Friday, December 23, 2011


I’m still catching up with the blog after our return last month…. so I’ll zip through the past few weeks in an attempt to get current. We spent most of that time with our friends Steve & Cindy (remember them from the Farmers Cay blogs last spring?) who were down here on another boat that they delivered to St. Martin after hanging out with us in the Virgins. I’m putting most of the blame for the back(b)log squarely on them; we spent so much time playing that I didn’t have time to write!

Steve & Cindy

After we left the boatyard we went up to North Sound, anchoring first at Drakes anchorage where we watched some of Sir Richard Branson’s toys come and go between two of his islands – Mosquito Island and Necker Island.

Put "personal submarine" on your Christmas list... maybe you'll get one too!

Necker Belle

We sat out the rain anchored by Prickly Pear Island closer to Saba Rock….

…. and discovered a hitchhiker on the boat! 

Skip scared the tail off him when he picked him up and deposited him in a pot. No – we didn’t cook him. We put him ashore at Trellis Bay where we picked up Steve and Cindy later that same day. Their boat was in the yard on Virgin Gorda – so back we went to Virgin Gorda. They got launched, we all provisioned and got a few chores done and made the familiar trip up to North Sound once more.

In addition to swimming, snorkeling, hiking, cooking and just plain old having a good time, I was keeping up with shipping Sweet Maddies orders which meant being close enough to anywhere that could get my packages into the US postal system within a day or two. It turned out that a private shipper on Virgin Gorda was more efficient than the US post office on St. John. Go figure.

These guys could teach the post office in St. John a thing or two about sending mail...
It’s not such a terrible thing to have to hang around Virgin Gorda…. and by now we know the people at the boatyard so well that they let us tie up at the marina for hours at a time to go ashore and run our errands.

After we pried ourselves away from North Sound we anchored one night in spooky Lee Bay then sailed over to Jost and spent a few nights between Diamond Cay and Little Harbor. Skip, Steve & Cindy hiked on Jost, while I worked in my Sweet Maddie’s sweatshop.

Scenes around Jost
Skip, Cindy & Steve.... sunset cocktails in Francis Bay

Saralane - with St. Thomas twinkling in the background

We spent time in Francis Bay and Leinster Bay…hiking one day from Leinster over to Coral Bay. The requisite flora and fauna shots..... plus two bee hives we saw on the way. One little one and one HUGE one.

You know it's been raining a lot when even the fungus has fungus
We snorkeled at the Indians and at the Dogs… 

... and even with a dog at the Indians! This was one happy dog swimming along with his owner.

We had to make a stop in Little Harbor on Peter Island, which has become one of our favorite spots. Sometimes we’re the only ones there and other times there are people who act as if they’re the only ones there. We had one night of each this time. The first night we were blasted with techno-pop music from a big catamaran until the wee hours of the morning; the second night we heard only birds, bugs and the breeze.

Squid in Little Harbor
Before Steve & Cindy headed off for St. Martin, we rented a car and drove around Virgin Gorda… we all had errands to do but we had enough time to make a stop at the Baths. We’ve been half heartedly trying to get to the Baths by boat since last summer, but it’s either been overcrowded with charter boats and day boats or it’s been too rough to stop. The wind had been coming out of the north for days at this point and it was so rough that there were NO boats there this time, not even the charters who “Dammit – paid for the damn boat for the week and are damn well going to see the damn Baths!”. It was nice to see it even by land though the hiking was limited due to the big swells coming in through the rocks.

No SWIMMing - and they mean it.

Beautiful views from the top of Virgin Gorda
We’d still like to have a third crew member…. but we’re not sure if we could satisfy the dietary needs of an island cat.

Plus they’re pretty wary creatures.

I’m still working on my wildlife photography skills, but until they improve – here’s half a pelican.

And finally – some pink flamingos! See them? Waaaaaay back in the distance? 

No? I didn’t have my BIG camera with me when we saw these guys so this fuzzy close up will have to do. Having searched high and low for them in Anegada last summer, we were happy to see them even at this distance.

One last stop in North Sound before Steve & Cindy make tracks for St. Martin - and a celebratory drink at Saba Rock.

A few personal notes:
*Belated happy birthday to Amy! Steve & Cindy and Skip & I drank a birthday toast to you. Alas… we had no Fire in de Hole, so we drank some good stuff instead.
*Welcome to the blog Bennett & Susan - and congratulations on your new Outbound 46! You hold the dubious distinction of being the only people who've admitted reading the entire blog all at once - I'm glad you're enjoying it!
*Congrats to Carly… who’s the 4X champion of the Garden State Paint Horse Club this season!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

We’re back!

I have lots of creative excuses why I haven’t done a blog post since we returned to Saralane a few weeks ago…. but I’m pretty sure no one wants to hear them so I’ll just jump right in. I wanted to start with a beautiful shot of us in the water in a lovely anchorage at sunset, but this is what there was to see and do when we got back….

Taping and repainting Saralane's bright green bootstripes

Ta da!!!
Sanding before repainting the bottom
Safety first!
Boatyard Gothic?

Ta da! (part 2)
Putting the mainsail back on
Varnishing the wood on the cockpit table

Our spinnaker needed an airing out before repacking 
Pack away provisions
Paint, scrape, sand, varnish, stow, pack spinnaker, unpack main…. etc. The boatyard got crazy with bugs by about 2:00 each day, so we’d get an early start and finish before we got devoured by no see ‘ums.

There weren't any bugs at the bar by the boatyard so this was our view each day after work was done.

Then – moving day! Skip had big plans for fixing the centerboard pennant that snapped way back in the Bahamas (see 'Centerboard Fix' March 2011), but it turned out not to be so simple. So, we’ll remain a fixed shallow draft boat until we’re out of the water again with some time to spare and some bigger tools.

Two heads are better than one.... Maurice and Skip secure the centerboard in the UP position

Freshly painted Saralane getting wet
And since I hate to leave you thinking that it's all work and no play.... here's our first stop after getting back in the water. Saba Rock in North Sound Virgin Gorda (see 'One Last Hurrah' August 2011). 

There's lots more to show and tell, but since it took me so long to do this first post, it's long enough already. More soon (really!)....