Klein Curaçao

We are currently anchored in Spanish Waters, Curaçao. We just returned from a lovely 3 day stay in Klein Curaçao, a small, uninhabited island composed of exposed and eroded coral.

Just recently, we saw flamingos flying and while en route and while staying on Klein Curaçao, we saw flocks of greater and greater size flying toward Bonaire. If you have never seen one flying they look like a long stick with some bright pink fabric fluffing towards the middle. We have seen flamingos on all of the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao)

Upon our arrival, Duhkxy was beside himself when he saw the beautiful expanse of white sand beach. After racing back and forth on the beach, he set to digging up ghost crabs. He rarely injures a crab as his intent is only to whisk them onto the sand so he can chase them to the water.

Duhxky will dig sometimes until nothing but his back legs stick out from the hole
Referred to as ghost crabs, they are perfectly camouflaged for their habitat

This ghost crab sat perfectly still and Duhkxy quickly lost interest.

During the day, the uninhabited island is visited by vessels ferrying people from cruise ships and resorts for a day of snorkeling, swimming, sunbathing, drinking and eating in this idyllic setting. Come around 4:00 or thereabout and the vessels all depart for Curaçao. Other than a couple of caretakers, visitors with overnight passes have the island to themselves. As one tour boat prepared to leave, the captain asked if we would like some pasta salads they had leftover from their lunch. Never to turn down a free meal we said “Sure” and he returned with large portions of two pasta salads; one of ziti, pesto and arugula; a second of couscous, beets, and a minty dressing – both quite lovely. He also supplied us with a massive amount of barbecued chicken skewers and spare ribs. What a treat – a gorgeous island to ourselves and, delicious food and no need to cook for several days!!!

We used our Hookah, that delivers air to about 20 feet to explore underwater. Like scuba diving, the Hookah allows you remain underwater slowly taking in the details.

Green Sea Turtle
Tube Sponge
Rope sponge
One of a small school of Permit following in the wake of a ray to capture food thrown up from the bottom
Flamingo Tongue – a mollusk often found on sea fans and in this instance a type of feather star (crinoid). This Flamingo Tongue has only part of its soft body extruded over its shell.
Sargent Major (damselfish)
Likely a sea plume
Giant Anemone
Lionfish (invasive and dangerous predator for reef fish – often divers requested or given permission to kill whenever possible)
Three-rowed Sea Cucumber
Tube sponge
Christmas Tree Worm (will quickly disappear into its calcareous tube if disturbed)
Spotfin Butterfly Fish
Ocean Surgeonfish
Conger Eel – Brown Garden Eel. Found in colonies. Extremely “shy” and disappear into sand burrow if approached
French Angelfish
Yellowline Arrow Crab
Grooved Brain Coral with burrowing Christmas Tree tube worms

We walked the perimeter of the island along the white sand beach and round the “back side” with crashing waves and sea wrecks.

Sadly the winds and waves carried masses and masses of flotsam (debris carried in from near and far). It would take scores of people scores of days just to pick up the large litter and within a few years you would likely not see a great difference. I am certainly not advocating for NOT picking it up. George and I always choose at least one shoreline to clean, but this was far beyond our capabilities if we spent months here.

To give an idea of how far this litter can travel until it meets a shoreline, George and I found 5 hamburger beans that floated all the way from Africa.

Hamberger Bean

We visited the lighthouse that is operational, but no longer inhabited.

Between the coasts the coral rock supports an array of plant species with a palette of oranges, greens and browns, as well as lizards and hermit crabs.

We enjoyed sun-filled days and periodic squalls, as is characteristic in these islands in January.

and one of the most beautiful sunsets ever

We look forward to visiting the island again with our daughter Allison, her husband Mike, and their children Riley and Tristan in February.

Getting Acquainted with Aruba

“Aruba, Jamaica, OOH I wanna take ya to Bermuda, Bahama, come on pretty Mama”. Beach Boys “Kokomo” released 1988.

We expected to spend a week or so in Aruba before heading to Curaçao

Aruba, as well as all of the ABC islands were having unusually frequent, heavy rain, even given that it was nearing the end of the wet season. These winds were accompanied by squalls, and given the fact that a sail from Aruba to Curaçao, entailed unfavorable wind and current under the best of circumstances, we knew it could be some time for a favorable weather window. We expected to spend a week or so in Aruba before heading to Curaçao.

In the meantime we had two planned projects: 1) to have the salon upholstery cleaned and 2) to replace our anchor chain (although the existing chain was only 5 years old, it had become so rusty that flakes of rust had bridged a gap between part of the stainless steel windlass and the aluminum hull and the resulting electrolysis had begun to create pits in the aluminum. NOT at all acceptable!!

We had done our research before we left Aruba last spring, having found a dry cleaner who indicated they could do the upholstery job, we had removed the old chain, and ordered a new one. The chain was ready and waiting when we arrived.

Surprise, surprise, unexpected, frustrating setbacks

Salon Cushions – We dropped the salon cushions off at the dry cleaners, having already been assured by the owner they could do the job. A week later, having heard nothing back we revisited the cleaners and the were told by the manager they could NOT do the job. The pieces were too large for their machines. After pointing out the covers zipped off, she said they could do the covers. We paid and were told they would be ready the following Monday. Checking back in on Tuesday, they said they had not gotten to them yet and would have them ready the next Wednesday. We asked for the covers and our money back. No one there could cancel the payment on our card and we would need to come back the following day. We did so and were given a cash refund. We then checked out several alternative cleaners, found one, put the covers back on the cushions and Happy ending – 2 weeks start to finish.

This cleaning company had adopted a few stray dogs. They always had them neutered and gave them shelter, love, and affection. Members of the community, unfortunately, know this. Quite regularly, new dogs are dropped off to join the menagerie (16 dogs at present).

Anchor chain – George painted the new anchor chain with different colored stripes at 25 foot intervals so he knows the length of chain he puts out is correct for the depth and conditions of the anchorage.

When he began to pull the chain up by the Windlass, it jammed after a few links. Following consultation with the owner of the marine store who obtained the chain, we discovered the anchor chain had two different “specifications” for the size chain we ordered. After a few links passed through the Gypsy (part of the windlass that accepts each link of the chain while winding it in or out), it would jam. We had ordered the wrong chain. Easier, and far less costly, was to purchase a new gypsy that would fit the new chain.

Search for a new gypsy took just shy a week. Purchase and shipping from Germany to Miami took another couple of weeks. UPS air delivery from Miami took another week. Just shy 4 weeks start to finish.

Silver Lining – unexpected time to explore Aruba

With more time in Aruba than expected we kept our rental car and set off to explore beyond the vicinity of the marina.

Oranjestad, the capital and largest city in Aruba is on the west coast of the south side of Aruba. It is teaming with shops that sell everything between inexpensive souvenirs to very high end jewelry and designer clothing. Passengers on enormous cruise ships disembark in Oranjestad to explore and shop unless they have elected for one of the pre-arranged excursions they can take. The majority of large resorts and beach bars are nearby. The vegetation in the city and vicinity has been coerced into lovely native landscaping.

Aruba has preserved 20% of the island as a National Park. We were unable to enjoy the National Park as dogs (including Duhkxy – go figure) were not permitted.

Nonetheless, there are extensive areas that are wild and uninhabited where man and dog can explore and enjoy.


The Northwest tip of Aruba

Aruba’s California Lighthouse
Rustic waterfront near the California Lighthouse


On the south end the most popular beach with refreshments, shade, and lounge chairs is Baby’s Beach

Baby Beach rents chairs and shade

Thatched roofed structures, sometimes with a center table is frequently found on large and small beaches – available for first who come, as far as we could tell.
Baby beach Concession/Refreshments

Just to the north side of Baby beach we found Roger’s Beach. No accoutrements, but quiet, beautiful, and no chance Duhkxy would be of concern, we soaked for a time while Duhkxy ran on the beach and looked for ghost crabs.

Just north of Roger’s Beach – the vestiges of an oil refinery business. Peppered around the ABC islands, these refineries, in the past, worked to capacity refining Venezuelan crude oil.

A Hidden Gem of Aruba, is the town of St. Nicolas. Our experience there and its charm will keep to another day

Getting Acquainted with Aruba’s Southern-Most End

We typically spend a minimum of several weeks when visiting a place for the first time. This practice was solidified when we spent almost 15 months in Grenada during the height of the Covid pandemic. Only time and experiences can truly give you a sense of a new island’s or country’s culture, cuisine, people, and marvels. We have also adopted the practice of renting a car for a portion of the time we spend in a new destination.

The Southern-Most End of Aruba

Aruba is the smallest of the ABC islands. Despite its size, the island has much to enjoy beyond the areas most frequently visited by cruisers and other tourists. The southern most end of Aruba needs to be included in your visit to the island.

San Nicolas

San Nicolas is the second largest city in Aruba. It initially grew in size and population following the opening of an oil refinery there in 1924. The oil refinery changed hands several times, and ultimately closed in 2009. Vestiges of the refinery still stand just beside Rogers Beach. The closure of this refinery, as well as, refinery closures on Bonaire and Curaçao, were due to environmental concerns which cannot be resolved without costly modernization of the old refineries.

Structures from an old refinery (1924-2009) seen from Rogers Beach

In more recent years, the stark utilitarian architecture of many of San Nicolas’s Buildings have been transformed by beautiful murals depicting life and culture of Aruba, and the artistry of its people. San Nicolas is a treasure not to be missed.

After touring the town and marveling at the murals we proceeded to exploring the southern beaches. I’ve already mentioned Roger’s Beach beside the remnants of the old oil refinery and will add it is a clean, uncrowded, sandy beach with crystal clear water. We enjoyed a good soak there without concern about Duhkxy joining us. The next beach traveling south is Baby Beach. Baby Beach is replete with refreshments, as well as chairs, lounges and shady open tents to rent. Baby Beach was clearly the favorite that day, but far from crowded.

Baby Beach Concessions
Baby Beach

Last but not least was a vast expanse of dunes and waterfront beach that serves and a pet cemetery. Hundreds, upon hundreds of graves with simple to elaborate headstones memorialized beloved pets, primarily dogs. We have found dogs to be considerably more well treated and loved in Aruba than on some islands where they are primarily kept as guard dogs, more than pets.

We ended our day’s visit to Aruba’s southern end with a delicious, traditional dinner at O’Niel’s Caribbean Kitchen.

Update – Sea Turtle Rescue – 22 December 2022

Sadly, the injured turtle we were able to hand off to members of a Curaçao conservation team could not be saved. They also confirmed our suspicion that her injuries were definitively characteristic of an engine propeller wound. Watercraft-rated injuries and deaths of sea and fresh water turtles are not uncommon and correlate with the number of registered craft in an area. Studies of stranded sea turtles indicate that as much as a third of the turtles had been injured from an encounter with a vessel. The overall incidence is likely much higher as many die in the water https://wildlife.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/jwmg.21665

Sea Turtle Rescue

Mid-morning, while relaxing in our cockpit with steaming hot tea, George spotted a turtle. It doesn’t matter how often you see them, it is always a treat.

Mural in Curaçao capturing the charm and our fascination with sea turtles

In this case, unfortunately, it did not take long to see the turtle had some serious damage to its shell and appeared to be lifeless.  The turtle shell bobbed along, being propelled by the current, waves, and wind for half an hour, or so.

At times I saw a flipper above the water.  Each time I hoped perhaps it was still alive, but the flipper would fall back and again, and all that was visible above the water was it’s damaged shell.

Then, just for a moment, I thought I spotted “her” raise her head.  I kept watching and was certain of what I saw the second time. She was breathing.  George and I quickly hopped in the dinghy and slowly approached her.  As we neared, she left no doubt that she was alive, albeit very weak, as she attempted to dive below the water to distance herself from us.

Approaching a boat anchored beside us, we asked if they knew if there was an animal rescue center on the Island.  Jimmie and Judy on Poppycock responded that they didn’t, but did offer there was a large aquarium.  A quick Google search later we found a phone number and a gentleman from the aquarium took our phone number and offered to connect us with a wildlife conservation team.

The turtle was now drifting closer to shore and we feared she would be pushed by waves into the rocks along the shore.  George approached her again in the dinghy and successfully guided her further out.  Shortly afterward, we lost sight of her and, although George searched very carefully for her, she appeared to be gone.

It had been about an hour since we saw her last when a member of the conservation team called and advised us that it could be several hours before they could get out to our boat.  George was just explaining that we had not seen her for at least an hour when there she was again.

The conservation team member let us know they could come immediately if we could capture the turtle and bring her to shore. Concern that we would lose her again encouraged us to try to catch her.  We knew the dinghy engine would spook her so George agreed to attempt to paddle to her.  If we could get close enough to her, I would try to catch her in our fishing net.

IT WORKED!  She was a big turtle but we managed to get her in the dinghy. The only issue now was that the wind and tide was pushing us further and further from our sailboat, Ice Floe. Under the best of circumstances it is difficult to paddle the dinghy, we could not get there against the wind. in our haste, we had forgotten to get the dinghy engine key.

Her shell was very badly damaged and her right front flipper was torn on the underside
She offered no resistance

I hailed a boat nearby and a man approached us to offer assistance just as George remembered he had had hidden a spare key for the dinghy engine. Felt a bit foolish, especially as George has been quizzing me repeatedly over the last week to make sure I remember where he had hidden the key.

George wet a towel and draped it over her and we brought her to shore. The rescue team told him that was exactly the thing to do (he always knows what’s best)

This marvelous turtle is now in the hands of a vet and members of the conservation team.  They said they will keep us apprised of how she does.  We’ll let you know. 

Varadero Aruba Marina and Boatyard – First rate yard for Sailing and Motor Yachts

Of the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao) Aruba is not the most frequently visited by the sailing community. Last April we began to explore putting Ice Floe on the hard in the Varadero Aruba Boatyard for a number of very practical reasons. We knew very little more about the Varadero Aruba Varedaro Boatyard other than that it accommodates both motor and sailing yachts.

First and foremost, we have been flying Jet Blue since we began cruising in the Caribbean and our experience traveling with our miniature poodle, Duhkxy, has never been questioned. While Jet Blue has joined most airlines in no longer recognizing emotional support animals to accompany passengers on flights, having Duhkxy join us in his carrier, under a seat has never been an issue. Duhkxy is our steadfast companion.

Beside the comfort of knowing Duhkxy would be accommodated, Jet Blue Flights to the US are very affordable in comparison to flights on any carrier from Bonaire or Curaçao and Jet Blue flies direct from Aruba to JFK, one of the only airports clear a dog into the United States from another country.

Duhkxy is a great sailor

We knew very little more about the Varadero Aruba Marina and Boatyard other than that it accommodates both motor and sailing yachts. We can now say, with no reservation, that the Marina and Boatyard provide outstanding service and safety for routine boat work and to store a sailing vessel on the hard. Rishi manages the boatyard and he rivals the efficiencies we enjoyed with Judith, the office manager. Captain Paul, the dockmaster is charming, available, and knowledgable.

Approach to the Marina

Facificiously, George commented, “Aruba is the only island, in my experience, that uses sunken boats as navigational aids for both customs and the Marina”. There are few channel markers, but the charts are an accurate guide to the marina entrance.


Upon arrival following a two and a half day sail from Bonaire, we anchored immediately south of the entrance to the boatyard to take sails down in the unprecedented high winds being experienced at the time. Since that time, several sailboats have anchored in the same area for weeks. We too, anchored there when we returned this spring while waiting for a boat part. Good holding and calm waters.

Boat Storage and Services

Rishi manages the boatyard and he gets the highest marks for the reliability, timeliness, and quality of services. He is almost always available and he and his team are collegial, responsive, and competent. The yard did a fine job checking on Ice Floe through the summer months, removing and replacing a boat cover if a storm approached and making sure no mildew, insects or critters found their way aboard. When we arrived, her cover was off and the outside of the boat washed and before we left the dock we got a fantastic waxing by hand.

The haul out and launch of Ice Floe was completed with very capable staff showing up on time and without issue. Once in the water, stiff winds presented some challenge to docking and the Dock Master – Captain Paul, left nothing to chance with a well articulated plan and two men and himself on the dock to assist. Good thing too, as George who is especially expert in dicey wind forgot to put our dagger board down and once Ice Floe turned broadside to the wind she was off like a kite.

Transient Slips

We like to stay at the dock a day or two before Ice Floe is hauled out and after she is launched. If you want a slip upon arrival or before departure, be sure to book a good time ahead. There are very few slips that are not taken and unless you have secured a reservation, the few open ones may not be available. A reservation will guarantee that a slip will be open for you when you need it.

Should you elect to visit here, don’t be put off that the marina is located very close to the airport. Flights in and out stop shortly after dark. Also, initially disconcerting was that the garbage dump (mountain/landfill) was on fire when we arrived and continued to smoke for several days. However, prevailing winds carried smoke swiftly away from the Marina).


We routinely take a room for several days upon arrival and before departure and Judith booked us into a very affordable, comfortable, and convenient room across the street from the yard. The air-conditioned room is equipped with a comfortable bed, very nice bathroom including shower and hot water, small fridge, coffee pot and microwave.


The Fish House is a very pleasant dockside restaurant on site with very good food and free internet. We enjoyed fish tacos, fish and chips, wings, shrimp linguine, and of course, happy hour. Their menu is quite extensive.

The staff is collegial and efficient and presented George with a complementary flan desert on his birthday.


There is a lovely beachside restaurant just a dinghy ride away that we enjoyed on several occasions. We have it on the authority of Captain Paul that it serves the best pizza on the island. We can attest to the fact that the pizza is very good, as is the service and atmosphere. Happy hour is from 5 to 6, just be sure not to order a minute early or late.


Showers are available, but they are in the boatyard with a locked gate after dark. When requested, you can usually get a key or make sure you shower in the daylight hours.

This boatyard may not provide some of the services you often enjoy such as a small market or laundry machines. Speak to Judith, at the front desk for anything you need. She is a treasure and the marina’s orchestra leader. Nothing escapes or fails to get her attention. She, Rishi, and Captain Paul work in synchrony.


Judith, at the reception desk, arranged taxi rides to and from the airport, as well as car rentals. You will need a car for any shopping or sightseeing as the boatyard is not within a short walking distance to much of anything.


There are many well-equipped supermarkets. Ling and Sons turned out to be our overall favorite.

Next post – Getting acquainted with Aruba

Bonaire, What’s Not to Love

The following partial introduction to Bonaire was written during our brief, 2-week, visit in Bonaire at the end of last season. I had not finished regaling the many wonders of Bonaire before we needed to depart for Aruba, where Ice Floe would spend the spring and summer months, and we would head for our home on land.

We have now returned to Aruba (November 14th, 2022) and are readying Ice Floe for extended visits throughout the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao).


We arrived to Bonaire on April 10th, 2022. Our stay was short as we were near the end of our season and would soon head to Aruba to store Ice Floe on land for Hurricane season. We were there for a short two weeks but it did not take long to fall in love.

The developed portion of the island has a European presence. Extremely little litter, bicycle paths on busy roads and wide pedestrian walkways, many made with stone pavers. Many personal residences and other buildings conform to lovely mustard yellow stucco walls and tiled orange roofs.

However, these colors are by no means exclusive – the color palette is very extensive.

Construction materials are almost exclusively concrete block (stuccoed and painted) with metal or tiled rooves.

Graffiti is very rare and beautiful murals are prominent on exterior walls of shops and restaurants.


Bonaire has is warm, and windy, with high humidity and little annual rain. The average year round temperature varies from the low to mid 80os F. Average annual rainfall is only 20 inches (520 mm), most of which occurs in October through January. The constant wind amply compensates for the humidity, but it is essential to drink large quantities of water every day.

Bonaire lies outside the hurricane belt, though its weather and oceanic conditions are occasionally affected by hurricanes and tropical storms. The ocean temperature hardly ever drops below 80oF or above the mid 80s.

There has been quite a bit of cloud cover and several significant welcome rainstorms during our stay which we understand is not characteristic for April. Wind has been persistently higher than normal throughout the ABC islands throughout our stay.

Blue arrow points to the ABC islands, Aruba (green dot), Curaçao, and Bonaire.

Southern Region

The southern part of the island is nearly flat and barely rises above sea level. A significant portion of this southern region is covered with sea water in process of evaporation for salt production.

The semi-arid climate is conducive to a variety of cacti and other desert plants.

Homeowners and some places of establishment have taken advantage of a pervasive cactus species to establish lovely, impenetrable fencing around their properties.

Bonaire is an extremely popular destination for snorkeling and diving

Much of the waters, reefs, and marine life surrounding Bonaire is carefully managed as a marine park. It has been five decades since I (Susan) have seen such healthy reefs teeming with the kind of gorgeous diversity of sea life I first witnessed during a marine biology course I took in Bimini. There is so much more to fully describe what a remarkable island Bonaire is, but short for time I will leave you with a sample of the beauty and diversity of the reef life.

Sail from Eastern Caribbean to the ABC’s (Aruba, Bonaire & Curacao)

Its not a bit like flying

The wind speed and direction, current strength and direction, wave patterns and, in this instance, areas known for piracy, all contribute to when we sail and our direction of sail.

The red line shows the area we have been traveling for the past several years. The yellow line indicates where we were going. The red star marks approximately where we were starting our sail (Bequia, St Vincent and the Grenadines) and the yellow star marks Bonaire, our destination
The turquoise blue lines mark our actual sail path. First sail ~30 hrs St. Vincent to Guadeloupe. Second sail ~90 hrs Guadeloupe to Bonaire

The course we chose

We started with a short hop from Bequia to St. Vincent for the last of a series of dental appointments (another story) and then proceeded on our sail to Bonaire. Our trip was broken into two sections. The first was an approximate 30 hour sail from St. Vincent to Guadeloupe.

Day break passing Dominica

We stayed in Guadeloupe for 5 days until we got a health check for Duhkxy (required by Bonaire) and the winds and waves calmed down. The second leg, from Guadeloupe to Bonaire, took three and a half days. This was, to date, the longest uninterrupted open water sail we have made.

I imagine some will wonder why our heading was not more direct from St. Vincent to Bonaire. This is certainly possible, and cruising friends did just that a short while after we made our trip.

Wind – The Trade Winds come consistently from the east +/- slight deviations north or south. For our sail, the wind speed was low to mid-20s. A direct route would require that we sail with the Trade Winds behind us for the entire trip. Sailing speed is entirely based on the wind pushing the boat. Having the sails angled to the wind is optimal as the wind passing by the sail provides “lift” and greatly improves speed. In order to get far enough west to achieve an optimal angle, the beginning of our sail was with the wind directly behind us. Ice Floe moved right around 5 knots, even as the wind was blowing in the 20s.

Day 1 – Ice Floe sailed with butterflied jibs downwind at approximately 5 knots

Day 2 brought a welcome shift in the wind direction slightly to the south, allowing us to readjust the sails and set a path directly to Bonaire earlier than planned. Wind speed remained the same, but Ice Floe sailed for the balance of our trip at 7 to 8 knots, her top speed; arriving at our destination in 2 and a half more days. We had planned for a 4-5 day continuous sail and finished in 3 and a half days. We did motor sail for a part of the last day to ensure we came in before dark as our destination was new to us.

Based on recommendations from cruising friends we took approximate 6 hour shifts during the night and each caught up on lost sleep with a nap during the daylight hours.

Waves -the forecast called for 4-5 foot waves. We had 5-8 foot waves and a confused sea on our second leg of our trip. Confused seas are when waves are coming from multiple directions. When they intersect you get a larger wave like the 8 foot waves we experienced on an occasional basis. Dependent on where they have formed and how they hit Ice Floe, they often give a wash over the bow, or stern. A side or stern spray can give us an unwelcome bath in the cockpit. it was not optimal, it was also tiring, but it was not ever dangerous.

Pirates – There have been periodic reports of Pirates from Venezuela assailing cruising vessels and the course we set minimized our time close to the Venezuela islands and coastline.

Bonaire first impression

The first question we have been asked by almost everyone we meet in Bonaire is “Do you dive?”. We answer “Once upon a time, now we snorkel.” Bonaire is almost entirely a marine park and is renowned for its vibrant sea life. The themooring field is set along the drop off from shallow to 800 foot deep water with a spectacular underwater wall teeming with brightly colored corals..

The 800 ft precipitous drop-off is where the turquoise blue water (shallow with sandy bottom) meets the ledge of the drop-off and you see the deep dark blue water

We spent a wonderful day snorkeling and look forward to many more.

A Whirlwind of Change, Challenges, Despair and Hope

Go With The Floe is not intended to be a political blog. I write it for Family and Friends who follow our sailing adventures. I write it for George and myself, to read down the road and help us relive these adventures. That said, there are times when situations in the World are so impactful, so momentous, so seemingly impossible, that I cannot help but put into words my emotional reaction. The last several years have delivered realities that each, and collectively were not even faintly on my radar. To steal a phrase from the iconic “Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy”, “Who turned on the Improbability Drive?” Whoever it was, Please turn it off.

The 2016 Election

Donald Trump’s election in 2020 rocked my world. I could not imagine a more unlikely choice given the popularity of our prior President, and, in my opinion, how ill-suited the Nation’s choice was, both in experience, and character. But so it was. Even more outside of my expectations was the fact that Donald Trump’s popularity did not dissolve under his presidency, and his policies were not checked by members of the Republican legislative branch. It revealed, and fueled divisions in opinions and beliefs I never could have imagined were so prevalent in our society.

November 10, 2020 – Divided Nation

A Worldwide Pandemic

Covid 19 spread rapidly to all corners of the earth. Every aspect of our lives was disrupted and many millions of lives have been lost and continue to be lost. Our Medical and Scientific communities’ were unimaginably swift in discovering the ways this new coronavirus simultaneously attacked multiple vital organ systems. This knowledge rapidly improved approaches to treatment. The development of several of the most specifically-targeted, efficacious, and safe vaccines ever seen before is an accomplishment that cannot be over-rated.

On November 11, 2020 concerns that dominated my thoughts were lifted. My sentiments then were summarized in https://Celebrating Biden’s Victory. Even my unease from seeing the anticipated third wave of Covid 19 take off was assuaged. I felt hope that with medical-science-based direction and vaccines on the horizon Covid would be vanquished.

November, 11, 2020 – Hope for our Democracy

Hopes for the New Year were sullied early on with the Jan 6th effort to negate the election results. The New Year had delivered a process whereby some of the safest and most effective vaccines ever made could be quickly administered, but the embrace of ludicrous conspiracy theories deprived a great fraction of our citizenry of their protection. The prevalence of misinformation continued with never-ending reasons for sadness and unease – hate crimes, police brutality, vigilanteism, bigotry, each in my mind, evidence of the failure of our educational system. 2021 ended and 2022 started with no discernible abatement from my perspective.

And now, Vladimir Putin’s invasion of the Ukraine. So often we try to see two sides to a situation. No clear right or wrong. Not this time. I see evil self interest with disregard for human suffering. However, our country, our President, and much of the world is faced with concerns that this mad man’s actions could not only lead to a Third World War, but a World War with nuclear weapons. So no White Knight, no happy ending, and no justice. It is hard for me to see the light.

Today – Disappearing Democratic Way of Life

Mayreau Rocks! – St Vincent and the Grenadines

A short aside on Provisioning

Not all islands within St Vincent and the Grenadines are well equipped for provisioning. As such we filled our larder well in Bequia before visiting the Tobago Cays, where, outside of their famous Beach Barbecue, there are no restaurants or food for sale. After our five days in the Tobago Cays we moved to Mayreau. We were still in pretty good shape, but after spending a wonderful week there, we were falling short on fresh vegetables and fruit. Mayreau is a beautiful island, with many, many attributes that I will describe in a blog devoted to the island, but a rich source for provisioning, it is not. It’s a short hop from Mayreau to Union Island, which we had not yet visited, so we decided to set sail.

A Welcome Surprise

Before going we took Duhkxy to a small beach to do his business. The cliff face behind this beach surprised us with its beauty. It is comprised of an amalgamation of many type of rocks with extraordinary range in color, and texture. One type is often separated from another very different type by thin veins of still another type.

Earlier, on a hike around Mayreau, an overlook drew our attention to a shore line of beautifully colored and smoothed stones. The shape of the beach provided a hamlet for continuous wave action to tumble the rocks that had been dislodged from the cliff face. We spent an hour or two assembling a representative collection for our memory and to share with you.

There are so many delights in life and in Nature and we encourage all to take pause to see them, appreciate them, and be thankful for them.

The Tobago Cays, St. Vincent and the Grenadines

We arrived in the Tobago Cays (pronounced Tobago Keys) on February 27th and have been here 6 days as I am writing. The Tobago Cays are a cluster of 5 small, uninhabited, islands that lie within a protected marine park. People who work in the Tobago Cays typically live on the nearby islands, Union Island and Mayreau.

St Vincent and the Grenadines are an Island Nation comprised of the large island of Saint Vincent and 32 islands within the Grenadines. Grenada’s sister islands, Carriacou and Petite Martinique, while part of the iIsland nation of Grenada, are also two of the Grenadine Islands.

The Tobago Cays are bordered on the east by World’s End Reef and Horseshoe Reef. These reefs calm the waters between the Cays, providing anchorages for the many yachts and tour boats attracted to the beautiful waters. During our visit, when high tide combined with strong winds, our anchorage was often unsettling.


Snorkeling among the many Green Turtles was, in and of itself, worth our visit. Green turtles are the only herbivorous species of sea turtle. Their diet consists mainly of seagrasses and algae, though they may also forage on sponges, invertebrates, and discarded fish. The density of Green Turtles in this area is due to the wealth of one of these primary food source, the thin blades of seagrass growing on the sandy bottom, along with nearby nesting grounds.

Green Turtle starting its ascent to surface for breath.

The seagrass beds are sparse in areas and can easily be mistaken for an ideal sandy bottom for anchoring. We made this mistake ourselves, only discovering it when we snorkeled. There are moorings available, but not a fraction of the number needed to meet demand. Anchoring in the grass beds is extremely damaging and the area that is cordoned off covers only a fraction of the grass beds the turtles feed upon. More moorings and a much larger cordoned off area is needed to protect this precious resource.

The waters in the Tobago Cays are crystal clear and reflect impossibly, gorgeous, hues of deep blue through turquoise.

Snorkeling Horseshoe Reef

We were saddened to find Horseshoe reef severely injured. Skeletons of massive, now dead, corals were made colorful with a variety of encrusting corals, sponges, and other invertebrates. There were also many small varieties of fish. It is worth a peak, but do so at a slack tide as the current is strong and swift.

The Island Fauna

Island wildlife (also protected) that we observed included large white and black iguanas and other lizards. Possum and tortoises also inhabit the islands.


Every island has a stretch of meticulously, maintained, white sand beach.

Beach Barbecue

A very well-attended barbecue is offered every mid-day and evening. You will be invited and we would recommend you accept. We enjoyed a massive dinner of lobster, pork ribs, potatoes, rice, plantains and salad. A bar is available but you are welcome to bring your own liquid refreshments.

Our visit was cut short as winds picked up significantly and our anchor snubber broke in the middle of the night waking us with a very large bang as the anchor jerked tight and pulled more chain from the windlass. At first light we made a hasty retreat to a more protected anchorage in Mayreau at first light. Trying to replace the snuffer in winds of 20+ knots and a significant surge was futile.