Wednesday, December 26, 2012

St. Maarten, December 2012

St Maarten December 2012
Tuesday 4 December – Wednesday 26 December
We had a wonderful fast sail from Barbuda to St Maarten on a beautiful sunny day. We had originally planned to stop for an overnight anchorage at Colombier Bay on St Barts but we were making such good time it was only 2:30 when we reached St Barts, so we kept going all the way to St Maarten. Passing by Philipsburg the Dutch side capital 4 cruise ships were in. We make it to Simpson Bay by 5 and have to circle around to wait for the 5:30 opening so we can enter the lagoon. As we go thru the bridge and pass by the SMYC (St. Martin Yacht Club) we see friends George & Jan Todd, who are there using internet and watching the boats come in. For tonight’s 5:30 bridge opening, only one mega yacht behind us coming thru. We get in and anchor in “our old spot”, which is luckily open, we have arrived a day earlier than planned and as the sun is setting we do not want to look around for another spot to anchor. George & Jan come by in their dinghy to welcome us to St Maarten. They are going to drop their computers off at their NEW boat and then come back to pick us up so we can go to dinner and catch up on the last weeks happenings. Between our boat problems and their purchase of a new boat, a lot as taken place since we saw them in Guadeloupe. They are now the proud new owners of a huge 57 foot Catamaran and have been transferring all their “stuff” from their old boat Wild Thing a 473 Beneteau (now for sale) and trying to learn their new boat and all its systems. We make plans to go into Lagoon Marina which is right next door to Maintec the company that will be replacing our “windows” but another boat is in our spot so we have to wait until 4 before getting to the dock. During the day Steve is running around making contact with several of the vendors we would be using to see when we could set up jobs. The sail maker is free so we take the main down so it will be ready to off load when we get to the dock, his shop is right at the marina. The leech line always seemed to be to loose so Steve wanted it fixed (again). This time the main is being re-cut to a better shape and then fixing the leech line. In the meantime we have now also discovered our freezer is NOT working. We call Jan & George to see if they can turn on their freezer so we can store our food. I start putting things in coolers and cleaning up the melt while Steve goes to check in with the marina. While checking in Bernard, the marina manager says there is an excellent refrigeration shop on the ground floor below the marina office, and the owner is in at the moment. Steve zooms downstairs to find the guy just closing up, and at his request for help says he is booked thru the 1st of the year. Steve just starts talking about our system and problem and the guy gets intrigued as he had not heard of it before. So he comes out to take a look, we are only 50 yards away from his office. He helps diagnose the problem which turns out to just be the thermostat and he gives us a replacement to be sold the next day when his computer is back up. His shop has a freezer so he turns it on and we just leave our things in there. Call Jan & George who have finally learned how to turn their new freezer on to tell them we won't need it after all. When we docked we noticed the boat across from us was the same one that was next to us down in Trinidad over a year ago and had a small fire. We say Hi and ask for no fires this time. Get the water tanks filled and get cleaned up, by this time it is after 7 and we are too tired to launch the dinghy to join Jan & George at a pizza place by their marina so we just eat at Lagoonies the restaurant at our marina. Thursday Dave from Maintec shows up to show us how to start taking the hatch plexiglass out and cleaning up the windows. He tells us a great tip to tape up a garbage bag under the window so the debris falls into it. We are taking the “windows” out and getting all the Sikaflex, a black sealant/ adhesive removed from the plexiglass to use as a template to cut the new ones and then we have to clean it ALL out of the frames. A VERY messy and painstakingly slow task. The frames must be totally clean of all residue from the old adhesive. As much as we tried, it was very windy during this time, stray black flex’s went everywhere even the vacuum could not get them all. As Steve and I were cleaning the frames the guys in the shop were cutting the new “glass” making sure of the fit. Next they helped put the new seals in, the ones we got right before leaving Grenada. Had to put blue tape around the plexiglass and the frames then put primer around the plexi – also black and messy then put new Sikaflex in around the “glass” and the frame letting it harden overnight. Cleaning all the hardware (handles & hinges) re-bedding them and cleaning up the excess Sikaflex that oozed out. We only got 2 a day done except the last day when we did 2 small ones and the big one over the front storage area. In between we were doing a few other things like putting in the new thermostat for the freezer – we did that first thing Thursday. Picking up and installing a new hot water heater !! Another messy and hard job. Finding a new computer for me so I can now type with the letters E,R,D,& X :). Had the broken feed pump for the water maker removed and ordered a new one. Got the main sail back and put it back up, should have waited on a less windy day for that job as I almost got launched off the boat holding the end when we had to retie the out-haul line. We later replaced that out-haul line with a smaller but stronger line as the old one was stiff & swollen and did not go thru the rope clutch as easy as it should. After replacement the clutch was still very hard to work, and Steve discovered the problem was a roller bearing encrusted with salt and calcium that wasn't rolling any more. A generous dousing with water to dissolve the salt followed by vinegar to dissolve the calcium got it working freely again, and then he did the same for all the other clutches. We did manage a few fun things during all the work. Shopping at Ace, Jan & I went over to Marigot one afternoon for a little lady shopping. We went out to dinner several times as the boat was such a mess with all the on going work and Steve was too tired to cook. Jan & George were busy setting up their new boat and cleaning up Wild Thing to get hauled out and put on the hard until she sells or gets moved back to the states. They still managed to have time to cook 2 dinners for us in their big new kitchen and salon area. One place we went is a new Thai restaurant - PanLaan, that we found right here in the lagoon with it's own dinghy dock and GREAT Thai food. This all took place in our first week here in St Maarten !! Thursday December 13 Jan & George fly back to Texas for the Christmas holiday, we finish up with the hatches. Friday we start on the portholes, these are the much smaller side “windows” and since they come out easier Steve is able to take them over to the shop to work on them, we get 4 done on Friday. FKG a marine fabricating and rigging company is working on our security grate for the companion way, so they are back and forth to the boat getting it fitted. Feel really good about this extra security measure we are taking. That evening FKG had a company holiday party for customers and staff, free drinks and food, a lot of really good food and plenty to drink. Saturday Steve had to change out the heating element in our new water heater, they had given us a 220v instead of a 120v , so it worked, just not as fast or efficiently as it should. Luckily this was an “easy” task, especially compared to installing the water heater. We went for a late lunch then caught the bus to Philipsburg to look for a 2 TB hard drive (computer stores nearby only had 1TB's) to use to back up my new computer. Only 2 cruise ships in today so shops & streets were not to busy, and it was nice to walk around have a drink on the boardwalk before catching the bus back. Sunday another late lunch then a dinghy ride around the lagoon enjoying the fresh air and a relaxing day before the work starts up again on Monday. Monday & Tuesday we finish up with the portholes. The boat is still a MESS from workers and us going on & off and Steve's tools he has been using still all out and needing to stay out for a few more days to be used before we can start to clean up. Wednesday & Thursday the days blurred together as we finish clean up on all the hatches & portholes and try to start putting away some tools. We had sprung a leak in the hot water hose that runs along the back of the boat to the cockpit hose. NOT that we have a hot water connection there, but in case we ever do the hose is ready. It leaks down into the engine compartment, so when we went to fix the insulation around the engine we had to first fix the leak then mop up all the water. The insulation was flaking and getting really messy, it needed a new rubber coating painted on so we could reattach the noise reduction material we had put on and was peeling back. Thursday morning on the cruisers net we hear that friends Jan & Larry on Sea Bear have arrived in St Maarten. I try to call them later to say Hi but get no answer on the VHF radio, later as we are finishing lunch at Lagoonies they come up in their dinghy. We switch to a bigger table and spend some time catching up with them. Back to the boat to finish up whichever mess we were working on before lunch. Friday we start working on the anchor chain, we had decided to get new chain while here so went by IWW to pick up the new chain. Back to the boat, unload the 120 feet of new chain from the dinghy onto the side deck of the boat and measure out and mark 50, 75 & 100 foot spots (so we know how much chain we have out) . Guys from FKG came by for our rigging inspection, good news we do not need to replace that yet but they did say in the next year before going into the Pacific to get it done. While up the mast Steve had him replace our anchor light that had burned out our 2nd night in Barbuda. That done we use the halyard line to lift the anchor off the boat and onto the dock and start handing the chain & rode over to the dock. Steve works at undoing the shackle and tries to get our swivel off with no luck. The anchor is free from the chain so we lift it back onto the deck of the boat for the night for safe keeping. Steve goes to budget Saturday morning to get a new swivel. We decide to go make a grocery store run before boat work so get our cart out to go up to Grand Marche. Taking the dinghy to the dock at PDP (Port de Plaisance) the grocery store is a short walk up the road the cart will help bring the heavy stuff back. Back to the boat, groceries put away, have lunch and then get to work putting the anchor & new chain back together. New swivel attached, new shackle and we had switched rope ends so Steve had to splice the rope back to the chain then we had to put length markers on the line also before feeding it back into the anchor well. Once we got down to 20 feet of chain we used the halyard again to lift the anchor up and drop it in the water right in front of the boat using the windlass to bring it up the last few feet. Sunday we sleep in and get up to a cool cloudy day, high temp of only 80° and it took till noon to get that warm, the afternoon is spent CLEANING / scrubbing the deck of the boat. We were worried about some of the black marks coming up but with a little scrub pad they did and it felt so good to have a clean boat again!! Monday Christmas Eve Day, hard to believe it is Christmas. We had been so busy with all the boat work did not get out to see the towns at night to see decorations. Lagoonies the restaurant by our marina did put up some lights and decorated a plant like a Christmas tree and had some Christmas Carols & Santa for the kids one night BUT we have not had time to visit the more festive areas. But it is a sunny day and we are happy to be on the beautiful island of St Martin. Steve replaced the steaming light that we had discovered the lens was gone and not sure when but some time ago based on the corrosion on the old one. I cleaned the inside of the boat, between being in the yard in Antigua and our boat work as well as others around the dock it needed a good cleaning. With the holiday's no one was sanding or sawing wood creating more dirt in the air so a good time to clean even if it is a holiday. Christmas Eve night we went over to a local restaurant & bar, Barnacles, with Jan & Larry from Sea Bear and Dana & Wayne from Journey. Barnacles is a popular cruisers place and they have great happy hours BUT the food they had this night was really bad, a Greek lasagna that was really JUST macaroni, cheese & a little sauce. We were with good company so it was still a fun evening. Tuesday Christmas day !!! One more boat project that of course took longer then planned. The rig inspectors had told Steve to put in 2 plastic washers at two stress points on the boom hinges. NOT so easy lifting the weight of the boom to get the washers in but we finally managed. Then called it quits to enjoy the rest of the day. Making Skype calls to family and preparing a dish to bring to Sea Bear for dinner. We go over around 3:30 to enjoy a few cocktails and horderves with Dana & Wayne also. Our hostess Jan & Larry have made a turkey and stuffing along with carrots potatoes and brussel sprouts (she's English) Steve made a wild rice, leek & butternut squash dish and Dana made a wonderful banana rum raisin desert. It was a wonderful meal and great company to share the day with. Back to the boat and a few more Skype calls before the end of the day. Wednesday, 12/26 AKA Boxing Day, and it has been a busy three weeks since we arrived. We had a nice easy morning and early afternoon then just when I thought there would be no boat projects Steve informed otherwise. He just needed to tighten the bolts where the arch connects to the boat on the starboard side. They had worked themselves loose, over the last year. This was supposed to be a quick easy job, don't really think there is such a thing on a boat. Steve had to crawl down into the stern hull of the boat to get to where he needed to tighten the nuts and put lock nuts on. NOT an easy spot to get to or to work in. He had trouble getting them tight until he found some metric size ones that fit better. Semi cleaned up and tools put away, we went over to a small island in the bay on the French side to join fellow cruisers gathering there for an afternoon BBQ & HH to watch the sun set. A nice time meeting some more people from boats, we head back to our boat just after sunset. Since we were not really hungry before 6 we opted to just bring a snack and cook dinner back at the boat. Our list of To – Do is almost complete, main thing now is waiting for the water maker feed pump, the one that came in was the wrong one so another should be here by the end of the week. So that is boat maintenance in paradise for sure. Our first 3 weeks in St Maarten have been busy and very productive. We are hoping the next 3 will be more about fun things and look forward to seeing some of the beautiful anchorages around the island. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Guadeloupe, Antigua & Barbuda

Guadeloupe, Antigua & Barbuda
Friday 23 November - Tuesday 4 December

We are under way by noon for a short sail over to Iles de Saints, Guadeloupe and are moored off Terre de Haut by 3. Steve & George go to clear in, a nice afternoon swim before showers and into dinner. George had asked for a recommendation from the customs guy then took a walk to find the place to make reservations. It was a great place called Les Petits Saints and we all had wonderful meals. Saturday Jan & George went in early to the veggie market and we passed them as we were going in, me to browse the stores so Jan climbed into our dinghy too come with me. Steve went to market while Jan & I had a few hours to shop. The French shops are so much fun to look through!! Steve comes back to pick us up at noon when all the stores close for lunch. We go back to our boats for lunch and another swim. Dinner Saturday night at Les Amandiers NOT as good a choice as only 2 out of 4 meals were okay and setting not as nice either. A pleasant evening for a stroll through town. Sunday we are under way by 7 to head to Deshaies on the north west end of Guadeloupe. We have a great sail across the channel towards the main land hitting 10.6 knots surfing down a wave in a 26 knot wind gust. Then just north of the capital Basse Terre the winds die, soon after we get the sail rolled up, the winds pick back up but now from the north west so we get to sail on the opposite tack the rest of the way into Deshaies. We get anchored by 12:30 shortly before the heavy rains start. We get a few breaks in the rain, one we use to go into town to stretch our legs. Just after dark a charter catamaran comes in and picks up a locals private mooring next to us. They are too big to be on that mooring and too close, but we wait to see what will happen. Jan & George come over for another joint dinner, afterward the catamaran winds up moving after drifting almost onto our bow between their hulls. Luckily even though they were French, they spoke good English and understood to move. Monday we are under way by 7 as we both have long trips ahead of us. Ocean Star headed to Antigua and Jan & George on Wild Thing headed for Nevis & St Kitts. Winds & waves are greater then predicted so we have a fast and not so comfortable trip. Arriving at Jolly Harbour, Antigua Monday at noon after a "frisky" sail from Guadeloupe. We check in & get anchored and then wonder why the bilge pump keeps running so often. We'd taken quite a bit of water over the bow plus some heavy sprays that found their way into the companionway BUT not enough to have the bilge pump running. So we started looking and cleaning but it took us until Tuesday morning to find the leak, which turned out to be a cracked through hull fitting, between the hull and shutoff valves. It was small, only about 4 liters/hr, but we were concerned it could become much worse on a beat to St. Martin, so we opted for a quick haul out Tuesday to replace the fitting. It broke in half with just a minor amount of effort once we were hauled,so we were quite glad we had the haul out. Then as boat maintenance in paradise works things snowballed, Steve decided to replace the zincs, even though the old ones looked pretty good, just because it was easy. But a check of the shaft revealed the cutless bearing had to be replaced. The easiest way to do that was to remove the prop, which turned out to be not easy at all because of one frozen bolt. We ran over our quick haul sling time and had to be blocked and chocked in the yard to finish. The prop finally came off around 5, too late to finish for the day. Plus a crack was found in the rudder that needs to be ground down and fiber glassed. An expensive day. It took another two days plus the weekend to finish repairs. On the plus side, Budget Marine & Laundry are right here in the yard & it's a nice view despite the mosquitoes!! and it is a short walk to the stores and restaurants. Yes we still love this life. Wednesday the prop job gets finished and the rudder started. I get the laundry done (small load as this is one of the more expensive places) and work on the blog (still w/o letters E,R,D,X) NOT easy typing! Steve changes the zincs on the bow thruster and gets the generator pulley back to re-install. Oh that G word again, forgot to mention we had to have the generator worked on again. The pulley we had made in Grenada, while a great idea was not done with the best material so we had it upgraded and it is now working great again (for now/knock wood). The marina put us in touch with a very nice young man, Anthony Duncan(720-6884) who came out to look at my keyboard. Steve had opened the back up and just shaking it, got the keys to wok ONCE more, but then they stopped again. Anthony took the keyboard out and cleaned the connections but informed me on Thursday when he brought it back that those letters still won't work, so I am using the on screen keyboard for the letters E,R,D,X & now #'s 4&5. Thursday morning Steve got a little panicked when Tony, the guy doing our rudder repair did not show up, and did not answer his phone. Long story short, he had told several “others” he had to do something else in the morning and would be at the yard after lunch. Would have saved Steve some aggravation if he had told us, but he finally showed up an continued the job. Friday morning the rudder gets primed & painted and we get launched back into the water at 11. Quick stop at the fuel dock and store and we head out and over to the next bay, Five Islands Harbour and are anchored by 2 for a late lunch. It feels so good to be back at anchor we have a nice breeze that helps chase some of the mosquitoes away, but I am still tying to hunt them down and kill them Friday night. Saturday we are under way by 7:30 and have a nice sail up to Barbuda. This is our fist time here, and we are reminded why we love this life so much. The thrill of seeing some place new, coming into a beautiful anchorage makes it easy to forget the frustrations of things breaking and making repairs or finding someone to do the repairs. We are anchored by 12:30 with 4 other boats along 11 miles of white sand beach in turquoise water. Barbuda is a a good size island, about ½ the size of its sister nation island Antigua, BUT with only 2000 inhabitants compared to Antigua’s 80,000. One main village of Codrington, with a HUGE lagoon about 5 miles long & 2 wide BUT NO access for big boats. It is mostly miles & miles of white sand beaches and a lot of coal reefs. It is flat & limestone like the Bahamas with shallow waters, the sandy bottom making it hard to determine depth. Shortly after we have anchored, using the binoculars I see the next boat up from us is S/V Toodles, friends we met down in Grenada Kate & Gary. Call them on the VHF to say hi, and they are going on the frigate bird sanctuary tour at 1:30. By now it is 1 so we eat a fast lunch and meet them on the beach. They have a HUGE frigate bird rookery on Barbuda, and our timing is good as this is mating season so we get a good show of the males inflating their red pouch and making all kinds of noise to attract the female who does the choosing. The lagoon is also home to strange upside-down jellyfish that the bottom is covered with. Steve asked our guide, who is standing in the water barefoot, I guess they don't sting? Wrong !! they do but our guide (Solomon) said they the locals are used to it and use Vaseline to prevent the sting. I got the creeps just looking at them. The sanctuary is part of the lagoon and you can only go in with a guide, who also act as water taxi to take you over to town. If you have a small light weight dinghy (like our old one) you could carry it across the thin strip of land and use your own dinghy to cross the lagoon to town. After our frigate bird experience Kate & Gary go back to their boat but Steve & I use the guide to go across to town (NO WAY are we carrying our new dinghy across). Does not take long to walk through town, as it is a small quiet place. As mentioned in the guide books all the homes and businesses have fences around their yards. This is to keep the wild donkeys and deer out of their yards, and it is quite evident that they roam free as you must also watch where you step as you walk the streets. Back to the boat where Steve still has time to see if he can find out why the water-maker is not working which was discovered on our trip over from Antigua!!! We had been waiting to make water until the generator was repaired so did not realize it was not working until underway to Barbuda. Steve can't fix it so we are in conserve water mode, on an already low supply. Where is the rain when you want it ?! Sunday we have a relaxing day and just swim off the boat and take the dinghy over to a reef to go snorkeling. Barbuda is known for its good snorkeling but either due to the weather or maybe just this location the visibility is very poor. As I mentioned, this is a sandy bottom and this kind of sand gets stirred up and floats in the water greatly reducing visibility. The reef was a good size one and if we could have seen might have been fun, as it was we had a hard time maneuvering, all of a sudden you would come up to a high spot you could not swim over and have to find a way around it. It felt good just to be in the water! On the way back we stopped by the beach in front of us, where they are trying to sell some lots. Not sure about the selling part as our understanding is only Barbudians can own land on Barbuda. BUT can't think of a worse location if a hurricane came through and the sand fleas on this part of the beach were really really bad!! Monday we go over to "town" and rent bikes to ride across the island to the high spot, The Highlands, at 125 feet. This is a perfect island for bike riding nice and flat :) except if you take a wrong turn and go off road to a trail it can get a little bumpy. We make it to over to Two Foot Bay and the "caves" have a nice picnic lunch and some great views before riding back. There are 2 other main anchorages, one we could easily go to the other not but we have a water shortage situation and decide to cut our visit short and leave Tuesday 12/4 to sail over to St. Martin where we will add fix water-maker to our list of to do projects to do while there.

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Friday, November 23, 2012

Martinique & Dominica Once Again

Martinique & Dominica Once Again
Saturday 17 November - Friday 23 November

We had miss communicated with Wild Thing on departure time, so when they were away from the marina and going past us in the anchorage yelling at 8:30, I had just gotten out of bed. Steve went up on deck and waved then called them on the VHF. They were having trouble getting their main sail out and we told them we would need at least an hour to get ready to leave. We wanted to check email, since in the French Islands it's sometimes not as easy to get, and change the water maker filters, and a few other things before departure. Wild Thing circled around in the anchorage for about 45 minutes before they got their main sail out and were underway. And we were about an hour behind them leaving St Lucia about 10:30. It is a short distance between St Lucia & Martinique, only about 25 miles. It was a great sail with wind just aft of the beam and gentle 2-3 foot swells. We got caught in a 10 minute shower that sucked all our wind away but other than that we sailed along at 7-8 knots. As we were passing Petit Anse D'Arlet I could see that they now had mooring balls, and a lot of them. As we rounded the headland into Grande Anse D'Arlet at 2:30 we could see that they too now had mooring balls. ALL NEW, we were here in June and there were only a few private ones. These are so new they do not even have pennants (line to grab from boat) on them yet. Wild Thing came over in their dinghy to help with our lines, they had trouble when they got in as these are big mooring balls with heavy chain so NOT easy to lift with a boat hook to get a line through the ring on top of the ball. Luckily some one got in their dinghy and came over to help them also. Steve & George go in to clear in, still at the little cafe and still NO charge. No one said anything about the moorings and no one came by the boats to collect a fee, so I guess for now they are free. Still a little room to anchor but in grass (sandy spots taken) that while snorkeling we saw could have debris to snag your anchor. Refreshing swim around the boat and combined dinner on Ocean Star. Sunday another slow start to the day, Steve & I are on island time where George is up and ready to go at daylight, Jan makes him slow down a little but he is always eager to go. We do get to shore by 10:30, we are showing Jan & George the hike up over Champagne Hill to Petit Anse D'Arlet. It has been a while since Jan has done this kind of hiking and it is a little challenging for her and her short legs. She is talking about taking a taxi back, but Steve checks his GPS that he has with him this time and sees that the road back is just a mile over flat streets !!! Where was this information the other times we did this hike always climbing back over the hill the way we came ?!?! We have a big lunch over in Petit Anse D'Arlet, Steve & I go for a swim as we wait for lunch. Find an ATM before heading back to Grande Anse D'Arlet via the road. Hard to believe we never went back this way before. A walk down the beachfront pedestrian walkway stopping in the gift store before going back to our boats for a cool refreshing swim. A cloudless sunset with a Green Flash. Monday we get to sleep in a little again and get under way by 11:30. We are just going “around the corner” to Anse Mitan, a very short trip and with the wind on our nose we just motored all the way. We are anchored by 1, have lunch on board. Steve has a boat project to work on so George drops Jan & I off to go check out the shops. A few hours later with just a few purchases we are ready to go back to the boats. Pick up a warm baguette at the newly redone and re opened little grocery store for dinner later on Ocean Star after another sunset with another Green Flash! A lovely evening with the lights of Fort de France sparkling across the bay. Tuesday we had decided on an early departure and are under way by 7 am with a COOL 77° out to head up to St. Pierre. We motor sail with just the main across the bay and pass Fort de France. By 8:30 it has warmed up to 87° we have the jib out and motor off and are enjoying a beautiful morning on the water. As we are approaching St. Pierre we pass friends Russ & Mary Kay on S/V Once Around who are heading in the opposite direction. A big wave & shout then a call on the VHF, sorry we have just missed them again. As we are coming into the anchorage we have some great views of Mt. Pelee NOT in the clouds and are anchored by 9:15. A nice swim and short rest before heading into town to walk up to the Depaz distillerie for lunch, they have a nice restaurant up there not just rum. A quick tour around the grounds as the distillerie is doing maintenance so it's not up and running. But the tasting room was, and the grounds and views as usual are beautiful. Back down to the boats by 4, another cooling off swim and an easy night as too soon we will be leaving Martinique early Wednesday morning. Another 7 am departure with a cool temp. 75° and an almost cloudless sky. We are in flat seas with light winds so motor sail the whole way across the channel and up the coast of Dominica and are anchored in Prince Rupert Bay off the town of Portsmouth by 2:30. Steve & George go to customs to clear us in while I go for a swim to check the anchor. We had planned dinner on Ocean Star BUT the anchorage is a little rolly. George put out a stern anchor on Wild Thing so she is not rolling. The rolling can get to Jan and make her sick so we bring dinner over to their boat for a steadier dinner. The early mornings and evenings are much cooler now in the mid 70's, jacket weather for me. Thursday / Thanksgiving Day, slept in late then went snorkeling for a couple of hours after lunch. NO turkey day celebration here in Dominica where Wild Thing and us were the only 2 American flagged vessels in the anchorage. If we had wanted to we could have found a small frozen turkey, but it would take a long time to cook in our little oven and use a lot of propane. So we went with steak & potatoes and since Jan & George don't eat meat they brought some fish over to grill and we had a nice UN traditional Thanksgiving dinner. It was a great dinner with great friends in a great location, and we got to talk to family back home. Friday we went in for an early morning walk that Martin the guide we used last time here told us about when he stopped by to say HI. One last view of Dominica before the afternoon departure for the short trip over to the Saints in Guadeloupe for the weekend.

link to pictures;

Saturday, November 17, 2012

St. Lucia Once Again

St. Lucia Once Again
Saturday 10 November – Friday 16 November 2012

We are underway by 7 am with Dreamcatcher right in front of us. Once out of the bay we turned north and had a great sail under partly cloudy skies in 1-2 foot seas between Bequia and St. Vincent. The trip between Bequia and St. Lucia via the west coast of St. Vincent is always a mixture of wind and sea conditions. We reefed and un-reefed several times with a top speed of 9.3 knots to a slow of 2.5 when the motor came back on and sails rolled up. Seas went from 1-2 ft. swells to flat calm to 4-5 ft swells with chop. We hit one of the local surrounding showers and got a little rinse, but we put the cockpit cushions down below several times more when the threat of rain was close by. By 10:45 we were sailing along nicely just off the north end of St Vincent. I hear a metallic sound behind me that I KNOW is not a boat sound. I turn around just in time to see our life raft falling out of its holder into the sea. I yell to Steve as to what happened he hits the MOB (man overboard) button as I start taking down the sails. Sails down and boat turned around to head back to the spot where the life raft fell off. Of course this is where the seas are the choppiest so we are looking for a white box about 2' X 3' in with all the white caps breaking around us. We make several passes in the area, Steve thinks the container might have sunk but I don't think so. Then we spot it and get the boat pulled up along side. On the 2nd try I grab one of the handles with the boat hook and work it back to the back of the boat where Steve grabs it with the other boat hook and brings it to the swim platform. We both grab the handle and manage to lift it onto the swim platform then into the cockpit. Life raft recovered !!! Guess this is our week for mishaps! The adjustment we had done down in Grenada was fine but the pressure on the cotter pin was too much as we bounced along. What we need to get is a clevis pin to put through the holder then the cotter pin goes through that taking the weight off the cotter pin. We had been meaning to do a MOB practice so now we can check that off the list, just wish we could have used a boat cushion and not the life raft which we will now need to get serviced. By 11:15 we are back on course with the sails back up. By noon the winds and seas have calmed back down again so we enjoy a nice lunch. By 2 we have tacked east to avoid the shower right in front of us over the Pitons where we are heading. For once the wind and current work in our favor and we get lifted right to our way point and are moored between the Pitons by 3:45. We are a faster boat than Dreamcatcher so we told them we would have dinner ready when they got in. After a refreshing swim in the beautiful sapphire blue water we start getting dinner ready. Dreamcatcher came in around 6:45, with Judy & Gordon knowing the area and our spot lights and Claude, the boat guy who came back and hung around to help them with the mooring lines it went off without a hitch. Once they got settled in Steve went over to pick them up since our dinghy was in the water. A great dinner with friends followed by a couple of rounds of dominoes. Sunday Steve & Gordon go over to Soufriere to clear the boats into St Lucia. They get into a little trouble since you are supposed to go to an official port to check in BEFORE going to an anchorage, just a $25 EC ($9 US) fine. Dennis & Phyllis and I enjoy swimming and snorkeling. By the time Steve & Gordon get back from checking in, it's noon so we decide to hang out here for the rest of the day. Dennis is way over at the base of Petit Piton snorkeling so Steve goes over with the dinghy to get him so he can help us get the life raft back into the holder. He was glad for the ride back as he would have been fighting a knot current swimming back. Steve had hooked up a snatch block on the arch to help pull the life raft backwards, then we used the topping lift line to raise the life raft up and out of the cockpit to maneuver it back to the holder. Putting a heavy padlock on it until we can get the clevis pin, don't want to go through that drill again. Dennis had caught a small shark on their way up here so they brought that over to grill and have lunch on Ocean Star, followed by dominoes and more swimming. A great day in a great location. Monday we are underway by 10:30 after a break in the rain we had since 6 am. It was a short break as we had rain almost the whole way up to Rodney Bay. Light to almost no winds most of the way so seas were nice and flat, until just north of Castries. Winds picked up so put the main out, could have put the genoa out BUT we were so close to turning into Rodney Bay that it was not worth it. We anchored on the south side of the bay first, we used to be able to pick up a good free WiFi signal from the Bay Garden Beach Resort, but found it password protected this time. Up comes the anchor and over to the north side closer to the Landings to pick up their signal. Re-anchored and all settled in by 2:30, we make contact with good friends George & Jan on Wild Thing who are in at the marina, hoping for a break in the weather so we can go in to see them. Dreamcatcher is anchored next to us by 3:30 and it is still raining, and continues to do so for the rest of the evening a quiet night on our respective boats. Tuesday rain clears and we all head over to Pigeon island to the park and fort, a great reunion with Wild Thing, and lunch at Jambe de Bois . Tuesday evening Steve & I meet Jan & George along with another couple, also from Kemah TX, Tony & Gail on Cetacea and go to dinner at Memories of Hong Kong. Wednesday we were supposed to do an island tour BUT we have had heavy rains since 6 am, skies are still totally gray, it's looking like another full day of rain. By 8, need to make a decision on if we should reschedule the Island tour. Talk to Wild Thing and they say they are fine with the change BUT I can not reach Dreamcatcher, start getting worried about if I should reschedule trying Dreamcatcher every 15 minutes on the VHF radio. By 8:30 (pick up time was 9:30) it is still cloudy so I call and reschedule for Thursday. Meanwhile Steve has talked to the life raft people and they say to bring the raft in by 8:30 so they can get to it later in the day. So between 8 & 8:30 we get the life raft back out of its holder and into the dinghy. Of course by 9:30 the skies start to clear and we finally find the crew on Dreamcatcher, who had gone in early at 7:30 for breakfast. They were OK about the rescheduling, even though they were packed and ready to go and weather was starting to clear. They went back to their boat unloaded their stuff and spent the day exploring the marina and near by shopping and restaurant areas. We run into them as they are sitting down to a late lunch when we go in to see what kind of unlocked phones they have here. I still need to find one I like. Stop by the grocery stores to see what is available, will come back with a list of things we need before we leave as St. Lucia is a great place to provision. Wednesday night we go into dinner with Jan & George & Gail & Tony at The Buzz, and have a wonderful meal while listening to a saxophonist playing some great music. The crew from Dreamcatcher, after a late lunch with drinks were content to stay on board to enjoying drinking wine. Thursday we get to do the Island tour, early morning shower and 1 or 2 during the day but it was a great day and we all had a lot of fun. Chris our taxi driver & tour guide took us on the scenic ride through the interior of the island over to the east coast with a few photo stops along the way we get to our 1st stop near Dennery to hike to the waterfall. It is in an adventure park but we did not want a guide or to do any of the other things they offer. At first they wanted to charge us $65 to go in BUT Chris talked to them and we got to go in free with him leading the way. It was a nice little hike and the waterfall was great, even if the water was a little “dirty” from all the run off from the rains. By the time we are done it is 1:30 and decide it is time for lunch. I had 2 places picked out BUT had under estimated how long it would take to get to this end of the island and do the hike, so they were both still a good 30 minutes away. Chris knew of a place close by with a great view and we all enjoyed a nice lunch. By this time we realize we can not to all that was planned so we let Phyllis and Dennis decide since they were the visiting guest. Next stop is the Mamiku Gardens, an old plantation turned into a serene and natural landscape of plants and flowers. Orchids everywhere and another nice little hike up to the grounds where in the late 1700's local freedom fighting groups (Brigands, freed slaves that were unwilling to be re-enslaved) fought the British, aided and abetted by the French. Again Chris led us on this hike which was a little muddy & steep. Ending the visit to the gardens with a stop at the bar right there on the grounds. It has been a great day even if we did not get to do all the things we had planned. Everyone is a little tired on the way back so not as much talking going on. Once back at the marina we thank Chris for a great job and catch the last few minutes of the J24 races going on in the harbour. Tony & Gail are over on their boat and invite us by for a drink. After visiting with them we decide it is time for dinner, so we all go over to one of the restaurants right there at the marina for dinner. A farewell dinner with 10 Texans !! Gordon & Judy will be showing Dennis & Phyllis a few other anchorages and sites along the coast so Dreamcatcher will head south while we stay in Rodney Bay. Just FYI the 4 of them use to be Steve's neighbors back on Lazy Lane in Lazy Bend in Kemah TX. Friday I go in for a massage, they have a great place F.A.C.E to face right here at the marina. Afterward Steve comes to pick me up and we go check out with customs. Then go pick up our re-serviced life raft. Once back on the boat we spend about an hour trying to get it back in, not as easy this time, tried at first to do it without the topping lift to raise it. Since it was in the dinghy at water level thought we could do it with just the one line raising and pulling, but that was just not going to work. So rigged the topping lift to lift and used the other to pull it back and we finally got it back in and secured. Lunch on board then into the grocery store to provision as we will be leaving St. Lucia Saturday morning. Dinner at our favorite Indian restaurant, Spice of India, with Jan & George and Gail & Tony. Another farewell dinner as Tony & Gail will be staying in St Lucia a little longer as Wild Thing & Ocean Star head north.

Friday, November 9, 2012

North Thru the Grenadines

North Thru the Grenadines
Thursday, November 1 - Friday, 9 November 2012
After leaving the marina in Grenada we thought we would have a nice sail up to Chatham Bay on Union Island in the Grenadines. But the wind was on the nose so we motor-sailed all the way, except for 1 hour as we passed Carriacou and the storm over to the east. We stayed dry with mostly sunny skies and the seas were only 3 feet so with the main out it wasn't too bad of a trip. After a 6 hour trip we were anchored by 3 in beautiful Chatham Bay, Union Island, Grenadines flying our yellow Q flag. It is early in the season for boats to be heading north so not to many cruising boats in the anchorage, just a few charter boats. Vanessa from Sun, Beach & Eat came by to see if we wanted to come in for dinner, Tim from Jerry's also stopped by, they both have wonderful food but we had food on board that needed to be used. Should have asked Vanessa if she could sell some of her breadfruit salad to go, it is the best we have ever tasted. Beautiful water and turtles swimming all around the boat, just love this place. Around 4:30 we see a boat come in and anchor near by and it is friends Judy & Gordon on Dreamcatcher. We wave & after they get settled in call them on the VHF radio to invite them over for dinner. They are also on their way up to St Lucia to meet with mutual friends and ex neighbors Phyllis & Dennis. They have been VERY busy getting boat work/projects done before picking up Phyllis & Dennis on the 5th in St Lucia. Friday we sleep in and by the time we are up Dreamcatcher is long gone. We head out to go over to the town port of Clifton to clear into the Grenadines. Since it is slow season there is plenty of room to anchor, which is NOT usually the case. Always guys meeting your boat to try to put you on a mooring but not sure of the quality or ownership of the moorings so we always prefer to anchor. IF it is not crowded and you find a good spot it is really a nice anchorage, but that is a big IF. We arrive just after noon so of course customs is at lunch, so we have lunch while we wait. Even the town is not fully back into boating season with several stores closed, even a few of the veggie stands are closed. After checking in and picking up a few things that we forgot to get in Grenada we leave Union Island and make the short (less then 30 min.) trip over to the Tobago Cays and are anchored by 3:45. Never enough time spent in Chatham or the Cays, 2 wonderfully beautiful places. Saturday we take the dinghy over to one of the islands (Jamesby) so we can beach it to be able to clean the bottom. During our 3 month stay at the marina in Grenada we were stern to at the dock so we had to keep the dinghy in the water next to the boat the whole time. Marine growth loves to grow on things sitting in the water, so the bottom of the dinghy was very nasty !!! Beaching this dinghy is not so easy. Steve & I pulled it up as far as we could then Steve removed the motor and gas can, everything else had been emptied out earlier, and we were able to pull it up a little more and then flip it over. Then we went to work scraping and scrubbing the bottom of the dinghy for the next 3 hours. We might have cleaned more BUT the tide was coming in so we had to get the motor back on the boat and launch it back into the water. I got to TRY to hold the dinghy steady in the water with waves coming in while Steve got the motor back on. Then we had to get into the dinghy, not easy for me to jump in from waste high water!! Mission accomplished a very clean dinghy bottom and no mishaps with the motor. Sunday we spend the day just swimming and relaxing. Monday we get underway by 11 and have a wonderful sail to Bequia. As we are approaching the anchorage near Princess Margaret beach I am on the bow getting the anchor ready. I say to Steve, look at that boat to our right, looks like Dreamcatcher. He agrees but we can't see the name, then someone comes up on deck and I say that looks like Gordon again Steve agrees but too far away to be sure. The reason we are questioning if it is Dreamcatcher is this is the day they are supposed to be up in St Lucia picking up friends Dennis & Phyllis. We get settled in and call them on the radio to learn their engine fresh water coolant pump failed. SO as it turns out Phyllis & Dennis will be coming a few days later bringing a new water pump. It worked out okay for them also as Phyllis's dad just got out of the hospital so it gave her a few more days to get him settled in. We go in that night to have pizza at Mac's, and hear about the revised visit plans. Tuesday we have internet so spend the morning getting caught up then go into town for a few things and to just walk around. Admiralty Bay is a BIG Bay with lots of room to anchor, but think this is the least amount of boats we have seen anchored here, everyone still down in Grenada. When we got here Monday there was a cruise ship in and Tuesday there was another so things are starting to pick up and getting busy. Wednesday just hanging out doing a few errands & chores a great dinner on-board. Then comes Thursday, as most of you will already know we had a boarding incident. This is what I posted on Facebook pages as to what happened.

Burglary in Admiralty Bay Bequia, Thursday 8th November 2012

Ocean Star a 50 ft. Beneteau anchored by Princess Margaret Beach just off the point leading to Lower Bay. Some time between 3 am and 6 am during this rainy night, our boat was boarded and items stolen. We were asleep in our forward berth during the incident and did not know someone had come aboard to take 2 phones, a kindle, a Leatherman and around. $100.00 EC until we awoke at 7 am Thursday morning. The following is our best guess summary of what we think most likely happened.
We were up late reading, I went to bed at 12:45 doing my usual cockpit and surrounding area check before going to bed. Steve was still up reading in the salon with the lights on. At 3, I awoke and got Steve to turn off the lights and come to bed. At 5:40 (I have a clock by the bed) I awoke and noticed the hatches between our bed and the bathroom were open and the floor was all wet from the rain. I cursed and turned the light on then went to the bathroom. Got some towels to dry up the floor and hatches. Then went through the salon to the back ¼ berth to get another towel. I did NOT notice anything at this time, but in hindsight think I might have scared the person off the boat when I put the light on. I went back to bed and awoke again at 6:45. This time when I went out into the salon I noticed Steve's backpack up in the cockpit on the floor. I got distracted by also noticing that the hatch over his desk in the port side aft room was also open and rain had come in there also. After cleaning that up I went to check on the backpack up in the cockpit. It was on the floor by the closed back door to the swim platform with all the compartments open. I knew it was NOT there when I went to bed and it was just a little damp, not wet like the cockpit cushions from all the rain during the night. Steve confirmed that there was no reason his backpack (where the Leatherman was kept) should be in the cockpit especially since he had not used it the day before, and it should have been in the ¼ berth where he always puts it away. It was then that we realized our phones, that were out on the center island in the salon were gone.
It was at this moment that we realized that some one had come on board while we were sleeping and taken things. A very disturbing feeling !!!   We kept a “fake” “throw down” wallet on this center island also and the cash was all gone. As we looked around we discovered my kindle was also gone. Thankfully still sitting on the salon table 3 feet away was my computer, and Steve's computer was still back in his office.
We do have a sensor mat ( that at night we place under the rug at the companionway that rings a door bell in our bedroom. Who ever came on board stepped over this. NO one had been on board to know that this mat is used at night, so either he got lucky or they know about these “security” mats and avoid stepping on rugs. 
It is a very unpleasant felling knowing some one was on our boat. We are extremely thankful that the intruder did not come into our forward berth, and try to get more money from us and know we are lucky by only having a few items taken. We feel the island of Bequia and the Grenadines as a whole need to take these incidents much more seriously. We did file a police report but do not expect to hear much from them. We heard talk that they know who this “cat burglar” is but can't do anything about it. We hope that is not the case and that something will be done to add security to the anchorages. We want to come and visit and spend money on these beautiful islands but if incidents like this keep occurring we will stop coming.

The rest of the day was great, Phyllis and Dennis finally arrived by ferry, via air to Barbados and an overnight in St Vincent. We joined them and Judy & Gordon for lunch on shore then Steve & I snorkeled the point by where we are anchored and walked the beach. Finishing up the day with a wonderful meal on Dreamcatcher. Friday Gordon & Dennis worked on replacing the water cooling pump on Dreamcatcher so we can head north. I did laundry, both hand and send out, while Steve worked on finding and fixing another water leak from the generator. Yes the generator does get a lot of mention in our blogs, but the pulley rig we had made in Grenada is holding up great, the leaks were quickly found, one from the sea water pump cover and one from the exhaust hose. Sea water always leaves a nice trail of salt to track the source. A quick replacement of the cover plate with a new Speed Seal, a couple of hose clamps tightened, and leaks fixed. Of course there was the 30 minutes of moving things out of the way to get to the leaks, and 30 minutes to put it all back together, but that's life on a boat. Friday afternoon went into town to check out and pick up a few things. Steve and I were determined to leave Bequia with a pleasant memory so we went into Jack's for a wonderful dinner.
Saturday early departure St. Lucia here we come.

Link to Pictures;

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

2nd Hurricane Season in Grenada

August 1- November 1, 2012
CAN NOT believe we have been here in Grenada for 3 months, and now it is time to leave !! We are not really ready to leave a place we have come to love & know like a second home. We are even less ready to leave all our friends we have here. BUT with this lifestyle that is the way it works. Some of the people we may see again but some we will not, but we will always have these memories of our wonderful time spent in Grenada. This season was VERY different for us as we spent the whole 3 months at the lovely and wonderful Port Louis Marina. We do NOT really like being in a marina this long, in fact we have never stayed longer then 2 weeks in a marina. Being in the marina has its plus and minus, as does being at anchor. In the marina we can step off the boat any time either of us feels like it and either go separate ways or together. Out at anchor we always have to coordinate the dinghy ride to shore. We do have a pool here at the marina, but it does not even come close to just jumping off the back of the boat to go for a cool refreshing swim when ever we get a little hot and sweaty (which down here in the summer is always). The social life at a marina is a little more active, since you are always walking by each others boats and or docked right next to others also staying on their boats. It is easier to stop to talk people walking along the dock then when you are driving by in your dinghy when at anchor. Whether at anchor or at a marina there is usually a meeting place for happy hour, it is just easier to walk down the dock to HH then getting into your dinghy and going to shore for a drink, not sure if that is on the plus or con side. So after another fun & crazy Carnival and getting the generator fixed, we made plans to get some other work done while we were in the marina. It was supposed to have started back in September while I was back in Texas visiting family so Steve stayed in the marina instead of going out to anchor the day after I left. All the hatches and porthole “glass” (acrylic) is sun crazed = lots of little cracks. None of these cracks leak, it is just wear and tear and sun damage to the windows being exposed to UV rays every day for the last 14 years. Two of the hatches have bigger cracks by the handles, again NO leaking but signs of weakness. So preventive action is to take care of it BEFORE they start leaking or break. As it often happens down island things got delayed. Also has it often happens down island is that the delays are always stretched out. Waiting on parts to be delivered is a way of life, and we understand that. What throws us off is that we get told things will be here first of next week, then its at the end of the week then its the first of the next week then again at the end of the week. This goes on and on, NOT that “they” (the company you are doing business with) is trying to deceive you. Either they truly believe the parts or materials will be in on the next shipment OR they are telling you what they THINK you want to hear. So instead of the company saying we are not sure when we will be able to start, but will let you know when things arrive, we get the in a few days answer. The thing with marinas is that once you are there for 2 weeks the next two weeks are “free” as the monthly rate is ½ of the weekly rate. So that is how we came to spend 3 months at the marina. Now it is time to go, so we have made contact with another company up in St. Marten to get the work done there. The company here did finally get the seals we need for the replacement windows, and we took delivery of them today Oct. 29th and will bring them up to St Martin with us. They were also very good about refunding the deposit given so all is well. In the mean time our hot water heater also died. We have had problems with it before with different hose leaks but this time it is the actual heater. So we have ordered one of those to be delivered to St Martin as well, and it works out better since they are a duty free country it is cheaper then getting it shipped there. We did escape from the marina for 2 days and went over to Prickly Bay to have 2 modifications done to our arch. Nick from Tech Nick who did the work last year removed the 1 D ring that was rubbing against the dinghy when it was lifted and fixed the life raft holder. The closing tab did not match up the same with the life rafts weight in it as it did empty. Once again he did a wonderful job re-welding those 2 spots. While over there we ran into friends Judy & Gordon on Dreamcatcher down from Carriacou. Our visit with them back in August in Carriacou was cut short due to the threat of TS Ernesto, so it was good to see and visit with them a little. They were down to get a new stove and batteries and we plan on meeting back up with them in November up in St Lucia. While in Prickly in cleaner water, Steve dove on the boat to see how the bottom looked. A lot of times when in a marina, since they are usually in a protected harbor without good water flow, bottoms of boats get more growth on them. Steve was very happy to see that our bottom paint job from last year was holding up well and only had a few small barnacles on that he easily removed. We did get our salon cushions re covered with a beautiful ultra-leather material. Grenada Canvas did the work and did a wonderful job, we love our new cushions. Steve battled some major computer problems as well as a cough he had for over a month. He also got some cream to treat some pre cancerous spots on his arms. We went on a few hikes and to a few hashes, attended several music events, and other fun activities. Had several fun parties and gatherings at the marina. All in all it was another wonderful season in Grenada. Our last night there was Halloween and we had a big party at the marina.   Steve & I have never been big on costumes and were so impressed on how creative and elaborate most of the costumes were !! Especially since most of them were made with things people had on there boats, which for most of us does NOT include extra costume making materials. Halloween is not celebrated by the locals, only visitors like boaters or college students from the states and others staying here, which makes it even harder to make or find costumes. But we had a blast at the party and it was a great way to end our stay in Grenada. Thursday morning we were ready to leave, with the help from the marina on our bow lines and wonderful friends JoAnne & Bill from Ultra on our stern lines we were underway by 8:30. With mixed feelings, glad to be on the move again but sad not knowing when we will see some of our friends or Grenada again.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Grenadines To Grenada

Grenadines to Grenada

Tuesday 10 July – Friday 24 August

We leave the south end of St. Lucia and since the weather is predicted to be calm we opt to go down the windward east shore of St Vincent to get to Bequia. From where we are, not much different mileage wise, and traveling the west coast of St Vincent the mountains block the wind and we wind up having to motor sail. So we decide to see the east coast for a change. We are able to sail almost the whole way to Bequia but the seas do get a little confused making it not as calm of a journey as we had hoped for but still not too bad. We are glad to be anchored off Princess Margaret Beach in Admiralty Bay in lovely Bequia where it is nice and calm. The following morning we say HI again to Promise who are anchored near by with their new boat addition of a lime green 2 seat kayak that they bought from another boat up in St Lucia. Seeing their kayak gets us motivated to get ours out and blow them up. We had heard on the cruisers net that morning that a music jam was taking place at the Fig Tree later that night so we go in with Colleen & Dave and here a really great local singer “Socony”. We spend the next several days just enjoying the beautiful surroundings, swimming, hiking, kayaking and of course a few boat projects thrown in. After a week we decide to head to the Tobago Cays for a few days. I can not say enough about this magical place, part of the marine park, 5 small uninhabited islands surrounded by beautiful turquoise water and a huge reef. Unfortunately the reef is still recovering from damage from storms but the snorkeling is still decent and the swimming off the boat is just heavenly. A few boat vendors come over from Union island seeing if you want to buy a T-shirt, fresh bread or fish but if you say no they just leave you alone, NO high pressure sales pitches from these guys. We kept our kayaks inflated up on deck so we use them to go to the 3 close islands, and one calm day we take our dinghy and along with Dave & Colleen go over to Petit Tabac, the 5th and more remote of the group, where the snorkeling is much better. It was also the island used for the marooned scene in Pirates of the Caribbean. There's a picture of Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow stapled to a tree where the rum was buried. And as another surprise, pieces of a Russian rocket booster. After 3 days of bliss we sadly leave but we are heading to Chatham Bay on Union Island, another great anchorage. Dave & Colleen had not been to Chatham and after hearing us rave about it are looking forward to checking it out with us also. Chatham Bay is on the west side of the island and is almost totally undeveloped. One fancy bar/restaurant/ hotel on the south side of the bay, that is closed for the season, and 6-7 shacks/ bar/ restaurant on the north side of the bay. The locals that run these beach bars are a little more eager for our business so as soon as your anchor is down they come out to tell you about their dinner specials. It is hard to pick one over the other, so we try to go with who gets out first, and then try to visit one or 2 of the others during our stay. We ate out twice this time first at Jerry's then a return to sun, beach & eat and the food was delicious at both places. The water is deeper here so a dark blue color not turquoise but just as clean with as many fish and turtles as the cays. We anchored near a sailboat named Magus that we had anchored near on several of the other islands, so we go over and introduce ourselves. We chat a bit, then go in for dinner, and they join us a little later. A short walk on Saturday up to the northwest ridge that offers great views of our bay and the other side. We meet a local man called “bushman” who takes care of some property up there where they have chickens and ducks and rabbits and goats and cows. Just a small work house on the property now with a lot of animals. Sunday Dave & Colleen join us for a walk this time walking over to Ashton. Once we climb the dirt track/road up from Chatham Bay it is all paved road up & over a few hills. Very little traffic to worry about and beautiful views along the way. Pork is offered everywhere in the islands but you very seldom see any pigs. On our way to Ashton we see & hear one, in someones yard. He is just as happy to see us as we are him as he squeals his excitement at seeing us. Next as we are walking into town in someones front yard is a goat giving birth to 2 babies. We stand and watch as she cleans them off and the try to stand. Explore the town a little, stop for a bite to eat and a drink before heading back. As we pass momma goat and the new babies an hour later they are already walking (a little shaky) and nursing and are so cute. We go back by the property we saw the day before to show Colleen and Dave the views and the animals. Glad we got out as Monday it rains all day, Tuesday rain continues all morning but then it clears and we make the short trip over to Clifton and are re-anchored by 2. It is Steve's Birthday so we make plans to go to dinner in Clifton with Dave & Colleen. Wednesday after hitting the veggie market we all check out, Steve & I head over to Hillsborough on Carriacou to check into Grenada while Promise heads over to see Petit St. Vincent. Once cleared in, we back track north a little to go anchor at Anse La Roche. A very small secluded bay with beautiful clean water and good snorkeling and a great beach. A little rolly but not too bad and well worth it to have this spot to ourselves. Thursday afternoon we head down to Sandy Island, just a little spit of land ½ surrounded by reef just south of Hillsborough and pick up a mooring. There are about a dozen mooring balls here, part of the marine park, but there is just one other boat here at the time we arrive and we are able to get the “first”, closest to island & furthest north AKA the best, mooring. More snorkeling and walking the beach and now have the place to ourselves as the other boat has left. Friday enjoy the day watching more boats come in and just before sunset Promise arrives and picks up a mooring close by. Saturday enjoy the swimming and coming and going of different boats. Sunday along with Dave & Colleen we take our dinghy over to “the main land” Carriacou and walk Paradise Beach at L'Esterre stopping for lunch at Off the Hook. Back to the big boats and Steve and I head over to Tyrrel Bay and anchor next to friends Gordon & Judy on Dream Catcher. We flag them down as they are heading back to their boat and have cocktails on Ocean Star getting caught up on the last 8 months, after drinks we all go in to Lazy Turtle for dinner. So much fun seeing old friends and getting caught up again. Our plan was to be here for the next week for the Carriacou Regatta and maybe get our generator fixed AGAIN. Monday we learn a weather disturbance might interfere with those plans. By Tuesday the weather situation is even more threatening, and even though Carriacou has a good “hurricane hole” in the mangroves without a generator we are thinking heading to Grenada and the Port Louis marina will be a better option for us. Wednesday we hate to leave Carriacou so soon but we say goodbye to Gordon & Judy and get underway. I had called the marina on Monday to make a reservation just in case and am now glad I did as several other boats are all on their way also. We are tied up to the dock by 4 getting one of the last slips available. With the storm threatening the marina is not putting boats on the mega dock so some of those bigger boats are down on the regular docks taking up several spaces. Thursday we go to the store to provision, and later have a happy hour reunion at the pool with Bill & JoAnne on Ultra and a few other boats we knew from last year and a few new boats. Friday we get some rain in the afternoon but it now looks like we will not be in any danger, but the marina is getting prepared. Better safe then sorry we are glad we made the decision to “run” from the storm. And it feels like we are home back here in Grenada, with music jams, museum concerts, hikes, hashes, visiting the familiar local shops and restaurants seeing many friends and meeting new ones. We had just booked a weeks stay at the marina for the storm, but the following week is Grenada's Carnival so we check with the marina and they have room for us to stay. They have also put us in touch with someone to work on our generator problem, this time we are trying to have a pulley made to by pass the alternator bearings seizing up problem. So we are glad to be staying at the marina where we can run the A/C especially since this is being a much wetter season then last year as disturbance after disturbance keeps rolling this way. Nothing has been a direct threat to us but still a lot more rain this year. We are now going on our 3rd week at the marina !!!! Longest we have stayed at a marina EVER.  STILL waiting on the generator repair and looking into a few other boat jobs/projects to be done. It is nice to be able to walk on & off when ever we want and to take long hot showers (even if they are a 5 min. walk away), BUT we sure miss just jumping off the boat and swimming and it is a lot more expensive staying at a marina then being on the hook. Life is good here in Grenada , so far the storms keep passing us by so we are hoping that trend continues thru September and October as we hang out in Grenada.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

St. Lucia 2012 (again)

St Lucia 2012

Thursday 14 June – Monday 9 July

Anchored once again in Rodney Bay we talk to friends Linda & John on Kool Kat who tell us they are going in for HH and to watch the J 24 races and ask if we want to meet them to get caught up on our travels since we last saw them in Bequia in January. We have a fun time watching the 24' racing sailboats AKA J 24's maneuver in the tight quarters of the inner harbor, and enjoy catching up on travels with Linda & John whom we had met here almost exactly a year ago. Friday is a rainy day so we hang out on the boat. Saturday Kool Kat heads south as we go into the marina, time to equalize the batteries. We enjoy Saturday & Sunday in the marina with A/C, cable TV and easy access to shore side restaurants. Steve gets the oil changed Monday morning before going back out to the anchorage. The week goes by fast as we hang out, swim, do errands, and revisit familiar places in the Rodney Bay area. Saturday we catch the bus into Castries to go to the “Saturday Market” unlike many other Saturday markets that start very early and end by 1, this one goes on until 4-5 in the afternoon. We get a few things at the market then wander up & down the surrounding streets as all the shops are open and many vendors set up along the streets. So much to look at but I'm with Steve who hates shopping and just looking so I don't get to shop much. We enjoy the atmosphere and the town sites before catching a bus back to Rodney Bay. Sunday as we are looking around the anchorage we notice a boat that looks familiar, using the binoculars we think the boat is Promise. Still not sure, but a little while later see activity on deck as they launch their dinghy, and it is old friends Colleen and Dave, whom we were here with a year ago traveling down to Grenada and who we have not seen since November. Dave stops by on his way back from checking in at customs to invite us to dinner on their boat to get caught up on the last 7 months. Hard to believe it has been that long since we saw them, no trouble picking up like old friends and have a great evening talking about both our travels. Tuesday Steve & I wanted to go over to the northeast side of the island to Cas En Bas to check on some hiking trails and the kite surfing, for when Sean comes to visit. Dave & Coleen go over with us and we fall in love with the place. Unlike the built up area of Rodney Bay this area is almost empty, just one condo / villa with a restaurant and 2 beach bars on a beautiful bay that on this day we have almost to ourselves. The kite surfing place is not open but we get her phone # to call later, then take a nice walk up into the surrounding hills ending with a great lunch at Marjorie's before calling for the taxi ride back to Rodney Bay. Thursday we watch the J 24 races again, this time with Colleen & Dave and Catherine & Bruce from Latitude Thinking. Steve had helped Bruce with his single side band radio and then they had us all over to their boat in the marina for dinner. They have just recently purchased their boat and are new to the area so wanted to talk to people with a little more info on the windward islands as they plan to head to Grenada also. Friday we go to the stores to provision and get the boat ready for Sean's visit. We had arranged for a taxi to pick up Sean and since he was based out of Rodney bay he said we could ride down to the airport with him to meet Sean when he got off the plane. It also gave us a chance to see some country side we have not seen since the airport is on the very opposite side of the island. Sean's flight arrives after a short delay, during a short down pour but it clears as we head back to Rodney Bay giving Sean some great views of the island along the way. That night Colleen & Dave join us for dinner on Ocean Star to help welcome Sean to St Lucia. Sunday Steve & Sean hike up Pigeon Island touring the old fort grounds while I wait on the beach. When they get back we go snorkeling along the headland. Later that night we meet Colleen & Dave over at Jambe de Bois to listen to a great jazz trio playing there. Monday afternoon we rented a dune buggy type car that we thought was going to be an off road adventure over on the trails we saw on our visit to Cas en Bas. We did go over that way but did more on road driving then we did off road. It was a fun day BUT NOT something I would recommend, for the price we could have rented a car for 2 days and driven all over the island. But we did meet another kite surfer on the beach so Sean was able to set up a time for the following day to come back and try his hand at kite surfing again. Monday night we have HH with friends Lilly & Thomas on Blue Heron. They had originally planed to leave their boat in Guadeloupe, where we met them, so we were surprised to see them here in Rodney Bay. Their plans had changed and were now getting ready to leave the boat there in St Lucia. Tuesday we spend the afternoon watching Sean kite surf, the winds had shifted a little to the north so conditions were not the best, he had a busy afternoon getting reacquainted with the skills of kite surfing. That night we go to one of our favorite restaurants in the Caribbean, Spice of India, and have another wonderful meal. Wednesday Sean is ready to move on to another anchorage to see more of St Lucia from the water. We go into the fuel dock to top off on fuel and are underway by 1 sailing down the coast with just the genoa out in nice calm seas. By 4:30 we pick up a mooring in Anse Cochon, the guide book says private yachts are supposed to use the moorings on the south side leaving the ones on the north for the charter boats. It is a little confusing since all we see are the orange dive buoys and what at first looks like a fish trap buoy. But there is a guy out there on a kayak waving us over and says that it is for big boats to use. The lines look good and Steve & Sean go in to double check to make sure it will hold. It is a beautiful little bay and the snorkeling right next to the boat is good. A dive shop runs out of the resort Ti Kaye located right in the bay. We don't get in touch with them until the following morning so we have 30 minutes to get our gear ready, they pick us up and take us to the dock to load the hotel guests on and we are underway by 9:30 to go do 2 dives down by the Pitons. There is actually only one other diver, the 6 other people are being dropped off in Soufriere to do some land tours. We do 2 dives one along the north wall of Gros Piton the other along the south side of Petit Piton. Both are great dives with good visibility and lots of corals and fish life. Sean & I both have a little trouble equalizing but plenty to see as we follow along a little higher up. We both finally get equalized and join Steve and the others down at 60 feet. I was very glad and surprised that I had no trouble equalizing on the 2nd dive and was able to go straight down, something I can rarely do. Back to the dock to pay for the dives and rinse our equipment off then get dropped off at our boat, ready for lunch. As we are making lunch one of the day charter boats comes up and needs the mooring we are on, they have priority so we have to move. We have since seen a couple of moorings to the south that are probably the ones we should have picked up in the first place but at first looked like they were maybe in a different bay. No one is using the dive buoy out in the middle, since we just need it for about 30 minutes to finish lunch we pick it up. Finish up lunch and head back to the Pitons with our boat this time, picking up another mooring by 5. Thursday we relax, swim, snorkel and enjoying the beautiful water and view of the Pitons. Friday Steve & Sean go to hike Gros Piton!! Not stopping at the resort to call for a cab, they get a work out just walking up to the road. Once in the cab it is a long ride over to the little village where the hike starts. A cute 20-something girl meets them and says she'll be their guide. Sean is happy because first she's cute, and second he thinks the hike is going to be easy if she can do it. Once ½ way up Steve & Sean are feeling the effects of this strenuous hike and have to slow down. The young lady that is their guide and does this several times a week is not even breathing hard, she is actually talking on her phone as she climbs. They make it to the top, Sean does an extra side trip over to the north side of the mountain that overlooks Petit Piton while Steve rests up for the trip down. They get a taxi ride back to the resort, being dropped off right in front so they just have to make it to the beach and dock so I can pick them up. One very tired father and a fairly tired son, dinner out at the resort latter that night after cool off swims and a little rest. Saturday we sail down to the anchorage by Vieux Fort, the guide book shows 2 areas to anchor in but the electronic charts show it all to be a no anchor zone as it is close to the commercial port. We do see one unoccupied boat anchored to the south, but we decide to check out the anchorage in front of the fishing pier, figuring if they don't want us to anchor here someone will come tell us. No one does and it gets a little rolly during the night so we are glad to go ashore the following morning. Martinez greets us at the dock and tells us where to leave the dinghy amongst the fishing boats. He also tells us the town of Vieux Fort is having their own little carnival celebration that afternoon. We take the short walk through town and over to Anse de Sable beach also known for kite surfing. It is a FABLOUS beach, one of the prettiest we have seen and almost no one else there. We walk down to the Reef a bar & restaurant & kite & wind surfing shop but unfortunately the winds are too mild for kite surfing. Sean is disappointed that he will not get a chance to kite surf in this beautiful bay, but we all enjoy the beach and water and have a great lunch at the Reef. Tearing ourselves away from the beach we head back to town in time for the start of their carnival parade. Very small town = very small carnival festival but it is a lot of fun to watch. They are doing their own little one since many of them will be going to St Vincent the following Monday & Tuesday for a much bigger carnival and St Lucia in Castries does another carnival the week after. It was a nice surprise to run into and give Sean another island experience. Back through town stopping by a few street vendors for some food & drink. Move the boat over to the south side anchorage since Martinez said it would not be rolly there and it's not so we have a nice calm night even if it was on a lee shore. Monday Sean has to catch a 3:30 flight so we get a cab and stop by the Reef for another great lunch with a beautiful view, sadly the winds are a little better today and there is a guy out kite surfing, so Sean is a bit envious. We see Sean off at the airport and look forward to his next visit. Steve tries to see customs at the airport but a flight just came in so they are too busy to see boaters, one last stop to customs at the commercial pier then to fishing pier to go back to the boat. Tuesday we sail to Bequia in the Grenadines.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Martinique Again 2012

Martinique Again 2012

Thursday 17 May – Thursday 14 June

WOW we spent 4 weeks in the beautiful country of Martinique this time. Exploring more of some previous visited anchorages and seeing some new ones and even renting a car a couple of times to see part of the inner island. We still did not get to see all we wanted, just so much to see and do!! Here is a summery of our time in Martinique.

We had a fast 4 hour trip down from Roseau, Dominica. Not as smooth as we would have liked with the 20 knot winds and 6 Fort waves but we made 8-9 knots with 1 reef in the main and 2 in the genoa and anchored off St. Pierre, Martinique. Friends on Ultra anchor near by a little while later. Friday morning we go to check in at customs (tourist office) but their computer is broken so after lunch along with JoAnne & Bill from Ultra we take the bus down to Fort de France and check in there. Stopping at a few stores before catching the bus back to St Pierre. The town is having a celebration that weekend because Mt. Pelee, the volcano that DESTROYED the town in 1902, has been quiet now for 110 years. Booths with local artists set up along with food vendors and a stage for music (all in French). Saturday afternoon JoAnne & Bill want to dive a couple of the wrecks here in the bay, of which there are many, some from the volcano others from hurricanes and tidal waves. They are all deep dives and since I am suffering from a head cold, no way I can equalize and get down that deep. So I swim in the beautiful deep blue water while Steve, JoAnne & Bill dive. Dinner on Ultra, delicious home made pizza by JoAnne. Sunday more diving and snorkeling then back into town for more of the festival celebration. Monday we take the walk up to the Depaz distillery, passing through the town looking at the historical ruins from the volcano eruption now a landmark. JoAnne & Bill had made the same mistake we did on our first walk to see the distillery, taking the long hilly road. They had left late in the day so never even made it to the distillery before turning around. So Bill was a little doubtful when we say there is an easy way. He is also surprised at how easy it is and the fact that they did not come this way the 1st time. The distillery is up and running and the grounds are beautiful and the rum tasting is always good, we load up on free mangoes before walking back. Tuesday is another festival celebrating the abolishment of slavery so we go in BUT can't use the dock for the dinghies as they are loading tons of fireworks to be set off later that night. We find another spot to land the dinghies and enjoy some of the afternoon festivities before going back to the boats for dinner and a great view of the firework show. Wednesday Ultra heads south but we stay to do laundry, & defrost the freezer. We leave Thursday, during a break in the rain, to catch up with them at the anchorage by Schoelcher, just north of Fort de France. We make the 1 ½ hour trip staying dry but once anchored the rain starts up again. Friday still on & off rain throughout the morning. During one break we decide to make a run to shore. Glad we were all wearing our ponchos, as it started to rain on the way in and most of the walk up to the bus stop. JoAnne & Bill are returning for their second trip and our 1st to the mega supermarket and hardware store located between Schoelcher & Fort de France. We are traveling by bus so limited to what we can buy by what we can carry in backpacks and canvas bags. At least the sun comes out for our return trip. Saturday noon departure for Anse L' Anne. Short trip over and get re-anchored, then take the dinghies over to Anse Mitan to check out town and surroundings. Sunday Into Anse L' Anne to see what is there then out to snorkel around a little island then over to Anse Noire & Anse Dufour for more snorkeling before returning to the boat. Monday I go back to Anse Mitan with JoAnne & Bill to shop :), Steve glad to stay back on the boat. Over to Grande Anse D' Arlet in the afternoon get anchored & settled in, before snorkeling off the boat since we are close to shore line. After snorkeling HH with Joanne & Bill on Ocean Star.
Another sad day as we will be parting ways the following day, as they head south and we stay in Martinique awaiting arrival of guests.
Tuesday & Wednesday boat chores and swimming. Thursday over to Fort de France, stopping to get fuel first !! What a mistake that was !! We THOUGHT we had gotten fuel there before but as we are approaching the fuel dock we realize that NO we did not because Dave from Promise had come over by dinghy and told us what a horrible set up it is. We were there so decided to go ahead and give it a try. We had to back the boat in to a small space next to a FLOATING dinghy dock with small lines in the water for small boats to use to tie off to. I get off with the stern line trying to find something to tie it to other then the little rubber cleat on the floating dock. No help from anyone at the fuel dock but luckily some men from the near by boat yard were there having lunch and came over to help with the lines tying them to the floating dock. Finding one real cleat onshore to secure the boat so it did not pull the floating dock away. Fueled up and a note made in our log to never get fuel there again. Glad to be away from that mess and over to the anchorage off Fort de France. Into town after lunch to start provisioning. Friday getting more provisions and getting ready for visit from friends Gina & Barry. We had it all worked out (so we thought) Gina's cell phone was set to be able to receive and make international calls, I had a local cell phone and our sat phone. Sitting up on deck around 10:25 pm we see a plane landing saying that's probably them landing now. Plan was to call at 11, by that time they should be en-route if not almost to where we would pick them up with the dinghy. I start calling, but Gina's phone is NOT working. A few more calls and finally at 11:30 I tell Steve we have to go in that there must be something wrong with her phone. We get to the dinghy dock and there is Gina but no Barry !!! Gina is so relieved, her taxi driver did not want to leave her there in the park by the dinghy dock in downtown Fort de France. Unable to speak the language in a foreign place in the middle of the night. He told her of a safe hotel near by just in case she did not find us. The park / dinghy dock might not be the safest place but it was still pretty crowded with families so at that hour it was still not the worst place to have to wait (easy for me to say- Gina might disagree). But we did show up and get Gina only to find out that Barry had missed his connecting flight so he was still in Puerto Rico and would be arriving the following night. Saturday we go into Fort de France walking around town seeing the sights and some stores and the market place. Back to the boat and over to Anse Mitan to anchor where it is much calmer than rolly Fort de France. We had talked to Barry and he would take a taxi here to Anse Mitan when he arrived. Gina & I go into the town of Anse Mitan walking around and shopping. Saturday night Barry arrives, we meet him at the dock and get him back to the boat and settled in. Sunday we go to anchor in Grande Anse D'Arlet. Snorkeling off the boat and visiting town. Monday we do the hike over to Anse D'Arlet have a nice lunch before hiking back, followed by a nice cooling swim off the boat. Tuesday we head over to St Anne, not the best weather prediction to go east but not too bad and with guests on a short schedule we go. To Steve & I it wasn't that bad, just a little rough. Gina & Barry got to learn first hand what the term “beating to weather” means. Not all days are smooth sailing, that is why we anchor in a spot and don't move around so much. Timing our moving with the right weather window – not something you can do when you are visiting for just a week. We get anchored in the lovely bay of St Anne and go into town to walk around. We have another generator problem (leaking shaft seal on the sea water pump) and Steve wants to talk with a guy over in Le Marin about getting it fixed. So on Wednesday morning we decide to take the dinghy over ?!! Even with the new dinghy & outboard with 4 people it was a wet ride, another fun experience of the cruiser to introduce our guests to. Steve & Barry go find out about the part for the generator water pump while Gina & I walk around. Have lunch on the pier then Steve & Barry go back to bring the big boat up to Le Marin while Gina & I do a little more shopping. The guys finally meet back up with us and we get back to the boat to get cleaned up. Thursday we drop Steve off to drop the generator water pump off and we go to rent a car, then go back and pick Steve up by car (FYI – Euro Car cheapest car rental by far). We are heading to a place called MangoFil, in Trois Ilets to go zip lining. Stopping at the Trois Rivieres rum distillery on the way. The French know how to do adventure parks, they cost a fraction of what they do on some of the other islands, giving you a 10 minute orientation and practice then let you go and do the course on your own. This was the first zip line / obstacle course for Gina & Barry and I am glad it was a pretty good one with 40 different sections. They have several spots where getting on or off the zip line is at an awkward angle, they could use some serious adjustments. But for the most part it was a fun course and we had a great time. Found a spot to grab a bite to eat before continuing along the coastline seeing the magnificent views. Back to the boat for well needed showers before going back into town for dinner. Friday Steve picks up the generator pump and Barry returns the car while Gina & I sleep in. This is their last day (so they thought) so they wanted to spend it just relaxing and swimming off the boat so we go back over to St Anne a nicer anchorage for the day. Back to Le Marin as the sun sets and dinner on board as Gina & Barry pack to catch an early taxi to the airport. During dinner Gina gets a text message saying their flight is delayed from an 8:30 departure to 10:30, so she calls the taxi driver to change their scheduled pick up time. Steve drops them off and they are on their way to the airport. Steve back on the boat where he tackles the job of swapping the fixed spare water pump with the still leaking one on the generator – a job that takes major dis-assembly of both the generator compartment (to get access) and the generator. I get the dirty clothes ready to bring to the laundromat the following day. Saturday night just relaxing getting back into our normal routine. Sunday I go and spend a couple of hours doing laundry. That night on FB I see a note from Gina that she is still NOT home ?? We learn a few days later that the text message she received from Delta about her flight change was WRONG and their plane left at the earlier scheduled time without her and Barry. They wound up renting a car Saturday afternoon and driving around more of the country, staying at a hotel near the airport to catch the Sunday morning flight out to Puerto Rico. I hope the air travel problems don't ruin the memory of a fun vacation in between. Monday a few more boat projects, get the 2nd generator pump in to be fixed. Tuesday Steve & I rent a car and travel up the east coast stopping in the towns of Le Vauclin, visiting the beautiful Clement estate and rum distillery. Among the beautiful grounds and restored plantation they had 3 separate art galleries that had some of the most bizzare modern art that we have ever seen. Seeing the towns of Le Francois, & Le Robert, La Trinite before going out on the Caravelle Peninsula, a Nature Reserve and seeing the ruins of the old Chateau Dubuc. They have some good hiking trails out there but by the time we got there it was too late to do them. Great sights and views all along the drive up the coast making for another great day. Wednesday just took it easy in the morning then after lunch went by customs to clear out, we stayed a few days longer then what we had originally put down when we cleared in, and not that the French care but we knew going to St Lucia they would question the gap in days. But being a Wednesday the customs office was only open a ½ day, same with the post office when we went by there. One of these days we will get the hang of when things are open and closed. Thursday morning a quick trip in to complete Wednesday afternoons tasks, back to the boat dinghy secured and on our way to St Lucia by 11:30. A great sail down 1 reef in both sails wind aft of the beam, 6 ft seas parallel to the boat that we cut thru at 8 + knots. Anchored in Rodney Bay by 2:30 next to friends John & Linda on Kool Kat.