Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Virgin Islands


 Well, we had a nasty upwind sail to St. Tomas (USVI) from Culebra. Then we went to St. John (USVI) and Tortola (BVI). We spent the morning of my eleventh birthday in Tortola that was followed by another nasty upwind sail  headed for Virgin Gorda. Did I mention that my one birthday wish was to see my friend, Julia? I thought that that was't going to happen, until we called them on the radio and changed our course to Marina Cay, where they were moored. I had a wonderful birthday making a 'Happy Birthday Cake' out of sand with Julia and Remi. This perfect day was ended with tacos and cake. We also went to Virgin Gorda, Norman Island, Jost Van Dyke, and finally back to Culebra with Arwen. We took the ferry to mainland Puerto Rico, where we went to Wal-Mart, a rainforest, and West Marine. We had to wake up at five to catch the 6:30 ferry. We planned to take the 7pm ferry back to Culebra and arrive at 8:30 pm, but it was delayed by two hours. We finally got on, but the captain told us a wire broke and that they needed to fix it after the cars got on. It was an extreme high tide and the cars could barely get on, so it was a good hour and a half before the cars were on and the wire was fixed. We left for the one and a half hour journey back to Culebra. It was a bit rolly and people who had never been on a boat before got seasick. I tried to take an unsuccessful nap when a crew member started passing out barf-bags. When we finally got there it was almost 1am and I was ready to go back to the boat. Our friends on Arwen are flying back to Germany soon, so we had to say goodbye. They are planning to visit us when we are back in Stow.

Here's more of my story:

We are in Tobago Cay, Grenadines now. This anchorage is filled with charter boats that can drive the boat just as well as I can and I can't drive the boat without breaking something. Anyway, Quinn, Desiree, and Jade are out snorkeling and I offered to stay behind because I didn't want to tell them that I don't know how to use fins. I was watching other boats run into each other and putting out fenders as a precaution, when I heard a beeping sound. Thinking that was on another boat beeping, I tried to read one of Desiree's books, Stowaway. It is hard to read when a beeping sound is being very annoying. Suddenly it hit me, could this be the anchor drag alarm Desiree was telling me about? I ran down-below and, yep, sure enough the GPS had red, flashing letters on it "ANCHOR DRAG ALARM". What should I do? What should I do? I racked my brains and started the engine. There was a small chance that my plan would work, but it was the only hope I had. I went to the bow and pushed on the button that supposedly pulled the anchor up. Nothing. Then I remembered that there was a switch that Quinn had to flip for Desiree to be able to put the anchor down. He always switched the wrong one and Desiree had to yell "THE WINDLESS! IT'S ON THE TOP ROW, ON THE FAR RIGHT!" So I ran below again and flipped the switch and ran up. Sometimes it's nice to have Quinn around. I pulled the anchor up and carefully navigated to a nice spot in front of where Quinn, Jade, and Desiree were snorkeling.

                                          •     •     •

Desiree looked up and said "Wow, that boat looks just like Skipchaser!"
Jade looked and said "Yeah, we should talk to them on the way back." All Quinn said was "OW! I stepped on a sea urchin!"

                                         •    •    •

I anchored, remembering the five times the depth for amount of chain, ratio. I pulled backwards on the anchor with the boat to make sure it set well. Then I attached the snubber and lay down. It wasn't five minutes before Quinn, Desiree, and Jade were back on the boat. I told them about what happened.
"You're getting better at this. I think you're better than Quinn!" said Desiree
"Is not!" Quinn said indignantly and then fell head first down the stairs hitting his head on the table. "Guess what? I just got that water out of my ear."

Friday, March 2, 2012

Grenada- Culebra


I'm sorry about the delay in posting my last blog. Even though it's a high priority for me to WRITE it, sometimes it isn't a high priority for Mom to POST it.

We had an uneventful 62 hour passáge going from Grenada to St. Croix, including a pod of dolphins that played with us for the better part of an hour. Although casting off the docks at 6am was hard, the even harder part was saying goodbye to our friend Julia who we had been traveling with for six weeks. She was up at 6 in the morning to say bye. They are cruising up the islands and we plan to meet up with them in the Virgins.

After the passáge we picked up a mooring in St. Croix while Remi and I were down below watching a movie. Since we were below we missed the excitement, or harbor TV as we call it, when mom missed the mooring (for the first time) and dropped the boat hook in the water. We went snorkeling on Buck Island and then took the six hour run to Culebra.

Larry, I wouldn't be exaggerating about a 2,000 mile flight that took six hours. For us a 35 mile trip is usually six hours. You were probably sitting in the air conditioned jet watching a movie and had food rolling down the isle for those that were hungry.

Culebra is an island off of Puerto Rico that is really nice. We spent 3 days with the Candells (Larry, Amy, Allison, and Jeff). In those 3 days, we walked all over the island visiting different beaches. We sailed to Culebrita with them, which is a pretty, small island that has two magnificent beaches. We only went to one, but we snorkeled off the boat, played on the beach, and swam from the boat to the beach.

Today we rented a Jeep so we can go back to our favorite beaches. We love the air conditioning!

Here's another chapter of my story.

Chapter 5

We left Grenada where we dropped off crew. Now there is only Desiree, Jade (Desiree's younger sister), Captain Quinn (Desiree and Jade's dad), and me. We are now sailing to Carricou and Jade and Desiree are down below. We are tacking back and forth because we can't go directly into the wind. I was up on deck while Captain Quinn was singing Queen songs. I heard beeping and knew something was up. I checked the wind instruments but all was normal. The depth, normal. I looked at the chart plotter as an explosion rocked the boat so I couldn't get a good look at it.
"Captain!" I yelled to Quinn. "What's happening?"
"Don't bug me! I'm picking my nose hairs." was his simply answer. "Another one bites the dust..." was added from him for good measure which wasn't good enough for me. Either he was concentrating on saving us or saving his nose. I'm thinking he meant the latter. Captain Quinn can be so out of it, sometimes. I looked at the chart plotter and realized we were going over an under water volcano.
"Quinn, Desiree, Jade! Someone help!" I yelled.
"Will you please shush?" the Captain ordered. "Your breaking my concentration. I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike...."
I knew help wasn't coming so I was the one who needed to give it. I marched over to the steering wheel, or helm, and grasped it tight. I pushed the hair out of my face and turned just as another burst of lava came flowing out, this time even closer. The sharp turn made the wind push into the other sides of the sails, causing us to heal in another direction. This made stuff go flying across the room. Desiree and Jade, knowing something was up, came running.  As they we coming, I heard a big splash.
"Captain Quinn's in the water!" I yelled.
"Not again" was the groaned reply I got.

Thanks for reading! Hope you like it.

P.S. Quinn, if you are reading this then don't worry. This it just the beginning of Captain Quinn.



Relaxing on the aft deck.
Some dogs from a local shelter on Culebra.
Spotting Dad (yellow fins) from the bow.