La fiebre de Dengue

El 4 de febrero

Ahora estoy bien, pero estuve MUY enfermo durante la semana pasada. Tuve una fiebre de 100 hasta 105 grados Fahrenheit por cinco días. No pude comer mucha comida. Tenía mucho calor, y luego mucho frío. Tengo la Fiebre de Dengue, una enfermedad tropical transmitido por mosquitos. Es un poco como Malaria.

Por fin, yo fui al hospital (de verdad es una clínica) y me tomaron un poco de sangre. Me dijeron que sí, tenía la Fiebre de Dengue y me dieron IV fluidas.

Ahora, estoy mucho mejor, aunque estoy todavía un poco débil.

Mi consejo es que cuando estás en las zonas tropicales ¡cuidado con los mosquitos!

Follow us on Facebook!

Well we have found we just don’t get around to extensively blogging this time – a lot less personal down time with the kids on the boat! We have been and will continue to post pics and quick updates on Facebook so that is the best way to follow our trip.

You can view this page without being “on” Facebook.

Having said that, Ian continues to update his Blog and I’ve started the Spanish-Language ¿Dónde está Señor Henderson? blog as well which is primarily for Spanish students at the the school where I teach, but anyone might find it of interest!

The link for these blogs are to the right.

We are currently in Culebra (island off coast of Puerto Rico) and plan to stay here for two months as the kids will enroll in the local (Spanish speaking!) school. I’ll be doing graduate work and volunteer work and practicing Spanish. Colleen will finally have a solid platform (the earth!) to do yoga on.

We then plan to quickly “cruise” Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and then spend at least a month in Cuba before heading to the Bahamas and back up the Eastern Seaboard.


I will update the text in the future (I hope!) but here are some pics from the 9 1/4 day 1,300 mile trip from Hampton to USVI! We had about 2 days of calm weather and 7 days laid hard over on port tack. A fairly rough ride overall and the crew have the bruises to prove it!

Preparing in Hampton

After making it into Hampton in the middle of the night on Tuesday the 6th, we woke up at 0800 on the fuel dock to steady rain and howling wind as the Nor’easter pounded the coast. After another hearty breakfast prepared by Jaime, we fueled up and moved the boat to a slip.

My dad and Bob Fernald were already in town and had rented a car which was a great help. We spent Wednesday and Thursday cleaning, doing laundry, chasing down the on-order new fridge, and provisioning. There was also a fair bit of reveling with the crew and crews of the 55 other boats that were preparing to leave for the VI together as part of the Salty Dawg Rally.

The fridge was delayed of course, but finally arrived at noon on Thursday. We picked it up and a tech came at 1300 and installed it right the first time with great speed! Amazing when things work out! A final provisioning followed, Jaime moved into the hotel, and dad and Bob moved on to the boat.

We then attended the final passage briefing. Some of the “slower” boats had already left earlier in the day, but most of the fleet was to leave the following day (Friday the 9th). Weather guru Chris Parker indicated that it looked like a 10-15 day positive weather window at least with calm weather in store for Saturday – when most boats would be crossing the gulf stream.

After final drinks and dinner ashore with Jaime at the hotel, we headed back to the boat and fell in with view to leaving the dock at 0700 the following morning.

Wood’s Hole to Hampton

There is a lot to write about here, but I’ve run out of time as it’s now November 24th and Colleen and the kids are coming tomorrow and hopefully we can start on some family cruising entries.

November 1st – Wood’s Hole to Point Judith RI

In the morning I told the guys my plan and gave them an option to reject it: sail / motor to Point Judith Rhode Island about 45 miles away (and on the way) where we could surely find fuel, or try Falmouth or Martha’s Vinyard in the morning (not on the way but closer). I indicated that I was “90%” sure we had enough fuel to make Pt. Judith. We decided to go for it. We sailed a bit and then had to motor sail as the wind shifted and we made it 90% of the way….. before the Port 18 gallon tank gave out. Not to worry, we still had some fuel in the starboard tank as even though it said “E” I had switched it to the port tank while it was still running so there must be some…. And we only had four miles to go… I started to bleed the fuel line and was getting fuel through when all of a sudden I started to get air! Apparently I had switched tanks when there was only 1 cup of fuel left! We were well and truly 100% out of fuel. OK no big deal, we had wind, we were in a position to sail to the outer harbor and then dingy with a jerry can for fuel. However, we were really pressed for time as we were trying to make Stratford CT the following day and the fuel dock closed at 1600 so I called Sea Tow – located right in Pt. Judith – to see if they could bring us out 5 gallons of fuel. The guy kept me on the phone for 10 mins getting all sorts of info and then “checked” and said he could only offer a tow and could not bring fuel. What’s the cost? $1,300. Click. Conversation over! We called the fuel dock and hatched a plan that we would try to beat up into the outer harbor and they would bring us some fuel and then we could go in to fill up. About 10 tacks later (not easy with staysail and genoa and crew of three total) we made it and dropped the hook under sail. The fuel dock owner came out with 5 gallons and looked at us like we were crazy. We made it in to the dock and fueled up but WTF??? My port 50 gallon tank only took 20 gallons of fuel. Was it not really empty? It can’t have been blocked as just had all of the fuel polished… Strange. Am I losing my mind? Is the tank smaller than I thought?

As we were fueling various other crews on the dock were drinking beer and asking when we were leaving etc. “Now” we responded. What? Now. I/we were not very chatty. We’re on a mission! Can we get water? No, no water since Hurricane Sandy (the dock was trashed as well and signs of damage were everywhere). OK thanks and bye bye! We left at sunset and headed out into Long Island Sound to try to make Stratford the following morning.

November 2nd – 3rd – Point Judith (left p.m. on 1st) to Stratford CT

Of course the wind was on the nose the whole way. We had easy going to Race Rock, but as soon as we entered the sound proper the wind and waved kicked up. But we had plenty of fuel and just bashed right into it. Close encounters with tugs, a hard time separating navigation lights from shore lights, and fighting the freezing weather defined the evening. We were all relieved when dawn arrived and we were only a couple hours out of Stratford. We arrived around 1000 and as we entered the Housatonic River could see evidence of Sandy’s arrival here clearly.

We spent two days in Stratford where we met Phil working on the watermaker and doing other boat jobs. Phil installed the new filter in the watermaker and replaced the leaking valves and got it working! We still however did not have a working fridge so ordered a new one to be delivered to Hampton. Can’t say I’ve never been to Stratford now….

November 4th – Stratford to Little Bay New York, New York

We left Stratford in the afternoon with a view to making it to NYC before midnight. It was amazing to see the NYC skyline emerge from 40 miles away! We finally made it around 2300 and dropped the hook just outside the Throgs Neck Bridge. To bed in double long underwear, gloves, hat and two sleeping bags! Burrr!

November 5th – 6th – NYC to Hampton VA

Up at 0630, engine on at 1650, and “pronto prontissimo” anchor up at 0700 and steaming into the East River. Cold, but at least not raining or snowing! We enjoyed the urban scenery which is so rare to see from Redwings and eventually made it to Hells Gate at clos to slack tide as planned. No drama…. and continued towards Manhattan. Beautiful view of the Chrysler building with the sun shining off the art deco spire! Looks like the UN building could use some paint…. Finally into NY Harbor after dodging commuter ferries, only to have to dodge the REALLY big boys! But we made it through and raised sail and reached off along the Jersey Shore.

The sail down from NYC to Hampton was hard, but uneventful. We were racing as fast as we could as a Nor’easter was forecast to hit the Eastern Seaboard just about the time we were to arrive in Hampton. Cold nights! I came up once to find Peter huddled on the sole of the cockpit trying to stay warm and out of the wind.

We made good time and entered Chesapeake Bay just as the Nor’easter hit. But things got worse before the got better. In the shallow bay the waves were really stacking up and we were taking wave after wave over the boat – which is ok, but we were wet and tired and just pounding. Finally we made it “through” the bridge (I say through as a section of the bridge goes underwater – a tunnel – to let sea traffic in) but were seeing winds of 30-35 knots and rough seas. To top it off, we had a tanker coming at us down the channel just as the skies opened up with torrential rain. I decided to hand steer to get out of the channel and head up into the wind to drop the main, but as soon as I disengaged the autopilot, the boat spun out of control right towards the approaching tanker! Apparently, the steering cable had parted! I put the autopilot back on and used it to turn the boat and jog across the channel away from the tanker – who by now had a spotlight on us….. We were able to escape and with the boat jogging forward at low speed into the wind, we got all of the lines prepared and I went forward (hooked in with a harness and tether) and we got the main down and secured.

The next hour was a lot of fun slowly jogging into heavy seas with limited visibility and dodging tankers and buoys knowing we had no hand steering available. We finally made it into the protection of Hampton Roads and found a 30-foot area outside of the main channel to anchor in. My first time anchoring with the autopilot! Jaime did a great job anchoring – good thing he got trained up on that this summer!

I went below and inspected the steering system and sure enough the cable had come loose in two places. I was able to repair it and we soon hauled up the anchor and picked out way into the Hampton River, found the fuel dock at the Blue Water Marina, tied up and collapsed around 2400. We made it!

Vinalhaven to Wood’s Hole

October 31st – November 1st – Perry’s Creek to Wood’s Hole MA (Cape Cod)

We awakened at 0630 and enjoyed coffee and a fantastic “hearty” breakfast prepared by Jaime and left “pronto prontissimo” at 0730 as I said we would. At 0725 I was on deck hauling anchor while the lads were still donning their foul weather gear.

The storm was gone and partly cloudy skies and a bit of breeze from the SE boded well for our departure. As we motored through the Fox Islands thoroughfare into the morning light I again marveled at the beauty of the Maine coast – a beauty I don’t take for granted after having already sailed and traveled much of the globe.

Just before exiting the thoroughfare, we tucked into a cove and hoisted the main. Wow what a luxury to again have an autopilot that works! The new Simrad pilot is great and I can even program it to sail an apparent wind angle – such as 0 degrees when hoisting the main. Without having to concentrate on steering, I could give clear instructions to Jaime and Peter who are still “learning the ropes” so to speak….. There are A LOT of lines on Redwings and I was impressed to see Peter diagraming them all in his little notebook (I wonder what else is in there???? Better be nice….)

We were soon sailing on a close reach under full main, genoa, and staysail (a new sail – thanks Doug Pope) and six knots towards Matinicus. However, as we approached the Island, the wind died a bit and SSW – right where we were heading (Cape Cod Canal) and as this is a delivery and not a pleasure sail, we furled in the genoa, dropped the staysail and started motorsailing with the full main.

We bashed ahead and at 1800 started our watch routine:

1800-2000 Aaron
2000-0200 Peter and Jaime
0200-0600 Aaron
0600-1000 Peter and Jaime
1000-1400 Aaron
1400-1800 Peter and Jaime

So I had the first “night watch” and although it was a bit chilly and a bummer we were having to motor almost right into the wind, I was pretty excited to be out alone in the cockpit under the stars again offshore and finally headed for Southern climes.

Now I was “pretty sure” that the two port fuel tanks were full before we left. One holds 18 gallons and the other 50. I knew I had only about a ½ full starboard tank, but felt that with 68 gallons on the port side at say 1.5 gallons per hour motoring hard (we burn only 1 gph at low speed) we could easily make Stratford CT to rendezvous with Phil.

When we started motoring 1200, we were on the port 50 tank. At 2140 (luckily on my watch) the engine sputtered and died! WTF???? How could we be out of fuel? Well I guess I was wrong in thinking that the tank was full… In any event, I had to get the boys up while I bled the engine (got the air out….) and switched tanks. I estimate that we had only been motoring for 12 hours so I guess the tank was not full…. Strange however (and this saga continues…..)

We continued to motor sail towards the Cape Cod Canal and after a sloppy night were off P Town by 1030 the following morning and entered the canal right on time just as the tide started to ebb. We enjoyed a fast run through the canal at speeds as high as 10 knots! The fun soon ended however as we shot out the other side and entered Buzzards Bay and hit some serious (I mean SERIOUS) chop as the outflowing current from the canal collided with 20 knot winds from the SW funneling up the bay. Although we were moving at 4-5 knots (thanks to the current) every other wave broke completely over the boat. We were just BANGING as I kept looking nervously over my shoulder at the dingy swinging on the davits….

We finally bashed through and tried to set a course toward Cutty Hunk but we were only making 3 knots so I said screw it and we headed East towards Woods Hole – at least we will be able to get fuel there and a good night’s sleep I surmised.

Now Peter is a man of the 21st century and has a “smart phone” so I continually put him to work getting weather and other info. His task – find places that sell diesel fuel in Woods Hole. Well…. There were none! I guess I forgot that as we are now into November, there are not many folks pleasure cruising. Word was we needed to go to Falmouth to get fuel. We entered Woods Hole just as the light was fading and had a fun time trying to make out lighted and unlighted hazards, but were either skillful or lucky as we did not run aground…. We navigated through the channels and headed towards Falmouth – on the chartplotter I could see a yacht basin, which sold diesel fuel…. But as I approached, I did not see ANY masts in there and on closer inspection, the depth was only 6 ft at low tide. I bailed. Sorry guys, we are going back to Woods hole to anchor and will sort it out in the morning!

We had a close encounter with a ferry heading into Woods Hole and got thoroughly confused by the navigation lights that were NOT on our chartplotter…. But but being cautious and backing out when we were not sure and poking ahead…. We finally made the inner mooring field and given the late date, had out pick! Finally secure, we collapsed for a well deserved rest.

Leaving Rockland (¡por fin!)

October 28th – Rockland to Perry’s Creek Vinalhaven, Riding out Sandy

The Cheryl Crow song “Leaving Los Vegas” played continually through my head on this final day of boatyard purgatory. We are outta here. Nothing can stop us. Not even approaching Super Storm Sandy.

“Uncle Phil”, continued working throughout on the various new systems he had installed in Redwings under intense pressure as the captain continued to look at his watch as the day wore on and Sandy approached. Colleen and the boys came down to say goodbye and hopefully I can find some pics.

The plan was to leave around noon to make Seal Bay on Vinalhaven to ride out the storm. We finally slipped the lines and took off at around 1500 (yeah that’s 3 in the afternoon) and Phil got a good pic of us leaving (not sure where the crew are in this picture!)

The autopilot is working well, the new gas system is installed, the davits are finished, but our fridge is dead and we need to get a new membrane for our new “used” watermaker. The plan is that after the storm, we will head South and meet Phil in Stratford CT as he needs to be there to work on another boat and he will bring the new fridge and membrane.

Once underway, it became obvious that we would not make Seal Bay be dark so targeted Perry’s Creek instead. Perry’s Creek is also on Vinalhaven and is a bit tighter in terms of finding anchoring space, but is also very well protected. We arrived around sundown and set the anchor in 15 feet of water with 100 feet of chain out and “double snubbers”.

An introduction to the crew for this first leg: Jaime O’jeda is a US/Spanish dual citizen who I met this summer when he chartered Redwings for two weeks. We had a great time sailing the coast of Maine together and Jaime is also a great boat cook so when he told me that I needed him to come on the trip I considered, and agreed! Jaime came from his home in Virgina 10 days before departure and helped me ready the boat and ALL of the provisioning (with help from Peter!)

Peter Duffy is a local lad (in his 60’s…) and being retired and up for adventure signed on to crew both legs of the delivery. Peter has some small boat experience and was in the Navy during Vietnam. If he can follow orders as he did in the Navy, he can learn the workings in Redwings in short order I am sure.

After pushing and rushing and pushing and rushing for days to get out of Rockland, we really needed the two days at Perry’s Creek hunkered down to relax, put the boat in order, go over the systems, and plan our escape. It was very lucky in hindsight that we were (constantly) delayed from departing as Sandy was fast approaching the Mid-Atlantic coast – right were we would have been if we had left a week ago…

The storm in the end did not make a direct hit on Maine, but we still saw gusts of up to 43 knots in Perry’s Creek. The boat and crew weathered the storm well with the only casualty a broken blade on our wind generator when I stupidly tried to stop it from spinning with a boathook…..

The Voyage Begins

For whatever reason, I’m substantially less motivated to blog than I was before and during our 1997-2001 Hong Kong to Maine voyage. I could say I have been too busy as the preparation for and initial execution of this phase of the voyage has been incredibly hectic, but the same can be said for the 97 voyage. In fact, the parallels are amazingly similar; endless boatyard delays and workers not believing we are actually leaving, weather challenges, and everything just taking longer and costing more than expected.

In any case, today is actually November 15th as I write this and Redwings has been on the move since Sunday October 28th. We are currently about 450 miles out from the British Virgin Islands and after days of challenging preparations and weather, we have experienced calms for the past 24 hours and put the boat back together and caught up on rest and I finally feel ready to do some writing, although I am not sure I have the time (or am willing to commit the time) to do the trip thus far justice.

I’ll start with a simple summary of the timing and stops made during the first phase of the delivery from Rockland to Hampton, Virginia:

October 28th – Rockland to Perry’s Creek Vinalhaven to ride out Sandy
October 29th – 30th – Perry’s Creek Vinalhaven
October 31st – November 1st – Perry’s Creek to Wood’s Hole MA (Cape Cod)
November 1st – Wood’s Hole to Point Judith RI
November 2nd – 3rd – Point Judith (left p.m. on 1st) to Stratford CT
November 4th – Stratford to Little Bay New York, New York
November 5th – 6th – NYC to Hampton VA
November 7th – 8th – Preparing to leave for Virgin Islands
November 9th – Leaving for Virgin Islands

Click the various log links to get the full data download on each leg!

Almost ready but Sandy in our way…..

Big strides forward! On Wednesday the SSB installation team checked out the new rig and raised Alabama 5×5 after re-doing on of the coax connections. Colleen forwent her weekly trip to Boston to help get us ready and did a fantastic job at keeping me on task in the boat shed to get what we needed out and clean it up a bit. We then moved another truckload of stuff to the boat like kids clothes, books, and even Christmas presents, and packed it all away in various recesses of the boat. Jaime and Peter boldly set off to do the dry provisioning for both legs of the trip and arrived back after a couple of hours well laden and then took charged and stowed everything “according to plan” I’m told… By the end of the day, we were virtually ready!

Thursday brought another day of beautiful weather with light winds, sun, and temperatures in the low 50s. Phil made great progress on installing the watermaker with the Chinese fire drill of yesterday’s loading over. We will be ready to leave tomorrow as planned… But it appears Hurricane Sandy will hold us up further!

Cat 2 Sandy is now over Cuba and expected to come right up the East Coast over the weekend making landfall around Connecticut – right where we planned to hole up to ride it out if we were able to leave by this weekend! So it now seems like we will just have to take a bit of a shakedown cruise up here in Maine and wait to see what the storm does. Based on current predictions, I assume we we be riding it out in a hurricane hole here like Seal Bay in Vinalhaven. Staying on a mooring in Camden or Rockland will be much more exposed. One way or the other we need to get on the boat this weekend and get out of here!

The proposed track could not be any worse….. If it was hitting in Maine I’d go South now…. but it’s heading right where we are going!

Jaime and Peter storing dry goods after provisioning…. Colleen packing clothes away in the background.


Boat went in today! Prop aperture work finished over the weekend so we were able to put on the new prop and hook up the shaft today. Davits were finished today and we hoisted the Walker Bay and it fit perfectly! Launched the boat and tested the new prop and auto pilot and both seemed to function well, although some more sea trailing and adjustments to auto pilot settings will probably be necessary. The last big job is to get the rebuilt watermaker installed (already have cool control panel in the galley installed – no more leaning over engine to adjust….) Will start loading on gear (and books, and home schooling materials, and legos, and spear fishing equipment… etc) tomorrow! Shooting for a late week departure.

Julian helps fare the newly widened prop aperture