Awesome Caribbean Sailing Venture Trip Journal

Day 1 - Live from San Juan! 



We are safely arrived in PR!  We have just enjoyed a fabulous meal from 

Frisky's family here in a nearby town.  I am a bit full due to having to 

finish several of the boys’ plates, so generous were the portions, but hey, 

I am here to serve.   


Our adventure was filled with bumps and curiosities, starting with a 

certain adult who was LATE to the airport, but he shall remain nameless 

(ahem, Fretz, ahem).  However, a bit of fancy footwork by Bob had Eric 

zip ahead of the 30-minute line of waiters, whee!   An early breakfast 

crisis was averted, as the local greasy spoon opened up with 10 minutes 

to spare (feeding stations being somewhat sparse in the old DTW 

terminal). The boys ALMOST learned a hard lesson in airport security 

when their breakfast scouts heading down the gate area tiptoed past the 

security line, a warning from Bob came too late for Andy and Neale, who 

were one foot past the warning track.  They would have had to go all the 

way back around through security again, but the grim faced visage of the 

security guard was softened by our sharp uniforms, plus we had Seth bat 

his big eyelashes at her, and all was well!! 


Flight from DTW to FL was uneventful (except for two visits from the gate 

agent to count us off and name us, very odd, must be special scout 

treatment), as was our connection.  We had actually walked four gates 

into the airport before realizing our departure gate was back behind us 

right next to our arrival gate!  When we tried for boarding passes, we 

found that all our entries said Ian, and our seats were row zero.  Hmmm, 

but again, intrepid problem solver Bob got things straightened out.  

There was a bit of drama as one lady voiced some objections to a certain 

scout who, in her tactless and loud report to the leaders, needed a fresh 

shirt.  Once I swapped seats, (my Paul Sebastian cologne never 

disappoints!) I noted an overwhelming tide of fragrance from her, so 

perhaps she was just easily olfactorily offended (I thought of pointing out 

the irony of her own nasal impact, but decided against it). 


Once in San Juan, we proceeded to the Thrifty rental, had a long 

argument with a clerk about a sneaky "mandatory" fee, with other renters 

joining our complaint, but no riot ensued, and they did give us a pretty 

good deal.  Seth said he saw a cockroach as big as his head, but we 

remain skeptical... Killian says it was a fly. 


It seems a certain adult FORGOT HIS DRIVERS LICENSE (ahem, Fretz, 

ahem), so we are all in a nice minivan, and at least I don't have to drive, 

ha ha.   


So, now I am told I must quit my typing, so we can drive out to old San 

Juan, and see if we can't misplace some of these annoying.. Oops, I mean, 

we'll take in some sights and visit what Bob assures us is the birthplace of 

the Pina Colada.  We'll be up early tomorrow for our big customs 

adventure, and then a flight to our final destination.   


Gotta run, AFN  YIS, 



Day 2 Begins! 


Well, I am up early, in the extreme moistness, to report on lacunae from 

yesterday's report and to update you on our evening exploits.   


I forgot two key items yesterday - puke and Pantsless Killian.  It seems 

that the boys really would prefer that you know that my seat back pocket 

on one flight had been pre-loaded by the previous passenger, ewwww (I 

know, but they felt you should know).  Second, Killian, having taken me 

up on my offer to spray his pants with bug repellent, left them hanging in 

Bob's basement, thus providing us with an excuse to include the mall on 

our sightseeing last night.  I can reliably report that 

a) Killian is a very thorough shopper 

b) Seth has an extremely tiny bladder 

c) Nathan REALLY likes sweets (had to pry him away from the soft serve 


d) Neale is a good cat herder 

e) Andy is very patient 

f) The mall is sort of like watching Spanish soap opera, everything is so 

familiar, but the language is off, ha! 



After our mall run, and getting chased out of Pretzel Co for eating too 

many samples, we did a tour of old San Juan in the rain and the dark.  I 

can reliably report that this tourism strategy, while non-standard, has 

two principal benefits: 

1 - Plenty of parking 



Picture taking suffered a bit, but Killian did his best to capture lighting 

storms over the fort.  We did not get too wet.  AH, the weather research 

team is here and wants the Internet, so I must finish up.  Later that night, 

we crashed a loud birthday party on the street; Neale was loving the local 

music. We also succeeded (by random chance) in finding the plaque 

outside the bar where the Pina Colada was invented.  Pictures were of 

course taken.  The boys felt the Pina Coladas were a bit weak for the 

money...  (KIDDING!).  OH, and our van got a flat and we had the boys up 

until midnight learning how to change a tire!  Yes indeed, a TEACHABLE 

MOMENT!  Fun galore here in Venture land, more when we can get to 

another computer. 


- EBF 


Day 2 Update – July 20 


Our drive to airport was uneventful, except for Bob taking a shine to the 

Puerto Rican method of lane usage.  Even our escort exclaimed, "You 

drive like a local". He was pleased, his passengers?  Not so much.  But we 

are fine : ) 


‘Twas a long, long long, long LOOONNNNNGGGGG plane ride (s) to go 

from PR to St V. Suffice to say it was too many planes, legs, debarkings, 

recustoms-ing, fill this out, sit and sweat, where's the plane, "island time, 

mon, it be here soon", for proper description.  The youths caused some 

raised eyebrows at each stop when they kept asking to run down the 

stairs and touch the ground at each island, so they could meet Bob's 

standard of saying they had "been there". 


At one stop, Killian took a chance on a local dish called a "roti" and this 

spicy curry meat/potato pie is now his holy grail.  We again got 

"inventoried" more than once on flights, and our scout shirts got us no 

shortage of interesting conversations (count was 12, I think), plus a fun 

meeting some scouts from Tinidad who were flying to a jambo, in UK?  

Best line was coming through Barbados (I think) when the lady looked me 

up and down, checked out the boys, and said "what are you, army or 

something?”  When we said No, Boy Scouts, she had a laugh.   I guess I 

need to relax my stance or something. 


We arrived in St. V tiny airport in the dark.  No Ian "doc" Darnell, no boat 

charter people.  Nathan used up the last of his energy climbing walls and 

rolling the grass.  Neale struggled with a tidal wave of uncertainty and 

problems, and got us back on plan.  Eventually Ian showed up 30 min 

later, and really, if you think about it having two parties one from MI and 

one from CA, travel that far and link up 30 min apart, pretty amazing.  

Charter place was dead quiet on arrival, turns out there was some 

confusion on their end with our date change. Undaunted by our lack of 

sleep-aboard options, We suffered through a tough night in a hotel on 

the beach, but everyone else was too tired to do anything, so the only 

midnight pool and beach goer was yours truly.  Sadly, few bikinis’ out at 

that hour... 


And thus the grand travel adventure ended, so the main show could 



- EBF 


Day 3 Update – July 21 


The day dawns clear and bright.  A lovely breakfast on the veranda 

overlooking the bay and charter docks gives way to a flurry of activity as 

the boys move aboard their training boat, and the adults and Andy take 

over the Pok Ma Hom, our charter boat.  All our training pays off with a 

smooth and thorough move-aboard.  Seth, Killian, Ian and I had fun 

cruising with a local taxi man for shopping, and we did quite well.  Local 

bananas only a dime a pound, but only five bananas left, mon!  Good 

thing, or the adult boat would have been having banana everything! 


We departed after noon, the boys having elected for another meal on the 

veranda, eating what?  ROTI of course.  A few of them could not manage 

to down the whole thing; it was a shame to waste that food, if only 

someone large and hungry could have helped th...  Oh, wait, right, I did 

finish all their plates, assisted by none other than li'l Nathan (who clearly 

fuels his spastic energy with plenty of food!) 


As the adult boat pulled out, the two crewmen they gave us to raise sail 

and get us out of the harbor managed to over-tighten the main, and 

BOOM, our main was blown into two pieces.  After a quite pow-wow with 

fellow skipper Bob and engineer Ian, we determined that having a sail 

blown into two pieces would probably provide a certain decrease in 

mobility, and we humbly requested a new one.  ha.  In all seriousness, 

they took us right back in and had a new sail rigged in two hours (no 

mean feat with the boom-roller-furling main).  We then left post-haste to 

chase the boys boat as they went out to sea.   Our first destination was 

Bequia, an easy sail to an island in sight, made without incident.  We 

pulled into the very full harbor and there was no good anchorage left.  We 

tried (the boys counted and cheered and photographed) OVER TEN TIMES 

to anchor but dragged every time, so we paid to moor.  The boys were 

busy with sailing instruction and tests, they all passed round one with 

flying colors.  


We did a shared meal on the transom barbeque grill; it was wonderful to 

have everyone around the table in the fading light (gets dark here 

EARLY!), playing Jimmy Buffet on the iPod/radio, watching the sunset, and 

then a glorious moonrise from behind the island.  I hope (and rather do 

think) that the boys understand the exceptional nature of these 

moments!  We played a bit illuminating the mountain and the boys boat 

with Bob's new "One MEEEEEEL-ion" Candlepower lantern.  Ian dropped 

the spatula overboard while grilling, but a metal spoon works well, we 

found!   The boys all took the opportunity to use our head because, as 

they Machiavelian-ly noted, "hey, why stink up OUR head?" 


The evening closed with me sleeping on deck, Andy relaxing with his 

book, and Bob snoring contentedly in his cabin (I bought some chocolate 

chip cookies for him).   I was awakened and driven below by the 2am 

rainstorm, but it was no big deal. 


- EBF 



Day 4 Update – July 22 


I awoke at dawn and swam some laps around the boats, much to the 

curiosity of the other boaters.  Apparently this sort of AM exercise 

violates a Carrib cruising ethic!!  The boys boat awoke and joined me.  I 

offered them a race back to the adult boat, and they had FLIPPERS ON, 

but still, only Nathan made a game of it.  tsk tsk!  : )  They then assisted 

with Operation Spatula Recovery, which resulted in the successful return 

of a slightly rustier spatula. 


The boys then sprinted out ahead of us again, nixing our plans for town 

visit. We did get a visit from the "bread man", who sells banana bread 

from his boat.  They boys also bought some, but for $5 EC less than us, 

such shrewd businessmen! We had a longer sail today, and Andy did 

great at the helm, logging over two hours and landing us dead center on 

the target island.  We had to clip in and reduce sail for a squall, but again, 

the training made it all easy. We all elected to experience the squall "au 

natural" or "sans raingear", which was kind of fun. 


The adult boat initially moored behind the WRONG boat full of young 

men, causing amusement for our boys and annoyance for the 

harbormaster.  We are moored now at a beautiful post-card anchorage in 

MUSTIQUE, a largely private island.  The boys were topside on their boat, 

doing a manly anchoring drill when a 50 ft catamaran pulled in with all 

sorts of bikini clad French girls.  And weren't they so disappointed when 

they moored right next to us!!  We have told them they have to get at 

least one email address for pen pals!! (We’ll see if they pull it off, we do 

have the French phrase books, after all!) 


We all spent about two hours snorkeling, the reef and coral is not much 

here (maybe the overboard discharge??), but the fish were great.  Seth 

finally learned how to clear his mask, after I stopped putting my thumb 

over his snorkel. Nathan dived with me to investigate a huge mysterious 

bottom fish (turned out to be a big palm frond!) Killian was our 

designated dinghy operator, and loved it.  Neale had to dive to retrieve 

the dinghy anchor, but that was no big deal.  We are really having a great 

team experience!! 


We then hit Basil’s bar (the only bar) at the harbor, and all knocked back 

some tasty (if small) chocolate milk shakes.  MMMMMM.  It doesn't get 

too much better than this!!  We then explored the island a bit and found 

this little public library with some terminals, and thus these updates were 



We plan another dinner together tonight, more sailing tests for the boys, 

and then more sailing tomorrow.  Weather is fantastic, if hot and humid, 

of course. We are doing REALLY well, the boys are tearing through their 

certifications, can you imagine they may all be CERTIFIED bareboat 

charter SKIPPERS in two days???!!!  Man, that is really something!  Now, if 

they take you all sailing, will you call them "skipper", ha ha !! 


Well, Bob and Ian have shoved off, having tired of my incessant typing, 

but I played the "parent card" to keep typing, as I know how much I would 

want these updates (and I do enjoy cranking them out!!) I must now go 

try to find them at the bar (ahem, more MILKSHAKES, people!)  If I miss 

the dinghy, I will have a LONG swim!! 


We should be back in St. V for a day in the next day or two, and can 

probably update there.  Until then, rest assured, things are going 

SUPERBLY, and the boys are doing AWESOME! 


Yours in Sailing, 


- EBF 



Day 4 Coda! 


So, after our last update, I returned to find the adults quaffing milkshakes 

in the setting sun at Basil's bar, and the youths returning in a dinghy 

demanding to know why we were late for dinner. Tsk tsk, hard to control 

these adults sometimes!  We gathered on the boy's boat for another grill 

session, and Neale "the Cajun chef" took care of our Kielbasa for us (read 

"blackened kielbasa"). But hey, if you're not going to cook it yourself, you 

get what you deserve!! : ) (his second one was just fine).  We also learned 

that if you start cooking potatoes at the same time as everything else, the 

potatoes end up being for breakfast!! heh.   


MOMENT OF THE DAY - we are doing our usual Venture Debrief, where 

we all share frank and honest goods and bads from the day. Neale 

offered a strong concern that the instructor was just taking it easy on 

them, because they had not had any fire drills, sinking drills, etc!!  Keep 

in mind there are no such drills in the actual qualification, this was all 

just extra stuff Bob and I did to them in training to get them ready to be 

real sailors.  The instructor was, of course, confused, but took it in stride. 



Day 5 Dawns! 


We departed beautiful Mustique around 8, chasing the boys as usual.  

They all are well into their 103 qualifications.  They may all be done by 

tonight! Today's sail was a longer leg, but we were blessed with 10+ kt 

winds and following seas.  We literally set the sails and WENT.  With Andy 

"Speedy" Smilie on our helm, we chased the "On Holiday Again" down to 

Mayreau.  (a small and again beautiful island near the Tobago Cays.  We 

are planning a two-day visit to the Cays later, so we did not want to 

repeat (plus all those boats aground on the reef are intimidating!).  Plus, 

there is a wonderful picturesque church on the mountaintop here, 

overlooks the whole cays (great photo!).  So tomorrow we will attend 

services before heading out.  Anyway, Mayreaux has several anchorages, 

we chose a small lagoon, and with the surf breaking on a beach just on 

the reverse of the lagoon beach, and some hotel huts just visible in the 

jungle growth.  The boats here anchor literally one on top the other, so 

we watch with amusement, and wonder what sort of carnage will occur if 

the wind shifts!  At this anchorage, we have a new feature, a boat of 

Caribbean cruisers who are less devoted to clothing, shall we say.  The 

boys are amused, but really quite mature about it! (And they are quite a 

bit away, anyhow!) 


I put the squeeze on the boys to all utter "I love you, Mom", so you can 

consider that sentiment delivered : ) 


Here are the snippets they each felt should be delivered: 


-Neale chased a "seahorse" that turned out to be a fish, which turned out 

to be a weed. 


-Nathan is a confirmed "radio mumbler" and I have to train him that 

"Over and Out" is not a legitimate radio term (too many WW2 movies, I 



-Killian continues to insist on absorbing local culture, this time he went 

for the unknown drink on the menu, and reports that "Mauby" is quite 

tasty, close to ginger ale. 


-Seth ordered a "malt", thinking it was a chocolate malt, but it turned out 

to have ingredients of malt, hops, water, etc.  I explained with 

amusement that he was drinking what amounted to near-beer, and we 

are now enjoying teasing him for his heavy drinking!  Neither he, nor 

anyone else, will be ordering that again, not very tasty. 


So, as of now, we are in the basement of a little bar on the hill of 

Mayreau, getting ready to head back.  So I must depart, much as I would 

like to continue typing.  But surely some adventures, large and small, 

must remain untold, or you shall have nothing to grill them about upon 

their return!!  There is picture taking and journaling aplenty going on.  As 

long as we don't shrivel up and disappear from dehydration, we'll be fine 

(I have NEVER sweat so much in my LIFE!)  But chugging up the hills, 

dripping sweat, is made so much easier by the mockery of my favorite 

sprite and companion, Nathan, who repeats my statements back to me, 

dramatic breathing included!!  AH, I have an additional moment, due to a 

rain squall, so I type on! 


Tomorrow is a long haul back to Bequia and the banana bread man, to 

get us in position for a noon return to St. V, where we will consolidate 

boats, welcome aboard our fellow skippers, and see where they want to 

go.  As Bob said today, "we have to get the boys back, so we don't have 

to do so much work!" It will be a long day into the wind, and our small 

crews will certainly earn their supper!! 


July 23rd (Day 5) Coda 


At Mayreau, Neale organized a B-Ball game against some locals, and that 

went really well.  We had a scurvy looking dog following us around; 

Nathan calls him "the dog of doom".   We had a nice night at anchor, 

dinner together, and our first "tough" debrief, as the lads began to really 

work on team/interpersonal issues (these boats are small places to live, 

in some ways!)  But they all handle these things very maturely, in my 

estimation!  Tomorrow is our big sail back to Bequia to get us in position 

for a quick run to St. Vincent and ending the "instruction" phase, getting 

to the 'adventure" phase! 



July 24th 


Today was our big sail north, into the wind, always a long day! 


I noted on my morning swim that the boys boat had drifted over the reef, 

and was about 1 ft from grounding; They had her underway in less than 2 

minutes, VERY professional response.  I like what I am seeing from these 



We started on a lighter note, with services at the local Catholic Church, at 

the very highest point overlooking the cays.  Beautiful location, fun 

service, with new accents, local personalities, two guitars, and a sort of 

musical revival at the end, with hand slapping and aisle dancing! 


We then headed out to sea, and we had our next big encounter with the 

local weather.  As we later heard from locals on land, the gusts were 50 

to 60 kts. Frankly, we were caught a bit off guard, as this squall line had 

no major rain component.  Bob and I had already reefed down quite a bit, 

and were just starting the motor to reef more when she hit.  It was high 

drama let me tell you, and both our boat and the boys took an extreme 

roll.  Neither of us laid our rig in the water (the true measure of failure in 

such situations!), and all is now well.  At one point we were hove-to with 

a double reef [i.e., set up with both sails opposite each other, should be 

stopped. –Ed], and still making 5 knots!!!   The lads will certainly have 

tales to tell, that is for sure, and if that is the toughest weather we see, I 

think we'd all be FINE with that!! As we got righted, we tried to call the 

boys boat (they were about a mile to leeward), but as Killian later told us 

"when I heard your warning on the radio, I was straddling the chart table 

sideways, with my hands on both bilge pump switches, watching a 

waterfall come out of the aft head... so I was too busy to say "thanks 



It turned out that the boy's boat got pushed a bit further out than us, and 

had a smaller engine, so could not make the angle to Bequia, thus we 

proceeded to St. V!  We arrived early and scouted out a good anchorage, 

and they arrived right as dusk was falling. They executed a smart double 

anchor rig in the dark (again, impressive!) and we then took them by 

dinghy to a nearby cove that had an ecology resort and the only 

restaurant willing to stay open for us!!  We had a DANDY (but pricey!) 

meal prepared local style, and Seth entertained us by squealing every 

time a bug landed on him!  We then started back to our boats in the 

moonlight, but our dinghy motor died, and luckily a friendly local was 

helping guide us so he gave us a tow.    All in all, QUITE A DAY, and we 

shall sleep in tomorrow!   'Twas a stern test, and the lads passed with 

flying colors! 


July 25th 


On the 25th, we slept in, had a late breakfast, and motored down to 

Barefoot Charters in Blue Lagoon, while Richard the instructor had the 

boys finish up their tests.  They all passed in the high 90's on all tests, 

passed all skills without error (and survived the toughest weather hit the 

instructor said he had ever dealt with during a class!).  Bravo boys!!   

Richard the instructor was initially VERY skeptical that four young teens 

could complete in four days what he routinely takes 2 weeks to teach 

adults.  He is now a Venture believer!! 


Neale opted for a four-hour turn around, and to my disbelieving eyes, 

they pulled it off in 3 and a half!  All food shopping done, laundry, clear 

out one boat, consolidate to the other, planning and go!  Wow! We ended 

up across the channel in Bequia again.  Ian and Andy and I made an ice 

run, and of course I made sure it was at an Internet café where we could 

get banana smoothies. (That is just between us, the rest of the crew does 

not know about that, shhhh!). [Who would I tell?? –Ed.]  We navigated back 

to the boat in the dark, guided by Nathan's grill fire pyre. Tomorrow we 

rise and sail further south than before, to arrive at Tobago Cays, which 

appears to be quite a paradise!  No communications there, but you'll hear 

from us again soon! 


July 26th 


Our transit to the Tobago Cays started with an early departure from 

Bequia. We have transitioned to "venture mode" where the adults do 

much less and the responsibility for success sits (sometimes 

uncomfortably) on the boys. Today's skipper was Seth, and he ran a 

nearly perfect departure checklist, and we had a great jaunt down to the 

south. A somewhat technical entrance into the cays was the cause for 

much clenching and sweating and tongue biting for Bob and Eric, but the 

lads brought her in just fine, with one unexplained loop the loop on the 

way into the channel, but we'll forgive that! 


We anchored in the BEAUTIFUL blue water, surrounded by reefs and three 

small deserted islands.  There are about 30 other boats here, all sail.  It is 

just indescribably cool; hopefully the pictures do it justice!  Look up 

Tobago Cays online, and we were right there in the center lagoon!  The 

lads elected for a quick run around the reef in our NEW dinghy, to better 

focus our next day's snorkeling expeditions!  We had a tidal wave of 

"human spam", where essentially, "the mall comes to you!”  Andy was the 

one diligent shopper, while the rest could not be bothered, but they all 

decided later they wanted the shirt that Andy got!!  I am sure there will be 

other opportunities!! 


We continue to wonder at what power source fuel's Nathan's manic 

activity.  The young man has cooked every dinner so far (with some help), 

partly because he just surges forward and does it, but also because he 

seems to not notice the greenhouse-like galley conditions. I tried to help 

him this evening, but about halfway through, he ejected me from his 

galley because I was "ewww, all sweaty!" 


Andy and Seth both took the plunge with snorkeling, despite having 

some reservations.  A good team approach and brave effort!  All agreed 

the reef was way cool, and the fish descriptions went on and on!  We 

dined late, and anticipate a full day tomorrow of more snorkeling and 

island exploration! 


Good night! 


July 27th 


A full day today in the Cays!  I was punished for eating cereal too early, 

since it was to be a cooked breakfast, but I deserved my fate!  (I like to 

rise early to swim).  We did a 2 hours multi-site drift snorkel over about 

half the reef area near us.  FANTASTIC.  We chased two-foot blue 

iridescent parrotfish around the coral, saw cool crabs and anemones, and 

on and on.  The underwater cameras were a-clickin!! 


We then returned to the boat, washed off, and took the dinghy on a 25 

minute ride to a small low island outside the reef.  Petit Tabac was 

another site for Pirates of the Caribbean, [Petit Tabac is the "deserted 

island" that Captain Jack & Elizabeth get marooned on near the end 

of the movie. -Ed.] and we explored it for about an hour as well as had 

a nice lunch.  Killian was bothered by bugs, so I tossed him one of my 

DEET wipes. We found that 50% DEET on the fingers makes sandwiches 

taste bad and makes your tongue go numb!!   Andy found some cool 

hermit crabs and smashed open some coconuts.  Neale ALMOST put 

Killan’s camera in the sea when he "found the ledge" while wading!  We all 

got plenty sun, mon!!!  So far, though, no real burns, which is good. 


Later that evening, we tried to make a salad with some local vegetable 

that Ian had selected, but it was CALLALOO LEAF, which, if we had 

bothered to check the guidebook (who knew it covered VEGGIES as well 

as ports) anyway, the book says "eating this raw is like eating raw 

fiberglass".  Three choking members of the crew agree!! Ick. Thus, 

chicken Caesar salad become teriyaki chicken with rice, under the skillful 

guidance of Chef Nathan (Clearly, the Patel's are missing an opportunity 

to rent him out in the catering trade!!).  We even had COBBLER, which was 

a big hit.  Killian licked his plate clean, an extra plate clean, and then 

licked THE TIN, and then PEELED THE EDGE OF THE TIN to get the last bit 

of tasty goodness!! : ) 


We slept under a clear star filled sky, after having some astronomy chats 

from Bob, with our bellies full!   These Cays are really SOMETHING, and 

you can see why they are so popular!!!   Tomorrow we head out to Union 

Island, to clear immigration, and then head to our Grenada adventure.  

Neale the "busier than a one legged man in a butt kicking contest" 

planner has confirmed a host of activities for us, so we are sure to have 

fun there.  May be a day or two until more updates, but until then, rest 

assured we doing great! 


July 28th 


Well, today we made a timely and well-run exit through the Cays. There 

was some discussion of using the faster Southern exit, but the boats 

aground and the warnings in the guidebook were enough to convince the 

lads that "prudent seamanship" demanded the longer northern path.  And 

we're ALL ABOUT prudent seamanship on the sailing vessel Poch Ma Hon! 


We then made a short run down to Union Island, debarked skipper Bob to 

do some administrative kung fu on the bureaucrats and get us cleared, 

and we spent a nice few hours doing another turnaround, shopping and 

loading water. Neale had to deal with some pushy "harbor leeches" and 

did just fine.  Skipper Killian then got us underway, and the crosswind 

almost had us leaving line handler Ian on the dock, but we recovered just 

fine and got him onboard!  We then headed down towards Petit 

Martinique (PM) for the night (an immigration loophole allows us to 

remain in limbo pending arrival in Grenada). We made a point to stop for 

lunch at Mopion, a little puddle of sand on which someone erected a little 

gazebo.  We all sat on a blanket, on this truly deserted islet, quite fun.  At 

one point in our difficult dinghy passage through the reef, Seth insisted 

he could pull us in, and the water was not too deep.  As we watched him 

disappear below the dinghy, his depth perception came into question! He 

did serve as an effective tow-er once we made it to shallower water. 

Nathan and I did our good turn by emptying out the gross little garbage 

can in the gazebo. 


We then proceeded to PM, and had a bit of an anchoring adventure. We 

are truly backing off and letting the lads run the show, which can 

sometimes be tough, but they are getting it!  We enjoyed another fine 

meal together on the lido deck, and will base our plans tomorrow on the 

passage of this latest "Tropical wave". We hope to get to Carriacou and 

process in through immigration, then shift down to Grenada and several 

days of fun with local scouts there. 


July 29th 


Well, we finally had a rainless nite, not that I got much sleep. Between 

late nights, rain, and early sunrise, I feel like I am back in my Navy days, 

but my enthusiasm for these reports remains UNDIMMED!  : ) 


Today we bopped on over to Carriacou to process into Grenada.  We were 

there early, but had a long anchorage.  In two hours we dropped the hook 

thrice (normally a 10 min process), and there was much frustration, but 

we got it done.  But the road to true independence from adult meddling 

has a few bumps, and it is what Venture is all about.  Once anchored, Bob 

cleared us through immigration and customs, and we launched a town 

exploratory.  This is more of a party island, with a huge set of speakers 

on the dock pumping out tunes.  


The adults ducked into an ATM booth (partly for AC, partly to encourage 

the lads to head out on their own).  We then ended up down the strip at a 

restaurant called Callaloo by the Sea (not kidding!).  There we had THE 

BEST BANANA SMOOTHIES IN THE WORLD.  Neale and Nathan hiked to the 

top of some nearby mountains (too much sweating for me!!), and once 

back on the boat, we had an evening swim, where Neale and I swam to 

the beach, and found a large variety of starfish, the most interesting of 

which we brought back to the boat for others to see.  Seth refused to get 

close to the scary man-eating beasts : ) 


For dinner, Nathan hit a home run, first serving up HOME MADE (boat 

made?) Salsa from local produce (we took that stuff out like we were 

piranhas!), and then STEAK dinner with a big salad.  Clearly this trip is 

setting some irreproducible and heretofore unknown highs in culinary 

excellence, (not that we adults are complaining!). 


Sadly, I must report that some after dinner horseplay resulted in Neale 

having a "gravity incident" and popping his chin pretty well while going 

overboard.  Seth (one of the perpetrators), was first into the water to 

assist him.  Given our high level of medical training, this was an "infield 

grounder", but still not pleasant for Neale.  A sore jaw and small cut were 

not critical, but worthy of a doctor's evaluation, just to be sure.  The team 

did well handling the situation, Andy stepped up big navigating the 

dinghy in to the dock in the dark to drop off the medical trip-takers, and 

then returning solo.  Nathan, Killian and I took so long to clean up and 

get ready to go in, that by the time we reboarded Andy's taxi service, the 

medical team was already returned to the dock! 


Neale had two stitches in his chin, and the medical team had gone to the 

new clinic which was coincidentally having a grand opening night, so 

every room they went to had dignitaries and hors de'ourves, but no docs!! 

So, they got fed first, ha!  We then journeyed back to Callaloo by the sea, 



Then we poured Neale into his rack and we all went to sleep with the 

sounds of beach parties and BBQs wafting over us. 


July 30th 


Today was a day of lots of oatmeal going down, and lots of oatmeal 

coming up. Allow me to elaborate... 


We were up EARLY for our 40nm run to Grenada.  Skipper Nathan had 

stayed up late planning to make sure it happened (the issue was very 

much in doubt, but they pulled it off).  For breakfast, Seth cooked up a 

bucket of oatmeal big enough to feed a village (he swears it was just 9 

portions by directions)!  We all choked down several PINTS of cooked 

oatmeal, Andy took nearly 3 hrs to finish his share, but finish he did! Seth 

took the easy way out, tossing his oatmeal only 1 hr into our open ocean 

run.  Seems the seas were a bit heavy and SOMEONE forgot his Scop 

Patch!  (Bet he remembers his next one!).  Bob hit him with every seasick 

remedy we had onboard, Ginger, electro-impulse bands, etc.  He did 

eventually recover enough to do some time on the helm in the PM. Neale 

also exhibited a variety of colors.  We continue to struggle with our roller 

furling main, but seem to have finally worked out a system that helps us 

get it set with some degree of timeliness.  I'll post a bonus treat later, the 

lyrics to the song we have for the sail. 


Our run was long and brisk, until we were in the lee of Grenada.  We were 

hours ahead of Nathan's conservative plan, to everyone's surprise and 

happiness.  We had a watch going, so we could get some extra sleep.  

Skipper Nathan and I were the only ones to stay up the whole time (and 

what a joy it was, to have so MUCH uninterrupted time to enjoy his 

company and uniquely off the wall patter!!!) ; ) 


We arrived in harbor in the early PM, and the lads had to navigate in on 

their own.  Seth did well with the "red buoy maze", as did navigators 

Killian and Neale.  At the Grenada Yacht Club, they had to execute a "med 

moor" with a vicious crosswind.  NOT FUN. (like backing your car into a 

narrow spot, on ice, with a big wind pushing you sideways, and also 

having to grab a line to hold your front end steady as you back up)  Seth 

did a great spin in front of the berth (only 4 ft room on either side!), but 

the wind (which he had accounted for) suddenly died, (arrgh!!) and our 

angle was all off.  We waved off, tried again, and hit it spot on.  I 

congratulated Seth on his fine helm work, but he felt the whole thing was 

a bit too much stress.  Perhaps in time it will take on a rosier glow in his 

memory : )! 


We did dinner up at the club on the veranda, with some Methodists who 

were having a potluck fundraiser.  VERY tasty!  Even just looking around 

the club and the nearby hills, you can see all kinds of hurricane damage. I 

enjoyed the bar's unlimited stock of TING (a Trinidad-ian grapefruit 

beverage), which I had been waxing rhapsodic about (and searching 

unsuccessfully for) since Puerto Rico.  The lads had actually found it first 

in Carriacou, and bought me one (such thoughtful fellows!).  They also 

have become fellow TING enthusiasts!  It seems it is not available as far 

north as I previously experienced, but regardless, we have it now, and 

"Dat's a good TING, mon!" 


I finally got a chance to rig my hammock up on the bow and try it out, 

but with the tarp over me, and no breeze, I was soaked in sweat in 

minutes.  I then flopped down on the deck for relief, noting little Nathan 

had decided to risk sleeping under the tarp too (me personally, if I were 

that size, I would not be brave enough to sleep underneath someone my 

size, but he is an adventurer!).  It was amusing to lie there sweating, 

seeing him back there wrapped up in his bedding like a little "pig in a 

blanket" (you know, those little hors d'oeurve thingies?) 


Anyway, because I rigged the tarp, of course it never rained, and several 

LOUD parties on shore provided us with free (and gradually less welcome) 

tunes into the wee hours.  (Seems we have arrived on what amounts to 

their 4th of July weekend, so no shortage of partying!) 


July 31st 


Today dawned cloudy, so it looked like it might rain on the big dive 

expedition that Neale arranged last night.  (no mean feat to arrange a 

dive trip with nearly everything closed for the weekend, bravo!) 


We were up early (again!!) to head to church.  An attempt to serve 

oatmeal was shouted down.  I had gotten the name of the local church 

(sadly the cathedral on the hill had been wiped out), and Seth had gotten 

directions (sort of).  We decided to hike.... and hike.... and hike.... but 

luckily a local bus (microbus) driver, inspired by either the divine or the 

dollar, pulled over, reversed his route, and took us the remaining MILES 

to the church, arriving right as the service started.  I am not sure if Seth 

realizes how close he was to a keelhauling, heh! 


Upon our return, the divers headed down the coast a few miles, while 

Andy and I stayed to do some logistics.  While washing everyone else's 

underpants is not glamorous work, it must be done, and we were 

rewarded when another local group arrived to set up a Sunday brunch!  

(yessss! I knew skipping breakfast was a good idea!)  SO we dined and 

washed and dried and folded, while the skies unloaded rain like I have 

NEVER seen.  Literally as if the sky was falling. 


The divers trained in the pool and classroom in the AM, ate their lunch, 

and then headed out for a dandy supervised dive on some coral and a 

wreck.  Somehow there were no underwater cameras (we're still working 

on that attention to detail thing), but it was a grand adventure by all 

accounts.  Seth saw the "really big fish" he has been worrying about, but 

was pleased to note its lack of interest in consuming him. 


Andy and I then headed off to hike the town and had a grand time. He 

gamely followed me all the way up to the highest cliff with the old fort. 

As we walked through the old harbor, you could literally feel the ghosts 

of 300 yrs of sailors walking with you.  We went up roads so narrow that 

if Nathan stood with his feet on one side and fell forward, I swear he'd hit 

his head on the other side!  As we groaned to a halt at the entrance to the 

old fort, dripping in sweat, we realized it was occupied, as a base for 

training Grenadan police (interesting!)  They allow the public in, so we 

had a fun self-guided tour. Lots of old cannons, and a mortar (not often 

seen).  On our walk, as in the fort complex, destruction was still evident.  

We at one point realized we were looking into barracks rooms that had 

been abandoned, with boots and books still floating on the floor, 

uniforms still in the locker! We saw no less the THREE huge stone 

churches, all occupying various heights, and all pounded into 

decrepitude.  Very sad.  The views were, as Andy said repeatedly, Aww- 

sommme! I noted that clearly the business to be in these days is tarp 

sales or roof contracting! Everywhere you turn, there is rebuilding going 

on, but still SO much to do! 


It began to rain on us during our descent to the harbor, and we took 

refuge in a well air-conditioned ATM booth.  I figured since I did a 

withdrawal, we were entitled to stay in there until someone else wanted 

to use it.  No one came, so we enjoyed an hour of cooling and drying and 

conversation as the rain eased.  I now know quite a bit about Mr. Smillie, 

including the colors and dispositions of all his cats, which he misses 

(along with his family!!)  It was a bit odd to sit behind this glass case, 

while the occasional chicken peeked in!  We tried to hit the Internet cafe 

(said it was open 2-6 on sun), but it never opened. We needed some 

hydration too, as I swear I lose a gallon an hour sometimes! 


We grabbed a cab back to GYC in time to beat the divers home.  We all 

then waited for our local scout guests.  Elisha St. Louis, essentially the 

National Director of Grenadan scouting, and local scout leader Mr. Biran 

hung out with us for several hours.  I am not sure the boys realized what 

an honor that was, but they had interesting conversations, and it seems 

our next few days will be quite full of adventure!   Our dinner was another 

Nathan special, grilled chicken with local jerk marinade, boat-made 

mashed potatoes with cheese, and a huge salad.  Excellent!  A bit of 

trouble with running out of charcoal and under-done-ness was easily 

overlooked due to the quality of the meal overall. We have had to invoke 

a rule about getting others involved in the galley, because while Nathan is 

doing so exceptionally well, it is not fair to leave this task to him every 

day.  Sigh, the many little wrinkles of team dynamics! Still, now the others 

have a nice high standard to shoot for with their meals! 


The evening was still noisy, with multiple parties going late.  We pretty 

much all slept on deck, except Seth, who was in the forward cabin. 

Apparently he did not like my stinky feet hanging near or down his air 

hatch, because my feet smelled of lilac due (I believe) to his using air 

freshener on them??  We'll have to talk about that.... 


Tomorrow is a later start (whew), and perhaps another try with the 

oatmeal, but I rather doubt it!  Should be a fun day of touring the island! 


August 1st 


Oh yeah, how's this for a fresh hot and tasty update!  The sweat of 

today's activity still dribbles down my arms as I type this!  You'd have to 

be here with us to get the news any hotter off the virtual presses!! 


First a coda on yesterday, the 31st.  I left out a hilarious local round of 

"who's on first", as on the dive boat, the dive master kept doing a muster 

(the better to avoid the awkward "leaving a diver adrift in the sea" thing), 

and he called out Nathan (Nay-ten?), who said yes, then called out Seth 

"Set?", to which no one replied because Seth thought he was asking 

Nathan (I mean, Nay-ten) if he was SET to go.  Then Bob yelled at Seth to 

respond, who was mightily confused, and then the dive master started 

AGAIN, and so on.  Not sure how many times this went on, but you have 

to admit it is funny!  So now, during the day, I periodically holler "Hey, are 

you Set?".  This joins "Nevah Give Up, Mon!" and "WHERE is my SUPER 

Suit?" on our list of trip sayings. 


Now, lest I be accused of running on Island Time, I shall proceed 

posthaste to recount the day’s events! 


We (well, I) rose with the sun, went for a run (much to the amusement of 

the locals, who, apparently, had never seen the actual Pillsbury doughboy 

engaged in such speedy movement!), and then had a nice LONG COLD 

shower.  I returned to the boat, and Bob was up, so I got dressed, we 

chatted about our upcoming LONG (super long) haul (possibly) to 

Martinique, and then hit the PC terminal (thus today's earlier flood of 

updates!).  The lads rested until after 9, got rolling at 9:45 to meet our 

Grenadian hosts at 10.  Apparently, Oatmeal was voted down again.  

Neale somehow fails to understand what the problem is, quite amusing. 


Our hosts were Mr. Damani Brizan (whose name I misspelled yesterday, 

sorry!), and four scouts, and two parents, plus our crew. We shoehorned 

EVERYONE into a Toyota microbus (astounding, I know), and we 

proceeded to tour the island. First stop, Anondale Falls, a picturesque 

waterfall, complete with local bathers.  We were trying to get Neale to 

jump, and he said he would, if someone else did.  A local took him up on 

it, and climbed to the top of the cliff and bombs away!  Neale then 

begged off due to something about "wearing too much cotton", which we 

all found to be less than satisfactory, but given his boo-boo and 

questionable track record with gravity lately, it seemed best to give him a 

pass!  The local then requested a fee for his service, and in the end, the 

boys decided that was the right course. 


We then went to Grande Etang nature preserve, a 20-acre lake in the 

center of the mountains in the middle of the island.  We had a 

WONDERFUL local lunch and some juice that got Seth into paroxysms of 

delight.  He memorized the recipe, and I suppose he will try to make it.  

Just imagine a liquid SKITTLE and you have the right idea.  (SUGAR 

RULES!)  Then all the scouts took a hike, literally, up the mountainside for 

a great view.  Nathan of course did not miss his opportunity to be at my 

side, peppering me with patter "hey, is this harder than your Navy stuff??  

Why are you breathing so hard???" etc.  We eventually came to a high 

point, got some nice pix, and then the Grenadian scouts said let's RUN 

down.  So they were off, and initially we all just stared.  Ian declared that 

was not his cup of tea, but Seth and I rose to the challenge, and off we 

scampered.  I am happy to report I finished only a few yards behind him, 

AND I was carrying his pack (what happened to respect for the elderly, I 

ask you???) 


The rest of the Venture 8 guys walked in a bit later, not nearly as sweaty!  

We then drove to a neat fort (Fort Frederick) and explored it.  It had lots 

of dank scary catacombs and stuff, you would never find that open in a 

US park but it was cool.  Seth actually joined me in exploring the rat 

tunnel, and I later climbed an odd looking ladder to go into a small 

opening (egged on by the crowd), but then got stuck because the narrow 

window was just a portal into the ceiling of a large gallery, and I could 

not go forward, and Ian and Nathan were pestering me to move.  I 

eventually extricated myself, but I am sure there are plenty of photos of 

my butt sticking out of the side of the fort! 


IT was a truly great day, with great hosts, and lots of interesting 

conversation.  They will be coming out sailing with us tomorrow, which 

will be great! 


We are now returned to the GYC, and I shall dutifully document this 

evening's events tomorrow with a Coda, as usual.  Seth and Nathan are 

now demanding that I play Puerto Rico with them (a board game I love 

and brought with me. I know Jamie and Don are proud of me! : )  And of 

course, I have to now ask the large thin mop-top who is looking over my 

shoulder.... "Are you SET?" 


He says yes!  See ya! 


August 1st BONUS 


Here, as promised, the full unexpurgated lyrics to everyone's FAVORITE 

ditty, "The Roller Furling Main"  (sung to the tune of "Walking in a Winter 

Wonderland", with spirit and gusto!) 


"Raise the Main!!", yells the skipper 

And we're alllll, feelin' chipper 


CHORUS:  The Curses they fly! 

As time rolls on by! 

Struggling with the Roller Furling Main!! 


Heave Around! on our first try 

Say a prayer to the blue sky 



Second time, is no better 

and our nerrrrrves start to fetter 



Halfway out, on number three 

Then it jams, tight as can be 



Hope for success, on number four 

we just can't take - it any more 



Send someone up, to ride the boom 

'Cause were about, out of sea room 



Now we're all feel-in' like the grinch 

Skipper sayyyys, "Let's use the winch" 



So the sailllll, is now extended 

But all our en-ergy's expended 



August 1st Coda 


We played some games for a pleasant hour or two.  Nathan was most 

excited to nearly beat me at Puerto Rico in only his second game (he 

learns quickly, this evil one!), and he and Seth did beat Killian and me at a 

card game called "Mille Bornes" (thousand miles).  OF course, Nathan was 

gracious in his victory... ; ) 


We did have a longer evening than planned due to our toughest debrief 

yet.  It seems that some joking (which we do a lot of) had been wearing 

thin on one crewmate without our knowledge, and when a related prank 

went awry, there were some hurt feelings.  Dealing with these team 

dynamic and life lesson issues is perhaps the most challenging part of 

these trips, and in the end, air was cleared, communication improved, 

and we moved forward.  Living in these cramped quarters really puts 

pressure on us all to "be the best person we can be", and frankly they are 

all solid young men of good faith and friendship, so I have no doubt this 

particular issue is settled. 


We spend much of our time at night in the dark, because our boat's 

battery is quite beastly.  It held charges poorly even months ago on the 

adult trip, and for us it is now down in the single digit voltages! AND our 

shore power cable has a French adapter that does not fit here, argh!  I 

had a charger on the batteries all day, but they died back to 10V almost 

immediately. Well, we'll just have to make the best of it - we all have 

headlamps! : ) 


August 2nd 


As today ended, I was resting lazily in a battered fiberglass dinghy, 

perched on it's side in the sand, filled with flowers like a planter on the 



I gazed west into a setting sun, casting glorious color through the sky 

and along miles of gold sand beach, a few locals packing up for the day, 

my belly full of local BBQ, watching all our scouts frolic in the ocean with 

about a dozen Grenada Venture scouts.  Truly, a moment that will be 

remembered for a lifetime! (BTW, it seems that Seth is a good launching 

platform for diving, Nathan can run very fast to avoid being taken into 

the sea, Andy finds the bay very much to his liking, and Neale and Killian 

can toss folks (and be tossed) relatively far!) 


But enough of this in medias res stuff, let's begin at the beginning! We 

rose, sluggishly, at 7:30, to prepare for our big day sail with our previous 

day's hosts.  We wished to repay them well for their fine hospitality!  

Skipper Seth drove the departure checklist, as some early morning 

shoppers dinghy'd across the cove to the store.  We welcomed aboard 

five Grenadan scouts, and the boys briefed them on the boat and 

lifejackets, and got us underway.  The lads did a fine job bringing her out 

to sea, ever closer to being ready for independent operation!  For the first 

half hour, our guests, all first time sailors, sort of sat nervously in the 

cockpit, helping with the occasional line.  We had some guest helmsmen, 

which was fun.  But then they discovered our favorite pastime, DINGHY 

SURFING!  That was a riotous success!  As we tacked and jibed our way 

down to the airport point, to have a jet fly over us, our guests seemingly 

could not get enough of being towed!  We then headed over to a small 

bay with some snorkel options for a SUMPTUOUS lunch that was 50% 

cookies and cakes.  The lads had been busy baking, and Nathan's 

brownies were a hit, but best of all was Neale's special "marble cake with 

mint chocolate chip frosting"! (Apparently his first cake?) Nothing like a 

walk off grand slam at your first at-bat, eh?) Anyway, EVERYONE enjoyed 

the lunch, well, except for our guest Max, who was down with what we 

like to call Dawson's Disease (seasick!).  Dr. Bob gave him some Ginger 

and other remedies, but what eventually worked was some rest time at 

anchor, a bit of bread, and the promise of getting to drive the dinghy!!! 


We then headed back to port, and when we again attempted our difficult 

med moor with an even harsher cross wind, helmsman Neale tried 

repeatedly to bring her in, but could not (no shame, conditions as hard as 

any I have experienced). Then Bob took a shot, and did manage to catch 

the mooring buoy, but got no further.  So then I was called in, and while 

trying to remedy the situation, I managed to be too confident and was 

served a giant helping of humble pie as I fouled our prop with another 

boat's mooring lines and we drifted back into an embarrassing mess just 

off the bows of several bemused boats.  Bob's timely emergency anchor 

dropping saved my bacon. 


I'll be frank and say this was quite a frustrating moment for me.  The 

crew was magnificent in it's support of our recovery operations.  We 

convened a crew meeting, assessed priorities and options, and they 

literally flew into action. We dove on under to see the situation, Killian 

dug down into the bowels of the boat to get to the stuffing tube for 

possible manual spinning, Andy and Neale rigged the Dinghy, Seth kept 

everyone topside in order, and step by step we got ourselves free. All fast 

but razor sharp, no questions, no nonsense, just pure execution.  Nathan 

got to play tugboat with the dinghy, a key aid for us, and he LOVED IT.  

Since we were safely (if embarrassingly) at rest, I asked our guests if they 

would like to be dinghy'd ashore, or stay for more drama.  To a man they 

cheered "MORE DRAMA!!"  ha ha. 


Using precise coordination, we fell off to leeward, slipped the moor, 

retrieved the anchor, and got things set, and tried again, this time with 

me at the helm from the start.  My first shot was not quite right, so we 

tried again.  On try 2, I hit the balance point against the wind too well, 

and when I wanted the bow to fall off (an excess of which had been our 

problem all day), it would not.  We crabbed backwards and with some 

fancy fender work by Andy and our guests, we avoided any contact.  

Neale and Ian handled dock lines, Bob and Killian did the mooring, and 

Nathan "kept on tuggin'"!  It was tremendously inspiring to me to have 

such a crackerjack team to bail me out of the mess I had made. 


So, in the end, we were successfully moored, but were an hour behind 

schedule and late for our beach BBQ.  We quickly set the boat up for the 

night, showered, and hopped in the local microbus fleet to the beach.  

Our daysail guests accompanied us. 


During our cleanup of the boat, the guess what the adults discovered, 

buried in the rear of an after storage locker.... A large half full tin of 

oatmeal!!  Not sure how this oatmeal thing will play out, but it sure is 



At the beach BBQ, we again met Mr. St. Louis and his son who is a key 

Venture leader, and Grenada's newly established first Venture team.  We 

shared stories of youth and scouting and trips.  They seemed fascinated 

with our tales of ice climbing and quinzees.  They are a co-ed group, and 

some of their girls had an odd habit of asking each scout if they could 

assess their toughness by socking them in the gut (ahh, the odd rituals of 

flirting youth!).  Ian opted out, most of the others bravely took their shot, 

but Neale (aka "abs of steele Neale") really impressed the girls, with the 

solid "thunk" and lack of flinching. Others were brought over to witness 

his solidity.  He endured his trial with gentlemanly grace, and I bet he is 

happy he did all those situps! 


Getting home was an adventure as we had to break up into small groups 

to squeeze into the very full island minibuses (where the motto is "Get in 

Mon!, there is ALWAYS room for one more!"). Seth complained that he had 

no seat on his ride, and felt awkward with his butt in someone's face for 

the whole ride.  All part of experiencing the island culture mon! 


We had a late but not ridiculously late night, as the crew plotted their 

remaining days.  It appears that the long run the Martinique is off the 

table, just too far and time consuming.  It appears we will now focus on 

more sailing and cultural activities. 


Some other random thoughts from today...  The Grenadian scouts just 

showed up with no adults, to spend the day with essentially strangers. A 

very different approach down here!  It was also amazing to me that our 

guests were not strong swimmers, some not even swimmers, and they 

had not been snorkeling before!! 


So, for tomorrow, we appear to be on a Citizenship in the World kick, and 

plan to visit the embassy and other agencies, along with some other 

possible events with the local scouts. 


So, that is the news for August 2nd!  Have a fine day! 


August 3rd 



Today dawned sunny and humid, as expected.  Today was to be full of 

Citizenship in the World adventures, but was a bit less organized than 

would ideally be the case (planning skills and dealing with bureaucracies 

are part of the Venture 8 total training package : ) ).  However, we did get 

in a visit to the U.S. Embassy, no doubt assisted by the fact that the 

recently retired consular officer there was named Bob Fretz, ha ha! 


We did more laundry in the AM, and when lunchtime came, the lads 

announced they were too busy planning and trying to set up meetings to 

have lunch (the open can of Pringles on the counter offered perhaps 

another conclusion).  Thus, the adults launched an emergency food run, 

lest they starve, with Ian capably guiding us to the island's KFC, ha!  At 

this KFC, you can have any combo you want, as long as it is number 2 or 

number 8! 


In the afternoon, as we headed to the embassy, Ian had the boys, 

particularly Seth, all worked up about embassy protocol, and had them 

convinced they needed to do that hand-swooshing deep bow (like you 

see in French courts, etc). Luckily, they saw through the ruse eventually! 


Really, this day was a borderline "burn day" where the main focus was on 

catching our breath and planning.  To that end, our plans are shaping up. 

Another day in Grenada is on the schedule, and then a series of sails back 

up to St. Vincent, and a day or two checking out the North side of that 

island. At various points, the boys took some naps, but also continue to 

trade "rogue wave" harassment.  Seth got a dozing Andy with one 

topside, but Andy waited patiently until Seth later laid down in his rack 

and then "sploosh", payback time.  : )    All in good fun! 


One interesting thing from today was a series of chance suggestions that 

ended up getting us (it seems) a meeting tomorrow with the Head of 

State of Grenada (the equivalent of pulling into England and getting an 

appointment with the Queen).  So, tomorrow, our little crew will be 

(hopefully) meeting with Sir Daniel (who is also the titular "Chief Scout", 

much like President Bush is for BSA).  I think with our additional protocol 

training, and some pills for Nathan, we'll do just fine.  ; ) 


Speaking of Nathan, since he was barred from the kitchen, he has now 

decided to become a fisherman.  He discovered a somewhat decrepit 

paddle wrapped with line and a hook in our stern locker, and with Seth 

dutifully headed out in the lagoon to try to catch some of the fish we see 

swimming by.  Their lack of success had less to do with enthusiasm (of 

which there was much), than their choice of bait (first raw, then cooked 

sausage).  In any case, the fish of the lagoon are safe, from us at least 

(but perhaps not from high cholesterol). 


Our dinner was a delicious one-pot meal of Sausage Jambalaya a la 

Killian. Nicely seasoned, with some local Jerk overtones, plenty of 

veggies.  Dessert was skipped because we were all too full, but I still 

dream of Neale's mint cake... ; )  Having tasted the joys of home baking, 

the lads have  purchased any number of desserts in their food run today, 

so we shall not lack for  calories in the coming week!!! (Now, if we can 

just avoid putting the pina colada icing on the chocolate cake, all will be 



A solid night of sleep awaits (surely to be interrupted by at least some 

rain), and then a day of protocol and service projects.  I'll hope to get one 

more update out before we depart, and then we might be back to longer 

pauses between news, depending on where we go and what we find. 


Nevah Give Up, Mon! 


August 4th 


Short update today – we’re in a hurry and the keyboard here is nuts.  


The 4th dawned to the sound of breaking glass, as Bob, woken from 

slumber by evil flies up the nostrils, did battle with them with his hat. 

Sadly, the hat contained his glasses!   Thus, his specs join my boat shoe, 

and Seth's ditty bag as things we have donated to King Neptune : ) 


I am happy to report that our visit with the Governor General went 

swimmingly! Sadly, an incident with Nathan trying to body surf through 

the xray scanner security machine will require him to stay behind in 

Grenada for a while, but we are optimistic that we can retrieve him at 

some point.... No, really, they all did great, and Sir Daniel, a lifetime 

scouter, traded great stories with us. Perhaps Killian presages a career in 

foreign service with his questions on how does one get to be Governor 

General, anyway? 


After our visit, we toured the town, had lunch, and got ready for our 

service project.  That afternoon, we sweated like beasts as we mowed and 

hacked to clear the yard of the local overgrown medical clinic.  The sight 

of Neale wielding a cutlass (machete) was not to be missed! We did some 

good work there! 


A tasty dinner of tacos was enjoyed by all, as was a great night's sleep.  

I'll stop here and try to get in one more update before we have to go 

(sending this from Union Island). 


August 5th 


We are presently at a short stopover in Union Island, so I must be brief. 


Today we rose early to depart, but had to wait for the GYC office to open 

so we could pay our bills and fuel up.  The lads' first opportunity to run 

the whole show went down with mixed reviews. It is always hard to fully 

"let go", and also hard to let them live through their choices.  Suffice to 

say, some choices of course and propulsion gave us a long tough ride, 

took out everyone who was not wearing a patch (and all but one of those 

too!).  For the first time in 20 years on the sea, I heaved over the side.  It 

was a LONG tough day for all of us, but much was learned.  


We ended up at anchor in Tyrell bay on Carriacou, and the adults hit the 

shore for an odd dinner (they came to our boat to taxi us in, but the 

service ended once we hit the chairs), while the lads regrouped for 

tomorrow.  It's a slow and difficult business, this becoming a seasoned 

mariner thing!  But they have yet to flinch from a challenge and I am sure 

there will be steady progress!   


I hear tell that Mayreau is our next stop, and there is a cafe there in a 

basement, so hopefully you'll hear from us tomorrow. ; )  If not, rest 

assured we are still doing well, and miss you all. 



August 6th - A Phoenix Rises! 


Yeah, verily, the updates flow again!  You may have thought the 

weather did us in, but nay, Earl has been most kind to us!  You may 

have thought the lads ran amok and set us adrift, or that we were 

underwater somewhere, but again, nay, they have done quite well. I 

apologize for the long delay, but please understand that getting info 

out requires a complex chain of conditions to be satisfied: 


a) be at an island 

b) island has town 

c) town has PC somewhere 

d) PC is working 

e) PC has internet connection 

f) Internet connection is up 

g) place with working PC with internet is OPEN 

h) no one else is using the PC 

i) I can actually get an hour ashore with no other immediate obligation 


As has clearly been the case, one cannot count on this chain be 

completed very often! 


ANYWAY, when we last left our intrepid youths, they had just about 

succeeded in killing their adults with a 10-hour motor into pounding 

seas.  However, they regrouped and the next day under Skipper 

Killian, they executed a double jog from Carriacou to Union Island, and 

then on to Mayreaux, in fine fashion.  Good teamwork was in play, as 

at one point there was some frustration going head to wind to raise 

sails, and amidst the agitation, Andy, sitting quietly behind the fray 

simply held out his arm to starboard and said firmly, "The wind... is... 

THAT.. way!". Spot on!  Interesting to see their growing skills in play, 

in this still very new and demanding environment.  The shift to "no 

adult help unless you are running aground" still gets them rattled at 

times.  We did a quick food shop in Union, then on to Mayreaux and a 

different bay from last visit. 


This bay was, IMHO, THE BEST!!  We had the end of the bay to 

ourselves, a neat reef rock area to snorkel on (the most interesting so 

far!), and a cool beach prepped for tourist use (but only from Nov to 

May).  Like exploring a deserted resort.  We saw sea snakes, eels, I 

found a molted lobster, etc.  We tried to do some boom swinging and 

diving, but Neale felt the whole thing was a bit too risky and we waved 

off.  Nathan will have to get his Pirates of the Caribbean moment some 

other way.  We haggled for some fresh fish in Union, and the lads 

grilled up a fine dose of snapper for us, along with a bucket of salad 

and some samosas appetizers.  Having this dinner in this grand bay, 

with the sun setting behind us was TRULY FANTASTIC.  But I get 

ahead of myself... 


It seems we lost or damaged all our pencils and mechanical pencils, so 

Nathan and I were dispatched to hike into town for pencils.  He did a 

fine job running up and down to the stores while I guarded his seat at 

the bar (no sense in TWO of us getting all sweaty, now was there?).  

Imagine my pride as we later sat sipping Cokes, and the bar lady asks, 

"is he your son?"  ; )  (though, why my son would be calling me "Mr. 

Fretz" is an open question). 


We later had some tasty Seth brownies.  Nathan was sent out in the 

dinghy because he is the only one who can get our little 5hp motor to 

plane the dinghy so the drain plug will work!  Bob managed to smash 

his toe badly on the water pump foot pedal (bitter irony, as he lectures 

constantly on wearing shoes, and had only taken his off to come up for 

snorkel!!!).  Tomorrow we have a long haul, perhaps all the way to St. 

Vincent.  Oh, and lest you think the lads aren't still up to some tricks - 

what do you suppose we found in the grill when we took it out of the 

locker to use it tonight?   Yes, three gruesome pieces of half cooked 

chicken covered with puffball mold, ewwwww! 


August 7th 


Today's long run to St. Vincent began with a slow sweaty walk up to 

our favorite chapel on the hill in Mayreaux.  Much the same as we 

experienced last time, and we made sure to get a photo of the "no cow 

parking" sign on the gate! I had my best morning swim so far in the 

still fantastic bay.  Everyone seems to sleep in better than me, but I 

think they are missing out! : )  I ate some fresh coconut from the 

beach, mmm! 


We then did essentially an 8 hour close-hauled run, never actually 

deciding to tack (and turns out we did not need to!)  It turns out that 

Bob's toe is broken, and is now well buddy taped.  Poor Bob.  On our 

long jaunt to St. V, we risked our still tenuous batteries to play some 

W-O-L-D (their name for my iPod radio).  Tunes were enjoyed by all 

(well, except for when I played the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald)!  

We ended up executing a wacky stern to shore anchorage in Walliabou 

Bay, site of the town set for Pirates movie.  Many parts of set still up, 

most amusing!!  We ended up tying together EVERY line we had 

onboard to reach the shore, just barely!  Many "spammers" here, and 

Andy bought a necklace, while I bought and filleted a fresh pineapple 

(Nathan, apparently has never had fresh pineapple?).  When the lads 

got a taste of the sugary delight, it disappeared in a flash (sadly, only 

one to be bought).  The spammers apparently decided I must the man 

in charge (probably my do-rag and terminator shades) and called me 

the "ganga man"(not that we bought any!!) 


We had a nice dinner on the grill, after which Ian dropped it in the 

drink, giving me something to do with my morning tomorrow!  Ian and 

I also did a quick run around the town (such as it is), but really only 

one restaurant.  Funny to get behind the set buildings and see the 

fiberglass, etc.  Looks very real and antiquated from the bay side!  

Looks like a quiet night tonight, and then the next few days exploring 

up and down the coast. 


August 8th 


Today we sail for the Falls!  But first, a hike to the Falls!  (Seems we 

have falls on the mind!)  A team of four headed off to see a local 

smaller waterfall just up the road while we prepped to head north and 

see Baliene Falls. Bob and I had a nice continental breakfast at the 

restaurant with Andy.  I enjoyed another great swim around the 

Pirates bay, and did find and retrieve the grill (I love these diving 



Under the watchful eye of skipper Neale we sailed briskly north and 

then stood well off the bay (we have re-emphasized caution in 

unfamiliar harbors and bays, but perhaps a 1.5nm standoff is TOO 

careful?)  In any case, safety first!  : ) Seth was not feeling well, and 

Andy thought the rock clambering might be a bit much, so they and 

Bob motored offshore for 2 hrs, while we dingy'd in and hiked to the 

falls.  They were FANTASTIC (I know, I am overusing the word, but 

really, so much of what we are encountering merits superlatives!).  We 

frolicked for an hour in this fantastic freshwater pool; all but me (size 

impaired) climbed up a ways under the falls and then jumped.  We ate 

lunch in a light rain, which was irrelevant to us given our swimming! 


We then returned to the boat, and headed down to Chateaubellaire, 

where we executed an "extreme anchorage", and skipper Neale had us 

anchored in 30ft, backed to within two boat lengths of a rocky shore, 

and then tied up stern to a palm tree (after much brave dinghy and 

rock scrambling by Ian and Andy!).  Even the catamarans (which 

normally show off by going shallower than the sloops) declined to try 

our method, standing further off.  I swear it looked like we were 

aground, but it was very cool!!   Andy combed the shore rocks for 

coconuts (the trees were everywhere), and I ripped a few open (good 



Andy was also thorough in his review of the catamarans while 

searching for coconuts, and dutifully reported back to me how many 

ladies were on each of the French cats! 


A short shopping trip to the meager stores yielded only a few items, 

but fresh eggs were nice.  However, I asked Nathan to guard them in 

his shirt pocket for the short dingy ride, and one broke, which then led 

to an interesting "solution" of baking two cakes to "use them up".  

Thus, not one but two cakes followed our tasty dinner!  (we saved 

some for breakfast).  Killian made some impromptu and very tasty 

icing, even grating some fresh coconut! Seth is still not feeling well, bit 

of a fever, but resting well and under close care from Dr. Bob.  We are 

using strict quarantine to ensure we don't have a crew wipeout.  An 

earlier minor sore throat passed from Nathan to Ian seems to have 

been stopped there.  Tomorrow, we meet with local scouts to climb the 

volcano, Mt. Sourfriere!  Should be a grand adventure.  I am trying to 

find a way out of it, but it looks like I'll be going (long near vertical 

ascents are not my strong suit!).   But, with enough cake, a man can 

accomplish anything!! 


Before turning in tonight, an enterprising long distance spammer 

paddled out on his surfboard to try to sell us stuff. He did "give us 

permission" to use his anchorage, but told us we were unsafe where 

we were, and "why did we not anchor like the other boats".  Ha ha.  I 

say in 30 ft at 5-1-chain rode, you are much better off hooked at two 

points, but only time will tell!! 


August 9th 


Today, we climb!!! 


After a rushed breakfast of cereal and cake, all but Bob, Andy, and 

Seth head out to climb Mt. Soufriere volcano.  It seems we are out of 

practice with backpacking hike prep, so we leave the boat in a bit of a 

mess.  But Bob and Andy take care of us, and Seth who feels better 

but not good enough to hike. 


We met up with a patrol of local scouts, including one cub, carrying 

very little, and one wearing sandals!   Based on the Smith report from 

the pre-trip, we are all heavily loaded with water, I am carrying a 

gallon and a half, plus a kilo of lunchmeat!  We did about an hour over 

rolling hills and an impressive black sand beach to reach a dry gully 

and begin our ascent.  About 30 min of this intriguing route (some 

gully walls scoured 12 ft into the rock), we break up and out into 

heavy growth.  The path winds from cool dark shade, to blistering sun 

(I pop my sunglasses up and down endlessly).  The local scouts go 

fast, our scouts barely keep up, and I struggle almost immediately.  

Trail was truly a chore, a 6 inch mud or rock track, mostly obscured in 

brush and weeds, inclines of up to 60 degrees, long stretches of 45... 


Sometimes drops of up to 80 degrees on both sides, dramatic views 

but scary!  I can monitor my heart rate by the thundering in my skull 

(spiking to 190+), and at rest breaks, Nathan asks "did you get rained 

on?" because of the steady drip drip drip running off my clothes.  By 

the halfway point, I have downed a full gallon of water.  The lads are 

faring much better, managing their water well (dang young 



Up and up we go, through the local Marijuana Growers Association, 

seeing small huts on nearby ridges, and fellow "hikers" with odd 

sprayer backpacks, heading down other trails.  They seem friendly 

enough.  The lads ask me what marijuana looks like (how refreshing 

that they don't know!)   By the time we hit our first of several false 

summits, I am prepared to give up and let the crew go on, as my pace 

is quite slow, but Ian won't give up on me.  Blessedly, the skies open 

up, we get DRENCHED, and my heat management problem is solved.  

I gross out the lads by stripping off my shirt, and using it to gather 

water to wring out and drink.  Another 30 minutes and I stagger to the 

edge of the crater and collapse, while the lads enjoy the view and dine 

next to my comatose body, periodically assessing my consciousness by 

poking me with a stick  (I knew that first aid training would pay off!).  

At this point, it is explained to me that the adults who did this climb 

before and indicated it intensity and water demands, used THE OTHER 

SIDE of the mountain, which is the Easier and normal side.  In fact, 

the guidebooks explicitly say NOT to use the side we did, OH NOW 

YOU TELL ME!! : ) !   There is some discussion of hiking around the 

crater to meet the Trinidad scouts who used the normal trail. The 

crater is easily 5km around.  I declare my intent to inflict grievous 

bodily harm anyone who tries to make me go anywhere but downhill.  

We stay put.  Several lads generously share their water with me.  I am 

near two Gallons of intake, and still no, ahem, throughput, shall we 

say.  The crater is impressive, with a huge dome in the middle, 

steaming of sulfur.  View down to the sea is dramatic as well!  Many 

pictures are taken.  The local scouts pick a bit of "Sourfriere Tree" a 

sort of small pine-like fern that grows only on the rim. 


After I can muster enough energy to sit up and eat, we decide to head 

down.  The local scouts say (as we have seen before) "come on, let's 

RUN down!", and off they went.  An hour later (took four hours to 

ascend), we find them near the bottom of the gully, 30ft up in a 

mango tree, sending down fresh fruit.  Neale deems the fresh from the 

tree mango as THE BEST!!!  On our way down, we met a very friendly 

fellow with one big tooth (his eyes are oddly bloodshot, not sure if the 

lads key on this!), and a cow and calf (how they got up on their 

narrow ridge, I will NEVER know!).  Ian and I both strain our knees 

badly, but he has a large bottle of ibuprofen, so we'll be fine!! 


At the far end of the beautiful black sand beach there is a stream that 

rushes into the sea.  We stagger to it and collapse into the restorative 

pools, almost breathtakingly refreshing after our ordeal.  Our local 

friends join in the frolic.  Ian experiments with the rip current in the 

sea/stream juncture. Eventually Neale forces us to get out, so we can 

make our meeting with the local scout executive.  We hike home past 

a ramshackle bar; I enter and buy a big round of sodas for all hands, 

ahhhhh!  No TING, but Hairoun Bitter Lemon is an adequate 

substitute.  It appears I may survive after all!  Neale thanks me for not 

having a heart attack.  Killian and Nathan continue to give me water 

(is it kindness, or just that they don't want to carry it?)  ; ) 


We set up our meeting for tomorrow in Kingstown, and return to our 

boat, finding Andy has collected more coconuts, and Seth has gone 

diving and collected a dozen beautiful, but fragile, sand dollars.  By 

bedtime, half have broken, but perhaps he'll get one home intact!  It 

also appears that despite hours of charging with the engine, our 

batteries have crossed that electrochemical point where they will not 

charge, and have become a resistor.  All our boat systems have failed, 

no pumps, no lights, no radio, no instruments.  Unfazed, the lads 

make plans for tomorrow's reposition to Kingstown. WE DON'T NEED 

NO STINKING BATTERIES!  "Nevah Give Up, Mon!"  We have a hobo 

diner, using up the last of our supplies. We sleep again in our radical 

anchorage, again under a rainless sky.  We get braver and don't rig 

tarps or even the bimini, sleeping on deck under dazzling star filled 

skies, watching shooting stars, thinking deep thoughts and solving the 

world's problems while the forest animals serenade us.  Clearly, we 

are slipping into the crusty crusing sailor mode, an amusing lot are 



A grand adventure near the end of a grand trip!  We can see the finish 

line, and it inspires both excitement and sadness... 


August 10th 


Well, today is our last day at sea, and it provides no shortage of 

challenge. Skipper Neale has to get us underway from our extreme 

anchorage; the boat engine barely starts (looks like the engine battery 

is going too, though it is supposedly isolated).  No instruments, all "old 

fashioned" navigation, just the challenge for Navigator Extraordinaire 

Killian.  Nathan flits all over the boat making ready to depart, Seth 

chips in but is still not 100%, Andy rigs the dinghy, and soon we are 

underway.  We have a tight timeline to meet scouts in Kingstown, and 

we raise sail but motor as well.  Neale ruminates carefully on our 

battery situation, and decides that rather than face a dead engine in 

Kingstown harbor tomorrow, we had better proceed to mooring in 

Barefoot's lagoon, so we will have no trouble ending our charter.  A 

difficult but mature decision.  This makes us a bit late to meet the 

scouts, who give up and leave, but the Scouting commissioner does 

come back and gives us a personal tour in his vehicle.  Such wonderful 

low-key friendship here!!  We tour a local fort (Fort Charlotte) and the 

Botanical Gardens (hundreds of years old!).  We have a SUPERB lunch 

at a local rooftop restaurant.  Killian forgoes the ROTI, for a fish 

burger, how odd!  Ian does a double ROTI, (I am on call if he can't 

finish).  Seems we are all a bit calorie deprived after yesterday!!!  I 

find that my first, second, and third choice are all unavailable, so I 

select a burger. 


The lads each order pie or a banana split too, yum!  Nathan ALMOST 

tips up his dish to drain the last melted ice cream, but my grimace 

stops him (but man, it had to be tempting!)  We then tour the local 

scout HQ, turns out it was just up the hill from the airport entrance we 

sat in when we started this adventure weeks ago!!  We then head over 

to a local school to meet with a troop from Trinidad.  This was a 

wonderful experience, they had a mix of cubs through Ventures, and 

they focus on airmanship (like the old Air Scouts the US used to have).  

Neale is working these contacts like a pro.  When the folks he has 

been chatting with on the phone for weeks finally meet him, they say 

"I thought you would be older".  Our Venture emphasis on the lads as 

"in charge" seems to create no shortage of raised eyebrows.  We are 

asked if we are all Venture scouts, and say yes, and they point at 

Nathan and say "even the baby?".  Nathan just smiles : ).  [They seem 

to have a much bigger, older, and differentiated Venture program].  

We sat in on a lifesaving class, they treated us to cold drinks, we 

traded gifts of patches (ours was for Polar Bear camping, which 

required some explaining!), and they gave us an African chanting 

salute, which we were taught how to properly return.  The adults 

chatted about scouting matters large and small while the lads stayed 

in the school exchanging emails. Seems they were quite popular with 

the female Venture scouts!   


A truly wonderful experience, and perhaps we will see our new friends 

in Michigan some day so we can repay their hospitality! 


Back at the ranch, Seth was feeling still better, and studying for his 

105 test, as the lads want to try to go one level higher on their 

certifications. We ate some snacks at Barefoot's restaurant, and then 

the lads prepared a carbo-meal of spaghetti and rice.  Huge pots.  No 

breakfast for me tomorrow!!  We pre-packed a bit and slept again on 

deck, hoping for another clear night.  More chatting on the foredeck 

into the wee hours.  A fine group of friends we have here. 


This will be our last night on board.  Tomorrow will be checking in the 

boat, taking 105 test, and shifting to hotel for final cleanup, and big 

dinner debrief.  The following day will be a marathon 20 hr transit 

home to you all. Wish us luck with our many stopovers and 

connections.  Our initial airline is LIAT (which we believe stands for 

"Leave Island Any Time").  I will try to fire off updates if possible after 

this, but we are in endgame. 


SEE YOU SOON, Families and Friends!  We miss you and love you! 


August 11th 


Our final day is done.  I type this from the hotel we are staying at as 

the office closes.  We had an easy turn in on the boat, but it seems my 

prop tangling adventure is going to cost us some $, sigh.  The lads all 

took their 105 test, but did not feel that confident about it.  We'll get 

the scores in a day or two, I bet they did fine.  We then moved to our 

hotel, and had lonnnnng showers.  A fine dinner and debrief ensued, at 

which Seth, Killian and I tried the Bananas Flambe, but poor Nathan 

was deemed "too small" to be served.  Dang! 


'Twas a fine and thoughtful debrief, and we rightly congratulated this 

young and mostly first-time Venture crew on pulling off a huge 

international trip that had NO prior groundwork or precedent to work 

with, which also required mastering a large and complex skill set. 

Superb work all around, and I am sure the stories and photos will keep 

you entertained for a long time to come! 


We'll see you all tomorrow, for now it is sleepy time, as we have a 

4am wakeup! 


With love from StV&G, it has been my pleasure to serve! 


-Eric Fretz, semi-official scribe of the Venture 8 crew.