A few pictures of season 3…

The results of the Blue Moon during our intracoastal navigation!

This guy runs an electric engine!!!

Nice day on the water with Gisèle, Pierre and Luc!

 

En route to the grocery store with our ”super” wheel barrow the night before our big departure.

Gulf stream crossing…a beautiful day!

 

Our arrival at Royal Island 32 ours later…the wind had just clocked to the north so Nat added a bit of warmth!

Double Instinct peacefully anchored at Spanish Wells.

First time we set foot ashore in the Bahamas in 2018 at Budda’s Snack Shack in Spanish Wells.

So for all those wondering why we don’t post many pictures, here is what we need to do in order to post them…Pack all the gear, dingy ashore and find a nice comfortable place(Library) with good wifi. It’s much easier said than done 🙂

Cheers you all!

Sailing the dream!

I have been checking the weather to pick the best time for our Spanish Wells to Nassau trip. We have Maude landing in Nassau Saturday at 18:30 so my choice was Friday or Saturday. Friday we woke up to a cloudy windless day and the forecast for Saturday was perfect with 10-15 ESE winds. The decision was easy and we spent Friday getting everything ready for 10 days with 3 kids on board.
We woke up at 7:00 Saturday morning with a nice gentle breeze and a bright glowing sun! The plan was to sail the whole 45 NM distance without using the engines. Double Instinct performs graciously under sail and we really enjoy the peace. At 7:30 we hauled the main sail while still at anchor, this is a method that we learned a few years back from an old British captain we had met in our travels. Once the main up, I raised anchor and Nat turned D-I downwind with the engines on until we were clear of other boats in the anchorage. A mere 10 minutes later we had full genoa and full main out and both engines off. We silently skimmed the water at 4.5 kts in 10 kts of wind almost directly behind us. The sail plan was simple…2 miles around the corner of Meeches patch and then an almost direct course to Nassau. As soon as we rounded the patch, I adjusted our course and tuned the sails. Soon the wind freshened up and we were gaining speed…5-6 kts, then 6-7 kts, then 7-8 kts!!! Wow, we were flying and our ETA was shrinking. Whenever we plan a trip, we always account for speed differences and pad ourselves in case the wind dies completely and we have to motor. At 5 kts, we had an 8 hour trip but at 8 kts we had a 5 hour trip. It was a glorious day, the boat and crew were in complete harmony. For 6 hours straight, D-I glided through the water without any sail adjustment whatsoever. Nat and I just sat back relaxed and enjoyed our first real sail in the tropics this season! These are the times that we cash in on all the hard work and sacrifices we have done to get here.
Our autopilot has a function called “wind vane” which enables us to set a course relative to the wind and then the autopilot simply keeps the same wind angle. This is very useful when going downwind because it prevents accidental gybes. Gybes are when the wind catches the front side of the main and violently blows it to the opposite side of the boat. The boom swings hard and can rip off the main sail track or worst it can knock someone over board and kill them!
Fortunately on this graceful day, our autopilot did the job and I never had to touch anything until we reached the Nassau west entrance. Once inside we dropped the main and peacefully made our way to the harbour under genoa alone. What a day! At 14:00 when we were nearing the bridges, we rolled up the geny, started the diesels and motored to our rendez-vous point in front of Bay Street Marina, like a dog finding his spot, we sniffed our way in and threw the hook in 10´ of water. This wonderful day under sails alone gave us a sense of pride and accomplishment…we had just sailed the dream for a day.
That’s it for now…next will be the 10 day adventure with the 3 kids!
Cheers you all 🤠

West Palm Beach, Fl to Royal Island at Eleuthera, Bahamas

This is a 200 nautical mile route that takes us across the dangerous Gulfstream and both Bahamas Northwest and Northeast channels. So the game here was to play the weather…and play it right!!!
In order to cross the gulfstream safely we must make sure that there will be NO northerly aspect in the wind for at least 15 hours after we set sail. Then we have to reach our anchorage in daylight and make sure we are well protected before the next cold front comes in. So our weather window opened up briefly on thursday but come friday night there is a strong front with 30-35 knot winds that will blow over the Bahamas so we must absolutely be safely anchored when it hits. My calculations were to cross on a SSE(south, south east) wind early thursday morning which will gradually turn SSW, W, NW and then full North for the big blow. We left at 5:30 and had the nicest stream cossing ever! It took us 10 hours on a motor sail in 10-15 knots. As the sun set the moon was rising and to our great pleasure it was full and lit up the sky to welcome us back to the Bahamas. The evening was uneventful except that we fried another alternator and our navigation lights started acting up. I decided to simply turn my brain off and not let that ruin the moment. I’ll have plenty of time to worry about it while we sit safely at anchor in Royal Island Harbour!
As the night progressed Nat and I took turns being lookouts while the wind was doing exactly as predicted. It is now friday 9:45 and the wind is on our port beam(WNW) and will keep clocking until tonight! Our ETA(estimated time of arrival) is around 13:00-14:00 so we should be perfectly timed to eyeball our way into this new harbour, which we will call home for the next few days!
Wow, we hoisted the yellow flag for the first time this season and we made made it inside the harbour perfectly, threw the hook, made a few phone calls, had diner and slept like babies until Saturday morning!!! We woke up to a blowing north wind but D-I was not even moving in this great anchorage.
It felt great to finally be back in the tropics living full time on the water. A sense of freedom, of satisfaction and of total relaxation filled me up completely while I peacefully sipped on my freshly brewed coffee. The rest of the day was spent replacing the fried alternator and adding an isolator to the system, hoping that it will solve the problem. Once all was replaced and rewired, I started the engine and everything seamed to work perfectly!!!
Then I checked my navigation lights and the verdict was that because of the fried alternator, I wasn’t getting enough power to reach 80´ from batteries to to of mast. All in all things are great now. The fridge is freezing tight after I started timing the off time and at on time at 50/50. As the days will progress I will extend the time off until I get the most efficient time possible, which I think will be around 60/40! At 60/40 the fridge should keep everything in the freezer frozen and everything in the fridge at 3-5 degrees and will only draw 40% of 24 hours or 9.6 hours/day @ 4.5 amps for a total of 43.2 Amphours/day. That’s really, really good for us…
Sunday we again, woke up feeling the rhythm of life at sea slowly coming back. We spent the day getting the boat ready for the kids that will be arriving next week to spend some time with us.
Monday we lifted the hook and headed for the town of Spanish Wells, where I had to go ashore and clear customs and immigration and get our Bahamian cruising permit as well as our fishing licence. Everything went smoothly and by 15:00 we were all cleared in and ready to roll in the Bahamas! We went out for diner at Budda’s snack shack and bar! The people were friendly and the food good and plentiful…
Today we did a little more boat stuff, we finalized the plane tickets for the kids and I caught up on writing on the blog!!!
Cheers you all 🤠

On the eve of leaving the U.S. for good!

Here we are on eve of crossing the Gulf Stream to reach the Bahamas. Since my last post, we have had many adventures to get here. From Charleston S.C. to West Palm Beach Fl, our challenges were mainly to navigate an ICW during the Blue Moon that last happened 128 years ago and caused extreme tides! In Georgia where the tides are usually 8′, we had 10-12′ and had to be more prudent than not. We only hit bottom once and were stuck on a rising tide for merely 30 minutes before the boat was free! We made our way south by constantly looking at the depth sounder and adjusting our heading according to it’s readings…not the most pleasant navigation that we’ve had so far!
We finally reached Florida, the warm weather and from then on it was all about verifying the boat systems and making sure that everything was perfect before we leave North America for the last time. Our run from Fernandina Beach to West Palm Beach was an eye opener and our findings were as follows: Fridge was not working properly anymore, our new high output alternator was acting up, a seawater pump not pumping on the port engine and a mildew crisis all over the boat!!! As much as we felt like dwelling on our bad luck, we had to thank god about the fact that all this happened while we were still in the land of “Home Depot and Walmart Super centers”. To add to our good luck, my parents had decided to come down from North Carolina and spend a week at my uncle Johny’s place. During this week, my aunt Gisèle and husband Pierre were also here and the following week my cousin Luc was coming down to spend a week with his mom Gisèle. So in the end, our bad luck turned into he best of luck!
While my parents were here, we spent our days running around to the alternator shop, the home depot’s, the walmart’s and everywhere else that our endless list lead us. The results were that the alternator was fried and the fridge had to be completely rewired and thoroughly tested to figure out the trouble.
Now it was time to figure out why I fried my alternator, so I spent countless hours revising the boat wiring, talking to my alternator guy Richard and testing various scenario’s. The verdict was that I had to rewire everything in order to completely isolate both engines from one another…while I was doing this, I decided to put brand new wiring and finally ended up replacing and renewing everything!!! It was a big job but now I feel much better about it and I’m sure that I won’t kill the newly rebuilt high output alternator. Once that was all finished, I still had the port engine with no water and the fridge! I started with the fridge and the internet to troubleshoot this mess. The fridge consists of a compressor, an evaporator plate, a thermostat and an electronic control module. Why was my fridge starting and cutting off right away…it was short cycling as they call it. My dad and I spent a day to try and isolate the problem: ran a temporary wire straight from the batteries, jumped the thermostat, played with the on and off cycle and other stuff. Finally I decided to rewire it completely, put a new breaker and install a recycle timer that allows me to decide the on off cycle instead of the thermostat. I ordered the timer online and waited for it to arrive in order to continue the testing. Meanwhile, my parents had to head back to Belhaven and our last day together was spent downloading files at there hotel and trying to complete our to do  list!!! Off they went and in came the timer…the results were weird and conflicting. I had been emailing back and forth with Richard Kollmann about possible fixes and we couldn’t put our finger on it. Richard is a “guru” for refrigeration and he said that after 20 years and more than 300 modules fixed, he had never seen what I was seeing!!! He decided to send me a new module(200$) and as he put it ” if it fixes your problem send me a check and if it doesn’t send me back the module”. What a great guy!
While we waited for the module, my cousin Luc got here and we were invited to spend time with Luc, Gisèle and Pierre. Nat and I had decided to buy a life raft for our Pacific crossing and they offered to come with us to pick it up in Miami. Everything was falling into place and the timing was perfect. We spent a beautiful day, picked up our life raft, went to the pool and ate a great home cooked meal that Gisèle had concocted…we talked and drank past midnight! Then Luc and Pierre drove us back to our dingy and to our total surprise, the marina had locked it up and we could not get back to Double Instinct!!! So back to their place we went and on the couch we slept! They took real good care of us and we thank them for it. The next day, they again took time for us and stopped at various places to pick up more stuff we needed before dropping us off at the marina. We invited them for a day on the boat before Luc had to leave. Nat and I spent the next day finishing up everything and getting Double Instinct ready for a day of fun on the water.
Yesterday we lifted the hook and picked them up at the marina. We spent the day sailing, drinking and living the high life. We had a great diner and really appreciated spending more time with them.
Today we are making water, cleaning, and tonight we will go do the final grocery before our crossing tomorrow night…
Oh! I will give you follow ups about the fridge as the testing and troubleshooting continues…
I take this last line to thank my mom and my dad for all their moral and physical support and their love…THANKS MOM AND DAD ❤
Cheers you all 🤠

The long way south!

Our options for making our way to Panama are as always based on the safest most comfortable route that we can manage. The problem with leaving the east coast this late in the season is the presence of strong cold fronts that keep us from making long passages in the ocean. This means that we end up transiting in the ICW(Intracoastal Waterway) or the “ditch” as most call it. This route is very long and boring because we have to motor 10 hours per day to make only 50-70 miles.
We have to deal with tides, markers, bridges, etc. For these reasons, we try to make the most offshore passages as possible but the fronts are very frequent and the good windows are rare and far apart during these months.
Wednesday morning we left Southport, N.C trying to make a passage of 300 NM to St-Augustine, FL. The weather was good, the boat and crew ready for our first 50-60 hours at sea. I fired up the brand new watermaker(we now make fresh drinking water from the ocean!!!) and made about 30 gallons of water in the open ocean for the first time! It felt great to finally make it all come together…the main idea for our boat systems is redundancy to never run out of power for our autopilot, navigation lights, fridge, watermaker, water pumps, ipads, computers, cameras, etc. This means that we need alot of power and as many ways as possible to make it and store it! We have two engines that charge 120 amps per hour, we have a little honda 2000 gas generator that can charge 50 amps per hour and can also give us 13 amps AC. We have 900 watts of solar panels and a 60amp mppt controller that can put out 50-60 amps per hour in full sun. In order to store all this power, we have six 6V batteries connected in series/parallel for a total of 675 amphours of which we can use 337 before recharging. The game is to make all this work together in a way to be completely redundant and self sufficient. Easier said than done but I think that we are in the game right now!!!
After diner we witnessed another magnificent sunset as we headed almost straight into it. As the evening progressed the wind picked up to 15-20 knots right on our nose. The waves started to build and DI was getting pounded…not very fun. After an hour spent revising the weather, I decided to change course for Charleston which was about 6 hours SW of us and on a much more comfortable tack and a better option compared to being pounded for the next 36 hours!!! It was a good decision for boat and crew. We finally came into Charleston Harbour at 6 in the morning and motored in the ICW until night time where we threw the hook, showered, had diner and had a good night’s rest. The weather for the next week does not allow us to take the ocean so we will make our way south via the “ditch” through SC and Georgia where the challenges are avoiding numerous crap/fish pots and extreme tides(8′-10′) and strong tidal currents(1-4 knots) to deal with for motoring and anchoring…
Cheers you all 🤠

New thing for 2018!

This season we are trying something new with the blog! Nathalie will continue to wonderfully tell our story in french through her eyes and beautiful writing and I will start writing in english through my own point of view, which is alot less romantic but much more technical. Translating everything is a real pain so we decided that this new method would serve our readers better. For all who want to translate…try google translate! It’s quite funny sometimes 😂.
It’s been a very hectic 2017 and most of our energy was spent trying to prepare for our long voyage across the south pacific. After 2 seasons and 17 000 km aboard Double Instinct, we both had a much better understanding of exactly what we needed and wanted aboard. The whole process started with a “list” which we would check off as the months progressed from juin to november(we thought!) Circumstances from home, work and weather changed our plans and here we are finally setting off at the end of January!
(I would like to mention that my girlfriend is the worlds best list maker and list checker! Without her, none of all this would have been done as well and organized as it was)
D-I has had many upgrades since Juin, which include more batteries, 900 watts of solar power, a 120amp high output alternator, a 2000 watt power inverter, a 60 amp AC charger, a 20 GPH watermaker, all new faucets and plumbing, a new genoa, all around shading for salon/galley and cockpit, complete new interior cork wall finishing throughout, 4 coats of topside paint, 2 coats of antifouling(bottom) paint, new fender dresses, new large BBQ, new swim ladder and cockpit shower and the list goes on but I think you get the point of how much work we have done. Keep in mind that everything was entirely done by us! Needless to say, it was just plain crazy but the results are simply amazing.
We are hoping that all these changes will help us make our guests aboard more comfortable and their stay with us one of their most memorable vacations!
Our plan for the future part of our journey, is to have friends and friends of friends meet up with us along the way. This will be very exciting for us and it will also help us “budget wise” 😉. We can accommodate 2 couples but 1 couple at a time is much more pleasurable in terms of doing what “you” feel like doing. Our goal is to please you with whatever you feel like. We like everything!!!! If you would like to spend a week or two with us aboard Double Instinct, simply email us and we will tell you all about it!!!
In the mean time, you can follow us on our blog by signing up or on facebook.
Cheers you all ⛵️🌅🏝🏄🐬

01-30-18 Before first ocean passage this year!

We anchored at Sloop Point, still in North Carolina, under a gray, windy sky last night. Gusts up to 30 knots! 🌬 We are in a known area since we are at our third anchorage at this place. Despite a small auxiliary heating (courtesy of step-dad) the cold takes over! The night was very cold and the wind whistled almost all the time. It’s hard to get out of the blankets this morning. Even with several layers on our backs, we feel the cold, hence the demotivation to get out of bed! We leave towards Southport. The brave Captain is at the wheel. In addition to the cold, the rain gets in the way! We are consoling ourselves because at least it is not snow! 🌨 It will be short-lived since the sun has quickly returned and stayed with us for the whole trip. The wind too! It allowed us to roll out the genoa that made its first release for many months. It made us feel good to see it swell up in the wind ….
Tonight we will sleep in Southport. It will be cold, the mercury will be -4 degrees Celsius for the night! We will surely stay cuddled up to keep warm! Tomorrow morning, as the weather looks good for an offshore passage, we will take the ocean towards St. Augustine, a city that we very much like the Captain and me. We will also have the opportunity to stop in Charleston or Fernandina Beach en route, if we change our minds … Now is the time to go back and share our memories of last year. So, let yourself be transported in the adventure aboard Double Instinct

⛵️⚓️🐬😎🌴⛱🦀☀️

We are now in January 2017 ….
After two days of sailing ⛵️ we go to the island of Île à Vache, Haiti. We left French Cay, Turks & Caicos Islands at noon on Tuesday January 17th, where we had arrived the day before. This uninhabited island is a sanctuary for birds. An immense green grass is at its center, where the birds make their nests. At the outer edge, there is fine sand where the waves come to deposit their treasures. Question of probing the place, we first went around in zodiac to dive to see the reefs. The water is clear and limpid, as is that of a pool, chlorine less! 😜 Passing from deep blue to azure blue, these gradations of colors sometimes offer beiges and green tints for the coral heads, sometimes remains of rusty wrecks. We put our feet 👣 on the beach littered with shells 🐚. The Captain helped Jim and I stock up. Usually we have to apply for access to the island but we forgot this little detail! 😳. We stayed on the sand watching the birds come and go, without coming to close to disturb them. We played a little illegal to see this little paradise. And it is without regret that we made our little rebels. Laws and regulations are meant to be bypassed from time to time, are they not, Captain? 😬.
Pockets filled with seashells, we returned aboard Double Instinct. After a hectic night at all points of view, we made the final preparations for this crossing between French Cay, the Windward passage and Haiti. In 10-to-20-foot following seas and winds blowing up to 28 knots, we made our first night. It was not very comfortable to sleep or to eat!  It is by staggering like a drunk that we move. We have to cook like an octopus 🐙. One hand holding the cauldron 🥘 while the other grasps the food, we let go of the handle just enough time to empty the container and oops! The skillet slides! We catch it clumsily not to get burned and presto! the spoon 🥄by on trhe floor! Sometimes it’s a funny situation😂, but it can become irritating when it does not stop! 😡 Once lying in bed to “try” to to sleep, I felt like a pancake being flipped in a pan… Each wave became a “challenge”.
💃🏼💃🏼💃🏼 Let’s feel like dancing, dancing … 💃🏼💃🏼💃🏼
We spent a long night slumbering between the bewildering noise of the waves that rose behind us in the manner of a brick wall, black as ebony, and hitting the underside of the catamaran like a parent who would spank her child. Nature has really incredible strength! We feel so small in the immensity of the sea when we are alone at the helm …. But how wonderful to be able to observe the moonrise through the clouds and watch the phytoplankton light up under the hulls, as a powder trail…

Under a sky almost cloudless, the sun showed up. We go around the northwestern tip of Haiti and enter the Windward Passage. With very small eyes, we make a coffee ☕️ to wake up a little. The sea is much quieter. Too quiet even. We must roll the genoa and descend the mainsail. There is only 7-8 knots of wind. The Captain starts the engines. In the clear blue sky, on the horizon, very small white clouds formed, resembling the smoke that a train would have allowed to escape. We move peacefully on the blue sea that the sun shines like thousands of diamonds. As the sea is beautiful and majestic! A calm day will be our daily life and will last all night until the next sunrise. It feels good to be able to sleep more easily to catch up on some sleep. We finally decide to make a stop in Haiti 🇭🇹 as had advised friends who stop there every year, Tania and Jean-Pierre, not to name them! We see the gigantic shores of Haiti that stand to port like the mountains of Grand Canion. It is really impressive! We are moving slowly towards our destination, Île à Vache Island 🐮. We are overwhelmed by the beautiful landscapes that surround us. We would never have known the beauty of this little corner of the planet. You must believe that Mother Nature has signed more than one painting! 😜
We enter the small bay of Feret. Nearly a dozen different boats, most dug out of a tree trunk with oars, a branch of dried palm, will hasten to come and greet us, each wanting to be the first to offer us his services. Despite the proximity of certain individuals, we try somehow to anchor ourselves in this vocal shambles.
We will meet a loving, welcoming and hopeful people … 😍
If you have questions, comments or suggestions write us, it will be our pleasure to read you and answer you 😊

Back on bord!

At the same time last year, we had our feet warm … 🏝
We are back in the intercostal, this Tuesday, January 29, 2018, to relive the already seen for our third passage to the heat so much sought after. We left Belhaven last Sunday morning after three weeks of preparation. Our navigation is not at its best because of the weather which is capricious. The sun was there for our departure and it was with a very dense haze that we had to compose during our second very short sailing day. Today, it rains ☔️ almost constantly and the weather is more than fresh! We freeze!

It’s been a long time since I sat in front of my screen to tell us … From the end of my keyboard, I am embarrassed. Not that I do not know what to write, but I feel rather uncomfortable to have left you without news all this time. But I have all the good (and less good) reasons in the world to validate this absence, but I will not list them. I’ll tell you what’s going on right now, and I’ll go back and forth from time to time to share our story, where we stopped telling you about it last January. The last publication is January 15, 2017, more exactly.
I hope you have not lost too much history, otherwise it may be necessary to read the last chapter to put you in context!

We spent an arduous summer of traveling back and forth between Saint John and Deltaville, Virginia, where we had left the boat at the marina to do various jobs to improve self-sufficiency (adding solar panels and a desalinator) as well as painting work (sandblasting also comes with painting, unfortunately we do not escape! But cursed that I hate it!)
After sanding our life, the Captain and I are very proud of the result! The effort was well worth the effort! 🤪
The list of works not ceasing to grow, we left the marina at the end of December towards Belhaven in North Carolina, at the house of my parents-in-law. We wanted to be a little warmer to finalize the latest work on Double Instinct. We returned to St-Jean to spend the holidays with our family. When we return on January 15th, SURPRISE! 😬 There were three to four inches of snow everywhere! White everywhere, everywhere! At home! 🌨☃️❄️
The catamaran was covered with white snow, white like its new paint, which was only one …. more than one with the water that had crystallized and had imprisoned the hulls forming a beautiful ice rink. ..⛸ Oops! 😳Welcome to the reality! Never have we thought of this probability, so rare … but very real! Waiting for the weather to warm up is all we have left to do. With the Captain’s parents, if we did not continue the list of jobs, we made shopping lists and took advantage, in good company, to visit the various shopping centers in the area.
The temperature returned to normal, we were able to finish our work leaving the dock to continue the third part of our adventure.

Here is “grossly” a small recap, accelerated of course, our return in June, until today.
In future publications, I will take this opportunity to return to our memories and make you travel by telling you about our adventure last year while respecting substantially the same dates. I hope that you will find you there and wish with all my heart to have the chance too, to find you there …

Our friends meet us in the Turks and Caicos!

Hi everyone,

We have been a bit busy for the past 2 weeks! After our arrival in Providentiales, TCI. We told our friends and family that we decided to spend Christmas and New Years here, our friends Christian and Terri-Lynn decided to hop on a plane and spend a week with us! What a great surprise!!! We had a wonderful week chilling out in Sapodilla Bay and then sailing around to the north on the ocean side reef. We had a great time diving the reef and going out to the weekly FishFry!

I’m just giving you a little update but will soon post a full story and will try to make a little video of our time here.

For now, we are kind of stranded here until a big cold front passes through early this week. I will try to get to work and make that video while waiting out the cold front!

As soon as we can, we plan to head southeast to the Turks passage where we hope to encounter Humpback whales on their yearly migration south… and then we will set our course to the windward passage and around Hispanola towards Puerto Rico and the Virgins!!!

Don’t forget that you can follow our progress here:

http://share.delorme.com/doubleinstinct

Our passage from Long Island to the Turks & Caicos Islands

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