Month: November 2016
Loving St kitts
This morning we awoke to sunny skies in our gorgeous surroundings. I just can’t get enough of this place! I grabbed my laundry bag and carried it to the stern and sat in my ‘laundry room’ with the most beautiful view in the world, and happily scrubbed away. An hour later, with clothing hung out to dry, we fired up the port engine and motored the 2.5 miles to Friget Bay.
On the way we watched fishermen pull up lobster traps then reset them and drop them down again.
What a pretty place this is!
While exploring we saw so many beautiful flowers…
We also met a man with a pet Vervet Monkey. It’s 5 months old and so cute!
He wears pampers.
Is so so cute….
and I think one just like him would make an awesome boat pet! Tanda Malaika would be like a giant playground for him. Maybe while Danny is away……
We went swimming at the Friget Bay beach and were so amazed at the amount of shells there. I have truly never seen so many shells on a beach in my life. In half an hour we found these…
So many that we haven’t seen many of in other places.
You can guess where I’ll be as soon as the sun comes up in the morning!
Tanda Malaika is happy here too. She looks so pretty out in the bay. even though she looks like she’s anchored out far, she’s only in 15ft of water. We could have brought her in a lot closer but there’s less rolling a little farther out.
Danny made it to Venezuela safely, delivered the airplane and is currently in the air on one of his return flights. We will see him on Thursday! Tomorrow he’ll be finding a new phone to replace the one that was donated to Poseidon.
As for now, we’ll enjoy this gorgeous place, keep exploring and collecting shells, and prepare for a pet monkey.
This morning in the early hours as we lay snuggled down in our warm and cozy berths, we heard the rain begin to fall on the hatches and deck. I love that sound. I pulled the covers closer around my shoulders, shifted closer to Danny and fell back asleep. I awoke again around 8am, surprised I’d slept so long, and the rain was still falling.
The usual morning routine began with school, breakfast and chores, and Danny prepared a few last minute things for his trip. I made sourdough pancakes, and the rain continued. We called the restaurant on White House Beach and inquired about taxi’s, and they told us they’d arrange for a taxi to pick Danny up at 2pm. We read, talked planned, organized, made lunch and chatted some more all while we kept a watch on the clock on Danny’s computer, and the rain never let up once. The sky was grey as far as we could see – the only change in color being a few fluffy white clouds against the grey.
Danny suddenly realized that his computer was an hour behind and that his taxi was arriving in half an hour, so we packed his bag, got him all ready to go, he hugged and kissed the creatures, and Jude and I took him to the dock in the dinghy, bracing ourselves against the rain as it stung our skin. We are going to miss him and hope this trip doesn’t take 3 or 4 times the length it should like the last one did. We all love Danny so much.
I love the way color intensifies when it’s raining. Greens become greener, rock that usually looks pale and dry becomes alive with rich colors and texture, and the thick smells of life and growing fills the air. Gosh, we live in a beautiful world!
When we’d said our goodbyes to Danny and returned to Tanda Malaika, I stood as Jude neared the stern so I could leap onto the sugar scoop and tie up the dinghy, but my leap became a slide on the wet deck, and I just kept going…all the way back into the ocean. My rained on shorts, t-shirt and raincoat was now immersed with me in the warmth of the Caribbean, and Jude was laughing so hard I thought for a minute she was going to fall out of the dinghy. The air was a freezing 72 degrees, so the 85 degree water felt so good, and if I wasn’t so weighted down by my soaked clothing, I might have stayed longer. By the time I swam the dinghy and myself back to the boat, the other three creatures were on deck laughing at me too. I climbed up and Aidan lifted the hood on my jacket, which was now a small swimming pool, and dumped it out.
The remainder of the rainy day was spent working on art projects and watching movies. It has continued to rain on and off through the evening, and a few more days of rain is expected. The sunset tonight was once again so beautiful.
We have about 19 days until we need to be in San Blas, which is a little over 1200 nm away, so tonight I wrote out a tentative schedule for us to follow to reach there in time. The creatures and I will most likely leave tomorrow evening for our next destination. A friend of mine told me about a Batik factory here on St Kitts, and since I’ve always been fascinated by the process, we are hoping to check it out before leaving tomorrow.
For those that have been following us for a while, you know we love to do humanitarian work. We have found out that in San Blas, some of the things that are desperately needed, are reading glasses (the dollar store has some for sale), school supplies and toiletries – especially tooth brushes. If anyone has any extra of these items they’d like to donate, please let me know. My friend, ZoAnn, and her family will be joining us from Idaho, and your donations can be sent to her so they can bring them with them. They leave on December 17th.
Until tomorrow, we’ll be staying dry, keeping warm and resting up for yet another beautiful day of life. Hopefully Danny will rest well tonight and be ready to fly the 737 to Venezuela in the morning, and more importantly we hope he and the rest of the 11 creatures feel our love for them across the waves.
Basseterre to White House Bay
This morning we all jumped into the dinghy and rode to the dinghy dock to take care of customs and immigration. Aidan was sitting up front and while en route he saw a black tip reef shark pass right under us. I wished we’d been in the water with it. It took most of the day to check in since the immigration lady was a bit sparse for most of the time, so while waiting, we meandered around the buildings at the cruise ship terminal.
One massive tourist trap – usually the kind of place we avoid like the plague.
We finally got out of there after enjoying a delicious Indian meal, and pulled up anchor so we could head to the southern end of St Kitts where it’s a bit less populated. Our destination was White House Bay. The bay we had spent the night in, Basseterre Bay, had been a good first stop for convenience sake.
On the way we got a good look at the country side, and are so impressed by the beauty of this island.
Many rounded rain forest covered hills calling us to come and climb them. We may still do that.
Once we passed the populated areas, deeper shades of green spread over the hills. Jude, Danny and Aidan made themselves comfortable on the bow while I manned the helm and dodged crab pots.
It’s all just a bit of heaven…
In the distance, our destination slowly drew closer, and every detail was exquisite. Behind the green mounds of St Kitts we could we a cloud covered Nevis Peak, on Nevis Island, which is an active volcano.
It appears that a church is busy being built across from where we would be anchoring. Though unfinished, it stands majestically against the breathtaking backdrop.
The anchorage already had four sailboats anchored in it, and looked so calm and inviting.
We quickly set the hook in mostly sea grass and sand, grabbed snorkel gear and went exploring. Close to shore many coral heads and beautiful rock formations were surrounded by schools of brightly colored reef fish. Just as the sun was setting we returned to Tanda Malaika, and snapped some photos of a fantastic end to a wonderful day.
We are so grateful for our health and for this time we are spending together. Love flows freely, and so does the unending beauty we are surrounded by.
Sint Maarten to St Kitts
On Friday morning we went to check out of the marina and they told us that if we stayed one more night our bill would be $150 less because we’d then get the weekly rate. So, we did. We went ahead and checked out with customs and immigration, and returned to finish up projects on Tanda Malaika.
The following morning we said our goodbyes to the many friends we’d made with staff members and cruisers, and set out to the draw bridge which would be raising at 10:30am.
Many boats were lined up and ready to leave, and the wind was blowing at about 20 knots, which made sitting in one place difficult.
Before long we were on our way, and excited for the sail. We knew the wind direction was going to be in our favor for the first time in a long time, and were stoked for that. While we were all out on deck working on fenders and lines, mischief was happening inside. The wind blew all the paper towel off the roll in the galley. It reminded me of when the creatures were little and unrolled the toilet roll.
Our sail was beautiful. We averaged 7 – 8 knots and the swells were around 2 meters. We passed St Eustatius, and the beautiful dormant volcano called The Quill, which stands 1,972 ft high. It is the second tallest mountain in the Netherlands and last erupted about 1700 years ago.
Shortly after that we heard the familiar zing on the fishing rod and just as Emma ran to grab it, we heard (the familiar) snap!
Something big had grabbed the lure and pulled all the line out and snapped it off. Danny and I agreed that we need bigger reels with more line. Even though we set the drag correctly, big fish are kicking our butts.
St Kitts looked so beautiful in the evening light, with gorgeous clouds and a rainbow. What a welcoming sight.
We had made it in 6 hours thanks to the consistent wind. Our plan was to anchor in a little bay close to customs check in.
Danny will be flying out on Monday for a couple days to transport the airplane to Venezuela, and will then fly back to us here. In the mean time, we’ll do some exploring.
We’ve been getting all sorts of things done on Tanda Malaika the past couple of days. The final diagnosis on the starboard engine is that the transmission needs to be replaced. Given the fact that these engines are a constant battle to keep alive and we need to replace them, we opted not to get a new transmission and we’ll do fine sailing and using the port engine until we reach Panama where we’ll hopefully have a couple of Yanmars installed. We are looking at an expensive project, and will continue saving for it.
Emma replaced the batteries all by her self. She’s loves helping out with the mechanical projects.
Danny took us over to Maho Beach so we could watch the airplanes land and take off. When they come in to land, they are so low over the beach, you can feel the wind movement from them as they go by. When they take off, you can feel the heat and blast from the engines. I received a thorough sand blasting, and wasn’t just covered in sand but had it embedded in my skin. What fun times!
It felt like we could jump up and touch the airplanes belly.
Afterward we cooled off and washed off in the beautiful ocean.
We have been enjoying the abundance of amazing cheese and salami on the island. There’s nothing like a good mustard with wheat thins and cheese and salami!
Last night several of our friends came over and after chatting for a while, we broke out the instruments and listened to Danny play and Mycah sing so beautifully. We were so proud of Emma, who has been learning too, as she played and sang a song as well.
Today Emma decided to make some Milk Tart – a traditional South African dessert. She did a fantastic job. For Thanksgiving we enjoyed a delicious Turkey dinner together and have a massive milk tart and pecan pie to enjoy.
Tomorrow we will check out with Customs and Immigration, then make our way over to St Kitts, which is a 50 nm sail. We have about 25 days till Aundrea and our friends, the Keck Family, meet us in San Blas, Panama, for Christmas, so we will continue to make our way in that direction. We are so excited to spend time with them all.
On Sunday after attending church, we drove over to an orphanage where 0-13 years old children live. We wanted to see if we could spend some time rocking babies and playing with the little ones. Unfortunately we just happened to pick the day that all the kids had been bused out for an activity, so they weren’t there, but hopefully we will be able to connect again soon.
On the way home we passed an overlook with a magnificent view of the Island, and stopped to take some photos.
The remainder of our Sabbath we enjoyed relaxing and spending time together.
Yesterday was spent in great anticipation as we waited for the hours to pass for Danny to arrive. We worked on a few projects on the boat, one of them being washing down the stern salon area. Mycah tried a new look!
Emma baked Danny a batch of snickerdoodles, knowing it’s one of his favorite cookies.
Danny sent us a picture of the hot dog he ordered before heading out. Pretty impressive.I always worry about him not eating or drinking enough when he’s gone, but I guess I don’t need to!
Finally, what seemed like 4 days later, Danny arrived. We are so excited to have him home, it’s just never the same without him.
Busy in Sint Maarten
Is it Sint Maarten or St Martin? They are both correct. This 87 square kilometer island was divided between the Netherlands and France in 1648. Originally the island was settled by Arawak Indians who arrived from South America . The Kalinago arrived later and called the island ‘Soualiga’, meaning Land of Salt. In 1493 Christopher Columbus claimed it for Spain and it was named Isla de San Martin. In 1624, some French grew tobacco in the French quarter. In 1631 the Dutch formed a small colony to collect salt, and that was followed by 17 years of fighting an unrest between France and the Netherlands. Finally in 1648 they decided to shake hands and each take half of the island. There were some issues after that, including the usual British trying to take over, but as of today the island is still French and Dutch owned. If travelers want fine wine and cheese they visit the French side and if they wants other good stuff they visit the Dutch side, and life is good.
On our first day here we explored on foot.
We found the ultimate gelato shop call the carousel, and had the tremendously difficult task of having to choose between about 60 different flavors. They had all the flavors we enjoyed in Mexico, plus many many more!
We decided that we’ll just have to keep going back to try them all! The creatures got a real kick out of the rotating door at the entrance, making the circle several times.
I just can’t take them anywhere!
We found delicious baguettes at a French bakery for a dollar, and Mycah thought she was pretty special to be carrying them in her backpack.
We stopped by the grocery store to pick up some fruit, milk and a few other things to tide us over until we found their version of Costco, and Jude fell in love with a sheep. (so she sat down and petted it!)
Every time I turned around the kids were laughing and teasing each other. One particular time, Emma had gravity issues and plopped down onto the floor by accident. When she stood up, Jude was hunched over the trolley killing herself laughing, and Aidan and Mycah were laughing too. So much fun in the isles.
On Saturday we rented a car after finding our where “Cost U Less” is, which is a large bulk food store. Places like that are our favorite places to provision. Before stopping there we drove down town Phillipsburg, and looked around. The creatures found a big blue camel to pose by.
We decided to have dessert for lunch and stopped by the Hard Rock Cafe.
The creatures loved the atmosphere, especially the Michael Jackson clothing and guitars. A funny little man walked up to us on the boardwalk afterward and inquired if all the children were mine. When I told him yes, and that there were 7 more, he said he was the 11th of 12, so I mentioned Emma was also an 11th child and he was instantly bonded with her and gave her a big hug.
We came across a biker wedding on the beach. It made me think of my brother.
All the bikes were lined up, and I couldn’t help but notice the cool snake kickstand on one particular bike…
Phillipburg is port to many cruise ships. Some days there are 10 cruise ships stopping by at a time! All sorts of vendors are set up all over the place. Once you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all!
By the time we reached Cost U Less, we were SO tired and just wanted to go home and snuggle down for the night. But, since we had the rental car we had to take advantage of being mobile, so we did some major provisioning. At first the creatures were goofy as usual,
just the usual grocery shopping routine…
Aidan found a pretty pink bike.
Some good music came on and Emma even danced with a random friendly Mister.
Pretty soon they ran out of steam and when I found Mycah, she was resting!
Emma sat down on the floor, looked around and asked, ‘Mom, who do you think sweeps all these floors?’
At that point I knew it was about time to wrap things up and get the creatures to bed!
Pushing the cart took all 4 of them…
We finally made it back to the marina, and the night watchman brought his fancy shmancy golf cart, helped us load everything into it and drove it to our boat for us. What a nice guy! We put a few things away but decided the rest could wait, and went to bed. It was a good day, especially because it meant that it was one day closer to Danny coming home!