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


Friday, May 20, 2022

It’s a wrap!

St. Georges, Grenada with Fort George high atop a hill at the harbour entrance.
Having lunch in downtown St. Georges, Grenada with Dawn from Cat Tales.
There are always Carnival festivities happening in Grenada, no matter what time of year it is.
Maria and Dawn under a Kirani banner.  Kirani is an Olympic gold medalist, who represented Grenada, in the 400 meter running event.
The big day when Aspen meets dry land once again
Maria and Laurie of Cat Tales, at lunch in downtown St. Georges, Grenada

S/Y Aspen – May 20, 2022 – Log #183 

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

Prickly Bay, Grenada, Caribbean 

 It’s a wrap! 

It was a close reach, sailing for three days from St. John in the USVI south to Grenada. 

For sailors, that term ’close reach’ means you bash your way into the winds and waves. But close reach sounds so much nicer than reality. 

Our landfall at Carriacou, Grenada found us deep in the southern Caribbean, where time passes very slowly in the tropical heat. 

After the fast-paced life in the USVI, it was a culture shock to once again ease into each new day as slowly as the sun rises above an endless horizon. 

Our stay in Carriacou was not as long as planned, once westerly swells made life onboard Aspen difficult with each uncomfortable roll while at anchor. 

So, without much hesitation, we sailed south to mainland Grenada and the comfort of Port Louis Marina. Ah, no rocking or rolling in the marina! 

While in the marina, we prepared Aspen for her stay on land, due to the upcoming hurricane season. 

Yesterday was haulout day; The long process to move Aspen from the warm Caribbean Sea to a hot and dusty boatyard. 

We call it the boatyard blues, when we work on Aspen sitting on land in the tropical heat and unpleasant humidity. 

However, we fondly raised a toast to a safe hurricane season and dreams of a new sailing season for Aspen in the Caribbean this November. 

Sail on, sail on Aspen…

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Heading South

 

Annaberg sugar mill ruins on St. John and the spectacular view

Geology: Vertical beds with a lava flow intruded on the left side near Maho Beach, St. John, USVI.  Maria is providing scale, ha!

Maho Beach concession area.  This is new since 2017 and provides some refreshing drinks for beach people!

St. Thomas, USVI.  This is Long Bay, where we anchor close to Charlotte Amalie.

Maria visiting the Annaberg sugar mill on St. John

View of the British Virgin Islands from St. John.  The BVI's have become unfriendly to sailors so we won't be visiting them.

St. Thomas, as seen from our National Park mooring at Maho Bay, St. John

Maria enjoying the wind at Maho Bay, St. John

Maho Bay (foreground) and Francis Bay (background) on St. John, USVI.  The National Park mooring field is where vessels can tie up and stay.
 

S/Y Aspen – April 21, 2022 – Log #182

Aspen Position: 18 degrees 21’ N, 64 degrees 44’ W

Francis Bay, St. John, USVI

 

Heading South

 

Easter has come and gone down in da islands. 

 

Easter is a very important time of year because it heralds the end of high tourist season and the imminent migration of sailors in preparation for the looming hurricane season.

 

Some of our friends departed early this year, but the majority of sailors are enjoying lighter winds and smaller seas in the Caribbean, now that winter winds have thankfully moderated.

 

Maria and I forgot how easy things are in the USVI.  Cheap National Park moorings on St. John, an endless number of restaurants to choose from and even boat parts that can be flown in via USPS are just some of the attractions of being in US waters again.

 

Our daily entertainment in the Virgins is watching enormous charter catamarans jockeying for a mooring, with their guests basking in the warm sunshine as the crew works to entertain and feed them. 

 

We have never seen so many 50–60 foot catamarans in one place before, as the enormous catamarans have multiplied in the USVI since COVID hit.

 

It seems people simply want to enjoy themselves once again with more disposable income than we thought existed.

 

Those who have dreams about buying a catamaran and sailing away have to get on the proverbial waiting list for up to three years until a new catamaran is available.  Used catamarans and even monohulls are selling faster than a greased pig, or so the saying goes.

 

What are Aspen’s plans?

 

Sailing south, of course! 

 

Some COVID restrictions are still in place further south of the USVI.  So, Aspen will head offshore again, making landfall in Carriacou, Grenada which is sailor friendly.

 

After all, Maria needs to get her sea legs back and enjoy those wonderful sunrises and sunsets, out on the big blue, or so Captain Steve tells her.  Hmmm.

 

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