Graham’s place and more

On our earlier visit to Graham’s Place / Josh Cay we had noticed that the WiFi is accessible from the anchorage. With that in mind we anchored as close as possible to get the best possible signal. Our main purpose with our stay was to kite surf but we do like to be connected to the outside world as well.

Sundowner at the boat

I had earlier on, been challenge to jump the reef bridge on the other side of the island. Because of that I felt obligated to set daily goals for my personal progress. I did ask the others for daily goals as well but I didn´t really get any answers the first couple of days. Me and Captain quickly passed pop and small jumps in the first couple of days. Hanna on the other end made big progress on her riding as well but she wouldn´t tell us about her daily goals but instead keep them a secret until she achieved them.

Our surf camp
Hanna
Me (Anders)
Me again
Captain


Next up for me and Captain were the jump transition and boy did we send it. The feeling you get when accidentally pull the kite a bit too hard, and it responds by pulling you straight up in the air a lot higher than you originally planned. Makes you feel totally powerless and out of control. After a few tries we got the feeling for it and more times than not we worked with the kite and successfully landed our new tricks. After a few days of saltwater drinking, body part stretching and annoying non-see-ums (small flying insects that has long lasting itchy bites) the wind calmed down and we went for some other adventures.

One hand happy ride
Paradise like view from the hammock
The always broken kite
Our own part of the beach


Savanna Bight is a village that is situated in the north east on Guanaja and it was only a short dinghy ride for us to get there. We had been told that it wasn’t any roads on Guanaja but in Savanna Bight we found a very nice concrete road. We decided to follow it for a while. It became quite obvious to us that the locals in general lived either close to the sea or in connection to The Road. As far as traffic goes it was easily one of the least trafficked roads in the Caribbean but along the 5 km stretch we walked there where not one but two police controls. We wonder of the main road and up to a place called Black Rock. It was a nice adventures walk down a sandy road mostly in shade of the tall trees. when we got back to Savanna Bight we restocked on some of the missing food items like meat, eggs and milk.

High speed melted ice cream


When the weather forecast told us about weak winds we decided to once more move Chibidarra back to El Bight and do some hiking based from there. The first day we did a surprisingly short hike up to a natural pool. We hadn’t really worked up our sweat enough to jump in but we felt the water for a bit.


Back at the dinghy we all agreed that it were to small of a walk and decided to take a walk along the coast line. It was mostly a nice path with some planks in the muddy areas. We got accompanied by a couple of playful dogs that jumped around us until we returned to the same place again. Satisfied with our small walk of the day we returned and prepared for our longer walk the next day.

One of our playful guides

We started in the late morning and with the help of an old GPS track we set of up in to the forest and up the slippery slopes of Guanaja. Our plan were to cross the island over the highest peak and down the other side. From there to go up to a waterfall and then back again.

One of the lower peaks

The path to the top of the island were in a forest with a lot of sharp grass that gave us small paper cut like wounds on the shin. some times the path disappeared and we had to rely on the GPS to guide us back to the track. With out to much trouble we reached the summit and could enjoy the view.

Enjoying the fresh breeze

The opposing side of the mountain were different it was less greenery and a lot steeper. We quickly descended to the other side had a small pause under a closed bar before we once again set of in to the forest this time on a bit more challenging path along a stream. When the path finally ended we found ourselfes in a small waterfall.

The walk back across the island weren’t as fun as the first time and we were all quite exhausted. I thought that the descend was going to be the same relaxing feeling as the previous one but i wasn’t the grass was now making the cuts from before feel even worse and the walk unpleasant in shorts. When we finally got back we decided to eat out and walked the extra 127 stair steps up to the mountain side resturant.

The next day we’d planned to once more go back to Graham’s to do some more kiteing and head back to Roatan the following day. Well the plan changed and instead we slowly packed the boat and took a quick shopping trip to Bonacca. this meant that I luckily never got the chance to jump the small bridge on Graham’s and didn’t hurt myself trying either. The sail back to Roatan were alot more comfortable then the rough one in the other direction. Me and Hanna had a bit of a Wild life experience, when our fishing gear suddenly jumped. We saw that the bait was being  hunted by the biggest fish we’ve seen. but since we didn’t really wanted a 50kg fish fight with broken reels and stuff we decided to just play with it and try to identify the breed before it disapeared from us. We later learned that it probably was a Cobian and is good to eat.

Over and out Anders

Racing to Guanaja. Honduras

So the wind forecast said it was now time to sail east, from Roatan to Guanaja. On this sail we would be accompanied by two boats, both German flagged. We knew the wind would be a little bit stronger then we prefer and that there would be some rain. So it ended up being a hard sail in shitty weather but on the bright side we ended up in second place in the race.

Guanaja is a really unique island there are almost no roads and most people live in the capital Bonacca  on a small island close to mainland Guanaja. So everyone travels by boat and to get to the other side of the island there is a channel right through the island.

So our first day in Guanaja was Anders birthday so he got to decide on how we should spend our day. We started of exploring some channels close to the anchorage and a cool dive resort. Dunbar rock located really on some rocks but only for guest so we could not get in. We then went on in a quest for Wi-Fi so Anders could get in touch with everyone at home.

We found Wi-Fi and beers after walking all 186 steps to Me casa too. Its a small restaurant and bar located on a hill. When we got there, we got accompanied by some hummingbirds that flew really close, one even scratched Anders. We really enjoyed me casa too, it’s location, it’s employees and their vibe in general. We were just sad to see that there was no other guests.

When we got back we cooked up a birthday dinner for Anders. The next day we sailed up to Graham’s place were we had heard was a good kite boarding spot. We had read that Graham the owner of the resort was really friendly to cruisers but we never expected this kind of generosity. We could use the whole island with no restrictions and if we needed anything we should just ask. It was so nice to not feel like an intruder and to be able to use the resort beach for launching our kites.

We decided to only stay one night because some strong westerly winds were heading our way. So after spending a day kiting we went back to El Bight the following day to hopefully get some more protection.

Owe on Sv Tara had told us that the food shipments comes in on Wednesdays so it was time to do some fresh produce shopping, and some shipment had been delayed, so we were right on time. Me and Andreas went to Bonacca to do the shopping. The town is really cool and I wish we had a drone so we could see it from the air. From the water it’s just packed with houses most of them half way out into the ocean on stilts. We parked the dingy next to the fuel dock and went for a stroll. There are a couple of main streets and a lot of small streets connecting them. Often we didn’t know if it was somebody’s yard or if it was a street. It’s was amazing and small. After looking around and buying some food we went back to the boat. I was so curious about the channel even tough the wind made it hard for us to travel on the other side. But I convinced Andreas to do some channel exploring on the way home.

After we got back to the boat and unloaded the Veggies. Me and Andreas set off on a small hike. We had read that there were some hikes starting at El Bight but the roads and paths shown on our maps did not exist. We ended up in some lady’s front yard but she was nice to give us some directions. We had missed the left turn after the big blue house were the trail goes up a hill. We followed some blue dots that took us of the path to the right and ended up on a renovation site, were all the dots then disappeared. After trying to find a way forward we went back just to end up at the same fence but on the other side.

We followed the trail up to a water reservoir before going back down. We stoped by Mi Casa Too on the way home and the owner gave us some tips for future hikes.

The next morning we went back to Graham’s for more kit surfing.

Over and out Hanna

Honduras – Roatan

We arrived in Roatan after about 4 days sailing from Cayman. Parts of it where uite rough with a lot of wind but we did good speed. We managed to arrive before noon at French Harbour or Fantasy island. Fantasy island is a resort on a private island but they also have a small marina which they do not care about too much anymore. But they have a fantastic couple working as dock masters and they help the cruisers with everything even if you are out on anchor. So they called their go to taxi guy and he took us to the main town to check in at 2 places and we stopped at the grocery store on the way back for just 25 dollars so it was nice even if do not usually take taxis.

Honduras is a lot different from Cayman where we come from. We arrived in Roatan which is one of the Bay Islands about 30 Nm off the coast of the mainland. The Bay Islands were English colonies before they gave up all colonies. This means there are a bit more English speaking people here then in Honduras in general. Good for us since Hanna is the only one going hard on the Spanish course and this is a good Spanish start for us. The mainland is supposed to be a bit unsafe with some drug cartels fighting among each other but The Bay islands is a lot calmer and Roatan has a lot of tourism as well. But So far this place been nice and welcoming.

We spent about a week here. Chilling and did some snorkeling and diving and just enjoying a nice place. There is some other boats here and there is a get together at the bar pretty much every evening with a nice barbecue potluck on Saturdays. We enyoyed the company for a change since we do not meet that many other cruisers in these parts of the Carribean.

We also started a new project. Anders had found someone building a foiling kite board online so of course we have to give a try as well. So far we are missing some stuff to complete it but the foil and mast is almost done and now we need to build the actual board as well. We went around pretty much a whole day looking for supplies but it is really hard getting stuff here in Roatan. We liked it here and will probably come back before we leave Honduras. On Sunday morning we headed of to Guanaja the eastern most and least populated of the Bay Islands.

//Andreas

Christmas in Cayman

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After the non-responsive port officials in Jamaica I got positively surprised by the greetings I got 10 NM of the coast of Cayman. As we had been doing great speed we arrived to Cayman on a Sunday. To arrive on Cayman on a Sunday cost 70$ more than on any other day, but there is nothing to do about that. But this really set the tone for the rest of our stay, Cayman = expensive. The tax-free money haven that Cayman has become has really pushed the prizes through the roof.  But they do have free moorings.

We spent our first night in the mooring field outside of George Town (marked on the map with a red cross) and compared to Kingston’s water quality this was a swimming pool. George Town is the biggest city on the island and it reminded us more of a European city then the Caribbean. The roads are well paved, there are stop lights and walkways. There is 100000 companies registered in George Town, one would think that that creates plenty of work opportunities but most of this companies is sharing the same address and their offices isn’t bigger than a shoe box. During the day the town is crowded with cruise ship passengers. At the mooring fields, we were often accompanied by at least three ships a day.

After George Town we went around to the south side of the island for a few days. Mostly to be protected from the northerly winds during the holiday. The mooring field outside of Spotts (marked on the map with a red cross) was not a well-protected one and the waves kept rolling in from all directions. But we got in to festivities mode and created a traditional Swedish holiday on our own. We went over the top this year with home baked gingerbread and Vörtbröd homebrew Glögg, Janssons, meatballs and Röbetssallad. Easy to say we successfully ate our way through Christmas.  After a couple of nights on the pretty deserted mooring field south of spots bay we headed back to George Town.

Cayman Island claims to have 365 dive sites, one for each day of the year. One of them is situated right outside the mooring field so we decided to have a look. From the surface it looked like there were small coral heads all over the bottom. When we dove down we realized that the small coral heads actually were quite big and we ended up being able to swim between them. It turned out to be a decent dive but it felt a bit like an extra one just to get the numbers up to 365.

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Since the wind once more were supposed to pick up we wanted to get in to Governors Harbor (marked on the map with a red cross). Governors Harbor is a part of the man dug channel system on Grand Cayman.  The main purpose of all the channels is to create more beach front property. We set of early in the mooring to be able to stop at the wreck of Doc Paulson on our way and have an amazing wreck dive with a lot of corals and fishes living in and around the old tug boat wreck.

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After the dive we continued around. The north sound itself is quite shallow and Chibidarra being an old steady lady gives her a pretty deep draft of 2.35 meters so according to all the maps we couldn’t really make it unless it were high tide. We deployed Caribirra (aka the dinghy) to be in front of Chibidarra and monitoring the depth. Well it was quite nerve-racking being forced to navigating and constantly looking at the screen of the echo sounder. I occasionally saw 2.4m on the screen in the dinghy but reports from the mother ship stated 2.6 as the shallowest value. So we slowly continued towards the channel entrance. Well inside the channel it became deep again and we anchored right outside the yacht club. The water wasn’t too nice but it was a really protected spot close to supermarket and a good free Wi-Fi.  We liked it. Since a couple of other boats were anchored right by us we decided to celebrate New Year’s together. I invited them (www.sailingchilli.com and @sailingintofreedom) for dessert at our place. We later went down to the beach and joined in on a bon fire when the new year arrived.

Since the wind had picked up and become favorable for kite surfing that became what we were doing the following weeks. The first two times we took the dinghy up to Barkers nature reserve (marked on the map with a yellow cross) but then we started to take the bus. Well at least we kind of tried to take the bus but we experienced that the kite community on Cayman is very good and as soon as people saw us standing with our boards by the road they were kind enough to take us either home or to the beach. The kite beach is protected by a reef that stops all the big waves without affecting the wind. The protected area between the reef and the island were waist deep and in other words perfect for beginners. We started out a bit novice but in the end of our stay all of us had made big improvements in our riding.

One could easily say that we kind of skip out on other adventures and focused on the kite surfing. There were still a couple of places (marked on the map with pink crosses) that we wanted to see. But we had to wait for the weather to allow us. Our last day in Governors Harbor the wind calmed down enough for us to be able to have a semi-comfortable dinghy ride in the sound. Our first stop were the over fed stingrays in Stingray City. We didn’t expect much but where happily surprised by the massive rays that peacefully came right up to us. The next stop where to the bioluminescence bay to see apparently one off the strongest bioluminescence in the world. That turned out to be quite neat.

The next morning we set of at high tide and at immigration we met up with Martin on Chilli again.  Well it wasn’t much more than Hello and Good Bye of a very tired sailor after a 4 days solo sail from Jamaica. We set of in the afternoon and had a calm start of what would become one of our worst sails so far. This was the first time we’ve been using the reefs in the mizzen sail and when the wind picked up so did the waves. And before we know it a big one flushed us thoroughly. We took in water from above in both the saloon and in my cabin. After that we felt a bit soaked but no big harm done. Luckily the weather improved and we arrived with a smile and relief to Honduras

Over and out Anders

Jamaica part II Black river and Negril

We did a overnight sail to Black river, the Customs came on-board pretty much as soon we had dropped anchor. They were all over the place asked why are where there, if we had checked in, it we had contraband’s on board, if we were transporting somethings for others. How many cellphones we had on-board. One guy was a little hostile and his Questions really came out as an interrogation. Well maybe it was Karma that made the bird poop on him. We were asked to give them a bottle as well, this is our first bribe in the Caribbean. I found it Kind of exiting afterwards .

Black River is a really small place. Our goal was to take the dinghy and see some Crocodiles up the river and we did. Being in an inflatable dinghy with crocodiles in the Water was kind of Scary and you didn’t want to lean too much over the sides. It took us less then 20 meters up the river before we spotted the first one. We went further up the river until the river divided before turning back. The customs told us that the Crocodiles also go out to our anchor spot sometimes. We never saw one there but our cruiser neighbor did. We also took a dinghy ride to a place called Floyd’s Pelican bar. It was a cool place build on a reef, we got our boat name eternalised.

We only stayed 2 days in black river before sailing on to Negril, So we told the customs we were leaving and hoisted the sail. We were anchored right outside the beach and it was rolley, not the best protection against the swells. We left the dinghy on a stone dock in downtown Negril to go to rickshaw cafe a place Anders had read about and seen in a reality show. We walked there and on the way the we saw small rural hotels and bars that felt more cosy and nice then Margaritaville we went to for WiFi and expensive cocktails. When we got to Ricks it was really exploited, a lot of people everywhere and not really what I expected. You were supposed to jump of their cliffs into the crystal clear waters below. Me and Andreas didn’t do it we were both wet from the rain so we gave the torch to Anders.

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Jamaica is the first place we’ve been to that requires you to tell the customs when you move and to were. It hadn’t been a hassle until we got to Negril. We got there and no one came to our boat… we visited the police and they were confused why we were there told us that we would probably get a visit the next day but nobody showed up then either. We were also told that we could check out in Negril if we called a number for immigration that our cruiser neighbor gave us. This was really good news we didn’t want to sail against the wind to Montego bay just to check out and our time in Jamaica was coming to an end. To go there by land meant traveling 80 kilometers. We called the number and the immigration guy told us that he was expecting our call, sadly he couldn’t get anyone from customs to come to us. So we had to go to Montego bay again. The bus ride was not cheap, 50$ return, so Andreas got to go alone. When he finally got back, after a really delayed bus ride home  (almost 2 hours), we still only had check out with customs and we still had immigration to go. When Andreas called the immigration he had gone home for the day but because we had been in contact with him the whole day we were able to leave the paper work with a friend of his and we were now finally done and cleared out.

Over and out Hanna

Jamaica part I, Kingston

After 4 days of sailing with our first yellow fin tuna caught, we arrived in Jamaica. Sailing into Kingston was kind of scary. We knew that the clearing in process was strict and you would have to announce your arrival. We had even read that you were suppose to do it 12 Nm out. So we called out on VHF 16 when approaching and no answer. After a few tries we got a visit from the Marine police and we could ask them about the use of town dock in port royal and the Customs and immigration next to the dock. We got some really confusing answers but we could use the town dock. So when we got to port royal we called customs and immigration and no answer again. We were fortunate that there were a lot of locals on and around the dock and they helped us to tie up the boat and to run to the customs office and notified them of our arrival. We were tied up at 13.00 with our Yellow flag up waiting on Quarantine that first needed to check the boat and all its crew. It took them about 45 min to get to our boat and they needed to see our yellow fever vaccination card and to check our health. We were all in good shape thankfully, apparently you can get a very thorough health check. So at 14.00 we were done with one out of three, still not allowed to leave the boat. Then it took about 2 hours for customs to arrive (really unfriendly and disrespectful guy). It took him about 30 min to check all papers and do the paper work. Because our first stop were outside Jamaica’s Royal yacht club Marina he wanted us to go there and tell them to send Immigration over. Now I was really upset, we had done the last stretch on engine just to get into Jamaica on time and not to get charged to pay overtime. According to the official website for clearing in, all instances that are affected ( that you are out of business hour) must be compensated. So at around 15.30 we left the town dock to get to the royal yacht club as fast as possible.

On our way to the yacht club the drive belt on the main engine broke and we had to do some sailing. Really not the best timing, when in a hurry. We got to the mangroves just outside the Marina and dropped anchor. Of course we failed to get it to stick the first time because it had pierced a empty water bottle, and had to redo the procedure again. Then we lowered the dinghy and set of into the marina. We told the marina staff that Immigration were supposed to meet us and they called their office to check.

Now we had to wait. .. we grabbed a red stripe (a local Jamaican beer) and had a seat. Immigration arrived almost at 20.00, but at least we did not have to pay for anything, if you don’t count the beers we had waiting. We were now finally checked in into Jamaica.

So because there was a fee to use the dingy dock that included the marina facilities, we decided to make the most of it and use the pool and their WiFi for the next day. Looking up what to spend our time in Jamaica doing and upload some photos.

Wednesday we decided to go with the bus and have a look at Kingston. We were told not to take too much money with us and to leave our jewelry at home due to risk of theft. We started our exploring from the bus station in downtown and walked around that area for a bit. We walked through loud and huge market tents (most likely jubilee markets) that cover the multiple streets with the tents covering the whole street with no visible sky. After walking around in downtown an we decided to check out emancipation park.

Walking from downtown to new Kingston we did get a lot of people looking strangely at us. At a road cross we were contemplating on what way we should take. A lady stopped and asked if we were lost

Andreas answered – No just figuring out were to go

The lady pointed down a street and said

Just don’t go that way

Andreas replied We just came from there

She got quiet an started walking. Oops……

The city is huge, we walked the whole day and saw only a tiny bit of it. In New Kingston we ended up on a live broadcast for a Jamaican radio show. Being pretty much the only white people there, that also seemed a little confused. We where easy targets. We talked about our trip and were we where from. I ended up learning the host to say

God Jul

Being close to Christmas I thought it was fitting. It took him a lot of tries until it kind of sounded right.

Thursday we had decided to check out the Port royal and explore fort Charles, an old fortress out there. We walked out to the main road and waited at the bus stop. Within 5 min a car stopped and asked if we wanted a lift out there. We jumped in and that is how we met Marsha a fantastic Jamaican woman that worked as a teacher at the Caribbean maritime school. She was going to Gloria’s for some food with her friend Abby. She took some detours and pointed where we should go and what we should see, she even offered us a ride back. She also Invited us to join them for brunch but we had just eaten and wanted to check out some sites she recommended and let them have their Brunch together .

The fort was unfortunately closed for renovation, so we walked on to a old colonial building that used to be a Naval hospital built around 1818 . We stood by the gate looking at the building when a guy came up to us and asked if we wanted a look inside and he let us in. The building was huge and gorgeous, over looking the whole Kingston harbor.

After a few pics we want back to Gloria’s and continued talking to Marsha and Abby. Marsha told us that she had a friend from Sweden (Gothenburg) that was supposed to meet them at Gloria’s but had car issues. So she decides to set us up. So she took us over to his family house, this is how we meet Syran. He is originally Jamaican but moved and now lives in Gothenburg. The world is so small sometimes. He and his family was on vacation visiting his parents and sister.

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We got invited for some drinks and spend the afternoon there. Afterwards Marsha drove us back to the marina and she and Abby got to come aboard Chibidarra for a visit. Her husband Cmax was on his way to the marina. He helps out a friend on a luxury fishing boat and they were going fishing early the day after. We got invited to that boat Safe passage for some beers on board

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We had hoped to buy dinner at the yacht club but when we got there the kitchen was closed. So i went with Marsha and Abby to buy KFC/ which apparently is the best KFC in the world.

Andreas convinced Marsha to take us out in Kingston on Friday and help us try the Jamaican jerk chicken. We started Friday by the pool before going by bus (taxi) into Kingston to check out Devon house. It was owned by Jamaica first black millionaire and the residence operated as a museum. We went there for their famous ice cream, I bought the cone with one scope and Andreas and Anders took a container. Theirs were more expensive had two scopes with less ice cream making me the winner of the choice. Marsha also recommended the patties (lobster or goat) which was delicious (we took the curry goat one).

We spent Friday evening at her friends house for a game night. Playing heads up with some really competitive Jamaicans. We went to two different places a bar named Jangas and a club. In Jamaica you order the whole bottle and chasers to your liking, not just a drink. So needless to say the memory of the club is a little cloudy.

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Marsha also thought we should take a trip to see the mountains above Kingston and have Some blue mountain Coffee at their coffee shop. We were a little late so we missed the sunset going up but we did get to see the Kingston city light.

On Sunday we had plans to leave, Marsha thought we should come with them to the keys (lime key) An island just outside but we feelt we needed to move to have some time in Negril and Black river, and we had told the customs we were leaving. We saw the images and it seemed to be a big happening there on Sundays if you’re ever in Jamaica.

Over and out Hanna

Aruba – Tourists and kitesurfing

Now it was time to move up to the northern part of the island. Arriving there you see mile after mile of beach and high-rise hotels. This was a bit touristier then we are used too. There are literally people everywhere. The beaches were full of sunbathers in beach chairs and kids playing in the water. But we anchored of the beach in front of the hotels. During the daytime you are more or less surrounded by tour boat doing all kind of things. There were boats parasailing, jet-skis, sailboats, windsurfers, kite-surfers. But this place was full of life at least.

We were going to stay here for almost a week since Hanna was doing a Kite surfing Course here. In the meantime Anders and me Were kiting a bit as well. But this was a tough place to kitesurf the winds were quite gusty and a lot of people around. So we had problems getting upwind. But we got some riding at least and Hanna did enormous progress on her 4 day course. So now we are awaiting the next place we can kite again.

After finishing up all the kiting we did a hike on the northern part of the island. It is a nice place when you get away from the hotels there was a lot of nice wilderness and paths to walk. We then headed back to the airport anchorage to leave Jenny of to fly home, but first after having a good bye wine and pizza night on the beach until the mosquitos scared us away.

After Jenny flew home we prepped the boat and stocked up for the crossing to Jamaica and then we were off for a whole new country and our first longer crossing in quite a while.