Tony and Friend (jpg 24k)
Shortly after I retired from the US Marine Corps in 1981, it dawned upon me that some of the best, most beautiful cruising grounds in the entire world lay within the Caribbean basin, just a few daysails away from my native Puerto Rico. But, frankly, crui sing without someone to share your experiences and adventures seemed a lot less than desirable.
Then this wonderful woman entered my life, and here we are, anchored in Francis Bay, St.John in the USVI, writing about our cruising experiences.
Mary Beth and Tony (jpg 27k)
Mary Beth and I departed Puerto Rico on our first long cruise in May, 1991, bound for Bonaire, in the Netherlands Antilles just off the coast of Venezuela, a three-and-a-half-day nonstop trip. Our sailboat “llegamos” (which means “we have arrived” in Span ish) is an Endeavour 40-foot sloop that we have owned since early 1990. Another E-40 had been destroyed by Hurricane Hugo in 1989, but that’s history.
After cruising in Bonaire and the north coast of Venezuela, we returned to PR in December 1991, and decided that we would remain aboard, rather than move back into the house. Since then, we have made numerous short cruises in the US and British Virgin Is lands, and another major trip in 1994, when we visited most of the islands in the chain between PR and Trinidad, where we spent several months.
Salt Whistle Bay (jpg 24k)
For sheer beauty, calm, clear waters and peaceful, serene surroundings evoking the image of the perfect tropical island hideaway, no other island we have visited in the Caribbean surpasses the tiny jewel of the Grenadines, Mayreau (Mayro on some charts). Located just a few miles due South of Bequia, it is an easy daysail along the North-South track that most cruisers favor. Our favorite anchorage is Salt Whistle Bay, in the northwest tip of the island. This anchorage surprises you by the presence, hidden amongst the palm trees, of an excellent restaurant and beach bar where you can enjoy a first-class dinner and socialize with other cruisers and visitors.
We have made a lot of friendships since we started cruising. It seems that some of the nicest people are cruisers, and also ham radio operators. Our ability to stay in touch with other cruisers through amateur radio is a godsend, for it provides a real sense of community that is absent in most shorebound groups.
We look forward to several more years of this nomadic lifestyle, in which you choose neighborhoods not by the price of the houses or by the color of people’s skin, but rather by the depth and cleanliness of the water, and which way the wind blows. And whe re you have to keep your eye on the weather at all times, and learn respect for all of nature, especially the Sea.