Sunday, April 20, 2014

Bequia Regatta

Bequia is in a festive way.  There is a buzz in the town.  The harbour has become crowded with boats who have come to participate in the Easter Regatta.  Many boats are here to watch but many more are here to participate. 

Our new BFFs on Eventyr, an Island Packet 31 have made arrangements to get involved… Hanna as crew on Jaguar.  Kai and Dana are trying to get onto some of the committee boats so they will be right in the middle of the whole thing.

It’s fun to watch the local boats with their huge sails whizzing around Admiralty Bay, practicing for the big races.  It’s all very exciting!!!

Lawrence and Winfield arriving for their last day of the varnish job
Four cats rafted to maximize party time at Regatta
Lottsa Bequia boats at Regatta
Racer
Don't fall off!
But alas, Blue Pearl raced across Admiralty Bay, only like Forrest Gump in that great scene after his glorious run in the football game, we didn't stop at the end-zone… but continued on south to Tyrrel Bay in Carriacou 40 miles away.  Had a great dolphin show along the way.

Thank you!

Our teak gleams like it is preserved under glass and our starboard locker looked great, painted a brilliant white… until we threw in all the crap we store there.  Now it looks the same as it did before.

Met up with Troubador (Chris and Linda), Serenity (Bruce without Colleen) and Page1 (Gary without Donna.)  Had some beers with Gary and Bruce and got caught up.  Pam pulled out all the stops and made spaghetti with chicken.

This morning we got up and headed out to Le Phare Bleu Marina on the south coast of Grenada.

For those who know the geography around here... we tried to come from Tyrrel Bay to Grenada on the east side so that we wouldn't have to do the miserable 5 miles from Point Salines to the marina.  We got close to Diamond Island but with a huge, 3 knot westerly current our nice beam reach turned into a close haul and, although we were making 7 knots through the water we were only doing 4 knots over the ground.  Too much current so we came down the west side.  Had a great sail until Point Salines.

At Point Salines we headed into the BIG wind and waves and spent a miserable 90 minutes crashing up and down.  It really doesn't get worse that that stretch.  Don't want to talk about it anymore.

So here we are at Le Phare Bleu.  Sherry and Bernie helped us dock (Sunday so no one around) and we notice that Cutter Loose, another Island Packet we met in the USVI is tied up here as well.

At the dock... phew!


So now, Dear Reader, we begin the process of setting up Blue Pearl for her 6 months of storage.  Ugly job... but then we will be home with all the kids, grandkids and friends.

Woooohooooooo!

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!