Thursday, June 30, 2011

Big Day on our Transformer/Sailboat

We are no longer a sailboat. The boys at Cracker Boys yard made quick work of bringing the rig down with their crane. Now she's just a slow motor boat with a draft far too deep for her. She's so deep we've been using the keel to seek out the edges of the channels in the ICW. Yup, we made some new discoveries. Bump, quick reverse, scratch heads as this is *supposed* to be the deep part. Let's try over here ... looks like we made it ... bump. Nope. Hmmm. There were a couple places where we resorted to Carla and Austin going ahead in the dinghy with a weighted line to find the "deep" water (more than 6 feet minimum, 8 is OK, 10 is nice and 12 or more is bliss). After a while it clicked that we should be thinking of this like a river (it's narrow with a current, duh) and use river water signs that we learned paddling to give us hints as to where the deep water really is. For exanple, take this stretch of water. Don't go over on that side. See where the bank eases gently into the
water and it ripples, those are shoals ... better on the other side which is the far bank in a curve; more current on the far, steep bank which usually means deeper water. This worked quite well with only one more grounding in 3 hours. We've been following the ICW creed of "go slow!" so none of the groundings have been bad or ones that we couldn't just reverse off. And I'm sure we've left, on the ICW bottom, more than a bit of the St. Martin/BVI/Bahama reef that's been growing on that hard-to-reach bottom side of our keel.

All in all it was an amazing day for getting things done. We cleared in (amazingly short and painless - a surprise when arriving in the US). We unstepped the mast. Carla managed to blast off a couple critical work-related emails (who knows when we'll find available wifi again) and we made it more than halfway to our next destination (Stuart) when we were expecting to not start this part until tomorrow. And we lost - and - found our Olympus underwater camera. We were more upset about the photos we would have lost, than the camera - after all, the opportunities to take underwater photos are mostly behind us now. Fortunately, the good people at the Marina office, where we had distractedly set it down, kept it safe for us. Lucily, as we passed the marina after getting our mast stepped, Carla hopped into the dinghy and tracked it down while the boys and I carried on up the channel as slowly as we could.

Oh, and how could I forget. Not more than 5 minutes after we went by in our dinghy on our way to clearing in, a boat in the anchorage blew up. Boom. We looked over and there was a huge plume of smoke and flames leaping out of the cockpit. For a few heart stopping moments we couldn't tell if it was our boat or not. Finally we overheard on a nearby radio that there were two victims just being pulled from the water with very bad burns. Very scary. The fire boat arrived too late to really do anything other than chase down the fuel tank when it finally broke free, caught fire and threatened other boats. By the time we got back, there wasn't much more than a smoldering hulk in the water. We hope the two injured people manage to survive.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Final Passage

Today's arrival in Florida marks the end of our final passage at sea. We left Staniel Cay 2.5 days ago in the early morning. We needed to leave as early as we could as the tide was falling and we were at risk of hitting bottom in our attempt to cross the bank. However, we had to wait until the light was good too so that we could read the water depth. Turned out that 8am was the magic time and we managed to slip out of Staniel Cay without even a bump (though it was close in spots). The rest of the day was spent trying not too get too much sun as we followed wayponts along the old DECCA channel to the Tongue of the Ocean. It was definately a great experience travelling all day with no morn than 15 feet of water under our hull and often less than 8 feet.

While crossing the bank we took a little time for Austin and I to jump into the dinghy (we were towing it at this point) and zip around the boat getting some nice shots in the lime great water and bright blue skies. There was just enough wind to get the boat really sailing but not so much that the seas were too rough. Other than that our crossing of the DECCA channel was uneventful. We could see however, that you really needed fairly benign conditions to try this crossing. The wind was 10 - 12 knots out of the SE and we were traveling W. I doubt that it would have been as much fun if the wind was out of the NW and it seems like it would get really nasty out there if a strong front passed through. In short, if you need a quick way to get from the Exumas to Florida, the Abecos, or Nassau and don't mind an overnight sail and, most importantly, the weather is in your favor then by all means, this is a great route to take.

After a pleasant yet a bit rolly night sail up the Tongue we crossed back onto the western part of the Great Bahama Bank. This we used as a shortcut to the western end of New Providance Channel (between the Great Bahama Bank and Grand Bahama Island) which would take us west to the Florida Strait and then the Gulf Stream. Nothing really out of the ordinary happened in all of this. We're getting quite comfortable with multi-day passages though for some reason we weren't sleeping as well on this one. In the end we made all our wayponts, out speed was just about right (could have been a touch faster) and we had a calm crossing of the Stream and made it to the Florida coast before 5pm.

Once inside the inlet to Lake Worth things weren't so easy. We like big open spaces (like ocean sailing) and in this crowded harbor there are numerous channels - few of them deep enough for our boat. So of course we picked the wrong one and drove up onto a sand bar. Luckily it was muddy sand and we were able to easily back our selves off. We did eventually find the right channel and anchored easily in 12ft of water. Flordia welcomed us with a major thunderstorm, which thankfully waited until were all settled to arrive.

We're all glad to have this portion of the trip behind us. The past month or so has been hard to really enjoy with all the travel and not much play and relaxation time. Everyone is now looking forward to our big road trip home and visiting friends and family along the way. It will be a bit of a whirlwind tour but keep posted to discover what adventures we get up to in-land.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Wet in G-Town

Austin and I made a quick trip into town yesterday to replenish some of our fresh provisions, get some water and top up our fuel so that we can make a mad, long dash to Florida once we've finished our short sight seeing in the Exumas. The wind has been blowing 12 - 15 knots so the harbour was a bit choppy but made for fun surfing the dinghy on the way in. On the way back I think that we should have brought our snorkels and masks! We were loaded down with 20 gallons of water, 24 gallons of fuel, two people and about 25 pounds of food. In other words, we were riding low and going slow right into the waves across the mile wide harbour. Now those waves that we were surfing on the way in were crashing over the sides soaking us through in seconds. About every 15 seconds we'd hit a large one and the air would go white and liquid so we had to hold our breath until it passed. I think Austin said something about looking forward to grocery shopping when we get home where the worst wet w
e have to worry about is the rain! When we got back to the boat, Austin just slipped over the side and went for a swim and I had to wash salt out of my beard.

Later in the afternoon we put up the rain catcher just in time for a massive downpour. Between the water we got from shore and all the rain, we were able to nearly fill our water tanks and do a load of laundry in the water that the dinghy collected. All of us had nice refreshing deck showers from the pelting rain. The flying rain stung a bit but deck showers always feel great! It's still a novel concept to be comfortably warm in the pouring rain.

Today we slipped away from the anchorage early and were treated to a fleeting farewell from a couple small dolphins in about 10 feet of water. We first mistook them for turtles, speculating if they might be leatherbacks - we were surprised to find dolphins in the shallows. We threaded our way past the sand banks and coral heads and are now back in Exuma Sound trying to get as far north up the island chain that we can in one day. We'd really like to snorkel Thunderball Grotto and see Warderik Wells before we have to leave these islands in a couple days. After that, we're looking at various routes to get us to FL as quickly as possible. Taking the offshore route around Eleuthera Island and through Providence Channel is tempting as it gets us far enough away from the islands that we can sail through the nights and make more miles per day but the seas are bigger now (6 - 7 feet) so it won't be all that comfortable.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

But I thought he was with you ...

We arrived at Stocking Island yesterday evening around 5:15 - the wrong time of day to be sailing westward through a field of coral heads in a tropical paradise. To put it mildly, there were a few tense moments as we sought ranges, frantically did some dead reckoning, retraced our path twice, second-guessed our assessment of the dark patches (were they deeper water, or coral heads?). Several times, I thought of our friends on Jaru who think dead reckoning is something for the history books, and I wished we were equipped with a chart plotter to take some of the guessing work out of navigating the tricky shallows and reefs.

After 7 days and nights at sea, we were all exhausted and so grateful for the boat's motion to settle and to sleep at anchor again. Skye and I marvelled at being able to be asleep at the same time as each other for the first time in a week! Admittedly, there are some nice benefits to nighttime watches, particularly under a full moon. The views can be beautiful, I was able to read my page-turning novel, Rain of Gold (thanks, Compass Rose!), I have beaten a few records in Sudoku, and I'm becoming a Catan champion. As long as we don't have rain, I can have the iPad or iPhone in the cockpit, so I can play games, do puzzles and read e-books to my heart's content, while playing my favourite iTunes without disturbing slumbering crew.

Excited to have internet connectivity again, we spent this morning catching up with fb and gmail, doing a few google searches for those pressing questions that inevitably came up during the passage, and enjoying our friend's blog about their trip to Europe. Skye is pining after Italy (he spent 4 days in Italy last summer and fell in love with Cinque Terre and is determined to take us there as a family someday). We finally got cleaned up, dressed in our "customs" outfits (no Bob Marley t-shirts for Austin, cotton button shirts for the rest of us), bailed the dinghy (lots of rain-filled thunder storms last night), climbed aboard and set off on the 15-minute wet ride to Georgetown.

Thankfully, Skye had studied the charts and the "Need-to-know" section of Victoria Lake before we left, so he was prepared to go to the end of the Georgetown harbour, drive under a bridge where only our dinghy would fit, and tie up at the huge (comparatively, in our experience) dinghy dock alongside Exuma Market.

Around 1:00, we all hopped out of the dinghy, hungry for lunch, but accepting that clearing in would be our first priority. We were greeted by a familiar Scotiabank logo on a large building across the street, so I stopped to use the ATM to withdraw the $300 USD we would need for clearing in to the Bahamas. This is a 12-month permit, but we’ll only use it for 3-4 days (so they’d better be good!). We proceeded to the Post Office (which is advertised to house both Customs and Immigration), but before reaching it, noticed a sign reading, “Bahamas Customs” on a non-descript boxy building. Skye glanced back at me, raised his eyebrows, shrugged his shoulders and decided to check it out. It was the right place, he’d need about 15 minutes, then the rest of us would have to join him. I bought the boys some cold drinks while we waited and A1 & A2 got their first Bahamian quarters. The clerk assured me that Bahamian money would be worth nothing anywhere else in the world, so I promised him I’d spend it while we’re here.

Skye finished up at Customs around 2:00 and was directed to Immigration, in a business complex about 3 blocks away. I stopped in at the Tourism office in the same complex while Skye filled out 5 detailed forms at Immigration. Today, we learned, was a local government election, so many establishments (particularly most restaurants and bars) were closed for business. Lunch just wasn’t in the cards, though the information officer at the Tourism Bureau recommended we go to the hotel across the street from Customs, and adjacent to a small park.

This hotel was conveniently located across the street from a shop that sells courtesy flags, so we needed to go back in that direction, anyway, and by 3:00 we all really needed something to eat and drink. The boys were getting antsy and I just wanted to stick to our plan - that’s one thing I’m not sure I ever fully adjusted to, on this Caribbean adventure - plans change ... expect the unexpected ... don’t expect businesses to be open in the middle of the afternoon in the middle of the week ... and don’t expect stores to carry the merchandise you’re seeking. When we reached the hotel, we were told that the restaurant was closed for the election and would open again at 6:30pm.

On to Plan B, with a side trip to the playground, as promised to A3. Skye looked up at the clouds and said we had weather coming, so we’d better just go to the grocery store to pick up enough food for dinner, then hurry back to the boat. I lobbied for 5 minutes at the park, then he suggested that he and A1 go ahead and start shopping - we could all meet up at the store later. And just at that moment, A3 announced he had to go pee, and it was imminent - he was dancing around holding his shorts and we knew we had to act fast. Skye and Austin left while I took A3 to find a tree. A2 was with us, but when A3 finished, the park was empty except for a sweet 7-year-old girl who had introduced herself to us as Looney Larsden. I said goodbye to Looney, explaining that we had to hurry back to our boat because of the weather, and she asked me if I like to read books. I said, “Yes,” and asked her what books she likes to read, and she said, “Junie B.” I responded, “Junie B. Jones? Those are great books.” I was pleased to be able to connect with this beautiful local girl, and she was obviously impressed that I knew what she was talking about.

I carried a very upset and disappointed A3 away from the park and briskly walked to the supermarket where we spotted Skye right away. Austin was wandering the aisles with the shopping cart, and I never once wondered where Aidan was. He must have been somewhere in the crowded store, browsing the merchandise.

After about 30 minutes, we finished at the checkout and left the store. Austin asked me, “Do you know where Aidan is?” and I responded unconcernedly, “No.” A1 shrieked, “What?!?” and it finally hit me. Where was Aidan? Had I left him at the park? Skye took A1, A3 and the groceries back to the dinghy and I raced to the park. I found Looney still there and asked her if she had seen Aidan, then she said, “No.” My heart was in my throat. Tears were forming in my eyes. I was haunted by my best friend’s only concern for us on this journey, “I’d worry about losing one of my children.” I had flashes of my handsome, photogenic, friendly, smart son and how desirable he could be to someone bent on kidnapping a child. Then Looney called out to me that Aidan had gone, “over there,” as she pointed to the harbour dock. I followed where her arm was pointing, and oh, mercy of mercies, Aidan appeared in a full grin beside Looney, walking alongside the Customs office.

I was so relieved to see him in such good shape. I had half expected to find him reduced to tears in a huddle in the park, but he was smiling, laughing, and walking confidently toward me. I said, “Goodbye,” again to Looney and asked Aidan what had happened. I’d thought he must have gone to the store with Skye and Austin, but Aidan explained he had met a boy in a Lego shirt and was talking with him while I was helping A3 behind the tree. We held hands and laughed about everything. Aidan had been waiting for us at the dinghy, and I praised him for how he handled being separated from us. He did all the right things. He joked that he figured, even if we had forgotten about him, at least we couldn’t go back to the boat without him, if he were already in the dinghy!!

Phew! I’m glad that turned out as well as it did! Actually, the people in Georgetown have all been friendly and we feel very safe here - didn’t even lock up the dinghy today.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Position Update Day 7 - Land Ho!

Date/Time: 2011-06-22 0700
Lat/Long: 23 37.886N/75 06.847W
Distance (24hrs): 101nm
Distance (total): 694nm

The light on Rum Cay was first spotted at 2250 last night. This morning we awoke to see Long Island to port and we are now only a few miles from Cape Santa Maria and making our turn south west on the final leg to Georgetown.

The wind has settled into a rather irritating pattern. The wind dies around 0700 so we turn on the motor. Around midday it picks up again just enough to turn the motor off and make about 3 knots but it's not quite enough wind to keep the sails filled in this swell. We get sick of the rolling after a few hours and motor again. Then around 2000 - 2100 the thunder storms have fully developed and we pick up the new breeze on the edge of one of these then coast along at 5 knots all night with enough wind to stabilize the boat (mostly). At least this is our last day and we know for sure now that we have enough fuel to motor the rest of the way if needed (though it would be much nicer to sail).

Aaron is missing his boat friends. Yesterday he says with a sad face, "Can we go to Ouma? I miss Miles and Grace." Sweet kid. We sure hope that we see them again some day, somehow. We're going to miss so many of our great cruising friends.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Position Update Day 6

Date/Time: 2011-06-21 0700
Lat/Long: 23 27.471N/73 18.921W
Distance (24hrs): 120nm
Distance (total): 593nm

If all goes well today should be our last full day on this passage. We have moved onto the Bahamas charts and are less than 50 nm from Samana Cay and other desirable destinations. If our schedule allowed for it we'd love to divert for a few days and explore these out islands as they are usually difficult to get to and are nearly deserted and unspoiled (our favorite kind). However, we need to keep moving onwards and restrict our visiting to places directly along the way.

Yesterday I mentioned that the days were so similar that they were blending into each other. Well, last night created some much desired variation to keep us entertained. Most of the day there was so little wind that we had the motor on almost from sunrise to sunset. The batteries got a good charge and we kept our velocity up. The weather was very hot so everyone had a quiet day doing slow things like napping or reading in the cockpit - except for Carla who decided to do laundry that refused to dry in the humid heat and no wind. It was flat and calm enough that you almost felt that we were at anchor. This all changed around midnight. A thunder storm emerged in the east and slowly advanced on us. By 1:30am it was directly north of us, brushing us with its windy shoulders. We had the engine off coasting along at a comfortable 5-6 knots over the quicksilver seas lit by the waning moon. It was a spectacular 2 hours of sailing, one of the best night sails this whole season.

I think there is some proverb that says, "good things never last" which is what I was thinking last night as by 3am a new thunder storm had advanced from the south east. This time we were directly in its path and the moon slowly disappeared behind the black on dark gray ominous clouds. We reefed both sails at the watch change as the wind picked up to over 15 knots with occasional gusts to 20. The seas built and the rain came. It was nice to get some variation in our passage diet of calm, moon filed nights but by 4:30am the sea and wind were no longer in agreement, the wind was fading and we were wet and rolling around quite uncomfortably. The engine came back on to smooth out the rolls and we hid below.

There is a little festive atmosphere on board this morning as we start getting ready for tomorrow's arrival. Aidan exclaimed that the fresh smell after the rain reminded him of Christmas in Vancouver and Carla has cooked up a nice pot of hot cereal for breakfast. New charts and guide books are out on the navigation station and our next way point is nearly due west of us. We're almost there!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Position Update Day 5

Date/Time: 2011-06-20 0700
Lat/Long: 23 04.285N/71 11.107W
Distance (24hrs): 103nm
Distance (total): 473nm

Our wind is slowly fading as we move farther north and get closer to the high pressure ridge that is dominating the area N and E of the Bahamas. We ended up motoring for about 7 hours yesterday and still only just made our 100nm minimum goal for the day (120nm is our target). The motion of the boat has become uncomfortable with slightly confused seas and not enough wind to keep our sails full. We're back to motor sailing again this morning and may need to keep this up for most of the day. At least we can set a more direct course now and have to worry less about where the wind is coming from.

The days are starting to blend together. I had to look back over our log to see how many days we had been out. The weather has been so constant and the ocean looks the same each morning and all day that if it weren't for our GPS position updates it would feel like we're not moving at all. Everyone is reading lots to pass the time. I'm now reading the Hobbit to the boys and they seem to be enjoying that.

I managed to get our fishing line tangled around our ruder while trying to clear it of sea weed last night. The lure was on it's last legs after having been attacked by diving birds earlier so I didn't feel to bad about cutting it away. And I didn't really want to have to go for a mid-ocean swim if I didn't really have to.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Position Update Day 4

Date/Time: 2011-06-19 0720
Lat/Long: 22 10.588N/69 37.820W
Distance (24hrs): 121nm
Distance (total): 370nm

We passed what I estimate to be the 1/2 way point a couple hours ago. We'll have some banana loaf and drinks to celebrate once everyone is awake. The skies are still mostly clear though there was more moisture in the air at sunrise adding to the color. There are occasional squalls around us and a couple hit us last night but there was little energy in them, just rain. The wind has been low for the past few hours but is picking up a little again. We seem to be on the edge of two major weather patterns, the Caribbean trades to the south and the mid latitude westerlies to the north. Lucky for us the trades still dominate at this latitude even if only just. Seas are still rather flat, even the occasional swell rarely exceeds 4 feet. We seem to have sailed out of the main current stream as there is very little weed and garbage in the water now (it was constant yesterday).

We have at least another day on this NW heading before we need to make a serious effort to head W. The forecasts for that time put the wind well into the south which will be a great help. Uneventful and as forecast is how I'd describe this passage so far. And that's a good thing.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Position Update Day 3

Date/Time: 2011-06-18 0700
Lat/Long: 21 03.846N/67 49.582W
Distance (24hrs): 128nm
Distance (total): 244nm

Day two was fast with mostly clear skies and just enough wind to keep us moving at a good speed (avg 5.5 knots). The wind started to drop off and go below 10 knots early this morning otherwise we might have come close to a 140nm day. Today looks much the same as yesterday, scattered clouds and wind 10-12 knots out of the SE. There is a bit of a cross swell coming in from the NNE which tosses us around every 3 minutes or so as it strikes our beam. This has made eating our meals a little more challenging. After 1/2 my hot dinner launched off the table fiddle and dummped onto Carla's lap we've decided to rig up some method to keep dishes in their place when we roll.

If the wind comes back (and it's forecast to) then we should be reaching the 1/2 way point some time late tonight or early tomorrow morning. I've not had to touch the sails since we set them 4 hours into the trip. This is pretty relaxing so far.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Day 2 Position Report

Date/Time: 2011-06-17 0700
Position: 19 31.468 N 66 12.055 W (see our SPOT page to see where this is)
Distance: 119nm

This has been a fantastic beginning to our passage. We left at 0700 yesterday morning. The winds have been just about perfect and the seas are very manageable. We started with wind out of the SE between 5 and 8 knots. That was pretty slow going. However, both the wind and seas have increased overnight with us now up to 7.5 to 8 knots and have backed to the ESE which allows us to move more to the W than N and that brings us closer to our destination.

With the kind of forecasts we've been getting for this area (light winds) we have been using 4 knots as our planning speed (and will continue to do so for now) but yesterday we managed just about 5 knots average in 24 hours which certainly beats the forecast. With any luck we will stay in this band of trade winds the whole way. The GRIB forecasts suggest that the wind should strengthen and back all the way to the E later today. That would put us on a nice fast broad reach all the way to the Bahamas and will arrive a day or two early. Fingers crossed.

The nearly full moon was glorious last night. It couldn't have been a better night passage. Standing watch was a pleasure. We managed to catch some kind of fish though it was scrawny, bony and the ugliest specimen I've ever seen. Aidan is researching what it might be. We didn't keep it as there wasn't enough flesh on its bones to make a meal.

We are passing by Puerto Rico today though we are too far off shore (60nm) to see it. We are also passing over the, Puerto Rico Trench, the second deepest underwater trench in the world. We can't really tell a difference from here but it's pretty cool that we're sailing over enough water to cover over Mt. Baker, nearly twice!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Emotional Roller Coaster

And no, I'm not talking about the up and down, on and off hockey that the Vancouver Canucks are playing in the final. Yesterday was a real roller coaster of a day for us.

We started the day by saying good-by to our new friends on Jaru. We only had a short time with them but we sure enjoyed their company and hope to see them again some day (good luck with the bears this summer Cedar). These thoughts of parting brought on thoughts of how close we were to the end of this part of our adventure. We should be off the boat and on the road in 3 weeks. Yikes! We pulled away from our mooring with heavy hearts and even contemplated just leaving to the Bahamas right away. Reason prevailed and we turned east and into the British Virgin Islands (we just couldn't come this close and not see them).

The Virgins really are beautiful islands and we had a fantastic morning sail beating up Drake Passage to Road Harbor Tortola. The sea was flat, current was in our favor, there was enough wind to get us really moving at times and there were dozens of other boats out. Sailing doesn't get much better than this. We got to Road Harbor around 2pm but, as we feared from looking at the guide book, it's not the kind of place that we like to spend any time. The harbour is choked with marinas, dodgy mooring balls, cruise ship docks and ferries with no good place to anchor. We've had our fill of marinas (and have exhausted our marina budget for a while) so we turned around and motored as fast as we could to Virgin Gorda to get there before dark.

Virgin Gorda is *the* island of the BVIs that we really didn't want to miss. With the Baths, Gorda Sound and several other sweet spots we've learned about there are just so many nice anchorages and beaches and pretty shorelines. There are certainly more charter boats here than the USVIs. I don't think we'd really like being here in peak season, but things are still slow and the people pleasant. If we were to ever charter a boat here for a vacation I'd seriously consider coming at this time of year to avoid the crowds, get better rates and get some of the best sailing conditions all year (no north swell and the trades are tame and not howling).

Then, the last curve of the coaster ride. Once we anchored just off Spanish Town, we managed to make the most tenuous of wifi connection to shore and found out that our friends on s/v Bliss had departed St. Martin that day and were headed to the VIs and were hoping we were still there! We sure hope that we can meet up with them before we leave.

The weather window that opened on Saturday still looks good for our Bahamas trip. The wind is picking up and still going in the right direction. The hurricane forecasters are predicting that this spell of unfavourable (for hurricane development - IOW, favourable for us) conditions will last at least a week. Seas will be building all week but shouldn't get more than 6 - 8 feet on average (which means we can expect individual waves to be double that from time to time) which is manageable. Most of the trip is over very deep water and wind and current are both going the same way so the waves shouldn't get too steep until we get close to the Bahamas. There we'll have to pay attention and pick our way in with care.

Friday, June 10, 2011


The sun has returned and holy hot seven sweating sisters it's sweltering today. Even the locals are finding every scrap of shade and any store with air conditioning has a lot more customers (though sales aren't up that much). We've tried to cool off by rigging the sun awnings and it helps but we're still dripping. I can't imagine what summer in Grenada or Trinidad would be like.

Tomorrow we return to Caneel Bay on St. John to see another cruising family that we've only "met" via blogger then after that move on to see some of the BVIs for a couple days. There isn't much wind and we only have enough fuel for about 1/2 the trip to the Bahamas so we're waiting until a little later in the week when the trade winds return before departing. Now that we're all provisioned and equipped I can't wait to set off.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Now Satellite Phone Enabled

We decided to rent a satellite phone for this next leg of our trip so that we can continue to receive important weather forecasts and notices even when we can't get wifi. And not just for the obvious cases like when we're 100's of miles from shore but we have only spotty reports of reliable wifi all through the Bahamas. We're right on the edge of the hurricane season so we want as much notice as we can get as there aren't a lot of places to hide until we get to FL.

The other benefit of this is that we can send short email messages when we connect to download the latest weather forecasts. The data speed of this phone is not very fast at all (2400bps) so we'll have to keep it short. In fact, this message is going out over the sat phone as a test so I better stop now.