09 February 2013 | Anguilla
07 January 2013 | Fort Louis Maarina, Marigot, St. Martin
28 March 2012 | 18 19.75'N:64 11.81'W, Barracuda Bank
09 March 2012 | 17 00.512'N:61 45.909'W, Nelson's Harbor
25 February 2012 | 14 29.96'N:61 5.30'W, Making the crossing from St. Lucia to Martinique
30 January 2012 | Sandy Island, Carriacou
30 January 2012 | St. George's Grenada
27 January 2012 | Grenada
23 January 2012 | 12 31.80'N:61 24.25'W, Rocky night in Petit St Vincent
18 January 2012 | 13 00.0'N:61 16' w
14 January 2012 | 13 49.30'N:61 4.00'W, Sitting Between The Pitons
12 January 2012 | 15 4.23'N:61 20.36'W, In the middle of the ocean
12 January 2012 | 15 52.29'N:61 35.16'W, Iles Des Saintes
11 January 2012 | 16 9.99'N:61 46.94'W, Cousteau National Marine Park, Guadeloupe
09 January 2012 | Deshaies
08 January 2012 | 16 36.81'N:62 3.25'W
07 January 2012 | 17 16.66'N:62 24.74'W, Not where we we indended.
07 January 2012 | 17 48.86'N:62 43.00'W,
06 January 2012 | Grand Case
09 February 2013 | Anguilla
January 22, 2013
Having passed out at 8:30 last night, I am now up at 4:00am and thinking it is a good time to catch up on the last three or more weeks. As mentioned in the last report, we are not sailing the chain this year because of Sam’s neck surgery, and a multitude of other things going on so we have few stories to tell of storming the wild seas. We have, however, been very content to hang around St. Martin, St. Barths and Anguilla and have had lots of little adventures.
Champlain, after way too many equipment issues, has been treating us very well lately with the exception of a couple of tears we have had in the mainsail. One is fixed the other we need to work on. At last writing we were about to replace the main intake seawater valve. With a diver and three of us holding wrenches, plugs and sealing goop, we removed the old valve and fitted the new one with only minimal drama. There were a couple anxious moments when we were open to the sea and found the replacement valve wouldn’t fit, but after some speedy work with a hacksaw and grinder we remodeled the offending valve stem, and all fell together.
Once able to sail again we finally left Fort Louis to spend a few days sailing around Grand Case and Tintemare Island. It was good to be out, but there was a very strong north swell beginning to build and was going to last for several days. This meant any of the anchorages (except the ones on the south side of the island) were going to be impossible to stay in. We tossed our anchor in Grand Case and planned on leaving the next morning to spend the day diving and exploring Tintemare, then head for the southwest Dutch side late in the afternoon for a safer anchorage. Tintemare is an uninhabited, 50 acre rock two miles off shore with a beautiful crescent shaped sand beach on the lee side.
Even as we dropped our anchor early in the morning, the large swells were wrapping around the beach side making it impossible to get to shore for our intended walk around the island. Other than a powerboat that was at a mooring in what is normally a somewhat protected area, there were no other boats and at first we saw no other people. We were very much enjoying the morning, the sun and the swimming as we were anchored far enough off shore that the higher and higher breaking waves were not a problem.
There were, however, people on the island, 12 adults and two very young babies. They had been camping there for the weekend just inside the line of scrub trees and bushes but out of our sight. As the waves became bigger, they began to wash out the beach, and then they were rolling right up the shore and into the trees. With that, the campsite was under water, and like ants along the shore, there was a caravan of people and gear, trip after trip from where they were going under water to higher ground. One of guys, actually a very able boatman, swam to their boat, (the one on the mooring), and then tried for well over an hour to get close enough to the beach to pick up the babies, the mothers and the gear, the rest would swim out far enough to be picked up. As good as he was with the boat it wasn’t going to happen, every third wave was rolling in well over their heads. The hour or so we are watching all of this, I was trying to figure out how they could get off as the waves were only going to get bigger for the next 24 hours. Finally their boatman came out and asked if I thought he would be able to get them off using our dingy. We both agreed a beach landing wasn’t going to work, but we did figure out a plan. We tied a hundred foot line between the bow of his boat and the bow of the dingy. My job was to back the dingy in toward the beach and ride the edge of the breaking wave but not get beached as he used the power of their boat to keep the dingy from rolling ashore on each wave. It was very tense, especially getting the babies in the boat, and having a propeller so close to the guys loading me up. Anyway it all worked, all were happy and relieved. An hour later after one trip with mothers and babies and five trips for heavy, soaked camping gear, chairs, bedrolls and coolers they were on their way, and so were we. As it turned out, they were all part of a very happening Spanish restaurant and bar on the island called Lagoonies. A few days later we went to visit them and were treated like heroes.
A Quick Diversion,
On January 16, we decided to take a quick trip to Dallas for the World Lighting Market. Having spent so much of my life in lighting and at this market, I wanted to see what us up, and if it something I ever wanted to be involved in again. It was a great trip, the market was well attended, and particularly, the HF showroom looked terrific. It was a very enjoyable visit giving me a chance to see friends, associates, showrooms, and new technology in a way I could never have experienced before as a direct competitor. There were times I a felt like a true insider and others an outsider with a real sense of loss. Then we flew back to the warm blue waters and I felt very good about it all.
February 1, 2013
This last week we spent a few days at St. Bart’s. One day devoted to walking several miles in and around Gustavia and then over to St. Jeane and back. The rest of the week we were at anchor with few other boats in Baie Columbier and Ille Foreshue. It was a good time spent watching the turtles, a pod of at least eight dolphins, and lots of time to read and work on the house plans.
We have not seen our friends Gene and Jo Ann this winter as they are exploring the Caribbean well to the west of us. When we met them a little over two years ago, they had only recently married having met at the Frangipani, a waterside bar and restaurant in Bequia. This week in two different anchorages we met two other couples; Stephen & Roberta on La Luna and Jim& Allison on Spirit of the North, both telling us the same story of how they met at Frangipani! For our single friends, this may be a place that needs visiting.
February 7, 2013
As soon as we returned from St. Bart’s we met up with Nancy Jenkins and Brian Jackson from Burlington. We had only met them last spring, but they had told us that they had a condo in St. Martin and wanted to get together down here if our paths might cross. They did, several times. We enjoyed dinner with them in their fabulous condo just on the Dutch side of La Samanna. We took them for a fun sail around the island, about 35 miles, did the drawbridge at Simpson Bay, and even got stuck in the mud in The Lagoon. From years spent visiting and living on the island, they gave us new insight to the ins and outs of local politics, real estate, and great restaurants.
February 8, 2013
We have spent most of the week sailing around the French side, anchoring in Grand Case and Orient Bay. Both winds and seas shifted yesterday making it a little too rolly to stay longer so we decided to take a quick sail over to the once English island of Anguilla. It was a fast, fun sail. From where we were to Sandy Ground was about 20 miles, yet we were able to clear out of customs in Saint Martin and clear in Anguilla before 12:30. We will hang out here and tour the island for a day or two, and then back to St. Martin to meet our son Geoff who will finally make it aboard Champlain for his first time. I would like to say he was really going all out to visit, but we are his second stop. He and friends arrived last night in Trinidad for Carnival; he will join us for a few days on his way back home.
Happy New Year
07 January 2013 | Fort Louis Maarina, Marigot, St. Martin
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Greetings to all and Happy New Year. This first entry into 2012-2013 season’s blog is much later than usual due to our later than normal departure from the states, and because of issues, we have done very little sailing. That leaves unfortunately, little of the adventurous to report and too much of the mundane; we begin anyway.
It is now the 5th of January and we are on our 16th day Med-moored at Marina Fort Louis in Marigot, Saint Martin. Though we are getting a little stir crazy, we are both doing well. Sam’s neck surgery heeled wonderfully well, and though her activities are somewhat limited it has not deterred her from getting good exercise climbing up to the fort and taking our several daily walks around town. In the hot afternoons, we climb into the dingy and we cruise the Lagoon, Sandy Ground, and up to Friar’s Bay catching the sun, staying cool, and visiting the numerous suppliers of marine pieces and parts for which we are always in need.
Other than just a couple of cloudy days, it has been sunny and unusually clear with much lower humidity than usual even with the daily sprinkles and occasional great downpours. Through the summer, we are told, it was drier than normal however these almost daily rains over the last couple of months have made what is usually a mostly brown, almost desert island, lush and verdant. This was even truer of what we saw upon our arrival in The BVI. It has been fun to see, many of the scars of past development, roads cut through the hillsides, and the clutter typical of islands and especially the non-resort areas, nature has covered with a blanket of green.
Our trip from Vermont was as usual a bit frustrating. We had a 6AM flight out of Burlington on the 17th. There was a normal December snowfall that had started a couple hours earlier, unfortunately the airport was sleeping. With twelve flights going out, they had only one of their four de-icers working so a 6:00AM departure became 7:45. Jet Blue seemed to be handling it well; on our arrival at Kennedy, they said no problem, they let us and several other parties trying to meet connections off the plane first. They met us with a guide to show us where to run and told us our planes were waiting. Of course when we got there, our plane was there, but the doors were closed and locked and that was that. So rather than ending the day on Champlain, they routed us to Fort Lauderdale for the night with a connection to San Juan and then a jumper to Tortola arriving almost exactly twenty four hours later.
Regardless, it was great to arrive, sun, warmth, blue water and Champlain looked ready and willing. Arriving so late in the season this year, the winds had already shifted from coming from the north to the east, which is exactly where we want to head. As soon as we unpacked we checked the short and long term weather forecasts. There was to be a short-lived north, north east wind beginning the next day and if we wanted to get the 100 miles east to St. Martin, a trip necessary to get anywhere else, we needed to leave immediately, or potentially wait weeks.
It would have been nice to spend a week in the BVI trouble shooting and getting all the bugs out of the boat before leaving, but after we checked out the rig we decided as long as that was in good shape we knew we could make it to Saint Martin one way or the other. By noon the day after we arrived, we headed from Nanny Cay to Gorda Sound to rest for the night so we could take off just before dawn the next morning. In the past we have done this passage leaving late in the afternoon and sailing all night to arrive the next morning. It works fine but is very exhausting. Our only fear for leaving at dawn has been the possibility of, snarling a lobster pot while rounding Necker Island; getting hung up and drifting into the reefs called The Invisibles.
The next morning, we got up in the dark, pulled anchor and headed out of Gorda Sound with dawn just beginning to cast a faint light in front of us. So I did see the lobster pot we ran over, but too late to do much about it. Of all things, it snagged on the rope cutter on the prop and our speed slowly began to drop from 6 knots to 4 then 3 then 2. We never saw what we were dragging, one pot or several, maybe a drift net, or even a light mooring anchor, in any event it was not letting go and now with all the drag and not enough speed we lost steerage, and of course here we are drifting sideway toward The Invisibles about 300 yards away. With a sky still mostly dark and a sea very much that way, Sam grabbed our most trusted Wallin Rigging Knife and overboard I went. Once I found it, with a quick blind cut the tremendous tension was released and the boat immediately surged free. The next 85 miles were wonderful, nice seas good winds with speed averaging close to 9 knots and we arrived in a bay on the border between the French and Dutch sides of Saint Martin just before dark.
As we settled in for the night we first noticed that one of our refrigeration compressors had stopped sometime during the passage, then as we were making water, we lost prime on the low-pressure water pump, so we checked a few more things and discovered several more issues. The most serious being one of the two thru hull valves that gates seawater to the main water manifold feeding the engine, generator, refrigeration, AC etc. was seized. To end a long story, that is why we have been at the dock for 15 days. We are slowly fixing pumps, relays, and motors. The big job comes on Monday when we will put a bung into the intake from the outside and then hopefully without sinking our ship, remove and replace the main valve from the inside and then re-plumb everything.
So a few issues, then again, fifteen days in the warmth has not been all work and no play. We rented a car for four days and covered the island several times visiting beaches, wholesale French wines suppliers (very important) and of course Don and Donna. Wow, THE PROJECT, now Villa Rosa is truly beautiful, and a testament to determination, planning and the kind of intense focus few other than Don can achieve. Though skinny as pencil, Don looks very fit and should be very proud of what they have accomplished.
Well that is it for now; if we don’t sink Monday we will pick this up again.
Heading for the BVI's
28 March 2012 | 18 19.75'N:64 11.81'W, Barracuda Bank
George & Sam
Heading back to Tortolla....back in Vermont by the end of the month (April)