Well the holidays are over and that means it's time to head south for our water-based fun on Dreamtime, who waits patiently in
the long-term storage yard at the Puerto del Rey Marina in Puerto Rico. While Ed was rebuilding the raw water pump for the
engine we were also putting a top-up on the starting/house batteries. The next day after checking more things over in the yard
we splashed, cranked the engine and headed over to our wet slip. BTW: Ed sez "Commuter Cruisers are nuts, including us!"
Gen'ing-up a pizza is one of our favorite things, so is having a slice with a fried egg on it the next morning!
High on my project list is doing all the laundry, freshening everything up after sitting in lockers all summer. PDR has 5 washers/5
dryers plus copious paperbacks to browse through for stocking up the bookshelves before departure to more remote anchorages.
A look down one of the many
docks, this one is sailboat alley.
Another project of mine is refinishing the hatch box which had
suffered the fate of woodwork hanging about in the mid-summer
sun all day - toasted! I'm slightly more than half way through, just
the 2 coats of clear gloss to go.
Also, tis the season for trivet production. These make great gifts for
birthdays or just as a special hostess gift. If you see one you like send me an
email and I'll make one for you. The larger, more complex ones are $22 and
the smaller ones are $18. They are guaranteed to make you smile with their
vibrant colors and whimsical swirls. (Note: not all colors/patterns may be
available - sorry.)
In late January we departed Fajardo, PR after our splash and subsequent stay in a wet slip and headed over to Culebra for a few days of rest
and to recommission the dinghy after it's summer storage. Almadovar (one of our favorite anchorages) here we come. What a beautiful
spot to chill. After just a few days we got a light air weather window, perfect for heading east to the USVI's. First stop St. Thomas for a good
shop-up and laundry. Dropped the hook in Long Bay by Yacht Haven Marina, Charlotte Amalie for easy access to the Pueblo grocery and the
Wash Board laundrymat. This spot is only good for a short time, after a while the traffic noise, roosters and ferry wakes get on your nerves.
Time to move on to St. Johns and Francis Bay.
Ed is all smiles as we get underway. Notice he's got his sun gear on as is necessary for the ongoing UV exposure.
The on-site Restaurant and bar.
After arriving in Francis Bay, St. John's we met up with our friends on 'Reality Check', Lori and Ken and the socializing whirlwind begins.
Lots of fun sundowner sessions on each others boats through which we got to meet new friends. That's one of the great things about
cruising, with the possible exception of the charter boaters, we are one big happy family out here. Many of our former cruising friends
that have become C.L.O.D.'s (cruisers living on dirt) comment on how much easier it was to meet people, with shared interests, while they
were still cruising. Sometimes the Francis Bay anchorage gets a bit rolly and when that happens it's time to move, so Leinster Bay and
Waterlemon Cay here we come.
In addition to great swimming and snorkeling, and stunning views from boat level there are a number of great hikes that can be taken
around here. The most popular being the hike up to the Annaberg Sugar Mill ruins. After leaving the dinghy beached you traverse along
the shore for a pretty good ways before making the climb up to the ruins. Often times flocks of pelicans hunt together along the beach.
Once you achieve some elevation the views really get good!
More of the fairly extensive ruins on the site, a cotton blossom with honey bee aboard and one of
the opportunist fig trees which really exacerbate the destruction of these buildings. The 25th
annual folk life festival was held up at Annaberg during this time. Lots of local arts and crafts -
thanks for the shots Lori!
A view from the top, sweet looking pinks, and the windmill house where the grinding took place.
One of the things on our list this season was to explore the BVI, Tortola in particular, in greater depth, and our friends Lori and Ken on
'Reality Check' having lived there offered to show us around. Fantastic! Can't include all the details but some highlights include having
a splendid dinner at the Banana Keet restaurant on the west end of the island. The restaurant is was up on the mountain and offers up
wonderful sunset views and great food. The drive is a bit harrowing, being left-hand drive with steep switchbacks but Lori was up to
the challenge. Mustn't forget the memorable (ahem) shell museum - very interesting.
In addition to many provisioning opportunities out and about Roadtown we also had the chance to attend (as plus ones) a great wine
tasting at Tico's, which they held in their cavernous warehouse. A great time was had by all!
We learned a lot about the anchorages around and about Tortola, including Penn's Landing in Fat Hog Bay on the east end of the
island. Very pretty mooring field looks out onto the Sound and add to that a grocery store, laundromat and the Red Rock restaurant
onsite it made a very welcome stop. The Red Rock has a really delicious chicken schnitzel as well as great seafood. Another day we
scoped out the beach bar and facilities of Nanny Cay while Ken attended to his business there.
After we finished our time in Penn's Landing we went around to Trellis Bay on the north-east end of Tortola by Beef Island. Too noisy for
our liking but with a rental car available it made a good staging area. Headed back west to Little Jost VanDyke and Green Cay. Talk about
a gorgeous spot! Had a great sundowner session on 'Reality Check' with their friends from 'Afternoon Delight', Donalda and John.
Linda and Lori have a cold one at the
Nanny Cay beach bar while waiting for
(She's a good selfie-taker don't you
Above a decorative calabash vendor at the festival and strangler vines engulf a building
|Penn's Landing Mooring field.
March is sure starting out to be as busy as February was, not a bad thing at all. After checking out of the BVI we headed around the
southeastern end of St. John and took a mooring in Great Lameshur Bay. We stuck around that area for several days trying the various
bays along the way. While we were enjoying Great Lameshur Ed, Lori & Ken took a rather challenging hike to the Petroglyphs.
Did some nice snorkeling around the head of the bay and a few
other hikes,including the one to the Tektite Aquanauts Museum, an
underwater habitat/research lab project that took place back in the
mid 60's/early 70's. Lots of neat stuff on display and plenty of
write-ups from various magazines and newspapers.
|Shots from the Petroglyph hike
Another great hike to take is the hike up to Ram's Head, see map below, which starts in Salt Pond Bay. It provides some stellar views back
towards St.Thomas or out the other way towards Coral Bay, St. Johns and some of the BVI. Lots of varied terrain, neat plant life (look at all
the cacti) and just a fun hike. A fun challenge with great rewards.
|The hike over the 4" rounded
rocks on this beach
|Looking west towards St. Thomas
Late March/April, 2016
We were expecting several days of strong easterlies so we decided to head east over to the east side of Coral Bay, on the south coast of
St. John. We said our goodbyes to 'Reality Check' as they prepared to head back to the BVI and make preparations for their trip to St.
Martin. For a while we thought we might make the trek southeast across the Anegada Passage to St. Martin as we need to have some boat
maintenance done that is more than we want to tackle ourselves DIY-style. Instead we opted to hang out up here in the USVI working our
way back to Puerto Rico for haul-out and wait until the start of the season next year to head to St. Martin. This will give us plenty of time to
accomplish our chores and in all likelihood head down-island to points further south.
And not to be missed while at Salt Pond Bay is lunch at the Tourist Trap open-air restaurant. It's quite an uphill hike from the Salt Pond bus
stop, which is quite an uphill hike from the beach. However, you can also catch the bus and ride up to the TT for a buck ($1). To me, that's
the best of both worlds, a hike up then back down with a bus ride in between. The birds are bananaquits and the rubber tray has
granulated sugar in it. It reminds me of the Asa Wright Nature Preserve in Trinidad, which also showcased various birds via feeders
(including the beautiful bananaquit).
|A couple of shots looking out over Coral Bay and Dreamtime anchored at Round Bay, within the expansive Coral Bay.
July to mid-Aug, 2016
We were getting pretty excited about our planned camping/auto-touring trip out west this year. Lots of great plans and places to see. Heading
through Tennessee to visit cruising friends, through the Ozarks, and more. However, with a record-breaking heat wave throughout the entire
midwest we put our plans for Mount Rushmore and it's environs on hold and beat a quick retreat to the mountains of beautiful Colorado starting
in Fort Collins and Mountain Park.
|Test gardens, Univ of Colo, Fort Collins
What a great town Fort Collins is, we enjoyed it very much and Mountain Park Campground is a real treat and very popular. Next up though, was a run
up to Flathead Lake in Montana where we had a reservation for a campsite on the lake. Our plan, to make day trips up to and around
Kalispell,Whitefish and Glacier Nat'l Park.
It was a pretty big drive up to Flathead Lake but we did see some great scenery, as seen below, plus some shots from Glacier, what a
spectacular Nat'l Park. The FlatheadLake area is also known for it's delicious local cherries and huckleberries.
|View out the back of our campsite in
Mountain Park Campground
|Around the neighborhood. We did
plenty of short hikes and picnic
lunches. And as always, we enjoyed
the variety of local craft beers.
Idaho was the next item on the agenda. We happened upon the Sam Owen Campground on Lake
Pend Oreille a few miles from Sandpoint, ID and were certainly charmed. We spent a week there
relaxing and touring around Priest Lake, Sandpoint proper and Benewah Lake. . As the days turned
so too did the nights - turned colder that is! Time to head south.
A lovely evening on the lake, a very cool magic bus on the street in Sandpoint and one of our favorite eateries with fascinating
collection of tap pulls - everything from beautiful ceramics to hand-carved whales, pretty neat. Also we must recommend the Pour
Authority as the place to buy craft beers by the each!
mid-Aug to Oct, 2016
After our week up and around northern Montana we headed southwest again. Even though it was only mid-August it was starting to get
cold at night. We loved the looks of northern Idaho, especially around Lake Pend Oreille. The Sam Owen campground was very nice and
afforded us easy trips into Sandpoint and over to the Priest Lake area plus a marvelous old growth cedar preserve through which we had
a nice hike on trails meant to highlight these awesome giants. It's great that someone set aside the acreage.
Pend Oreille Byway sign shows the area and shows the Sam Owen campground (on the island). We also spent several days at the
Heyburn State Park area in the Benewah Lake section.
|Taurus X in the Sam Owen campsite
overlooking the lake.
After leaving Idaho for warmer weather we headed down to central and southern Utah. The Freemont Indian State Park was a wonderful
surprise, 2 campgrounds and a museum dedicated to the people who lived in the area. The pictographs and other archaeological
remains were discovered during the building of Interstate 70.
After leaving here we had a stroke of luck getting into the South campground at Zion and finding a spot that was just next to a walk-in
tent camping area by the river. Excellent views, what a magnificent area.
One of the things we did was to have lunch at the Majestic View Lodge. The food was pretty good and they had a really cool diorama of
various wildlife scenes, one of which is pictured below, courtesy of the Lodge website. Also a fun traing post store with lots of stuff.
|The Freemont Indian State Park in Utah was up next and it was great. Campground
was nearly empty during late August. We had some prime seating for "golden" hour.
One of the fun stops we made around the Zion/Kanab area was to the Moqui Cave, which is a really cool museum built into large cave. It has a
long local history which includes many Hollywood movie stars frequenting the bar while filming various westerns back in the day. A display of
dinosaur tracks, fossils, glowing minerals, historical memorabilia plus a great gift shop made quite the interesting (and lengthy) stop. Perfect
We felt that the roads around Zion really offered some spectacular scenery, just breathtaking. Packed a picnic lunch and had a driving
tour, hike-in picnic lunch many days.
Made our way through the Silverton-Durango area during a classic motorsports car event (kewl) before heading down to the Cumbres &
Toltec scenic railroad trip which is 64 miles and runs from Chamas, NM to Antonito, CO. What a fun and scenic trip - great open air viewing
and a wonderfully knowledgeable guide who pointed out many interesting geological features and told us a bit about the history of the
|Cumbres & Toltec Railroad
|Car doings for Ed and floral eye candy for Linda in Durango, CO
Oct to Dec, 2016
We finished up the grand tour with another pass through Tennessee, and a bit of a rest up at the Tenkiller State Park in eastern Oklahoma.
Such a peaceful setting late in the season, on a bluff above the lake, great views. Afterwards it was back home for family visits, holidays
and home improvement projects. This year we installed garage door braces which are vertical and are bolted into the concrete floor and
the header board. These are super helpful for wind mitigation during storms and such. We also picked-up a propane firepit for use out back
on the deck during the chilly fall/winter evenings, LOVE IT!! Had some great holiday meals with Mom and Ed even made it down to Daytona
for a Ferrari event.
|Lots more pics from this trip but that's enough for now.
2016 - Our Year in Review
|Taurus X in the South Campground at Zion, pretty choice spot, no? View of the store and fantastic dioramas at the Majestic View Resort.
|Shots of the scenery around Zion National Park, Utah.