One Year On

Welcome back Boatblog ® fans,

Well here we are in Cutty Hunk, about to set sail for sailing Mecca, Newport, Rhode Island, and it’s hard to believe that it was exactly a year ago today that we set sail from the River Hamble. Since then, we’ve travelled 9,553 Nautical Miles, and visited 30 countries;  France, Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Gran Canaria, St Lucia, Martinique, St Vincent, Mustique, Bequia, Mayreau, Canouan, Union, The Tobaggo Cays, Carriacou, Grenada, Dominica, Guadeloupe, Montserratt, Nevis & St Kitts, St Barts, St Maartin, The BVI, The USVI, The Spanish Virgin Islands. Puerto Rico, Turks & Caicos, The Bahamas, and finally the USA. We’ve entered two races; Grenada Race Week, and the Heineken Regatta, and we’ve met some wonderful people and made some fantastic friends.

And lost one iPhone.

Yes – sad but true. As Lyn was climbing out of the dinghy onto the pontoon, Ju’s iPhone slipped out of her handbag and into the murky depths. She muttered something about how she expected the water to have had more specific gravity so it should have floated, but no one really knew what she meant. Ju wouldn’t have minded, but he was on level 60 of Word Warp.

But what this does mean is that this instalment is a little short on photographs. But we shall do our best with what material we have got.

We left our berth on Liberty Landing and sailed up New York’s East River, which was very exciting going past all the famous landmarks.

 NYC3

And under the bridges.

NY Bridge

Even though we know the height of the mast, and we know that the bridge is at least 40 feet higher, it still looks like it’s going to hit.

NY Will we make it

The East River is very busy with all things New York, from taxis,

NY Water Taxi

…to seaplanes,

Seaplane

…and can be quite treacherous. The current runs through here at 6 knots or more. One of the bends is called Hell Gate and with good reason.

We went passed The Bronx, and into Long Island Sound where we stopped at a place called Port Washington, and met up again with our friends Stuart & Anne on Time Bandit. And it’s about here that we run out of photos, so you’ll just have to believe us for the next stage of our adventure.

Then it was on to Norwalk, where double circumnavigators (as in they’ve sailed round the world twice) Scott & Kitty of Tamure found us all moorings and invited us round to their home for dinner. 

At Scott  Kitty s

LYN, STUART, KITTY, JU & ANNE (SCOTT is taking the picture)

They also took us to a night of singing sea shanties with a local music group. Ju took his piano, but unfortunately apart from What Shall We Do With The Drunken Sailor, he didn’t actually know any sea shanties. So they played some blues instead.

Next it was onto Shelter Island to begin the New England Cruise with the Ocean Cruising Club, of which we are now members. (You have to have crossed an Ocean to join, so its a pretty exclusive club).

And by happy coincidence, just opposite the anchorage on Shelter Island is where Rory’s girlfriend’s family keep their boat. So we all met up and went for dinner. Here we all are on Tom and Inbal’s new boat.

Zoe  family

And the next day, again another coincidence, Richard – Ju’s friend (and agent) happened to be in New York on his way to LA for business meetings, (see how high powered his agent is?!) so he popped out to Greenport to see us.

With Richard

And then it was time to start the Ocean Cruising Club cruise. And like all good cruises it started with a party. Jim & Bentley (who we had met in Norfolk, Virginia) provided the entertainment. And Ju did a bit too.

Gig

First stop after Shelter Island was  Duck Island on the way to Menemsha on Martha’s Vineyard. Then on to Edgartown, via Oaks Bluff. Stuart was able to take some photos of the good ship Domini on the way there.

Domini 2

Here’s another one.

Domini 3

Though this is my favourite photo.

Overtaking Timebandit

It is us overtaking Time Bandit. Treasure this photo, as it is unlikely to happen again, as Stuart is a champion racing skipper. (Indeed it was he that led us to victory in the Heineken Regatta).

As we were crossing, a submarine surfaced right next to us.

Submarine

We anchored overnight, and had the most incredible lightning storm, which we sat and watched in our rubber wellies, and with the phones (well…phone) and computer things in the microwave.

Lightening

Recognise this place?(der dum) 

Amity

Or this…(der dum)

Stuart at Amity

Correct. Edgartown (der dum) is where they filmed a lot of the film  (der dum) “Jaws.” (Dum, dum, dum, dum). We we went to see a fortieth  anniversary screening of it in the local cinema, and it still made us jump. (Can you believe it’s that old?)

We’re having a lovely time here. They’ve even opened a restaurant in our honour.

Fat Ronnie s

And here we are having lunch with friends. That’s Chappaquiddick in the background.

Dinner at Amity

JU, LUCY, STUART & JIM

 

So – what have we learnt one year on?

Well…I guess we are much better sailors now than when we left. Reefing and trimming sails is no longer the palaver it once was, and we manage to moor the boat without crashing most of the time.

One thing is that the life of a cruising sailor has surprisingly little to do with sailing. Of course sailing comes into it, but just as important and rather more time consuming is simply keeping the boat in one piece. There is a never ending list of jobs to do that only ever seems to get longer. At this very moment we are trying to figure out how to give the engine a service, then the generator needs an oil change, and we’ve just noticed a small tear in the genoa luff tape which will need to be stitched before it becomes a major rip. And the sheave on the davits has bent. And…and… Just another day in the life of full time cruisers. 

Getting the dinghy down

Fortunately, given that Ju is not a natural DIY man, other sailors have been incredibly generous in their willingness to help with repairs, or simply to pass on their wisdom garnered from many years at sea. Stuart, & Ann on Time Bandit have been more than helpful, but so too John & Janine on Orca Joss, Tim & Gayle on Wild Bird, Bruce & Susan on Libby Lou, Scott & Kitty onTamure, John & Alison on Aislig Bheag, Charlie, Ross and of course Chris Warwick and Paul Reed at Universal Yachting. Aaaah – we’re bound to have left someone out. Apologies if it’s you!

And the welcome we have had from the local people that we have met on our travels has been fantastic.  Strangers have invited us into their homes, taken us out for meals, to the theatre, given us lifts, allowed us to use their moorings – the list is endless. It makes us feel a little embarrassed about how in Britain we sometimes treat our foreign visitors, and we have vowed to show more kindness next time we see a tourist lost on the streets of London.

And here is this episode’s arty farty photo. Entitled simply, Harley.

Harley for Lyn

That’s all for now.

Looking forward to our second year at sea.

 

Ju & Lyn

 

The Big Apple

Welcome back Boatbloggers,

Yes, we left Norfolk Virginia and have arrived in New York City!

To leave Norfolk we had to go past the biggest naval base in America, and they have a lot of ships! It took about two hours of motoring to go past them all. 

Norfolk Aircraft Carriers

From the photo it’s hard to get an idea of the sheer size of these boats. To give you some inkling, that little dot on the back of the middle ship is an aeroplane. 

It was a fairly uneventful two day sail up the east coast, and we finally anchored in the middle off the night off Sandy Hook which is a few miles south of New York in New Jersey. Or Noo Joizey as they say out here. It’s the usual place to wait for the tides and currents (which are pretty ferocious) to turn in your favour before entering New York Harbour itself.

Noo Joizey

Note the jumper. It’s starting to get quite a lot colder as we get further north.

Rory, who is currently an intern in New York with the legendary photographic agency Ray Brown Productions (www.raybrownpro.com), came over to see us with his girlfriend Zoe.

Rory  Zoe

Rory & Zoe – not sure Ju’s photo will get him a job with Ray Brown, with all that shadow over their faces.

After a couple of days at anchor, we set off for Manhattan. It’s a pretty busy harbour and we spent a lot of the time dodging tankers and cruise ships, which can be quite hairy.

Busy Harbour 1

As we got closer, a storm appeared out of nowhere, and it started to thunder and lightening like crazy as we made our way up the Hudson River to Manhattan Island. It was all pretty impressive. We tried to get a photo of the forked lightening over Manhattan, but kept on clicking the camera just a moment too late. 

Thunder Clouds Over Manhattan

We half expected to see King Kong climbing up the Empire State Building.

Statue of Liberty 1

Almost got the lightening flash behind the Statue of Liberty.

Just past the Statue is a marina called Liberty Landing where we moored up for the week. It’s fabulously expensive but we do have great views of Manhattan.

Manhattan at night

That is the One World Trade Center in the centre (center) of the picture, which is the one that was built right next to Ground Zero to replace the twin towers.

And here it is in the day.

Manhattan

For the last week or so, we have just been typical tourists, traipsing round the sights…

Grand Central Station

Grand Central

The Highline 2

View from The Highline, which is the old overhead subway track converted into a garden path.

We’ve been to shows..

.On Broadway

On Broadway…

Off Broadway

And off.

And no trip to New York would be complete without a jazz bar or two.

Village Vanguard

The Village Vanguard

The standard of performance art in the city is incredible. Not only have we have seen some great shows and heard some wonderful music, but even the buskers on the tube (subway) are amazing. Not just a sad old bloke with an accordion here. They have full dance troupes, bands and even acrobats doing their stuff.

Buskers

Underground Dancing

Of course we have met up with Rory a few times…

.Rory s Flat

Rory’s flat in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

It’s called The Big Apple for a reason. Everything is HUGE in New York. Especially the food. This, for example, is a salt beef sandwich…

Big Food

..which is called a “Reuben.”

And here we are in Chinatown.

Chinatown

Big Soup

And we think this might be why we’ve both put on about half a stone.

Fortunately Ju seems to have the opposite of anorexia and when he looks in the mirror thinks, “Hmmm..not too bad really.” Then complains that his T-shirts have shrunk.

Ferry Across The Hudson

Hold your stomach in Ju. 

THE DIET STARTS TOMORROW.

The only downside has been the weather. It has rained pretty much every day. Now we know you are used to this back home, but we’ve been in the Caribbean for goodness knows how long. It just doesn’t seem right.

We went out to a place called Flushing.

Flushing

And this is…

Wait for it…

A Flushing toilet. (Boom! Tisch!)

Flushing Toilet

Yes my friends, sad to say, we went all the way to the end of Line 7 for that gag.

And now just time for one arty fart photo. Sunset over Chadwick Beach (Chadwick being Lyn’s maiden name of course.) 

Sunset over Chadwick Bay

That’s all folks!

Bye for now.

Ju & Lyn

We’ve discovered America!

Yes boatblog ® fans, we have found the New World,

Even the dolphins are bigger in America.

Dolphin 1

The natives seem friendly, though they have unusual customs, and speak a strange tongue. It is similar to English, but they say boo-ee for buoy,  chips are crisps and fries are chips, fenders are bumpers and bumpers are fenders, cars run on gas and on the VHF they keep calling me Roger. 

Not only that, their boo-ees on the wrong side. Everywhere else red buoys are on the left and green buoys are on the right. Not in the good ole US of A. Red Right Returning is the system over here. And they use 110 volts, which if we plugged our boat in would fry our electrics. And the charts are still in feet and fathoms, not the metres we are used to.

It’s all very confusing.

But lots of fun.

We are in Norfolk Virginia, which is just on the border of being “The South.” And it is just how you’d expect. Southern Hospitality is for real. The folks down here are soooo friendly and helpful it is hard to describe. Gary and Greta from the Ocean Crusiers Club have allowed us to use their marina slip for free (not to mention do our laundry and helping with fixing the boat), people we have only just met will invite us out to dinner, and if you are seen walking anywhere folks will stop and offer a ride into town. 

Jim Ju Lyn Kitty Bentley  Scott

NBFs in Norfolk VA. Jim, Ju, Lyn, Kitty, Bentley and Scott. Scott & Kitty have sailed round the world twice, and Jim & Bentley are musicians. We had a mini jam session on the boat.

They really do have houses with the Stars & Stripes flying, and rocking chairs on the veranda.

Southern House

Next we went over to Greensboro in North Carolina to see our friend David Taylor and his wife Kim and their two grown up sons Christian and Scottie.

With David TaylorWith legendary Broadway and West End stage director, DAVID TAYLOR

…and we came back through Washington DC, where we did all the usual sights that as a tourist you just have to do.

The White House

Barack’s Barracks

The biggest shock about Washington was that it was cold and RAINING!  We had to put our coats and trousers on for the first time in months. And we even bought an umbrella!

The Washington Monument

Then it was back to Virginia Beach, and the sun.

Virginia Beach

Phew…that’s better.

And now we’re getting the boat ready for the next leg which is up to New York City.

See y’all soon

 

Ju & Lyn

The Bermuda Triangle

Welcome back, Boatblog ® fans,

 

Yes, as I write this, we are about fifty miles inside the infamous Bermuda Tria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ha ha. Just our little joke. We’re still here really.

But we have put in lot of nautical miles since our last dispatch from The Caribbean. To remind you, when we last blogged, we were on the east coast of Puerto Rico. From there we headed south, and mooched along the coast calling in at such places as Patilles and Salinas. Unfortunately the main anchorage at Salinas was too shallow for us to get in, so we had to stay outside.

Salinas 1

Which was probably nicer anyway, because as you can see the main anchorage was pretty full. Then it was on to Ponce (fortunately pronounced Ponc-ay) and after that Gilligan’s Island – named after the old television series that Ju claims he is too young to remember.

Gilligan’s Island is mangrove heaven!

Gilligan s Island 1

…because unlike most mangrovey places it is not a mud swamp, but set in beautiful clear water.

Gilligan s Island 3

Then round to Boqueron on the west coast, which was to be our staging post for the much feared Mona Passage between Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. Over here the Mona Passage, with it’s dreaded Hourglass Shoal, has a similar reputation as the Bay of Biscay in Europe, so we waited for a time when the weather looked like it was going to be reasonably calm, or as us mariners call it, “a decent weather window.” We swapped notes at a very nice meal with fellow sailors Bruce and Susan of Libby Lou, before setting off at first light, not sure quite what to expect.

As it happened, it wasn’t as bad as everyone had said.

Becalmed 4

In fact, we’d waited for such a calm period, that there was no wind at all and we had to motor across.

Becalmed 5

Even Sir Ben Ainslie wouldn’t go too fast in this.

Then it was along the northern coast of The Dominican Republic. We didn’t call in because rumour has it that the Customs and Immigration formalities there make you feel like a Romanian arriving in Thanet, so our next stop was Big Sand Cay in the Turks & Caicos Islands. 

Big Sand Cay

Big Sand Cay really is the typical Robinson Crusoe island. No people, silver sand, and just one footprint on the beach. The water was crystal clear, and Ju used the opportunity to go snorkelling and scrape the barnacles and weed off the bottom of the boat. Till he saw a giant barracuda watching him. Just sat there, lurking. Waiting for an opportunity to pounce. The scraping can be done later.

Then on to Grand Turk a few miles further north. We know it sounds boring, but this was another beautiful tropical island. At least this one had some houses and people, so it felt like a major metropolis after Big Sand Cay. We went for our internet fix to a little bar called The Osprey, which was lovely…

Chair feet view

…except that when you looked a bit closer, all the chairs legs were in children’s old shoes.

Chair feet

Hmmmm….wierd.

Next day it was on to Providenciales, still in The Turks and Caicos.

 Provo – as it’s known to it’s friends – is fantastic. The marina was like a 5* resort, and with prices to match, but worth it.

Provo Marina

VIEW FROM THE MARINA OFFICE

We re-fuelled up here for our next leg, as did this boat.

$30 000 of fuel

It took them four hours to fill, and cost just over $30,000.

Yes – THIRTY THOUSAND DOLLARS!

For diesel.

Just one more reason that we sail.

We did see one other boat in Provo that we were almost tempted to get,

New Boat 2

…but in the end we settled for a glass of Moet Ice.

Big Champagne

That’s one seriously big glass of champagne.

A friend of ours that we met on the ARC, Eric Letton of Time Bandit and brother of Stuart Letton (yes – the very same – he skippered Domini to victory in the Heineken Regatta) had told us that one of his close friends lived on the Turks & Caicos, and sent us a photo of him incase we should bump into him. Which was pretty unlikely as it’s a pretty big collection of islands, but who knows… 

Well – you’ll never guess what…

Jim  Lynne

JU, JIM, LYN & LYNNE

Now those of you that know Lyn will not be surprised to discover that she was in the Nespresso coffee capsule shop. And  those of you who know Jim will not be surprised to discover that he was in the fancy wine shop.

But what sort of a co-incidence is it that the Nespresso CoffeeCapsule shop and the fancy wine shop are one and the same!

Anyway, Jim and Lynne invited us to their new “condo” (which they’d moved in to just the day before) for a barbecue.  We took a bottle of champagne as a house warming present, and Jim and Lynne managed the most extraordinary piece of juggling we have ever seen. When Lynne popped the cork it shot out like a ballistic missile, and the shock of nearly losing her eye caused her to drop the bottle. This then landed upside down on the floor where the champagne, which was now spurting furiously out of the neck made it shoot up in the air like Apollo 11. Jim, with the sort of lightening reflex normally seen only in the slips at Lord’s, managed to catch it as it went hurtling towards the mirror, before nonchalantly filing a glass with what was left of the champagne. If only they could repeat it, I’d enter them for Britain’s Got Talent.

We had a great evening. It turns out that Jim is Chief of Police on the islands, and used to be very high up in the London Met. His ‘manor’ included Acton – it’s a small world. We are pleased that neither of us were known to the police during his watch, because that would have been just embarrassing.

Next it was the big leap. We planned to cross direct from the Turks & Caicos to Norfolk, Virginia in the good ole U.S. of A, but unfortunately a Tropical Storm started off the coast of North Carolina. Not quite a hurricane, but big enough to get a name – Ana. So we had to wait and make our way up through The Bahamas instead. Which is not exactly terrible!

The first stop was Rum Cay, which was picture perfect, but contained a hidden menace. 

MOSQUITOS!

And millions of them. You’d look at your leg and there would be about twenty of them all feasting on the back of your knee. We only saw one person on the island. The mosquitos have eaten all the rest.

We anchored as for off as we could, and left before they found us.

Next, it was Cat Island…

Only Boat In The Bay

FERNANDEZ BAY, CAT ISLAND

We do seem to have rather a lot of pictures of Domini, as seen from the bar.

And then on to Marsh Harbour, and there was now a weather window to get us round Cape Hatteras, which is what we are doing right now.

Just time for some arty farty photos from our collection.

Blue 4

BLUE

The water is so clear and deep us you come up to Turks & Caicos that you can see the light dancing in the depths. The picture doesn’t do it justice, but it gives you some sort of an idea.

Gilligan s Island 5

MANGROVE

Sunset

SUNSET

Avast!  Enough blogging for one day. 

Next time you hear from us we will have discovered America. We will try to introduce them to civilisation.

Bye for now

 

Ju & Lyn

The Other Virgins

Buenos Dias and Howdy Boatbloggers,

I say that because we are in America AND we are in Spain. Well…sort of.

Actually it’s Puerto Rico which is very Spanish, but technically a US territory if not an actual state. It’s like America, but it’s more like Spain. The main language is Spanish, but most people speak English. The speed limit is in MPH, but the distances are in km. Taco Maker is everywhere, but so too is Burger King. They drive on the right, but with Spanish gusto, and everything is very efficient, but mañana is fast enough.

The British aren’t the only ones to have Virgins Islands and to get to Puerto Rico we had to sail through all the others. We started on the island of St John, which is in the US Virgins and is a National Park so is very unspoiled, and then went on to St Thomas which has benefited from progress a lot more. So we didn’t like that as much.

We prefer to anchor or use a mooring buoy when we can, rather than go into a marina. Not only is it free, but it’s nicer…

St John Anchorage

THE VIEW FROM THE ANCHORAGE – St John

Cruise Ships 1

THE VIEW IN THE MARINA – St Thomas

Believe it or not, that is not actually the South Acton Estate in the background, but a couple of luxury cruise ships about to disgorge their thousands of passengers onto the little town of Crown Bay, with all it’s duty free shops set up for just that reason.

Next stop was Culebra in the Spanish Virgins. This is a delightful little island, and we anchored in Dikity Bay where we were stalked by turtles and giant Tarpon.

Tarpon 3

We thought about getting the fishing rod out, but we were worried that we might actually catch one.

We decided to rent a car to get out and about…

Car

..but I’m afraid to say it was just more perfect beaches.

Perfect Shade 2

Though there are a few reminders that it hasn’t always been quite so peaceful.

Tank 2

Then on to Isla de Palominos with its fantastic snorkelling…

Tropical Fish

…before finally arriving in Puerto del Ray in Puerto Rico.

PR has it all. Beautiful beaches, and pristine rainforest. We spent a day going round the El Yunque rainforest. The trees and vegetation is all so BIG!

Honey I ve Shrunk The Kids

It’s like being on the set of Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.

Big Grass 2

BIG GRASS

Waterfall 1

WATERFALLS

Then in the evening we went kayaking through the forest to see the bio-luminescence in the salt water lakes after dark.

Kayak 3

Notice that Lyn is paddling hard, while Ju is sat in the back taking photos.

The bio-luminescence is amazing. The water just sparkles. Unfortunately it doesn’t come out very well in a photograph, so you’ll just have to go and see it for yourself!

Bioluminescence

BIO-LUMINESCENCE (From a collection of eighteen)

Next we went to the capital, San Juan and stayed in the old part of town as treat for Ju’s birthday. It was good to see our old friend Christopher Columbus in the town square, and to know that we really have travelled in the wake of the original great explorer. From Las Palmas in The Canaries to San Juan in Puerto Rico.

Columbus

COLON’S COLUMN

And this edition’s arty farty prize is split between Ju and Lyn.  Here’s Ju’s effort…

Arty Farty Cocktail

COCKTAIL

…and here’s Lyn’s.

Arty Farty Window

WINDOW ON THE RAINFOREST

Have a Nice Day! and Adios amigos.

Ju & Lyn

 

FAME!

Ahoy again Boatblog®  fans,

It has just come to our attention that we are famous!

These articles appeared in the March and April editions of Yachting Monthly.

YM March

MARCH

 

YM April

APRIL

“….from novice to ocean cruisers.”

Like it!

 

Ju & Lyn

 

X

(Thanks to Peter Smith, Atlantic crew on Reservoir Dogs for sending these to us)