Thursday, December 31, 2015

It's New Year's Eve in St. Martin

We have had quite a go of it in 2015...hopefully the weather will calm down just a bit so that our journeys to the next islands are not so boisterous.

While we were in Virgin Gorda, we met up with three other Outbound yachts, the broker from Barrington RI and the owner of the Outbound company.  It was the first time we have seen another Outbound in the same harbor since 2010.  Quite a nice reunion...

We left Virgin Gorda on Monday the 28th at noon in a tiny weather window with slightly reduced winds and waves.  The way from the British Virgin Islands to St. Martin is pretty much directly into the wind, so in order to sail we have to tack back and forth, or else crash and bang at a slower speed with the engine.  We sailed 130 miles to cover a 75 mile distance, at just about 24 hours at sea.  Luckily we did not encounter any squalls during the night hours, but boy at 5 am did the wind start howling and the rain start slashing...the only advantage to the hard rain is that the salt we accumulated got washed off nicely...

Anyway, we are now in Marigot Bay on the French side of St. Martin, using the internet in Shrimpy's laundry, a well-known boater hang-out.  We had a lovely lunch yesterday in Marigot, full-service midday meal for 12 euro each, including the wine and beer.  

Today we are grocery shopping and then planning on a quiet evening on the boat, until the fireworks from shore wake us up.  We should have an excellent view of any displays in both Marigot and Simpson Bay.

Our next stop will be St. Barths, and again our departure is completely weather dependent...

Best wishes to all for 2016.  


Tuesday, December 22, 2015


This post is short and sweet

We have had a great time in both the US and British Virgin Islands.  At the moment we are in the North Sound on Virgin Gorda, waiting for cooperative winds and waves to make our way overnight to St. Martin.  We have spent a lot of time away from the interweb...and also out of cell phone range.  Hiking, snorkeling and of course, going through the boat chore list.

In the meantime, we hope that you enjoy time with friends and family, with a farewell to 2015 and best wishes for 2016.

love to all
David and Gretchen

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

More Vieques on to Culebra

08 December 2015

Puerto Rico continued….

The Ponce Fishing and Yacht Club hosted a sailboat regatta the weekend before Thanksgiving.  Our fellow crew member, Bill is an avid racing sailor and inquired about entering the races.  The yacht club scrambled and came up with a Sunfish, put together with borrowed pieces from various boats in the club—showing once again the generosity and friendliness of Ponce.  Bill’s borrowed sail was not a racing sail, and was red and white striped.  Almost all of the other sails were mostly white, so we were able to see how Bill was doing from Callisto, about a mile away from the race course.  Close to us were the youngest sailors, on Optimist Prams.  They were very competitive, yelling out the rights of way and taking their penalty turns without complaint.  What was very impressive to me were the adults on the race committee, I am sure they were hoarse for days afterwards..they encouraged each sailor throughout every race.  I was also pleased that there were both boys and girls in the class.

If any of you are familiar with Sunfish, you may think they are a “kid’s boat”.  They are well suited for young, agile sailors, but people well into their 60’s and 70’s can compete at the world level.  Bill did fairly well, learning a lot in two afternoons from his fellow racers. Sunfish photo

Now for the food…Ponce has built a public park along the waterfront near the working harbor.  There are 18!  little food kiosks along the boardwalk.  One of them, Tango, is known to the cruisers as the place for internet and very cold local beer.  We discovered Raul’s, where Raul and his wife (both well into their 70’s) cook and serve…A lot of the kiosks just have microwaves heating up things put together elsewhere and frozen.  Raul’s the real deal, his own hot sauce, and very generous portions.  I had a shellfish mofongo (mashed fried plaintain with spices) mixed with conch, king crab, lobster and shrimp…so much I had enough for two more meals back on the boat.  The guys had carne asada and for an appetizer we had a Puerto Rican version of nachos.  I had no idea so much garlic was part of PR cuisine.  The space in the grocery store for garlic, both fresh and in jars is about the same as that devoted to potatoes.

After six days in Ponce we moved east a short distance to Patias, Esperanza and then to Ensenada Honda, still on Vieques.  Both Patias and Esperanza were very “rolly”, meaning large swells curling around the protective reefs in the bays rocked the boat, just enough to say let’s not stay here more than two nights.  Esperanza is noted for its gorgeous beach and the bioluminescence in the small bays nearby.

Next time..Ensenada Honda Viequez and then Ensenada Honda Culebra

Gretchen, s/v Callisto, Ensenada Honda Culebra