Saturday, February 22, 2020

Been There, Done That and Now For Something New

Wahoo in Placencia Harbor

Eastern Caribbean, Why Not?!

May 12th this year will makes 11 years since we bought the Hunter Passage 42 that we call Wahoo. A few of you might remember we had a 40ft Wahoo that we bought in 2006 with the idea we could evacuate on a sailboat should another Katrina come along. As I’ve said before we were all self-medicating back then. Anyway, back on the 11 year 11 years of sailing and 8 years of living the cruising life. We left New Orleans in March of 2012 and Wahoo has not returned. The last blog detailed that first 10 years. So what now? We seem to have settled into the North Western Caribbean, though we still dream of going back East. Grenada and that string of islands is a big draw, some of the friends we made are still there. But there are wonderful friends here also. The Bay Islands of Honduras are calling and we hope to get over there in the next week. We’ll spend the balance of this cruising season among those islands.

But after that, what??  
Nothing wrong with what’s been happening. 
Well, with one exception.

We arrived back at Tortugal Marina where Wahoo was resting, on December 14th. Immediately we had her hauled out for a bottom paint job which was overdue as the last one had been in Puerto Rico in 2017. Unfortunately we discovered blisters. This is what happens when water gets trapped behind the barrier coat. This is your protective barrier between the gelcoat of the fiberglass and the anti-fouling paint which repels barnacles and whatever else wants to live on the bottom of your boat. Big blisters can jeopardize the integrity of your hull but these were tiny blisters and not that many of them. Research and the boat yard said there was no problem with sanding and applying a temporary bottom paint. We could deal with the underlying issue when we returned to the Rio in June. Great!

Bye Tortugal friends - see ya in Belize!
At Ray Caye
                                                                                                    Enough cruisers were back to make our Christmas holidays festive including good friends on Alta Mae, Cordelia,  Kooky Dance, Jump and Fandango. So we had a Tortugal Christmas and then left for Belize and spent New Year’s, complete with fireworks, out on one of our favorite cayes.

It didn’t take long before we were reminded that it’s still winter and your US cold fronts do reach us. they shift the winds to North bringing cloudy skies, high wind and cooler temperatures then we’re prepared for. We hustled down to Placencia and a safer harbor than the cayes provide. Living aboard in Placencia includes Yoli’s (on da Wata) which is a great cruiser bar, plus restaurants and delicious street food everywhere you look. Fun evenings at Yoli's or aboard often include getting to listen to Dave from SV Cordelia, our sailing troubadour.

We had New Orleans people, Tiffany and Kevin Eyers, come for a visit. They brought gifts for Wahoo and King Cake for us, definitely the kind of folks you want to come back! Luckily the weather cooperated enough to let us take them out to a few cayes. We followed that with a couple of days traveling inland so they got a taste of Belize. 

At the dock in Sapodilla
No women should have to do THIS!

Southwater Caye Snorkelers
Loving Belize and Wahoo!

So many good times, good friends and beautiful places in Wahoo's cockpit.

We are now preparing for a departure to West End, Roatan in the Bay Islands of Honduras. Looks like we’ll leave Placencia around 11am tomorrow, Sunday Feb 23. We’ll sail beyond the reef around 5pm going through Ranguana Pass then it’s 90NM due East. Weather looks favorable which is super important. Notice that Due East track, remember we are in Trade Wind territory and those winds generally blow East to West. To avoid heading right into them we’ve waited for an abating cold front with NE winds that are very light, hopefully under 10kts. Seas should also fall with waves under 3 feet with a 6 second interval making them longer than they are tall. That’s the forecast but you sail with the weather you get not the forecast. So here’s hoping for an easy ride!

Placencia Harbor on a Calm Day

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

It’s Our Anniversary, Y’all

May 12, 2009 - May 12, 2019

12,000 Nautical Miles!

We Loved Having You Along For the Sail

Sitting here, trying to focus on standouts-both great and terrifying.

Cayo Campo, Cuba
Mt Hartman Bay, Grenada
The absolute standout anchorage was a night off of Cuba at Cayo Campo where we had an incredible day meeting the men who cared for the monkeys, the anchorage itself was spectacular. Right on a reef, feeling like we were anchored at the edge of the earth. We were surrounded by incredible shades of blues and turquoise. But that night when the full moon rose so big and bright the water was so clear that it seemed to disappear. For the first time, I thanked Roy for taking me (often kicking, cursing and screaming) on this incredible journey. Though to be honest Mt Hartman Bay in Grenada is a standout for so many reasons. Certainly my most favorite hurricane season. 

Terrifying was the overnight passage between Cuba and Jamaica. Supposed to be a walk in the park but a weather window shut mid-Passage and the winds climbed to 40+knots with seas approaching 15ft. That truly wasn't so bad but the freighter that seemed intent on running into us is the real story. Roy had to turn from our course in those high waves several times as he attempted to keep us safe. While there were others, to me, the worst was in the Dominican Republic when we came out of the slit that protects Isla Beata, to near white-out conditions. Certainly learned to trust in Wahoo that day.

Which certainly brings me to the most magical passage. On the same trip East, we were sailing overnight across the Windward Passage, between Jamaica and Hispaniola, on our way to Ile a Vache and I saw the Southern Cross for the first time and like the song says “ realized why I came this way”.

And the most magical experience? Well, cruising in the Grenadines on our way to Bequia when we were overwhelmed by the sight of hundreds of dolphins cavorting in a line on either side of Wahoo as far as the eye could see. No picture can do that experience justice. 

We are proud to be a part of the support given by the cruising community to the countries we visit. From bottles of rum to the caretakers of cayes in Belize, to the school supplies, hooks and fishing line in Cuba to being part of “Friends of Ile a Vache” and "Pass It on Guatemala". Wherever we sail - Grenada, through Dominica to Guatemala we are grateful to be part of this community that shows respect and love to the places we visit. 

Titus in Dominica
Wagner helping

Last but not least I treasure the incredible people we have met and shared time with, both cruising friends and island locals. Impossible to name them all but Mike and Roycelyn stand out for singing “Happy Birthday” to Roy over the VHF in Portsmouth, Dominica so that the entire harbor of 40 odd boats heard them, to Dave and Jane Mitchell who shared so many stellar moments on our trip down the Eastern Caribbean Islands and then returned so that we could share Classic Race Week in Antigua, to our Grenada Gang of Eight who made hurricane season in 2015 a highlight of my life.

2010 - 2019 
It's a Wahoo Life!

May 12, 2009, we bought a 42ft Hunter Passage named “Oh La La” in St Petersburg & sailed off to the Bahamas via Key West. 

Grouper came along to help us get her in shape. Luckily there wasn't much to do!

Wahoo is Born
At Nippers

2010 The BP oil spill meant we didn’t go far, but we had fun with friends

Avis & Dale -go go girls
Ready, Set.Dive

Evening on the Lake

Best buds

2011 NOLA to the Bahamas, Stops on the Gulf Coast in Key West and the Dry Tortugas.

Our dear friend Nancy came to Key West

As did Dave & Angela. We visited Duval Street and Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas 

Andrew crossed the Gulf Stream with us to the Bahamas

Sammye and Grouper came to Staniel Cay, Bahamas 

to see the pigs

Austin joined us in Florida for the trip back to New Orleans in July

2012 On April 11 Wahoo left New Orleans for the Caribbean. 

into a Great Adventure

Wahoo sailed from NOYC

We picked up Austin & Mary in Key West

and left our mark on Cuba

after all of that and Mexico too, we eventually headed to Belize

With Sebastian, and don't know who else, we ended in San Pedro in time for dinner.

beaches & more to explore
Roy's Cool Spot with friends!

                                                It took the threat of a hurricane to drive us into the Rio Dulce 

More exploration of the Belizean cayes with a June sail to Isla Mujeres for hurricane season before heading back to Houston and New Orleans.

All those lovely Belizean Cayes

and Snorkeling!

Happy to see Cynthia & Pat

Conch fritters, Belikin beer, LA Hot Sauce

2014 Back for Christmas and winter sailing in Belize. Then we head to the Eastern Caribbean with a 6 week trip through Cuba plus Jamaica, Haiti, Dominican Rebuplic and Puerto Rico before loads of fun in the Virgins.
Santa Snorkel

We arrived in Cuba from Mexico and celebrated Roy's 70th Birthday in Nuevo Gerona, Cuba 
where the streets are made of marble.

Trinidad, Cuba

Santiago de Cuba
We gave them guitar strings, they invited us into their home and gave us dinner.

And then it was on to Jamaica

Jerk Chicken and Red Stripe
Blue Pool in Jamaica
Our trip across the Greater Antilles brought us straight into the Trade Winds. They blow West we were going East but it was worth it to finally get to Puerto Rico and the Virgins where we had such great company

Austin and the Wahoo Crew 
John Edward and Laura on Jost Van Dyke
Finally, after well over 1700 miles and 9 countries Wahoo is wrapped up in Puerto Rico.
October 2014 We returned and sailed to St Martin, St Bart's and Anguilla

 Roy & I celebrated our 40th Anniversary in Grande Case, St Martin.

Then our dear, dear friends came for Ted's 70th birthday.
Ted, Louana, Monica & Roy in St Barts
On Wahoo

2015 We continued down the Island Chain of the Eastern Caribbean
St Kitts Carnival at New Year's

Jane & Dave Mitchel in Nevis

Beautiful ships

Beautiful vistas

Steel Bands
and Rum!

Ahhh, the Caribbean

In Grenada for 2015 hurricane season -

Lindy visited and we snorkeled
We limed

      had an Oildown on the beach

Celebrated Dale's timeless birthday with wonderful friends

and hated that it had to end - Our Gang of Eight 

Grenada to Puerto Rico included a stop in Antigua for Classic Race Week and a chance to meet up with friends once more.

Columbia at sea
race watching - so cool

Classic Race
All together again
Back up the chain of islands we went, with a return visit to each island again.

One of our favorites - Magical Dominica
New rigging in St Martin

Iconic Foxy & Dale

Watching the Blue Tang school is breathtaking 

Dinghy riding with the whole Lawrence family in the BVIs (Dave, Angela, Sarah & Alexis)

The end of 2016 found us once again in Jamaica  ready to start

The trip West back through Cuba, Mexico and finally Belize 3 years later

Back at Yoli's
Another bar - meeting up with friends we'd left

yep, these two

But come May 2017 we entered the worst of times.
With Austin's death we were left bereft, without a rudder or even an anchor.  We were grateful for these two

and these girls brought a smile

Good to be together

He's left us and we'll miss him forever

2018 Back on Wahoo - We threw ourselves into boat work

We refurbished the galley, varnished like crazy, replaced the bimini and dodger
We hung out with other cruisers at dinghy raft-ups 

Made new cruising friends who would help steal breadfruit

Finally made it to Lighthouse Reef

And found solace when we could

2019 More Guatemala More Belize and New Knees

More silly ways to eat lobster

more cockpit parties

More Casa Guatemala boat bringing us fruits and veggies at Tortugal

And a new thing - Sandra enjoying boat life!