April Log Entries (Click here)
4/12/01 - Simpsons Bay, St Martin, Dutch Antilles. Here 1400 today from St Kitts. Goodly number of humpys soliciting business quite vocally, but not much action topside. Will do 6 day circuit around here once we have met up with Hank's sister JoAnn Saturday night. Maybe Anguilla & St Barts or perhaps Statia & Saba. Dutch islands interesting as visible relic of free trading historic role Dutch have played in Caribbean for centuries. Fun to catch up with boats we have been playing leap frog with since Canaries. St Kitts a delight: gentle people & rolling fields of cane, served by circumferential narrow gauge railway, with central mountain backdrop covered in rain forest. Royal palm avenues to old plantation houses. Toured sugar factory with 1910 vintage Scottish heavy engineering. Steam, heavy flywheels & vats of perking molasses abounded. Sadly sugar price may kill the whole St Kitts sugar system next year. Awesome boogie boarding: even Hank & I caught some big ones. Happy Easter. Mkl
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The "Rosita Crew" Signs Off
While we were in the Cape Cod Canal last Saturday, Hannah and the boys - or should I say now, boys and young men - all wrote a paragraph about what the past year has meant to them - I guess people like people!
When I first started out for this year, I was excited. I was excited all the way through, too. Now that I'm going home, I'm really exited to see all the people I know and miss. Sure, the passages have been a little long, boring, and cramped, and there are times you're stuck in a port where you don't want be, but they're rare. I've had a heck of a lot of fun and met so many wonderful people, but I still really want to go home. Sometimes we know we'll see some of the people we meet, but it was hard at first and still is to leave so many people and places. It'll be nice to be able to stay in one place and get used to it. I suppose I might have some trouble getting used to it. There's no place like home and the people in it. Chris
The first things that jump to mind when I think of our trip are the wonderful people we have met that have helped us explore the beauties of their homes. The taxi drivers in the Azores with their dirty jokes. Selwyn in Grenada with his vast knowledge of his home and his joys in stealing bananas and nutmegs for us. Collins in the Macarao river, he I will most remember him for his complete lack of fear for huge black spiders and what not. Collins' family, the grubs from the trees in the jungle, falling off the logs and laughing at our friends when they got soaked. I will also remember Mike Earl from Battle Harbor Labrador, who I think is one of the funniest people I have every met, Paul and Michele who completely understood our thirst for showers and a laundry machine after a long trip up from Bermuda. They even were so understanding as to take us into their home and let us watch the Stanley Cup on their TV. I will remember the undaunting kindness of every one from Newfoundland and Labrador, from just kindly taking our lines on the dock to interesting us with animated discussions about whales, how life used to be there and the way the new road in Labrador will completely change their lives. They were able to trust every body, now there will be strangers coming through constantly. My heart goes out to those people. I will remember the great beauty of the desolate Cape Verde Islands, in their people as well as the unforgiving land. I'll not forget the wonderfulness of the transatlantic "Milking Passage". Sam
This year has been one big geography lesson as well as a class in foreign culture. We have been to places that I had only read about. Before this I hadn't quite figured out the different parts of Great Britain, let alone where Madeira is. Now it all just fits into place. I now understand almost all of the northwest hemisphere's geography. Along with the geography I also feel that I understand most of the people as well. We stayed in each place long enough to get a good sense of what the people are like. It was also really cool just to talk to the local people. Ol This trip has really made me realize the size of the world. Before this trip the world consisted of just Marion. Now I realize there‘s more out there. The other thing I loved about this trip was meeting all the nice people. The taxi drivers, the locals, and also Olle and Nils and Te Bheag. Before I didn't know how many nice people are out there. Especially in Newfoundland, the people were incredibly nice. Tom
The hobbit in me is so happy - home is around the corner. Like Bilbo Baggins, I feel changed by my adventures and am thankful for the wonder of it all, but there is nothing like the your own soft chair (bed and shower!) As I look back at the past 14 months, it seems to fill a lifetime. I agree with the kids, the people are the most memorable. The kindness we met in the Azores, Cape Verde, Bermuda, and Canadian Maritimes have given me a desire to extend the same welcome to others in my life. When on my final watches, I made up a game of closing my eyes to see what pictures came to my mind. Here are some of those that come most often: my first sight of the vast steep bay of St. Kilda, Scotland; the steamy harmatan wind blowing through the harbor of Sal Rey on Boa Vista CV; sharing cookies with a group of children on the pier in Palmera, Sal CV; listening to Sam and Oliver shortening sail on their watch while I was snuggled down in my bunk below; halyard swinging parties in the Carribean with extra of children from around the world on board; playing soccer on the docks in Horta-Azores; the blue hills in Flores-Azores, my children singing songs in Battle Harbor, Labrador in front of lots of strangers; Michael and Chris wrestling with a bergie bit, capturing it for the freezer; Tom grilling bagels for the family. The places were wonderful, but what I hate to see end is the time together. We are just an ordinary family, but have had the gift of time to feel the hugeness of the gift to be a part of it. I think people usually have to survive something terrible to experience the depth of intense feeling I have just now- the love for my kids has always been huge, but now my respect and understanding is a bigger part of it. We are good friends. Michael has looked after us all so well- with endless skill, patience and love. Visiting Newfoundland where we met so long ago makes me wonder at the dumb luck of it all- to meet the love of my life on Quinlans fish pier. Now we are coming home to our home, and who knows what will happen next?
August 8th 2001 - Marion - Here I sit alone on Rosita - all our gear is up at the house, the laundry machine still spins, the boat is pretty clean, Hannah is rediscovering our shore lives, the boys are off with friends, bustling around in small boats and in the clam mud, and I'm tidying up our data files to begin to write up the science part of the trip. I echo all of the above re the people we have met. A number of people here have asked me what was the most special place we visited, and my trite but true reply is the best place I visited was a place that only a very few fathers ever get the privilege to go. That place was a big chunk of solid time with my family without the endless competing agendas of work, community and other things. It is a very self- centered place, but in going there we have all learnt to respect and love each others hopes, fears and differences. The physical places were second to that overall gift. Of those places, the places that stand out were largely associated with the ghosts of past sea life abundance and harvest excesses - to hear the silence and see the emptiness was a true monument to man's greed and inability of conserve. The abandoned whaling stations in Scotland, Ireland, Azores, Cape Verde Islands, Trinidad, Bermuda, Newfoundland and Labrador. But yet the life is there - we heard an astounding amount of sperm whales when off the continental shelves. The humpbacks whales are coming back. Likewise if we can do better in the management of right whales on these shores, nature has a boundless capacity to regroup - if only we can leave her alone enough to do so.
In terms of "Thank you's" there is a long list. We had some financial support form the National Geographic Society for the right whale survey work. We had material support form the International Fund for Animal Welfare for the loan of a hydrophone system, from Mo Brown for the loan of a biopsy system, and we have had crewing help to get the boat around the track from Lisa Conger, Phil Hamilton, Eric Pierce, Amy Knowlton, Natasha Aguilar, Carolyn Miller and on two occasions from Lisa Steiner (she who knew and came back for more!). Thanks are also due to those on the email list for listening and taking an interest in our wanderings. Michael
When the final report is done I will send out the web url. It wont be for a month or three.
For those of you interested in cruiser technology here is a brief summary
of how the different brands worked for us. Happy to discuss specific
issues if any one interested in so doing.
Radar - Furuno - good
Sailing Instruments - Cetrek- OK
Autopilot - Cetrek - Control Head not weatherproof - big problem.
PC - Hewlett Packard Pavilion - Excellent - IBM flat panel monitor - excellent
Single Side Band radio - ICOM- M710 - Good but hard to enter new frequencies quickly
Pinoak Email - Good - would also use the ham system next time cos free but no good for business stuff.
Inmarsat C/GPS - Trimble Galaxy - Very Good - Reliable text weather and safety.
GPS Trimble NT2000D - Excellent
Chart Browser - Chartview Pro - Good
E charts - UKHO - very expensive and hobbled by password security. Maptech - good. Imray - many datum problems. Caribbean Yachting Charts - Good Self steering gear - Monitor by Scanmar - The only crew member not always hungry and always steering a good course. It steered about nearly all the sailing of the 18,000 miles we ran.
Steering system - Edson - Excellent
Bilge pumps - Rule - so so. Lovett - so so. Edson hand diaphragm - awesome - even for foul fuel.
Sails - Sperry - Good and heavy which is what we asked for.
Fuel filters - Racor - excellent - must have two in parallel with a vacuum gauge to monitor.
Link 2000 battery monitor - good.
Gel Cells - good.
Winches - Lewmar - good
Anchor winch - Lofrans - Very good
Anchors - 100# Bruce - very good except rock and kelp. 100# fisherman - Good in rock - OK in mud
Dinghy - Avon Rollaway - good to stow - wet to use - but great to put away offshore.
Stove - Force 10 - Excellent
Refrigeration - Glacier Bay - Very Good
Water Maker - Village Marine - OK once we had both pumps replaced on warranty
Generators - three in a year….. - 1. Balmar VST 8 - died in the control box - no parts available. 2. Fischer Panda 4 - blew cylinder head after 700 hrs. Died about 5 times for various reasons in that time. 3. Northern Lights 6 - so far so good.
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