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

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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.

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