From the Captain and First (and only) Mate of Paw Paw, we'd like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy New Year. We've had an amazing year and have enjoyed sharing all our adventures with you via our website and Facebook.
After leaving Christmas Cove, St Thomas, we made our way to Paw Paw’s home i.e. where she is registered – St John, USVI. Our first anchorage was Caneel Bay and Resort - Built on the site of an 18th century sugar plantation and where we had intended to stay for a few nights, visit Cruz Bay via dinghy and take a local safari bus to tour the island. However, after enjoying a day out in Cruz Bay and stocking up on some provisioning, we changed that plan after enduring another rolly night. We decided, instead, to head for St Francis Bay and do the more healthy option of hiking the island vs. the safari bus ride. Once we were safely moored, with hiking boots adorned – an arduous task, given that our feet were covered in sand from beaching the dinghy - we set off, only to get lost within the first few hundred metres. We realised we had beached our dinghy in the wrong spot and actually couldn’t get to our intended hiking trail - Just a minor problem that didn’t deter us. We still managed to find our way to the Danish Road and the Annaberg ruins. It was only on our return leg that we realised we had taken the long way – Oh well, we needed the exercise. It was also a laugh seeing Roy trying to walk in shoes after being barefoot or in flip-flops for 9 months.
On 25th October 2014 the “travelling wilburys” (Cadman family) were on the move again. Although we were all travelling, it was to completely different destinations. Paw Paw was on the move from Curacao back to Bonaire and Keenan was moving to Washington DC. We arrived in Bonaire safe and sound after a gruelling 10 hour sail into wind, waves and current – not the weather predicted – surprise, surprise!. Then to top off the day, every mooring ball had been taken when we arrived in Bonaire and anchoring is prohibited. My prayers were answered though, when we found the last one tucked away as the sun set. It wasn’t ideal, but it did until the following morning. We definitely weren’t expecting that many yachts packed into the small mooring field. We were up early the next morning to scout around for a better mooring ball and claimed the only other vacant one after a yacht left. Needless to say, we were delighted to be back in paradise – swimming, snorkelling, diving – we were back on holiday again!
Our return to Bonaire was short lived, however, when we decided to set sail earlier than intended, as a suitable weather window opened up sooner than planned.
Prior to our departure though, we did get to enjoy some unexpected delights such as a freshly caught Mahi Mahi. It was thanks to Ronnie from Campechano who caught it on their sail over from Curacao to Bonaire a few days after our trip. It was chilled by lunchtime and on the dinner table that night. We had so much of it, though, that it was another first on Paw Paw the following night – Sushi - which actually wasn’t at all bad for a first attempt, thanks to Chef Roy!
We also had one of our best snorkelling adventures ever – We joined Georgia (Chris and Paul) for a dinghy ride to a reef a little north of our anchorage. We got to see enormous parrotfish, an octopus, a large school of Blue Tangs, a few Scorpion Fish, a Moray Eel and, best of all, turtles, one of which was as real character. We found him scratching his shell on some coral. He then surfaced right next to us; returned to his scratching; surfaced again, before deciding to wander off. We got to spend at least 20 minutes in his company – Just amazing!
Halloween was rather different from previous years – We went for a sail to Klein Bonaire on Campechano (Babbie and Ronnie) with some of their friends, followed by a picnic lunch, a snorkel and a walk on the beach before sailing back again at sunset. We then got to enjoy the live entertainment along the beachfront from our foredeck.
Other delights included:
· A “Taste of Venezuela” evening at the Consulate – Great food, great company and I believe the rum was excellent. Of course, it begged the question as to whether or not we were technically in Venezuela.
· Having our new neighbours in the floating village over for sundowners and a light dinner aboard Paw Paw. I guess we could conclude that a good time was had by all when no one left until midnight and, then when they did, there were a few unintended swims associated with the perils of getting into one’s dinghy after one too many.
· Elaine enjoyed a very pleasant luncheon aboard Exit Strategy (Rose and Dan), with all the ladies who participated in the early morning “noodling” classes, to celebrate Rose’s birthday. Dan was an excellent “cabana boy” who keep us all well supplied with mimosas.
· We managed to enjoy a few dives off the back of Paw Paw, but unfortunately, due to our earlier than intended departure, Roy had to cancel his night dive. He did, however, get to have dinner (with Elaine) at the Argentinean restaurant he had wanted to visit on our first trip, but missed for various reasons.
Although our time back in paradise was over all too quickly, we did get the opportunity to learn so much on our combo fishing / sailing trips on Campechano. It would be remiss of me not to mention that Ronnie, besides being our Spanish teacher in Curacao, is actually an Olympian sailor as well as a CORT (Caribbean Ocean Racing Triangle) champion and Babbie is a two time Caribbean Champion sailor. Talk about luck being on our side to have the opportunity to learn from the pros – priceless!