English Harbor

While we were at Falmouth Harbour, one of the places that we wanted to go and to get the kids to was the old fort in English Harbour.

We had a great visit with more amazing sights. Here is teh view of the headland between the two bays.

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This is the small peninsula on which sits part of the old fort. The part that protected the mouth of the bay. It’s a bit hard to tell but there is no way anyone was going to get into the harbor when protected by cannons right here.

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Noah going into stealth mode in the munitions building…. now without gunpowder fortunately.

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Matthew waiting for a blast off, showing just what marauders had coming to them if they got too close to English Harbour. Frazer boys ready to attack, or at least ready to tire them out. 🙂

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The boys in their official colours… red, blue and green.

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Caroline really felt that we should get a picture of the 3 boys with the 3 buoys. Need I say more.

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Caroline’s Update #5

I think Paul has kept you abreast of the islands we have visited, so I won’t comment much on that. What beautiful sights (as the pictures can attest)! Each island seems to have its own unique flavour, and although we can only brush the surface with our brief visits, I think we have gotten a good feel for many of them.

Some islands are more conducive to visiting by boat, others less so. We are currently in a very calm anchorage, off a long white sand beach, while others can be quite rough with lots of rolling and rocking (to which Shelley and Marie can attest!) When we visited with my brother and stayed in the marina at Anse Marcel (St Martin), I actually had trouble sleeping because the boat was motionless! Imagine. Even Noah commented that he did better with a bit of motion! Normally we hear the squeak of the mooring lines, or the mooring ball banging against the hull (in the really quiet anchorages when we literally bob beside the mooring), or even the ropes groaning up on deck. Recently, in the evenings, we can hear the crunching sound of the reef fish feeding, amplified through the hull of the boat. Very weird!

And so, I think I have pontificated quite enough. I hope this is adequate response to the many emails inquiring as to life on the boat. I think of you at home very often, especially those of you who are dealing with illness or loss. You are ever in our prayers. As I mentioned, we absolutely LOVE receiving your messages

Keep well, hug your family and come visit!

Happy winds until next time!

Caroline

Falmouth Harbor

Does anyone else get concerns when you’re the skipper and your intended destination is a harbour that looks like this!

This is Falmouth Harbor and yes, it was BUSY. But, we found space, a fair bit of space in fact. Again, it was shallow, but we’re okay with that. It did, however, take us 3 times to get the anchor to set. It was just one of those anchorages where the anchor just did not want to set nicely. When it did set though, it was good. We tend to be pretty careful about really setting the anchor, more so than a lot of other boats that I watch. And, we also take our time. Another that I don’t always see happening. In fact, more than once, I’ve seen the helmsman of the boat come barrelling down on a mooring only to see the person at the front who is trying to grab the mooring ball with a boat hook, running along side their boat trying to catch up to the mooring ball.

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It’s hard to see, but the boat with the teal cover on it’s sails/boom has a message on the front of the hull… JUST MARRIED. Nice!

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And, the following one is in honour of one of Noah’s classmates…. the boat is BARAKA. She looks like a fine ship.

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And here are some of the other granddaddies of the harbour. Some huge boats.

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I think we’ve got a pretty big and comfortable boat… but alas, maybe not quite as bit as this! This is the back end of one of the motoryachts.

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Yes, we’ve actually seen bigger…. much bigger, but up close they are very impressive. How much is diesel now? 🙂

Leaving Jolly Harbor

I do my best to pick good weather windows for when and where we travel next. So far, things have worked out quite well. We’ve missed the swells as much as we can. Here’s a great shot of what we saw behind us leaving Jolly Harbor.

It also shows our car/truck. I don’t believe that I’ve mentioned that we now call our dinghy, or tender, Myth. The reason, it’s a great complementary word/concept to Legend, or course. And, in the same spirit, the kids have decided that the big lime green kayak that we have and you’ve seen in a number of photos is called Nessie. They figure that the Loch Ness monster is green and huge like the kayak, so…. there you go… Nessie it is.

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And, here is a shot of Noah and Matthew in the companionway. This is spot they sometimes like to sit to get out of the way and out of the wind. It is the entrance way to down below. Again, I’m not sure what they’re conferring on, but expect it’s world peace, Mom’s lunch, the state of the economy, or something important like that.

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PS. For those who know the boys, you will notice that they are getting even blonder as the weeks pass.

Caroline’s Update #4

I am rather amazed that I haven’t gone totally stir crazy yet! Those of you who know my (introverted!) need for peace and quiet to rejuvenate from the day are no doubt laughing that I am on a boat with my family for 8 months!! Thank heavens for an understanding husband! The chance to spend time with the boys and Paul was obviously a big motivator for this adventure, and I must say, it has been great. It is wonderful seeing the world through their eyes (although sometimes I wonder if they have any idea what they are missing when they don’t seem to be interested in their surroundings.) I had a great night a week or so ago (neither Matthew nor I could sleep) when Matthew and I spent an hour star gazing with our Star Walk programme on the iPad. What a riot. Matthew was totally impressed with “all the amazing stars in the sky” that he had not previously seen! it is not uncommon that one of the boys comes to visit in the middle of the night. Mom is getting caught up on all the missed cuddles. At least the boys haven’t asked me when I am returning to work yet!!! Paul and I have gotten into the groove of complementary duties on the boat…we are becoming a well-oiled little team. (And no, he hasn’t asked when I am returning to work yet, either). While I teach, he does the laundry ashore and cleans the heads (bathrooms)…somehow, I think I got the better end of the deal.

As for the kids, are they enjoying their time? I think so. There are times when they seem much more interested in their electronic games than the happenings around them. The giggling that happens when they jump off the side of the boat makes me smile. They are very comfortable in the water, which pleases their phobic mother greatly! They miss their friends and school (so they say…!) and they absolutely loved having Marie and Shelley around in January, and then adored spending time with their Uncle Andrew and Aunt Deb when we connected in St. Martin. They are really excited about sharing their time here with friends and family. They absolutely love receiving messages from their buddies (as do we, I might add…it is really lovely to hear from you all). I think we have dubbed this the trip of the “lost teeth” as Noah has already lost two and Matthew is next in line. And yes, the tooth fairy does visit the islands. (We had quite the discussion about whether or not the Easter Bunny can get onto boats in the tropics…I guess we will have to see!) While at times, they seem to be at each other continuously, they really have done exceptionally well living together 24hours a day with little exposure to other kids. Most recently, they presented the first Frazer Film Festival… a close friend recommended a programme downloaded from the internet called Tunetastic that allows you to create movies on the iPad with provided or self created sets and characters. What a riot. I highly recommend it!

[More Tomorrow…]

 

Jolly Views

Here are a couple of views of what we saw at the Harbor. What a great harbor it was. Shallow and well protected which meant that we moved very liittle as I’d mentioned. It was also a pretty well developed harbor with a wide assortment of restaurants, shops, chandlery, etc. which was nice.

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One of the really interesting things that they had was something that they’re trying to develop at our home port in Nanny Cay. They have dock-side condos. You can see them in the picture. They are 2 story, relatively narrow condos that you have access to your own private dock. They are very neat to look at and certainly are appealing for those who want to come down and have a place to “home-base” from. All of the docks are Med moorings which means that your boat’s stern or backend gets put up against the dock while your front end is pulled out by piling, anchor or some other system.

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The Adventures of Noah’s Mouth

Noah has had quite a set of adventures with regard to his mouth on this trip. The first adventure was actually an accident. He saw that his brother was going to have trouble getting across from the boat to the dock and tried to help Matthew. Unfortunately, they both ended up slipping and it resulted in Noah hitting his mouth on the transom (back of the boat).

Then he lost a tooth that had been loose for a while. And, recently, he lost a second tooth. In both cases, the tooth fairy came. And, in both cases he’s been very proud of his new grin. And, he wanted to have a post to show off his new smile. So, here it is:

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Caroline’s Update #3

The sailing itself has been great, although at times, challenging. What an amazing feeling to be slicing through the water with nothing but the wind to keep things going! I should perhaps preface my discussions about sailing to admit that I have a longstanding phobia of water (be they oceans, lakes or rivers), and although I have conquered a great deal of it over the last decade (done mostly when we lived in the BVI), the phobia tends to rear its ugly head whenever I venture outside the proverbial box, namely into unfamiliar waters. Ethan’s shocked response to learning about this was “But Mom, you’re an amazing sailor, how can you be frightened of it?” Yes well, who said phobias were rational? All that to say, while I very much enjoy the activity, it has a (occasionally significant) cost! (Trust me, there have been times where I would have welcomed a nasty code in ER any day over sitting in the boat!) I’m sure you can imagine my apprehension when we did our first night passage from Virgin Gorda (BVI) to St Martin, across the Sombrero Passage. We left around 4pm (after getting soaked in a quick squall!) and watched the sunset behind the island as we headed out to open waters. Of course, we were sailing closed hauled (to you non-sailors, that is as close into the wind as the boat can sail, which is tough going with the boat sailing on an angle) into big waves. In the cockpit, the sounds are something, but down in the cabin, the sounds of creaking wood, squeaking ropes and the huge bang as the hull crashes into the water are many times louder. One would swear that the boat would split apart with each crash, but of course, the boat is meant to do this. The kids seem to prefer the cabin (probably because of the unlimited electronic game rule) despite the noise and the world turned on its head. Fortunately, we had a full moon that night, so things were fairly bright (much better for the anxious among us!). Eventually, Paul took a rest in the cockpit while I sailed for a few hours. Somewhat a lonely experience…just you, the ocean and God. I was overwhelmed with an awareness of just how insignificant we are and how big the ocean really is (and I wasn’t even that far from land!) An hour or two later, we started to see other vessels in the distance…cruise ships, fellow sailboats, tankers etc. The darkness makes depth perception challenging, and often I had to wake poor Paul up to help me interpret their light configurations to see which way they were heading, what kind of boat and how far away they were. At one point, I was watching 6 vessels on the horizon and another sailing vessel silently slipped by us (heading down wind, smart people!) a few hundred feet abeam of us…. a little freaky when my depth perception thought they were a lot farther away! After sailing for a couple of hours, the knots of tension in my neck finally became painful enough that I needed a break, so I had Paul take over. My next shift (after the rain storms that Paul sailed through…lucky him!), I emerged from below to complete darkness…. the moon had disappeared below the horizon. Eek…notch up the angst metre! In its place however, was the most incredible scene of the night sky painted with more stars than you could ever imagine. Incredible. Off in the horizon at this point was the red beacon on the top of St. Martin’s mountain to help guide our way, and although it was still hours and hours of sailing away, it was a welcomed sight. The sunrise was lovely, and with it came views of St. Martin, Anguilla and Saba in the distance. We were almost there. Upon arriving in Simpson Bay, we were greeted by a wind and rain storm that had me dropping sails liketty split…the appearance of hail (albeit small) was something of a surprise to all of us! Once we made it through the narrow passage and to an anchor site, Paul and I were totally exhausted. The kids on the other hand….! Looking back, it was quite the experience. Paul did huge prep work to make sure we were safe en route, so I really believe my experience was all about me dealing with my perceived dangers/phobias. Since then, we have done a few long day passages, which have been quite fun and really incredible. We seem to be continuously heading into wind, to the point that I am convinced that there is no such thing as running with the wind. Paul assures me this is not so. (Personally, I think it is a conspiracy between Paul and Mother Nature!) Am I eagerly awaiting the next night passage…. not really, but hey, life is about overcoming fears and facing challenges, isn’t it? Having said that, I will NOT be crossing the Atlantic in this lifetime.

[More Tomorrow…]

Caroline’s Update #2

Between the meal prep and clean up (I just finish cleaning up one meal and look, it’s time to start prepping the next one….!), I have been doing the schoolwork with the kids. I brought along a number of excellent resources, so some of the teaching has been straightforward. My bigger challenge has been keeping them motivated to work (especially on things that are less interesting) and trying to teach multiple levels simultaneously. I really hope they are learning something, although in the end, it will no doubt be more an education of experience than the traditional. I am very fortunate that they are all voracious readers, as they have been reading many books (Tin Tin books are Matthews current favorites), both fictional and non-fictional. I am very pleased that I got them set up on ereaders before we left, as between Ethan and Noah alone, the book luggage would have been unbelievable otherwise! They are learning about sailing, and courtesy of a very lovely gift from a fellow sailor, they are learning their knots. Great fun until the eldest ties the youngest up in knots! My greatest teaching challenge lays more in the interaction with the kids and less the material. My experiences reinforce yet again my admiration for teachers who can connect with different kids, with different learning styles and different abilities. I suspect I will learn a great deal as a result of this new role: patience, tolerance and adaptability at very least.

Some days, it certainly feels like I do nothing but prep, pick up after people and deal with the constant “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy”. Between the sunshine, the busy-ness and the toll of stress (more on that later), I find myself quite exhausted by the end of the day. (No, not looking for sympathy here!!) Having said that, it is a different kind of busy-ness than my usual, and as a result, it has been a welcomed break. I can say with honesty that I was professionally burnt-out by the time our adventure started, and there was a great need to retreat, regroup, re-evaluate and rejuvenate my love for medicine and the patients that called me to this profession in the first place. Standing back, I am amazed at the work we (as health care professionals) do every day…have you ever stopped to reflect on the number of decisions we make every minute of every patient encounter? The multi tasking is remarkable. Add to that all the other challenges (fatigue, limited resources, etc etc etc), and it is quite impressive that we continue to do what we do, as well as we do, every day. You are an amazing group of people, all of you, and I remain in awe. Have I missed medicine yet? Well, honestly, not really, although I do miss my hospital/office family a great deal. Having said that, I have just recently started opening the medical books I have brought along, so I think I might soon be ready to sink my teeth in again! Fortunately, I have had little need for medical skills on our trip thus far…narrowly missed suturing Noah’s split lip the first week (one of my favorite injuries — not!) and recently did some minor surgery on Paul’s toenail (another of my favorites…. and no, you ER nurses that know me well, I did not faint!). Must be the rum.

[More Tomorrow…]

Jolly Harbor

In Antigua, we chose to land at a place called Jolly Harbor.  I mean, seriously, where else would we land.  It must be such a pleasant place.  Well, it certainly was protected and beautiful.  To get into the harbour required taking it slow and following the channel exactly as we only had a couple of feet of water under the keel.  And, we don’t like hitting anything or grounding Legend, so we are very careful with this.

In fact, this is one of the jobs that the boys do.  They watch the depthmeter and give out changes in readings for the helmsman (generally me).  It’s a very important job and I’m not sure they understand how important some times.  For them, it’s just saying numbers and perhaps gets a little boring at times.  It’s not for Daddy, expecially when the depth goes 5.1, 3.5, 2.3, 0.7, 0.5… very quickly.  Having said that, we’re always aware of the places we’re going before hand, either because of the paper charts we have, or the electronic chartplotter, the computer chartplotter, the portable gps or just looking down!

As an aside, some of you might think that I’ve never entered the metric system since a lot of my references are in feet or miles.  The mariner’s world is often set up in imperial measurement (and in the Caribbean is certainly is).  You can find charts that measure depths in metres, feet or fathoms, but often it is feet.  And, in terms of distance, measurements are made in nautical miles which is often just referred to as miles.  So, it can get a bit confusing and you need to know what measurement you’re dealing with as sailing into 5 metres of water is okay but 5 feet…. not so good.

Anyway, Jolly Harbor is beautiful and very sheltered and pretty shallow.  So, the first night there was like being at a dock, very still.  Noah didn’t think he would be able to sleep because there wasn’t any movement at all.  Here’s view that night from the boat.

A New Plan… Antigua Here We Come…

We had planned to go to Montserrat after we left Nevis, but things sometimes have to change.  The weather gods have given us a northerly and then westerly swell that would make anchoring or mooring at Montserrat not enjoyable at all.  And, we’d have to push away likely within a day.  So, we decided the best thing was to alter our plans and head to Antigua and then go up to Barbuda.  Then we would jump ahead on our plans and go to St. Barts, Anguilla and then head for home, as it were.

When we’re approaching an island, we start to make it out in the distance and then it appears more formed.  But, it can still be confusing as to what goes where and you need to be careful to look at the charts for hills, etc. to help you figure out how the island is laid out.  But, within not to long a time, the scene turns from this…

…. to this…

Caroline’s Update #1

Well, after being on our way for about 7 weeks, it is about high time I actually put pen to paper (figuratively) and wrote a little about our adventure. Paul has been extremely diligent about posting updates on our travels; my ongoing contribution has been the photos, so I have been doing something!

Time has definitely passed quickly. As you know, the first few weeks were spent awaiting repairs on the boat, and then getting ourselves outfitted for our adventures. There were a number of fun and not so fun challenges during that time which were most useful… humbling to remind us of the forces of mother nature, informative as it challenged us to get better acquainted with our boat and a good dry run for what life on a boat would be like. As a result of much of our learning, Paul has been very busy making adjustments and repairs to Legend ever since, and we have become very acquainted with the various chandleries (boat stores) in the Caribbean. We are now finally dry on passages, which is a delightful improvement!

Life has been busy in a very different way from my usual. Those of you who know me well will be shocked (yes, seriously) that I am chief chef on the boat. Yes, the galley is my domain…that means shopping, planning, preparing and cleaning up three meals a day. I say you will be shocked, as those who know me, know that I positively HATE cooking, and if I do any, it likely will involve EGGs as the main dish. I am proud to say that I have embraced the role with zest, and while I will never be Julia Childs, my family seems to be enjoying the food and eating well. (Now, if I can only get my youngest son to eat a vegetable….) Even Shelley and Marie (our first guests, friends from the office) seemed to survive my various culinary experiments (I think). The boat has the additional challenge of trying to cook in a miniscule space, with minimal freezer space (i.e. almost none) and minimal counter space. I have my little systems down, so at least I can find what I need with reasonable ease. Chopping vegetables on a 45 degree angle and cooking while crashing over waves adds yet another dimension to creative cooking. No blade injuries thus far. The food selection has been reasonably broad along the way, although food prices are extremely high (as expected). I grieve every time a fruit or vegetable goes bad before we get to it. At least the rent is reasonable!

[More Tomorrow…]

A New Voice

Exciting News.  You’re going to get to hear from more than just me.  Caroline has put together a big update from her standpoint.  It’s longer so I am going to split it up and let you read it over a few days.  The truth is that she’s already been involved in the blog in that most of the pictures are taken by her.

My job, thus far, has largely been to document the wonder and beauty of our adventure.  In Caroline’s text, she’s going to give more of broad perspective of life on a boat.

So, I’m sure you’re going to enjoy the new “feature” of the blog.  In a couple of hours, you’ll hear the first installment in Caroline’s update.

Hope all is well with all of you and if you want to send us a message please do.

More Rainbows…

Okay, you get to see what we see…. and, yes, it is more rainbows…

And, this one has no digital trickery.  That is a ship at the other end of the rainbow.  Not Legend but that’s okay.

These were as we were leaving Nevis.

Now That’s An Anchor!

Matthew with an anchor at the Port of Charleston after our tour.

The Tour of Nevis

Again, we decided to take the island tour with a taxi driver.  Well worth the money for what you get to see in a relatively short period of time.

Okay, this is one of the oldest churches in the Caribbean.  It’s actually the oldest in some way but at the time of writing this…. I don’t have that infor with me.  🙂

St. Kitts on the horizon.

The steel pots that the sugar cane used to be boiled in.  These are now everywhere as monuments to an age that’s now done since there is really no more sugar cane production in the Eastern Caribbean…. certainly nothing that we’ve seen.

A beautiful resort on the windward side of the island (eastern).  It gets confusing as Nevis is a leeward island.  Had enough yet?

A more picturesque view of one of the older homes on the island.  Many are in lesser repair than this one.

A stunning tree.  Probably not quite as great as the tree we saw on St. Kitts but, alas, I don’t have a picture of it.

Everything grows amazingly well here.

Here’s my point.

Another flower…

A truly stunning resort that is being turned more into a lunch and dinner destination.  The landscaping here is truly marvelous.  It is called Golden Rock.

Sunsets

We get a lot of gorgeous sunsets.  So, you get to see a lot of sunsets.  And, trust me, these pictures you see are only a fraction of the number that are taken.

Legend – The Waterpark

One thing the kids just love to do is to jump off this side of the boat.  Yup, it’s a blast.  Having said that, apparently they are now hanging off the side of the boat too.  Or at least Ethan and Noah are.

The Grateful Globetrotter…

Many of us have been fortunate to be able to see some of this awesome world we live in.  And, as you likely know, being able to travel and see new places, people, landscape, cities, etc. is really important to me.  Caroline and I were discussing countries visited and I was reminded that I was coming up to a milestone.

After conferring with my brother on a visit to a country when we were little kids, I recalculated the number of countries that I’ve visited and with Saba, I’ve now reached 50!

I’m half way to reaching 100 at which point I can join the Travellers Century Club.  So, on continues the journey.

For those who are wondering, Caroline is not far behind at 43, and here is the scary part…. Ethan, Noah and Matthew are 17, 16 and 16 respectively.  Wow!

After all is said and done on this adventure of ours, we will stand at 55, 48, 27, 26 and 26 for P, C, E, N and M.

Definitely grateful for the gift of travel.  Thanks Mom and Dad.