Saturday, January 14, 2023

Sailing North and Big News

 

Chavez delivering fresh baguettes, bread and croissants in Bequia.  That is Sandy on Dakota Dream getting her daily cinnamon roll too.

Buying eggs from the local fruit stand is always interesting.  One never knows what the daily truck will bring.

Our route up the volcano on St. Vincent “La Soufrière”.  The volcano last erupted in September 2021 - ouch!

Our group of climbing sailors in the cool air, high up on the volcano

Yes, “La Soufrière” erupts a LOT of ash

Dawn on Cat Tales showing the way to climb into the clouds

This area was completely barren in September 2021, after the volcano erupted.  Look how quickly things grow in the tropics.

On the Bequia Express ferry at 0630, going to Kingstown, St. Vincent for our volcano climb

Kingstown, St. Vincent

Our climbing bus, led by the tour guide Fraser.  A local guide is required to hike or climb the volcano.

The trail on “La Soufrière” was in really good shape, even after so much destruction following the last eruption in September 2021.

Sailing on Bequia's "Friendship Rose" schooner with so many sailor friends. Charlie and Anina (Prism), Bill and Joanna (Cloud Street), Dawn and Laurie (Cat Tales), Fred and Sandy (Dakota Dream), Linda and Garry (X-July Indian), Barry and Monica (MoBata) and a nice British couple on the far left.  Maria and I are in the picture too, ha ha!

Maria with Savannah Sky at the dock in the Netherlands
 
Savannah Sky being stored for winter in the Netherlands

S/Y Aspen – January 14, 2023 – Log #188

Aspen Position: 14 degrees 04’ N, 60 degrees 56’ W

Rodney Bay, St. Lucia, Caribbean

 

Sailing North and Big News

 

Leaving sweet Bequia, just after midnight, is necessary for Aspen to arrive in St. Lucia before another sunset overtakes us.

 

It was a good sail with Aspen flying along at 6.5 – 7.8 knots, skipping across the endless waves like a thoroughbred horse.  Well, if horses could charge across the water, you might picture that?

 

Twelve hours later we enjoyed peaceful Rodney Bay Marina, after visiting Customs & Immigration of course.  Yes, they even let us into the country, despite our bedraggled appearance, after spending all night and half the day sailing amongst tropical trade winds in the Caribbean Sea.

 

Rodney Bay Marina is recovering nicely from the world shutdown due to Covid.  Restaurants welcome sailors once again and the docks are busy with boats coming and going from all points of the globe.

 

Walking the docks in the marina is quite a reunion; seeing sailors and boats we haven’t seen since 2019.  The friendly comradery doesn’t change, only a few more gray hairs and sun-dried skin with several more wrinkles have changed everyone’s appearance; Except our ageless bodies, of course.  Ha ha.

 

Maria’s and my big news is: we bought another boat.  What???

 

It was a deal too good to pass up, as the saying goes.

 

We purchased an Island Packet 485 sailboat.  Yes, the same factory that built Aspen so long ago.

 

The name of our new sailboat is “Savannah Sky”, because Maria likes that sweet name.

 

She is a 52-foot sailboat, big enough to take on whatever adventure lies on the horizon for us.

 

Oh, there is one more little detail about the new boat.  It is in Rotterdam, Netherlands.  Woa.

 

Ah, it will be a grand adventure sailing Savannah Sky south to the Canary Islands and across the Atlantic to our beloved Caribbean during November 2023.

 

Sail on, sail on Aspen and Savannah Sky…

 

Steve and Maria

PS -

1.     You can follow Aspen’s route here: https://forecast.predictwind.com/tracking/display/SV_Aspen

2.     Aspen also has a Garmin tracker working so you can follow along:  https://share.garmin.com/SYAspen



Sunday, January 1, 2023

 

New Years Eve party on Dakota Dream (Sandy & Fred)

Happy New Years Eve gathering on Dakota Dream in sweet Bequia

Hope Bay beach in Bequia with Dawn (Cat Tales)

Hope Bay beach is stunning, after a long hike

The view from Hope Beach, Bequia

Christmas party at the Fig Tree Restaurant, Bequia with Fred (Dakota Dream)

Great friends at the Christmas party at the Fig Tree Restaurant, Bequia. Garry & Linda (X-July Indian), Cheryl (Fig Tree owner and good friend), Fred (Dakota Dream), Dawn and Laurie (Cat Tales)

Just another nice hike on sweet Bequia

Sailing away...

Club Med cruise ship visiting for the day in Bequia

Maria never knows how the eggs will look.  Big and small, they still taste yummy!
 

S/Y Aspen – January 1, 2023 – Log #187

Aspen Position: 13 degrees 08’ N, 61 degrees 14’ W

Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Caribbean

 

Happy New Year!

 

Fireworks painted the night sky in sweet Bequia, celebrating a new year for sailors gathered from all parts of the world.

 

We had a fun celebration on our friend’s catamaran named Dakota Dream (Fred and Sandy, from North Dakota of course).

 

Sandy from Dakota Dream, flew in from North Dakota just in time to attend her own party, with twenty sailors welcoming her back to her watery home.  Going from -10F in the north country to +85 tropical degrees is always a shock this time of year!

 

This morning, things are moving even slower than normal in the anchorage, with the New Year festivities continuing until sunrise on both land and sea.  Sleep will come, once the pulsating music dies down.

 

Happy New Year 2023 to all from Aspen and her crew!

 

Sail on, sail on Aspen…

 

Steve and Maria

PS -

1.     You can follow Aspen’s route here: https://forecast.predictwind.com/tracking/display/SV_Aspen

2.     Aspen also has a Garmin tracker working so you can follow along:  https://share.garmin.com/SYAspen

 


Thursday, December 22, 2022

Christmas in the Caribbean

 

Aspen in sweet Bequia with Maria watching all the activity

Fred on Dakota Dream at the old Battery, overlooking Admiralty Bay, Bequia

Maria and Dawn (Cat Tales) after hiking to the top of Peggy's Rock on sweet Bequia

Admiralty Bay, Bequia with Aspen in the middle of the anchored boats

Maria relaxing at the top of Peggy's Rock, Bequia

Hiking on Bequia is not always flat, ha ha!

Captain Steve installing new batteries on Aspen

Aspen and her crew at the dock amongst the ARC+ boats in Port Louis Marina, Grenada
 

S/Y Aspen – December 22, 2022 – Log #186

Aspen Position: 13 degrees 08’ N, 61 degrees 14’ W

Admiralty Bay, Bequia, Caribbean

 

Christmas in the Caribbean

 

It was one year ago on Christmas Eve when Steve arrived in the Galapagos Islands, getting precious fuel for Aspen before being told to leave immediately, after only 8 hours anchored out and forbidden to touch land.  Rules were rules without any compassion, even on Christmas Eve for an exhausted wayward sailor.

 

Things are different and much more pleasant here in the tropical Caribbean this year, and that is why we sail in these little latitudes.

 

Luckily, Aspen’s new batteries arrived in Grenada so we sailed north to Sweet Bequia for Christmas celebrations.

 

People on Bequia are so welcoming and friendly, greeting us on the streets and excited to have us back.  Bequia really is a special place in our watery world.

 

Sailing friends have also arrived in Bequia: Fred on Dakota Dream, Skip on Peacekeeper and Dawn & Laurie on Cat Tales are all here for the Christmas festivities.

 

More of the reasons we enjoy Bequia:

·      The veggie truck is well stocked and waiting for us by the ferry dock

·      African, a local sailor and handler of many moorings brought us a bottle of his homemade Rum punch, as a gift

·      African’s helper, Dee Dee, waves to us when she passes by, while showing charter boats to a secure mooring

·      The bread guy dinghies by, bringing baguettes, croissants and even banana bread to our boat

·      Lobsters are crawling out of the lobster guy’s little boat, looking for a hot steaming pan of water to make a tasty lunch or dinner

·      The conch horn blows, signaling the local fishermen’s catch is ready for anyone interested

·      Music bounces off the water, day and very late into the night, for local holiday traditions

 

It’s Christmas time in the Caribbean and we’ve shelved the ole’ log book for these days.  Aspen and her crew swings at anchor in sweet Bequia, walking blinding white beaches beneath a blazing tropical sun.

 

Merry Christmas to all from Aspen and her crew!

 

Sail on, sail on Aspen…

 

Steve and Maria

PS - More pictures can be found at:  http://syaspen.blogspot.com/

1.     You can follow Aspen’s route here: https://forecast.predictwind.com/tracking/display/SV_Aspen

2.     Aspen also has a Garmin tracker working so you can follow along:  https://share.garmin.com/SYAspen

 

 


Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Back to da Islands

 

Motoring into the marina at St. Georges, Grenada to put Aspen back together again.

Grand Anse Beach, Grenada.  Ahhhh.

Aspen at the dock in the marina, with lots and lots of work getting her ready for sailing again.

Aspen getting ready to touch the Caribbean Sea.

Spice Island Boat Yard in Grenada.  Yes, it rains a lot!
 

S/Y Aspen – November 30, 2022 – Log #185

Aspen Position: 12 degrees 02’ N, 61 degrees 44’ W

St. Georges, Grenada, Caribbean

 

Back to da Islands

 

Coming back to da islands, from snowy and cold Colorado, is always interesting. 

 

The usual run-for-the-next-flight at the airport seems to be normal these days, especially when connecting in Miami for points south.

 

Covid protocols in da islands are just memories, thank goodness.  So no more endless forms, tests or quarantine centers are needed.  Masks are optional as well, and that is all great news.

 

Seeing Aspen sitting on land is exciting, when we arrive.  She is upright and looks sparkling in the warm and endless tropical rain that seems to fall during November, way down south in Grenada.

 

Grenada, yes, the scene of Steve’s attack and accident with the vicious pit bull guard dog.  Maria still has flashbacks from that horrific day, seeing Steve lying on the concrete walkway in a pool of blood outside our little apartment.  Steve, well, not so much as his mind was pretty cloudy at the time, ha ha.

 

But once Aspen touched the warm Caribbean Sea a few days ago, all seemed right in the world again.

 

Layers of dirt and dust are being stripped from Aspen, thanks to good water pressure here in the marina.  Of course, there are a few problems, since Aspen was in storage for so long.

 

Batteries, who need those?  We certainly do since electricity is essential to living off the grid.  Our batteries just happened to be at Zero volts when we arrived.  Ouch.

 

New batteries were ordered, from Miami of course, and we can see the large shipping container at the port here in Grenada where they sit in the sun. 

 

Sit, sit and more sitting, since unloading cargo seems to be a low priority and on extremely slow island time.  Maybe, hopefully, we will see our precious batteries sometime soon?

 

Also, transitioning from donning winter coats, gloves and stocking hats to wearing next to nothing in the tropical heat takes a lot of adjustment.  Sweat takes on a whole new meaning, especially since we are not acclimated to the heat just yet.  Oh, that too will come, along with our change in color to a more sun-friendly brown skin as the days pass.

 

Islands to the north call us, and as soon as we get our batteries you can follow our track this sailing season.

 

Sail on, sail on Aspen…

 

Steve and Maria

PS - More pictures can be found at:  http://syaspen.blogspot.com/

1.     You can follow Aspen’s route here, once we start sailing again: https://forecast.predictwind.com/tracking/display/SV_Aspen

2.     Aspen will also have a Garmin tracker working so you can follow along:  https://share.garmin.com/SYAspen


Sunday, May 29, 2022

Not as we planned

 

After the pit bull attack in Grenada

Ready for our flights out of Grenada



Flying away...

 

S/Y Aspen – May 28, 2022 – Log #184

Aspen Position: 12 degrees 00’ N, 61 degrees 00’ W

Prickly Bay, Grenada, Caribbean and Colorado

  

Not as we planned

 

Our departure from sunny Grenada, after securing Aspen for hurricane season, didn’t quite go as we planned.

 

Captain Steve was attacked on his daily run, by a vicious pit bull dog the day before we flew off the island. 

 

The dog surprised Steve.   

 

There was the devil dog, standing in the middle of Dusty Highway at the dawn of a new day, around a blind corner.  The dog was right in front of Steve before he saw him.

 

Suddenly, realizing there was no escape from the lunging, hateful dog, Steve sprinted past the beast only to trip and fall, hitting a tall, solid and large concrete curb, during his getaway.

 

But his sprint took him out of the dog’s protective area, so Steve was never mauled or bitten by the pit bull.

 

The tall concrete curb did all the damage:

·      7 broken bones in his face requiring triage in Grenada, followed by 4 hours of delicate, painful face surgery in Denver

·      Broken clavicle (9 mm clean break).  Grenada doctor used tape to stabilize the bone and permit Steve to fly.

·      Lacerations to Steve’s face requiring 20 stitches/sutures to stop the blood flow in Grenada and make him look horrific for the flight to Colorado.

·      Two black eyes

 

All this happened 5 days ago, with our flights scheduled for the day after the attack; how lucky was that?   

 

Yes, it was a horrific ordeal to put Maria through: airports, flights and trying to keep Steve from becoming a DNF (Did not finish) on this ultimate journey seeking expert medical attention, capping off an epic year of sailing and adventure.

 

The outcome would have been much worse if our dear dear friends, Dawn and Laurie in Grenada, Cool Running Apartment staff, Zach in Colorado and neighbors Art and Liz.  It would not have been as successful without them.

 

I’m alive and hope to keep living, to tell the tale.

 

Sail on, sail on Aspen… 

 

Steve and Maria