67. Time to Say Goodbye

Saoirse is lying in a marina that forms a part of a fancy resort that is virtually empty. The resort that is, not the marina. Which is great. It means that we can pay $50 a night and get treated like the $500 a night hotel guests that the place is really built for. The marina and the boats are probably just there for the view. They certainly don’t make enough money from us sailing nomads. We do of course frequent the bars and restaurants here, but we live like we live here. Which we do. And if we lived like short term tourists, we would spend our monthly budget in a couple of days.

We don’t even use the facilities offered to us for free. Like electricity and water. We make our own. In fact, Annie from Happy Pancake just came over and asked for a jug of water as their fresh water pump is broken. In return she offered a glass of wine from her best box! Knowing that Saoirse can produce water from wine. Much less impressive than the biblical opposite. But still…

The marina I’m in is in the Dominican Republic. An island that took a hit from Hurricane Fiona a couple of months ago. But the hurricane season is over now and it’s a new cruising season. I have made my way up the Caribbean island chain via Martinique, Antigua, Barbuda, Saint Barthélemy, Sint Maarten and the British Virgin Islands. The plan is to go to Panamá as soon as I have sorted out a few electronics issues here as both my new iPhone and my computer are acting up. Sadly this means that I will have to say goodbye to my friends on Happy Pancake. That will be tough as we have hung out a lot since we met back in Barbuda in February. But that is a part of the cruising life. You meet people everywhere and you make cruising plans together but ultimately you know that at some stage it is time to say goodbye. When the long term plans interfere too much with the short term ones. They are staying in the Atlantic, I’m going to the Pacific. They will go northwest to the Bahamas, I’m going southwest to the Panamá Canal.

Over the year I have gotten to know the Rosander family on Happy Pancake really well. We have shared life stories and plans for the future, rented cars together, explored many islands, celebrated birthdays, snorkelled reefs where we have caught fish and lobster, worked on each other’s boats and had lots of late night refreshments in various bars and cockpits around the Caribbean. I have even done some babysitting for their kids. But all good things must come to an end. That said, I’m sure we will remain in close contact and I hope I will be able to welcome them aboard Saoirse again when their adventure is over. Maybe somewhere in the Pacific.

The leg to Panamá will be the longest one that I’ve done on my own. Around 1,100 Nm. It should take me about a week or so, all downwind. The most challenging parts should be in the beginning and the end. I would love to be able to take the route through the Windward Passage, between Haiti and Cuba. But I really don’t think that is wise at the moment so I’ve decided to go back around the east end of Hispaniola and take the Mona Passage between Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. A passage that is very shallow and notorious for rough seas. At the other end of the crossing, I will be exposed to one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world as numerous container ships will be entering or leaving the Panamá Canal. All character building. But I’m looking forward to another adventure. It’s time to go.

Neighbours in Grenada
Goodbyes and birthday party in Grenada
Birthday girls
Saoirse finally branded
Hitchhikers to Martinique. My dear friends Calin and Ioanna sadly decided to sell their boat and move home to Romania
Everyone’s favourite – Barbuda!
Catch of the day. I’m referring to the lobster. Olof is spoken for.
Planning meeting onboard Saoirse
Innoch. My favourite barman
Downwind to Saint Barthélemy
Saint Barthélemy was a Swedish colony for almost 100 years
Boat kids in Saint Barthélemy
Willy T’s floating bar at Norman Island, BVI
Benjah and Chazz. Previous California weed farmers in heaven!
Entrepreneurs
Sporty!
Another sad goodbye. This time to Benjah and Chazz on Imagina 2
World Cup final in Dominican Republic
Olof’s 40th birthday
Swanky marina in Dominican Republic
Marina guest
Electrical wiring in Santo Domingo, DR
Goodbye to Olof, Annie, Lisa and Felix on Happy Pancake. It’s been a blast

10 thoughts on “67. Time to Say Goodbye

  1. Fabulous pics, Tomas! I can really feel the kinship you all share within the cruising community! I am glad you’re taking the route to Panama that is safer, despite the conditions of the sea between Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. Stay safe and please keep us posted on your PredictWind site so we know you and Saoirse are making your way to your destination AOK. HAPPY HOLIDAYS and MERRY CHRISTMAS to you and Saoirse! Fair winds, ~ Chelle P.S. Love her name on her hull!

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    1. Thanks Chelle. I certainly plan to keep the tracker on and add regular updates on the progress. Not sure if I’ll spend Christmas or New Year at sea. Either way, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you too!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Dave. Hope to catch something on the way. I’ve had more luck bottom fishing when on anchor. And shooting lobster with a speargun where that is allowed.

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  2. Hej kusin Tomas!
    Det var inte igår. Först hoppas jag att du haft fina dagar ombord under julen, med minnen som du kan leva på i många år, för här hemma på Västkusten ser julen ganska samma ut år in och år ut. Jag är så glad för din skull, att du har gett dig ut på ditt stora äventyr. Nu ska jag bli lite bättre på att följa dig framöver. Med detta sagt önskar jag dig ett gott slut på 2022, och all lycka på det nya året. Kramar från Tina med barnen Vidar och Vera

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    1. Hej Kusin Tina,

      Det var länge sen. Jag träffade brorsan din för ett par månader sen på västkusten. Julen har varit kanon här men nu är det dags att dra vidare går mot Panama om några timmar. Det bör ta uppåt en vecka. Siktar på att komma dit nyårsdagen. Det blir nog ingen smörsegling den här gången. Räknar med en hel del vind, vågor och trafik. Men det ska nog gå bra. Inget för en sjökapten som du. Kul med lite vänner och bekanta som följer med via webben. Jag kommer att uppdatera min Satellit tracker på vägen. Ta hand om dig. Tomas

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      1. Hej Tomas,
        Det är ju inte alla som har förmånen att ha en kusin som seglar jorden runt, nu ligger du inne som favorit i min nya dator 🙂
        Jag hoppas att du har kommit fram till Panama enligt planen. Sökte efter Saoirse på Marine Traffic, men sista positionen var från 27/12, men jag prenumererar inte på tjänsten så det kan vara därför. Det var några år sedan jag gick genom Panama (har bara gjort det en gång), men det var en upplevelse uppifrån däck på ett bilfartyg. Kan tänka mig att det är helt annorlunda att gå med din båt.
        Var rädd om dig!
        kram Tina

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      2. Hej Tina. Kul att du håller koll på mig. Jag kom fram till Panama för ett par dagar sen men jag ankrade bara i en vik och stannade på båten. För att sova ut och för att fixa lite grejer. Idag gick jag in i Shelter Bay Marina vid kanalinloppet. Planen är att stanna i Panama ett par månader innan jag går igenom kanalen. Här och i San Blas.

        Seglingen hit var ganska tuff. Med hög sjö och mycket vind men det är vad den sträckan är känd för. Jag syns bara på Marine Traffic om jag är i närheten av en radiomast. Det är därför jag försvinner när jag är för långt från land. Min Iridium satellit router behöver dock inte några radiomaster och ska visa min position i alla lägen. Om du går in under ’where is Saoirse’ på min hemsida hittar du en länk till min tracker. Jag brukar dessutom skriva lite meddelanden om hur jag har det där.

        Kul att knyta kontakten efter så många år. Ta hand om dig. Tomas

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  3. Hi Tomas from pontoon b. Marina is full with many boats getting ready to head to Caribbean. None of our English friends here. They must be at home counting their 90 days! Congratulations on reaching Panama and good luck with your adventures through the canal. I always enjoy your blogs and read them with envy. I have been suggesting to others here that they should read the blogs as a guide to round the world sailing! All the best for 2023 and may you always have fair winds. Best regards

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    1. Thanks Fergal. Good to hear from you. I miss you guys on the pontoon B. I stayed a couple of days on anchor to rest and fix some stuff. Went into Shelter Bay Marina today and I’m just trying out the local beer here. The crossing from Dominican Republic was quite rough with lots of wind and sharp waves. I always new this was going to be a tough leg though. Now I’ll try ‘living’ in Panama for a couple of months before I go through the canal. All the best. Tomas

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