Wednesday, January 2, 2019

New Year in Martinique

 Happy Hour in Rodney Bay Marina, St. Lucia with sailing friends (Michele-Tarentela, Cindy-Sitatunga, Captain Steve-Aspen, Skip-Peace Keeper, John-Stop Knott, Al-Tarentela, Dan-Sitatunga, Fred-Dakota Dream, Admiral Maria-Aspen and Kitty-Peace Keeper)

 Christmas Eve celebrations on Dakota Dream with sailor friends - Hmmm, there seem to be lots of parties in the tropics for some reason!

 Aspen at anchor in Ste. Anne, Martinique waiting for the New Year!  Yes, this is a drone shot.
Soufriere volcano on St. Lucia - also known as the drive in volcano since you can drive right into the caldera.  Yes, it is a dormant volcano that will erupt again in the future.  Wonder when that will be! 

Drone picture of Rodney Bay, St. Lucia and all the anchored sailboats

Bubbling sulfur springs at the Soufriere volcano on St. Lucia. Maria is with Skip and Kitty from Peace Keeper.  The boiling sulfur mud is supposed to be good for you?!?

Pigeon Island, St. Lucia with anchored boats in the background.  This was another drone picture where Captain Steve nearly lost the drone because of a slight mis-calculation of how far he could fly away and return safely when flying into the gusty trade winds!  Luckily everything turned out ok with 5% battery life remaining.

Rodney Bay Marina, St. Lucia.  A very nice place to spend time when not sailing!

New Year's Eve celebration with sailor friends on Dakota Dream in Ste. Anne, Martinique.  Shown are Mike (Jack Fish-Orange shirt), Sandy-Dakota Dream, Michele-Tarentela, Captain Steve-Aspen, Dan-Sitatunga, Charlie-Prism, Anina-Prism, Cindy-Sitatunga, Admiral Maria-Aspen and Fred-Dakota Dream.

Sunrise on New Year's Day, Ste. Anne Martinique with the ever-present rainbows Martinique is famous for.  Yes, it rains a lot in Martinique!


S/Y Aspen – January 1, 2019 – Log #161
Aspen Position: 14 degrees 25’ N  060 degrees 53’ W
Ste. Anne, Martinique, Caribbean

Holidays in the Caribbean are a whirlwind of activities.  Fireworks light the night sky as restaurants cater to the sailing crowd.  Then there are the beach pot lucks and land based buffets to keep everyone well fed and happy.

In the French islands the holiday store closings are brief and not nearly as extensive as the x-British islands.  That is a good thing because boats always need much needed parts to keep them working, especially around the holiday season when boats have a tendency to break at the most inopportune times.

Boat hopping for Christmas cheer, rum and meals is the order of the day, instead of sailing during this time of year.  Of course during the day there are hikes with cafe stops along the way for everyone to enjoy. 

Now it is time to rest and recuperate before sailing off to the next destination among the rainbows and clouds on the horizon.

Sail on, sail on Aspen…

Also, our book, Voyage Into Hell, is available at Amazon.com

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Merry Christmas to all our friends and family!




S/Y Aspen – December 20, 2018 – Log #160
Aspen Position: 14 degrees 25’ N  060 degrees 53’ W
Saint Anne, Martinique, Caribbean

We’ve steered our course to be in Martinique for the Christmas season, with a few other sailor friends.  Sandy beaches, bright sunshine along with a good dose of sailor’s tales to keep us entertained ‘neath the starry night sky.

Ah yes, our thoughts are also with our family and friends so far away during these holidays as we wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Sail on, sail on Aspen…

Steve and Maria
You can follow out track using this site: https://us0-share.inreach.garmin.com/SYAspen
Also, our book, Voyage Into Hell, is available at Amazon.com

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Sweet Bequia Once Again

 We're sailing on the Catamaran Dakota Dream with our friend Fred Johnson to Molinere Beauséjour Marine underwater park near St. Georges, Grenada to do some snorkeling.  Maria notices a catamaran sails a bit differently than Aspen.

Suiting up for some nice snorkeling at Molinere Beauséjour Marine park, Grenada with Fred.

About 25 feet down we tried to make new friends.

This is the famous ring of underwater statutes at Molinere Beauséjour Marine park near St. Georges, Grenada.

A busy Saturday market in St. Georges, Grenada

Maria walking the harbour with the fishing fleet in St. Georges, Grenada

Tyrell Bay, Carriacou.  The sailors have arrived for the season!

Wonder if this burro on Carriacou would like to do some burro racing, Colorado style?

That is Aspen we are headed toward

Port Louis Marina, St. Georges, Grenada.  Aspen is at the red arrow.

The view from Mac's Pizza on Sweet Bequia, St. Vincent/Grenadines

Mac's famous lobster pizza, Bequia, SVG

 Taking the ferry from Bequia to the mainland, St. Vincent

Our friends on Peace Keeper, Kitty and Skip, traveled on the ferry with us to St. Vincent

Aspen in Admiralty Bay, Bequia, SVG.  Aspen is in the center of the picture.

Ottley Hall boatyard, St. Vincent.  This is the leeward coast of St. Vincent.

 Maria exploring Fort Charlotte overlooking Kingstown, St. Vincent

Another petroglyph on St. Vincent.  Notice the nice lady keeping the dog under control for us!  Our taxi is the white van in the background.

Maria enjoying a mid-morning snack of salt fish and breadfruit in St. Vincent.  That is a popular local dish.

Layou petroglyph, St. Vincent

 "Cleaning crew" on St. Vincent.  The locals are cleaning up many areas before the Christmas holidays.
 Kingstown, St. Vincent market street.  There is so much shopping here!

 Layou petroglyph and the stream where the rock resides

The intrepid explorer, Steve, checking out the Layou petroglyph


S/Y Aspen – December 1, 2018 – Log #159
Aspen Position: 13 degrees 00’ N  061 degrees 14’ W
Bequia, St. Vincent/Grenadines, Caribbean

Dropping our dock lines at Port Louis Marina, Grenada is always a thrill.  That means we are out sailing again!

After a brisk sail north, we stopped in Tyrell Bay, Carriacou so Admiral Maria could visit the small fish market to find conch (lambi). 

At a cost of less than $2 a conch it is a great deal, especially since the conch are fresh, cleaned and ready to cook.

Cracked conch is how Maria prepared the lambi and we had a veritable feast.  First you viciously beat the conch meat to tenderize it followed by soaking the lambi in lime sauce.  Maria then coats the lambi with an egg and Bread crumb mixture before frying it. 

The Bahamas is known for their conch but down here in the southern Caribbean, conch is also a staple of many local diets.  It is fantastic to say the least!

Captain Steve also wanted to get a haircut and that always keeps Maria entertained, watching the local barber cut Steve’s “kind of hair”.

Landfall in sweet Bequia was next on our journey after leaving Carriacou.  Mac’s pizza is still THE place to have lobster pizza.  Every mouthful of pizza contains a big piece of local langusta (lobster).

Bequia is known for their model boat building, a place to have sail or canvas work done for the boat and the best vibe in the southern Caribbean.  Laid back is a good word for the anchorage in Admirality Bay, Bequia. 

Sailor friends of ours are scattered throughout the anchorage and catching up with them is a great way to watch the days float by. 

Bequia is also a great place to hike and explore with distant islands visible in the far distance, white sand beaches to bury our toes and an occasional tropical rum drink to quench our thirst.

The Bequia Express ferry took us to the mainland, Kingstown St. Vincent with a 1 hour ferry ride.  We usually don’t take Aspen to the mainland because of “security issues” and the ferry makes the trip with a lot less effort against the nasty seas and winds.

Why did we want to visit the mainland?  To see rocks of course!  Well, actually ancient petroglyphs from Amerindian (Kalinago) times.

St. Vincent is not a tourist island.  There is so much potential for tourism but the locals just don’t seem to embrace having lots of foreigners invading their island. 

As we walked through the crowded Friday market, no one gave us a second look, even though it was obvious we were not one of them.  That was a pleasant surprise, to be treated just like everyone else and not singled out for special treatment.

The petroglyphs were spectacular and well worth the visit too, even though the St. Vincent culture made our visit very special.

Sail on, sail on Aspen…

Also, our book, Voyage Into Hell, is available at Amazon.com

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Back Onboard SY Aspen in Grenada



Drone picture of Prickly Bay, Grenada where Aspen was stored at Spice Island Boatyard for hurricane season.  Some sailors spend hurricane season on their boats in the water here, as you can see.

 
 A drone picture showing part of Spice Island Boatyard, Grenada.  Our friends catamaran Cat Tales (Dawn and Laurie) is the little catamaran in the center close to the water.

 Aspen nestled among other sailboats at Spice Island Boatyard, Grenada.  It is a close fit.

 
 A drone picture of Aspen at Spice Island Boatyard, Grenada.  Aspen has the shredded blue cover partially covering the dinghy in the center of the picture.

Aspen feeling the warm Caribbean water once again!

Captain Steve applying the last of the bottom paint before Aspen was launched.  Love the smell of bottom paint in the morning!

Port Louis Marina, Grenada and the 220 volt dock.  Very few North American boats use this dock because the power is European.  Aspen can use both types power (220 volt or 110 volt)!

"Venus", our neighbor in Port Louis, Grenada marina.  No, we were not invited onboard for dinner or drinks, unfortunately.

 
Port Louis Marina with "Venus" blocking a clear view of Aspen!

 The wall inside Fort George, Grenada where Prime Minister Maurice Bishop and fifteen of his government were lined up and executed by firing squad on October 19, 1983.  A leftist coup took over the reins of government, supported by Fidel Castro of Cuba.  The response by the United States resulted in the Grenada Invasion/Operation Urgent Fury.

Looking west from Fort George, Grenada with an unloaded cannon

 St. George's, Grenada anchorage area and channel into the harbour

 Port Louis Marina as seen from Fort George, Grenada

 View of St. George's, Grenada from Fort George

St. George's inner harbour, Grenada with the fishing boats and inter-island traders

Maria's bruised and swollen finger from the 100 pound dinghy engine incident

S/Y Aspen – November 14, 2018 – Log #158
Aspen Position: 12 degrees 02’ N  061 degrees 44’ W
Port Louis Marina, Grenada, Caribbean

Ah yes, Aspen is floating again in the southern Caribbean. 

After launching Aspen, we motored to the other side of the island and found a berth in Port Louis Marina.  Now we can put Aspen back together for another cruising season.

First on the list was the dreaded head (bathroom).  Admiral Maria announced that nothing was going down the toilet, oh joy.  Well, she didn’t use the “oh joy” remark, that was me.

Sticking our heads up for a breath of fresh air, we saw our neighbor - the mega yacht Venus.  Remember, Steve Jobs of Apple fame designed her but she was never completed before he died.  Now his wife likes taking Venus for a spin, wherever she has a desire to go someplace fun.

After a couple hours fixing the toilet, it was time to lift our 100 pound outboard engine and bring it to the stern of the boat.  Luckily Captain Steve has been lifting weights all summer (doesn’t it show?) so without too many rest stops he managed to get the engine onto the stern of Aspen.

Aspen has a nice bracket to rest the engine.  Unfortunately Maria’s middle finger happened to be in the way of the bracket where the mighty beast of an engine was hurled (again by Captain Steve) and that outcome was NOT as planned. 

There was an ear piercing scream from Maria followed by some other colorful remarks directed towards Steve by the admiral.  The entire marina was well aware that something was happening and it wasn’t the captain beating his crew. 

Sailing friends are arriving daily from the frigid northerly climates and doing the same thing we are - working on their boats of course.

Is it hot here?  Well, 86 degrees F is pretty warm especially without air conditioning.  But our blood will thicken quickly, or so we hope.

Sail on, sail on Aspen…

Also, our book, Voyage Into Hell, is available at Amazon.com