Month: October 2016
Hiking St John
This morning we left Francis Bay after Jude and Mycah took some no bake cookies over to our sister ship. We really love our new friends, Carlos, Marlene, Patty and Andy. They left the same time we did so we each took photos of each others boats to email to each other.
We motored over to Honeymoon Beach which is just outside of Cruz Bay, where we planned on starting our adventure from. After mooring, we took the dinghy in, and met our friend, Reagan. We became friends with Reagan after meeting him at the dive shop called ‘Beach Bum’, where he works. We walked over to where the taxi’s are, and got a ride up the mountain to the trail head.
The trail we used is hundreds of years old – once used by the Dutch. Reagan explained that all the growth on the island is second growth, which means that at one point every bit of vegetation had been removed and sugar cane was planted in its place. When that all came to an end, the original vegetation grew back.
Along the trail we found many tarantula holes, and tried coaxing them to come out and play, but were unsuccessful.
Many of the trees had air plants growing in them.
So many beautiful plants! I am so amazed at the beauty of nature, and simply can’t get enough of it.
One of the many fascinating trees is what the locals call the ‘Tourist Tree’, because when it gets hot it turns red and peels, just like the tourists do! In cooler weather it’s greener.
Another interesting one is the fake pineapple plant. The base of the plant grows just like a pineapple, but instead of a pineapple shaped fruit, many small yellow fruits are attached to a thick center stem. They taste like pineapple and have a Novocain effect on your mouth. Quite delish!
The pirates used to pick these thick leaves and write on them and use them as playing cards. The writing stays on, turning a yellow color, and the leaves last a very long time.
Other interesting things we saw, are millipedes, which in South Africa, we call Chongalolos. Against Reagan’s wishes, I gently picked one up and held it in my hands. It brought back memories of when I was little and played with them.
Large dead leaves lay here and there, and I thought they were so pretty.
We climbed several peaks and were able to look out at the most gorgeous views. Here is the view of Caneel Bay. The large island in the distance to the right is Jost Van Dyk, BVI.
This shows some of the bays we have been exploring over the past few days.
Here’s Cruz Bay with many boats moored in the anchorage. The town of Cruz bay can be seen with all the red roofs etc. In the distance to the right where all the buildings are, is St Thomas. On the horizon line (it’s hard to see) is St Croix.
And here, the catamaran farthest to the left, is Tanda Malaika. Our beautiful home in a beautiful place.
We eventually made our way all the way down to Cruz Bay, and stopped for an ice cream. What an amazing hike! We were very ready to get in the water and cool off.
When we got back to Tanda Malaika and jumped into the cool turquoise water, and the first thought through my mind, was, I love my life.
Francis Bay, St John
We visited a bay which is supposed to be one of the prettiest of all…Cinnamon Bay. Some of us swam in to shore to check things out. The beach was beautiful,
and we were surrounded by thick jungle hills.
Gorgeous homes overlook the bay,
and beautiful flowers cover some of the trees.
The beach was peaceful and no one was in sight. The sand was fine and the water a beautiful color.
Beautiful rock formations were on one end of the beach.
Us girls lay in the surf and chatted for a bit, until some gigantic waves came rushing in and gave us some free dermabrasion. We thought it was so funny that we lay on our bellies and braced ourselves for more. After about twenty minutes of being thoroughly bashed about, we took our sand laden bodies back to the boat, leaving a trail of sand all the way there in the water as we swam. Even though we washed out all the sand we could while swimming, when we showered off on the stern, sand was still showing up. I can still feel it on my scalp even now – after washing my hair and swimming a couple more times. So fun!!!
The anchorage ended up being extremely rolly and mosquitos the size of B52 bombers swarmed the boat, so we moved over to Francis Bay, where the water is calm and peaceful.
Kjira made pierogi’s with Jude and Mycah, teaching them her fine culinary skills.
She filled them with a wonderful potato, onion and garlic combination.
After being boiled, they were lightly fried in coconut oil and spices and Bob’s your uncle! So delicious!!!
Food from the Gods!
This morning a mother spinner dolphin and her tiny baby came swimming past. The creatures got on the paddle boards to follow and I slipped into the water, but she had no intention of stopping. They must have been feeding because I saw several schools of fish leaping out of the water at various times around them.
Our sister ship anchored behind us last night, and today we met the people on her. You know it’s a small world when they swim up and say, ‘were you in Marathon, Florida a while back, and is your husband Dan the pilot?’ Apparently they had called Danny because they were interested in a Leopard 40, but when they heard we had a Leopard 46 they decided not to look at ours. They had wanted to take a peak to see how ours was laid out etc. When they heard we were having windlass issues, they offered to come take a look, and spent all afternoon trying to figure out what the problem was. It was so sweet of them. They decided it’s either a short or a failed solenoid. (I had to look the spelling up on that one!) We looked at their beautiful boat too. They are two couples who put their money together and purchased the boat 3 weeks ago, and are having a wonderful time. I’m sure we will be friends for years to come.
I spoke with Danny, who is currently in Malaysia, and he is doing well. We miss him so freaking much!
Tomorrow we will head over to the Cruz Bay area and go hiking to the Salt Ponds. That way we are close to town so we can enjoy Halloween Celebrations with everyone on the 31st too. I am so grateful for a wonderful life in a beautiful world.
Hawksnest Bay, St John
Yesterday morning we anchored at a beautiful little beach just outside the harbor, and took Danny in the dinghy to Compass Point , St Thomas, to catch a cab to the airport.
He will be gone for a bit on a trip and we already miss him a ton! We are so grateful for all he does – not just his hard work on Tanda Malaika, but his insight, love and humor too. We love him so much and miss him terribly when he’s gone.
Once we’d seen Danny off, the creatures and I set out to continue exploring the USVI. We found a beautiful little bay called Hawksnest Bay, and moored on one of six mooring balls. Surrounded by beautiful hills of thick green jungle, and down below them 3 beautiful white sandy beaches. Gorgeous coconut palms stand tall on the beaches, creating a picture perfect setting. The best part is that only one other boat was in the mooring field.
At high tide, beautiful big waves roll in to shore, which Aidan really enjoyed playing in with his body board.
At the last beach we were at, the pickle came swimming with us, and as usual, it attracts a lot of attention. Usually someone will approach us and say, “Um, excuse me, but is that a giant pickle?” We will respond with, why yes, it’s the traveling pickle…it’s @kindofa_bigdill
They laughed and wanted pictures, which we of course loved too.
We ended up making friends with them, and the creatures joined them for karaoke and sushi that evening.
The pickle came with us to this beach too. He loves his dinghy rides – but who wouldn’t, seated next to such beautiful ladies…
It seems perfectly normal to us to swim and snorkel with him, but somehow, he just always stands out in the crowd. People are starting to enjoy following him on Instagram.
The water was so incredibly clear against the white sand bottom.
It felt good to cool off and relax. The creatures are putting so many hours into their Biology and love it when school is done and they can relax their brains. They all have essays due by midnight tonight too.
Having Kjira with us has been so much fun. She will be flying back to the US on the first and will be working at Steamboat Ski Resort for the winter.
Once we were done soaking for the evening we left this gorgeous beach and returned home to make dinner.
I never get tired of our beautiful surroundings.
The sunset was once again so gorgeous.
We played Settlers of Catan till we couldn’t keep our eyes open any longer, then snuggled down in our berths and were once again gently rocked to sleep.
Rendezvous Bay and Cruz Bay
After dropping Jake off yesterday, we motored over to a beautiful bay off St John, called Rendezvous Bay.
We passed some huge homes that looked like fridge magnets stuck to the hillside. Some blended in and some not so much.
The creatures continue to work hard on schoolwork with Jude tutoring them,
Emma is loving learning the guitar,
and we snorkeled and explored and enjoyed the entire bay to ourselves, and watched a beautiful sunset.
This morning Danny worked in the port engine room for a while, replacing a switch and a bilge pump. I was his right hand man and am quite a ninja at tool names at this point.
Part of the fun of having Kjira here, is that we get to play with her gorgeous hair. We braid it for her every day. Look how long it is!!!
After that we moved over to a beautiful little bay just outside Cruz Bay. The most picture perfect beach is just a stones throw from our bow right now. We plan on lounging around on it tomorrow.
It’s been a while since we ate out since Danny and I are on a diet (I’ve lost 8lbs and he’s lost 11lbs), so we decided that an early dinner was in order. We parked the car in a crowded lot, and made our way into town.
We asked a taxi driver for advice on a good local place to eat, and he suggested De Coal Pot. It was amazing! Some in our group ordered Roti’s, some Creole Chicken and Mutton Stew. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed every bite. We met a sweet couple dining there, from New York. The world is full of extraordinary people!
Afterward we strolled around to see what we could see.
Emma and Jude noticed a baby chick that was frantically trying to get back to it’s mom, so they attempted to corner it to take it back to her.
Everyone was so happy to be reunited.
We got a kick out of the taxi’s here. Pick up trucks have been converted, and some of them like this one, are quite fancy.
The dinghy ride back to Tanda Malaika was beautiful, as we watched the gorgeous sunset on our way back.
It’s been another amazing day, and we are grateful to be a family exploring the world together.
St James Bay, USVI
Wifi and cell service have been non existent for most of us the past few days – aside from at about 3 – 4am. We haven’t missed it much though, because we have spending a ton of time collecting shells and sea glass. We picked up a mooring ball in a beautiful bay just off St Thomas, called St James Bay. The water is so beautiful and clear.
I took Jake scuba diving and he did so well.
Turtles chow down on the sea grass, and spotted eagle ray forage in the sand.
A 2 1/2 ft long remora attached itself to Tanda Malaika for a day.
I even saw some cuttlefish hanging over the reef.
Fire coral is in great abundance, and this cute little white mouthed more has made a home among it and some brain coral.
Spiny sea urchins are everywhere,
they make a great place for tiny juvenile reef fish to hang out, because nothing will dare eat them there as they are protected by the sharp spines.
We all collected so many beautiful little shells and sea glass, and each evening the girls would search through their treasures at the stern salon table. I took a photo of some of what Kjira has found. Everyday the spread grows larger…
Some of the places we have snorkeled have been so beautiful, with little canyons and large boulders.
Mycah continues to be pro at bubble rings!
Kjira has missed wake boarding, so today Danny pulled her around on a SUP behind the dinghy. It wasn’t wake boarding but she had a blast, and so did Aidan.
Jake decided that it’s time to head back to life on land and get back to work, so we sadly bid him farewell. We have loved having him with us and hope he doesn’t stay away too long.
US Virgin Islands
Yesterday afternoon we sailed 18 nm from the Spanish Virgin Islands to the US Virgin Islands.
We really didn’t have any desire to explore St Thomas, so we sailed through to take a peak. It’s a busy place and so very pretty. It’s too bad crime has increased so much.
Many old buildings lay vacant, and seaplanes come and go on a regular basis.
We even saw a pirate ship, but when they saw it was us they lowered their cannons and quickly moved off.
We anchored for the night on the outskirts in a picturesque little anchorage where mosquitos swarmed the beach. Luckily they didn’t make it out to Tanda Malaika. Unfortunately the windlass is acting cranky right now, so the creatures are having to raise and lower the anchor by hand. What a pain!
This morning when we awoke we sailed to Buck Island, where we found the clearest water in the Virgin Islands thus far. The reef mainly consisted of fire coral, but turtles ate lazily on sea grass and it was so refreshing to immerse ourselves!
The creatures and I decided it was time for a land adventure, so we loaded in the dinghy to explore a lighthouse on the hill…
we had to dinghy around to a nearby bay and anchor, then swim to shore. Since I had a backpack full of camera equipment, Emma volunteered to drop us off and then anchor the dinghy and swim to us. She did a fine job.
The shore was rocky, but in between the rocks are beautiful shells and sea glass. We collected some beautiful treasures.
Once climbing the hill off the beach, we could see the lighthouse in the distance. It appeared to be quite reachable!
We reached an open grassy area that was so gorgeous, where Mycah sang “The hills are alive….” as she twirled around.
The view was beautiful.
We came across some interesting cacti…
they grow plentifully up there.
Tiny pink flowers grow in the tops.
Today is my ‘cleanse’ day on my and Danny’s diets, so my energy level was extremely low, and after hiking through thorn trees, cactus and pampas grass that leaves your body covered in thin paper cuts, Kjira and I decided to continue collecting shells and sea glass and let the rest of the creatures go ahead. I think a machete would have been handy to work through the terrain we were hiking.
Jude, Mycah, Aidan and Emma made it there. They had to climb up the side of the lighthouse, through a window and up to the top. Danny took a photo of them with the drone.
Kjira and I enjoyed relaxing in the cool water for a while, then dinghyed back over to Tanda Malaika. The lighthouse crew had found another way down and told us of their adventure in excitement. So much fun for all!
The sunset tonight was especially beautiful, and now we rest our tired bodies until tomorrow when we’ll wake and sail to St John.
Entertainment in Culebrita
We were surrounded by stormy skies, strong currents and beautiful swells as we sailed to Culebrita from Vierques.
Kjira enjoyed sitting at the sugar scoop for a while. My mom loves this spot too.
Once we turned to port to enter the protected little bay, the swells and waves became even more impressive, as wind and current collided. It was a beautiful sight to see.
Surfing charters had guys in the water enjoying the beautiful waves. Mycah is so anxious to learn to surf, and decided that once we were anchored, she’d break out a paddle board and give it a try.
Danny did a beautiful job meandering through the waves and Tanda Malaika responded well to his impressive captaining skills. We passed ginormous rocks held fast against crashing waves, all watched over by an abandoned lighthouse – the oldest on all the Caribbean Islands.
Before long we were in calmer waters and held tight on a mooring ball.
Danny and I swam to shore and explored the beach. Signs showed that turtles use the beach for nesting, and that no drones were allowed to be flown from the beach – it was the first time we’d seen no drone signs. We sat down in the sand, and looked out at our home which we are so grateful for.
I tried taking photos of the waves coming to shore, and had fun getting pounded!
When I returned to sit with Danny, our entertainment began…
The creatures were determined to surf! The waves coming in to shore were big, but slammed down quickly rather than forming nice long runs for surfing. We watched kids flying in every direction. Legs in the air and arms all over.
Aidan did manage to catch an epic ride and I got it on camera to prove it.
Emma made it to standing position at one point…
and Jude almost did but quickly dropped to her knees before taking flight!
One of the dingbats decided it would be good to go in twos, and that didn’t work well either!
Mycah sent her board flying straight up into the air and then nosed dived into the sand, bending the nose of the board. It was quite a show! Finally, bruised and exhausted they came onto land to rest and then explore.
Theres guys are amazing entertainment. They reminded us of the monkeys on Monkey Island.
This family time is worth more to us than anything!
We spent the night there and in the morning sailed over to a town called Dewey, for fresh fruit. As we pulled in to where the anchorage was, we were fascinated by the sights around us. A quaint little town with homes and stores in many colors nestled into the beautiful lush hills.
A bright orange and white bridge stood out like a sore thumb.
I love the way bright color paint is used, and it makes we wonder why more isn’t used in the US.
We took the dinghy in to town and stopped by a grocery store named Milkys, where we bought watermelon, pineapple, apples, oranges and pears.
Today we will most likely leave this anchorage and either head back to Culabrita to hike up and explore the lighthouse, or maybe we’ll head toward St John. Who knows…we have no plan and we’re sticking to it!
Exploring the Spanish Virgin Islands
We’ve been having fun exploring the Spanish Virgin Islands. The main islands are Vieques and Culebra, with a tiny island off Culebra called Culebrita. We pulled in to the main town on Vieques, so we could take care of Aidan’s need to skateboard. He is getting better all the time. He is now sponsored by two different companies, as he posts photos on instragram wearing their clothing and using their gear as we travel around the world. One of the companies, which is a brand new company called ‘Wittle Boards’, is custom designing him his own personal board and will be sending it to us soon.
The creatures met a woman selling sea shells by the sea shore, and she explained to them the best approach to drill holes through sea glass. What a sweet lady.
Human hair is an issue on boats. All the hoses that lead from pumps and through hulls are small and are easily clogged, so we encourage those on board to brush their hair at the stern. Kjira keeps her beautiful, long hair in braids, and Mycah has become the official braider. Here’s her dock side service!!!
On our way to Culebrita, Kjira caught a fish and was an absolute ninja at it!
While she was reeling it in, a paddle board paddle fell off the boat so Danny had to swing around to pick it up. Jake jumped in to retrieve it and during all the chaos of picking Jake and the paddle up, Kjira just kept reeling and finally landed her barracuda! What a champ.
One of the tasks we have as cruisers, is to scrub Tanda Malaika’s bottom on a regular basis. After being in the marina in Puerto Rico for such a short time, our hulls were covered in tiny barnacles.
These buggers are razor sharp and stick like glue, and the only way to remove them is to take the back of the scrub brush (the wooden side) and push against them to pop them off. We worked on the hulls for quite a while, and finally got them clean once again. Here’s Jude scrubbing, and one can see all the small barnacles falling off.
When we do this, fish come from all around and gobble up the meat in the barnacles.
Danny took a brush to the props that were covered too. While doing that he found twine from a crab pot or net that had wrapped itself around the prop, and removed that too.
It feels so good to get all that done, knowing we are taking care of our girl as she takes care of us.
Cayo Santiago aka Monkey Island
Jake was served a delicious pancake breakfast made by his sisters with love. We gave him his birthday gifts and he said the one thing he REALLY wants is to catch a fish and to have a fish dinner.
We finally pulled out of the marina at Palmas Del Mar, and waved goodbye to the friendly staff.
It felt SO GOOD to be back at sea once again, and it was especially exciting to watch Kjira and Jake on their maiden voyage on Tanda Malaika.
As we raised the sails, they moved forward to sit on the seats right at the bow, and Jake yelled at the top of his lungs, “I’m the king of the world!” It is, in part, these moments with our family that makes everything worth it!
We bid farewell to mainland Puerto Rico and her beautiful green mountains and hills.
Our destination, was Cayo Santiago, commonly known as Monkey Island. The Macaques have been living there since 1930. They were brought in by scientists who wanted closer access to them rather than chasing through the jungles of Asia to find them. Large amounts of data has been collected efficiently in a much shorter period of time. The National Institute of Health and the University of Puerto Rico fund the research. Cages are still stacked in one area on the island.
We watched as groups ate leaves in the trees, some with babies clinging to their bodies. Did you know a group of monkeys is called a congress? Makes sense.
Some sat at the waters edge, dipping their fingers in and sucking the salt off, while other searched under rocks for grubs.
We were not allowed to set foot on the island, so we stood in the water as close as we could get…
I love this shot of Jude with her spiffy new camera.
The babies were our favorite.
I caught this one nursing.
We just wanted to cuddle them!
What an adventure!!!
After prying ourselves away from here, we sailed to one of the Spanish Virgin Islands, Vieques.
Jake caught a barracuda, which is what he was hoping to do on his birthday!!!
We arrived at sunset as the jungle was immersed in a yellow glow.
We immediately dove in to look for lobster and conch. We didn’t find lobster but I surfaced with 4 conch, Jude and Kjira got the conch out of their shells like ninjas, and I cooked Jake not only some delicious Pompano steaks on the grill, but also Conch fritter on the stove. He ate till he was literally sick.
The moonscape was absolutely gorgeous!
Jude and Kjira swam in the dark and played in the bioluminescence. We listened to Kjira with big smiles on our faces and she exclaimed over and over, ‘oh my gosh, this is amazing!!!’ Life, is amazing!
We’ve been working on projects while waiting for Juan, the mechanic to finish working on the engines, and Jakes passport to arrive. The passport arrived yesterday and Juan promised to be done today, so hopefully we can set sail right away.
One of the many important things on our To Do list, was to replace 5 of our hatches. Danny, Jude and I grabbed some tools and went to work…
First, we removed all the screws.
Next was a job where Danny had to use his (abundant) muscle and work a putty knife between the hatch and the deck.
Once he’d gone all the way around he was able to pry the sucker up.
We then used a putty knife, a flat head screw driver and acetone to clean away all the dry goop.
We applied fast drying 4000 around the new hatch edges and lay them back down. Danny replaced the screws and Bob’s your Uncle, the outside part was done.
In the mean time we have enjoyed cooling off in the pool,
the creatures are becoming ninjas on their boards,
and we’ve enjoyed music nights, collecting coconuts, games of ‘Settlers of Catan’ and yummy treats.
Danny and I started Isagenix yesterday. We are determined to lose weight and today is our second ‘Cleanse’ day. We’ll keep you posted!
Here’s to hoping we can leave this marina ASAP (since I go stir crazy in marinas), and continue our adventures in sailing.