Posted by: rosyroadsadventures | May 12, 2012

It’s Official!

N 14° 27.69′   W 60° 52.25′

Marin, Martinique.

After Grenada, we are headed west! The Captain keeps asking “Are you sure?” I’ll be less likely to change my mind now that it’s public. So unless we have a REALLY nasty passage between here and Grenada, yes, I am sure!

It was a big decision, made after lots of discussion and studying the Pilot charts which summarize historical wind and sea patterns. We will not spend the hurricane season in Grenada, a highlight for many cruisers, and won’t retrace our path northward along the familiar Eastern Caribbean, Hispaniolan and Bahamian waters we have so enjoyed. Along the chosen route stops will include the ABC islands, Colombia, the San Blas Islands, Panama, Honduras, Belize and Mexico. It is a less traveled path than the Eastern Caribbean and offers very diverse cultures to experience.

There are longer passages on this route, partly due to geography and partly due to troublesome areas that are best avoided. Venezuela is considered dangerous and many boaters totally bypass that long and otherwise inviting expanse of coastline. Current guidance recommends skipping Nicaragua. Cuba, which would otherwise provide wonderful cruising between Mexico and the Keys is off-limits to we Americans. So this route will involve several two to three-day passages, a new challenge for me, but pretty mundane for the experienced boater. The Captain, knowing my preference for shorter passages, left the choice up to me. Cruising the southern and western Caribbean is a once or twice in a lifetime opportunity, and I think I would regret passing up it up.

Many others have inspired me. Fellow boaters who completed major ocean crossings. Capable women skippers, including several single-handers who often make multi-day trips. Laura Dekker, who completed a year-long solo circumnavigation at the age of 16. Sailors and authors Lin and Larry Pardey, who toured the world in a tiny 24 foot sailboat many years ago, before the availability of electronic navigation technology. Their accomplishments make a couple of two or three-day passages on a motor vessel seem like a simple outing to the beach in comparison. Our lovely friend Hildegarde on the sailing catamaran Bicoque shared a different seasickness medication, Marezine, that has worked amazingly well with little drowsiness. I think with time to pick careful weather windows, as we have done all along, the passages will be okay.

We are still hanging out here in Marin, where we had an unusual weather pattern bring a ton of rain over the last week. There were many soggy boat-bound days. Bob was wrapped up in his battery project, I did a lot of cleaning and on-line courses, tried to do laundry (!) and the poor dogs just looked incredibly bored. They were so happy when a rare dinghy ventured by and provided an opportunity to sound the “Warm Mar Azul Welcome” bark. Today the rain has stopped and the sun is struggling to reappear!

The new batteries that Bob has spent the last few weeks carefully researching will be shipped to Grenada. Spending the majority of our time at anchor depletes traditional golf-cart batteries quickly, and we don’t have solar panels or wind generators like our sailing counterparts. Energy needs are one of the areas we wish we had calculated more specifically before we left home. We might have made different decisions in equipping the boat, including installing more efficient refrigeration systems, or maybe adding solar cells. At this point, improving the batteries, which are nearing the end of their useful life anyway seems the best option. We hope Bob’s efforts to be an early adopter of longer-lasting lithium-ion battery technology in the marine environment will prove worth while.

From here we will make our way to the southern Grenadines where we meet our friends Chuck and Dustin in June for a 10-day visit that will conclude in Grenada. We are so excited to have guests coming once more!

After some time in Grenada we will venture West.

The view from the cabin this week. The covered deck was uninhabitable at times. I know – it rains in the tropics. What did we expect?

 

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