Well, we only saw one and I didn’t get a photo, nor do I have any idea what kind it was, but it was definitely a whale and we were close enough to hear it exhale before it disappeared below the surface!
We’re currently about 30 miles north of Cabo Francis Viejo, Dominican Republic, just south of the Silver Banks of the Bahamas.
About 30 minutes later I saw a half dozen whale breaches off at the distance. Way too far to do any identification or get pictures. It was still cool!
We also ran across this interesting buoy for a drifting fishing line a little earlier.
Good news, it looks like the weather Gods are treating us well this week! The storm that we were worried about seems to be weakening enough to allow us to continue our journey without needing to visit a protected harbor. Our current ETA has us in Key West on Friday Dec 9.
There's a bit of a storm heading our way, so we rushed up the provisioning and departed Palmas Del Mar harbor at 2:00 p.m. this afternoon. Our goal is to get as many miles in as we can before the storm hits, ducking into the Dominican Republic if necessary to wait the storm out for a few days.
We're currently passing Ceiba Bay and Vieques Island that are both known for fantastic bioluminescence in the water during new moon periods!
For those of you that know what AIS is, we are turning the on AIS and checking it out for the trip today. If this works, you should be able to track us at sites like MarineTraffic.com searching for the vessel TOOLOOSE. That’s all one word, if you search for two words it returns a different vessel.
I have received a last minute chance to crew on a 45′ sailboat from Puerto Rico to Key West next week, This looks like a ~1400nm journey. Soooooo, I’m heading south to Puerto Rico early Monday morning! Hopefully, this leg of the delivery will take ~6-10 dans and have me back in Austin by mid December!
Our return was a pleasantly uneventful trip with minor inconveniences. The ferry was a little delayed, but we were still able to make it through customs with plenty of time to make our flights home. Both of the Miami legs (MIA>AUS and MIA>DFW) were delayed by about 30 minutes. That put me back in Austin shortly after 11:00pm. After picking up the luggage, I was back aboard Ripple around 1am.
Another successful SailRipple adventure is in the books!
The first part of the day was filled with some great sailing on our way over to the Wreck of the Willy T in Kay Bay on Peter Island. This is another treat set in place by Beyond the Sea specifically as a treat for SCUBA divers. One of my earlier crew called it an amusement park for SCUBA divers! After the dive we got our sailing on with some nice 20-30kt winds in the Sir Francis Drake Channel. In the evening we found our way over to the Sushi Bar for a very affordable meal and finished our 2022 BVI adventure with the obligatory painkiller at Pussers Bar.
Always a wonderful dive, the Wreck of the RMS Rhone never disappoints. There were some delightful, unexpected surprises this time. At the beginning of the dive, on our way to the wreck, I was lucky enough to find a basket starfish wrapped up in coral for the day. At night, these unfold into almost a foot diameter net and filter feed for the evenings. We visited all 3 sections of the Rhone and were inspected by a ~5-6′ nurse shark. What a wonderful treat for Pam on her FIRST dive trip! We had intended to do a night dive at the Sandy Ledges, but ½ of the mooring balls were out of service so we did our night dive at the Caves instead. After returning to the boat, we cleaned up and took the dinghy over to the Willy T for some fantastic Tuna and more drinks than we really needed!
Today was our day to visit Necker Island with Gumptions Nature Adventure. Necker Island is a private island owned by Sir Richard Branson that charges over $100k per night with a 3 night minimum for a reservation, our Nature Adventure was a considerable amount less than that! As always, Gumption (Allington Creque) provided us with an exceptional experience on the island showing us flora and fauna including baby endangered tortoise and lemurs!!! Following the Necker Experience, we returned to Leverick Bay and rented a car to explore Virgin Gorda. The highlight of the tour was lunch/drinks at Hog Heaven with a fantastic view of the entire North Sound!
We woke up early at Spanish Town and made our way directly to the Baths in hopes if beating the crowds. Even though there were already 6 vessels on hand when we arrived, they were pleasantly uncrowded. Next we traveled north to the Kodiak Queen, the first vessel cleaned up and sunk for SCUBA divers in the BVI by Beyond the Sea. This was followed up by another wonderful meal at Leverick Bay.