LeuCat Adventures

Join us in sharing our adventures as we sail around the world. NEW!!************************************************************************* GET A COPY OF OUR TECHNO-TIPS DOCUMENTS--JUST CLICK ON THEM UNDER THE "FAVORITES" HEADING ON THE RIGHT

27 February 2017 | Bobby's Marina, Philipsburg, SInt Maarten
26 February 2017 | Booby's Marina, Philipsburg, SInt Maarten
26 February 2017 | Grand Bay, Philipsburg, Sint Maarten
22 February 2017 | Cousteau Marine Reserve
22 February 2017 | Cousteau Marine Reserve
21 February 2017 | Cousteau Marine Reserve
21 February 2017 | Cousteau Marine Reserve
20 February 2017 | Cousteau Marine Reserve
20 February 2017 | Cousteau Marine Reserve
19 February 2017 | Cousteau Marine Reserve
17 February 2017 | Cousteau Marine Reserve
16 February 2017 | Between Martiniqu and St. Lucia
15 February 2017 | Port Elizabeth, Admiralty Bay, Bequia
14 February 2017 | Britannia Bay, Mustique Island
13 February 2017
13 February 2017
13 February 2017

Year 10 Day 35 And The Work Begins

27 February 2017 | Bobby's Marina, Philipsburg, SInt Maarten
Dave/Mostly Sunny

Today was a rather full day. It started at 0800 when I hoofed it into Philipsburg and went to the UTC office where I bought a SIM card for our cell phone. When I returned, I called the cargo storage facility and discovered that if I could come right away, they would have our boxed-up washer ready to go.

Now being motivated, I called Paul, a taxi driver I talked to while I was in Philipsburg. He drives a mini-van that would be able to handle the washer in its large box. Soon he arrived at Bobby’s Marina and we were off. The port’s cargo storage area was just a few miles away and within 5 minutes we were there. Thirty minutes later we returned to the marina and I tied the large boxed up washer onto our hand cart that we carry on Leu Cat. Paul’s charge for his time and the service was only $10 US. What a deal!

Romaine, the dock master, helped me lug the washer onto Leu Cat and then I moved it off the deck and into the stern cockpit. It will sit there until I can remove the old one. That could take a few days as I must first remove a door, the door frame, the cabinet doors, the cabinet shelves and a side panel that gives the door way the room I need to squeeze the old washer out and the new washer in. It is going to be a lot of work. Hey, it’s a boat, right?

Once the washer was safely sitting in the cockpit, I ran over to the marina’s workshop to see if their mechanic could replace the cracked impeller housing and if he could swap out the starboard engine tachometer into a new engine gauge package that I had bought. I would like to keep the original tachometer as it has the original engine hours on it.

Tomorrow, it will be more of the same with me hiring a rental car so we can drive all around to get stuff and have work done on a few items. That includes getting a new glass cover plate for our chart plotter. The old one has the anti-glare stuff turning brown and it is making it hard to see during the daylight.

I will also be running over to one of the medical clinics. I have a cyst on my lower back that is starting to hurt and I would like to get it removed. Getting old just is not what it is cracked up to be…


Year 10 Day 34 Into Bobby’s Marina

26 February 2017 | Booby's Marina, Philipsburg, SInt Maarten
Dave/Mostly Sunny

We had to wait until about 1300 before we received a hail on our VHF from the dock master at Bobby’s Marina to say that our slip was empty and we could now come in. Given our anchorage was so lovely, we were a bit sorry to weigh anchor and head over to the marina. However, we need to be in the marina as we are anxious to collect our new washing machine and install it. We are also anxious to take our Yamaha outboard engine to a shop to have the cracked impellor housing replaced. Both activities require us to be in a marina.

It is a bit funny that we are here to collect and install our new washing machine because ever since we have returned to Leu Cat for this cruising season, the old one has been working like a champ! Last year we had discovered that its inlet cold water solenoid would stick every now and again and the water would not enter the machine. We would have to turn the machine off, turn the breaker off, wait and minute, and then try it again. It usually would work great then however; the procedure was a pain in the arse and we felt it was just the start of more problems that were looming in the future.

Since receiving cargo is so easy, reliable and inexpensive here in Sint Maarten, we decided to order and ship a new machine when we were back in the US for the holidays this last year. However, now that our old machine is working great, we are wondering if it was such a good idea. Oh well, as they say, in for a penny, in for a dollar. However, by the time we have the new machine installed, it will have cost us about $1,400. Sigh.

We decided to celebrate our dockage by having dinner out today. We have a favorite restaurant here called The Green House. They have a French onion soup that is to die for. Plus, between 1630 and 1900 it is happy hour and drinks are two for one. They make a mean margarita that I love. Life is good…

Year 10 Days 33, 34 and 35 Friends And Then On To Sint Maarten

26 February 2017 | Grand Bay, Philipsburg, Sint Maarten
Dave/Sunny
Two days ago, we were getting ready to go snorkeling when a dinghy drove up and the couple inside it introduced themselves. They were Steve and Dee from S/V La Mischief, at Lagoon 421 that was anchored a bit inshore from us. They said they saw our boat when then came into the anchorage and just had to come over to introduce themselves. As it turned out, they are long time blog readers and Steve wanted to thank us for the Techno-Tip manual we have available. It was very nice of them to do this.

We invited them onboard and spent a short time getting introduced. They invited us to come over for sundowners this evening but we had to decline since we had already accepted the invitation made to us for sundowners with Wayne and Ali of Blue Heeler. I suggested that we talk to Blue Heeler to see if we could all get together. Steve is from Australia, as are Wayne and Ali, so his comment was: "No problem, they are Aussies so I am sure it will be alright!" Of course, as it turned out, he was correct.

After Steve and Dee left, Mary Margaret and I donned our snorkeling gear and spent an hour enjoying the reef that is along the shore. Once again, we saw tons of sea fans, lots of healthy coral (soft and hard), sponges of various sizes and shapes and lots of fish. It was a wonderful dive.

Around 1600, armed with a plate of goodies and a nice French Gamay, we headed over to Blue Heeler. We had told Wayne and Ali that we would be leaving the next day for Sint Maarten and they had suggested we get together one last time before we leave. About an hour or so later, Steve and Dee arrived, having just finished a dive off Pelican Island in the Cousteau Marine Reserve.

We ate, drink and chatted away the evening until it was time to say fond farewells. We wanted to get a good night's sleep since our sail the next day would be an overnighter.

Our sail to Sint Maarten started leisurely around 0800. It was just 135 nm passage and I did not want to arrive too early in the morning the next day. The sun was out and the breezes were light and from the ESE. Since our initial heading was to the NE, the first 50 nm we had a deep beam reach and made 6.5 to 7 knots with 12 to 13 knot winds. We had a reef in the mainsail. The reef was in to keep our speed down since we did not want to arrive in Sint Maarten before the sun was up the next morning.

Once we passed Montserrat with its smoking volcano puffing away, we changed course and now were heading to the north. This brought the winds more to the stern of the boat and the apparent wind now dropped to between 6 and 8 knots. Thus, through the night, we just ghosted along making between 4 and 5 knots of speed. At times the winds shifted a bit, forcing us to modify our sail plan and change to a wing and wind configuration.

It was a beautiful night sail with the stars glowing and the lights of the various islands twinkling as we sailed by. We could see Antigua, Barbuda, Nevis, St. Kitts, St. Eustatius, Saba and St. Barts as we coasted by. We entered Grand Bay at the southeastern end of Sint Maarten around 1000 and tried calling Booby's Marina using our VHF radio. It never ceases to amaze me how many times we call a marina using the VFH only to have no one answer. After about 6 hails during a 30-minute period we decided to drop anchor and I would take the dinghy in to see about our slip.

Grand Bay is a large, shallow bay that sits in front of Philipsburg. It is a beautiful anchorage with sugar white beaches, colorful Dutch styled restaurants, beach bars, and hotels lining the shore. Scenic hills rise behind the beaches making it a delightful place to anchor.

Soon I had the dinghy down and motored into the marina. Before I had the dinghy tied to the dock, the dock master came out to greet me. He said he never heard our hails. We had hailed using two different VHF radios so I knew the problem was not on our side but just let the issue pass. He did confirm that he had a slip for us but that we would have to move to a more permanent slip on Sunday. I shared with him that I felt it would be better for us to just spend the night anchored in the bay and come in tomorrow to our permanent slip. He was fine with this suggestion.

Upon return to Leu Cat, Mary Margaret and I spent the day resting from our overnight sail. It usually takes us two to three nights to adjust our sleep patterns when we do long passages. Short passages, like the one we just finished, are harder on us as we only get a few hours of sleep. Thus, with a margarita in hand, I spent the day in the hammock, dozing, reading and listening to music. Mary Margaret did the same but in her favorite spot, the couch in the salon. Life is good...

Year 10 Day 32 What A Difference A Day Makes

26 February 2017
We are having some kind of connection problem when we try to post our blog using the Iridium Go and Airmail. The header posts but the text of the blog does not. We are now in SInt Maarten and have Internet access. I will repost those blogs that did not post correctly. I apologize for the inconvenience.
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While the big storm blew itself out to the NE last night, heading off to the north of Great Britain, the seas remained stirred up and made it difficult to walk around. Going to bed early was the only sensible thing to do. When we awoke this morning, the seas were still in a bit of a turmoil but as the morning progressed, the seas mellowed and life was, once again, just perfect.

We were actually cold last night, as the cold front pushed though and we slept with blankets on. Go figure! It just goes to show you how virulent this storm was.

However, as the sun rose toward its zenith today, the day warmed with the brilliant blue skies and the bright sun doing its best to return things to normal. The seas recognized that the storm was now well out to the NE so they too mellowed. By lunchtime, everything was as it should be and we decided to go for a snorkel along the coastline in front of us.

Alas, even though everything above the water was mellow and nice, the water was still stirred up and murky. In less than five minutes we had given up our quest to enjoy snorkeling the reefs around us and we returned to Leu Cat, making a vow to try again tomorrow.

While the winds are very mild, under 10 knots, they are from the north, and will stay that way for another 12 to 18 hours. Thus, we have decided to stay put tomorrow and wait for the better winds that will arrive late tomorrow or early Friday. By then, they should be from the E to ESE, making our overnight run to Sint Maarten an easy passage. Thus, we will try snorkeling the reefs one more time tomorrow. What a life...

Year 10 Day 30 Waiting On Weather

26 February 2017
We are having some kind of connection problem when we try to post our blog using the Iridium Go and Airmail. The header posts but the text of the blog does not. We are now in SInt Maarten and have Internet access. I will repost those blogs that did not post correctly. I apologize for the inconvenience.
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I see that I am getting the blog's day numbers messed up. Sigh. It will be something that I will fix once we get to Sint Maarten and I have Internet again. Until then, please bear with me. This blog day number appears to be correct.

Based on the weather that is brewing in the North Atlantic, we have decided to sit here next to the Cousteau Marine Reserve for the next few days. A real nasty storm is blowing out there and the tail end of this long trough is going to swipe over the northern leeward islands early tomorrow and give us a lot of rain. That usually means lots of nasty squalls and it something we wish to avoid sailing through. Different weather models give different arrival times of these squalls. One model showed the first squall arriving this afternoon while the other three models show that they will arrive early tomorrow morning. The funny thing is the winds between the squalls are shown to be very light: in the 0 to five knot range. Thus, if we were even able to dodge the squalls, we would have had to motor the entire 132 nm to Sint Maarten. That just is not fun.

Thus, since we are not yet on a tight schedule, we decided to just sit here in Guadeloupe and wait the weather out. We called Bobby's Marina in Phillipsburg to tell them that we would be a few days late. They later informed us by email that we will now have to wait until Monday or Tuesday to get a slip as they have given our reservation away and will not have a space available for us until then. Sigh.

As this week moves forward toward the weekend the weather improves so we are now looking at leaving here this coming Friday and arriving in Phillipsburg on Saturday. We will just anchor out in the bay and wait until Monday or Tuesday to get a slip.

We need to have a slip so we can get our new washer on board Leu Cat. Plus, I wish to have our outboard impellor housing replaced since it is cracked and leaks gear oil. That means the outboard must be in the shop for a while and we will not be able to run around in our dinghy. This is another reason we need a slip.

It is all just a day (or two or three or more) in the life of a cruiser...

I chased away my disappoint in a bunch or croissants that I went and got today. Nothing like good French yummies in the tummy to cheer one up! Later on, while Mary Margaret whipped up a lunch of bacon, lettuce and tomatoes nestled between two halves of a croissant, I jumped in the water and snorkeled along the rocky shore that we are anchored in front of. The sea bottom was filled with great corals, sea fans, sponges and lot of fish. I even got a bit too close to a Lionfish who felt threatened and fluffed up his many feathery fins to tell me to get away and leave him and his territory alone. Since Lionfish have a deadly poison in their spines, I slowly backed away and left him to lord over his bommie.

It was another great day in paradise...

Year 10 Days 27 and 28 Old Friends And New

26 February 2017
We are having some kind of connection problem when we try to post our blog using the Iridium Go and Airmail. The header posts but the text of the blog does not. We are now in SInt Maarten and have Internet access. I will repost those blogs that did not post correctly. I apologize for the inconvenience.
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Early yesterday morning I dropped the dinghy and drove about a mile to the south, looking for a small cut into the shoreline. I almost passed it as it was so small and narrow. It was a little entrance into a small creek that was protected by large blocks of rock, acting as rip rap to protect the little course that one could enter. Once inside the opening, the creek opened into a little fishing boat marina. Marina is too fancy of a work to describe this but it was filled with small boats that were tied to trees and rocks. I carefully edge the dinghy to nuzzle up to the last little boat and tied up to a rusting lump of steel. I scampered up the blocks of rock to shore. Once high and dry, I walked passed some little buildings until I found what I was searching for... the boulangerie! I was on a mission to buy some croissants, baguettes and pastries. Since we are anchored in front of a French island, we just had to get some French pastries and breads. Once armed with such delights, I next walked a bit further to the Marche. Who could pass up buying yummy French cheeses, sausages and a couple of bottles of French wines to wash it all down. Yum, yum, yum!

I returned to Leu Cat and was greeted by a big smile on Mary Margaret's face. She is the only one I know who loves French goodies more than me! The croissants were to die for! Only the French know the magic to turn dough and butter into something that simply melts in your mouth and brings such delight to one's tummy. Later in the day we dove into the baguettes, making salami and cheese sandwiches which were outstanding. One can get croissants and baguettes throughout the West Indies but, unless you are visiting one of the French islands, don't waste your money. Nothing, I repeat nothing compares to the wonderful breads that the French make!

We were still a bit tired by our overnight sail to get here so we decided to just rest and take it easy today. Diving would have to wait until tomorrow. However, since we were now well stocked with a smorgasbord for French goodies, we could not resist in inviting Wayne and Alli of SV Blue Heeler over for sundowners.

They arrived around 1600 and over a selection of cheeses (some I have never heard of), sausages, crackers, beer and a French Rose, we talked and talked only being interrupted by stuffing the goodies into our mouths or slurping down the beer or wine. It was great! I will post of picture of Wayne and Alli that I took during our sundowners as soon as we get Internet again.

We awoke this morning a bit groggy after staying up later than usually and after imbibing a bit more than usual. Once up Mary Margaret did a load of laundry (or second load actually, as she did the first one yesterday). Once it was done and the clothes were hung on our clothes line that runs through our stern cockpit, we grabbed our snorkeling gear and ran over to Pigeon Island which is the home of the Cousteau Marine Reserve. We tied up to a buoy that a monohull by the name of SV Nahanni V was tied to. Nahanni V is home to a Canadian family that sailed down here from Toronto. We spent about a half hour chatting away with John and Kathryn and their two delightful kids, Simon and Wavey. Kathryn's sister from Halifax was with them but I am afraid that I cannot remember her name (Carol?). It is always so much fun to meet new people and get to share stories. Cruisers are just a bit different from most people as it takes a special breed to strike out and sail across the bounding main... especially with young children.

The kids are being home schooled on the boat and are getting a very special and unique education. Today, even though it was Sunday, was a biology study day given the very unique environment they were in. What a great way to learn about sea life and the various stages of development they go through.

Once Mary Margaret and I got into the water we were able to take in the wonderful reefs full of various types of coral and fish. Since it is a protected reserve, the fish were not scared at all and would let you get very close before diving into a crevasse in the coral for protection. This is certainly the best reef system we have seen since leaving the Indian Ocean and it is the best one that is left in the Antilles. After being so disappointed last year in the destruction of the reef systems throughout the West Indies, it was a real treat to take this reef system in. I am anxious to share the various photos with you and will do so once we arrive in Sint Maarten and get Internet again.

While we were so excited to swim on a reef that was full of various types of coral, soft and hard, and teaming with fish, we both did note that even this reef system was stressed. There were blotches of bleached coral interspersed among the healthy coral. Nevertheless, it was a treat to swim on this reef system. It will most likely be the last good reef we will see for a few years. We are not expecting to see much in the US Virgin and British Virgin Islands in April and then in May we are off to the Med. The Med is pretty bleak regarding underwater life. Thus, today was a very, very special day for us.

We were going to leaving tomorrow for our passage to Sint Maarten. However, the weather files I am getting and interrupting are showing that a storm system will be moving into our area tomorrow and Tuesday. Thus, we have decided to just stay put in this French food paradise until the weather clears. However, I will brave the weather in our little dinghy tomorrow morning to stock up with more croissants and baguettes. They are just soooo good!

Year 10 Day 32 What A Difference A Day Makes

22 February 2017 | Cousteau Marine Reserve
Dave/Sunny

Year 10 Day 32 What A Difference A Day Makes

22 February 2017 | Cousteau Marine Reserve
Dave/Sunny

Year 10 Day 31 The Storm

21 February 2017 | Cousteau Marine Reserve
Dave/Stormy
The long-awaited storm finally arrived this afternoon. Based on the Satellite photo and the various GRIB files I have been studying, what we were hit with was the tail end of a long trough or front that ran between us here in the West Indies and extending to just north of Great Britain. The text files I have been reading indicate that the weather in the northern parts of the North Atlantic were getting a real dozy of a storm. Fortunately for us, the tail end that swiped over us was not bad. It mostly passed just to the north of us and the skies there looked really, really ugly. As the big, black clouds started to cover our sky, the temperature dropped at least 10 degrees and I was cold in just my tee shirt.

In anticipation of this storm, throughout the day a number of cruisers had come into our anchorage and most of the charter boats had left. Where they went to I do not have a clue. I sure hope they went to another anchorage and hunkered down.

As the storm approached, the seas started rolling in from the west and the winds rapidly switched from the west to the north. We only had winds up to 30 knots and they only lasted about 30 minutes. What generated our excitement was not the storm with the heavy rains or the blustery winds but a Canadian monohull that had squeezed in between us and our friends on S/V Blue Heeler. This boat had come in at the last second and dropped anchor way too close to both of us. At times he was within 20 feet of us and at other times, he shifted over to be within 20 feet of S/V Blue Heeler. I got our fenders out just in case one of us dragged.

Once the storm passed by, I was waiting for the Canadian boat to weigh anchor and shift his position to be a bit further away. The seas coming into our anchorage remained high and everyone was swaying, especially the monohulls. It was not very comfortable and the position of the boats were sliding all over the place.

The sun finally came out and I was sure the Canadians would move. Apparently, they were happy with where they were even though I am sure that Wayne and Alli were seething as much as I and Mary Margaret were regarding how dangerous the situation was with this Canadian boat. Finally, as I was getting ready to start yelling to them to move before they lost the sunlight, they came up and started to weigh anchor. Hooray! They went over to drop anchor between us and the shore which while still a bit close to us, was a much better location.

The winds for the next couple of days will be from the north as this massive storm moves out to the NE. The winds should return to blow from the E to ESE on Friday. Thus, it will not be until then that we will start our passage to Sint Maarten.

By the way, I have been informed that a few of our recent blogs have not posted the text portion. I apologize for this and well need to repost those blogs once we get Internet access. If you ever see a blog without text, please leave a blog comment so I will know of the problem. Thank you.
Vessel Name: Leu Cat
Vessel Make/Model: Lagoon 440
Hailing Port: Dana Point, CA
Crew: Mary Margaret and Dave Leu
About: Our goals are to spend the next 10 to 15 years cruising around the world and sharing this adventure with family and friends.
Extra: S/V Leu Cat is Lagoon 440 rigged for blue water sailing. It is 44 feet long with a 25 foot beam
Leu Cat's Photos - (Main)
1 Photo
Created 27 February 2017
Wedding and Reception photos April 18, 2015, Yosemite, CA
49 Photos
Created 30 April 2015
Here are some pics that I took while visiting w/ my parents in the Galapagos Islands
22 Photos
Created 29 March 2010
Our Photos of this very magically place
94 Photos
Created 21 September 2009
1 Photo | 7 Sub-Albums
Created 1 April 2009
A tour of St. Kitts that Mary Margaret and I did
75 Photos
Created 7 May 2008
1 Photo
Created 25 March 2008
Pictures of the sea life in the cut between Little Jost Van Dyke and Green Cay, BVI
30 Photos
Created 17 March 2008
Here are a number of pictures of St. Maarten and the places we visited
36 Photos
Created 21 January 2008
Photos of Nanny Cay
6 Photos
Created 11 January 2008
Here what the idoit charter did to Leu Cat
11 Photos
Created 9 January 2008
Join us as we explore the Spanish, American, and British Virgin Ilsands.
15 Photos
Created 20 October 2007
To help get you ready to go sailing with us, we wish to introduce you to Leu Cat so you will know what to expect when you get here! Just click on the first photo and then use the "next" button to advance through this slide show.
19 Photos
Created 19 October 2007
This is a collection of photos documenting our sail through the Windward Islands during May/June 2006 with our son, David Paul.
62 Photos
Created 14 October 2007

Who: Mary Margaret and Dave Leu
Port: Dana Point, CA