July 2021: Bonaire

We left St. Thomas in the USVI just before sunset on Wednesday June 23rd, our destination was Bonaire. The plan was to sail as much of the 438 NM as we could. We needed to arrive by 2:00pm on Saturday, so that the dock hands at the marina would be there to help us check in and get settled at the marina. Bonaire is not a place where you can just anchor because of the nature of the underwater sea wall(which is what makes the diving so good). You must have a mooring ball or dock slip reserved before you come in.

Our friends Kent and Kathy on WE made the journey with us.

It was a relatively easy passage with beautiful weather and a lovely full moon.

We made it as planned!! Bonaire is a small island at 112 square miles and sits just 60 miles from Venezuela.

Such a cool place. The amount and variety of sea glass that Ashley found on day one was incredible.

We rented a car and began to explore the island. It had an amazing spot for Windsurfing.

And for Kitesurfing, which is on our short list of things we want to learn to do.

There are wild flamingos all over the island. Some nights when we were really lucky, we would see a group of two or four fly over our boats in the marina. That is a very unique sight with those long legs trailing their bodies in the sky.

Not your typical road sign, unless you are on Bonaire where there are 62 shore dives and many more than that for the experienced divers who are willing to be more adventurous on their water entry.

We of course found the Cudushy Distillery. A beautiful presentation, with a fascinating story but not our favor flavor as all the liquors are made with the cadushy cactus plant, that is very plentiful on the island.

The island is known for many things and one of the most charming is all the wild donkeys. Most are very kind and you can feed them from the side of the road.

With so much coast line on this desert island being covered with coral, there is a plethora of driftwood which leads to beautiful popup art.

In1499 when the Spanish arrived in Bonaire, they discovered salt. The Dutch took the island over about a hundred years later and have been capitalizing on the production of salt ever since.

Early in the process they used a system of colored obelisks to indicate the four different grades of salt. Merchants would come in and anchor as close to shore as possible. The women slaves would carry baskets full of salt on their heads to a small boat that would then transport the salt out to the merchants.

The slaves lived in these small concrete huts right by the water’s edge.

On the southwest end of the island the water comes ashore with a fierce power especially when the wind and water work together.

Addie has been practicing her painting feeling inspired by the amazing wild life.

Date Night!

Lots of new restaurants to try out, 150 to be exact!! Addie found her favorite!!

Time for a girl’s day of island exploring with our friends Darlyn, Celeste and Eden from Bliss.

First stop, Donkey Sanctuary where they have rescued 750 wild donkeys from around the island. We had bags of carrots and apples. They ate every bite and wanted more.

Old ruins capture Addie’s heart!!

The boys went on their own adventure. Shore diving on the east side of the island, jumping in from this ledge.

Afterwards, Kent, Martijn, Shannon and Harry (Bliss) celebrated at a small local brewery with the owner Arron.

The street art makes you smile.

Sunday brunch that includes a dip in the pool. Nothing better!

Can always find time for sundowners with friends.

“Thanks Mom and Dad. We love our new beds and haircuts!”

On July 19th, the boys head out for another island adventure. Shannon, Kent, Harry and Martijn check out the back roads of Bonaire in these open air vehicles.

New sights that require 4 wheel drive to see!

A super fun and dirty experience.

Until it wasn’t….

The ATV, that Shannon was driving with Harry as his passenger, rolled as they took a turn. Shannon’s hand got mangled under the roll-bar. He had to be flown to Aruba by air ambulance for surgery.

After second surgery looks he looks like Frankenstein…..

“Hope you feel better Dad!”

“Get well soon Dad, so you can come see us at Booneshine!”

“We miss you Dad!”

Sending you smiles and laughs to make you feel better.

“Thanks guys. Trying to follow Dr.’s orders.”

On July 28th, with Shannon still in the hospital in Aruba, Ashley and Addie head to NC for a 3 1/2 week visit with family and friends.

We left the dogs in very good hands with our friends, Cat and Martijn.

Shannon had one more surgery on July 29th, then he was set to meet up with them.

Unfortunately, things did not go as planned and Shannon was delayed in heading to the states. He tested positive for COVID and had to quarantine in the hospital for an additional 10 days.

Feb-June 2021: Spring in the USVI

Being back in the USVI for a second season means time to find new favorite spots and of course sharing them with friends and family. There is so much to explore and do in St. Thomas, St. Johns and St. Croix. One of our favorite new areas of St. Johns is Coral Bay on the southeast end of the island.

We love visiting Limeout the floating taco bar and getting pizza at the Salty Mongoose. Then we spend the night in Hansen Bay, where we have great snorkeling and keep some very high class company…

This end of the island has some great hiking. We made our way to salt pond and then on to Rams Head.

Another chill place we discovered and went back to many times this spring was Cannel Beach, very close to ZoZos.

And of course we spent more time in Maho Bay. Turtles galore.

We got to meet and spent time with Kathy’s sister, Barb and husband Jeff. Music teacher, Kathy taught us to play Cups.

Time to move

Time to Chill

Took Addie to Dinghy’s Beach Bar to get her french fry fix!

Then we met Parker!! Our friends on Dreamcatcher have a new crew member! Parker is a Portuguese Water Dog (same as Caper and Chance). These boys are smitten with each other. We got to babysit him one day and I was truly surprised they got him back.

Parker loved Addie. Even helped her with her school work.

Having Parker over wore Chancey out!!

Early March we got the opportunity to get vaccinated and we jumped on it. It was super easy. They were giving the shots at the University which was only a five minute walk from Brewer’s Bay.

Addie began collecting sea treasures and started making jewelry.

The dogs love to dry off with us after a swim.

Our dogs truly think they are people, as they practice their driving skills.

Our new batteries finally arrive!! YEAH!! A week in the marina to get them installed was well worth it. Aventis is much happier and Shannon can finally sleep through the night. No more alarms in the middle of the night.

Time to celebrate and enjoy the sunset.

Really cool learning thing happened while at the marina, dock hands were cutting coconuts out of the trees. They showed us how they open them to drink the water and then eat the inside. We are ready for Survivor!!

This is an uncommon sight in the USVI right now, a deserted beach bar with picnic tables and beach chairs. This little slice of heaven is located just outside of the main cruise ship bay for St. Thomas and we were lucky enough to have it all to ourselves on this particular day.

Time for another trip around St. Johns. This time we hiked to the petroglyphs with Kent and Kathy.

New batteries working beautifully!!!

Second vaccine, wiped Ashley out for a day! Addie and Shannon fared much better.

We had been talking about going to Chicken’n Bowlin since we got to the VI last spring. It was finally safe to go! The wings and fries were yummy and the bowling was super fun!

April got here and we were super excited to have Don and Mel back for another visit.

Mel celebrated her birthday with us. This is a tradition for us. We have been friends for 25 years and have celebrated all but a handful of her birthdays together.

We snorkeled and beach it.

Sailed around to Maho Bay and Sunchilled in Ashley’s new toy.

We visited body beach.

Shannon and Don hiked to Ram’s Head.

We all hiked to the sugar plantation and the petroglyphs.

We all four got a tattoo of the petroglyphs!

We showed them some of our other favorite spots. Sunset Grille at Secret Harbor Resort.

Duffy’s Love Shack

Taphus Bar

It was a really fun and memorable visit!!

The dogs agree.

With a few days between visitors we decided to head to St. Croix. We had one week to check things out.

We anchored by the pier in Frederiksted. If the cruise ships were coming, we could not be this close. Water is crystal clear and the sea life under the pier is amazing. We scuba dove the pier by going right off the back of our boat. Super cool!

Amazing sunsets over the water.

Ready to explore St. Croix! Aventis is directly behind us.

Visited Fort Frederik and found a sea glass museum.

Very neat art made with sea glass and chainey(broken pottery found in the sea).

Moko Jumbies

Addie pretending to be 18 so we could be at the Fred for a pool day.

Sun dial east end of the island.

Botanical Gardens

And of course a visit to the original Leatherback Brewery!

One last sunset

A proper turtle island farewell!

And off we go headed back to St. Thomas. This drone footage is courtesy of a gentleman on St. Croix who happen to be taking video of a boat near by and got this image of us.

And just like that we are back in Long Bay after a peaceful 7 hour sail.

Ready for round two of Chicken’n Bowlin.

Stocked and Ready! School is out and Makenzie, Gavin(boyfriend), Anna and Alex are headed our way for a week of fun in the USVI!!

First stop: No Passports Required for adult slushies

The gang is here!!

Second stop: straight into the water!

Next day we made our way to Maho Bay on St. John’s for some turtle spotting, sun chilling and sunset cruising.

From there, Limeout for drinks and tacos!

More water fun! If the sun chill is out, Caper is in it.

So many smiles and laughs…

Life is Good!!

So many fun things to explore above and below the water.

What an awesome week! We were sad to say goodbye to Gavin, Anna and Alex, but so glad we got to have this time together!!

The dogs are pooped from all the fun.

But then they perked up because Ella got here! This week is all about some family time!

Luckiest mom in the world getting to spend Mother’s Day with all three of her beautiful daughters!!

As part of our new tradition when the girls visit during the month of May we celebrate all the upcoming birthdays and Father’s Day.

Happy 21st Mak!

Happy 19th Ella!

We explored St. Thomas from a whole new perspective. Taking the Skyride up to Paradise Point.

Aventis is down there in the bay, close to the front of course.

Happy Father’s Day!

This was cute! Chance loves his toys and he carries them all over the boat to play with them. On this afternoon not sure exactly how it happened but this toy got knocked into the water. Chance never, ever jumps off the boat into the water, but today he was seriously thinking about it. The current was moving pretty good, so Capt. Shannon saved the day by taking the dinghy to get the toy.

We sadly said goodbye to Mak

And enjoyed a few extra days with just Ella.

We said goodbye to Ella!

And welcomed our friends Lisa and Lenny Cottom.

We day cruised around St. Johns by boat visiting Hawksnest Beach, Cannel Bay, Maho Bay, Hansen Bay and even got a bonus sail from the east end back to the west end of the island. We did lots of chilling.

Best memory was of the hike the we tried to take to Rams Head during what seemed like a tropical storm. This was something we knew we wanted to do with Lisa and Lenny so we did not let a little light rain stop us. No joke we stood under the trees half way up for the good part of an hour while it poured rain and the wind picked up. Rained all morning. At some point we gave in and tried to keep going, but it was really not safe, so we headed back. Got over 2 inches of rain while we were out there.

Consumed just a “few” beverages at the Beach Bar in Cruz Bay.

On one of our visits to the Beach Bar Mak was celebrating her birthday with family back in Boone.

Lisa, Henry and Jack are looking at the us on the web cam from the Beach Bar.

Happy 21st birthday Mak!!

We said goodbye to Lisa and Lenny and headed back to St Thomas.

We got to have a fun reunion with our friends Jake and Stephanie (Dreamcathcer) as well as David and Shirley (Maeva). Was super fun to catch up with David and Shirley as we had not seen them since Grenada.

Very exciting night for the three of us! Our first movie in 2 years. Movie was good but popcorn was amazing!!

Goodbye for now to St. Thomas, we are headed to the Spanish Virgin Islands when the sun comes up.

First stop is Culebra. Interesting place, very green, town was a little disappointing because not much was open. We did manage to find a place, just had to wait until they opened at 2pm to eat lunch.

Neat remains can be seen on Flamenco Beach from when the US Navy used Culebra for bombing practice. This lasted until the residents of Culebra protested and the Navy left the island in 1975. You can see from the picture too how bad the sargassum is right now.

But then we found a whole other side to Culebra and it became my favorite place we have been so far. On the northwest side, we grabbed a mooring ball and we found a little beach called, Carlos Risario. Most people would not come here by car it is a boat only beach. We could jump in the water and dive or snorkel this amazing reef that was right under the boat. The dogs had the run of the beach. For the first three days we were the only ones and then the day boats started to show up each day about 10 and stay until 4 or so. No big deal we just started our day drinking earlier!

Made a new friend. He came and swam with us most most mornings.

Had a great time meeting and hanging out with Kathy’s sister Susan and her husband Robert.

Completed our circle around the island and got back to the much smaller island of Culebrita. Beautiful spot with amazing water and a white sandy beach. Spent two nights here swimming and hiking around the island.

A nice welcome back to Long Bay, St. Thomas. Time to get the dogs checked by the vet, grab some provisions and ready the boat for the 3 day passage to Bonaire.

But at last it is Father’s Day and we got to enjoy such a nice celebration at brunch with our friends Kent, Kathy as well as Ron and Patti from No Passports.

Finally time to crash!!

Goodbye for now USVI!! See you soon Bonaire!

January 2021: Addie’s 16th birthday in the USVI and friends visit

January was a fun, easy going month for us. We got to celebrate Addie’s sweet 16, hang out with our friends on Wind Ensemble, and have our friends, Don and Melissa Marlett, on the boat for a visit. Once our battery testing was done at the marina it felt great to get back out on the water, even if we had to run the generator a lot since our batteries were shot. We spent the first two weeks in January hanging out in Brewers Bay on St. Thomas and in Rendezvous Bay on St. John. We love these two spots because the dogs can go to the beach in both spots.

Date lunch! We do not get as many of these now with the new Addie, who for some reason loves spending time with her parents. Go figure… But today, it was just Shannon and Ashley at a the beach bar at Honeymoon Beach.

Smile!

Dittlyf (at Rendezvous Bay, St. John) really is Addie and the dogs happy place!

More sunset pics but only because we are reminded everyday how lucky we are to have experienced the day that we did. We say goodbye to the sun and look forward to seeing her again the next morning.

Time to sail back to St. Thomas to get Don and Mel.

We checked into Yacht Haven Grande Marina for easy pick up and provisioning. This place lives up to it’s name. We are the smallest boat at the dock. This is where David Geffen’s yacht, Rising Sun, the Jobs’ family yacht, Venus, and Nancy Walton’s (Walmart heir) yacht, Kaos all dock sometimes. These yachts are all around 300 feet.

Even the chairs are mega!

First things first, a visit to Leatherback Brewery!

First night on anchor with the Marletts, we made our way to St. John and stayed on a mooring ball at Caneel Bay. We spent the afternoon snorkeling from the boat to shore, then got all fancied up and took Addie out for the first of her Sweet 16 birthday celebrations.

If you are visiting St. John, we can highly recommend ZoZo’s. It was a memorable experience. The food, staff and atmosphere are wonderful.

Next stop, Maho on St. John. Addie and Mel’s favorite spot for paddle-boarding and turtle spotting.

It is hard to put into words all the feelings surrounding Addie’s birthday. It has been an amazing journey watching her grow and mature. As we remember back to her first birthday, which we spent in the hospital, watching her have seizure after seizure with no answers. We worried for her life. It is such a gift today to see the beautiful, smart, happy young lady who shares this adventure with us.

We had lots of fun celebrating.

Off we go, sailing around St. John, looking for more trouble to get into…

We found it at Skinny Legs bar in Coral Bay. The Leatherback beer was calling our name!

More food and drinks needed, no problem. We just happen to know a floating taco bar with craft cocktails, Limeout. This was a “have to” with Don and Mel!

Next stop, Dittlyf Beach, Rendezvous Bay on St. John. A good quiet place to hang while Don did some work and the rest of us enjoyed the beach and the water.

Another VI treasure, Pizza PI, this is a pizza boat. You order you pizza over the VHF radio and pick it up by dinghy.
Very cool.

Another amazing day!

So funny story here. Let us start with Addie is babysitting the dogs and she is the one who took these pics! Our dogs do have manners and rules. This is not typical behavior, but having said that, with Caper anything is possible!

I do not think Chance had a clue what Caper was up too.

So glad Don and Mel got to come see us. It was a great week!

Addie had birthday celebration number 3 with Kent and Kathy. Lucky girl!

We spoiled her even a little more by taking her out for one more fancy dinner with just Mom and Dad.

There might be more pics of us drinking than sunsets this month.

This is a cool little place tucked away off the main street in Charlotte Amalie on St. Thomas. You would have to be looking for it to find it. Story goes that 300 or so years ago there was a well known beer house or a Taphus in this same spot and all the Caribbean sailors knew to come here. One day a nobleman with plenty of money showed up and bought the whole area for his bride and renamed it Charlotte Amalie in her honor.

A momentous day on the Thompson boat. Addie’s first time shaving…

Back to Dittlyf for some more R&R.

Where we share the bay with Eos. One of the largest sailboats in the world at 93 meters.

And with our good friends Kent and Kathy on WE.

Family paddle-board ride in Maho looking for turtles!

Ashley’s craft area is becoming unruly – might be time to find a use for all these treasures she has made.

Especially since she collects more sea treasures everyday.

Addie and Ashley have their hands full trying to keep Shannon out of trouble!

So long for now from the USVI.

Chance’s Favorite Activity

Chance does not swim as much as Caper. However, he is nuts about fetching a ball thrown out into the water as long as we are on a beach. He asks non-stop for us to throw the ball while on we are on the beach. At some point he does eventually tire out. When that happens he takes the ball and jumps into the dinghy or jumps onto the paddle board, sits down, and waits for us to head back to the boat! Crazy doggy, right?!?

If you remember, Chance had surgery on both of his hind legs (tore the CCL’s in both legs – same thing as ACL’s for people). We believe he has bionic legs now! You’ll see what we mean in his video, which is less than 3 minutes. You’ll see how much he loves this activity, which is why we try to take him to the beach everyday.

December 2020: Fun Times in Florida and Christmas in the USVI

December has been awesome! So many wonderful adventures!

We are so very lucky to get to spend almost 4 weeks on the boat sailing around St. Thomas and St. Johns with all three of our girls. But before we could get to the boat, when we left NC, we made a pit-stop in FL for 2 days to get our COVID tests, shop, and see friends.

Our first stop after landing in Ft. Lauderdale was the covid testing center. After our tests, we made a mandatory stop at Coconuts on Fort Lauderdale Beach for Scooby snacks (crab claws soaked in a bowl of garlic butter). YUM!! Addie’s request!

After lunch we went to the beach. Much colder than the USVI!

After the beach we went to Jaxson’s Ice Cream Parlor for another treat.

We enjoyed our time in FL by staying at the Margaritaville Resort in Hollywood.

Margaritaville Resort is a tall building located on a small strip of land allowing for you to see the sunrise on one side of the building (picture taken from our balcony) and the sunset from the other (picture taken from Mak and Ella’s balcony).

Super excited we got to see our good friends Joffry and Diana. They even threw a party for us at our old marina with great food, drinks, and friends!

Our trip to Florida had to include a stop at the Taco Spot on Hollywood Beach before leaving for the USVI.

The flight to St. Thomas was a short 2 hours. Once we landed and arrived back to Aventis at the marina, it was off to get provisions which of course included coffee and ice cream from Scoops and Brews. Priorities!!!!

Then, it was time to pick up Caper and Chance from the doggy hotel.
Not sure who is more excited to see who…

Before sailing off, we had a great brunch on St. Thomas.

It was then time to leave the dock and explore St. Thomas and St. John by boat.

Our first stop was Brewers Beach. Caper and Ella love to go paddle boarding! On this day, they were dolphin spotting.

Caper loves to do tricks off the board for Addie.

And of course just chill with Ashley.

Chance is happy watching from the comfort of the boat!

Time for a family zoom with Ashley’s family!!

Because the girls had been to the USVI last spring, we planned some new stops for this trip. The first new stop was Buck Island off of St. Thomas. Very cool anchorage – we had a sunken ship directly under our boat! We hiked around the island too.

We never get enough of the amazing sunsets…

And Rainbows…

After leaving Buck Island, we made a pit stop for some snorkeling…

We then sailed on to St. John, where we had to dinghy to shore and visit some of our favorite places there too.

Ashley and the dogs are worn out from all the fun!!!!

“Look Mom and Dad, we are keeping your bed warm for you!”

Continuing around St. John, we made our way to Water Lemon and hiked up to the Annaberg Sugar Plantation. Addie loves sharing the history of the plantation with others.

Another great day! So much FUN having the girls on board!

We made our way to Coral Bay on the east end of St. John. Coral Bay is a quaint, artsy, quirky town. We love it!

We dinghied over to Lime Out, a floating Taco Bar with craft cocktails!
Can you say, Yummy!!

Ashley’s best birthday present – celebrating with all her girls!

And of course getting to be on this incredible adventure with my soulmate!!

Our friends, Kent and Kathy on Wind Ensemble made this video for Ashley’s birthday:

We left Coral Bay and sailed around the corner to Salt Pond where we hung out on the boat, swam with turtles, sunbathed on the beach, and took a hike.

Chance is sure he is a lap dog!

In another life, Caper was definitely a life guard.

Everything stops for sunset!

Salt Pond is this very unique anchorage on St Johns with great snorkeling, very tame turtles, and two distinctly different hikes. One of the hikes takes you to Drunk Beach. When you visit this beach it is tradition that you leave a body…

We did lots of swimming.

Even found a 6 legged starfish. The savage was good and put it back.

Ella, Addie and Caper practiced, downward facing dog.

Cuddle time!!

It is going to be a great day!

Christmas on the boat! Our tree is a bit smaller than in previous years.

A few new decorations. Ashley has been crafting again.

We had Christmas Eve dinner at Lovango Resort.

Santa found Aventis!

Mak and Ella were very creative in their wrapping, hence the raincoats and tee shirts.

We were super excited to get to see Grandma open her AI kitty that we sent her. Thanks Uncle Shawn!!!

Christmas Day was a real treat!
Santa treated us all to a day at the pool at Lovango Resort!

We sailed back to St. Thomas, rented a jeep, and took a road trip around St. Thomas. The view from Drake’s Seat looking out at Magens Bay.

We then checked out Coki Beach:

And after Coki, we made a pitstop at the Margaritaville resort for some cold drinks. They were having a cool bird show!

Our last sail before the girls have to go.
Ashley and Caper just needed some alone time on the bow.

Having the girls home with us for December was awesome! We had some great adventures sailing around St. Thomas and St. John. We will miss them!! Not sure when they will get to come back, fingers crossed in May.

With Mak and Ella on their way back to enjoy the cold and snow in Boone, there is only one thing for us to do, drink our sorrows away at Leatherback Brewery!

Unfortunately, it is not all fun and adventures. Just like any home, ours needs a little/a lot of attention and repair. Her year old batteries are giving out. They should have lasted for 10 years, so this is not right. Luckily, Jesse and Mark are helping us figure things out.

That is our bed…

While that is going on, we also have an exciting new addition to our deck –
4 new dive tanks! Yeah, now we can go diving anytime from the back of the boat or from the dinghy.

What a fun month! Boat life has changed how and when we get to see our family and friends. We are grateful for the opportunity to share our new home with those we love.

Coming up next month: Addie’s birthday in the USVI and hanging out with friends!

Swimming with Turtles

One of our favorite things to do while in the USVI is swim with sea turtles! Most of the time, when we sail into any of the bays around St. Thomas and St. John, there are sea turtles there to greet us. We often throw on our snorkel gear and jump in to swim with them.

We put together this short (less than 3 min) video of some of our times with the turtles. It is so relaxing and fascinating to observe them. Turtle spotting is one of our favorite activities on Aventis for sure!

Caper’s Favorite Activity

We put together a short video (3 min) of Caper’s favorite activity while living on Aventis. Most dogs don’t realize they have back legs – they are just kind of along for the ride (Chance included). However, Caper is sort of unique. Watch until the end to see what we mean. He loves, loves, loves this activity and does it everyday for as long as we let him.

November 2020: Haul Out, Sail to the USVI, and Thanksgiving in NC

November was a very busy and unique month for us after the past 5 months. We had big projects to complete, and they had to be done on a schedule. Cruising life does not require so much of this anymore.

The month started with hauling the boat out at Clarkes Court Boatyard in south Grenada. This is the third time we have seen Aventis out of the water and we are still amazed by the process of how they get her out and move her around. Remember, she is 46 feet long and 26 feet wide.

She needed new bottom paint, the rudder repaired, a cleaning of the sail drive, anchor chain scrubbed, as well as a few other things.

We were in good company as Maeva and Wind Ensemble also hauled their boats out during this time at Clarkes Court, and even Dream Catcher came over to visit us.

With Aventis out of the water, we needed a place to stay for the week. Having the dogs limited our choices, but luckily we found a house overlooking Egmont Bay that worked great for us and our friend’s Kent and Kathy from Wind Ensemble. An added benefit is it had a pool. It had been about a year since any of us had slept off the boat. The dogs made themselves right at home. We had a fun week swimming in the pool, going on walks and making dinners in a real kitchen.

Addie had a very special music lesson.

Addie enjoyed being close to La Phare Bleu resort where a number of her friends meet up on Friday afternoons for a hangout. They had great times jumping off the light ship!

After a fun week being in a house, it was time for Aventis to splash back in the water. Look at her new bottom paint! Hopefully we won’t have to scrub the bottom for at least a year.

With work at the boatyard coming to completion, our next big project was getting to the USVI. But we had a few goodbyes first. We spent more time than we had planned at Port Louis Marina. At first a week or so in June was just recovering from our passage and quarantine, then another week or so a month later to be safe during Tropical Storm Gonzola, and at last about a month in September to get repaired from the lightening. It was an important part of our time in Grenada.

With Bella on the hard and Patrick and Rita in Texas, and Maeva on the hard, and Shirley and David in Canada, and Dream Catcher on the move to the USVI, that just left us and Wind Ensemble. It was an amazing 5 months but it was time for us to get on the move too. We had our negative COVID tests in hand and only 5 days to get to the USVI. With tears in our eyes we said goodbye to Wind Ensemble – until we meet again!

We left early in the morning in hopes that our trip to St. Croix would be between 60-72 hours. Thanks to fair winds and calm-ish seas, we had an uneventful passage to St. Croix that took about 60 hours.

We did have a few unwanted passengers along the way but Caper helped to rid the boat of them, by eating them… Dead fish make for pretty GROSS dog breath!

Addie passed the time by watching movies and listening to music, Shannon read and watched videos, and Ashley crafted. The dogs slept!

We were all smiles when we dropped the anchor and were officially cleared into the USVI. We were even in time for a sun-downer!

Finally, we were back to where draft beer is worth drinking! That is one thing we will not miss about Grenada – no good beer! Super excited to be back where there are good beer choices!

With Aventis secure at Crown Bay Marina in St. Thomas, and Jesse watching out for her, and the dogs safe at Paradise Paws, we boarded a plane and flew to NC for 10 days to see family and friends.

It was awesome (and cold!) to be in Boone. We were so excited to get to see Makenzie and Ella! We have not seen them since May!

Our three beautiful girls!

For Ella’s 18th birthday (back in June) she had requested a tattoo when we came back, so we decided to make it a family affair.

We celebrated our 25 year anniversary in May of 2020. With any luck we will continue to ride this wave of life together for another 25 years!

During our week we had a blast hanging out with friends (Jeff and Tamara, Lenny and Lisa, Don and Mel, and the Tageson’s)! We got to hang out at River Street Alehouse, the Lamont’s house, Lost Province Brewery, Booneshine Brewery, and Brendan’s house. We even had a fun day of brewery and cidery hopping in Asheville, afterwhich we finished the adventure with a sunset ride on the Marlett’s boat on Lake James in Marion.

We spent a couple great days at Booneshine. Ella works at Booneshine also!
Did we mention that it was cold?

Addie had a good time hanging out with her sisters and doing what she loves best!

Ashley saw her siblings for an afternoon in Greensboro.

We then spent a fun afternoon and evening hanging out and eating with Max and Julia (Grandad and Nana) in Charlotte before we left NC for Fort Lauderdale, FL.

It was a wonderful trip. It was so great seeing a lot of our friends and a good bit of our family. Fingers crossed we will be able to get the vaccine this spring, which will allow us to see the rest of our family.

Coming up next month: Fun Times in Florida and Christmas in the USVI

September/October 2020: Lightening Problems and, of course, More Fun!

We started off September at Paradise Beach in Carriacou. We love Carriacou because it is laid back, small, has a dozen great restaurants, beautiful beaches, and awesome snorkeling and diving.

An actor from New York was “stuck” in Carriacou at the same time as us. He made a short video of his time there. At the beginning of the video, you will see Aventis anchored off Paradise Beach:

September started off with a bang in more ways than one! As we lay sleeping in Tyrell Bay at Carriacou with plans to sail to Ronde, a small island just south of Carriacou, in the morning, we were startled awake by crashes of thunder and lightening that seemed to be right on top of us. The storm lasted just minutes but caused us weeks of headache.

Tyrell Bay, Carriacou

We had plans to celebrate Dreamcatcher’s boat anniversary at Ronde with friends on Bella and Maeva the next few days. This adventure included diving the amazing reef at Ronde. Ashley had just done a dive refresher and was excited to get deep in the water again. There was no way we were missing out on this adventure! The lightning knocked out all of our sailing instruments, though! Well, even with no auto pilot, navigation or wind instruments, Shannon hand steered us to Ronde so we could dive and hang out with friends. It was so worth it! We had great luck and ate like kings! What could be better than fresh lobster, lion fish and a magnum of Bordeaux shared amongst friends.

At the end of the weekend we said goodbye and limped our way back to Port Louis Marina in Grenada so we could give Aventis some much needed attention! We thought it would be a quick fix but it turned out to take weeks and weeks of just waiting for parts. We found ways to entertain ourselves in Grenada though…

We watched great Grenada sunsets:

We snuck away for an afternoon of adult time at La Luna, a resort:

Addie worked on her art – she is quite the artist:

Addie had been asking for Japanese food since back in June when she first saw this restaurant. We were excited it was open and we finally got to take her there:

We found a beach bar with pretty and tasty drinks:

We spent time eating and hanging out with friends.
Remember there is still NO COVID on Grenada (in September and October).

We celebrated Patrick’s birthday from Bella at a really neat restaurant overlooking the beach called Aquarium.

Ashley and Addie had a really cool Mom and daughter experience. They went to the Tower Estate, Grenada’s “Downton Abbey”, to experience first hand an afternoon of English tea and cakes. What made this extra special was the blue tea we drank that gets it’s color from the Butterfly Pea flower. An added benefit were the acres of beautifully manicured gardens.

Of course, a few boat projects had to be taken care of. Fixing broken toilets is probably the worst job on the boat. Definitely the nastiest!!!

Addie had lots of fun making new friends.
She even watched her first zombie movie!

We took a school field trip to the Grenada Chocolate Factory.
Shannon was all about this field-trip!

Then it was time for a little adult learning. How is it that they actually make gin and how is it different from vodka? Next time, we need to bring Addie to help us with the details. We were a little preoccupied tasting the gin!

The blue gin gets it’s color from the butterfly pea, the same flower that makes the tea blue.

We went back to the Aquarium restaurant to celebrate Shirley’s birthday from Maeva.

I know it looks like we go out to eat a lot… But it is the main time we have our camera in hand and eating out in Grenada is less expensive than buying groceries!

Grass mowing in Grenada looks a little different than what we are use to – goats!

Have to feel sorry for these pups – their parents wore them out playing and swimming at the beach.

When he is not worn out to much, Chance sits on the ledge in his special seat and watches over us!

We had a fun time celebrating Shannon’s birthday!
He got a few presents and then we had dinner with friends at La Luna.

Our friend Stuart on White Wings had his birthday party the next day, so we got to keep celebrating birthdays!

Our friends Shirley and Dave are preparing to put their boat on the hard and head back to Canada until early January. One last beer and then it is off to remove the sails from their boat.

Success, the sails are off!

We are feeling our time in Grenada coming to an end. As we near the start of November, hurricane season is closing out and friends are heading in different directions. There are not as many options as usual for cruisers this year with so many islands being closed to travelers, so I feel confident we will see many of our friends again soon in the USVI.

Even though we spent a few weeks at the marina getting our boat fixed,
plus another few weeks staying in anchorages close by waiting on boat parts, we had a great September and October in Grenada!

Coming up next month: Aventis gets hauled out of the water and then we sail to the USVI!

August 2020: Exploring Ronde Island and Carriacou

Check out this video about us that our friends on s/v Bella made for us!

We spent the month of August “on the hook” (not at a marina) enjoying the warm water, bright colors and unique cultures of a small island community. The country of Grenada is made up of three inhabited islands, Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique.

Located just a few miles to the northwest of Grenada and on the way to Carriacou is a small uninhabited island called Ronde. We spent a quiet week here with Patrick and Rita (Bella) as well as David and Shirley (Maeva). Our time was spent swimming, snorkeling and of course having a beach BBQ.

A video of our Beach BBQ!

The dogs played hard – we tried hard to wear them out each day!

We made our way from Ronde to Carriacou and anchored at Paradise Beach, thought to be one of the best beaches in the Caribbean.

From Paradise Beach you can look across the water and see tiny Sandy Island, a favorite location for cruisers to hang out.

We were excited to find some refreshments at a super cool local spot! As usual we were the only ones here since there are no planes coming or going.

It was a good day!

It was time for an island tour of Carriacou. We toured by taxi; whole trip took 2 and half hours. Aventis is circled in red anchored just off Paradise Beach (middle left on the picture below). Straight out from us is Sandy Island.

The highest point is 955 ft above sea level.

Boat building was one of the island’s main sources of income.

Almost every fishing boat you see around Carriacou was built in Carriacou.

Time for a beach day at Sandy Island, so we can check it out for ourselves. Funny thing, we did not have it to ourselves for long. The Minister of Health for Grenada (the guy in charge of everything COVID) and 40 of his family and friends showed up to celebrate his 50th birthday. It made for interesting conversation.

We enjoyed a few yummy meals at Paradise Beach Club with friends during the month!

One night we even had whole hog!
Another night we were dancing in the moonlight.
But nothing beat the night the guy rolled up on his donkey and ordered his dinner to go! Not something you see everyday!

We continued to explore and found a lot of other boaters in Tyrell Bay, Carriacou. It was here that we met up with Stephanie, Jake, Rosco and Daisy (Dreamcatcher), friends from St. Thomas in the USVI.

The beach at Tyrell Bay had tons of puffy starfish. We think it was mating season and that is why they came to the shallow water.