browser icon
You are using an insecure version of your web browser. Please update your browser!
Using an outdated browser makes your computer unsafe. For a safer, faster, more enjoyable user experience, please update your browser today or try a newer browser.

What Happened?

Posted by on January 14, 2018

Well…we’re are back in the US taking care of personal things before we continue on with our journey. Tanya flew to Maine from Aruba and I continued on to Columbia. I planned to take the boat to Panama and fly home but then decided that leaving the boat unattended in that climate would be more destructive than beneficial. We talked and decided to bring the boat back to Florida where we could maintain and upgrade as needed. The rest of the story after these pics…

Click the pictures for full screen view.

We had a good time in Aruba, it’s a very nice place but way too touristy for us. Downtown port area:

After Tanya flew to Maine I single handed to Columbia (and ultimately Florida). The day I had a weather window to leave, two cruise ships came into port:

Tied to the customs pier, tug boat at the end was struck by lightning a few days earlier:

Just as I was pulling up the anchor to move to the customs pier this mega yacht called in and beat me to it:

Some kind of oil industry service ship:

Departing the port to the Northwest. I anchored at the North end of the island and left around midnight:

Epic downwind sail from Aruba to Columbia, out in the Caribbean Sea:

Even more epic when dolphins visit:

And then there’s traffic. That black triangle is an AIS signal (automatic identification system) from a ship heading my way. AIS is a great invention. Commercial ships are required to have AIS and we splurged and bought one so they can see us as well:

A 400 foot container ship:

Dawn off the coast of Columbia:


Santa Marta in the distance:

Keep this rock to starboard…

Container ship arriving just before I did:

Two tugs had this ship turned around and pier side before I even got close to the marina:

The marina at Santa Marta is pretty nice:


Dea Latis on the left out near the end:

It’s hot in Columbia even in winter, had to put up the forward sun shade:

Alone with nothing to do I continued with the cockpit enclosure:

Cutting the window material and all the bits and pieces:

After 12-15 hours of sewing I did a fit check:


Santa Marta:

Before I go on, a huge THANK YOU to SV Slowdown, Little Wing, Airborne and Sugar Shack. These amazing people went out of their way to include and assist me while in Columbia, their consideration and hospitality was boundless! The generosity of cruisers never ceases to amaze me. And thanks to SV Jump for giving me a shout on the radio as we crossed paths just off the coast, that meant a lot!


I left Columbia on the best weather window I could hope for and except for the first night, the trip back to Florida went well. I headed North across the Caribbean Sea, through windward passage and over the top of Cuba. There is a huge charted shipping lane on the North coast of Cuba so I stayed closer to the Bahamas. Sitting in the cockpit headed West toward the straights of Florida I noticed a ship heading directly toward me and a few minutes later I got a call on the radio from The Bahamas Self Defense Force:

I was in Bahamian waters and they wanted to board and search. Look at the number on the side of their patrol boat, P424. Our boat is a Pearson 424, P424, and was stopped by Patrol Boat 424 of the BSDF:

Arriving. They were great, did a thorough search, all very professional:


See ya later!

I hit the straights of Florida later that evening planning to head North and cross the gulf stream the next morning, but the winds decided on a different plan. I was blown across the gulf stream in the middle of the night with 41 ships on AIS. I had a very busy night attempting to dodge commercial shipping. I’ve never been is such a cluster of traffic before and quickly realized our boat is not fast enough to dodge ships. I learned that if I stayed on course the ships altered their course to avoid me, I think it was easier for all involved. It’s easier for a ship traveling at 15-20 kts to avoid a little boat going five knots. I’m really happy we swapped out our AIS receiver for a transponder, one of the best investments we have made!

Lake Worth inlet at dawn eight days and 21 hours after departing Columbia:

About an hour later I was anchor down in Lake Worth Florida. After checking in with ICE I cleaned up, ate breakfast and passed out! A couple of days later I had a window of dead calm to motor the rest of the trip home. At 0630 I pulled up anchor and headed back out into the ocean, with about 20 other sailboats all heading for the Bahamas. Departing Lake Worth:

Sunrise and sailboat masts on the horizon:

Two days later, back at home:

Sewed another panel for the cockpit enclosure, only one left:

Got to see my grandson!

Got to drive to Maine just in front of a storm:

Blue windshield washer fluid from Florida isn’t any good in Maine. Had to thaw out our Florida fluid:

I was in Columbia a couple of weeks ago…what the heck? Like riding a bike…

It was great to see Tanya and the rest of our families, including Brodie:

…and Isaac:

…and this. This was new…

So what is going on…? Tanya is in Maine taking care of family and I am in Florida going to school, we’ll visit when we can. Our plan was to be through the Panama Canal in January 2018, visit the Galapagos, and make it to French Polynesia in May, Australia in November. The new plan for this year is taking care of family, graduate from school, and prepare the boat for our next adventure. We’ll try our original plan again next year.

5 Responses to What Happened?

  1. Ken Page

    What? Did you do this trip ALONE? Please email me and let me know. We are in route to Florida also.

    • Dave

      Hey Ken! Yes I single handed from Columbia to Florida…got destroyed the first night but the trip went well after that! I’m still trying to figure out how 10-15 knots of predicted wind equates to 30-35 knots of actual wind. Great to hear from you. I’ll drop an email.

  2. Cindy

    What an amazing story! I marvel at how courageous y’all are and all you can do to fix things along the way.

  3. Anonymous

    Congratulations on your first solo trip over one thousand miles. That’s a milestone only a few have made. You have learned well Grasshopper.
    PS: The pets are glad to have made the blog.