Archive for July, 2012

Vacation

July 25, 2012

posted from Alexandria, VA

After months and months of cruising the Virgin Islands and the Caribbean it was time for a vacation. Jackie flew back to the States and did a short road trip with one of her girlfriends while I did some work on the boat.

ST. LOUIS

In the beginning of July we rendezvoused in St. Louis to spend a few days with our neice, Nancy, her husband, Cory, and their daughters Sumer and Willow. Activities included going to Sumer’s riding lesson and taking her to Grant’s Farm.

Sumer’s riding lesson

Sumer discovers goats feed on more than just milk

Sumer on horseback again with Jackie looking on

With temps around 100, the girls find indoor activities to occupy their time. (Note: the tropics were 20 degrees cooler)

The girls work on enhancing their beauty.

And what would a trip to St. Louis be without a trip to the arch.

Cory, Jackie, and Sumer look out a window at the top of the arch

TAWAS STATE PARK, MICHIGAN

Too soon our visit ended and we travelled to Michigan for Jackie’s family’s annual camping vacation at Tawas State Park.  The campground is on a penninsula that separates Tawas Bay from Lake Huron.  The bay is shallow and tends to be warmer and calmer than the lake, so cooler days were spent in the bay and warmer ones on the Lake Huron beach.

The family gathers around the fire ring

(L) Jackie looks for birds. (M) Butterfly. (R) Oriole on vacation from Baltimore

Jet ski runs aground in shallow Tawas Bay

Bill plays with the kids in the lake

Kids playing on the beach

OCEAN CITY, NJ

We spent a week hanging with Jackie’s family and camping at Tawas.  The next week was scheduled to share a house with my family just a few blocks from the beach in Ocean City, NJ.  This vacation a regular event that we revived this year after a nine year pause.

“Beach house” slept 24 with room to spare

The front porch was the favorite place for everyone to gather, but only the living room a.k.a the internet cafe, had wifi.

Random relatives gathered on the front porch

The logical progression was from the porch to the 2.5 mile long boardwalk.

Early morning on the boardwalk

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Brother Dave fixes his unicycle as his grandson Reid looks on

Then of course there is the beach.

The ladies pause for a photo before heading for the beach

Surfer dude, Reid

Mom has been going to Ocean City off and on for a long time.  At 86 she is not quite spry enough to cruise the boardwalk like she once did, so we rented a couple buggies and took her for a ride complete with unicycle escort.

Mom and the oldsters show the youngsters the way around the boardwalk

Unicycle escort – siblings Dave, Suzi, and Katie

VIRGINIA
The trip to the state started with family visits and vacations, but ended with a stop in Virginia for our annual medical checkups. This process becomes very hectic, but we did get in a couple short visits with friends. I even managed a few hours on the Chesapeake Bay with a friend, his daughter, and a friend of hers.

Grace, Bob, and Marissa sailing on the Chesapeake

NEXT: suprise…..

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South to Grenada

July 17, 2012

Posted from Ocean City, NJ

BEQUIA

We had a great sail from St. Lucia to Bequia.  The wind stayed steady and we only had to motor for about an hour while passing St. Vincent.  We only stayed in Bequia a couple days before heading south to the Tobago Cays. 

The trip to Tobago Cays was good although we were a little concerned about having a squall come through while entering the Cays.  Luckily the weather blew through before we got there.

TOBAGO CAYS

The Tobago Cays consist of a few reefs to windward and a couple islands to leeward.  We dropped the anchor in the sandy bottom and settled in for a couple days of hiking and snorkeling.

Compass Rose anchored in Tobago Cays

You can land your dinghy on a beach and look for iguanas on the island or swim with turtles.

Dinghy landing beach

We dinghied over to the island and hiked around looking for iguanas.  There are plenty to see if you look carefully.

Some iguanas are easy to see…

…and some are not

There is an area roped off where the turtles like to feed.  We went snorkeling there and saw as many as four turtles at one time.

Jackie swims with the turtles

We saw this boxfish while looking for turtles

Sometimes the wildlife comes to visit us like this brown boobie (yes that is really a type of bird).

Brown Boobie perched on the mizzen mast

CARRIACOU

We got up early and made the short jaunt from Tobago Cays to Union Island where we had to check out of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.  The holding was so bad there that I stayed on the boat while Jackie went in to clear us out of the country.

Then it was another short hop to Hillsborough, Carriacou were we checked into Grenada.  We needed to pay an entry fee, but the Grenada immigration officer didn’t have change so he checked us in and told me to come back later when I had change.  I got change when I cleared through Customs and walked back across the street to pay my debt. 

We finished the day with a short sail around the bottom of the island to Tyrell Bay.

GRENADA

The weather was holding so we only stayed in Tyrell Bay for a couple days.  The wind and seas were very favorable so we decided to sail down the windward side of Grenada.  This kept us in the wind the whole way down instead of losing the wind behind the mountains when sailing down the leeward side of the island.

The seas were a little bumpy at times, but the trip when very well.  Not only did the wind cooperate, but we got a favorable current, too.   By mid-afternoon we were anchored in Mt. Hartman Bay, Grenada.

Good old Mt. Hartman Bay where boats drift in odd directions when the wind dies

After a 15 month absence, it was good to be back in Mt. Hartman Bay.  We were able to anchor near our favorite spot on the NE side of the bay.  As we came in we saw old friends from our last visit and new friends that we had met up-island.

New and old friends at Secret Harbor Marina

Jackie headed back to the US soon after arriving in Grenada, but we did have a chance to visit a beach where the  endangered Leatherback turtles lay their eggs in the sand.  They dig holes deep in the sand at night to avoid predators who eat the eggs.  We got lucky because we saw new hatchlings crawl to the water and swim away and a mother turtle lay her eggs.  The pictures are dark because we were not allowed to use flash.

The mother turtle’s tail is to the upper left. The eggs are to the right

Jackie pets the mother turtle

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