. Sunday beers are $10 for 5 Coronas in an Ice Bucket. We enjoyed renting a car from Sidney, the marina will connect you, and from here we drove to Ponce and to tour the area. Lots of shopping, Walmart, Kmart, Walgreens, and a large grocery store. This is the place to reprovision.

Anchored out in Salinas with the wildfires blazing on the hills at night!

Meet up with NEW friends

We met up with mv/SMARTINI and their buddies Paul and Liz and we all had a really good time at the pub on Sunday afternoon. Fran and Butch connected with us via radio while off Big Sand Key. We talked about making the run directly to Samana or Puerto Rico in that weather window. They were only thinking of running south to Luperon. Well, we encouraged them to push onward to the SE and run toward Samana. Then, if all was good, they could keep pushing to PR, and they did. They were so glad they made the run. It was fun to meet them, especially since they are friends with Bill and Lauren on m/v Sea Star. Thanks for the beers! Good people and fun friends…

New boating friends, very fun

Long Push, 50+ nm to Culebra

For this leg, we pushed onward over 50 nautical miles into the east trades skipping Las Palmas and Fajardo and Vieques and onward to Culebra. Again, we like to take the weather windows and run as far as we can into the east when the windows open up. Of course, once out, this window was NOT like forecasted, typical. It was 15-18 knots and it was EAST, when it was supposed to be SOUTHEAST. Not ESE, but clearly SE. East is on the bow, SE is off the bow. So we powered onward and bashed our way into the 4-6 foot seas and winds. First with just a staysail and 20 degrees off the wind, then we added the jib when the winds were finally and briefly 45 degrees off the starboard bow. All the while motor sailing to push into the big seas. This is how we do it.

Pushing into trades with a staysail and 2700 rpms, running 20 degrees off the wind on B&G wind vane steering
Eventually, the winds moved to SE and we could add a jib, now making 7.5 knots

Arrival Culebra

As we pushed on to Culebra, our destination of St. Thomas could be seen on the distant horizon. Now that is a real thrill. We pulled into Culebra to enjoy the island for a day and to take a break. The winds are the same today and tomorrow, so we will move over to STT tomorrow, making our destination for now.

Rounding the corner of Culebra, we could see St. Thomas off in the distance!
We were treated to beautiful sun and clouds as we motored into Culebra
Celebrating the Spring Equinox, we were presented with the Super Moon rising over our bow at anchor off the town of Dewey, Culebra. What a day!

One more day

We have one more day, 20 nm, and we will have returned to St. Thomas and closed the loop since the day we shipped our damaged boat back to Colin Mack for repairs. Once we cross a line off the Crown Bay Shipping docks, we will call this delivery complete. Shipping was booked at $12,000, including travel costs, and Radeen and I now feel we have earned our money! Fun Fun Fun times.

Here are a few more photos … thanks for sailing along with us, we really enjoy sharing this adventure.

Rain day in La Parguera
Our mobile Whiteaker Yacht Sales office goes everywhere. Puerto Rican courtesy flag flying.
it is COLD offshore at 4 am, brrrrrrrr, even in the tropics
Santa Isabela Wind Farm east of Ponce
Sunset over our solar panels and wind machine
Radeen loves to travel and she loves to learn, check out the book 🙂  Bruce Van Sant’s “Passages South.”

LIVE Tracking here
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Crossing the Mona Passage

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The Mona Passage is the area between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. This is a very well know passage with a reputation for being very difficult and rough. This was our second time crossing the Mona and once again the seas were kind and the current not too strong. The route from Samana Dominican Republic to Puerto Real, the harbor where we arrived, takes you right along the DR coast line until you reach the point of Cabo Engano and at that point, you turn more southwest to cut inside and across the “Hourglass Shoal” at the narrowest part. The reason you do this is that the current is flowing north and the 1,000-foot deep waters are pushed upward to 80 feet which can cause serious sea state at the Hourglass shoal. So, you cut across this at the narrowest point and avoid that sea state. Here is a chart of the route.

Crossing the Mona Passage

Get Off Soundings

Another situation that you need to address is the fact that the Dominican Republic fishermen run miles and miles offshore in their little boats setting out their fishing gear. This can be polypropylene line and milk jugs and plastic barrels, etc. This gear is floating on the surface and usually anchored as well. So the solution to avoiding these fish traps and fishing gear is to run out to the deep water and get yourself off soundings. That is where your depth gauge no longer can see the bottom. This is where the fishermen will NOT BE and you will also not run into their gear. This is especially important at night because you will never see the gear on the water.  So we ran out to deep waters and had no problems.

Fish Trap area and your course will take you over this area, head left, out to deep water
The Hourglass Shoal off the Dominican Republic, run south to cross the narrow area

Last Night in Samana, Dominican Republic

On our last in the DR, before we crossed the Mona Passage, Radeen and I had a “Date Night” and enjoyed a nice meal out at the marina. What a good time to reflect on our run from Annapolis MD to here. We count our blessings daily and we are so grateful for the freedom and skills we have to be able to run our boat on these long passages. We now look at 150 nm as a day trip and  300nm leg as just a little bit more than “a Block Island run” as we call it. We reference that 240 nm trip because di it 10  summers in a row and loved it. Now, here we are, running for the Caribbean Sea. Thank you Radeen, you are a great sailor GrL. 🙂

 

Date Night with Radeen

Course 130 degrees, winds 090 degrees, usually

It seems like the entire run from the Bahamas to the Caribbean Sea is a course of 130 and the winds are usually 090. If you are lucky they move north to 080 or south to 100 which still places the wind 30-40 degrees off the bow. Unless you have a J boat, you can not sail this course. You will be motor sailing with a reefed mainsail or a staysail or a partial jib. Then you sheet in hard and run your motor and power into the wind. What you are looking for is a calm wind, something in the range of 10 knots to 13 knots, because at 15 knots to 18 knots the seas come up too much. Now you are bashing into the sea state and beating 30 degrees off the bow. That is an ugly ride and with hundreds of miles to run, you do not want to do that.

Daybreak is wonderful at sea.

We run Autopilot on Windvane steering

The way we run these long legs is on autopilot, of course. We do is set up our sail plan and that is usually a staysail or a double reefed main. Then we point the boat 25-30 degrees off the wind, sheeting in the sails hard. Now, set the autopilot to hold a given wind angle of 30 degrees. The pilot will keep the boat at this angle to the wind. As the winds move left, the boat heads left, as the winds move right, the boat heads right. Overall the course is good and the boat and the sails are happy. Nothing to do but stand watch and check your engine room and bilges and monitor the course.

The view over the helm from the port seat.

The Blue Ocean

We are always amazed at how blue the ocean really is. All these photos are cell phone photos and the ocean really is this blue. It changes as the sun is high or low and at night, of course, it is black. But when the sun is midday, 11-4pm the ocean lights up in this beautiful blue. Look at these photos…

Departing the Dominican Republic, Cape Samana
Full sail 40nm out of Puerto Rico, crossing the Mona Passage

Arrival in Puerto Real, Puerto Rico

The run from Samana DR to Puerto Real is 145 nm or 24 hours plus an hour or two at 5.5 knots. We departed at 1400 and we arrived in Real at 1400-1500. The Mona was very kind to us as the winds moved to 090 and eventually 080-050 and went very light. It was a port tack set the entire way. We ran a staysail and a full 110% jib most of the way plus the 2600 rpms on the Yanmar. We motor sail like this at 5.5 to 6 knots and we burn 0.75 gallons per hour. Once in Puerto Real, we went to the fuel dock, filled up 19 gallons and then moved dropped an anchor. We stayed anchored out for two days. Puerto Real is a great place to check in, as CBP is at this marina or you can use the CPB ROAM app which worked great for us. Welcome to Puerto Rico, a dream place to cruise along the south coast.

sv Island Spirit anchored out off Puerto Real
You can always find us with this 9 foot Gold Island Packet Battle Flag. We also fly the Whiteaker Yacht Sales flag as we are brokers for WYS team.

Live Tracking Map

Remember, we have a Garmin Inreach satellite communicator and this devices places a map pin down anytime the yacht is moving (provided we remember to turn it on and start tracking 🙂 The great aspect to this, is that it shows time, date and speed, so we can look back and study how long it took us to go from A to B. It is also a wonderful archive map of our travels. This map is showing the current trip ONLY from Annapolis, MD to our current position. We have other maps from our many years of cruising under our MAP menu link. Thank you all for following along with us. Here is our map:

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Samana, Dominican Republic

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We motor sailed out of South Side Marina, Turks and Caicos, southward to deep water running the 14 nm off the banks to French Key. There we turned SE to run outside the Caicos Banks to move the 75 nm around to Big Sand Key. This would be our staging point to make the 184 nm run to Samana, Dominican Republic. The challenge is getting across the 50 nm of Caicos Banks and not hitting a massive coral head.

Our Plan to run south, then SE to Big Sand.

A Bashing below the Banks

Well, the run south of the Caicos banks turned out to be one of the roughest passages we have had in many many years. Waves came up to 3-4 feet at 4-5 seconds, and the winds came up to 15-19 knots directly on the bow. We buried the bow light at least 50+ times. Now, that is really pretty at night when your bow light, that is 8 feet off the water, dives down into the coming wave, punches thru the wave and then illuminates the wave with red to port and green to starboard. WOW, that is beautiful, maybe once or twice, but when it happens from 7 pm to 5 am it is a real beating. It was not possible to sleep at all. We arrived at Big Sand Key at 6 am. What was to be a 14 hr passage turned into a 21-hour beating. Not fun. We dropped anchor, washed the boat, and crashed!

The view out the windshield at daybreak after taking salt spray over the roof all night long!

Big Sand to Samana, Dominican Republic

Now we were staged at Big Sand Key placing us 184 nm from Samana, DR. The forecast was holding, and that is good because there is no place to go from here except north to Grand Turk. The winds were to be calm, 10-15 from the SSE, of course, that is directly on the bow with a course of 130. So, we motor sailed again, a staysail and the engine on 2700 rpms making 5.5 to 6 knots. We ended up taking several tacks as we kept moving EAST. We knew the winds would shift and like clockwork, the EAST winds came in right on schedule and then we could tack back to port and run our 130-degree course directly to Cabo Cabron and then Cape Samana.

A very welcome sight, Cape Cabron at day break
Rounding the second cape, this is Cape Samana, DR

Docked at Bahia Puerto Marina, Samana

We sailed into here in 2017 on our first trip south with our fun “Team Six Knots” and we knew how lovely this place is. So, it was a joy to return to this five-star marina resort with infinity pools and cafes and pubs. This place is really amazing and at $1.00/foot, it is a real deal. Look at this clubhouse and condos!

The clubhouse with a gym, billiard room, pubs, and more

The pool is a big bonus here for Radeen, as she loves to swim. It is an infinity pool where the water is level with the edge and it flows over the wall to a lower reservoir overlooking the Bay of Samana. This makes for great photos looking out to sea and at sunset.

Radeen in the pool
Sunsets here are amazing

Rental Car adventures and Touring Samana

We rented a car with our buddies John and Darcy of 45 Ft Jeanneau KINDRED SPIRIT and hit the road. Within the first ten minutes, I nearly wrecked as cars were cutting me off and motorcycles passing on both sides. Welcome to Samana, DR. Drive like you stole it, and hope and pray you don’t wreck.

Typical downtown Samana and all the motorcycles.

Off to the Country Side

After a quick tour around Samana and a good 30-45 minutes to get a sim card for the cell phone ($2 sim and $5 for 5 GB) we now had coms to hit the countryside. We headed to a waterfall and hiked up into the hills only to not see any water as the riverbed was dry so we turned around and headed for the beach at Playa de Valle. This is where the real adventure began.

Typical bananas everywhere
Beautiful overlooks
Local transportation

Did anyone put gas in the car??

Well, we tried, and at our first fuel stop due to none of us speaking Spanish and the attendant not speaking English, we eventually were able to put in 300 pesos.  Great, we are good to go….WHAT? 300 pesos only gave us 1 gallon at best. Well, the next thing you know, we are in the middle of nowhere and nearly out of petrol. So, we stop in this village, horseman hauling bamboo, and locals having lunch, someone found us a gallon of gas! Really? Yes, the locals are so kind and so helpful. For $300 pesos, and of course, I bought some Brugal Rum off the little street vendor to help, and we tipped the local for helping us. By the end of this activity, we were drinking our Brugal with the locals and having a great time. WOW, how fun.

Local transportation and local casino!
Hoseman hauling bamboo home passes by
A local finds us a gallon of gas, pours it in

Gassed up, we can make the beach

With the car now fueled up, we can now push onward to the beach. By the way, this is all within a few miles from Samana. the rental car comes empty, you put gas in. Oh, thank you. We then found the Playa de Valle beach town with a beautiful scene, fishing boats and of course a great little pub. How about some Presidente on the beach?

Fishing boats on the beach

Local Services, Schools and Health Care

On the drive home, we noticed the health care building and we also noticed the local school. These government buildings are well cared for and provide services to the locals. Here are two buildings, a health care building and a school.

The local healthcare building
The local school

Back at the Marina….ahhhh

You can see why this marina is so amazing as it is beyond anything you will see anywhere else in the area. Yes, there are many 5-star resorts in the Dominican Republic, but only a few marinas like this. We enjoyed our time here and we really admire the Dominican people as they are so kind and so polite and so helpful. They really want us all to visit this amazing island.  I hope you can visit some day.

Down with the Q Flag and up with the Dominican Republic Flag
Hayden and Radeen at the Puerto Bahia Ocean Club pool. paradise.

Onward to Puerto Rico….

Live map and tracking here:

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West Palm Beach Aground then onto Miami

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We made ourselves leave Stuart, Florida, and that is a very difficult task to do! Down the ICW we went for two days to West Palm Beach, Florida. The ICW is a real dream as it is calm, easy, and very safe. Our first night we dropped the anchor where we usually do, at the south end of Hobe Sound right off Tiger Woods’ home. No call from Tiger, so we did not stop in. We simply enjoyed our first night on anchor since Nov 15th and it was now Jan 10th! Our boat was running great, which is always a concern after a yacht sits because the best thing for any boat is to keep it moving and to push it hard.  Island Spirit was back in action with all systems running well.

Hobe Sound, near Jupiter, Florida is a dream location

Arriving West Palm Beach, the 1%er area

We are always amazed at the enormous wealth of so many people as we arrive in the West Palm Beach area. Massive waterfront homes have even larger yachts that block the view from the house. These houses are probably second or third homes. The owners might only be here a few weeks a year. The rest of the time, the landscapers and property manager all take care of the estate.

Aviva – Yacht Length: 98 (323 ft) – Guests: 16 in 8 cabins (est) – Crew: 25 in 11 cabins (est) – Yacht Value: US$ 150 million: Joe Lewis a UK Billionaire with 200 companies!
Typical winter home with a little fishing boat.
Steve Wynn’s Yacht Name: Aquarius – Yacht Length: 92 m (302 ft) – Guests: 14 in 7 cabins (est.) – Crew: 30 in 15 cabins (est.) – Feadship – 2016 – Yacht Value: US$ 215 million

Yup, that is how the Billionaires roll with mega yachts, massive homes, tax write-offs, and wealth that they can’t even begin to spend.  Steve Wynn is worth 3 billion dollars and his yacht only cost him 215 million dollars. So let’s move some decimals around. $3,000,000,000 vs $215,000,000, what is that like to a normal person? Take off 5 zeros and you have $30,000 vs $2,150. So a person worth $30K buys a used car for $2K.  Or a person worth $300K buys a $21K car. NOT a big deal, right? It is all numbers. The super-rich should have much bigger toys, don’t you think?

Anchored in West Palm Beach, FL

We stopped in West Palm to hire a diver who would clean our prop and bottom before sailing off to Miami and then to the Bahamas. We had been sitting in Stuart for 2 months, so we expected the bottom to be dirty. The public dock at WPB is perfect for this. The diver walked down the dock, jumped in and an hour later he was finished. We left the dock to anchor out. What a great public day dock this is.

Waiting on the WPB dock for the diver, what a great town!

Martha and Robert connect

Boat Buddies from Massachusetts spend the winter in WPB and they drove over to the harbor to visit with us for the evening. Martha and Robert sail Island Packet 420 ENTROPY. Professor Rose is a Materials and Engineering Science expert at MIT. What an interesting couple and what lively conversations we always have, whenever and wherever we connect.

Martha and Robert Rose. Emeritus Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, MIT

OH NO, We Found the OYSTER BAY

We were anchored a few days in West Palm with the winds blowing from the east the entire time. Of course, we were waiting for the front to arrive so we could sail south on the new wind from the Northwest. Well, that wind shift combined perfectly with the morning tidal change and poor Island Spirit spun 180 degrees around on her anchor and was pushed aground onto the well known OYSTER BAR. This shallow area is right off the Henry Flagler Museum home that we toured the day before and now we were nearly inside the building. This was the oddest experience as it was 0600 with the engine running, ready to pull up anchor and head out. Depth was showing 7 feet. Then all of a sudden, the new winds arrived and we swung 180 degrees on our anchor and onto this bar. When 20,000 lbs are moving sideways and slide onto a ledge that is sloped perfectly to let the boat lay over, it all happens very quickly. I nearly fell off as I was standing on the deck, wiping down the windshield and next we were leaning over 45 degrees. The side deck was nearly in the water. Here are a few photos.

On the WPB Oyster Bar in front of the Flagler Home
There was no way we were getting off of this until the tide came back up
Radeen on the side watching the tow boat

TowBoatUS to the rescue

We have paid for unlimited towing with TowBoat US for 18 years. This is the second time we have called for a tow. They knew the spot well, they told us to wait for the tide, but they would come out and see what they could do. With 600 hp they tried to budge us, but we would not move. Good thing as we were on hard surfaces. So they hooked up to our bow and they ran the engines “dredging” us out as the prop wash pushed material away from our bow. With my 55 lb Rocna and our strong Lofrans windlass, we tried to kedge and be pulled free. Not working. So, we agreed to simply wait. Deep water was 15 feet in front of us, 1/2 a boat length, but 20,000 lbs was aground. So we waited.

TowBoat US arrives on the scene, he knows this spot well
He hooked us and tried to budge us, but decided his best bet was to dredge and blow material away. They came back in 2 hrs and then pulled us off. Great job!

How did this happen?

We had East winds for days and all was fine, with the boat west of her anchor. That morning, new NW winds came in so the boat swung to the EAST and laid right up onto the bar. Now I see and it all makes sense to me.  Mitzi and Alane of the IP38 formerly named Holiday met us on the dock and warned us about that area, but we thought we were fine. The frustrating aspect is a local boat knew this would happen and said nothing UNTIL we were on the bar, THEN they dinghied over and said, “we wanted to warn you…but….” Oh well!

This is how wind and current swung us onto the bar

Free at Last, Off to Miami

Once we were pulled off the bar around noon, we moved down to the Lake Worth Inlet and decided that it was too late to set sail. So we dropped the anchor at the inlet and relaxed. We needed to start up the watermaker and this was a great place to do that. The next day we set sail for sea and made it to Miami and south to Biscayne Bay for sunset. Of course, we entered Government Cut at 1700 right when the cruise ships were coming out, how exciting. Then we passed a container ship and went into the ICW. After turning south passing Brickell Point, then motoring under the Rickenbacker Bridge , it was WELCOME to Biscayne Bay!  Anchor down, we watched the city lights come on and popped the bubbly. This is one of our happy places!.

A fun leg south using the Code Zero, sailing with Larry & Hera of IP32 THE DOVE
We entered Government Cut with several cruise ships going out
We also shared the channel with container ships, always so colorful
Welcome to Miami and Biscayne Bay, our happy place
Watching the city lights come on from anchor off Virginia Key
We popped some bubbly to celebrate -we love it here in Biscayne Bay!

 

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Stuart Fl Christmas Time

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After Thanksgiving, our time in Stuart now extended into Dec and thru New Years as we help new Island Packet Buyers evaluate the IP 350 to IP 38 market. Radeen and I are always very excited to be representing new clients as their “buyer’s broker” and we love introducing them to the product and to our wonderful Island Packet community. Welcome to the “family” to Dave  and Dianne. We are so happy to help you find and buy your dream Island Packet 350!

Welcome to Dianne and Dave, new members of the IP Family.

We Evaluate the Market

Dave and Dianne decided to retire and start their cruising dreams right away. They focused on an Island Packet 38 and actually had a contract on one when we all realized that the 38 was too big for what they were planning to do. So, we returned to the market to evaluate 350, 35 and 37 MLS listings. With their stated goals, they decided the Island Packet 350 would be perfect. We shopped the 350 markets east and west in Florida and settled on the best one, MATIMA.  With a successful sea trial and survey, Dave and Dianne made the big step and bought their dream cruising yacht. We are so happy for them and are enjoying guiding them forward, as we do with all our clients.  Congratulations, you have a beautiful yacht! Insider tip: Look for all four of us in an upcoming edition of Cruising World magazine.

Dave and Dianne’s new Island Packet 350

Chrismas Party With Mack Yacht Services

Our dear friend Colin Mack has spun off a new company, expanding  Mack Sails. The new spin-off is  Mack Yacht Services, Inc. and adds full yacht commissioning and yacht refit services going beyond sails and rigging. Mack Sails and Rigging, headed by Travis and Mr. Mack, will continue focusing on sails and rigging with their skilled team. Colin and his amazing team are rapidly building a full yacht refit company. They are well known in the Island Packet Yacht fleet as the “Go to Team” for chainplate replacements, a well-documented issue with older IPs. Mack Yacht Services, MYS, bought a waterfront yacht yard with space for 8 yachts on the bulkheads and with plenty of room to build service buildings and even put in a travel lift. This is a big draw for us in Stuart, being involved with Colin and Travis. We really admire these guys and their family.

How exciting to meet Mr. and Mrs. Mack, who created Mack Sails!
My dear friend Colin Mack of Mack Yacht Services, Inc.
Colin with his team, building Mack Yacht Services, Inc.

While Driving Across Florida, We visited Friends

December found us driving across Florida about 8 times. Some trips were to look at yachts at Whiteaker Yacht Sales and in Ft. Myers, one trip was to the IP Factory, one trip to the pick up new sofa cushions and one was for an IP Mini-vous. Lucky for us, we rented a great car and hit the road, with fun friends to see along the way. It is about a 2.5-hour drive from coast to coast in Florida. Here are some of our great buddies…

Dear Boat Buddies, Julie and Rev Dixie, formerly IP32 MORNING GRACE, connected with us to send us off with a beautiful gift and a blessing. Thank you so much!
Our gift is a beautiful wine cork of  ISLAND SPIRIT with our Code Zero flying. This treasure was made by Julie’s cousins who are traditional scrimshaw craftsmen. So special!
Our other home away from home with Craig and Liana, always fun times.
John and Nancy IP420 ADVENTURESS  invited us for a few great days at their new home. What a festive time!
More Bahamas Boat Buddies Kathy and Alan (with their IP420 FLATLANDER) gave us a tour around Burnt Store Marina. Always a fun visit!
With Dr. J. B. Smith, on a swing thru Epcot. Thank you to Mary Fran and JB’s daughter, Shannon! The Festival of Lights was very special!
Radeen’s fun college friend, Annie, shared her beautiful timeshare with us! Thank you!

Merry Christmas to Radeen, new sofa cushions

On one of our trips across Flordia, we met with Peggy St. Cyr, who taught the factory how to make cushions. She has made custom sheets and beautiful pillows for us, too. We hired Peggy to make new sofa cushions for Island Spirit. Ours were getting flat, so we ordered only the bottoms. Peggy did a fantastic job. Here is happy Radeen unwrapping them as we made it back to the boat very late on this trip.

Radeen unwraps the new sofa seats
Perfect fit, great job Peggy
We love our laptop desk and our 32″ Samsung smart TV works great.
Radeen’s new Gooseneck Pin for Christmas 2018! Merry Christmas 🙂

Back at “Home” Sunset Bay…

With time in Stuart quickly wrapping up, we prepared Island Spirit and provisioned up. It is difficult for us to sail away from the safe harbor where we have great friends and where we feel so involved and where we are helping others. It is really hard to say goodbye and to make ourselves sail on. Before we did, we were lucky enough to visit a few more buddies….

Boat Buddies Linda and Mahlon IP35 JUST DUCKY and us enjoying TooJay’s!
Good times out with Tommy/Tracy IP40 SAILIN SHOES and Greg/Sharon IP40 DREAMCATCHER at Sailor’s Return.
Molli and Reuben, dear friends and parents of some of the smartest children on the planet, came to visit looking for a possible winter home for IP380 PRIORITY.
Boat Buddies Jim and Loretta formerly IP380 PLAN SEA met us at Jim and Vanessa’s home for some great food and flying stories. They are making plans to sail New England again together this summer aboard IP420 WINDRUNNER.

The Little Island Packet Mini-vous
(5 of us became 27 sailors?!? YIKES!)

While driving back and forth across to SW Florida, the idea came to us… let’s have a little IP Mini-vous and get maybe 5 of us together for pizza. Great idea! Next thing you know, we posted a Facebook announcement one week in advance and the party took off. We had 10 people, then 15, HELP! Then 20, OH NO! Then 25, and we stopped counting at 27. Sally and Conrad formerly IP38  IT’S ABOUT TIME had offered to host this event when it was at 5-10 people, but then things went out of control. Sally and Conrad did an amazing job under pressure and the food was outstanding!  Friendships are so wonderful within the Island Packet Fleet and everyone had a wonderful time. YOUTUBE superstar, Tinsley IP27 SALTY ABANDON joined the party. She produced a video interview of the owners and their stories. Thank you, Tinsley!  Her video is embedded below. Thank you, again, Sally and Conrad, hosts of the year!!!!

Sally and Conrad hosted a “little” Island Packet MiniVous (27 people!)

Island Packet Mini-vous Video by Tinsely

Happy New Year 2019

With the rollover of the New Year, we were invited to enjoy a wonderful meal and a really good time aboard the mothership, IP45 NORTH STAR owned by Sharon and John. Sid of IP40 QUEST joined us for the fun as well, while Kate made a quick trip home. We all had a memorable evening. Sharon made a traditional Southern New Year’s Day “good luck” meal, including pork, black-eyed peas and homemade cornbread. We brought wine, bubbly, chocolates and homemade brownies. Here are two fun photos of that happy night:

Happy New Year 2019
Sid and John raise a toast to a Happy New Year 2019. Notice our new Swarovski crystal champagne glasses. (Oh, the joys of the free pile at Sunset Bay!)

Time to sail on and head to Miami

With all these great times and wonderful friends in Florida and the Stuart area, it was time for us to push on south or we may never get back to the Caribbean Sea. We had thought we would leave soon after Thanksgiving, but as you can see, we got involved and really enjoyed ourselves.  Stuart feels like HOME…

Onward we go….Miami here we are, with an interesting adventure in West Palm!

 

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Stuart FL Thanksgiving time

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We arrived Stuart Florida on Nov 16th, 2018, planning to stay here thru Thanksgiving and then move south in prep for sailing back to the Caribbean Sea to resume out Caribbean adventures.  Sunset Bay Marina is our most favorite place to stay between Maine and Key West. Stuart is a dream town, the Marina is run with the best team, and the owners go far out of their way to make customer care #1.  We have never been anywhere where we feel more welcome. Add to this wonderful marina our good friends at Mack Sails and Mack Yacht Services, makes it a perfect place for us. We call it HOME!

Our typical sunsets as seen from HOME!

What we like about Sunset Bay Marina

We count this location as “HOME” and there are many reasons for this. First of all, the owners of this marina, Pam and Jay. go so far over the top, doing everything they can to make their customers feel at home. They provide a fully catered dinner for Thanksgiving, they set up a large screen and projector for movie night twice a month complete with lots of pizza. They host cocktail parties.  They added a beautiful coffee bar complete with wine and local craft beers! They fully support their management staff and make sure they have all they need. Next is the terrific marina staff. Everyone is so kind and so focused on customer service and on maintaining the property.  Sam manages his outstanding team so well, and everyone works together:  Matt, Nichole, Jason, Edward, and Dennis each do an amazing job.

Another reason we like it here is because of our host Terri who lives on an IP38 SAILBATICAL. Terri makes everyone feel at home here and we all lean on for local help and support.  The final reason we like Stuart is because of Mack Sails and Mack Yacht Services, Colin and Travis. These brothers and their parents have built a great business here and they have helped us refit our IP for Caribbean adventures and then they rebuilt our boat after hurricane damages. We really like working with Travis and Colin. This is our third year at Sunset Bay and we really feel it is the best run, best-built marina on the entire East Coast.

Sunset Set bay Marina at Sunset. Beautiful

Good Times at Sunset Bay with Friends

Delighted to share the good news that our host, Terri, has joined the Whiteaker Yacht Sales team. Terri holds a USCG 100-ton captain’s license and is an ASA sailing instructor, plus she is an English teacher at a public middle school.  Here we are with our “Welcome to the team, Terri!” photo with Ed and Debbie Whiteaker.

Our Stuart Fl team of Whiteaker Yacht Sales Brokers

Thanksgiving Day Reflection

Every day we take a walk around town via the Stuart boardwalk. Here is the Happy Thanksgiving Day photo we sent to Dr. Kevin Fox at the University of PA. Radeen and I owe her life to his breast cancer research. Dr. Fox cured Radeen of Stage 2B triple negative breast cancer in 2001.  It was during this very difficut time that we bought Island Spirit and set our sights on the dream of crusing. This is why we appreciate every single day to the fullest. Thank you, Dr. Kevin Fox!

Thanksgiving morning on our walk around the Stuart waterfront.

Thanksgiving at Sunset Bay

The owners, Pam and Jay, host a catered Thanksgiving Day meal for the marina guests. Black linen table cloths, hundreds of chairs and an endless buffet line had the staff working very hard to prepare for us.  What a joy to attend an event like this with our boat buddies at such a beautiful facility. I did not get many photos but here are two of the setup.


The guests bring all the side dishes and homemade desserts.[/caption

Island Packet 380 PLAN SEA transfer to new OWNERS!

While here at Sunset Bay Marina, we were fortunate that buyers discovered our listing of IP380 PLAN SEA. After promoting PLAN SEA for 18 months, a couple walked into the WYS office and almost immediately bought this MINT yacht without ever seeing one ad, one email, my photo album or even knowing much about Island Packet Yachts. Preston, the broker in the office that day, created the offer and we quickly negotiated the sale. We attended sea trial and survey in Palmetto, FL with the new owners, Kim and Charlene, and welcomed them to the Island Packet Yacht Owner’s community. Here are the happy photos of this day. It is never easy selling a yacht you love. We are happy as now everyone can move onto their next adventures. Jim and Loretta now have PLAN D, and have hit the roads for some southwest exploration and spring skiing in Utah. Congrats!

380 Plan Sea’s new owners, Kim and Charlene

Dear Friends in Florida

While at Stuart and while driving back and forth across the state of Florida for many reasons, we really enjoyed catching up with boating friends in each of the areas. We are so lucky to know so many diverse people and we treasure each and every friendship. Thank you all for making time to visit as we flew by…

We found dear friend WENDY to celebrate her birthday with Paul

Bob and Cast of IP370 SEA LION heading to the Caribbean

Super Star TINSLEY of YouTube fame IP27 Salty Abandon

At home with Tom and Lesa of IP35 PANACEA,

Yacht Broker Car

And finally, we had to rent cars during Nov and Dec as we drove back and forth to Whiteaker Yacht Sales looking at boats and working with customers. So, we rented this beautiful car which made driving much more fun.

That is a wrap

Our time here always flies by! Between yacht services, yacht sales, helping others and visiting with friends, we had lots to do and much to be thankful for as we live aboard in Stuart FL.

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Beaufort SC to Stuart FL

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Leaving Charleston Maritime Center, we usually run inside on the ICW to Beaufort SC. This takes two days and we will anchor our somewhere in the Stono Rover area and then make Beaufort SC the next day.  The tides in this area are 7 feet +/- 2 feet and you really have to watch the markers. Lucky for us, this was a calm peaceful run.

Welcome to Beaufort, South Carolina, another must stop town on the ICW.

Beaufort, SC

The main reason we stopped in this cute town was to visit with my cousin Randi who retired here since the last time we were here. We also wanted to catch up and see good friends Jeff and Marjorie, formerly of IP45 Far Niente. Like so many people say, cruising is all about the people you meet. We have kept in touch with many friends and family by stopping along our routes as we cruise. What a fun thing to do. (Apologies to those we missed by going offshore.)

Good friends Jeff and Marjorie connected with us for a fun night at the FISH CAMP

Look who we found? Randi and Chris, my cousin and his wife, who retired to Beaufort, SC to hunt and fish and golf 24/7. LOOK out deer, fish, and turf, Randi will clean UP!

It was really fun to show Randi and Chris our Island Packet 35 sailboat. Here is a selfie on the boat.

Beaufort SC Sunsets/Sunrises

When we are in Beaufort, SC,  I always see the most amazing sunrises lighting up this harbor. I take the best sunrise photos here every year. Take a look at these beautiful morning photos! WOW.

Beaufort SC sunrise on Island Spirit

Sunrise at Beaufort, SC

Sunrise on Island Spirit, Beaufort, SC

Beautiful Sunrise over Lady’s Island, SC as seen from Beaufort SC.

Offshore to Florida

Departing Beaufort SC we always run offshore. This requires running the Ebb current south 22 nm out Port Royal Sound to the sea buoy. Then turning south, we skip all of the Georgia ICW. At the GA/FL line we run in the St. Mary’s inlet and anchor off Fernandina. We were lucky to make this leg with great boat buddies. Laurie and Jim of IP350 KISMET….

Out to sea at Port Royal Sound and offshore to St. Mary’s inlet, FL.

Buddy boat IP350 KISMET sails out to sea at Port Royal with Island Spirit

This offshore run is always one of our favorites. It is a simple one-nighter where you make it to the sea buoy at late afternoon and then you arrive at the inlet in the morning. Beautiful sunsets and sunrises add to our enjoyment. Here is the sunset that night off Hilton Head, SC as we sailed south.

Offshore sailing sunsets are beautiful

ICW Fernandia to St. Augustine FL

We spent one quick day in Fernandina and then it was southbound on the ICW to Fort George National Park. Jim and Laurie told us about this really cool park, so we diverted up this side creek and anchored right off the park with them. What a fantastic place to take an audio tour and discover the fascinating history of The Kinglsley Plantation.

The Kingsley Plantation and Island Spirit as seen from our DJI Mavic Pro Drone

From Fort George, we next made St. Augustine, Florida, another wonderful city to stop and explore.  Heny Flagler made this one of his railroad stops and built a luxurious resort here in 1888. Now it is  Flagler College, a beautiful building to tour. There is more original Tiffany glass in this building than any where else in the world.

The Flagler College, St. Augustine

The Flagler College entrance, St. Augustine

The entrance foyer of the Flagler College, St. Augustine

St. Augustine Fun with Friends

While here in St. Augustine we had some amazing visits with dear friends. First off, one of my favorite students from my 34-year teaching career back on PA lives here and he wanted us to meet his son. What a joy this was! Thank you, Aaron, for making this happen!

We connected with Tina and Dr. Jon for a wonderful meal out on the town. Tina is the sister of our very dear friend back home, Anita.  They always make us feel so welcome when we visit.  Thank you, Tina and Jon!

Boat buddy Ceal linked up with at a local pub and we had time to catch up on all her happenings as she restores another yacht while living aboard. Ceal is an amazing sailor and we always enjoy our time with her. ( Sorry we missed mutual friends Bob and Jane of IP40 Voyaguer by only a few days.)

Our last day in St. Augustine we connected with our world traveling buddies on NEVERLAND, Cynthia and Jim. Here they are helping us with our scheme for a canal boat in Amsterdam and run it all thru Europe this upcoming summer. Look out, it may very well happen. We really admire these cruisers, they really know how to travel.

We also found our good friends on IP40 SAILIN SHOES, Tommy and Tracy as they arrived into town on their new to them IP 40. We helped Tommy and Tracy find their dream yacht and plan their retirement cruising dreams. What a joy now, after a year of work to be out here sailing and cruising with them. This is the best part of being a yacht broker with Whiteaker Yacht Sales. Radeen and I can help others buy their yacht and learn how to go off cruising. Tommy and Tracy are doing exactly that. Here we are together,  touring the National Park Castillo de San Marcos.

Vero Beach Buddies

After leaving St. Augustine, we made a required stop in Vero Beach where we toured the new home of Greg and Sharon. They are remodeling a really cool home in Vero Beach just a block off the beach. Sharon and Greg have the most creative and classiest taste when decorating. Their Island Packet 40 is the #1 most beautiful IP I have ever been on and their new home is turning out exactly the same way. Here is a picture of our pretty Ladies….

Sharon and Radeen out to dinner together is always fun with this team.

Our cruising mentor, Carey first took us south in 2011 and taught us how to enjoy Biscayne Bay and Coconut Grove. Then he taught us how to sail into the Bahamas and we all enjoyed the Abacos for several months. We caught up with Carie and Julie for a fun night out.

This is our mentor for cruising, Carey and Julie meet up in Vero

Off to Cocoa Village

Overall the years we have cruises south, our #1 best IP Friend and land support team has been Robert Wiley.  Every year we pass thru heading south or north, Bob is always there for us and he helps us with anything we need from moving cars north and south to picking up a new Samsung Tablet to sharing ice cream in the village.  Thank you Bob, we really appreciate your friendship and support:

Robert Wiley and Radeen and Hayden enjoy the ice cream parlor in Cocoa Village

The Final Push to Stuart FL

We departed Cocoa Village with our final push for STUART FLORIDA, our dream home away from home. This was another 4 day push down the ICW motoring in calm seas on the easy ICW. Here we are arriving OUR HAPPY PLACE…..STUART FLORIDA and Sunset Bay Marina.

Happy Hayden arriving his happy place Stuart, FL

Sunset Bay Marina at Sunset. So beautiful

Sunset Bay Marina, our Happy Place

This is our stopping point for Thanksgiving and Christmas, Sunset Bay Marina, Stuart Florida. WE LOVE THIS PLACE and we feel at home here. The marina is run so well. The facilities are perfect. The town is a dream, and our good friends of Mack Sails and Mack Yacht Services are here. Colin and Travis make us feel home here as well.

This blog post is a catch-up post as we are currently in Turks and Caicos and waiting for the weather to move onto USVI. We have been using Facebook as our live updates and you can follow us there at: https://www.facebook.com/svIslandSpirit/

The Map of this Leg: Beaufort SC to Stuart FL

Departed Beaufort, SC Nov 3, 2018 and arrived Stuart, FL Nov 16, 2018

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Annapolis to Charleston SC

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NOTE: We are working on blog updates as we try to document our cruising adventures for the 2018-2019 season. Our most current postings are always on our Facebook PUBLIC page. You do not have to be on Facebook to look at a public web page, all you need to do is click here: https://www.facebook.com/svIslandSpirit/

We departed Annapolis MD in October, as we always do, on the Monday of the boat show. After a very fun time with our Island Packet Yacht Owners Association daily lunches at the Fleet Reserve, we sailed away. We enjoyed promoting the new Island Packet 349 as we shot hundreds of photos and published them to the internet for all to view. Turns out,  we helped to sell the first one and we are very proud of that fact. Congrats to Steve, we are very happy for you!

Our run down the Chesapeake Bay was fantastic with code zero sailing and making our normal harbors along the way. First, we stopped in Solomons to have a technician verify our latest radar problem. The result was that a new dome will be waiting for us in Hampton. This stop was made much more fun when Ron and MaryAnn of IP380 CAVU met us on the docks to help us and take us out to breakfast!

Next up was Virginina, with an anchorage in Deltaville and then Hampton City Docks. Unfortunately, we were running directly into Hurricane Michael. Lucky for us, we prepared for it in the water with the shelter of a 6 story parking garage upwind. While in Hampton, we were invited to attend  Rick and Jean’s wedding on the bow of their Island Packet Yacht, IP38 SPINDRIFT. This beautiful event was one of the highlights of the season. Notice the beautiful post-hurricane weather. Sooooo much fun and such a privilege to meet their families and to share in their joy!

Departing Hampton, we moved south to one of our favorite places, the South Ferry DockPortsmouthmouth, where we linked up with longtime buddy boat IP350 KISMET, Laurie and Jim. We went to the Commodore Dinner Theater and saw the movie A STAR IS BORN. What a great stop this was.

Next up was the world famous DISMAL SWAMP. This is one of our favorite sections on the ICW. It is a photographer’s dream. Here are a few of my favs.

That is Hayden standing by the anchors, with the tannin-colored water cresting in a little wave under our bow.

From the Dismal Swamp. we pushed hard for Oriental, NC, where we were invited to spend a few days at an IP owners dock. This was a great rest. Thank you so much John and Cyndi of IP380 CHARDONNAY.

We enjoyed a great surprise running into Dave and Kim of IP320 ANDIME while meeting Dave and Suzy of IP 37 CAY PARAISO. IPs are everywhere!

Now, it was time to hit the ocean at Cape Look Out and sail offshore for Charleston, SC. This is a 2-day passage and the winds were perfect and the moon was out, but WOW was it cold! We bundled up and set sail for sea. Here are a few photos pushing for Charleston, SC.

Those are red lights in headlamps for our night vision.

Safety harnesses are mandatory offshore.

Now we can take a break, as we ALWAYS spend a week in Charleston, SC. WHY? Because it is a dream city to sail into, especially if you dock at the Charleston Maritime Center. This places you nearly on East Bay Street in the heart of the action. We love staying in the Maritime Center. Charleston is a great American city. Here are a few photos:

The view of the Ravenel Bridge on the Cooper River never disappoints.

 

Fun with Dave and Kathi of IP40 Knee Deep.

 

Glad to meet Gerry and Nancy, our Italy trip friends, and their longtime pals.

 

So proud of my cousin Diane and Tim’s son, Chris, who is a Google security expert.

 

After a ghost tour at the Old City Jail, we went in search of beer with the crews of KISMET and KNEE DEEP.

 

Laughs and a great meal with Blaine and Janet, formerly of IP40 CHARBONNEAU.

 

Stylin’ on the waterfront in downtown Charleston, SC.

This concludes our update blog from Annapolis MD Oct 8th, 2018 to Charleston, SC Oct 30, 2018. Remember, we are posting live updates to our Facebook Page:  please use the link above to follow us.

We have been blogging for over ten years and this is a great way for us to archive what we have done have and where we sailed. It is also a way to share photos of our friends and our great sailing adventures. Thank you for sailing along! 

Hayden and Radeen in Turks and Caicos, waiting for the next weather window to move onto Puerto Rico.

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Season 2018-19 Begins

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Our summer at Saltbox 13 flew by and it is always a comfortable retreat and change of pace and activity from the cruising lifestyle.  We find the contrast of life on land vs life on a boat to be so interesting. On the boat, we live off solar power, wind power and a 100 amp alternator and a little diesel fuel. We make fresh water out of salt water, we walk for all groceries. At home, we live in a passive solar home but have endless water (38 gal/minute well) endless power 120 volt, 24/7 internet, cable TV, cars, bikes, and a large Weber grill. Life on land is soooo easy, life on a boat is soooo simple. The contrast is interesting and we enjoy both equally.

Required selfie as we start off in Annapolis MD 2018

Our first two weeks aboard find us in Annapolis Maryland as we stow and store all the items we moved onboard. We are adjusting to living without a car for the next 8 months. We are working thru the yacht systems, some need repairs, some need adjusting. Solar and wind are working great, and we have found once again, our new B&G 4G radar is not working AGAIN. So we are focused on that major system which allows us to sail offshore safely at night. We need to fix it as we are heading offshore 5 days after the boat show!

Living on the mooring ball for a week off the Annapolis Yacht Club

We spent one rainy week on mooring ball 50 in Annapolis and then a fun 3 days at the Seven Seas Sailing Association SSCA gathering at the Maryland Yacht Club in Rock Creek, near Baltimore. Now we have moved back to Annapolis where we are attending the sailboat show, as we have done for over 25 years. We really enjoy seeing so many cruising friends and Island Packet Yacht Owners. We created and host lunches at the Fleet Reserve at the 2nd-floor roof tent every day from noon til about 2 pm. It is a great way to meet up with buddies. We also look at all the new gear and rigging ideas, most of which we either have or don’t need. We go to seminars and learn new ideas and hear about other sailors’ adventures. It really is a great way to spend a long weekend. We can’t imagine missing the Annapolis Boat Show.

We along with Whiteaker Yacht Sales host our IPYOA.com Noon Lunches

So, we will return to blogging and we will share our photos and adventures once again. Our destination this year is the Caribbean Sea once again, but this time we will push onward past Puerto Rico and make it to Grenada by May 15, 2019. There we will haul out and store the boat from June 1 to Nov 1 for hurricane season. Between now and then, we will have much to share and many photos to capture. Thanks for sailing along.

This is the way we made it to the Caribbean last year, here we go again

This time, we WILL push onward and make it to Grenada for storage. 

Our New 2018-19 cruising map is active here. It will be updated as our boat moves. We use the Garmin InReach tracker and the Spotwalla service to archive our trips. This way you can always see where we are. It is interesting to see the creeks and rivers we run and the ocean passages we will make.

https://spotwalla.com/tripViewer.php?id=1b7bf5bb462b62d758&hoursPast=0&showAll=yes

Hayden and Radeen.…docked at the Boat Show, let the FUN BEGIN again!

Radeen and Hayden, Oct 3, 2018, at dock, Annapolis Boat Show time

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Stuart FL to Rock Hall MD

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It is very difficult to blog and post while moving the boat 10-14 hours a day, every day, 1,000 nm.  Twelve days after departing FL, we finally are getting a chance to catch up on photos and blog postings. We have had a fantastic run from Stuart, going offshore direct 525 nm in 3 days to Cape Lookout, NC. There we entered the ICW, Intracoastal Waterway, and worked our way north to the Chesapeake Bay. Once in the Bay, we blasted north in 2 days. We never did that before, running the bay in 2 days. We count home waters as Annapolis to Rock Hall, Maryland, with the Bay Bridge as our defining landmark signifying we are home.

This 2017-18 cruising season has been an unusual one, starting in Puerto Rico with a damaged mast from hurricane Maria. We shipped the boat to Florida and had it repaired by Mack Sails. We tested the rebuild out by sailing a loop around the Abacos and the Berrys. With it being so late in the season, we decided to sail for home where we could use our boat for the summer and wait out the next hurricane season. We will sail back to the Caribbean next season and resume our adventures there. For now, we will enjoy the boat here on the Bay for the summer of 2018.

Here is a graphic of our season.

We departed Stuart on Monday, noon, May 21

Heading out the inlet in a near squall that caught up with us about 3 miles offshore, we were out and heading north. There was a nice 3 to 4-day weather window with forecasted southeast winds of 15-20 knots and no threat of thunderstorms. We liked the forecast so, even with the squall, we left. It was a bit exciting, but we kept telling ourselves the forecast was great. Let’s keep going. Well, we took a beating for about 4-5 hours out of the inlet and we actually thought about turning around, but we pushed offshore to the Gulfstream.

The calm after the squall

Our passage was great

We had it all, broad reaching full sails, all three, we reefed 4 times, had 3 squalls, lightning and rain, and even 4 hours of code zero offshore. The sailing was really wonderful for days. We both commented many times how amazing the sailing was. Endless sailing. This trip was the longest offshore trip we have made. 60 hours 525 nm. We had two days of 200 nm which was due to the 3-4 knots of the Gulfstream. Making a 200nm day is a great day on any sailboat, let alone a little 35 footer. We were pleased with our speed and the push of the Stream.

On our second  day, we were 400 nm from St. Lucie Inlet, near Stuart

Here we are 24 hrs from our last 24 hr point, it was 200.1 nm

The days rolled on and we enjoyed the passage. Radeen and I are not always thrilled about ocean passages, but we do them when we can to cover longer distances. For us, we would rather anchor and rest at night, but sometimes you just have to go to sea and do shifts and keep running 24/7. This was a great time to go offshore, to go north, and we are very glad we did it. Here are the photos from offshore…

Code Zero sailing for about 4 hours

Radeen keeps our logbook up to date

This is the coolest sail, so easy to use. We use it when winds are under 15 knots.

Sunset on the port side, heading north

Full mainsail, we reefed down 4 times.

Sunset at sea, Day 2

Radeen keeping the sun off her face

Calm seas 100 nm offshore

Hayden hooked in and on watch

Arriving Cape Lookout at 0400

We arrived Cape Lookout before daybreak in a thunderstorm. Our new radar went out the afternoon of the second day so we were running blind all night, a very uncomfortable situation. After making the Cape straightaway, we decided to not go into the harbour until daybreak because it was so dark. With no moonlight, no radar and one lighted buoy missing, it was best to wait. We simply put away the jib and, with a reefed main, we sailed along the shore until 0530 when it was light enough to go in and drop the anchor. We slept until 0800 and then headed out using our code zero for the Beaufort Inlet and into the ICW in beautiful conditions.

Arriving at 0400, we waited until 0530 to go in and anchor

Up the ICW, Cape Lookout to the Chesapeake Bay

This is always an easy and interesting section of the ICW. We have run this 10+ times and know the route well. We also know the stops and the anchorages. We have stopped before at Oriental, River Dunes, Manteo,  Edenton, Elizabeth City, Dismal Swamp, Norfolk, etc. but this time we were on a delivery running for home. So, we followed our dear friend Reuben’s route into Coinjock. There we made reservations for a prime rib dinner and a dock. What a treat that was after days at sea and on the hook. Coinjock was a welcome relief and we may always go this way from now on. It also saves one day of travel so that was another reason we went this way. Very fun stop. Thank you, Reuben.

The Coinjock Restaurant

Date night since we did not kill each other offshore 🙂

The next stop PORTSMOUTH, VA

We never ever miss this stop at the Portsmouth, VA ferry basins. We dock  along the waterfront and walk into town on High Street, taking in the Bier Garten, the Commodore Movie Theater, and the local coffee shop. What a great stop to see the new Star Wars movie, “Solo.” So much fun for sure.

South Ferry Basin, Portsmouth VA, our 11th stop here!

Thank you to the US NAVY and all who serve!

Photos of the ICW…

Shrimp boat, NC

The clear brown waters of the Pungo River-Alligator River Canal

22 nm long canal, the Pungo River-Alligator River Canal

Water stained tea colored from the cypress trees

Biting flies are numerous and massively large  in NC

Beautiful trees in the swamps

One lone tree as we turn into the canal

We reach the Chesapeake Bay….HOME waters

These are our home waters! When we reach the Bay, we feel at ease and safe. Starting our sailing here in 1986, we have anchored in nearly every creek and cove. First stop, Annapolis, the state capital of Maryland. and one of our favorites. It was an unexpected pleasure to have dinner with Mary Ann and Ron of IP380 CAVU and Sharon and Greg of IP40 Dreamcatcher, but we have no photo of the fun to share.

We love to sail past Thomas Point Lighthouse

HOME, Thomas Point Lighthouse

Annapolis Maryland

Our HAPPY PLACE, St. Mary’s cove under the Spa Creek Bridge

Our favorite alley in Annapolis where we always take a photo with the Maryland State House

Chesapeake Bay Bridge, NOW we are HOME

We have not been north of the Bay Bridge by boat since 2015. We stored our boat in Stuart FL two years ago to prep for sailing to the Caribbean Sea. Then last season, we stored in Puerto Rico. Now we have returned and it was a fun run to cross under the Bay Bridge again. We always cut the corner and that presents these great photo shots looking back into the center span of the bridge with the perspective vanishing point. Very cool photo.

Looking east into the center spans from in between the bridges

Rock Hall, MD tower

From the center span of the Bay Bridge, we ran for the Rock Hall tower which is a range marker pointed to the main ship channel. Once we reached this, we were home. We motored into Swan Creek and around the creek to Spring Cove Marina. We have been at this marina since 1991. It is the special place where we built all our sailing and cruising dreams. We spent many summers planning and dreaming of going off cruising. For now, we will base here and enjoy our boat.

The Rock Hall tower and the way into our creek

Docked at Spring Cove Marina, sun setting over our bow

CHEERS, it is a great life cruising on a sailboat

A little tired after all these miles, but we were happy to pop the bubbly…CHEERS

We celebrated our arrival at The Harbour Shack with great friends, Sharon and Jeff of IP35 Lucille and Ray of IP 27 Wye’s Guy. Again, no photo of the fun.

Thank you all for following along. Your comments arrive in our email box and we love to hear from you.


OUR MAP. Where we have been and where we are now. If our boat moves, this map updates. How fun.

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