Showing posts with label off shore. Show all posts
Showing posts with label off shore. Show all posts

09 April 2020

Cruising Under the Cloud of the Coronavirus, Continued

Every day seems to present more constriction...
  • marinas confine arriving crew to their vessels; and many close to transients altogether
  • conducive weather windows become few and far between impeding progress up the east coast
  • temperatures drop as higher latitudes are achieved
  • our chests tighten as we examine the statistics each day

And although we have been focused on getting us and Argon back home to Newport, Rhode Island safely and quickly since departing San Juan mid March, we concede. For now. We are tired physically and emotionally. Yesterday Argon's dock lines were doubled, a couple of bags were packed, and we boarded an Amtrak train for our land home in Newport.

Captain Linda Perry Riera

To help combat the disappointment, Bob updates our Google Earth track. When I look at how far we have come in just a few weeks, (yellow) I don't feel as defeated.

Red: Course over 5 months November through March (Grenada to San Juan).   Yellow: Course in just over 3 weeks mid March through early April (San Juan to Hampton, VA).  Green: Remaining leg to be sailed later in spring or early summer (Hampton, VA to Newport, RI).

Passage #4:  Charleston, South Carolina to Beaufort, North Carolina

One of our worst overnights

While in Charleston, Bob spent several hours re-examining the depth and bridge data of the Intercoastal Waterway (ICW) to see if there was a segment we could transit but our mast is just a tad too tall. We reached out to Argon's builder to confirm the exact specs, and considered climbing up the mast to flip the VHF antennae upside down and remove the tricolor navigation light to cut off several inches. But the measurements remained too close and the thought of the complications should we hit a bridge resulted in us continuing to use the open ocean path.

After much studying of possible inlet options and weather data, we pushed off the dock in Charleston before sunrise and caught an ebbing tide to quickly make our way out to the open Atlantic Ocean for the 225nm sail to the northeast. We expected a uncomfortable overnight with 15-17kt winds from the northwest. However, the forecast was a bit off in the wrong direction... we were instead rudely greeted by 22-28kt winds with more of a northerly component than westerly hence wayforward of the beam in growing seas. For about 5 hours starting a 0100 we were getting hammered. Waves jumped over the bow and port side regularly. Initially we sailed with a double reefed main and just a sliver of jib. But eventually we furled the foresail up completely and motored sailed with just a bit of the main to make better headway towards Beaufort.

By daybreak conditions improved, and even became ideal as if the recent difficulties were just a dream. Or a nightmare. Motoring in to idyllic Beaufort inlet further helped us recover.

Sunrise upon departing Charleston inlet.

Cockpit enclosed and layered up. Conditions would kick up later in the journey.
Much nastier than predicted.

Salt salt salt everywhere. Glad to have copious amounts of free water for a much needed cleaning.

We were generally confined to the marina in Beaufort with the exception of a walk through town and a cockpit visit with local friends. The town of Beaufort has closed off all incoming roads except for one with a checkpoint to prohibit non-residents from entering. And after a particularly cold night aboard, we were able to borrow a very warm thick blanket from local friends.

Mostly confined to the docks but with very comfortable surroundings at Homer Smith Marina in Beaufort inlet.

Thankful to have a wide cockpit to allow an appropriately distanced visit from a dear local friend.

Our one walk off the marina property revealed a ghost town.

Passage #5:  Beaufort, North Carolina to Hampton, Virginia

Threatening thunderstorms

After just a few days in Beaufort, we departed to take advantage of an acceptable but not quite ideal short weather window for the tricky passage out and around Cape Hatteras. The front end of this passage would have very light winds and flat seas requiring motoring which at this point neither of us minded... we are in delivery mode and are looking to get miles underneath the hull. Then some comfortable sailing with more motoring at the end. However, thunderstorms were also in the forecast and they hit when we were just off Hatteras. Ugh.

Lovely Beaufort waterfront as we motored slowly in the narrow, shallow channel against a flooding tide.

Beautiful yet menacing weather system approaching as we near Cape Hatteras.

VHF weather alert announces a band of severe thunderstorms some with up to 60kt gusts. We prepare the boat and ourselves to get hammered. Luckily the strongest ones passed to our south leaving us with heavy rain, quite a bit of lightening, but modest winds and no hail.

As we watched the menacing storm approach from the northwest, we noticed a commercial boat on AIS about 17 miles to our northwest likely in the front. Bob radioed the vessel Red Hook and spoke to the Captain who was now experiencing our future weather. We were relieved when he said the conditions were moderate with just 20 knot gusts and a little bit of rain.

The line of thunderstorms eventually passed over us without too much trouble. There was lightning around, but not too close. Still, it was a relief when we started seeing the lightning on our starboard side going away from us!

After a nerve wracking early evening, I settle in for a long night watch. These off shore passages are tiring and are now also quite cold. Despite many layers I was freezing by the end of my shift and quickly crawled under the thick comforter recently borrowed from friends in Beaufort.

Thankful for the spectacular glowing full moon that lit up the night sky when the clouds permitted.

Closing Argon Up and Heading Home

Many of the marinas and yacht clubs in Virginia and Maryland were now closed to transients. We were able to confirm a slip at Bluewater Marina in Hampton with the caveat that we could either only stay a couple of days, or we could keep the boat there but we could not stay aboard. Nothing personal. <sigh>

Friends with more sophisticated weather analysis skills as well as our hired weather router all confirmed that there would likely be no acceptable weather window for the 60 hour sail from Hampton to Newport, Rhode Island. We discussed options at length... stay on the boat and wait (but we would have to find another marina... problematic). Or go home with the plan to return in late spring or early summer after the coronavirus situation settles down and weather patterns improve. We decided on the latter. And then we evaluated if we should transit by train, plane or automobile. I'll spare you the details but for several reasons we returned home by rail.

Plenty of lines and fenders secured. Hatches, helms and console all covered with canvas.And local sailing friends have kindly agreed to check in on Argon.

We have the entire Amtrak car to ourselves for the 12 hour comfortable ride to Kingston, RI. After walking up several cars to the cafe, I saw only two other riders.

Now What?

We have been quite socially isolated these past several weeks with minimal interaction and contact with others. However we have been far from bored as it has been extremely busy with passage planning complicated with the evolving coronavirus situation as well as the overall logistics and falling temperatures. The time on passages is mostly filled with either sailing the boat or trying to sleep given it is just the two of us (these have not been relaxing wine and cheese sails). Our social isolation has not involved any binge watching of Netflix, nor playing board games, nor experimenting with exotic dishes and no Zoom meet ups. It's been busy and we're exhausted!

Upon arriving at the Amtrak station in Rhode Island, we were greeted by the friendly albeit official National Guard to record our information for the RI Department of Health and instruct us on a two week quarantine which is really just a slightly more strict adherence to social isolation. (The state of RI was an early adopter of fairly strict guidance and requirements.) Perhaps it's finally time to check out that Tiger King guy I've been hearing about.

Quarantine order for mariners arriving in Newport Harbor. The spirit of these requirements also apply to those arriving in Rhode Island by land from other states.

Good bye protected boat life. Hello land life in the COVID-19 age.

Back in our home. I have flowers!
Bob's new control surface was waiting for him at home. Just a couple hours after we arrived it was set up and he was in the recording studio making lots of great noise. I think our neighbors know that we are home now.

26 October 2019

Jamestown Yacht Club Presentation

We had the privileged of being invited to speak at an event organized by the Jamestown Yacht Club (JYC) recently.

Captain Linda Perry Riera

We are members of the Blue Water Sailing Club (BWSC) and are part of the BWSC Speakers Bureau. JYC stumbled upon our topic when reviewing options advertised. We happily arranged to meet with the kind folks one Sunday afternoon at the Jamestown (Rhode Island) Philomenia Library. This library has a sophisticated media room with a full wall screen, great acoustics, and helpful staff that allowed us to test everything in advance. We had no problems toggling between slide show, photo real, and videos.

Fantastic media room at the Philomenia Library in Jamestown, Rhode Island (USA)

We have spoken about preparing for off-shore sailing and extended cruising at several other events ever since returning from our first Caribbean journey in mid 2017. We always adjust, add and hopefully improve each presentation.

It was not that long ago that we were in the audience listening and on the planning side of our first extended voyage

Many assume that we, or at least one of us, grew up sailing. But we are late in life sailors having both first stepping foot on a sailboat in 2006. Our mutual love of sailing, effective partnership on the water, and some luck has enabled us to have broad and deep experiences over this relatively short period.

Some of the topics that seem to generate the most discussion include:

Some of the discussions are about what went wrong, how we handled issues and what we learned

Sharing our experiences, learnings, and mistakes as well as to meet other sailors and hear about their journeys, dreams and plans is extremely enjoyable.

Bob and I tag team the presentation and discussion

This talk was only a couple of weeks before our departure to Grenada to start our third extended sailing trip in the Caribbean. We have been extremely engrossed in our land lives with busy day jobs, house logistics and lots of social engagements. Preparing for this session really helped us to get more in to the mind set of cruising again as we rapidly approach our departure day!

31 October 2016

Offshore Passage to Bermuda

Captain Linda Perry Riera

Let's Start at the End... 

1900 hours on Wednesday 26 October (approximately 82 hours in to our transit):
I hailed Bermuda Radio on VHF channel 16 about 25nm away from the island, per required procedure, requesting permission to enter St. George Harbor and check in to customs. The friendly Bermudian operator with a slightly Scottish accent asked a series of standard questions about the crew, vessel, safety gear, and our intent; and requested I contact him again when we arrived at C buoy 2.5nm before the narrow opening, ominously named "The Town Cut", leading in to St. George Harbor and our destination. Excitement and anticipation eclipsed our fatigue.

Final 25nm leg was fast and exhilarating, much like the entire passage. Our fatigue was pushed aside as the first glimpses of the island were visible as dusk approached. We closed in on the island as dark set in, with only scattered navigational lights and distant land lights visible as we sailed fast just north of the outer reef.

Argon screamed along with full main and 150% genoa at 9kts heading southwest on a beam reach in 20+kts of wind for these last couple of hours continuing to require strong helming to ride the generous seas.

Argon skirted north of the outer reefs of Bermuda then turned downwind at Kitchen Shoal finishing her port tack heading south in complete darkness. Mariners unfamiliar with this area are warned not to enter at night but with four prior passages to Bermuda between Lance and Bob, we felt capable, although alert and appropriately nervous, entering the narrow inlet with many of the channel markers unlit. Only a sliver of a waning moon and a maze of distant navigational and land lights broke up the blackness.

As we approached C buoy, I again hailed Bermuda Radio and we received permission to enter St. George Harbor and report in to Customs and Immigration. For the first time in 650nm and 85 hours, the engine was fired up and the sails were dropped and furled. The winds and seas were still up tossing Argon about as we motored. Bob was tethered in on the foredeck with a spotlight to help us find the unlit channel markers and guide Argon in through "The Town Cut" in choppy seas. Once we transited the intimidating, narrow doorway in to St. George Harbor, it was as if we entered another world.... Suddenly, after days of winds mostly above 20kts and seas often greater than 10 feet creating a constant roar of water around Argon, we were in a tranquil, peaceful bay. We did it, and we did it well! But not without some challenges and adventure.

Argon at the quarantine dock at the Customs and Immigration office, St. George Bermuda. The extremely friendly customs official walked us through the paperwork as he checked our passports and vessel documentation.

Sharing the traditional Dark-n-Stormy's after clearing Customs, first at the White Horse...

... then more Dark-n-Stormy's Wahoo's. We all slept well that night.


  • Distance and speed:  650nm in 85 hours... that is an average speed of 7.65kts! Argon often surfed down big waves at 11-13kts! We even saw 15 and 16kts a couple of times. Crazy given our hull speed is just over 7.5kts. Much faster than the 120 hours initially planned.
  • Diesel burned: 0.75 gallons. Pretty cool to travel with our entire home hundreds of miles on less than a gallon of fuel.
  • Conditions: Great for constant fast sailing; very challenging especially the first 40 hours of the trip; this was expected based on the forecast. Winds mostly around 20kts initially out of the west, then veering to northwest and eventually north; some winds 30+kts. Seas often around 10 feet and sometimes 15 feet.
  • Casualties:  Three dead birds, one dead flying fish, one boat injury, and one bruised human.

Let's Start with Explaining the Casualties: birds, flying fish, topping lift, and Bob

When we were well over 100nm off shore, a friendly but tired little bird joined the crew of Argon. He was not at all intimidated by us and seemed content to explore the cockpit and sometimes flew down below to the cabin. When he nestled in to some bed sheets, I gently scooped him up in a cloth napkin and he seemed content to nest there for the entire night. Well, until he was found toes up in the morning.

The friendly bird visitor did not survive the night.
The next day we had a pair of chickadees join us. Initially they busied themselves pecking at various places seemingly to nibble at the salt deposits gathering everywhere. Dismayed that I allowed the last bird to croak, I worked hard to offer these friendly visitors fresh water and various foods, which they ignored.

Two more birds joined us for the ride. They surely wandered way too far off shore as we were hundreds of miles from any land. They were completely tame often landing on us and just hanging out in the cockpit.

This chickadee found sheltered in a starboard rolled up side panel as sunset approached, seemingly wanting to settle in for the night.
But alas, although both of these two visitors were alive in the morning, they were not very chipper; and within a few hours after sunrise, after continued failed attempts at getting them to eat or drink, both had died.

I have since learned that there are various meanings to dead birds. The interpretation I chose to believe for these three doomed avian visitors is that a dead bird symbolizes: 

a new beginning... the end of something and the start of something else

Yes, very appropriate.

We had a running joke on board about flying fish. Lance and I would see flying fish but Bob always seemed to miss them. This apparently also happened the last time Bob sailed to Bermuda with Lance. Bob was beginning to think everyone was teasing him about the existence of such creatures. During one of Bob's night shifts, he heard a strange noise kind of like something hitting and fluttering around the port side cockpit enclosure but could not see anything. After we had arrived in Bermuda and daybreak came, we found the culprit... the elusive flying fish who by that time was quite stiff and smelly.

Forth animal to die in the cockpit of Argon, a flying fish.
Argon proved a strong and reliable yacht for the open ocean. The only structural issue we had was a broken topping lift. This is a strange failure as there is no load on the topping lift while the sail is hoisted, and the sail never came down the entire transit. 

The adjustable part of the topping lift with what is left of the block which attaches it to the cable from the top of the mast.
Topping lift repair the morning after arriving in Bermuda. This was the only thing that broke on Argon for the entire passage.
The final casualty was Bob suffering several bruises from a fall in the cockpit. I was at the helm on port tack so we were heeling to starboard. Bob was standing in the port side of the cockpit attempting to adjust the traveler when a large wave slammed in to us on the port side. This knocked the boat way over on its side causing Bob to go airborne and "fall" across the cockpit. Argon has a wide cockpit but at that heeling angle, it's a tall cockpit! Bob was tethered in, of course, and this kept him from rolling over the coamings into the lifelines and stanchions. This was a great affirmation of our "always tethered in" rule in the cockpit. Bob also learned that it really knocks the wind out of you when you fall and your tether pulls tight!

Safely double tethered on starboard bench trying to get some sleep after getting thrown across the cockpit. It was scary for me to see Bob being hurtled across as the wave hit us but I really wish I had the Go Pro camera going at the time... would have been a great shot!

Now, Back at the Beginning...

Weather Forecast and Final Preparations Before Departure

The couple of days prior to departing Hampton, Virginia were busy with last minute preparations. The day prior our third crewman, Lance, arrived and we had time to review plans, line handling, weather forecast, and have a fun evening.

Our third crewman, Lance Ryley, arrived the day prior to departure. This provided plenty of time to review preparations, rigging, etc.

Lance examines the charts and checks our plotted waypoints.

Lance's friend, Professor Greg Cutter, happens to be a oceanographer and very experienced sailor. Greg brought along his weather modeling data so we could compare with the forecast from our weather router. It was reassuring to see the data align. And although the conditions were to be robust, the vessel and crew were prepared.

We started medication to prevent seasickness the day prior. A combination of Scopolamine Patches and Stugeron was effective in staving off seasickness for all of us.

Pulling away from Hampton, Virginia Public Pier at 0745 Sunday 23 October 2016. Photo is courtesy of our dock neighbors, Tina and Steve from Nova Scotia.

The Sailing and Blue Water

From the Hampton, Virginia area, Bermuda lies on a course about 115 degree (true). That said, the crossing of the Gulf Stream is usually done at some pre-planned entry and exit waypoints to take advantage of favorable eddies which spin off from the stream.

Argon was hailed on the VHF just a couple hours in to our journey as we passed the Cape Henry Virginia Pilot Tower. The Operator noticed Argon was a Tartan and called to ask our model and where we were headed. He also owns a Tartan (3700) and is planning a southerly journey in a few years. The Tower Operator kindly e mailed us this photo he took of Argon through binoculars.

The initial 200nm of the journey was on starboard tack. The wind and seas picked up as forecasted as we entered the Atlantic Ocean. We were prepared for a rough initial 36-40 hours and the conditions did not disappoint.
At the helm during Day 1. Temperatures started off cool but warmed along the passage.
The water becomes a deep, ink blue as we sail well in to the Atlantic Ocean. We were scheduled to hit the Gulf Stream about 2300 that night.

The first sunset off the stern of Argon about 11 hours and 90 miles in to our trip. We were making good time and our spirits were prepared for the expected increasing winds and seas as we approached the Gulf Stream for a night crossing.

Bob was at the helm around 2100 when the seas became significantly more rough. The six to eight foot following waves increased to twelve feet and the periods decreased somewhat causing the boat to be tossed around more. Fortunately, the wind stayed from its forecasted westerly (and even slightly southwesterly) direction which was favorable to ensure there would not be wind opposing the Gulf Stream current. However, many large waves relentlessly charged against our stern quarter requiring much diligence and strength at the helm. This was to become the norm for the rest of the passage.

We hit our stream entry waypoint exactly.  Because of wind direction, we left the stream well south of our planned exit waypoint. To hit it would have required a jybe overnight, and we felt it better to not attempt that maneuver in those conditions. Besides, the crew was actually starting to sleep a bit on their off-watch times by now.

The most difficult part of the trip for me was my watch at the helm during the first night transiting the Gulf Stream as I used all of my strength to control Argon's rudder through each huge wave coming up behind. And in the pitch black, one is going completely by sound and feel of the approaching wave. At one point, I became disoriented and lost control of my direction accidentally jybing... the boom violently thrust to the other side of wind alarming my crew mates.  Fortunately, we had a reefed main at the time so the impact was not so huge. As I regained my composure, and with a bit of support from Lance who was resting in the cockpit at the time, we jybed back in a more controlled manner and I resumed my watch a bit shaken but focused.

Dawn of the second day and the other side of the Gulf Stream.

Brilliant sunrise of Day 2 after transiting the Gulf Stream. The winds increased to 30kts and the seas increased with occasional 15 footers all day!

Lance at the helm. We were very disciplined about using our tethers at all times, clipping in from the companionway before entering the cockpit.
The first 36-40 hours were all hand steering, no autopilot at all, as the seas were too big for the autopilot to steer in to; in addition, when manually steering one can better anticipate the waves when feeling the stern start to rise and compensate in time to avoid turning dangerously in to the wind. We were able to use the autopilot with some regularity a good part of Day 3 but overall, we manually steered at least 75% of the time.

Continuous walls of brilliant blue water rise behind Argon. We transited an impressive 206nm during the first 24 hours (which is an average speed of almost 9kts!) often surfing down waves at 11-13kts, and even occasionally hitting 15 and 16kts, well above Argon's hull speed.
The most challenging part of the sail came during the second day when we were sailing with a double reefed main and the big genoa. The winds increase to 30+ kts. It took both Bob and Lance to furl in the genoa with the enormous load on that huge sail while I struggled to keep Argon pointing low, so that the main would offer some shielding, but working hard to avoid jybing or rounding up in the 15 foot seas. 

Another spectacular sunset in large seas as our second night approaches. I was not looking forward to another 12 hours of darkness in high winds and large seas.
Sailing in the darkness in mild conditions can be very relaxing and zen-like. However, for me, sailing at night in 20-30kt winds and 10-15 foot seas is the opposite of relaxing; it is moderately terrifying. One relies heavily on instruments fixated on the wind gauge ensuring Argon stays on a broad reach, but careful not to jybe as the huge waves roar up from behind; and keeping close watch to the compass heading as we were expecting a wind shift from west to northwest and needed to time a midnight jybe.

We jybed during the second night shifting to a port tack which we would hold for the rest of the trip.

Going forward on the deck is not taken lightly in these conditions. Double tethered and with complete concentration, Bob is securing the flailing topping lift by taping it to the spinnaker halyard to keep it from fowling anything or causing any other damage.

The non-stop tossing of the boat gets very tiring both in the cockpit and down below. But our spirits stay up the entire journey. Our clothing got lighter the further along we traveled as we enjoyed warming temperatures.

The seas offshore are cobalt blue walls of water growing behind the stern; marbled with bright, white, fizzing foam; the tips of the most mature waves were topped off with a translucent turquoise ridge as the sun shined through.

That's a big wall of deep, ink blue water coming up behind Bob.

Motion Picture

Here is a short video of some scenes from the passage. It was basically like this for 85 hours as we cycled through our watches. Our lives consisted of sailing, resting, eating, sailing, resting, eating, etc. We all had plenty of time on the helm negotiating these seas. It's very hard to capture the impressive size of some of these waves with a video camera.  Not only that, but Bob is sure that the seas always get flatter as soon as we roll video.



We encountered more traffic than expected but were always able to spot it on our AIS (Automatic Identification System) well in advance and track the course of a couple of cruise ships and cargo ships. Two of our ocean companions were a bit tricky. The first was a tug but we could not see his towing lights at first; the tug captain hailed us to explain to us that he was towing a 700 foot barge. We confirmed we would alter course and pass behind the tow by turning upwind. With the high winds and full sails, handling Argon was difficult as was knowing for sure that we were clearing the lengthy tow in the dark night. But after a stressful half an hour or so, we were safely past, fell off the wind, and resumed our course.

The next night we were on course to cross uncomfortably close to an 800 foot tanker. Lance hailed him and he surprisingly indicated that we should hold our course and he would alter. This is unusual as sailboats are more maneuverable and we are the ones that normally alter course, not the tanker. We held course, and we held our breath, as we continued to monitor our converging paths. After a spell, it was obvious that we were well out of range and we were able to sit back again.


Celebration and Debrief

No amount of exhaustion could keep us from celebrating the completion of our passage. Thus at about 2130 (ADT) hours immediately after clearing customs and tying Argon to the Yachting Center sea wall, we hopped over to the White Horse for celebratory Dark-n-Stormy's. Then on to the more vibrant Wahoos Bistro around the corner for another round. Lance and Bob were thrilled to see their old friend Geza Wolfe ("Klaus" to us) working diligently behind the bar as he was last December when they landed in Bermuda on s/v Acedia. Despite the kitchen being closed at this late hour, Klaus fired up the fry-o-later for chicken wings and fries for the hungry sailors.

Lance and Geza Wolf (aka Klaus) at Wahoos.

As we drank and laughed, we also talked about what went well and what we could have/should have done better. (Ok... this is because of me, but the guys played along.)

What Went Well:
  • Crew dynamics and camaraderie
  • Preparedness of the vessel and crew
  • Conditions were challenging but as predicted/expected and we mostly handled them well (see below for mostly caveat)
  • The food (Lance felt well-fed) 
  • Rhythm of the watches, taking turns at helm as needed based on conditions and fatigue
What Went Less than Well:
  • Linda's accidental midnight jybe
  • Waiting too long (as the winds rose) to furl in the genoa

Lance's Feedback

Lance Ryley is a very experienced sailor and his input on how the boat is rigged and sailed is invaluable. He had a few great suggestions during the trip:

Lance cranked the Autopilot up to "performance" mode. Argon, with her big fat comfortable cockpit gets knocked way over when large waves hit her on the stern quarter. The autopilot was never able to recover from these - hence all the manual steering. In performance mode, it should do a little better.  Bob may dig into the setup as well and see if there is anything to tweak for offshore performance.

Reefing off the wind
We found ourselves needing to put in a reef after a couple good wipe-outs. Bob and I have always turned up into the wind to do this. Given the sea state at the time, this seemed impossible or at least very dangerous. "You can't reef off the wind? Why not?" Lance said. We tried it. It worked perfectly.  We learned something.

Marking Reefing points on lines
With Argon's slab-reefing system, you lower the halyard and then take up about 4x the amount of line on the reefing line. It requires constant looking aloft and at the end of the boom to know when things are set.  Lance suggested marking the halyard and reefing lines with some whipping (stitching) so those points are very easy to find while making the adjustments. Bob did this yesterday at anchor.

Lance flew back home a couple of days ago after we enjoyed the island a bit and we moved Argon from the sea wall out to the anchorage. Now that this major passage is completed, and we find ourselves surrounded by warm, turquoise water and palm trees in a new country, it definitely feels as if we have started a new chapter of this journey... Perhaps those perished birds really did symbolize a new beginning... the end of something and the start of something else. And now we are eagerly awaiting a visit from a couple of our boys later in the week and starting to think about the next, longer passage southward.

Sitting in my new blogging office!

a new beginning... the end of something and the start of something else

Now time to enjoy Bermuda for a bit and an upcoming visit from two of our sons!