TOTAL MILES TRAVELED ON SAIL to SEE EXPEDITION: 29,936 NM
THE LAST PASSAGE
Total Miles traveled on last passage – 519 NM
Miles traveled using SAILS – WIND POWER ONLY: 405 NM
Miles traveled using both SAILS & ENGINES together: 15 NM
Miles traveled using ENGINES – FOSSIL FUELS ONLY: 99 NM
Ship Sightings: We saw many cruise ships travelling between the islands. We also saw ferry boats, sailing boats and a few fishing boats
Animal Sightings in Caribbean Ocean:
BIRDS- Booby Birds, Brown Pelicans, Magnificent Frigatebirds, Terns
FISH- Barracuda, Sargent Major, Blue Heads, Little Tunny, Chubs, Squirrelfish, Green Sea Turtle, Hawksbill Turtle, Spotted Eagle Ray, Common Stingray, Nurse Shark
Strongest Wind:-- 28 Knots (knots are a wind measurement of Nautical Miles per hour)
We did a very different type of sailing the last two weeks as all of the islands were very close together. There were no long ocean passages and we only had to sail overnight twice – the first night and the last night. Most of the time we could see the next island we were headed to.
Our leg started in Bridgetown, Barbados where we picked up three new crew. We ended in the United States Virgin Islands. It was a windy trip as the Trade Winds were blowing a bit stronger than usual. This meant we went faster but it was also a bit rough sometimes. Here is a diagram that shows how the Northeast Trade Winds blow through the Caribbean Islands. We were sailing through the area in the red circle.
Barbados was a very friendly island. Flying Fish are the national dish and it is offered in many restaurants. There were a lot of tourists there. On our last day, we took a very fast local bus to visit a Botanical Garden called the Flower Forest. There were many interesting tropical flowers and plants.
Then we sailed overnight to St. Lucia. It was a fairly fast trip with the wind coming from right behind us. With the wind behind, it does not feel as rough. Still, one of our new crew got seasick which is never fun. In the morning, we could see St. Lucia clearly and especially The Pitons, two very tall and steep volcanic cones at the south end of the island. The volcanos are no longer active. We made a stop between The Pitons so that some of the crew could go snorkeling. It is very deep right next to the shore here. Afterwards, we motored north and anchored in a bay called Rodney Bay. Along the way, we were in a very large wind shadow created by the tall mountain so it was not possible to sail. The mountains block all fo the wind.
In Rodney Bay, we explored an old fort built to defend the island from invaders. There were great views from the top. In the evening, the crew had dinner in a restaurant at the base of the fort enjoying some local foods and seafood. Here is a photo of our crew on Leg 24.
In the morning, a boat came up to sell us some fruit. At first, it looked like a floating pile of palm leaves but then we could see it had a little fruit stand set up inside. We bought papayas, mangos and bananas.
The next day we sailed about 50 miles north to Martinique stopping at the village of Sainte-Pierre. Sainte-Pierre has an interesting history because a volcano called Mount Pelee erupted on May 8, 1902 killing approximately 30,000 residents of this village and burning twelve boats in the harbor. The only survivor was a prisoner who was protected by the thick prison walls. The peak of Pelee was in clouds the whole time we were there but I was able to find these photos to show what it looked like when it erupted and what it looks like now. There are still ruins of stone walls and an old stone theater in the town.
There was some interesting architecture in Saint-Pierre and narrow alleyways filled with tropical flowers. The market near the town dock had local fruits and vegetables for sale. French is the language of Saint Pierre so we had to use it when talking to people.
Bonjour – Hello
Please – S’il vous plait
Thank You - Merci
Goodbye – Au revoir
One day we took a bus to the capitol of Martinique, a large city called Fort de France. We visited an old library. Can you guess what the titles on these books say below left?
In a gallery, we saw a sculpture made out of huge seed pods and pieces of wood. It looked like a man that had rescued a large animal from the sea. We saw lots of other art all over the city. It added a lot of life to the public spaces.
The market in Fort de France was very busy and colorful and a group of musicians was playing music.
In the morning, several fishing boats were near us with large circular nets. They attracted fish by throwing small sticks into the water first. The fish would see the disturbed water and come to the surface to see what was going on.
Then, we sailed to Prince Rupert Bay in Dominica. At night, we went ashore to have a BBQ dinner with lots of people from other sailboats. There were sailors from Canada, Germany, Italy, Great Britain and the USA. Lots of different languages were being spoken. The following day, four of the crew went on an inland trip to see a waterfall and to swim in a gorge.
Now that we are sailing among islands, there are so many boats to look at!
Which boat above is almost like the one below. There are so many parts to learn on a big sailing ship. This is a diagram of a Full-Rigged Ship, the type that would be used to sail in the Northeast Trade Winds from Europe to the Caribbean.
On we sailed to a small group of island called Les Saintes in Guadeloupe. We spent a lot of time hiking around the island of Terre de Haut. Many animals roamed free on the island including goats, chickens and some very large green iquanas. Guadeloupe is also a French island.
The houses were mostly wood and were painted very bright colors. Many of the windows and doors had shutters for protection during hurricanes. The hurricane season is from June to November. Two years ago, a very bad hurricane affected this area and Dominica to the south. Many homes were damaged.
We hiked up to another fort that was perched atop a hill. Again, the views from the top were fantastic. This fort had a proper moat around it. Inside was a museum about the history of the islands and Guadeloupe. After visiting the fort, we moved to anchor by a nearby island that was uninhabited except for goats, chickens and cats. Somebody was leaving food for the cats.
Our dinghy which is a small rubber boat had a leak in it so we pulled it up on the shore to fix it. Earlier in the day, one of the crew bought a fish at a local fish market and we cooked it on our grill that evening. Everybody tried to get a good night sleep because we had a long way to go the following day.
In the morning, we headed north and west to the US Virgin Islands. It was a good sail but a bit rough at times. All of the crew was very well adapted to the boat’s motion by now and nobody got seasick. We did finally catch a fish called a Little Tunny which we had with dinner.
During the night, we saw several cruise ships that were all lit up and also some cargo ships. We did not get to the US Virgin Islands until just around sunset and fortunately could get anchored before it got dark. It was a good feeling to be back in a part of the USA. In the morning, a huge rainbow felt like a welcome home to Elcie and the crew.
In two weeks, we head to Puerto Rico, the Turks and Caicos and the Bahamas! We’ll write more then.
FLAGS OF THE ISLANDS WHERE WE VISITED and WHAT THEY MEAN!:
Barbados – The center golden stripe represents the sands of the country’s beaches. The Trident of Neptune represents the islanders’ dependence on the bounty of the sea. The two blue stripes are for the sea and sky.
St. Lucia – The central symbol represents The Pitons, twin volcanic cones that rise out of the sea. The black and white of the large triangle represent the harmony between the black and white communities. The yellow triangle is for the beaches and the blue background is for the ocean.
Martinique and Guadeloupe – Both of these islands use the French Tri-color flag.
Dominica – The parrot on this flag is the Sisserou, the national bird which is not known outside of this island. The red disk is for socialism. The ten stars are for the island’s ten parishes. The cross is for Christian affiliations. The colors of the cross are black for African origins, Yellow for Carib aboriginals and white for peace and purity.