Philip Aikman on board Island Trader in the West Indies….(beginning 4/16/2013)
“A wind came from out of the wilderness and took me where I’d never been before.” Lucille Aikman
Island Trader is the name of the builder of the 40 ft. motorsailer that is my home in the West Indies. I picked up the boat in Boca Chica, Domincan Republic, then went on to La Ramana, Casa de Campo marina, then Boqueron, Puerto Rico (PR), Ponce (PR 2nd largest city) I was at Marina de Salinas (near town of Salinas) where there are ‘hurricane holes’ in case of storms (tie up to mangrove trees that grow out of the shallows) for 3 months of the hurricane ‘season’ (August – November), then at anchor for another month. I December I was on my way to the Puerto Rican island of Culebra, but had a nice 10 day lay-over in Puerto Patillas, a nice little bay about 20 miles east where Don and Janis were wonderful hosts. Now I am anchored or on moorings in Ensenada Honda (the biggest bay) in Culebra.
I then hope to head over to the Virgin Islands, St. Martin then begin a journey of exploration down the Antilles archipelago to the Lesser Antilles’ Leeward islands and finally the southerly Windward islands.
This is the culmination of a lifetime sailing. My father, Philip Joseph Aikman, an avid sailor and co-founder of the Spokane Yacht club in Coeur d’Alene Idaho in the 1930′s, instilled in me his love of sailing starting with a 12 ft. cat rig on Newman lake in the 1960′s and later a 30 ft. sloop on lake Coeur d’Alene in the 1970′s. When the opportunity came to buy a well worn and weary 65 ft. schooner in 1990 I leaped… on to 40 ft. ketch and now a 40 ft. motorsailer.
A traditional sailboat would have been my preference, but age and the fact I am single-handing the boat made me choose a boat I could jump out of bad weather into the pilot house helm and, with a 135 hp engine, power my way out of most dangers.