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By this Author: Sailtales

The Last Episode of sv’AllWays’ Under Our Command.

Sailing from Fajardo, Puerto Rico

sunny 84 °F

Well, we had the boat sold in Fajardo, Puerto Rico so we headed south to get our stuff off the boat by closing November 15, 2009. We boarded the boat again on November 10 and diligently removed and mailed back home 6 years of accumulated sailor stuff to get it ready for the new owners. But low and behold on the evening of the 12th we checked or email when we returned to the hotel, only to find that the buyers had a problem and wanted to cancel the sale. Needless to say we both looked at each other and immediately started practicing our sailing words. We now had to put what we hadn’t mailed home back on the boat and proceed to put ‘AllWays’ back together again and make it ready for sea. Our broker was adamant about getting the boat back to him in Tortola so he could show the boat for the beginning of the season. We had only thought we would be gone a week and hadn’t prepared to sail or take care of the critters (cat and dog) which we had left under short term care with friends. So now we had to arrange for them and impose on our good friends to take up the ball and run with it for a couple more weeks till we could get the boat to our broker in Tortola and try to sell it there at the beginning of the sailing season.
After cancelling our return tickets and rescheduling them for the BVI’s and arranging for a slip at a marina in Tortola, we were ready to splash the boat 3 days later. It would be a 3 day sail to Fat Hogs Bay on the east side of Tortola that we had never been to before but I did have my GPS chart plotter to guide us in to the shallow small marina. We planned to sail back to Culebra from Puerto Rico about 20 miles and anchor up for the sail the next morning to St. Thomas and anchor at Charlotte Amalie and the next day to Tortola in Road Town to check in with customs and move on to Fat Hogs for that evening.
Putting 'AllWays' back together Before and After
We needed to provision up and so we had to find time between fixing a few things and putting up sail and making sure everything still worked as it did when we left it almost 7 months ago and prepare for sea, weather permitting.
The morning of our departure the wind again was 90 degrees at about 12 to 15 knots and would be on the nose all the way to Tortola with 3 to 4 foot seas. As we shoved off from the concrete slip at Puerto Del Rey and our stern and spring dock lines came on board, the bow line got stuck in the cleat and with the cross current caused the boat to snag forward forcing the fender cushions to smash. Hether tried to shove the pier away from the boat and managed to get her bare left two toes caught against the concrete dock and the boat. As the dock line released from the cleat we were free and proceeded to head out into the channel going through the markers between the reef and the open water. I then realized that Hether had severly sliced her toes and was bleeding profusely. She hadn’t said a thing but just looked discussed with herself for doing what she knew was absolutely the wrong thing to do - fending off the dock with her bare foot. She managed to make her way back into the cockpit and wrapped her foot to stop the bleeding. When we were out in open water I slowed the boat enough to keep us on course and was able to get a bucket of water aboard to wash off the deck and see about how to mend her toes or would we now need to stitch toes back together? She would have nothing to do with that curved needle so we made do with soaking and cleaning. When we got to St. Thomas we had a doctor look after it and to my relief and hers he said he wouldn’t have to take her foot off or the toes. So we did the painkiller and antibiotics thing and it finally healed up on it’s own with Hether’s constant attention. I just had to carry her around for awhile as she couldn’t walk without pain and possibly opening the wound again. While we were in Tortola at the dock I borrowed a kids wagon to haul her around at the marina to get to the WIFI spot, restaurant and bar for more “Painkillers” and ice. While at the marina I sanded teak, polished stainless, fixed gel coat, varnished the companionway steps and interior cherry trim and put in a new maintenance free companionway entry to spiff up the appearance of the boat for prospective new owners. We left Tortola Dec 1st and made it back to Colorado just in time for the seasons first blizzard. ‘AllWays sold to a Brazilian January 15th 2010 who took her back to Brazil to serve his family on their island.
We have loved this 2 cabin 40’ boat and the adventures it has provided us. It’s shallow draft has been very forgiving in many an anchorage from West Palm Beach, Florida to True Blue Bay, Grenada. It’s electric winch at the helm has hoisted me to the top of the mast untold number of times with Hether’s safe operator skills and furled the self furling main flawlessly for 6 years. The new electric windless I installed after the original burned up in Georgetown, Exuma has brought up our 44 pound Bruce anchor hundreds of times as well as the 6” hurricane chain we snagged in English Harbor, Antigua. The self furling Genoa has seen us safely through 50+ knot winds and 15+’ seas as a storm jib on our passage to Inagua, Bahamas as well as at 9 knots under full sail in normal 20 knot winds. Our BQ grill on the swim platform has cooked many a steak or fish fillet at a red sky sunset listening to Taj Mahal’s Sacred Island CD’s and others. The boat friends we have made and continue to keep in touch with are to be cherished for the rest of our lives. This has been a wonderful experience and one I might want to pursue again with a slightly larger sv’AllWays II’, say 2 cabin 46’, with Hether’s approval of course and after the new Telluride house is finished later this fall. Tonga could be our next adventure.
More later,
Chuck and Hether
Residing at Rocking Horse Ranch as of this moment.
N 38.441 W107.51.540

Posted by Sailtales 13:12 Archived in Puerto Rico Comments (0)

Spanish Virgin Islands 09

Culebrita, Culebra, Vieques and back


In the Spanish Virgin Islands we first visited Culebrita about 18 nm from St. Thomas. It was a pleasant down wind sail with several other boats heading west. Culebrita is a tiny little island near Culebra, with nothing there but a beautiful clear water horseshoe anchorage called Tortuga Bay and the remains of an old brick and stone lighthouse left over from the 1860’s. It’s deserted now but does still works as a solar powered lighthouse. It looked like it must have also been either a barracks or an observation post. The colored marble floors were still perfectly in tact and still colorful. And the turquoise colored stone on the tower walls was quarried from the stone outcroppings around the bay. The bronze dome of the lighthouse had been blown off by some long ago hurricane but lay nearby on the ground still in one piece. The path to the lighthouse was populated by hermit crabs everywhere. Did you know that hermit crabs change shells as they grow? When they get too big for their own shell, they find a larger abandoned shell and pull up along side it, inspect it with their claw and then in the blink of an eye they hustle out of their too small shell and dive into the new shell. There is also a place there called the Baths by locals as it is lower than the sea coming in, which causes a clear water pool 3’ to 10’ deep as the waves splash in and then drain off down the other side. That evening, March 11, we watched a glorious huge full moon come up over the palm trees.
Culebra is the bigger island and is the most progressive of the Spanish virgins in self sustaining alternative energy resources. We anchored inside the huge Ensenada Honda Bay and close to the dingy dock on the west side where the major part of town is located. They have a new high school there which is completely solar powered and the roof is a cistern collection system that helps serve the whole island as they have no natural fresh water supply. The rest of the water to the island comes from an underwater pipeline that runs all the way from Puerto Rico 19 nm to Vieques and then 12nm north to Culebra. The island also is well equipped so that after a hurricane they can quickly restore power and communications. A $1 ferry ride can get you to Fajardo, Puerto Rico in about 1 1/4 hour for the 20 mile ride.
After Culebra we headed for Vieques. As you approach the island from the East you need to call ahead on the VHF to the Vieques Range Control to inquire if there is going to be any bomb explosions as you pass. We were traveling in a caravan of 3 boats. We had been unable to get the Range Control to answer our calls. As the first boat entered the first anchorage we had planned to visit the Range Control finally came over the radio stating “There are hundreds of unexploded ordinances where you are and you are putting your vessel and everyone aboard at great risk.” If those words don’t make you turn tail and run nothing will. During the several days we were there we heard several loud explosions as the military tries to clean up the area and set off all those thousands of unexploded bombs. It’s a little disconcerting to be relaxing in your cockpit and suddenly hear a huge KABOOM just a few miles away. Vieques is an interesting mix of bohemians, ex-patriots, and left over military personnel. There are lots of Paso fino horses, presumably brought there originally in the days of the conquistadors, which the kids ride around the island bareback at top speed on the weekends. The one lane road thru the beach town of Esperanza is the source of much jockeying for position as pedestrians, kids on horses, private vehicles, mini-van taxis, and occasional motor scooters all try to travel the same route. The larger main town of Isabella Segunda (II) was named for Queen Isabella the second by Christopher Columbus and is home of the last fort built by in the New World by Spain. The fort has been beautifully restored into a museum of historic relics. One of the anchorages we visited is home to numerous white, almost clear colored large jelly fish, hence their name – Moon Jellies. We had several that liked hanging out right behind our boat by the dinghy. No swimming in that water. The next bay over, Mosquito Bay is famous for being the 3rd largest Bioluminescent area in the world. They are like fireflies in the water if you can imagine. At night any disturbance of the water creates trails of light in the water as the bioluminescents move. If you put some of the water in your mouth and then spit it out it is like a fireworks fountain going off.
We sadly said goodbye to the 2 boats we had been traveling with for 2 weeks and are now back in St. Thomas anchored inside the bay Charlotte Amalie close to the dingy dock at Yacht Haven Grande. We had a nice eight hour sail back to St. Thomas from Esperanza, 42nm, 12 to 18kt winds on several tack changes. Now waiting for the north swell to dissipate so we can head to St. Croix, the largest of the USVI’s. This last particular north swell was predicted to be rather large, 12’ possibly, which is not good for anchoring at Christiansted the main yacht anchorage at St. Croix.
This weekend St. Thomas was host to the Rolex Regatta race. There were over 60 entries. Yacht Haven Grande had the finale awards party and movies of the race on an outdoor screen with hundreds of sailing enthusiasts cheering their favorites across the finish line. Even though there are lots of boats here for the event and partying ashore, the anchorage is not crowded and has good holding in 17’ of water and no one seems to have a problem dragging into each other. However, one rather large cruise ship seems to have left in a hurry and stirred up the water with its huge bow thruster and upset the anchorage for about a half hour as everybody seemed to be pointing in different directions and rather close to each other. I had to push one yacht with our dingy to keep the two apart till the water settled down (the owner was not on the boat). There was also one very windy night (gusts of 30+ knots) and all the boats, including ours, swung wildly too and fro all night. It was like playing ‘ crack the whip’ with our anchor being the handle of the whip and our boat the snap at the end. It was a very strange sensation. There is one private yacht here that is so big it resembles a small cruise ship, named after a south american indian tribe and it’s large enough to house at least one entire village. It is too large to fit into a slip so he had to tie up to the fuel dock (which is as long as a cruise ship). This marina charges $4.75+ per foot per day for large yachts so I can imagine what his dock fee must be at 300+ feet or so. Anyway, they just refueled and took all the diesel fuel until the end of the week. We are now having to go over to another marina's fuel dock so we can fill our tank with 20 more gallons to be able to head out to St. Croix. Maybe tomorrow.
Best boat name heard this week on the VHF radio, “Anger Management”. Here’s hoping all your angers are being well managed at the moment.

All Ways H. and C.

Posted by Sailtales 09:57 Comments (0)

Adios BVI, March 09

Hello USVI and Spanish VI

All Ways boat news, March ‘09’

It was hard to say goodbye to the cream cheese Quesitas we had become addicted to at Deli France, but our allotted 30 days in the BVI’s were up (the BVI’s didn’t want our money anymore) so we headed for St. John’s in USVI’s. Most of the shoreline of St. John’s is a national park with strict rules of what you can or can’t do. One of the rules is you can’t anchor (because of the coral reefs) and you have to use one of their provided mooring balls. We cruised into Maho Bay and found a large selection of balls to choose from. We decided on the one we wanted and headed up wind to snag it with Chuck at the helm and me out on deck with our trusty boat hook to snag the line of the ball to then hook up our line to it. I successfully snagged the mooring rope, but the boat hook refused to slide easily down the rope to where I could grab hold of it to attach our line as is the typical scenario. No matter how I tugged the boat hook wouldn’t slide and since our boat is continuing to move with the current and wind, I reach the critical point where it’s either me or the boat hook or the mooring ball, but one or more of us has to go. So before the point of getting yanked overboard I prudently decide to unhook the boat hook from the mooring line and let it go. Now ordinarily that should have been the end of it and we would just circle around and have another go at it. However – this particular mooring ball seemed to have it out for us. It apparently had been run over by some other boat and it’s line and float and ball were all a jumbled mess and no longer capable of staying in it’s assigned place and behaving normally. As we tried to back away from the ball it kept coming at us until it went under the keel and tried to attach itself to our rudder and turning propeller. We did an emergency stop and quickly killed the engine to thwart the attack. An overboard look at the situation revealed that in fact it was lightly tangled in our prop and we thought we might have to cut it loose (we didn’t think the park was much going to appreciate that and we could even incur a fine), but fortunately after a few moments it freed itself and floated off to entrap someone else. Needless to say we selected a different mooring ball for the night. The night turned out to be quite windy and rolley. Preparing dinner below deck I was mindful of the Charlie Chaplin film where he is being blown around and hopping on one foot first one direction and then the other direction. That’s exactly how I felt.
We spent another couple nights in St. John’s (different anchorage). We picked up our part that we had mailed to our friends there (no duty that way) so Chuck could now finish installing our new CD player with the IPod docking station (this is all space age stuff to us). We had a close encounter with the Westin ferry boat in Great Cruz Bay whose captain apparently felt we were anchored to close to the channel and decided to teach us a lesson. He throttled up his ferry to high speed, in a no wake zone, just before he got to us and threw a 3 foot wake broadside at our boat which had the effect of flinging our drinks off the table and all over us and throwing everything not battened down in the galley onto the floor and almost swamping our dinghy full of water. Chuck was immediately on this incident with the USCG and wrote emails with pictures to them, the Westin and the ferry boat company about the need for this dangerous captain to appear before the Captains Review Board for a refresher course in safety and etiquette training. After that, we decided to move on to Christmas cove at Great St. James just off St. Thomas. This is a beautiful little anchorage picture book right out of an island paradise advertisement. Nice and calm, no mooring balls and no ferries.
We spent a lovely week in St. Thomas in Charlotte Amalie. We met several new cruiser friends. All the amenities we needed were close at hand and reasonably priced and we enjoyed the area. One of our neighbors at home is living ashore there for the winter, so he picked us up in his car and gave us a grand tour of the island. We are now in Culebra, one of the Spanish virgin islands about 20 miles from Puerto Rico. This is a lovely little laid back island that seems to exude “ no worries mon “. We were going to share a rental car today with another boat we are cruising with, but the weather has turned rough and several boats have been breaking loose from their anchor holds and dragging (including our friends in the dark last night). Having to re-anchor at night in the dark, possibly in the wind and rain is something all cruisers strive to avoid. So we are all sticking close to our boats today to keep an eye on things instead. On days like this, one just hangs out and reads, or you work on boat projects, or write the next ‘AllWays’ boat news. I think we’ll do some of each.

All Ways

Posted by Sailtales 10:50 Comments (0)

'AllWays' Back In the Water 2009

Off the Hard at Nanny Cay Jan. 25th.

Hi there. Here we are. The flights down all went fine. Everybody did what they were supposed to do. TSA got a little over-zelous with inspecting our bags, and one of Chuck's bags really got the once over. They opened up every compartment on his dobbs kit which was FULL of items and they didn't even bother to rezip it, but rather dumped the insides out into his suitcase. They opened a container of liquid soap and didn't bother to tightly rescrew the top back on and it spilled all over his clothes and the inside of his bag. They even opened his zipper bag of bandaids and dumped them loose inside the bag. The whole thing was a mess and it took him a couple hours to clean it up, and rewash his clothes and wash out the suitcase. He was not well pleased.

We are here in the BVI's, currently enjoying a lovely warm day in Gorda Sound on Virgin Gorda and have anchored just off Levericks Bay in 17 ft of clear water. We are getting great internet in this spot on the boat - better here than what we had at Nanny Cay on the dock. Last night we went to a beach barbecue at Leverick's Bay complete with jumbie dancers and live island band. Moko jumbies are guys on 7 foot stilts and costumes who dance around do various antics like hopping on one stilt while holding onto the other stilt of the jumbie in front of them. The finale ends with a couple of them even diving into the swimming pool stilts and all. We have rendezvoused with a couple of boat buddies here, including Alesto who is one of the cruiser's we have known the longest - having met them in Nassau, Bahamas that first year as we were on our way to the Caribbean. They just left this morning to cross over to St. Martin. The weather conditions were optimal, but we aren't ready to head that way yet. We will stick around these parts awhile longer. We just had the required 4 year insurance survey, which included a thorough inspection of all the rigging with a fine tooth comb and magnifying glass. We seemed to have passed with flying colors.

It seems to be clear weather finally after 10 days of multiple showers every day. We stayed busy doing the " hatch dance " for those 10 days. Every time we would get all the ports and hatches open, and tools out of the cockpit lockers it would start to rain. We were constantly opening and closing everything. And you can never both walk away from the boat at the same time unless everything is all closed up because it's a surefire set up for it to instantly start raining. But it looks like clear skies now. We went to a "Blues Cruise" event last weekend in Cane Garden Bay and saw several blues acts including The Kinnsey Report. We were hoping Taj Mahal would stop in and jam (since he was one of the acts on the cruise), but he was there just as a spectator that day and didn't perform.

The charter companies are hurting as the economy has really affected the businesses here. The Moorings base has their dock full of boats and some even rafted together off the dock. Boat sales have had contracts stopped as financing is not available. But the cruise boats seem to be full as per the beach photos attached. We met a couple of single handed sailors (no, that doesn't mean they only had one hand) while in the marina at Nanny Cay. For any of you single women who have a hankering to go sailing I want you to know there seems to be plenty of lone guys out here in need of first mates. One of them was an older retired doctor. I asked him what had happened to his wife and if she had died. He said "No", and that that was conclusive proof to him that there was no God. The other one was a retired NY air controller and general contractor who had been married twice before. He said he was now ready for a possible third since he was now well trained by the others that " everything was his fault and he could just as well accept it". Seems reasonable to me. Hope all is well with you at home. It is beautiful day and we might go ashore for a walk around the area and take the free shuttle ferry over to the Bitter End Yacht Club Resort which is always nice shopping with its upscale clientele. That's all for now. More later,
All Ways
1st Mate and the Skipper

Posted by Sailtales 12:08 Archived in British Virgin Islands Comments (0)

Our Last Passage of 2008

Haul Out at Nanny Cay, Tortola

Well, we made it, Virgin Gorda Sound N18.30.209 W 064 21.714. 700+ nautical miles from Grenada to the BVI's.
Our last passage was April 19th when we left St. Martin's Simpson Bay at 0430 under moon light in calm seas and 10 knot winds. The moon lit the way out to sea past the other anchored boats and headed us for Virgin Gorda. As the sun came up it promised a beautiful day for a Sombrero Passage west to the BVI's. We arrived exactly 12 hours later 78 nautical miles in the BVI's and anchored in Virgin Gorda Sound at 1600 just off Saba Rock in 20' of clear water and sand at the Bitter End. The Sombrero Passage was great with following 3 to 4' NE seas and winds 10 to 12 kts @080 and sunny skies. Hether's made to order mellow sailing. Saw only a couple of boats on the way heading for St. Martin about midway.
Nanny Cay Marina on Tortola confirmed our haul out on April 29 at 0730 so we left our new made friends at Shrimpy's in Simpson Bay Lagoon on the 19th when the weather was just right and sailed for the BVI's and USVI's. After staying one night at Virgin Gorda we sailed to Francis Bay and a mandatory mooring for $15/2days at Maho Bay, St. John, USVI's in a US water park and that evening enjoyed the park restaurant and live music and dancing. While there we hitched into town to check into US customs at Cruz Bay and shopped around and hitched back late that afternoon with two rastas, who were real interesting, . Next we headed for St. Thomas where we found a spot to anchor at Honeymoon Bay. The next day we sailed for Jost Van Dyke and checked into customs in the BVI's and enjoyed one of my favorite restaurant bars Foxy's, and then the Soggy Dollar Bar at White Bay. We met some Telluride friends by chance who were anchored next to us in Great Harbor in front of Foxy's. We had our share of Pain Killers with them that evening. Next day we sailed across to Cane Garden Bay, anchored for the evening and then headed for Marina Cay to have dinner at Pusser's Restaurant and listen to 'Arg' Pirate tunes by Mark Brian - except he wasn't there that night. We then had to position ourselves for haul out so we headed for Norman Island across from Tortola and anchored at the Bight for two days and took sails off and started the take down process.
We have sailed in these waters more than a couple of times and were here four years ago. I could not believe how many yacht charter company's have come here and the hundreds of yachts and huge catamarans that are now sailing the Sir Francis Drake Channel these days. Seeing two or three of these large 45' to 60'cats together bearing down on you at 10 + knots that are 25+' wide taking up 75+' of ocean space is quite intimidating. We had to make several evasive moves to keep from colliding with other boats - most of which are apparently rookie bare boat skippers and don't know the rules of the road sailing etiquette. They can make moments of pure terror out of a rather calm event, not knowing what they are about to do. Down island you hardly ever see more than 10 boats a day sailing past compared to here where there are literally hundreds crisscrossing each other from dawn till dusk and then jockeying for position to tie up to the many mooring buoys that have taken over the anchorages. But the sailing here is great with protected waters inside the channel and fair winds. The restaurants are mostly good and reasonably priced in US dollars and everyone speaks understandable English.
The evening of the 28th we got permission to tie up to the fuel dock at Nanny Cay to be hauled out first thing on the 29th. Had dinner at Pelican Pete's and enjoyed some Speckled Hen English Ale, what a treat. The haul out went as expected except I had to make two tie ups at the travel lift as the dock master wanted me to re-dock and back the boat into position. I just love having to maneuver inside a crowded marina and then have to back into something. But I did fine and had some help with the dock lines so everything worked out okay.
By 10 we were on the stands again and started preparing the boat for it's long term storage thru hurricane season, once again taking things apart that we had just put back together only 3 months earlier and finding a spot to put them in. Also drying out the bilge, cleaning up everything, closing and sealing hatches, removing anything that can be blown off and tying it up if it can't. Two long hot days of preparation and then May 1st, its' up at 4 am to catch a taxi ride with three 40 pound bags each to the airport and the airline ordeal to get home to Montrose, Colorado in one day hopefully.
We are now back on the big island and enjoying the summer at Rocking Horse Ranch in western Colorado. The house had a few issues with broken corral poles and posts from deer, elk and our neighbors cows this winter but Smokey and the Bandit are fine and everything is almost back to normal. Shingles have been put back on the roof and the irrigation system is up and running with everything green. It was a great trip with long remembered fondness of our Caribbean adventures and the island friends we have made on sv'AllWays'.
More later,
Hether and Chuck N 38 23.036 W 107 51.549
Our sailmail email on board is not active at this time.

Posted by Sailtales 03:45 Archived in British Virgin Islands Comments (0)

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