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Sharks up close and personal
03/16/2008, Union Island

Getting a good look at Nurse sharks. Just down the dock was a fisherman cleaning his days catch. The waste he tossed to the schooling nurse sharks some of which were nearly six feet in length. The sharks moved with grace and caution around each other with none of the feeding frenzy we so often hear about. STephen in particular was facinated by the creatures and leaned over the edge a little too far for Mom and Dad's comfort. Fortunately we were able to keep him from being eaten. All the kids talk about this day as though it were something very special. It was of course!

Dominica Portsmouth to Ruseau
02/15/2008

Dominica was our next stop. The city of Portsmouth drew my interest as it's the place I was born. Portsmouth, NH that is. It turned out to be a wide open bay. A local named Lawrence came 3 miles offshore to greet us . He was arranging island tours. We chatted with several locals that afternoon as they came out to greet us. Dominicans are an extremely friendly people. Their zeal to ear a better income has won our admiration and we found them to be polite and respectful of each others clients. Portsmouth turned out to be very rolly so we moved south to Roseau the capitol city. Customs was handled at the cruise ship dock and we made a great adventure of walking the back streets buying oranges and eating them as we strolled through the busy narrow streets.

Photo:

We were having thoughts about getting refrigeration installed on the Omarsea so we decided to head for Martinique. After a late departure we headed out of Roseau and located several whale watching vessels on station. From a distance we saw several whales blowing and moving about. They dove and we lost track of the pod. Thinking it might be some time before they surfaced we headed south again and it was Jean that spotted this loan sperm whale just off the southern tip of Martinique. We sailed along at about 2 knots and the animal began to swim toward us very slowly blowing repeatedly. Then just as we were 30 feet away it suddenly sounded and disappeared. We all stood in awe at the wonderful luck which had befallen us.


Martinique and the volcano
02/15/2008

Our first sighting of Martinique was St. Pierre bay. This is the location of the 1902 eruption of Mt Pele.
History says that the settlers killed the last of the indigenous Caribe Indians. During the last battle the Indians prayed to their mountain Gods and cursed the settlers. True to West Indian fashion it took its sweet time in coming but vengeance was swift. On accession Sunday at 8:00 Mt Pele erupted with a glowing cloud of gas and steam. Family coming from nearby villages saw the eruption as it engulfed St Pierre describing the cloud as glowing with an eerie light. 29,800 people were killed buried by ash and rock. A convict survived in his heavily constructed cell. A cobbler lived hiding in his basement and a ships captain managed to get his burning boat away from the melee. The newer buildings are constructed in and surround the ruins of the city.
Being a French Island we initially felt we were at a complete loss for language. But with a lot of smiles and determination we managed quite well about town.
From St Pierre we sailed to Fort Du France the capitol city. It rained like we have not seen here in the islands before. On arriving at the fort we found no room in the anchorage so we sailed over to the tres islets. In desperate need of ice and food we arose early and went in to town. Fort Du France is a very modern city with many of the cosmopolitan shops and stores you might expect to find in any large city in Europe. We discovered the farmers market and learned just how far the US $ would go here. Scary! Still we had fun looking about the town and finding the bakery and change shop where we could exchange dollars for Euros.

The search for cold beer
02/15/2008, Martinique to St Lucia

Not speaking the language well we decided to continue our search for refrigeration to St Lucia and Rodney bay. Heading offshore that morning was hard as we had little sleep the previous two nights. The sail proved to be and easy one. Some 30 miles south we made an average of 6.5 knots and soon were docked at Rodney Bay Marina. I walked up to the boating chandlery here and they had the very refrigeration unit we so desperately needed. After 4 hours of installation we discovered the unit would not start. Three days later after having a local professional check the system we discovered that the manual translated from German had gotten the wiring diagram wrong. After I switched two wires around and recharging the system(134A) we had cold food in the Fridge/freezer again.
Photo-Refrige Compressor
This photo shows the Danfoss DB50 wall mount unit inside the Electrical Panel compartment. It is connected to a 400 liter capacity evaporator mounted in the freezer with a hole cut b/w the fridge & freezer to cool the fridge space

Solutions to new problem
02/15/2008, ST Lucia

Sometimes fixing one problem only creates another. With the 12v fridge we now found that the 5 Amps/hr we pulled to cool our food would force us to run our engine nearly 5 hours a day to keep batteries charged. Diesel fuel here is 6$ a gallon and it didn't take a rocket scientist to see that it was going to cost a small fortune to keep our fridge running. So back to the chandlery & 30 minutes later I came away with a brand new wind generator. As with all boat projects the estimated 3 hours to install it became an all day affair. Friends dropped by to check on our progress and offer help and advice. By the end of the day after much grunting and a few cold beers the amps were flowing back into our batteries and we had ice forming in the freezer. I know "Big Deal!" but believe you me it is a big deal when getting ice can take two hours down here and food shopping easily occupies half a day.

Victory
02/15/2008, Rodney Bay St Lucia

Happy Crew Happy Life! We celebrate our victories!

We have sold the House in Portland!

Pirate Ship Ahoy
02/15/2008

This ship was tide up at dock in St Lucia. One of the boats used in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. She is now a tourist day sail boat that takes people on a fun filled pirates tour

Sunsets keep getting better
02/15/2008, Isle du Saintes

While in St John a rowdy pirate named Captain Coy taught Ben how to signal the fleet with the Conch horn. He has mastered the art of blowing the large shell and now has the distinction of being the only person to announce sunset each evening to these anchorages. His skill is such that he receives applause each night and fellow cruisers have replied in the time honored Caribbean fashion with attempts of their own. This photo is of Ben in St Lucia.

Collision @ Anchor!
02/15/2008, Pidgeon Isle St Lucia

We are moored outside Rodney bay with many other boats today. After having spent the morning climbing to the Fort on Pigeon isle and splashing in the water we returned to the Omarsea for lunch. Within a short period Stevie who happened to be on deck cried out. I ran up to the deck and found that another boat was crashing into us from the port side. A lifeline lay twisted and loose on the deck stanchions bent and toe rail banged up. The offending boat was threatening to tear herself down the entire port side of our beloved Omarsea. Jean rushed to fend it off. I jumped to help calling to Julie for a line. Pushing with all our strength we forced the 40 footer down our portside and tied it astern with the line. But the Island Packet was to heavy for our single anchor and we started to drag down toward another vessel astern of us. I ran forward and started releasing chain on the anchor rode. In the fray I let the chain run out and the 30' of 5/8" nylon line making up the bitter end caught with a terrible jerk. With both boats now pulling in the 20 knot breeze I was unable to pull the chain back to the gypsy on the windlass. I called for Jean to start the engine and drive us forward so I could recover the end of the chain. Suddenly the wind caught our boat and swung the Island Packet (IP) to port threatening a catamaran moored next to us. Jean gunned the engine and pulled us away from the cat. I brought the chain up to the windlass and locked it in place with our snubber. The anchor was holding fast now so I went astern to see what I could make of this derelict vessel. She had an anchor dangling straight down. Less than 40' of chain had been laid out. I jumped in the dingy and motored over , pulling the smaller boats secondary anchor off the bow, I kedged it far ahead and to the port. The heavy danforth bit right away and we held steady waiting for the owners to return.

MArigot Bay Fun
02/15/2008

Enjoying the breeze just off the beach in Marigot

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S/V OmarSea
Who: Scott, Jean, Ben, Julianna & Stephen
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