Guadeloupe Iles de Saintes Dominica

Sailing, Sailing, Sailing is amazing in the EASTERN CARIBBEAN SEA, as the winds are always blowing from 090 degrees (east) plus or minus 10 degrees and the course is 180 degrees (approximately) southbound. For the non-sailor, that means you are sailing on a beam reach with the winds blowing from the side of the boat. Sailors love beam reaching and even better, we love downwind. (But to sail downwind from here, we would have to point our bow towards Central America and Panama so for now, we will accept the next best sailing, beam reaching.) We are loving this! We paid the price to get here after 1,200+ nm from Florida bashing into the easterly trade winds. Now, take a look at this photo…

Sailing on a beam reach southbound in the Caribbean Sea

Departed Antigua for Guadeloupe

We departed Falmouth Harbour on April 16th setting sail for Guadeloupe, our first French Island. Falmouth Antigua to Deshaies Guadeloupe is a 42 nm run. sailing south on a beautiful beam reach. Radeen and I were smiling! Little did we know how much we would also love the French Islands. Pulling into Deshaies was a real joy seeing the cute and astonishingly clean little town spread along the water’s edge, with the church steeple straight in from the dinghy dock and of course, the bakery.  The French love their coffee and baguettes and croissants and so do we!

Our first French town off the bow, Deshaies, Guadeloupe


We were happy to see Island Packet 350 IVORY STAR owned by Bob and Margo, whom we had met in Farjardo. They love this little French town of Deshaies and they had a really cool anchoring spot right off the cliffs, great for snorkeling. Island Spirit hosted happy hour and we shared great stories. The Island Packet Fleet cruises and gets around; we see IP owners everywhere. Good times!

Island Packet 350 IVORY STAR off Guadeloupe
Hayden, Bob, Margo, and Radeen in Deshaies, Guadeloupe

Iles de Saintes were calling

We wanted to stay weeks in Deshaies with Bob and Margo, but southbound we headed because “The Saintes” were calling. We had heard that Iles de Saintes is a favorite of so many people, including Pat and Eric of IP460 CUTTER LOOSE. Catching up with our buddies on Jeanneau 45 KINDRED SPIRIT was another goal. The run down the leeward side of Guadeloupe and then into open waters toward the Saintes is a 22 nm leg, very simple, very short. One would expect a calm, casual sail down the leeward side, but that does not happen. The mountains deflect the east trades up and over their peaks and then the wind comes from every direction, South, West, North, East, who knows.  So after several auto-tacks and backwinding of sails, we stopped this silly game. After double reefing the main and furling the full jib and deploying the staysail, we added 2500 RPMs on the engine. Oh, we know this procedure well. At the bottom of Guadeloupe, the winds whipped around and accelerated to 25-30 knots as we left the lee of the island and pointed SE towards Iles de Saintes. Next thing we knew, we were all-out bashing into the winds again. The winds bend and change from East to Southeast on the bottom of this island, directly onto our bow. Here we go again, let’s get it done and let’s get to Iles de Saintes…

Radeen looking over the bow as the winds heel the boat over 20 degrees and  we push into the strong winds
Radeen loves to travel and Island Spirit is our vehicle to get there. She is a real sailor, look at that smile.
This is beating from Guadeloupe to Iles de Saints in routine 20-25 knot tradewinds.

Ahhh, the Saintes are so interesting

Everyone is right about the Saintes being a wonderful place to visit. The island has very few cars and no fuel, only a ferry dock where visitors from Guadeloupe arrive daily. They walk off the ferry dock, stop at the bakery to pick up a baguette and have an espresso.  Then they walk the town stopping in the various shops on their way to the beach. Some arrive with rollerboards and luggage walking to their simple rented rooms and apartments nearby. This ferry dock is the hub of activity on Iles de Saintes. We loved just hanging out there with our coffee in the am and watching the arrivals and departures of locals, plus many tourists from France and other countries. Our relaxing days were spent walking the town and hiking the hills, all the while Island Spirit was on a mooring ball in the harbor. Thanks to John and Darcy of KINDRED SPIRIT for guiding us to a choice ball.

Here is the 24 photo essay we posted up on our svIslandSpirit Facebok page:
Link to view photos here: svIslandSpirit Facebok page

Photos Here: svIslandSpirit Facebok page

Off to Dominica

After spending 5 days in Iles de Saintes, we headed south for another dream sail of 20+ nm on an easy beam reach. We sailed into Portsmouth, Dominica, which has mooring balls and a very well managed “boat boy” system called PAYS, Portsmouth Association for Yacht Services. BRILLIANT. Many boat vendors are part of this one organization. They have logos on their shirts and badges and they all work together. Now, this is the proper way to deal with yachts, instead of being harrassed by multiple, aggressive “boat boys.”

We arrived at noon on a holiday, Easter Monday, and the harbor was already one big booming party after another. WHAT FUN. Sadly for us, we had decided to Q flag here for only one night and move on in good weather. Next season, we plan to dedicate several weeks to this island. We know Dominica is not to be missed, but we needed to push on.  We enjoyed the lively crowds from the boat well past midnight; these people know how to party!!

Island Spirit anchored off Portsmouth Dominica as the sun was setting

Why Leave Dominica?

….because the French Island of Martinique is calling! Yes, we have discovered that we really like the French Islands and we heard that Martinique is one of the best. So sadly we departed Dominica under Q-Flag without checking in and traveled down the lee shore towards open water. The island of Dominica looks so tropical and so lush, we cannot wait to discover it fully next season. Here are a few photos as we traveled south.

Look at the beauty of Dominica
The south end of Dominica as we sail towards Martinique

On to Martinique

Portsmouth Dominica to St. Pierre Martinique is about a 55 nm run. Look what we sailed into… truly looks like a stage set from the Broadway musical, “Les Miserables” ……more in our next post on Martinique! Here is a teaser photo 🙂

St. Pierre on the north end of Martinique is so interesting and very different

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Hayden and Radeen in St. Lucia, trying to catch up on the blog.
Thank you Reuben !


Antigua Dream

We arrived Antigua from St. Barth’s after an aggressive bashing into the wind and found Jolly Harbor to be a very large and blissfully calm anchorage. Lowering the dinghy I headed into Customs and Immigration where check-in is very efficient via their online E Sea Clear service. Yes, I could have prefilled out the information but I completed the information in the office. After all the paperwork was signed and the entrance fee was paid, we were free to enjoy the country.

The morning view from anchor, Jolly Harbor

Jolly Harbor

This is a very nice place to sail into and there are many services in this harbor. The marina and fuel dock at Jolly Harbor Marina are really fantastic with a protected approach and full marine haulout. Danny, the yard manager will even take your propane tanks to town and fill them, returning them the next day. At the head of the harbor is THE CROWS NEST, the primary cruiser hang out and wonderful happy hour spot. Across the street is the large grocery store which has anything you need. You could easily re-provision here.  We really enjoyed the calm harbor, non-rolling anchorage, and the Crows Nest. I can see coming back here for more time in the future.

Lets go to “Town”

We like boating into towns, so we decided to head up to St. Johns. the capital of Antigua. It was an easy 6 nm run and we motored right into town and dropped anchor off the cruise ship dock.  We lowered the dinghy and motored in and could not find the dinghy dock. Well, this should have been our first clue. We tied up to a random dock, climbed up and off to town we went. Typical of all cruise ship towns there were the usual duty-free items and pubs and t-shirt shops and jewelry stores and more. Luckily, there was only had one cruise ship in port that day. As we walked around we could see that it would be a ghost town after the ship pulled out. We were beginning to question how safe it would be to stay here on anchor off this town. After ice cream in freshly made waffle cones, we decided that it was not that safe and that we would be far better back at Jolly Harbor. So, back out to the mothership, up anchor, roll out a jib and sail south. This is what we are looking forward to, the discovery of all these new places and where to go. We later heard that no cruisers sail to St. Johns. Well, now we know….

Island Spirit anchored in the harbor of St. Johns, Antigua

Onward to Falmouth

Safely back in Jolly we decided it was time to move on to the hub of Antigua, Falmouth and English Harbors. This was a simple trip around the SW corner of Antigua. As most will figure out, the East trades of 25 knots come whipping around the SW corner and so it is yet another beat into the winds and seas. Lucky for us this was only a two-hour trip and soon we were entering Falmouth harbor for our first time.  Tall ships have been sailing into here since the 1600s and we can see why. The harbor entrance is to the north, the winds are from the east, and once inside, the harbor opens up to a large bay where we dropped the anchor.

English Harbor and Falmouth Harbor as seen from Shirley Heights

Why Leave here?

We fell in love with Antigua now, as we began our discovery of the harbor side and the many services found here. The dinghy dock is at the head of the harbor along with coffee shops, pubs, chandleries, groceries stores and of course, the Antigua Yacht Club. This is our kind of harbor. It reminded me of what Annapolis Maryland must have been like 50 years ago. We could tell this was really going to be a fun place.

The Antigua Yacht Club Building
The Skullduggery Pub signature drink, an Espresso Martini
The Yacht Club docks accommodate the mega yachts

Across the street is “THE DOCKYARD”

What Dockyard?  The one and only Nelson’s Dockyard where the British Fleet of the 1700 and 1800s serviced and managed their powerhouse of ships.  Lord Nelson himself was here for 4 years. Today this is a World UNESCO site preserved forever and restored for all of us to enjoy. The most photographed placed is the PILLARS where the remains of the sail loft building of the 1800s still stands. On top of these pillars once stood a massive sail loft building where they would repair the sails of tall ships. The sails were rowed in via workboats under this building, between the pillars and then lifted up into the building overhead. The tall ships would be stationed out in the harbor.  The remaining pillars are so interesting and very well preserved.

The Pillars are now capped with concrete to preserve them
A fine restaurant now has been built around the pillars
Such a beautiful photographic site

Today, Yacht Races and More

The month of April IS the month to be here as the Classic Yachts arrive for their races and then after that event, the Antigua Race Week kicks off the last week of April. Hundreds of yachts from around the world come here to participate in the race. We have been here a week already and the races start in another week and last for two more weeks, so we decided to return next season for Race Week. We will be sailing on to Guadeloupe and continuing south. We have 6 more weeks until haul out and so many more places to discover. The yachts here are massive, 100 to 150 feet seems average and 50 to 60 feet most common. Out little 35 footer feels likes a dinghy down here. But, we are proud to be here!

The masts of sailing yachts
The Oyster fleet at the Dockyard for a race…”The World’s Your Oyster!”

Boat Buddies Make it all MORE fun

While here at Antigua, we bumped into sv TEMERITY owned by Chris and Laura whom we meet years ago in the Exumas. They stored in Puerto Rico as well and were lucky to not take damages from IRMA or MARIA. Our first night here, we all headed up to SHIRLEY HEIGHTS for the Sunday Fun Day event. What a great time with good friends!

Chris and Laura of sv TEMERITY
Selfie required when with “PhotoBOY”
One of the best steel drum bands

Denmark meets the United States

For many years, we have been following Judith and Haakon on sv TOUCHE, an Island Packet 380. Haakon is from Norway and Judith is from Denmark and they have sailed all over Norway, Scotland and even north to the island of Svalbard above the Arctic Circle. A few years ago, we hosted them on our boat at the Coconut Grove Sailing Center to give a presentation to the club about sailing to Svalbard. That same year, Judith presented at the Miami and Chicago Boatshows. In Dec 2018, they crossed the Atlantic and arrived in the Caribbean at Barbados. We departed Annapolis after the Boat Show and now we both have arrived at Antigua, with TOUCHE sailing north and ISLAND SPIRIT sailing south. We actually SHARED A HARBOR together!  They are very serious sailors and we were honored to spend time with them.

Island Spirit and Touche with IPYOA Battle Flags up
Island Packet 380 TOUCHE the Iceberg hunter in Antigua
First order of business…pop bubbly on Island Spirit

We toured Nelson’s Dockyard and enjoyed meals and of course a few celebratory drinks together. We attended Shirley Heights on Thursday night for a good time, with rum punches, steel drum music and a raggae band. Now, they are sailing north to Annapolis where they will store the boat by end of May and we will sail south, storing in Grenada. We all will be at the Annapolis Boat Show together for our IPYOA Noon Lunches, so Judith and Haakon look forward to meeting many IP owners there.

Judith and Haakon at Pillars
Judith and Haakon at Shirley Heights
Selfie with rum punches at windy Shirley Heights
The overlook at sunset

Our final bottle of Bubbly

After three days of fun, we popped one more bottle of bubbly on sv TOUCHE and we shared our charts and navigation information for heading thru the Exumas and up the USA east coast. We are excited to see them in our home waters of the Chesapeake Bay this fall.

Judith has polar bears on her champagne glasses!
Fun times on sv TOUCHE
Yes, it is bubbly, NO it is not official French Champagne, we know 🙂

Onward south

We depart tomorrow, Monday for a 45 nm beam reach south to Guadeloupe and then onto Iles de Saintes. The French Islands await. Our course finally is 180 (south) on a wind of 090 (east) so this should be a real JOY. Yes, the winds are 22-27 knots gusting 30 knots, but we will sail, finally. Oui Oui 🙂

Live tracking:

Bashing to Antigua

With one last push Southeast from St. Barth’s to Antigua, we were excited to make this run.  We waited in St. Barth’s until the winds were forecasted to be north of east giving us a better angle. When the forecast is “to the north of east” not “north east”, that means that it moves from 090 to 080, a ten-degree shift, that is all. This run calculated to be a course of 130 degrees. Place the winds at 080 and that would mean that the winds would be 50 degrees off our port bow. WOW, we should be able to sail into that. Here is a chart of this with 090 winds.

A beat to Antigua

Off we go at 0200

With 13-14 hours to go, we decided to up anchor at 0200, or as sailors say “oh dark hundred”  🙂 ! Luckily, we were anchored near the edge of the channel with only two others anchored between us and the deep channel. Added to that, we had a tall ship lit up at the end of the channel. So it was an easy nighttime departure to reach deep water and to turn southeast onto our course.

A quick cell phone photo of the tall ship, Sea Clould II

Protection from St. Barth’s

As we started out, the island provided a really nice wind shadow and a very calm sea. This lasted about an hour and by 0330 we were passed the protection and into the full force of the east tradewinds. The sea state was the problem that we did not expect, it was 4 feet at  5 seconds! If you know the ocean, then you will read that a 5 second interval is a very uncomfortable sea. The forecast was for 4-5 feet, 8-9 seconds. That we can do, but this 5-second sea was tough.  Here we were again leaping off of waves, bashing the anchors into waves, our bow light illuminating underwater and then highlighting the spray, with bow waves coming over the windward port bow into the windshield and over the roof. We have seen this several times from Miami to the Caribbean Sea. Daybreak came and once again we had saltwater covering our entire boat!

Saltwater running off the roof and down the windshield, so frustrating

Do we divert or push on?

As the sun came up, we started looking at the time and distance and we were worried that we would not make Jolly Harbor by sunset. Should we divert downwind over to St. Kitts? Should we push on and enter at night? These debates were thoroughly discussed as we bashed onward.  Fortunately, we have a fantastic engine remanufactured by Alfred Holtzer which Radeen and I installed ourselves. We call this “Yannie New” for Yanmar New and he never complains. We have so much faith in this engine. So we decided to bash onward into the sea. You may wonder why we are not under full sail? The winds were 090 to 095, NOT 080, placing them 45 degrees off the port bow. Add forward speed and the apparent wind is then 30 degrees off the port bow, so yes, maybe a J-35 could have sailed this. but not an IP as they like 50 off the bow at best for upwind sailing. Add in 4-5 foot seas at a 5 second interval and the boat would be beating under sail alone at about 3 knots.  So, it was “Yannie New” to the rescue…

Yanmar 3JH2e 38 hp diesel built by Alfred Holtzer
Alfred Holtzer remanufactures the best engines, if you need a new one, see:

Great Motor Sailing Photos

Our sail set was a full 110% jib sheeted close hauled and staysail in winds of 17-20 knots. With 2500 rpms on the engine , the boat was doing over 6.5 knots. In a sea state of 4 foot waves at 5 seconds, the bow was crashing into and thru the seas,  due to the 20,000 lb boat going nearly 7 knots. At this speed,  heeled over with a better waterline, the boat CAN power through these difficult seas without rounding up. This provided for some great video on the GoPro and some GoPro photos.

Bow waves make great photos
One of my favorite shots, this will be an IPYOA calendar page for 2020

The sea NEVER looks like it really is in a photo or in video. These photos look so calm, the sea looks like a lake, and the waves look like 1 to 2 feet. I don’t know why that is, but it is true. The above photos look so calm, yet look at our bow waves. Interesting. If you know boating and if you have watched the waves pass your cockpit then this next photo should show our speed and sea state.

Our bow wave and wake as it passes the cockpit. WOW! Healed over about 25 degrees, going 6.5 knots while motor sailing

Antigua rises over our bow

What a joy it was to call our “LAND HO” and to see our destination, Antigua, rising over the bow. Yes, we still had 5+ hours to go, but it was very exciting to see our destination.  On this run, we had 3 squalls when the rains came and the winds built to 27 knots. Like Captain Ron says: ” They come up on you fast and they leave you fast!” and so they did. Our digital radar with our guard zone set alerted us well in advance to these squalls. Plus we ran our autopilot on wind vane steering so as the wind shifts the boat will maintain the same wind angle. (Most autopilots will steer to wind. Learn how to set up yours to do that; we use it anytime the sails are up.)

Antigua over our bow, look closely

Drop Anchor 1530 Jolly Harbor

We arrived Jolly Harbor, our first destination on Antigua, and threaded our way between over 60 other boats, dropping the anchor near the head of the harbor. We were thrilled to have an anchorage that was NOT rolling and was calm, our first since Culebra. We were excited to discover this new port. We rested here and will spend a few days exploring this area and St. John’s, the capital, too. Welcome to Antigua, Island Spirit, a place we have never been before. Thank you, Yannie New 🙂

Anchored in calm Jolly Harbor, Antigua
Pop the bubbly for a new Island and new Country to discover!

A few more photos….

Autopilot steers and holds the boat to a set wind angle. We set off and we watch.
The view from the helm
We count an enclosure as a top 3 item. (#1 Radar, #2 Autopilot #3 Enclosure)
Our upper windshield soaked with salt spray. This is 8-9 feet high off the water.
Selfie in my harness. We are always hooked on at sea.
We will hand wash this boat with two buckets of fresh water when we get in. It is best to do it while still wet, before the salt dries.
The sea always looks so calm in photos. This really is 4 foot seas, I know, it certainly does not look like it.
Island Spirit heeled over under full jib and staysail on her way to a new island!

St Thomas to St Barthelemy

After the delivery of our school supplies to Jost Van Dyke Primary School, we had a weather window opening which caused us to depart BVIs after only being there 6 hours! No one goes to the BVIs for 6 hours, but that is what we did. This was very frustrating because it took away time we wanted to spend with the school and Ms. Blyden. But, when calm weather windows open and when you are trying to push east into the tradewinds, you go when they open. So, it was a rush back to St. Thomas to pick up our new Google Fi phones that Jenna shipped to us. We also received the shade fabric, Coolaroo, that we will use to cover the boat in Grenada. Everything arrived on time. Thanks to our great friend at home who manages our mail. Jenna is amazing!

Gale Pacific is the maker of Coolaroo, which is a 90% UV sunblock breathable shade cloth. We cover the boot with this when stored. 6’x100′ and 12′ x 50′ will wrap the entire yacht.










New Moto X4 Google Fi phones. We wanted to try these out, and I have to say, these are fantastic phones for $150. Check out Google Fi, it’s amazing!

Off to St. Barth’s

It took about 2 hours on shore side WiFi to get our phones working and as soon as we had them connected to our Google Fi accounts, we lifted anchor and headed to sea around 1700 hours, departing with the cruise ships. We decided to skip St. Maarten since we have been there 4 times and we are trying to push east. So, St. Barth’s was another 15 nm east and that became our target. Look at the sea state, it was like a lake and we had a beautiful night at sea.

The calm ocean between USVI and St. Maarten was like a lake. Lucky us.

St. Barths’s is a very special place

Well known to the rich and famous, many of whom own homes here or send their mega yacht teams to back up the quay here, St. Barthelemy is special. We departed St. Thomas at 1700 and we sailed / motored into St. Barth’s at 1400. We anchored deep into the harbor to try and get away from the roll, but even that did not help. The harbor is very rolly with the boat rolling side to side nonstop. Even in the inner harbor, the mega yachts are rolling side to side and surging fore and aft off the quay and tugging on their anchors set in the middle of the harbor. I can not imagine many will stay long. Remember, this was in calm weather patterns; if a north swell is running this harbor must be really difficult to tolerate.

That said, the town is so lovely with businesses and homes built up the steep hillside. It is a hike up to the shops on the third or fourth street off the harbor. After 4 streets the hill is too steep to develop and that is it. The cars are all tiny, like smart cars and Fiats, the pickup trucks are small and even the concrete trucks are small because the roads are so narrow and very steep.  Here, small cars and scooters are the mode of transportation.  People so calm here. Everyone greets each other first with a hello and how are you? Then they chat a little bit and then deal with business. Very nice to see.

The main street on the waterfront, St. Barths
Scooters are the best mode of transportation
Narrow one lane streets, small cars needed for sure

Here is a photo essay of St. Barthelemy

Typical Sailing club on the harbor
One of the many dinghy docks around the inner harbor
The Anglican Church in St. Barth’s
The beautiful churchyard as seen from the street
The stonework is impressive
Businesses on the first floor, homes on the second floor
We really enjoyed looking at the stonework detail
Notice the lace curtains in the open air windows!
Radeen strikes a pose at a stone wall restoration site
The quay where yachts will back up to and drop an anchor via Med Moor
The main street on the waterfront
Mega Yacht SEVEN SINS on the quay. She is for sale for $30,000,000

After only 2 days, we moved on…

We only stayed two days because we are pushing to get east to Antigua and then sail south down the windward islands to Grenada. So, at 0200, we lifted the anchor and headed out the harbor past this anchored tall ship, Sea Cloud II…

Hello 0200, Tall Ship as we motor out of the harbor under radar and instruments!

Off to Antigua…

The 75 nm run to Antigua was aggressive as the winds came up, but that will be the next blog post. Thank you all for sailing along….

Our planned run to Antigua

Live Tracking Map here

Remember, you can always see where we are via this live Garmin Inreach tracking map. Plus you can zoom into an area and study the routes and times and speeds we have run. We find maps very interesting. Enjoy…

School Supplies for Jost van Dyke BVIs

Radeen and I are happy to have connected with the wonderful Principal of the Primary School on Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands. Ms. Blyden is a very high-quality person and we really respect her leadership and her dedication to the children on the island and on Tortola. We first met her in April 2017 and again in January 2018 when we were motoring around with a broken mast, waiting to ship out for repairs. Last year we made a donatation from our 503c nonprofit ( to help with needed school supplies.  We have stayed in touch via Facebook. This year we connected with her and said we would buy school supplies in Puerto Rico and sail them over to her. More on that later, so first here is our happy picture together.


Hayden, Ms. Blyden, and Radeen

We went Shopping in Puerto Rico

Shopping for school supplies was really a very fun activity. We sailed in and anchored in Salinas, PR. There we rented a car and headed out to Walmart for shopping stop #1. We had a list of needed items from her and we started working on the list. As we shopped, we were in constant contact with Ms. Blyden via Facebook Messenger on our cells. We would locate items, take photos and ask if these were the right items. She would reply immediately and on we shopped. What a very, very fun activity. At Walmart, we emptied the shelves of all the Expo Whiteboard Markers. We also bought all the chisel tip sharpies they had. This was everything we could find at Walmart.

Whiteboard markers for teachers on Jost Van Dyke

Onward to Office Max

After buying all the markers at Walmart, we headed off to Ponce, Puerto Rico about 35 minute drive to shop at an Office Max. The teachers had no staplers and no staples, they needed laminating pockets, glue sticks, sticky pads, mounting tape, pens, etc. Well, this Office Max had it all, and we loaded up. Each purchase was sent by a photo on Messenger to Ms. Blyden and she approved or said no, not needed. We really kept focused on her needs for her teachers. With a cart full, we hit the check out. We tried to use our Federal Tax ID number to avoid paying 8% tax but they would not accept it because we had no account on file.

Office Max, Ponce Puerto Rico
Our collection of needed supplies for Jost Van Dyke

Back on the boat, we made Teacher Bags

We returned late at night after also shopping at Kmart for a few gifts for Ms. Blyden as she lost her home and everything in it to Hurricane Irma. We were very happy to pick up a few items for her home kitchen. What a joy. So, it was back to the dinghy dock, late at night, where we loaded up the dinghy and moved everything into the quarter berth.

Loading up in Salinas PR.

On the boat, we divided the items and we made 8 bags, one for each teacher. Each bag included a Swingline stapler, staples, Expo whiteboard markers, 8 chisel sharpies, sticky pads, and glue sticks.  We also had a full box of more of the same plus mounting tape, 200 laminating pockets, more staples, black pens, red pens and special pens for Ms. Blyden. This box was for the storage closet.

Our 8 Teacher bags with needed supplies. Swingline staplers are the BEST

Off we sail for St. Thomas and our LUCI lights

Added to the school supplies, Radeen and I also connected with Grace, at and we ordered 48 LUCI 2.0 solar lights. These we expedited shipping to St. Thomas, but we needed to find a location to ship to where we could pick them up. We are so grateful to National Marine Inc, of St. Thomas, they agreed to accept our shipment at no charge and we were now set to receive our final gifts for Jost Van Dyke. Last year we gave away 24 LUCI lights in Puerto Rico and we found out that people loved them. They would come up and ask if we had more and we would give them to anyone who had no power in their home. We wanted to do the same for the households of the children in the Jost Van Dyke school, and we did!  Within 2 days our 4 boxes of LUCI lights were onboard and we were charging them up in the sun so they would be ready to light up for the children.

The LUCI 2.0 Solar Light
Charging all LUCI lights on the deck of Island Spirit

OK, let’s sail to Jost Van Dyke

After a stop in Christmas Cove, we next set sail for Jost Van Dyke arriving around 10 am. We were lucky and secured a mooring ball right off the customs and immigration dock. As captain, I had to first go in and clear into the country. Upon filling out the paperwork I had to declare that I was importing goods into the country. So I alerted the customs officer to this and he insisted that I bring everything into his office for inspection and to pay the duty tax! Oh, no!

The Police station is above the customs house
The customs dock where we unloaded all items for inspection

Back on the boat, we load the dinghy

So, I returned to Island Spirit and we waited out a bit of rain, placing all items into plastic bags to keep them from getting soaked. After the quick rain shower, we loaded up and moved all items to the customs dock for inspection. The officer asked what everything was and he looked over the items and then applied a 20% import duty on the gifts; the school supplies were duty-free. We were cleared and we moved the times to a waiting pickup truck with Ms. Blyden. It was important to us that Ms. Blyden distribute everything on a schedule best for her, without interrupting the school day. We would have liked to spend at least one night, but the weather was good and we had packages to meet in St. Thomas. After a great visit at Foxy’s with Pam, A.D. and Hayden on IP420 Pappy’s Packet, we headed to a mooring ball in Hawksnest Bay in the National Park on beautiful St. John.

School supplies and gifts wrapped in plastic for rain
We used our hand trucks to move it all down the dock

Mission Accomplished

We were thrilled when all was transferred to Ms. Blyden and she was so happy to receive these gifts.  The guidance counselor drove the truck back to the school and we treated Ms. Blyden to lunch at the local cafe on the beach.

A happy lunch with a wonderful Principal, Ms. Blyden

The Children and Teachers with our gifts

We are so touched by the photos Ms. Blyden posted on Facebook of the teachers and children with our gifts.

Jost van Dyke Primary School and Day Care children with LUCI 2.0 Solar Lights
Jost van Dyke Primary School children with LUCI 2.0 Solar Lights
The teachers of Jost Van Dyke Primary School with our packs of supplies.

Everyone Can Help Someone dot com

Radeen and I feel so fortunate to be able to give to others and to help where we can. We are not a large organization; it is only us and our friends and family who donate to help. We give 100% of the donations away each year. This is one example of the small missions we are trying to accomplish. Since the destructive hurricanes of IRMA and MARIA, we are trying to give back to those in need. One month before we discovered we also had damages, we created this project of Everyone Can Help Someone. The first year we donated over $3,000. This is now our second year and we will be looking to help children in Dominica schools next. You can read about our project to help others here.

Culebra to St Thomas USVI

We had one final push from Culebra, Puerto Rico to St. Thomas for us to call this loop CLOSED! What loop do you ask? The loop of us placing Island Spirit onto a ship here in St. Thomas, 14 months ago, with a broken mast and more from Hurricane Maria. It was temporary metal roofing held down with only cinder blocks that Marina Puerto Del Ray would NOT remove before the storm. Of course, the sheet metal would fly off in a hurricane, and it did, destroying 7 sailboat masts. The three staff lawyers at PDR had it all covered and our lawyer determined the marina could not be held responsible. Then FEMA came in to rebuild the roof properly with USA tax dollars!

The loop consisted of shipping our boat back to Florida and replacing the mast and rigging, followed by cruising the Abacos and Berrys in April, then sailing it home to Annapolis, MD in May. We left Annapolis in October and sailed back to St. Thomas. That loop has been a big effort and very expensive to us, all because Puerto Del Rey would not remove a 30-foot x 40-foot temporary shade roof! So, we are very glad to have closed this loop and crossed back over our route as we passed the Crown Bay Marina Shipping terminal on March 22. Celebration time! YAHOO! THAT  LOOP IS CLOSED!

There it is, the Crown Bay Shipping area. We passed it at 1700 so the loop is CLOSED. Hurricane Maria is truly behind us now!
Break out the bubbly
14 months, about 5,000 nm, and we are back. CELEBRATE!

St. Thomas, how we love it

We love being anchored in towns. We like all the available services. We like going to coffee shops, pubs, and easy grocery store access. We like going for walks around towns. We simply like the action of towns and all they provide and if we can be anchored out with zero costs, that makes it even better. St. Thomas was hit hard by IRMA and MARIA hurricanes. When we were here in December 2017 and January 2018 waiting for our rescheduled ship, we were sad to witness all the destruction. This year, the mega yachts have returned, the dinghy dock has been rebuilt and the town is recovering from the worst hurricanes in its history.  Great to see the recovery!

Brand new floating dinghy dock at Yacht Haven Grande
One of our favorite coffee shops in St. Thomas
Taking the tender back out to our anchored boat, we pass by the cruise ships and wave at the people on their balconies.

One Last Upwind Bashing

Of course, to reach St. Thomas from Culebra, it is one more 25 nm bashing or motor sailing into the wind with a staysail. Salt spray from the waves and the winds soak the entire yacht from the roof to the bow. We hate salt on our boat, so when we drop the anchor the first thing we do is take buckets and sponges and chamois to hand wash the boat. Deck, lifelines, windshields, hatches, portholes, cabin top, teak, etc. This takes about 30 minutes or more and uses about 10 gallons of fresh water. Lucky for us we have a Spectra watermaker which makes this possible.

This is what the “Thorny Path” looks like for 1,200 nm. Bashing into the trade winds and waves. Here we have 25 nm more to St. Thomas.
Salt spray over the roof, the entire boat is covered in salt water, then it dries and you are left with crystals of thick salt. The crystals act like little magnifying glasses and intensify the sun and focus it onto the deck, varnish, plastics. This is why we like to get it off. It is so harmful to the surfaces.

The Green House, our happy place since 1986

Our first visit to St. Thomas was the summer of 1986 when we came down to charter a sailboat with our dear sailing friends, Scott/Barley and Freddie/Gail. We flew in and ended up here at The Green House as we waited for the BOMBA CHARGER ferry to take us over to the BVIs to board our charter boat. This has become our first stop place as we sit at the open window tables and look out over the harbor. The greatest aspect now is to look out at our own boat on anchor in the harbor and reflect back on the many years and the many charter vacations and the great friends we have enjoyed in this special place. All those years of dreaming of eventually, maybe we can, maybe we will want to sail our own boat to here. And now, we have. This is a great place for us to reflect.

The Green House, our happy place in St. Thomas
Radeen is one happy GrL stopping here and remembering all the wonderful visits we have had to STT
Our boat anchored as we look over the Charlotte Amalie Harbor in St. Thomas

St. Thomas Map

This harbor has been a dream harbor since 1the 1600’s and you can see why. The east trade winds allow for sailing in and sailing out on a beam reach. The harbor is deep and well protected. We can just imagine the days of tall ships all anchored here and offloading their goods to the many warehouses that line the city wharf. Today, these same warehouses now are full of jewelry stores and t-shirt shops. We like to anchor in the far east end of Long Bay where we find 15-20 foot waters (the entire harbor is about 25 feet avg) and we like to be near the dingy dock. The town is more in the center of the harbor and we can take the dinghy over to the USCG dock and tie up there as well. St. Thomas, Charlotte Amalie is a wonderful place to sail into and to spend time. We love it.

Hayden and Radeen, happy to return to St. Thomas
Island Spirit anchored in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas
The harbor is large, the Crown Bay Marina is the best fuel stop, and the east end of Long Bay is our anchorage spot.

We are here for school shipment

Our next mission is to help the children and teachers of the Jost Van Dyke Primary School. We shipped packages and LUCI Solar Lights here and bought supplies in Puerto Rico. We need to pick these items up and deliver them to the wonderful Principal, Ms. Blyden, on Jost Van Dyke. That will be our next post.

Topping up solar power for LUCI lighs,t gifts for the children on Jost Van Dyke
School supplies we bought to take to the Teachers on JVD.

Thank you for following along. Team Island Spirit is living and sharing a dream, and we appreciate this every single day! We are as proud and as happy as this Culebra Rooster 🙂

Rooster stiking a pose

Puerto Rico South Shore

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!


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

Crossing the Mona Passage

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:

Samana, Dominican Republic

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:

West Palm Beach Aground then onto Miami

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!