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Voyage to the Mystic Jungles of Guyana Reid, Soayna, Darshen return from Guyana jungle coast to Georgetown North Carolina to support his father -- contact This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

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Reid Stowe returned to Terra Firma on Thur June 17 2010 - 1152 days at sea

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2014 refit
Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Schooner is hauled out in a boatyard getting a survey for our future pirate themed day sail charter work

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OHenryCover
Friday, 12 April 2013

Cover of Greensboro's art and culture magazine: http://www.ohenrymag.com/

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Trip
Wednesday, 20 February 2013

 

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The Voyage Home
Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Our little family and the trusty schooner have returned home. The schooner rests peacefully on her river of birth, the Cape Fear River. Soanya, Darshen and I are in the family home in Greensboro.

We had a great voyage home. Besides our stop over in St. Thomas VI, we never lowered a sail the whole voyage. The winds blew out of the NE all the way to the mouth of the Cape Fear River.
We had some tech savvy delivery crew with us in the VI and when they opened their  computers to Passage Weather, the weather maps showed four days of contrary winds and squalls.  They decided they didn’t have time to deal with that. So they jumped ship and caught the next plane home. That left us with only Jennifer, who had never been to sea before.

Despite the contrary weather forecast, we were eager to get to sea and deal with what ever nature sent our way. It was late November and the huricane season was over. We motored twenty miles offshore, turned off our motor and drifted on a beautiful blue sea and enjoyed the view. Black rain squalls arrived from all directions and we milked them for a few miles at a time. During the night when all was pitch black we decided to heave-to and let the wind blow. When the wind picked up, we took off for North Carolina averaging 150 to 180 miles a day. During a momentary calm Soanya saw a big fish swimming by our underwater window and called out to me. I grabbed my fishing line and with my ever present partner, Darshen, by my side, I quickly pulled two Mahi Mahi aboard. Darshen squealed in joy and fear and ran back to the cockpit where he energetically did his happy dance, jumping in place and waving his arms.

A stiff wind picked up again and we continued on our 330 degrees course back to North Carolina. We were heading home to leave the schooner indefinitely to help Dad adjust to his new life without his wife, Anne, of 60 years. Her framed picture in the pilot house gave me solace and courage and I knew I was doing the right thing in her eyes.

The wind died completely as we approached the mouth of the Cape fear river. A heavy blanket of fog blocked our entrance, but as we motored forward it lifted and let us under. It was a great surprise to be met by my Uncle Bill and Cousin Bo as they drove up in a speedboat. We anchored across the river from Southport and they ferried my Dad and sisters out for a visit and Jennifer to the airport.

We still had twenty miles to sail up the river to Wilmington, so at dawn the next day we caught the tide up. We landed on the dock December the fifth. That was the day I was aiming for, my mother’s birthday. It was also the day my brother Bobby and I arrived home on the last voyage of the catamaran Tantra 38 years ago. I don’t know how these things happen, but they make the milestones in life memorable and magical.

Dad climbed aboard the schooner Anne and we all enjoyed a warm December sun. “Look Dad, the stainless steel fittings you made 35 years ago are still strong. They are almost the only thing on the schooner that has not broken.” Dad smiled and looked around. Soanya busily cleared the galley and packed food to take to Greensboro. Darshen ran back and forth from bow to stern and Dad said, “No running”. I said, “Dad, the halyards and lifelines run along the edge of the boat and Darshen knows he is not supposed to go near the edge of the deck or even touch the lifelines. I can’t stop him from expressing his playful energy.” We watched Darshen running and bouncing like a frog. “We are home Dad. We are here to be with you”.

Ed. Note: More pics and blogs from Guyana coming soon as well as how Reid and family adjust to a "normal" life!

 
Heading up to Wilmington
Wednesday, 05 December 2012
Reid Stowe and Schooner Anne has anchored in the entrance of Cape Fear river and heading up to Wilmington NC to be with his father.
 
Schooner Anne is Sailing Home
Monday, 19 November 2012

Schooner Anne is Sailing Home
Nov 19, 20012


Ahoy friends. So sorry we have not been posting our story as regularly as usual. Our computer is on the blink and we have been on the move through wild and exotic places. We managed to pull and repair our masts and repair our rudder on the little island of Wakenaam in the mouth of the Essequibo river. Almost a year ago we sailed into the isolated and biggest river in Guyana with a local pilot onboard. We ran aground twice. So trying to weave our way back out to sea weighed heavily on my mind and I always planned to get local guidance. Getting stuck where we knew pirates roamed was a little scary for us. Better than finding a pilot, we found a small cargo freighter with a 12 foot draft that offered to long line tow us through the uncharted maze of islands and mudbanks and set us free out at sea. We took the tow and watched as they churned up the mud even when we were almost out of sight of land. We loved Guyana, but I would say only the bravest adventurers should go there. In almost a year we didn't see a tourist or another sailboat. We plan to write more when we have time.


We set sail directly for St Thomas and flew off the wind, averaging six and seven knots and hitting almost 10 during the squalls. We plan to depart St Thomas with Jennifer from Brooklyn on Tuesday the 20th of November and hope to arrive in Wilmington, North Carolina the first week in December. This will be our sail home to the schooner Anne's birthplace. Harry, my dad has moved back into the family home and is waiting for us to come and engage him and do the family thing.


Thanks everybody for helping in so many ways. Stay tuned as the story continues.

 
Ship on Fire
Saturday, 13 October 2012
October 10, 1012
Wakenaam, Guyana

We often imagine our story from the eyes of our son "The adventures of Darshen." He has seen things that few people have seen. Imagine being tied next to a ship on fire...

Almost a year ago when we arrived in Georgetown, Guyana, after a 35 day non-stop at sea voyage from NYC, we found a little safety and security from the raging river currents and pirates that everybody warned us about by tying up next a ship on the dock at the mouth of the river. The ship was named Miss Reanna from the island of Wakenaam in the delta of the biggest river in Guyana, the Essequibo. We made friends with the crew and exchanged visits and food. Miss Reanna is an old steel riveted cargo boat built in Denmark before WWII. When we arrived at Joe's boatyard in Wakenaam imagine our surprise when we found our stern almost touching the stern of Miss Reanna!

We were having lunch when we heard a worker from one of the tugboats call out. At first we didn't realize something was wrong and thought they were just calling out to each other as they always do. Then we saw a waft of smoke come out of a porthole of Miss Reanna and we thought they were welding inside. Within minutes smoke was puffing out all of portholes along the side and the workers started running. The crew then took off their shirts, dunk them in a bucket of water and tied them around their faces as masks and rushed into the smoke coming out of the pilothouse door. In two minutes they were back outside and leading a deck hose inside but were soon back out huffing and coughing.

The workers from the tugboat and barge nearby ran over to help. There is a long narrow dock to Miss Reanna and five men ran down the dock carrying a heavy long hose. Then four different strong men manhandled a gas powered pump down the dock and passed it on board. The back of the boat was burning so they had to set the pump on deck amidships. The wind blew the smoke on to about 20 men who arrived to help. Red flames danced out of the pilothouse and windows along the side. The deck became too hot to stand on, so they sprayed the deck as they pointed the hose in different windows.

In the meantime we sat in our cockpit thirty feet from their stern watching in awe and little bit fearfully as the fire raged bigger and the men salvaged what they could, emptying deck lockers of paint cans and flammables. As the drama continued, the weight of all the water that was being pumped into the boat made the stern sink lower and the bow rise out of the water. Luckily, within an hour less and less smoke came out of the portholes and it looked like the fire was doused. Many of the men went inside and soon pieces of burned wood were being thrown overboard into the river. They took a sledge hammer to the living quarters inside to make sure there were no smoldering fires left.

That evening the wind shifted and blew the smells of fire, charred wood and paint over to us. The women and children of the crew all showed up to see the damage. We found out that it was a welding fire that started in a hidden spot far from where the welder was working. They said they would have the ship in working order in less than a week.
 
Pulling out the Fore Mast
Wednesday, 10 October 2012

October 7, 2012
Wakenaam, Guyana                    

Our biggest news here is that we finally got one of our masts out and laying down on the shore where we can chase out some rot and refinish them. This was a long time coming and the masts are quite crusty and will love to be cared for and refinished and brought back to their original beauty.

Our friend Joe, who has a big operation shipping raw molasses out of Guyana invited us over pull out the masts with his big hydraulic excavator. The arm on the excavator was just long enough to lift the foremast out and because it couldn't take hold of the mast high enough, when the mast came out of it's hole it swung sideways. That was a little disconcerting, but we had the mast lashed twice to the bucket of the excavator. We got her laid down comfortably and have already stripped her and made our first splice.


Rocky and Jessica are our only helpers now and it is a big job for us. I have been asking around for more workers, but they say it is rice harvest season now and everybody is occupied. All the landings have piles of rice sacs  full of rice in the shell they call "paddy."


We have been really busy trying to keep up with our schedule of departing here the first week in November, so we can set off from St Thomas for Wilmington NC and arrive the beginning of December before the winter storms begin. We have a few people sailing out of here with us and a few more meeting us in St. Thomas for the ocean voyage back. We are still considering a few more adventurous souls who want to experience the ocean on the mighty, mythic, but flawed Schooner Anne.
It will be quite a change for us after almost a year isolated beyond other foreign boats and travelers.

 
Leaving Supanaam
Saturday, 22 September 2012
After seven months tied to the bamboo jungle in Supanaam, it was finally time for us to leave. Joe, who owns some great old tug boats from the 1950’s, invited us to Wakenaam, one of many islands on the wide Essequibo River delta. Joe exports raw molasses out of Guyana to ports in the Caribbean that make rum. He bought  some of the tugs in NY and I remembered them from my stay in NYC. We loved Supanaam and were sad to leave, not knowing if we would ever be able to make it back to this hidden and isolated paradise.
 
After so many months anchored in the fast flowing jungle river, it was not easy getting our anchors up. Our best helper, Rocky who is 21, brought his pregnant wife Jessica along to live with us during our stay at Joe’s in Wakenaam. A few friends helped us get our anchor up, then Rocky rowed them to shore and dropped them off while Soanya and I maneuvered the schooner until Rocky got back. (We are still steering the schooner with ropes to the back of the rudder and have decided this is the way we will sail back home to North Carolina if we can’t get the rudder fixed during our stay at Joe’s tug and barge dock.)
 
We motored slowly past the moored boats and ferry docks, waving and shouting good- bye to everybody. We then turned our gaze into the morning sun rising in the east across the Essequibo River to search for our landmarks on the Wakenaam coast.  The Supanaam is a narrow river that flows ”black” when the tide goes out and empties out into the Essequibo which is  always a light muddy shade, but is also beautiful. The expanses widened up until we could see the broad and beckoning North Atlantic. We powered against a strong sinking tide and crept slowly alongside the most obvious tugboat in a cluster of four. A man stepped out of the shade just as we arrived and threw our mooring lines over the big bollards of the tugboat. With some heaving, Rocky and I secured the schooner. What a coincidence it was to find ourselves next to a group of old barges and tug boats from NYC.
 
The foreman invited me up to see the boss and Joe graciously and proudly showed me around his home and boats. He is a hands-on man with boat and motor experience beginning in his childhood. He asked each of his workers if they had the right size bolts and gave advice as we toured each boat. The 1950’s tugboats are from an era of great style and he keeps them in great shape.
 
Now we have a little over a month until we plan to leave Guyana on the first of November. I am beginning to realize that we will never get all of the jobs I hoped to do finished when I returned from my week in America. I will focus on getting the schooner looking good and as seaworthy as possible before we set off. We don’t have any committed crew for any of the legs of the voyage yet. We are tentatively planning to stop in Barbados and the Virgin Islands on our way back to North Carolina and hope some of our friends are ready for adventure on the schooner ANNE.  
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Unexpected Turn
Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Supanaam
Sept.9, 2012
 
Here our story of The Voyage to the Mystic Jungles of Guyana takes an unexpected turn.
 
I knew my Mom, Anne, the namesake of our schooner, was going into the hospital for shoulder surgery. We emailed everyday during the 1000 Day voyage and even in the wilds of Guyana we managed to find a skype connection so we had short little chats regularly. I was very surprised when my sister Mary emailed me saying, "Here is your ticket home, Mom has had complications and now the doctors are saying she might not make it."

I quickly arranged for our best helper, Rocky, to move on the schooner with his pregnant wife and look after Soanya and Darshen. The next day I caught a ferry out of Supenaam across the Essequibbo river, caught a bus to the Georgetown airport and flew home to North Carolina. I was praying that I could lay my hands on her and heal her. My brother and his son picked me up at the airport and gave me the news that Mom had just died. Mom was the most wonderful mother anyone could have and I soon found out she had touched and made many more people feel special than I knew. She and my Dad Harry are both 83 and have been married 62 years They had just moved into an old folks home. I couldn't understand why they did that because they were both so healthy and full of life. When I hugged my Dad, he cried for the first time I had seen him cry in my whole life. With tears in my eyes and no forethought I told him I wanted to bring my family back and live with him in the family home. He agreed that was what he wanted to do. Mom was the oldest and the loved matriarch of a big extended family. The church was packed for her memorial and she was hailed as a saint.
 
When Soanya called, I told her what I felt I had to do and she understood, always on the same wavelength and supportive. Now we plan to try to finish up what work we can do in the next month and leave Guyana to haul out and re build the rudder. Getting out of Guyana will be a lot of work and it won't be easy navigating for two days through uncharted mudbanks on the fast flowing river. I'll be relieved to be on blue water again. Hauling out will be a difficult job for me because at this moment our little family is alone and with out crew.
 
Anybody who wants to come down and sail with us is welcome to give us an email. We plan to be in Guyana until the beginning of October. Then we will sail to Trinidad to haul out (tentatively). We will make various stops up island and plan to sail to Wilmington NC after the huricane season, the second week in November to arrive in the US around the beginning of December.
 
I framed a picture of Mom dated it, and screwed it to the very front of the interior of the pilote house. She will guide and look after us as she did on the 1000 Day Voyage. She will give us strength and courage to come home and be with her Man.
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