Tag Archives: caribbean

En Route – Heading Home

Flying back from the BVI via Puerto Rico and Chicago after a week that was equal parts stressful (unfamiliar boat, mechanical problems, electrical issues, under-experienced crew, under-experienced captain, spicy winds, seasickness, sunburn) and wonderful (warm waters, quiet anchorages, beaches to explore, reefs to snorkel, shorelines to paddle along, the Baths for bouldering).

A strange, sometimes uncomfortable bonus was spending most of the week device free, which meant meeting and chatting with people on the dock, chatting with each other, looking at the stars, feeding fish off the back of the boat, watching the sun set over the islands, going to bed early and getting up when we were done sleeping – all without being interrupted by constant beeping and buzzing and vibrating.

The exceptions to that idyllic break came during times of crisis – engine alarms, blinking electrical panels, dead batteries, a dying engine a that triggered flurries of trouble-shooting messages on a cell phone that we kept alive with a solar panel and saved for navigation and disaster interventions.

All that said, I learned a lot this week and challenging though it was at times, can’t wait to go back for more. Not the problems, of course, just the good stuff!

Winch Handles vs Ice Tools

When I quit farming, I suddenly found myself with a lot more time to write and enjoy some of my other passions. I also realized I had extricated myself from a farm time vortex and needed to think about how to make the most of my remaining functional years here on the planet before I got too ancient and could no longer drag myself out of the nursing home…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

About a year ago, I was lucky enough be be asked to be a crew member for my brother’s sailing trip in the Caribbean – after six weeks or so on the boat I returned home and all I could think about was when I could get back on the water… 

Sailing was something I’d done a bit of years earlier, as was climbing… I picked up that hobby/sport again at the beginning of 2015 after a break of a couple of decades and haven’t looked back! I’ve documented a few climbs here, here, and here. Early on in this reinfection with the climbing bug I met this guy:

P1010097 ha ling summit

I have actually lost count of how many things we’ve climbed since we met about a year ago… and, we are still climbing. Which has brought up the interesting question of – what next? How are we going to combine these two very different ideas of fun? Rock vs water… ocean crossings vs mountain summits… Or, is there a way to combine the two?

It turns out that there are some amazing climbing destinations accessible from the water… Kalymnos in Greece comes to mind… Thailand is another popular destination… There’s also climbing in Puerto Rico and Mexico and… well, all over the place, when you start thinking about it. You can even sail right in to Squamish…

IMG_3521 virgin gorda

On Virgin Gorda we brought our dinghy in to the tender mooring area and then swam ashore to do some bouldering… Yes. This is my idea of heaven on earth. 

Sometimes the climbs start in the water (I had an awful lot of fun playing in the boulder zone of Virgin Gorda last year) and sometimes one might need to do a bit of a bus trip to get to the base of the mountain, but it turns out that sailing to various climbing destinations might just be an ultra cool way to go about this…

Consider this blog post to be a planted seed. We are a year away from actually getting on a boat (at this point we are thinking Turkey/Greece/Italy might be a good place to start), but I have already started brushing up on my boaty skills with a navigation course put on by the Canadian Power and Sail Squadron. I was a member years ago (and, in fact, took an earlier version of this course way back in the last century) and hope that plotting dead reckoning points and solving distance/speed/time equations will help keep me occupied while we get ourselves organized to pack our belay devices and head for the high seas…