<![CDATA[ Adventures Aboard s/v Ally Cat - Blog Posts by Kimberly]]>Sun, 21 Feb 2016 15:53:36 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[St. Vincent & the Grenadines]]>Thu, 25 Jun 2015 17:04:12 GMThttp://www.crewofthree.com/blog-posts-by-kimberly/st-vincent-the-grenadines
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) is comprised of 32 islands and hundreds of islets, stretching 48 miles from Saint Vincent, south of St. Lucia, down to Grenada.  The big island of St. Vincent, which is volcanic in origin, has a rugged mountainous terrain, lush forests and many beaches and inlets. The Grenadines, a name derived from the Spanish word for pomegranate, include Bequia, Canouan, Mustique, Mayreau, Union, Petit St. Vincent, many smaller islets and over 600 rocky islets, all low-lying and ringed by coral reefs.  Some of the islands, such as Mustique and Palm Island, are privately owned; many of the smaller islands, such as Tobago Cays, are unpopulated.  

St. Vincent was originally called Hairouna, Land of the Blessed, by the Caribs, who had ousted the original Arawaks.  The Caribs prevented any European settlement until the 18th century.   The French arrived and began growing coffee, cotton, tobacco and sugar on plantation.  Like the rest of the Caribbean, African slaves were brought to work the plantation, along with the Caribs.  

The original Caribs—Yellow Caribs, they came to be known—were joined by survivors from a slave ship that sank and came to be known as Black Caribs.  For the remainder of the 18th century, the Caribs, Yellow and Black, the French and the British fought for control of St. Vincent.  The British were victorious and shipped most of the remaining Caribs to an island off of Honduras.  

While the Brits abolished slavery in 1807, it was not until 1834 when slavery was finally abolished in the British Empire, as well as in St. Vincent and in other British colonies.  

In 1902, when the underlying plates of the earth’s surface were wreaking havoc in St. Pierre, Martinique 115 miles away, La Soufriere volcano in St. Vincent erupted, killing 2,000 and damaging much of the country’s farmland.  

In 1969, St. Vincent was given complete control over its internal affairs and in October 1979, SVG became the last of the Windward Islands to gain independence.   
The flag of SVG was officially adopted October 12, 1985.  The blue is symbolic of the sky, yellow for almost constant sunshine and green for the abundant vegetation.  The ‘Gems of Antilles’ are placed in the shape of a ‘V’ for St. Vincent.

The population of SVG was 103,220, as of 2013, with nearly 25,000 living in the capital city of Kingstown in St. Vincent.  The language is English and the currency is the East Caribbean dollar (EC$).  Today the  economy revolves around agriculture, with bananas and coconut palms the major cash crops. Tourism continues to be a growing business, particularly on St. Vincent.

<![CDATA[Martinique]]>Thu, 18 Jun 2015 16:09:19 GMThttp://www.crewofthree.com/blog-posts-by-kimberly/martinique
Martinique lies in the Windward Islands, south of Dominica and north of St. Lucia.  The island is mountainous, dominated by a single volcano, Mt. Pelee, which stands at 4,583 feet.  The official currency is the Euro, and the official language is French.  Creole Patios is also spoken.  The Caribs called Martinique ‘Madinina’, the Island of Flowers.  It is the largest of the Windwards.  Martinique is the birthplace of Napoleon’s beloved Josephine.
Like St. Martin, Martinique is an overseas department of France, and therefore flies the Tricolore flag of France, consisting of three vertical bands of equal width, displaying the country’s national colors: blue, white and red.
A common history throughout the Caribbean islands, Martinique was first inhabited by the Arawaks, who were overrun by the Caribs, and then ‘discovered’ by Columbus in 1493, though they did not settle it.  A group of French from St. Kitts settled there, destroying most of the Caribs. Slaves were brought to the island to work the sugar plantations.  After battles with the remaining Caribs and the Brits, the French took firm control in 1815.

In 1848, when the Emancipation Proclamation was signed by the French government, ending all slavery in the French West Indies, indentured laborers from India were brought to Martinique to replace the black slaves.

As of 2012, the population of Martinique was 412,305, with 91,249 living in the current capital city of Fort-de-France.  The capital, however, prior to 1902, was St. Pierre, home to Mt. Pelee. At the turn of the century, St. Pierre was a vibrant colonial city, known to tourists as the “Paris of the West Indies,” and home to more than 20,000.  

As early as January 1902, Mt. Pelee showed an increase in fumarole activity.  (A fumarole is a vent from which volcanic gas escapes into the atmosphere.) Appearing unconcerned, resident continued as usual—at least until April, when minor explosions began.  Community leaders climbed the volcano to determine the danger, reporting to the Governor on May 5, 1902 that “there is nothing in the activity of Mt. Pelee that warrants a departure from St. Pierre.”  It concluded that “the safety of St. Pierre is completely assured.”   The only scientist in the group was a local high-school science teacher.

Of course the community leaders were completely wrong.  Based on this report and encouraging newspaper articles, many people in the countryside fled to St. Pierre.  Thinking it was the safest place to be, the city’s population swelled to 28,000, all of whom died in the May 8, 1902 eruption.

An enormous cloud of superheated gas, ash and rock headed straight for St. Pierre at more than 100 miles per hour and struck the city with hurricane force in less than 1 minute.  Everything—people, homes, animals, buildings—was destroyed by the pyroclastic flow.  Some may have died from the force of the blast or from burns, but most died within seconds of inhaling the hot fumes and ash. 

It is believed there are only two known survivors from St. Pierre.  A cobbler, Leon Leandre, whose survival is accredited to both his good health and the location of his home on the edge of the flow.  Louis-Auguste Cyparis, a prisoner, was likely spared as he was in solitary confinement in the prison’s dungeon. Severely burned, he survived for four days until he was rescued from the ruins.  He eventually joined the Barnum & Bailey Circus, where he was touted as the “Lone Survivor of St. Pierre.”

Virtually nothing remained of the town, with the exception of a portion of the old theater, and the dungeon of the prison and other stone wall ruins.  Post eruption buildings have been built onto old structures, so many new buildings share at least one wall with the past.

<![CDATA[Saint Martin/Sint Maarten]]>Wed, 13 May 2015 16:10:07 GMThttp://www.crewofthree.com/blog-posts-by-kimberly/saint-martinsint-maartin-fast-facts Saint Martin/Sint Maarten is located 150 miles east of Puerto Rico, with the Atlantic to the east and the Caribbean Sea to the west. It is the smallest land mass, 35 square miles, governed by two nations, France and the Netherlands.  The island is divided roughly in half; the northern part is French, the southern part is Dutch.  They exist so peacefully that there is no border crossing.  Saint Martin, refers generally to the entire island, as well as the French side specifically.  Sint Marten refers to the Dutch side.

Known as the Friendly Island, Saint Martin, the French side, is a French Overseas Collectivity in the French West Indies, and has been since 2007.  The current population is approximately 36,000 residents. The capital is Marigot and the official language is French, though English is the most commonly spoken.  The official currency is the Euro; however, US dollars are widely accepted. 

The first settlers on the island were Arawak Indians. Christopher Columbus discovered the island on his second voyage to the New World in 1493.  The Arawaks were chased away by the Caribe Indians, who were then put to work by the Spaniards, thereby introducing the first slaves.  The Dutch came in the 1620’s to harvest salt, as well as to create a half-way point between Amsterdam and Brazil.  Then the French came in the 1630’s, introducing sugar, coffee, cotton and tobacco plantations…and a major influx of slaves.  Slavery was abolished in 1848, whereupon the British brought the Chinese and East Indians to work.  The island changed hands between the Dutch, French and English powers 16 times between 1620 and 1815.  It is easy to see how the population is made up of 115 to 120 nationalities! 

During WWII, the US built runways on a number of Caribbean Islands to eliminate the threat of German submarines.  The runway on the Dutch side later became an international airport, helping to usher in an era of tourism and economic prosperity.

The French Tricolore
As a French Collectivity, Saint Martin flies the French Flag, left. The French national flag, the tricolore, consists of three equal bands of equal width, displaying the country’s national colors: blue, white and red, with the blue band nearest the flag staff.  These colors have come to represent liberty, equality and fraternity, the ideals of the French Revolution, as well.
Sint Maartin, the Dutch side, became an independent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands in 2010.  The current population is approximately 40,000.  The capital is Philipsburg and the official language is Dutch, though English is often spoken.  The official currency is the Netherlands Antilles guilder or florin (NAF).

The flag of Sint Maarten was adopted in 1985.  The red, white and blue are symbolic of the Dutch flag, and the island coat of arms is displayed on the left.  

Ironically, the Dutch flag is very similar to the French flag, with the exception that the bands of color are horizontal versus vertical.

<![CDATA[Ally's Birthday MONTH!]]>Tue, 12 May 2015 17:27:26 GMThttp://www.crewofthree.com/blog-posts-by-kimberly/allys-birthday-month
Ally has been asking for months where we think we will be for her birthday. My reply: Somewhere between Turks & Caicos and Grenada. Apparently that was too wide of a geographic range, but honestly, we had NO idea!

It turns out, her birthday was spread out between three countries: 1. Boquerón, Puerto Rico, USA; 2. Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas, USVI; and 3. Cane Garden, Tortola and The Baths and Devil's Bay, Virgin Gorda, BVI. Quite FUN!

We had a girls’ day in Boquerón, Puerto Rico.  Sue, from s/v Uno, and I took her birthday shopping (just like we do with her big cousins, Betsy and Becca!). She picked out a cute Roxy ball cap, this great t-shirt with Ally Cat in SW Allans Cay, Exumas, Bahamas that was hand painted from a picture (AMAZING!) and the cutest beach cover up dress (yes, I said dress...now she has yet to wear it, but she insists she will!).
We managed to get to St. Thomas for Carnival and spent a day watching the kids’ parade and wandering thru the craft tents. Here, with birthday money from her Auntie Lynn, she had her hair braided for the second time this trip. She had a full head this time and she LOVES it!
Though her actual birthday is the 12th, we were not going to be with all of our buddy boats at that time, so we planned a birthday party for the 8th in Cane Garden, Tortola. We had the crew from Uno (Steve, Sue, Jacob and Noah), Glass Slipper (Mary, Coleen, and Sylvie), Nancy Lu (Mark and Kathy), and Bueller (Lars and Jackie). If you weren’t counting, including the three of us, that was 14—a record aboard s/v Ally Cat!

And finally, her actual birthday.  Unbeknownst to Ally, I had arranged to have mail sent to her in St. John, USVI.  She was DELIGHTED to have a pile of cards and presents to open on her very non-traditional birthday!  Thank you Sam & Addie, Emma, Grandma, Auntie Lynn, Auntie Stacie, Auntie Rachel, Auntie Tammy, Uncle Johnny, Julia & Ryan!

A short sail from Trellis Bay, Beef Island to Virgin Gorda and a day snorkeling, hiking and swimming The Baths and Devil's Bay.
Wow! This birthday is going to be hard to top…
<![CDATA[Puerto Rico]]>Mon, 13 Apr 2015 16:10:34 GMThttp://www.crewofthree.com/blog-posts-by-kimberly/puerto-rico-fast-facts
In 1492, on his second voyage to the New World, Christopher Columbus landed in Puerto Rico, or Rich Port, the smallest and easternmost of the Greater Antilles.  It lies between Hispaniola, to the west, and the Virgin Islands, to the east. The indigenous Taíno Indians were decimated by the Spaniards, who after a brief occupation by the English and the Dutch, ruled the island until 1897.  A year after Puerto Rico was granted autonomy, the island was captured by US troops in 1898, during the Spanish-American War, and it became a US Protectorate.

Officially called the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico is now a self-governing commonwealth in association with the United States.  The chief of state is the President of the USA.  The head of government is an elected governor. As a commonwealth, versus a possession such as the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico has their own constitution and a significant amount of autonomy.

Home to two-thirds of the 3.9 million Puertorriqueños, San Juan is the capital of Puerto Rico.  The island’s inhabitants have all the rights and obligations of US citizens, such as paying social security, receiving federal welfare and serving in the armed forces, except the right to vote in presidential elections and the obligation to pay federal taxes.

The flag of Puerto Rico was adopted in 1922.  It looks very similar to the flag of Cuba, as both were designed at the same time.  The red stripes are symbolic of the “blood” that nourishes the three branches of government: Legislative, Executive and Judiciary.  The white stripes represent “individual liberty” and the rights that keep the government in balance.  The blue triangle stands for the “Republican Government”, represented by the three branches of government, and the white star lone star represents “The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico."

As a US commonwealth, Puerto Rico uses the US dollar (US$), though it is often referred to as the “peso.” Spanish is Puerto Rico’s official language, spoken by everyone, although many locals also speak English.  

Puerto Rico enjoys summer temperatures year round, with an average annual temperature of 80°F (26°C). Puerto Rico observes Atlantic Standard Time all year around, which means that they do not observe Daylight Savings Time (one hour later than Eastern Standard Time, EST, from October to April, and the same as Eastern Daylight Savings Time from the first Sunday in April to the last Sunday in October.  

Did you know that, although they are a commonwealth of the United States, Puerto Rico has its own Olympic team and competes in the Miss Universe pageant as an independent nation?

And did you know that Puerto Rico has its very own Virgin Islands?  The Spanish Virgins, including the magnificent islands of Vieques—with its fascinating “Bio Bay”—and Culebra.
<![CDATA[Introduction to the Caribbean]]>Wed, 25 Mar 2015 23:14:20 GMThttp://www.crewofthree.com/blog-posts-by-kimberly/introduction-to-the-caribbean If you are anything like I am, ‘The Caribbean’ was some lovely, slightly far-away place with pretty water, beautiful sandy beaches and perfect weather year-round.  I had heard of many of the countries that make up The Caribbean, but I had very little idea where exactly each of these exotic places were located and had no idea about their history.  All that is changing!

I know, it's a bit crude, but it has helped!
First things first: what is where?  The answer: my handy dandy post card to the rescue.  Don’t laugh, this has been VERY helpful.  Now some information that we have learned that has helped us to understand where we are going!

Despite similarities in their history and geographical location, the 7,000 plus islands that make up the Caribbean each have their own identity.  Fought over by European powers for hundreds of years, populated with slaves from African cultures, this conglomerate is known as the West Indies.  The islands are organized into sovereign states, overseas departments and dependencies.

The Greater Antilles in the northwest Caribbean, consisting of the larger islands of Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola (Haiti on the western third of the island and the Dominican Republic on the eastern two thirds), and Puerto Rico, are closely associated with Christopher Columbus’s arrival in the New World in 1492.  The Cayman Islands are generally considered within this group, as are the Turks and Caicos, though not technically in the Caribbean.

The Virgin Island archipelago, to the east of the Greater Antilles, consists of the US Virgin Islands (USVI) and the British Virgin Islands (BVI).

The Lesser Antilles form a barrier against the Atlantic Ocean.  They consist of the Leeward Islands in the northeast Caribbean Sea and Wayward Islands, to the southeast.

The Leeward Islands span approximately 200 miles and include many islands operating as different nations.  Some are French, some Dutch, some British and some independent.  The Leeward Islands consist of: Anguilla, Saint Martin/Sint Maarten, Saint Barthelemy (aka, Saint Bart), , Saba, Saint Eustatius (aka, Statia), Saint Christopher (aka, Saint Kitts) & Nevis, Montserrat, Antigua & Barbuda, Guadeloupe, Marie-Galante, Isles des Saintes (aka, The Saints) and Dominica.

The Windward Islands are named for the fact that they face east into the trade winds.  They consist of Martinique, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines (including tiny Bequia, Mustique and Petit Saint Vincent), and Grenada, all a series of volcanic peaks that rise from an underwater mountain chain, as well as Barbados, far out to the southeast.

The Southern Caribbean, consisting of Trinidad & Tobago, plus Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao (aka, the ABCs), are in the south Caribbean Sea, to the north of Venezuela.

Some other terms you may have heard: 
French Antilles (Saint Bart, Guadeloupe and Martinique)
Islands that Brush the Clouds (Saba, Statia, Saint Kitts & Nevis and  Montserrat)

So was that at all helpful?

<![CDATA[The Turks and Caicos Islands]]>Wed, 18 Mar 2015 15:20:56 GMThttp://www.crewofthree.com/blog-posts-by-kimberly/the-turks-and-caicos-islands
The Turks and Caicos Islands are part of the Lucayan Archipelago, just south of the Bahamas chain and to the east of Cuba and Hispaniola (Haiti and Dominican Republic).  Technically, the Turks and Caicos Islands are located in the Atlantic Ocean, and not in the Caribbean Sea.

The Turks and Caicos Islands, or TCI for short, are a British Overseas Territory (formerly called Crown Colonies).  The capital is Cockburn (pronounced “Co’burn”) Town located on Grand Turk Island.  A governor is appointed by the Queen and presides over the Executive Council, which is made up of an elected local self-government.

Turks and Caicos Islanders are mostly descendants of Africans, who were brought in to work the salt pans or the cotton fields.  Today, only 8 of the 40 islands and cays. The islands are home to roughly 30,000 full-time residents.

The main islands of The Caicos are:
Providenciales (aka, “Provo”)
orth Caicos    
     Middle Caicos
South Caicos
     Parrot Cay
Pine Cay

 The main islands of The Turks are: 
Grand Turk
Salt Cay

The TCI economy is dependent on the tourism and real estate development industries, in addition to seafood export. 

In an average year, TCI has 350 days of sunshine!  With average air temps of 80 to the mid-90’s and water temps from 75 to 85 year round, it is easy to see why more than 20,000 tourist visit TCI each year.

As a British Overseas Territory, TCI flies the flag of the United Kingdom.  TCI has a coat of arms shield, displaying a conch and a crayfish, representing the local fishing industry, and a flowering cactus, representing the local flora. 

The currency of TCI is the US Dollar (US$) and the official language is English.  As a British Territory, they drive on the left side of the road (“Keep Left!!”).  They observe Eastern Standard Time, adopting Eastern Daylight Saving Time from April to October.

<![CDATA[Conch!]]>Sun, 01 Feb 2015 23:27:53 GMThttp://www.crewofthree.com/blog-posts-by-kimberly/conch
My hunter and his snorkeling buddy found our first conch on SW Allen’s Cay in the Exhumas.  We had a few people over one evening in Norman’s Cay and were given another one as a hostess gift!  We are now in the Exhuma Land and Sea Park—a national park and, therefore, a no-take zone—and are already looking forward to finding more once we are out of the park.  Since conch are hard to find outside of the Bahamas and Florida, you can try other types of fish: crab, shrimp or squid…let me know what you try and tell me how it comes out!

I was trying to figure out what was in this delicious sauce that I had when we ate out one evening.  I wanted to buy some in Nassau while we still had good grocery stores nearby.  I finally asked a local—who called her mom J—and found out how simple it is to make.  And the best news: I have all of the ingredients on board already!

Conch Fritters (actually Conch Cakes) with Bahamian Sauce (the basic recipe came from Allrecipes.com, however, we have tweaked it some!)

     ¾ cups flour
½ cup milk
1 egg
1 cup conch meat, pounded to tenderized and chopped
½ medium onion, chopped
½ cup green and/or red bell peppers, chopped
½ cup celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
cayenne pepper to taste
salt and pepper to taste

  1. Mix flour, egg and milk
  2. Mix in the conch meat, onion, peppers, celery and garlic
  3. Season with cayenne pepper, salt and pepper
  4. Lacking the skills (I burned my first attempt to get the oil hot enough to ‘deep fry’ these guys…yuk) and really the desire (none of us are huge fans of deep fried anything…), we decided to just sauté these up in heated oil, like a crab cake, in a skillet.
  5. Drain on paper towel

For the Sauce
     2 Tbsp ketchup
2 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 Tbsp lime juice
~ 1 tsp hot sauce, or to taste
salt and pepper to taste  

The conch meat is rather tough, so it needs to be pounded to death before dicing it up. In lieu of a meat tenderizer, we have the makeshift thermos! Hey, it works...
<![CDATA[SW Allen's Cay]]>Sun, 11 Jan 2015 19:49:51 GMThttp://www.crewofthree.com/blog-posts-by-kimberly/sw-allens-cay
First stop in the Exumas and I understand why this is the holy grail for sailors!
First order of business, manis/pedis in our new sarongs! Ally opted for rainbow colored toes to go with my tye-dye sarong...
...and I chose to match my nails with the impossible color of the water!
We shared this beautiful anchorage and beach with one other boat...
...and the iguanas! They are herbivores, right??!!
They are supposedly endangered, however it was hard to believe that when we had 15 in our sight at one time. Backing up now...
Off to snorkel and explore! Aren't they cute??
<![CDATA[Nassau/Atlantis]]>Fri, 09 Jan 2015 19:27:23 GMThttp://www.crewofthree.com/blog-posts-by-kimberly/nassauatlantis
Atlantis at sunset from Nassau Harbor
The Atlantis resort is so beautiful---very well done so that we never felt as if there were that many people around...important since we were fresh off the boat after spending a week with NO ONE in sight!
The challenger water slide--fun to see who will win!
Ice cream? Did someone say ice cream??!!
Trouble in Paradise, Paradise Island, that is! This requires a bit more explanation, however, that is water--sea water--overflowing from the bilge, above the floorboard, past Michael's ankles...into the battery compartment. About 9 inches! Thank goodness we did not stay at the resort for dinner And thank heavens Michael spent all last winter rewiring the entire boat so he could assess and fix quickly. Ahhh...
Introducing....ROCKET! The entire reason we went to Nassau was to buy a 15hp 2-stroke outboard for the dinghy. A lighter weight, go-fast engine than we could buy in the US. Michael is in love...we all are! Of course, Ally thinks the entire reason we went to Nassau was to go to Atlantis and play :)