Dahlfin II Status

Last updated: March 31, 1998

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30) Fax from Grenada, 6-30-97

We've only been in Grenada a couple of days and just love it. It is very lush - we've been able to do some walking in adjacent residential areas. After the poverty of the last few islands this is a welcome change. I'm sure up in the mountains (which we plan on touring) there are some depressed areas but here it is like a suburb in southern California with beautifully manicured lawns and trees that are blossoming with a riot of color. We are here in the rainy season and everything is green and quite lush.

6-20-97, 12 42.54 N / 61 41.40 W, Canouan Island, the Grenadines

Wind E 10/15 knots. Each sail now seems to be a little more off the wind which is very nice.

6-21-97, 12 37.90 N / 61 23.44 W, Tobago Cays, the Grenadines

Wind E 15-20 knots. We love the Grenadines. We are now in an area which reminds us somewhat of the Apostle Islands as the islands are close together and each day's run is just a few miles. We pass through he Cays and anchor to windward behind a huge reef. A little un-nerving when you do this for the first time. You feel the full impact of the wind but the reef protects you with virtually no seas. We spent a number of days here snorkeling on the reefs both inside and out. We see eels and our first sharks, nurse sharks which are supposedly harmless, but they sure look big when they are swimming in the water with you. We are well into the rainy season now as we get 2-3 rain squalls each day. We are also dealing with "tropical waves" now which are areas of disturbance which later in the season have the potential of developing into hurricanes. On the last day in this anchorage we must have had one of these tropical waves pass through as we gave up counting the number of rain/wind squalls that went through. It was literally all day. Still, we were well protected behind the reef.

6-24-97, 12 38.84 N / 61 24.73 W, Salt Whistle Bay, Mayreau Island

Went all of 2.9 miles today. Things seem to be really picking up since we got to the Grenadines. We actually feel like we are cruising again and not just moving the boat south. We did some snorkeling on a nearby reef and cleaned the grass and barnacles off the bottom. We hiked up to the village on the other side of the "mountain" for lunch.

6-25-97, 12 35.76 N / 61 24.73 W, Union Island, the Grenadines

Wind E 15-176 knots. Nice sail - 4.6 miles! Went into town to look around. On this day at 1300 Monserrat erupted. We were there exactly 4 weeks ago. Ash and spume 30,000 feet high, lava flows right up to the airport. Later we found out 9 people were killed, 14 missing, 30 medivac, and the airport was closed. The volcano is still quite active, we hear on SSB that they are thinking of evacuating the island.

6-26-97, 12 29.20 N / 61 27.59 W, Hillsbourgh, Carriacou

Went ashore to check out of customs at Union Island, sailed briskly down to Carriacou - wind E 20 knots. Checked into customs - Carriacou and Grenada are the same country. The last two islands seem quite a bit more depressed than the other and have felt a little anti-Americanism. Again, there have been more reports of dingy thefts etc., so we were anxious to head on down to Grenada.

6-27-97, 12 00.01 N / 61 45.67 W, Prickly Bay, Grenada

Wind E 15-17 knots. We actually sailed with the wind abaft of the beam! It has been so long we hardly knew how to trim the sails! Set anchor at 1400 - our goal has been reached - to be at or south of latitude 12 by July 1st! That night we celebrated with Chicken Kiev from the freezer and broke out a bottle of wine carried over 5,000 miles from the Apostle Islands. This bottle was given to us by Bill and Judy Rohde on one of our last nights in the islands.

It is now time to stop and rest and enjoy paradise. It took us a little over a month to work our way down the Leewards and Windwards after leaving Virgin Gorda Sound. We feel like we have been racing through paradise. We missed alot, but hope to pick it up at a later date. Most of our friends from Luperon are here - had a GREAT Happy Hour reunion on Saturday night. We really don't know what is next except that we will probably spend hurricane season between Grenada, Tobago, and Trinidad. Venezuela has a bit of a bad reputation right now - it seems to be safe only in marinas and for this you need reservations. We hear all the marinas are filled up. But who knows, for now we are here and going to enjoy Grenada.

We really don't know how long we are going to stay in Grenada but it could be at least a month. Trinidad is very hot - Grenada is 5-10 degrees cooler and we usually have a nice breeze. It gets quite hot as soon as you leave the water and go inland, daily temperatures are 85+ degrees F. It cools down a little at night, but we couldn't do it if we didn't have our fans in the fore-cabin. The idea of spending August in Trinidad doesn't seem too appealing right now. We may wait until a little later. Supposedly we are below the hurricane belt (the last one hit here in 1955) but of course it it looks like there is a big storm coming we will make a run for Trinidad (78 miles away). There are a number of very nice harbors along the southern shore of Grenada which we plan to divide our time upon.

Well, I guess that is all for now. I can't begin to tell you how glad we are to be here. At last some of the pressure is off. When I look at the overall map and see how far we have come, I can't believe we have done it. Venezuela and South America are only 100 miles away!

- Bonnie and Ron Dahl

31) Assorted news from Grenada, 8-27-97

7-24-97: We had to laugh when you mentioned "I hope there is enough for you to do around Grenada". First of all, Grenada is a very beautiful island, quite lush now that we are in the rainy season. All the trees are in bloom, a riot of color. Fall in the Midwest was never like this. We have fallen in with quite a big sociable group of sailors. Georgetown was never like this! Even though there are fewer boats here - we know so many more from our travels down the islands. There is a certain kinship from having done the Thorny Path together. We have pot-luck dinners ashore, pot-luck Happy Hours (it took us three days to celebrate the 4th of July), domino tournaments, volleyball, and tours of the island.

For the tours we charter a local taxi (mini-van) for the day and pile in 16 sailors and go off into the mountains for hiking. They have a beautiful national park here. One of our hikes was through the rain forest, up and down across half the island for 5 hours. It was one of the more vigorous hikes we have been on. One of our fellow sailors broke his arm on that one and we had to rig a splint while out in the bush. We have hiked back to waterfalls and swam in the pools beneath them. The socializing finally got so bad we had to leave last week for a remote anchorage for 5 days so we could get some work done on the boat. Unfortunately, we got in with another bunch of sailors at a beach barbecue and it looked like it was going to start all over again. Then the weather deteriorated as a couple of tropical waves passed through so we decided to come back to Prickly Bay.

Tomorrow we will take a 10 hour tour of the north end of the island through the steepest mountains and then on the windward eastern shore. We have already visited a rum distillery and nutmeg factory and will be doing the same on tomorrow's tour.

We are meeting a lot of seasoned boaters who have been down here 10-12 years who don't bother going to Trinidad and Venezuela after having gone once. They just spend hurricane season in Grenada and then go back up island for the winter. There are 3000 boats right now in Trinidad and it is very hot, humid, and rainy. It rains for hours on end there whereas here it may rain 3 or 4 times a day for 15 minutes. We don't even worry about it, just get wet with everyone else, it dries off right away in the 85-88 degree heat.

Believe it or not, the snorkeling isn't as good here as up island. The reefs are beautiful but the water is murky so it is difficult to see until you are up close. Apparently it is from the Orinoco flow. The water is like bath water, there is no pain at all getting in!

8-23-97: At last we are getting ready to leave Grenada! Weather permitting, we will leave sometime tonight for Los Tostidos - 88 nm to the southwest. Will spend a few days in the islands and then to Isla Margarita (Venezuela). From there we will visit more of the offshore islands and the Puerto LaCruz on the mainland where we have reservations in a marina - Bahia Redonda. It should take about 2 weeks to get to Puerto LaCruz. We are hoping once we are there to make plans with a travel agent to do some traveling inland. In particular, we would like to visit Angel Falls (ed. world's largest waterfall, 3000 foot drop). A few days ago we spent half a day with a couple who had been to Venezuela a couple times. Although it is quite beautiful, they say theft is rampant, so we are a little leery. Communications are very poor and because of theft we will not be getting any mail while there. Apparently telephone communication is also very poor but maybe the marina has better options. Right now our best bet (and safest) still looks like fax.

-- Ron and Bonnie

Here are some letters from friends:


My name is Bill Kronschnabel, I'd appreciate your adding me to the email list. I saw the web address in this month's issue of Lake Superior magazine. You probably don't remember me, but I have the 35' C&C Mandalay, which I keep at Schooner Bay. One night around 1978 or so I met your family when Dahlfin and Mandalay were the only ones gathered around the fire with Isaac the Park Ranger at Rocky Island. We were talking about cooking omlettes for breakfast the next day, and you and your sister said you had never had one before. So the next day we made them for you, and took a picture of the two of you with the omlettes on your plates standing on the dock. I think I sent that picture to your Mom and Dad a couple years ago.

In any event, I'm glad to hear that they are doing well and enjoying their adventure. I was at CPR a couple weeks ago and the folks from Nipigon were inquiring as to whether I knew how things were going for them. I left my boat in Rossport on Ned Basher's mooring for a few weeks and will be going up there this Saturday to sail it back via Pukaskwa Park and Copper Harbor. As usual, I will be relying on The Superior Way -- I still have the copy your Mom autographed for me at Rock Harbor a couple years ago. We plan on anchoring in the Pukaskwa River again--something I would never have attempted the first time I went in there without her sketch!

It was interesting to read their comments about the Caribbean. I have had the opportunity to be in many of the same spots, and have the same feelings about the DR, Dominica, and Grenada. I was just a few weeks ahead of them this year, sailing with Joe and Sue Ness from Bayfield in their Shannon 43 SHAMROCK from St. Martin to Trinidad in late April/early May. Tell them I ran into Derck Amerman at the TT Yacht Club marina in Trinidad about May 11th or 12th. He said he thought he was going to be there for awhile. And tell your Dad we caught a 40lb wahoo while sailing off St. George's on the way to Prickly Bay. Joe said he had caught one, but not as big, in the same area about a year ago. as the book says, "the fishing is reputed to be good in this area". Joe and Sue hauled their boat at Powerboats in Trinidad and came home for the summer. I think I anchored in the same place they did in the Tobago Cays when I was there a few years ago with Roger Swanson. They are right--it is a bit unnerving anchoring behind an underwater reef knowing that the only land in front of you is Africa. Anyway, pass this on to them if you can, wish them well for me and I'll look forward to following their journey. Thanks for your efforts in doing this, too.


And another:

Hello Peter. We are new visitors to your site. We learned of it from Rhonda Lake's column in Lake Superior Magazine (August - September 1997). Please add us to your email mailing list. We would love to be kept apprised of your parents voyages!

It is really wonderful that you are keeping this travel log of your parents' travels. We have been great admirers of your parents for quite some time. We truly have to thank them for documenting their (and yours too!) extensive travels around magnificent Lake Superior. Our copy of The Superior Way is very well worn!!

We had the pleasure of visiting CPR slip for the first time last summer (thanks to learning of it in THE BOOK), and we had only just missed your parents visit by a couple of weeks. We would have been honored to have met them and thanked them for their contribution to Lake Superior boaters ourselves. Perhaps you can pass on our thanks for us. We wish them a safe and wonderful adventure!

Best wishes,
Rob and Deb Flank (Thunder Bay, Ontario)

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