Saturday, January 31, 2015

Limin' in Dominica

We've been here a week now.  Nice to just hang out and take it easy.

We raced to get here to meet up with Axel and Mary Clare on Azaya and had a great reunion.  The rum punch at the Portsmouth Anchorage Yacht Services BBQ had plenty of punch and I got more handsome, intelligent and funny as the night wore on.  Pam got meaner and meaner.  Rum does that to her.  Curious, though... she didn't have nearly as much as I did.


I can't even taste the rum!

French Warship

We had agreed to do an island tour with Azaya and our German children, Carolin and Martin.  So, on Monday morning Jeffrey aka Sea Bird arrived just after 9 and escorted us to the dock to meet Winston, our tour guide for the day.  Winston is no shrinking violet and so in a very short time we were all in great humour listening to his stories of Dominica.  We headed south for a few miles and then headed up into the mountains towards a park area called the Syndicate.  Sounds ominous.  Every mile or so we would stop and Winston would point out a sight or something edible in the forest.  There are small farms everywhere so it looks like you don't have to go hungry here in Dominica... even though it is a very poor little island nation.

After our forest walk through the park we jumped back in the van to head to Milton Falls.  We were here back in 1998 with our kids but don't really remember too much.  It was a good walk and we had a bracing dip in the glacier fed falls.  Pam says there are no glaciers here but it was pretty dammed cold.

Excuse me, are your grapefruit fresh?


Hide and Seek

Can you see the forest elves?


Don't make him mad... he's got a knife!

Milton Falls

Come on in... the water's fine!
Headed back to town and had a great lunch from the food stalls that supply the kids who attend the local medical university.  We are going to make a return visit this week.

We are in no hurry to leave here so we've been filling our days with boat jobs.  We've put a service coat of varnish on the teak.  We are not as good as Winfield but we are learning.  And to save our boat bucks we need to become more independent with that kind of thing.
Sanding the cap rail

Poor guy was towing this from his rowing dinghy.  Murphy to the rescue!
Postcards from the road

Hot breadnuts... like chestnuts

Filling station

New varnish

Saturday Market

More passionfruit

Coconut water

Not sure about these... fishing weights?
Meeting lots of interesting folks and having fun exchanging stories and plans.  We'll head off north next week.  In the meantime...

I don’t believe in valentines, engagement rings or vintage wines
I don’t believe the golden rule and most of what I learned in school
I don’t believe in half the things I do or say or hear

But I do believe I’ll have another beer

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Murphy’s New Clothes

Back at the beginning of this great journey, we met Linda from Troubadour who had made her own dinghy chaps.  Chaps protect the dinghy from sun and abrasion and generally extend it’s life.  Linda was Pam's inspiration to start on our own Murphy the Dinghy chaps.  She helped Pam sort out the steps to get going and gave her sources for materials and ideas.

In November of 2011 we arrived at Shroud Cay in the Bahamas and Pam could hardly wait to pull Murphy ashore so she could pattern the chaps that she was going to make.  

We toiled in the hot sun and headed back to the boat so she could transfer the pattern to the sunbrella fabric that would one day become the chaps.  I had to learn to sleep differently because the shelf that I used to rest my leg sometimes at night, now held rolls of chaps fabric.

Over the years there has been movement and Pam has gone in fits and starts as she gets motivated and then discouraged by the weird curves and openings that have to be taken into account.

Last year, Jan and Pam talked about how to move forward and so she tackled them with a vengeance again. 
Expert advice from Jan
OK... that's it!

Finally, we decided that we would get some help from a professional in Bequia… who made a royal hash of them.  She was almost in tears.

So this year, as I mentioned previously, after thinking about it all summer, and talking to Cathy on Dream Maker, she spent two days below, stitching and bitching and WOW,  look at the results.

So if you need dinghy chaps, you should talk to Pam.  She will tell you to find someone else, buy them somewhere and generally… get lost!

In the sweatshop

First fitting

Not bad... needs a little snugging

Wow... looks great!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

We've Adopted!

Since our own children are too busy with families and careers we've adopted two new children... Carolin and Martin.

We met in Rodney Bay before they sold their boat in Martinique.  They wanted to come up to Dominica and we were headed that way so it just made sense to travel together.

We waited for them in Anse Mitan, Martinique and after they arrived by ferry from Fort-de-France we left for St. Pierre.  Easy sail up there... about 20 miles.  After getting our last French wine, cheese and mussels (until our next French island) we headed out for Roseau, Dominica.
Anse Mitan

From the beach

Finally a hotel we can afford

Sending postcards home to the grandkids



Great winds, easy sail.  Especially with new crew to order around.  Pam doesn't take orders!

Learning the navigation system

St. Pierre

St. Pierre through Pam's picture window

Crew on a break

Crew hard at work

The SailClear program put me first in line for clearance in Roseau, Dominica... the manual entry folks had to fill out endless forms and wait... the SailClear lady would be with me momentarily.   After all the manual entry people had come and gone, I finally filled out all the papers manually, presented them to the manual clearance guy and we were entered into Dominica.  The SailClear specialist was in a foul mood over some earlier clearance and was not interested in processing our "speedy application".

We went back to wait for "the best restaurant in Dominica," the Westport Inn from our visit here two years ago but it didn't open.  Dang!  They made the most delicious lionfish.  We will make a point of hitting it on our way back down.  Had a lovely dinner on board and sped off to a blissful sleep.

Up to Portsmouth on Saturday and a terrific reunion with Azaya.  We started this great adventure with them in Lake Worth, Florida five seasons ago and it was terrific to see them again.  We are hoping for a couple of weeks of buddy boating again.

Our "boat boy" Jeffery, aka Seabird 

Yay!!!  Azaya!!!

Happy reunion

Our adopted children have made plans for several hikes (we try to avoid that) and then they leave us for more adventures in Cuba.  They grow up so fast!

We are going to relax here and get some boat jobs done.  Lots of pictures to follow!


Glen and Pam

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Southern Cross IV and Virtue and Vice

Had a great re-union with Southern Cross IV and Virtue and Vice.  It was brief but terrific to see them again.  We met in Turks and Caicos and spent a lot of time with them in Luperon.  While we were weathered-in at Luperon we toured Puerto Plata, went over water falls and spent hours at Captain Steve's.

Haven't seen them for 3 seasons.  Really great couples sharing similar adventures.

We didn't get much time with them but we are hoping for more time when we head back down south.

Cheers! Left over cava from Isabella and Andy's daughter's wedding in Grenada.

Shane and Micky - Shane's the vice, we're sure!

Guard Dog Sampson

Ferocious Max with the Admiral

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Yan Diesel is Healthy Again

A heat exchanger is the boat equivalent of a car radiator.  The coolant flows through the heat exchanger and in a separate but overlapping path, the raw sea water is pumped through just like the air that flows through your radiator.  Yan Diesel had a leak at a sea water joint and the salt and heat ate up the metal so there was an irreparable leak.

Oh Bother!
I had three options - get a complete used one from a Yanmar dealer that had been “reconditioned” or get a brand new case and use the bits from the old exchanger in the new case or pay the equivalent of a year's tuition at a nice university for a brand new, complete unit with all the bits.  I decided to go with the first option that I could implement… and it turned out to be the new case with the old bits.  Ian, the manager of the local Island Water World has been outstanding in helping to expedite the acquisition and shipping from Georgia, through Florida.  It arrived yesterday - after 4 days - and today it is in the boat.

Wow... brand, spanking new!!!

Out with the old... in with the new
Local mechanic, Roger whipped through some problems that would have caused me a world of problems, like stripped threads and getting the end caps on the right way.

Come on, Roger... smile!
We ran it for an hour to let it heat up and build up pressure under the brand new “radiator” cap and it appears to be perfect.


This hasn’t really kept us from cruising… the weather has been challenging and we wouldn’t have gone anyway.  It just costs way more staying in a marina as opposed to anchoring for free out in the bay.  

Happier and poorer.  Oh well, just a little less for the kids' inheritance.

We are headed over to Martinique on Tuesday or Wednesday.  Hoping to run into CASA, Tyrant and some of the other boats we've come to know over the past couple of weeks.  Also hoping that we meet up with folks we met back in Luperon 3 years ago.

Talking about stopping at Montserrat on our way back from Antigua.  Should be great fun!!!

Here we go!
Negotiating with the Fruit Guy

Pam says I got ripped off!