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.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

French Island Madness

Club Med II cruise ship visiting us in Dominica before we left for Martinique.

Mount Pele, Martinique.  In 1902 the volcano erupted and killed everyone except for 1 person in the town (St. Pierre) in the lower right of this picture.

The infamous HMS Diamond Rock off French Martinique.  The British placed cannons on this rock and harassed the French, something they still like to do! 

St. Anne, Martinique with just a few of our sailing friends!

Maria trying to connect to the internet on Martinique.  That is difficult on good days!

The Boat Boys on Dominica gave Maria this lovely bouquet of native flowers.  Dominica is our favorite island in the Caribbean.

Sailor friends having drinks (where are the drinks???) one evening on the catamaran Cat Tales in St. Anne, Martinique (Dawn and Laurie on Cat Tales, Al and Michele on Tarentela and Lorna and Brian on Peace and Plenty).

S/Y Aspen – March 14, 2015 – Log #129
Aspen Position: 14 degrees 24’ N  061 degrees 00’ W
Martinique, Caribbean

The Island of Flowers is what the Kalinago called Martinique, long before Columbus arrived in these waters.  Everywhere you look there are flowers popping up from the bush and trees that carpet the velvet green landscape.  Of course these flowers need water and guess what?  Yes, it rains a lot on Martinique.

We put Aspen's anchor down at St. Anne, in the southern part of Martinique, and watched squalls march by on their way west.  The rain washed our salt from Aspen's deck and we were squeaky clean once again.

Ashore we have bakeries to buy baguettes and assorted other French goodies, not to mention Martinique rum that is very potent.  Ti Punch is a favorite drink here and just a couple small glasses guarantee a good nights' sleep, rocking in the Caribbean Sea.

Maria and I, along with several sailing friends, hiked the fantastic trails in this part of Martinique.  One day we hiked to Saline Beach and what did we find at the end?  A French beach restaurant of course.  Ah yes, the French have it right.

Yet even in this paradise there are problems.  It seems Martinique was left behind in the digital world.  Our usual array of internet options fail here and it is necessary to find a data provider to get a connection.  Once we are online it merely takes about 20 minutes to get only a few emails before we run out of money or the internet goes into hiding.  The French islands are notorious for poor internet connections for some strange reason.  Maybe France doesn't want the island to be that modern after all.

As I run past open pasteur lands every morning I see the hunched figures of men gazing intently at strange small wooden boxes scattered everywhere in the fields.  Rats???  Are they looking for rats in their traps?  You never know with the French since snails and frog legs are still staples in their diet.

But no, the traps are not for rats.  The hunters are emptying their traps of land crabs!  Crabs are a delicacy in Martinique and in many parts of the Caribbean.  Crabs, geese.  Who would have thought?

But now it is time to sail to St. Lucia and enjoy the island where we closed our circumnavigation loop.  How bad can a 4 hour sail be, I keep telling Maria as the forecast calls for strong winds and elephant size seas.  Hmmmmm.

Sail on, sail on Aspen…

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