Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Limin' and Varnishin'

We are weather morons. We sat in Deshaies - a lovely place in which to sit - waiting for an opportune time to head north. We were in NO HURRY. Loads of time before Carrie and Chevy arrive.


So we spotted a weather window  - one day only - and decide to go. Ominously, as we left, another Canadian boat waved goodbye, and said, "See you in Antigua. We are going tomorrow when the weather is better." We scratched our heads a bit. We thought we had done our research. Well of course, the forecast had changed over night and the next day would have been much better. 

We had a bit of a thrash heading up. We were a bit tight on the wind, making 4.5 knots and our trip would have taken about 10 hours at that speed. So we motor sailed. Made it in 8 hours. 

So now we are here... need to varnish... and that's what we are doing.

New beach pail for Chevy

Varnish Queen

Carlisle Bay Resort

"Flag" owned by Tommy Hilfiger. See the toys?

View from the kitchen window
There is a massive north swell, related to the horrible east coast storm that is taking place so we have hidden out in Carlisle Bay - protected from the waves from the north and most importantly, we have great internet. Even though we aren't getting the brunt of the 3 m waves, we are getting 'induced' waves here in Carlisle. So every now and then we get thrown around a bit.

Shows the big swell from the north
Here we are!
In Jolly Harbour, their anchor dragged got swept ashore in the swell. 
So we are catching up on our reading, doing cross-word puzzles, sudokus and... varnishing!


Friday, March 2, 2018

Basse Terre

I'm behind... bad internet. This should have been posted a week ago.

We had a good ride from Dominca to Basse Terre, Guadeloupe. We were in Basse Terre in 1998 when we chartered a boat out of Point a Pitre but have not been there since.

Basse Terre is the capital of Guadeloupe, and it's second largest city. Point a Pitre is larger and funkier. Basse Terre is functional and business focused. Not to say that it isn't without it's fun attractions. There is a nice - hurricane battered - beach front walkway full of food trucks, benches and trees... tree stumps in many cases. There is an open air market, surrounded by restaurants and bars. A couple of big grocery stores and pharmacies.

It was kind of fun. We walked into town and had a look around, trying to fit our 20 year old memories into the current reality of Basse Terre.

Saw a crazy-ass Rasta Man at the market with no shoes. I've got an old pair of sandals that I was going to throw out so we decided that the next time we came into town we would bring M. Homme de Rasta my old shoes.

We shared a Big Mac at the MacDonalds so we could use their internet and then went out in search of a beer. It has been raining a lot so we were constantly looking for cover.

A boat next to us suffered a medical emergency so we helped a bit speaking to the French (because, of course, I am fluent in French) and helping Brian move the boat into the marina where the ambulance could get involved. A terrible way to meet someone but once Nadi was released from the hospital we enjoyed their company for a couple of visits. She's German, he's English but they were married in LadySmith in Canada, just down the road from where my sister, Donna lives. Small world.

Avoiding a Basse Terre downpour

Bologne Rum sugar cane

Bologne Rum boutique

What else? Bologne Rum

Oh No!!! Broken dinghy davits. Break out the wallet.
When we left I put my worn-out sandals back into the closet. Never saw M. Le Rasta again.

In the wind-shadow of Guadeloupe, we headed up to Deshaies to stage for our last leg to Antigua.

Deshaies, where they film "Death in Paradise," is one of my favorite spots and we had a lovely time shopping at the French groceries and eating baguettes stuffed with ham and cheese.

Busy boat harbour, all staging to go north

Honoré Police Station
It is very blowy... so we are looking for a weather window to head north to Antigua... along with a fleet of other boats.


Sunday, February 18, 2018

Leaving Dominica

We love having internet and it is really annoying when we don't. But it is awesome when you find it in some unlikely place, so here we are at an empty restaurant, catching up.

Great internet!!!
We've come up from Dominica in a weather window that gave us howling wind rather than gales. Now we are going to sit here, waiting for the next window before heading to Antigua.

In our last couple of days in Dominica we went on another tour, this time all Canadians and two token Americans. And we all spoke English. Had a great trip about 2/3 the way down the island to Spanny Falls and then up the east coast to see the consequences of Maria.

Fun trip with fun people.

Too late at the PAYS BBQ

Lots of squalls, lots of rainbows

Up to Spanny Falls

Pam says this is our Christmas card photo 

Coooooool and refreshing

Out of focus, but proof Pam was in, too.
Dominica is a mess. The east coast is more of a mess. The photos don't do justice. Everywhere we went folks were hammering, digging, toting, picking up. They are like busy ants, trying to recover from the damage. We stopped for lunch at The Islet View Restaurant, a mountain-top place some of the group had been before. The food was delicious and inexpensive... great presentation and service.

Nice place!

They were cooking with gas and had a generator running for electricity... to keep my beer cold! They said they've been told expect power in April. They aren't holding their breaths.

East coast mess

Crashing waves

Lots of blue tarp roofs

Greening up

More Maria mess

Buy a bottle of herbs and spices, add the local rum... be careful!!!

What a mess!

Lost the drive shaft... not a problem!
Next day, Pam and I decided to find out where Brianna was staying so we took the bus from town up to the college. Walked around and asked until we found "Fletchers Apartments." They seem to be recovering. The roof is back on and windows and doors are being repaired. We talked to the local manager and she showed us a photo of the people who were staying there. Smiling back at us from the photo was Brianna. So mission accomplished!

Brianna's apartment

Following Brianna's path to school, until I slipped on my ass in mud.

Culvert water works for cleaning mud, who knew!
 Brianna did a "Go Fund Me" to try to help out victims of Maria on Dominca. She was able to help some folks but had some funds left. She asked us to look around for targets for her remaining funds. There are a number of "yachties" staying around, helping out with various projects. Clair and Magoe Menning are on the yacht "Macario" and have set up a local charitable society. One of their projects is Lamb's Feast, a group of volunteers who work out of an old house to prepare and then deliver meals for the homebound elderly. They've fixed up the walls, repaired the electricity, fixed the stove and have almost completed the roof. The refrigerator was destroyed and they were looking for ways to raise funds to buy a new one. A new one costs a lot and Brianna's left over funds will help get them there. If you feel like helping out, check out MacarioAdvantage.

Lamb's Feast
We had a wild sail up to Basse Terre, Guadeloupe. Not the blissful kind that Pam prefers. So we will enjoy the west coast of Guadeloupe until that memory fades and she is ready for the next jump.

More coming soon while we have good internet!!!


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Touring post-Maria Dominica

Last week we were sitting on the boat in the late afternoon, enjoying an adult beverage when Alexis, the PAYS boat guy drove up and asked us if we wanted to go on a tour tomorrow… $EC 100 each. See some waterfalls, hot springs, some of the Hurricane Maria damage, etc.

Now Alexis is not our guy. Jeff (Seabird) has been our guy for years so it felt a little like cheating. Or what I imagine cheating would be like if I had ever done it. Never even thought about it. Really.

Anyway, where was I going with that? Alexis is a very positive presence around the bay, always helping out, always smiling and waving. Seabird had not yet approached us for a tour, and tours are always fun. You get to meet new people and hear about their adventures. Lots of fun and usually a few beers and a local lunch.

So we said yes.

Alexis picked us up at our boat. We were first. Then, boat after boat we picked up couples... all of them Dutch... and two Germans. Now, one thing really annoying about most Europeans is that they speak many languages and their English is often better than mine.

So we loaded into a very comfortable van and struck off. Had to duck a couple of times to avoid being seen by Jeff.

When they realized that we were unilingual, Melinda of s/v Bolla said, “OK, these guys are Canadian so we’ll all have to speak English today,” which made us feel great… and very envious of their obvious fluency in a second language. 

That was the last English we heard. They’d have a great rousing conversation and then burst into hilarious laughter. I’m pretty sure they were talking about me but Pam says I’m too sensitive. “They weren’t always laughing about you,” she said.

Off on another Dominican adventure

Road undercut by rain. Being repaired by crew from China.

Our multilingual friends

New land created when the flash floods carried down rocks and debris

Blue roofs (tarps) everywhere

Flash flood washed away the Chinese workers' camp... and the workers.

She's got it all covered.

Trafalgar Falls

Cooling off her knees

Dutch exchanging Dutch gossip

Excuse me... could you move that tree?

This is where Maria roofs go to die.

We think Brianna's apartment was in here somewhere. Going to investigate more.

Used to be a machine shop

On Friday, the Catholic Elementary School had a “Freaky Friday” kind of activity. It is connected with Carnival which is happening on Monday and Tuesday. Jason and Chanty told us that Shania was going to be wearing her Bumble Bee outfit. We waited on-and-off in the Catholic Church when the rains came, for the "parade" to begin. Finally gave up when they said the weather wasn't permitting. Then went running back when we heard drums. And we got to catch Shania Bumble Bee.

Shania Bumble Bee

And her friends!
More coming. Working with sketchy internet.