Monday, October 29, 2007


Sitting in the cockpit at 0500 tracking Noel on the computer. She turned north a little before we expcected and is about to cut through Haiti to our west. Here's another good graphic of the wind pattern.

Steady rain here since about midnight with winds gusting around 20-25 probably. Looks like we'll be in this for awhile as the storm is not moving very fast. This is just the latest. It has been raining here just about constant since Thursday. More days of rain to come. Well, as we say . . . Just another day in paradise!

But the coffee is hot and the anchors are holding and I'm not grading lab reports!

That's all from Loopy Luperon. We're fine and just hunkering down.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Depressed in Luperon

OK, we're not really depressed (yes I am) but Tropical Depression 16 is screwing up our weather. Looks like it will keep things stirred up in the waters that we need to sail to make Puerto Rico for several more days. So, we will continue to prepare the boat and make plans. It has been so stormy and windy here lately we've had no chance yet to even put the sails back up.

We study our new charts and consider our various plans for escaping to the East. You'd wait forever here for a truly favorable wind. Once we head out we are dead into the trades. But, if we find a dip in the trades and especially a little swing to the ESE we can use the night lee of this island to probably motor sail east. We'll probably put in at Samana and again stop to consider weather for a jump across the Mona Passage which they say can be tricky due to lack of protection and weird currents.

Stay tuned. I swear sailing stories WILL happen again!

Friday, October 26, 2007


What happens when you leave your boat for 6 weeks (no wait -- it was only 3 weeks since the last bottom cleaning!) in Luperon, Dominican Republic? THIS!

What is it exactly I really don’t know. It looks slimy with green, brown, white splotches and even some red mixed in. It doesn’t look appetizing at all. In fact it looks down right disgusting. But to each his own. And to some sea creatures this obnoxious growth on our hull is the creme de resistance. Well go for it, I say. Eat your little hearts out or whatever you have in your cellular structure. I’m told these sea creatures are krill. That doesn’t help me much. What’s a krill? The cross between a crustacean and a thrill? If you were playing the dictionary game and this word came up, what would you write for a definition?

Anyway these krill critters or as I like to call them krillitters are fine if they truly are sucking off this mossy slime. I’ve yet to see any reduction in grossness on the waterline. What these krillitters do do is MAKE LOTS OF NOISE! It’s quite an amazing thing. As the sun sets and darkness sinks in suddenly it sounds like some one is making popcorn. You know the kind of popcorn made in a big skillet on top of the stove just like my father did. He would pour in the oil to cover the bottom of the pot and turn the fire on high. Then he’d put just 2 or 3 (it’s important to remember how many) kernels in and quickly place the cover on. When all of the ‘tester’ kernels popped, then he’d very quickly pour in a cup or however much it took to cover the bottom of the pot again but with kernels this time. Once the kernels heated up to popping temperature it sounded like a war zone and soon enough the lid was growing like a hat on Chatty Cathy with the hair that grows.

So every evening after dinner and just as we’re getting ready for bed, which means that we’ll be going to sleep soon, these krillitters really get into their game. And why is it that they get hungry only at night? Are they vampire krill? I suppose it’s not really that bad. You kind of get used to it. Kind of like you get used to a mosquito. You know it’s there but you’re never sure exactly when you’ll hear it. But hear it you will. At least the krill are serving a purpose and the steady but unpredictable popping sounds means that they are dining on our crud and making our hull cleaner. I just hope they don’t get carried away and bite too hard. You know how vampires can be. Thank god for Endeavour ’84 sailboats with 3 inch fiberglass hulls.

In case you’re wondering we do plan to have the bottom scraped just before we head out down island. That probably won’t be until next week sometime. In the meantime, popcorn anyone?

Added Note:
If you've ever wondered if it rains in paradise - it does. It's been raining off and on since 9:p.m. last night. It's 6:p.m. now. We just came back to our boat from dinner ashore with our friends Kathy and Kerry. We got caught in a squall. No need for showering tonight.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

We're Back!

Ahoy! Yes we are back aboard in Luperon, DR. No real adventures on the return trip. It is a 4 hour car ride though from the airport to Luperon. Along the way we had the driver stop at a large grocery to begin re provisioning. Thought we might as well while we have the car even though we were pretty tired since our plane ride began at 6 AM in Chicago!

Enee Marie is in good shape. No problems with the various systems although I haven't started the engine yet. Certainly was a treat to be rocked asleep once again and seeing the stars through our hatch. Nice cools nights now.

Of course what would return to boat life be without a repair project? My outboard again. No start. I disassembled the carburetor for the millionth time and cleaned out the little hole that transfers fuel from the bowl to the mixing chamber in the carburetor. I just poked at it with a bristle from a broom. That seemed to work.

We've already chatted with many of our boat friends. Most boats are still here but two are gone and another to leave tomorrow. We look to be here through Sunday and then go on the next weather window. . . what ever THOSE look like!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Finishing up in Chicago

Well, just a few things left to take care of in Chicago. We're getting some boat parts for ourselves and some friends in the DR that will require a drive to Highland Park West Marine today. Yes, we have put this off for the last day! Other small items of need before we go (canned chicken!), a new alarm clock (rarely used but still needed). We're going to finish our day with dinner with Leah and Jason at Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder on Clark. I've always wanted to check this place out and it has gotten rave reviews from niece Lisa. Tomorrow we fly at 0600! Wow that's early. My daughter and I are famous for showing up real early for flights so maybe not bother going to bed! We'll get in to Santo Domingo around 1300 and meet up with Nino our driver from Luperon for the 4 hour trek back to Luperon. Along the way we'll stop for groceries as long as we have the car.

So, it's been a great return visit to Chicago. Longer than we usually do but that's ok. Just waiting for hurricane season (what hurricanes?) to end. We had fun staying with my daughter and Jason and hopefully helped them out some. Jason successfully finished his PhD work while we were here and Leah is nearly done with the same and while they were doing that they also were training for the marathon and perparing for their trip to Germany. Sheesh! I totally enjoyed my favorite city in the world (so far), beautiful Chicago. Sometimes I just like buying an all day pass for the CTA and knocking around the city or just walking around Ukraining Village. Our talk went well and it was sure fun seeing EVERYONE at Burnham Park Yacht Club. The Cubs were their usual dissapointment but I guess you have to have some kind of tradition.

So, stay tuned for actual boat and sailing news as we prepare Enee Marie for travels to Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and points south. We met a bunch of people at Burnham Park Yacht Club who swore they were going to stay in touch and write. So, ok people, get ready to write!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Fun With the Catalina Fleet 21

Last night we made our presention to the Chicago Catalina Fleet 21 group at Burnham Park Yacht Club. What FUN! A great turnout and such a friendly and interested group. We featured our trip from the Keys to the Dominican Republic with some exceprts from The Why Book of Sailing. Thanks to everyone who attended and to those who bought a book! We're going out to lunch. Yeah!

It IS so fun to descibe parts of our trip and some things about our lifestyle to our Lake Michigan sailor friends. No one to talk to at this level in the cruising community. . . they're already there!

Thanks again to all and PLEASE stay in touch. You can leave a comment below or email us directly. Email links are posted to the left. If you like the book (who wouldn't?) feel free to leave a review at Amazon. Click on the book at the left and scroll down to 'leave a review'. You might have to sign in if you're not already an Amazon user. No charge.

On Tuesday we fly back to Loopy Luperon and begin preparations for once again heading east and south. Stay tuned for posts from the next leg of our trip as we find wifi where we can. The next hunk should take us east to the British Virgin Islands and then south to Grenada, Trinidad or South America by July 2008. Should make for more great pictures and stories.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Holding Down the Fort in Chicago

We are enjoying our last week in Chicago and taking care of Leah and Jason's apartment and Dagney the wonder cat while they are in Germany helping plan the next phase of world domination. Today we received a nice link to pictures and stories from their trip so far. So for any interested family or strangers, check out this link.

We'll be back in the Dominican Republic on Tuesday and will begin preparing ourselves and Enee Marie for sailing again. We received new charts for the Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the Leeward and Windward islands. We should be good with charts for another year or so! It's fun to look at them and plan and dream. In fact it is a real good idea to look at them ahead of time and get some basic geography in your head before venturing out.

Our talk to the Catalina Fleet 21 will be Friday at Burnham Park Yacht Club. We are about ready for that but need to cut it down to three hours ( :-) ).

Thanks to the 3 yes THREE people who have purchased the book via the link to the left. I'm practically rolling in $$$$$$$ now!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Cubs, Bears and the Marathon

OK, let's get the nasty business out of the way first. Yes the Cubs took a dive in the playoffs. . . again. At least we were NEVER in it. We led game 2 for about 10 minutes after Soto's home run and then that team from Arizona (really?) put up a 4 spot in the bottom of the frame after which there was an extended time out for Ted Lilly to go change his pants. We were at game three with our standing room only tickets. Very exciting at times and then BLAM another inning ending double play. I swear, the Cubs couldn't hit their own asses with a mirror and a fly swatter! So after standing up for about 6 hours at Wrigley the next day we spectated the. . . .

(Mary Beth, Rich, Scott, Andrea)

. . . Chicago Marathon or as my son-in-law called it, the Chicago Death March. It was 89 degrees with high humidity. Aid stations ran out of water. Over 300 people were taken to the hospital. One guy died. They shut down the race after about 4 hours and were hollering at people from a helicopter to STOP RUNNING. What a crummy end to 25 weeks of hard training. But, Leah and Jason 'took it in stride' (!) and both finished but in a lot more time than they would have had it not been about 40 degrees above normal! Here's a link to Leah and Jason's running blog (CLICK ON THE UNDERLINED WORDS. THE SLIDE SHOW WILL RUN BY ITSELF. USE THE BACK ARROW TO RETURN TO THIS POST. . . DAD!) where lives some great pictures of the race. I took most of them with Leah's brand new Cannon 35mm digital camera. It can take 6.5 frames per second which is really fun!
(Photo above is of the race route with red and blue team spectator miles marked accordingly.)

Our plan for spectating went well again and thanks to Kay and Sam, Bridgette and Chad, Cindy, Andrea and Sue for once again riding the rails and holding up our patented 'red dot' signs and cheering on the runners. By splitting up into two teams and cleverly riding the CTA the runners are able to see their fans about every 5 miles.

(Above photo shows miles, our runners' race timeline, and CTA travel routes.)

The weekend ended nicely though with our beloved Monsters of the Midway beating our dreaded rivals to the north, the Green Bay Packers. I think John Madden was on suicide watch after Bret Favre stunk up the place in the second half. GO BEARS!

Sailing? Oh yeah...we will be heading back to Luperon, Domincan Republic on Oct 23 and begin reprovisioning and preparing Enee for heading east and south over the next several months. We hope we remember how to operate the boat! I think we will. . . ."Grab the thingy!"

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Books and Baseball

Crunch time in Chicago. Everybody here is cranked about the 2007 Cubs who open their playoffs tonight in Arizona (I found out they actually DO have a team in Arizona...who KNEW?). Game doesn't come on until 9:00 pm (that's 2100 for you sailors) here in Chicago. Looks like a long night and a drastic drop in productivity in Chicago on Thursday! I'm trying to NOT get excited yet. I really want a championship although that may actually kill me.

The book is truly out and about. I've found it on the shelf at a couple of Borders and Barnes and Noble. You can also buy it from Amazon by clicking on the book icon at the left for which I get 46 cents! Woo Woo.....!!!! Thanks to the people who have already read it and commented.