We started this year in Martinique. Throughout the year we visited: Dominica, Guadeloupe, Bonaire, Curacao, Aruba, USA (Florida, Texas and Georgia) and Colombia. Yes we flew to the USA but it still makes the list because it’s another passport stamp. Believe it or not, we didn’t sail a lot of miles this year. When we add all of our miles sailed for this year, it totals up to be only about 1,100. This is because we parked Cream Puff for extended times at most of the stops we made. Why? Because some of the places we visited were so incredibly amazing we wanted to make sure we had time to take in everything.
We joke to other sailors we move very slowly. This year we proved it. Just to give you an example about how slowly we move, about a year ago we were leaving Grenada. We had some friends in the same marina in Grenada who we initially met while in Annapolis, USA. This year we have sailed across the Caribbean Sea. Our friends are now in New Zealand on the other side of the world.
Looking back on the year, we think Bonaire edges into our favorite stop of the year. It is a close call compared to Isles of the Saints (located just off Guadeloupe). Both of these places were wonderful for different reasons. But, the clear waters of Dutch Bonaire and the reefs teaming with sea-life make Bonaire our first choice over the incredible beauty of the French Isle’s of the Saints.
If you are a regular reader of the blog, you already know we try to take 10 pictures of the year we consider our best or perhaps a better description would be our favorites. We pick pictures depicting a fond memory for us. The photos may not be publishing quality or some of the better pictures posted on the site but rather for us they conjure up a smile or a laugh reminiscent to the good times we enjoyed.
This year’s choices were hard so we picked 12 pictures and put them in order of our favorites. We have encountered so many awesome places and seen wonderful sites wherever we stopped. If you would like to see the story behind the pictures we chose, click on the picture and it will take you to the post where it was initially published in the blog.
Number 12 – A picture of Mark driving our dinghy with a new motor. This picture provokes thoughts about how we went to St. Lucia for 48 hours to do some shopping. When we left Martinique, the lady on the boat next to us thought it was funny we decided to sail to a different county for one night just to do some shopping. People in the USA might shop in another state for better taxes or in Europe someone might go to another country for an item. But, have you ever sailed to a neighboring island, different country, to do a little shopping?
Number 11 – Downtown Fort de France, the capital city of Martinique. We loved Martinique. When we look at this picture, we think of the bright colors, the French people and the beautiful island. We also think of the cheap wine, wonderful French bakeries and delicious bread.
Number 10 – One of the few selfies you will find on our blog. In the background is the harbor of Isle’s of the Saints. We returned there from a visit the previous year and made some comparisons in pictures from before and after the hurricanes hit. This is one of our favorite spots in all of the eastern Caribbean islands.
Number 9 – The mural of a lionfish we accidentally found in the town of San Nicolas, Aruba. We went off the tourist path and discovered a town with some incredibly creative murals. We walked the town thinking we were so glad we decided to turn right instead of left out of the airport.
Number 8 – If you think of postcard picture perfect white sand beach and add clear blue water with a few tiki-hut shades scatted about, this is Aruba.
Number 7 – For years, we both have really enjoyed the British TV series “Death in Paradise”. It was a real thrill to visit the town on Guadeloupe where the filming takes place. Even better, a new season was about to begin filming so we could see buildings with the fictional signs on them.
Number 6 – A trip to the USA was certainly a highlight for us this last year. These are the states we visiting during a very long road trip to see family and take care of some personal business. Now that we have been away from the USA for an extended period, we tend to look at most things American from a slightly different angle.
Number 5 – Our visit to Dominica was after hurricane Maria hit and devastated the island. We met quite a few people and talked with them about their experiences. The common thread of our conversations was how positive the people were and how proud they were about their island and the efforts to rebuild. We will never forget the attitude of these beautiful people and how they handled extreme adversity. The man in the picture is Gabriel Dunstan, the artist who painted the mural pictured below. He told a volunteer group he could paint. So, they put a paintbrush in his hand and put him to work painting buildings as part of a reconstruction efforts. Probably not what he had in mind but he was thrilled he could do his part. When we met him he was painting the walls of this building.
Number 4 – Our first steps on the continent of South America. This still give me goosebumps.
Number 3 – When we think about Bonaire we think about the encounters we had there that were firsts for us. This was the first time we have ever seen a wild seahorse. Experienced divers can go for years and never see one. We got lucky. And, it was on my Birthday! In addition to the phenomenal sea-life the island is safe, clean and exotic.
Number 2 – Still on Bonaire we saw our first wild flamingos. I can still hear Cindy shriek with excitement as she spotted the first one.
Number 1 – The day our friends thought we were trying to kill them. We hope they can laugh about it now.
Wow! For us, this year has flown by. Last year at Christmas we wondered where we’d be Christmas of 2018. It turns out we spent Christmas in Colombia. I wonder where we’ll be Christmas of 2019?
We wish you a happy new year and hope you are prosperous, healthy and able to follow your dreams.