Open Water Trips

Adventures in Open Water in Small Boats

I'm still alive!!! *LINK*

Hello gang,

Yes, It's me. I'm alive. I hope all is well with all of you. I guess you're wondering why I have not posted in quite some time. Well honestly it's got a lot to do with internet privacy. I googled myself and up came a crazy post between myself and Rob. I realized you have to really be careful what you put out there on the net.

I am still travelling almost weekly throughout the Caribbean. Just did a great trip to Jost VanDyke, my favorite island. I am dating a girl now who is the most awesome person. She grew up on a sailboat. She has hiked the Camino de Santiago- 800km across Spain. She surfs, she paints, and she's an amazing photographer. Basically me in a woman's body. We have been quite adventurous. I have started a website: www.malcolmschweizer.shutterfly.com to document my travels. Unfortunately I have not updated it lately because I've been travelling. It has photos from my travels, and it has a calendar (which I need to update) which shows where I plan to be next.

I had an amazing trip recently to Saba, which is a small island off of St. Maarten. Saba has the highest point in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, which rises up 3,000 feet above the sea. (Saba, St. Maarten, and Curacao are all Netherland territories.) It's not really that high... the Netherlands are kind of flat, but when you consider that it rises 3,000 feet upwards in just a couple of miles horizontally, you can imagine how steep this thing is. Steep enough that I threw out BOTH knees while climbing it. I got to a point on the way back to the cabin that I literally had to stop and say "I can't go any further." My knees had literally stopped working. I found that if I kept my knees straight and walked by putting my legs way out to the side I could make it the rest of the mile back to the cabin. I am well now. I just overdid it going uphill, and coming down was the icing on the cake.

Saba has no beaches. It is just a big mountain rising steeply out of the sea. There are some great hiking trails, and believe me they can be challenging with the terrain as it is. Saba is the quaintest little island. Next to Jost VanDyke it's my second favorite island in the Caribbean. The views are amazing. You can see photos on my site. There was no kayaking on this trip, but if you were adventurous and wanted to bring a folder to Saba I think it would be a beautiful paddle, but very very dangerous due to the limited places to beach. In fact, I think there are only two places on the whole island where you could actually land a kayak, and they are very rocky beaches.

The greatest thing about Saba is landing by plane. Saba has the shortest commercial runway in the world. Only one airline, Winnair, flys there. They fly the Twin Otter, a STOL aircraft with twin turboprops. The runway is perched on a cliff with a cliff at both ends and on one side so if you miss, off you go into the water. It's amazing. The pilot turns around and says "Okay folks, I know you all have your seatbelts on, but now I want you to tighten them up another notch and brace yourselves for a very hard landing." Notice that I said the pilot "turns around," because this is one of those little puddle jumper planes- no need for an intercom. You sit right behind the pilot. Look at my site and you will see us landing and you can see as we land at one end of the runway- the OTHER end of the runway is right there, and then there's a cliff and water. FUN!!! When you take off you go all the way to the end of the runway- and I mean right to the edge, and you brake torque it up until the engines are at full RPM, and the pilot lets go of the brake and shoots down the runway, rotating at the last second. It's amazing. All planes do a brake torque when they take off, but never like this. This guy brought the engines all the way up until the whole plane was vibrating and it sounded like they were going to blow up, and then he let go. I loved it! In my pics you will see a big "X" at one end of the runway. That means that the runway is off limits to commuter travel and no landing without prior approval. Only Winnair has the permission to land there. All others must get prior approval which I hear is more trouble than it's worth.

I highly recommend staying at the El Momo, which is a small eco-friendly resort perched high on a hill. They have quaint cabins with basic amenities. The couple that runs the place is the cutest, and are amazing chefs. I also recommend eating at the Brigadoon, where you will get one of the best meals of your life for less than half what you'd pay elsewhere for such quality.

Well anyway, next week is St. Kitts and Nevis, then planning Bermuda and Aruba in March. Great kayaking in Aruba. I highly recommend it. Great reefs with some good shipwerecks to paddle around. Bermuda is cold and very dangerous currents this time of year. I suggest sticking in the harbors in Hamilton where there are some great safe areas to paddle. So, it is great to be able to say hello to all of you and I'm sorry for being out of touch. Check out my site. I plan to keep it updated as often as I can.

All the best and happy paddling,

Malcolm

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I'm still alive!!! *LINK*
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Hey, Pete...
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I'm not drooling on my keyboard...
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