A Travellerspoint blog

The Crew Arrives

But luggage lost in paradise

Alison: Bill, Brian and I finally arrived here in Tortola! No problems with the flights and we got into Tortola last night, on schedule at 8:30pm. And then the fun began. The huge line up at immigration took us about 1/2 hour to get through. Then it was off to get our luggage, but it didn't take us long to realize that none of our luggage was there. None for Bill. None for Brian. None for me. Another 1/2 hour to file the necessary claims with American Airlines where they assured us that our luggage would be on the next flight, or maybe the next one, or the next, well maybe sometime tomorrow.

Luggageless, we took a taxi over to the marina to catch up with Mike. As we expected, we found Mike sitting at the bar, Bushwacker in hand. Fortunately, Mike had told the bar that we would be arriving tired and hungry, so the kitchen was kept open for us. After some food, a couple of cold beers, we were ready to head off to the boat and bunk down.

While work was being done to Soul Healer, he stayed on another boat. With air conditioning! The air conditioning made the night at the dock much more comfortable. Mike, while a good skipper still needs to work on his hosting skills. Brian and Bill woke up around 5am a little cool, and searched their cabins for a blanket or an extra sheet. But none were to be found. Lesson for Mike: Make sure each cabin has extra sheets, a blanket and towels (at least Bill and Brian had a pillow).

Mike: Sheets and blankets were piled in the salon. They're big boys so they coulda got their own.

Alison: Today, we're off to get some provisioning. And then the plan is to sail over to Norman Island, and snorkel the Caves. This will give us a chance to check the boat over and make sure everything is ship shape before we start our passage to the Turks and Caicos.

Posted by Ali-Mike 06:06 Comments (0)

Settin' Up The Weather

Mike: Today, I went over the various systems on the boat to ensure that they won't be going to Davey Jones locker sometime on the trip. There's still a few items that need to be checked off my list and they should be done by tomorrow when our surveyor does his thing. Hopefully, like a papal figure, he'll give his blessings. Fingers crossed.

Later in the afternoon, the sweet sounds of Pain Killers were calling softly to me from the bar, so with laptop in hand, I settled onto a stool and started setting up for our automatic daily weather updates. Every day, we'll be retrieving 5 day forecast GRIB files (from SailDocs.com) and off shore text forecasts (from NOAA) that'll be delivered each day at 1200Z into our inbox. We'll use our sat phone to connect to the internet each day from the boat and download the latest weather info. If we need to, we can also request on demand WeFax from NOAA or tune the HF received and capture to the laptop off the airways based on their schedule. The GRIB files are graphical weather maps that can be directly overlaid on our laptop's chartplotter program which we've already loaded up with NOAAs new and free ENC vector charts. By simply stepping through the 5 day forecasts, we can watch fronts approach, or low/high pressure areas develop. That was the good news regarding technology and its capabilities. The bad news is technologies and its ability to fail based on any of a myraid of individual finicky hardware and software issues. So when all this ceases to work, it may well be back to listening to the radio.

Ok... now it's time to switch to my evening drink... Bushwackers. Good thing that the only navigating I need to do tonight is down the dock to my bunk on the boat!

Posted by Ali-Mike 14:03 Comments (3)

Arriving in the British Virgin Islands

Mike: I arrived as the last of the days light retreated over the horizon. Eager to see our vessel, I headed over to the boat for a quick peek to see how it was coming. We've had numerous trades people checking and working on various systems like the engine, rigging and fixing up some cosmetic blemishes. I noted the new dodger, bimini, lines and the shine on some of the bright work. Best of all was the fact that it was floating, as opposed to being up on the hard, still in the boat yard.

Today, I'm getting the dingy and outboard assembled. These were brought down as checked luggage earlier on a previous trip. We had thought there might be a hassle but everything flowed smoothly though the airports and security. They should be delivered from storage today. Let's hope that nothing got punctured or broken inside. Fingers are crossed. As soon as the sea trials are completed and the rest of the crew arrives in a few days, we'll be off.

Posted by Ali-Mike 07:18 Comments (2)

Three Days And Counting!

The anticipation is building. Bags are being packed. Airline tickets are being picked up. Almost ready!

Posted by Ali-Mike 07:58 Comments (2)

The Adventure Is About To Begin

Preparations

It's one week prior to the start of the sail back of Soul Healer, our Beneteau Oceanis 411, from the British Virgin Islands to our home port of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. After six great years in the Caribbean, it's time to bring Soul Healer home. Much time and preparation have gone into this passage. We've added EPIRB, life raft and ENC chartplotting capability. Our new laptop is coupled to an HF receiver for WeFax and to a sat phone that we'll be using for internet and weather. And to stay in touch with everyone. Maps and charts are now being measured in kilos (pounds for you non metric buddies).

The Crew:
DSC00225.JPG
Mike Lahrkamp & Alison Blair. Bill Noble and Brain Jones will round out the crew. Bill's SO, Ann Gage, will join us at George Town.

The Boat:
SoulHealer.jpg
She was built in 2000 and is a Beneteau Oceanis 411, 3 cabin configuration.

The Trip:
Route.jpg
The plan is to depart from the BVI and head straight for the Turks and Caicos. This will be an offshore passage of a number of days and nights. Then it's on to the Bahamas:

  • Abraham's Bay, Mayaguana
  • Plana Cay (maybe)
  • Atwood Harbour, Acklins Island
  • Landrail Point, Crooked Island
  • Clarence Town, Long Island
  • Rum Cay
  • Stella Maris, Long Island
  • George Town, Exuma Islands
  • Allan's Cay, Norman's Cay, Warderick Wells Cay, Staniel Cay...
  • Nassau
  • Chub Cay
  • Bimini
  • Florida (Ft Lauderdale?)

The entire trip will be about a month, give or take based on weather, crew and boat.

Posted by Ali-Mike 09:23 Tagged cruises Comments (1)

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