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
The Haida Gwaii archipelago (formerly called the Queen Charlotte Islands), is located at the northwestern-most corner of Canada’s Pacific Northwest. It is one of the most beautiful, remote, and wild places in the world.
This three-part feature in the March 2015 issue of Soundings shows why, on many different levels, there’s no place on Earth like Haida Gwaii. This article won a certificate of merit award in the Travel and Destinations category of the 2015 annual writing contest by Boating Writers International.
Video: Haida Gwaii and the Legacy Pole Raising
Video: Outer Shores, visiting Haida Gwaii by schooner
February 10, 2015 in Boats, Canada, Cruising, Environment, First Nations, Gwaii Haanas, Gwaii Haanas National Park, Haida Gwaii, Pacific Rim, sailing, Stephen Blakely
Tagged Canada, First Nations, Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, Haida, Haida Gwaii, Hecate Strait, Pacific Northewest, Passing Cloud, Russ Markel, Stephen Blakely, wilderness
The C&D Canal, linking the Chesapeake and Delaware Bays, is one of the busiest in the United States. Although seemingly peaceful and quiet, the currents, weather, and marine traffic here can be deadly.
This article, in the December 2014 issue of Soundings, tells the story of the canal and provides some tips for a safe passage. It received a Merit Award in the 2014 BWI annual writing contest in the Travel & Destinations category.
Video: Thanksgiving 2011 Transit of the C&D by the ATB Nicole Reinhauer, Capt. Bill Brucato on helm and video
Posted in Baltimore, C&D Canal, Chesapeake Bay, Delaware, Delaware Bay, Maryland, Stephen Blakely
Tagged C&D Canal, Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, Chesapeake Bay, Chesapeake City, Delware Bay, Stephen Blakely
Soundings, June 2014
Elbow Reef Light, as it’s properly named, is one of the few lighthouses left in the world still powered by kerosene and lit by hand, with a lens that rotates by hand-cranked weights.
This story in the June 2014 issue of Soundings profiles one of the prettiest and most historic lighthouses in the world. It received a Merit Award in the 2014 BWI annual contest for Boating Photography.
Posted in Abacos, Bahamas, Boats, Elbow Reef Lighthouse, Hope Town, Hope Town Lighthouse, Lighthouses, sailing, Stephen Blakely
Tagged Bahamas, Elbow Reef Lighthouse, Hope Town, Hope Town Lighthouse, lighthouses, Stephen Blakely
Among the most famous wooden schooners in the world, Bluenose has been a floating symbol of Canada for almost a century.
It is also three boats in one: The original, built in 1921 and sunk in 1946, was a working “saltbanker” fishing boat; it beat every American challenger thrown against it for almost 20 years in the most legendary sailboat races ever held between the U.S. and Canada.
The second Bluenose was built in 1963 to market Schooner beer and dismantled in 2012. Construction of the third and newest Bluenose was completed in 2013, in the same Nova Scotia shipyard where its ancestors were built.
This story, published in the July 2013 Soundings, looks at all the Bluenoses, the people and place that produced them, and why it’s one of the most special boats ever built.
The New Poplar Island
Poplar Island, on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, is one of the rare environmental success stories in the Chesapeake Bay–and perhaps the most spectacular. Big enough to support farms and a town in the 1800s, it had eroded to less than three acres and was functionally gone by the 1980s. An extremely effective cooperative effort by federal, state and local governments has rebuilt the island to its 1800s footprint using clean dredge spoil from the bay’s approach channels to Baltimore–keeping the city’s docks (and jobs) open to shipping, while recreating a critical nature reserve for rare and threatened Chesapeake Bay wildlife.
The story of Poplar Island is in the July 2012 issue of Soundings.
Click here for a NASA/Landsat satellite timelapse of the island being built.