Not only Dirty Work in Grand Turk

Position N 20° 54,900' W 72° 25,308' 2100 UTC

 

We did indeed spend a lot of time repairing the toilet and cleaning the boat, but Grand Turk had luckily lot more than shitty/dirty/disgusting/bad smelling work to offer. Grand Turk, one of the many islands the country Turks and Caicos consist of, inhabits around 3500 people with different backgrounds and nationalities. Until the 1960s Grand Turk relied upon salt exportation, salt produced from the island's many salt ponds. Then salt production suffered hard from competition and was eventually not profitable. However, Turks and Caicos were again put in the spotlight when the US military built a military base on Grand Turk. When the military base closed in the 1980s many people left Grand Turk since there weren't any jobs. Not until the cruise ship dock was built a couple of years ago and the opening of a cruise ship center Grand Turk recovered. Now the islands primary income and I wouldn't exaggerate too much if I said it was the only income, can be derived from the in general 5 cruise ships per week that enter Grand Turk. The cruise ship center is built next to the dock and all that the passengers need to do is to wander off the ship and they enter a shopping paradise with tax free products and local made necklaces mixed together. There are restaurants in true American spirit, a beach full of beach chairs, swimming pools, water activities like diving, snorkeling, dinghy driving, and etcetera. Pretty much everything a vacationist could ask for. This is one part of Grand Turk, when the cruise ships leave in the late afternoon the other part of Grand Turk remain, that is the sleepy friendly island with the most stunning sunsets I have seen in a long time. Everybody knows everyone and is acquainted with everything that is happening on the island; consequently it didn't take long until the whole island knew about the three Swedish girls that had sailed there. The fact that we most of the time where the only sail yacht anchored off Grand Turk should maybe be added to the story.

 

One night we had dinner on the place everybody gathers on Fridays, the Grand Turk Inn. Tasty food (like Grand Turk's local delicacy - conch, a little sea creature that lives in shells) and good live band entertainment which kept us dancing until late. Therefore we where kind of tired when Maria and I went morning diving the next dive. However, there were people who parted harder, the dive master who was suppose to take us out diving had had too many rum shots the other night, and yeah, he was in a very good mood when we left the restaurant, so he had to be replaced. Safety and diving aren't that equal in Carribean, I for instance got a broken depth control and had to glimpse at Maria's from time to time to have any idea of the depth. But apparently that's the way it is around here, we have experienced it on all the dive centers we've been but luckily the dive masters seem to know what they are doing and so far we haven't heard of any accidents. Feels good though being fully insured by, yeah, I think you all know by now, the insurance company Europeiska. We got two good dives among the beautiful corals but we both felt that they could have been even better if we had gone to bed little earlier the night before.

 

The little town, Cockburn, which also, despite its size, is the capital of Turks and Caicos, got a certain rustic charm; it is beautiful in its own way with a lot of interesting architecture. There's a national museum in town which we visited, we haven't been to museums since Europe so it was exciting!

 

What struck me the most on Grand Turk, were the happy friendly people. They are genuinely friendly and welcoming and before we left the island I hade made a lot of new friends and begun to understand the life of a small island like Grand Turk.

 

We left Grand Turk yesterday in the sunset. The full moon later lightened the sky but then something happened that forced me put on my sea clothes which I haven't worn since the Atlantic crossing. When Catrine woke me up at 4 am the rain had started pouring down and refused to stop. As a result I ended up spending 2,5 hours in downpour and 1,5 hours in drizzle with bad visibility. I wont complain though, in Carribean fresh water is often in short supply so it was pretty nice to have a morning fresh water shower, or maybe I should correct myself, it was nice until the sea clothes stopped being waterproof and it was getting cold.

 

Now it has stopped raining and the sun is trying to come through, we have about 200 Miles left to Cuba, where we are estimating to arrive sometime on Good Friday. Over and Out/ First Mate (a First Mate who can use her computer again thanks to a very nice local named Tim on Grand Turk who helped her fix the broken computer cord. Thanks again Tim!)

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PIctures from Grand Turk

New pictures from our sailing to Grand Turk are uploaded. You find them on our Picasa site; http://picasaweb.google.com/SailingCantare

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Dirty Work!

Two days ago when I did my morning routines in our small bathroom I noticed a funny thing. There were some brown liquid running down the inside of the hull. Hmm, could that be… something from the toilet perhaps? Oh yes it could! Maria came over and had a look at it and we agreed that it had to be the toilet septic tank that was overflowing. The toilet onboard Cantare has not been working fully correctly for a while now but in true “mañana-mode” we have just ignored it and thought that we could fix it later on. But maybe not. We had to take care of it straight away otherwise we couldn’t use our toilet for the rest of the trip. Yuck! This was not a funny chore that we had ahead of us.

Maria went trough some suggestions of what might cause the problem. First we tried the easy solution, sticking a wire in through the hull fitting from outside. Nothing happened. Next step was taking of the cover of the waste pump to check if there was something stuck in there. This procedure was done by me with great caution because Maria had told me that the waste might splash out of it (over my face perhaps). I covered up my hair inside a plastic bag to protect it and held my breath while screwing of the lid. To my happiness nothing did splash out of it though. Inside the pump it was almost all dried up which led us to the conclusion that there was nothing wrong with the waste pump. Okay, time for next step. Maria took down the air filter to check for blockage and found some nasty stuff, some of it spilling over her arm. Sadly that didn’t solve the problem either. So then we decided to take the whole hose system down. Sofia took the hoses apart and then we tried sticking a wire into the hoses to feel if there were anything stuck in them. In the one that was directly attached to the bottom of our septic tank it felt like there was something plugging it. But since that hose was quite long and then turned 90 degrees in the end we didn’t get enough strength to push it away with our wire. To get a better angle for the wire and to get more strength we could remove the top of it which would leave us with only the curved part at the end. The problem with this was that as soon as the plug was removed almost all the content of the septic tank (80 l) would flow out of it since this hose was placed at the bottom of the tank and only curved up about 15 centimetres after taking of the last part of it. But we had no choice, it was either this or surviving without a working toilet onboard for the rest of the trip, so we decided to do it.

We took of the last part and started pushing down the wire. Once again nothing happened. Perhaps the wire was to weak so we constructed a new instrument out of our never used fish grill. The fish grill is made out of steal wire that was bendable but still stable so after bending it to the right shape we had a perfect instrument. I tried poking at the plug for at least twenty minutes but had no success so finally I gave it up and jumped in to the water to freshen up a bit instead. While lying in the water I suddenly heard Maria saying “It’s happening….yuck, I’m getting it all over me”. Maria had just bended the wire a bit more and tried for maybe 5 minutes when this started to happen and although she was glad that the plug was gone I think she was a bit startled over the fact that the waste now was flowing out in rapid speed. We tried to capture all of it in big trash bags but of course some of it got away and Maria got some more nasty stuff all over her. After about 10 minutes we had filled two trash bags and the flow was finally stopping. Puh! Now we just had to get rid of the waste. And put all the hoses together again. And clean the boat properly. And ourselves. We emptied the trash bags directly in the ocean, which was a bit disgusting but the only solution at the time. Luckily we were anchored all alone in a bay so we didn’t poison the bathing water for anyone else but ourselves. After putting the hoses together and cleaning the worst up we had to stop working because it was getting dark outside. We had been working with this all day long!

The next day we continued the cleaning and cleaned almost everything in the boat, very carefully. So for one and a half day we took a break from our perfect vacation in paradise and actually did some really dirty work. It was tough but it feels good to have it fixed and a freshly cleaned boat now that we are leaving for Cuba.

/Deckhand Catrine

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hamnen.se

New post in Swedish can be found on www.hamnen.se! / The Captain

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Clearing in Grand Turk

Yesterday evening the wind picked up again to a steady 20 knots making it possible for us to approach Grand Turk with an average speed of 7 knots during the last hours, much faster than expected . We decided to anchor outside the shallows and could turn on the anchor light at 11.20 pm. The swell was big and neither of us slept very well. After breakfast we moved 2 nautical miles south where the swell was slightly smaller. We arrived at the same time as a big cruise ship started to unload it’s passenger. Lot’s of Americans crowded the artificial village and we felt slightly out of place in our salt drenched cloths. No one knew where customs and immigrations were and we got tricked into taking a cab to the airport, there we were told to go back to the harbour master outside the cruise centre. In a building that looked like a workshop we found a lady willing to clear us in and are now legally allowed to stay in Turks and Caicos for seven days. / The Captain

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Bucket rescue

We are still motorizing, but this morning we got enough wind to engage Monitor again. Last night we had to hand steer and therefore we reduced the watches to two hours each, it's harder to stay awake if you can't move around or read. I was lucky, on my Ipod I found a good sound book and it felt like the watch was over in half an hour, but then on the other hand it wasn't easy to wake up when Sofia told me to after no more than 4 hours of sleep. When my day watch was over I decided to take a nap in the saloon, it was lovely, after a while I became conscious enough to hear sounds from the cockpit through my earplugs. Sofia and Catrine were up to something, maybe they were hoisting the sails although I didn't feel any wind increase and thought it a little bit strange. After a while I was too curious and had to go up. They were turning the boat around and were looking out over the water, Catrine had a boat hook in her hand. Aha, I spotted what they were after, our big plastic bucket was slowly sinking 15 meters away from us. They decided to change tactic, Sofia took a rope, attached it to the boat and jumped into the water. Sadly the bucket was too far down when she reached the spot and all we could do were watch through the very clear water how the bucket sank deeper and deeper below us. Since we had stopped and were in no hurry Catrine and I joined Sofia in the cooling water and enjoyed the freshness. Afterwards we all felt great and weren't to sad about the bucket loss. Our progress is slow, 2,5 knots, we either have a current against us, most likely, or need to clean the hull, that is also quite likely. We will probably not reach Grand Turk today, maybe sometime during the night although it is not certain that we will be able to anchor until it gets light, there are lots of shallows around the anchorage. But there is no hurry, I have a few chapters left on my sound book and we still haven't caught a fish. /The Captain (who don't want to fall overboard after having watched her crew's bucket saving attempt)

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Dolly Parton's 9-5 - little old isn't it?

Position N 21° 32,090' W 69° 41,358' 2000 UTC

 

Onboard Cantare it is not working 9-5 as in Dolly Parton's case. No, we are new thinkers and have divided our 8 hours of working into two different 4 hours watches. Little before 4 am Catrine wakes me up and it is time for my morning watch. When slowly awakening and abandoning my dreams I always think; it is already my watch? And hoping Catrine would have mistaken the time so I can continue my sweet dreaming. So far no awakeners have mistaken the time, I wonder why… However, after having climbed out the bunk, stowed away the beddings and found some clothes to put on I'm sort of ready to hit the cockpit and get some fresh air to further awake. Before entering the cockpit the lifejacket is put on and a lifeline is secured to one of the safety steal handles. Before the tired old watch keeper can stumble in bed she makes notes of current position, course, wind, speed and so on in the logbook. After a little informal relief of the watch containing a little chit chat about the happenings of the past watch, like if there are any boats to consider, how Cantare is behaving, things needed to be done, etcetera, Catrine is free and off to bed leaving me to my destiny with Cantare. The first hour of watch keeping is usually over before I even noticed it started. Then on the other hand 3 more hours remain, not only 2 hours as usual! Not since Maria and I crossed the Bay of Bicay we have had 4 hours watches. So now it is time to be creative and figure things out to do to stay awake and kill time. Since we are sailing downwind at the moment with the mainsail and one foresail poled out on a spinnaker pole and the wind vane is steering there are not that very many things keeping you busy.  

 

This morning I was extra tired and had to make some wishy-washy coffee with expired coffee beans. Despite the expiry date was past ages ago the coffee gave me the needed kick and that's what matters. When it comes to kill time, reading with help of a red tacky head light is a popular pastime. Red light is used not to destroy night vision. Catrine and Maria easily engulf themselves in books while I find it little harder to be totally absorbed by them. I think I get enough of reading while studying when I'm basically is covered in books. Recently I have improved though and finished some literature. And at the moment I'm actually captured by the book Heavy Weather Sailing by Peter Bruce and meanwhile preparing myself for extreme weather scenarios that can occur on our long journey back to Europe.

 

Then all of a sudden the sunset is here and my watch is coming to an end and it is time to wake a drowsy Maria. This morning a tired Catrine was unwillingly awoke too since we had to jibe in order not to get too far away from Grand Turk where we will hopefully arrive sometime tomorrow. After jibing I was off watch and I will have offwatch until the sun is slowly fading in the west. But when Dolly Parton has finished her shift at 5 pm, I will already have started my night shift. /First Mate A First Mate who now regrets she mentioned anything about not being busy sailing. The wind has died and it looks like we need to motor (hand steer) all night long. Haha, well well, at least the weather forecast turned out as predicted.

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My world is rocking

Today is the second day of our sailing to Turks. This is actually the longest crossing I've ever done since when sailing back home we usually reach our goal after one days crossing. So for me it's exciting to try this out and get a feeling on how it will be on the Atlantic. 

Well, none of us has been seasick… yet.

All the way so far we have been sailing with downwind, which makes Cantare rock a bit from side to side. It's a peaceful way of sailing except from when you are trying to: sleep, cook food, go to the toilet, wash the dishes, walk around in the boat... Need I say more?

The waves aren't that big over here but the Atlantic swells on the other hand is up to 3 meters now (I'm guessing). That's a bit scary when you watch them from a distance and see them closing up on Cantare. It looks like they are going to wash over us but they just scoops up Cantare so that she surfs along with the swells in a cool way.

We are really hoping on catching a nice fish for dinner but so far we have had no luck on that. This morning I was wakened by the sound of Sofia screaming: "Fish! We've got fish!" So I rushed up from bed and grabbed my camera prepared to take photos of our nice catch. Maria rolled in the fishing line and we all watched with big curiosity. Was it a very small slim fish perhaps? No… it was just some seaweed. We cleaned the hock and threw it back in again. After some hours waiting I finally saw the fishing rod make some funny moves and I immediately started to fantasies about a nice fish soup. Maria started rolling in the fish and said that it was a heavy one, but then the pressure suddenly loosened and the fishing line went slack. When Maria had rolled it all in we saw that the fish had taken all of the parts from our lure. No fish soup tonight then…

Except from the failure fishing there hasn't happened much onboard Cantare today. We read books and plan what we should do on Cuba.  My hardest work today was opening a coconut!

/Deckhand Catrine

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Leaving friends

We had such a lovely time anchored in Big Trunk Bay that it was hard to make the decision to move back to Spanish Town. But we had to in order to prepare the boat for the coming month and the Atlantic crossing thereafter. We had planned to leave for Turks and Caicos last Thursday evening but when the list of things to do seemed endless we decided to postpone the departure one day. We bought more food, updated the homepage with pictures and a movie, applied for studies, replied to emails, fixed a few things on the boat and refilled a LPG bottle. Strangely our two small 2 kg propane bottles emptied in less than a week each. We hope that it was due to not being filled properly on St. Martin otherwise if that is how long they lasts we have a problem. We haven't been able to fill or exchange our butane bottles, Camping Gaz, for a while, they are now empty and we don't think it will be possible to get them exchanged until the Azores. The man who filled one of our propane bottles on Virgin Gorda was really nice and we are quite sure he did it properly, therefore we wait anxiously to see how long this one lasts, if it doesn't last more than a week we will have to eat cold food in the end of our next Atlantic crossing.

 Friday morning came and we were almost ready to leave in the afternoon. Then while we were having breakfast a familiar boat approached the bay and when she got closer we could make out the palms and sunset in the Safari logo. We last saw them on Antigua and the prospect of spending a last evening together with them made us change our departure plans, one more night on Virgin Gorda. They had caught a Kingfish on their way up to the BVIs and invited us for dinner. It was a fantastic evening, fish soup, Piña Coladas and splendid company. We showed them our movie and they played theirs, we all got rather excited about crossing the Atlantic, Catrine included, and talked about our coming crossing. The weather seems to be the biggest fear among us, we all wish to stay away from the low pressures building in the north and prefer to use the engine if we have to choose between that or facing a storm. Cecilie and Lars on Safari will leave together with a few other boats from St. Martin around the 5th of May. Our plan is to leave Cuba earlier than that to be able to catch up with the other boats on the Azores. Emelie will take a plane to Havanna on the 23rd of April and then we will do the final preparations and look for the right weather.

Saturday, two days later than planned, we had decided to leave Virgin Gorda. But, while we still were asleep Starfire anchored in front of us. Alan and Emelie came over and woke us up, nice. We chatted for a while and had a pleasant breakfast in their company. By the time we were ready to start with the final preparations it was too hot, we had to take a swim. I swam over to Starfire and got Emelie and Alan to join us in the water, then we could continue to catch up in the water. When cooled down it was time for work again. The girls packed and stored Volare, made Monitor ready and lowered DuoGen to watermode, while I carefully planned our route on the computer and manually programmed waypoints into the handheld gps. Finally we were set to go. Emelie and Alan watched us take up our anchor and then waved to us while we headed out of the bay. Safari was anchored further out, Cecilie and Lars came on deck dressed in pink, Cantare colour, and toasted to our departure with Piña Coladas.  Half passed four in the afternoon we hoisted the sails and although the wind was weak we could enjoy butterfly sailing throughout the evening and night. Monitor handled the slow speed, 2.5 knots, surprisingly well. Today the wind has picked up and we doing around 6 knots. It feels almost like on the Atlantic, a great feeling. We started with 430 M to go and now we have left. Everything works well, DuoGen produces power and the watermaker fills our tank. Catrine is relaxed, we are doing four-hours-watches and it works fine. Life is almost perfect, one thing I miss though is a fish on our trailing pink lure, but maybe that is to wish for too much. / The Captain

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New Pictures

Cantare office has been working pretty hard today and luckily had a bit of luck with the wifi! Not only a movie is uploaded, new pictures from our last adventures can be find too! Visit http://picasaweb.google.com/SailingCantare/SuperyachtsVsDesertedAnchorages to view them or just click on Pictures on the left of our page. Enjoy! Now we are going to fix the last things needed to be done before we can take off to Turks and Caicos tomorrow. This morning our friends from Safari arrived in Vigin Gorda and invited us to dinner, it will be one more lovely night here in Virgin Gorda! Have a nice weekend all of you! Love/ First Mate

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The Atlantic Crossing


During our crossing we tried to make a small video clip each day, but after a while days passed without us realising it. Anyway now I have had time to put what we got together and here is the result! To be able to publish it I had to reduce the file size, that's why the quality is rather bad. It is possible to view it full screen if you press the button in the right corner, you might have to push the button Control video size to left of the other one and change to Keep aspect ratio to get it to work. Sadly for you English readers it's in Swedish. But at least you'll get the feeling. Enjoy! /The Captain

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Meeting Grandpa Stingray














If you are planning a vacation but lacking inspiration of where to go, I think you should have a look at the British Virgin Islands and particularly the island Virgin Gorda. We been anchored off the island in a bay called Big Trunk Bay and have had a great relaxing time. Every morning we have been fortuned to wake up surrounded by turquoise water with an outstanding visibility. We have been anchored on 5m depth and from the boat you could easily see fishes helping us cleaning the hull and baby stingrays swimming at the bottom. Speaking of stingrays, we have not only been surrounded by baby rays, one day when I was out snorkeling among the “Gothenburg archipelago looking” boulders I thought my heart would leave my body when I met Grandpa Stingray. Grandpa Stingray was just underneath me resting his large body at the bottom looking up on me with his eyes that where bigger than my clenched fists. Luckily Grandpa Stingray looked tired and didn’t move while I was swimming above him. I know that Stingrays generally aren’t harmful to humans and when threatened there usual reaction is to swim away. However, if they’re being attacked by predators or if someone would accidentally step on them they can defend themselves by stinging with their tail. And ever since I heard the story about the woman who was killed by a stingray I have hold stingrays in great respect. The poor woman was sitting in the cockpit of a boat when a stingray flew up and stung her in her heart to death. Yeah, I know this was an extremely rare and unlucky accident, but still enough to be frightening. When I breathless returned to the boat the girls where thrilled and Maria was eager to have a look at Grandpa Stingray herself. Even though Maria knew Grandpa Stingray would lie there she was surprised and little frightened too. Stingrays are simply commanding respect!

While snorkeling we have not only seen stingrays, the other day a large Barracuda swam by, luckily we didn’t see its scary bloodthirsty mouth though. To further add little excitement to our relaxing sunbathing days we have almost managed to flip over our dinghy, Volare. Last night was an exception from the calm days and nights we have experienced here so far. Swells in the bay and waves breaking in on the beach made our dinghy take off from the beach little more exciting than usual. When the engine didn’t want to cooperate a huge wave caught us and we all thought Volare would turn over, giving us bruises and a saltwater destroyed engine. Luckily Volare didn’t flip over, only leaving us half soaked with butterflies in our stomachs after the rollercoaster dinghy ride it took us on. Oh, I forgot, of course we had to spend some time emptying the dinghy swimming pool too.

Of course, we have been doing less breathtaking activities too. Virgin Gorda is home for the Baths, a collection of giant rocks which serve as national park. The old boulders create a cave which we visit. It’s an exciting feeling being inside a cave having to climb and squeeze in between rocks and then suddenly end up in a tidal pool. The Baths are not only famous for its boulders and cave also for stunning beaches and awesome snorkeling. However, I would be lying if I said we have had the paradise for our selves, other tourists can basically be found everywhere, in charter boats but also in resort villas ashore. But on the other hand, it isn’t that bothering, the fellow tourists we have met here around have been so very friendly and I have often ended up having a little pleasant conversation with different strangers. And according to me, one of the best things when travelling is the opportunity of meeting new inspiring people!

Yesterday we left the little bay and instead anchored outside the harbor to be closer to facilities. Maria and I are at the moment trying to plan for the future by picking schools and educations for the autumn 2010. Studying feels so far away while sitting here, but deadline for the application processe is close and internet on Cuba will most certainly be even harder to find there than it is here. We also need to do some provisioning and get some work done on the boat before we can leave for our first longer leg since the Atlantic crossing. It’s about 500 Miles to Turks and Caicos, our next destination. This leg will also be Catrine’s introduction to long distance sailing, her very first sail trip longer than 24h! Exciting! Over and Out! /First Mate


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Paradise it is...still have to Laundry though..

I can just agree with the girls, we have had a couple of amazing days here on Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands. However, today we had to face reality again after having spent some relaxing days at anchor outside a paradise beach. No more clean underwears so time to do laundry… that is fighting with non-working washing mashines and dryers. When dealing with laundry herearound I so much miss the wash house just outside my apartment in Gothenburg. Our next fight today was trying to find working internet, functioning wifi is sadly no matter of course in paradise. Today we have had no internet luck until now when we are hungry and exhausted. But I know I owe you some updates from our last couple of days and with a bit of luck it will come tomorrow! We are also working on a movie from the Atlantic Crossing and we have loads of new pictures we want to share with you, so hang in there dear readers, tomorrow www.cantare.se will hopefully be crowded with new updates! Over and Out/ First Mate

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A Perfect Day

Today I have had an amazing day!

We are anchored in the Big Trunk Bay at Virgin Gorda, very close to a beautiful sand beach with palm trees and surrounded with turquoise water. After a lazy morning we all tried to pull ourselves together and do one useful chore each. Sofia pumped Volare (our dingy), Maria changed the oil in Volares engine and I lubricated all the small locks we have onboard. Puh, it was exhausting!  After that I had to coal down so I went for a snorkeling expedition. The water here is really clear so it is fun to snorkel around and see what fishes you can spot. I saw some cute blue ones, some yellow with black stripes and a really big grey one!

Later on at lunch time we decided to swim in to the beach and see if we could walk to the nearest town called "Spanish town". To get to the road leading to Spanish town we had to walk along the beach, climb some rock and walk through a bit of a jungle. It was great fun and I was stunned by the fantastic scenery along the way. This I truly a paradise! And as if that wasn't enough to make my day the next thing happening really did. Just as we were going to leave the beach and take of to the road leading to Spanish town a woman started shouting "Hey ladys, are you hungry?". Apparently we had walked by a group of women who were chartering a big bout called "Cuan Law" and they were just finishing of their lunch and wondered if we wanted some of the food that was left. There were ribs of lamb and pork, hamburgers, sausage, salad, watermelon, brownies and a lot more delicious stuff so of course we gratefully toke them up on their offer. We even got a bag of leftover food to take with us home! After that perfect lunch we headed of to Spanish town. The town was very small but we got our coke at a café, new bananas and Carib beer at a grocery store, and what more could you ask for on a fine day like this? Nothing, I'm fully satisfied with this day!  We are going to finish it of with the lamb and pork ribs that we got from the nice people att Cuan Law … and perhaps a sundowner in the cockpit! /Dechand Catrine

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Coming Home

We were unable to find a replacement plotter, nun that they sold on St. Martin worked with our Navionics charts. So in the end we had to settle for our backup plan, we will use the charts on our computers and get the gps position from our handheld gps. Maybe we will buy another small handheld as a second backup plan. It is not a perfect solution, but it will work, with the help of our newly purchased paper charts over Cuba and our pilot books we will be able to navigate safely. On Wednesday evening we left St. Martin after another nice evening together with Emelie and Alan. The wind was steady, 20 knots from the NE, Monitor did the steering and we had a relaxed night with three hours watches. When the morning light came we could see BVI, British Virgin Islands, ahead of us. The last days have been overcast and rainy, so when we sailed between Round Rock and Ginger Island which are stony islands it felt like coming home, home to Gothenburg and the smooth round rocks that make up the archipelago outside Gotheburg. On our way north to Spanish Town on the west coast of Virgin Gorda we passed the Baths, famous for its granite boulders and felt even more at home. The only odd things in the picture were the palms sticking up between the stones and the color of the water. In Spanish Town we cleared in, it wasn't as convenient as on the French Islands, back to a lot of paperwork. Today we took Cantare to the Baths, but there were no free mooring buoys so we tied up to Danish boat and took a short trip ashore. The weather was much better today which made the landscape even more beautiful. We were amazed by the place and decided to go back another day early in the morning to get a mooring buoy. Now we are anchored in a bay further north that isn't too bad either. Nice cream colored beach flanked by round big stones and palm trees, crystal clear water with rays and fishes and almost no other boats in the bay. Actually it's perfect here in Big Trunk Bay, we will stay for a few days before we go back to the Baths.

Talking about going back and coming home, we have decided to try to arrive in Sweden, Höganäs, on July the 10th. Of course nothing is for sure, especially not since we have the Atlantic ocean to cross first, but if everything goes well we will reconfirm this date when we are back in Europe. We will bring rum for the party so be there! /The Captain

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Stuck in St Martin.....grrrr

When sailing unpredictable things happens all the time, like yesterday when we where ship shape and ready to take off in the sunset, and our second plotter broke. So here we are stuck in St Martin trying to find a new plotter, harder than we thought though. Couldn't find any that works with our navronics electronic charts. We will therefore use paper charts, pilot books and the electronic charts on our laptops and then we will be fine, somehow it'll work out! It is just so frustrating that all of a sudden everything seems to be breaking down! No sorrows though, we keep smiling! Hopefully we're off to BVI tomorrow!

PS. Click here to read the latest post on the insurance company Europeiska's web, and to all our Swedish readers, it's in Swedish, tjjoooohoooO! /First Mate

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First Mate’s Side of the Story























video

My side of the story is little different, I thought racing the Heineken Regatta with Varsovie was absolutely amazing and I have had a great time here in St Martin! I’m so thankful for being given the opportunity to race with a boat like Varsovie, not just as a guest but as a crew who needed to dig in and help sailing. When reading this blog some of you maybe have picked up that I’m a person who constantly is looking for new adventures and adrenaline kicks, and regatta sailing is absolutely one thing that I’ve come to enjoy. I am not only amazed by the excitement in the actual sail competition but also in the hard work of sailing a larger yacht like Varsovie. I hope you can get a feeling for the action by looking at the pictures and the movie I have posted. Before the regatta I went out test sailing with them, got to know the crew and started learning how it really works sailing a yacht like Varsovie. We raced for three days and had everything from light breeze with good spinnaker sailing to heavy rain and wind 20 knots where the code zero (huge light reacher) wasn’t an option. The spinnaker was so large it often took 6 people to move it around the foredeck, and one day when the sock stuck on the way down it took the entire crew to wrestle it into the cockpit. My role in the race was mainly helping with the spinnaker halyard and diving in with everyone and pull it back in the bag. Furthermore raceing and sailing in general is about being aware of everything and thinking and moving quickly at all time. Always being ready for a tack or to help getting sheets out of the water etcetera. If you're not aware of the dangers on a powerful sail yacht like Varsovie you can easily hurt yourself. One of the most exciting times was at the start crowded with all 13 boats that where in our class. More than once we missed a collision by less than half a meter, both crews shouting and waving the other off. The movie trys to give a feel for it but doesn't give a true picture of what it was like out there. I really want to thank the crew: Patrick (Skipper) Ian (First Mate) Inness (Deckhand) and Alexa (Cook who is actully Swedish) for giving me the opportunity to come race with them. You are awesome guys, I hope to see you again! We are off to BVI now so unfortunately I can't continue share more of my experiences but I just wanted to let you know that I experienced the time here in St Martin little differently than Maria. I have had a blast and will definetely do more regattas in the future! Oh, one more thing I really want to thank our blond Alaskan stalker too, I had a great time with you here in St Martin! And I'm so happy you hooked up with skipper Patrick on your dive course and got involved with Varsovie! You rock Olaf, until I see you again continue live life with a smile on your face!/Over and out from an exhausted but very happy First Mate

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The Captain's side of the story

Kindly we were invited to sail with Varsovie the 100 foot Swan for a test sail. I was very curious about the yacht and how it would feel to sail it. The first thing that struck me as we got closer was how clean the design was. The yacht had no excess things that made it look clustered, instead everything seemed to be very well thought of and a nice detail was how the cleats were retractable into the deck. When we had climbed aboard I found myself standing a few meters up , Varsovie was hardly moving in the swell that caused the yachts anchored around her bounce like little dinghies and when I looked up I was amazed by the giant mast. Cantare’s mast top would maybe reach up to Varsovies first spreaders out of her four pairs. After saying hello to the owners, guests and crewmembers we were soon on our way out of the bay. All winches were hydraulic so all you had to do to hoist or trim the sails was to push a button. Actually it wasn’t really that simple, the guys on foredeck had to work hard from time to time when the gennaker or spinnaker was going up or down. Although the log showed over 9 knots it didn’t feel fast. Only when comparing to smaller yachts around her was it possible to realize what a huge yacht we were on. Most of the sail work was exactly like on Cantare, the one big difference was how many people it took to sail her. That is why I actually prefer to sail Cantare, it’s possible for me to do it on my own and it’s easy to have control of everything. You also have better contact with the water on a smaller yacht and just by leaning over the rail on Cantare you can touch the ocean. I missed that feeling on Varsovie. But when asked whether or not we wanted to join them for the regatta the next day I decided to give it one more go, mostly to experience what it’s like to race on a big yacht. It was fun although I had expected more action than what really occurred, most of the time we were sitting on the rail or climbing over the deck saloon to the other side. Therefore when Sofia wanted to stay for the other race days I was skeptical, in the end we decided to split up. Sofia stayed ashore and raced during daytime while Catrine and I sailed Cantare to the other side of the island. I never wanted to go to St. Martin and now we have been here for almost a week, luckily Emelie happened to be here as well and that has made it worth it. I am also glad that I've had the opportunity to try sailing on a 100 foot Swan. However I am very happy that we will be leaving today, finally we are moving towards Cuba again. First we will stop on Virgin Gorda, BVI, and then we go to Turks and Caicos before it’s time for Cuba Libre. / The Captain

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Cantare life

Almost 2 weeks have already gone by since I first arrived at Antigua, and I’m slowly starting to adapt to the life of sailing in the Caribbean. The first of my days over here I frowned and laughed a lot about the funny manners and the strange solutions that now are a part of Maria’s and Sofia’s daily life as sailors. The girls have really gotten into a “mañana-mode”. They have like a lot of small things that need to be done on the boat, but they gladly postpone doing it to some other day. And if they actually do fix something, they proudly announce how good they have been working and that they surely after that deserve a real break (like taking a nap in the sun up on the foredeck). And then there is the “egg-discussion”. On my second day here Maria and Sofia came into an argument about storage of eggs. Maria claims that if you get fresh eggs that haven’t been cooled down yet you don’t need to store them in the fridge. And to make them less vulnerable you should rub some Vaseline on their shell. Sofia on the other hand was not so sure about this, and she is actually sort of an expert on the area since they have their own hens at her parents’ home. So the discussion got intense and it was fascinating to listen to their arguments. It’s funny how they could get so worked up about this (and apparently it wasn’t the first time they have had this discussion). But the thing I really got worried about in the beginning was their menu! When asking what we should eat they often suggest dishes such as: Tuna and rice, tuna and bread, tuna with egg and corns, tuna with couscous… or perhaps rice with paprika? They seem to have created these innovative culinary dishes around the fact that 2 to 3 ingredients (preferably canned food) is just a perfect amount of work and food for a meal onboard.
Yeah there are a lot of funny things going on at the boat Cantare and as a newcomer you can do nothing but laugh about it. But at the same time I’m realizing that maybe it won’t take that long until I’m starting to behave more and more like the sailors. It’s actually a big mission just making lunch onboard Cantare so why not treat yourself with the rest of the day off, just going for a swim and then drying in the sun. And by the way… tuna and bread is a delicious lunch!
/Deckhand Catrine

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Racing the Heineken Regatta with Varsovie

Remember the 100-footer Swan I was out sailing with the other day, Varsovie? We were out test sailing today too and the girls joined too, so much fun! Tomorrow the Heineken Regatta starts, and you know what, we're gonna race too! I'm so pleased to be given the opportunity to join them racing, it's amazing! Racing is a fast paced and potentially dangerous sport and we are very thankful to be insured by the insurance company Europeiska. Keep your fingers crossed we will do a good job tomorrow, I'm so exited!!!! /First Mate Sofia

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Mini Vacation in St Martin



























A picture is worth a thousand words, isn't that true? I'm posting a couple of pictures from my little vacation here in St Maarten. Have had a wonderful time! I've been out sailing a 100-footer Swan called Varsovie and got a view of the life on the super yachts, seen the island in a rental car, hanging out with our Alaskan stalker, managed to lose my camera and then get it back in 24 hours, eating too many ribs, watched the airplanes landing just outside a nice beach bar, met a bunch of new inspiring people...and so on.. But now it is time to go home, the girls have arrived and I miss Cantare. No matter how big and luxurious the yachts are around here, the journey we are doing together on Cantare is just amazing! /First Mate

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