Heading to Virgin Gorda Sound, will blog from there
|cimaise and crew||
Another nasty system is finishing up here, near gale force winds earlier in the week, then Norther swells, now maybe clearing out with a last day of squalls with 18 knots constant and some gusting. Enjoying hanging about and swimming here. There was a lovely full moon last night. We will be clearing over the bay today or tomorrow to hang in Trellis Bay near the airport. Dave needs to catch a taxi early Wednesday-(plenty at the airport) to go to the ferry on Roadtown, from there to St Tom to the real airport- to fly home.
We will share his cab to town to see about stuff for the boat. Steve is fretting over the alternator, not certain it is making its 100 amps, looking to buy a DC 100 amp meter ( Blue Sea) and picking up the stuff we ordered from Richard a month ago. And of course a major shopping is needed, we managed to empty the freezer in two weeks.
We are hoping to have the weather Thursday to head to Gorda Sound for a couple of weeks. Our friends are there, and you can still anchor there. Thinking the Bitter End may have the SuperBowl in the bar??? Just want to anchor and chill for a while. Loved having Dave here, but it is time to just be us for a while. We need to just veg... miss just reading in the cockpit and watching the sky change slowly over a day.
|cimaise and crew||
Jan 20 2013
Left Francis Bay to moor in Caneel Bay, waited until the rollers were somewhat less, but still hard to get on/off dinghy and sleep. Caneel Bay is a 20 minute dink ride from Cruz Bay-a wet one with rollers. We shopped to replenish the food and drink on board -Tuesday. Wednesday we dinked back to pick up our first guest, Dave - fresh from the Red Hook St Thomas ferry in Cruz Bay -Wednesday. Back to Francis Bay for some swimming and a great dinner at the Maho Campground - even though you have to walk up 150 + steps to get to the dining hall. Friday was Greek Chicken and Prime Rib night, yumm..plus I made a banana cream cheese pie for dessert.
I spent these 2 days converting my fresh veggies into diced packages for the freezer/refrig - and making Raita and also Mango Salsa. I am starting to enjoy cooking onboard. The galley is now well step up and I understand the importance of planning. You must get out all your stuff - food, tools, cookware - before you start. This prevents the frustration of having to off load everything off the counter/locker lid to dig out the can of olives you forgot. If everything is topsides so to speak, it works well.
Steve has spent the last week or so sorting out the electrical charging system. We have spent years living aboard but were always on shore power. Now we are making all our power from the wind generator, solar panel and high output alternator on the engine. (we ARE jealous of larger boats with generators - little engines that turn on automatically when the batteries need a fix) The main things that use power are the refrig/freezer and the watermaker. The lighting and radios do not seem to draw much. It now appears that we can run the refrigeration 3 times a day, keeping the freezer at below zero, and run the water maker every 3 days without much fuss. Steve is now running the engine early morning for ½ hour and then again late afternoon. This seems to recharge the batteries without a lot of drama. The wind blow pretty steady at least 15 knots so the wind generator, given a day can recharge all the power used by the rest of the system. I am hoping that I can get Steve to hook up the hot water system soon. It runs by diverting some of the engine's water through a heat exchanger tank. Running the engine twice a day will give us tons of hot water..hmmmm. Cool showers are okay...butttttt..also it would make doing dishes much easier.
Best ideas we have had so far - WATERMAKER!!! We have friends here who MUST go to a gas dock (not necessarily close by) and BUY water ($2 a gallon and up) every third day or so, and that is with them being very conservative. They dink over every so often for a cockpit fresh water shower aboard cimaise. We can last a month or more where ever we like - only really needing to go somewhere for fuel and fresh food. WIND GENERATOR - something to be said watching the amp meter suck up power from the breeze.
We have moved to Leinster Bay and Waterlemon Cay ( pronounced KEY)St John USVI - snorkeling used to great here, but the coral is bleached and the fish are few. Global Warming and the increased
temperatures of the seas are ruining what I remember as an astonishing life filled area, just in the last 10 years. SAD!
Tomorrow we shall head over to BVI and check in at Soper's Hole so we can sail the BVI's with Dave for the next week or so. It has been great fun to have him aboard, we are very glad he is here.
|cimaise and crew||
Steve had to change the relatively new fan belt (less than 1 yr old) last week, It was sending black powder over the engine as it was trying to commit suicide. Checked the alignment it is ok - put and the new belt. Same problem next running, the new belt is also producing black dust. Tried different tensions, same problem - a little less maybe. So what do you do? You move the boat to a spot where the internet works and go on line. Type in Yanmar engine belt problem and get a whole ream of info that makes it appear that this is the new normal?? When you put a high output alternator on the engine and then ask same alternator to make electricity to recharge the ship's system the belt has a problem with the friction. The solution-- lots of stuff - dual pulleys, heavy tractor belts, just change the thing monthly...etc..etc. So now what to do? Go visit a new friend who happens to be an engineer and has many more years cruising under his keel than we do. The advice was look into a serpentine belt. There is an aftermarket company making just the thing. It includes replacement pulleys for the engine alternator and water pump and the belt. So now we are shopping about looking for the best deal and hoping the shipping costs to St John are not too bad. Amazing how it is always something....another day a new lesson learned.
|cimaise and crew||
01/06/2013, St. John VI
20 knots ENE Gusting to 28 - 10 days at a time, northern swells for 5 five days every 6th day or so. The famous Christmas winds; arriving around or after Christmas and staying until maybe April with occasional breaks for wind in the teens. We are luckily postponing our slog east to St. Martin till late in the season. Because of the winds, partly - heading east into very nasty wind driven seas with near gale force winds on the nose is rather unappealing. But there is a very much better reason; we have a wedding to attend! Yes indeed, our oldest son, John having proposed to his beloved on Christmas Day will be marrying Elizabeth on Virgin Gorda (the fat virgin) in early May. This is an event we cannot miss, especially since it will be in the neighborhood so to speak!
We have meet quite a few cruisers and are gathering information regarding hurricane season, insurance and where to find propane refills. Everyone is fun and helpful. Bill from Dolce Vita stays on the hard in Antigua - an island not too much further than St. Martin and famous for its May Race Week. His insurance covers him (a local company in Antigua with very high ratings) during the season as long as he is out of the water. He thinks he is paying less than us. Our insurance will not cover us unless we are in Trinidad or further south June through early November. If this is true, we may head over to Antigua to meet Dolce Vita. They volunteer during race week and sound like they would help us do the same which gets you into the parties and of course they are THE races. We were there the year we bought cimaise, with friends on their boat. It was amazing, the antique vessels and "J" boats come from all over the world to race (and modern ones too). The harbor was full of schooners and wooden ships. We had a great time with a huge party on top the mountain the last day. We could then leave the boat and fly back to the states in June returning in early November ready to sail south already in position on the east side of the terrible Anegada Passage. Ready to island hop south all the way to Grenada and Trinidad for the 2013 hurricane season.
The other thought is to get a couple of crew and head offshore straight to Grenada - maybe island hopping every other night. Would not take too long, 5 - 7 days we are guessing, will have to plot this course out to see. Then we would summer on the hard in Trinidad in June and return to head north, up the isaland chain back to BVI by May 2013. Then we would decide Antigua or Solomon Island Maryland. A long way off yet.
Tucked in behind a mountain still getting the gusts..a little chilly with the wind, almost sweater weather!! Heading to Cruz Bay tomorrow if it looks like the seas will be calm enough to drive the dinghy around in without getting soaked.
|cimaise and crew||
01/01/2013, Francis Bay
Those associated with us during the 15 plus years of preparation for this voyage will no doubt
have noticed a certain obsession with the B.V.I.'s - It is, after all, useful to have a goal. Be that as it may,
the B.V.I.'s are, of course, not what they once were (as are none of us).
So, with a mind to escaping the crowds and the expensive moorings, we have removed to St.
John, U.S.V.I., and feel as though we made a great discovery. Thanks to one Laurence Rockefeller, some
75% of St. John is a National Park. (Those seeking more information concerning America's National
Parks - what some call " America's Best Idea" - should reference Ken Burns - he has a good deal to say
on the subject, both informative and entertaining.)
We have been some weeks now on the north shore of St. John - yes there are moorings, but for
us they are ¼ the price of those in the B.V.I.'s. In addition, the U.S. moorings were placed to protect the
reefs from anchors; in the B.V.I.'s it seems the impulse was commercial. The anchorages are peaceful,
the scenery unspoiled- all in all, very much as we remember the B.V.I.'s back in the day.
Caneel Bay allows us easy access to Cruz Bay for shopping and offers a lovely view of the lights
of St. Thomas at night. Gets a bit rolly, though, with the constant powerboat traffic.
Francis Bay is a lovely secluded anchorage with beaches & snorkeling, kayaking, wind surfing or
just relaxing and watching the world go by.
We'll go back to the B.V.I.'s - and beyond - but for now, life is good.
|cimaise and crew||