Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Leaving the Windward Islands!

 Fred on Dakota Dream with Maria and Dawn (Cat Tales) at his New Year’s Eve party

 Aspen in the early morning light off the volcano on St. Vincent

 The anchorage at Petit St. Vincent, Grenadines.  Lots of catamarans are common now.

 Maria on Aspen in Bequia, St. Vincent/Grenadines

 Panorama of Admiralty Bay, Bequia with Dawn (Cat Tales) admiring the view

 Maria and Laurie (Cat Tales) enjoying happy hour on the floating Bar One in Admiralty Bay, Bequia

 Conch pizza at the Fig Tree in Bequia with Maria and Dawn (Cat Tales)

 View of the famous Pitons on the south end of St. Lucia during mid morning with great sailing weather

 Sailing off the north end of St. Lucia when the squalls decided to pounce on Aspen during our trip to Martinique

 Martinique doing their part to eliminate plastic straws.  This one is made of pasta!

 Lunch in St. Anne, Martinique with Maria enjoying octopus and Steve having chicken.

 Panoramic view of the anchorage in St. Anne, Martinique with Aspen on the far left, in the middle of the bright glow.

 A huge cruise ship passing Aspen at anchor in Pointe a Pitre, Guadeloupe

 Hiking for rum at Bas du Fort, Pointe a Pitre, Guadeloupe

 The town of Pointe a Pitre, Guadeloupe needs some cleaning and point to restore her once fabulous glory.

 Steve’s favorite drummer in Guadeloupe

 Maria and Dawn (Cat Tales) enjoying the aquarium with Laurie (Cat Tales) safely trapped under the lion fish.

Aspen on a mooring ball again in sweet Bequia

S/Y Aspen – January 7, 2020 – Log #168
Aspen Position: 16 degrees 13’ N  061 degrees 32’ W
Pointe a Pitre, Guadeloupe, Caribbean

It has been a busy month with Aspen taking us to sweet Bequia and then on to Martinique for Christmas and New Years.

Bequia found us getting together with sailing friends from past seasons, eating great lobster and conch pizza as well as hiking some shorter trails.

Our good friends on Cat Tales (Dawn and Laurie) were in Bequia to meet us and help us savor the nice places to eat and visit with the friendly locals.

As you know, our movements are determined by the weather so off we sailed to Martinique, a 17 hour sail, with Cat Tales when the weather gave us a window to do so. 

Ah, Martinique, the land of French wine and cheeses.  The sail from Bequia, past the volcano on St. Vincent and into the lee of St. Lucia was breezy and bouncy but a nice sail.  However, the squalls hit the fan as we rendezvoused with Fred on Dakota Dream at sea off Rodney Bay, St. Lucia.  Winds up to 40 knots were recorded from the never ending squall lines that constantly pummeled us, Cat Tales and Dakota Dream the entire way to St. Anne, Martinique.  It was as bad as Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride!  Welcome to France.

Christmas Eve was spent on a catamaran named Jumbie (Kathy and Tom) with 25 sailors.  The next day saw us eating Christmas dinner at Ta Lou Lou’s on the beach at St. Anne, Martinique with 29 sailors.  The number of sailors partying gets larger as time passes, or so it seems.

Then it was onboard Dakota Dream with our North Dakota friend Fred where we watched the Caribbean fireworks unfold from our tranquil anchorage.  Maybe the rum tasting had something to do with the colors painted in the sky from the explosions?

Again, another weather window appeared and we sailed further north to Iles de Saintes and finally Pointe a Pitre, Guadeloupe where are are currently anchored, waiting for a blast of strong winds and high seas to rock Aspen in our anchorage for a couple of weeks. 

We have a car rented and plan on touring Guadeloupe with Cat Tales (Dawn and Laurie) as we enjoy another French island.  There will be a lot of hiking, lying on the beach and Ti Punches to pass the windy days.  Ah, the Caribbean in winter.

Sail on, sail on Aspen…

PS - More pictures can be found at:  http://syaspen.blogspot.com/
1. You can track our location using this: https://us0-share.inreach.garmin.com/SYAspen
2. Our sailing book, Voyage Into Hell, is available at Amazon.com (www.voyageintohell.com)
3. And the new book, Leadville Trail 100; History of the Leadville Trail 100 Mile Running Race is also available at Amazon.com (www.LT100history.com)

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Let's Go Sailing!


 Steve putting the final touches of bottom paint on Aspen before she splashes

 The boys, enjoying some pool time (Captain Steve, Fred on Dakota Dream and Laurie on Cat Tales)

 Sailors at the pool: Dawn (Cat Tales), Fed (Dakota Dream), Laurie (Cat Tales), Maria and Steve (Aspen)

 Port Louis Marina and the big boy docks near the marina entrance

 Shadow Fax taking island visitors out for a rum and beach tour

 This isn’t a picture of Aspen, in case you wondered.  Just a beautiful 295 foot gaff rigged schooner named Athena and owned by the founder of Silicon Graphics and Netscape, James Clark.

 Athena is for sale, if you are interested, at only $45 million (USD).

 Da Customs man's place

 Maria with Aspen at Port Louis Marina

S/Y Aspen – December 4, 2019 – Log #167
Aspen Position: 12 degrees 02’ N  061 degrees 44’ W
Grenada, Caribbean

Aspen is floating once again and put back together for another sailing season in the warm, sunny Caribbean Sea!

We brought Aspen to Port Louis Marina and reassembled her, making it easier on ourselves since there are showers, great WIFI and nearby grocery stores and boat chandleries for our needs.  Electricity is very expensive so we don’t use our air conditioning while at the dock.

Getting acclimated to 90 degree heat with matching humidity is still ongoing for us in this tropical climate.  We work in the morning until about 10 am before the sun gets too intense for any more chores to be done.  We go grocery shopping or run other errands during the heat of the day (sometimes sitting in the marina pool to keep cool!) until about 4 pm when the sun is lower in the sky.  Two hours of work before sunset and that takes care of most days in Grenada.

Late afternoons are also time for happy hours with friends who have arrived and are accomplishing the same things as we are.  Oh, we routinely check the weather back home in the States, just to make us feel better about roasting in the tropical sun.

Captain Steve awakes early each day, well before sunrise, in order to get his run in.  Once the sun breaks the horizon, bad things like lots of sweating happen quickly.  It is best to be finished running before sunrise!

When we shop for groceries or boat parts, the local bus system is our method of transportation.  The system works, is cheap but the normal size vans (called a bus) can be crowded and uncomfortable at times.  No, there is no AC on the bus, just open windows for the much sought-after breeze.

Lugging a heavy backpack full of groceries makes for interesting times, that’s for sure.

We’re stocked up and ready for some sailing now.  Let the wind fill our sails and the seas take good care of us in these little latitudes.

Sail on, sail on Aspen…

1. You can track our location using this: https://us0-share.inreach.garmin.com/SYAspen
2. Our sailing book, Voyage Into Hell, is available at Amazon.com (www.voyageintohell.com)
3. And the new book, Leadville Trail 100; History of the Leadville Trail 100 Mile Running Race is also available at Amazon.com (www.LT100history.com)

Monday, November 18, 2019

Starting Another Sailing Season

 Book signing with Marge, my co-author.  Notice our huge belt buckles!

 Maui, Hawaii, our 50th visited state

 Glacier National Park.  Hiking to Iceberg Lake, as you can see with the bergs in the water!

Glacier National Park as seen from the east and our rental house.

 Glacier National Park hike with our friends, Tim, Maria, Charlie, Patty and Anina

 McCall, Idaho hike with Kim, Maria and Dean

 Our truck, "The Beast", on the dirt roads of the west Texas oil fields

 Chicago hot dogs in Joliet, IL

 Hiking near Aspen with Tim and Debbie

 Another typical mid-west breakfast at Louis’ Restaurant.  That is a small order of biscuits and gravy!

 Bike riding with Tim, Jim and Bruce near the foothills west of Denver

 Golf with Tim, Barry and Bob.  I gotta get a hat to fit in with the guys.

 Sir Timothy, Zach, Maria and Nik celebrating Tim’s birthday

 Rolling Stones concert in Denver.  Wow!

 Maria getting her well deserved t-shirt for 175 Jazzercise classes since coming back in June.

 Cousins Joyce and Kathleen on the farm near Havana, Illinois

 Cousin Cathy near Milwaukee, WI.  Cathy plays Annie Oakley in many celebrations and festivals around the country.  Yes, she rides and shoots at the same time!

 Early fall blizzard in North Dakota.  You don’t want to be around that part of the country after about August!

 Our sailing friends on Dakota Dream, Fred and Sandy, took us in and gave us shelter from the storm in North Dakota!

November at our house in Colorado when the snow begins to fly.  Time to head south, quickly!

S/Y Aspen – November 19, 2019 – Log #166
Aspen Position: 12 degrees 02’ N  061 degrees 44’ W
Grenada, Caribbean

Six months of being back in the good ole USA and how quickly that went by, before the snow started flying and cold weather set in! 

We did a few things while we were home like:
    •    Book signings for the new running book with my co-author Marge
    •    Maria visiting her family near Chicago
    •    Trip to Maui, Hawaii that marked the completion of our visits to all 50 States
    •    Road trip and hiking in Glacier National Park with our sailing friends (Charlie & Anina/Prism along with Tim and Patty/boat less now) and a trip to Idaho (Dean and Kim/DreamCatcher)
    •    Another road trip to the US Southwest and Texas to pick up The Beast
    •    A bit of golfing, bike riding, Rolling Stones, family time and a record number of exercise classes for Maria
    •    Hiking and soaking at hot springs in Colorado and New Mexico (with Tim and Debbie)
    •    Driving to the Midwest and upper Great Plains to visit Steve’s cousins and our sailing friends in North Dakota during an early fall blizzard (Kathleen, Joyce, Cathy, Fred and Sandy/Dakota Dream)

The posted pictures do more justice about these fun trips than mere words; and the pictures are more interesting anyway.

But now it is back to the tropical little latitudes onboard Aspen for more adventures in the warm Caribbean waters that call our name every winter. 

Planning our new seasons’ voyage is pretty much impossible, as sailors know.  We sail as the wind allows, with desires written in the sand at low tide.  The sea guides and rules our every day lives while Aspen takes us near and far.

We will keep you updated on the latest happy hours, a few (!) rum tastings, hikes and ever changing cultures in the Caribbean this winter season as we sail aboard Aspen and think about the snow and cold up north.

For now we will be sweating in the boatyard, way down south in Grenada, getting Aspen ready to go back into the water once again. 

So for now,
Sail on, sail on Aspen…

PS -
1. You can track our location using this: https://us0-share.inreach.garmin.com/SYAspen
2. Our sailing book, Voyage Into Hell, is available at Amazon.com (www.voyageintohell.com)
3. And the new book, Leadville Trail 100; History of the Leadville Trail 100 Mile Running Race is also available at Amazon.com (www.LT100history.com)

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

End Of Another Sailing Season

 Captain Steve steering the schooner Friendship Rose with Laurie (Cat Tales) closely watching to make sure I don't hit anything!

Sunset in Bequia, St. Vincent.  Our friend Dean on Dream Catcher took this amazing picture!

Maria in Bequia, posing on Aspen, as she did 14 years before (see the following picture).

Maria in Bequia on Aspen, 2005

Aspen will rest in the bay, located far in the distance on the right, Prickly Bay, for a rest.

Hiking with friends on Bequia.  Picture was taken with the drone.  Aspen, Fezzywig (Mel and Don), Oasis (Bob and Carol), Jumbie (Kathy), Dream Catcher (Kim) and Dakota Dream (Sandy and Fred).

Sweet Bequia with Aspen

Pool time at Port Louis Marina, Grenada with Cat Tales (Laurie and Dawn) and Maria.


S/Y Aspen – May 1, 2019 – Log #165
Aspen Position: 12 degrees 02’ N  061 degrees 44’ W
Grenada, Caribbean

Six months of sailing and how fast that went by! 

Exploring the Windward Islands and a few of the Leeward Islands passed our time, along with happy hours, making new friends and visiting with familiar faces during the course of this sailing season.

Captain Steve was also occupied this sailing season by writing another book.  Oh no, not that again?!?  Yes, but this one is about the Leadville Trail 100: that extreme 100-mile ultrarunning event that shaped my very being, for so many years.  Luckily (?) Maria was around to relive all those years as I pounded the keys, finishing the book.  I co-authored the book with my running friend, Marge Hickman, so there is more to the story than just explanations of VO2max, training regimes and finishing numbers.  The book is called: Leadville Trail 100; History of the Leadville Trail 100 Mile Running Race.  Here is a link for the book or through your friendly Amazon site as well: www.lt100history.com

We will haul Aspen out of the water here in Grenada, once again, where she will rest and relax before our return for yet another sailing season in these tropical, little latitudes.

Sail on, sail on Aspen…

You can track our voyages using this: https://us0-share.inreach.garmin.com/SYAspen
Our sailing book, Voyage Into Hell, is available at Amazon.com
And the new book, Leadville Trail 100; History of the Leadville Trail 100 Mile Running Race is also available at Amazon.com