What a drag…

I love our anchor. We’ve anchored in so many places, so many times, that the two of us have a very good, quick system in place for dropping the hook. We always check how well we are set and log our GPS position and have never really had any major...

Thunderbolts, lightning, very very frightening

It is 3:30am and we are both awake. There are storms coming in from Florida and there have been warnings of them all week as a cold front stretches from Miami all the way to North East Honduras. There is talk of 40knot winds, high seas, heavy rain,...

The kindness of cruising strangers

In order to separate the flesh of a fresh conch from its bone it is important to make a hole in its shell one ring in from the outside at an angle the same as 2 o’clock on a clock’s face – Valois taught us that. Similarly, when laying a second...

Clandestine mangos in the mangroves

Now that it is April we can relish the fact that its mango season. However, we don’t get our mangos from the shop or the market… no, now we get them in darkness in the bushes. Welcome to Cuba, communist land where no man owns what he works for....

The slobbering explosives dog, the drugs bust, the salsa-dancing thieves and other notes on Cuban bureaucracy…

I’d just nodded off and am jolted awake by the incessant thumping of the officer’s fingers pounding the computer keys as he continues to write up our statement. It’s 5am and James and I are still at the police station, having escaped the drugs...

¿Puede indicarme el camino a Cuba?

So, after talking about it and planning it for some time, our big jump over to Cuba is finally happening. We’re leaving Friday morning and should have a week at sea in order to arrive in Santiago de Cuba. It’s our first big journey as [...]

Any pets, guns or jetskis?…

…Is the first thing I am asked when we arrive in Tortola, in the British Virgin Islands. The question is asked in a dead pan, humourless voice, by an official at a tiny ferry dock. I am too tired to really register what is being said, so my...

Jet blast at sunset

So the infamous Andy Grant has been in Sint Maarten for a while before we arrive and has already found a rather unusual leisure pursuit: aeroplane jet blasts. There is a lovely beach on the west side of Simpson Bay lagoon which is just by the...

Many hands make light work

Sint Maarten / St Martin is dual owned Dutch and French even though it’s only a tiny island. It’s an absolute boating mecca as the Caribbean’s two biggest chandlery stores are based here so it’s the best place to stock up on any spare parts...

One night in Statia

St Eustatius, also known as Statia, is a tiny island, only about 3 miles wide, with around 3,000 inhabitants, lots of wild screeching red parrots, roaming donkeys and small flocks of wandering goats. Although so very small it is a country in its own...

Uncommon courtesy

You may have noticed that there are several photos of flags dotted about the surroundings pages. Our boat is British registered so we fly a large red ensign on the stern. But, what those of you not part of the boaty world may not know, is that while...

Rolling, rolling, rolling…

The first post I wrote about anchoring waxed lyrical about the sheer joy of the freedom to drop the hook whenever and wherever you can. Beautiful turquoise waters, stunning wildlife and a sky fit to burst with stars can be the rewards of a...

Camp coffee and Ouzo…

...Sounds like a horrid combination doesn't it? Well, it was the brain child of Chris, James's older brother, who visited with his wife Jane in St Kitts over the last few days. It was so nice to have proper contact from home and our first proper...

On flip-flops, rambo and the monkey dance

So who should we bump into in Antigua (not literally - see below!) but Andy Grant! The sailing guru who we crossed Biscay with. He crossed the Atlantic in his boat, Olympus, with our friend Oli and arrived into Falmouth harbour on Christmas eve. It...

Bad things happen in threes

We had a series of misadventures within about a week of each other. First off, in the Îles des Saintes, we dropped our keys overboard. The keys were for the boat itself, the outboard and for the dinghy padlock. Stupid us for not putting a float on...

A hop, skip and a jump

I thought that it was important to write something about our passage-making these days. Moving up the islands in the East Caribbean has been quite a varied experience. First of all because each island itself is a distinct, individual country of...

The middle of the butterfly

So, for those of you who have not brushed up on your Caribbean island topography, Guadeloupe looks like a lopsided butterfly. Its western wing is called Basse Terre and is covered in mountains and volcanoes with clouds hovering at their summits; its...

All change

We sailed from Portsmouth, Dominica, to Terre d’en Haut on the Îles des Saintes on February 6th. This is where we parted ways with Lisanna and Paul, our crewmates since December 1st, who are flying onto Cuba before heading back to real life. This...

Land of rainbows

Approaching Dominica we understood instantly why we were given a warning about tricky anchoring there. It looks like something prehistoric. The island is so mountainous and steep-to that the coastal waters are mostly too deep to drop the hook...

The French Caribbean

Martinique, our playground for the last week or so was a strange beast. Imagine everything that you have pictured in your mind about a tropical Caribbean island; then add the rastas, resplendent with their dreadlocks and spliffs; include the...

Island style

This is a long overdue post all about St Lucia. Overdue largely because we needed a break after crossing our first ocean. We were straining our eyes, scanning the horizon for that first glimpse of land, all over-excited. But, we’re sailing, so,...

Rodney Bay, Marigot Bay, Castries, Anse la Raye, Soufriere, Pigeon Island

We've been tripping along the Western coast of St Lucia; visiting mangrove bays and palm tree beaches; snorkelling among brightly spotted eels, luminous fish and giant sea urchins; diving off the boat to swim in beautifully clear waters; gorging...

A Hard Day’s Night

We are now fifteen weeks into our trip and I thought that it was high time to elaborate on a term that I’ve thrown around rather a lot: nightwatch. Contrary to what my father may think, when you are on a long passage such as our Morocco to Canaries...

Not your average milk run

The crossing of the Atlantic ocean from East to West is known among sailors everywhere as the ‘milk run’ primarily because it is supposedly straightforward and simple if approached at the right time of year. The instructions for sailing from the...

But what will you eat??? – Food for thought

In the previous post I mentioned that we have 4 fantastic cooks on board. Surprisingly, the question that we all got asked the most often before setting off on our circumnavigation was "what will you do about food?". Well, there are two kinds of food...

Gibraltar, Smir, Ceuta and Las Palmas, Gran Canaria.

So we left Queensway Quay Gibraltar and Lis and Paul, our friends who joined us there, waved goodbye to what used to be their home. Next stop, Smir in Morocco to do a quick lesson in power handling, courtesy of Paul. We wanted to make sure that...

Underway

This is just a quickie post to say that we will leave Gibraltar tomorrow, heading for Ceuta and Smir in Morocco for a couple of days and then on to the Canaries. We should be in the Canaries around the 12th of December. We might have time for another...

James and the Art of Adamastor Maintenance

We had always planned that our time in Gibraltar would be a time of prepping the boat for the big Atlantic crossing. Much though we would love to fill our days tripping merrily up to the rock to commune with the monkeys we have some serious work to...

Strait to the point (sorry!)

The strait of Gibraltar separates mainland Spain from Morocco and mainland Africa. At its narrowest point it is only 7.7 nautical miles. Crossing the strait or going through the strait requires an understanding of how that narrow stretch of ocean is...

Pedra Amareta, Punta Umbria, Chipiona and Puerto de Conil

The trip upriver was lovely but we had an ulterior motive in going. We had lost the wind. Our experience of this side of Portugal and Spain (the Algarve and the Costa de la Luz) has been very all or nothing in terms of wind and weather. Normally, if...