Although “vacation” and “pleasure” are not yet authorized reasons for Americans to visit Cuba, it is now possible for U.S. sailors to charter a sailboat and cruise the island’s southern coast. This article in the August 2016 issue of Soundings, describes how, what it’s like, what’s there, and why bareboat chartering in Cuba is not for beginners. A mobile-friendly (one-column) version is also available on the Soundings website.
Also online: A feature on Pire, the legendary “capitan del puerto” at the Cayo Largo marina in Cuba’s first tourist resort island.
Posted in Cruising, Cuba, Environment, sailing, Stephen Blakely, Washington
Tagged Carribean, catamarans, Cruising, Cuba, cuban blockade, cuban embargo, sailing, Stephen Blakely
President Obama’s recent actions to restore normal diplomatic relations with Cuba so far do not extend to the sea: American boaters are still prohibited from crossing the 90 miles of water that separate the two nations. This article in the April 2015 Soundings explains why.
Posted in Cruising, Cuba, sailing, Stephen Blakely
Tagged boating, Boats, Cruising, Cuba, Cuba embargo, cuban blockade, cuban embargo, sailboats, sailing, Stephen Blakely, U.S. Coast Guard
Soundings, October 2011
New York by water opens a whole new world to the Big Apple. This six-page destination story in the October 2011 issue of Soundings magazine tells how to navigate those hectic urban waters, what you’ll see on the way through, and provides some valuable survival advice from one of New York’s professional tugmasters. Online here.
This article won first place for Travel/Destination story in the Boating Writers International 2012 writing contest (Sec. 4).
Soundings video with Capt. Bill Brucato, drawn from the article and using Brucato’s videos: “Let the big boat go first.”
Video of my East River passage
Muddy Creek (SB)
One of my favorite anchorages on the entire Chesapeake Bay is just off the mouth of Muddy Creek, MD, as it enters the Rhode River. This entire creek — to its great good fortune — is surrounded by the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC), one of only three SI field labs.
SERC, located just south of Annapolis, is dedicated to marine biology, marsh, and woodland reseach, among many other topics. Several adjoining farms, including the historically significant Java Farm, have been donated to or acquired by SERC, with the result that it has become a fairly large bio-reserve in an otherwise well-developed area. Its shoreline and waters are unspoiled and bucolic, making it a magical and quiet anchorage.
The video below takes a look at an increasingly rare unspoiled place on the Chesapeake Bay.
“A Day in the Life of Muddy Creek”
August 2007 Soundings
For the August 2007 issue of Soundings, I was asked to address the question: “Why this boat?” What is it about my boat that makes it special?
This article provides my answer.
August 2006 Soundings
In the summer of 2006, a friend and I completed a Little Loop (more manageable, since the Great Loop is 3,000+ miles): From Norfolk, VA, down the Dismal Swamp Canal to Albemarle Sound in North Carolina, and back north in the Intercoastal Waterway (ICW).
This adventure is recounted in the August 2006 issue of Soundings, along with a sidebar on doing a Little Loop, online here (download may be slow).
Posted in Boats, Chesapeake Bay, Cruising, Dismal Swamp Canal, ICW, sailing
Tagged Boats, Cruising, Dismal Swamp Canal, North Carolina, sailing, Virginia
May 2006 Soundings
In the aftermath of Sept. 11, security got a whole lot tighter around the many military bases and facilities on the Chesapeake Bay. Boaters are required to keep at least 500 yards away from U.S. Navy ships and other strategic facilities, and in some particularly tight quarters — notably the Norfolk Naval Base in the Elizabeth River — that has led to tense and potentially deadly confrontations.
Since most recreational boaters appear to have no clue what their obligations are on the water, this article in the May 2006 issue of Soundings was written to clarify the rules: Who’s supposed to do what.
Posted in Boats, Chesapeake Bay, Cruising, sailing, Smith Island, Stephen Blakely
Tagged Boats, Chesapeake Bay, Cruising, Hannibal, sailing, Smith Island, target ship, U.S. Navy