Sunday, April 27, 2014


by Ray Jason

How could I NOT love a place called Gypsy Island?  Isla Gitana is how you say it in Spanish, but a few years before my arrival, it had a slightly less romantic name - Isla Muertos - or Island of the Dead.  That’s because part of it was a burial ground.  The locals had deliberately located it on an island far enough out in the Gulf of Nicoya so that the ghosts could not swim to the mainland.  In fact, in the months that I was there, they weren’t even able to make it out to AVENTURA - even though she was anchored only 30 yards from the shore.     
            My sojourn at Isla Gitana was both tranquil and rambunctious, with great new friendships and rollicking adventures.  But the highlight was surely the day that an actual Tall Ship anchored beside AVENTURA.  She was the PACIFIC SWIFT out of Vancouver - a sail training vessel full of bright, inquisitive teenagers out to see the world and gather some life lessons.

Sunday, April 13, 2014


by Ray Jason

It was a moment of pure, transcendent bliss.  AVENTURA had just cleared some treacherous, shallow reefs south of Jamaica.  As I studied my chart, it suddenly dawned on me that now there was nothing but open Caribbean water between my lovely sailboat and a cornucopia of enchanting destinations.
            I could select the beautiful and historic walled city of Cartagena.  Or perhaps the stunning San Blas islands with their feisty Kuna Indians, who never fell to European conquest.  Maybe a visit to the magical Rio Chagres was in order.  It is a jungle wonderland where the howler monkeys outnumber the humans.  Or possibly I should set my course for the undiscovered jewel of the Caribbean – Bocas del Toro.  But then again, maybe I should sail west to the turquoise, fish-lush waters of Belize. 
Pondering these exquisite choices reinforced my belief that there is no freer way to live than the sea gypsy path.  Since I didn’t want to waste my fresh stash of Jamaican limes, I made myself a tall gin and tonic.  Then I retired to the foredeck with my clipboard.  Feeling utterly at peace - with the sails pulling and the wind-vane steering - I decided to inventory the many forms of freedom that wandering the Wide Waters bequeaths me.