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Parrots Chama


These are some sample emails sent during Chama's voyages.

Ven Flag
Chama’s Log Dec 20, 1998

We finally got started on the great adventure. I quit my job on the last day of November. My
last flight was from Kuwait to Aviano, Italy on the 29th with only one passenger on board. It
was a beautiful morning flying low near the Dolomites and over Venice on the approach into
Aviano. It was a day full of mixed emotions. I know that whenever I see an airplane flying
overhead I will think about the job and the people I left behind. Fortunately I had a great crew
who helped me celebrate the day.

On Dec 6 we left Cumana with Esther’s brother Ismael, her sister Rosa and Rosa’s two boys,
Claudio and Marcos. They spent 4 or 5 days with us and then got a bus back to their cars in
Cumana. We then continued on to Margarita where we spent 5 days and then motored along
the north coast of Venezuela. We were told to stay very close to the coast to take advantage of
a counter current. That worked quite well for us until the motor quit about a half a mile from
shore resulting in a flurry of activity. When I finally got the motor started again we decided to
remain well out to sea where we got the snot kicked out of us and we motored all night to reach
Trindad in the morning.

We are now anchored in a secure cove in the heart of all the boating activity.
Trinidad is beautiful and the people are extremely friendly. There steel bands in the streets and
parties going on all over for the Christmas season. Prices are very reasonable and there are lots
of boat facilities. We are planning to spend about a month here before moving up to Tobago.
Yesterday Alexander learned how to windsurf. It amazed me how quickly he got the hang of it.
I remember some other crew members laughing at my first attempts to learn in Puerto Rico.
Today is Sunday so Xander doesn’t have home school today. We are planning go to lunch at a
hotel in downtown Port of Spain and then to the zoo.

We wish you all a very merry Christmas and a terrific new year,
Xander, Esther, and Jeff
T&T Flag
4 March, 1999
We are still working on the masts and deck so the boat is quite a mess. The first sanding is
going on right now in preparation for making the grooves deeper. We sure will be glad when it is
all over. It looks like another month to finish. Esther is going to go to Venezuela for a week
next week to visit and get her sister Carolina to repair a bad tooth. She figured that it will
cost about the same to go there to get it done free as it would to have it done here by someone
she doesn't know. We had a nice dinner at the Lighthouse last night to celebrate my birthday
8 March, 1999
The decks are being fixed. It is very hot during the day, since the canvas are in the store room and there is
sawdust all over. I hope the repairs are done with soon, so we can start our sailing up north.
We will try to make to Dominica before hurracane season, when we have to head back to Venezuela,
since our insurance does not cover us any place in the Caribean between 12 and .... degrees
11 March, 1999
We are still in Trinidad finishing up some work on the boat. One of our neighbors told us that
the definition of cruising is working on boats in exotic places. Once this work is done we should
be at the point where all the major work is done and we will just have to do routine maintenance.
We should finish up in 2-3 weeks and then we will head up to Tobago. We will continue up the
island chain until the hurricane season (approximately July-Oct) and then head back to the
safety of Venezuela for a few months.
Xander has made several new friends here. He has been spending a lot of time with an Australian
boy exactly the same age and a New Zealand girl who is a couple of years older. They entered a
for-fun sailing race a few weeks ago and won t-shirts for their costumes. They were dressed as
knights in aluminum foil with aluminum foil bicycle helmets. The costumes turned out very well.
Sunday we had a soccer game between the kids and the adults. We had a good turnout and everyone
had fun. The adults won 8-10 but we had more aches and pains than they did in the morning.
Saturday we are going to have a picnic and take a couple of windsurfers and a small catamaran to
celebrate Xander's birthday.

My Birthday party was very fun, you should have seen it. We had a big soccer game, with the
youngsters against the oldies. We were winning until a new adult joined and they out numbered
us, and then they started winning. But it was really fun anyway, without counting the numerous
cuts and bruises.
Carnival was a blast, literally, since my friend, Tris, always wanted to go up to the sound trucks which were blasting there music so loudly that you
could see the pebbles jumping up and down because the ground was vibrating. Oh, and I can't
leave out the costumes which were enormous and very detailed!
Well, to sum it all up, I have had a great time!
Best Wishes,
Alexander Courrier

6 April, 1999
Xander esta bien, tomando lecciones de steelband y con amigos. El pasado 14 de febrero participo
en una regatta, vestido de caballero de la mesa redonda con una nina de New Zeland y un nino de
Australia. Su disfraz quedo tan bien que recibieron un premio especial y salieron resenados en
dos revistas de yateros. Jeff esta bien trabajando mas que antes de retirarse. Yo estoy bien, de
maestra, mama, limpia cubiertas y demas, pero bien. El lunes pasado hubo una bervena en una de
las marinas con un "Easter bonnet contest" y yo me puse uno de "Carmen Miranda" con una pina en
la cabeza y me gane un premio. Fue muy divertido. Ahora estamos listos a partir.
Gren Flag . Dom Flag
8 May, 1999
In Grenada we saw the most incredible green flash I have ever seen. It was like an emerald on the
horizon. From Grenada we passed through the Grenadines going to Carriacou, Union Island, Mayreau,
the Tobago Cays, Canouan, and Bequia. The Grenadines are beautiful, especially the Tobago Cays
where the snorkeling is unbelievable. We spent a couple of days in Cariacou where we had a lovely
hike across the island. In Canouan we ran into Atanua, a boat owned by the family of Xander's
friend Tristan from Australia. Its funny how one becomes so involved with the boat that you
start using the boat name for your own e.g. "Hey Chama, how are you doing today?" or "we are
Chama, who are you?". We have been traveling with Atanua ever since and will probably stay
together as far as Dominica. They are heading for the States while we are planning to return to
Venezuela. Atanua is a catamaran and they go quite a bit faster than we do so they are always
waiting at the destination with advice on where to anchor. We spent three days in St Vincent
where we visited a property owned by my friend Kirby and spent one night anchored off the coast
of St Lucia. A couple of days ago we saw our first whales. They didn't stick
around long enough to get a picture but I'm sure there will be plenty more. We are presently in
Martinique where we plan to spend a week or so. French bread, French wine, and café au lait.
Life is good. We are going to travel up the east coast of Martinique which is off the beaten
track before continuing on to Dominica
Fren Flag
6 June, 1999
We are back in the Saintes after a two day trip to Marie Galante. We saw an old windmill there
that has been restored so it can extract the juice out of sugar cane. Tomorrow we are going down
to Dominica for a couple of days before continuing south.

St Luc Flag
17 June, 1999
We are in Marigot Bay, St Lucia. We arrived yesterday and planned to leave early this morning
for St Vincent, but the bay is so beautiful that we decided to spend another day here. So far
the weather hasn't been a problem; just an occasional shower so we still aren't in a big hurry
to get south. Tomorrow we will go back to Cumberland Bay, St Vincent which is right next to
Kirby's property. Hope all is well.

St Vin Flag
21 June, 1999
We spent 2 days in Cumberland Bay and Xander and I climbed the Soufriere Volcano. It was almost
as strenuous a hike as the one to the Boiling Lake in Dominica but it was worth the effort. The
crater is about ½ mile across and has a large lava dome in the center. The hike took about 5
hours and the path up had lots of fruit trees. We are in the middle of mango season so we ate
all the mangos we wanted just by picking them up off the ground. We also found guava, avocado,
and we brought Esther back a breadfruit. We also went back to Kirby's property and picked a
bunch of grafted mangos to take along on the boat.
We are now in Bequia (just south of St Vincent). Last night we had a very nice dinner at a
waterfront restaurant called Gingerbread. Tomorrow we will leave for Mayreau or maybe the
Tobago Cays. From there we will probably go to Grenada on Wednesday and then on to Los Testigos
in Venezuela.

Gren Flag 25 June, 1999
We arrived back in Grenada yesterday afternoon and are planning to leave this evening for an
overnight sail to Los Testigos. We will stay there for a few days depending on how long the
local authorities permit. There is no customs office there so apparently they only allow you a
few days before they send you away. From there we will go to Margarita where we may stop for a
while. If any weather threatens, we will go down to Mochima which is quite well protected.

Ven Flag
Howdy from Chama,
Life finds us in Venezuela where we have been for more than a month now. We have stayed in Margarita Island after spending 3 days in Los Testigos. Our plan is to sail to Tortuga and Los Roques in a few days.Then we will go to Morrocoy and Pto Cabello. We will probably visit with my relatives for a while to get our "land legs" back again
Xander is doing good. He is getting very good with the windsurfer . He has become a good diver these days. His cousins came to visit for two weeks and they had a great time swimming. They jumped and dove and enjoyed being in the water. He can dive and get sand of the bottom in 8 -10 feet of water easily. School is almost over, and Xander is doing very good in his studies (to the delight of his parents).He is getting mostly A's and B's.
We plan to go to Seattle, WA in September to visit with Jeff's parents for a week and in November sail back north. The plans are to make it to Cuba and Central America next year. We'll see. Plans are hard to keep when you live on a boat.
Hope everything is going well with you. Please keep in touch.
Xander, Jeff and Esther

Mex Flag
12 June, 2000
We are presently in Isla Mujeres, Mexico after traveling all the way through the island chain.
We arrived in Mexico about a week ago from Cuba. Cuba was great in spite of a lot of inspections
every time we entered or left a port (including a drug sniffing dog in Santiago). We saw a pod of
pilot whales as we were passing the US military base in Guantanamo. Nearly all of the buildings
in Cuba are in need of repair, but the architecture is beautiful. The restoration process in
is just beginning and when it is done, Havana will be an outsanding city. Most of the cars in
Cuba were
built in the 50s and 60s and, in many places, the primary means of public transport is horsedrawn
carriages. The small islnds off the south coast were incredible. Xander and I caught so many
lobsters that we were giving them away and once even decided to turn a couple of them loose again.
We just got back from a 3 day trip inland on the Yucatan to visit Mayan ruins in Chichen Itza and
Uxmal. Very impressive.

Bel Flag
18 June, 2000
We are on our way right now to one of only 4 atolls in this hemisphere. The
other 3 are in Belize. I will probably send this message from Xcalak, Mexico
which is the last stop before Belize. We are moving pretty quickly because there
isn't much protection along this part of Mexico if bad weather should threaten.
We should be in Xcalak tomorrow and that is at the entrance to Chetumal Bay so
from here on out we should have places to duck into if needed.

Summer Solstace, 2000
We are now in San Pedro, Belize. When we left Xcalak, Mexico yesterday morning we had a
very exciting ride. Xander and I had jerry-rigged the steering system because of a broken steering
arm. When we were leaving through a narrow cut in the reef, we were hit by a huge breaking wave
which immediatly snapped our temporary repair and turned us sideways to the breakers with reef
all around.
Fortunately we had rigged the emergency tiller as a backup and were able to get turned into the
seas again. It was one of those experiences they don't tell you about in the sailing brochures.
Anyway, to quote my brother-in-law Pilingo, "What would life be without emotion?" We are going to
relax and take it easy for a few days. There is a lobster festival going on this weekend on one
of the cays and it looks like we can sail inside the reef for quite a ways now on our way to

9 July, 2000
We are considering a major change in plans. Instead of crossing the Pacific, I think we will
cross the Atlantic instead. My crew is planning on deserting me next year and I don't want to be
in the middle of the Pacific by myself. Esther's leave of absence is ending and she needs to go
back to Minnesota in the spring of 2001. In Europe, it will be much easier for me to find crew
and to travel back and forth to the US, and the distances between ports is much less. Under the
new plan, Xander and I will leave for Bermuda around the end of next April from wherever we are in
the Caribbean. From Bermuda we will go to the Azores, then on to Portugal and Gibralter. Once she
is re-established in Minnesota, Esther will join us in Europe for a while before she and Xander
have to go back to start school. We haven't figured out how it is all going to work, but I will
spend time with them in the US and they will come to wherever I am during their vacations.

Guat Flag 27 July, 2000
We are making our way up the river (Rio Dulce) little by little. We spent about
5 days in Livingston and another 4 days next to a small settlement along the
river called Ak'Tenamit. Xander had another ingrown toenail which was fixed by
an American docter in Ak'Tenamit. The nurse there is a volunteer from Seattle.
The river is beautiful. It runs through the jungle and in some places has steep
cliffs along the sides and there are lush green mountains all around. The houses
are built on the water's edge on stilts with tall thatched rooves and ornate
railings made of poles. It looks like something out of Swiss Family Robinson.

28 July, 2000
Ahora estamos en Rio Dulce, Guatemala, despues de pasar casi un mes en Belize.
Belize es absolutamente bello, tiene miles de cayos con arrecifes
llenos de pescados lindos y sobre todo muchas langostas. En medio rio, anclamos
en frente de una aldea india, fuimos a banarnos en un rio lindisimo e hice
arepas con maiz verdadero. Cocine el maiz, lo pile, lo moli a mano e
hicimos las arepas a la orilla del rio en una parrilla con lenas. Ni
decirte que Jeff y Xander quedaron encantados con el sabor. Esto aca
es bellisimo, las casas son palafitos con techos de palmas y paredes de banbu,
los indijenas van a la escuela en cayucos que navegan con destreza increible. Xander
y yo comentabamos que de hacerlo nosotros, nos volteariamos a cada
remada. la escuela es muy pobre, asi que donamos lapices y los libros
que Xander no usa mas. Ellos estaban muy contentos, tambien saque una
bolsa de ropa usada de nosotros y la he estado regalando a los ninos
indigenas que se acercan al barco. Ahora estamos en la ciudad de Rio Dulce
donde hay mas civilizacion y mas veleros. No me gusta tanto, pero hay
video rental, email y restorantes. Xander tambien encontro un amiguito
de su edad, pero el regresa a USA pronto.
Todos estamos bien de salud(GAD). A Xander le cortaron una una enterrada
en una clinica en la aldea indigena. Alli hay doctores gringos que
hacen trabajo voluntario, del resto, todo anda bien. Planeamos estar
aca por varios meses.

17 Sept, 2000
We are still in Rio
Dulce, Guatemala where we have been doing a lot of boat work. The old gal is looking pretty good
again after neglecting a lot of things while we were traveling. Tomorrow we are taking a bus to
Tikal with some other cruisers to visit the Mayan ruins. In October we are going to visit Antigua
and Guatemala City before flying to Seattle to visit Grandma and Grandpa for 11 days. We have pot
luck dinners 2 or 3 times a week and play vollyball twice a week. Esther leads an aerobics class
Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Xander started school early and is already nearly halfway through
10th grade. Yesterday we had a pool party here in Mango Marina and Xander got a swimming lesson
from one of the other cruisers. He and I play chess most afternoons and we are pretty evenly matched.
Sometimes he will have a winning streak where I can't beat him to save my soul. Then the tides will
turn and I win a bunch in a row. He and I also have a chinup competition going and again we are
pretty well matched (usually 15-17). We have a good group of people in the marina; everyone helps
one another with loans of materials or ideas to solve probelms. The guy next to me used to fly DC-8s
for UPS and knows many of the same people I do. We will leave here around the end of Oct get in position
for Xander and I to cross the Atlantic in the spring. Esther is going back to work in St Paul next
year and Xander will go back to school with her. I will visit them and they will visit me when they
have vacations.
Just to let you know we are OK. Hurricane Keith seems to be pounding Belize
but not a breath of wind nor a drop of rain so far here on the Rio Dulce.
Well, that's why we are here in this safe Hurricane hole. Hard to believe
because it's so close. Sounds like all the places where we just spent the
summer got hit hard: In San Pedro 120 kt. winds & 9-12 ft surge, Cay Caulker under water, Belize
City had 15" of rain & 60 kt. winds. There's a 129 ft. vessel misssing -
Delphina? - that seemed to be last heard from at storm center. Relief
efforts already in work for Belize. Too soon to say it's over yet. Seems
like it's stationary.
We are now in Livingston at the mouth of the river. We will leave tomorrow to go back to the cays of Belize. I'm looking forward to some lobster again after several months without. I'm still having problems with the computer. I hope it will work for me long enough to get to somewhere I can have it repaired. I had to write this message on the Mac and then copy it to the PC because of a stuck key.
Hope all is well.
Querida Chela,
Te escribo desde el barco. Dile a Rosa que llagamos el 15 de l 12 y que si todavia estamos planeando la ida a ka Gran Sabana? Dile que Felicitaciones por el tan necesitado carro. Siempre me rio mucho cuando leo tus cartas. Escribe a esta direccion pues estaremos en cayor por dos senmanas o mas. Esta direccion es limitada y no puedes manadarme fotos os cartas. Quisaz en el futuro lo hagan mas grande y eso sea posible. Besos, Esther

Well we are finally out of the river and Chama has saltwater flowing through her veins again. We arrived in Hunting Cay in the southernmost cays of Belize yesterday afternoon and started loooking for lobster a short time later. We only found one little one, but today we are going to make a more concentrated effort. Hunting Cay is a beautiful small island covered by palm trees with white sand beaches and surrounded by coral reefs. It looks like a picture from a travel brochure. We will spend several days here in the Sapodilla Cays before going on to Placencia. We are planning to stay in southern Belize near the safety of Rio Dulce for a couple of weeks more in case a late season hurricane threatens. We need to be in Isla Mujeres, Mexico by the 15th of December, however, to catch a flight to Venezuela for Christmas.

We found out that a large number of messages that we sent using hotmail were never delivered. I don't know what the problem was but we are now using a new system called Sailmail which allows us to send and receive messages at sea using the SSB (short wave radio). Our new address is;
Please note that we cannot receive photos or other attachments using this system. If you want to send a photo please use the "" address. We will still be checking that address from time to time, but our primary address is now Sailmail. Hope all is well,
The Chama crew
The entrance to Rio Dulce is just south of Punta Gorda. The towns shown on my small paperback atlas are Punta Gorda and Puerto Barrios. The river entrance is about halfway between the two towns. My little atlas doesn't show it, but there is a town called Livingston located at the mouth of the river. Livingston is accessable only by water or air. There aren't any roads there. The river entrance is beautiful. It winds through a canyon with lush vegatation. They say the old Tarzan movies were filmed there. The river goes through two lakes. The first is called El Golfete and further on is Lago de Izabal. There is a road that crosses the river (the highest bridge in Central America) in between the two lakes. Near the bridge is a town called Fronteras which is where we spent the past several months tied up at Mango Marina.

Our present position is; N 16 08.5 W 088 15.3 at a small island called Northeast Sapodilla Cay. It is another picture postcard setting. We have coral reefs all around us and we spent the entire afternoon snorling (Xander got time off school for our snorkling fieldtrip). We ended up with a couple of small lobster and a nice conch. Last night we went ashore for dinner at a small resort on the next cay to the south. It was an especially nice day in paradise.
We are now overdosing on conch; conch chowder, conch ceviche etc. I sure hope that conch doesn't appear on the endangered species list. We are in Northeast Sapodilla Cay and life is good. It is great to just dive into the water whenever you get too hot. Our dinner tonight consisted of a couple of small lobsters, a crab, and a delicious conch chowder. Total cost; not enough to bother adding up.
11-13-00 Position: N16º 08.5 W 088º 15.3 (still)
Today's glitch is that the computer wants to keep typing "w"s. It finally stopped and now the only way I can do one is to paste it. Every day is like learning how to operate a new computer. The lobster fishermen got skunked yesterday. we are going to try again today and tomorrow we will leave for Placencia. we still have one lobster meal in the freezer.
Right now we are on an atoll off of the coast of Belize. Xander is doing school work and Jeff is doing chores in the boat, since there is always something to do in the boat. This afternoon, they are going to look for lobsters. I am going to jump in the hammock and read a book. I am going to miss this, but I am also ready for a regular house and a real job. Xander is doing his school work almost by himself, so I do not have much to do but house chores.
We had a pleasant trip motoring yesterday from Glover's Reef to Lighthouse Reef. Both places are offshore atolls like those found in the South Pacific. We are traveling with another American boat called Sorrento and are planning to do something together for Thanksgiving. There is a big bluehole near here that I'm hoping we'll get to see tomorrow or the next day depending on the weather (there is a cold front passing thru today and it is quite windy).
we are still in Lighthouse Reef. A cold front passed over us yesterday. The wind has been 20-25 knots all night long and we have been rocking and rolling in the waves. we weren't able to get a very protected anchorage here because of the shape of the island and poor holding closer to shore. It is forecast to continue for another day. It looks like we're just going to have to tough it out. The only good news is that the winds should shift around more to the east and then we will have more protection from the island. Aside from that all is well; Esther and Fran from Sorrento are making plans for Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow.
I have decided I vvill use a double "v" each time to avoid the cut and paste problem involved vvith the 23rd letter of the alphabet.
You can get cash from the ATM machines at the banks in Isla Mujeres or travelers checks vvould be an alternative to carrying a lot of cash.

The vvind is still bloivving but the motion seems to be a little less. I hope it lets up before our Thanksgiving dinner. I eavesdropped vvhen the cooks vvere making plans on the radio and vve are having baked chicken (there aren't any stores around to get a turkey), canned ham, dressing, mashed potatos, cranberry sauce, salad, and cake for dessert.

Thanksgiving morning
The vvind has eased up considerably during the night and there is much less rolling novv. VVe vvill check vvith Xander about vvhat he vvants for Christmas. I am short of ideas too. I bought him a nevv Leatherman tool that he has been eyeing for quite some time. I vvill probably get him something for skindiving like a lobster catcher.
Thanksgiving dinner was delicious. Sorrento left this morning for the north end of the atoll and then they will go on to Mexico. VVe had a terrific day today. The weather has finally broken and we had a clear sunny day with a gentle breeze. VVe went to the blue hole this morning, did some snorkling, had lunch there and then headed back south to Half Moon Cay. VVe went ashore to see the bird sanctuary. There are thousands of frigate birds and boobies. There is an observation platform you can climb and you are just a few feet from the nesting boobies. They are white with blue bills and orange feet. The male frigate birds have a brilliant red balloon that they inflate in their throats. VVe walked to the beach to watch the sunset and had a beautiful green flash. All in all, an excellent day. I think we will stay on Lighthouse Reef one more day and then go on to Turneffe Islands; the last of the four atolls.
VVe had another nice day today. This morning vve tied up to one of the mooring bouys that the live aboard dive boats usually use. Apparently they drop off people and pick up the next vveek's divers on Saturday because there vvas no one there. Xander and I vvent SCUBA diving and it vvas terrific. They obviously feed the fish because as soon as we arrived vve could see a huge number of fish waiting for us. They flocked around us as soon as we got into the water and were so close that we could touch them. It is 20-25 feet deep with beautiful coral all around. A perfect place to start learning to dive. After we finished, Esther came in for a while. Later she and I went snorkling and got a small lobster. we got some grouper from some local fishermen. Tomorrow we will go to Turneffe Islands and then on to Caye Caulker.

Cuban Flag


We are now in Cayo Rosario, Cuba. Yesterday we anchored near a pass in a lagoon that was unremarkable except that a bunch of dolfins showed up near the dinghy so Xander dove in and swam near them for about half an hour. The water was shallow and he had some pass right underneath him. We arrived here in the late afternoon and some fisherman came by after we were anchored who traded us a large snapper, a bucket of crab claws, and some vegetables. They have invited Xander and me to go fishing with them tomorrow. Tomorrow night we are getting together with a Canadian boat that was in the marina with us in Guatemala (Amber). There are a half a dozen sailboats here; more than I have seen in one place before in Cuba. Esther was going to make bread today but the yeast didn't rise so we are having pizza and crab claws for dinner. All is well.


Todavia estamos en Cuba esperando que el viento se calme para continuar hacia Jamaica. Todos estamos bien. Hace varios dias, Xander estuvo nadando en un cayo y llegaron alrededor de 20 delfines que se pusieron a nadar alrededor de el. Eran muy grandes y lindos y juguetones. Xander dice que estuvieron muy cerca pero nunca se dejaron tocar( que lastima, no?). Creo que Xander estaba muy emocionado con el evento. En Cayo Rosario conocimos 5 pescadores en un barco. Nos regalaron langosta, cangrejo, pescado y vegetales. Nosotros les dimos ron, cafe, leche, cereal, salsa de tomate y otras cosas que para ellos eran de mucho valor, asi como para nosostros lo fue lo que ellos nos dieron. El cocinero nos hizo una cazuela de langosta divina y esa noche los invitamos a comer arepas abordo. Son gente muy linda y nos dejaron una buena imprecion. Esto es una de las cosas lindas de viajar en barco. Ahora estamos en Cayo Largo, en una marina y todo es diferente. Esto es un sitio turistico y tu sabes, solo somos "dolares" con patas.


It Xander responding to your letter. It's hard to tell you what life on a boat is like. It isn't exacly a riot. presently we have three TV sets and two VCRs, out of which only two TVs work, which really sucks because movies are our main source of enertainment. We're in Cuba, catching two or three lobsters every day we get a chance, so our main food supply consists of lobster, although we're dying for anything different for a change. I'm here looking forward to crossing the Atlantic, 4 weeks of no sleep and intense bordome with a monotonous rising and plunging of the bow (front) of our boat, while hearing crashing and banging noises from below and thinking "there went the TV that worked," and "The computer just fell, again." But life isn't that bad. We get excersize daily and get to see new places every day, and even though we're dying to see any glimpse of real civilization, we get by.


We heard from some local fishermen the other night that the US bombed Iraq recently. I tried to get news on the SSB but didn't hear anything. Were they mistaken or do you have any info on that? They brought over a bucket of lobster tails that was so big we had to send some back with them. The freezer is full of conch and lobster.

Xander saw a big marlin jump out of the water 3 times before it disappeared yesterday. I was down below and he let out a scream which made me think we were about to run into a reef. I got up top in time to see the last splash.

I speared a hogfish yesterday and we cooked him on the BBQ. Very tasty. Even Esther enjoyed it.


We are enroute to either Cabo Cuuz, Cuba, or will continue thru the night to Jamaica. It will depend on the weather reports we get today. At this point I am inclined to go to Jamaica because there is a cold front headed towards us and the wind and seas are predicted to increase in the next few days.

Yesterday we had some whales follow along side for about an hour. They were about 1/4 mile away and sounded when I changed course to get closer. Last night a couple of fishermen stopped by with more lobster. We have to leave Cuba soon because there isn't any more room to store the stuff.

Jamaican Flag

We made it to Jamaica yesterday afternoon after a rough crossing. What was forecast to be 15 knot winds and 4 foot seas had areas where the wind was 25 knots with 10 foot seas.

We were originally thinking of going to the north coast of the Dominican Republic but are now considering passing along the south coast. That would get us to a corner of the D.R. where we could meet. We will stay in Jamaica until a cold front passes; probably Friday or Saturday.

Haitian Flag

We are still in Ile a Vache, Haiti. Tomorrow we plan to walk to market in a town called Madame Bernard. It is 2 hours each way. We may decide to return by boat if the sun is too hot when we are done. We are waiting for a break in the weather because there are 20 knot winds and 8 foot seas directly against us forecast for the forseeable future. When they say 20 knots, it usually means 25 and it is often accelerated near the coast. At night the winds calm considerably but we could only make it halfway during the calm and there is nowhere to stop between here and the Dominican Republic (125 nautical miles). When we run into an 8 foot wave, the boat comes to a stop and we end up averaging 2 knots while stuff on the boat starts to get damaged. There is a cold front coming down from the Gulf of Mexico which would change the direction of the wind to the south ahead of it and north behind it. Unfortunately the forecasts now show it passing far enough to the north that it probably won't affect our weather.

Dom Rep Flag 3-17-01

We left Ile a Vache a couple of hours ago. I'm hoping that will put us in Isla Beata tomorrow evening. We will keep checking the weather and should be in Barahona by the 20th. I will let you know when we have a better idea of our arrival in Barahona.

PR Flag


We are in Boqueron on the west coast of Puerto Rico. Boqueron is a resort town for vacationing Puerto Ricans. Since this is Easter week, the beaches are full of people and there is a nonstop string of jetskis passing all day long. We will probably stay here until midweek and then start out east along the south coast of P.R. Yesterday we had dinner with some friends that live nearby. Maria is my the sister of one of my mother's hairdressers in Seattle. Her husband, James, is a diver who likes to catch lobster and conch. For a while we thought we were going to have to say, "Oh boy lobster. Our favorite meal." We still have a freezer full of lobster from Cuba. Fortunately James didn't have a very good day diving so we had a delicious pork and chicken meal.

We rented a car to take our Australian friends, Bill and Deb, to the airport in San Juan. We kept the car for 4 days and visited a large cave with the 3rd largest underground river in the world and the Arecibo antenna one day. We then spent 2 days looking at real estate all along the west coast of Puerto Rico. We are meeting with a realtor tomorrow and have another session planned for Tuesday. We would like to buy something with a water view that faces the sunset. Esther doesn't want to live in Venezuela and I don't want to go back to the cold so this is our latest plan.


We have found a place we like up in the mountains. It has a view of the ocean from Aguadilla down almost to Mayaguez. It has almost 2 acres, an abandoned house that would need to be knocked down, is planted with oranges, bananas, mangos and coffee. The price is $44,000.

We also saw another farm that I thought might be of interest to you. It has a spectacular view, is a little more than 8 acres and can be subdivided. It also had a house at one time so there is electricity, water, and phone available. The price is $145,000. Both properties are near route 412 above Rincon (less than 1/2 hour drive). Nice view lots in Rincon go for $150,000 for 1/4 of an acre. Property taxes are next to nothing on vacant land and very low for a person's primary residence in Puerto Rico. The owner says that there was a legal problem with the property which has been settled so the purchaser would want to be certain that there are no snags.

Rosa and kids were supposed to show up yesterday and we went all the way to San Juan to pick them up. They never showed up. Esther called and found out that when they got to the airport in Caracas, they were told that they needed a notarized statement from the boys father before they could leave the country. She is planning to come later.


We finally left Boqueron this morning and are just a few miles to the south near Combate. Ether's sister Rosa was supposed to come to visit with her 2 boys. We rented a car and drove to San Juan, but they never showed up. They were told at the airport in Caracas that they had to have a notorized authorization from the boys' father before they could leave the country. She is planning to come in a week or two as well as another sister. We have found a piece of property we are thinking of buying up in the hills. It has a view of the ocean and I will be able to see my green flash from my balcony. There is an abandoned house on the property which would have to be torn down. I would probably come back next year to supervise construction.


Esther was planning to leave tomorrow for Minn. This morning she made a few calls and ended up with a job in the same school she was teaching in (Benjamin Mays). She will be teaching Spanish to elementary students. We invited a French couple who are anchored next to us to come over to celebrate with us this afternoon. She won't have to go back now until the end of August.


A quick note to let everyone know where we are. Our outboard part finally arrived yesterday afternoon, so we left St John this morning (June 1) and are making an overnight passage to Saba. We will probably spend just one night there as it is supposed to be quite rolley and then continue up to St Martin.

Granadian Flag

Just a quick note to let you know where we are. We've spent the last two days in Salt Whistle Bay on Mayreau Island in the Grenadines. It has a beautiful white beach where we had a picnic today. Charter boats have been arriving all day so the bay is quite full. Tomorrow we will go to the Tobago Cays; about 2 miles from here.


We left Grenada about 3:30 this afternoon headed for Los Testigos, Venezuela. It is now 10:00pm and the moon is just starting to rise. The sea is quite calm, only a few clouds, and Chama is loping downwind doing 7 knots. At this rate, we will arrive shortly after sunrise. There was a ship on the horizon about an hour ago but now we are completely alone. The only sound is water on the hull and creaking wood. Xander and Esther are both asleep and I'm drinking hot coffee. It is a beautiful night to be sailing.

In the Tobago Cays, we met up with a flotilla of charter boats that had a bunch of teenagers in the group. They invited us to a beach B.B.Q. Xander made friends with several of the kids so we tagged along from island to island with them. They were windsurfing, sailing Hobie Cats, playing games, and hanging out. Xander needed a break from spending all his time with adults.

We plan to leave the boat on the hard in Margarita. Esther leaves for the US in about 3 weeks to go back to work and Xander and I will go back the end of August.

Venezuelan Flag

Como estas?? y la familia?? Hoy a las 6 am llegamos a los Testigos desde Grenada. El viaje fue muy placentero. No habian olas y un viento suave y constante que nos dio para navegar a velas todo el tiempo. salimos a las 4 pm y estuvimos haciendo de 6 a 7 nudos que es muy poco visto en Chama. Aqui pasaremos unos 2 o 3 dias antes de salir hacia Porlamar. Desde alli llamare para reportarme. Espero le pases este mensaje a tu papa. Cuando tiene la operacion????. Me gustaria saber para estar pendiente. Dale besos a todos y escribe para saber de Uds.Esther


Como estan? Anoche sali con Rod y Myrna y su cunado Rich a cenar en el Cocody. Esta noche unos vecinos (Blind Date) me invitaron a tomar un sundowner en su barco. Manana voy a hacer una parilla para Rod y Myrna y su grupo. Ellos se van el lunes. Yo vi Jacqueline (la Canadiensa que hicia el net aqui en ingles y fraces hace varios anos) y Robert de Beluga. Ellos manden saludos. Ayer estaba hablando con Don y Jackie (la tailandesa de Jack's restaurante al lado de puerto Juan). Ellos conocen a Kerry Eatros y su esposa tailandesa. Yo no se si tu te acquerdes de el pero era un piloto de Viking Airlines. La ultima ves que yo lo vi fue en Manaus, Brazil. El estaba trabajando para Kalitta Air y vivia en un trawler en Florida. Pilingo llamo ayer y dijo que iba hacer reservaciones para el y Ismael para el proximo Domingo.


We are still in la Tortuga. We spent 2 days at Playa Herradura which has an incredible white sand beach that is like walking on flour. We went windsurfing yesterday and Pam has a black eye to show for it. Today we went snorkeling and I caught a small lobster. I'm going to try the windsurfer again this afternoon since there wasn't much wind yesterday. Tomorrow morning we are going to leave la Tortuga probably for Margarita but maybe la Blanquilla (depending on the wind).


Estoy otra vez en Chacacache. Van a sacar Chama manana en la mananan. Llege con dos gringos; un amigo de Myrna y Rod y otro yatero que queria hacer un viaje en barco. El mundo esta lleno de locos. Sabai II esta aqui en el varadero. Pase un buen rato hablando con ellos ahorita. Salgo el Domingo si puedo. Cada dia el paro se pone mas fuerte. Pilingo me va a buscar y voy a salir para Minnesota el Lunes, si dios quiere. Me hacen mucha falta.


Mi familia esta regresando a tierra firme en avión y tengo un amiga con su muchacho de 16 anos que van conmigo. Tengo que decirlas que es probable que va a ser un viaje mas o menos fuerte porque esta en contra del viento, olas, y corriente. Aparte de esto, tuvimos un día fuerte regresando de las Aves y rompimos la vela principal, los cables del control de la transmisión, y el auto piloto. Lo que quiero decir es que el viaje puede ser mas aventura de lo que están pensando. Piensanlo bien, y si todavía quieren, están muy bien venidas. Si quieren hacer el viaje, planifican llegar a los Roques para el 10 para pasar varios días en los cayos antes de salir para la Tortuga. Sera una noche para llegar a la Tortuga. Vamos a pasar varios días allá y, dependiendo del viento, vamos directo a Margarita, o Margarita via las islas de Puerto la Cruz, o via la Blanquilla. Planifiquen mas o menos 10 días en total.


We are in los Roques. Rosa and the inlaws left today and two new ones came. It is a friend of ours from 20 years ago with her 14 year old son. They are going to make the trip back to Margarita with me. Esther and Xander are flying back to the mainland on Saturday.

Venezuelan Flag

June 19, 2007

Hello everyone,
An era has ended. We recently decided to put Chama up for sale. I figured that I would put an ad on the Internet and that after a year or so I would have to do some fixing up, take her to the States and pay a broker 10% commission. In the meanwhile I told about a dozen people in Margarita that she was for sale. About 2 weeks ago a Spaniard knocked on the hull and said he was interested. He immediately fell in love with Chama and came back the next day and made an offer which I accepted. He just wired the money to me this morning. I am still in a state of shock because everything happened so fast. I feel like I've sold a family member and I already have seller’s remorse. They say that the two happiest days in a boater's life are the day you buy and the day you sell. It isn't true.

We have many beautiful memories of our travels aboard Chama. All the friends and family members who visited us on our travels. All the beautiful people we met and the wonderful places we visited. Dancing with Cubans in the streets of Havana, Xander swimming with dolphins and he and I catching lobsters. We never thought we’d hear ourselves saying " No lobster again for dinner, please!" but we did. Xander and I learned to windsurf first and then we got hooked on kitesurfing. We made many trips to Coche island where we spent many hours on the beach with other kite surfers, enjoying the wind and the sun. My dad and I spent a month together sailing from the Bahamas to Venezuela in 1997 and another 2 weeks together in 2002 going from Margarita to Grenada. Chama was our home during the 3 years that we cruised the Caribbean. From Venezuela up to the island chain of the West Indies, to Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba, Mexico, down to Guatemala and back to Venezuela. And for 11 years it was Esther and Xander’s home away from home and my permanent address. There are many photos of our travels on our website;
Anyhow the money is going to stay in an account called BOAT which is earmarked for another boat in the future.

Esther and I are in Seattle visiting my mother and we will go to Minnesota next week. She and I are talking about taking a trip to Argentina before Christmas and then moving to Italy in the early part of 2008. When we get back from Italy, we will get serious about looking for another boat.

Hope all is well with you. Keep in touch,
Jeff, Esther, and Xander

Hola a todos,

Una era ha llegado a su fin. Recientemente decidimos poner a CHAMA a la venta. Pense que pondria un aviso de venta en la internet y que despues de un buen tiempo tendria que repararla y llevarla a Estados Unidos y pagar 10% a un agente para que la vendiera. Mientras tanto, le comente a varias personas en Margarita de la posible venta de Chama. Hace dos semanas un espanol toco en el barco y dijo que estaba interesado. El se enamoro inmediatamente de Chama y al dia siguiente hizo una oferta que yo acepte.
El acaba de mandar el dinero desde Espana. Yo todavia estoy en estado de "shock' porque todo paso tan rapido que siento como que he vendido a un familiar y ya tengo remordimiento. La gente dice que con un bote hay dos dias felices en la vida del dueno: el dia que lo compra y el dia que lo vende. Para mi eso no es verdad!

Nosotros tenemos tantos recuerdos lindos de nuestros viajes en Chama. Todos los amigos y familiares que nos visitaron. Toda la gente bella que conocimos y los lugares hermosos que visitamos. Bailar con un grupo de sonero en las calles de la Habana, Xander nadando con docenas de delfines y los dos atrapando langostas. Nunca pensamos en decir: no mas langosta para la cena, por favor!" pero lo dijimos. Xander y yo aprendimos a hacer windsurfing y luego nos enamoramos de kitesurfing. Hicimos muchos viajes a la isla de Coche y pasamos innumerables dias con otros kitesurfistas disfrutando del sol y el viento. Mi papa y yo pasamos un mes juntos navegando Chama desde la Bahamas hasta Venezuela en 1997 y otras dos semanas navegando desde Margarita hasta Grenada. Chama fue nuestro hogar desde 1998 hasta el 2001 cuando Esther, Xander y yo navegamos por el Caribe. Desde Venezuela, arriba a todas las Antillas Menores, a Pto. Rico, la Republica Dominicana, Haiti, Cuba, abajo a Guatemala y de regreso a Venezuela. Desde 1998 hasta el 2007 Chama fue el segundo hogar para Xander y Esther y mi hogar permanente. Bueno, la plata de la venta estara en una cuenta titulada: BARCO que sera para comprar otro en el futuro.

Esther y yo estamos ahora en Seattle visitando a mi mama y nos vamos a Minnesota la semana que viene. Los dos estamos hablando de ir a Argentina antes de Navidad y luego mudarnos a Italia a principios del 2008. De regreso hablaremos mas seriamente de comprar otro barco.
Espero que todo este bien con Uds. Mantenganse en contacto.

Jeff, Esther Y Xander


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