Caribbean Adventures Part TWO!

I Am Not A Runner???

I am Not A Runner , I am Not A Runner, I am Not A Runner… Anymore….

And so after over 25 years of enjoying running and exploring many islands, territories, woods, cities and towns I lost part of my identity today.  It hurts and I feel devastated.  I sort of suspected something was amiss back in April when after a run in the USVI’s my knee was feeling sore and this pain lingered for weeks.

The pain continued throughout the next few months and islands and was exasperated once returning to the hills at Mabel Lake.  Excited after some progress made with physiotherapy for 6 weeks… but then another devastating blow after a seamless return to running… things were just. not. right.   And so began the wait for an MRI.

In the meantime I took it easy and rested thinking this too would pass…. and we began plans for our next journey.  In between the chaos of camp, company, work in Vancouver and community fun, we applied for several long term house/pet sits worldwide and are getting excited about the possibilities of travel once more…just no running!

And today the MRI results which indicate in addition to arthritis, there is a tear in both the MCL and ACL that will require surgery.  And so, I wait… the list to see an orthopedic surgeon is between 8 weeks and 8 months.

And so today I mourn the part of me that lives to run, to enjoy the freedom to explore and pass through scenery with an accelerated heart beat, to return home feeling exhilarated and fulfilled.  There is nothing like it.  I have told Glen I need a day to have a “pity me” party….what will I do, if not run?  where can we explore nearby?  how will our adventures continue?   and tomorrow I will pull up my “not running socks” and then we will make new plans and adventures for the short term until I can get put back together again.   For in all of this I pause and realize how blessed we are….. in perspective this is just small stuff… so I give thanks and appreciation for all those trails that I have covered and am confident that I will find something to fill this void.

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And So We Go!

And so, it has been over a month since our last update and we have made some great memories for sure.  St Croix’s St Patrick’s Day celebration was everything we had hoped for.  This island still  truly rates as one our favorites.  Crab races, beer drinking pigs, Art Walk, conch hunting, great friends and more made this one for the memory bank for sure.

beer swilling pigs

our conch hunting harvest

a feast…conch three ways…each boat prepared a yummy dish from our harvest

team St Patrick’s Day!

test tube cheers!

green beer too!

Since our return from St. Croix we have spent a pretty equal amount of time between the BVI’s and USVI’s.   It has been great to experience some of the amazing bays without the typical crowds of years past but on the other hand, devastating to see the condition of many of the islands.  When you read reports of a ten year recovery time it is easy to see how this too may be under estimated.    Some of our favorite haunts like the North Sound, Spanish Town, Soper’s Hole, Trellis and Cane Garden Bays are a long way from  recovery.  That being said we did attend the FIRST Full Moon Party since “IrmaMariagedon”.  We tried to spend some money as we wandered amongst the newly decorated “wrecks” on the beach.   Spanish Town and Soper’s Hole are really ghost ports  with little left.  Michael Bean has his “Happy Arr” show up and running in his old shack to entertain the crowds and Levrick is the closest to recovery that we have seen.  We discovered a few “new bays for us” at Deadman’s and Bluff.  We had an “over-the-moon” experience frolicking with the dolphins at Bluff bay.  Thanks to Reid for photos of our play time.  We twirled, dove and played with these two amazing dolphins for at least a half an hour.  They mimicked us and used our anchor chain for back scratching… too cool!

fun and frolic with dolphins

farewell to Ramble On!!

farewell to Caffe Latte

The Baths! Wow, the baths!

Happy ARRRRRR

a post Easter dinner sing-along with thanks to Jean and Yo (Caffe Latte)

we will miss these fine folks, Rob & Regina (and Irie) from Ramble On!

St John is still a hiking delight with all trails cleared and the bonus of no “Iron Rangers to collect the nightly $26 fee.  We believe this has been done in some regards to encourage more boats to visit the island and spend money ashore.. (which we have been happy to do).  Never a trouble to find a mooring ball in any of the bays and quiet beaches make the island very enticing.  The reefs and beaches really took a beating though with many beaches losing sand and much coral destroyed and washed ashore.  The reefs are not looking very healthy and it is hard to find good snorkeling.  We are hoping this too shall come soon.

Short and sweet and bitter sweet….

And so the crew of Cru has made the decision to shorten our two year plan to one year for a variety of reasons.  We are all ready to move forward and look ahead to new adventures and land based fun.  It has been an amazing time and we all hold many cherished memories aboard this sweet boat.  Must say, other than having two hulls to scrape, a catamaran is the ultimate living space and what a dream to sail.  We have loved our sojourn.

And as one of our favorite Grenada yogis say… “so we go”…. With a deadline of May 7 for the survey, sea trial and inspection by the new buyers (happy to say they are CANADIAN) we are looking forward to moving forward.  We are still trying to encourage them to move their closing date up….but currently June 17 before we officially bid farewell to Grand Cru and close this chapter of our grand adventure.

 

And so, it has been over a month since our last update and we have made some great memories for sure.  St Croix’s St Patrick’s Day celebration was everything we had hoped for.  This island still  truly rates as one our favorites.  Crab races, beer drinking pigs, Art Walk, conch hunting, great friends and more made this one for the memory bank for sure.

beer swilling pigs

our conch hunting harvest

a feast…conch three ways…each boat prepared a yummy dish from our harvest

team St Patrick’s Day!

test tube cheers!

green beer too!

Since our return from St. Croix we have spent a pretty equal amount of time between the BVI’s and USVI’s.   It has been great to experience some of the amazing bays without the typical crowds of years past but on the other hand, devastating to see the condition of many of the islands.  When you read reports of a ten year recovery time it is easy to see how this too may be under estimated.    Some of our favorite haunts like the North Sound, Spanish Town, Soper’s Hole, Trellis and Cane Garden Bays are a long way from  recovery.  That being said we did attend the FIRST Full Moon Party since “IrmaMariagedon”.  We tried to spend some money as we wandered amongst the newly decorated “wrecks” on the beach.   Spanish Town and Soper’s Hole are really ghost ports  with little left.  Michael Bean has his “Happy Arr” show up and running in his old shack to entertain the crowds and Levrick is the closest to recovery that we have seen.  We discovered a few “new bays for us” at Deadman’s and Bluff.  We had an “over-the-moon” experience frolicking with the dolphins at Bluff bay.  Thanks to Reid for photos of our play time.  We twirled, dove and played with these two amazing dolphins for at least a half an hour.  They mimicked us and used our anchor chain for back scratching… too cool!

fun and frolic with dolphins

farewell to Ramble On!!

farewell to Caffe Latte

The Baths! Wow, the baths!

Happy ARRRRRR

a post Easter dinner sing-along with thanks to Jean and Yo (Caffe Latte)

we will miss these fine folks, Rob & Regina (and Irie) from Ramble On!

St John is still a hiking delight with all trails cleared and the bonus of no “Iron Rangers to collect the nightly $26 fee.  We believe this has been done in some regards to encourage more boats to visit the island and spend money ashore.. (which we have been happy to do).  Never a trouble to find a mooring ball in any of the bays and quiet beaches make the island very enticing.  The reefs and beaches really took a beating though with many beaches losing sand and much coral destroyed and washed ashore.  The reefs are not looking very healthy and it is hard to find good snorkeling.  We are hoping this too shall come soon.

Short and sweet and bitter sweet….

And so the crew of Cru has made the decision to shorten our two year plan to one year for a variety of reasons.  We are all ready to move forward and look ahead to new adventures and land based fun.  It has been an amazing time and we all hold many cherished memories aboard this sweet boat.  Must say, other than having two hulls to scrape, a catamaran is the ultimate living space and what a dream to sail.  We have loved our sojourn.

And as one of our favorite Grenada yogis say… “so we go”…. With a deadline of May 7 for the survey, sea trial and inspection by the new buyers (happy to say they are CANADIAN) we are looking forward to moving forward.  We are still trying to encourage them to move their closing date up….but currently June 17 before we officially bid farewell to Grand Cru and close this chapter of our grand adventure.

 

Hmmmm…just found this in my archives…guess I never did post it… nor find photos to go with… and so this is just a history moment…… feel free to ignore and go to our latest blog… coming in a minute.

Why is it that our wind vane always points the direction we want to go?  We have come to think that we are like the “folks you don’t want to get in line behind”.  If you are making a sail plan just check with us and do the opposite!  Seems this year the winds and waves have been doing some very unusual things and “all best plans” aren’t cooperating.

That being said we did have a super time re-exploring the hiking trails of St. John.  As promised all the trails had been cleared and open and other than a little less shade in parts remain the same (only a few detours on a couple).

We had a couple of great reunions with Serenade at Maho Bay and Ramble On at Little Lameshur.  Always fun to reconnect and catch up with everyone’s adventures and plans.  After a quick stop in St Thomas to reprovision our plan was to head to Culebra (Spanish Virgin Island).  This is always (almost – see note above) a lovely downwind sail west and the latest forecast agreed.  As you guessed, not so much for us and it was sad to run the “iron job” for this hop.  Culebra is a delightful, laid back town.  Exploring EVERY road on our golf cart took us a couple of days (including the requisite beer and lunch stops).  And then the big, big, big uglies came – unprecedented huge north swells (and little wind) throughout the Caribbean – seems the Atlantic was having a temper tantrum.  Tucked away in Ensenada Honda we felt none of it – well except the day we did a day trip to the little island of Culebrita and the morning we arose at 5:30am to catch the 6:30am ferry to Fajardo, Puerto Rico where we thought we could while away a day exploring the rainforest and/or old San Juan.  Arriving to the quiet dock we quickly discovered that even the ferries weren’t running.

With yet more time to spend waiting for the weather to change we did go back 2 days later and what a ride feeling the rise and fall of this size of a ship.  Sadly the rainforest exploring was curtailed…so much damage that the roads and trails are all closed…except for the first 1 mile to the little Coco Falls.  It was tragic to see the devastation of the tree canopy.  There is nothing left at the top.  Of course succession will take its course and there is already lots of lush new growth at the lower levels.  Talking with locals the endangered parrots (that were being monitored) have not been “located” yet and there is talk that El Yunque could possibly lose its rainforest designation now for years.   With time on our hands (seems to be a theme here) we were able to make it to explore historic Old San Juan.  With its amazing history and forts we had lots to see – well except the entire promenade (seawall walk) was closed as the 25ft waves from the weekend had crumbled the wall in places and thrown rocks and debris everywhere.

Our initial sail plans were to depart Culebra for Vieques and then on to St. Croix.  When a brief window opened we felt we had to take it as we were beginning to run out of things to do in Culebra… and so we “motored” the shortest distance back to St. Thomas.

We got our “wings” back and were able to sail to St. Croix from there – not overly comfortably though as the seas and swell were still rather large!  On On St. Croix – we are looking forward to the ‘next island’ adventures, including a reunion with Jean and Yo (Caffe Latte) AND the big St. Patrick’s Day celebration next week.

 

We are currently floating in the lovely Christmas Cove, USVI.   We have been experiencing unusual weather patterns (from our past experiences in the Virgin Islands)  We (well okay, I) have had to pull out a lightweight blankie to keep warm in the evenings; bought a light weight hoodie the other day; and we spend an inordinate amount of time opening and closing hatches but alas the vistas are still gorgeous, the beaches spectacular and adventures endless.  (And with our new camera we are happy to share a few photo moments with you now again.)

 We spent most of January in Antigua rediscovering its charm, finding new adventures and hikes, as well as dealing with a number of boat gremlins that had come aboard.  Reid and Kath had a fast and furious trip home and returned ready to set sail for our next port.  SO with a happy generator and water maker we were to go….somewhere…..After much discussion we decided to head west.  Heading south again for abit in order to take part in the Dominca Cruisers’ Week was tempting but moving on won the day with plans to catch up on Dominica on our return south.

Great Bird Island

 St. Bart’s and St. Martin were quick stopping points before a short weather window allowed us to head to the Virgin Islands.  And as we got closer to the damage wreaked by Maria’s path we were again gob smacked at the power of wind.  so hard to imagine.  Every time we would get “gusties” aboard it would make me shudder to think of the REAL gusties that were experienced by so many islanders.  And as we wandered about the islands the razed hillsides, topless trees, damaged homes and many boats in places they didn’t belong, we were very thankful we were hunkered in Grenada during the blows.

 

damage to the beautiful to Anse FLamade

tortoises….

love those IWW bikes… off to explore St Martin’s shopping

 The islands are working through repairs and getting things back up and running.  It was great to see 4 cruise ships in Charlotte Amalie (St Thomas) providing the return of some much needed tourism dollars.   A trip to the world famous Magens Beach was heartening as close to 500 trees were planted and an equal number pruned and saved, new shelters and facilities built so that it too was happy receive appreciative tourists.  We are excited to hear that most of the trails in the National Park in St John’s are ready for us and so we will continue to explore and enjoy the Virgin Islands. Our plans hope to include a stop in St.Croix and the Spanish Virgin Islands of Culebra and Vieques as well.

love that matching style

Honey Moon Beach on Valentine’s Day

the famous Banana Daiquiris at Mountain Top

the view from Mountain Top

homes lost

and many floating homes lost too

 

at the bar at Dinghies!!

the ferry to Water Island

one Salty Dog

wandering about in Charlotte Amalie

gorgeous Magens Beach

 So for now we are looking forward to calmer winds and warmer weather – tee hee… but again, not complaining.

SO even though October and the season of thanks has long past, we reflect and are grateful each day for our many blessings.  Grand Cru and her crew continue to have such fun and adventures.  We have explored new islands, had many hiking adventures, a super fantastic reunion with dear friends, Dave & Alex, experienced random acts of kindness that replaced our battered Canadian flag, (thx Silverheels!) and spent many hours of fun and sharing with friends new and old.

Some highlights include:

Thanks to Reid for his photos and camera sharing as our camera broke down in Tobago and we will be cameraless for awhile. 

  • After a boisterous start we had a beautiful sail, and our flotilla of three arrived in Bequia where we spent 10 days exploring, hiking and hanging out. The quaint charm of Bequia lives on for us.

  • We bid farewell to Alexian and arrived in St Lucia in time for provisioning and the Atlantic arrival of Dave and Alex aboard s/v Zao. What a great reunion … we were all confused as to the when and where of the last time we met (but finally determined it was just over a year ago in St Augustine).  Such fun to have them aboard for some serious catch up time and wizard, lots and lots of wizard!

Woo hoo! A great celebration upon arrival

what’s a celebration without champagne?

  • We had a lovely sail to St Anne, Martinique and then a spinnaker lesson around to Petite Anse de Arlet before we dropped them off in Fort de France.

farewell….until next time….somewhere, somewhere!

  • Island touring with Jean and Yo (s/v Caffe Latte) was fantastic… and of course, included the ultimate feat for us of finally hiking Mount Pele! This was truly memorable.

  • And then the beaches of St.Anne…. white, powdery sand and turquoise waters to delight. It is just a little hard to get our heads around Christmas being in 4 days…but I did just see Santa on stage at the waterfront!

Plans next include a quick trip for New Year’s celebrations in the Saintes.  We will then make our way to Antigua in time for Reid and Kath’s mid-January flights home for a visit.

An overnight sail saw us arriving with the sunrise!

We really loved this island… with the:

  • SIGHTS of lush rainforest, secluded bays, beautiful beaches, scary, winding roads and dark, dark nights

an adventure!

chilling at Argyll falls

do you see the birdie?

London Bridge

 

  • SOUNDS of mysterious, elusive parrots, the `clicking`of feeding fish at sunrise and sunset, the banter of local fishermen seine netting beside us, bubbles, just bubbles and the crunching of parrot fish on the coral

Diving off Little Tobago with Yo and Jean… (thanks for the photo)

some lovely fishes! (thx again for the photo)

  • TASTES of delicious pastries, creole food, papaya gathered on a hike and nibblies shared with friends at happy hour

yummy creole dinner

  • SMELLS of everything`earthy green`- so different than anywhere

now that is a rainforest

Dave’s “Dead Tree Scrolls”

Leaf cutter ant highway

Say What????

  • FEELINGS of accomplishment as we sweat and climb through the forest to reach a number of gorgeous lookouts; of safety and welcome from the locals we meet, (An island where the immigration officer gives you his cell number to call when you want to check out)

On Up!

Atop Flagstaff Lookout

down to Pirate’s Bay

Truly a great place to hang out and an awesome way to start our first cruising season aboard Grand Cru …

dolphin escorts

Tobago… we will return!

 

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