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 Gerard Coulson | Home Prev 15 | Next 8 | Show all 


Welcome to Gerard and Monica´s website of pictures of our family´s travels on our Camper and Nicholson 35, "Clarabella". We left the UK in July 2005 and arrived in New Zealand in November 2007 having sailed 16,864 nautical miles.

CURRENT POSITION: Currently (as at April '08) we´re in Christchurch, New Zealand, and Clarabella is up in Auckland. We are now settling back into a land-based lifestyle and I'll be updating this website with more pictures in the coming weeks. (click here to see our position on a map).

31 - 45 of 53 Total.
St Kitts and Nevis
31. St Kitts and Nevis  (April 2006)
We enjoyed Nevis; it is a quiet, civilised island that looks after its visitors well.  We had a slowish sail over from the west coast of Antigua; Clarabella has been in the water for a year now and although I dive to remove barnacles, weed and other things that seem to like International’s antifouling paint I’m losing the battle.  With a good breeze we can still notch up 6 knots – I suppose the barnacles pull themselves in or something – but in lighter winds we slow right down.  Anyway, we reached Charlestown, dropped the hook and went ashore the following morning to clear customs.  Normally this is a fairly painless affair but here I had to fill in a form with boat details, crew list (passport number, full names, dates of birth etc for all 5 of us) at customs, do the same at Immigration (at the local police station, where they write up the names of banned drivers on a black board under a heading that says ‘Jesus saves’) and then similar at the port authority.  I often give spoof addresses on these forms in the certain knowledge that they are never read!

The Golden Rock plantation was a genteel place where we walked in the morning, swam in the pool, saw lots of the local monkeys, had a good lunch, swam again and made our way back to the boat.  On St Kitts a bus driver – don’t forget that the buses here are all minivans packed to the gunwhales with people, reggae music at full volume driven at high speed – took us all the way up the hill (with a little financial persuasion for the driver to deviate from his route) to Brimstone fort, a lovely place to spend a few hours in the presence of a little history.

From St Kitt’s – where we languished for a week whilst waiting for a battery charger to arrive to replace the failed one – we sailed back to Nevis, disposing of Rebecca’s now-defunct pushchair en-route, much to the delight of the kids!  Back at Nevis we stayed at the very beautiful and peaceful Pinney’s beach, home only to pelican’s that dive for fish from a great height, not worrying at all about how close we might be swimming to their fishy meal.

St Kitt’s was our turning point; the hurricane season gets going in the summer and our insurance company insists that we are below 12 degrees North (St Kitts is at 17.3 deg N) by the beginning of June, and we still have a lot to see and do!

We left Nevis at dawn, aiming for Guadeloupe, 70 miles of up-wind slog away, but passing the tiny rock of Redonda, which is in fact a kingdom, and then sailing down the lee of Montserrat.  You’ll recall that this island hit the headline in the 90’s when its volcano erupted, forcing the evacuation of the island.  As we passed the volcano was pumping out dust almost to the edge of the mandatory exclusion zone and we could clearly see the ruined town of Plymouth, with many houses up to the eaves in ash. As I write – in late May – the volcano has again erupted a few days ago, sending lava flows 2 miles out to sea; exactly where we were a few weeks ago!
4028 Visits
53 Images
Shared Album
32. Antigua  (March 2006)
Antigua is the centre of yachting – especially superyachting – in the Caribbean.  We arrived into English Harbour on the south coast to meet up with friends, expecting to find ourselves in a tropical version of the Solent.  Instead we found English Harbour very pleasant and civilised, and we appreciated the historical feel of the place.  There’s plenty of good walking around the area and a favourite walk of ours was up and round the headlands from English Harbour to Falmouth Harbour through cacti, aloe plants, humming birds, many goats and amidst spectacular views to a small beach where the beach bar did excellent fruit smoothies!  We also walked up to Shirley Heights for the weekly tourist bash, where loads of large Americans and sweaty Brits get bussed up, get drunk and get bussed back down.  We arrived early enough to appreciate the spectacular views over English and Falmouth Harbours and to enjoy the excellent steel band – they call them steel orchestras over here – before wandering back down again.

Further round the spectacular south coast we met up with “Jemima”, another boat with kids on, with whom we spent a good couple of days cruising before we moved on northwest towards Nevis.
3098 Visits
34 Images
Shared Album
Isles de Saintes and Guadeloupe
33. Isles de Saintes and Guadeloupe  (March 2006)
The short trip between Dominica and the Isles de Saintes, which lie midway between Dominica and Guadeloupe, was a motoring job – for once – and allowed us to arrive with full water tanks and batteries fully charged.  The Saintes are beautiful but we were only treated to a one night stop as they are exposed and the weather was not settled.

We had a good sail to Guadeloupe, a very French island, looking on a map much like a butterfly with spread wings.  Here it rained a lot and the boys were unwell with a tummy bug.  Long overdue haircuts were administered to the males!  We hired a car to explore the interior of the island, much of which is beautiful rain forest.
One of the highlights of our stay in Guadeloupe was the trip up the Riviere Sallee, the shallow mangrove lined river that divides the two halves of the island.  The road bridges lift once daily – at 0500!  The trip between the two bridges takes place in total darkness; the remainder of the trip can be done at much more sociable hour.

We will be visiting the prettier anchorages in Guadeloupe and the Saintes on our way back down the chain – more photos then!
3651 Visits
31 Images
Shared Album
Dominica 2
34. Dominica 2  (March 2006)
The two main anchorages in Dominica are Roseau, in the south, and Portsmouth in the north.  After Roseau we moved up to Portsmouth, where we took an early morning river trip into the Indian River, a peaceful mangrove lined river, which, apparently, has been used in Pirates of the Caribbean II (whatever that is!).

The shoreline in Portsmouth is littered with wrecked freighters that went ashore many years ago in a hurricane and for which the resources do not exist to remove them.
2138 Visits
12 Images
Shared Album
Dominica - Carnival
35. Dominica - Carnival  (February 2006)
Carnival took place over two days, during which the island goes into party mode.  The majority of these pictures were taken at 8am on the first morning of the carnival, by which time many people had been up all night and for a variety of reasons were the worse for wear...!  Lively costumes were worn for the parade later in the day.  Although we never felt threatened at any stage the carnival ended on a sour note with the fatal stabbing of a teenage boy.
3440 Visits
31 Images
Shared Album
36. Dominica  (February 2006)
Dominica could not be more different from Martinique.  It is one of the poorer islands and lacks the chic charm of the smarter Martinique towns.  It more than makes up for it in beauty.  We are currently anchored south of Roseau, the capital town, and made it here in time for the carnival.  We're anchored in crystal clear water, with the stern tied to a palm tree!  Diving over the side of the boat we are greeted with the sight of coral and reef fish.  Turtles have been spotted next to the boat!  It is hot, but not awfully so, and the evenings are warm but not stifling.  Tours are not expensive so we have been on a snorkelling tour to see coral reef and to 'Champagne', an area off the beach where volcanic activity makes millions of tiny bubbles emerge from the surrounding reef.  We have been round the island seeing waterfalls and the indigenous (sp?) Carib Indians.  Yesterday we walked in to a beautiful waterfall, but overnight rain made the walk in extremely tough indeed as we had to cross the river a number of times.  We moved on to the anchorage off Portsmouth in the north of the island, which was remarkable only for the amount of rolling that we did during the night!
5129 Visits
71 Images
Shared Album
37. Martinique  (Febryary 2006)
After spending a couple of weeks in St Lucia sorting ourselves out, enjoying being back in touch with the real world and getting to grips with Caribbean food and drink we moved on to Martinique, the island immediately to the north.  We arrived at Marin (in the south) after a very breezy sail over.  We spent a few days in Marin and St Anne, where we celebrated Monica's 40th, before moving north to snorkelling waters at Anse D'Arlet, Anse Noire and St Pierre.  Marinique is a nice enough French owned island (croissants and pain au chocolat were a welcome start to the day) where a lot of building is taking place thanks to European money!!  St Pierre was an interesting place, having been totally obliterated by a volcanic eruption from Mt Pelee in 1902.
3303 Visits
34 Images
Shared Album
St Lucia, West Indies
38. St Lucia, West Indies  (February 2006)
We are enjoying our stay in Rodney Bay Marina, St Lucia.  The laundry ladies have been inundated with over a month's worth of laundry and we have access to mains electricity, water, internet, decent food shops etc after more than a month without.  The boys enjoy the beaches and Marina pool; we enjoy sundowners with friends from other boats.

Minor repairs to the boat are on-going, the shroud that started to fail in the Atlantic is being repaired.

We have heard that one of the other Blue Water Rally boats has been lost on a reef; the crew are ok.
2644 Visits
6 Images
Shared Album
The Atlantic Crossing
39. The Atlantic Crossing  (January 2006)
We sailed over 2100 nautical miles (over 2500 land miles) in two weeks and one day, an average of nearly 6 knots.  We had a tough time, with strong winds, large seas and some gear problems; there were very few days when photography was possible owing to spray and salt in the air (as well as in the cabin at times...).  Monica and the children were great, as was Clarabella.

INCLUDES a bit of video that I took, on a digital stills camera, on a 'quiet' Atlantic day.  For the most part photography of any description was just not an option on the crossing :-(
4137 Visits
32 Images
Shared Album
Sao Antao
40. Sao Antao  (January 2006)
We took the local ferry to the neighbouring island of Sao Antao.  After a great deal of haggling we secured the services of a driver and van (although he still picked up so many other passengers that the van was full to overflowing) and off we went round the island for the day.  Lots of sights, sounds, smells, poverty but fundamentally happy people.  Not at all geared for tourism, which was a nice change.
4383 Visits
36 Images
Shared Album
Sao Vincente, Cape Verde Islands
41. Sao Vincente, Cape Verde Islands  (January 2006)
After 6 days at sea and a fast trip down from the Canaries we arrived in the Cape Verde Islands, our first 'tropical islands'!  These are a very poor set of islands, well out into the Atlantic, mostly supported by subsidies from the EU and the USA. *** UPDATED Feb 5 ***

We stopped in Mindelo, Sao Vincente.  The anchorage was secure, which was just as well because we had terrific winds over the anchorage, and boat was absolutely covered in orange dust from the Sahara.

Do have a look at the Sao Antao album too...
4671 Visits
29 Images
Shared Album
San Sebastian, La Gomera
42. San Sebastian, La Gomera  (December 2005)
This small island is off the SW tip of Tenerife.  We spent about 10 days there over Christmas.  It's a pretty island and the town by the marina is very pleasant.  Car hire was cheap and we spent a day exploring the island.

We enjoyed our first Christmas afloat too, and on the the 27 December we left for the 800 mile trip to the Cape Verdes.
2873 Visits
20 Images
Shared Album
Tenerife again
43. Tenerife again  (Novemeber 2005)
Here we are again in Tenerife waiting for repairs to the boat and parts for equipment.  A lashing from the weather stick has made life a little more interesting!
2799 Visits
16 Images
Shared Album
The Atlantic - Take 1
44. The Atlantic - Take 1  (November 2005)
10 days at sea, 1000 miles covered.  All for nothing; equipment failure and a tropical storm forced a return to Tenerife.
3814 Visits
30 Images
Shared Album
45. Tenerife  (November 2005)
Some pictures taken during our (first) stay in Tenerife.
2690 Visits
15 Images
Shared Album
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