Wednesday, 30 September 2009

A Trinidad Moment

Inspiration Lady in Chaguaramas

Secured to our mooring ball in Chaguaramas Bay, Trinidad, we were distrubed by the sound of amplified announcements coming from a tour boat moving through the anchorage.

The lady announcer informed those on the tour boat the "yachties come from all over the world to spend the summer in Charuaramas Bay to keep safe from the Hurricanes". She also told the group, and the rest of us listening, that Yachties prefer to be called Cruisers, "if you get a chance to met a cruiser, don't call them Yachties", she warned.

I think I am starting to understand how animals in the Zoo must feel.

Power Boats Yard in the early morning haze.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Back to Maryland

Here are some photos I've taken over the past 5+ weeks in Trini. We're not quite feeling like locals but we've settled into the routine and found our way around without too much trouble.

We walked around to the Trinidad and Tobabo Sailing Association (TTSA) anchorage the other day and spotted these local cuties drying off after a swim.

TTSA anchorage

Today I'm on a flight back to Maryland. As we look back through our blog we are amazed at how far we have come, in so many ways. Three thousand miles in the space of about nine months.

M/V Emily Grace, moored off Peake's yard.

Jackie and Gary, S/V Inspiration Lady

During the last two months in Grenada and Trinidad, we've had time to stop, rest and reflect upon all the great times and the wonderful people we have had the good fortune to meet and to travel with.

Elaine of S/V Virgo's Child on her birthday, with Jesse James of Member's Only

Terry (Virgo's Child) and Robert playing pool at Sail's Bar & Restaurant

While Robert and Daisie stay with the boat to continue maintenance work and preparations, I'll spend a few land-lubber weeks catching up with friends and most importantly spending time with our boys. Bristol Rose is truly our home these days so being on land again, in a house, is going to feel pretty different!

Dave and Laura

Dave's biscuits and gravy, best in Texas and Trinidad!

I'm going with a list of "to do's" including a day at the Annapolis Sailboat Show, plus and a substantial shopping list. The majority of my time will be spent helping Owen and Elliot move out of their apartment.

The sunsets here even make Power Boat's fuel dock look good.

Most sailors arriving in Trinidad have come a very long way. This boat makes me think of the Kon Tiki Expedition. I love the director's chair under the shade cloth.
Robert and I are looking forward to welcoming them back aboard BR as crew during our journey across the Pacific. The last time they were with us was for Christmas in St. Augustine, Florida. This time they'll get to really sail. It will be a unique learning experience for all of us. There's always something new to learn no matter how long you've been sailing. We'll get to do some downwind sailing with the Trades and we have not done much of that for quite a while.

Dock C, Bristol Rose is the third boat on the left.

When I return to Trinidad, we'll haul Bristol Rose at the Power Boats yard where she is currently slipped. Then the messy work of bottom sanding and painting begins in earnest. Hurricane season ends at the end of October and we want to have ourselves and Bristol Rose ready to sail north to St. Lucia for Christmas.

USS Doyle visited Chaguaramas a couple of weeks ago.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

100 Days + a Few Hours to World ARC Rally 2010/2011

We're counting down the days with a sense of excitement and a healthy dose of trepidation.

In 100 days and a few hours the crew of Bristol Rose will embark upon our most challenging and exotic journey. Robert and I, our sons Owen and Elliot, and Robert's brother Rex, will leave Rodney Bay in St. Lucia for the voyage of a lifetime, through the Panama Canal, across the Pacific Ocean, to the sunny shores of Australia.

I said I'd never do it; cross the Pacific in a sailboat. Fourteen hours in a plane high above the ocean, crossing from Los Angeles to Sydney is challenging enough. It's hard to explain "why the change of heart?"
Unlike so many we've met, neither Robert nor I have dreamed for many years of sailing the high seas. We don't have years of racing behind us, not even a lot of sailing compared to others. When we purchased Sandpiper to sail the Chesapeake Bay we were relative newbies to sailing. We'll always consider ourselves newbies; the sea is a teacher always ready with a new lesson. There will always be more experienced sailors and for their counsel we are grateful.
Our sailing plan might have something to do with the lure of exotic, far flung places that few will ever have a chance to see. It has more than a lot to do with the willingness to step outside one's comfort zone with an urge to broaden horizons. The opportunity to be a part of something much bigger than oneself is attractive. So, here goes.

Who doesn't love the idea of encountering inviting islanders on palm lined beaches. We are hoping the San Blas islands will fit that bill. Trading new fabrics and assorted goodies for their amazing molas could be fun. Galen Frysinger has some great images - click on the link to his website over on the right hand side of this page under "Personal Favorites" or go straight to mola art here.

The 77 km, 48 mile Panama Canal allows us to cross from the Caribbean Sea to the Pacific Ocean. According to Wikipedia, a cargo ship can complete the passage in 8 to 10 hours. Transiting the Canal is no doubt a highlight, although it will present quite a challenge. There are a number of locks to pass through, a testing current, as well as the company of supertankers.

Anyone who spent Sunday evenings in their youth watching Wild Kingdom or David Attenborough nature programs would jump at the chance to see the Galapagos Islands. It's not possible to sail freely through the islands these days. Visitors must pay the park fee (about $100 US per person), and travel is somewhat restricted. The ARC has organized tours and we're especially looking forward to our time there.

The Marquesas, Tahiti and Bora Bora sound like some of the most amazing locations on earth. Besides blue water, palm trees and white sand, I'm keeping my mind open to the experience.

While we are busy in Trinidad with routine maintenance for Bristol Rose, we're acquiring charts and guide books and continue to update our safety gear to comply with the World ARC safety requirements. Our committment is to sail the "half rally" with the World ARC, from St. Lucia to Australia. A major benefit of participating in the ARC is the cruising company of 38 other boats. They vary from a 76' Swan, Wild Tigris, to a 40' Hallberg Rassey, Eowyn. See the entry list here.

The cost of participating in the ARC will cover customs and immigration in each country, include three days slip fees at each rendezvous point, social gatherings, constant position monitoring and a rather unique experience, to say the least.

No doubt we will have little chance of keeping up the pace with the larger, faster vessels on each leg but the organizers take that into account with a range of dates during which all participants are expected to arrive at each rendezvous point. The rally boats should create quite a spectacle as they depart together for each of the 17 legs. Look for us if you are in St. Lucia for the start on January 6, 2010, or anywhere else along the way!

Panama Canal at Wikipedia. For more about the World ARC click here or click on the link to the ARC in the right hand column under "Resources for Cruisers".
We'll work hard to keep our blog current and informative. We like to think that you'll be traveling with us through our blog so jump in and leave comments. To send us an email, click on the envelope at the bottom of the page. It's always great to hear from you!

Miss Daisie

Bath Time for Miss Daisie

We hope you are enjoying Sunday mornings with Miss Daisie. Emily helped out with Miss Daisie's bath before leaving for the Oronoco River in Venezuela.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Time to Pay the Piper!

Bottom Scrape

Cruising life sure is great and we are thankful that we are traveling in a quality built boat, but it does come with a price! Sooner or later you have to pay the piper for all the good times. The photos in this post are of various boat projects of our neighbors around Power Boats Yard.

New Propeller
We are using our time in Trinidad to catch up on maintenance work. No time for sightseeing tours for now, just a cold beer or two after a hard day of work.

Mike from El Lobo

We started a list of jobs we needed to attend to. Sort of depressing, as the list is definitely a dance with 1 step forward, 1 step backward, c$ing c$ing c$ing. We are in good company as many other cruisers choose to do maintenance and major re-fits in Trinidad while waiting out the hurricane season.

New Boot Stripe
Our maintenance work includes routine annual maintenance, like bottom painting, varnish work, replacing zincs, re-caulking chain plates and port lights, as well as less frequent jobs like replacing batteries, anchor chain and sail covers. We have also decided to update our safety equipment in preparation for the next phase of our cruise. We're also spoiling our selves with new shade covers, a large cock pit table and re-arranging some cupboards to provide more storage. All this must be completed by November when we will return to the Grenadines and St Lucia for Christmas with friends before heading west.

Painted Spar
This part of our cruise is a very busy time for us but we feel, not so interesting for others. Hence few sightseeing posts from Trish and I at the moment. Someone once told us,"cruising is getting to do boat maintenance in exotic locations". We sure are doing that!

Bottom Stripped Bare

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

A Trinidad Moment

Changed the Racor fuel filters on the Yanmar this morning. To complete the job I needed to buy some diesel fuel to clean and flush out the filter bowl and top off after replacing the filter.

Walked over to the fuel dock to buy a gallon of diesel.

Made my request, "no, can't do! You need to bring your passport and boat papers first. Then I can sell you fuel at the higher international rate" of $4:80TT per litre vs $2.70TT local rate. If you are wondering, yes I did ask to buy at the local rate.... No!

Back to the boat, pick up the papers, back to the fuel dock, more paper work and I get my Diesel from the "International Pump" and I am back to finishing off the filter replacement job.

Oh, the pump attendand said she liked my Aussie Passport.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

MIss Daisie

Miss Daisie at the Francis Scott Key Buoy, Baltimore
It's Sunday morning; time to see another time in Miss Daisie's cruising life. Here is a look back at the Chesapeake Bay, Maryland, aboard our first sailboat, 30' S2, Sandpiper. We shared a few days cruising with Robert's brother Rex and his girlfriend Louise who were visiting from Australia.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Aerial Photography on a Happy Accident

If I was asked to name the job I’d want most it might be “aerial photographer”.
Who isn’t fascinated with NASAs images of the earth from space? I could spend hours flying high with Google Earth, (from my comfy perch aboard Bristol Rose) getting a bird’s eye view of neighborhoods where I’ve once lived or places I’ve visited around the planet. The nostalgia, the images, the technology, the awe of it all; it’s just so beautiful and so strangely addictive.


Memories of views through plane windows; Sydney Harbour, the majestic Rockies, the canyons of Arizona, Lake Superior or the patchwork fields of the midwest stay with me. Flying over land or sea, I’m yelling in my head “wow, look at that!”, but my fellow passengers don’t seem to notice the scenes below.
Photographers like Mark Abrahamson show the impact and magnitude of our collective lives and activities upon our earth. Flying in small planes he captures images of disturbing beauty. With over twenty years of aerial photographs to his credit, an environmental student might be able to get a good sense of how we are doing by studying his work. I suspect anyone would find his images interesting.

With camera in hand, I went flying today. It was raining on and off but it didn’t matter to me. Anyway, the rain shut out the usual scorch of the sun.

The most fluid and amazing patterns emerged as I gazed below. Colours shifted from browns to blues and greens with sometimes a dash of red. I found myself falling into a trance-like state, totally unwilling to snap out of it. It could have been hours for all I cared because I wanted to snap each minute change of scene as it presented itself. To heck with the boat maintenance schedule, self-discipline and time management; we cruisers are time millionaires!

I flew out over the bow, the stern, the starboard side of Bristol Rose, clinging to the rigging to make sure I wouldn't fall. It could have been the rain drops or it could have been the fuel fumes but eventually I pulled myself together enough to duck back inside the cabin to the full reality of jobs a-waiting.

There's no telling where I got to on my solo flight. The rivers were wide, the valleys low, the mountains high and the colours... see for yourself, unbelievable colour! I hate to admit it but someone else's unfortunate spill was my happy accident; life as an aerial photographer.

To see Mark Abrahamson's work go to

A Trinidad Moment

Power Boats, Chaguaramas - a view from our galley

Recieved a message from the boat yard that our mail had arrived, at last. We are expecting some important, time sensitive, documents.

In the office waiting for us is a registered envelope from the Trinidad & Tobago Post Office. Inside is a Parcel Notification. Our documents are held at "The Tackle Shop" in Carenage. Even though the documents are addressed c/- Power Boats, Chaguaramas.

All we need to do is catch the bus to "The Tackle Shop" pay $26.75TT postage plus a customs inspection fee of $100TT and we get our mail. Maybe I will pick up some fishing tackle while I am there.

I am now seeing why it is a popular request on the morning net to send mail via cruisers traveling out of the country. Don't expect postcards from Trini!

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Miss Daisie

Miss Daisie enjoys a swim with Robert.
It's Sunday morning; time to share a picture of Miss Daisie's cruising life. We anchored for ten days in Admiralty Bay, Bequia. Tony Gibbons beach (also called Princess Margaret), is one of the best swimming beaches in the Grenadines.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Miss Daisie

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

In Tune Outdoors

We're more in tune with the weather because we just have to be.

Living on a sailboat can bring unexpected pleasures. We live an outdoors kind of life and nature always presents something of interest. Try as I may to avoid running for the camera every time I see a stunning sunset, which is often, I can rarely resist the chance to capture it for future enjoyment. Another big temptation is the reflection of objects and light on the water. But those are for another post.

These two images were captured within 10 minutes. The image above looks to me something like a rearing horse or a begging Daisie. The image below is of the same cloud mass. We watched it morph before our eyes.