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Voyage of Traveler / Blog » 2009 »

Voyage of Traveler / Blog

December 29, 2009

Traveler Postcard From Tobago Cays

Filed under: Year 3: July09 - July10 Greece to Newport Beach, CA, Caribbean — mrlawlerjr @ 9:48 am

December 28, 2009
Tobago Cays
St. Vincent and the Grenadines
12-38.15N, 061-21.57W

Hi, Everyone,
We are now at anchor between Petit Rameau and Petit Bateau, two of the five small islands that make up the gorgeous Tobago Cays–the Holy Grail of yachting in the Caribbean, located in the country of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.  This place is amazing.  No wonder the government made it a National Park.  The islands are so close together you can swim between them, and there is a large reef protecting them all called Horseshoe Reef, so the seas are flat and the snorkeling is great.  Barbara and I went for a snorkel and saw a dozen sea turtles and swam with them close enough to touch them as they grazed on sea grass in clear, shallow water.  We also saw lots of conch shells, some living and most empty.  Next to a pile of empty conch shells, at about 6 feet deep, we saw a fairly large octopus hiding in the rocks–conch is an octopus’ favorite meal.  We also saw six or seven marine iguanas, and Brian and Yansen saw a large land tortoise.  Lots of mega-yachts, including Oracle’s Larry Ellison was here on his mega-mega-yacht Rising Sun (Google it), with his crew of 20. We saw him on the aft deck getting a massage.  One final note about Tobago Cays: Many of the scenes from Pirates of the Caribbean were filmed here.  ARRRRRGH!

In my last Postcard, on December 23, I said we were about to take a guided tour of the Island of Grenada.  That went well.  Highlights were the Concord Falls, where Brian and I cliff-jumped into the pool of water below the waterfall. We saw a long-tailed Mona monkey at the roadside eating a banana. We also saw the Carib’s Leap on the island’s northern point, where in 1651 dozens of Caribs jumped off a high cliff to their death into the sea below rather than be captured by French Troops and taken into slavery. Columbus discovered Granada on his third voyage in 1498 and found the natives very unfriendly–known for their cannibalism!  The British tried to establish a colony here in 1609, but the Caribs ate some of the settlers and drove the rest into the sea.  We also saw where the Grenada Invasion took place in 1983. That was when President Reagan ordered the US Navy and Marines to take the island away from the Cubans who briefly controlled the island.  The US replaced the Cuban advisors and radical politicians with a conservative US-friendly government, which controls the island now. We saw the battlefield where the US and Cuban forces fought for several days.  For awhile, inflation was so out of control that the joke was it was cheaper to take a cab than to take the bus because you pay for the bus when you board and you pay the taxi when you arrive (and the value of your money is worth far less after the cab ride due to rapid inflation).

In the Customs and Immigration office there is a framed poster of Barack Obama, not their own president.  Obama is very well liked around the world, but especially here in the Caribbean where the islanders are about 95% black, descendants of slaves.  On the locals, we see more Obama t-shirts worn than Bob Marley t-shirts.

It is illegal to operate a jet ski anywhere in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.  The president of SVG is a sailor and nearly all sailors dislike jet skis.  But this is the only place we have seen in the world where they actually have been outlawed.

Another strange law here in SVG: It is illegal to wear or import camouflage clothing. We have not seen that anywhere else either.

We spent a lovely Christmas Eve and Day at anchor on the Island of Carriacou at Tyrrel Bay.  We had our big dinner on Christmas Eve, with an 8 lbs. roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce and champagne.  Then on Christmas morning Brian fixed Eggs Benedict for brunch, we opened presents, and just relaxed (something rare for me on Traveler.)  And to top off the day, with cocktails in the cockpit and listening to Bob Marley sing “Don’t worry ’bout a thing, ’cause every little thing’s gonna be alright,” at sunset we saw the Green Flash!

On December 26 we motor-sailed over to Union Island, went ashore, found the island’s only TV at the Cruiser’s Bar and watched USC beat Boston College.

On December 27, while at anchor in Salt Whistle Bay 12-38.8N, 061-23.5W on the Island of Mayreau (one of the nicest anchorages in the Caribbean), Barbara and I went ashore for a nice romantic lobster dinner.

Life is good.

Happy New Year to all of you!

Living the Dream,
Michael and Barbara
with Brian and Yansen

December 22, 2009

Traveler Christmas Card

Filed under: Year 3: July09 - July10 Greece to Newport Beach, CA, Caribbean — mrlawlerjr @ 9:11 am

St. George’s Harbor, Grenada
December 22, 2009

Merry Christmas, Everyone,

The big, really good news is that, after four long months apart, Barbara is back onboard Traveler! For her first three days I fully immersed her back into the cruising life. Upon her late-night arrival back on the boat, we celebrated with a bottle of champagne. But even with the bubble buzz, she did not have a good night’s sleep that first night: the gently rocking of the boat at anchor and all the little creaking and other noises takes some getting used to. The first full day we spent touring the island of St. Lucia in a rental car.  We spent an hour at a very nice resort hotel for a lunch-time happy hour and to enjoy the incredible view (and we were the only ones there), then an hour or so at a lovely beach. We also re-provisioned the boat with a dinghy full of groceries, including a turkey and all the trimmings for Christmas dinner. We took a late afternoon snorkel and saw three lobsters, which Barbara tried to catch with her hand, before a Captain’s Dinner with the Waterford crystal and china. On her second night, sleep came a little easier, even with loud music blaring from a beach party all night (until am). We then had a crew change with Larry Sharpless departing early the next morning to fly back to LAX after spending a month on Traveler. (Thanks Larry for helping me get Traveler across the Atlantic!)

We cleared out with Customs and Immigration at Rodney Bay and motored-sailed south along the west coast with an hour-long stop at Soufriere, famous for the twin Pitons.  There we snorkeled in a marine reserve the guide books call some of the best snorkeling in the Caribbean–and we agree.  Fabulous soft corals, thousands of gorgeous tropical fish, and we saw a sea snake. Then we sailed through the night south past St. Vincent and the Grenadines for about 110 nm to Grenada, where we are now.  We had watch schedules on this passage, two hours on and then six hours off, but it was difficult to sleep while sailing because of the boat’s motion and all the noise. We arrived in St. George’s Harbor and cleared in with Customs and Immigration.  But the immigration laws changed recently here and Yansen (Indonesia is one of the countries on the security watch-list) was supposed to have a visa in advance of his arrival.  This took a couple of hours of filling out forms, negotiating with officials and about $100 in fees for me to sort out. We then did a walking tour of the town and, among other things, bought some pirated $2 DVDs from a street vendor.

Last night was another tough night for sleeping because it was so hot and humid with no wind, which brings out the mosquitos–that makes four nights in a row of bad sleep.  No wonder sailors like to drink.

Today we take a seven-hour private guided tour of the island to see the rain forest, waterfalls, beaches, ruins of old forts and, of course, the rum factory!

We plan to slowly work our way back up to St. Lucia over the next two weeks, island hopping through the Grenadines.  We will probably spend Christmas at Tyrell Bay (12-27.5N, 61-30.5W) on Carriacoa Island and New Years Eve and Day at Admiralty Bay (13-00.5N, 61-16.0W) on Bequia, with stops at Mustique, Canouan and the Tobago Cays.

From all of us on Traveler, we wish you a Merry Christmas!

Living the Dream,
Michael and Barbara
with Brian and Yansen

December 17, 2009

Traveler Postcard Castries, St. Lucia

Filed under: Year 3: July09 - July10 Greece to Newport Beach, CA, Caribbean — mrlawlerjr @ 2:34 pm

Hi, Everyone,
We’re still in St. Lucia, on the west coast, now in Castries Harbor.  If you ever get to St. Lucia, I have some advice: spend as little time as possible in Castries.  It is the pits.

Last night was not a good night.

It started out when I decided to take the crew out for dinner.  When we docked our dinghy, the boat boys (who hang there looking for work) were surprised to see us venturing out in Castries after dark and warned us, “Be careful. Lotta bad dudes. Can mess you up, bad. Stay together, walk fast and don’t talk to no one.”  Okay.

It is hard to imagine, especially with a city this size (nearly 50,000), but there is only one restaurant. Lots of fast food street vendors and the like.  But only one restaurant, and it has negative ambiance.  The concrete floors and block walls with the fluorescent overhead lights make it look more like the dining hall at a third world prison.  I asked to see the menu, but they had none.  I asked what they could cook for us, and the owner replied, “All we gots is pig tails and chicken feet.” I kid you not. I thought I heard her wrong, and asked her to please repeat.  “Pig tails and chicken feet.”  That is what they eat here. We found the only other place that was open this late (only 7pm), a Dominoes Pizza, and took it back to the boat.

Then the smell hit us.  Raw sewer being emptied into the harbor.  And I had to swim here when we arrived because the dinghy tow line wrapped on Traveler’s prop when we anchored. When we were ashore I saw a warning sign that said “SWIMMING IN THIS HARBOR IS DANGEROUS.”

After dinner, at about 8:30 and full from pizza and beer, we all crashed because we were so tired.

Then we heard the karioke, and it was really bad singing. And you know how sound travels over water.  It went on til midnight or so.

Then we heard the dog barking.  Barked for about an hour or so.

Then the rain came.  A light drizzle, but just enough for a steady drip, drip, drip to hit the deck just over my stateroom, for another hour or so.

Then the rooster started to crow. For an hour or so.

Then the fishermen fired up their engines to get an early start on the morning and roared out of the harbor.

At 6, just as I dozed off, the cruise ships started to arrive.  The Aida Aura, the Caribbean Princess and one of the Carnival cruise ships. Three of them arrived within a half hour, all within a hundred yards from where we are anchored.  Caused quite a scene.

So here we are here in Castries, but only because it is the capital, with many embassies and consulate offices here, and we need them to get visas for Yansen.  This morning we have interviews with the French Embassy at 10:30 and the Spanish Embassy at 11, and then the Dominican Republic at 1.  Yesterday we met with the Jamaican Consul General and someone from the Netherlands and the British missions.  As Americans, we take the ease with which we travel for granted.  Not so, if you are Indonesian.  Nearly every country requires a visa in advance, and it is a huge bureaucratic gauntlet I must run, with Yansen, just to get an interview, with no guaranty a visa will be issued.  Then you multiply that by 20, for each of the countries we plan to visit over the coming six months.  It is quite a challenge.

The good news is that Yansen has a visa for the US, and that is the most difficult one to get.

The great news is that Barbara arrives tomorrow.  Yippee!

Livin’ the Dream,
with Brian, Yansen and Larry

December 14, 2009

Traveler Postcard From St. Lucia

Filed under: Year 3: July09 - July10 Greece to Newport Beach, CA, Caribbean — mrlawlerjr @ 2:29 pm

December 14, 2009
Marigot Bay, St. Lucia

Hi, Everyone,
We sailed overnight from Barbados to St. Lucia, about 100 nm.  The French and British fought over this island for two hundred years and it changed hands 14 times.  We can see why: What a gorgeous island! Much more beautiful than Barbados.  Visually, the island of St. Lucia is a cross between Moorea and Kauai, with high old volcanic mountains, tropical rain forests and great diving.  The people (95% black and descendants of slaves) are friendly but, sadly, very poor, with 60% unemployment. Most of the hotels and restaurants are sitting empty.  The Moorings Charter Boat company has 40+ boats at this location all just sitting at the dock with no business.

We first went to Soufriere Bay, where we took a mooring for two nights.  We had a gorgeous view of the twin peaks of Petit and Grand Piton, the island’s famous landmarks rising up from the shoreline.  It is an UNESCO World Heritage Site because of the spectacularly scenic peaks and reefs.  We hiked up to a waterfall, saw a botanical garden, ate some Creole-style barbecue, and had some fabulous snorkeling.

Then then we motored up the west coast ten miles to Marigot Bay, where we are now and which James A. Michener described as “the most beautiful bay in the Caribbean.”  We agree.  We are at 13-57.9N, 061-01.6W.  If you have time, go to Google Earth with those coordinates and click on the photos taken and posted there by others to see what we mean.  There are two things here in particular worth mentioning.

The Yacht “Bagheera.”  This is a brand new (launched only 6 weeks ago) state of the art racing sailboat, a Wally 80, built in Italy.  The name is from the wise old black panther in Kipling’s Jungle Book.  I’m guessing the yacht cost about $20 million, maybe more.  The carbon fiber mast alone, 113 feet high, must have cost about $1.5 million.  It is incredible.  We first saw Bagheera in Las Palmas before the crossing, and along with everyone else drooled in amazement.  Larry and I were walking down the dock at sunset last night and struck up a conversation with the captain.  He invited us onboard for a tour and to meet his girlfriend who also crossed the Atlantic with the rest of the crew of 8 as the cook.  While we took 16 days, Bagheera took only 12 days to make the same crossing, and their top speed was 23.7 knots and they never went below 10 knots.  The owner and the rest of the crew had flown back to Europe already. Larry and I both felt like we had just stepped into the future, like about 20 years into the future.  Did I say this boat is incredible?

Next, we wandered up to a hotel to have a drink at the bar.  Wow, what a hotel! It is the Marigot Bay (  It is easily the finest hotel in St. Lucia and we learned it recently won first place as the finest hotel in the entire Caribbean!  We were, again, in awe–twice in two hours.  And, we were the only ones there.  After drinking a couple of draft beers at the bar, just as we were leaving after an hour or so, we saw two guests.  That was it.  Out of 53 rooms.  And this is the ‘high season’ when, normally, every room is booked.  The world-wide economic crisis has hit the tourism industry hard.  For the price of a beer, we got to enjoy the ambiance of a fancy hotel and were…

..Living the Dream,

Michael, with
Brian, Yansen and Larry

P.S.  Barbara arrives here in St. Lucia this Friday for her Christmas and New Years vacation.  Yeah!

Traveler Postcard from Barbados

Filed under: Year 3: July09 - July10 Greece to Newport Beach, CA, Caribbean — mrlawlerjr @ 2:28 pm

Bridgetown, Barbados
December 10, 2009

Hi, Everyone,
We made it!  We successfully crossed the Atlantic from Las Palmas, Canary Islands to Bridgetown, Barbados in just 16 days, 6 hours, arriving at 1500 on December 8.  We expected the 2650 nm crossing to take 18 to 20 days, but we had strong wind the whole way. Our average speed made good was 6.8 knots.  Our top speed was 14.7 surfing down a big wave, and our best daily run was 188.5 nm. We caught two fish: a mahi mahi and a yellow fin tuna, both great tasting.  We wrapped the spinnaker on Day One, bagged it, and then ran with a full main and a poled-out reefed jib wing and wing for the rest of the passage. We started out eating well and gradually ran low on, then completely out of, fresh meat, bread, fruit and vegetables and went to canned goods and pasta. The water maker worked well, so we were able to enjoy deck showers along the way.  The weather was favorable, with winds of 20 to 25 knots from the ENE then the E, with occasional gusts to 30 knots.  The sea conditions were very bumpy, with large swells from two separate distance storms coming from the NW and NE and choppy wind waves from the E combined for confused seas. We had a few squalls with increased winds, then lulls after they passed.  Traveler and the crew performed very well. This was my last and the longest ocean passage of my three-year voyage around the world. From here on out it will be island hopping across the Caribbean, the Panama Canal, then cruising up the west coast Central America.

Barbados was okay, but not great.  We toured the island by rental car one day and that was a bit of a mistake.  There is much you do not want to see.  The only two things to do or see, in our opinion, in Barbados are (1) find a nice waterfront resort hotel on the west coast (leeward side) and just stay there, and (2) go visit the Mount Gay Rum Factory, which we enjoyed. A day of sightseeing (although there is not that much to see) and duty free shopping in Bridgetown is something most visitors do.  Most of the tourists are off cruise ships.  Most of the hotels and restaurants were running at 20% full, or less. Two nights and three days was long enough in Barbados, but we’re glad we stopped here.

We saw the mega-yacht Octopus here, and the owner, Paul Allen (co-founder of Microsoft and owner of Portland Trailblazers) was onboard with his guests and crew of 20.  We also saw Octopus in Raiatea in the Society Islands in April 2008.  You should Google “Paul Allen Octopus” and watch the You Tube video if this incredible yacht.

Living the Dream,
Michael with
Brian, Yansen and Larry

December 8, 2009

Position Report, Dec 8 - 43 Miles to Barbados

Traveler’s Dec. 8 Position Report:

Our 1300 UTC position, distance made good over the previous 24 hours, and nautical miles to go (MTG) to Carlisle Bay (Bridgetown), Barbados are:

Dec. 8 - Day 17
13-14N, 058-55W
188.7 nm –another new boat record!
43 MTG
Our ETA is this afternoon!
This will be our final Position Report

All’s well onboard Traveler.

Fish report: I only thought we were going too fast to troll, but even though we were doing over 8 knots we decided to give it a try yesterday afternoon.  Within an hour Yansen caught a yellow fin tuna!  We ate some immediately, sashimi-style, with ginger, wasabi and soy sauce.  And had delicious sautéed tuna fillets for dinner with a fine chenin blanc from the Canary Islands to celebrate our last dinner on this Atlantic crossing.  Yansen also cooked and ate the head, including the eyes and the heart, as is the custom in Indonesia!  We found out that there is a lot of good tasting meat in a tuna’s head.  Brian, Larry and I each had some.

With the crew of two (out of 225) ARC sailboats that left the Canary Islands together with us not making it (a lost rudder and a dismasting, they had to abandon ship and were rescued), we are especially thankful that we had a safe crossing.  Traveler, and her crew, performed very well.

This 2,650 nautical mile passage has been a fast one.  I was expecting 18 to 20 days, and it only took 16 days and 6 hours.  As of 0900 local time (UTC -4), we are only 29 miles away from our closest point of land on Barbados with 43 miles to go to our anchorage at Carlisle Bay, so we should arrive about 3pm this afternoon, just in time to clear immigration and customs.  And enjoy a Barbados-style Happy Hour!

Living the Dream,
with Brian, Yansen and Larry

P.S.  I’m really looking forward to watching the USC Trojans play in the Rose Bowl this year, and now that we are in the Caribbean I should be able to find the game on TV at a sports bar.  What’s that?  The Ducks are going to the Rose Bowl?  And the Trojans are going where? To the Emerald Bowl?  Where’s that?

December 7, 2009

Position Report, Dec 7

Traveler’s Dec. 7 Position Report:

Our 1300 utc position, distance made good over the previous 24 hours, and nautical miles to go (MTG) to Barbados are:

Dec. 7 - Day 16
14-31N, 055-58W
181.5 nm — a new boat record run!
226 MTG
Our ETA has moved up and is now Tuesday afternoon.

All’s well onboard Traveler.

Fish report: We are going too fast to troll the lure.  We have not caught a fish since the mahi we caught on Day Five, when our average speed was 6.25 knots.  This wind we have been enjoying for the past several days may be bad for fishing, but it’s great for sailing.  Traveler loves this kind of wind: 17 to 20 knots apparent wind speed behind us on a wind angle of 130, with following seas.  Our average speed for the past 24 hours has been 7.5 knots, and that is VMG.  We have a full main and a poled out, reefed jib, running wing and wing.

We’re starting to smell the coconuts and rum drinks.  By this time tomorrow we may be able to see the island!

Living the Dream,
with Brian, Yansen and Larry

December 6, 2009

Position Report, Dec 6

Traveler’s Dec. 6 Position Report:

Our 1300 utc position, distance made good over the previous 24 hours, and nautical miles to go (MTG) to Barbados are:

Dec. 6 - Day 15
15-32N, 053-00W
172 nm –another great daily run!
408 MTG
Our ETA is Wednesday, early morning.

All’s well onboard Traveler.

During the first few days of this passage across the Atlantic, I read a biography about Christopher Columbus titled, “The Last Voyage of Columbus.”  I liked it so much, I’m reading it again.

Here’s a one-question quiz about Columbus for you.

How many voyages of discovery did Columbus make across the Atlantic to the “New World?”
A. One.
B. Two.
C. Three.
D. Four.

The correct answer is D. We all know of his historic First Voyage, which was basically a reconnaissance mission.  He was intent on finding a westward passage to the Spice Islands of Asia but instead sighted San Salvador in the Bahamas on October 12, 1492.  He then later explored the northern coasts of Cuba and the island of Hispanola before returning home. But did you know his flag ship on that voyage, the Santa Maria, wrecked on a reef and Columbus limped home to Spain on the battered Nina?  Many are aware of Columbus’ Second Voyage, which was from 1493-96.  But did you know that he set sail with 17 ships on that voyage, with the main purpose to establish a colony on the island of Hispanola.  He off-loaded sugar cane, horses, fruit trees and more than 1,000 men and women, and also (unintentionally) rats and diseases.  With the diseases his forced colonial labor supply rapidly died off, more than a million of them, so the European settlers brought in slaves from Africa to harvest the sugar and other crops. On his Second Voyage Columbus explored and charted nearly every island in the West Indies.  On his Third Voyage, from 1498-1500, Columbus discovered the island of Trinadad, the coast line of Venezuela and the Orinoco River, making him the first European to discover South America. Later that voyage, unfortunately, he was arrested and imprisoned by a political rival in Santa Domingo, the city he founded and named after his father. Eventually, he was released, returned to Spain, and was given the authority by the King and Queen of Spain to return to the New World, primarily to resume his search for a passage to Asia. On his Fourth and Final Voyage, from 1502-04, Columbus explored as far west as Nicaragua and Panama, and from the natives there learned that a great sea (the Pacific) was a nine day hike through the jungle.  Columbus believed he had discovered the westerly route to China and was very close to its mainland and that a sea passage would be discovered soon.  Nevertheless, in declining health, he decided to return to Spain.  But along the way, because his two ships, the Santiago and La Capitana, were both leaking badly and no longer seaworthy, he intentionally beached them on a reef on Jamaica, where he and his crew were shipwrecked for a year before being rescued.  He eventually retuned to Spain, departing Santo Domingo on September 12, 1504.  But the return voyage did not go well.  A storm dis-masted his ship when he still had about 1,000 miles to go.  He jury-rigged some sails on a broken spar and limped back to Spain, arriving on November 7, 55 days after leaving the New World for the last time.  He died two years later.

Following in the wake of the great Admiral of the Ocean Seas,
Living the Dream,
with Brian, Yansen and Larry

Position Report, Dec 5

Traveler’s Dec. 5 Position Report:

Our 1300 utc position, distance made good over the previous 24 hours, and nautical miles to go (MTG) to Barbados are:

Dec. 5 - Day 14
16-20N, 050-08W
156 nm
580 MTG
Our ETA is Wednesday, around noon.

All’s well onboard Traveler.
We had a squall blow by us this morning, which gave us 30 knots of wind and sustained boat speeds of over 9 knots for more than an hour, with a top speed of 11.5.  Fun ride!  Then, as usual, after the squall there is a long lull.  The wind dropped to about 6 knots, causing our boat speed to fall to 4 knots, so we kicked on the engine and motored for a couple of hours until the wind picked up again.  And running the engine gave us a couple of hours to charge the batteries and make some water.

To break up the daily routine, I rigged the boatswain’s chair to a block on the outboard end of the boom, which was well over the side of the boat, and we played a dunking game I called “Flying Fish.” The guy in the chair (first me, then Brian) got dunked in the warm Atlantic as the line was eased out from the wench.  And then he was dragged in the water until the boat rolled to the other side, swinging him forward a bit and then hard into the side of the hull, hopefully with his feet out to absorb the contact (read collision!)  Plus, the force of the sea while sailing along at 6 knots could have easily ripped us out of the chair.  (We did wear a life jacket, just in case.)  It is a good thing that I went first because Brian wasn’t going to do it until he saw his old man do it, then he had to do it.  And if Brian went first and I saw how dangerous it was and how you could really get hurt by the roll of the boat slamming you into the side of the hull, I would not have gone.

But Brian and I managed to get wet, have some fun, hang on, and not get hurt.  Too badly.

Larry and Yansen wisely stayed safely in the cockpit, took pictures and laughed their asses off.

Living the Dream,
Crossing the Atlantic,
with Brian, Yansen and Larry

December 4, 2009

Position Report, Dec 4

Traveler’s Dec. 4 Position Report:

Our 1300 utc position, distance made good over the previous 24 hours, and nautical miles to go (MTG) to Barbados are:

Dec. 4 - Day 13
17-10N, 047-33W
147 nm
738 MTG

All’s well onboard Traveler, again.  But it wasn’t for a few hours.  At 0500 this morning we discovered we had a low-flow fresh water leak.  But where was it coming from?  I say “low flow,” but it was leaking steadily at about a gallon an hour or so, which is significant when we still have five days to go to Barbados.  We decided to wait a few hours until the morning light before looking for the source of the leak and try to fix it, hoping it would be just a loose hose clamp on a hose somewhere.  At 0800, we discovered it was coming from our hot water heater, which came as a bit of a surprise since it is less than a year old, having replaced the one we started with while we were in Singapore. After a half hour or so, with master plumber Yansen taking the lead and Larry, Brian and me helping–Team Traveler!, we had the leaky water heater disconnected, removed and in the cockpit. We soon found out that the leak could not be repaired.  So, now how do we plug the water lines so we can turn the water pump back on and have pressurized fresh water for the rest of the trip (which is needed to drink, cook, flush the toilet, etc.)?  We had to come up with something to jerry rig two plugs to cap the ends of two hoses, and they had to be just the right diameter.  The nearest plumbing store is about 750 miles away in Barbados.  Necessity is the mother of invention.  After a few minutes of searching the boat, we found two perfect plugs: (1) the tapered handle end of the plastic toilet scrub brush, and (2) a cork from a bottle of wine.  For this special occasion, I selected from the Traveler wine cellar a fine 2008 Moroccan cabernet savignon. Our hose plugs worked!  So we celebrated by drinking the cabernet with our pancake breakfast.  Cheers! (As Jimmy Buffet said often, “It’s five o’clock somewhere!”)

Living the Dream,
Crossing the Atlantic,
with Brian, Yansen and Larry

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