Monday, April 21, 2014







I don't think I can overstate how much we love it here. If you've been traveling along with us then you know all about Barbuda by now.... the miles of powder soft beaches, the clearer than clear water, the haunting remains of the K Club... I'm at a rare loss for words here so the photos will have to do.

As much as it feels like time is standing still in Barbuda.... it's not, so after too few days anchored off Coco Point we headed back to Antigua to clear out and get underway to St Barth's. The forecast was for high winds and big seas and we had both.

Leaving Jolly Harbor with squalls all around

Big seas. BIG seas. Happily, they were following seas.
We spent two nights anchored in Columbier on the northwest tip of St Barth's waiting for some moderation in the wind and sea conditions and were lucky to have found ourselves in a good spot to watch some of Les Voiles de St Barth's racing going on that weekend. Gustavia was packed full of yachts for the races and it seemed that even some of the big motor yachts couldn't bear the rolling in the anchorage there and came over to Columbier for calmer conditions.
Hanging with the big boys in Columbier

Racing upwind
Slipping behind the waves
The high winds and big seas were still in force during our sail from St Barth's to St Maarten and made our downwind trip fast. Squalls slipped past us giving us a little extra wind, but we managed to stay dry. 

Squall and big waves between St Barth's and St Maarten
Tomorrow we tuck Saralane into a slip for a week and fly to St Croix for a visit with Skip's family. One last chore here in St Maarten before we go is to take my ailing MacBook to the Mac magician here and hope for the best. Fingers crossed.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

(Still) On the Move

We sailed into Portsmouth still a little glum from losing our entire reel of fishing line when we snagged Seabird on our way in. Still, we were a little cheered by the fact that we'd finally caught something.
After we settled in we realized we were smack dab in front of the noisiest bar on the beach - and it was Friday night - so we pulled up the anchor and moved to a more peaceful spot. Out of the noise, but not out of the roll. Another north swell tracked down into the island chain and we rolled along with everyone else in the anchorage.
Clearing in on the weekend means overtime...

Even the customs office has pineapples growing out in the front garden.
We didn't plan to spend much time in Dominica on this pass, but still wanted to get up into the rain forest (and of course visit the hot pool!) so we headed for Segment 11 of the Waitukubuli Trail in the company of an Australian guy we'd met who was traveling with friends of friends (there's a lot of that out here). Jason was great company and I'm sure we slowed him down a bit on the uphill sections of the trail.

This section of the trail takes us past Johnson's farm and we shouted out for him but didn't connect this time. We did however check in on his pigs.... or rather, his pig. He's down to one and we're wondering if the other one is on the menu somewhere in town.
Skinny pig... perhaps trying to avoid becoming a meal for someone?
We came across two guys working on keeping the trail clear... even in the dry season it gets overgrown... and stopped for a chat.
Jason chats up a trail maintenance guy
This guy was filling us in on which birds to find where, when he tilted his head back, half closed his eyes, rolled up his tongue and did the most spot on imitation of one of the birds we'd been hearing all during our hike.
Expert bird call imitator and excellent trail tender
The trail ended by the Picard River where we had a well deserved cool down in the fresh water.

We always hate to leave Dominica but we're still aiming for St Maarten on a schedule (nasty things, schedules) so off we sailed to the Saints in Guadeloupe. The forecast was for big winds and big seas but was it surprisingly (and happily) less aggressive than anticipated and we had a fast sail up.

We always make time for a snorkel behind Pain de Sucre... there are loads of fish and always a few lobsters hiding here.

Election season in Guadeloupe... wonder if Hilaire's stylized poster helped him win?
It was here in the Saints that I first realized I'd better get the blog up to date. We gone to a little café for wifi and as we were leaving we heard "Saralane?!" Our friends Theo and Irene from s/v Sotirius were walking down the street and spotted us. "We thought you were still in Bequia!" they said. Um.... better get the blog up to date. We're traveling different directions but it was good to catch up with them for a few minutes.

Still on the move we only spent two nights in the Saints before continuing north to Pigeon Island where we picked up a mooring ball for a snorkel in the underwater park here. I'm skeptical about underwater parks since our stop in Dragon Bay in Grenada, but it was pretty nice here. Full of fish, like most protected places, which is always nice to see.

View from below
Saralane, with centerboard down, swinging on her mooring

Little squid trying to act big.
The anchorage here is always prone to wind shifts around the land so we sailed on to Deshaies to spend the night instead. This shortened our sail to Antigua the next day too.
The unexpectedly pleasant sail we had from Dominica to the Saints was balanced out by the unexpectedly crappy sail we had from Guadeloupe to Antigua. Forecast was for winds 17 to 22 knots from the east and seas 4 to 6 feet. Perfect. The actual conditions were winds from 25 to 30 and seas 8 to 10 feet with a swell countering the waves from a southerly angle. It was a giant washing machine out there. On the upside, we made it to Antigua in a hurry.

So here we sit, in Jolly Harbor, getting ready to sail to Barbuda. Pretty happy about that. Next post - all about Barbuda. Pretty happy about that too.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

On the Move

If you've been tagging along with us these past few years you know that we move along at a pretty casual pace. Not lately. We've undone several years of southward progress in the past three weeks since we need to be in St Maarten in another week or so. I left off in Bequia so I'll pick up there.

After just a day we fled the picturesque anchorage by Princess Margaret Beach for the slightly more protected anchorage in the north part of Admiralty Bay when a big north swell turned the corner into the bay. Mostly we did chores, but made time to get back over to Sugar Reef where this time we treated ourselves to a killer lunch and a lazy day in their lounge chairs.

Miranda Laundry - worth the 50 EC for super clean clothes, towels and sheets

Great fresh produce daily

North swell bringing in crashing waves on the walkway along the shore
Grilled Mahi at Sugar Reef
Post lunch lazing
Laundry, chores and lazing finished, we sailed on to St Lucia and then to Martinique where we stopped briefly to snorkel with an octopus in Chaudier and watch frigate birds compete with fishermen for their daily catch.


Men and birds fishing
Clearing in to the French islands is usually a breeze but computer problems cross all boundaries however and clearing in to Martinique took a little patience this time. We got all our information filled in but before we hit "print" to make our arrival official, the screen went blank. Eventually all got sorted out and we had time for a stroll on the beach at Grande Anse and a stop in the local vendors market.

How do you say "I hate computers" in French?

Lovely Grande Anse

The very robust dock in Grande Anse
Speeding along we headed to St Pierre and anchored under Mt Pelee once again. The beach is beautiful black sand and the beachcombing turned up loads of super polished beach glass.

Black sand and white surf

Sunset in St Pierre
It's a stunning anchorage and we were sorry to have to leave at dawn the next morning and miss the big Saturday market on the waterfront. We watched them setting up as we picked up the anchor and sailed north to Dominica.

Morning mist on Mt Pelee
 As we neared Portsmouth Dominica we were approached by Andrew/SeaBird and he called out a "Welcome to Dominica!" We chatted for a minute and he sped off to greet two more boats trailing in behind us. 

We were still in deep water and had our fishing line in the water (ever hopeful we are) and it suddenly started to run.... fast. Finally, a fish! But as the line whizzed crazily and we watched SeaBird move away at an equally fast pace, we realized we hadn't caught a fish at all. We'd caught a boat boy.

Dominica welcomes us with a double rainbow, but no fish.
I've got to leave it here for now... the light is fading and we need to re-anchor before dark. More soon if the wifi gods cooperate.