TIMELINE AND CIRCUMNAVIGATION
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This is the story of us, Gord and Ginny Kerr, as we circumnavigate the world on board our little 37.5 foot Beneteau sloop.
When we first untied the dock lines from the port of Sidney, British Columbia, Canada on August 27, 2003, we had no idea what adventures were over the horizon or how long our journey would last.
Our journey took us along the US Pacific Coast with an unintentional emergency stop in Crescent City to escape from a Force 10 Storm that ascended on us along the Oregon Coast. We spent time in San Francisco and hopped down the coast, taking in the Channel Islands, to San Diego. Then we sailed along the enchanting Baja coastline to La Paz where we spent Christmas 2003 with our son.
Crossing the Sea of Cortez we arrived in Mazatlan, Mexico and spent time visiting my parents there. Then onward to Puerto Vallarta where we left North America behind and set sail to the South Seas on March 25, 2004.
Our landfall was the Marquesas, French Polynesia. We then explored our way through the remote Tuamotos, the Society Islands, the Cook Islands, Samoa & Tonga, finally taking refuge during the 2004 cyclone season in New Zealand. We toured both islands by car and were joined once again by Chris for Christmas in Opua.
Our passage to Australia marked the end of our South Seas cruising as we regretfully left the Pacific in our wake. But we will carry a very memorable insight into the distinctive topography and cultures that have enriched our lives significantly.
For 8 months, we enjoyed Australia immensely...the vibrant people, the colourful birds, the crazy unusual animals and the stunning beaches! Making landfall at Coff's Harbour, we worked our way to Sydney Harbour for Christmas 2005.
From Sydney we sailed back to Manly, near Brisbane, where we toured for several months. From Brisbane we survived a challenging journey up the east coast of Queensland, "Over the Top" and across the aboriginal NT to Darwin.
July 22, 2006 we departed with 100 boats partaking in the Darwin to Kupang Rally headed for Indonesia. After 3 months in incomparable Indonesia we sailed to Malaysia, then on to our most favored destination, Thailand for Christmas 2006.
We remained in Thailand for all of 2007 partaking in the King's Cup, sailing to the wondrous outer islands near Krabi laden with hongs and caves, spending time with Chris in Phuket, diving in the Similans, visiting in Kos Samui, and touring to Bangkok, Chaing Mai and Northern Thailand. May 27 we flew back to Canada for our first visit in 4 years. The boat remained in Yacht Haven Marina for much of the time.
We left Thailand in January 2008 and sailed to Uligan in the Maldives, a tiny isolated atoll south of India. Then a Passage across the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden into the Red Sea. Oman was our first introduction to true Islamic culture. We avoided any pirates on our journey to Aden in Yemen and experienced a culture and lifestyle totally foreign to us. After a relatively boisterous sail through the Strait of Bab El Mandel we began our arduous sail up the Red Sea, first arriving in Massawa, Eritrea, a war torn country in shambles. Then onward to Sudan, where Suakin took us back to biblical times. Our sail through Egypt was a agonizingly stressful due to engine problems but we thoroughly enjoyed a brief time away while we toured Luxor and Cairo.
In May 2008 we arrived in the Mediterranean and settled in Turkey. We spent the first few weeks touring the entire western coast of Turkey with our son Chris. Ascension remained at Marmaris Marina in Turkey for the remainder of the season.
At the end of April, after a brief annual haulout, we headed out to explore the Greek Islands. For 2 months, we sailed through the Dodecanese, and Cyclades, visiting Athens and Santorini by ferry. The need to purchase a new waterpump in Athens forced us to transit the Corinth Canal, rather than sail around the southern tip of Greece. We loved the Ionian Islands with their lush green landscape, a contrast to the barren, rocky eastern Grecian islands.
From the western Greek Isles, we sailed to Italy, making landfall in Sicily, then, through the Messina Straights to Stromboli and on to Amalfi, mainland Italy. After a visit to Rome, we headed to Sardinia & Corsica before a quick visit to the French Rivera. We explored Spain by way of the Balearic Islands.
Through the Gates of Hercules we turned left and headed up the Atlantic coast of Spain to visit Cadiz and Seville. Our plan to sail to the Madiera Islands of Portugal was squelched by the weather so we set sail for Morocco instead. After a 4 day passage, we enjoyed the Canary Islands where we prepared for our Atlantic crossing to the Caribbean Islands by Christmas.
Our Atlantic crossing to the Caribbean was a dream sail. Slow, but we managed to stay with what little wind there was and spent only 18 days at sea; the group that left the Canaries 24 hours later took up to 31 days to make the crossing!! We consistently made course changes, heading south to catch the wind to avoid the doldrums. We made landfall in the Barbados -- a great reunion of beach parties with stories to tell of our adventures crossing another ocean. Onward to Bequai for a Cruiser Christmas on the beach with friends. Prickly
We set sail for Grenada to meet Chris, making Prickly Bay our base. During our visit with Chris, we did some land touring on the beautiful island and we sailed to Carriacou, Petite St. Vincent and Sandy Isle.
After a sad farewell to our son, we sailed north to Trinidad to take in the Carnival -- a rival to New Orleans and not to be missed! While stalling for the leap back to Granada amidst the numerous reports of pirate attacks, we took in the wonders of the island.
We spent the summer heading north, up the windward chain of the Caribbean island, visiting the beautiful sandy islands of the Grenadines, St Lucia and Martinique. When hurricane season threatened, we decided to take refuge in Rodney Bay marina in St. Lucia for the201 duration -- a good decision when Hurricane Tomas attacked the island in late October. We enjoyed spending the season in St. Lucia, especially during Carnival week.
Christmas Day found us in Martinique with friends enjoying a baked chicken dinner.
We continued our sail up the windward chain of islands, taking in the tropical paradise of Dominica, idyllic crystal clear waters of the Isles des Saints, boat repairs in Antigua, the quaint island of St. Barts and the French/Dutch island of St. Martin. Our goal had always been to return to the British Virgin Islands, where we had chartered a boat 12 year ago. We were not disappointed when familiar sights brought fond memories of our past visits to Virgin Gorda, Tortola, Norman Island and Yost Van Dyke.
To renew our visas, we sailed to the US Virgin Islands and visited St. Johns and St. Thomas. St. Thomas reminded us that we had not been missing the hustle and bustle of cosmopolitan life but it was good to have the availability of a good ol' fashioned K-Mart to replenish those hard-to-find favorite items!
In April of 2011, our need to replenish the kitty prompted us to accept a position in Killarney, Ontario, Canada as dockmasters for the Killarney Mountain Lodge marina situated on Georgian Bay, Lake Huron, north of Sudbury. We left Ascension in a hurricane pit at the Virgin Gorda Yacht Marina and spent an interesting summer on the Canadian shield, where twisted pines struggling for survival on the quartz and granite shoreline brought on yearnings to paint the scenery that so inspired the Group of Seven.
October 1, 2011 found us back in the Caribbean -- in St. Thomas, USVI -- taking the STCW course, which involves mariner's training including survival at sea, first aid, emergency response and firefighting. After an extensive medical, we took the ferry back to BVIs, each with 4 diplomas in hand. Within a few days, we were officially hired as captain, crew and cook on a 50 ft. catamaran for a major charter operation in Tortola. It will surely be an interesting year ahead, sailing 6 to 8 people on their week long all inclusive vacations throughout the islands.