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Arctic Tern
Good News
Devi
03/23/2012, English Harbour

I am happy to report that the windlass is back on the boat and works, the hatch over the bed has been rebidded and the water pump is working. Dassa is an excellent mechanic and we can highly recommend him. Meantime I have been busy sanding teak and writing. At this point this is a record year for the number of my articles published in the Caribbean Compass and All At Sea.

Gremlin Be Gone
Devi
03/20/2012, English Harbour, Antigua

We attribute the small and unexplainable malfunctions of gear aboard the boat to "gremlins". A few months ago both heads (toilets) mysteriously were in need of repair. We left Saint Martin where you can buy just about any boat part easily and duty free and out of the blue the fresh water pump quit working. It had served the boat for 16 years, so it owed us nothing, but the timing was not great. We do have a hand pump, but before we primed the hand pump and got it going Hunter was able to use the sea water deck pump to pump water into the accumulation tank. This was not a perfect fix, but it worked well until Hunter could buy the correct pump.
Gremlins also attacked a hatch over our bed and on the sail from Nevis to Montserrat we had waves pouring over our bow and the hatch leaked and...one more for Hunter's list. We cannot attribute the next problem to gremlins, but the windlass (the motor that hauls the anchor chain up and down) has been in need of servicing and Hunter just lacked the tools to pull it off. We got in touch with a man named Dassa and he brought his wheel puller and as I type two brains and two tools boxes are attacking that problem. It appears that we need a can of Gremlin Be Gone.

Nevis Peak
Devi
03/17/2012, Nevis

Nevis, the little sister island of two island country of St. Kitts and Nevis, is 36 square miles with a population of about 12,000 people. As you approach Nevis from any direction Nevis Peak (3,232 feet) stands out as the major landmark and almost always wears a shroud of clouds. I mention this for two reasons: the first was the welcome rain shower from the cloud on the peak that we got our first night here after a wet salty passage; the second is of course our desire to get onto the peak and into the forest. We did find a hike that got us onto the peak and into some very nice forest. The hike is called the Source and takes you to the source of the drinking water for much of the island. When you get to the "Source" you can climb a 55 plus rung rusty ladder, or you can just admire the forest. We both climbed the ladder.


Surf's up
Devi
03/11/2012, Saint Martin

Okay, I did not surf any waves on my first day out on a surf kayak, also called a surf ski, I just paddled and wobbled a bit and said whoa and a few other words, not appropriate for my blog. . A surf ski is a long, narrow, lightweight kayak with an open cockpit and a foot pedal controlled rudder. It kind of feels like sitting on a long tube with an indent for you butt cheeks. When you get past the wobblies you can catch waves. Hunter looks very relaxed in this photo, but he has a few more kayak hours under seat.
Our friend Thomas is a coach for the Saint Martin surf kayak club and offered us the opportunity to try out the surf kayak. It was really fun and I think I would enjoy the sport, but the kayak is nearly 12 feet long and would not fit on our deck. We are getting ready to leave St. Martin and head south. It has been a busy and fun four weeks, but it is time to go.

Hunter's turn for a challenging job
Devi
02/25/2012, Simpson Bay Lagoon, St. Martin

Saint Martin is a great place to buy stuff for the boat, get work done and do work. We both have project lists and today Hunter serviced the outboard motor. We used the boom to hoist the motor into the cockpit so Hunter could change the oil, change the impeller and lube the engine. The cockpit is not the ideal workshop, but it is better than working in the water, especially with high winds. This has the potential to be a very greasy job and Hunter did a great job keeping the mess contained.

02/28/2012 | Doug Wilder
Are you planning to sail to the N. Pacific to view the Transit of Venus in early June? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:VenusTransit2012-Map-2.gif
02/28/2012 | Devi & Hunter Sharp
Doug, No plans to go to the north pacific, but it was an interesting link.
Thanks
Carnival in Saint Martin
Devi
02/22/2012, St. Martin

For us St. Martin is mostly about doing boat work and taking advantage of really good boat supply stores that are duty free. We always meet friends here on similar missions and we have a few friends who have settled here and it is nice to visit with them.
It is carnival week and we finally took a break from chores and errands (buying stuff) and went to the French side to watch the evening Carnival parade. A band is a group of people in similar themed costume. There is a sound truck, usually an 18 wheeler with really BIG speakers and a beverage truck behind the people. The people dance to the music behind the monster sound truck and do this for hours. At one point one of the band staff made his rounds with buckets of KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken)- yeah, for real.
Carnival happens once a year and people really let loose. As I took photos a few of the band members came up to me to get me to dance or pose for a photo. Of course I complied in all cases.

Red on Valentine’s Day
Devi
02/14/2012, Whitehouse Bay, St. Kitts

I did not expect this much red on Valentine's Day. Yesterday we left Montserrat and sailed to St. Kitts in very light wind. Hunter thought it would be great to fly the spinnaker (actually it is an asymmetrical sail). This sail is rigged when needed and lives in a long sock made of very light nylon. Hunter rigged the sail and did not get it quite right and the red monster got in the rigging and the sock got torn.
The task today was to patch the hole and repair two ten foot rips in the sock. The sock is about 50 feet and is quite a monster when out of the big sail bag. Not to worry we did the repairs and the red monster is back in the bag.

02/19/2012 | peter clarke
go devi go. Heck of a project to complete inside the boat. But these events make the whole trip that much more interesting. We are still sanding, sanding, sanding. Very mild winter here. Robins are being seen already, months early.
The island with an active volcano
Devi
02/12/2012, Montserrat

The people of Montserrat are pretty amazing. In 1989 hurricane Hugo wiped out much of the island's infrastructure. Over 90% of the houses were damaged. People rebuilt and resumed their lives. In August 1995 the volcano that had been dormant for four hundred years awoke and buried almost half of the island in ash rocks and debris, including the capital city. People evacuated the area and got on with life. Many folks were evacuated and told that it would be a just a few days. That was 17 years ago. Just two years ago in February, 2010 a dome collapsed sending more ash and rock fall onto the island.
We have dropped our anchor here a few times but never went ashore. There is very little protection in the anchorage so you need good weather conditions. We took advantage of the opportunity and spent two days in Montserrat. We took a tour which in included a visit to the Montserrat Volcano Observatory. Our guide took us to lookouts where we could see the impact of the lava and debris flows. In this photo our guide, Joe, is showing us what the house looked like before the lava flow and you can see that afterward you can only see the top of story of the house.
PS. The Jimmy Buffet song "Volcano" is about Montserrat.

02/13/2012 | MoonSail Chris
And, the Buffett song Volcano, was not only about Montserrat, but was written by Keith Sykes in Montserrat and recorded in a studio owned by James Taylor in Montserrat.
Happy Birthday to Me!
Devi
02/09/2012, Ilet a Fajou, Guadeloupe

I spent my birthday anchored in a beautiful secluded anchorage in water so clear we could see starfish beneath the boat. We had a great birthday lunch aboard Oceania. Kathy cooked colombo curried chicken, rice and salad with birthday cake and wine. Lunch was delicious, the company was great. It was a lovely day!

02/17/2012 | Sue
Happy Belated Birthday Devi!
It is always a gift to take a minute out of my bureaucratic day and read about your latest adventure. Sue.
Aquarium
Devi
02/08/2012, Point a Pitre, Guadeloupe

We are in Pointe a Pitre, Guadeloupe and took a trip to the Aquarium. This little fellow is a yellow headed jaw fish.

Gentleman don't go to into the wind
Devi
02/04/2012, Les Saintes, Guadeloupe

We are in Les Saintes, Guadeloupe. We left Dominica yesterday for Marie Gallant, but a few gusts over 25 knots helped us decide that it was not a day to go into the wind.

Picard River to Indian River
Devi
02/04/2012, Portsmouth, Dominica

Yesterday we (Kathy and John from Oceania and Deb and Chuck from Neytiri) set out to take a short hike to a nice swimming hole, take a swim and return to the boats to do chores. When we got to the swimming hole on Picard River a man was taking a swim and we did not want to disturb him so we continued walking up the trail and found signs for the Waitukubuli Trail. Hunter and I realized that this was the piece of trail that we saw a few days ago that connects to the Indian River. We explained to the group that this trail would have to go up and the ridge between the rivers and then down again. Well, it turns out the trail went up, up, up and then down and did that two more times before we got to the Indian River. The trail passed through beautiful tropical forest and offered a few great views. Here is the group descending into a creek bed.

Chaudiere Pool
Devi
02/01/2012, Bense, Dominica

Today Kathy and John form Oceania, and Deb and Chuck from Neytiri joined us on a hike to Chaudiere Pool. We took a bus to the trail head at Bense and hiked through plantation and into the deep jungle, where a small waterfall pours into a pool. The falling water creates air bubbles and the effervescence gives you the feeling of swimming in champagne. In this photo Hunter is climbing the rock beside the waterfall and the rest of the group is testing the water temperature with their toes.

The Waitukubuli Trail
Devi
01/27/2012, Portsmouth, Dominica

The Waitukubuli Trail follows the spine (more or less) of this very mountainous island and is broken into segments from south to north. We have hiked segments in the past and yesterday we walked part of segment 11. Typical of most trails in Dominica it weaves through groves of grapefruit, banana, cocoa and coffee, and then goes through stretches of jungle. The trail was climbed rapidly and gave us an excellent view of the bay


A spicy shop
Devi
01/25/2012, Fort de France, Martinque

We have been in Martinique for almost two weeks and have really been enjoying the people and the country. We have taken a few hikes and many walks around town. Of course we have stocked up on wine, cheese and other goodies. I am finding that my high school French still lives in crevices of my brain and I can actually understand quite a bit and can often make my self understood.
We are anchored at Fort de France and have been entertained by flash mobs and drumming circles and practice for carnival. We discovered this little store in town that sells: olives, olive oil, capers, sun dried tomatoes, spices, grains, dried fruit and poulet roti (rotisserie chicken).

Well Water
Devi
01/18/2012, Trois Islets

Trois Islets is a quaint town. We enjoyed this well pump.

Martinique
Devi
01/18/2012, Le Marin

We are in Martinique visiting some old favorite spots and exploring new places. This photo was taken from our favorite anchorage in Le Marin. We stayed in Le Marin for a few days and took a hike on the west side of Le Marin with Kathy and John from the boat Oceana. Of course we bought some wine and cheese and other French goodies.
We sailed north to Grand Anse D'Arlet and hiked over to Petit Anse D'Arlet. The hike took about an hour and Hunter, with his well tuned nose for French bakeries, found a bakery and of course we replaced the calories we expended on the hike. We returned to our boats and enjoyed a late lunch ashore to celebrate Kathy's **th birthday with Ti punch , white wine lunch.
Ti Punch is a local drink made of one part cane syrup and three to four parts rum with lots of lime. You can add water if you wish. Kathy asked for a glass of white wine and the waitress asked "Petit or Grande". Well, who wants a small glass of wine of your birthday? The Grande glass turned out to be a large bottle. We helped her- that is what friends are for.

The view from the Petit Piton
Devi
01/05/2012, Soufriere, St. Luica

Did I mention that the view from the top is spectacular?
The red arrow points to Arctic Tern.

Petit Piton
Devi
01/04/2012, Soufriere, St. Lucia

As you approach St. Lucia from the south two large cone shaped volcanic plugs rise from the azure and emerald sea. These spectacular features, Gros Piton and Petit Piton, are often used as an icon for St. Lucia; even the national beer is named Piton. The Pitons are part of a World Heritage site that also includes a coral reef and several other volcanic features. We have hiked up both Pitons and enjoy the challenge of the climb up the Petit Piton, which rises 2,461 feet above the sea.
Getting up the Petit Piton is a climb and I spent much of the two hours up and two hours down in four wheel drive (hands and feet engaged). There are ropes hung to aid you in the most difficult places and contrary to everything I have ever learned about rock climbing I made liberal us of roots and vegetation. The view from the top is spectacular.

Soufriere and the local bakery
Devi
01/03/2012, Soufriere, St. Lucia

After an 8 ½ hour lumpy, bumpy and wet passage yesterday we got to St. Lucia too late to go to customs and immigration so we checked in this morning. It turns out that the town of Soufriere considers January 3 a holiday. It was explained to me that - New Year's Day fell on a Sunday, so Monday was New Year's Day and Tuesday is the holiday. I really did not follow the logic, but I could clearly see that most stores were closed. We really did not need anything in town, but Hunter had a hankering for the local bread bake in a wood stove.
The "local" bakery that we remembered from previous trips was closed so after some asking around we found the open bakery. There is no sign to let you know that this nondescript alley leads to a window to the bakery- this is clearly local knowledge about the local bakery.
We got on line and listened to complaints like "you said the bread ready in five minutes, ten minutes ago". A kind person in front of us mentioned that you can get loaves buttered, with cheese or plain. Cueing up, as in getting in a line and staying there, does not seem to be embedded in the culture. There is no pushing and shoving, just people getting in front of you and calling their order to the window. We got our hot buttered and cheesed bread and found a bench in the square and savored the slightly smoky flavor of the bread. Okay, we snarfed the bread and enjoyed every bite.

01/03/2012 | Janice
Glad you included a photo of the alley so we will know where to find the bakery when we get to Soufriere. We found out that Tuesday was a holiday when checking out of Carriacou as well - who would have guessed??

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