In early November of 2019 we flew back to our Grain de Sable in Aruba. Jura was 13 month old, already walking and with lots of curiosity for discovering the World. He loved the water and sun so we could not wait to start sailing and coming back on life a float. This time in Aruba Grain de Sable crew joined my parents and the plan was to prepare the boat, leave Aruba, sail to Jamaica and enjoy Jamaican southern coast as long as possible.
WOULD BE A CRIME TO COMPLAIN:)
We were very exited and having my father and mother aboard was amazing help for both of us. Jura loved traveling, but life on boat with a toddler can be quite hard sometimes. At least in the very beginning. All of us had to get use to new way of cruising😊 Slowing down, being clear about each one responsibilities, keeping eye on our boy in every moment and forgeting about usual tidiness were some of the new things which become casual when you have baby on board.
Thankfully with five of us on board my mother could dedicate time to Jura, me do some small tasks on boat and Egoi with my father fully prepare the boat.
Grain de Sable To-Do list was endless. Nevertheless somehow we manage to finish the big part of it. Apart from painting the bottom of GRAIN, installing electronic devices, sails, ropes and adjusting the boat for Jura,s safety and comfort, my father and Egoi had most important job to do - instal the new old ARIES wind wane. We got it from our friend Marius from Saint Bart to whom we give a big big thanks again. After testing it during 5 days trip to Jamaica we are very glad about having it!
Another important boat update- finally we got rid of our old inflatable dinghy! In Aruba at Budget Marine shop bought a new rigid 8-foot Walker Bay. We were tired of spending lots of time and money on patching the old rubber , inflating and inflating , worrying about not making a hole when coming to rocky shore and lifting its heavy weight on board before sailing.
Walker Bay can carry around 190kg of weight max, but sometimes we were giving to it little bit more job:) For the stability concern installed old fenders around. At the moment of climbing to dinghy and going on wavy sea it made a big difference.
So in the end of November when the hurricane season was at its very end we left sailing towards south of Jamaica. 500 miles, 4 days and a half trip and we arrived to Jamaica- Beautiful Morant bay.
During the trip all went smoothly and nice , despite one frightening accident one night. One of our boat shrouds (starboard) became loose and we urgently needed to fix it. The shroud support stainless steel plate broke , so while sailing we had to replace it.
And our boy Jura was happy and very active during all trip! Of course without my parents help it would have been much more harder. At this age we were not able to leave him any second alone.
Down the deck Jura,s safe place became port side saloon bed. We installed soft fence made from old sail so that Jura could move freely inside. Yet he is so strong boy, so we still had to be always near watching him not to climb and jump on floor. It was not easy to be sailing with a year old baby, no, but his laugh and his joy when bathing in a laundry bucket or when discovering flying fishes around rewarded all our tiredness .
We checked in a country at Port Morant which at that time was a military base. Every time we stepped ashore surprisingly we were welcomed by polite and friendly militars. It was our first time in Jamaica and after the dry ABC islands before we were so happy to be back to the jungles! Little town ashore was small and authentic, no tourist, no hotels, no bars . We thought that probably in a long time we were the only white people there. Till we came till the local library for catching a WIFI. There we met one Basque guy living in Port Morant for a few years already!
Blondie Jura soon became centre of attention of all town and it reminded us our times in Indonesia where kids and women were asking if they can touch my hair😊
After Port Morant we sailed all the way west along southern coast of Jamaica stopping in different places to explore the island. In the beginning we were planning to spend at least two months here, but after checking in with authorities we were told that if we stay longer than one month each of us need to make visa. And it would cost 350 US dollar each! Of course that sounded crazy for us so we changed our plans and decided to spend 30 days cruising in Jamaica and then sail to the Cayman Islands where my parents would take a flight back to Lithuania.
So later we sailed to Kingston. Spend few days visiting the town and of course did not loose the possibility to see the legendary Bob Marley Museum. Than bought more provisions and continued sailing west.
ONE OF MY PERSONAL DREAMS BECAME REAL!
Sailing along the coast anchored at Portland Bight and Great Pedro Bluff bays. Later sailed to Black River and dropped a hook there. Soon we were welcomed by few crocodiles swimming around the boat and later saw more of them going by dinghy in the river. Not nice feeling, believe me! Next, sailed to beautiful Bluefield’s bay. And for the Christmas Eve anchored in front of crazy chaotic Savana la Mar town. It was raining all day, but being at anchor somewhere in Jamaica with Christmas lights on and 12 dishes on table surrounded by your family was in all ways something very special….
And at the end we reached Jamaica western part -Negril and set sails to Caymans.
To be honest we were happy of visiting this island and choosing less touristic southern coast. In a whole month we met just 7 sailboats! Few of them in Kingston and Black River and elswhere we were sailing totally alone…It was a special country, sometimes chaotic, sometimes too loud or too wild, with crocodiles or manatees around, with muddy and transparent waters. But most important with very friendly people around. And despite all the rumours which you find on internet about how dangerous it can be in this country we never felt unsafe or worried at all.
....and than it came -Caymans!
We did know nothing about these islands, except that they are fiscal paradise and one of the leading international financial centres in the world. Also heard about the big quantity of high level hotel complexes. And that’s true. All the coast is full of them! But if you are able to put back to these buildings and concentrate your vision on sea, you will definetily enjoy its amazing beaches! You can walk along miles and miles and enjoy incredibly blue water and white sand.
Cayman Islands consist of of Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman, which are located to the south of Cuba and northeast of Honduras, between Jamaica and Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula.
We visited the most western island- the Grand Cayman. It has an international airport from where my parents took a flight back to Europe. In the capital Georgetown we did check in and to our surprise it appeared to be totally free. For the first month.
Later for the second month each person should pay 50$ fee which grows to 100 $ for the third one. Each sailboat must take a mooring boy as anchoring in front Georgetown is totally forbidden. We had no expectation about this place, but after all were surprised about its clear water, impresive reefs and sea life! Ant that’s just in front of the city centre with huge cruising boats staying behind us!
Town its self is quite small with lots of influence from US and streets full of tourist from the cruising boats.
In a Georgetown we spend New Year and entered 2020. New years eve were lucky to meet one Lithuanian girl Laima and together with her great family became good friends. Thanks to them we could enjoy our time in Caymans and learn more about it! Linkejimai tau, Laima, ir visai tavo seimai nuo musu visu!
Cayman islands consist of big coral ring with the shallow lagoon named North Sound, inside. Get inside is quite tricky because the path through the corals is very narrow. But once inside you find all weather protected lagoon and some nice anchorages. One must be careful sailing around- depths in many places are less than a meter, but once you get use to constantly looking deep meter all becomes more easy.
North Sound has 2 small creeks, Governors and Mitchells Creeks, connected with many small channels with luxuries villas around. Most of the time we were anchoring inside them, because of their proximity to the main road, supermarkets and nice beaches. Spend most time going to swim to the sea, making trips to the capital, shopping, meeting with Laima,s family and other friends- Donata ,Don ,Barbie and enjoying our friend Remis and his family visit on board.
Except from being most expensive island we ever been it is cruising friendly and very safe place. Prices of everything are very high, so if you plan to come by your boat, load it full of provisions and you will appreciate it! Don’t expect wild nature or unspoiled areas, at least on land. But for those loving diving , rich life under the water and white sand beach, it’s an ideal place to stop.
This is a story about our life journey or better said is a story about our life afloat a sailing boat. Our trips, our adventures, our challenges and problems found on the way. Our everyday life floating and our unforgettable moments of sailing and tasting the worldl!
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"Cruising has two pleasures. One is to go out in wider waters from a sheltered place. The other is to go into a sheltered place from wider waters."
"The lovely thing about cruising is that planning usually turns out to be of little use."
"There are more sharks on the land than in the sea"
If you are going to do something, do it now. Tomorrow is too late.
Don't worry about the world ending today. It's already tomorrow in Fiji.
" Land was created to provide a place for boats to visit."
"A sailor is an artist whose medium is the wind. Live passionately, even if it kills you, because something is going to kill you anyway."
"A bad day at SEA is still better than a good day at work"
"The perfection of a yacht's beauty is that nothing should be there for only beauty's sake."
"Remember 'It was a professional who built the Titanic, It was an amateur who built Noah's Ark"
"Sailing - The art of slowly going nowhere at great expense. "
When life gives you a hundred reasons to cry, show life that you have a thousand reasons to smile.