Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Christmas Greetings from "Doc", Kaija & Gary

 
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Christmas Greeting 2006

From Kaija, Gary & “Doc”


2006 has been a more relaxed time as we are learning how to enjoy the cruising lifestyle. To put it in perspective, aboard KaijaSong, the first year we visited 14 countries and traveled approx 6000 miles. This year we visited 5 countries and traveled approx 4000 miles. At this rate we may take a little longer than planned to make it ‘all the way round’, but then again, what’s the hurry.

It is hard to believe we are entering year three of this Lifetime Dream Adventure and it is only getting better. Aside from the obvious pleasure of visiting so many new ports of call in the US, Cuba, Mexico Belize and Guatemala. The real ‘joy’ comes from meeting so many wonderful new friends. We are trying to keep a ‘journal’ of our journey and you may visit it anytime on the web. Here’s how. Just ‘copy’ and ‘paste’ the ‘URL’ below into your browser.

Http://kaijasong.blogspot.com

Have fun viewing our Sailing Journey and we welcome your comments.

We are heading for the Belizean Atoll “Lighthouse Reef” for Christmas. Please think of us as you enjoy Tom Turkey. We will do the same as we enjoy our bounty of the “Turkey of the Sea” variety.

You are all part of ‘our family’. We pause to count our Blessings again this Christmas 2006. We realize that with each new day, having you in our life experience is a treasured gift from God.


Wishing that You and Your Family have a Safe & Happy Holiday Season, A Prosperous New Year and May Your Dreams Come True!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Friends!!! - Belize - December 2006

It’s all about the people you meet along life’s journey that make the difference in experience. We have been so blessed at each stop along the way to meet the most incredible people who are all doing what we are doing and so there becomes quite a bonding almost immediately in the known shared loves and nuisances of life afloat.

Aaron and Lyla (S/v Blow Me Away) are a terrific example of getting it done when you are young. They have a system of cruise and work that allows them now to enjoy some wonderful stops along the way. They both have a passion for good food and good music and it’s been said on more than one occasion, that BMA is ‘sound powered’.

Sonny & Kay (S/v Valentina) are from Texas and embody the soft dulcet tones and southern Texas drawl that make them immediate friends upon 1st greet and meet. Sonny has more fun in one hour with a suitcase full of harmonicas that most grown men do in all their lives. It is great fun to spend time with he and Kay.

Tom & Lyette (S/v Mesqua Ukee) fellow Canadians from Quebec. Gary and Tom shared more laughs fixin everything from ‘One Pull 2’ (outboard) to sorting out of the mysteries of Universe as relates to Refrigeration on a Boat. As talented as Tom is in the workshop, Lyette can whip up some absolutely delectable nibblies from her galley…and…. did I mention she helped solve the secret a good thick Pizza with a ‘crisp crust’. Tom shared his Conch skinning secrets he’d learned from Gene (S/v Queen Mary) and so the knowledge was passed on. Gary was able to share a little secret of how to clean lobster in two steps.

Also enjoyed some fun evenings with Mike and Glenda (S/v Moon Slipper) also fellow Canuks who are old hands at this and have pretty much perfected the art of ‘life aboard’.

Torrey & Barb (S/v Litbe) whom we met at Cucumber Marina months ago. They have purchased land in Belize and will be developing lots with a dredged canal for boat storage. The project will keep them busy for some time and we wish them terrific fun and success and look forward to hearing of the progress as we will look forward to returning some day and being Guests of Alegria Point Resort.

We enjoyed a wonderful dinner on the Beach in Cay Caulker cooked by ‘Jolly Roger & His Sister”…they cooked Red Snapper on the BarBee with Garlic Toast and mashed potatoes with Fresh Pie for desert……… does life get any better?…good food, great
scenery, exceptional friends!

Spending an evening with Gene & Brenda (S/v Queen Mary) and Brenda’s mom, Helen, was a real treat. Not only are they a wealth of information given their years of cruising these waters, but can they make music. Gene has his electric Bass and Brenda’s Electronic keyboard all wired for sound and along with Sonny on his Harmonica, and Gary trying to blow along on his, or strum along on his little ukulele or hit the keyboard, it was a night of fun and laughter with some great singing by the Singin All nite, Ain’t Sit Tight, Holy Ghost Revival Choir (that was everyone present who wasn’t playing a musical instrument) singing at the top of their lungs, everything from Gospel to the other two kinds of music, Country & Western. Posted by Picasa

Belize it 'or not' - oh what fun!

November has been spent in Belize. We said our goodbyes in the Rio and met new friend fisherman Antonio who taught us how to clean baby conch...mmmm bout the best conch fritters known to man! The weather has not really cooperated for us to go out to the reef, but we are enjoying the time in Placencia, Sapidilla Lagoon , Lagoon Cay, and Spruce Cay. We are traveling with Mesqua Ukee and Litbe. We have had many wonderful evenings of laughing, playing cards and music with Queen Mary. Gary has now caught his first fish that we were actually able to eat – catfish for fish and chips. On leaving Sapidilla Lagoon he also caught a 6 –10 pound cobia – which we shared with Litbe and had two great meals. Spruce Cay provided for another lesson – cleaning conch. I was not present but Gary says it was messy but oranges helped. So now we are fully versed in catching and cleaning fish and conch. But lobster is still the easiest to clean of all of them. Posted by Picasa

To See Belize is to Belize it with your own Eyes!


Some of Kaija's terrifc pictures!...it's all about colour !
And...if you are ever in Placencia, you absolutely must tried "Fried Jacks" mmmmmmmmmmmm....mmmmmmmmmmmmmm.....good...there are two excellent choices....'Le Tatch' on the beach...or 'Wendy's' on the main Road near the water. All I can say is it is everything good, lightly deep fried and it is 'smokin'!!!! good!!!!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Year Three - We are finally getting into the swing of this!


Now, Nov. 6, 2006 we are in Placencia, Belize. Anchored safe and sound and enjoying the company of good friends, on Blow Me Away, Island Link, Valentina, Queen Mary, MoonSlipper, Mesqua Ukee as we all enjoy calm waters and a beautiful sunset.

Our Motto for this season is, mo sailin…mo sailin…less motorin…so the pace will be a little slower, but rest assured we will continue to bring you the stories and the views as we sail along on the good ship KaijaSong.

Season Three Begins



Oct 31, 2006 we are ready to leave Mario’s Marina and head down the Rio river to Livingston and beyond to Belize. We are guided out by Marco and Hugo and slowly pulled away from the dock. That is until their engine quit and then they had to use our dinghy to get us out the rest of the way. We anchor in Schell Bay for the night and last minute provisions. We head down river passing many of the locals in their daily routines. Livingston is a quick anchor in and even a faster check out. All our papers have been faxed in ahead of time and Raul is ready for us. We travel out with Valentina and Blow Me Away, and meet Queen Mary and Moon Slipper in Livingston.

Gary and Aaron get their last Guatemalan souvenirs hand fashioned by a local fisherman using pink conch and a hacksaw to create unique conch horns…now it is truly Blow Blow Blow us away…adios Guatemala. From there, we travel over to Bahia Graciosa and spend the next three days in major rain. During this time, Gary and Doc, on one of their shore visits, meet Antonio, a local fisherman. Antonio brings over to us a bucket full of West Indian Crown Conch. I do mean a bucket full, more then 150 of them that fed all three boats for days.

We finally get a break in the weather and off we go towards Punta Gorda, Belize to check in there. We are hit by several squalls, Blow Me Away – blows an engine hose and we are separated. During our separation, a hitchhiker, the small feather kind, joins us. We get to Punta Gorda and wait and wait, but no Blow Me Away or Valentina. We then head to the alternate place to meet, South Moho Cay. But, alas, we have missed them by about an hour or so. We stay and have a great visit with Breeze, a local Belizean contractor building a small hi-end resort on the island and Domissio one of the staff. The next day, after quick farewells and a gift of rosewood from Breeze, we are off to New Haven where the others have been anchored – safe and sound. They had a rough crossing and were happy to just sit in calm waters and visit Hard Luck Charlie’s old place. Charlie has passed away and the jungle is taking back his grand place.

Side Trip #2 - Tikal


Tikal is one of the oldest archeological sites in Guatemala. The towering pyramids poke above the jungle’s green canopy to catch the sun. What a spectacular place. We are on a three-hour bus trip, with our friends Karen and Mike of S/V Suenos, to arrive in Flores. This small city is on an island and you can walk around it in about a half hour. We will take off for Tikal the next morning – early, so that we are not there in the heat of the day. The van picks us up at 6:00 am and off we go. We are almost there when the van has a flat tire. But, out we get and soon they have another tire on the van, not much better then the flat but it is round. Our prearranged guide, Juan, met us. He has been used by many others and was highly recommended. His English is good and two girls from Colorado joined us for our four-hour tour. The walk is through covered walks, high pyramid ruins and Juan explains much of the history of Tikal during this time. There are Howler monkeys, Spider monkeys and cudamundies to be seen all around. The cudamundies are a member of the raccoon family. In fact when we were leaving the Tempo IV, they were in the trees throwing small fruit at us as we passed.

Side Trip #1 - Guatemala City & Antigua


We did a couple of short side trips inland. First, we are off to Guatemala City. On our way up, the day before Independence Day, we pass many young and old running, riding, and walking with torches. This is an annual event and is used for fund raising. It caused many traffic jams all the way from Rio Dulce to Guatemala City (over five hours by bus). It is just a big town and we were able to walk around and visited the zoo. Then the next day we were in a mini van on our way to Antigua. This is a beautiful old city surrounded by two volcanoes. Unfortunately for us, the skies were over cast and we were not able to climb up them. Gary was very happy about that. One of the highlights was the Casa Santo Domingo Hotel. This wonderful luxury hotel is set amid the remains of the Santo Domingo Monastery. President Clinton stayed here during his visit. The buildings are colourful and so are the people. Gary also got lessons from one of the young street vendors on how to play the local flute.

Life at Mario’s Marina Rio Dulce




Many cruiser are here on the Rio. Mario's is quite a centre of social acttivities as many folks are here for a number of months. Daily activies involve Mahjongg, dominos (not the pizza), contact chess (that’s a whole other story), walking groups, swimming pool & birthday parties. We made many new friends some we left behind and who will join us in Honduras, some we are cruising with now and some whom we hope to meet when we finally make Panama later this year.

The trip up the Rio Dulce



Here is the short scenic tour of traveling up the Rio Dulce River from Livingston to Fronteras (also known as Rio Dulce). The people here live a simple life on the river and all travel and commerce is on the river. The locals still use their cayucas for travel and fishing. They do not have a lot, but all waved as we went by.

Livingston Quatemala - :'Live' the Rasta – A 'Port in a Storm' – or 'Don’t Judge a Book by it’s Cover'



This is Levi – at first glance not someone you might pick to befriend, I can only tell you that the day we arrived in Livingston, Guatemala, aside from the easy check-in procedure…pretty much everything else that could go wrong, did go wrong…including having our new cell phone stolen. Enter Levi…who saw me standing in the middle of a busy street looking very perplexed and came to my rescue. Not only did he know what to do, he knew who to get to do it…and before I knew what was happening, I was sitting in the Police chief’s suburban between Levi and the Port Captain and the Chief of police and his sergeant accompanied by two motorcycles with two policeman each making a raid on a small shop in a part of town I would never have ventured…and before you say Rasta man or Bob Marley, I had my telephone back and shall we say…all’s well that end’s well…and we have Levi the Rasta man, ex Guatemalan paramilitary, ex Guatemalan police chief to thank…Thank you Levi…we are in your debt.

Traveling through Belize


As hurricane season was now upon us, we said our goodbyes to our new friends at Cucumber Beach Marina. We headed out to Water Cay with our friends Don & Yvonne on S/v Usquaebach. Unfortunately, they had engine problems ahd had to be toed back into Cucumber. They were able to rejoin us a day later after quick repairs. After spending a couple of days with them ata Geoff Cay, they headed out the cut on their way to build their new home in Roatan, Honduras where we hope to visit them soon. We made our way south heading for the Rio Dulce, Guatemala. We made a few stops along the way, most notably Alligator Cay, Rendezvous Cay, Tobacco Cay, Placentia & Tom Owen’s Cay, all worthy stops. We met many new faces and enjoying the scenery of the new and beautiful places, many we hope to re-visit in not too distant future. Some may have to wait until we pass this way again after we complete our circumnavigation.

Cucumber Beach Marina and Resort - A real Belizian Treat!



Finally, Kaija was returning to the ship after her extended trip, arriving by way of Belize City so Gary and ‘Doc’ kept moving, arriving the next day at Cucumber Beach Marina, just south of Belize City. Kaija arrived the next day and what a reunion. We spent three wonderful weeks at this marina, in large part because of the warmth and generosity of the staff and people there.

Paul, the DockMaster was kind enough to take us for an inland tour of Belizian ruins. The local children were quite taken with Doc and we spent many fun hours with our new friends Torrey and Barb on S/v Litbe.

A port in a Storm – San Pedro, Belize – not a port to enter in a storm…but don’t tell Capt Gary that!



Gary and Doc arrived in Belize amidst quite a blow and was the last boat thru the very tricky reef opening at San Pedro for a week. Sitting just behind the reef with no protection from the wind was quite exciting as many boats dragged anchor and Gary found himself up one morning at 5am watching the wind instruments register in the high 40 knot range for sometime while keeping an eye out for boats around him that were absentee and dragging. Life in San Pedro is very relaxed and hospitable and Doc made many new friends with the local dogs and folks alike, one in particular was the young 6 year old son of the internet cafĂ© owner, who fell in love with Doc and when he learned that Pizza was Doc’s favorite food, went out on his own and came back with a pizza to share with Doc…now that’s San Pedro hospitality!

From there, Gary and Doc headed south, overnighting in Cay Caulker. This place is so relaxed they should have a sign upon entry saying “No Shirt, No Shoes” cause nobody where’s either.

Kaija’s side trip in 2006


Kaija took the usual trip back to visit family and friends. Her trip this year, 2006, took back to Finland, Estonia, Campbell River, Vancouver and Victoria. She then flew back to meet Gary in Belize City, Belize. During the absence of the Admiral Capt Gary and 1st mate ‘Doc’ continued on. They made a quick sail back up from the beautiful El Cid marina and resort complex in Porto Morales back up to Isla Mujeres where Gary finally picked up #2 inverter after trying unsuccessfully to get it flown into Mexico it was brought down by a fellow cruiser from Florida. After that, it was straight south for Gary and Doc with more than one exciting entrance and exit thru the unmarked reef openings along the way. One of the highlights was sailing into one of only three atolls in the Northern hemisphere, being Banco Chinchorro to be met by Commandant Caesar and his merry band of ‘bandits’. This the first time we had been boarded in Mexico and it was quite the sight having Caesar and his 8 compatriots all crowded into the cockpit with rifles loaded and Doc walking amongst and over them…they weren’t sure where to shoot or Sh#$!…. and Commandant Caesar began every statement with….”Captain, Problem”…to which I responded….”Commandant No Problem”…and after an hour or so of spanglish on both our parts…we ended up being commandeered into the Mexican Navy with ‘Doc’ being officially Caesar’s Newly enlisted Drug Dog. Caesar was kind enough to have his personal chef go fishing for Lobster and Conch and prepare a meal fit for a king. We spent three fun filled days with Caesar and his merry troop before saying Adios and heading into Xchalak.


Xchalack's Jorge – a real prince!

Xchalak is the southern most checkout point in Mexico and the facility is run by Jorge (pronounced Warrhey) I can only describe him as a cross between a Swiss watch maker and Yoda (of Star Wars fame)…he was terrific, not only guiding me in thru a very tricky reef opening, but keeping his office open late to receive me and once there, handling all the paper work while I had only to sit back and relax…truly the best checkout procedure to date.

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Isla Mujers, Mexico - where the livin is easy!!!


Isla Mujeres, Mexico

Well we finally catch up with Don and Yvonne S/V Usquaebach. Isla Mujeres is a short ferry ride from Cancun and a great place to anchor. Here are some of the sites there. We also met a couple from Australia, Phil and Liz on S/V Fine Tolerance, they came to Mexico via the Northwest Passage and did they have stories to tell.

Our passage from Cuba to Isla Mujeres took exactly 24 hours.... even tho when we left the western tip of Cuba our GPS said we'd be there in 8 hours...then we hit the northbound current and altho our boat speed was 8 knots we were making between 1 and 2 knots over the ground.... for hours and hours and hours and hours.... also it is a very busy shipping lane and we came close to a 'header' with a mega ship...thankfully he was right on the radio when I called and he altered course...'thank-you Capt'

Kaija finally got to see her first Flamingos (she has been dying to see Flamingos since our voyage began) and when we sailed into Isle of Contoy we were met by the local Guarda who said...no Flamingos here.... they left, I hopped in the dingy with Doc heading for shore and all of sudden, I could hear Kaija screaming...."FLAMINGOS, FLAMINGOS” and for the next two hours we watched in wonder as flock after flock of the beautiful creatures landed just in front of our boat...what a spectacle of nature!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Cuba !!!! You got to see it to believe it!


Cuba
Here are some shots taken during our journey along the Northwest coast of Cuba. The friends we made in Marina Hemmingway, Gary, from Ottawa Canada and Dania, Cuban born (who got her Canadian Visa during our Cuban visit) and S/V Agape from Norway. The group of men with Gary are the officials that helped get us checked out of Cuba at Las Morros. Hector, the tall fellow fell in love with Doc and wanted to keep him there, even after Doc ate two chicken dinners that were left on the counter.

Cuba is off limit to our American friends and what a pity...the hosptality could not have been warmer, the scenery is beautiful and the sailing terrific. We have way to many good memories not to want to go back and re-visit the many friends we made during our time there.

Of all the sailing we have done to date, we did find our idealic island...about 5 acres of white sand surrounded by gin clear water, thousands of shells, about 50 swaying palm trees, and not a soul for miles and miles and miles......mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm good!

Dry Tortugas - a Gem not to be missed!


Dry Tortugas – a short history
1513 Spanish Explorer Ponce de Leon discovers and names the Tortugas (Spanish for Turtle)
1832 Naturalist John James Audubon observes bird and marine life in the Dry Tortugas
1846 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers begins construction of Fort Jefferson on Garden Key
16 million bricks were used in its construction
1861 Start of the Civil War; Union soldiers stationed at Fort Jefferson for first time
1865 Nearly 2,000 people (soldiers, prisoners and some civilians) are at Fort Jefferson
Dr. Samuel A. Mudd, the man who set the broken leg of Lincoln’s assassin, John Wilkes Booth, was the most famous prisoner. Mudd arrived in 1865 but was later exonerated and released in 1869
1898 USS Maine anchors before sailing to Cuba; Spanish-American War1935 Fort Jefferson National Monument established to protect the nesting colonies, marine life, and historic resources

We had two of the best sails ever! - going and coming back - it is a wonderful place - the history is incredible - seeing the Cuban Chugs and meeting the park rangers who volunteer and keep the place spotless...

....the anchorage is not the best for holding but then again...it makes for interesting times when you meet your new neighbours in the middle of the nite when you swear 'they' are moving forward and it is really you moving backward....and don't try rafting up....we witnessed a complete horsedance as our friends Ace and Suzy got dragged along with their buddyboatin friends rafted to each other and trying to minimize damage and keep out of the shallows.

...one interesting anecdote...because they are on constant watch for Cubans coming ashore (the dry land theory of immigration in the US) they are quite vigilent about keeping their eyes peeled for anything out of the ordinary. Kaija, Doc & the Capt decided to take a little dinghy ride out to a wee island some ways away and while the Admiral was hunted for shells and Doc was fishing, the Capt decided to get a wee bit of colour on his 'buns'....so after a couple of hours of relaxing we dinghied back to the anchorage only to be met by one of the park rangers who was fond of Doc and she exclaimed..."well you folks gave us quite a start today" I asked what she meant and she explained that when they saw us out on the small island they figured it was more Cubans coming ashore, but after checking us out 'thorougly' with their high powered cameras and binnoculars the head park ranger said "they ain't no cubans...not with big ol white buns like that".... ;o)

The Spanish Virgin Islands - The Road Less Travelled



These wonderful islands have not been visited by many and are still beautiful and the waters are clear. The snorkeling here is great, turtles and many other creatures were seen. We spent a month in the Spanish Virgins along with our friends Alan and Anne on Freya and our good friends Trip and Kathryn. Some stops of note were Dewey Culebra where they will cut porterhouse steaks as thick as your arm and are they good...Culebrita with it's lighthouse and spectacular views...Viques Island with a wonderful bay that is a gunkholers dream and we found our first buried treasure along with a whole lot of bombed out tanks and unexploded shells stuck in the side of the hills...Green Beach where the Atlantic meets the Caribbean and the current runs fast but the sunsets and beautiful waters are the thing of dreams...Coffin Island (need i say more) and Gilligans Island where the locals row out in whatever floats just to say 'welcome' and flash mirrors on your departure signalling that you will always be welcome back....oh the Spanish Virgins...we sailed many miles without seeing another sailboat...you sure can't say that about the US or British Virgins Islands anymore!

San Salvador - Where the Dream began



We revisited San Salvador, where it is said that Christopher Columbus landed in 1492. We were here in 1992 celebrating the 500 anniversary of his discovery of America. It was the completion of our first Atlantic crossing. It also was when Capt Gary decided that Kaija had the makings of being a fine Admiral as she had proved her mettle and earned her stripes...having never been out of sight of land before and after 18 days at sea with an iron stomach and a will that matched he knew she was the perfect mate for his life long dream of sailing around the world. Thus the dream began and despite all the ups and downs along the way, one or the other always kept the dream alive. It was also after this trip that Gary decided to make it official and asked Kaija to be his wife and mate for life!

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Year Two






The hurricane season is coming to a close and we are getting the boat ready to leave Beaufort, North Carolina. It is a sad time and a happy time for us. We have met many new friends here and Vern and Kathryn have been wonderful hosts. Everyone one is here to see us off this fine Nov. 13, 2005.
Our first few days are uneventful and sailing/motoring is good. Cape Fear, Charleston, South Carolina, Fernandina, Florida, St Mary's, Georgia. These are a few of our stops.

Charleston had a little excitement when Gary took Doc to shore one morning. The current if very strong in this anchorage and Gary had had a little trouble when he stopped here on his way up to Beaufort. I am on board, and get a call on the radio from a neighbouring boat stating that he thinks we are dragging. I said - Not possible, but thanked him and said I would keep an eye. Well not five minutes later, I look up and we are now sitting on the other side of the channel. YES, we dragged. So by the time gary found us on the other side, White Diamond, the caller, was over at our boat with his dinghy and 25HP motor, Gary is standing on the bottom and the tide is going down. After a three person effort, we get off the bottom and re-anchor. Our saviours were Ron and Evelyne Chadband s/v White Diamond - fellow Canadians.

Fernandina will always be remembered as the small quaint town that celebrates the day after Thanksgiving by going shopping in their PJ's. That's right, everyone goes shopping in their PJ's and the shop keepers offer discount and coffee and treats. Even the dogs were dressed up. It was a fun time and a place not to be missed. St. Mary's, Georgia is just a short three miles up the inlet and had we known they host a big turkey dinner on the American thanksgiving for all the boaters going down the ICW. We missed it by a day. Next time.

Once in Florida, Jacksonville is our next stop and then the place we have always wanted to go to - St Augustine. What a beautiful place, good anchorage and wounderful people. We decide to leave the boat here as we travel to St Petersburg to spend Christmas with Gary's dad.

December 28, 2005 we are on the move again to meet up with good friends Alan and Anne in Fort Pierce. We had not seen them for some time and shared many exciting stories.

After New Year's, we are off down the coast of Florida, Lake Worth Inlet ( West Palm Beach and Peanut Island), Boca Raton and Gary's birthday, Fort Lauderdale, No Name Harbour ( Key Biscayne), Indian Cay, Marathon, and onto Key West. From Key West we take a short trip over to the Dry Tortugas and Fort Jefferson. Beautiful group of small islands and a very historical place. Dr. Mudd, who had treated John Wilks Boothe, was imprisoned. John Wilks Boothe shot President Lincoln.

April 29, 2006 it is time to say good-bye to the United States and we are off to Cuba.

We are greeted by the friendliest group of officials and after about tow hours, we are checked in and given a mooring slip in Hemmingway Marina. This is a good base to work from, close to Havana and by renting a car, we were able to see some of the inland sites. There are many Europeans and several Canadians moored here. We spend about three weeks at this spot and now it is time to head towards Yucatan.

We have a wonderful time going along the north coast, stopping at several little bays and cays along the reef. The perfect island for us was Cayo Del Palo. Not a soul lives here, no other boats to be seen and the water is gin clear, and there are shells for Kaija to investigate and collect.
Other stops were Bahia Honda, Cayo Levisa, Cayo Buena Vista and then last but not least Los Morres at the western most tip.

May 01, 2006 we have spent 24 hours crossing the Yucatan Channel to get to Isla Mujeres, Mexico. The distance was only about a 120 miles but the current is so strong, at times we were going bakcwards, or at least standing still. An island off the coast of the Yucatan peninsula close to Cancun. We arrive on a public holiday and there are many boats anchored here. The race from St. Petersburg is to arrive in the next few days and the party will continue.

Here we meet up with Don and Yvonne s/v Usquaebach. We have been in touch with them by email for some time. Also, new friends are added to our growing list. Special mention to Phil and Liz s/v Fine Tolerance who are from Australia. They came to Mexico the old fashioned way - via the Northwest Passage. That's right and did they have stories to tell - polar bears and ice.
They also had many good things to say about the Canadian Coast Guard who had "dropped" them a new life raft just south of Greenland after their boat did a 180 into the water (that's upside down talk for all you land lubbers....guess they missed being 'down under')

It is that time of the year and Kaija is going to Vancouver and then to Finland so we move the boat to Puerto Morales to get her to the airport. A very nice Marina, El Cid is home for a few days to get provisions for Gary and Doc.

May 20, 2006 Kaija is off by air and Gary and Doc are bachelors for 6 weeks and will cruise down towards Belize before Kaija is back.

Gary had a bit better weather than last years solo time, but the navigation and anchoring were tougher. But he met many other boaters, and officials. He did get to fly the spinniker by himself and enjoyed every minute of it. Gary visited Hut Point, Cozumel, Puerto Ventura, Tulum, Cayo Culibbre, Cayo Norte,Bahia Del Esperito Santo and Xcalak.

Xcalak was the check out point for Mexico and was a good experience with Jorge. (in fact the best check in check out experience had anywhere to date...and highly recommended)

June 21, Gary arrives in San Pedro, Belize. After spending a week anchored in a very busy anchorage where every sailboat seems to be used for target practice by the locals and there is no protection from the very brisk easterlies, he is off to Cay Caulker, Chappel Cay and then to Belize City where he will pick Kaija up fromt the airport. The boat is moored in Cucumber marina and is safe and the dock master, Paul is terrific. He even spends one of his days off and takes us on a tour of Belize and some Mayan ruins.

We spend the next few weeks in Cucumber Marina and then we are off again. All ships stores have been replenished and the islands await us. Usquaebach travels with us for the first couple of days and then they are off to Roatan and their new home.

There are many wonderful islands to visit and the reefs are great for snorkeling and Doc is in the water all the time. He really likes the fish along the shore and spends many hours chasing after them or anything that moves in the sand.

Water Cay, Goff's Cay, Rendezvous Cay, Alligator Cay ( we traded for lobster here from the local fishermen), Tabacco Cay, Placencia, Tom Owen's Cay (where the remarkable Gayle Scafe is building a retreat here out of only local materials and no power tools - more on this later) are just some of the places we stopped and enjoyed. Weather overall has been perfect and only a squall or two cleaned the boat. The time has gone by quickly and now we are into August and no real threat of hurricanes. We are wanting to get into the Rio Dulce soon - now.

August 9, 2006 we check into Livingston, Guatemala. this is the small town at the mouth of the Rio Dulce River. An exciting day was spent here. Gary will give a short summary separately. Then it is off down the river. What a gorgeous daya coming up the river in between the cliffs and lush forest. You would think you had turned back the hands of time. The folks here are still fishing in cayucas, and all traffic into town and to neighbours is by boat. We travel for a few hours through these pleasant surroundings. The end is near and the river opens up to El Golfete Lake. We are now in fresh water and the RIO DULCE.

August 11, we are finally moored in Mario's Marina for the balance of the hurricane season. From here we will travel to see Tikal, Guatemala City, and Antigua. There are many folks here and some are here for a long time, others like us for just the season. The local village of Esmerelda is where we walk to and the children are out to greet us each day.

October 31, 2006 it is time to leave the Rio Dulce and head back up towards Belize - Season Three is starting.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Pics along the way!

What a pleasant surprise to see our friends Ian & Sue on the good ship Hoyden at anchor welcoming us into Guadaloupe

The Admiral at the wheel..we have two wheels on KaijaSong...sure stops the bikkering...it's just who's strongest as to which way we go...altho the Captain would have to admit...the Admiral usually gets her way!...I guess that's why she's the Admiral!...wouldn't you think naming the boat after her would have been enough?

Doc and the Captain relaxing by the seashore...need I say more?

....a breathtaking view from the atop thelighthouse on Culabrita Island,...climbing lighthouses is one of the Captain's things "cause you can see forever!" Posted by Picasa

Trinidad - Our New Cruising Friends

One of the great joys in this sailing experience is the people you meet along the way. All the more special are those that 'share your dream' and are willing and able to offer helping hands when most needed. In our case it was meeting Alan & Anne S/v Freya of Clyde and Ian & Sue S/v Hoyden. We met these fine people in Trinidad at the Power Boats yard we all shared during the hurricane season of 2004 (hurricane Ivan), and spent our first season sailing the eastern Caribbean with them. What great fun we had along the way, sharing adventures (as pictured here during our Island Tour of Bequai (New Years 2005).

We have missed them muchly during this past season because we turned right at the bottom of Florida heading west and south, they continued back on down the Eastern Carib to Trinidad. We have enjoyed staying in touch by email and we look forward to re-connecting with them in the not too distant future as with any luck we will meet again in the San Blas Islands of Panama.

Alan & Anne, S/v Freya of Clyde have posted a journal of their journey on their website at
http://www.sailblogs.com/member/freyaofclyde/ Posted by Picasa

A TRUE FRIEND! -"Trip" aka Vern Mountcastle III

It is said that a true friend is not the guy that's there to bail you out of jail, but the one who's sitting in the cell right beside you!

Altho Trip & I have never had to share the above experience, we've come mighty close.

He was there in '92 when we crossed the ocean blue and our dream began, he was there when the goin got tough and the work was hard and hot in Trinidad, and we hope he knows that he is always welcome anytime anywhere...a Tried & True Friend!

We congratulate Trip and his new bride Kathryn on their recent wedding (October 21, 2006) and wish them a wonderful life filled with the realization of all their dreams. Posted by Picasa

KaijaSong 'the Ship'

KaijaSong is a Beneteau 50. Retired from the 'chartering life' in the Grenadines she was taken to Trinidad to begin her refit into our new home afloat. The refit from stem to stern, top of the mast to the bottom of the keel was long and hot and much thanks to our good friend 'Trip' who was there when the dream was born and there when the 'hard work' began. She has proven to be a fast, safe and roomy vessel and like all good sailing ships a safe harbour in any storm! Posted by Picasa

'Doc' learning to swim!

Hey that's me!...my name is Doc...here i am when i first arrived at the boat in Trinidad...can you believe it?...I had to learn to swim...I am a rescue dog who was petrified of puddles...yup i said puddles...not poodles!...anyway...i highly recommend the use of a lifevest for all Salty Seadogs 'in training'...it works great...and hey...i can float forever! Posted by Picasa

The Admiral and the Captain!

Like most we meet in this Sailing Lifestyle...our dream began years ago during our Atlantic crossing (1992) where 'lil miss iron guts' proved her mettle and 'the captain' realized he had a 'mate for life' who shared his dream!...the rest was just a matter of time...keeping the dream alive...and knowing that with the love of this good woman...they would see the world...together! Posted by Picasa

Do You Like a Nice Sunset?

One of the things we most love about our sailing life...the beauty of the ever changing Sunset! Pictures by Kaija....Color by God! Posted by Picasa

The Day in the Life of 'Doc' , a Salty Sea Dog!

'Doc' Learning to be a Salty SeaDog. It takes hours and hours of disciplined practice and includes the following daily routines....swimming....eating....naptime....fishing....naptime....don't forget eating....naptime....hangin out at the beach....naptime....did I mention eating....naptime....oh yeah...'En Guarde' (i'm chief Mate in charge of Security and that's what i do between naptimes)...and don't forget eating...sailing...checking the horizon for my little dolphin buddies....and let's not forget more of that all important NapTime and eating

....not a bad life being a Salty SeaDog...I think I can be good at this! Posted by Picasa

The Admiral, The Captain and Me, Chief of Security

Do I smell Dolphins....mmmm I Love Dolphins!....this picture taken by our good friends Sue and Fred (the chicken man) aboard their S/v Happy Hours Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Sailing is a Dog's Life!

Woof! that's me 'Doc' just enjoyin the ride and keepin an eye out for Dolphins!! Posted by Picasa