The Outer Banks

OBXNorth of Morehead City and Beaufort, the intercoastal waterway follows a series of rivers that avoid Pamlico Sound and the Outer Banks. This is a good thing if you wish to avoid wind, chop, and shoals. However, we prefer sailing to the drone of a diesel engine, and chop and shallow water are not a problem for a 44′ boat with a centerboard. Besides, we were keen to avoid the notoriously low Wilkerson Bridge, a challenge for our 64-foot mast because unlike most places where we can time our bridge passings with low water, the Alligator River is too far from the ocean to experience a significant tide. So, after motoring north from Beaufort to the Neuse River, we sailed east across Pamlico Sound for the Outer Banks.

Our first stop was Ocracoke, the former lair of Edward Teach, aka Black Beard. It is also home to a proud, island community built on fishing, piloting, and surviving whatever the ocean throws at this narrow strip of sand in the North Atlantic. Tourism dominates the economy today, but history runs deep for Ocracokers, and the shrimp and crab boats still head out each morning at first light. The island itself is beautiful, with a surprisingly verdant “maritime forest” of live oak and tidal cedar claiming an ecological niche just behind the wind blasted dunes and salt marshes.

After three days we ran before across Pamlico Sound before a building southerly. The flat water allowed us to try a new sail configuration: full main, gennaker, and jib poled to windward. It’s unclear whether the third sail added much speed, but it looked cool.

After motoring up a narrow channel through Roanoke Sound, we approached the Washington Baum Bridge, which connects Roanoke Island with Nags Head. This span has a reputation of offering an “honest” 65-foot clearance, unlike many bridges on the ICW. However, the southerly breeze was more than 20 knots by the time we arrived, pushing water into the north end of the sound and creating a wind-driven high tide. We scanned the bridge with our binoculars, trying to read the height board. The 64′ mark was clearly visible, but the 65′ mark was obscured by weed and barnacles. Could we make it? We circled back to the south, debating whether to anchor for the night. Fortunately, a fellow cruising sailboat – Schatze, from Seattle, WA – offered to radio a first-hand report. As they passed under the bridge they could just make out the top of the “65” on the height board, so they estimated a little less than 65′ clearance, assuming the board was accurate. We decided to go for it. I motored as slowly as possible, and Owen watched as the girders flattened the flexible VHF antenna at the top of the mast. “How much of the antenna was touching the bridge” I asked afterwards? “Almost all of it,” he said. Relieved, we motored into the marina at Manteo.

Washington Baum Bridge

Washington Baum Bridge

Manteo is charming, hospitable, and perfectly located for exploring the northern half of the Outer Banks. We rented a car and toured the Wright Brothers Memorial, Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head. We visited the “Lost Colony” of Roanoke, and we investigated the Elizabeth II, a replica of one of Sir Walter Raleigh’s ships that delivered the first English colonists to the New World.

After Manteo we sailed north across Albemarle Sound, and as we entered the North River we officially rejoined the Intercoastal Waterway. From here to Norfolk we navigated a series of rivers, canals, bridges, and locks, keeping a sharp eye for barges and snags. The last several miles of the waterway are great fun, as the Elizabeth River sweeps past a never-ending string of industrial docks and naval yards. We even passed the USS George Washington, which I last saw in the Persian Gulf in ’99, from a different cockpit and vantage point!

For the last three days a series of offshore gales have swept cold rain and wind over the anchorage at Portsmouth and Norfolk. Still, we managed to visit Nauticus, the Navy museum and home of the USS Wisconsin (BB-64). We listened to live country music. We walked the historic district of Portsmouth. And we accomplished some boat maintenance. I dove under Strider and removed a crab pot warp that was wrapped on the propeller shaft. Owen hoisted me up the mast, and I installed new wind instruments and an LED tricolor navigation/anchor light. We hope we don’t need to replace these anytime soon, now that we’re done with the ICW and those [less than] 65 foot bridges! In a couple of days, when the wind backs to west, we will catch the ebb tide out of Chesapeake Bay and set sail for New York City.

Here’s one more photo for the history geeks. The South is replete with monuments to its Confederate war dead, the North with its tributes to Union soldiers. And across the country you can find memorials for the two World Wars and increasingly for the wars in Korean, Vietnam, and Southwest Asia. But how many large, significant monuments do you find memorializing the heroes of the Spanish-American War of 1898? This is located in downtown Portsmouth.

Spanish American War Memorial

Spanish American War Memorial



Takin’ It Slow in the Carolinas

After sailing from Nassau to Charleston in less than a week, Owen and I agreed to slow the pace through the low country of the Carolinas. First, we spent a few days touring the beautiful and historic city of Charleston.

Next, we sailed out of Charleston Harbor and up the coast to Winyah Bay, a region of antebellum rice plantations, late-19th century logging, and now a recreational paradise. We spent the following day at Georgetown, a gracious South Carolina river port with colonial homes and a thriving art scene.

That evening we rode the ebb down the river, passing the wreck of the Harvest Moon with it’s smokestack just visible at low tide. We sailed through the night to Cape Fear, arriving just outside the river entrance at dawn.

Dawn South of Cape Fear, Lighthouse on Horizon

Dawn off Cape Fear, Oak Island Light on the Horizon





Thus began the inland part of our journey. We sailed up the Cape Fear River then furled the sails and motored through Snows Cut into the intercoastal waterway.  For the next three days we chugged along at 6 knots, trying our best to time the drawbridge openings.

Navigating the ICW on Strider is easy in one respect: we can raise our centerboard and skim over the shallow spots. On the other hand, our 64′ mast passes agonizingly close to the fixed bridges, nominally 65 feet above the water at high tide but frequently less. At the Topsail Beach Bridge I tried to squeak through when I SHOULD have waited an extra hour for the tide to fall. The result was a loud “crunch” followed by a shower of debris as the masthead lights and wind instruments came crashing down. Whoops!

Bridges notwithstanding, we enjoyed our three days on the ICW. We spent many moments watching the wildlife – osprey, loons, egrets, and dolphins.

We motored past large, beautiful houses, and smaller homes with “character.” We enjoyed the friendly, relaxed culture of the North Carolina beach towns. Kind folks offered us a lift when we went ashore for groceries and propane, just like in the Caribbean. We waved to the U.S. Marines on the shore at Camp Lejeune, and they waved back.

Our favorite spot since leaving Charleston is Beaufort, NC. The people are genuinely warm, especially towards sailors. If you sit on your boat at the town docks, curious folks stop to chat. The town itself is beautiful, with small colonial houses reminiscent of my New England hometown. Opposite the waterfront, wild ponies patrol the beaches of the Rachel Carson Preserve.

While the locals are wonderful, I’ve had the most fun meeting our neighbors on the docks, Birte and Wolfgang from Germany. They arrived two days ago from the Bahamas, and they are sailing up the east coast on their 35 foot steel sloop. We may see more of them on the Outer Banks, where we’re headed next!

Tamanera, Birte and Wolfgang

Tamanera, sailed by Birte and Wolfgang

Ben Franklin’s “River in the Ocean”

After a day of water slides, pizza, and Ben and Jerry’s, we departed the Atlantis marina in Nassau and headed for the Abacos.


We sailed through the night, arriving at Green Turtle Cay the next day. We visited New Plymouth, a friendly town with colorful flowers and freshly painted homes. A memorial in the village center proudly proclaims the settlement’s Loyalist heritage.

After buying fresh fruits and veggies, we dinghied north to Brendal’s Dive Center, near the Green Turtle Club. In the early 1980s Brendal worked out of Small Hope Bay, on Andros, where he was my family’s favorite dive master. Since then, he has earned an enviable reputation as a scuba instructor, spokesperson for Bahamian tourism, and a marine conservationist. He organized the first lion fish derby in 2009, a practice that has spread widely as people try to confront this invasive species. If you’re in the Abacos, I highly recommend diving with Brendal.

On April 30th, after a good night’s rest at Allan’s Pensacola Cay, we slipped through the Moraine Cay Channel and set sail for northern Florida, the Bahamas sinking below the horizon. We caught a small tuna, and a pod of porpoises played under the bow. The breeze filled from ESE at 17-20 knots, and we made good time under a full main and gennaker, despite a back eddy current working against us. During the night the breeze clocked south, and we unfurled the jib to windward. Morning found us 80nm east of Cape Canaveral, a respectable first day’s run of 136nm.

Now we found the Gulf Stream’s core, and though the wind decreased to 6-8 knots, we made 8 knots over the bottom. However, the wind also backed to East, and this presented a dilemma. If we ran west for Fernandina Beach the apparent wind would be insufficient to keep the sails full, and we would have to motor the last 80nm. We opted to make for Charleston instead, riding the Gulf Stream north on a beam reach. Once again, the wind built during the night, and with Strider reaching at 7.5-8.0 knots, we made 10-11.5 knots over the ground. By morning we had covered 208 nm in our second 24 hours at sea, and we could almost taste the grits and collard greens! Alas, at sunrise the wind abated. Then a line of squalls forced us to run off to the northeast, after which the wind died completely. By the time we motored clear of the Gulfstream, the current had swept us farther east than we intended.

To Charleston








To add insult to injury, at midday we hooked two beautiful Mahi but lost them both. The biggest, a twenty-pound bull, knocked from my hands the rum that was intended to knock HIM out, the entire bottle falling into the sea. Then he wriggled his way off the gaff hook and made his escape.

Fortunately, the remainder of our passage went smoothly. A gentle evening breeze swept us into Charleston, and in the darkness Owen steered us down the shipping channel, avoiding three big freighters on their way out. We anchored behind a sand bar for a few hours rest, and in the morning we motored to our marina slip, where two U.S. Customs officials awaited us. Despite having nothing to hide, I never look forward to these inspections, but the agents were friendly and professional. Minutes after they left Strider, a line of thunderstorms swept through the harbor. Our timing was perfect, after all.



This week my parents flew down from Maine for a week of sailing and warm water. We picked them up on New Providence, and with the winds out of the northeast we reached down to the northern Exumas.

When the winds clocked east we reached north to Eleuthera, averaging 8.0 knots over the 50 miles to Current Cut. We vacationed here when I was in 7th grade, and dad taught me to scuba dive. This time Owen and I free-dove the deep, narrow channel, drifting in four knots of current while Nonni and Pop Pop followed in the dinghy. The local settlement has recovered nicely from Hurricane Andrew in 1992. I can’t say the same for the scuba resort where we stayed in 1979; the Current Club was wiped off the map.


Current Settlement










Next we dropped into Spanish Wells to restock on fruits and vegetables. This small, well-kept seaport has real charm and character.

After navigating the north end of Eleuthera, including the slot in the reef known as the “Devil’s Backbone,” we anchored off Dunmoore Town on Harbor Island. This was the most refined place Owen and I had visited since the Virgin Islands. We enjoyed an excellent dinner at Aquapazza – hat tip Betsy Sednaoui and Collins Grant for the recommendation. We walked the pink sand beaches and the quaint streets, admiring the seaside colonial homes that reminded me of coastal New England, only with colorful paint and palm trees.


On the return to New Providence we were the lone boat in a beautiful anchorage at Egg Island. The next day brought a sharp contrast. After an easy, downwind sail, we entered the bustling port of Nassau and berthed in the posh marina at the Atlantis Resort on Paradise Island. The slip fee was steep, but it included complementary access to Aquaventure, the resort’s water park. So, after Nonni and Pop Pop left for the airport, Owen and I hit the water slides!

Today Owen and I depart for the Abacos. Winds allowing, we’ll sail across the Little Bahama Bank on Sunday, gain a little push from the Gulfstream, and make landfall in North Florida on Tuesday.


The Exumas

For the last two weeks Owen and I have been sailing north through the Exumas, and we have some photos to share.

First, we admit that we’ve been missing Blaire and Megan after they flew home from Georgetown. So here is a video from our last days together in the out islands:


Since sailing north from Georgetown, Owen has stepped up to fill Blaire’s shoes as helmsman and 1st mate. While I work the sheets, halyards, and foredeck, Owen keeps us off the reefs and rocks:

We have explored some beautiful islands, investigating curious creatures and vital ecosystems:

Here, the water from Shroud Cay’s creeks and mangroves empties into the ocean with the outgoing tide:


Meanwhile, Owen is working hard in “boatschool.” Here he composes an essay as Strider reaches north in 20 knots of breeze. I’m sailing with a reefed main and staysail to make it easier to concentrate and type, though on the flat waters of the Exumas Banks we can still make more than 7 knots.


Next we sail for North Eleuthera and the Abacos, and by early May we should make landfall in north Florida. Check back in a couple weeks!





We sailed for Georgetown with mixed feelings, looking forward to the supermarket and laundromat but sad to leave the pristine beauty of the out islands. We were happy to find that while Georgetown has most things a sailor needs, and this time of year the harbor is filled with more than a hundred cruising boats, it still possesses a small town charm.

We were still glum, however. At the end the week Blaire and Megan flew home to Connecticut, leaving Owen and Colin to continue the journey by themselves. Last summer, when we decided to extend our cruise into a second year, we agreed that Megan would return to her “real school” for the spring session. This will allow her to prepare for her important 8th grade year.

Blaire and Megan Fly Home

Blaire and Megan Flying Home

Megan has been in school for just a few days, but she has discovered that she is well prepared for her classes after her studies on Strider. And she landed her first choice of a part in the spring play – the evil witch in Sleeping Beauty!

Meanwhile, Owen and I miss Megan and Blaire. But we’re enjoying the extra space on the boat, not to mention the sudden surplus of fresh water and electricity. We’ve begun to sail north through the Exuma chain, with Owen serving as helmsman and trimmer while I work the windlass and foredeck. And we’re cooking the foods that we like: less quinoa and more key lime pie!

Departing Georgetown

Headed North from Georgetown

Owen and I will continue to blog as we navigate through the Bahamas and up the East Coast. We aim to sail into New England waters come mid-June. Meanwhile, savor this glimpse of Owen’s Famous Key Lime Pie. If it’s in a square pan, you know the crust is homemade!

My Kelime Pie




The Bahamas Out Islands, part II

After Samana Cay we visited Crooked Island, Ragged Island, and the Jumentos. Once again, settlements were small and far apart, and we saw few other cruising boats besides Ally Cat, our friends from Buzzards Bay.

The story is best told in pictures:

Motoring from Samana Cay to Crooked Island in light wind: 1) caught an eight-pound yellow fin tuna, 2) sprung a plumbing leak that required some emergency repairs, 3) sighted a water spout, and 4) caught a 55 inch Mahi Mahi – all within 45 minutes.

Anchored at French Wells, we walked desolate, storm-battered beaches and enjoyed bonfires and ‘smores with the Ally Cats.

We toured Pittstown Landing, the airstrip and rustic diving resort visited by Farrar pilots in years past. Pittstown took a beating from Hurricane Joaquin. So did Landrail Settlement, just to the south, but it’s residents are resilient Seventh Day Adventists, and they’re rebuilding, beginning with their church.

After six days on Crooked we sailed overnight to Ragged Island, 80nm to the southwest. We anchored in the shallow Southside Bay, in about 3 feet at low tide, perfect for exploring the sand flats. In this video Strider is sitting comfortably on the bottom.


While on Ragged we visited Duncan Town, the only settlement in the Jumento/Ragged chain. The town’s population has shrunk since the salt industry died, but the remaining residents are throughly welcoming and proud of their community. We visited on a Sunday, and the grocery owner interrupted her conch cleaning to open the store for us. The mailboat’s 1st mate opened the bar and chatted with us over a cold drink. We left feeling utterly charmed by this place, our faith in human goodness renewed.

Sailing north through the Jumentos, we anchored off the perfect crescent beach at Johnson Cay. On Buenavista Cay we chatted with Andrew, the island’s sole resident, who walked a mile down the beach to introduce himself. At Flamingo Cay we snorkeled in a blue hole with eagle rays and toured a cave by dinghy. And two miles west of Water Cay we dove a 145′ deep, ocean blue hole full of wahoo, grouper, jacks, and reef fish.

Buenavista Cay

Buenavista Cay

Finally, with a cold front threatening we sailed north through Hog Cay Cut, making for the protected harbor at Georgetown, Great Exuma. We looked forward to the perks of civilization that we hadn’t experienced for over a month – a supermarket, a cheeseburger, and a decent internet connection. Yet we were sad to leave such beautiful islands, wildlife, and people, knowing a long time may pass before we return.


The Perfect Day


The Bahamas Out Islands, part I

South Caicos

Cockburn Harbor

Cockburn Harbor

Three days after departing the Caribbean we sailed into Cockburn Harbor on the island of South Caicos. Perhaps you’ve visited Providenciales, also in the Turks and Caicos? South Caicos is a world away from Provo. On stepping ashore we asked about customs at the
local market. The friendly clerk picked up the phone and called the officials at their homes. After twenty minutes, including a detailed pontification by a local fishing captain on the best Mahi and Wahoo lures, the agents arrived and we filled out the paperwork on a chest freezer full of chicken parts and lobster tails. Now that’s service!


Ally Cat

After three days we had met most of the good citizens of Cockburn Harbor, snorkeled the nearby reefs, and weathered a cold front, our first since leaving the United States in November 2014. We also made friends with Mike, Kimberly and eleven-year-old Ally. Two years out of Mattapoisett, they were sailing north on their catamaran, Ally Cat. We agreed to meet somewhere in the Bahamas.



We left Cockburn in late morning and crossed the Caicos Banks in a stiff northeasterly breeze, making 8.5 knots with only the jib.

By dark we were safely west of the sand bars and coral heads, and the next challenge was to slow down. We spent the night reaching northwest under a reefed staysail, making 3.5-4 knots as we monitored the shipping traffic. We arrived at Mayaguana at 0830, and the sun was high enough to spot the coral heads as we passed the reef into Abraham Bay. Our 3-foot draft allowed us to anchor “close” to the town pier –  only a one-mile dinghy ride across the sand flats.


Strider anchored as close as possible to the pier at Abraham’s Bay

Walking up the road from the pier my initial impression was of a ghost town from a Hollywood western. Fortunately, no gunfighters emerged to challenged me, only a kind young man who offered to open the local bar if I wanted a drink. The sun being not passed the yardarm, I opted for the local market, really a room in someone’s house with a cooler, a freezer, and a few shelves of assorted produce and dry goods. I bought some oranges and frozen chicken from the twelve-year old clerk and proceeded to customs. The agent couldn’t have been friendlier or more professional, but she had just run out of immigration forms. She instructed me to return in the afternoon, as she hoped the incoming flight from Nassau would bring more forms. Sure enough, by 3pm I had my Bahamian cruising permit in hand. I raced back to Strider, and we hoisted anchor, clearing the reef and sailing to Betsy Bay on the west end of Mayaguana.  We anchored at twilight, with just enough light to discern a large sand patch into which we dropped the hook.


We woke at midnight, raised anchor, and set sail for Samana Cay. The watches were easy, sailing with reduced canvas in a solid northeast breeze and unfurling the gennaker as the breeze dropped just before dawn. Again, our goal was to hit the reef entrance at mid-morning, with the sun at our backs. The entrance to Columbus Bay is narrow, passing over coral heads in 6-7 feet of water and making a couple of turns to avoid shallow coral ledges on either side. The current, ocean swell, and wind added to the challenge. Fortunately we had perfect lighting conditions, and with Blaire on the bow serving as pilot we passed into the crystal blue bay without trouble, anchoring in the lee of Propeller Cay.

For the next two days we were the only boat – the only human beings, in fact – on Samana Cay. On the second evening a couple of fisherman arrived from Acklins, camping out of sight down the coast. And on the third day our friends arrived on Ally Cat. These were the only visitors during our six-day stay on Samana. It’s hard to convey the sense of privacy and solitude we felt here. The island is well over the horizon from Acklins, Mayaguana, or Long Island, themselves sparsely populated. The fish on Samana are plentiful, and the stars are dazzling.

Unfortunately, the island was ground zero for hurricane Joaquin just six months ago, and you can see the impact. Thick layers of seaweed are piled far above the tideline, and the weed itself is thick with the plastic refuse that travels the world’s oceans. The hurricane has left the shallow reefs in tough shape, with large areas of dead coral covered with sand and seaweed.

I suspected the deeper coral had survived the hurricane, so Mike and I took a dinghy outside the barrier reef to reconnoiter the “wall” – the steep drop off we’d seen on our depth sounders a mile south of Propeller Cay. I free dove down to 40′, and below I could see large, colorful coral with a vertical drop into indigo blue just beyond. It looked promising! The next day the winds collapsed, and the sea turned glassy. Megan and I knew that if we used our scuba tanks for this dive we would not be able to refill them for some, but the opportunity seemed too good to pass up. We piled into the dinghy, and Blaire drove us to the top of the wall. We descended into crystal clear water, with only a light current. By the time we reached the bottom we already been “visited” by several large barracuda, jacks, wahoo, and other pelagics. We moved along the face of the wall at 100′ feet, swimming up current for a few hundred yards, then back over the top of the wall at 80-90′ before ascending to the dinghy. We saw black tip reef sharks, Nassau grouper, and big, mature lobsters. The best part of the dive, however, was viewing a wide variety of healthy coral layered on top of impressive structures – a vertical wall split by deep, narrow canyons that wind back into the reef, towards the island. After finishing this dive Megan and I reflected on how lucky we were: to be anchored at this remote island, with perfect weather and our own dive gear. I wondered: how many 12 year-olds have dove the wall at Samana Cay?


Next post: Crooked, Ragged, and the Jumentos. And we finally catch some fish!



Whales off Silver Bank

The last five weeks we’ve been cruising the remote islands of the southern Bahamas, and internet access has been scarcer than fresh fruits and vegetables. Now, anchored in the bustling harbor at Georgetown, Great Exuma, we have gorged on cabbage and cheeseburgers, restocked the freezer, and refilled the propane and scuba tanks. And, with free Wifi at the local sailors’ bar, we can finally update the blog.

First, we’ve compiled a video of our three-day sail from Culebrita, east of Puerto Rico, to Cockburn Town in the Turks and Caicos Islands. The trip was easy, relaxing, and entirely downwind – an absolute first for Strider! The highlight was sighting a pack of humpback whales just north off Silver Bank. We’ve seen whales at play in the Gulf of Maine, and it’s always majestic. But we felt something extra special about this encounter hundreds of miles to sea – just the humpbacks and us.


Some of you might be interested in how a short-handed cruising family handles downwind passages. First, let’s talk sail plan.  In the video you can see our preventer rigged to “prevent” accidental jibes. The mainsail is heavily reefed, not so much because of strong winds but because night watches are more relaxing when you’re already prepared for squalls. You can see the jib poled out to windward, with a topping lift, foreguy, and afterguy, in addition to the sheets. These are so the pole remains secure – whatever the sea state – if we furl the jib partially or completely.

For pure downwind sailing we can drop the main and use twin headsails – for example, the gennaker and the jib on the pole to windward, like this:

Light Air Downwind

Light Air Downwind

More commonly, we broad reach with the jib sheet on a barber hauler. In this video we’re making 8.5 knots in 23-25 knots breeze on the Caicos Banks, using only the jib:


In short, our downwind sail configuration is driven by the sea state as the much as the winds. Think you can use an asymmetrical spinnaker without a pole while running downwind in 12 knots of breeze? Not if there’s an 8-foot swell on your stern quarter. You’ll want to choose the cloth, and a point of sail, that keep your sails from flogging themselves to death, with an allowance for the occasional rain squall that brings an extra 5-10 knots of breeze followed by 10-20 minutes of light air.

The goal is a balance between performance and comfort, allowing the crew to rest while Strider keeps on trucking, kind of like this:


Coming soon: exploring the remote islands of the southern Bahamas…


The Fellowship of the Caribbean

We had planned to make landfall at the Turks and Caicos this morning, but instead sunrise finds us dockside at Nanny Cay in the British Virgin Islands. We departed St Maarten four days ago, laden with fuel, water, and enough provisions for six weeks in the Bahamas’ outer islands. Unfortunately, a strange noise in the steering quadrant turned out to be a worn sheave, so we made a precautionary diversion into Tortola. At least we have a chance to catch up on some boat work and schooling while the metal shop fabricates a new pulley for us. Colin says he might take his first real shower since Thanksgiving! Also, we have fast internet for the first time in weeks, so we can share pictures and video. First, here is Strider’s crew doing what they do best:


For Owen and Megan, the highlight of the last month was sailing in company with Cedar, a Beneteau 50 crewed by Moss, Anne, and Blake (16) and Niamh (14). The four kids hit it off when they discovered a mutual passion for things imaginary and creative. Each afternoon, after finishing their school work, they would meet on Strider, Cedar, or a nearby shore, where they composed songs, painted faces, or played Dungeons and Dragons. Together they scrambled up mountains, hiked to waterfalls, staged “photo shoots,” and visited local bars for soft drinks and internet. They also burned a modest amount of gasoline blasting around in their dinghies.


Not knowing when we’ll return to the Caribbean, this year we have made a point of visiting our favorite spots as we sailed north from Grenada. Colin and Megan went scuba diving at Carriacou, Bequia, Martinique, and Saba. We visited the turtle sanctuary on Bequia, hiked 4500′ Mount Pelee on Martinique, ate lunch at a cafe in the Saintes, and consumed plenty of baguettes and goat cheese from each of the French islands. We enjoyed beautiful weather, with mostly downwind sailing and mild seas, even while anchored off Saba’s rugged shore.

Owen and Megan have been working hard at their studies. Megan recently Skyped with her classmates at Washington Montessori, and she learned that she is keeping abreast in her assignments. Owen scored a 95 on a recent math test. Both kids are learning as much from their experiences as their textbooks: whether ordering their meals in French, investigating new creatures or learning about other cultures.


We hope to set sail this weekend for the Turks and Caicos. After a brief rest we’ll continue to Mayaguana to clear Bahamian customs, then the Bight of Acklins. Internet may be difficult to find, so we’ll post a blog update when we can. Meanwhile, this will be the view from the galley during the three-day sail to South Caicos: