Monday, April 14, 2014

Day after day in Bequia

Every day is the same…

Pam gets up and begins her survey of harbour activities.  Glen gets up an hour later and asks why the coffee isn’t ready.

Shortly, Winfield with his team... son Garfield and Garfield’s friend Lawrence arrive and begin their work for the day.  The teak is gleaming… it looks like wood under glass.  They arrive and destroy the beautiful teak.  They sand the whole thing… takes them 2 hours… and it looks like sh*t.  Ughh.  Really?  We’re paying for this?
What!?  The end of another day?


Look at that teak... like glass.
Built it up...

Handrail and eyebrow

Cockpit coaming and cap rail...
We try to stay out of the way.  Glen does sudukos and reads, Pam reads, knits or does crosswords - usually at Glen.  We are interested in what they are doing but we are not sure whether we are getting in the way or not.  So we try to hide.  There are some small jobs we have tackled.  Glen is mad at the head for leaking so he is investigating that.  The starboard lazarette has two coats of paint and looks fantastic.    Pam has been studying the portholes for leaks.  She has also been fashioning some protective covers for the new teak to keep it out of the summer sun. Odd jobs but mostly staying out of the way.

Where is that crappy leak?
After 5 or 6 hours, they leave and the teak is glimmering again… like a jewel.  Wow!  Are you sure they need to come back again tomorrow?

And so it goes…

As it turns out, our timing is working out perfectly (sarcasm.)  The winds are low and quiet right now while the work is being done.  We need to leave on Friday and, right on schedule, the winds will be back up, forcing us to reef to avoid a difficult day.

Wednesday

But we'd rather go Friday when it is nastier!

Had a nice afternoon on the beach with Chris and Linda from Troubadour and Patrick and Lucie from Illusions.  We are all heading to our respective homes and had a good chance to talk about preparations.  

Back to the boat for comfort food… grilled cheese sandwich with leftover mac and cheese.  Mmmmmmmmm!!!!!!!!!!

Wondering about getting up for the lunar eclipse in the morning at 3 or 4.  Hmmmmm.  Sleep or science?




Thirty five miles to Tyrrel Bay… and then another 35 to Le Phare Bleu if we can go on the east side of Grenada.

Countin’ down!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Shifting Gears

So... we're done.  No more horizons to reach.

Once you realize that you are close to the end of the season, your thinking changes completely.  We aren't planning further adventures... just thinking about the shutdown stuff that has to happen.  Also, thinking about all the cool things at home.  Grandkids, kids, friends and home.  Eager to get going.

That lamp bracket is dying to rip the snot out of Murphy the Dinghy

Chinaman at work

Precision welding... notice the Cetol on the cockpit coaming?  Kind of dull.

Past the Pitons with no wind
We had a good trip down from St. Lucia to Bequia.  A bit of "washing machine" effect in the St. Lucia passage but nothing that the intrepid crew couldn't handle.

Left at 6 am and got into Bequia around 5 pm and cleared in the next morning.  Sixty nine miles makes for a long day.

Bad news!!!  We have recently discovered that we have "teak envy." 

Last year Glen made our teak look "really good" during his solo time in Antigua putting 5 coats of Cetol wood finish on most of the boat.  Scraping, sanding, cleaning and finally applying.  Ughhh.  Tons of work.

Since then, we have run into folks who have magnificent teak... brilliant teak... beautiful teak.  We lust for the luster of the varnish on those boats and so succumbed here in Bequia.  We've been flirting with a local wood worker, Winfield of Friendshipside Yacht Services who tells us he can do wonders with our teak.  We have the time, the bank has tons of money, so we decided to strip all the "really good" work that Glen did and replace it with "excellent" work and Epifanes varnish.

Never got this far last year... needs work!

Winfield at work.  Damn, are you sure you need to redo that lovely teak in the cockpit?

Decided to clean out and paint the lazarette.

Bow pulpit sanded... looks better already

Larry sanding after Winfield scrapes off the old Cetol

A coat of sealer

... and a coat of varnish.  Can't really see the sheen in this photo

First coat of varnish

So this week we are at varnish school with Winfield.  He comes highly recommended by "Morpheus of London" and "Windswept Dreams".  We are pleased with his work so far.  Hope we are still friends at the end of the week.

We will spend 7 days hanging out here in Bequia in order to get 7 coats... one coat a day and then visit with Gary and hopefully Donna on "Page 1" in Tyrrel Bay, Carriacou.   Then down to Le Phare Bleu Marina in Grenada to strip the boat down for storage for the summer. 

Hard to believe that another season is almost done.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Bye bye Brad!

Brad is on AC 969 to Toronto... will be back in Calgary at 01:30... enough for 8 hours sleep before he heads back north for work.  Not too worried... he caught up on lots of sleep here.  He says the time he reads books is inversely proportional to the quality of internet so he got a good chance to plow through some books during his time with us.

We had a fun day driving up to Saint Pierre and back.  The quality of infrastructure in Martinique is shocking when you compare it to all of the surrounding islands.  I guess when you are an overseas district of France there are some benefits.  The roads there are like freeways compared what we've seen.  And the signage!!! There is some!!!  Awesome!!!  You actually know which way to turn and how far it is to your destination.
Le Petite Dejeuner avec cafe
Le vouture magnifique
We were happy to show Brad St. Pierre.  At one time it was the commercial hub of Martinique until it was destroyed by Volcano Pelee in 1902.  The impact is obvious and it is amazing that the current town is built on the old ruins.  The signs of devastation are everywhere.

We drove from the town up to the Depaz Rhum Distillery.  VERY impressed at how far we walked last year.  What were we thinking?
Brad in the ruins at St. Pierre... Pelee in the background
More ruins
Looking back at St. Pierre and Pelee
It was fun heading back to the boat, buying French box wine for our trip south to Grenada.  We had fabulous internet... until 10 at night when the Paille de Coco shut their metal shutters.  Talk about getting cut off mid sentence.

The trip back over to Rodney Bay, St. Lucia was predictable.  Because we wanted to head south the prevailing ENE winds changed to ESE which made for another wild sail.  We also noticed that it calmed dramatically in the afternoon so maybe we should have just slept in.

We challenged the heights of Fort Rodney - meeting on the way some crazy Auzzies who appeared to have run to the top.  Glen had heart palpitations thinking about running in this weather.
Sunset over Rodney Bay
Blue Pearl out there somewhere
What are we shooting at?
OK... down and back up... see who's first!
Is this ladder CSA approved?
Local fruit... mango, passion fruit, love apples
We had such a good car trip down through Soufriere to Ladera Resort with Mike and Charlotte to look at the Pitons that we wanted to repeat it with Brad.  When we got to Anse La Raye for our flying fish snack, we learned that it was an "off day" for cruise ships and so there was little activity.  Just zombie-like old men asking for money and drunks stumbling around.  We grabbed a Piton and a "Ballou?" something like a flying fish, fed the scraps to the dogs and took off before the zombies ate us.

Eating Ballou, drinking Pitons...  now let's get the hell out of here!
We avoided our wrong turn in Soufrierre and got to the Ladera Resort... only to learn, Mike and Charlotte, that they have invoked a new rule!!!  Twenty five US $ cover charge to have a beer - which will be taken off your tab which will be presumably more than $25 US!!! EACH!!!  What?????   I hope it wasn't our visit with Mike and Charlotte that put them off of "moochers" paying $5 US for a cheap-ass $2 US local beer and enjoying the view.  WHAT A RIP OFF, LADERA!!!!!

So instead we found a cool windsurfing beach resort and had burgers and fries and $2 US beers.  And enjoyed a lovely hour or two before dropping Brad off at UVF.

Heard today that Carrie made some "Boiled Fish" in Leduc!  Yaaaaaay!  Joined the crowd of "Boiled Fish" makers.

We have breaks in two of our staunchions - the metal pipes that stick up to carry our lifelines.  We need some welding done.  "Chinaman" is the resident welder.  It doesn't roll off the tongue.  "Hey Chinaman, I need some welding done."  But when Glen asked an Asian looking man in the boatyard if he was the welder he introduced himself as Chinaman.

So Chinaman is set to weld us up and send us on our way!!!

More adventures!!!!!


Sunday, March 30, 2014

Manger, boire et faire la sieste en Martinique

So... we've been lazy.  What's new?!

We checked into Martinique at Marin and wandered around a bit.  Checking into the French Islands is a dream.  Don't know why it has to be such a pain elsewhere.

Found a cool pub that served draft Leffe, Hogarten and Lorraine.  The beer was terrific.  So was the price.  Terrifically high.  Won't be doing too much of that.

We read in the cruising guide that there is a place here that will mix paint and a hardener in a spray can that would allow us to individually fix the little bumps and scratches on our gelcoat.  Glen found the place, approached a clerk and pantomimed mixing paint in a spray can for a little while.  After everyone was thoroughly amused, Brad finally stepped in and rescued him.  (That's why we put the kids in French Immersion - so they could rescue us on our travels.)  Turns out that the place DOES NOT have the spray can technology so that turned out to be a bust.  Too bad.  Terrific idea.

We cruised around the Leader Price Supermarche and scanned all the cool stuff.... ended up with some French box wine, and a few appies to have with our dinner.  Our previous post about "Bahamas Boiled Fish" or "Glen's Fish Soup" inspired several of you to try your own version.  We are thrilled!  Hope it turned out well for you.  Talking about that got the saliva glands going so Glen made it with mahi-mahi.  It was as spectacular is it always is.

Wow!

Made enough for 6 - ate it all!  None left for breakfast.
While we were in Marin a freighter came in with a huge mega yacht and a sailboat.  We watched them unload the sailboat with a mammoth crane and saw the boat slip away and anchor not far from us.  On our way into the harbour to rent a car, we stopped by the boat.  They are a French family with 5 or 6 kids and decided to ship their boat from Florida rather than do the Thorny Passage.  The mom told us it was expensive but only took 4 days.
Weird looking...

Big Lift
It loaded another mega-yacht and took off for Italy!

After a day in Marin we moved out to St. Anne.  We love St. Anne.  Not much here but it is a quaint little resort town with neat little bars and beaches.  Last year we found a bunch of old geezers playing some really great music at the Dunette... notably some unbelievable tango pieces!  We were served a substandard meal by a snotty waiter at exorbitant prices - but somehow it just ended up being the most charming evening.

Getting ready to try out the GoPro camera

At the Dunette

We wandered down to the Club Med to find a EuropCar rental place.  They were closed but we found another rental spot.  It wouldn't open 'til 14:00 - another 15 minutes - so we had beers and a sorry, expensive croissant avec ham at a nearby boulangerie.  You needed a magnifying glass to find the ham and it was so dry that we needed several beers to choke it down.  Echk.

A Car Rental
Wandered along the beautiful beach, near the Airstream Trailer Park and had a cooling dip before heading back to the Blue Pearl for another cooling off dip, sundowners, salad and spaghetti avec sausage, crib, internet thanks to a stray Netgear signal and a blissful rest.

Makes you nervous when someone anchors too close and then puts up all their fenders

Cool dip

Sunday sailors!
Tomorrow we pick up our car and tour the island... en francais!





Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Cruising with Brad

Had a lovely get-together with Richard and Jan from Morpheus of London.  We are both juggling guests so we only had the one day.  Had some sundowners, lovely conversation and a great dinner.  Nice!
Morpheus of London

Blue Pearl



So we decided to rent a car and go pick up Brad at the airport.  The car was the size of a large pumpkin and the AC didn’t work.  We had done a great deal of studying to get down to Hewanorra, including downloading maps on the iPad, searching out a map in the local community and checking out google maps.  Very confidently, we left Rodney Bay and promptly got lost.



We drove past several of the places we had been with Mike and Charlotte and at one point decided to ignore  a ROAD CLOSED sign to see where that led.  Turns out, the road was closed because it ended at the edge of a cliff with nowhere else to go.  Google Maps was way off.  It wanted us to go somewhere that didn’t exist, the iPad map program had completely different ideas.  After about 45 minutes we finally emerged from the hills onto the highway that would take us to UFV (Hewannora) near Vieux Fort. 

We arrived at the airport after an hour and a half.  Google Maps says it will take 73 minutes and the local cab drivers say it is an hour and a half.  So they must take our “lost” route as well.

Got to UVF in plenty of time so Pam decided that we needed to get some groceries.  We found a Liquor and Grocery outlet but that turned out to be liquor with an aisle of canned weiners and beans.  But the prices were spectacular so our livers will continue to suffer.

Piton beer, coconut water, baguette... what else could you ask for?
Great to see Brad as he burst through the Customs and Immigration doors and off we went in our Pumpkin Chariot back to the Blue Pearl.  Stopped for a coconut to wash down the ham and cheese baguette super mom Pam had purchased for him.  Back at the marina we purchased a few things and then lurched into the dingy to retire to the Blue Pearl.  Had a quick swim and a delicious burger by chief cook Pammy.

Might have seen the elusive "Green Flash" after the sundown.  We are skeptical.

Brad had worked a 14 hour shift, flown a red-eye and arrived a little bleary so he was perfectly pleased to have an early bedtime, especially after a couple of nightcaps.


Trying out Brad's new GoPro camera

Checking the anchor... no, really checking the anchor

Today we had a lazy morning and wandered about the marina collecting essentials like baseball caps and tonic.  We are fueled, watered, checked out and ready for Martinique in the morning. 

Avez vous une bicyclette et le fromage?  Que ce que c'est?  How many apostrophes and "q"s are there?


Friday, March 21, 2014

Transition Time

Well that's it, then...

Dingied the Inmans to their taxi this morning and waved them off on their trip to the airport.  We hope the taxi driver is a better driver than Glen because we got hopelessly lost with Glen navigating the mountain roads of Saint Lucia.

Getting ahead of ourselves...

After our short sail up from Marigot Bay on Wednesday we found a great place to anchor with good internet and an attractive naked couple next door.  It is really rude of them to prance around in their altogether.  The binoculars can start to hurt your eyes after an hour or two.

Clearing in to St. Lucia at Marigot Bay
We scoped out the marina and ran into Jan from Morpheus of London.  Great to see them again and we are hoping to share a few stories and beverages in the next couple of days.  Made arrangements to rent a car to tour part of the island and then headed back to the boat for G&Ts and world problem solving - Mike's specialty.

The next morning we headed out with our brand new, first customers, cool little Daihatsu jeep and roared off, through Castries and straight into the unknown.  The rental agency was out of maps so we had no idea where we were.  Pam got out her Navionics marine charting program which showed us to be miles from where we thought we were going... but our boat speed was fantastic!  The folks we stopped to chat with along the way were very helpful and soon we were on our way south.  Our ultimate destination was to be Soufriere with the Pitons, the volcano and a resort restaurant reported to be fabulous by Morpheus.

Interesting house somewhere in the middle of St. Lucia
Around 10 AM we came upon the colourful fishing village of Anse la Raye and stopped for refreshing beverages.  We spotted a young man eating flying fish and had him show us where he got it.  We bought fish fritters, flying fish and chicken to increase our daily grease intake and washed it down with Piton beer.  Delicious.
Seen better days

Pitons to wash down the fish bones

Can I have that deep fried?

Looking back at Anse la Raye

First glimpse of the Pitons from the road
On to the Ladero resort for another beverage and one of the most impressive views we have ever seen... on the order of the Grand Canyon.  It is impossible to capture the beauty of the Pitons with a camera or words... so glad we stopped in.

Petit Piton

Can't get back far enough to capture the whole thing
Intrepid travellers!
We weren't ready for lunch so we headed out to the "drive-through volcano"... very cool (actually hot) and VERY sulphur smelling.  After our tour we were suffering from input overload so decided it was time for lunch in Soufriere.  The place we chose turned out to be underwhelming and the kids in the parking lot "watching our car" for us became quite pushy even after we had tipped them for showing us in which slot to park our car.


Smelly volcano

100 degrees C!
We've come to accept that this "service" is going to be imposed on you where ever there is poverty but even the window washers/beggars back at home leave you with a clean car window.  These kids ran up and pointed to an empty stall and then stuck their hands out.  Yuck.  They were really put off when we didn't come up with more when we left the restaurant... assuming we should have been thankful that their vigilance kept the car from being stolen... even though we were within 20 feet and in sight of the car.

Wishing that we had returned to Anse de la Raye for more grease we made our way out of Soufriere and back towards home (boat.)  The roads are amazing with 15 degree slopes and hairpin turns around crazy cliffs.  Crazy!

Banana plantation near Marigot

Hit Castries at rush hour so the 2 kilometers took 45 minutes but we had lots to talk about from our adventures of the day.

Back at the marina the Inmans insisted on treating us to dinner.  Too early for dinner and didn't want to come back in later so we ordered up some sushi and headed out to the Blue Pearl.  The sushi was spectacular... we will make sure to return to that restaurant.  Why didn't we take a photograah?  It was beautiful!  After a furious and exciting crib tournament we had our nightcaps and headed to bed for our last night together on the boat.

Jonah spirited Mike and Charlotte away at 9 AM and after a few errands ashore we headed back out to the Blue Pearl for some quiet time and boat chores.

We are so pleased that all of our guests this year have seen a significant part of the Grenadines.

Son, Brad is going to be here in a couple of days.  Looking forward to showing him around Saint Lucia and Martinique!