Laurie and Ken

Laurie and Ken

Friday, 23 June 2017

Still in Salinas Puerto Rico
We are still in the same spot and it's not a bad place to be. The weather is still blowing and we are not in a hurry to get out into the big waves and wind so we will wait. While we wait we have ordered a new water maker from Florida. It should be here by Wednesday and the weather should be better by then for leaving. We have taken a few pictures around town.
Every house has bars on the windows, doors, and driveways

So we will stay here until Wednesday then watch the weather for our next move. I hope we can make it to the Spanish Virgin Island soon.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Waiting for a weather break AGAIN!

Well the tropical weather waves are moving across the Atlantic and the Caribbean. That is causing large waves in our area so we have to sit here at least until later in the week.

I have a treat for every one following this Blog. Our buddy boat Wind Machine with Abby and Ben have produced some great videos. Abby does great work and I want to share two videos. Enjoy!
This is a video Abby made of Dominican Republic

This is a video of crossing the Mona Passage

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

We are busy in Salinas.
We have moved to Salinas on Saturday and we have a few things to do while we are here. We left Gilligan's Island at 5am and arrived at Salinas around 10am and just rested for the afternoon. Sunday we walked 2 miles to the grocery store for a few things and walked around the village a bit. The village of Salinas is a beach area and it gets crazy on the weekends. The Puerto Rican's love to party and the music is VERY load.

This is a nice little bar built in the mangroves. A nice relaxing place for a drink in a great breeze.

Sunday night we decided to go out for dinner with our buddy boat friends Ben and Abby.
Monday Ben and I walked many miles to by parts for our boats and Ben had to drop off his alternator for repairs. We had a long day while the girls did laundry. There's always some thing to do, I wish we good have some fun time by the water again like we did in the Bahamas. Well that will come soon enough, we are very close to the Spanish Virgin Islands. We decided to rent a car to do some more shopping for parts and the go into Old San Juan.
Here's some pictures from around town
 Very narrow cobblestone streets

 Strange tree with moss

 Small sguare
 Looking for a place for lunch
This is not our boat!

We also visited the old fort in Old San Juan and Laurie will tell us all about that. So that means it's time again for;
So Here's Interesting Tidbits SHIT for short!
De Pozzi Cemetery
This cemetery was built in 1827. Many members of San Juan's economic and political elite were buried here.
Castillo san Felipe del Morro
El Morro Fort
This fort was built in 1539. This impressive stone fortress has the most fantastic views of the Atlantic Ocean high on the land in the old city of San Juan. It was built by Spanish Colonists to defend against attacks from the sea. El Morro was also occupied by the American military service and was an active base for World war 1 and 2. this fort attracts two million visitors a year.

The City Of San Juan
This city was founded in 1520 after Juan Ponce de Leon relocated here from the town of Caparra. The first settlers established a settlement on the edge of a 2.5 mile area overlooking the bay. they settled here to escape the heat and humidity as well as to escape rebellious Taino Indians. the first dwellers were mostly gold diggers and clergymen. San Juan became a full blown city by the late 18th century but was limited to growth because it was confined within the walls built to protect it from invaders. The first walls were built in 1634 after attacks from the English and the Dutch where they burned down part of the town and came close to conquering San Juan.




Thursday, 8 June 2017

Sailing up the south coast of Puerto Rico 

On Sunday we left the Marina at Puerto Real after paying for our slip and filling up with fuel. We finally got away around 8:30am and that’s a little bit late. Our next stop was to be a small town on the south coast called La Parguera. As we started out the wind started to pick up and I knew we were too late to get around the south west corner of the island. After sailing only 9 miles we had to wait until morning, it was too windy and the waves were going to be too big.  So Monday morning up at 4am to get around the point. I wasn’t happy about the wind; it was blowing harder than usual all night. We started on our way and the only thing we could use for direction was the light house on the point. There was no moon and it was a little cloudy and it was very dark. Our goal was to get to Gilligan’s Island 20 miles away and that would normally take 4 hours. Rounding the point the waves felt like they were about 3 to 5 feet and the odd 6 footer and the wind was slowly getting stronger. As the sun came up around 5:30am I knew we were not going to get to where we wanted to go. So we had to stop after sailing 11 miles to La Parguera.
 Tuesday morning at 6am we left Le Parguera for Gilligan’s Island 11 miles away. I had awoken during the night and notice that there was no wind so I thought we might have a good day on the water. Leaving the anchorage the winds were around 10 knots and we were going to find out how big the waves were when we got out passed the reefs.  At around 7am the winds were up to 15 knots and the waves were 5 to 6 feet. At around 8am the wind was up to 20 knots and the waves were getting bigger. We finally arrived at Gilligan’s Island around 9am with the wind at 25knots. (Gilligan’s Island see SHIT below).
Gilligan’s Island
Gilligan’s Island

 Wednesday the winds and seas were too high again so we waited another day. Looking at the forecast it looks like we will get away on Thursday morning so we will prepared the boat for leaving then.
Thursday it was up at 5am and on our way at 5:30am. The wind and waves were down, wind 10 to 15 knots and waves 2 to 4 feet. That’s a little bit more comfortable than Tuesday. We arrived in Ponce at 10am 15 miles away and it is very hot here, about 90f and very humid. So now we have to take down our sail to have it repaired and hopefully we will get a chance to look around Puerto Rico. There’s still a lot to do on the boat and get it ready for the Virgin Islands. Last time I did maintenance was in Turks and Caicos so it’s time again.
A lot of the clouds that move across the Island start here as you can see in the mountains
Here's a buddy boat Wind Machine
Mauna Kea on the dock in Ponce Yacht and Fishing Club
Laurie went right to work after we arrived
And now once again it's time for;
So Here's Interesting Tidbits SHIT for short
Gilligan's Island
This island was named after a women Cayo Aurora. Who at age 40 escaped her miserable life. She was mistreated at her work at La Ballena Farm. She swam to the island and made a Robinson Crusoe house and lived off the sea to a very old age. Locals used this island for pig roasts and called it Gilligan's Island which was named after the 1970's show. The island looked just like the Gilligan's Island and one of the fisherman looked just like the actor on the show. It is now a state park and is run by state rangers. It gets very crowded on weekends because of its blue lagoons and white sand beaches. There is a local who loves to talk to the tourists and tell stories about the history of this island. His name is Sr. Fernando Ortiz Matos who sits outside the San Jacinto  Restaurant waiting for people to share his stories with. 
Holy SHIT....There really is a Gilligan's Island


Saturday, 3 June 2017

June 2 2017 it’s been 11 months on the boat and also it’s the start of hurricane season

We moved from Mayagues to Puerto Real on Tuesday.

After checking in it looked like a great day to sail 10 mile to Puerto Real. Moving around Puerto Rico will be a short hops from port to port. We are still on the west end of the island and we are protected from the tropical easterly winds. The south coast is 15 miles away so when we move east up the south coast it will have to be early morning and get back into shore by 10 am before the winds come up. So we took up anchor in Maygues preparing for a short 10 mile sail in great weather. About a half hour after leaving we noticed dark clouds moving close to our location. It was hard to tell if it would come close or not. Then all of a sudden I had an over heat alarm so I had to turn off our engine. I was just far enough from shore to sail any way. This was no problem as long as the dark clouds were not coming our way. I had the front sail out and the wind picked up as the storm got closer. I didn’t like this because there was lightning in these clouds. The wind  changed from 10 knots to 35 in about 10 minutes so I had to move fast to shorten the sail. So now we had to sail into our slip, Ben from Wind Machine suggested he push me in with his dinghy and that would work. As we were getting into the bay we were protected from the wind and we arrived in out slip safely. Later Abby that was left on Wind Machine noticed a water spout, so there was some bad weather around. So it was back to fixing the boat again but the problem wasn't too bad. I found a piece of the old impeller stuck in the 90 degree turn in the pump and that was restricting the water flow. While we were here I decided to get my fuel polished so the engine wouldn’t stop on me anymore.  It’s been 2 days of fixing and now we are waiting for a new Visa card to be delivered here to us. We may have some time to look around. We wanted to move on to Ponce but now we have to wait. Here's a few pictures from around the marina.
Notice the clouds. It rains almost every day here. We have been told that the northern part of Puerto Rico gets around 200 inches of rain a year and some of the south part is like a desert and only gets a few inches of rain a year

Great little restaurant.
This is the street out front of the Marina

And know it's time again for:
So Here's Interesting Tidbits SHIT for short.
 When you talk to the locals it is really interesting what you can learn. We talked with the marina electrical engineer here at the marina and he told us that this years hurricane season will be a quiet one. He told us that he has seen the sand from the Sahara in the air?? So here's some info about that....
Saharan Dust: How Does This Impact The Atlantic Storms?
The Saharan Air Layer, or known more commonly as " Saharan Dust"
it is a layer of tiny aerosols like sand, dirt, and dust that occasionally push from east to west across the tropical Atlantic Ocean during hurricane season. These aerosols originate over the very hot deserts of Africa, like the Saharan Desert, and sometimes get picked up by African Easterly Waves which push westward from Africa into the Atlantic Ocean.
The Saharan Air Layer is a well-mixed dry pocket of air that usually resides between 5,000 and 15,000 feet above sea level. Since one of the key ingredients for tropical cyclone development is a deep feed of moisture, Saharan Dust often acts to inhibit tropical development. Research suggests that there are three primary reasons Saharan Dust has a negative impact on tropical development.
1) A surge in the mid-level African Easterly Jet increases the vertical wind shear
2) The inclusion, or drawing in, of dry air into the tropical system
3)  An enhanced trade wind inversion which acts to stabilize the atmosphere. A stable atmosphere will make it more difficult for deep convection to develop.
Once a pocket of Saharan Dust begins moving westward over the Atlantic Ocean, it is relatively easy to track by using certain infrared satellite products. The algorithm in some infrared products is sensitive to dry, dusty air and therefore can be tracked when pockets of this kind of air move from place to place.
Many factors go into forecasting the track and strength of a tropical system. Knowing whether or not a tropical cyclone will have Saharan Dust in its vicinity is one factor that can determine the cyclones intensity.
Interesting S.H.I.T. I hope it is true.....
Since we left the Turks and Caicos we are seeing more and more bioluminescence in the water. When we sail at night we can see splashes from our wake that light up. It looks like hundreds of little fireflies in the water. We are still seeing this in the waters of Puerto Rico. Here's some information about bioluminescence.
Bioluminescence is the production and emission of light by a living organism. It is a form of chemiluminescence. Bioluminescence occurs widely in marine vertebrates and invertebrates, as well as some fungi, microorganisms including some bioluminescent bacteria and terrestrial  invertebrates such as fireflies.
Most bioluminescent reactions involve luciferin and luciferase. Some reactions, however do not involve an enzyme (luciferase) These reactions involve a chemical called photoprotein. Photoprotein combine with luciferins and oxygen, but need another agent often an ion of the element calcium to produce light.
All bioluminescence comes from energy released from a chemical reaction. This is very different from other sources of light, such as from the sun or a light bulb where energy comes from heat. In a luminescent reaction, two types of chemicals, called luciferin and luciferase combine together.
Luminescent bacteria that produce light have a symbolic relationship within other organisms. Bioluminescence is a type of chemiluminescence due to the production of light by a chemical reation. There are two molecules that are produced by the organisms luciferin which is a pigment and luciferase which is an enzyme.
I don't know what that means but its interesting S.H.I.T.!!






Sunday, 28 May 2017

We are in Puerto Rico.
We made it in 31 hours, it should have taken us 25. Four boats left Samana Dominican Republic at 10am for Puerto Rico after having many meetings about when we were leaving and weather conditions. Everything looked great on the Saturday morning of our crossing. This water is called the Mona Passage and it is known for being a nasty passage.  To check the weather we have many ways to cross reference with all our information. I use Windfinder another boat uses Passage Weather and another uses Chris Parker. He is a weather man you can listen to on the single side band radio and you can also prescribe be email and get personnel weather reports. All the weather reports were the same, winds from the east 10 knots gusting to 12 and waves from the north east 3 feet 8 seconds apart. This would make a good crossing, not the best but good. Well all of them were wrong! After leaving at 10 am winds were around 10 knots and waves were very small in the Samana Bay. Around 12 the winds picked up and kept building until they got to 18 and 20. So know the waves start to build. Finally the waves were 3 to 4 feet and 3 seconds apart all the way. We all decided to go along the shore and use the east winds as long as we could then turn into them hoping they would die down by midnight. This didn't happen and we had to turn east into the wind. This is a tricky crossing because there is a shoal half way across called the hour class shoal. This shoal is about 100 feet deep and it doesn't seem like it could be a problem but there is a current that runs into this shoal from 1000 feet deep. The water will rush upwards and cause a washing mashing effect. If you go through this shoal you can find waves coming at you from all directions. It's wise to stay clear of this area. Beating into the waves is very hard. It slows you down by 3 or 4 knots so instead of 6 or 7 knots your doing 3 to 5 knots which means you arrive a lot later that you want to. You want to arrive before 4 pm because the thunder storms start building on the north side of Puerto Rico and then move across the Mona Passage. We all thought that we should be going a little fast than we thought. We were doing 1 and 2 knots. That makes for a long passage. We found there was a lot of currents going through this area and we were told that but we hoped they would have been in our favor. We are all very tired and glad we made it safely. Tomorrow we will check in with customs and move on down the coast.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Getting Ready To Leave The Dominican Republic
On Tuesday we sailed over to the National Park again with out other sailing friends. As we sailed we talked about our next weather window and we decided to leave early Saturday morning for Mayaquas Puerto Rico. It's going to be a 24 to 30 hour sail, we hope! The Mona Passage is a hard crossing because of wind, storms, currents, and shoals. As of Thursday night we have 4 boats going together so there is safety in numbers. So the people we are here with now have not been to the National Park yet so our buddy boat "Let It Be" offered to take us on there boat for an over night. This was much the same trip as last time but we saw so much more at the echo resort.

Here's Laurie relaxing on the front of the catamaran "Let It Be"
 Here's Frank who owns Let It Be
 The girls from left to right Laura, Laurie, Mary Grace and Laurie's holding Captain the wonder dog.
 Chris from the sail boat Temerity
 Outside seating area
 Inside Nav station
 Our room for the night with our own bathroom.

We took our dinghy's up the mangrove river to walk up to the restaurant.
look at these bird nest's


It was a 20 minute walk to the restaurant.

 After lunch we had a tour of the new echo resort. It's supposed to be finished by the end of June.

 Built in the side of a mountain.

 Top floor view
After returning to the boat we had a very relaxing evening on the big catamaran.
Next day it was back to Puerto Bahia Marina in Samana
Friday we prepare to make our long passage to Mayaques Puerto Rico. We will leave Saturday around 4am and hope to get there by daylight on Sunday morning.
 We are very sad that we will be leaving our long time buddy boat "Let It Be". They have to fly back to Florida for some business and then Frank has an opportunity to sail on a 52 foot catamaran from Bermuda to Spain with a fellow he met that has sailed in the around the world Volvo race. It's a great opportunity that can't be passed up. Frank and Mary Grace are thinking of a circumnavigation so this would be great experience for Frank. Good luck to Frank and we hope to see Let It Be as we pass each other next fall. We have become great friends and we will miss them very much.
Stay safe Let It Be.