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: