Thursday, May 23, 2013

Magus in Maine– 2013

This year’s blog will start off with the story of our major Spring maintenance and upgrade project for Magus.  This work is a combination of the regular Spring commissioning work like bottom paint, catching up on some deferred maintenance like the topsides paint, and a nice upgrade project to install a new bowsprit.  The bowsprit will allow for a larger jib on a roller furler, in addition to having the working jib (on hanks,) essentially where it has always been. 

The story starts out with the location where the work is being done, which is Falls Point Marine at the Dunning Boatyard property in Freeport.  Falls Point Marine is owned by Carter Becker, and his company does marine contracting work like wharf floats and ramps, as well as mooring work throughout Casco Bay.  He does a great job of stepping and un-stepping masts right from a boat on a mooring, and he can do pretty much anything related to boats and marine construction.

So, Falls Point Marine and Dunning Boatyard are located at the old Porter’s Landing on the upper reaches of the Harraseeket River.  At low tide there is a shallow trickle of water through the mud flats for almost a mile before reaching the upper end of the harbor/ channel in South Freeport.  Carter takes his work boats and barges up to the yard at high tide on a regular basis (and lets them ground out when the tide drops,) but not many pleasure boats with a 5 foot draft go up there.  There is a boat ramp that can be used from mid-tide or higher, and a boat hauling truck and hydraulic trailer can pick up a sailboat and put her up on the hard.

The unmarked channel is not easy to find at high tide, so I studied the channel at low water, and got some good advice from Carter before making the trip.  The trip from Dimillo’s was made on Saturday, April 27 with Jenny and Travis, and Sophi drove up to meet us and bring us back to Portland.  The winter boat cover had just been removed, so we stopped on Peaks to drop off the frame and a few things.  The night before we had snow flurries, and we ran the gas heater on the trip to Freeport.  All went well, and we got Magus set up at the yard by about 2 pm.  Then Jenny and I borrowed Carter’s pressure washer and got real dirty cleaning the bottom.  We left before dark.

That was the beginning of all the cleaning, sanding, and painting that continued steadily for weeks, while planning for all of the other projects.  All this work made me realize that the bottom work we had paid for in Ponce, PR was well worth the money.

The other projects included replacing the through-hull fitting for the engine cooling water and replacing the valve on one of the cockpit scupper through-hulls.  I was planning to install some high-tech material on the prop shaft packing box, but Carter recommended that the cutlass bearing should really be replaced also.  He was absolutely correct, but I hadn’t been planning on that project, so I persuaded him to help get that bugger off, which took a combination of several tools (that I didn’t own) and a lot of experience and skill that I also don’t have.  Then we discovered that the bearing was a metric size which is OK, but that it did not match the sizes that are typically used (and sold) in the US.  The short story on this is that we got one procured from Europe through Jerry at Nautilus Marine in Ellsworth, Maine. 

On one of the nice Sundays that Jenny and I were sanding and painting, a guy with his wife and dog on their motorcycle stopped by to look at the boat.  He asked if it might possibly be a Banjer 37, maybe hull #50, once named Magus (the name was removed for our painting work.)  When we asked how he could possibly know any of this, he said he was a previous owner of Magus in the 80’s, and he sold her to Vern and Patricia who we bought the boat from.  His name is Jim Horowitz ( and we’re looking forward to seeing him and Louise over the summer to share stories.

This is being posted just before the tentative launch window over the Memorial Day weekend that is forecast to be all rain, so that’s not going to help with getting the other boats painted so they can go in at the same time.  We’ll see how all that turns out…

Again, many thanks to Carter for helping to get the cutlass bearing out and back in, and the super great job with the bowsprit and mast and rigging modifications.  Here’s a photo Carter took while re-stepping the mast.  

Monday, June 4, 2012

St. Mary's to Maine

This is the the trip that needed to be done the fastest, like in one week, and its still 650 miles. But first,we got to enjoy the waterfront at the school, meet Echo's friends, and relax a little. Travis and Albert arrived on Tuesday afternoon, May 8, a beautiful hot day. The official policy of the school is we can't stay overnight on the dock, so we acted like we didn't, and they were very welcoming and accommodating. We caught up on things, like laundry, and got some free meals in the cafeteria and as part of some nice school events.

On Thursday, we went for a boat ride up the St. Mary's River with Echo and a crowd of her friends, sailing downwind on the return trip. Later, Jenny and Sophi arrived by plane and rental car to Lexington Park where Albert and Travis met them in Echo's car for a ride back to SMCM and Magus. We were late getting back to Magus to meet up with Albert's old friend Ed Chambers, his wife Karen, and son Adam, who drove down from Calvert County. Echo had a school event to go to, but the rest of us went to an outrageous seafood restaurant, Cortney's, where owner Tom told us some great stories.

On Friday, we walked around historic St. Mary's City, relaxed, and went to the Family Picnic for dinner. There was a convocation ceremony that evening, and then we turned in to get some sleep for the commencement/ graduation ceremony the next morning. After photo events, we had a nice potluck lunch with Echo's roomates and parents, and helped Echo pack up her stuff for a short move to a different dorm for the summer.

Echo's move happened on Sunday morning. It was about noontime when Sophi and Travis left to drove Echo's car to Maine, and Echo, Jenny and Albert prepared Magus for the voyage to Maine. We invited Ed and Adam to come with us on the first leg of the trip, overnight to Annapolis. Karen made us a nice package of chicken sandwiches and snacks. It was a cloudy evening, with enough wind to put up the sails, but not enough to turn off the engine except for a couple of short spells. We got into the City Dock by about noon. Albert met up with his college friend Bill Ball and wife Katie, and with friends from 30 years ago in Annapolis-- Jum and Linda Mumper, and Bob Mumper. Karen had driven up to get Ed and Adam at about the same time. A little too much all at one time, but it was great to re-connect a little.

We left the next morning in the fog and rain, but it slowly improved to calm and hazy. We lucked out on the current timing in the C&D Canal, and tied up to the north side dock at the bridge in Chesapeake City, that had still not re-opened, so no fee. We talked to the new dockmaster and his wife, and they said they're only open on weekends now, and starting slowly. We left early the next morning, Wednesday, and motored into no wind all day, going through the May Canal at about 4 pm.

We tied up at Utsch's Marina, ate a bunch of seafood, and worried about the weather. It was supposed to blow from the northeast for the next four days, 10-20 knots, with stronger gusts sometimes. That's straight into the wind for our planned course to the Cape Cod Canal. We also noticed that the forecast showed lighter winds up near New York City and Long Island Sound, so we left in the afternoon to arrive in the City the next morning. The wind started off strong, but followed the forecast and was not much the next morning.

We checked the timing of the current up the East River, and needed to wait a couple of hours before it turned favorable at 3 pm, so we anchored in Coney Island Creek between a park next to a housing project, and wrecked ruins of boats on the other side of the creek.

The trip up the Hudson River, past the Statue of Liberty, past the construction of the new World Trade Centers, the Brooklyn Bridge, lots of ferries and everything else, it was all fun and overwhelming.

Then we checked the timing of the currents at the Race- between Long Island Sound and Block Island Sound- and at the Cape Cod Canal, and realized that we needed to keep the speed up to make the best currents. With not much wind, we just kept chugging away, and made it to the CC Canal before dark on Saturday, and called ahead to Seafood Sam's near the Sandwich East Basin to get a seafood take-out order. The guy at the gas dock said he needed $10 for us to tie-up, but then he got nicer when we said no problem, and he wouldn't take our money when we went to walk to the restaurant, then he was gone when we got back. Nice guy.

After that short stop, we kept on going towards Portland, and again there was essentially no wind, and we pulled into Dimillo's Marina at 4 pm, with Sophi and Travis at the dock to help. That was a very successful delivery: 650 miles in 7 days, an average of 93 miles a day, the fastest of any part of the whole trip from Puerto Rico. For one thing, we were very fortunate with the weather and the current timing. And really, that was true the whole way along, compared to some times. Next time, we want to have a lot more time, and stop to see where we are more often. It was still great as it was, though. Now we have to get back to our “normal” life, and we still won't have time to fix up Magus as much as we want, but slowly it goes.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Leg 2: Nassau to St. Mary's City

Haven't had time to write anything about this until now.  I got to Nassau on Saturday, April 21.  Travis and Greg had gotten in a day or two earlier.  This is more of a delivery than the first trip with Jenny when we got to swim and snorkel a few times.  I found Greg on the Cruiser's Forum web site, not sure if either Jenny or Travis would be coming on this part of the trip.  Having the three of us would make it easier on the night watches in particular.

Everything was fine with the boat and the marina, until we tried to start the engine and it wouldn't turn over.  After trying to jump from the house batteries with old cables that also didn't work, I decided to spring for a new starter battery first thing on Monday.  The fishing guys in the nearby boats had a connection at a battery shop that would deliver.  The delivered battery wasn't right, so I got to ride back to the shop and get the right one in a car with a broken seat back.  Nassau is a big small town with no highways to speak of, so it was no problem.  Everyone in Nassau was great in general.

The battery worked perfectly, and all was well.  In fact, even though it seemed like it was the good battery compared to the house batteries, it had been the bad one during the earlier trip, because now it was possible to run the 12-volt cooler with the engine running and the batteries stayed charged. Electrical systems are often mysterious.  

So, we had been watching the weather forecasts for the crossing to Beaufort, NC, using either, or the phone apps with the same info.  It seemed like we could maybe keep moving and squeeze the trip in before the next north front came through, so we left that afternoon for the Abacos.  That was a bit of a rough night, and we went through the cut at North Bar Channel the next afternoon, anchored for the night, then went on to Marsh Harbor the next morning.  We had an engine oil problem and needed to buy oil, got some food while we were at it, and left just before sunset on Wednesday, April 25.

Dolphins in mid-ocean
We wanted to make good time, so we essentially ran the engine for the next four days.  The wind was light and from the south or east the whole time.  It was supposed to go north and get strong on Sunday morning, but fortunately it didn't come in very strong and we took a full four days to go almost 600 miles, averaging over 6 knots.  We did a poor job of sending out position messages with our Spot locator, so Jenny was understandably worried, and I'll know to send those out more often next time.  We were surprised to hear the Coast Guard on vhf channel 16 over 200 miles from shore (but not who they were talking to,) so they must have very good antennas.

Travis was taking videos during the trip, and afterward, he and Sophi put together this nice edited version, even if its still a little long.

In Beaufort, we cleared in by phone, but a CBP guy had to stop by the next morning, and he confiscated our apples, but not all the other leftovers we had, which was weird.  Greg decided he really like Beaufort, and he wanted to stay and visit the area, and since Travis and I could do fine without him, we wished each other well, and said goodbye.  For now, here is a quick summary of the rest of the trip so far. 

ICW scene

Travis and I left in the afternoon of Monday, April 30 for a short sail/ motor on the Intracoastal Waterway to a creek just short of the Neuse River.  This made the next day's trip to Belhaven not too long, and we got in there early enough to do some shopping and visit the funky town history museum.   

Tuesday was a fairly long run to an anchorage on the Little Alligator River just before Albemarle Sound.  The next day was only 30 miles to Coinjock, where we stayed at a marina and visited with friends I met through Echo, Lisa and Drew Wright, and their parents, and one of their sons, Ian.

The next day was "bridge day," only 50 miles, but just making the many bridges and the lock at Great Bridge in time before the last bridge opened at 3:30 pm and then was closed until 6:00.  It was also the day we met Lewis from London on day 62 of his rowing adventure from Miami, on his way to New York (if his Visa got renewed.)  We gave him a tow for a few miles to the first bridge.  We ended up staying at a great public wharf in Portsmouth, and he left us a note on Magus while we were out.  We hope the rest of his trip is successful.

Portsmouth, VA public harbor

The next day, Saturday, May 5, we left for Mobjack Bay, staying at a great little place Compass Marina, owned by Albert's friend from college Martin Coffee and her husband Keith Jones.  The next day had a good breeze from the north, so we stayed and went kayaking on the East River, eating some outrageously good fresh oysters we picked on the way.

Menhaden fishing vessel, Reedville, VA
On Monday, the wind picked up good in the afternoon and we actually sailed without the engine for several hours.  We went to Reedville, where we met Captain Emery Lewis on his 80 foot cruising motor-sailer ketch, and heard lots of great history stories about the area.  Everyone here was also very friendly, and although none of the restaurants were open, we could have eaten at the American Legion and heard more history stories at the local school, but we just stayed on the dock.  We also walked around the fishing/ marine museum that was closed. 

The next day we left for St. Mary's City, arriving at 3 pm, as predicted by Travis.  The trip log showed 997 nautical miles from Nassau, in 15 days, an average of 66.5 miles per day, including the stops and lay-overs.  That's good, meaning we had good luck and good weather.  By contrast, the trip from Puerto Rico to Nassau was about 920 miles in 24 days, about 38 miles per day.  However, the first trip had rougher weather and we had to wait out some fronts instead of swimming and snorkeling, which we also did some. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The rest of the first leg

The rest of this part of the trip went fast enough that I couldn't blog; also, there were technology issues, and it seemed like there were no good wi-fi places, but we just didn't take the time to stay anywhere long enough to get to them in some cases, anyway.

Or, they were really hard to find, like in Cockburn Harbor, South Caicos, where we never found one. This place was completely out of the normal tourist sphere. There were some cruising boats that came through, and a mailboat maybe more than once a week. We ate at the one restaurant a few times-- compared to the super-high food prices, the restaurant was reasonable-- for basic West Indian bar food. That means the meal of fish or chicken or whatever comes with rice and peas, mac & cheese (baked,) and cole slaw. All meals came this way for the rest of our travels to Nassau. OK, in some places, they would have plaintain or some other choices, but not usually.

We had some good times with Jens and Hanne on s/v Viau at Big Sand Cay and Cockburn Harbor. They are the couple who organized the radio contact list, and we spoke to them and the others on our way from Boqueron to T&C. When we arrived at Big Sand Cay, we asked them if they bounced around a lot like we did, and Hanne said oh, yeah, that's the washing machine experience; you get used to it/ [They sailed from Europe to the caribbean somewhere in 21 days, so they should know.] At Cockburn Harbot, Albert and Jens walked around the town together to clear-in. First, it was off to Customs, and then across the village to Immigration. Albert was too late to go to the Health Department for Tigerlily's final approval, but the lady at Immigration said it would be OK if we never got to them, so we didn't. Albert had to do the same rounds to clear out after the second day, so that part could have been easier.

The Boqueron trip ended at Big Sand Cay, where we just anchored and spent the night until we could go to Cockburn Harbor the next day.   Here's a video from the Boqueron to Sand Cay trip

Cockburn Harbor was quite a place, maybe a few hundred people live there. The fishing seemed to be very good, with many fisherman coming into the town dock in the afternoon, cleaning their fish, selling any they could, but then taking most of it to one of two packing plants in the town.

Abandoned resort near Cockburn Harbor, South Caicos

There were two humungous tourist developments that were abandoned, and I never got the full story, but much of the town had abandoned buildings, so it all had a feeling of being passed by, but it was OK. People were all friendly and helpful. 
Municipal water system in Cockburn Harbor, T&C

Making another great dinner
Jens and Hanne with Jenny in Cockburn Harbor

Hanne and Jens on Viau, leaving Big Sand Cay

Here is a summary of the most of this segment of the trip, with some dates:

Boqueron to Sand Cay (T&C) March 10-12 (50 hours)
Sand Cay to Cockburn Harbor, T&C March 13 (5 hours)
Cockburn Harbor to Mayaguana, Bahamas March 15 (about 20 hours)
Mayaguana to Clarence Town, Long Is, Ba. March 18 (about 24 hours)
Clarence Town to Calabash Bay, Long Is March 20 (a long 8 hours)
Calabash Bay to George Town, Exumas March 22 (a nice 6 or 7 hours)
George Town to Lee Stocking Is CMRL March 24 (about 5 hours)
Lee Stocking Is to Staniel Cay March 25 (about 8 hours)
Staniel Cay to Warderick Wells March 27 (easy 5 hours)
Warderick Wells to Nassau March 30 (fun 8 hours)

The whole trip, Salinas to Nassau, ended up being 920 n. miles. I had planned on 950 miles, so we did it efficiently, with at least one longer trip than I thought we might take, and that shortened the miles to go into other harbors. Lots of motor-sailing, just to keep moving, and shorten the time; also, to run the engine and charge the batteries every few hours at night.

Leaving Cockburn Harbor, we needed to cross the Caicos Bank during the day, and we picked a fairly deep route, so we didn't have to worry too much. Here's what the paper chart showed:

A coral head on the Caicos Bank

Abrahams Bay, Mayaguana, Bahamas

Mayaguana was even a more passed-by kind of place, but we cleared into the Bahamas there, and people were friendly, but in a more desperate kind of way... the Customs lady was saying you want a restaurant? I'll call my friend, make you dinner? Many of the buildings still had roofs blown off from last summer's hurricane. 

Pothole farming on Long Island, Bahamas
Clarence Town was more real, and had just the beginnings of touristy. We never made it to Dean's Blue Hole, because I made us leave after just one day, which was a day too early. On the day we were there, though, we met Cecile from Ontario, and she took us on a car ride halfway to the north end of the island, stopping at the bank, a couple of stores, and a couple of great little mini-farms.

In George Town, there was a full tourist service feeling, but it is still out of the normal tourist circles—plenty of cruising boats, and a few tourists who come to stay at one of the luxury or fishing resorts on the island. One of my favorite things here was buying some fresh grown produce from the farmer's pickup truck, with his kids running around. The barbeque at the Peace and Plenty resort was nice, and hanging out at the Chat-n-Chill on Stocking Island was fine, too. We left with a crowd of maybe 20 boats all headed north, on Saturday morning.


We thought we were going farther, but decided to stop at Lee Stocking Island, at the Caribbean Marine Research Laboratory. We had time to walk over to the ocean beaches, and check out the site. The gift shop was not open.

The next day was a mostly traveling day to Staniel Cay, home of the snorkeling grotto where the movie Thunderball and others were filmed. It's a bit over-visited, but we found some good snorkeling around the corner where fewer boats go.

We stayed a second day here, and then moved on to Warderick Wells, headquarters of the Exumas Land and Sea Park. There is some excellent snorkeling here, although it was blowing hard, so the visibility was down. Very interesting place, nice little store, had to stay on a mooring that cost a big $15 a night. This is because the anchorage is so small, and they packed it with moorings. It felt safe when the wind got strong for a day or so.

Warderick Wells, whale skeleton

Then one more full day sail and we were in Nassau. The place where we are keeping the boat is Bayshore Marina, that has mostly local boats, with no facilities of any kind. But we negotiated an excellent rate, and there is 24-hour security, and the guys on the boats at the dock are nice and helpful. We didn't have much time to see Nassau, but we still got around. For now, here are a few photos.

Friday, March 9, 2012

2012 Magus first week plus

We arrived in San Juan on Monday, March 27 at 2 pm or so, and left in the rental car a little after 3. We made a stop to shop and eat, so we didn't get to Salinas until about 6, dropped off the lobsters at Fred and Mary's, took their dinghy to the boat, and crashed.

Got things started on Tuesday, and made plans to have dinner with them that evening at their house, with their dozen or so dogs. They have been great friends of ours down here, and we hope to talk them into visiting us in Maine.

On Wednesday at noon, the S/V Toda arrived from Ponce with owner Bill Creighton, crew Kevin, and guest crew Carter and Kathy-- anchoring next to us. That night, we supplied a cooked chicken from Jenny's shopping day, she made a cole slaw, and Kevin made mashed potatoes, hosted on Toda. Toda is a 40' Pacific Seacraft formerly owned by Nigel Calder. [For those who know who he is, you can imagine how well the boat is equipped.] Bill takes excellent car of her, too, and he lives in Freeport, along with Carter and Kathy. Kevin has been crewing since Bill left Maine last November, and he has stayed on the boat in Puerto Rico while Bill went back on one or two occasions. Kevin and Jenny played guitar and we all had a lovely time.

On Thursday, Albert discovered a transmission issue, but with Carter's help, devised a good solution. That required some more purchases, and a package had arrived for Bill back in Ponce, so Kevin came with us on our shopping trip to get the package. Kevin is an anasthesiologist or something like that from Oregon who has decided to move to Puerto Rico when the sailing trip is over.

By Friday, Jenny had provisioned Magus with enough food to keep us full for our whole trip to Maine, its seems like.

A list of some of the projects we did are:
Clean, pack, organize, and re-organize.
Replaced the tangs and clevis pins on the main mast lower shrouds. That was a little painful, standing and strapped in on the mast half-way up.
Inflate the dinghy, and repair the outboard.
Check to the engine and everything else
Overall, though, things were in good shape.

Rather than do it ourselves, we hired a guy to clean the bottom, and he did a great job. Now I should be able to keep up with it. Well, through the Bahamas anyway.

Leaving Salinas

Then there was the transmission issue that seemed like a big problem, but it could be fixed. The bigger problem was a complete surprise-- our West Marine deflatable would hold air, but the bottom had detached from the tubes, and it required a major repair. The West Marine store in San Juan was useless. And again, our friend Fred came to the rescue by loaning us a friend's dinghy that is also a West product, but older, and hopefully better.

On Sunday, March 4, we left for Isla Caja de Muertos near Ponce. On the way there, one of the after lower shroud “chainplate” eye bolts broke (as I knew it could.) Luckily, the mast didn't come down, and both of the after shroud eye bolts were replaced while we hung out there.  We also discovered that our really nice "Wavey Line" charts were not on the boat.  Apparently, they were in a mailing tube that was thrown away in Salinas.  After a short freak-out, a neighboring boat sold us some good Bahamas and Turks/ Caicos charts, and we will make do with Hispniola, with a 1982 DMA chart that came with Magus.  Don't worry, we also have the electronic charts, but just in case.


On Thursday, we were ready to go, and the winds were supposed to be down, so we headed off early for Boqueron, about 55 miles. It started off easy, but by the afternoon I was happy to have fixed the various rig things, when it was blowing 25 kts or more, with big 10 foot plus seas. With the small jib and reefed main we were going 7 kts, downwind. We got into Boqueron about 5 pm, very relieved.

Boqueron is a funky little local beach town, and we've been able to get a few things, and get some cheap food. Tonight we got together with five other boat people who are all planning to leave for the Turks and Caicos tomorrow am. We'll have a radio check-in schedule. The weather is supposed to be good, but as Hanne said, it always blows harder than the forecast. We'll see.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Planning for 2012 Trip, Puerto Rico to Maryland

Jenny and I have been generally planning to bring Magus back to Maine at some point, but we've put it off for the obvious benefit of having a boat in the Caribbean.  We do worry about the hurricane issue, and we seem to have been fortunate again this year.  Anyway, 2012 seems like a good time to bring Magus up to St. Mary's City Maryland,  because we could be there for daughter Echo's graduation from St. Mary's College of Maryland on May 12. Then leave Magus somewhere in that area until we can bring her to Maine over the summer.

This is a long trip that is essentially a delivery, given the distance and time limitations.  The trip could be through some very interesting places, but there wouldn't be a lot of time to stop and relax.  The fastest, basic option would be to sail from Salinas around to Mayaguez on the west cost of Puerto Rico, about 90 nautical miles, then go straight to Beuafort, NC about 1,150 n.miles, then take the "waterway" for 190 miles to Norfolk and then 120 miles up the Chesapeake to St. Mary's City.  That's 1,550 n.miles that could be done in about three weeks, with no weather delays, and the longest part of the trip would be about 10 days at sea.

The next option would be to go to the Turks and Caicos from Mayaguez, that's about 350 n.miles, then from there to Beaufort for 860 n.miles, then the rest.  The total would be 1,620 n.miles, and it would take a few more days because of the stops, but the longest ocean leg would be reduced to 7 or 8 days, and the total time could be less than 4 weeks, or call it 5.  Definitely a delivery, though.

Here's a plan that would allow for some vacation, but it would still be a delivery.  One month to move the boat from her mooring in Salinas to Nassau Bahamas, then leave her there for a month while I come back and work, then back to the boat and take another month to bring the boat from Nassau to St.Mary's City.  It's about 1,000 n.miles to Nassau, with the current plan to sail past the Dominican Republic but stop in the Turks & Caicos, cross the "bank," then go 210 miles to clear into the Bahamas at San Salvador, then follow the Exumas up to Nassau.  From Nassau to St. Mary's City is about 920 n.miles that would allow a short stop in the northern Bahamas (the Abacos,) then a 500 mile ocean crossing to Beaufort, NC and then the waterway and Chesapeake to St. Mary's City.  These maps show the overall territory, but Google satellite maps are a good way to look at some of the details, and they have a distance measuring tool, now.

It's early December, and Jenny has just decided she wants to do the trip, so now we can really make plans, like find someone to watch the dogs and ducks, and that should be possible.  The overnight ocean crossings need to have at least two people, and it would be easier to have four.  If anyone looking at this wants to volunteer, let me know.  Here are the tentative dates (and it looks like I can get the time off):
First leg: February 24 to March 31, then the second leg from April 20 to May 19.  The first of the travel blocks is 5 weeks long instead of 4, so that should make it more fun.  We'll also need some time to get ready before we can leave, and then put the boat away, so the travel time is not as much as it sounds like.  We should be able to fit in a little time to relax and chill, though.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Jenny here at last

This post was started as an experiment on my iphone that ended up in Salinas harbor for just a second or two when I fell into the water, but that that was all it took to ruin that unit.  (Now I wish I had gotten the insurance.)  That was on our last full day in Puerto Rico when we were mostly putting the boat away for another year or so.  I will be finishing up this blog over the next week.

For now, here is a link to some photos, and I will add some more and put some in this blog.   

When Jenny arrived in Culebra, it started to feel like a real vacation. We got the engine fixed after a couple of days, and we got into island time.  I really appreciate that Jenny helped keep me on a vacation pace, with fairly short sails so we had time to swim or explore every day.  The first day out of Culebra was a Saturday and we were heading east with enough time to get to Jost Van Dyke when we realized that BVI Customs closes at noon, and we couldn't make it by then-- it's about 36 miles into the wind, so it takes at least 7 hours but more like 8.  Anyway, that made it easy to decide to stop in Magen's Bay on the north side of St. Thomas just after noon, after 4 hours or so.

Magen's Bay is not explained in the cruising guides very well, but it was very unique-- a bay with the far end being a sandy beach almost a mile long.  It's a public recreation area with lots of parking, and seems to be free.  On Saturday, the beach not too full with a mix of tourists and locals.  On Sunday, it was even more locals having barbecues under the shade of the palms at the edge of the beach.  Jenny swam the length of the beach both ways on both days we were there.

On Monday morning we sailed on to Jost and cleared in.  It was great to see most of the friends we met two years ago, the second time for Albert-- Foxy, Wendell, Erol, and Susan from JVD Preservation.  Some highlights:  Susan Chaplin paddled over from Tortola, and we had dinner with her and Erol on Magus, and played music at Erol's house. Too soon, it was time to leave, and we went back to Magens Bay for a night, then on to Culebra.  We had a couple of good snorkeling events, had a good dinner at Mamacita's, then it was on to Salinas.  That was fun, too, checking in with old friends and meeting new ones.  Sophi and Travis know Barbara and Stew on La Luna, and they were anchored near us, so we visited with them a couple of times, including a guitar playing night.  We also went out to dinner with Mary and Fred.  Overall, it was another great adventure on Magus.