Monday, September 21, 2015

Tabago Cays or Bahamas?

This place so closely resembels the Bahamas that for a moment I forgot we were in the Caribbean.  A reef protects the anchorage but otherwise we faced right into the easterly trade winds looking out over the Atlantic Ocean.  I don't think the pictures do it justice.
So Beautiful!

The sailing we have been able to do since we left Martinique has been peaceful and beautiful.  Most of it is down wind or a broad reach.  So the sail to the Tabago Cays was peaceful as they come until a squall hit and caused the boom vang to come off.  We are glad it wasn't anything serious.  Earlier at St. Lucia we watched another boat blow out their headsail coming into the anchorage during a squall.  Glad it wasn't us, whew!

The Tabago Cays is a park that protects the sea life.  The snorkeling was awesome with clear blue water and a lot of sea life.  The kids are getting to be better swimmers and enjoy snorkeling as much as we do.  The kids get excited when they see new sea life and are able to identify what they see.  Nicholas especially enjoys spending time looking for new sea creatures.  He also likes to make a lot of bubbles and splashes in the water that scare them all away.  He is all boy.

The anchorage was surprisingly calmer than I thought it would be but still a bit of a swell coming at the bow of the boat.  Another surprise for us was the amount of other boats anchored in the small area.  This seems to be a popular destination for cruisers and charter boats.

The island in the background of had a small sandy beach with a small sand dune hill.  Paul got a chance to do some small repairs on the dinghy while the kids and I raced up and down the hill a few times (more like twice for me and 10 times for the kids).  I forget how out of shape I am until I actually try and exercise.  I like to blame it on the fact that it is too hot but what I secretly mean is I am too lazy and old.  Ha Ha!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015


We all enjoyed Bequia (pronounced beck-way).  There were white sandy beaches where we played.  There is cool trail along the shore line that is fun to walk along to see all the restaurants and the water.

This was a popular anchorage with a lot of boat oriented trades.  We also found plenty of grocery stores.  We tried plantain chips and they were so yummy we bought a plantain and made our own on the boat.  We also tried breadfruit for the first time and found it is similar to a potato and made chips out of it too.  Can't go wrong with deep fried goodness.

Cool path built along the shore
We walked to the turtle hatchery and met the owner and founder.  He has an interesting place and a unique story as to how he started his turtle shelter.
Two day old Loggerhead Turtles

The wind changed again (lighter) so we took advantage and had a fast sail to the Tabago Cays. 

Rodney Bay, St. Lucia

We stopped to rest here and didn't visit much of the island.  From what we saw this place is where people come to relax.  There is a Sanadals resort and the place seemed like your typical touristy destination.
We took the dinghy over to Pigeon Island where we paid a small fee to walk up the the fort.  The kids love to hike up steep inclines.  The island was beautiful with all of the bright red flowering trees and other plant life.  We came back that afternoon to enjoy the beach.

Fruit/Vegetable Guy's Boat

In town we found one of the biggest hardware stores and pedestrian mall we have seen since we left the United States.  There was a very nice Marina where we got our propane tanks filled.  

We moved on quickly and decided to skip the rest of St. Lucia.  We chose to admire it from the water as we sailed by.  The Pitons were beautiful.  We also skipped St. Vincent as from what we have read it is not as cruiser friendly with deep water anchorages.  


The sail from Dominica to Martinique was fairly calm considering what we have done so far down the islands.  It turned into a motor sailing passage.

Our first anchorage was St. Pierre where the famous Mt. Pelee erupted.  We toured the town and museum as part of school to get the full effect and idea of what happened.  Some signs were in English but again, mostly French as Martinique is also part of France.  
The next day we walked to the rum distillery.  What a beautiful place!  Even the kids had a good time though they are too young to imbibe.  Paul called it the highlight of his cruise.  Ha! ha!
The kids in the prison cell where Cyparis survived the 1902 eruption of Mount Pelee

We have found plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables along with plenty of butter filled pastries, chocolate pastries and new found apple filled ones.  Wow!  Just when I thought my girlish figure was not in danger.  

Next stop was Fort De France, a big city where you can find just about anything you could possibly need.  We walked to a couple of museums and found all the writing in French.  The library had great pictures posted of surrounding Martinique and fast free wifi.  The trip through town was interesting and fun to walk around.  The anchorage was a bit rolly so we took off for St. Anne the next day.  We had to sail straight into the trade winds so we picked a day that the wind was predicted to be light.  

Once we arrived we found a bazillion other cruising boats.  This is the place to be if you live aboard or just love sailing.  While we were anchored near St. Anne we did a short dinghy ride into Le Marin and found even more boats.  I can't even begin to tell you how many charter catamarans we saw at the marina.  They seemed to be stacked on top of each other.  

We also checked out St. Anne enjoying more butter filled pastries and French bread, Yum!  They have a cool church up a steep winding hill that we hiked to and a nice trail that goes around the end of the island along the water. 

The Yoles Rondes race came through while we were anchored out making water.  The racers were bailing as fast as they were racing.  So many boats travel along side the racing boats that it made the water in the bay look like a big washing machine.  We all quickly chose our favorites for the race and watched as they all went by.  The racers left the next morning going around a few marks close to our boat.  We watched as three boats went down for various problems or issues but got themselves back up and running in no time.  Wow!
One of the race boats being followed by every type of craft

Our time here is coming to an end and next stop for us will be St Lucia. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015


The natural beauty of this island is something I can hardly describe with words.  We took our time here and spent a week hiking to waterfalls, touring up the Indian River, and driving up and down the craziest hills we have ever seen.
Paul did all the driving and it's a good thing, not only did he have to drive on the left side of the road but also on the right side of the car.  It took a lot of concentration which was tested by our two lovely children making all kinds of noise and playing in the back seat.  

Toward the end of the first day with the car we were climbing the steepest hill we had gone up all day the transmission on the car started to slip.  We made it over the top and the next five miles were all down hill. When we got to the bottom we turned to head back toward Roseau for dinner but when Paul stepped on the gas the car just sat there. The transmission had burned up and we were as far from the boat as we could be on the island without a cell phone.  Fortunately at the intersection where we broke down a guy was waiting for the bus and let us use his cell phone.  Paul spoke to the rental car agency and they said "leave the car in a safe place and you will just have to find a way back."    ???
Paul reminded him that we are a family of four and it was already 5 PM.  No telling when the next bus was coming and if there would be enough room on it for the four of us plus our backpacks and the propane tank we were carrying to get refilled.  The buses here are like the ones in Nevis and St. Kitts.  More like minivans.  
While we were waiting for the bus to come we tried the car again and it started to go. We jumped in and made it over the next small hill but as we came to the bottom and started up the next it stopped dead in it's tracks. We were able to push it off the road and got our stuff together to hitch a ride or catch the bus. Luckily the guy who we borrowed the phone from had caught a ride with a friend and stopped when he saw us on the side of the road. A third passenger in the car they were in said he would wait for the bus and got out of the car so we could squeeze in. They drove us to Roseau and dropped us off at the hotel owned by the sister of the rental car guy. Their brother came by about an hour later and gave us a ride back up to Portsmouth where the boat was. We finally got back to the boat at 9:30 PM.  Nicholas was in a bad mood but not too bad considering all. Quite an adventure.

Our longest hike was to Middleham Falls.  It rained on us the whole way there.  The hike up was challenging mostly by the complaints from those two same lovely children of ours.  After some food the tone changed dramatically and on the way back down the kids couldn't stop talking about how easy the trail was and how even Grandma could do it. Hmmmm.

We celebrated my birthday here with a day on the boat getting ready for the journey to Martinique.  We did the laundry, vacuumed, organized Legos, cleaned the bottom of the boat, etc.  
I love that Nicholas thinks I'm 37 but Samantha is always quick to remind him that he is wrong.  Ugh! 
I remember when we lived in the house that was over 2000 sq ft that I couldn't wait to live in a smaller space so I could clean the house in an hour or two instead of a day or two.  The thing is that it takes a lot longer to do the laundry by hand, dishes by hand and keep the children busy with either helping with chores or doing their own cleaning/organizing.  I don't complain but just embrace what we have and go with it.  I get to spend all this time with my family and I love it.  We have been visiting some of the coolest places I've been and on a budget so we can visit more.  Some days are easy and some are a challenge but what life isn't full of days like these?


Guadeloupe is a French island and has a very different feel than the other islands we have visited.  We picked up a free mooring in Deshaies which was a bit of a challenge.  Normally a mooring will have a line (pendant) floating from it  and one just picks it up with the boat hook and feeds a line through the eye on the pendant. Here the mooring just has a metal ring on top of it so we had to thread a line through the ring from five feet above. Thankfully the wind was light so the operation wasn't too difficult.  We stayed a couple of nights to rest up and enjoy the calm nights with no roll.
One of the two Mahi we caught on the way to Guadeloupe

Awesome Boulangerie

The French bread and croissants (especially the chocolate ones) were amazing.  I'm still trying to work off all the butter!  
We did a hike up the river there and the kids had a blast climbing all over the rocks up hill but then complained about the long walk back to the boat on the road down hill.  Go figure?
We kept them entertained by picking up stray mangos on the ground that we could eat later on the boat. This prompted a lot of "Mango! Mango! Mango!"

The next anchorage was Pigeon Island where we snorkeled to the beach and watched the kids play for a while.  The sand reminded Paul of the sand in NJ.  It was kind of dark brown and there was a lot of sea weed.
Just like Jersey

The next day we sailed to the group of small islands off the south end of Guadeloupe called the Saintes and anchored in Baie du Marigot.  The Saintes have a different feel compared to mainland Guadeloupe.  The islands seem to be more of a holiday destination and a little more touristy but we enjoyed the town of Le Bourg very much.   The people were friendly and the island beautiful. 
They must not like soccer

There was a bit of a language barrier since we don't speak French but we were able to get by with pointing and guessing.  I wish I would have spent more time learning French.  I've been so focused on Spanish...well enough said.

Next time I'll come more prepared. 

Saturday, July 18, 2015


We were able to sail with the wind just a slight bit north of east all the way to Montserrat.  It was a long day and we took a lot of water over the bow.  I'm very grateful for out dodger and side curtains that keep me dry during our passages.
We anchored near the small town off the beach and rolled all night.  I wish we had put out a stern anchor but it was already late and we were exhausted.  So instead we just had a horrible nights sleep.

The wind was still good the next day so instead of going ashore we opted for the sailing view of the active volcano on the island from out boat as we sailed south toward Guadaloupe.  

Montserrat has dramatic scenery and you can see the devastation caused by the volcano.  I hope our pictures do it justice.