Tuesday, February 24, 2015


Just when it couldn’t get any more exciting… we break for an intermission.  

We’re heading home for a couple of weeks while Blue Pearl basks in the Antiguan sun.  We’ll let the solar panels charge the batteries up as the water ripples against the hull.

We've been in the Jolly Harbour anchorage for the past couple of days while the wind howls during this current weather incident.  The holding is great, the waves are coming from the same direction as the wind and so we bob up and down as we read, nap, do crosswords and small boat jobs. 

We are going to be tied up in Jolly for 2 weeks while we reconnect at home.  Then back down for a final 2 months before our spring and summer of grandkids, golfing and friends at home.

Fancy condos somewhere

Biggest travel lift we've ever seen... North Sound Marina

Maybe our summer home?

150 feet tall... we need 52 so you could almost stack us 3 high inside

On the hard

Checking out the jack stands

They weld them together

And tether them to the concrete

Looking out to Green Island

Another windmill

Devil's bridge

Lunch at the RoadHouse

Eric Clapton's place

Touring with Curare... Geoff and Linda

Just try it... give me your lighter!

Falmouth to Jolly

Entering the harbour
Lunch at Linda's

Sunset through Pam's picture window
Did an island tour with Geoff and Linda from Curare.  They've travelled from Vancouver down south... Mexico, Galapagos, Easter Island, Chile, Tierra del Fuego, Brazil, here... and that's just a snapshot.

We're checking into staying here for the summer.  That will really change our cruising plans.  We've sent requests out to our insurance folks... just waiting to see.

Ciao for now, Dear Reader.  We'll check back in March!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Les Saintes to Antigua

Cat Tales, our neighbour in Les Saintes from New Brunswick, told us about a weather guy who broadcasts at 07:45 on 4420 on the SSB.  Cat Tales told us Dennis - currently in Antigua - was a retired weather services guy with the Canadian government and was very knowledgeable.  So we listened.  Kind of nice to get a forecast from a guy who is more or less in the same area.

Post Cards from Les Saintes

We sailed from Les Saintes to Dehais and checked out of France… next stop Antigua.  Cleared in at Jolly Harbour but the predicted surge promised to make things uncomfortable.  So once we got some rum we headed down to Falmouth.  

Customs and Immigration computer in the back of this store.  
Sharing the anchorage at Deshais with this big boy

20 miles from Montserrat - we'll go there on our way south

OK - now that's too close - even if you're French


This is good but we need to fix it.
 Antigua Riggers are/is located here so we have been able to replace the gate eye that I dropped in 50 feet of water in Les Saintes.  Also restocked our beer.

Didn't think we gave him enough room in the channel - yelled at me - hurt my feelings.
And guess what?  We learned that Friends of Dennis (FOD) were having a meeting (beers on the beach) so we met up with them.  There were 9 boats so lots of fun meeting new folks and hearing more great stories of incredible adventures sailing all over the world.

Dennis the weather guy in the middle - and Friends of Dennis

Allister from Cranstackie, me and Arlene from Tiger Lily II

OK... now this seems like a great idea!

Murphy needs wings!!!
Two years ago, when we were here last we took a hike from Falmouth to English Harbour over an area called Middle Ground.  There are some cool military remains and great views so we decided to do it again.  It really is a great hike but in the heat it is crazy.  

Looking down at Nelson's English Harbour

The intrepid hiker
That’s enough exercise for a while.  We are going to take it easy on the boat… waiting to hear how our girls are doing at home… running a half-marathon.  Kind of makes our hike seem insignificant.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Boat Maintenance

I was thinking about boat maintenance today.  I think about boat maintenance every day! All day! 

There is a little bit of oil in the engine pan.  I think the rear seal is leaking.  Just wondering if I can replace that without taking the whole engine out of the boat.

The mechanic who replaced the exhaust manifold thinks I need a new mixing elbow.  Those things aren’t cheap!

Bad mixing elbow?

Also wondering if I should be adding a new solar panel to increase energy into the boat… or putting more insulation in the fridge to reduce our power consumption.

Another one somewhere?
We’ve taken ownership of the varnish on the teak… but we haven’t got it quite right yet.  Looks good from 20 feet.
Nice and shiny - from a distance!

We’ve seen all kinds of cracks in the gelcoat.  What should we be doing?  We’ve ordered a patch kit but not sure that we don’t need something more.

Little chips... not dirt
The anti syphon on the engine seemed to get stuck the other day and water was burbling out into the engine pan.  Took it apart, cleaned it, blew through it and it seems OK now.  Should I replace it?  Should at least move the voltage regulator... it is right below the leak.

Shop Vac is handy to get the water out of the engine pan
While I was looking in the engine room the flashlights both gave up so I took them apart to try to undo the corrosion damage.  Got one working.  Still hopeful on the other.  Took a while to test the batteries because one of the leads from the multimeter broke. 

Top one works now... not giving up on the other... yet
I decided to change the mooring line but it was coming unravelled so I cut the end off, taped it and took it to the stove to melt the end.  Noticed that one burner of the stove is all full of soot.  Have to figure that out.  How to get the burner burning properly?  And speaking of the stove… this morning Pam smelled propane… and it wasn’t me.  I went to make breakfast and the gas was all gone so I had to switch tanks.  Now, we knew that tank was almost empty… but why did it run out just then and why did Pam smell propane?  I did the soapy water test and couldn’t find any leaks.


Unravelling mooring line

Not burning properly

This one's better

Got some rust coming from some of the screws holding the stainless steel strip to the rub rail.  Need to replace them soon.

And those issues are just the ones that come to mind.  There are so many more things to think about… sometimes it feels overwhelming.

Should get at the rust on the stainless... and there's a bit of slime building up at the water line.  Jump in and rub it off with a scotch pad.  Always something to do.

So I was trying to decide which task to undertake when Pam called.  She was defrosting the freezer and when she opened the hatch to get a breeze, the hinge broke.  So I had to drill out a couple of rivets and replace them to fix the hinge.

New rivets
When I was finished I was exhausted.  Time for a beer.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Marie Galante

We left Portsmouth with the intention of checking in at Grand Bourg on Marie Galante.  When we were almost there, Pam read in the guide that the Customs office was closed that afternoon, so we headed a bit north to a better anchorage at Saint Louis.  Spent a quiet evening on the boat… after all… we couldn’t go ashore, walk around, check the place out, have a beer, ask about auto rentals, etc… without checking in.

Making fish traps

Look out fish!
We caught a bus next morning to head back to Grand Bourg to check in.  Couldn’t find the place so we stopped in at the local constabulary for help.  The wonderful French policeman walked us right to the Customs Office door… but it was closed.  So he shrugged… we shrugged… and that was that.  I guess we’ll try again later.

Lots of good info from here...

Nobody home at the Customs office
Marie Galante is like a pancake.  Dominica is so mountainous that the little farms are carved out of the sides of hills.  It is hard to imagine huge sugar and rum operations in Dominica.  Not so in Marie Galante.  This place is more or less flat… with huge, wide open spaces for plantations.  Our guide book says that at one time there were more than 600 windmills crushing sugar cane.  Even today, the remains of 73 are visible and one of them works as well as it did 300 years ago.

Pam wanted to rent a car but there was nothing available in Saint Louis.  After our bus trip to Grand Bourg we walked around and found a beat-up Peugeot for 30 EC.  I think that’s about $2000 Canadian.

These French Islands are so much better off than their little Caribbean counterparts.  We mentioned that about Martinique.  France has treated their Caribbean Islands to good old French socialism and the people are so much better off than anywhere else down here.  Streets are paved, communities clean and thriving.  None of the obvious poverty we see everywhere else.

We loaded our recently purchased baguette, cheese, ham and litre of fruit juice and sped off to see the sites.  Really happy that we were able to drive around and have a look.  We saw the Murat plantation, checked in at the Bellevue Distillery, found the Moulin de Bezard working windmill and most importantly, the Bagg Cash where they have wholesale wine.  

This one's broken

Plantation Murat

Plantation Murat's windmill

The mansion... not a bad looking shack?!

At the Bellevue Distillery

Moulin de Bezard - this one still works, apparently.

Another of the 600 that were here at one time

Look at how flat and farmable these fields are!

After a refreshing malt beverage at a local bar we followed up with a visit to the Distillery Poisson (Pere Labat) for some horrible white rum… which we bought for some reason.

More post cards from Gran!

Truly horrible stuff

Wonder what's in that blue barrel?
Lots of site-seeing and fun stops and then back to Saint Louis where we dumped the car and headed back to the boat for a cooling swim, French wine, Smelts-a-la-Glen and a wonderful sleep on Blue Pearl.  (Just an aside… we are having the most wonderful sleeps, cradled in Blue Pearl.  Very bizarre dreams… both of us… but wonderful sleeps nonetheless.)

We will try again to check in to France… this time at Les Saintes.  The French really have a “don’t give a rat’s ass” attitude to borders down here… unlike all the surrounding little island nations.   

Au revoir!