Molly Bloom arrives safetly in Virgin Gorda

Our new caribbean phone number: 1 284 343 7477

We have arrived at Virgin Gorda, BVI and are currently docked at Virgin Gorda Yacht Club, Spanish Town, BVI. We are enjoying A/C in the cabin! Yeah! (we don’t normally run A/C without being attached to electricity at dock, as it requires use of the generator to power it). We are also enjoying this absolutely breathtaking marina – with grocery store, ship’s chandlery, restaurant, showers, laundry, boutiques, beach bar……what a treat! Everyone here is so nice and friendly and helpful J

We are docked on the ‘catamaran’ dock and had quite a few neighbors last night – ALL of them were bareboat charters! It would be nice to meet up with some others like us, who are not just on the boat for a week or so – but I’m sure we will meet up with them along the way.

We made our way here through Sopers Hole, Tortola and Peter’s Island, BVI and are next on our way to St. Marteen in the Netherlands Antilles. I have some cool pictures to share and will get to them as soon as we get back. (another nice thing about being docked is good internet connection – but we can’t spend ALL our time on the computer when we are in such a beautiful place, right? – we are off to the Bath’s – I’ll have pictures when I return and will put them online.)

Until later – please DO note our new caribbean phone number that works here and everywhere in the carribean. It is my cell and I carry it with me, so please give us a call – it provides FREE incoming calls (though, unfortunately that means you might have to pay long distance charges)….I’m working on another solution but for now – this is it!

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New Contact Information for Ron and Marie

Ron:  1 473 537 9738  (Grenada cell)  or skype name:  ronzellmer

At this time, Ron and Molly Bloom are in Grenada, Marie is back in the US

Marie 1 813 784 0438 (US cell)  or skype name:  marie.shine

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Grenada here we come!

Grenada is an island country and Commonwealth Realm consisting of the island of Grenada and six smaller islands at the southern end of the Grenadines in the southeastern Caribbean Sea. Grenada is located northwest of Trinidad and Tobago, northeast of Venezuela, and southwest of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

Grenada is also known as the “Island of Spice” due to the production of nutmeg and mace crops of which Grenada is one of the world’s largest exporters.

Its size is 344 square kilometres (133 sq mi), with an estimated population of 110,000. Its capital is St. George’s. The national bird of Grenada is the critically endangered Grenada Dove.

THIS is where we plan to spend the hurricane season and are excited to be on our way there very soon.  Right now it is raining like crazy in Puerto Rico – so, here we still sit, waiting for the weather to improve.

We did make some progress toward our trip though and found our new ‘home’ in Grenada – Port Louis Marina in the lagoon at St. George, Grenada.

Our New home - mid July to December - doesn't it look great????

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Hey Capt. Ron – this is NOT Cuba!

 

Puerto Rico
Cuba

Well, they have the SAME colors & the same design!

 
As cruisers traveling through the carribean from country to country, we need to ‘check-in’ in each new country. 
Here’s the procedure:
1.  Take down the flag of the last country and put up a plain Yellow Q (Quarantine) flag which identifies us as a boat that has not gone through customs.
2.  Either the captain brings all the boat documents and passports to customs while I stay on the boat – I’m not allowed off until we have been through customs, or, the customs agent visits our boat – in which case neither of us are allowed off.
3.  We pay the customs and cruising fees (vary by country), take down the Yellow Q flag and raise the flag of that country.
 
In San Juan, the customs agents come to the boat and take pictures of us – so that’s what happened, and Ron took down the Q flag and proudly put up the Puerto Rican flag.  That was in San Juan on a Thursday.
 
Two days later we checked into Marina Del Ray in Fajardo and Capt. Ron was asked by the marina staff WHY he was flying a Cuban flag?
 
OOOOOOOOppppps.
 
 
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Come and See us – fly for $22

Yeah, I just got an email from Spriritair.com  saying that you could fly from Ft. Lauderdale to San Juan for only $22!  See how inexpensive it is to come and see us somewhere – Spiritair flys to USVI too!  So pack a pair of shorts a swim suit, a towel and a toothbrush – come and see us.   Marie and Ron

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Ask and you shall receive

I promise, on my honor – or for my Canadian friends – on my Honour! to put pictures onto the blog as soon as possible after taking them (and especially before I accidentally delete them from my external hard drive – oooops).

Check out the page at the top – Images of our trip – to see the new pic’s and I DO promise to update them more frequently.  Afterall, I’m here in rainy, stormy Puerto Rico now, and have the time….

Enjoy my friends!

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Stop #2 in Puerto Rico – Fajardo!

After a two day stay in San Juan where we loved exploring ‘old San Juan’ and had a chance to shop and improve Marie’s wardrobe (she didn’t pack dressy things like skirts and dresses thinking it would be ALL shorts and swim suits) and the galley, we headed out for the short day trip to Fajardo on Puerto Rico’s east coast. We are staying at Puerta Del Ray Marina which has 1000 boat slips and is the largest Marina in the Carribean. If you have seen the back of our boat, you may have noticed that Molly Bloom says she is from Puerta Del Ray Marina, Fajardo, PR AND she is! She started out here (after being built in Rhode Island) and was at her beginning owned by the owner of this marina.

How cool is that? People here have recognized her name and are surprised that we kept the name. My hope is that I will get to meet the original owner and maybe even ask him how he came to name her Molly Bloom.

Anyway, though the trip from San Juan to Fajardo is not too long of a trip – it was NOT uneventful…..

We were sailing around the northeastern tip of Puerto Rico and noticed the sky getting very dark over the mountains. We could see boats crossing our path going toward shore very quickly. You have to understand that just ‘going to shore’ isn’t always an option – and especially here in Puerto Rico. The coast is surrounded by reefs – very shallow water, and to go to the coast you need to go in at a ‘pass’ through the reef. Fajardo was the NEXT opening for us to get inside and out of the open ocean.

All of a sudden, the distant clouds black clouds were on top of us – the wind was whipping up – we could see water spouts trying to start in the water, the clouds were moving very quickly over top of us and just past that was clear so we were hopeful it would not get much worse before it got better. Not so – just as quickly as it happened, the winds picked up very quickly (Ron clocked them at 50knts). It’s a good thing we didn’t have the sails up….the seas were up over 10 feet and the VHF radio was inundated with boats calling the coast guard, sea tow and just asking for help. Among those asking for help was a 44’ boat who got thrown on top of a reef and was stuck hard, and another boat with a single person on board who was taking on water. Marie made sure the lifejackets were close at hand in the cockpit and waited out the waves while Ron managed to avoid a small speed boat who in the middle of returning to land, changed his mind and went the other way – just missing our bow by 50 feet. The visibility was NIL so he probably didn’t see us any more than we saw him – though we would not have been able to change course quickly enough – we aren’t fast. We were a lot faster during the storm though as we rode the waves at over 10knts – that is really fast – we usually cruise between 6-7knots. Ron was surprised that the brand new cockpit enclosure didn’t rip off – but we managed ONLY to lose a sun cover on one of the front windows….the wind and the waves were certainly something you would prefer to avoid.

A few minutes after the storm passed, we noticed 3 Kilo sized packages wrapped in white plastic floating on the sea – drugs? It was too rough to even consider going to investigate so that will have to remain a mystery.

The good news – we arrived and docked at the marina in Fajardo shortly after the storm ended – safe and sound.

Our next trip will be in about 5 or 6 days (after we receive our mail from Florida) and will take us first to the island of Culebra (just off Fajardo coast), and then on to St. Thomas in the USVI before heading south into the BVI and onward.

Marie’s cell phone (813 784 0438) WORKS in both Puerto Rico and USVI, so please feel free to call while we are here to speak with either Marie or Ron – we would love to hear from you.

Again, we will update the pictures in the next few days!

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Molly Bloom arrives safetly in Puerto Rico!

Yipee – yeah – hurray – wooo – hoo!!!! (pictures to come in a day or two when internet is more reliable)

I am earning my (water) wings! We are IN Puerto Rico!!!!! Wow, how about that????? After 3 days/nights of motoring (with the sails up for a little extra push) we made it 425 miles from Turks to San Juan PR in one swoop (not that there is much choice when you are committed to the course taking you over the open Atlantic. For those unfamiliar with overnight crossings, it means that for 3 days and nights we sailed or motored – took turns sleeping and on watch – but we made it!!!! The worst of the crossings are now behind us! Yeah!

We decided to take the weather window and motor (alone again) direct from Provo TCI to Puerto Rico – a possible 3 or 4 day/night trip. As it was, it took only 3 days/nights and they were uneventful. We saw 2 cruise ships and a couple of cargo ships the whole entire time on the water – and the Atlantic was smooth as GLASS – really – GLASS. On day 2, we were greeted by 6 Atlantic Bottlenose dolphin swimming, jumping and playing in the bow wake of the boat for about 45 minutes – what a treat that was. Only their coming up for air broke the glass surface of the water and we had a great show. Way way cool for sure!

Although a little more wind would/might have been nice we are grateful to have the worst of the passage behind us – yeah!!!!!!! We didn’t have to do the Mona passage thing!!! NO ships ran into us, we didn’t run aground, hit a coral reef, have an engine die or have to rescue an overboard crew member (ha ha ha – would have been one of us).

Marie took her turns keeping watch (I really AM getting better at all this) and is excited to have such a long distance behind us. Now, it is relatively easy to make the rest of the trip to Grenada in time for hurricane season.

I needed to change our wifi antenna – the one we have started acting strange and we decided to go with the kind Scott has (the wirie). Actually, we will likely meet the wirie guy in St. Marten aboard svWirie in Simpson Bay, but in the meantime, he is sending us one of the antennas and of course there is no duty in PR.

Diesel is cheap here – $4.40/gal (good thing since we used just about ALL of ours making the 425 mile trek across the atlantic)

After much calculating and arranging, Marie managed to order and get a Kindle shipped (Amazon will NOT ship one to PR – so that was an issue).

We are very impressed with the people of PR – All have gone over backwards trying to please us and be helpful. Old San Juan is very European and a pretty town. Food and drinks and groceries are cheaper here than in the US! Wow!

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Turks and Caicos Islands

Add this to my favorite list……. although the Bahamas was beautiful, I am awed by Turks and Caicos beaches, as well as the restaurants, the food, the people…..this is definately #1 on my new list.  I am sure that I will find many places to add to this list but Provo, Turks and Caicos tops it for now.  Here is a picture perfect beach….too bad we are leaving tomorrow – but I will not soon forget Provo!!!

Provo - Grace Bay - TCI

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Made it to BEYOND…..the Bahamas, that is!

We had a long sail (2 full days AND nights) from Georgetown to Provo, Turks and Caicos.  We had planned only a day sail from Georgetown to Rum Cay – but the weather was nice, the breeze was in our favor, and we decided to go further to Mayaguana.  Once we got that far, again with the winds in our favor, we decided to keep sailing and head for Turks and Caicos.

It wasn’t without banging and bashing – some- during the night, but the wind was blowing us (up to 8knts) south and that’s the direction we were heading…..

We are supposed to be sharing the overnight runs – each of us staying up for about 2 hours or so – letting the other one rest……sometimes Ron likes to make sure he is right there so he rests in the cockpit – and Marie doesn’t mind that – that way SHE gets to sleep.  So, on this round, Marie was at the helm a few hours every day – but Ron did most of the work.

So, we are resting nicely at the Turtle Cove Marina in the Turks and Caicos for a few days – with A/C on, TV on, and warm showers (all of which are rare and a treat).

All the banging and crashing on that trip did not allow us to make it here without at least one minor thing going wrong – well, hopefully minor.  The davits that hold our dingy AND our solar panels was cracking – we got someone to weld the cracks, tied up the dingy tighter and hope it makes it to Puerto Rico….keep your fingers crossed x x x

Anyway – this is a fabulous place – the richest island in the carribean – with fabulous views and turquois waters – so we are enjoying it for another day or two before heading on.

Last night we enjoyed dinner with our new friends on Anagada – a 57′ Jeanneau sailboat with Pierre and Nicole aboard from Geneva, Switzerland.  Pierre was celebrating his birthday and we are honored to have been able to celebrate with them.

I was trying to put more pictures on this site for our friends to share – but getting strong internet connection is a challenge so far….. I promise I will update the site with pictures as soon as I can.

For now, we are leaving here on Monday and will be doubling our last trip – sailing for 4 days and nights, straight to Puerto Rico – just think …… a few more nights and Marie might be ready to sail to Europe – just like our friends on Anagada!

Look to hear an update toward the end of the week – as we enter Puerto Rico – San Juan or Fajardo and plan to stay there for a week or so.

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