Check it out….Island Packet 35………………..GOTCHA YOU ALL…..
Island Spirit is NOT FOR SALE, this was an APRIL FOOLS JOKE. 🙂
Check it out….Island Packet 35………………..GOTCHA YOU ALL…..
Check it out….Island Packet 35………………..GOTCHA YOU ALL…..
Island Spirit is NOT FOR SALE, this was an APRIL FOOLS JOKE. 🙂
With the Covid-19 pandemic raging worldwide, we have been hiding out in Saltbox13 and enjoying our first winter at home in ten years! Obviously, we are normally on our boat, Island Spirit, spending winters in Florida, Bahamas or the Caribbean Sea. This has been a very different winter for us, but we have made the best of it, playing house. Did I say that we love our Saltbox13 which we designed and built in 1984? Well, we do! This house has been a lifetime joy, so spending time here has been fun, especially with our wonderful neighbors and the fantastic kids on our street. With the new media, bourbon, prosecco room, the weber grill, firepit and large bathrooms, we are not roughing it here. Please enjoy this photo update of winter 2020-21!
We recommisioned the French Godin Petit Stove, so much fun
Thank you all for following along. This is not our usual posting about sailing and luewater and travel, but 2020 has not been a normal year for anyone. Soon, we will have our 2nd Covid-19 vaccine shots, fly to Antigua for that special wedding and then we will return to sailing….we hope. For now, let’s get into SPRING TIME WEATHER SOON.
After our storage in Puerto Rico, we flew home to USA where we enjoyed the rest of the summer and into the fall at home isolating from COVID-19. We spent the summer and fall renovating our family basement room into a very cool media / prosecco / bourbon room. We rebuilt the fireplace and hearth with slate tile, we replaced the floor with new floating planking vinyl floor, and we built a six foot black box floating off the floor to hold the large TV. Added to this was a new bar area with slate tile floor, new cabinets and a granite countertop. We still need new furniture and the library re-installed, but so far, this has been a very good stay at home covid-19 project to keep us busy. We have been slacking on the blog as we usually blog all about sailing and travel, but with this normal, we are trying to catch up and post a few updates. Thanks for following along.
Here are a few photos…
We are trying to catch up on our blog as we now post most live updates to our Facebook Page here: https://www.facebook.com/svIslandSpirit/ So, this post is a photo essay on the process we went thru to haul out the boat in Puerto Rico and prepare her for hurricane storage July 2020 to Nov 2020. Enjoy this photo essay and the captions. I hope you enjoy this….
And that is a wrap on cruising season 2020, where we started in Grenada, launched the boat and made repairs to get sailing by Dec 25, 2020. We sailed up to Bequia for Cruisers Christmas and then on north. We were in Antigua, in February and early March when Covid-19 was breaking out. By mid March we were running back to Grenada to be secure frm covid-19. We docked into Grenada and there we were, “stuck for March, April, May, with a covid-19 lock down. Safe and secure but with a closed airport we decided to sail for USA on May 18, 2020. We sailed 60 hours and 425 nm back up to St. Croix, USVI. There we quarintined 14 days on anchor and then moved up to St. Thomas for provisions. From there we moved to St John and waited for our haul out in Puerto Rico. We sailed over to PR in July 4, 2020 and immediatly had a covid-19 test. Locked down on the boat until results came back we then could begin to derig the yacht.
We down rigged for days and then hauled out July 9th 2020. With the boat now on land we worked on securing her for hurricane season. After we finished that, we moved to San Juan. There we enjoyed a weekend and then flew home to Philly, USA.
Once home, we were once again quarantined for 14 days. W placed a yellow Q Flag on our home and stayed home. This would make the 4th time we have done 14 day quarantine. After that, we began to return to a somewhat normal life….whatever normal is…
After several computer issues, one crashed and I rebuilt it only to then have it crash again after a few days. Then I bought a used one from another boater and set that up and loaded my data onto that one. NOW, I finally was able to download the GoPro camera and view my video clips shot during our 3 day sail up from Grenada. Using a new program called Camtasia, I created this video. Our sail north from Grenada to St. Croix has been our best sail every in 19 years on sv Island Spirit. Grab a coffee and please enjoy this video:
We have been docked in Grenada at Port Louis Marina since March 24, 2020. It is now May 9th and we have not moved the boat. We have also not been in the water, on a beach, snorkeled a coral reef or socialized with other cruisers. Grenada is under strict lockdown with curfew and restricted movement and have hardly left the marina perimeter in all this time. In the month of April, we walked 175,000 steps! As you can imagine, we were still getting very restless! So, we kept ourselves busy with a 25 day varnishing job on all our exterior teak.
We have been waiting for our Spectra watermaker to be repaired and returned. That took 6 weeks, as we dropped it off March 25th and it was returned May 6! The parts were in one parish and the watermaker repair technician was in another parish. Road blocks between parishes even on shopping days prevented the delivery. Permission from the police was granted on May 4th, it was repaired on the 5th, and returned and installed the 6th.
Now that the watermaker is back, installed and working, we can actually leave this dock and anchor out. BUT…now we think we need to sail north to the safety of USA via USVI and Puerto Rico. We have no idea how this pandemic effect will restrict the Caribbean islands, so we feel we need to move out and return first to the USVI. Of course, now the winds this week are at 20 knots gusting 27 and waves are 5-7 feet at 6 seconds, not great but doable. So, we are looking for an exit and an opportunity to sail out to USVI. We are so confused on what is best to do. After working hard thru all the options, we still cannot figure it out. Here is a chronological photo essay of the past few weeks…..
Thank you all for following along and for sharing in our sailing adventure. We are safe, secure, and working thru all the challenges that covid-19 pandemic has caused worldwide. Normally we plan our our every move and each year’s sailing goals. We are struggling with what to do now. On Facebook, we have posted about this struggle and we appreciate that many of you have given your input and ideas. The frustrating aspect is that every day, every few hours, we can convince ourselves that any one of the options is best. Then for the next few hours we work on that option. Four hours later, we think it is a bad idea and we work on another option. Next, we go to bed and wake up with another option and another viewpoint. It has been very unlike us because we have always had most things planned out. For this, we have no plan, like everyone. So, please recognize this and please try to understand. We will work it out, and we are sure it entails sailing out, sailing to somewhere. After all…… DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY….and sailing makes us very happy. 🙂
Where in the world is Grenada? The country of Grenada is the next to last in the eastern Caribbean chain. South of here is Trinidad. Many cruisers were concerned about the increase of covid-19 cases in Martinique and Guadeloupe. At that time, Antigua and Grenada had none. We sailed 48 hours non-stop from Antigua on March 16-17 with John and Nina of IP40 Sunkissed. We anchored shortly after dawn in Tyrrel Bay, Carriacou, the northern most island of the three island country of Grenada. That day, the country was placed under limited quarantine.
When we went ashore to check-in, it felt as if the world had changed in a blink. Social distancing was in full effect. For over 3 hours, we waited to give our medical and travel history and have our temperatures taken by a nurse in full protective gear. One day later, stricter measures were imposed and we were not allowed to get off the boat or access shore or visit from boat to boat. So, since March 20, we have been under strict quarantine. Here is a screen shot as we sailed south to Grenada to show where we are located now.
Job #1 Stop the Sinking
After a week in Carriacou under full lock down, we decided to sail south one more island to the “mainland” of Grenada, where the rules were more loosely imposed. Here we booked a dock at the Port Louis Marina because we were very concerned that the country would lock down more. If that were to happen, we decided we would want to be at a dock for water and safety. So glad we did! One day after arriving, a total lock down was imposed. Plus our water maker had stopped working and we knew could get it repaired here.
Hundreds of boats are docked here, with about 40 people on their boats. Most are empty charter boats from Moorings and SunSail and Dream Yacht Charters. Four other Island Packets are in St. Geroge’s: Lars and Laura of IP485 Sweet Dream (who just completed the Round the World Cruisers Rally, Mike and Lizzie of IP465 Gratitude, Daryll and Lynn of IP370 Open Agenda (whom we have cruised with since Antigua. Barbuda) and Richard and Shelley of IP465 Ailsa. No Mini-vous yet!
Now that we were safely in dock, our first job was to stop the sinking. Our propeller shaft stuffing box needed to be tightened and this would slow the leak to a drip. If you have ever worked on this, it is not an easy job on an Island Packet. The best tools are a 30″ crowbar and a big hammer, plus PB Blaster. After about 4 hours of soaking and tapping, I was eventually able to free up the cap nut and turn it tighter, stopping the leak. Good thing as all the haul-out lifts were closed and no boat yards were working. If you are sinking, you will sink, it is that simple. So, fix it yourself! Here is a photo of working on the stuffing box!
Every day, ships arrive and offload supplies into this island country. There is no food shortage here and the government is announcing this daily, preventing panic within the population. Being in dock, we are now allowed off the boat as long as we stay on the docks and do not leave the marina. This is a very large marina and we have mapped out a 2,000 step loop which we try to do three times a day. We are getting in our steps, plus it is a good stress reliever.
In September 2018, we replaced our original 1994 Adler Barbour refrigerator with an identical unit (still working, gave it away, wanted to be pro-active). Of course this new one has stopped working many times since the first incident on Valentine’s Day 2020. I have discovered this new unit has very loose fuse sockets. So, over time the fuses push out, fall out, or just lose contact and then POOF the frig/freezer goes off. We see the freezer temps rising. ERRRRRRR, so into the sail locker I dive after removing 10,000 items stored in there. Then I can reach the back section of the locker where the compressor is mounted. Of course the fuses are on the side back edge where you need a mirror to see and access them. I have now emptied this locker 8 times and to work on it. Now it seems to be holding the fuses. Frustrating, but at least I know the fix.
Radeen and I are both STRESS eaters, and this situation has potential to be NOT good for us, as we are eating more, baking bread and also scones. (Ignore the wine, bubbly and Crown Royal, we will not talk about that.) Our new oven works perfectly and Radeen is making delicious meals. Thank goodness we can go for walks, unlike the anchored boats.
We are attending Zoom meetings with the US Consulate as they try to track all Americans here in the Caribbean. There has been one extradition charter flight to get people home, with only 3 days notice. We said no thank you, as we are not sure it is better in USA. We are monitoring everything daily and are on the mailing list for the USA STEP Program, so we are well connected to any support the Embassy is offering.
We have now placed two orders with Spronks Yacht Provisioning. The public is allowed to go to the grocery store once a week on very limited hours. The lines are 5-6 hours long. We feel that is is best to not interfere and to not stand in lines, elevating our risk of covid-19. Several businesses have offered shopping and food delivery services for a fee of about $50 USD. You email your list to them and they shop before the doors open or on the days the stores are re-provisioning and then they message you when en route back to the marina. We feel this is best all around procedure.
We are the shade masters. It might not look perfect, but it works. The sun is so hot down here between noon and 1600 that this really helps to keep the UV and heat off the boat. We have a shade over the boom that is about 10 feet x 14 feet with poles front and back. Then we hang Phyfertex side shades that block low sun angles. The bow shade was bought from another IP35 and designed to be lower on deck, but we rig it up higher so we can work under the bow tent.
One of the many walks we do daily. This is looking out the harbor to the west towards Panama! Maybe we should make a run for it, but then again, that country is closed as well, so we cannot sail there. We can walk outt here and see the sunsets at about 1830. Here is one of those many “selfies” we love to take.
This marina has a pool, wood fired pizza cafe, a bar, sushi bar, a full restaurant and a laundry, all of which are closed, yet we are paying FULL PRICE as if all services were offered. Heck, the water has been off for two days. They are gluing a PVC pipe, which takes me 10 minutes and then 30 minutes to cure. Its been two days, no water. With the laundry closed, we are washing our clothes in a bucket and then wringing them out and hanging them up to dry. It works, and we try to do a little bit every day, that is when the water is on! Did I mention that the air conditioning in the lovely bath house stopped three days ago and there are no opening windows in the building?
The third week in March, we had an appointment in Bequia to have the teak on our toe rail, hand rail and eyebrow refinished. We decided since that was canceled and we are locked down til April 20 with no where to go, we might as well strip the varnish and refinish. After seven days of work, Radeen and I have all the varnish off the boat, the teak is cleaned and it is all taped off ready to re-varnish with Ephifanes clear varnish. This would be the third time in 19 years we have taken the wood down to bare and started over. The last time was December 2013, when the boat was in a shed at Snead Island Boatworks on the west coast of Florida. This takes a lot of work and a lot of time. (We have the time, but our spines might not do well with this. We need more yoga stretching to ease the pain. ) We use 2 carbide cabinet scrapers and, when needed, we use a little of the Citrustrip to get around the cleats and chain plates, etc. This seems to work the best.
Thank you for following along. Remember, you can see nearly daily live postings and updates on our public Facebook page. You do not have to be a member of Facebook to surf the web. Facebook pages are live public web pages that anyone with a web browser or a smart phone may view. This is where we post more often. Please check it out here…
Making water while sailing to Marie Galante east of Guadeloupe on Island Spirit while under B&G autopilot sailing to a given wind angle. We thought there would be no wind, so we left the mainsail zipped in the stack pack. Well, there was a perfect 12-15 knot beam wind so we unfurled the jib and staysail.
We are never disappointed with the sailing capabilities of our Island packet 35. There tends to be this idea that these boats, Island Packet Yachts, do not sail well, when they really sail very well. No, it is not a J-Boat, but it sails well and it is comfortable.
Enjoy this short 3 minute video.
We have posted short videos for over ten years, if you want to see others, please check out our channel. Please like and subscribe as well.
We sailed into Martinique from St. Lucia where we always enjoy Marigot Marina and Resort. We only stayed two days there as we wanted to run the weather window to reach Martinique. The reason we ran for this French island is because Chris Parker was forecasting high winds and large swells and that everyone would be stuck and not able to move for maybe two weeks. We said, “if we are going to be stuck for two weeks, then it will be on a French Island!” HA HA, so off to Martinique we sailed. Check out this fantastic sailing day, I created these two short video clips and posted to our YouTube channel here:
The most popular harbor is the anchorage on the south east side. This harbor has over 200 yachts on anchor and there is room for another 200 at least. The water depth is 10-20 feet, the bottom is sand and the holding is really good. Add to this, the town is cute with a beautiful church, bakery, grocery stores, cafes, crepe shops, gift shops and bus stops. Fresh fish can be bought at the fish market and all the fresh produce you need at the open air market. Cappuccinos daily, and beautiful sunsets, and you can imagine how difficult this place would be to leave. We stayed 10 days and could have stayed another 10. Here are a few photos:
With the high winds blowing, we decided to rent a car and drive the 1 hour to Fort de France. There we wanted to check out the waterfront and the town as well as the information to tour the fort. After our first run over the city, we did this again with boat buddies Fran and Butch on MY SMARTINI. We all four loved the tour of the fort and our walk around town as well as our fine savory crepes at La Savane, a wonderful street cafe,. So French.
Moving north, we stopped into Grand Anse D’Arlet and walked the town and over the hill to the next town. These are small beach front villages where locals as well as French residents fly in for a week of beach and snorkeling and diving. The towns are spotless, very cute and very laid back. Coffee shops, bakeries, cafes, pubs, and small grocery stores are so common in these harbors. They are wonderful places to drop the anchor and simply enjoy the high quality of French life.
Mt. Pelee, Saint Pierre
Our final stop heading north was the interesting harbor of St. Pierre where in 1902, the volcano Mount Pelee, erupted and killed 29,000 people. St. Pierre was known as the “Paris of the Caribbean.” Ships were sailing here from France in 15 day crossings, rounding the north end of Martinique and sailing into this harbor. The ships would drop off passengers, basic and luxurious fabrics and household goods and then load up with sugar, rum and tobacco and sail back.
The amount of trading was massive and the plantation owners were millionaires, and so it was, they build a thriving town on the slopes of an active volcano. St. Pierre was wealthy enough to have 12 jewelers and watchmakers! The three story theatre seated 800 people and was in active use for more than 150 years. It had marble floors that can still be seen in the ruins. The beautiful new museum was completed in 2019. We were fascinated to see many artifacts discovered after the explosion, such as porcelain plates fused together, a collapsed (but not melted) church bell and a distorted (but not broken) light bulb!
Onward to DOMINICA, then Marie Gallante, then Guadeloupe, then Antigua! The weather is calm and we are running north as fast as we can. In general, ts easy to sail south, but harder to run north in the winter.
Here is our tracking map, LIVE DATA. When we move, this updates.
With a great weather forecast for ESE winds, we left Grenada on Dec 24th heading for Bequia with a planned stop on Union Island in Chatham Bay. The sail north was fantastic, and like always, we bashed thru the currents and waves at the north end of Grenada. This being our second run past here, we are learning how the winds and currents accelerate at the north ends or south ends of the Caribbean Islands. The winds are compressed and bent around the islands and then accelerate as they compress to make it up or down and around the end of the islands. It can be 30% more wind as you come out from behind the islands, so we always have a double reef in the mainsail.
Island Packets love 20-25 knots of wind and they really like this on the beam or downwind. On this leg, since we are in the Windward Islands, our sailing course is north or south on an east wind! That means beam reaching or close reaching and the sailing is great. Here are some sailing photos, please enjoy.
It rains nearly every day for 5-15 minutes and that presents a rainbow as well. Here is a photo enhanced rainbow as seen on our first sail of the season. What a joy, this was actually a full rainbow, but my panoramic did not work out, so here is the closest end of the rainbow
Union Island, Chatham Bay was a great place to drop the anchor close and off the beach. We immediately jumped in for a Christmas Eve snorkel and swim along the reef. We saw our first “Snake Eel” and a moray eel along with many colorful fish. Welcome to the Caribbean where the water is about 78 degrees and when you jump in, you try to decide if it is cold or not. 🙂 The next day, Christmas Morning, we up anchored and headed out for more sailing to Bequia. Our first Christmas Day Sail.
What an unusual way to spend Christmas Day. Sailing! Our destination being Bequia where we arrived around 1100 with time to check in with customs and immigration. After checking in, we were off to the FIG TREE where the cruisers were having a pot luck gathering. Everyone brought a dish to share and your own meat to grill. Our hosts had the grills running and all the tables set up and we brought in our filet mignon and homemade iced pumpkin bars to share.
The Fig Tree has become the cruisers place to hang out because the owners, Sheryl and Lafayette, have made it so inviting to the boaters. This mother-daughter team opens their space for cruisers to come in and hang out for Christmas Day. Boat Buddies, John and Darcy, who got marrids here on Bequia, hosted and organized the pot luck. Tons of work for 80 cruisers to all have a place to sit and to have a buffet table and to share. What a great Christmas Day with everyone. We really enjoyed this.
We have now been here 5 days and we are really enjoying this island. Bequia has been a cruising favorite of ours since out first stop here in 1992. That was on a charter boat and like all charter boats, you only stay one day at a place because you only have one week and you want to see it all, so you move, move, move. Its so different cruising on your own boat. No schedule, no timeframe, so we can stay as long as we like an any location. That is what is so wonderful about cruising. So, we are hiking, walking, swimming, snorkeling the reef and visiting. Welcome to the simple peaceful life.
We will write next about our wonderful three days of hiking Bequia where we have seen some amazing views. Thanks to our buddies on IP38 DreamCatcher, Dean and Kim, for organizing the hike. Here are a few teaser photos…..
Thank you all for following along. Radeen and I really enjoy sharing our sailing wit you. Your comments are emailed directly to us and we try to respond to them all. Thank you!