Sunday, January 25, 2015

No More Disneyland Sailing

View from Hassel Island, USVI.  The island is great for hiking.

And here is Maria hiking above Charlotte Harbor in the distance from Hassel Island.

Dutch graves on Hassel Island from the 1800's.

Maria, Michele (from Tarentela), Laurie and Dawn (from Cat Tales) take a break from hiking.

Our friends on Tarentela waiting for us to arrive and eat turkey wings!

A happy hour on Cat Tales in their spacious catamaran cockpit.  It is really nice to lounge here!

Captain Steve transferring things from our old dinghy (on the left) to our new Highfield dinghy on the right.  It is like trading in an old vehicle for a new vehicle.  Did I mention that our old dinghy would not stay inflated more than three days?  Besides, we wanted a lighter dinghy so the new one has an aluminum hull and is about 50 pounds lighter.  Nice for our backs!

S/Y Aspen – January 26, 2015 – Log #125
Aspen Position: 18 degrees 02’ N  063 degrees 05’ W
Sint Maarten, Caribbean

Venus is still aligned with Aspen, or so it seems.

We had a nice motor-sail from the British Virgin Islands to Sint Maarten, only 82 nautical miles south but a world away.  Our friends on the catamaran Cat Tales and the monohull Silk Pajamas sailed with us and kept us company during our daylight crossing of the sometimes treacherous Anegada Passage.

The night before we left there was a dinner party on a friends boat, Tarentela with Al and Michele.  They cooked turkey wings.  The things were monsters and they were enough to feed the 7th fleet we thought.  It was a great sendoff.

The US Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands are our version of Disneyland sailing.  It is so nice and easy there with lots of beaches, bars and restaurants everywhere.  Parts are easy to fly in from the US to fix all our essential items on Aspen too, as we explained in the last blog.

The temperature has risen the further south we sailed and now we have sunburn to watch out for.  Maria simply browns while Captain Steve just turns bright red and suffers.

Coming through the bridge into Sint Maarten's Lagoon what was the first boat ahead of Aspen? 

Venus, Steve Job's boat that we last saw in the Virgin Islands.  Wow, his spirit is following us so hopefully that is a good sign (see the photo from the last blog).

Restaurants are plentiful on Sint Maarten/St. Martin, the dual Dutch and French islands, and our evening meal is planned around what kind of food we desire.  The rum is still cheap and the people are friendly to us.  We are in tourist heaven and the locals appreciate the income and visitors.  What could be better?

With so many little bays to explore it will be time to exit the Lagoon where the boat parts places proliferate and wander around this enchanting island, looking for new places to discover, remote beaches to bask and local foods to sample.

Disneyland lies to the north of us but more enchanting islands are calling us to the little latitudes where we are headed.  We won't linger here too long so stay tuned!

Oh, some people have asked us how the book reviews are going for Voyage Into Hell.  We are pleasantly surprised by the nice comments from friends and strangers who have read it.  That makes us feel like the book was worth the effort.  I hope to treat Maria to a Big Mac at McDonalds from the royalties!

Sail on, sail on Aspen…

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