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      Friday, February 7, 2020

      OK, that went quickly. We've got some rennovations going on at home and we had to cut the season short this year.

      A visit to Antigua is not complete without a visit to historic Nelsons Dockyard. And when Blue Pearl is in that area the visit is not complete without the Middle Ground hike from Falmouth Harbour to English Harbour.

      Falmouth on the left, Middle Ground, English on the right
      Those of you who've done it know that it is a trudge at the beginning and end with spectacular views of the area.

      A small sloop passing by the Maltese Falcon

      Middle Ground Shrubs

      Maltese Falcon between 2 Grouse

      Someone's ocean-front cabin

      That's the high point on the way down

      Love those cactus

      With our flights booked for only a couple of days away it was time to get the Blue Pearl ready for summer storage. We motored around to Hermitage for one last night of swimming and good internet. We used to be able to get decent internet up in North Sound but the exclusive Jumby Bay resort has reworked their system so it is no longer available to transient cruisers. Dang!!!

      Started to clean up and put things away in Hermitage Bay but began storage prep in earnest the next day after motoring up to North Sound and anchoring. People are always very impressed by the facilities at North Sound Marine and Guy was no exception. It's really great to wash off with great gobs of water in the showers after being so stingy with fresh water on the boat.

      Passing a party boat on the way up to North Sound

      Prickly Pear party island

      A walk though Parham on the way to get laundry

      And here's the laundry

      Look what we found at the Parham fishery
      Great last dinner on Blue Pearl - not shark - we don't eat shark

      In the well folding up the big jib
      Blue Pearl in the well, ready for the haul

      And out we come

      I've never hauled and flown the same day before so was a bit nervous about getting all the last minute stuff done. Turns out we only forgot 4 things... but Ed and Ann are going to be there Saturday so I guess I need to give them a call!


      In Newark

      In Seattle

      For our final leg home

       So that's it for this year folks. We will embrace our other life here in the Great White North until next season. What a great ride!


      Sunday, February 2, 2020

      Back to Antigua

      Well Faithful Reader,
      I've almost got you caught up on the continuing adventures on board SV Blue Pearl.

      St. Martin to Saint Barths was a cake-walk. Only 20 miles but it got us that much closer so we could make a final run to Antigua. We checked in, had a walk around and the obligatory beer at a sidewalk cafe. Then spent a peaceful evening on a mooring ball in Anse Columbier.

      St. Barths harbour 
      Room for two?

      Trendy St. Barths street

      Coolin' off

      Can I see Antigua yet?

      Sunsetting before Antigua landfall
      Having been unsuccessful in convincing Guy that overnighters are full of the romance of the sea and the stars, we decided to sail mostly in the day. We set out before first light at 6 am and by the time the sun broke out of the Caribbean sea in the distance, we set our auto pilot and pointed to Antigua. It's not great heading straight into the wind for 14 hours but we didn't have much choice and at least the winds were light. Along the way we caught 2 fish. Alas we only got to see the head of the first one. Someone else was hungry so we threw that back, only to snag a small barracuda.

      Got in late but we know this area well so we were able to anchor down easily.

      But what a great next day. Headed into Jolly to clear in and to get a few things at the grocery store and who's anchored in Mosquito Creek but Radeen and Hayden on Island Spirit. Hayden and Radeen are huge cheerleaders for all things Island Packet and have provided the group with so many great resources. We've been friends for years but this was the first time we got to meet them in person. So great!

      Hayden is the King of Selfies
      When we went to fuel up we ran into Harry and Maryke from Aurora. We've cruised with them all over the Caribbean and the Bahamas. They are in the process of shipping their IP back to Holland where they bought it 20 years ago.

      Harry and Maryke sailed from Holland to the Caribbean, to Nova Scotia and back to Antigua

      And then... no picture... ran into Bryan and Nadi from Pyxis. Had a big adventure with them 2 years ago.

      Later in Carlisle Bay we had drinks and cookies with Island Spirit. Had a chance for a nice "getting to know ya" chat. What a great day.

      Life is good on Blue Pearl.


      Saturday, February 1, 2020

      Ketchup

      So... I've got some catching up to do. We've been jumping from place to place and most of the time we've got no internet so posting has been difficult.

      But tonight, I'm anchored in Carlisle Bay with great internet, some rum and some time so here's a brief run-down on our journey.

      Our trip to Culebra was easy... decent wind... but Otto the autopilot was not behaving. That was a concern considering we were planning 2 overnight trips. No fun manning the helm 24-7. Turned out, a bunch of fiddling and re-trying gave us Otto but without confidence that he was going to stick it out.

      Swabby Lawrence 
      Hector the Protector on Culebra


      Big Ass Tarpon at the Dinghy Dock

      Big Ass Ribs for some Big Ass Guys

      More tarpon, just because. Nice new Yamaha, huh?
      We jumped from Culebra to Water Lemon Cay on St. Johns, USVI. Fun to tour the old Sugar/Rum plantation. Some very good volunteer guides to help us with the history. Then a quick trip to clear into the BVI at Sopers Hole.

      The last time I was at Sopers Hole my kids had arranged for me to pick up a case of Pussers Rum as a birthday gift. I went inside to inquire whether there had been anything waiting in my name. Alas, I had to pay for my case of Pussers this time.

      Pussers!

      We thought we might need a few more things before our run to St. Martin so we stopped at Kellys for groceries. Internet was down so we had to wait for 20 minutes before we could use our credit cards.

      Island time.

      Out exploring at Normans. No treasure.

      Cooling off at Normans
      After an over-nighter we found ourselves in St. Martin. Not the best crossing. You have to go east from the BVI to St. Martin and guess where the wind is from? From the east. We chose this day 'cause the winds were lighter.

      Still, we had to deal with a broken engine belt 5 miles in, a freighter who really wanted to run us down and a finicky Otto, who wanted to crash intermittently. Other than that, it was brilliant and we dropped the anchor in Marigot Bay at 6 am. After a nap 'til 10 we were ready for adventure.

      Because you have to tie up your horse somewhere, right?
      Cleared in and went for a nice wander. Checked out the fabulous yachts ready for the rich and famous. We picked up some bottom paint to get ready for next year. Found our favourite grocery store to stock up. Had some beers and internet at the "Dinghy Dock" and made the obligatory trip to Maho Beach to watch the planes land just a few feet over our heads.

      Modest St. Martin yachts

      I'll have a Mango Daiquiri, please

      Lunch at the Dutch Bridge, SM

      Plane watchers at Maho Beach
      So that gets us from Fajardo, PR to Culebra to the BVI and to St. Martin.

      Next installment will update you on St. Martin to St. Barths to Antigua.

      So much fun.... hard to keep up!!!

      Cheers!



      Tuesday, January 21, 2020

      Caribbean Cruise

      Well Christmas at home was fun but it's time to get back to Blue Pearl. Especially since the weather is horrible and I hate shovelling the driveway.

      Guy Lawrence has travelled down to Fajardo, PR with me to take a little cruise. We taught together in McBride, BC in 1981. Long time ago!

      We've spent a couple of days moving in and getting ready. We will head over to Culebra and then to the USVI and the BVI. Then we'll skip over to Saint Maarten and finally jump south to Antigua.

      Guy has not been to the Caribbean so he gets a pretty decent tour. AND!!! For the next few days the weather is cooperating. So we're jumping off tomorrow.

      Stay tuned!

      No fun!

      OK, a little bit of fun!

      Making my way to YVR on the SkyTrain

      Captain and Crew

      Are we getting out of Toronto?

      Life vest maintenance

      New pulpit seat

      Visiting el Moro in Old San Juan

      Enjoying the view

      Pretty scruffy - need to clean up my act

      Our cruise will be better...

      Joining protesters mad at the Government

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