All posts by Richard

Richard is from Calgary. And he catches some darn big fish!

Safely in Mazatlán

We arrived safe and sound albeit very sleepy after a 250 mile sail/motor from Bahia Chamela, about 50 miles northwest of Barra de Navidad, to Mazatlán.

The winds were favourable throughout the trip, meaning we never had strong winds on the nose – we had waited about a week for a good forecast and timed it well – we even got to sail past treacherous Cabo Corrientes, south of Puerto Vallarta, with a nice west wind and south current pushing Karen to a daily best of 7.6 knots!

Although the first night was scary with many clouds glowing with lightning we altered course and never ended up underneath one of these “bombs”.

Some of the joys we experienced on this trip:
* dolphins coming to swim in our bow wave
* many turtles just floating along
* hundreds of rays jumping clear of the water for 2 hours
* one whale breaching (jumping out of the water) on the horizon
* listening to my iPod playlist the second (clear) night while watching Orion and Taurus constellations float across the sky
* catching a pretty good “green flash” sunset
* entering the marina slip with two marina employees to help us – nobody ordered to “JUMP” to tie the docklines!

We arrived in Mazatlán a little early (about 1 AM) and snuck between two islands to anchor – and two fisherman guided us past their nets so we would not foul our propeller. Our windlass is broken so I had to pull up the anchor and chain by hand in the morning – years of working out with weights and rowing pay off when you can still do this crap at 59!

All is well with the crew and boat; we will rest today and consider when to return home in light of Karen’s father being in hospital.

Dominica

Karen Sailing to Martinique Sailing to DominicaSnowaway left the hurricane hole of Marigot Bay on Saint Lucia and had two brisk day sails of 50 miles each, arriving in Portsmouth on Dominica on December 17. Dominica is among our favourite islands, relatively unspoiled, natural and undeveloped. There are no high-rise, all inclusive resorts here.

Red Rocks, Dominica We picked up a mooring from Martin, a guide we had met in April 2009. Martin said that the tourist season was starting slowly so he was available to take us for an inland tour of the island the following day and for a snorkelling outing two days later.

Bay Oil Distillery, DominicaOn our inland tour we visited a bay leaf oil distillery, where the vapours of the leaves are captured and concentrated to create a medicinal tonic. The next stop was the garden of Martin’s friend Stalin, in which we sampled cacoa pods and a citrus fruit called shaddock. Martin with cocao, DominicaWe toured a cold volcano, eminating gases and water which makes the water appear to boil even though it is cool to the touch. We drove around to the Atlantic side to see the Red Rocks (from the iron rich minerals) and had a local style lunch in Callibishie. On the way back to Portsmouth we visited the Hampstead Plantation where Martin taught us how to harvest coconuts. Over the day, Martin showed us much of this beautiful island, of which he is rightly very proud.

Fort Shirley, DominicaView point, Dominica We spent an afternoon visiting Fort Shirley in the Cabrits (goat) National Park. They claim that sailors left goats to feed on the island while they were fighting/patrolling the Caribbean. Both the French and the English had forts here; there is a grest view from the top of the hill toward Guadeloupe.

December 22 we will leave Dominica en route to Antigua, where we will spend Christmas.