Friday, June 26, 2015

Ignorance and Confidence - Our Trip to the Virgin Islands in Review

"All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure." 
Mark Twain
Rainbows are always good for your confidence.

In retrospect, we had large measures of (at least one of) these critical characteristics when we departed on our adventure. We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. Oh sure, we planned, we researched. We were well aware that the Virgin Islands was more than twice as far as we had ventured before. We could look at the charts and see the long stretches of ocean that would need to be crossed.

We did have some prior experience. We had already made a trip to the Bahamas. Shoot, we even did that trip with our old dog, Roux, and Junie with a bad back.  We were, it appeared, better prepared than many people we met along the way. But we were still, in many ways, as dumb as a rock. And that ignorance served us well.

Where the confidence came from, I am not sure. Perhaps it was imparted to us from our very capable vessel, SeaClearly. She knew the way, knew the ways and carried us in such security that we probably never realized how much she tempered our experience. If indeed that is true, we are grateful for the insulation and give her her full credit.

We still find ourselves getting philosophic and emotional about our trip. We stretched our limits and have done something that can't be taken away. We are always happy to share our story with anyone that is interested. But, be forewarned that, if you ask, it may take a while to shut us up. We do think that the logistics of the trip are interesting. So, we would like to offer a pragmatic view of our trip in hindsight and in quantitative terms. The summary. So, here it goes.

The crew of two.

  • SeaClearly and her crew (Junie and me) left our slip in Colington Harbour on October 4, 2014, arrived at our final destination in York River Yacht Haven on May 26, 2015
    • Total time - 234 days - 7 months, 22 days
    Junie at the bow.
    • We spent 86 nights in marinas of which 40 days were extended stays in the Dominican Republic (15 days) and Ft Pierce, Florida (25 days) while we waited for weather and/or traveled away from SeaClearly. By the way, marinas are expensive.
    • We spent 58 nights at anchor, 57 nights on mooring balls (also somewhat expensive), 8 nights on the hard (out of the water or parked along the face dock) at the boatyard in Oriental.
    • We spent 25 nights traveling offshore at sea. Of that total, we had:
      Twilight on the ocean
      • Five 1-night passage
      • Three 2-night passage 
      • Three 3-night passage 
      • One 5-night passage
    • There were only 12 nights out of those 234 that Junie and I did not spend aboard SeaClearly

Peaceful and calm

  • We covered 4254 nautical miles 
    • Of those miles, 4068 nm were offshore/coastal miles 
    • We logged 186 miles on the ICW - 164 on the way south, only 22 on the way north
    • The longest non-stop passage - from Fajardo, Puerto Rico to Crooked Island, Bahamas - 581 nautical miles
  • Countries/Territories
    • United States (Of course. Home, we call it)
    • Bahamas
    • Turks and Caicos
    • Dominican Republic
    • Puerto Rico
    • US Virgin Islands
    • British Virgin Islands
  • We visited a total of 34 different islands or cays

SeaClearly on a mooring ball at Guana Island, BVI...

...and anchored off of Stocking Island, Bahamas

  • We spent $2300 on diesel fuel. Approximately 556 gallons. We paid anywhere from $2.92 (Fort Pierce, Florida) to $6.26 per gallon (Providenciales, Turks and Caicos) with the average being $4.15 
    • One of the coolest place we fueled - South Beach, Miami 
  • Total engine hours - 670 
    • The meter read 2962 when we left, 3632 when we arrived at York River Yacht Haven 
    • We did three engine oil/filter  changes along the way - Dinner Key, Miami; Puerto Real, Puerto Rico; Fort Pierce Florida 
    • Four Racor fuel filter changes 
    • Two fuel polisher filter changes 
  • One generator fuel filter change. One generator oil change. 
  • We usually assume our diesel consumption is slightly less than 1 gallon per hour when running the engine and about 1 quart per hour running the generator. Looks like we did better than that again this year. We may have to revise our assumptions.
  • Zero engine or generator breakdowns.
  • Solar and Wind Generation were flawless
  • We filled a propane tank three times.
  • Along the way we needed to acquire some pieces, parts and services:
    • We had a new macerator pump (and a spare) shipped to us via Watermaker Air in Staniel Cay, Bahamas ($302 + $45 air-freight)
    • We had a Furuno wireless radar unit shipped to us at Marina Pescaderia in Puerto Real, Puerto Rico ($1390)
    • We had the refrigerator recharged and the boat washed in Marina de Puerto Bahia, Dominican Republic ($40 and $80)
    • We had to replace the fuel line connectors on the outboard about 5 times. Once, we had to buy a used connector from a dinghy rental group in St John (using quarters from the laundry money) after we broke ours at the dock.
  • Wildlife encountered
    • Dolphins (big, little, gray, speckled, black), Whales (Humpback, Right), Manatees
    • Rays (of all sizes), Sea Turtles, starfish, conch, crabs
    • Sharks (Bull, Nurse, Lemon, Reef, Tiger, Hammerhead)
    • Bio-luminescence in many forms 
    • Fish, fish, fish (Tropical, Wahoo Barracuda, Jacks, Tarpon, Mahi, squid)
    • Hutias, iguanas, pigs (the swimming kind), goats, donkeys, chickens (forever to be associated with morning in the Carribean)
    • Eagles, ospreys, seabirds, wading birds, hitch-hiking land birds in the middle of the ocean
This post could go on indefinitely but I will wrap it up now. We met more incredible people and saw more incredible sights than we could ever list. We arranged wonderful visits from family along the way. We had some great meals and some absolutely awful meals. There are some things that happened that were so stupid, so embarrassing or so-not-funny without the appropriate context that they will never be discussed outside of the tiny little circle of trust. OK, maybe at some point but not now.

So, there it is. Have we learned anything? Absolutely. My advice? Go do what your heart tells you to do. As soon as possible.

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic overview of trip. We are thrilled for you, love the stories, and also extremely glad we know such adventurous folk!!!! Way to go!!!!!!