Monday, January 29, 2018

When we got into Point a Pitre I was not in a very good frame of mind. 

Not only were we about to lose our cruising buddies but the boat was in trouble. The engine oil pressure light and alarm kept coming on which could have indicated a catastrophic failure. Not an engine rebuilt in France, puleeeeeeese! Also, the stainless steel ladder had separated at the welds, due to someone’s extreme weight. Don I think.

Don and Pat were to leave at 3PM on Thursday so we went over in the morning to scope out repair possibilities at the marina complex. Found english-speaking Eugenie at Fred’s Marine and Mr. Welder just outside Fred’s. Eugenie told me that the earliest they could help would be next Tuesday but Mr. Welder said au demain (tomorrow.) The next day I got the ladder in the morning and in the afternoon as we were loafing around, Fabrice the mechanic and his apprentice Sloanne arrived at the boat.

They quickly determined that the engine oil pressure was fine but the sensor was shot. One hour labour and a €20 part. Who has ever heard of a Yanmar part costing €20? Awesome. We are back in business! And kudos to Fred’s Marine in Guadeloupe. Highly recommended by me.

Yay Fred Marine

Yay! Supplies at our local grocery.

Watching Fabrice and Sloanne
We are going to hang around here and get some more, minor boat chores taken care of. Also spend some time visiting the city. There is a giant “Geante Casino” grocery store that is one serious, bad-ass grocery store. Need to spend considerable time in there. 

OMG, rollmops. Love those things. I'll take a case.

Mmmmmm, whole lamb. Betcha can't eat just one.
Back at the marina we are killing time, waiting for someone to install some stuff up the mast. We replaced our reefing lines and what a mess that was. They were always hard to use... and no wonder. Two of the lines were rubbing against each other in a slot in the boom made for one line while the other slot was empty. And instead of riding over pulleys, 3 of the lines were riding under the pulleys over a metal extrusion. We raised the sail to adjust the lines and it went up unbelievably easily. Yay us!!!

Yesterday and today we replaced the reefing lines.

Lunch at a local pizza joint

Checking our our little grocery again

Hmmm, haven't seen this in a grocery before. Don't you love France?!
All reports are that Dominica is improving and wants our tourist dollars but many things, including fruit, supplies and internet are in very short supply So we are lounging around, exploring... just spending more time other places before heading south to Dominica. We will probably shorten our time there to a week instead of the 3 weeks we have before starting to head north.

So, excuse me while I bounce below to see how our loin fillet is doing on the grill.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Back to France with Don and Pat

Suddenly there is a whole lot more room on the boat sitting here in Pointe a Pitre.

I got back to Blue Pearl in Antigua on January 9 after a wonderful holiday season with family and friends. Got a chance to get all systems running before Pam arrived with Don and Pat for a tour down south.

Unfortunately, some little bastards from Montreal, with whom I shared a taxi, stole my wallet. I didn’t realize it was stolen at first and kept thinking what an idiot I was for misplacing it. But after a couple of days, when they returned home, they started using the ‘tap’ feature to buy coffee card top-ups, Uber rides and other things. We worry about theft down here and it turns out I needed to worry about Canadian slimebags.

So that made provisioning difficult. Fortunately, Sid and Peggy from Limin’ Time were able to lend me a bunch of local currency and I transferred the funds back into their account using eTransfer. Love eTransfer!

Great to pick up the travellers at the airport on Monday. We sped back to the boat so they could leap into the water for a cool-down swim and then enjoy a cocktail while watching the sun set.
We toured the island Tuesday and then had a “boat day” on Wednesday. Lots of swimming, reading, loafing and the occasional boat drink.

Hermitage Bay from Pam's plane as they were landing

These guys just rowed this thing across the Atlantic from the Canaries to Antigua in 31 days

Walking in English Harbour 

Found this lovely in Five Islands Bay

Looking for shells

We left from Carlisle Bay for Deshaies, Guadeloupe, a 40 mile run fully expecting that we would catch a mahi in our usual spot but alas, Faithful Reader, we were skunked. Dang!!!

Deshaies is delightful. We especially love it now that we are in the middle of the series, “Death in Paradise,” which is filmed there. Our bartender plays "Ziggy." He has had one line and 7 seconds screen time!

Sailin' south 
We always seem to get beaten up when we turn the corner at the south west corner of Guadeloupe on our way to Isles des Saintes so we tried a new tactic… take our time leaving in the morning and stay overnight near the corner and leave early in the morning before the wind and waves get up. So we had a nice swim at Pigeon Island and found a spot to overnight near Basse Terre.

Alright… that didn’t work. Got so badly beaten up that we turned around to seek refuge near Basse Terre for a couple of hours. It wasn’t as bad later… but still no fun.

Thanks to our friends from Mermaid we were able to find a mooring in Les Saintes and spent a nice evening recovering from the beating we took on the way over.

The following day, we rented scooters to race around the island to catch all the highlights. Saw the fort, beaches, hills, quaint streets, bars and grocery stores before returning to the boat in the early afternoon.
Excellent lunch at our favorite beach bar at Grande Anse
At "Momma's Bar" from Death in Paradise
Enjoying a local micro brew
Wild Hogs
View from the fort
Don and Pat at Fort Napoleon
Yesterday, we pounded our way into the easterly trades to get to PTP for Don and Pat to return home to Vancouver. They are somewhere in the air as I write this.
Blue Pearl - squeezed in between two huge cats 
We’ve got some boat chores to do… and then we’ll head off further south for more adventures.