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Zen of Sailing the Caribbean in the Hurricane Season

July 8, 2017

“If you are unhappy it’s not because of external factors. It’s nobody else’s fault or problem. It’s not because you are poor or live in a small house, or even because you are ill. It’s because you have an inner emptiness that needs to be filled with light, and only you can do that. It is every person’s responsibility to seek that light. Happiness is not a right; it’s an obligation, because without happiness you have nothing to give back to humanity”

From: Walking the Himalayas by Levison Wood quoting from an audience with the Dalai Lama

I love this quote even though we just seem to go from one hurricane watch to another. There actually haven’t been any hurricanes this season but lots of possibilities. What will happen when one of these possibilities turns into a hurricane?

At the moment we’re tied up to a dock in St. Lucia but soon scheduled for departure for points south. We took a dock space for two weeks – a luxury. We haven’t been at a dock and living onboard since the end of January. We did have a wonderful break when two friends from Edmonton rented a house with a dock but apart from that we’ve been at anchor all of the time.

We  now have hot showers, unlimited water, garbage pick up and electricity. Amazing how all these simple things that one takes for granted onshore become luxuries when living on a boat. Talk about living simply – we collect water from the rainfall when it comes or snatch a container or two from shore based spigots, we try to recycle our garbage as much as possible but that’s hard in the Caribbean. We’ve taken to putting all used plastic into a single empty 5 litre container so our plastic waste doesn’t get scattered into the wind when disposed of on shore. It’s amazing how much plastic you can stuff into a 5ltr water container. Try it sometime…

Our electricity comes from solar panels. Here in the Caribbean we would be better off with a wind generator. This is the first area we have been where the solar panels don’t keep up to consumption and we have to occasionally start-up the engine to replenish our batteries. The wind however blows constantly unlike many other areas of the world. In an Australian anchorage many years ago our wind generator never turned for 7 months! Mind you we were in a very protected spot but that’s where we realised we would be better off with solar and for 25 years of sailing we have always relied on solar.

I’m trying to get on the ‘green’ bandwagon now that the full impact of our world’s environmental  problems are well laid out in Naomi Klein’s recent book – This Changes Everything: Capitalism versus the Environment. For a truly depressing outlook on our challenges then this is a good read. Not only does it outline the challenge but it offers some possible solutions. I’ll leave it up to this readership to take up the challenge and at least read the book if not at least challenge your views on our economic system.

Back to sailing: the winds blow (sometimes with great force), the forecasts continue to talk about tropical waves and dry Sahara winds contributing to mid atlantic tropical storm formations, the rainy season continues to deluge the roads and ditches and fill the water tanks, boats from many nations continue to go north and south in the Caribbean and the humidity continues to rise.

We haven’t had many sailing adventures other than to sail south from Martinique to St. Lucia a few weeks back, had a cell phone stolen while in the shop for unlocking, made a tour of St. Lucia with some sailing friends, sat in volcanic hot pools for the afternoon and had a few meals out but nothing much to rave about.

In a few days time we should be heading further south as the hurricane season heats up in August and we want to be somewhere relatively safe and south of the hurricane belt. Of course we’ll get warmer weather and right now feel like I want to be in the Arctic.

For those sailing the Caribbean at this time of the year ‘be at one with NOAA’!

6 Comments leave one →
  1. July 8, 2017 18:39

    Tony:
    Thank you for the awesome quote. I’m going to post it in an upcoming blog.
    we’re in Port Hardy, waiting for 50kts NW to pass. No bugs, for a change at least.
    Fred

  2. Deb McCann permalink
    July 9, 2017 09:58

    Connie and Tony hope your journey south in few days is uneventful weather wise ! Your posts are always informative and your narrative make for a great read Stay safe and healthy
    Deb and Stephen

    PS
    We are now on day five of parties/dinners etc celebrating Stephens 62 nd birthday Can’t imagine what 65 has in store for him Lol

  3. John Edward Middleton permalink
    July 9, 2017 14:14

    Thanks for the great quote! Summer has finally arrived here on the West Coast after a particularly bad winter and cool wet spring. Politics have been particularly interesting here at home as well, what with the Green/NDP alliance forming a minority government with a one vote margin. Just so you know, we were in Costa Rica last November and they had their first Hurricane (Otto) in recorded history, so not sure how far south you need to go these days to be sure of avoiding one., Enjoy your cruising and keep the Sage blog coming.
    John

  4. edwin riches permalink
    July 10, 2017 00:45

    Hi folks. I must say a special thank you for the very lovely card a few days ago. It will probably find some sort of permanent spot in our decorating theme( early poverty). On a slightly different note: fuck the fucin’ dilly dally fugin lama. Nothing but nothing gets my dander more than people of unquestionable privilege spouting their god forsaken platitudes while giving ‘audiences’ to anyone. As far as I’m concerned he should get his hand washed ass off the throne and go be something more meaningful than a symbol. That goes for Desmon bloody Tutu and on and on! So–there’s that then.

    Hurricanes-south of them seems good idea. I guess I still don’t have a clear idea of your overall plans and if you don’t either, good on ya. No need to get back before the sewers are in here-it’s going to get stupid-uh-how about a 35 foot wide trench from Clover Point to Ogden, right down the Dallas road waterfront. Meanwhile– the bike lanes downtown are very popular with folks who love to watch accidents due to total confusion–more new traffic instructions than chins in China. But rest assured, Lisa’s chickens are happy as pigs in mud in funky Fernwood. Pretty sure she’s a one hit wonder. What ever happened to David Turner?

    Speaking of Fernwood- I hear it’s now possible to purchase a decent little fixer upper in the neighborhood for just under a mill, at least for now.

    We walked over to the Pride Parade today ( crazy busy ) Only saw one familiar face–Louise Bite. She looked good-having fun-etc etc. Oh-and the province is on fire-so take your hurricanes and poke them somewhere our direction.

    Just finished a nice little pesto pasta and planning watching a doc. on the subject of boredom-according to the sleeve-it’s not what I think it is-we’ll see!

    Love and kisses to 2 of my best pals. Teddo.

  5. Toby Bechtel permalink
    July 10, 2017 04:47

    Hello Conny & Tony,Thanks so much for your interesting read, even if you did not experience many hair-raising adventures this time, we always enjoy reading your blogs. I know what effort it takes to keep the writing flowing, and also how little response one sometimes gets… Don’t know who “Teddo” is, his comments are not my view at all, he must be kind of a crazy freak!Angela told me that you may be considering to swallowing the anchor? Any truth in that or is it just rumors?Here we have cold winter weather, nice and sunny in the day and NO WIND (yes, that exists in Cape Town), but pretty chilly at night with a freezing 8 deg Celsius right now. Our fireplace is keeping us warm and our cats love it when the fire crackles!Keep well and go South soon, it’s not nice to be constantly on edge and if one comes (a hurricane) then all the good places are so crowded that it’s almost not safe anymore.Warm regards and a big hug to you two,fromToby and Verena

    WordPress.com | tcgibb posted: ““If you are unhappy it’s not because of external factors. It’s nobody else’s fault or problem. It’s not because you are poor or live in a small house, or even because you are ill. It’s because you have an inner emptiness that needs to be filled with light” | |

  6. July 12, 2017 16:49

    Who the hell is NOAA that I am to be @1 with?
    I love Ted’s response.. ran into him a couple of weeks and got an update.
    Glad to hear from you as when I was swimming this morn. I thought “I have not heard from C&T for awhile.
    We have been up to the smokey Okanagan for a family reunion and back to Vic for a wedding and leave again next Wed. after Carole’s swearing in at Gov.Hse. This time we are off to Trail and the Kootenays for 3 weeks or so.
    No moss is growing on our backs these days it seems.
    Celebrated Dad’s 94th BD here last night. He needs a driving test now and of course we are all hoping he flunks.
    Ciao for now,

    Annie B.

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