Sunday, December 27, 2009

Atlantic cruising and crossing 2009

The 'slave yard' on James Island.

A typical African village along the Gambia river. Except, note the radio/cell tower in the background. Someone, somewhere is getting communication from these towers.

Jason with the throng of kids that attached themselves to him on one of our walks through Kuntaur, The Gambia. Everyone wanted to hold our hands.

Jim navigating us up the Bintang Bolong (Creek) to the Lamin Lodge. It was a narrow and shallow river that is navigable, but many boats run aground trying to get up the river to the lodge.

My water delivery from Lamin Lodge, The Gambia. We were up the creek and the water came from a village 2kilometers from the lodge. We thought it was to be delivered by donkey cart. But the man and his 2 sons delivered 240 liters of water to Vision Quest by dugout canoe in these big yellow jugs. I then had to pour the water into our tanks and water jugs.

Jim and I checking out the Lamin Lodge while enjoying a local beer, JulBrew. We later had a buffet lunch here that filled us all up.

The view of the yachts from Lamin Lodge. Vision Quest is the last one the farthest out.

The Lamin Lodge, a grass,stick and board structure that has been described as every man's dream treehouse.

A typical river village along The Gambia. The women and children still come to the river to pound clothes as their way of doing laundry.

A dugout canoe on The Gambia--the only way the locals travel.
Another local village on The Gambia.

On James Island in the middle of The River Gambia, not far upriver from the capital, Banjul. This island was supposedly used as a staging place for slaves before they were picked up and shipped to other parts of the world. It is famous because of Kunta Kinte of Roots fame; this is where he was picked up in the novel.

More of James Island ruins.

This is dirty Dakar, Senegal. You can see the mast of a sunken yacht sticking out at an angle right in the middle of the pic.

Karen swimming in the middle of the ocean.
Jason and Jim swimming in the ocean on a calm day on our crossing to Africa.

Jason in the Sailor's Club bar on Senegal. This was the only 'nice' place we saw in Dakar. It was clean and they had great beer.

These are pilot whales that we saw between Cape Verdes and Senegal.

Karen with a Gazelle lager beer at the Sailor's Club bar in Dakar, Senegal.

Jim at the fruit stand just outside the Sailor's Club. Once we ventured beyond here, it turned into dirty, dilapidated Dakar.

Vision Quest in Las Palmas, Canary Islands before we left to pick up Jim in Cape Verdes. Some folks thought the name of the boat was "York Me" and wondered what that meant! You can see how our buoy "3920" came in handy to keep the wind vane off the dock.

dolphins next to the boat in Cape Verdes

More dolphins in Cape Verdes. We also saw whales here! But no pics, sorry.

This is Mindelo, the port on Sao Vincent in Cape Verdes. It was MUCH nicer and more modern than the guide books led us to believe. It was a great port to use as a jumping off point and we came back here after doing The Gambia to get water and fresh veges/fruit before crossing back across the Atlantic to Grenada.

A valley on La Gomera, Canaries. There are cave hippies living along the beach in caves on either side of this shot. They remind me of the '70's.

A valley on La Gomera, The Canary Islands

Rows and rows of big tuna anchors in Conil, Spain

These are big anchors! That's Jason, Karen and James from Moleoba perched on them.

Near the end of the levada walk on Madeira.

Jason and Patty on the levada walk. You can see the path isn't always too wide. This was about average. The dropoff was hundreds of feet if we misstepped!
Sometimes the path went through cracks and tunnels. The stepping stones over the running water are slabs of rock.

Karen on the levada walk in Madeira. One of the places where folks have laid slabs as stepping stones across the water channel.

Jason and Karen near the end of their basket sledge ride from Monte to Funchal, Madeira.

Beautiful hydrangeas like these lined many roads on the island of Madeira.

Port of Funchal. The big boat to the right of center is now on land and is a restaurant. It is the Vagrant and once belonged to the Beatles! If you look closely (blow up the photo) just to the right of the back mast of the boat (between the mast and the lightpost) you can see the twin white towers of Monte, where the basket sledge ride began. The ride brought us to the outskirts of this port city.

Here is the bowl, made from the root of the thuya tree that I bought for my brother's wedding gift in Essouira, Morocco. The burls are gorgeous!

Me with an Atlantic bonito we caught and ate.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Antigua and Barbuda March 2009

Looking out nW from top of Bird Is., Antigua
The lagoon on Bird Is., Antigua where we landed our dinghy to climb to the top of the hill to see the holes in the rock below.

Looking down 100' thru a hole in the rock at the top of the hill on Bird Is. Antigua

Another 100' hole that anyone could literally step into: no signs or fence or warning at all. If we didn't know it was supposed to be there and hadn't seen other folks there before, we could easily have stepped into this freefall to the ocean below. Never in America!

The fishing complex at Parham, Antigua where we got water. We washed EVERYTHING in/on the boat and filled the water tanks to go!

Wild donkeys and horses on Barbuda. We could hear them braying all through the night but the donkeys never seemed to come to the beach. We did see the horses near the beach one afternoon. The locals used to race the horses on the beach on weekends. These were curious, but skittish, roaming the abandoned K-Club resort on a huge property with a huge beach. Never did hear why they closed down.

A Century plant. They bloom once and then the main stalk dies and hopefully, the little cacti land where they can grow. These stand out on the islands above most of the other vegetation.

Jason snorkeling to scrub the bottom of the boat to remove barnacles and slime. We gotta do it periodically.

You can see the bloom of disturbed sand behind this giant party cat that just noses itself onto the beach on Barbuda and disgorges passengers for a couple of hours of touring and playing on the beach. One reason the water is always so disturbed....

Barbuda Beach party

More beach party pics

Drinks on the beach at sunset in Barbuda

Barbuda Beach Party

Jason, Vytas, and Tracie at Low Bay, Barbuda