A Serious Ocean
You know it by the northern look of the shore,
by the salt-worried faces,
by an absence of trees, an abundance of lighthouses.
It's a serious ocean.
North Sea off Carnoustie by Anne Stevenson
Tomorrow will have an island
by William Stafford
Tomorrow will have an island. Before night
I always find it. Then on to the next island.
These places hidden in the day separate
and come forward if you beckon.
But you have to know they are there before they exist.
Some time there will be a tomorrow without any island,
So far, I haven't let that happen, but after
I'm gone others may become faithless and careless.
Before them will tumble the wide unbroken sea,
and without any hope they will stare at the horizon.
So to you, Friend, I confide my secret:
to be a discoverer you hold close whatever
you find, and after a while you decide
what it is. Then, secure in where you have been,
you turn to the open sea and let go.
The Darwin Expedition: January 5 - 25
remarkable three week sailing adventure begins on the Caribbean
side of the Panama Canal. We will be sailing on "Blue Nomad," a
robust 54' steel ketch that has been around the world and around
Cape Horn. New owner, Paul Gregory, has completely refitted her
for world voyaging, she's a magnificent sailboat. Built by van Dam
in Holland, she has a large, covered cockpit and accommodations
for 8. Like all of my trips, we will share in all duties, from cooking
and cleaning to full watch standing and sail handling. There are
two private double cabins forward, with over and under bunks, and
a large double aft. There is also a single aft and a convertible
berth in the main saloon.
Once the crew assembles on the 7th we will transit the canal on
the 8th and 9th. Once in the Pacific, we'll head offshore for Cocos
Island, a four-day 600-mile passage. Cocos island is remote and
spectacular. It is a Costa Rican National Park and rarely visited.
In fact, other than the rangers, it is uninhabited. And while we
will explore the lush mountainous island, it is the sea life that makes
Cocos truly unique. From sea turtles to hammerhead sharks the waters
are teeming with life. We will spend two days on a mooring, and
then shove off for the Galapagos, a 2-½ day 400-mile passage.
will have six full days in the Galapagos Islands, the islands that
changed the way we think of the world and ourselves. We'll make
landfall at Academy Bay on Isla Santa Cruz. This is the most populated
island in the archipelago and we'll make arrangements for the rest
of our stay. We will actually take a naturalist aboard, a requirement,
and explore Islas Isabellas and San Cristobal. From giant tortoises
to penguins to iguanas, we'll be treated to a wildlife spectacular.
We'll also make forays ashore to the calderas on Isabella and also
visit remote and famed Post Office Bay and lava tubes on the Floreana
island. I am thrilled at the prospect of this expedition. I have
sailed by the Galapagos before but never tarried. We will clear
out at Wreck Bay and head for the mainland of South America. This
500-mile passage will take 3-½ days and we'll end up at La Libertad,
a new marina complex near Salinas. Ecuador is awakening as a tourist
destination, and we'll arrange flights out of Quito.
This is a remarkable expedition. The fee of $6800 includes all costs
except airfare to Panama and back from Quito and meals ashore. Please
let me know as soon as possible if you're interested in joining
us and I'll send along details.
In the spring of 2010 we are set to begin an intriguing circumnavigation
of the Caribbean basin in three legs. The purpose of this expedition
to have fun, sharpen sailing and navigation skills, and to informally
document what's left of working sail in the region. Check the schedule
for the specific dates of each leg.
Leg one will begin in St. Martin. We'll sail south to Saba, the
island that defies imagination. There's not much working sail on
the island but the culture is one of the most unique in the Caribbean.
We'll continue south to St. Kitts where there are still some West
Indian schooners about, and hopefully we'll be able to track one
down. St. Kitts is home to Brimstone Hill, a well-preserved English
fort that has been called, the Gibraltar of the Caribbean. Then
we'll sail overnight to Dominica, a lush, undeveloped island. We'll
make our way up the jungle lined Indian River, a beautiful natural
preserve. Next point south is St. Lucia, after another overnight
sail. Then we press on to Bequia, the heart of the Grenadines. Here
we'll meet with local boat builders, and help launch a local sloop.
These are beautiful boats and they help preserve the swift, seaworthy
designs that defined many of the Caribbean's working boats. From
Bequia, we'll make a passage south to Grenada, and then on to Trinidad,
the Caribbean's current sailing center. This leg is 10 days and
covers 600 miles.
Leg Two will begin in Trinidad and take us west to the crystal clear
waters of Los Roques Venezuela. We then continue on to Curacao in
the Dutch Antilles. From there we will head offshore, skirting the
coast of Colombia and making landfall in Cartagena, the former colonial
capitol that is one of the Caribbean's most beautiful cities. This
is a three day passage. We'll catch our breath in Cartagena before
pressing on to the San Blas Islands off the remote Darien coast
of Panama. Working sail is alive and well among the Kuna, indigenous
people who call these atoll islands home. The Kuna sail sleek dugouts
with generous lateen rigs. We will explore several islands working
our way west to Portabello, another great landfall and a vestige
to Panama's colonial past. Finally, we'll angle northwest to Bocas
del Toro, a bustling area lining deep jungle edged bays and a bit
of welcome civilization to wind up the passage. Bocas is a good
spot for arranging airfare back to the states. This passage will
combine a couple of two and three day passages with several day
sails as we skirt the southern edge of the Caribbean. This Leg is
14 days and covers 1200 miles.
Leg three will take us north from Bocas to Corn Island, Nicaragua,
another area where working sailboats still carry loads and passengers
to and from the mainland. From there we will make an offshore passage
north to Roatan in the Bay Islands of Honduras. We will spend a
couple of days exploring the islands, particularly Cayos Cachinos
where I have seen and sailed working dugout canoes many times in
the past. We will head for Belize next, and enter the reef at Ranguana
Cay. Then we will make our way north, protected, magical sailing.
The trades whistle in over the reef but the seas remain flat. The
Belize sloop is still the choice of many working fisherman. Typically
around 25' long, each sloop carries several nesting dugouts as well.
The dugouts are used by conch divers and the sloop serves as the
mother ship. It will be exciting to sail these nimble craft. We
will exit the reef at the Ship Channel, and carry on north making
landfall at Banco Chinchorro, a genuine atoll off Mexico. Our final
destination will be Isla Mujures, just next to Cancun but a world
apart. The natural harbor will be ideal for winding up our Caribbean
circuit and the town is still charming. Flights from Cancun are
numerous and cheap. This Leg is 14 days and covers 1000 miles.
Around the Rock - A Voyage Around Newfoundland in Two Legs
I confess, I can't wait to get back to Newfoundland next summer.
A trip around the island is expedition sailing at it's best. It's
the 15th largest island in the world. It's larger than Cuba, and
nearly 5 times larger than the big island of Hawaii. It spans five
degrees of latitude, from just about 47 to just about 52 degrees
north. Canadian writer Farley Mowatt describes it best: "Newfoundland
is of the sea. A mighty granite stopper thrust into the mouth of
the Gulf of St. Lawrence, its coasts present more than 5,000 miles
of rocky headlands, bays, capes, and fjords to the sweep of the
Atlantic." And while the people are indeed memorable, there are
not many of them. The island is wonderfully undeveloped and many
of the outposts have just a few hundred people struggling to make
a living. When Quetzal pulls along one of the strong government
wharves, she and her crew are treated royally. And I know in my
soul that this is the time to explore Newfoundland, times are changing.
The island is prospering again, offshore oil has replaced Cod and
the oil that greases the economy. Adventure travel is taking route.
Ten years from now Newfoundland will be known as a prime adventure
travel destination, you can feel it in the air. Back to my theme,
about time, now is the time to explore Newfoundland.
Our expedition will have two, 16-day legs. This is long enough to
really get a feel for the land, the people and seas that define
Leg one will begin in Sydney on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia.
This starting point, which is easier to fly to than other locations,
(there are direct flights from Toronto to Sydney and plenty of commuters
from Halifax) allows us to begin our expedition by crossing the
Cabot Strait. This is a right of passage, the Cabot Strait protects
Newfoundland from casual sailors. It also allows for us to begin
on the south coast. We will make landfall at Burgeo, and then explore
this rugged coasts of fjord, broad bays, and narrow inlets. We will
stop at Ramea, Grey River, Rencontre, and Burin. We will also call
at St. Pierre and Miquelon, an odd and wonderful French outpost
just off the coast of Newfoundland. Then we'll round Cape Race and
make our way up the Avalon Peninsula, calling at Ferryland along
the way. This is the site of the first European settlement and a
truly magical community. Then on to bustling St. John's, which most
Canadians will admit is the musical center of the country. We will
continue north to Trinity Bay and then on to the stunning natural
beauty of Notre Dame Bay. Speckled with islands and devoid of fog,
we'll make our way to the marina at Lewisporte to conclude this
leg. All in we'll sail 700 miles, mostly in log challenging day
sails and also by making several overnight passages. We'll see whales,
basking sharks, seals and puffins.
Leg two will commence from Lewisporte and wind north through Notre
Dame Bay past Cape St. John. We'll then head across White Bay to
the rugged Grey Islands, a place where icebergs have been spotted
year round. Then we'll continue on to St. Anthony near the tip of
the island and visit L'Anse aux Meadows, the site of the only known
Viking settlement in N. America. We'll then head through the Strait
of Belle Isle and call at Red Bay on the coast of Labrador, the
other half of the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. Here we
will explore sites of former Basque whaling centers from the 16th
century. Next we head south, for a passage to the stunning fjord
of Gros Morne National Park. This Unesco World Heritage site is
truly breathtaking to behold. We will then continue south to Corner
Brook, the second city of Newfoundland before crossing the Cabot
Strait again and landing back in Sydney, Cape Breton Island Nova
John Kretschmer Expeditions was launched in the summer of 2008 with
our ambitious around-the-world expedition. This sailing/travel adventure
was, I must say, a great success. Nine of us assembled in Los Angeles
and flew to Papeete, Tahiti. We then chartered a Bahia 46 Catamaran
from the Sensual base in Raiatea. After a week of spectacular sailing
we flew on to Sydney, Australia. We spent three days in town before
heading up to Hamilton Island and a week of sailing along the Great
Barrier Reef and Whitsunday Islands in a Beneteau 50 sloop. Next
up was Thailand, where we tarried for a couple of days in Bangkok
before a week of sailing in Panang Bay near Phuket. Finally we made
our way to Athens and after three days of taking in antiquities,
took a bus to the northern Sporades group. Another week disappeared
drifting about this sun baked archipelago. In each of the last two
charter destinations we had a Lagoon 41 catamaran from Sensual.
We were exhausted (mostly from schlepping bags) when he reached
JFK, but proud of our 35 day trip. Now that's the way to sail around
the world. A feature article will soon appear in Sailing Magazine,
and will be reprinted on the site.
Kretschmer Sailing fleece jackets and long-sleeve t-shirts are available