Sunday, January 30, 2011

New Chapter

Originally uploaded by brisegalets
The circumnavigation is now over. Actually, in my mind, I was not sailing around the world. It's only that I had decided that to go to the Worldwide meeting of the brothers of the Coast in March 2010 in Sydney using my sailboat, and then, after the meeting to return to Norfolk again using my sailboat. It so happens that the optimum way of doing that was to continue sailing westward.
Anyhow, now that I have crossed my outbound wake, I am no longer in the "circum" mindset. I am cruising the Bahamas and Florida before returning home to Norfolk on May 1st.
Today, Brise Galets is leaving Papy Jovial in the care of Stephanie and Ezio and is going back to Virginia by way of Ferry and flight, to take care of admin chores, before returning to Lucaya on February 6th.
In the meantime, I won't have much to talk about.
See you in a week

Monday, January 24, 2011

The loop is under my belt

Last night, I crossed my outbound wake at 18:03 when I passed the
Nuevita Rocks, which I had passed going out at 17:00 on May 16, 2009.
The whole trip took 34,172 nautical miles over the ground (for those not
familiar with maritime measure, you get the statute miles by adding 15
%).Surprisingly, I only had to cover 30,233 n.m. through the water, This
is because at the latitudes where I travelled, there is most of the time
around 0.5 knots of favorable current.
I took 618 days and 1 hour to complete this trip around the world. It
includes stops along the way,of course, some significant, like one month
in Tahiti, three month in New Zealand, almost four months in Australia,
one month in South Africa and same one month in Martinique.
My voyage is not over yet. I will spend a little time in Florida and in
the Bahamas before sailing back to my home port Norfolk where I will
arrive on May 1st.
Right now, we are sailing like a bullet up the Exuma bank, most of the
time at maximum speed for my boat of 7,7 knots. I will come out south
west of Providence Island, go up to North West channel, sail around the
Berry Island by the south west and aim for Port Lucaya where I will
clear in the Bahamas.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Pit stop in Provo

When we left Martinique, the forecast was of very light wind all the way
to Port Lucaya and having enough fuel became a top issue. After looking
at various options, I finally decided to make a stop at Providenciales
to top up the fuel tank. So, we came into the Turtle Cove marina
yesterday morning, at 8 o'clock, but with a full tank as we kept a good
wind all the way. But, having made up my mind that I was going to stop,
I did. This gave us a full night sleep and a visit to a very nice place.
It is however almost entirely devoted to tourism so there is not much in
terms of a local culture, but it is clean, it has all the shops what you
might need and it is quiet and well sheltered.
In fact, we did need to go to a hardware store as we had lost the three
screws holding the roller furler to the bottom drum and we could no
longer roll up the genoa. They had to be stainless steel, 1/4 inch
diameter and a little less than half inch in length and have a tapered
head. The only shop that had that was a long walk away, but we got what
we needed.
We ate at a nice restaurant in the marina, called the Tiki Hut, not a
fancy place in terms of food, but by the water and in a nice setting.
And during our stay, we had a very good internet connection, compliment
of the marina which gave us a code to the wifi valid for one week.
This morning, we left at 8 exactly 2 hours after arrival, with a very
uncertain weather forecast. There are several cold fronts on their way,
some affecting us in some ways and we have 500 miles to go. Apparently
our fuel will become very useful.
I still expect to arrive on the 26th morning in Port Lucaya.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Iron Sail

The dreaded moment when we have to hoist the iron sail has come. Since
we turned the corner around Tortola, we had been making good progress,
knowing that once we would get to the Dominican Republic, the wind was
likely to become very light. This morning at 9, we tried to fight by
hoisting the gennaker and it kept us going until noon. But then, the
speed dropped below 4 knots and the various forecast all say the same
thing, very light wind until the cold fronts move through possibly on
Friday. We have 688 miles left for Port Lucaya, but Sampson Cay, which
has fuel, is now less than 500 miles away and if need be, we could top
up the fuel tank there. We also have a moderate current with us,
possibly half knot, and any help is welcome.
We have a nice blue sky and sun shine, so we should be happy to enjoy a
postcard kind of weather.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Exit from the Caribbean sea

We left from the fuel dock in Carenage in Fort de France almost at noon
sharp on the 15th. At first, it looked liike we were going to have a
nice wind on the starboard hind quarter, but this hope was short lived.
It took us the best part of one full day to extricate ourselves from the
wind shadow of Martinique. And in the first 24 hours, we only covered
126 miles through the water (137 over the ground). But fortunately, once
clear of the land, the wind came as promised and in the last 24 hours we
have covered 159 miles through the water and 167 over the ground, thanks
to a nice half knot current.
The only problem is that I have had to change my plans and instead of
exiting the Caribbean sea through the Mona passage, I will exit east of
Porto Rico around Virgin Gorda as the forecast promises us more wind
that way. But the overall distance between Martinique and Lucaya becomes
1304 miles instead of 1240. And we are watching our estimated time of
arrival very closely since Olivier has to fly from Freeport to Miami on
the 28 at 14:00.
If the forecast is correct, we should keep a little bit of wind until we
reach Puerto Plata. At that point, we will be within range, in terms of
fuel, of Highborne cay in the Exumas, where we could refuel if necessary.
To get to Lucaya on time for the flight, we only need 3.7 knots average,
and Papy Jovial has never been that slow, so I am not too worried about
catching that flight. But I would prefer to arrive around the 25 and
that only requires 5 knots average, which is doable.
Time will tell. In the meantime, having some wind means also having some
seas and being back, in a small way, in the shaker. After one month
cruising in Martinique, we had almost forgotten, but it will come back

Friday, January 14, 2011

Photo safari

Martinique - 44
Originally uploaded by brisegalets
Family time is over, with Patricia and Alice back in Quebec and Anne in France. Today the morning was devoted to touring the south west part of Martinique and take some pictures. This one is taken in Anse Cafard, near the village of Diamant, and is a memorial to slaves who perished in the grounding of the vessel transporting them from Africa.
After that, we went to yet another super market to do the provisioning before the last leg during which I will cross my outgoing wake and complete, technically speaking, my circumnavigation. I will still have to sail back to Norfolk, but I intend to take my time and not get back up there while it is still too cold.
For this last leg, we are going to sail straight to Lucaya, as Olivier is flying back to France on January the 28. We have 1200 miles to go and we should arrive there on the 23rd, with enough time to spare if we go slower than anticipated.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Marie Galante - Les Saintes

It's going to be difficult to forget the beauty and the charm of Dominica, and of its people. We had to move on and we sailed to Marie Galante for the Week-end. Marie Galante is also a very small island, scarcely populated, focusing on agriculture and not on tourism. It is very quiet and pleasant. We took a mooring close to the wharf of Saint Louis, which is the second settlement of the island, the largest one being Gros Bourg. The bay is calm and we only experienced a very gentle rolling. I also had the opportunity to meet there with my friend Max, whom I met for the first time in Haiti in 1985, and with whom I have done quite a few things in the last few years. Meeting with him and catching up with the news might lead to a one week trip to Haiti in March.
After Marie Galante, we went to Les Saintes, only 16 miles away, very different from Marie Galante. It's an archipelago of tiny mountainous islands with no space available for agriculture. It is very much tourist oriented, with still quite a bit of fishing. Originally, those islands had been settled by people from britanny, in France, so you meet there quite a few people with blue eyes and sometimes blong hair.
Tomorrow, we will sail to Martinique where Patricia and Anne will catch a flight back to Quebec and I will then sail directly to Lucaya on Grand Bahamas. I expect to get there around January 23rd.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Dominica, the Nature Island

Dominica - 09
Originally uploaded by brisegalets
This is a very wet stop, but it is worth it. We sailed from Martinique to Roseau through a stream of continuous thunderstorms and showers and we arrived in the rain. Actually, we got there by night and I had no idea where to anchor. The shelf is very narrow, if you want to anchor with less then 40 feet, you feel like you are anchoring on the beach, We spent a very uncomfortable night there as this anchorage creates continuous heavy rolling. Early morning, as we had almost decided that Roseau was not worth it, we went to have a look on the other side of the cruise ship wharf and found the place where we should have been. Still a little bit uncomfortable, but there were moorings available and facilities to go ashore. Plus an excellent and free Wifi connection.
Roseau is a small but very charming little town, I am not sure that the big cruise ships coming in every day with probably several thousands tourists on board are not a threat to the charm of this place. But it provides probably an alternative income for the island where, we were told, the agriculture is becoming less and less productive. The first day was dedicated to discovering the town and finding out what was available. Then Patricia and Olivier went to visit the botanic garden while I stayed on Papy Jovial to update my work. Next, Patricia and Alice went to swim in the bubbles in Champagne. All that with almost continuous rain.
We then went, altogether to the Trafalgar falls, again in the rain, but it did not matter all that much as the temperature is very comfortable and the rain is not cold at all. The day ended with a nice dinner in what appears to be the only restaurant open for supper.
This morning, we left very early to motor up to Portsmouth which has the reputation of being a much better anchorage. And it is. There is much less swell and only a minimal rolling. After touring the village which is much smaller than Roseau, we returned to the boat having planned a ride up the Indian River tomorrow.