Daily Expedition Reports

Daily reports from our days in the field


  • Iles des Saintes

    Welcome to France. We dropped anchor in the harbor at 7:27 under an overcast sky in front of the village of Bourg or “City” in English on the island of Terre haut (the “high land”). This small archipelago of seven islands is a dependency of Guadalupe and is a distinct region of France and is in the Départment of d’Outré Mer, created by legislation in 1946. It has a parallel relationship to France as Hawaii has to the U.S. The inhabitants are French citizens, vote in all elections, and have all the perquisites of being French citizen. The official currency here is the Euro. While the shops are not inexpensive, the store called “Maogany” has the most beautiful indigo dyed clothing I have ever seen, and it appears from their presence in the store that a number of our guest agreed with me.

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  • St. Lucia

    The sun rose this morning a tad before 6 a.m. We had good wind all evening and a long fetching sea swell of six feet. Things got a bit bouncy at about 4 a.m. as we left the lee of Martinique and entered the open sea separating Martinique and St. Lucia. We anchored in the very deep bay just off the village of of Soufriere in the southwest of St. Lucia at 7:40 a.m. After breakfast we boarded our tenders for the short motor into the harbor of Soufriere. The physical setting is very dramatic as the town of Soufriere (population 12,000) is actually situated at the west end of an ancient caldera, where a volcano blew the western ridge of the mountain chain away about 39,000 years ago. The classic pitons–volcanic plugs–“Gros Piton and Petit Piton” rose magically out of the sea thousands of feet into the sky. The name of the town means “sulphur air” which would be become very clearly evident when we drove inside the great ancient caldera.

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  • Bequia

    The sun rose over the Grenadines at 6:00 a.m. We had stiff winds much of the night and the waves were cresting and breaking with white foam. Last night’s film Round Cape Horn by Irwin Johnson came immediately to mind as the wind this morning was singing loudly as it rushed through our riggings. Of course it wasn’t a “A number 1 storm.” The Captain anchored in Admiralty Bay at 7:29 a.m. Three-hundred yards off our starboard was a large cruise ship. I have rarely seen such ships in this anchorage. This morning’s plan was to disembark at the the lovely village of Port Elizabeth. Once ashore, we boarded our covered pickup trucks for our visit to this lovely isle.

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  • Chatham Bay, Union Island, St. Vincent & the Grenadines

    Unstable weather made for some good and varied sailing in the morning from the island of St. Vincent down the chain of the Grenadines. With clearing skies we anchored at the farthest bay of the farthest island: Chatham Bay on Union Island. Snorkelers saw octopuses, lobster, schools of grunts, angelfish, a green turtle and more, while the rest of us swam, walked the beach and gathered at Bollhead's rumshack in the late afternoon. Our local afternoon beach party started late on "island time," but the conch fritters, curried conch and garlic potatoes were worth the wait!

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  • Dominica

    Visiting the commonwealth of Dominica is like stepping into the past, or more accurately, into an alternate universe. This heavily rain forested gem is what almost all of the volcanically formed Caribbean islands would look like if they had not been transformed to accommodate the growing desire for sugar. To be classified as a rain forest there must be an annual average of 200 centimeters of precipitation and that certainly occurs here. Weather systems accumulate over the land, held in place by the topography and temperature. While there is a wet and a dry season at these latitudes it is by no means so binary day to day. Today for example alternated between fierce deluges, visibly advancing speedily across the water in angry swathes, to bright sun and blue skies, so vibrant it seemed like the vegetation was thrumming with life. But this is the way of life here, boom and bust, feast and fast, grow and rest. This was even visible in the human population as it recovered from what can only be assumed was a raucous two day long Carnival celebration. The weary but satisfied smiles of those already reflecting upon it spoke of more than any words that might have exchanged.

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  • At Sea

    The morning was beautiful but the forecast said it would be windy and maybe even with some showers. But it was our first day of sailing so everybody was excited to see the crew climbing up the masts. Our expedition leader Tom O’Brien took us step by step through the 45-minute process of setting sails, explaining many details of what the crew was doing. Once under sails we met the expedition staff and enjoyed the beautiful calmness of sailing. But not for too long….during lunch we got hit by a squall with not much rain but much stronger easterly winds. While the sailor’s side of our souls were happy with the fantastic sail, our practical side was concerned with the movement! The crew was alert and ready to adjust the sails as quickly as possible and the captain changed course a bit to fall off from the wind. It was a very exciting five or ten minutes, and later we found out that it was the biggest heel Sea Cloud ever went through with guests: over 20 degrees! It definitely felt like a lot but all sailors know that it is still far from “the angle of vanishing stability” which is 70 degrees for this ship. But one thing we learned: Sea Cloud can sail….and how beautifully she rides through the sea you can only tell when the wind is blowing and the waves are big!

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  • Iles des Saintes

    Welcome to France. We dropped anchor at precisely 7:32 a.m. in the harbor in front of the village of Bourg (“City” in English) on the tiny island of Terre Haut. The sky was overcast and appeared to threaten rain but we came ashore without a drop. The isles received their name from Columbus who first saw them on November 1st, the Feast of All Saints. This small archipelago of seven islands is a dependency of Guadalupe, is a distinct region of France and is in the Départment d’Outré Mer. It has the same relationship to France as Hawaii has to the U.S. The inhabitants are French citizens, vote in all elections, and have all the perquisites of being a French citizen and a member of the European Union. The official currency here is the euro. And the shops are not inexpensive. One in particular, Maogany, is justifiably famous for its beautiful indigo dyed clothing, and a number of us made purchases.

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  • Saturday St. Lucia

    The sun rose this morning at 6:20. At 7:22 I watched from the starboard as the sun rose between the dramatic peaks of the Pitons with Soufriere Bay glimmering in the immediate distance. I could not imagine a more dramatic scene. At 8:30 we boarded our tenders for the short motor into the harbor of Soufriere. The physical setting is very dramatic as the town of Soufriere (population 12,000) is actually situated at the west end of an ancient caldera, which volcano blew the western ridge of the mountain chain away about 39 thousand years ago. The name of the town means “sulphur air” which would be become very clearly evident when we drove inside the great ancient caldera.

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  • Friday Bequia

    The sun rose over Princess Margaret Bay in Bequia at six. We had anchored the night before and so boarded our trust tenders for the short trip to the lovely village of Port Elizabeth, our immediate destination. Once ashore, we boarded our covered pick-up trucks for our visit to this lovely isle.

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  • Union Island St. Vincent and the Grenadines

    After the busy day in Dominica we were ready for a relaxing Caribbean day. The morning was calm and warm. The crew climbed the masts and set all sails since the wind was not very strong. That’s a perfect opportunity to put the Zodiacs down for a “photo safari” around the ship. We were very excited because it doesn’t happen on every trip in the Caribbean because the wind is usually perfect for great sailing but too strong for getting off a moving ship and trying to get back on it after a while. But today we were very lucky. The view of Sea Cloud under sail is so beautiful that even those of us that are not photographers were eager to look at her from a short distance. The whole operation is a bit stressful for the Captain and his crew since the wind can change any time and the ship might move much faster than our Zodiacs. But the view is worth all of the stress and everyone was back on board safe and with wonderful memories of one of the most beautiful ships under sail.

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