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Ames K. Swartsfager

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Member Since: Sep, 2009

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Publisher:  internet

Copyright:  Jan. 1, 2005

A Captian's throughts and feelings about sailing Down Island through the Caribbean island.

 This is not a travelogue or sailing guide. Just pieces of a dusty log in the back of the author's mind. All except the first chapter is there.  If you want it leave a comment and request it with your e-mail address.

This book is free for download.  A new chapter is added almost every week.


04/16/92 Lat. N 16 59.1'  W 61 46.3 English Harbor, Antigua

I scrutinized the entrance to English Harbor with great awe. Lord Nelson himself spent time here, and also Captain Hornblower. As I approached the harbor I could see the remains of two 18th century British fortresses on the cliff tops and could feel the spyglass of Nelson on me — checking to see if I ran a taunt ship.
I reached down and shut off the engine.

"What are you doing?" Judy asked, with a lot of concern in her voice.

"We're going to sail in."

"But the harbor is crammed with boats at anchor."

"Hornblower could do it. So can I!" I said with bravado.

"But he was a fictitious character!" she shouted.

The harbor was indeed filled with hundreds of sailboats. It was race week and the anchorage was jam packed with yachts and racing sailboats. But all I could see were images of the towering masts of the British Navy frigates and ships of the line anchored there.

"Avast ye, boys," I called. "Let's enter yonder port and show them lubbers what seamanship really is!"

"Maybe you ought to go below for a rest," said my mate, thinking the all night sail had distroyed my mind.

I was elated as the boat, under main alone, was now making six knots on a beam reach. We were headed for a narrow opening between the cliff to port and a reef to starboard.

"Have you gone out of your mind?!"

"Go up forward, me hardy," says I, "and prepare to lower the main on my hand signal."
We fairly flew through the narrows and I rounded her up between two mega racers and headed directly up wind. I made the thumb down hand signal and the main slid to the boom with a rattle. The boat slowed and I looked for a likely anchoring spot.

Steering to starboard around another anchored boat, we drifted into a clear spot and I ran forward and dropped the anchor.

The rest of that day I strutted around the deck.

The Picnic

4/10/92 Lat. N 17 54.2' W 62.8' AnseColombier, St. Barthélemy

After anchoring in the pretty bay with its long sandy beach, we went ashore to see if we could find some place to enter the country. We found a trail that led along a cliff, past some rocks and a cave.

The ocean seen from this height was a mixture of blues, from the far off indigo to the blue green close to shore. Toward a point of land to our left, the waves danced and sparkled over the reefs. Breaking the silence and proving the great force of the seemingly calm sea was the deafening noise of the waves breaking on the rocks below.

We reached a village and attempted to ask the shopkeeper where we should go to enter the country. Since we had but a rudimentary knowledge of French, we finally gave it up and hoped that our papers from French St. Martin would suffice for this French Antilles island.

We bought a loaf of French bread, cheese, and a bottle of wine and headed back up the cliff trail. When we came to the dark cave we had passed earlier, we stopped and sat on some rocks in the coolness of the shade, eating our lunch. As I sat there looking over the ocean, I wondered how in the world I had made it this far.

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