Friday, May 31, 2013

Experience… Confidence… and “Obama”


Dear friends,

Yesterday, whilst sailing from Portsmouth to Roseau (Dominica) I found myself caught  in a spiral of thoughts (that is quiet common to happen by the way…) and this time I think “Obama” had to do with it…No, not the current president of the USA, but yes the name of a local “pain killer” dubbed Obama: local rum +array of mysterious herbs and spices, making it, over time, a splendid Caribbean elixir… P1010567and so maybe I was still enjoying the   aftermath of the consumption that triggered this train of thought:

After almost 4 years living a board, and having sailed already a fair amount of miles, do I find myself an experienced sailor?



As the conditions at sea change all the time and are unique, you have to adapt to all these different changes all the time.. sometimes the same wind speed, same angle, and still the boat reacts different. To me experience is related to repetition of the same, and so that is not the case on a sailboat, so the word confident came to mind.. after a while one gets confident in the task at hand (based on previous, similar or not, experiences…). That sometimes can be dangerous, to become over-confident and not paying attention to the unique-ness of an event… Experience creates confidence?

Anyway, curious to learn your take on this issue. Please don’t hesitate to comment.

The plan is to undertake a hike tomorrow,  up to the boiling lake in the mountains near Roseau. I have no experience in this, but confident it will be  a great time.. Stay tuned..

Best regards, keep it real


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Lush… Shades of Green… Dominica (part 2)


Dear Friends,

It was Alexis, one of the boat boys (a group of people with small wooden power boats, that render all kinds of services to us boat people: selling fruits, taking garbage, selling the national flag, and also selling tours around the island) who sold me todays trip. Our driver and tour guide Winston, went out of his way to show his Island (it seemed that he actually knows everybody we came across..)

…. Lush, shades of green, and really the feel of an unspoiled nature. Of course most of the fruit bearing trees etc we know from Brazil (including the cassava plant, which not only allowed us to eat a delicious cassava bread, but also got me some cassava meal (farinha de mandioca…) a so well used ingredient in the Brazilian Cuisine as well.. So it all really felt home to me today. But it was different.. more green? More rugged? Is that possible..? Check for your self by looking at the album herewith attached…Great Island, great views, great people…

Meanwhile, have fun


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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Three things


Dear friends,

Here are three things that  I thought were going to be an issue, cruising in the Caribbean, and so far they turned out to be no issues at all:

1: Custom clearance, immigration.

In most places a simple procedure (just have all the boat papers and passports with you). In most French Islands, it is like a do it yourself operation. The best was St Barth, as they  keep all the data current on their computer system, so next time you check in,  all data is there. It was in Tobago where things took more time and paperwork. Especially if you go to Trinidad afterwards. I thought of complicated, hours consuming bureaucratic mazes, but so far things have been very smooth.


2: Crime and Safety

Knock on wood, but did not come across, nor experienced any level of crime, theft and things like that. It probably is a mixture of: using common sense (not leaving stuff around outside the boat that are of any value), good luck, a solid guardian angel, locking up the dinghy (including its gas tank), and at night, I just store the dinghy in its usual position (hanging of the davits), high and dry. You would be surprised to see how many fellow yachties leave their dinghy in the water, just tied to the boat… That is making it extra easy for those thugs. And of course, having a  lean-mean-can-i-have-a-cookie-now-machine named Lucky in da house (=boat), nobody can come close (unless you would have a cookie on you..)


3: Navigation

Prior to cruising around here, I have to admit that some times I would wake up at night, a bad dream, Onda Boa being crushed and banged into and onto coral reefs and rocks…Again, so far so good… Using good maps, reading (prior to arrival is  by the far the best) the cruising guides (Chris Doyle's for instance) and again, common sense has kept the Onda Boa free of any unwanted crashes. The navigation with regards weather, currents etc, is another story: Easterlies are not always Easterlies, and currents are sometimes allies some times foes and go in mysterious ways….


Tomorrow I have scheduled a mini Island tour on Dominica. Can’t wait to see what that will bring…

Meanwhile, stay safe and enjoy what you do…


Monday, May 27, 2013

Sunday Island, Dominica (part 1)


Dear friends,

Ok, call me ignorant, but up until recently, I had not heard of, or better, not paid attention to this  Island. Not to be mistaken with the Dominican Republic, that is some where else.

Anyway, if you want to have more facts and figures, here you will find it:

This morning after the easy going check out procedure in Bourg des Saintes, and under a cloudy sky and a fresh breeze left Les Saintes in my wake… Fresh breeze turned out to be 25-28 knots, Easterly, and waves 2-2,5m (how I know this? I don't, it is what windguru ( tells me it is, I have no way of verifying the correctness). So, after a while adjusting sails and direction, it was possible to avoid the rather large waves crashing into Onda Boa, and we kind of skid a long nicely. As you can see, the excitement was almost too much for Lucky.


Then through the rain and the mist, Dominica… Oh and yes, this can also be the Caribbean, grey skies, rain and wind gusts (never cold though.. that is nice), so it is not all the time, calm pristine blue waters, nice white beaches and waving palm trees, it can be this rough and ready.. and by the looks of it this weather pattern will persist for the next coming days..P1010484P1010483

Plan is to check out some sites and scenes the next couple of days, but the island is large and a lot to do and see, so will have to come back.

As soon as possible, more on Dominica.

Take care for now and all the best,


Friday, May 24, 2013

Les Saintes: Fantastique…….

Dear friends,
The voyage from Deshaies to Les Saintes was marked by either insane wind gusts, to pockets without any wind, squalls (bursts of wind and rain) and scorching sun, so yeah, we managed.. I also did manage to loose the antenna of the BitStorm Wifi boost antenna thing. I thought I was clever by placing the thing just behind on of the stainless steel mast stays, there it will be safe… And it was, until a silly genoa sail movement had the sheets slapping around like crazy, and so the antenna was ripped out and now lies in about 800 m below sea bed, sorry guys…This comes to show, you cant be a lazy sailor, I just should have disconnected the  whole thing until safe and sound in a new anchorage.. I mean I wasn't going to use the antenna during the voyage.. So, now I am back to using the built in antenna of the laptop, and at least here in the Bourg bay, i have a very good wifi connection…
Les Saintes ( , Terre d’en Haut, what a place. Nice, clean, colourful… First part of the expedition, going to visit Fort Napoleon (it is only open till noon). The climb up was nice, with great views of the bay. I was hoping to find some more info and evidence as to the pirates who roamed this area, but i only found detailed info on how the French fought the English in 1782, and how that didn't turn out too well for ze French(this time). The actual battle was in the straight between Dominica and Les Saintes, and then I knew I would have to climb up the other (much taller) mountain with Le Chameau (309 m, but believe it felt higher…), overlooking the south entrance of the bay, towards Dominica. But I am getting ahead of myself.
Les Saintes are sometimes dubbed as the Gibraltar of the Caribbean, and that is why the French and English battled it out. I looked at the gravures and paintings depicting the battle.. hard to believe how they did that back then… no communication between ships, surprised by weather, heavy vessels.. It just makes you wonder…. Time was running out on Fort Napoleon, so down again towards to little town Bourg, grabbed a baguette avec fromage for lunch, and after visiting the tourism office for a map, of I went to climb mountain Le Chameau   It was steep, but all to the top, easy going concrete slabs… It was just me and….. goats…(what is it with those animals..). The what ever it was lookout construction is in bad shape, unfortunately, but the views… breath-taking… I just sat there for long time, meditating, contemplating, admiring… So, herewith the pics of today….
I like it here, and will stay for a couple of more days, then on to Dominica (more pirate stuff, as apparently they used this island as a back drop for the movie Pirates of the Caribbean..). Can’t wait..
In the mean time, all the best