Sunday, March 19, 2017

Time for a Change

Hello Faithful Reader!

I've been at the dock in Rodney Bay for 3 weeks now and it's time for a change. I've done a world of boat jobs so I feel pretty good about that... but as I sit here the harbour sludge is building up on the bottom. Time to race through the water to clean it all off... over to Martinique where Pam flies in next weekend. Yay!!!

I like my own company but occasionally I get on my nerves and it's time to hang around with someone else.

I couldn't find anything that appealed to me for lunch on the boat so I thought I'd wander down to the restaurants to peruse the various menus. The closest I got to buying something was at the sushi place... but I wasn't hungry enough to pay the formidable prices... even though it is very good and artsy. I'll wait 'til I get back home to fill up on sushi.

Started back to the boat and ran into my fruit lady. I was low on fruit so I picked up some grapefruit, passion fruit and bananas. She has a bunch of bottles filled up with herbs and twigs and stuff. The idea is that you buy some of the local rum/poison and drink it as a tonic. Each time I look at it she tells me it is good for my "willie" and offers me a taste. I think she likes me.

Didn't notice the special soaps until I took this photo

Just add kick-a-poo joy juice

Fruit Lady

She had some aubergines and I asked her how she prepared them. She said slice, egg batter, bread crumbs if you like and fry them up.

So I did...



Soon to be egg batter

Panko and pepper

Looking good!

Fry 'em up

So... you can put lime, salt and hot sauce on anything and it tastes good. I'm not sure that I will waste my time on the aubergine next time.

So there is another thing, like zip-lining, that I never need to do again.

Off tomorrow. See you in Sainte-Anne!

Ready to go!
Page One getting ready for the trip over to Sainte-Anne

Gary seizing the halyard shackle in place

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Wait a minute... who's having fun?

While Pam's gone I've been filling my time with boat jobs. I've always wanted to have some alone time on the boat so I can get some things done without having to behave and make sure Pam isn't getting annoyed or bored or annoyed and bored. So I got my wish.

I've finished the part of the cap rail that we both were working on, refinished the sole in the aft cabin. I'm working on the forward cabin as we speak and I've repaired a couple of leaky, mal-functioning hatches. Changed the oil and filters. Changed the fuel filters. All very exciting... blah, blah, blah.

Old method to keep hatch open

New (not cheap) friction lever in place

Ooooooohhh, shiny

Hatch re-bedded after removal for repairs

And... it works! Yay.

Loads of fun.

Hey, wait a minute! What's going on at home? Kids are all there, grandkids are all there. Brad's drinking scotch, Jen and Carrie overdosing on ice cream. I want some!

Having fun!!!

Grandkids "helping..."

Breakfast chaos

Gran doing Gran duties
The troops have rallied to move Carrie out of our basement where we held her captive for the last little while... into her new apartment. How cool.


Moving day today!

Luke totin' stuff

Get your stuff out of my garage!!!

Hey, that's what I'm doin', too

Jack helping out Carrie load the van.
Just hangin' at Care Bear's

Yay! A picnic with Aunty Jen. Uncle Brad chillin' on the sofa.
I wish I was there!

Friday, March 3, 2017

Boat Jobs in St. Lucia

We like France. Prices are like at home and you can get everything. So getting groceries is great. Also fun to hear the different music at bars and to enjoy the meals at the local cafes.

Huge dinghy dock in St. Anne

Great panini - internet cafe

I'm not sure about their hours of operation but they always seem to be open

Sailboarding school near the Club Med

But we have places to go. We have set Rodney Bay as our turn-around point for this cruising season. The island chain from Antigua down to St. Lucia is quite magical. Our sail over could not have been better. The best of this season so far. We averaged more than 7 knots. Just flying. And that was without the staysail. Also, Pam was smiling... not grimacing like she's having a root canal.

And, speaking of chain, a focus for Rodney Bay was that the Island Water World outlet here that has the chain we want for a reasonable price. Our primary anchor chain (200 feet) was so badly deteriorated that we abandoned it and moved over to our secondary (120 feet.) So we were looking forward to getting our new chain here. Turns out, they have lots of chain, only not in a 200 foot length.

I asked Ian, manager at the local Island Water World - someone I have great respect for - where the chain was made.

He said, "China." The chain is manufactured by Canada Metal - who have a great reputation - but the galvanizing process is very nasty. Apparently you have to vaporize zinc all over the chain which can be quite harmful to humans. So doing the work in Canada, where the regulations are quite strict, is more difficult than doing the work in China, where the regulations are less strict.

So that makes you think!

I guess we will wait on chain.

We were delighted to see Page One when we arrived in the harbour. We met Gary and Donna in Allen's Cay back in 1978 and have kept in touch over the years. They brought us conch up from Carriacou so we could appreciate our Bahamas days together. Very thoughtful.

Page One - build in Surrey, BC

Cleaning and bashing conch for Cracked Conch
Fruit Guy. Want a grapefruit?
So Pam has gone home to inspect the family - make sure the kids are behaving and taking care of our grandchildren appropriately. 

She has left me in charge of boat jobs. I've got some varnish to complete. Loose wires to trace. Rum to drink. A couple of fans to replace. I'm hoping that when she returns things are generally ship-shape!

I'll keep you informed!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Poised to Leap to St. Lucia

We love France. Everyone speaks French! Wow! Who knew?

Goodbye St. Pierre from our kitchen window.
The grocery stores are awesome. There are public mooring buoys available in many places - not really sure about reserving them with a surf board or an oil container while you are away for days, though. That doesn't seem right. Transportation is good. And there is internet to be found.

Kids in a pre-Carnival parade

Fort de France - from the ferry across the bay from Anse Mitan

A savory crepe - !!! Yay.

Busy street in downtown FDF

Library in FDF near the huge public square

Ferry dock

Our ferry

Pay attention dolphins? Not sure about this one.
But we've got stronger beer - in Canada
WindSwept Dreams and Blue Pearl on the ferry in FDF
So we spent a couple of days in St. Pierre described in our last post. Then a couple of days in Anse Mitan... just across the bay from Fort De France... and here we are now in St.  Anne at the south-east corner of Martinique. There are hundreds of boats here... like the Georgetown of Martinique. Big community with a morning net and, unlike Georgetown (Bahamas) there are services and supplies

We are waiting for good weather to cross to St.  Lucia... a short hop of only 20 miles or so. Probably head out in a couple of days after a few more crepes and Ti-Punches.

We've had weird weather with the wind doing all sorts of crazy things. And the big event was a carwash-style downpour after our washing-machine-sail down from Anse Mitan. So, even though it was a bit concerning at the time - never seen anything like it - the boat got a great rinse and our anchor held.

All good.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Nous Revenons à France - "We return to France"

Our last night in Portsmouth was great fun and quite emotional. We have strengthened the bond we feel for our PAYS pals, Jeffry, Alexis and Eddison and all the rest of them. They do a great job. I wish their system of supporting cruisers would catch on in other places. Plus, we made a lot of friends we'll keep for life (a line from Jerry Jeff Walker - Cowboy Boots and Bathing Suits!!!) It was hard to leave.

After our hike to the Chaudiere Pools we attended a jam session organized by Crazy Jim from Ullr - also an Island Packet 38. Heard from some amazing players and, as usual, I became quite the star after several rums. Got better as the evening wore on, as usual. Best part was playing with my new best friend, Lilly from "Slice of Life." They have a great story and you can find out more about it here. Mike, Kylie and their kids, Lilly and Sebastian are in the middle of a great adventure. Lovely family!!!

Lilly the ukelelier

Me and Lilly McGee
Our motorsail down to Roseau was uneventful... except that just as we pulled anchor we spotted a fishing boat full of lobster. We thought it was $15 EC per pound but it turned out to be $25. Never mind... we grabbed two little ones for supper later that day after we secured in Roseau. Yummm. Not sure if we love lobster or just drinking garlic butter.

That's a beauty - we'll take it!

Nice Boat!!! Blue Pearl in the evening sun at Roseau
Had a great sail from Roseau to St. Pierre. At one time during the trip the winds fell off completely - weird - but other than that we raced down doing an average of 6 something. Just off the south coast of Dominica we spotted a whale. Can't be sure what kind exactly. We'll know more once we've finished with the carcass. Just kidding. We didn't kill the whale. Pam wanted to harpoon it but our harpoon is out for sharpening! Pictures show a bunch of waves that don't look at all like whales... so no pictures. For the rest of the way we spotted 28 more waves that looked like whales.

We are relaxing in St. Pierre. Having been here before we are not rushing around, hiking and exploring. Had some beers at Le Reservoir (using their internet.) But going to the market was great as was the lunch at Restaurant "La Vague"... something like that.

View from Blue Pearl
Pelee with no clouds - devastation a century ago
Just off our bow - weak internet but serviceable!
Saturday market
Must be something we need!

Onto Anse Matin tomorrow.