Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas in the Caribbean

Merry Christmas from Carriacou, Caribbean!
Christmas party in Carriacou with Steve, Dawn, Brian, Maria, Lorna and Laurie.
Carriacou anchorage.  Aspen is in the center of the picture with the two sails in front of the mast.

Maria enjoying being on land.

S/Y Aspen – December 23, 2015 – Log #135
Aspen Position: 12 degrees 27’ N  061 degrees 29’ W
Tyrell Bay, Carriacou, Caribbean

It’s Christmas in the Caribbean where we’ve got everything but SNOW.

Palm trees bend in 25 knots of wind while three foot waves in our anchorage pound against Aspen’s clean and well washed hull from all the rain squalls erupting overhead.  Ahhh, the tropics don’t get much better than this.

They are called Christmas Winds for a reason down in these little latitudes and that is what we now have here in Carriacou, West Indies. 

It is a festive time nonetheless.  We shelve our log book for a Merry Christmas where sailors revel on the dock and wish each other well along with a toast of rum to King Neptune.

Aspen sways on her anchor while Maria and I dance barefoot in the sand beneath the brilliant stars that brighten the night sky.  Well, Steve kind of dances but runners only pretend to know what they are doing.

Maybe it is just too much salt water on our brains, but you know, from Admiral Maria and Captain Steve:  Merry Christmas to one and all wherever you may be and we hope you have a joyous and festive holiday season.

Sail on, sail on Aspen…

Also, our book, Voyage Into Hell is available at

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Grenada; Island of the Spices

My friend Brent Weigner flew in from Wyoming to run the Grenada Marathon.  It is the 95th country he has run a marathon in.  What a runner!

Maria arriving at the Amerindian cave on Grenada.  Wow.

The north coast of Grenada at Petit Anse, looking northward.

Carib Rock art.  The boulder is approximately 10 feet high and lies along a river in the north part of Grenada.

Lunch break during our travels around Grenada with Laurie and Dawn (Cat Tales) and of course Maria.

The girls, Dawn and Maria, taking a break from boat work.

The guys, Laurie and Steve, also taking a well-deserved break from boat chores.

S/Y Aspen – December 14, 2015 – Log #134
Aspen Position: 12 degrees 02’ N  061 degrees 44’ W
St. Georges, Grenada, Caribbean

Aspen is floating, once again, in the warm turquoise waters of the southern Caribbean Sea. 

Maria and I arrived in Grenada, island of the spices, a little over a week ago from snowy and cold Colorado.  Clearing with the Customs man at the airport proved to be a non-issue for us, luckily.  The horror stories from other sailors did not bode well to easily transport our 2 large bags of parts past the watchful eyes of the tax man.

But we had a plan, of course.  Maria and I dressed as normal tourists and not as sailors, with our destination the nice upscale resort of Sandals (not really where we were going but it looked good on paper).  One look at us and hearing our intended destination the customs man could not get rid of us quickly enough.  No exorbitant duty fees were assessed nor were we hassled upon our arrival.  Success!

Seeing Aspen waiting for us on land again is always special.

The past 10 days have been a whirlwind of activity.  Aspen accumulated more dirt and mud on her usually sparkling decks than ever before.  Scrubbing, powering up the various systems, putting Aspen into the water and then motoring for 1.5 hours to a marina in St. Georges, Grenada kept us very busy.

The tropical heat caused Maria and I to move slowly until we became acclimated to living, working and sleeping in 85 degrees day in and day out.

We eventually caught up with our Canadian friends on Cat Tales, Dawn and Laurie, and shared a rum or two once again.

Maria and I desperately needed a break from all the work and rented a car to drive around the island, looking for elusive archaeological ruins and a nice place for lunch.  Of course Grenada is x-British so driving is a challenge with the cars built for English road rules and everything on the opposite side when compared with our North American driving skills.

The Cat Tales crew were persuaded to join us on our tour (Steve needed another set of eyes to help with the navigation too).

We saw an X on the map that said Amerindian cave so that became a priority on our tour, at least for Captain Steve.  The muddy, slippery road we had to walk down was a nice journey to find the elusive cave.  Unfortunately the old road ended and it was time to walk on an indistinct path through the bush and next to a very wet stream.

Luckily we found a local man named Dillon who was fishing in the stream with his mother.  Dillon became our guide and led us through the jungle, climbing a muddy, steep, semblance of a path and pulling Maria up as well before encountering an opening in the towering cliff above us.

The cave magically appeared and we were successful.  The cave was an excellent place for ancient peoples to live, along with bats that whizzed past our heads in the darkness.  Fire ants seemed to like the cave floor as evidenced by Maria and myself having our feet chewed on in the darkness.  For some reason Dawn and Laurie escaped their bites, luckily.

The cave was quite large with a second opening to the sky around a corner and further inside.  It was truly a magical place to find, thanks to our guide who deserved the tip both couples gave him when we were safely back on flat land again.

Petroglyphs (Carib rock art) were explored beside streams and beaches during our journey along with a great lunch on the north coast of Grenada.  We arrived back on Aspen before it was too dark; muddy and tired from a successful tour.

This new week will see Aspen sailing north to Carriacou, a larger island 20 miles to the north of Grenada proper.  It will be nice to be under sail again with the squalls, seas and strong winds pushing us on our way.

Sail on, sail on Aspen…

(Also, our book "Voyage Into Hell" is available at

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Voyage Into Hell - Podcasts

I agreed to do a series of interviews about our sailing book, Voyage Into Hell. The discussions are a series of podcasts but luckily there is no video, just audio! 
If you are interested in hearing them the link is:

Sail on, sail on Aspen...

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Running the Colorado Trail

The Rocky Mountains of Colorado.  Yes the sky is that blue at 12,500 feet!

Trying not to fall off the rocky trail.

Maria waiting for me at a remote trailhead.  She found me this time!

Yesterday (Monday), a blizzard of golden aspen leaves swirled around me as I tried to keep from flying off the rocky trail, high in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.  It was the last gasp before winter’s white glow envelops the high country and what a sight it was.  100 yards further I could see blue sky again and I hadn’t fallen off the steep trail, luckily.

I was running Segment #8 of the Colorado Trail when the winds stripped aspen leaves from their branches and hurled them at me.  Segment #8?  What does that mean?

I thought it would be a fun idea to run the Colorado Trail, across the width of Colorado, east to west.

The Colorado Trail is 486 miles of trails that begin near Denver and end in the western part of the state, in Durango.  Yes it is all on trails and the elevation is pretty high, 10,000 - 13,000 feet is common during any segment.  Segment #8 only went up to 12,500 feet but it was 26 miles long, counting getting lost trying to find the beginning of the trail at Copper Mountain ski area.  Geez, there are lots of trails among the ski lifts and access roads before finally finding the correct one.

Starting near Denver at the end of September I began with Segment #1, of course, before the
powers-that-be closed that Segment because of bear problems.  There are not problems with bears attacking humans but the Denver people decided that humans posed a problem to the bears because of trying to take ‘selfies’ with a bear in the picture.  You can’t fix stupid, is what I have heard.

So it is good to be a long way from Denver now, 120 miles to be exact, according to my GPS.  But the high country running season is at a close so I will need to come back next year and finish the run.

Maria is happy the high altitude runs are finished too.  She needs to find each ending point on a trail section and meet me, before I get eaten by something or hit by lightening storms.  That is a challenge sometimes.  Without a nice GPS display as we have on the boat, sometimes Maria’s navigation skills go a bit awry and I am left waiting for her to appear.  Who would have thought the highway would be closed for 3 hours, Maria explained to me?  Hmmm, it sounds like trying to have someone work on Aspen in a 3rd world country :)

And you thought we were taking it easy this summer?

Sail on, sail on Aspen…

(The book, Voyage Into Hell by Steve Siguaw can be found at too.)

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Book Presentation

Aspen flying her flags in Tahiti

In a rare public speaking appearance :)  I will discuss my book "Voyage Into Hell" at the Boulder Valley School District's Lifelong Learning Program.

This will take place on Thursday, June 11th at Casey Middle School, Boulder, Colorado from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm.  Registration is $10 and preregistration is suggested.

For more information please go here:

Sail on, sail on Aspen!

Friday, May 1, 2015

The Time Has Come...

 Clark's Court Bay, Grenada with our cruising friends from Cat Tales (Dawn/Laurie) and Sitatunga (Cindy/Dan).  We were on a long hike to a beach BBQ of course.

It was time for a haircut in Grenada.  Oh boy, a number 4 is actually a number 0.  No afterward pictures but you can look below to the next picture to see the result.

Typical Grenada Hash.  It isn't always about running, geeze.  Mud, steep trails and bushwacking all fit together during a run.

At the Hash finish line, oil-down awaits the runners.  I didn't partake in this stuff.

Maria's initiation ceremony for the Hash House Harriers, after the run.  Maria is wearing a green shirt and is beside the girl with the green shirt in the center of the picture.  The liquid in the air is beer of course!

Aspen hauled out and on land once again.  The white things, green stuff hanging from the propeller and white fungus on the propeller shaft are not good things (see below).

Captain Steve removing all the nasty stuff from Aspen's bottom and coating it will nasty paint that will stop bad things from growing on Aspen.  At least that is the intention.  That is also the reason for the suit, mask, gloves, etc.  Toxic stuff!

S/Y Aspen – May 1, 2015 – Log #133
Aspen Position: 11 degrees 59’ N  061 degrees 45’ W
Grenada, Caribbean

Aspen is resting on land once again and her crew are getting ready to fly back to the good old USA.

How the time has flown since arriving in these little latitudes late last year.  We have had our share of storms and big seas but there were always friendly sailors, enjoyable local people, along with sun, sand and beaches to keep us happy in the Eastern Caribbean.

The list of to do things is getting shorter as the days get ever slightly longer in the tropics.  Grenada heat is upon us so we swelter as Aspen rolls in these anchorages awaiting our trip home.

Maria did her first Hash with the Grenada Hash House Harriers through the hills, mud, sand and swamps and said she enjoyed it.  She also said she probably won't ever do another one.  She prefers to stay at the finish line and watch the runners stagger in.

Sail on, sail on Aspen…

(The book, Voyage Into Hell by Steve Siguaw can be found at too.)

Tuesday, April 21, 2015


Aspen near Dragon's Bay, Grenada.

The underwater park in Grenada and the statues.

Closeup of the underwater park in Grenada - just snorkeling around.

Not one of the statues - Captain Steve.

Maria, John, Alex (Free Spirit) and Dawn (Cat Tales) enjoying the beach on Carriacou.

The view from Paradise Beach, Carriacou.  In the distance is Union Island and the Grenadines.

Callaloo at the veggie market - a vegetable Maria enjoys (but not Captain Steve).

Lunch in Hillsborough, Carriacou with Dawn of Cat Tales.

Which came first, the tree or the boulder???

Hiking in Carriacou.

                   Laurie on the catamaran Cat Tales and Steve enjoying beverages in Carriacou.

S/Y Aspen – April 21, 2015 – Log #132
Aspen Position: 11 degrees 59’ N  061 degrees 45’ W
Grenada, Caribbean

We had two of our best sails this year coming down to Grenada.  There were beam winds and small seas that rocketed Aspen from Bequia all the way to Grenada.

Along the way we visited Carriacou, an island that is part of Grenada but obviously left in the past.  It is kind of a backwater place with little traffic and goats, sheep and cows owning a lot of the land.  Life is slow on Carriacou but the locals are nice and friendly toward sailors.

Then it was another fair wind passage to St. Georges, Grenada with a stop at the statues that comprise an underwater park for visitors to admire.  Time has taken a toll on the statures but they are still nice to visit and admire in such a setting.  Admiral Maria decided not to join Steve during the underwater exploration but made sure Aspen stayed safe nearby.

Presently we are at anchor on the east coast of Grenada at Prickly Bay, where cruisers congregate and prepare their boats for storage in the boatyard.  There are still happy hours, weekly hash house harrier runs and places nearby to explore.

Yet there is plenty of hard work to be done before Aspen gets another rest on land.

Sail on, sail on Aspen…

(The book, Voyage Into Hell by Steve Siguaw can be found at too)

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Bequia Regatta Has Come and Gone

A few of the local race boats in Bequia.  Don't be sittin' on dem!

Maria shopping for local things at the local stands.

The Windjammer Mandaley with only 2 out of her 3 masts, for some odd reason.

Waiting for the green flash at anchor in Bequia's Admiralty Bay.

How many people can you fit in a dinghy and still float?

The Royal Clipper ship in Bequia.

J-24 racing action in Bequia.  Note the photographer in the little dinghy trying to catch the action.

The view from the Fire Fly restaurant on Bequia.  Buy lunch and you can use the fresh water pool!

Captain Steve waiting for his lunch - you can see the menu behind him.

S/Y Aspen – April 15, 2015 – Log #131
Aspen Position: 13 degrees 00’ N  061 degrees 14’ W
Bequia, Caribbean

The Bequia Easter Sailing Regatta is now history.  We had to stay and see all the fun that the local sailing boats provide, along with the Caribbean sailors too.  Luckily Aspen was close to the marks so all we did was sit in our cockpit and watch the action.

Since it was Easter weekend in Bequia, most stores were closed and the ATM machine ran out of money, as expected.  Not to worry, Aspen was stocked up with essential provisions like chicken, pasta, and rum.

Now it is time to put the wind back in our sails and push deeper toward Grenada, our final stop this sailing season.  But there are so many islands to visit before we put Aspen on land again.  The legendary crystal clear waters of the Tobago Cays, Mayreau, Union Island and Carriacou are short sails away.  No overnight passages this year and Maria is thankful for that.

Sail on, sail on Aspen…
(The book, Voyage Into Hell by Steve Siguaw can be found at too.)

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Bequia Is Where We'll Be

 Saconi playing and singing his song in Bequia for us.  Nice song!

Sailing down the coast of St. Lucia with the famous Pitons close by.

 The walkway around the coast of Bequia with Maria and our friends making their way to the beach.

A Dockwise yacht transport ship entering the harbor in Marin, Martinique.  The easy way to paradise!

Maria after her hair appointment in French Martinique.  Her hairdresser was from Paris of course!

The dinghy dock in Rodney Bay, St. Lucia.

Aspen at the dock in Rodney Bay, St. Lucia.

A local boat in St. Lucia.  Ja lives!

Sailing down the coast of St. Vincent.

Bequia sees a lot of the classic sailing ships in Admiralty Bay, where we are.

Just a typical breakfast of lobster and chocolate onboard Aspen - well not really typical.  But lobster season is about to end so we had to support the fishermen!

A cannon overlooking Admiralty Bay, Bequia.

Bequia is very picturesque with the Frangipani tree blooming.

Maria with Laurie and Pauline from Cat Tales under a nice arch.

Steve admiring the geology of the arch.

Don't you just love the signs on the Bequia beach?  The bags are for sale too.

S/Y Aspen – March 21, 2015 – Log #130
Aspen Position: 13 degrees 00’ N  061 degrees 14’ W
Bequia, Caribbean

Time passes ever so slowly in the tropics, once we are this far south.  Life is easy sitting under the limin' tree in Bequia watching people parade along the beach next to the sea.  So where did we leave off last blog? 

Ah yes, St. Lucia was welcoming us back once again.  The place where we completed our trip around the planet was a delightful stop on our continuing journey south. 

We went into the marina to refuel, recharge our batteries and refresh our minds with a secure place to stay.  In doing so we avoided the French boats who like to anchor as close as possible to Aspen because they mistakenly believe our anchor rests in the absolute best place in an anchorage.

Being from Colorado and wide open spaces, we like to place Aspen in 5 acres of open sea without anyone coming into our protected space.  But that isn't possible here so we endure boats swinging within mere feet of us most of the time.  Oh well, it is a small price to pay in order to enjoy the sailing life.

Once our stores of food, liquor and electricity were replenished we headed out to sea, turning to port with a fantastic weather window, sailing down the coast of St. Lucia and St. Vincent.  An enormous humpback whale breeched a mere 1/4 mile away from Aspen, sending a wave of water nearly 20 feet into the air before diving deep into the deep blue Caribbean Sea off St. Vincent.

12 hours after leaving St. Lucia with our lovely sail, Aspen was safely anchored near Princess Margaret Beach on tiny Bequia, a cruising crossroads in the southern Caribbean. 

Bequia has changed since we last visited in 2009, like most places in the Caribbean.  Progress marches on but luckily things move at a slower pace here. 

The vegetable market is still bustling with activity most mornings, as are the little shops lining the street through the village of Port Elizabeth on Admiralty Bay, our main anchorage in Bequia.  Sailors wander through these streets looking for the usual things:  groceries, lunch and rum (well sometimes beer, we have been told).  There are also nice hikes to take and view the sea from so many different vantage points, looking north to the mainland of St. Vincent and south toward the legendary Grenadines.

Maria and I plan to spend a couple of weeks in Bequia before heading out.  The charter boats keep us entertained as they arrive while the beaches glisten in the sun.  Besides, the annual Bequia Easter Sailing Regatta will happen so and we can't miss that!  We heard the parties are not to be missed, oh, and there is sailing too.

This time I put a video on our blog with a little song about Bequia.  I hope you enjoy it.

Sail on, sail on Aspen…

The book, Voyage Into Hell by Steve Siguaw can be found at too.