Sailing Around The World

Archive for February, 2013

My Thoughts Of Bonaire Island

I really like the Island of Bonaire and will defiantly make a scuba vacation trip back. The island also has some of the best snorkeling that I have ever seen and you could spend all week snorkeling from the beachs, then drink beer and cocktails at the many beach bars all over the island. The Dutch speak very good English and love that you are on the island. It was one of the few islands I was not treated like another dumb tourist or annoyed with taxi drivers/store owners trying to get a sale. I really enjoyed getting off the path here and enjoyed all the nature parks. My favorite place was the Grocery Store. I love fine food, wine, cheese, meats, and very strange items. Well the Dutch Super Market  on Bonaire Island is amazing! I wish I had my camera and a few weeks to try everything they offered. I still spent $40 dollars on walnut cheese, chocolate, breads, thin sliced deli meat that just melts in your mouth. Last I enjoyed the prices of the fine restaurants which served up some of the most indescribable burgers and dinners that I have every had. Never thought I could have a better hamburger then in the USA, well I was dead wrong. I had a burgundy  burger that I think was made for god because it tasted so good with rich spices and flavors that I cannot describe

I am now sitting in Curacao Island  with 30 knots winds and it  took 5 hours to sail east from Bonaire Island, I have good internet. I posted some pictures that my dad took well I was out diving. I hope you enjoy.

 

Wild Goats Everywhere

Wild Goats Everywhere

Wild Buroes

Wild Buroes

Landscape

Landscape

More Bonaire Island Landscape

More Bonaire Island Landscape

Flamingo

Flamingo

Entrance Road

Entrance Road

Cactus_fence

Cactus_fence

me

me

 

Thanks,

Jacques

 


Diving in Bonaire

I spent the day diving off the shores of Bonaire Island and enjoyed a spectacle of schools of fish of ever color you could imagine. I took many videos swimming through schools of fish and kicking my fins through the many coral heads that where covered with bright colored sea life. As I dived I noticed that if you just relaxed in one spot and watched the reef you would start to see many different fish that blended in if you just swam by. I was able to dive between 40 and 60 feet and enjoyed Bonaire Island diving as it is the 3rd best dive site in the world. Tomorrow we will sail to Curacoa Island.

Diving in Bonaire at 50 Feet

Diving in Bonaire at 50 Feet

I wish I could have post the 2 minute video that I took but I have such bad internet it would take 6 hours. Anyway I took a still and this is what I ended up with. I guess I will have to figure out a better way to shoot pictures underwater.

Thanks,

Jacques


Some Pictures of Bonaire Island Coming Ashore

Bonaire Shore

Bonaire Shore

One of the many little Lizards

One of the many little Lizards

Another Lizard

Another Lizard

See all the red dive flags around the east side of the island. They all can be done from shore and each one has a Bar about 1/4 mile or less from each site

See all the red dive flags around the east side of the island. They all can be done from shore and each one has a Bar about 1/4 mile or less from each site

Sailing into Bonaire Island, Its much flatter!

Sailing into Bonaire Island, Its much flatter!

Ok I took lots of pictures but could not capture the Dolphins swimming next to Dragonsbane as we sailed in.

Ok I took lots of pictures but could not capture the Dolphins swimming next to Dragonsbane as we sailed in.

Nice local dinghy being coveedr in bird poop, LOL

Nice local dinghy being covered in bird poop, LOL

 

So far I have enjoyed Bonaire Island and I am looking forward to diving the water here tomorrow. I hope to get a few good pictures of the monsters of the deep. Should be diving around 50 feet and the water is very warm.

 

Thanks,

Jacques

 


Ex-Commando, Broken Inverter, Landfall!

I have made the 455 nautical mile sail to Bonaire Island in 3.5 days and look forward to all her supersizes and wonders that every travels seeks when in a new unknown destination. Upon our arrival my multiple attempts to reach harbor control on VHF 17 radio frequency did not work, so we made landfall in Harbor Village Marina and after consulting a local Dutchmen I was told that the city sleeps from noon to 2pm. We final found the sleeping harbor master and rented a slip for two days at a $1 a foot of Dragonsbne length. Then we walked 30 minutes to customs and immigration and cleared in.

After a few tall Heinekens we walked to Digcell to find out why my cell did not work, with no answer other then it should work and I should email there help desk. Then after that disappointment we went back to Dragonsbane to find out that the inverter that charges our batteries is not working and we spent a few hours trying to reinvent the wheel but did not get the dam thing working. I then tried the password for the internet service furnished by the harbor master and that didn’t work either. So I decided to turn to the RUM!

Dad and I found ourselves at the local marina watering hole knocking back beers with an x-commando from the Netherlands who was the same age as my dad. The conversation was of a multitude of subjects including our idea of sailing to Columbia and we where reinforced with his first hand knowledge and decided that we shall sail to Columbia. Another subject strange that it may be was the swapping of ideas of multi culture differences in war between current and past conflicts. It all boiled down to the fact that we are all cut from the same cloth but we are separated by individual historic tribal beliefs that keep countries torn and countries from uniting to be one. If only we could all set our beliefs aside for the common good of each other the world would be at piece. Not locked and load to blow each other up!

I also learned about a young man that the ex-commando sailed with was hitch hiking around the world. He happened to give him a lift from Europe to Columbia where he dropped him off last year and just heard back from him. He is now in Vancouver Canada hitch hiking his way back to Europe. Although being a very intelligent individual a person could go on an epic adventure with only the cloths on his back, passport and the idea that no matter what the local village says about the next place bad/good or other a person with nothing to show for wealth can see the world with his wits and unwavering courage. People of all nations want to hear tails of the road and other place they dream and with that you find kind hearts with a warm meal. So I asked myself why do I stress over the evils of this world because to go forward into the unknown is met with great eye opening experiences and new beliefs. I shall move forward into the scary world and conquer my fears with disregard to people’s opinions of what the world holds evil or good. I will paint the true picture of what this world has become! I am now understanding that time is best spent experiencing the unknown and not chained to desk or cuffed to debt that capitalist insist is the best and safest way to live forever. I rather die trying to know the truth of this world then just live in it!

For you, Jacques


Day Three Minus 300 Nautical Miles

Once again another great day of sailing with wind in the mid teens and swells averaging 7 feet high. No fish today, but I think that was do to the dolphins swimming behind the boat off and on all day. They are goofy little buggers but shuts down my fishing!

Last night the moon was dipped in sold gold, casting bright light which illuminated the squalls that surrounded us but somehow like threading a needle we past them all without incident. It was very trippy seeing the moonlight casting a gold glow over the decks of Dragonbane. It made all the rigging shadow the decks with strange images dancing around as Dragonsbane yawed back and forth surfing the waves at 8 knots. It could also be because I was listening to Pink Floyd “Dark Side of Moon”? Either way I was floating in a different world at the helm of Dragonsbane!

Thanks,

Jacques


Day Two Caribbean Sea!

Day two in the Caribbean Sea is much like the last. The swells are starting to grow larger up to 7 feet. The wind is steady at 18 knots and we are cursing between 5.5 to 6.5 knots with the wind at our back with 200 nautical miles under our belt. The nearest spit of land is 95 nautical miles away. Some fun news is that I caught a tuna off the back of Dragonsbane. Looks like I have close to 2 lbs of fresh Tuna to eat.

Last night the moon was so bright I could see the horizon 10 miles off. The star where very bright and the only sound was Dragonsbane rushing through the water. I enjoyed my evening watch and then my morning watch as I sun came up.

Current Position: 13 deg 15.75min North, 63deg 52.56min West

Thanks,

Jacques


On our Way to Bonaire!

We are on your way and the weather is very nice. A few squalls off in the distance but appear to be moving away from us. We are sailing averaging 6 to 7 knots with the wind right at our backs. I was thinking that this would be a pleasant voyage now finally having the wind at our backs but I am wrong. With the wind at our back Dragonsbane pitches from starboard to port in a very un-rhythmic way. If you are sitting on the port side of the boat looking out at the water over the starboard deck the ocean disappears and all you can see is the ski and then back to the ocean view when it pitches. Regardless of the motion on the ocean we are heading in the right direction and make good speed.

Best regards,

Jacques

Current Position 13deg 55.58min North, 61deg 40.06min West


The Eve Of A Voyage!

I spent the day finishing up last minute tasks and even enjoyed a paddle boarding for the  work out at the beach. We fueled up our tanks, topped off our water, and checked the oil in the diesel one last time. Our equipment appears to be ready for our 4 day voyage from St. Lucia to Boronia Island  ABC’s. the weather window is looking good calling for 20 to 27 knot winds and the waves are beginning to get smaller from 10 foot to 5 to 7 feet  as we journey out into the blue ocean of motion. I will continue to post on my blog via SSB Radio transmission with GPS coordinates if you would like to see where we are. Once again thank you all for following my journey!

With love,

Jacques


Just Another Nut!

First I have always found it odd when I heard people speaking in a foreign language such as German, French, Italian, and so on in public places through out the United State. I always wondered why they where here and what they where up to. Now that I have been out of the United States for almost 4 months now I am continually surrounded by French, German, Italian, British, South African, and many others. At first I felt like the odd duck on the pond and would wonder what was going through their mined when they looked at me. I always assumed that I looked like a good old boy from the USA and they were smugly looking at me, like I was just another stupid American. But the reality is that they have no more of a clue of who I am or where I am from. My self awareness of my surroundings are becoming more relaxed and almost to the point that being in a bar with 20 different languages filling the air and culture clicks is somewhat normal. Everybody has a respect of each other regardless of country and moves about there business in a very slow and common manner. I personally enjoy the blend of conversation that I can’t understand but listen none the less and can pick up the just of the story by there body language and key words or phases. I am totally emerged into a melting pot of culture and now feel like one of the potatoes in the pot just softening up with all the other nuts out here!

 

Thanks,

 

Jacques


Hows the Weather?

The weather is perfect tonight; with just the right amount of heat and cool breeze that puts one soul into a coma of thought, with a tall beer. I am sitting back on the shore side enjoying a pizza from a fired brick oven and drinking a local Piton Beer which is brewed here on St. Lucia. I spent the day quibbling over sums of money with local merchants for phone service, ship supplies, and bus rides. My mother went home this afternoon as she does not like to make the long voyages that we are about to do. In two days after we have repaired and fitted Dragonbane out we will spend 4 days at sea to make our way to the ABC’s. That is Aruba, Curacao, and BonaireIslands which is about 60 miles north of South America. Our passage has been postpone do to a large weather system south and north of our position that is producing wind speeds in the 35 to 40 mpr range and large swells 7 to 10 feet coming down from the north Atlantic. I am hoping that the weather window will open up on Friday. Our plan is to set sail on Friday and sail into Bonaire and arrive on Monday after noon if we have good weather.

So far my experience here on St Lucia has been good. It is a English speaking island, and has many of the normal USA products but is limited on its diversity in supplies and has a mix of European products as well. The transportation is cheap, only $0.50 for a bus ride to wherever. But the buses are vans which zip around every 2 to 3 minutes. I am comfortable here but would not be sad if I never returned.

 

Thanks,

 

Jacques


A Typical Day In the Life Of a Cruiser!

I woke at 4:30am to a squall rushing past our anchorage and hopped out of bed to latch all the hatches so the interior of Dragonsbane would not be soaked with water. After battening down the hatches your personal emotion is heightened because like any storm they are just exciting to experience and you get that feeling down deep in your stomach. I feel the boat stretch back on her anchor and the wind whistle through the shrouds. I crawl into my berth and listen to the wind and feel the movement of the storm as it causes the boat to sway back and forth rocking me back to sleep.

I wake up again at light, the sun has popped up like a peace of toast showing its perfect symmetrically shape just above the horizon. I then grab a baguette, jam, sliced deli meat and sit back watching the day begin while eating a really hard baguette that I soften up with hot green tea. After a light meal I turn on the computer, pull out the navigation charts and plot our course to the next island. I take note of all the obstacles that are in my path from point “A” to “B”.  Then stow the computer, and anything that could become a hazardous object when being tossed around like a bobber. Then I move to the topside deck to retrieve our dinghy tender. I lash the dinghy to the back stern while in the water and lift up the 9.9hp Mercury outboard motor and clamp it down on the stern pulpit.  Then stow the fuel tanks, oars, and drag the dinghy to the forward deck. I hoist the dinghy to the deck from the sea and lash it and ratchet it down with straps. After dinghy duty I remove the mainsail, staysail covers and stow them away. I then connect the halyards to both sails and prep them for flying while reviewing the condition of each sheet, rope, halyard, and lashing for any signs of chafing or breaks. The engine is started up, warmed for 5 minutes and then I signal to my dad what direction to move so I can retrieve the 64lb anchor that I trust with my life and Dragonsbane’s. I use the windless to grind in the anchor chain and then the anchor where I lash that to the front deck for safe keeping.

Now we are on our way out to the ocean and note the time, bearing, and speed in the log book. As we make our way under engine we turn into the wind and I raise the mainsail grinding the winch and checking the tension of the halyards. Then we fall off the wind as Dragonsbane catches the wind, feeling the hull speed up through the water. Then I grind away at the staysail and tune her sheets so that both sails are balanced for speed. Then I roll out the Jib and grind in her sheet and feel Dragonsbane lean down and shoot off into the ocean. The engine is shut down and the only thing heard is Dragonsbane slicing its way through the waves and water rushing by. Now we do this until we reach our destination.

While underway we consult one of the many books we have in our library on where to anchor and in what bay. After a location is agreed and we arrive I take in the sails, lash them down, and untie the anchor. I drop the anchor noting the depth and make sure I have enough chain out. Then the dinghy is deployed and I lift the outboard back to the dinghy. My dad goes to shore and clears customs and immigration. I clean up the piles of ropes, put the sail covers on, and stash all the lose items that fell below. Now its time for dinner and time to brainstorm what we would like to do on this island. Also a list of all broken equipment that occurred during the voyage so replacement parts can be purchased and installed for the next round. Because for every voyage a new creak, grown, or crack is something that needs to be investigated and usually turns up broken equipment which I always reply “SON OF A BICTH, I just fixed that!”. I am thinking comminuting on east coast 95 bumper to bumper for 2 hours is not so bad anymore!

Thanks,

Jacques

 

St. Lucia

St. Lucia

The local fruit guy that comes to our boat to sell fruit

The local fruit guy that comes to our boat to sell fruit

My Moms fruit she purchased

My Moms fruit she purchased

A Clipper Ship Leaving our  Anchorage

A Clipper Ship Leaving our Anchorage

 

Current Location St. Lucia, French India’s

 


The St. Lucia Squall!

We left Martinique Island at 9:30am today and found the wind right after we turned out of Fort de France bay were the wind was blowing 22 to 25 knots. We put two reefs into the mainsail, flew the staysail and reefed jib sails for about 15 nautical miles. As we sailed across the Martinique-St Lucia channel I noticed a very big gray cloud that covered the entire 22 nautical mile channel. I kept one eye on the clouds and one on the wind instrument. From my experience crossing the North Atlantic Gulf Stream I could see the signs of a strong squall racing at us. I hesitated in my judgment and thought that this squall would not produce much wind and sailed on with our current sail configuration. Then after a few minutes I could see a wall of whiteout rain racing across the ocean along with very big swells that where breaking when they reached full height. I turned to my dad and said we need to take in the jib now. Moments before the squall hit us my dad worked frantically to winch in the jib roller furling that was now whipping wildly off to the starboard and the sound was deafening by the snapping of the sail and her sheets. I could not leave the helm and left my dad and mom to the task of winching in the jib as the squall engulfed us with stinging rain and 35 knots of wind. Finally my parents had the jib under control, I worked the helm quickly to adjust our angle to the wind as the squall had shifting wind directions and caused the boat to heel and put the rail in the water. After a few minutes of playing with the squall I had her tempo down and laughed with excitement at the power of the wind and the waves crashing over the bow. I was having a great rush but my parents were not to thrilled with the situation, but I kept saying “its letting up don’t worry” and my mom would respond with “your full of it” I laughed with a salty soaked grin! Finally after a half hour of 30 to 35 knot plus winds the squall was gone and we cruised into St. Lucia, dropped the anchor and had a few cold ones.

Thanks,

Jacques


A Day In Martinique Island

Today was a very busy day, it started with a 20 minute dinghy ride around Fort de France to the shipyard where the French Navy had there battle ship at dock and several freighters tied up. As we zipped along in our dinghy I looked up at these mammoth ships and felt like a mosquito among giants. After our failed trip to find a GPS mapping card for our Garmin chart plotter we zipped back to Dragonsbane under the shadows of the giant ships and the eyes of Fort de France watching us move across the bay. Shortly after arriving to Dragonsbane we noticed our British neighbor’s boat was gone and we assumed they had left as the anchorage we are in is so packed with yachts that you could walk from yacht to yacht to shore without getting your feet wet. But my dad noticed that their boat had slipped on its anchor and was drifting out of control through a gantlet of sailboats and was at risk of damaging herself and others. My dad and I jumped into the dinghy and boarded the boat to find Pauline freaking out and to make a long story short we helped her reset the anchor and made sure she was safe. After our excitement with the drifting boat we went to shore and walked the busy city streets and ended up at the spice market. As I entered the spice market there was an overwhelming amount of fresh spices, fruit, handmade goods, and RUM everywhere you could look. I spent time smelling all the fresh raw spices, vanilla, thyme, curry, coca, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, and pineapple. I purchased fresh cloves, curry, and raw coca that now fills Dragonsbane’s cabin with a exotic mixture of spices that compliments the ocean breeze. After spending time in the market I enjoyed walking the endless streets packed with fine clothing, multiple linen, and shoe stores that it would take a month to see each one. I enjoyed walking through a very old library where the books where tanned brown and hundreds of years old, and the original Catholic church that had huge vaulted ceilings. I then made my way back to Dragonsbane and spent the rest of the day scrubbing her belly so Dragonsbane sailed at top speed. After a salty bath and rinsing off in fresh water our British neighbors joined us for cocktails as we exchanged our tails of the sea and all our boat issues. Once again another good day!

Good night and Thanks,

Jacques

Sailing into the Island of Martinique

Sailing into the Island of Martinique

Walking the City Streets of Martinique

Walking the City Streets of Martinique

Walking in the market streets

Walking in the market streets

Shopping for spices

Shopping for spices

Lots of spices to buy and smell

Lots of spices to buy and smell

Walking in the old Library with very old books!

Walking in the old Library with very old books!

The church, I didn't take pictures inside for respect of others.

The church, I didn’t take pictures inside for respect of others.

Our Anchorage

Our Anchorage! Took this from the dinghy as I rowed. 

 

Thanks again for reading my blog,

Jacques

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


First Time I Sailed Through a Washing Machine!

We left Dominica last night around 4:30pm to Martinique and began our voyage with no wind. This was due to being on the leeward side of Dominica Island which was 20 miles of motor sailing but we made good speed at 6 knots. As we approached the 22 nautical mile open water pass between Dominica Island and Martinique Island I felt the wind speed climb from 5 knots to 25 knots in a hard blow. I quickly decided to reef the main sail to the second reef and fly only the staysail so I could maintain control of Dragonsbane. As the shore lights of Dominica faded into the star light of the horizon behind me large swells from the north Atlantic began to roll across my bow and mixed in with the east trade wind waves. As I hacked my way through the waves on my shift alone I felt the boat being tossed up into the air by the northern swells and then push down into the troughs of waves by the eastern trade wind waves with a sudden stop. Even with a confused sea, and the movement of Dragonsbane unpleasant, I had fun as I sailed 7 knots and on course for the entire night. I did get a little cold because some of the waves would dump into the cockpit right as I would be drying out from the last wave. I always answered the wave with a “Son of A Bitch!” and laughed with a big salty bearded smile on my face and hoped to go faster!

We made landfall around 5:30am and I enjoyed using the Radar to navigate through the busy harbor. It’s pretty cool to see little specs on the radar, track them, and avoid a collision. I felt very safe in Dragonsbane as we made it to the anchorage and dropped anchor right in front of Fort de France, Martinique. I enjoyed the sun rise with a cigar and the old city church bells of France ringing in the new day! Nothing better on this salty Valentines Day!

Happy Valentines Day Everybody,

Jacques


Running Into the Jungle!

When we woke up this morning we were once again greeted by the boat boys as the locals call them. They each have colorful boats with outboard engines and patrol the anchorage for thieves and offer many services to cruisers. One of the boys offered to take us up the Indian River in Dominica for $18 each. The river runs deep into the Jungle of Dominica and sounded like fun so we agreed to go.  We hopped into the boat and were off to the river and as we made our way into the entrance the captain of our new vessel stopped the motor and started to row with his hand carved oars. Apparently it is forbidden to motor up the river because it is a natural preserve.

Entering the Jungle from the ocean into the Indian River

Entering the Jungle from the ocean into the Indian River

As our guide rowed his way up the river you could feel the humidity begin to rise and moisture in the air was thick with the smell of green leaves sunning themselves in the above canopy and brackish water which is a mix of salt and fresh water. All you could hear was birds, leaves rustling, and loud squeaks of the bamboo trees.

The river begins to narrow as we got deeper into the Jungle

The river begins to narrow as we got deeper into the Jungle

As the jungle canopy began to close off the sky above our heads the banks of the river began to move with all kinds of little black crabs that had one claw bigger than their body and looked very silly as they burrowed there way into the mud banks.

The Jungle is very thick now

The Jungle is very thick now

As we approached a corner our guide pointed out the location of where the scene for “Pirates of Caribbean”. The scene was for the whitch that they sought out in one of the movies, not sure which one.

Our river guide was the pilot for the movie on this river. He was very proud.

Our river guide was the pilot for the movie on this river. He was very proud.

The further on we rowed we ended up finding a Bar in the middle of the Jungle! I went in to find only a chicken perched on a white cedar chair back making all kinds of  noise. I walked by cautiously  as my interaction with chickens has been rough up to this point. Anyway he did not care I was there, nor did all the lizards in the tin roof above our heads. Unfortunately  all the rum was gone so we head back down the river.

The Bar in the Jungle with a chicken only

The Bar in the Jungle with a chicken only

Green and blue lizards hanging out above our heads

Green and blue lizards hanging out above our heads

The adventure ended with us seeing some boa-constrictor snakes sunning themselves way up in trees but I could not get a good picture. The guide dropped us of at Dragonsbane and I am now making her ready for tonight’s  sail to the island of Martinique. Which I am told is a very French island and is friendly to cruisers but has a lot of petty crime. It should take us about 12 hours to get there but I am hoping that we will have wind again and sail swiftly through the moonlight! Good day and Good Luck!

Thanks,

Jacques


Now the Island of Dominica

We departed iles des Saints the French Island that I have come to love and will return. Our next short trip was 22 nautical miles to the island of Dominica which contains a large rain forest, the world’s second largest boiling lakes, and mud ponds. We had a great sail with 20 knots of wind on our beam we cruised 7.5 knots the whole way. My dad cleared us in by going to the custom agent’s house because it was a holiday today on Dominica and the main customs office was closed. We went to town to enjoy the carnival that celebrated the freedom from slavery for the people of Dominica. It was very interesting only 20 nautical miles away and I found a completely different island and culture. The local people were very friendly who speak English, but the town was covered with trash, and poverty was very noticeable. By overlooking the bad I saw the beauty in the landscape and people. Even though the town was rough the people where celebrating in a very hard core way by drinking, singing, and marching behind large speakers mounted to trucks. The atmosphere was fun and lots to take in, not going to lie I had a few drinks myself!

Just anchored in the bay off of Dominica Island

Just anchored in the bay off of Dominica Island

Locals celebrating Dominica

Locals celebrating Dominica

The moving sound stage for the moving party through town

The moving sound stage for the moving party through town

House in town. This is why we have building codes people

House in town. This is why we have building codes people

Trying a local rum shot which came from the jug behind me with all the stuff in it. I wont lie it tasted like a shot of potpourri.

Trying a local rum shot which came from the jug behind me with all the stuff in it. I wont lie it tasted like a shot of potpourri.

Thanks,

Jacques


Post Cards & French Bread!

This morning I went to shore to my favorite little town iles des Saints and wondered the streets to find a bakery to get a fresh baked bread for lunch. I was able to find such a place and bought a baguette that was a yard long and enjoyed walking about with this bread and felt like a true French local as we were all walking with fresh bread. I purchased some post cards and walked to the post office. As I approach the front gate I was told by a young man my age in French that it was closed. I told him in French I didn’t speak French and without hesitation he said in English “Fukien closed! Holiday” then we spoke in a mix of French and English for a few blocks as we walked where everything was and how I could get postage stamps to mail them. So I went to a few little shops and found stamps, but was stumped on how the yellow mail box worked and decided I would fill the post cards out on the boat and then return to that strange mail box. I then jumped into the dingy and rowed back to Dragonsbane for the work out. Most of my day was toiling with Dragonsbane working on the water maker and changing the oil on the Honda generator. After many hours my dad and I accomplished fixing the water maker and I changed the oil in the generator.

As we worked I dropped my mom off in town and let her wonder about. She happened to figure out the mail box issue and bought fresh potatoes from the market and came back aboard to cook up a great beef roast with potatoes, and mushrooms in the pressure cooker. The boat smelled of roast beef and as we finished up cleaning the boat we sat down and had cocktails. Then enjoyed the meal she had prepared with the little French town, basking in moonlight as our back drop and listened to French music over the radio. I must say life is good on the sea and tomorrow I will wonder out into the ocean to Dominica Island.

 

iles des Saints

iles des Saints

The Town Square

The Town Square

Walking down the street

Walking down the street

Main Street

Main Street

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Thank,

Jacques


I Found the Last of Europe

After clearing customs, lunch on the boat, and a nap from the 30 hours of sailing we headed to town in iles des Saints which was a 2 minute dingy ride from stern to dock. Our hope was to have a authentic French dinner and sight see some of the local shops. But like a true French dinner it does not begin till 7pm anywhere in town and you must reserve a table in order for the chef to cook for you. It was only 5:30 so we took our time and tried our best to interpret all the French Menus at all the restaurants and settled on “Restaurant Au bon vivre”. It was very well recommend and was located in a small field stone shop that was open to the narrow street with little café tables set for dinner. Large timber beams held the ceiling in place with bare wood tongue and grove floors gave the ambiance that one would expect of a French restaurant. We walked the town till 7pm and worked up a even bigger appetites and enjoyed the very French town. I notice that all the local people where outside their houses chatting and telling stories. The kids where everywhere playing on bicycles and skating around. The town was alive with the sound of happy people living together. No TV’s, no video games for the kids, and no noise of car traffic as the town was small enough to walk or use one of the many little scooters. I think it is unfortunate that we don’t live in a culture like this as I miss talking to my neighbors and the sound of a lively neighborhood. Anyway we sat down for dinner and I had lasagna with lamb, my dad had a rack of lamb with chunks of sweet goat cheese cooked into the meat, and my mom had a salad with duck and some kind of French sauce. The meal took about 2 and half hours but it was nice to be seated on the narrow street with only people walking by, cats and dogs walking by looking up for scraps. I also enjoyed the sound of piano music floating through the air as we finished up our meal. I will definitely be back to this wonderful little spot where there are few world culture influences other then French.

Thanks,

Jacques


Finally Pictures of St. Martin and St. Barts!

Well I am happy to say we had our first sail where we did not have to run the engine. We were able to sail  for 167 nautical miles and cruised at 6 plus knots. We sailed from St. Barts to Guadeloupe but at the last minute we followed the wind to iles des Saintes and left Guadeloupe behind. I guess we wanted the really good French bread on iles des Saintes, so good that you can cut your teeth on it or use as a club to knock out a mugger on your way from the lady that bakes it on this little island. I will post the details later when we go ashore to have dinner and a few local cocktails! But for now enjoy some of my pictures from my point of view!

The Yachts That Surround Dragonsbane

The Yachts That Surround Dragonsbane

St. Martin From The Ocean

St. Martin From The Ocean

St. Martin Canal to the Lagoon

St. Martin Canal to the Lagoon

St. Martin Draw Bridge to Lagoon

St. Martin Draw Bridge to Lagoon

The Famous St. Martin Boat Yards

The Famous St. Martin Boat Yards

All the boat anchored in St Martin Lagoon

All the boat anchored in St Martin Lagoon

The Mega Yacht Repair Yards

The Mega Yacht Repair Yards

More Mega Yacht Repair

More Mega Yacht Repair

Sci-Fi Yacht in St. Bart we anchored right in front of her.

Sci-Fi Yacht in St. Bart we anchored right in front of her.

Roads in St. Bart's

Roads in St. Bart’s

The Dingy Tender dock in St. Barts, My dingy is the small one cover in sea-gal shit on the end.

The Dingy Tender dock in St. Barts, My dingy is the small one cover in sea-gal shit on the end.

St. Barts shore line, picture taken from Dragonsbane

St. Barts shore line, picture taken from Dragonsbane

St. Barts

St. Barts

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Squall coming over a island to hit us

Squall coming over a island to hit us from Guadeloupe

Guadeloupe

Guadeloupe

Squall ahead

Squall ahead

Same squall

Same squall

Squall

Squall

The Dude working n the white Russian!  CHEERS!

The Dude working on the white Russian! CHEERS!

 

Thanks,

 

Jacques


St. Barts! Is French!

We arrived in St. Bart’s this afternoon to a sight of 10 or 15 mega yachts that caused my eyes to widen by there design and splendor. Yachts’ that looked like they where out of sci-fi fiction and overwhelmed the mind of how much they could possibly cost. For instance there dingy tenders where wood cigar boats that carried their owner to and from the little French town in Bart’s. I feel like I am the ugly duck surrounded by white swans as we are anchored in the middle of them. The atmosphere is thick with French and the style of the women’s cloths and their beauty is worth a double take. I am in love with the French and wish that I could speak French to talk with them. The town is small but stuffed with French clothing stores and high end stores. The people walk around clothed in fashion that must cost 10k per outfit and they still have a sense of kindness and happiness to see me walking the streets. Lots of love felt here and I would love to pitch a tent on the beach and learn the language, work doing whatever for a month or two. But like all good things in life I have to move on to see what is around the next island. Our plans are to sail 30 hours to Guadeloupe which was once all inhabited with women. When Columbus sailed there he was attacked and sent away by the women tribes that once occupied the Island. I am hoping that we can sail the whole way but we will see what the ocean does.

The only issue I have with St. Bart’s is the anchorage that we are in has large swells that are parallel with our boat and cause the boat to rock side to side by 10 degrees and makes my stomach turn. I hope the night will calm the motion of the ocean but I think not. However to ease the motion I am listening to smooth French jazz over the radio. Good night my friends and family, miss you all.

Jacques


St. Martin Thoughts

St. Martin I think so far is one of my favorite islands I have visited minus the petty theft. All the locals speak French and English very well. The atmosphere is very European and reminded me of France. As we walked the streets they were filled with little cafs that had multiple displays of fresh baked breads, croissants, and a multitude of pastries that where full of chocolate and cream. As you walked you could hear conversations in the romantic French language even if it was an argument, “Shit sounded good to me!”. The streets where busy with taxis and motorcycles running around with tourists to bring them to all the very expensive French malls and shops throughout the city.

I have been finding myself more of an observer of the local people and the cruise ship tourists that flood into town for a few hours and leave in there wake stress, and high blood pressure for the local store owners. I am also stressed by the overwhelming sight of a cruise ship sitting at dock and I know I will be surrounded by thousands that are clueless. But I do enjoy watching people fumble around with no clue or buying all the tent market handcrafted items that where made in China, which I have seen on every island from Nassau to St. Martin, but in different colors. But I guess people have to eat and the cruise ship folks bring the bacon. Just wish they where better examples of Americans. I wish we could all get off the treadmill of the fast pace American life style we have accepted as normal. We need to slow down to enjoy the moment and not rush to pack as much things into a day as technology allows us. If we don’t we miss the simple joys of life and think by filling the day up is better than just enjoying the crap out of one thing!

Thanks,

Jacques


From My Mother Point of View

Once again it is good to be back on Dragonsbane. We are currently in St. Martin. Dale is enjoying speaking French! We sailed throughout the night, leaving Virgin Gorda around 4:00 Tuesday afternoon, watching the sun set over the island of St.Thomas as we sailed out to sea. We arrived in St. Martin at 9:00 this morning. The wind was right in our face once again. Jacques is looking forward to turning westward and hopefully have some wind behind us. Last night’s voyage was accompanied by several other sailboats, cruise ships and cargo freighters. They light up the sky like Christmas.

For me the most curious phenomenon is the florescent sparkles that twinkle off the foam as the boat splashes through the water. Supposedly the boat stirs up plant life that glows in the dark. As Jacques describes it, imagine sparks spinning off a grinding wheel or arc welder. This can only be seen in the silence of night sailing.

The sail was great for me as I blissfully slept below while Dale and Jacques took four hour shifts at the wheel. On Jacques’ 4 am shift he negotiated a squall, helming into 32 knots of wind. Me, I slept.

Tonight we are drinking BVI Pussers Rum Painkillers on deck and watching the sun go down over St. Martin while listening to some island steel drum music. What a life!!

Barbara


Tortola Pictures

The BVI

The BVI

Me and my parents

Me and my parents

Picture of Road town

Picture of Road town

Me Taking a picture and my looking a somthing

Me Taking a picture and my dad looking a

something

Picture of one of the thousands of chickens that would wake me up at sunrise.

Picture of one of the thousands of chickens that would wake me up at sunrise.

Goats eating the flowers from the shop!

Goats eating the flowers from the shop!

The BVI

The BVI

Dragonsbane on a mooring  in Soper's Hole Tortola

Dragonsbane on a mooring in Soper’s Hole Tortola

We are currently anchor off of Virgin Gorda and will be leaving to St Martin today. I am hoping that the wind will be far enough to the north that we will not have to do much motoring but it doesn’t look like it. Hope all is well.

Thanks,

Jacques


Dinner With Friends and Tortola Pictures

We had a great dinner last night at Pusser Bar with Paul Exner and his wife. Paul was our blue water instructor that got us going on our first voyage from Annapolis and has his company Modern Geographic based in Tortola. He instruct sailors of all levels of ability all over the world and I recommend him for any of your plans dealing with sailing.

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