Trip Summary: Caribbean to Chesapeake Bay

From the Sailing Blog of S/V Island Spirit

“July 2nd, 2022, Our wonderful winter cruising adventure concluded when we sailed into Rock Hall, Maryland, our home port since 1991. We both agree the sail home from the Caribbean took much longer than first expected. We departed USVI on April 2, 2022, and we arrived at our home dock on May 31, 2022. A total trip of 3,319 nautical miles was traveled this season, including Puerto Rico to Antigua.  The total NM sailed from St. Thomas USVI to Rock Hall, MD was 2,410! We both agree the sailing was fantastic departing the Caribbean. With an approximate course of 300 degrees and with the Tradewinds blowing from 090, that makes the wind 150 degrees off our starboard bow for a broad reach all the way home. Well, at least it is a reach from the Virgin Islands to The Exumas in the Bahamas!


Once we sailed north of the Bahamas, we began to get into the coastal frontal winds coming off the USA east coast.  These frontal winds pull the trades south or southwest and then the front blows in with northwest and north and northeast winds making for a challenge to plan passages north. We easily sailed 3 days out of Puerto Rico to reach the Bahamas, and then we sailed easily northwest thru the Exumas, but once we reached the Nassau, Bahamas area, we were firmly controlled by these coastal weather patterns. These delayed us a month on our way from Florida north to the Chesapeake Bay. Many cruisers ahead of us were “stuck” for weeks waiting for weather windows to simply move a day or two up the coast or even in the ICW, Intracoastal Waterway. 

Highlights of the Season

As I reflect back on the season past, I have many fond memories and images in my mind: the Southern Cross constellation rising over Antigua as seen from the blackness of Barbuda at 3 am. Code zero sailing and reaching downwind for many, many miles under autopilot vane steering. Coffee shops of French St, Martin. Sunsets over St. Thomas as seen from St. John. Happy hours at the rebuilt Saba Rock. Watching the sunset while anchored off St. Barts. Day after day of beam reaching for the Bahamas at hull speed 7.0 knots+ and discovering the beauty of Conception Island with great buddy boat IP370 SEA LYON. This winter and spring were pure joy and a wonderful escape from the hibernation of Covid. We really enjoyed this sailing season!

The Decision to Sail Back

This photo says it all. As we set sail out of St. Martin with the sun setting on the French harbor of Marigot, Radeen and I decided that it is all simply too beautiful to sail out and head home with the thoughts of never coming back. So this photo was taken the moment we both agreed to sail back next season because this is just too beautiful not to. We have fallen in LOVE with the Caribbean Islands of USVI, St. Martin, St. Maarten, Antigua and Barbuda, and Martinique. We must return, so that is our plan. The boat is in our home port, where we will refit all systems for maintenance and upgrades. We will sail right back to the Caribbean Sea ASAP in the late fall of 2022. This is why we have the boat we have, she is meant to sail, and Island Spirit loves to sail the ocean. She will take us there!


Yet More Extremely Busy Beaches!

From the Sailing Blog of S/V Cielo

“June 21st, 2022, We’ve had an amazing sail today to Burnett heads near Bundaberg. Early start to make the most of the tide and got in around 1pm. We ran the watermaker all morning and made over 80 litres so really happy with that. Still got some air getting in somewhere when we flush the system after running it though. Later we are catching up for a drink with our friends (finally it’s been a year since we have seen them) on their boat. And then an early start tomorrow to head out to Lady Musgrave as the weather is looking good to go out on the reef. It’s the furthest part south of the great barrier reef. If it’s not any good, the forecast is for great sailing conditions so we will make the most of it either way.

June 24th, 2022, A few days ago we left Burnett Heads around 3am and sailed all the way to Lady Musgrave Island. It was spinnaker sailing most of the way and we got there just before 1pm. LMI is a Coral Cay – basically a reef in a ring with an 6-8m anchorage in the middle and a little island on which terns and noddies nest. The sun was right overhead so we had clear visibility to avoid any bommies on the way in. We went for a walk around the island after a very choppy dinghy ride and the next day we went snorkelling at the reef and saw sharks and a bunch of colourful fishies. We left there early yesterday and had great sailing all day again. We intended to head to heron island but ended up at mast head island as it was closer. It was so rolly and when the tide turned the anchor and chain was making the boat spin around again so we up anchored and have been making our way overnight to the Keppels.

June 25th, 2022, After getting into Great Keppel Island earlier we had a bit of a sleep catch up then went for a walk on the island taking a picnic with us. There are about 40 boats anchored here! We had a little explore in the dinghy but there isn’t a lot of coral nearby for snorkelling so we landed and walked over to butterfish bay and wreck bay from the bay we are anchored in. Packed Australian beaches as usual (not). It was great to stretch legs as I don’t think we’ve had a decent walk since the Gold Coast! We saw butterflies 🦋 and some birds that look remarkably like a type of peacock.

June 27th, 2022, Yet more extremely busy beaches! Oh, the crowds. We took another walk on the island inland to the resort on the western side – about 6kms. Rewarded ourselves with icecream and a drink and then walked back via the shore which often involved scrambling over rocks. It was low tide so worth exploring. We found more goats and lizards and a little crab. Temperature about 21 degrees and sunny. Expecting a big blow tomorrow so just checking our anchor is set and we have enough chain out.


We made it to K’gari (Fraser Island)

From the Sailing Blog of S/V Cielo

“June 14th, 2022, Bye bye Brisbane! On way to double island point. It’s a shame to miss seeing Teewah from the coast because of the dark. We had lovely flights from there a few years ago. Winds so much lighter than forecast so the iron sail has been on. Yuk. Managed to do a few hours under the spinnaker but wind speed has fallen to 3-4 knots.

Quite a busy shipping channel to get out of Moreton Bay – there are sandbanks everywhere so no surprise really. Saw another dugong last night. No photos as you only see their noses pop up, take a breath and dive back under. Stunning sunset again.

June 17th, 2022, We got to Double Island Point as the sun came up. Very pretty indeed! We motored until 1am and then the wind finally came along so we sailed until our arrival. Stopped for breakfast and a cup of tea and then decided to head on to the Wide Bay Bar as the weather looked the best today for crossing. The coastguard here are really good. They give you coordinates for the best approach as there are some sand banks that the incoming swell and waves break on which can be very unnerving.

After an hour and some rock and roll during which some cushions fell onto the floor, we arrived in the Great Sandy Straits. We will find somewhere to anchor overnight and get some much needed sleep. For anyone who has been there we are right next to Fraser Island and almost at Hervey Bay. We’ve been warned the mossies are pretty active even now. Uh oh.

June 19th, 2022, We made it to K’gari (Fraser Island) – the largest sand island on the planet! It was a pretty full on day. We had to time our trip to go through a really shallow spot of the great sandy strait called Sheridan Flats – we needed the tide to come in up to a certain level so ended up tacking upwind against a 2 knot current to waste time as we had gotten to the start point a bit early.

After we got through (shallowest we saw was 1.9m and we draw 1.54m) the wind picked up to 20 odd knots so we had a cracking sail further north to anchor out of the wind at North White Cliffs. We landed the dinghy and went for a walk up the beach admiring the artwork of the sand bubbler crabs and careful not to step on the army of tiny Soldier Crabs as we refloated the dinghy to get back to the boat.


Bahamas to Maryland HOME

From the Sailing Blog of S/V Island Spirit

“May 31, 2022, THE TOTAL IS IN…., 3,294 nm run over 62 individual legs!
Here is the total trip:

We made it back to our home waters of the Upper Chesapeake Bay, May 30, 2022 after a challenging weather month of May.  Many cruisers were complaining about the spring weather and how they were stuck and could not move north. We wanted to sail from the Bahamas direct to Cape Lookout, a simple 3 day passage with the aid of the Gulfstream, but our weather router, Chris Parker, said there was not going to be a good 3-day window. So we headed for Florida and then ran north on shorter, single overnight trips.

Bahamas to Florida

Our passage from Bahamas to Florida was the calmest we have had in 11 years of crossings. Literally, the Gulfstream was a lake. What a simple motor run this was.

Offshore Again to Charleston, SC

We had dreams of docking and walking EAST BAY Street in Charleston, but when we arrived and called every single marina for a dock, they were all full. ZERO slips available.  So we dropped the anchor off the aircraft carrier and rested. We were only here to pick up a new B&G RI10 radar interface box that never did fix the broken B&G radar. Thanks, B&G, we did not need it, even though your tech told me to buy one. The problem is the antenna and we have now ordered a new one. So, our visit to Charleston was a bust and out the inlet the next morning we raced.

Once more Offshore run to Cape Lockout, NC

We departed Charleston after breakfast and made the offshore run for Cape Lookout, NC. Each of these ocean runs was about 36 hours, so one more overnighter at sea. Sadly, much of this had to be motor sailing as again, we were running before storms and trying to get into port before they would hit us.  At this point of the trip, we were really missing Caribbean Tradewinds sailing, as the winds are steady and always from the east. Here on the coast, you need to deal with cold fronts and storms. Not fun, and we missed the trades. When we reached the Beaufort NC inlet, of course the winds were 20 gusting 25 knots. We needed to reef down to a double reef as we bashed into the ebbing tide, making 3 foot standing waves in the long, long inlet. Finally, we reached the ICW and ran up Adams Creek to a calm anchorage after 36 hours.

Pulling into Annapolis is HOME

Yes, our home dock is in Rock Hall, MD, but pulling into Annapolis is the real feeling of HOME. We first sailed here and rented boats here in 1986. Every year since we have sailed to Annapolis and have spent many nights here. This is one of our all-time top destinations. When we sailed past the Thomas Point Light, we finally knew we were HOME… has been a long, long, much longer than expected trip from the Caribbean Sea. We feel very accomplished and we are proud of the distances we have run. Go, ISLAND SPIRIT!


Another Lovely Sunset

From the Sailing Blog of S/V Cielo

“June 6th, 2022, We’ve had a cracking overnight sail although still have a few hours to go.

The wind picked up to 20 knots although we saw gusts of 27 at times but our sails were reefed so no issues and we were still making excellent progress. The sea was a bit choppy at times but this eased when we came closer to shore. We rounded Cape Byron around 2am.

The sunset last night was stunning and the sunrise this morning was very similar!

June 7th, 2022, We’ve arrived at the Gold Coast!

Total sailing time from Coffs was around 29 hours plus 1.6 hours of motoring which was really just getting into the GC Seaway.

After breakfast the wind picked up so we were able to sail nearly all the way – what a bonus! It’s a bit chilly here but I love the weather forecast – due to be sunny all week!

June 8th, 2022, Another lovely sunset.

 Tee shirt weather during the day. Laundry done. Provisioning done. Work stuff done.

A couple of boat jobs to get parts for including an issue with air getting into the fresh water hose which makes showers difficult.


Trance is Back in Town

From the Sailing Blog of S/V Trance

“Friday May 27, Today is the Day! Anchor was up by 8:00 am destination Tolchester Marina! We arrived at 11:00am, welcomed back by the sound of horns and people cheering. Our family and friends were spread out around the marina on different docks. There was also a cameraman from the NBC Baltimore TV station filming our return into the marina.

The three day celebration begins!

Thanks to All who followed our journey around the globe. We enjoyed sharing our adventures and day to day life on a sailboat. There will be more Trance escapades in the future, Nova Scotia, Bermuda, the Caribbean to name a few. So keep an eye on this Blog Page, as well as “Sailing Trance” on Facebook.

Fair winds for all your adventures!

Marlene and Dan

S/V Trance is an IP 420 #92

Read the full S/V “Trance” Blog Here…

A Wet and Miserable Day

From the Sailing Blog of S/V Cielo

“Monday May 23: It was a wet and miserable day today. We intended to sail up to Pittwater, but the rain was unrelenting and the wind no where to be seen and we could hear thunder as well.

So we sailed under 3 bridges: Anzac Bridge once the barge crane had been pushed through by the tug boat, the Sydney Harbour bridge (in time to see HMS Adelaide leave her dock), and the Spit Bridge which we had to wait to open (sorry traffic) and sail into Middle Harbour.

Having stopped at 2 earlier moorings, we finally found one out of the swell although the rain pounded down until late evening.

Maybe tomorrow if the wind is there, but if we have to drive our boat under engine we might as well wait for the sunshine.”

Onward Slowly

From the Sailing Blog of S/V Trance

“Monday May 2, at 7:30am we departed Southport Marina along with s/v Revival with a favorable current.

For dinner, pan fried Mahi-Mahi topped with marinated raw tomatoes with red onion and cheesy mashed potatoes.

25 days to go.

Tuesday May 3, Rise and Shine, s/v Revival took this photo of us as they passed by where we are anchored early morning. They stopped at a marina last night.

On the way today, we noticed the voltage regulator was not working. As a result, the engine was not charging batteries. The solar panels and wind generator were still working though. Upon investigation, MacGyver Dan found a broken wire, thus it was an easy fix.

Anchor was dropped for the night near Sugarloaf Island in Morehead City just off the ICW in North Carolina.

Baked meatballs with linguine and a red sauce for dinner.

24 days to go.

Wednesday May 4, arrived in Oriental NC around noon. We were able to get a slip at the Oriental Harbor Marina, nestled between another sailboat and a large trawler.

The world is really that small. As we were sitting at the Tiki bar with a boat here from Alaska, up to us walks Igor! We first met in Reunion Island, October 2021, then saw him again in South Africa. He sailed single handed around the world, even rounded Cape Horn! Igor is originally from Ukraine and he lived in New Jersey.

23 days to go.”

S/V Trance is an IP 420 #92

Read the full S/V “Trance” Blog Here…

Victory Lap Week 3/8

From the Sailing Blog of S/V Trance

“Monday April 18 – anchor up by 9am tried to get the 9:30 am opening of the Wappoo Creek Hwy 171 Bridge. The current was bit too strong to make it so we slowed down and waited for the 10:30am opening.

Arrived in Charleston Monday late morning greeted by Max and Dylan who ran down the dock to greet us! Also there our daughter Beth her husband Kevin. Along with them Kevin’s parents Pam and Ernie who live here. We stayed at their beautiful house with All, while we were here.

40 days to go.

Saturday April 23 – we departed the Illg house mid morning, with all escorting us to Trance. It was a happy goodbye knowing we’ll see them in about three weeks! As they were departing new friends were coming. Our sister in-laws sister Sherri and her friends Sandy and Bob.

The Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina, where our boat is, has a free shuttle to downtown Charleston for hotel and marina guests. For dinner we rode in but asked to be dropped off a bit early of the designated stop. We walked to D’Allesandro’s Pizza on St. Philip Street. In December of 2019, we stopped in Charleston on our way south. Ben D’Allesandro is a friend of our son Luke, who used to live here, delivered pizza to our boat back then. We returned for more!

35 days to go.”

S/V Trance is an IP 420 #92

Read the full S/V “Trance” Blog Here…

Completing the Circle!

From the Sailing Blog of S/V Trance

“Monday March 28, Day 1technically when we reach 75.53W longitude, we will have completed our circumnavigation of the globe. This line runs through the Inter Coastal Waterway in North Carolina near the Alligator River and the Great Exuma Island in the Bahamas. It is the farthest point East we sailed when we started this journey in 2019.

By 8am we were off the mooring ball and on our way.

On a moonless dark night, there is a sky full of stars, the North Star to Starboard, the Southern Cross to Port, the Milky Way and separately bioluminescence in the water!

Saturday April 2, Day 6 – total nautical miles traveled 760, 120 nautical miles in the past 24 hours. At some point in the early morning we crossed 75.53W longitude, officially completing our trip around the world!!!…

…Not much wind today, we’ve been motor sailing in 6-10knots of wind. Our target arrival is 10am on Monday to the Ft Lauderdale area.

Monday April 4, Day 8 – total nautical miles traveled 987, 111 nautical miles in the past 24 hours.

…Upon arrival, we were greeted by Dan’s brother Marty and Nancy his wife, along with Michael who is letting us dock Trance at his house.

Total passage miles from St. Thomas, 994 nautical miles!”

S/V Trance is an IP 420 #92

Read the full S/V “Trance” Blog Here…