OTC Photo Archive

Summer’s End

Caribbean Kids www.oceantrader.co

Caribbean youth enjoying one more summer frolic over the edge ….Image © ocean trader

Mini-Transat lles de Guadeloupe

Jacques Vapillon / Mini-Transat lles de Guadeloupe23 year old skipper Quentin Vlaminck keeps his Mini 6.50 (#728) on-step during sailing trials for the up-coming Mini-Transat race that departs Douarnenez, France for the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe. Competing sailors must negotiate the busy (ship traffic) Bay of Biscay, sail south leaving Spain and Morocco to port, after which they must continue on a course for the stopover destination of Lanzarote in the Canary Islands. 6.50 meters is slightly less than 22 feet LOA. From Lanzarote the Mini-Transat fleet should be able to make the Trade Winds for a fast passage across the Atlantic. The finish line is Point à Pitre, Guadeloupe. The race starts on September 19, 2015. Image courtesy of Jacques Vapillon/Mini-Transat

Erika Storm Damage

Tropical Storm Erika damge Coral Bay, St. John Virgin Islands ww.oceantrader.coTropical Storm Erika has left her mark on her run through the Leeward Islands and Puerto Rico. This photo shows a schooner and power launch that washed-up on the rocks in Coral Bay, St. John (VI). Image © Heather Brewster

Foul Weather Fleet

Sloop on the hard - St. Croix, Virgin Islands www.oceantrader.coA sloop with standing rigging and sails removed waits out her days in a Caribbean boatyard. Fair weather or foul, all is at the ready. Image © ocean trader

La Bonne Vie Avec Tous Les Extras

St. Barts, Caribbean Blog, Ocean TraderOur decadence and delight were short-lived, sweet and and just as nuanced as before. We still call it a posh fishbowl. Sailing in was equally as enjoyable as sailing out. Image © ocean trader – Gustavia Harbor, St. Baths

Frenchman’s Cay Seascape

Looking Out From Frenchmans Cay www.oceantrader.co

Looking out the cove from Frenchman’s Cay, Tortola after a rain squall. Image © ocean trader

Glory Daze

otc-j27_stxA J/27 poised between races and ready to romp at the St. Croix Yacht Club 2009.   Sailboat racing is a consuming, fun and increasingly expensive pursuit.  Take the Melges boats for example.  Some of their best sailors are older (not athletic looking) competitors that can afford $50,000 for a small one design trailer sailor.  The younger sailors are a mostly sponsored or very lucky group.  In 10 years I hope the best boats are made in China, or by then a used Melges will be more affordable.

Safe Harbor

otc-hr1What’s not to like about this cruising ketch? That dodger sure beats those over-priced canvas sprayhood contraptions with all those zippers and warping plastic windows. Everything about this boat is built to last. One can imagine the owner in some cold developed part of the world daydreaming about driving this boat out of that slip.

Where Is The Mooring Ball?

The MooringA better question is where is this anchorage?  Take a wild-ass guess and please let us know.  We think the Lady with the boat hook is really the Skipper.  Image © ocean trader

Water Melon Bay

Water Melon BayIf you’re sailing down The Narrows (Virgin Islands) with line squalls blowing in from the east, you can execute a course change into Water Melon Bay (east of Leinster Bay).  This anchorage is always serene and comfortable with a pleasing seascape of Waterlemon Cay and beyond. There is a trail onshore that will take you along the littoral and up to the Annaberg Plantation ruins. This Danish plantation dates back to 1720, and was the scene of some gruesome slave rebellions.  If you have small children onboard taking the hike will be a good excuse for shore leave. While you are marveling at the big molasses vats, try to explain the concept of human slavery to your children. It is always amusing to see their reaction. They will be challenged getting their minds around why anyone would want to own human slaves, and why any human would want to be somebody’s slave; property rights taken to the extreme.  Water Melon Bay is part of the National Park system, but the Rangers are friendly Landlords. Image © oceantrader.co

The Nereids’s Rally

The Nereid's RallyBilled as “a mythical themed event set to dispel current sailing myths”, the Nereid’s Rally is scheduled to depart Trinidad & Tobago (T&T) September 2013 with a destination of Guyana, and French Guiana.  This is the height of the hurricane season, but latitudes south of T&T are considered immune from the ravishings of tropical Caribbean cyclones.  Rumors of contrary currents and rabid pirates lurking offshore have done a good job of keeping cruising boats away.  Guyana and French Guiana are not normally considered alternative destinations to Venezuela, but there are many capable cruising sailors that do not follow the crowds to the so-called ‘safe’ anchorages.

Nereid's Rally RouteEven Venezuela is still being maligned as a lawless and risky area.  This is rubbish, of course, considering that murders and robberies occur annually in many of the so-called acceptable destinations in the Windward and Leeward islands.  Yachts that do not exercise common sense and practical cautions are low-hanging fruit to any motivated criminal with a small boat.  There is nowhere to run mates.  Set sail and take your chances.  Write your own ‘water world’ adventure and do not expect everyone to love you as you move about the globe.  You have earned all rights to your sturdy vessel and no apologies are needed.  The Nereid’s Rally appears to be a reasonable alternative to living in a boatyard, or being stuck in an anchorage waiting-out hurricane season.  Please visit the Nereid’s Rally website for more insight.  Fair winds!

Are You Alright With That?


We have nothing to say…

Oyster World Rally Fleet Now In Panama

Mike JonesWhy are these sailors smiling?  They are elated and smiling because they get to sail gorgeous British Blue Water yachts instead of laboring away in their respective cubicles back at the office.  Lucky ducks!  S/Y Mariela was the lead Rally yacht to arrive (06FEB13) in Shelter Bay Marina in Panama.   The Oyster World Rally Fleet will begin the Canal transit starting on 16FEB13.  Meanwhile crews are tending to boat maintenance chores and shore-side social events.  The out-bound leg from Panama will be another long haul for the Oyster fleet.  Ports of call will include Galapagos Islands, Marquesas, Tahiti, Bora Bora and Moorea.  (Oyster Yachts Photo by Mike Jones)

Windvane Self-steering

Windvane Self-steeringThis photo shows the business end of a double-ender cruising sailboat equipped with a hard core Monitor windvane self-steering system.  For more on sailboat self-steering windvanes, click over to the CariBlog and read about the Voyager Windvane. Image © ocean trader

Rock City, St. Thomas

Frank Bay, St. John, V.I.Condomaran at anchor in Frank Bay, St. John, Virgin Islands with Steven Cay and Rock City in the background. If you ever get tempted to navigate on the other side of Steven Cay remember that all the primary hazards already have eponymous credits like ‘Skipper Jacob Rock’. It is unlikely that Skipper Jacob wanted that rock named after him, but when you screw-up that boldly the public flogging never ends, nor should it. Image © www.oceantrader.co

Rig Baiting

TT HemisphereThe T/T Hemisphere is a 54 Foot Custom F&S Sport Fisherman spotted recently in Tortola, Virgin Islands. She is rumored to be the tender to the world’s largest Luxury Catamaran of the same name, of course. She is powered by twin CAT C18’s with a max fuel capacity of 1000 gallons. One hell of a dinghy. Unreal! The mothership is no slouch either in terms of onboard toys, creature comforts, luxury accommodations and sailing credentials. I think most mortals would be very happy with just the tender, good bait, rods and an unlimited fuel card. Image © www.oceantrader.co

Team SCA

Team SCASCA is a large forest and hygiene company that develops and manufactures high quality personal care products. SCA is sponsoring Team SCA for the 2014-2015 Volvo Ocean Race. Team SCA will be an all-female boat. The all-female crew will include the world’s best women offshore-racing sailors. Candidate selection has already started from the SCA training base in Lanzarote, Canary Islands. The photo shows the first crew of candidates demonstrating what they can do with a complex racing yacht.  These women are terrific. The final assemblage will be a female team that will be all business.

Puerto Madero

Puerto Madera

S/V Laduma II has arrived on the banks of the Rio Plata in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  Hannes and Karla are tucked in bow-to on a finger pier on the Puerto Madero Waterfront.  Hannes reports the passage from Cape Town was relatively easy off the wind sailing with only a few pieces of gear failing.  We will publish excerpts from his log narrative if he lets us.  Puerto Madero is a very trendy barrio in the big city with above average shopping and a variety of restaurants.  We may not hear from this crew in awhile.  Karla, you will not need a new lambskin leather jacket in Brazil!

The Atacama

CHL 302012-06-25 copy


The Atacama Desert is not the Caribbean.  It is a desert environment with equatorial and climatic differences that should make any Caribbean sailor curious.  Please have a peek at The Atacama – Sailing In The Desert in the 5 Corners Blog. Chile is a South American Country with many distinct provinces. Besides fantastic seafood, wines, Huasos (Chilean cowboys), Patagonia and fruits, Chile has a huge desert region that can be explored irrespective of one’s budget.  Please visit the Ocean Trader 5 Corners Blog.

On The Horizon

otc-BayThe Caribbean is host to more Blue Water Cruising boats than vessels arriving to enjoy scheduled regattas. Marina slips fill up quickly depending on the event. Our islands and ocean are attractions to every kind of sailor. The month of February has several exciting regattas and one Flotilla scheduled. Weather permitting, the Sister Flora Flotilla will set sail from Boca Chica, Dominican Republic to Ile-a-Vache, Haiti on February 8th, 2013.  The sailing yachts in the Flotilla will deliver donated supplies to the Orphanage in Ile-a-Vache.  February 1st – 3rd Club Nautico de San Juan will host the Club Nautico de San Juan International Regatta. February 7th – 10th the Jolly Harbour Valentine’s Regatta will be all the rage in Antigua, and February 28th – March 3rd are the dates for the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta. The Caribbean can be relied on to furnish wind and water for all events. A sailor takes what he/she gets. These will be enjoyable gatherings for everyone! Image© ocean trader

Old World Charm

Old world St. Thomas neighborhood www.oceantrader.coSt. Thomas, Virgin Islands has always been a sailor’s port. We delighted in an off the wind passage all the way to Charlotte Amalie harbor knowing the real work would be power-sailing into the wind to make our first anchorage near St. John on the return leg. In the days of old, sailors who survived the ocean and landed on St. Thomas could look forward to comfortable years as merchants and slave owners. The exceptionally successful traders and craftsmen built  family mansions on the hills overlooking one of the world’s most natural harbors. These patrician dwellings are all the more fascinating when probing the litany of families that have occupied them over the years. Image © ocean trader

STT Walkabout

The 99 Steps St. Thomas, Virgin Islands ww.oceantrader.coSomeone once asked why we engage in so much walking and hiking. That dumb question could have been settled with any number of pat justifications, but with more past than future days in the bank it may not be wise to stay in one spot for too long. We anchored on the leeward side of Water Island and used the inflatable to zip across the roadstead. Getting off the boat is reward enough for sailing downwind all the way from Mary’s Point, St. John. The famous 99 Steps (103 actually) have fewer flowers these day, but this passageway to the Blackbeard’s Hill neighborhood will survive another 200 years. Image © ocean trader

Tortola Fat Cats

Marina Life Tortola BVI www.oceantrader.co

Fat Cats do take up more space at the docks. Image © ocean trader

Chariot Of The Rods

F/V Top Dog Tortola, BVI www.oceantrader.co

Top Dog gets fueled. You know the drill. Endless oil, gas and dungy. Image © ocean trader

Caribbean Divers

Issac the diver www.oceantrader.co

Young Isaac dives out of East End, Tortola. He is well on his way to writing his own story. Image © ocean trader

World Class Dock Crew

Caribbean Dock Crews www.oceantrader.co

This crew prepped three 55 footers and dinner for the family at home. All in a day’s work. Image © ocean trader

Launch Day

Caribbean Travel Lift www.oceantrader.co

What a relief to be floating on one’s own bottom, and to be free of the yard. Image  © ocean trader

S/V Hokule’a Arrives In Durban

s/v Hokule'a Durban, South Africa www.oceantrader.co25OCT15 – Crew put things right after s/v Hokule’a arrives in Durban, South Africa with 18 sailors, hulls, mast and sails intact. Skippered by Nainoa Thompson, this multi-hull is on an epic 5 year, 50,000 NM voyage employing traditional Polynesian low tech navigation standards. Image © ocean trader

The Bluff, Durban

A hipster from The Bluff - Durban, South Africa www.oceantrader.co

The new Colored counter-culture in The Bluff, Durban South Africa. Image © ocean trader

La Mercy lagoon Fliers

La Mercy Lagoon Kite-Boarding www.oceantrader.co

Kite-boarders killing it on La Mercy Lagoon north of Durban, SA. Image © ocean trader

A Day’s Fishing

f/v Mixed Bag Caribbean www.oceantrader.co

F/V Mixed Bag heading home after fishing the drop-off. Image © ocean trader

Nanny Cay Marina

Caribbean Marina at Nanny Cay www.oceantrader.co

Nanny Cay Marina (BVI) in the early morning hours. Image © ocean trader

Caribbean High Season

Caribbean Yachting www.oceantrader.coAs fall recedes into winter sailing season in warmer latitudes heats up. Yacht crews are shifting marina locations, and bareboat fleets are already gliding across the seascapes in the Leewards, and the Windward Islands. Image © ocean trader

Lucky Lee-shore

Kite-boarding La Mercy Lagoon near Durban, South Africa ww.oceantrader.coA kit-boarder calls it a day after gusting winds made conditions too dicey for the big wings. The smaller kites remained airborne. Image © ocean trader

Five Rand To Go Swimming


This little person asked us very nicely for five Rand to cover her entrance fee near the Ellis Park Public pool in Johannesburg. We felt like paying-down for the gaggle of kids in her posse, but that would have devalued her five Rand request. Image © ocean trader

Johannesburg Walkabout

ocean_trader_2645In Southern Africa there are big cities to remind us of why we enjoy getting lost in the bushveld. Johannesburg is a cyclopean destination that requires further exploration by foot. Our photo log and a recent blog attempt to shed some light on our walkabout through this ponderous city. Image © ocean trader

Chicken Paella African Style


These vendors at the Juta Street Neighborhood Goods Market in Jo’burg had everyone mesmerized as they patiently blended ingredients into huge stir-fry skillets. Devine street food. Image © ocean trader

Best Caribbean Harbor


The natural qualities of St. Thomas harbor made it a premier trading destination in the days of sail. Not much has changed. Image © ocean trader

Cane Garden Dinghy Dock

Peaceful Anchorage, Cane Garden Bay www.oceantrader.co

We caught two very nice snappers off this dinghy dock last month using some soldier crab bait. Image © trader

Bareboat Paradise

Bareboat Paradise, Cane Garden Bay www.oceantrader.co

SE Breeze and Flat Water Paradise – Tortola’s North Shore Image © ocean trader

Sapphire Bay

Saphire Bay, St. Thomas www.oceantrader.co

Sapphire Bay and Lovango Cay on a St. Thomas morning. Image © ocean trader

African Tribal Masks

African curios www.oceantrader.co

Decorative African masks on display in artisan workshop © ocean trader

Che Guevara

Che and Cuba www.oceantrader.coMatchless Latin American and revolutionary icon still inspires..if you are not comatose you can see what’s coming. Image © ocean trader 


Caribbean Seascape wwwoceantrader.coOn a long walk after breakfast this Scrub Island view will be appreciated. Image © ocean trader

2015 daylight fades slowly as seen from a mountain in Kwa Zulu Natal in South Africa. Image © ocean trader

Roadtown Roadstead

Roadtown Roadsted from the hill www.oceantrader.coRoadtown’s roadstead is second only to the St. Thomas homeport. It is an easy harbor to negotiate in most weather. Image © ocean trader

What Are We Waiting For? Legalize It!

Youth Man, Ocean TraderOur lackluster Caribbean governance is missing the boat (again). Governor, where are your steering commitees and industrial incentives for local cultivators and manufacturers? How about researching the known ganja extracts that will surely be used to aleviate pain or induce pleasure. Do we know what double-blinded ganja clinical trials are already planned? Are we even thinking about getting to the front of the line for what will surely be a global mega industry? Master, that government clown suit and a flag pin only confirms you have little, or no imagination.

The Caribbean is already known for its marijuana varietals. This is a trade we should be forging ahead with instead of flogging worn schemes like a mothballed refinery, or giving away our revenue to offshore distillers. I still think we will need a woman to put things right after a few more years of stifled imagination and buffoonery. Meanwhile our brethren are running out of stock in Colorado, or resigned to smoking that hydroponic killer stick. We have plenty sunshine in these latitudes. Acreage for cali weed will one day be more valuable than land squandered on condo development. There might not be enough retail space on Main Street once this ship sails! image © nkosi photography

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