Posted from English Harbour, Antigua


We flew from Morocco to Wilmington, NC and visited our new house.  It was essentially done – just waiting for them to screen in the back porch –  or as they call it here: the “Lanai.”

The new house

Obviously we need help decorating

Obviously we need help decorating


Then it was on to St. Louis to spend Thanksgiving with our niece, Nancy, and her family.  It was cold – much colder than Morocco or even Wilmington for that matter.  The visit was great.  Thanksgiving was fun and filling, we decorated for Christmas, and we went to the zoo to see the Christmas lights.

Smiling for the camera

Smiling for the camera

Aren't they cute?

Aren’t they cute?

Willow models her new hat

Putting the angel on the tree


We returned to Wilmington after Thanksgiving and spent a little more time in the house and see how the screened in porch turned out.

The porch is screened in


Early December found us driving to Washington, DC.  We spent a couple days with our friends Bob and Terri, then I flew to Antigua and Jackie started a round of visiting friends in the northern VA/DC area and family in Michigan.


It was nice to get back to the tropics after all the winter weather in the US, but it was strange being here by myself – especially with the mob of people in town for the Charter Boat Show.  I thought it would get a bit lonely, but I started bumping into people who I knew. Everyone’s boat was in the water at either English Harbour or Falmouth Harbour.

Unexpected visitor on the boat.  At least he stayed outside – the bullfinch flew in.

Compass Rose

I commissioned the dinghy so I could get back and forth between the boatyard and Nelson’s Dockyard.  From the Dockyard I could get to stores and restaurants.  I could also visit friends anchored in English Harbour.  Unfortunately the dinghy was leaking water, so I had to pump it out a couple times a day until I could take it our of service long enough to patch it.  It took two tries.

For the most part Compass Rose survived the six month layup pretty well.  The big problems were that the fresh water pump was locked up and I discovered a propane leak when I made coffee one morning.  Luckily we had a spare pump so I could get water out of the tanks and we had a spare pressure regulator for the propane, so I could cook on the boat.  I also found that the cutlass bearing was worn out, and there was no replacement of the proper size on the island.

There were also quite a few small things that either stopped working or needed repair or maintenance, or just needed to be made better.  I spent three weeks getting the boat ready to launch.  I also had to arrange for a survey because the insurance company wants one at least every five years.  Then I flew back to the US for the holidays.


The trip to Antigua was about 12 hours of waiting in airports or flying.  The trip back had an overnight stay in Toronto.  The weather had been bad the day I arrived and many flights were cancelled.  The next morning the airport was a zoo with people whose flights were cancelled trying to rebook.  It took so long to check in that I would have missed my flight if it hadn’t been delayed.

Jackie met me at the Cleveland airport and we went to my mom’s.  We got to spend Christmas eve opening presents with my siblings, their kids, and even one grand nephew.  The ongoing background entertainment was having the NORAD Santa tracker going on the TV so we could keep track of when Santa would officially arrive.

Big kid – little kid

Eighty eight years old and one phone is not enough

We also spent an evening with some old friends who I worked with and paddled whitewater with when I got out of college.  I hadn’t seen most of them in twenty years or more, but it was like it had been just yesterday.

Old friends.  Joe, Eric, Joan, JoAnne, Kim, MaryAnne, John, and brother Dave

From there we drove to Michigan to visit Jackie’s family.  She has enough siblings that we can spend a long time visiting them without ever overstaying our welcome at any one place.  We had an early New Year’s gathering with quite a few of the family and then fireworks in the evening. We started back for Wilmington via Ohio, but the roads were so bad we bailed out at another of Jackie’s brother’s houses.  The weather was much better the next day and we eventually arrived in Wilmington.


We did a quick stop in Wilmington to swap winter clothes for shorts, t-shirts, and bathing suits and then we hopped a plane for Antigua.  There is nothing like stepping out of the plane and walking down the steps (no wimpy jetway here) into the warm, humid, palm-treed environment – especially when you just left feet of snow and sub-freezing temperatures.

We spent a week in a local hotel while we got Compass Rose ready to launch.  It was nice if you didn’t mind the music from the Improve Rasta Shack next door.  The info sheet in the hotel room said that you should contact the management if the music didn’t stop by 3 AM.  A week passed and our reservation was used up, but we still weren’t ready to launch, so we moved aboard.

The surveyor had looked at the bottom of the boat while we were away and gave us a list of things to check – none of which were on our to-do list.  I was going to list all the things we did to the boat, but it would have been too long.

We found a couple interesting things in the boatyard when we got back.  The first was that the motor mount bracket for our outboard broke.  We usually mount the motor on the inside of the rail where it is supported by the deck.  Luckily it didn’t fall off.

Dinghy motor mount bracket fails

The other interesting thing was that a boat sailing up from Trinidad crashed on the rocks just outside English Harbour.  The single-handed captain was asleep below when the boat sailed into the rocks.

This is what happens when you fall asleep

Life in the boat yard wasn’t too bad.  We got a lot done and met some nice people.  We also had a little excitement in the harbour.  The Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge is a rowing race from the Canary Islands to English Harbour and three teams finished while we were here.

Each team is raising money for a charity.  Team Locura was first in the open class and first to finish.  The two rowers raised money for the Generous Hearts Foundation, a foundation set-up in Romania to aid on improving the living conditions of orphaned children

The first of the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge boats finishes

The second boat in, Atlantic Polo Team, consists of four guys who have been professional sportsmen and horsemen for at least 10 yrs. Their charity is Right to Play.

This is what you look like at over 40 days at sea in a row boat

The third team in, Row2Recovery, consists of two amputee soldiers who rowed across the Atlantic alongside two able-bodied comrades, to raise money for HELP FOR HEROES who work tirelessly to improve the lives of injured service personnel and their Families.  They arrived a little after dark which made for some fantastic photos and pyrotechnics.

Third team finishes at night.

Crewed by two amputees and two able bodied comrades to raise money to help wounded vets and their families.

The reporter asked, “What kept you going?” The answer was essentially: Knowing my wife would be at the dock to meet me – and the smell of beer


Finally everything we had to do was done and we were ready to launch.  The work list had been exhaustive and exhausting.  We couldn’t ‘wait to get in the water and get the anchor down.

We wanted to fill the water tank, but there was no water in the yard, so after they put Compass Rose on the trailer, they moved her through the yard to another water supply.  Then they ran the trailer into the water and waited while I checked for any leaks.  Then I tried to start the engine and nothing happened.  I swapped in the spare starter and when I was hooking up the wires I found one I couldn’t account for.  It is the ground for the starter relay and I forgot to reconnect it after I worked on the water pump a few days earlier.  Once ALL the wires were connected the engine started right up.

It was late when we launched and by the time we got out to Freemans Bay all the spots were gone, so we had to move into Ordinance Bay and anchor there – just across from Nelson’s Dockyard.

Our view of Nelson’s Dockyard Marina

Foreground – Tank Bay, Ordinance Bay in back. Compass Rose is the second boat from the right


Check out the guy in the little skiff – He lives on the boat behind him

Just another visitor to Compass Rose

You know you have been in the mangroves too long when they start growing out of your boat

Hummingbird we saw in the Middle Ground between English Harbour and Falmouth Harbour


One Response to “Whirlwind”

  1. Glenna Herrenbruck Says:

    Congratulations on the new house! That is terrific. It’s always good to have a home base. Keep the Compass Rose sail-a-log coming. I enjoy following your adventures. Give me a call when you’re next in town. I miss you!

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