I’ve Got You Babe..

The sun peeks through the overhead hatch as the watch on my wrist vibrates signaling the beginning of another day as the music comes up… click here

I am sure many of you feel just as Bill Murray’s character, Phil Connors, does in The movie Groundhog Day that we are spinning in perpetual motion day after day as these days of the Covid-19 quarantine , self-isolation, “stay-at-home’ drone on.

Meanwhile, Lost Loon is sitting safe in the US Virgin Islands. We are surrounded by like cruisers who have either come here with plans to head back to the US or like us waiting to see if Grenada opens their doors.

We arrived in US waters on March 14 after an uneventful overnight motorsail from St Maarten. It was our plan to stage here before leaving for the ABC Islands. Shortly after our arrival we became well aware that a minuscule microscopic menace would effect a huge change to our plans. And little did we know that things would change nearly daily on a worldwide as well as local level. More about that in a few….

For a period of time, shortly after arrival here, we were literally between a rock and a hard place, with no where to go. Our insurance policy on the boat says we need to be north of the Florida GA state line or south of 12 degrees latitude … that’s Grenada. Explicitly out of the typical hurricane zone. It would have been our choice to head for Grenada ( only 350 mikes) but we see boats in quarantine, limited haul-outs and very random flights leaving the country for the US. So our second option was to head back to the US (1220miles!!). And… to our disappointment Bahamas waters are closed! ( meaning transit outside their territorial waters …no stopping for an overnight rest!) This would also mean a whole Fall season of trying to get East against the trades to just get right back here in the VIs.

Well we found out last week that just about anything is negotiable for $$$$$. We have tentatively arranged to haul the boat out here in St Thomas for a sizable additional fee on our policy and get one of the scheduled flights back to Miami. I know, it’s very obvious to us that this IS A HURRICANE ZONE, but so is most of the East coats of the US! At this point with options closing off for us we needed to make a decision.

Doing this we give up our option for Grenada. And if things don’t look good here or we have a change of mind, we will end up with our last plan and head to the continental US.

If we were making a return to the US doing the 1200 nm, and that’s 10-12 non-stop days. We have been told that there will be no anchoring in any islands; we would need to make a straight shot north – NW from here. AND they have invoked a $10,000 fine with possible imprisonment if caught anchoring or even in the waters!!

Presently we sit at anchor waiting for our haul-out at Independent Boatyard on St Thomas on May 1st. Week #4.

Backyard
Neighborhood

So what’s a day like in the Virgin Islands when you are not sailing and visiting anchorages?? It’s like having a floating condo… a very small condo. We are living in 250 square feet.

The day starts with the morning radio net on the VHF . We find out the latest local changes ( if we haven’t read Facebook), get weather, discuss options to get food, laundry done, and order pizza! Yep, there is a local pizza place that actually served 40 some boats some 50-60 pizzas today by boat!

So this is a pizza boat. They used to be anchored in Christmas Cove, but work out of Benner Bay now from 11-7 each day

We have a list of duties/ tasks to complete before we haul out and a list of jobs for after haul out. So everyday we get 1-2 things done …the stainless is polished, the heads are lubricated, the diesel fuel is treated, the food and medicine inventory has been completed. We have reorganized lockers, and started taking equipment off the rails.

The weather is good, sunny most days 80 degrees and light breezes at night. We can be dropped off at a closed beach just to cross to the road for a walk. ( Trails and beaches just opened yesterday again!!)

We spend time checking in on the HAM network of boats, email and messages, reading, and watching news clips from home in the morning.

Afternoons we may swim, SCUBA

do yoga aboard ( oh yeah that’s a challenge!), cut each other’s hair 🤣

Yep, desperate times call for desperate measures!

and read. We have had excellent cellular service to make calls to the kids and grandkids, mothers, sisters, and brothers.

So here is a list of Lost Loon’s recent reads:

Cape Horn The Logical Route, Bernard Motissier

Dreamland, San Quinones

Land of Dreams, Vidal Sundstol

The Ravens, Vidal Sundstol

Only the Dead, Vidal Sundstol

Chasing My Cure, David Fajgenbaum

Boys in the Boat, Daniel James Brown

We are making the best of the situation in our little floating home. We feel we are some of the lucky ones to be located in a US territory. Some of our sailing friends are in foreign islands and either cannot leave or are stuck on their boats until the government says they can haul their boats out…. and then hope for a flight back to the US!!

We pray for our friends and family they they stay safe and protect each other. We are doing the same. And wake up each morning hoping this crazy dream is just that!!!

Make it a great day!

Finally got the GoPro app to work!! Diving The Ledges, St James Island, USVI

A St Barth’s pictorial

Hey folks! This is just images…no words from our latest stop at St Barthelemy. Enjoy!

No words this blog.. ok just explanation. Spent 2 days in beautiful St Barthelemy on our way up the Leeward chain as we head to BVIs, and US Virgins…St Thomas. Thought it was quite worthy of a silent pictorial.

It’s a beautiful and very French place here in the Caribbean! We’re off to Sint Maarten 🇸🇽! Au revoke!

Boats on the loose and heavy weather sailing

We have taken some sailing courses along prior to setting off in 2016, but one important trip in particular with John Kretschmer (www.yayblues.com) really solidified our desire and confidence in buying a boat and heading out on our own to sea. He offers a variety of sailing experiences around the world and I bet our 9 hour trip yesterday from Chateaubelair St Vincent to Rodney Bay, St Lucia in some pretty “salty” conditions would qualify as a day in the life of one of his heavy weather courses! Another thanks John, for your wisdom and on-going advice to give us the confidence to make this journey.

Our day started long before we had anticipated for such a weather-filled trip. With frequent showers and very little wind overnight in Chateaubelair it was mostly quiet. We had swam over the anchor to assure it was held in sand and some grass near the idyllic Caribbean backdrop on the north part of the bay. The numerous heavy downpours would be a foreshadowing for things to come the next day.We had not anticipated that the 50 ft Amel that dropped ( operative word- not backed down on) anchor 100 ft or more from us at 1800 would bump into us at 0400 the next morning.

Mike and I awoke immediately at the sound of metal knocking on metal, like the alarm going off at the firehouse, to sailors. Its an ominous sound. In the dark, we raced out to the cockpit to find the bow pulpit of the Amel peaking over the railing of our port stern. It’s truly a sleeping sailors nightmare to see another (huge) boat encroaching in on our space. Our brains attempting to clearly think …what to do? You dont just give her a shove, however we tried instinctively. Fifty foot boats dont just move when pushed by hand. We immediately started the engine and pulled several feet away from it. We know the lay-out of the boat and the owners cabin is in the stern of the boat, so likely they didn’t hear the noise until the engine started and we were talking and calling somewhat for them. The other option would have been an air horn, but we figured that would wake everyone in the anchorage. there was no use in that, yet.

Moments went by and she was creeping closer to us again as the sleepy captain and first mate of the Amel came on deck. Most cruisers can tell me what their first words were……… yep, “oh it looks like you have dragged anchor, ” as they calmly went about retrieving fenders from somewhere and placing on the port side of their boat as we watched. Mike was the perfect gentleman. I have seen him more riled up at catamarans anchoring in “our space”, but he just as calmly said, “well I’m not sure but I think WE are right where we have been all night in reference to other boats.” There was no accusation, no laying blame on anyone. They lit up their deck lights and examined the bow pulpit for damage, which we assured them didn’t exist and how lucky we both were. And again she creeped close enough for us to restart the engine and pull forward. In the calm of the windless night, there was a current, a strong one to pull them toward us. Our anchor we figured was already strung out as far as it would go, as were the other boats anchored near us we figured. The Amel’s approach was relentless. Despite the fact that they indicated they put out a good 160 feet of anchor chain, they were sure she was still set. Yet, they were reluctant to start pulling anchor as they silently realized that it may not be where they “placed” it the evening before. So we all sat patiently, as the current propelled her again closer, enough for a third start of the engine. It was now 0545 and there was a very little bit of light discernible in the East. We were all waiting for daylight in order to locate the position of our anchors, and for the Amel to make a move out of our space.

What is the best thing to do at a time like this? Well, make coffee of course. We knew we would not be going back to sleep and should get on with the caffeine fix for the day. As daylight proceeded to filter through the clouds, a few rain drops fell. We went about prepping the boat to sail. As I came out of PJs, I noticed the boat of the other crew had done the same and were collecting fenders. They were still only 10 feet to our stern. They asked if we were leaving and we indicated “at some point, but not immediately.” They told us they would begin moving and needed to anchor closer to shore to check into the immigration office there.

Now mind you, 160 feet of chain, right? Well, if they had put that much out and WE had dragged, we would see him moving quickly away from us as they collected chain to where he was “anchored” ( the previous night) nearly 100 feet away, but no. As they retrieved the anchor they pulled it up right there next to our boat and not anywhere near 160, or 130, or even 100 ft of chain retrieved. They had clearly dragged anchor on us. We bid them a good day as they motored away. No foul, no harm, thankfully.

With a hot cup of java already taking its affect on our senses, we waited out another shower, double checked that everything in the cabin was secure, readied the mainsail, and weighed our anchor. We had motored 10 minutes out of the anchorage before we began to feel the wind, swell and waves. We raised the main with 2 reefs, and put out just a “bikini bottom” of a genoa and set a course north. We tried to stay close to the shore thinking our heading across the St Lucia channel would be a better angle, but found that the waves and swell were actually playing off that shoreline slowing our progress as they continued to build on the nose. We turned just a bit more downwind and were able to turn off the motor. Despite the 5-9 ft waves at 6 second intervals, the 22-25 knots of wind was taking us at an acceptable 6.5 knots per hour.

The waves continued to build as we headed into the channel between the islands, as it usually does and we were occasionally hit by some huge ones breaking over the bow, and onto the boat. We counted four that soaked the cockpit, thankfully we had the companionway closed off. Winds were steady from the East, putting us at a good 25- 30 degree heel, which puts the downwind rails underwater and makes getting a good stance challenging while manning the sails. It meant being ready to let out sail if the winds were overpowering our set up. If the sea salt soaking wasn’t enough, we contended with 3 squalls with winds up to 27 knots, ……but of course its fresh water we say, cleaning the salty sails!

As we approached the southern tip of St Lucia, near the Pitons, we were greeted by a huge school of dolphin. They seemed energized by the crazy sea and weather. They followed only for a few minutes, cresting and jumping across the bow and alongside the boat. With all that we were doing to keep on course, I couldn’t get my camera fast enough for any photos, sorry. It was a great distraction from the constant watch for the sea state changes.

The sun came and went, drying us off for another approaching squall, the last one, really a mere shower. We learned our lesson on previous trips here where the winds tend to scream around the pitons surprising us on even very settled days. So we sailed off shore a couple of miles giving the dear wind plenty of berth. With the protection of the island now, the seas settled and we found more comfortable sailing conditions. We had passed our refresher in heavy weather sailing.

We pulled into the huge anchorage at Rodney Bay by 4 pm, nearly 12 hours after wrestling with a wayward Amel. With the anchor safely set in sand, a bit of fresh water to rinse the cockpit, the stainless and windshield, we were finished for the day. The Lost Loon had performed well , seeming to say thank you for keeping her safe from harm that morning.

Peace and Love ❤️

Crew from Lost Loon wish you Happy Valentines Day!!!

Southern windwards and chili killies

One of the most beautiful spots in the southeast Caribbean, the Tobago Cays. It is a destination for charter and long term cruisers as well. The reason is the crystal clear water, sand beaches, an abundance of turtle life all protected by a huge reef. That makes it special because we are usually anchored or moored behind an island in waters protected from the Atlantic waves and swells, but here we have full view of the great ocean. This morning’s sunrise was then extra special as it was beautifully clear. And because it is such a desirable location, there are many boats here! They start coming shortly after noon and continue up to sunset.

During the day we see turtles pop up for a breath and a peek around. We watch snorklers follow the sea life around the anchorage. There are turtles everywhere, just a quick snorkel around the boat and they are feeding on the grass below. One afternoon I counted 6 during a 10 minute swim. There is a cut through the surrounding reef to deeper waters for snorkeling and diving when the seas are calm. Here we see bigger pelagic fish, sometimes sharks and rays.

We are lucky to have our friends Rick and Mimi aboard again. We picked them up at the ferry dock in Carriacou, ( after a cancelled flight to Houston, made Charlotte, then Miami to Grenada where then spent the night so they could get the one ferry to Carriacou!)

Carriacou is part of Grenada which is celebrating independence Feb 6th. They are already decked out for the affair!

We have sailed as far north as Bequia with a stop in Mayreau and now, on the way back south, we stop here in the Tobago Cays a small archipelago of islands that are part of St Vincent called the Grenadines.

Last night we enjoyed a fun lobster beach barbecue with so many other cruisers. We saw piles of lobster being served and wonder how this is sustained day to day month to month , year after year. But this didn’t spoil the delicious taste of the crustacean served with local provisions of plantains, rice pilaf and grilled potatoes. We were enlightened by other cruisers who brought appetizers and bottles of rum, wine and even a couple with champagne!

We snorkeled, hiked a couple small islands close by and people -watched… an activity that comes naturally as boats come and go in the anchorage. We play ‘what flag is that?’ as well as ‘where will they try to anchor ‘ guessing games. After being on the water long enough down here it’s pretty easy to predict. Our week took us to the islands of Palm, Mayreau and Sandy.

Our last day was a perfect bright snorkeling stop just off Hillsborough of Carriacou. We swam for over an hour seeing 2 octopus, numerous sergeant majors, angelfish, lobster den, and porcupine fish to name a few. This area is also a protected marine area and despite reports of declining coral reefs in the Caribbean this one was beautiful. There were huge stag horn coral, fans, purple tubes, and fire coral .

Best breakfast recipe!!

Chili Killies

According to our guest Rick, this Men’s Journal recipe is good for hangovers. We just love it when our guests like cooking.( recipe is our version)

1 bag of plain tortilla chips

1 jar of picante/ salsa

1-2 cups Shredded cheddar

4-6 eggs

Combine the chips and most of the picante/ salsa stirring so most of the chips are coated. Let sit while shredding the cheese.

Preheat oven to 375.

Pour the coated chips into 13 x 9 pan. Sprinkle cheese on the chips evenly. Break eggs atop the chips, evenly in pan.

Bake for 10- 15 min, then raise the oven shelf and turn on the broiler to cook the eggs as well done as preferred. Watch constantly to prevent burning.

Serve each person with egg. May use additional picante/ salsa.

We think sour cream would be great but don’t usually keep on the boat.

Restaurants this week:

Tobago Cays Beach Barbeque- lobster!!!!!

Laura’s in Bequia – excellent tuna and mahi

Tainty Mavis in Carriacou- fresh wahoo and nice provisions ( sides)

Best Beach bar:

The Ranch Escapade- this is a kick off your shoes, enjoy the beach deck and swing, walk the sand, endless ocean view beach bar!! It is on the windward side of Mayreau, a short walk to near paradise for a cold beer and awesome view of paradise!

That’s a snapshot of our last week.

We are currently in Bequia , again, doing laundry, filling propane tanks and provisioning… off this next week to stops in St Vincent and the St Lucia!

Thanks for stopping . Leave us a message or comment.

Fair winds and following seas!

Happy New Year!

As I write from Chatham Bay on Union Island we watch others coming into the anchorage trying to find the perfect sandy spot to drop the hook. We made a 11 mile sail from Carriacou this morning under a hot sun, bright skies and 12-17 knot winds.

We have been in Carriacou for a few days enjoying the hiking, swimming and, and traveling around on island buses to see parts of the island. We celebrated last night with some known and some new cruiser friends..Star Shot and Aphrodite. After a nice dinner at Tanty Mavis restaurant, we took a few drinks at a new French bar above the Frog Dive Shop. We were greeted with local hospitality and a few appetizers while we shagged to some American favorite music hits!

We ended the night , well past cruisers bedtime, at Aphrodite’s Boat.We chatted, as we usually, do about people we have in common, places we’ve been, and places we want to go. No fireworks here this year we were told by the bus driver earlier in the day, just a few random flares and horns went off along with cheering from boats welcoming in 2020.

Random kindness in the new year

In this brand new year I need to share 2 random acts of kindness that have happened in the last 24 hours.

During our travels around Carriacou yesterday we were on a couple of different busses to get to our destination on the windward side of the island to see a local boat building site and remote beach. The busses are just large vans equipped to carry about 10-15 people… depending on the size of the people. And like any bus they will stop at predetermined stops, but also will stop for anyone walking in the same direction if they have room and are hailed.

We had seen the boat building and found the bird sanctuary and Carenage beach.

Afterward, we were picked up in Windward by a bus with only a few people aboard. A young man, a middle aged woman and a young boy about 10.

We picked up a young woman and her about 4 year old daughter along the way. Now the ride is about 25 minutes over bumpy and sometimes gravel roads, over hills that give us a gorgeous view of surrounding turquoise water and other islands of the Grenadines. As we are traveling, this young boy opens his backpack and takes out a new bag of chocolate chip cookies. Before he takes one, he offers them to each of the passengers and the driver. We watched his eyes grow big when the little girl took 2, but he continued to offer more cookies to everyone. He took a couple then put them away. Our friends paid for his bus trip when we made our transfer in the next town. We find the people of the Caribbean islands are so kind and helpful, and it’s also evident in what they teach their children.

Today, we had anchored and one of us usually dons snorkel gear to check the anchor status. Mike was first in the water and gave me the thumbs up that we had a good hold. We had noticed a couple working on the bow of their boat with the anchor chain. He swam over to offer assistance. He was welcomed aboard and quickly went to look at the problem. Finding that their windlass wasn’t working, began to help them pull the chain and anchor in by hand. The owner was driving the Boat foot by foot closer to the anchor while Mike pulled in the heavy chain and the owners wife hand cranked the windlass to get the chain into the forward locker. It took them 30 minutes or so and they were off. Mike jumped back in the water with a huge thank you from the 54 ft boat’s owners and family. Mike told them both that we have been in some situations where a helpful hand was usually there, it what you do!!

So blessed to witness much kindness in such a small part of the world 2 days in a row.

In this new year I would challenge you to pass it on!! Maybe you have a great story to share here?? Please send for a posting!!

Much love in the New Year!!

Hard work pays off to get in the water!

The rear airplane door opens and there is a rush of hot moist air that is typical of Grenada. We are back and anxious to claim our bags of US goods to move back onto Lost Loon. There is that time we must wait getting through immigration and then the potential for getting stopped at customs ( it has happened before) . But Luck is with us as we manage to exit the airport in about an hour with just a nod.

We are only 10 min from the boat, but it’s rush hour in Grenada and our driver takes a short cut through dirt and water rutted roads. However efficient we think he is, his real intent is to get back to the airport for one more fare. He drops us at the Spice Island Marine hate and we collect our apartment key and unload our bags there. Despite the setting sun, we are anxious to see how Lost Loon has fared over the last 7 months!!! Yes, it’s been that long. We decided to stay for the birth of a grandson in Minneapolis and so happy we did!!! But truly the longest stretch we have been away from our second home in the last 4 years.

We find her sitting in a different location, nestled between 2 other lonely monohulls. With a ladder we make our way aboard. We know what to expect now… yes she’s a bit grimy and dusty , but the insides look fine and the whiff test meets with approval. You see, a boat tends to become moldy or mildewy when closed up in hot humid weather for so long. We do our best to isolate the insides from the harsh outside weather, but find occasional problems. Little did we know that the ants are a problem in this marina. They found me first in the grass and them I found a few in the boat the next day. And aside from a few pieces of clothing that might have been left damp, we were in great shape.Dinner is at a restaurant at the marina.. expensive but delicious coconut carrot soup and salad as we make our mental list of the next day’s work. . We also discuss better dinner plans for the following day. We do t have a place to cook, aside from the boat, but that’s so crammed with equipment it would be nearly impossible.

Day 1 …we put away the boat cover we had spent time rinsing off the night before, sanded the boat bottom and did a good rinse of the topsides. I spent time de-anting a few spots and throwing out some food items that looked invaded as well as re arrange the plethora of sails and equipment that we store inside for the summer. We did most of the work through rain showers all day..lunch : simple local made ham and cheese sandwiches from the pharmacy mart. Dinner is at Dodgy Dock resort for a smorgasbord of local foods.. pork, chicken, fish, conch, lasagne, ham, etc. Local restaurants bring their food and patrons can pick up a variety of meals . We had whole snapper baked and local vegetables, and chicken curry. Half way through dinner the skies opened up and it poured. And kept pouring for 2 hours. Lucky again some friends of a couple we had walked there with gave us a lift back to the marina.

Day 2

Painting day. This is an important part of keeping our hull clean during the season. We apply 1 good coat of heavy copper paint to resist grow of all kinds of critters. Mike does most of the work in a paint suit in 85 degree heat and I get some of the details. We were blessed with clear weather until 1 hour after we finished and had a downpour! Lunch : Grenada National fish Oil Down. Usually chicken or pork and starch veggies in a Tumeric broth. Dinner oasis for lamb,

Day 3

We did a thorough scrubbing of the topsides, moved equipment on the deck and started waxing the fiberglass part of the boats’s hull. I spend 3 hours prepping and patching huge areas of wear on the dinghy. Laundry and more re- arranging. All again between rain showers. Lunch is Roti we buy from the vendor at the ACE Hardware store where we walk looking for a few parts.

By evening we had begun to see the sole of the boat’s inside. Dinner was at the container park near the university. There are restaurants converted from transport trailers and they serve everything. We opted for lamb wrap and lamb dinner. The container park is usually mobbed but we found with medical students leaving for break it was pretty quiet.

Day 4

Mike is in the bosuns chair 3 hours replacing the stainless mount for the radar. I am at the deck Manning the halyard that keeps him suspended up there. Repair of the anchor windlass. The dinghy is now inflated and scrubbed. Mainsail and staysail get put on and all sail parts inspected and greased.More re arranging and preparation to move aboard Day 5 and splash. We think maybe we need to get more done and can put this off another day, but we so want to be in the water. Lunch is the 2nd chicken roti warmed up from yesterday and a bag of microwave popcorn. Dinner: popcorn and well the pizza and wing place doesn’t look inviting and there is nothing much open on a Sunday …..and we are soooo tired we go back to the apartment and crash after 4 days of sun up to sun down work. By now I have made countless trips up and down a 20 ft ladder, mike has spent more time in the bosuns chair that he has since we bought the boat, our backs and feet are beat!!!

Day 5

The plan is to reschedule for launch on Day 6, but day 6 is full, so at 0830 we decide we can be ready by 2.. really? Mike quickly finishes putting up part of the dodger, mounts the solar panels, puts on the wind generator. I meanwhile schlep 5 bags of clothes and supplies we have brought from the US in 4 trips from the apartment to the boat and try to make some semblance of order of it all. We move the dinghy from the ground to the davits on the back of the boat and secure it. By 1230 things are as good as they will get. We shower have more popcorn and get a quick meal from a local vendor at the marina.

While Mike meets the crew, I settle our finances with the office. As I’m getting done I see Lost Loon in the slings waiting to be launched.

It’s a great moment when she’s hanging over the water and they move the ladder close enough to step aboard!!!

Engine all full once we are set into the water. With a bit of forward motion the crew throws us the lines and we are once again sea-born!!!

Five full days of nothing but work, and all for the love of sailing.

Our celebratory dinner!

Happy Holidays friends and family!!! XOXO

Happy Thanksgiving!

We are grateful for family and friends! We are fortunate for some great life experiences this last year!

While we await the arrival of a new little family member, as we spend time traveling between Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois to be with family and good friends. Yes, we are living out of a 4 wheeled vehicle until we can get back on the water and to Lost Loon.

We are thankful for all the friends and family that have given us a warm bed for a night or more along the way since we closed the Lake Vermilion place in late September.

We see our sailing friends head offshore via text and social media making their way to warm locations in the Caribbean……envious? Yes, a bit. But we will get there. Still trying to get all the boat parts and stuff together to schlep to Grenada. Until then we pack a duffle and unpack every few days, hoping we have enough warm clothes to battle whatever Winter throws at us until we leave.

So we hope this finds you surrounded with friendship and love .. as we move into the downhill run to Christmas.

Cheer friends and sailors!!

SUMMER SEASON as landlubbers and sailing weather

With Lost Loon out of the water and meticulously stored for the Summer, we travel back to the US in mid-May to see family, enjoy the cooler climate, and yes, avoid hurricane season in the Caribbean. After a hot and busy week organizing on Lost Loon at Prickly Bay Marina in the south part of Grenada, we are ready to close the hatch and board our plane for US mainland. Its pretty strange to get in a car and drive 1300 miles (after spending 6 months sailing…not driving at all!) from Florida to North Carolina, to Illinois and finally Minnesota, our summer destination. We are thankful again that the weather has turned nice for our return to Lake Vermilion. As I write, we sit comfortable from our lake home in Minnesota and see that Hurricane Dorian has literally demolished the Abacos, and we monitor a few other tropical disturbances in the Caribbean.

In a matter of 2 weeks, we are back to work on land this time, putting in the dock, starting up the sand point well, taking off the winter shutters, picking up sticks, cleaning gutters, raking the leaves left over from the Fall before, and settling in for a few months to what we call our summer home. The water is chilly as the days have just warmed into the 60s. We are welcomed back in the evening by the call of the Loon. Most days are quiet as there are few residents that stay around on the lake all week. Coffee in the morning on the deck is highlighted by watching a mama duck bring her little ducklings around, eagles soaring high looking for breakfast, or listening to distant motor boats revving up for a morning fishing expedition.

We have owned this place since 1998 and being here full time in the summer we have finally had the opportunity to make some major renovations. Its truly nice to come back to more of a home than a 60’s vintage cabin.

So, in effort to continue the improvements we embarked on a project this year to renovate the lakeside boathouse. This structure has been home to a small aluminum boat, all the fishing equipment, water pump, lake toys, woodworking materials and outdoor implements. Literally, a catch-all, but this functioned as Mike’s workshop the last 2 years of the cabin re-do. It needs a facelift as well as repositioning. It happens to sit right in front of our sauna\fish cleaning building, and also blocks a lot of the lake view to the west. Built of sturdy rough sawn 2x4s, beams, and covered in corrugated gray steel, its a beast!

The first project at hand is to move the STUFF out, but we don’t have anywhere to move the STUFF. Enter project 1A…a new storage building. For 6 weeks this summer we (I use that pronoun loosely, because Mike did 99% of the work) cut trees, burned brush, fashioned useable timbers, and put up a storage shed.

Again this summer, we took many trips across the water and drove to our local Menards for the building materials. We were lucky to have Dave and Nate (Mike’s brother and nephew) here to help with walls one weekend! I was able assistant when things needed positioned, measured or held in place. We are finally ready to move equipment out of the boathouse, so we can start on that. Summer has segued into early Fall and were not sure we have time for that now. Of course, we will return next Spring and get that underway. Just as it is on boats..we always have a project!

Almost finished!

Someone’s very happy to be on the boat!!

Weather Resources

On to weather and hurricanes… I find the subject quite interesting. Being on the boat full time and relying on the weather so much to move us from point A to point B, we have to have the information on wind, waves, and precipitation. We are lucky to have several resources we utilize to make the decision on if we are sailing to a location or staying put. I listen to Chris Parker and associates on Marine Weather Center nearly daily. Usually tuning in at 0700 for his forecast of the Eastern Caribbean, we hear a 4 day compilation of his interpretation of the grib and surface analysis maps. This gives us a good indication of the conditions we can expect in our location. If I have decent cellular signal I can look at a few apps we use to confirm the information. Marine Weather Center had a website with all the information.

We use Windy (free app to download and obtain GRIB information) Predictwind( there is a free version, but for $99. /3 months we can get 3 weather models, destination planning and weather routing) and windguru. The disclaimer is that these sites ( except for Marine Weather Center) present you with computer generated information and there is no human interpretation of the data. That’s our job. And honestly the models are pretty ‘spot-on’, however we do find that there are errors…mostly not as much wind or different wave patterns than predicted.

If I don’t have any cellular service and on a passage offshore, I can use my Ham radio modem and connect to email services from NOAA and not only get text version of the weather in a particular lat/long region, but I can download surface analysis maps. Reading surface analysis maps isn’t difficult, but learning how to read them is vital, along with understanding how the current, 24,48, 72, and 96 hour interval reports give further information on developing weather systems. So, in order to keep up my skills in the off season, it is very cool to watch local weather or the development of tropical storms and how they die out or progress to full blown hurricanes.

The other resource I use is monitoring cloud formations. I learned a lot of this from an ASA Sailing course on weather I took in 2016. There are so many different formations day and night to watch. It is get so caught up in the formations I forget that I’m watching clouds. There are two basic resources at Weather works and Instructables, but the ASA course is worth the time if you need to learn weather for cruising purposes.

Best Summer Recipe Find

Carrot Hummus!!!!! Sounds crazy? Well it is!!! Delicious roasted carrots combined into a great hummus recipe. And its good for you!! First introduced to this by my daughter, who is great whole foods cook.

6-8 peeled whole carrots

3-4 Tablespoons Olive oil

3-4 peeled cloves of garlic (a few more if you love garlic)

1/4 cup tahini

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

15 oz can chickpeas (drained, but reserve the liquid)

Table salt to taste (about 1/2 teaspoon)

Set oven at 400. Coat the carrots and garlic with 1-2 T olive oil and place on cookie sheet. Roast for 20-25 minutes. Add the garlic about 10 min after starting the carrots, until soft when pierced with a fork. Allow to cool. Place the carrots, garlic, tahini, chickpeas, 1/2 tsp of salt and lemon juice in blender or food processor. Add 2 Tablespoons of olive oil. Begin blending and add the reserve liquid from the chickpeas slowly until the right consistency is achieved. Taste and add salt if needed. Cover and put on refrigerator until thoroughly chilled.

This is a great recipe to have with veggies or pita chips. It is also a great substitute for mayo on a sandwich! Enjoy.

Thanks again for stopping….up next Fall happenings as we await a precious arrival before we set off sailing!

Shot I took in Door County Wisconsin…so envious of this sailor!

Carriacou diving and Lionfish ceviche!!

Hey friends, Happy Sunday!!!

Before we get to the travelogue portion of the blog, I wanted to let you know I’m working on the image here. I’m excited to share some of a new platform for Apparently Sailing. I will be adding interviews with sailing folks, recipes, podcasts and books we’re reading. Of course, I’ll keep you up on the latest adventures both land and sea.

August 10, morning temp on Lake Vermilion 49!

So, an interesting aside…

There is this whole world of blogging experts (podcasts, websites and of course bloggers blogging about blogging!) out there ALL over the world 🌎! And they actually make money helping us write better, get more followers, and for some …..MAKE Money! Ha! Well, I just want to have fun and share our experiences in hopes that we can inspire others to throw off the lines and sail away! So, it doesn’t have to be sailing. You say really? That’s why I’m reading… No! I would hope that this can inspire anyone to take that opportunity to step outside their comfort zone and head East… or West… or start a blog, apply for that dream job, take that well earned vacation, or create a lifestyle you have imagined!!!

Just today we were at Menards ( Home Depot of the northland) and noticed this gal parked next to us with a gorgeous red golden retriever. I commented on how much he looked like our first golden Buck.

Sooo long ago!

We shared our love stories for our dogs and she asked us if we had thought of adopting another. We explained that we lived on a sailboat for 6 months out of the year and taking care for a big dog would be difficult (/however we do have friends that do it quite well) when she exclaimed ” how did you get that gig?” We gave her the abbreviated version of our transformation from land-loving Wisconsinites to vagabonds. She commended us on the courage to make that change. We’ll both admit that the lifestyle isn’t always roses and champagne, ( like trying to get to Menards today from our lake cottage a story for another blog post) …but it’s what we dreamed of and were sooooo fortunate to make a reality! Did we have a fortune? No! We made our sacrifices paid off the bills and took a chance. A chance that we would love sailing, be a bit less construct in our plans, and be able to tolerate each other 24/7…… literally. We have found a lifestyle that fits us both. And, that is what I hope, that someone who happens onto this blog might be inspired to achieve as well.

Ok, on with the travel update…..our sailing season in May ended on a beautiful note with meeting some great friends and doing some awesome diving. We met Brian and Shelly on SV Aria in Bequia. They love diving as much as we do and had planned an outing upon our arrival in Carriacou, Grenada.

Lumbadive dock, Carriacou….awaiting divers!

We signed up with Lumbadive ( check them out here)to take us on a full 2 tank dive at the Sisters Rocks. Diane was a superb dive master and assisted by Raquel we were in excellent hands. We explored some awesome underwater topography seeing tons of lobster, rays,and reef fish!

On the second dive of the day, Mike was given the opportunity to hunt lionfish! These pesky creatures and serve no purpose but to destroy much of the marine life in the Caribbean. So with a pole-spear in hand he carefully eliminated over a dozen of these predators.

Following the dive, we made plans to celebrate Shelly’s birthday. We were delightfully surprised to get the lionfish filets, a few limes ( from Diane’s tree) and have our dive master join us for the party! We had a grand turn-out hosted by Brian who cooked for us. Mike made lionfish ceviche. The evening ended with Brian on the ukulele and banjo as the rest of us singing away in the cockpit of their spacious Hylas! A memorable night!

The Entertainers!! Brian and Shelly, SV Aria

RECIPE

Lionfish ( or other fresh fish ) Ceviche

3-4 cups of chopped fresh seafood or fish

Juice from 3-4 fresh limes

Salt

3-4 cups of an even mixture of chopped cucumber, avocado, onion, tomato, seeded jalapeño( amount depending on your desire for the heat) red or orange pepper. ( feel free to add mango or papaya!!)

Several sprigs of fresh cilantro or shado benne, chopped.

First, stir the fresh and chopped fish into the juice of the limes. Let this sit for 10 min to 30 min in the refrigerator. You can chop and prepare the other vegetables at this time and combine in a separate bowl until the fish has cured in the lime juice.

When the fish has cured, it turns from a transparent to a translucent color and more firm texture. It can now be drained and combined with the chopped vegetables, salt to taste, and more jalapeño ( as desired). Serve with tortilla chips as an appetizer or on a bed of lettuce as a salad. See the post from Serious Eats for a compendium on ceviche.

Media

Currently reading: The Echo Maker by Richard Powers and World Cruising Routes by Jimmy Cornell

Just finished: Peace Like A River by Leif Enger

Podcasts: Singlehanded Sailor, Matt Rutherford. On the Wind podcast, Andy Schell

Please comment! I would love to hear from you!

Live in the Sunshine, Swim in the Ocean, and Drink in the Wild Air” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Pitons!

IMG_3919

Hey guys, this blog was written last Spring, but somehow never posted on the site. So here she is a blast from our recent past…

With friends, Rick and Mimi, aboard we make a quick morning trip into the sleepy little village of St Anne on the Southern tip of Martinique.

We are headed for St Lucia today and need baguettes and customs clearance. ( Need is the operative word, we won’t see these precious bakery goods for several month when we return in the winter…there is nothing like them , except for in France I guess) It’s crazy, but again we arrive after 8 am and find the first round of baguettes and pastries are scarcely available. We are not the only connoisseurs. We scramble from shop to shop get lucky on a warm crispy baguette, and spend a few moments looking at local art and craft. Oh and just a couple more bottles of French red wine, as well, to get us to Grenada!

Once the anchor was up we had sails out and with a 190 degree heading for our 20 nm sail to Rodney Bay. The seas are 4-6 ft and wind 15-17 knots from the East, so we have a nice reach with all the sails, as we cross the Martinique-St Lucia channel. We always hope for comfortable sailing for our friends and are kindly rewarded this day. The water is that deep blue as the gentle swells and waves ride up under Lost Loon, taking us on what we used to call ‘whoopsie hills’ in the car as kids. The air is warm and comfortable at sail. The hours pass quickly as we discuss weather, life and the dreaded subject of politics! We manage to make St Lucia in just under 4 hours and find a good anchorage spot off Reduit Beach. There’s a good showing here and the resorts seem active along the water. By late afternoon we managed to get into customs, the hardware store, and the huge Massey grocery for some of the foods we’ve missed over the few months, and back to the boat for sunset. We are rewarded for our efforts with a lovely evening seascape…hues of pink and orange set the sky afire as late coming ships make anchor for the night.

The following day we would move along south a few miles to Marigot Bay for hiking, swimming, snorkeling and happy hour with a couple games of pool at Doolittles Bar. We have found this great hike from Mango Inn to the ridge that overlooks Marigot. As instructed, we close the gate (to keep the dogs in) and gather whatever walking sticks are available to assist our morning adventure. The trail manages to gain elevation quickly as you walk up the steepness, stepping up onto the rocks, holding on the roots, and finally near the top there is a rope that runs laterally to pull oneself up huge boulders. The blue sky quickly comes into view above head as we take the last giant steps. We are appreciative of the folks at the Inn who maintain this trail. The ridge trail now take us to what is known as the meditation platform, a beautiful overlook of Marigot Bay.

We can see the sailboats moored and at anchor, along with the enormous motor yachts docked in the marina. As we walk westerly on the trail,it takes us on a gentle downslope back to the bay where we are anxious to get back to the boat for a swim. This afternoon we make our plans for heading to new anchorages in the south of St Lucia near the Pitons.

We count 5 trips north and south we have come past this island in the last 3 years and sailed right by the huge Pitons that stand guard off the southwest coast of the island.As in other locations, we have heard of some unsafe locations for anchoring and probably been overly cautious. But, we have recently talked to other cruisers who have been here and said it was completely safe we pick up anchor the next morning for one of 2 anchorages..between the Pitons or one north of Soufrier. The weather is overcast with a few scattered showers. This doesn’t change the beauty of the land and sea, but gives it a unique ethereal appearance.

The clouds holding onto the rainforest moisture hang over the high mountains and slowly sink dreamily to the sea. We try to locate the moorings just north of Soufrier, but the ones we can find are too close to a huge jetty, so we head for the mooring between the Pitons. Here we have to take a mooring because the water death is well over 50 ft. Since we need to have at least 5:1 ratio of chain to depth, our adequate 250 ft of chain in the locker is not quite enough. Like entering the Land of Oz our tiny sailboat glides between these huge mountainous structures.

From the bow and the stern we crane our necks skyward to get the full view and its pretty awesome. There are truly no photo that can really capture this.

We explore the ocean depths by skin diving and snorkeling along the Gros Piton, go ashore to check out the Sugar Beach Resort nestled here. The following morning Mike and I and Rick and Mimi have plans to walk to the hot springs. We get directions from trip advisor and also stop at the resort office to verify the plan. It is naturally a steep walk out of the resort with roads switching back and forth as well as straight up. To our surprise, once past the resort gate the road takes a turn left and steep downhill about 1/4 mile to the entrance to the hot Springs. It’s $5 dollars to enter and we can stay as long as we wish….and we do. The water coming out of the waterfall is nearly 95 degrees! The lush greenery surrounds us as the breeze comes and goes in this little tropical paradise. For several minutes we have this place to ourselves, relaxing. We are reluctant to leave because we have a huge uphill trek for at least 20 min in the midday sun. Our return is not as difficult as anticipated, as we take it 100ft at a time. We arrive back at the Sugar Beach and the ever present sea breeze. We walk through a cool, quiet, forested trail and then back across the sand where we beached the dinghy. Back to the boat for a great swim and late lunch on this the last day of Rick and Mimi’s visit.

The sun sets again beautifully on the calm ocean as we settle for a night tucked in between one of nature’s incredible scenes.

We leave the Pitons and head just a bit north to Soufrier Bay where we catch a mooring. Our first stop is customs where we must officially check our guests off the boat, then arrange for their ride to the airport. We survey the city, grab some cool drinks and then say our goodbyes!

Mike and I return to the boat for a quick swim, and leave for waters south, St Vincent!