New England Revisited

 

What a whirlwind of island hopping, relishing our time with all 5 kids, visiting dear friends we haven’t seen enough of, and finally sailing up the Connecticut River to enjoy 2 weeks of family reunion time behind my sisters house.  It was the best of the best.  I finally understand why folks live in the New England area.  Places to gunk hole, cool cities, American history, and everything is relatively close.

And then there is… Trader Joes!      The USA is “the land of plenty”.     Amazon Prime, Trader Joes’, Fresh Market, DSW Shoes, Apple Store, West Marine, wow.  We are back!   From independent contractors who speak English to ordering parts and installing ourselves, it’s so nice to be home and complete projects or upgrade. You have no idea how difficult or expensive it can be in other parts of the world.

In typical Gato style we did not stay anywhere for long.  From the time we arrived in July and left New England mid August we sailed to Cuttyhunk which is in the Elizabeth Islands and officially part of Massachusetts.IMG_7668IMG_7674

Onsett to clear customs, Duxbury where we barely managed to squeeze between the hundreds of small moorings to have a mini America3 reunion with Marci Lucier and Sarah Cavanah.

IMG_7680IMG_7682

On to Marblehead to visit Amy And Seamus Hourihan (Seamus wearing a gift basket from Grenada because he though it was a hat?) and Eric’s buddies Toby and Sally Reiley.

IMG_7688IMG_7687IMG_7733IMG_7735

 

Provincetown for the 4th of July to look for whales and celebrate son Rico’s birthday with his sibs Helena and Lucretia and best friend Ryan.

 

 

 

 

IMG_7808

 

 

Hadley’s Harbor to raft up with Bob and Jane Gleason.

IMG_7826

 

 

Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket with California friends Megan and Bruce Peeling, Marie and Lewie Wake.

IMG_8113IMG_7912IMG_7932IMG_7926IMG_7925IMG_7914IMG_7921

IMG_7937 (2)

IMG_7896IMG_7895IMG_7894IMG_7893IMG_7889IMG_7888IMG_7885IMG_7880IMG_7878IMG_7867 (1)IMG_7862 (1)IMG_7860 (1)

 

 

Newport where we dined, raced, and played with Dori and Scott Vogel, JB, Christy and Trev Prior, Susie Leech, Linda Lindquist, Johnny and Scott McGowan, Amy Baltzell, visited mansions, and had another mini America3 reunion with spouses, cousins, their mates and kids. Guest appearance from Mike and the newly named Mrs. Easton (Lindsay).

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_8169

 

IMG_8118

Marci Lucier’s son JJ following Eric’s lead.

 

 

Back to Cuttyhunk to play with Bob and Jane, Christy and Trev.  Cuttyhunk was our favorite place to revisit. Quiet, good hikes, fresh seafood, good pizzas, and some interesting history.

 

 

 

 

My kids flew in to Boston, we toured a bit then drove back to Newport where we rented scooters, celebrated Bobby’s birthday,  then motor sailed to Block Island.

 

 

Mystic was next where we just had to try Mystic Pizza after watching the movie in our mini theater onboard.  And yes, we know they built the restaurant after the movie was produced but it was still fun. The pizza? Not the best. Cute town though. Museum is outstanding.  You can anchor right behind it. Kids ate their first lobster rolls and the shirts were a hit. Sex Drugs and Lobster Rolls!

 

My niece and grand nieces were dropped off to sail with us to Haddam where my sister lives. A family reunion was planned in two parts.  Kids first, then siblings.  Our family keeps growing so we needed to space things out.

And for the first stage of my 60 days of 60, we celebrated in Italian style with Bocce Ball, Italian meals, Italian wines, and Italian dress.  One night for each couple hosting started with a trip to dinner and the Theater to see Oliver. Other days and nights were spent feasting on fine food in true Gardner style. My family owned and ran Gardner’s Markets in Miami for 3 generations with sister Elizabeth and Brother in Law Maurice running them, until we finally sold them all a few years ago.  We celebrate with food and bring our families together around meals and our kids will carry this wand with them as they grow and expand their own families.  A familiar scenario is to be eating and planning the next meal!

 

 

 

Our departure was by way of NYC and we stopped in Sandy Hook for a few hours to rest before sailing all night to Cape May.  A nice lunch with Hobie Catter friends Wally and Lynn Meyers, and onward south to the Delaware and Chesapeake. We had 2 bats join us overnight in the Delaware and thankfully they departed the following night when the sun finally dipped below the horizon.  Stow aways!

 

From there we motored to West River Sailing Club, close to Annapolis. Rented a car and did some city touring.  Behind the WRSC we are enjoyed a few days with our sistership  Carlota’s Promise.  Paolo and Charlotte chartered with us 2 years ago and purchased their beautiful cat last year.  So fun to buddy boat!

 

We met up with locals Paul and Kathy Parks,they hosted and we enjoyed a fabulous meal at the Annapolis Yacht Club, and we anchored behind their backyard. Paul took this one.  West River YC is behind us.IMG_9084

We’ll relaunch in Late November and head south to the Bahamas, then sail on to CUBA.  As a girl who grew up in Miami with a dad who raced there, and friends in high school whose parents fled, I am more than curious to see that country/island. My new bedtime story is the cruising guide for Cuba.  Super psyched for new adventures and a completely different culture and politics.

From there on to Jamaica, especially after seeing Shaggy play with Sting at a concert here in SD!  Possibly Caymen Islands, then southwest.  Sometimes it’s good not to plan too far ahead.  We like to go with the flow!

Until then, we relish our time at home visiting friends and nearby kids.

Hope you have a beautiful Fall and until the next blog, Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Holidays!

 

 

 

Bermuda 2018

Sometimes it’s hard to write about something when you’re right in the middle of it.  Once you remove yourself, the thoughts, memories, and special moments come flooding in.  So it is with our trip to Bermuda.  We had a non-eventful ride north from the Virgin Islands with Greg Vadasdi. 850 miles of easy weather. The boat in the distance is Gunboat Flow!

The first few days in Bermuda were spent exploring St George’s where all yachts must enter and depart because of the barrier reef and customs.  While Eric has raced to Bermuda, and we both flew there last year for the Cup, we really didn’t get much time to get the feel for the island, it’s history, and the unique and beautiful islanders who live there.  This time we did.  This blog is in 3 parts. The first is when Eric and I arrived, the second was during Goddess week and Newport Bermuda Race, and the third is our sail to the USA and how good it is to be in home waters.

IMG_7278

fullsizeoutput_30a

Part 1:

After a day of clean up, a small celebration with crew Greg and wife Katie who flew in, and after a swim and a bit of R&R, Eric and I took El Raton outside St George’s Bay and inside the reef  to find hidden beaches on small islands in Castle Harbor.   The Nature Reserve on Coopers Island had a lookout tower with photos and explanations of wildlife, with historical info as well.

Green Turtles come here but are not born here.  The Parrot fish are huge and of the darkest blue we’ve ever seen, with funny shaped heads compared to down south.   Tropical Long Tail sea birds that graced the rocky volcanic cliffs in pairs followed us when we came too close to their nests, and the famous nocturnal Cahow was not to be seen but their nests both manmade and natural were along the cliff tops of islands.

These photos tell the story.  It is beautiful.  Think Bahamas water and islands with elevation and beautiful houses in all the Caribbean colors.

IMG_7307IMG_7310

IMG_7314

Bermudians are proud of their history. Because it’s further north, about the same latitude as South Carolina, and it’s in the middle of the ocean, explorers did not find it for a long time.  When they did, it was deemed to to be haunted.  Evidently the night birds sounded like ghosts so no one wanted to make this their stopping point. In fact when the first settlers arrived in 1609 it was because they were shipwrecked from a hurricane.  On their way to Virginia from England with supplies, they all survived and figured out there was a lot of natural food to be had.  They built 2 ships and finished the journey to Jamestown only to find the first settlers  were starving and down to about 55 in numbers. Bermudians claim they saved the first settlement.  Did you know they were behind the scenes in the war of 1812?  While the Britts sailed off to burn down the Whitehouse, the locals got the governor drunk, raided the fort with the ammo supplies, and sold it to Americans who went back and fought the Britts!  In a nutshell, they were a good stopping point to store ammunition, armies, and supplies.  Because there were no natives to begin with, no water reserves for plantations, no gold or silver, this was not necessarily a place to fight over.  Once the Britts landed and built their forts, there were few who dared or bothered to try and overtake them.  The barrier reef had a lot to do with that.  Can you imagine trying to find the one hole to go into a bay with boats that barely go upwind? They had to wait for the wind to shift to come and go.  The Bermuda Sloops helped solve this problem.  They were developed by a Dutch seaman using hard native woods and these could go upwind far better than the square riggers.  Today’s local Bermuda sloop is called a ??? Dinghy. It has extremely low freeboard and humongous sails so the crew is constantly bailing. We watched one get swamped thus ending their day of match racing. Evidently this is common.

Enough on the history.  It is fascinating however even for one who never liked history in school.

Eric and I rented bicycles and toured around while enjoying the benefit of getting our legs to move more than 40 foot distances.  It felt great! St Catherine’s Fort, Tobacco Bay, the Railway Trail, fresh veggies next to the airport, and a new herb garden were part of the 2 days riding.

IMG_7347

 

IMG_7338

 

One of our favorite things to do while exploring new islands is to ask the locals where they like to eat,  Not the tourist places, the local places.  After stopping a rasta mon who had a mouth full of food were he would go we found Momma Angies.  It’s a small diner type restaurant that has THE BEST fish sandwiches!  We were prompted to try it local style which was made with  caramelized Bermuda onions, Cole slaw, tomato, lightly fried Rock fish (Grouper/Snapper) on wait for it….raisin bread!  Now who would have thought of that?!?  And geez, it was DELICIOUS!!!

We chatted up the owner Wesley and learned it’s a 2nd generation business that he named after his grandmother.  As we hoped, it was filled with locals who knew where to eat and not pay through the nose.

He placed a Gato sticker proudly by the register.  So if you ever come to Bermuda, make sure you don’t miss this local spot on Duke of York Street, and tell him you know us!

 

If you are a foodie and want to splurge, Bermuda is famous for good food.

Pick up a magazine displaying food art from the many restaurants that compete for the tourists money.  There is a hefty price tag that goes with most of those meals.  But there are some very good places that we’ve found to be reasonable with tasty and hefty servings.

The White Horse Tavern, The Wharf, and Wahoo’s have good menus and are close to the water in St George’s. As for Hamilton we found Angelos to be our favorite.  Excellent Italian dishes served with a smile.  Some places they did not serve with a smile so I will not mention them. The next photo is with a group of Brazilians we met at Wahoo’s.  Fun and lively!

IMG_7376

PART 2:

Goddess Week and the race

Girlfriends came to play in paradise while Eric flew back to join friends in the famous Newport Bermuda Race.  He would be watch captain on Herme’s Louise, a Little Harbor previously owned by Bill Koch and now owed by Jay and Leah Harris.  Eric has raced with them in the past and loves this race as do most East Coasters who don’t have Bahamas or Keys in their back yards.  For West Coasters it’s usually Mexico or Hawaii, but in this race famous navigators and crews from across the continent were on board the rocket ships.

Who joined me?Betsy Crowfoot, who sailed a couple thousand miles with us 2 years ago from Cartagena to the Cape Verdes, got a gig from Cruising World and will be writing her thoughts on cruising in Bermuda.  Christy Radecic is a professional sports photographer and her big ass camera was always al the ready for the money shot.  We will get to see their article and photos in print in a few months!  Miami friend for life, Diane Davis, joined us for her first retirement trip after 37 years of teaching kids to love learning!

The gals arrived the same day Eric left and the party started!  We toured St George’s by foot and bus,

checked out the Crystal Caves, drank Swizzles, and checked out the same islands by dinghy.  Exploring a wreck that was only partly submerged was a highlight.

IMG_1400IMG_7317

Mermaids love that stuff!  Another big surprise and delight was taking the dinghy to a small cove and beach that was littered with sea glass.  That led to art projects on El Gato.  There was water coloring involved too.

IMG_7449

A few days later we sailed around to Hamilton and spent the night behind some gorgeous houses, and the next morning played with paddle boarding before sailing around the south side.  Pick your way through reefs that are marked with red and green posts on a sunny day and you can go pretty far around.  So we did!  At one point we followed a glass bottom tour boat that stopped at caves and wrecks and stopped to tell us how the fish would come to us if we threw them bread.

Back up to Mangrove Bay to watch the Bermuda Fitted Dinghy Races, and after dragging the anchor we found out why.  The joke onboard was it was a bomb as it sure looked like a missile.  Most likely plastic buoy filled with sand and it finally ripped off but not before we scratched our collective heads trying to come up with a solution.  Grateful!

IMG_7483

The races were close match races, and the locals invited us to the BBQ but we opted out to go anchor somewhere safer for the night.

Up to Hamilton about 1/4 mile from the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club, all set to explore this side of the island.

IMG_7600

We used our ferry passes that can be used for busses too, and went to the Dockyard.  More history, more tourists than we like as the cruise ships land there, and some fond memories of the Cup.  It Looks completely different as most harbors do after the big event leaves.  But it left it’s mark and the locals are grateful.  I never missed an opportunity to let folks know we were back because we had such a good experience during the AC.

Snapseed

The best part IMHO are the artists.  There are glass blowers and potters, painters, and jewelers and we enjoyed finding a few treasures to buy for each other and bring back home.

After the Dockyard, we took a cab to Church Bay, and hitch hiked home.

 

Met a lovely local, Joelle, who we invited aboard the next evening for happy hour.  Happy!IMG_7598

 

Since we WERE in Bermuda, and it’s known for good shopping, we did what some girls do best – shopped!  Bermuda shorts are super comfortable and I liked them so much I bought 2 pairs.

The biannual Newport Bermuda Race was slow.  Rambler arrived ahead of the fleet, 4 boats arrived within the next 8 hours, and 2 days later the rest came in as a pack waiting to dock.   We greeted Eric and Barry at 4 and 5 AM and kidnapped them from their boats until it was time for them to return for customs.  Yes, rule breakers.  We don’t always behave.

After 2 days of R&R and it was time to sail to the USA.  But not before celebrating our 4th anniversary!

The girls flew home and Eric and I took off.

PART 3

We’ve been enjoying land time!  First a stop at Marci Lucier’ss (and family) sweet new home and an America3 Women’s America’s Cup Team mini-mini reunion dinner with Sarah Cavanah.  Then we headed north to a land bed at our friends house in Marblehead.  Amy and Seamus Hourihan own Thirst, the Gunboat we’ve raced on for 3 events in the Caribbean. They own a beautiful renovated home above Ft Sewall where we can see El Gato from the yard.  So nice to have long warm showers! And laundry!  Thank you Marci and Amy!

IMG_7682IMG_7687IMG_7690IMG_7674

Everyone has been so helpful and nice right up to the little harbor master boat that lead us through a maze of boats on Moorings to the Duxbury YC dock which is tiny and at the end of a snake like channel.  Check it out on a chart or map!  He had to use his boat to PUSH boats away to make it wide enough for us to get through.   11 foot tides with the full moon!

IMG_7681

 

Here’s part of a letter I wrote to my GF’s friends while sailing.

Night #3 – I’m on watch, it’s 1 AM, and the weather changed so not heading to MH.  We sailed through some nasty shit this AM.  I barely had time to put a foul jacket on and no time to zip it up when I took the wheel and it blew up to 39.9!  Eric was on watch and I was coming on, he said we might need to put another reef in, we had one, and it was too late to take in another.  It was daybreak so about 6AM.  I sailed low and surfed waves with a top speed of 19 knots going down one!  The wind was blowing the tops of the waves sideways and it was kinda like a white out.  White water streaming along the top of the water, rain blowing sideways, and the best part it wasn’t cold.  It didn’t last too long but the day was filled with wind and waves and the Gulf Stream current which topped at 7 knots.  Once we got past that, everything calmed down.  But a few waves crashed over the bows and soaked the back deck including cushions even with the sides down, and the rain flew into our little tiny bedroom indoor windows!  Water was everywhere, and our bed was soaked on my side so we are sleeping on port aft.  Good thing we didn’t strip that bed!  It’s kinda damp inside so once we land I will have to wipe down all surfaces with vinegar and water (good to prevent mildew) and go from there.  The laundry service will be a huge load!!!  Rugs will be cleaned too.  Yuk

OK on to more exciting news.  It was foggy tonight at sunset.  Not too bad now but it looks like it will be that way tomorrow too.  Yuk.  Gotta get out the conch shells. Here is a
Fog rainbow!
IMG_7653
I miss the Caribbean and Bermuda already.  The swimming?  The water temp says it’s 66 degrees. And I have a sweater over a long sleeve shirt with long John foulies.  So much for tropical summer…

Bye Bye Windwards and Leewards

Today we depart for Bermuda!

So here’s the wrap up for this part of the planet:

After escaping the magnetic hold of Grenada and the Grenadines we absorbed ourselves in adventure and a check list of what we want to do before we say goodbye to this part of the world.  Three seasons down here means we’ve had time to visit almost every island.

Our bucket list included some hairy climbs,

IMG_9230

a gorgeous botanical garden,

a fantastic tropical forest waterfall,

snorkeling and diving on wrecks and reefs, thrilling races on a friends 55 foot Gunboat catamaran,

doing some really fun charters,

and having some of our favorite sailing friends visit.

Most folks bareboat charter in the BVI’s as the islands are close together and practically anyone can manage to get around with very little experience.  All the islands and groups are magical with their own unique character.

We’ve found the further you venture south the more you can experience the local culture and see how each island differs in language and customs.

There are English, Dutch, French, and independent islands, each with it’s own charms.

Local fruits and veggies stands, meat and fish markets, and local artwork gives you a good idea of what they grow, catch, eat and make. And yes, this is an eggplant, island style.

 

So if you feel the pull of trying something different after cruising the BVI’s, head south.

IMG_6093

You will not be disappointed!

But if you’ve never been to the BVI’s, it is truly a paradise for cruising.  The views are spectacular because unlike other islands, these overlap and no matter which direction you look, the views will take your breath away.

 

IMG_7250

For years I’ve felt like the BVI’s were my home away from home. In fact, there was a moment I thought about moving here.  Now I call it my home away from home away from home.

 

When 2 category 5 hurricanes hit the VI’s within 2 weeks, I could not stop thinking about the islands, the people, and the reefs.

So here’s the deal. The islands were hit.

Hard.

In fact we struggled with the idea of visiting the North Sound where the Bitter End Yacht Club was.  We opted out.  Too many well loved places were destroyed.  The Fat Virgin, Saba Rock, Biras Creek, YCCS, and BEYC.  We saw so many yachts destroyed, houses with blue tarps for roofs, buildings and houses you could see straight through.  Heading to USVI’s, St John customs we were reminded again of the devastation when we saw the building flattened.  It was a puzzle to figure out where to go to check in.  Red Hook on St Thomas now has a small customs office for cruisers.

Here’s what we’ve learned on our 3 week visit.

The Baths is still wondrously beautiful.  The building at the top has reopened for meals. Currently there is no wait or fight for mooring balls.  We loved that aspect.

Screen Shot 2018-05-30 at 10.30.36 AMScreen Shot 2018-05-30 at 10.29.59 AM

The palm trees lining most beaches are gone,  but they are replanting and the greenery is coming back!

IMG_9789

This is from years ago on Sandy Cay which I nicknamed Annie’s Isle.  I now call Sandy Spit Eric’s Pit.  LOL

IMG_5990IMG_6014IMG_5986IMG_5989

The Dogs were still great to snorkel on. The Rhone has broken up a bit more but was teaming with life and coral.

We did not stop at Coopers Island but heard the restaurant has reopened.  Trellis Bay was a wreck. Boats all over the beach.  But a few places to eat with lovely smiling faces serving. Cheap and yummy food.  The Indians where you normally have to wait for someone to leave only had 3 boats at a time including ours.  The coral and fish are still there.  Looking over to Normans was shocking.  Very few boats when normally you see a sea of masts.  We heard a new Willy T’s has been delivered and the Pirate Bight is open on Norman. Peter Island is closed and renovating.  It was hard to recognize where we spent part of our honeymoon.  Destroyed.

This is on St John, an old sugar mill up high on the hillside off Waterlemon Bay.

Sopers Hole, a complete disaster.  We saw it through Binos.  Jost Van Dyke, Foxy’s is alive and well but so quiet compared to a year ago.  Sandy Isle (Annie’s Isle) and Sandy Spit (newly named Eric’s Pit) still beautiful although the trees on Annie’s are shorter and thinned out.  No palms left but the locals have cleared paths and it’s still stunningly beautiful.  The difference is there is now a beach on the backside and with large pieces of coral scattered everywhere.  People make beach art with driftwood, coral, shells, and sea fans.

 

 

St Thomas is recovering pretty well but many people have left.  They lost boats or houses or businesses or a combo of any of those.  The yacht club claims 1/3 of the members are gone.

The bottom line is Irma and Maria destroyed a lot of land and water bases but most people remain strong.  Whether we were on Dominica or the VI’s when we asked questions, people were willing to share. Even customs officers. Living through something so powerful changed their lives.  Many are nervous of the season to come. The rebuilding is not over.  It is a huge reality check of where they live.  Like everything, life is a balance.

As for El Gato, we will do our best to stay as far away from storms as possible and keep an eye on the weather with our Predict Wind App.

We depart for Bermuda tomorrow and can be followed by looking at our tracker at:

http://forecast.predictwind.com/tracking/display/ElGato.

Looks like we will be motoring for a few days but I’ll take that over too much wind any day.

When we get to Bermuda Eric will hop on a plane to Newport,RI, then race back to me in the Newport Bermuda race with his friends.  I’ll enjoy a girls week while he’s gone.

After Bermuda we look forward to hitting the states in July, visiting kids and family and friends on the east coast.

Today is the day!

850 miles to go and we hope there are some fish waiting to feed us on the way!

 

Bequia Revisited

When you really like a place you tend to go back. So it is for sweet Bequia. With 5000 inhabitants it has a quaint island vibe and people here seem genuinely happy.  The waterfront is dotted with small restaurants and art vendors.  We sit at Mac’s to do internet while gorging on pizza called Nirvana made with pesto, shrimp, bacon, and local sweet peppers.  Mmmmm!!!    The BEST!  (Eric has requested this be added to the Gato menu.)

Today I went for my 2nd SCUBA dive here and as I floated 60′ below the surface surrounded by the most exquisite colors outside the rainbow I am reminded why I wanted to be a marine biologist when I was 15.  It also explains why I am not a snow bunny. There are so few colors in the winter (not to mention I hate being cold) and I am obsessed with colors.  The mind relaxes into the zen mode when underwater and as I look for the underwater creatures I struggle to memorize all the color combos and find a way to paint them!   For those who are curious, the reefs are healthy and the sea life is thriving.  We saw moray eels. lobster, shrimp, crabs, rays, barracudas, and countless reef fish including one of my favs the Parrot Fish.

As with most blogs, I need to back up a bit and post what I wrote when we first arrived.

BEQUIA BLOG 3/11

After some epic windsurfing we left Tobago Cays but not before one last morning session of blasting around in 20+ knots on our Kona Boards.

Eric and I especially love the Cays. Why? Turtles and rays swim happily around you, the reef that protects it is beautiful to swim on, the color of the water is spectacular and other than the Bahamas we have not seen water this shade of blue. The locals are friendly, bring fresh fish and croissants to your boat, and the windsurfing and kiting are in clean fresh breezes where you can slide over the shallows and boats don’t obstruct your path. It’s safe mon.

Our sail to Bequia was in 20-25 knots so we put one reef in and used the solent jib.  Waves were 6-8’ and we happily cruised upwind at 9-10.5 knots.  It was a fun fast sail as it’s only 25 miles from Tobago Cays. The best part was we were sailing again.  Our time out was well spent and the work and time spent upgrading and we are finally reaping those rewards.  Just the 2 of us slicing along with spray and wind blowing our hair back and whenever we caught each others eyes it was not without a huge grin and a twinkle in our eyes. We were doing what we both love, and doing it together on a boat that we’ve both loved.  It’s kind of like sharing a kid, or if you haven’t had a kid, a pet that you are crazy about.   We’ve had all 3 so we  know how it feels. We are invested physically, emotionally, and financially.  We are all in!

We arrived in Bequia several days after a northern swell rocked the harbor.  Stories included monster waves that tore out docks and had boats disappearing from view in the troughs between the swells.  Luckily there is a southern harbor that has shelter from this direction called Friendship Bay so many cruisers went there.  When we arrived Admiralty Bay was back to normal and full of charters and private yachts because Bequia is a favorite for anyone who comes this far south.  It has charm as it’s small, safe, has good reefs to dive, a pathway that wraps around the bay with restaurants and small stores filled with art, gifts, and veggies from nearby St Vincent, and Gingerbread houses up on the hills.

Sadly it is a place where whaling is still practiced but they allow only 2 per year and some years they kill none.  They use 100% of the whale and share the meat with other islanders.  I saw a turtle necklace on Union Island made from whale bone that I really liked but had to walk away.  Buying it would support the killing.  Nuff said.

We walked up the hill and found a pottery shed owned and operated by a couple of artists from the UK who make beautiful pieces.  They were busy making 100 trophies for the Bequia Cup.  I happily added a new coffee cup to my round the world collection and commissioned a 12′ mermaid/octopus bowl as well. Can’t wait to see and use it!

Bequia has a long tradition of sailing, boat building, and racing. The kids learn early and they have a good program supporting the youngster to move into bigger race boats.  They sail to other islands to compete and have had great successes and loads of fun.

We visited the turtle sanctuary and had a close of touch and feel for Loggerhead turtles.  The babies were only 4 weeks old and they will release them when they are older to fend for three own.

It is not without sadness that every time we leave an island as we crawl our way north, we realize we may never see it again.   After spent 3 seasons down here we’ve made numerous friends both on and off the water, and feel connected to this beautiful part of the water world.  The thing that keeps our spirits high is now we can looking forward to cruising the Pacific.  The stories we hear about diving on the atolls, meeting chiefs and bringing gifts to islanders, and knowing we will visit some very remote and exotic places is more than enough to look forward to.

We have a year to prepare and the time will fly, so for now we embrace the beauty of the Caribbean and will always hold it close to our hearts.