Around the world with S/V Zephyr

The adventures of Bill & Tracy as they fulfill their lifes dream of sailing the world. We've dreamed of this for years and now is the time while the health is still good and there is money in the kitty to make it come true.

08 December 2016 | BetaLi Bay, Dominca.
06 December 2016 | Fort De France
30 November 2016 | Fort De France
25 November 2016 | For De France, Martinique
24 November 2016 | Fort De France
23 November 2016 | For De France, Martinique
21 November 2016 | Anse D'Arlet, Martinique
18 November 2016 | West of St.Vincent
16 November 2016 | Bequai
09 November 2016 | Hillsborough Bay, Carriacou, Grenada
08 November 2016 | Carriacou Island, Grenada
07 November 2016 | Hillsborough Bay, Carriacou, Grenada
03 November 2016 | Prickly Bay, Grenada
02 November 2016 | Prickly Bay, Grenada
26 October 2016 | Prickly Bay area
26 October 2016 | Prickly Bay area
23 October 2016 | Prickly Bay, Grenada
19 October 2016 | Prickly Bay area
19 October 2016 | Prickly Bay area
16 October 2016 | Prickly Bay, Grenada

Onto Dominica and a great meal!

08 December 2016 | BetaLi Bay, Dominca.
Bill/ Cloudy and overcast
It's now Tuesday evening and we are sitting at anchor at St. Pierre on the western coast of Martinique. We've spent most of Monday and today ferrying water and fuel from the local fuel and water store a little over a mile from where we dropped our anchor on Monday late morning. We'd tried to get water in Petite Anse D'arlet a bit farther down the coast but their pretty fancy new looking faucets proved to not work when we asked at the local municipal office. So it was back up to Fort De France and repeated trips in Puff to the station. Thirty two gallons of water at a time with intermittent showers coming throughout the day. Sunny one moment and raining the next. I made four runs on Monday for 128 gallons and we still weren't full. We hold close to 270 gallons of water(220 of diesel) so once we get anywhere close to empty, it takes a wile to get refilled. We started early today(Tuesday December 6th)with two more runs for water. The first just about finished filling the tanks and the second run was for wash water for when we do our laundry. After all those runs, we started in on getting some more diesel. Only two runs for 21 gallons per time. Let me tell you, lifting five gallon jugs and six gallon in rough water from the winds and the ferries passing by us, time after time after time. I got them off Puffs hull and tracy grabbed them and lifted them the rest of the way onto the deck. In the end, we brought on 192 gallons of water. We don't weight 24 ton for nothing!!

Once we finished the fuel/water runs, we took off for Carrifour grocery store. We needed some fresh stuff as most of it has been eaten. We made it back to Zephyr about 1530 and were underway but 1600. We didn't bother stowing nothing we brought back as we wanted to get to St. Pierre by sunset. As it was, we didn't make the 16 miles before 1800 but since we had been here before, we already had an anchor spot on our chart plotter. We came in(still a bit of light left)and dropped the hook between two cats already at anchor. With the hook down, we eventually came below and made dinner(Tracy had a fried egg sandwich since we now had eggs and bread and lettuce. I settled for more Ramon noodle soup(my dinner of choice).

Still not sure of tomorrows weather but we may be staying here till Thursday if it looks bad and so far it does.

It's now Wednesday morning and we will be spending the day here getting things stowed for the jump tomorrow to Dominica. Winds are due to be in the high teens(no problem there) but the swells are set to be maybe 6 to 8 feet at 7 seconds with is a bit heavy but it's only about 18 miles for the open water between Martinique and Dominica. I'll let you know.

It's still Wednesday evening and we are now pretty well set to take off tomorrow for Dominica. The weather forecasts have calmed down a bit as today passed so tomorrow shouldn't be as bad as we thought but we're set for what ever comes out way. We launched Puff earlier today and headed into St. Pierre to see what it was like. Lots of neat old buildings made of stone and mortar. Lots of shops but not much of interest so we were in and out quickly. The rest of the day, we tried to recover from all the work we did on Monday and Tuesday bringing water and fuel to Zephyr and putting away what we bought yesterday. It rained off and on most of the afternoon. We'd open the port lites and hatches and it would rain a few minutes later. Close everything up and it would stop raining in a few minutes. It went on like that all day long and is still doing it at 2030.

Earlier today, we'd had three boats anchor in our area and then left one at a time. Some heading north and some south. Late in the afternoon, once they were all gone, the obligatory French boat shows up and parks himself about 60 feet off our bow. Now we're anchor in what can best be described a wide spot along the coast. Not a real bay by any stretch but a good place to drop the hook with a town close by with a decent dock. No clue why the french boats do it but it's their reputation and I've seen no reason to say it ain't so. Tomorrow, up will come the anchor and we should be out of here about 0700 as it's 47 miles to our next stop. The west coast of Dominica.

We're now in Dominica along the west coast at Batalie Beach just north of Salisbury at a resort called Sunset Beach Resort. Nice place we'd heard of with a great restaurant and free buoys for the boats. It's deep here so the moorings make it doable. Left St. Pierre about 0700 and headed north in just about calm seas but the forecast was for strong winds and bad weather north of here and for once they got it right. Once we cleared the north coast of Martinique, we started running into stronger winds--up to the high teens and swells of about 5 feet. Both grew over the next few hours to up to 35 knot winds and 8 foot swells. Both from the starboard side. We only had about 85% of the genoa out and we took a reef in the new mainsail and glad we did. We heeled over once the storm hit up and we were at a good 35 degree or more angle as we headed north. Amazingly we maintained our course so at least we were going in the right direction. We covered the 48 miles and pulled in just after 1530. Eight hours for 48 miles puts us doing a good 6 knots which for us is good especially since we have all our tanks full of liquid. It would rain and blow or it would blow and be over cast. Over and over all day long. Hardly a ray of sunshine hit us the entire day. Rain storms with lightening were covering the shores of both Martinique as well as Dominica so the winds and rain just kept on coming.

We'd planned on having a nice dinner at the Sunset Beach Resort after hearing glowing reports for Infini, one of our cruising buddies and they were right. I had a very tender ribeye steak with salad and rice while Tracy dug into pan broiled lobster. Tons of them piled up on a plate. Don't know how she did it but she finished all of them Cost for the dinner along with garlic toast and two glasses of wine and some free french fries came to just $185EC or about $68US and for down here, that's a great buy. A meal well worth it's price. We haven't eaten out much since we got here but this place is well worth the stop and I've got enough left for another meal.

Tomorrow, we will be off again for Le Saintes, a group of small islands just south of Guadalupe. A short 28 mile trip so no big thing other than the weather is supposed to be rainy again but the winds are due to be less. Let's hope so.

A really long post--catching up

06 December 2016 | Fort De France
Bill/ rainy morning and sunny afternoon
I'm back on board Zephyr after my run to get the rest of the cat food. Nine more bags putting us back to 12 total and Snowshoe seems to be back to his somewhat normal self. It's a good thing.

I caught the 0915 ferry to Fort De France for $7 euros round trip. A good deal and with there being about 25 people or more on board, the company has to be making some money though there were three crew on board. Two steered--one took the boat away from the dock, the second drove it across the bay and then the first man took over and brought the ferry into the other dock. The third man ran the dock lines and took the money for tickets. Other than that, he just sat and waited for the ferry to dock. Not a bad job.

Once I got to Fort De France, I called Marc our taxi driver to take me out to the vet clinic. He was at the dock shortly after I arrived but I'd called him shortly before I left on the ferry. I climbed in and I was at the vet shortly as nothing on this island is far away. Paid for our nine bags and climbed back into the taxi for the return trip. I missed the 1045 ferry so I did a bit of shopping at Carrifour--some drinks and some lettuce and of course a loaf of french bread. Back to the dock and the ferry showed up shortly after that. Another 25 minute ride and I was back at Trois Islet. I called Tracy on our portable VHF radio on the way in so she came over in Puff and picked me up. I was back on board a few minutes later both of us hauling what I brought below decks as the clouds were getting darker. By 1330, it was raining again and still is 1450 with no end in sight.

This afternoon, I'll be taking apart the heat exchanger again to see if there is any more sediment in it after I cleaned it our before our last trip. We were still over heating and I want to get to the bottom of it. I'm also going to check the electrical connection to the temp sensor to make sure it good and clean and has a good contact. Check, check and recheck.

It's now 2115 and the afternoon went as expected. More rain and into the engine room. Now I waited till I had my shower and got all cleaned up before I headed for the heat exchanger on the engine. I shut off the water intake for the engine and unscrewed the new pencil zinc and drained out the saltwater in it. Then off came the end cap. For those of you that have no clue what a "heat exchanger" is, well it a big round tube with smaller copper tubes running through it. Some of the tubes hold the "cold" water from the ocean and other tubes hold the "hot" water that the engine makes when it runs. It's like a radiator but it uses outside water to cool the fresh water that circulated through the engine, not air like a typical radiator. Boats use water since since we float in it and not air as none really circulates through the engine room. I took off one end cap and what I had cleaned out last week was still nice and clean. I took off the end cap off the opposite end of the tube and it was also nice and clear. I even shined a flashlight through the tubes and light showed on the wall inside the engine room showing me that the inner tubes were nice and clear, no blockage at all. I checked all the rest of the hosed and they seemed just fine, no pinches in them that would slow the water flow. I checked the electrical connections for the sensors that are supposed to show me what temp the engine is running at and they seemed nice and clean and snug. Now, the next time we run the engine as we cross the bay, I'll be using my infrared temperature sensor that will show me what the temps are in the various areas on the engine. It's going to take some time, but I'll find it. There is another cruiser out here who's engine won't run any more with out overheating and shutting down. He's checked the same things I have and from what I've heard on the VHF radio, it may boiled down to a clogged exhaust pipe. Mine are fine as we pump out lots of water as our engine runs. Time will tell.

At least the rain finally stopped just about 1800 and we could get Puff back on deck and stowed. She had a massive quantity of water inside her hull that needed to be drained before we could even get her back up on deck. Once we got here along side the bow(where we store her), we took the boat hook and popped out the plug that covers the drain in the stern and slowly got the water out. Once gone, up she came and then she was strapped down incase any big winds come during the night.

We've been watching the tracking number for our new main sail and supposedly, it's now here in Martinique. We'll be calling them tomorrow to make arrangements for picking it up. It's going to take some time a a bunch of money for the taxi as we have to go to several places to get it all cleared in but it's still cheaper than paying duty on it. Stay tuned.

All right, it's now Thursday night and our new sail is aboard and ready for installation. We called FedEx this morning and found out that it was in and could be picked up today. We were told that Customs was closed from 1230 to 1400 so we made plans to take the ferry across at 1245 so with a taxi, we'd be at Fed Ex and over to Customs by 1400 and it worked out perfect. We were at FedEx by 1340 and to Customs just about 1400 and had to wait a few minutes for them to come back for lunch. FedEx had clued us in as to what to expect but without the help of our wonderful taxi driver, Marc, we would never have found where we needed to go. While the entire trip cost $40 Euros but it was well worth it in time savings and keeping us from getting lost plus acting as an interpreter so we could communicate with the locals. FedEx sent us to Customs for the Duty Free stamp for the sail, they then sent us to freight consolidator that was holding our sail. In came in less than 24 hours ago. Here, we were hit for $20 Euros for their services(checking in the box, storing, and security for the sail. It's how they make money. With that fee paid, we took off for the ferry dock and a delayed trip back to Trois Islet. The 1515 ferry never showed up and no one seemed to care. The next ferry showed up about 1545 and once docked, sat and waited till it was back on schedule of 1600 for the next trip. We just sat and waited and once back at Trois Islet, we carried the sail over to Puff where we had left her(stern anchor out and bow line locked around a palm tree. A bit muddy getting aboard but no problem. I carried the nicely boxed sail to Puff and dropped it in nice and neatly. We unlocked from shore, and Tracy pulled in the stern anchor we had set and I lowered the out board and we were off, getting back to Zephyr a few minutes later. Tracy climbed back on board and I hoisted the box up and over the side(with Tracy lifting from the deck) and it was safely on board. Since it was now just about 1700, we pulled Puff aboard and locked her down. We lit open the box and took a look at the new sail. Looks pretty good but we will find out how well it fits tomorrow. Keep your fingers crossed.

It's now Friday and we just finished installing the new mainsail. We took it nice and slow and planned how we would do it. First, off came the sail cover then we took out each of the sail battens and set them aside. We moved the sail ties that hold the sail to the boom so that they just held the mainsail. Disconnected the outhaul and the clew rings and then pulled the pin that kept the sail on the track on the mast and lowered it to the deck taking it forward to the bow. Out came the new sail and we put ties around it so we could lift it as a nice long snake to the boom. First though, we pulled up the Lazy Jacks that hold the sail on the boom when it's lowered. We lifted the new sail to the boom and pulled up the opposite sides Lazy Jack so it was now trapped on the boom. Then the out haul was attached as was the clew at the mast. Of course Mother Nature had to put in her two cents and we had a nice steady 13 knot winds blowing across the bow. Kept us cool but made woking with the sail a process we did slowly. We slowly put the new sail slides into the Strong Track on the mast and slid in the pin that keeps all of them attached. The sail was installed. We threaded the reefing lines through the eyes on the leach of the sail and tied off the ends to the boom. It was now time to pull up the sail to make sure everything was set. Since we no longer have out Milwaukee drill to help us, I pulled down on the halyard while Tracy cranked away on our big winch in the cockpit. The sail went up easily till we got close to the end and then it bound up a bit but in the end, we got it all the way up only having to correct one of the reefing lines. I'd threaded it incorrectly. No big deal. Of course the wind was still blowing through the anchorage and the sail was flogging back and forth across the stern. Once we were satisfied that all was well, we slowly lowered the sail back to the boom and tied it off. It didn't want to stack itself well on the boom so we had to stop every now and then and manually stack it so we could tie it down later. Once down and straightened, we put on the sailties and the sail cover and we were done. The only problem we have seen so far is that the foot of the sail seems to be cut a bit low so the foot of the sail rides on the top edge of the boom. We may have to have it recut and stitched once we get to a place where we can have it done. If we get our sewing machine fixed, we can so it ourselves. Tomorrw, Saturday, we plan on heading North to St. Pierre at the food of Mount Pelee. It's on the north end of Martinique which will be our jumping off point. Mt. Pelee is a volcano that erupted back in 1902 and killed all 30,000 residents but one as he was in prison for murder in a thick stone walled cell. Lucky guy?

Jobs continued into the afternoon with us trying to solve an electrical issue. Our forward heads macerator stopped working a short while ago and I'd put off fixing it. Who wants to willingly work with the stuff that comes out of a black water tank? Not me but in the same area, the 12 volt plug that we use to run our power washed stopped working as well. We'll need the water pump tomorrow as this bay is full of dark thick mud and it's not easy to get off. When Gosi pulled up their anchor, the chain as well as the anchor were caked in mud. I opened up the anchor locker doors and stuck my head in. I knew where all the electoral wires were as I'd worked with them before when we first bought Zephyr, so it's been a while. What do I see but a wire sitting out far away from where it should have been connected. It had corroded it's way to freedom. Now when we first bought Zephyr, my knowledge of electrical wiring on a boat were quite lacking. I had no idea what salt water and corrosion could do to fitting. Now I do and I'd never have wired it now the way I wired it then. I'd used ordinary connectors from Checker Auto Parts. Now, I know to use only fittings that can have the ends that can be heated closed and sealed. I cut off all the old fittings and instead of trying to attach them back to the bus bar they had been attached to(just ripe for further distraction), I cleaned the ends of the wires(three) and put them in a big "butt" joint connector and with a pair of vice grips, crushed the ends trapping the wires inside. I then slid a nice tube of heat shrink tube over the entire fitting and heated it up with my big heat gun. The tube shrink and covered all the wires. I tried out the macerator in the forward head and it's now working as is the 12 volt outlet. Two problems solve by hooking up just three wires. Not bad.

While we were in the anchor locker, we took out two 5 gallon cans of diesel fuel that we've had on board since Trinidad and syphoned the fuel into the tanks. We ran it through a "Baja Filter" just incase there was any sediments on the bottom of the jugs or floating in the fuel. Glad we filtered it as we cot a good bit of black ugly stuff out of the fuel that would have gone into our fuel tanks and perhaps into our injectors and mess with the engine. Never a good thing. Tomorrow, off for St. Pierre on the north end of Martinique. There, we hope to refill our water tanks. It's been a while and it's time.

Now Saturday, December 3rd. Getting underway this morning was tough. We knew that there was a bunch on mud on the bottom and were guaranteed to bring a fair share to the surface with our chain and anchor. We'd fixed the 12 volt plug so we could use our "pressure" washer pump. It's a Jabsco pump that's made to give a nice strong stream of water. I took a nice long piece of plastic hose and attached a big chunk of zinc to the end so it keeps it down in the water. With out the weight, it would have floated back to the surface and not allowed any water in. With that dangling in the water, I hooked up the special hose that came with the pump. It's hose that made to always be in a tight coil so it will take us less space when in storage but will stretch our quite long when in use. I attached it this morning and turned on the pump. We had water going everywhere as the spray hose had over a dozen leaks in it . The plastic of the hose had split!! In the end, there were too many to try a seal(special silicone tape) that we gave up and used a regular water hose for it. Worked fine but I'm a bit ticked off at Jabsco for making sure a piece of junk. We've used the hose maybe a dozen times and it's always stowed in a bag in the anchor locker far away from sun and exposure. No excuse for putting out such a bad product. Any way, once I got it all set up, Tracy motored forward as I pulled in the chain with the windlass, spraying the hose all the time, mud or no mud. The last 30 feet of so were the worst with much all over the chain. Once the anchor was up, I had to use the spray as well as a big brush on the end of our boat pole to get more off. As it is, I still got some mud up on deck and on the front chain rollers. The spray got most of it off but I'll be scrubbing the deck tomorrow to get the rest off. With our anchor dug in so well, there was no way we would have drug.

Once all was up, we motored out of the anchorage with the ferry coming out at the same time. They didn't take too long to pass us though. Once clear of the anchorage and out in the bay, we rolled out the big genoa and headed north along the coast with a good 8 to 10 knot wind shoving us along. It was a nice tailwind off the starboard stern side. We did a good 5 to 6 knots for quite some time with our Hydrovane steering us flawlessly again. What a great piece of equipment! Now it's only about 16 miles from where we started in Trois Islets to St. Pierre so far from a "long" trip. About 3 miles for St.Pierre, the winds shifted 180 degrees and were suddenly coming from just off the port bow, collapsing the genoa. With no choice, we rolled in the genoa and started the engine and motored the rest of the way into the harbor and dropped the anchor. Left at 1015 and in by 1330. Right on schedule. We didn't use our new mainsail as the genoa was made for just such a downwind trip. We had it all uncovered and ready but the need never arose. Later, during the afternoon we were pummeled by a local drum band practicing on shore. That went on for several house. It was the same song over and over and over. They finally quit about dinner time.

Now we all know that Martinique is a "French" possession so I expected to see some women here in typical "French" swim suits. "Monokinis" being the dress of choice for being at the beach. Well, someone forgot to tell the women on this island about what they were expected to wear when sun tanning. What a disappointment!!! I've seen women in all types of suits but none "French". Has the conservative right corrupted the rights of "French" women? Sure hope not. I can remember 35 years ago when we vacationed in Guadalupe just north of here and seeing a woman in a "regular" bikini was the oddity. Oh how the times have changed(and not for the better).

We are back in Fort De France getting ore water. Our supplies were low so after making a trip from St. Pierre to Petite Anse D'Arlet and finding their faucets broken, we came back to the fort yesterday late morning and did four runs to the water and fuel dock. Made two more water runs so we have enough to do the wash and two runs for 40 gallons of diesel. We're now at Carrifour getting fresh veggies and will be heading back to St. Pierre this after noon and out of Martinique tomorrow and on to Dominica for a few days. Some nasty weather is coming our way and we want to be out of here when it arrives.

Finally internet!!

30 November 2016 | Fort De France
Bill/ partly cloudy
I just came back to Fort De France from Trois Islet across the bay where we have spent the last four days. No internet there!! Sorry for the delay getting this posted but since I came back to Fort De France to get the rest of Snowshoes food, I brought my computer to get this posted. It's now Wednesday so it's been a few days. Catch up time.

It's now Sunday and we moved this morning to Trois Isle on the south side of Ford Du France Bay. The weather forecast is for winds to come out of the south as on Tuesday along with a bunch of rain(it starts tomorrow). If we'd gotten a south wind, we'd have ended up with out butts to shore and we don't like laying that way at anchor. Should we drag, we'd go aground and that's never good.

At about 0800, we took off for the entire 2.5 mile trip. No big deal but it got us away from Party Central. On Friday night, music played from about 1800 till well past midnight and last night, it started at about the same time but went well past midnight and announcers started up this morning at 0500 talking about an event that was scheduled for today. Not sure what it was but thousands of people lined the shore and the park yelling and screaming. This all started well before sun up!!! We planned to cross the bay and now was as good a time as any. We found that by looking at our AIS, another cruiser friend we knew(Tom and Barb on Gosi) had made the trip up from St. Ann on the south side of Martinique to wait out the allegedly coming south winds that are due here shortly, along with the rain. We met up with them many times during our travels around the globe. We were joined later by the folks on Infini(Michael and Susan) after they came in and dropped anchor close by. Again, another couple we've known for quite some time. We had a nice get together this evening on Gosi to celebrate seeing each other again.

Now the weather forecast for south winds may have changed but the rain is still in the forecast so since there is only one small ferry that comes anywhere near this anchorage, it's almost like being in a marina it's so calm. A few more bugs but not bad. We've already made plans to get together tomorrow for a game of Mexican Trains. It should be good fun.

It's now Tuesday and still raining. The forecast for yesterday was for rain and we got it big time during most of the morning. I got out in time and got our Yamaha generator running and pulled a tarp over it just in case. It was nice and sunny. Within 30 minutes, it was raining and that increased to pouring. It finally let up just after lunch giving us time to get Puff in the water and head over to Infini to pick up passengers and over to Gosi for Dominoes. It was great full getting together again. The game went on for a while with me getting up and checking the clouds for the chance of more rain. By just after 1700, it was starting to look real bad so we called the game and piled back into Puff and reversed out trip back to Zephyr. We got back and had plenty of time to get the out board off and Pull stowed back on deck and strapped down. Never know what may come our way and from what we heard from Infini, we had winds of 40 knots. It sounded miserable outside with pounding torrential rains for most of the evening and it's still raining now. I've got our main engine running to help put more volts back in the battery as it's just too soggy to go out and drag out the generator and get the tarp back up.

As was expected, the winds shifted through the day and evening yesterday switching from east to southeast to south to west of all places. Glad we were here and not at Fort De France of farther south in St. Anne where much of the locals and cruisers hang out. Reports were of numerous boats dragging, one going aground and four foot swells running through the anchorage. Not a pleasant time. Some even dragged that had two anchors out. All the while, we sat nice and safe and with the feeling that we were tied up at a marina the water was so flat. Trois Islet is considered a "hurricane hole" because of the protection it affords.

We got notification that our new mainsail has shipped from China and could be here as early as Friday but since it's only open Monday to Friday and it's not due to Friday before 1800 and we still have to get back over there but don't want to go till we get our "notification" call from Fed Ex that it's there. What the heck, it's nice and quiet and peaceful here with friends to chat and play games with. Now if we can just get the rains to let up.

It's now 1645 and still raining. Haven't seen this much rain in quite q while. Got a call from the vet in Fort De France that the rest of our cat food is in so we'll be taking the ferry across instead of Zephyr tomorrow and picking it up along with a quick stop at the grocery store. Man, is it soggy. It continued to rain through the night and stopped early this morning(Wednesday). Poor Puff took a long time to get dried out.

I made the trip to Fort De France while Tracy stayed on board Zephyr getting some odd jobs done and really no need for both of us to go. Cost was just $7 euros for round trip. I've got nine more bags to keep the kids fed and regular and so far it's working just fine. Our new sail is due sometime late this week. Not sure how we are going to work that out, but I'll let you know. Meanwhile since I'm in town, a quick stop at the grocery store. Never know what I might find.

Vet, fuel and our generator and more.

25 November 2016 | For De France, Martinique
Bill/ partly cloudy
We've been in Martinique for a while as you know if you have been reading our posts. It's Friday night and it's like I'm back at one of my high school football games. For the last few hours there have been drums playing on shore right beside where the dinghy dock is at Fort De France. It sounds to me just like the same beat, over and over again. They even have the whistles that the Drum Major used to blow during the show. It's 2145 and heaven only knows how long they will play into the night. Tracy is looking for her ear plugs.

Yesterday we took off in a taxi that we had read about in the Windward Island travel guide. Nice man that spoke some english. Not a lot as it is with most of the natives we've met. I'm sure more know it that use it as with most of us, we may know it but are too shy to use it with others(just like us). Before that journey, I set about trying to find the Customs Office that was suppose to be near the docks. I'd looked it up on their website so I knew(sort of) where they were located. Off I went on foot(again) and after asking several locals along my way, they directed me to a building up one of the roads. Nope, wrong place but I got more directions from people there. Back up the road and over to another building. No signs that I would understand that said anything about Customs so I waited for someone to show up. In the end, a man approached the doors and I asked for help, pleading that I was lost(true). He told me the office had been closed there for a couple of years but if I walked back the way I came and saw a big parking structure, I should find some Customs officials in the building right behind it.

Off I went and in the end, I found the right building and again asked another local for guidance. Keep in mind that they speak fluently in French and only a bit normally of English and I speak fluently in English(depending on how much I've had to drink)and only a bit of French. No formal training since college may years ago. It doesn't help the they speak so fast that even if I was fluent, I probably wouldn't understand. I was told to go the third floor and push a button beside a locked door. Having done so, I was greeted by a very nice man who again spoke just a bit of English. He took me to the office where I was greeted by another 6 or 7 locals. They also spoke French but I think they understood more English than they were letting on. It's now 2200 and the drums play on!!! My primary purpose of all this was to see if it was possible to have our new sail shipped here and avoid import duty. I'd posted on the internet at the local Martinique Facebook site and had gotten reports back of anywhere from "it's duty free" to "you have to pay a 30% import duty". I was heading for the source. One person in the office clued me in. She spoke enough Engish and wasn't shy about it. As long as the box and the bill of lading are clearly marked "YACHT in TRANSIT" there would be no duty assigned to it when it comes into Martinique. She was absolutely positive about that especially since I asked the question several times just to make sure I understood what I needed once it got here. Now the reason I think that many of the locals know more English than they let on is that one of my final statements was "As long as you're sure but just remember, I know where you work!" That brought a round of laughter from just about everyone in the office. I headed back down to the main lobby where I placed a call to the marina in Marin. It's a harbor about 25 miles south of here where many of the cruisers hang out over the winter. I'd emailed them with my question about the "duty". Her response was that she was just in the process of retuning my email and she told me that as far as she knew, there was a 30% import duty on everything that comes in. Now you can see my confusion about this. I sat down and called FedEx. They were going to bring in the new sail. The nice young lady told me just as the Customs official had that as long as it was clearly marked on the box as well as the bill of lading as "YACHT in TRANSIT" there would be no problem other than the huge taxi bill I was going to get. Once Fed Ex calls and says your package is in, you take your passport and a copy of your boats documentation to Fed Ex's main office(way out of town near the airport) and there, they will give you a copy of your bill of lading. That, along with your passport and documention, you then go to the Customs office at the airport and they will stamp all your forms with the "duty free" stamp. Then you take that paperwork back to Fed Ex and they will then give you your box. While there may not be any duty involved, there sure it going to be a BIG taxi bill for all this. I'll let you know how much it is.

Now we had originally planed to pick up the sail in St. Martin, farther up the Windward Islands but with the robbery and the fact that the weather over the next week is supposed to be not the finest to get us up the chain, it dawned on me to see if we could simply just have it shipped here as long as it was duty free. Even I can get a great idea every now and then.

Once I was back, we called Marc, the taxi driver and he picked us up at about 1130 and off we went for one of the local vets we knew of. It's the vets office we were trying to find on Wednesday when we got robbed in the rain. Marc knew exactly where it was and drove straight to it. Of course, they didn't carry it but since the office receptionist only spoke French, she couldn't tell us that when we called. Back into the taxi and off for the second vets office, this one being quite a way from the first office. We got lucky and they carried it so we cleaned them out(three bags) and found out that they had more coming next Tuesday. We signed up for nine more bags. That will give us a dozen bags which will take care of the kids for the next year. One thing we learned along time ago out here is if you can find what you need, you buy as much of it as you can because it could be a long time before you find it again. Back into the taxi and back to the docks. We'd skipped lunch so we stopped at a McDonalds(right along the water front) and had a nice Big Mac meal. Cost for each Big Mac meal was just about $8.00US so not cheap like back in Thailand and South Africa but when the stomach is empty, it knows no reason and will settle for a Big Mac just fine. Back to Zephyr where we served the kids their "normal" diet of the high fiber food. I'm glad to say that Snowshoe is on his way back to being a regular guy again.

Today, we launched Puff(our dinghy) and took off to get gasoline for our generator and out board. The dock was just past the next point along the coast and we wanted to get there and back before the winds of the afternoon and the waves it kicks up start. Gasoline runs over $1.37Euros a liter so 2 twenty liter jerry cans set me back well over $55.00US but when you are close to running out of fuel, you will spend what ever is necessary to get more.

Once back, I fired up our nice Yamaha generator on the stern deck and let her run for a few minutes before changing our here oil. Supposed to be done every 100 hours but I know it's been longer than that as I loose track of how long I run it each day. I marked it on the calendar that I changed it so I can do a better job. It seemed to run much smoother and better as we charged up all our batteries.

In the afternoon, we took off for the local grocery store to get restocked on a few things we were still in need of. When we were in French Poly five years ago, we found a canned preparation of potatoes really good and we found them in this store. We laid in several so we can have some shortly.

It's now 2230 and the band plays on. It could be a long night.

Yesterday not so good. Today, much better.

24 November 2016 | Fort De France
Bill/ finally sunny
Yesterday was definitely a bad day but today was better. We finally found a source for the special food poor Snowshoe has to have to stay a "regular" boy. Constipation is his enemy. The first vet we went to didn't carry the Royal Canin that he needed but the second one did. We found a taxi listed in the "Windward Island" book and called him(Marc). He showed up about an hour later and knew exactly where to go--both bet places that we little more than holes in the wall. Way off the beaten path. In our ill advised quest yesterday to find the first vet, there was no way we would have ever found him he was so far not where his address was supposed to be.
At least today it's finally a sunny day. Yesterday rained on and off most of the morning and once it looked better, well that's when we took off. Could never find the bus that was supposed to take us to the vet so we ended up walking and ended up in a neighborhood we definitely should never have been in. As I checked my IPad to see where we were and how to get the heck out of there, a rather tall man came running by and snatched the IPad right out of my hands and then ran up a set of circular stairs and across the main highway. I took off after him but there is a big difference between a man in his younger 20s and one in his 60s. No way I was ever going to catch him especially with my bad back and leg. I made it to the top of the circular stairs and over the walkway but he was long gone. A man across the bridge saw him and came back with me along with three other men and they called the police for us. Took a good 45 minutes for them to show up but they stationed three men with us and more across the bridge looking for the man. We then were driven aver the mainroad and up to where the walkway crossed the highway to see if we saw anyone. The guy was wearing a black hoodie with the hood up, and black pants and sneakers. Never saw his face so there was no way I could identify him if he was in a crowd of one. In the end, the police took us to the main station where we filled out a form(another policeman did it as it was all in french). Signed my name lots of times on the forms, was interviewed again by one of the detectives that was out on the scene and asked if we could stick around for a few days incase anything came up. So here we sit at least with three bags of good cat food and with nine more on order to come in next Tuesday. So while yesterday really sucked, at least we know Snowshoe will be better. He was already starting to clog up and that's never a good thing.
In the last 7 years since we started, we been nailed three times. First, a pick pocket got me in the Philippines. Then a snatch and grab guy got my ATM card and a bunch of money and now this. At least no one got hurt and I can replace most of what was on the IPad. Just about everything was backed up.

We were robbed today

23 November 2016 | For De France, Martinique
Bill/Raining
We're now(Saturday) in Martinique after an 18 hour trip north. We'd originally planed on leaving on Saturday and getting in on Sunday but the wind forecast was for better, more easterly to southeasterly winds to help get us here. Unfortunately, Mother Nature never talked to the forecasters so we sailed and we motored to get us here. We motored out of the harbor and then pulled up the mainsail and the genoa and took off heading right on course. As the time passed, the winds died off and we rolled in the genoa and turned on the motor again. Winds came and went over the night but mainly less than 60 degrees off the starboard side and lots of less than 30 degrees making it impossible to sail. We kept the main up and the motor on through about 50% of the trip getting in at just after 0800 having left at 1415 the previous afternoon. Ninety seven miles in total. Now here's the tricky part. Customs and Immigration are closed over the week end so we are stuck on board till Monday. No big deal as we need to catch up on the sleep we lost during this overnight trip. It's much harder on us doing overnighters that a week or more at sea. Then we can get into the rhythm of four on watch and four hours off watch. Doing a simple overnight doesn't allow us to get synched with the boats movement.
Once in and on anchor, we set about putting Zephyr to bed. We'd put a reef in the mainsail for the night trip and we needed to hoist the sail back up to it's full height to get the reef out. Unfortunately, our Milwaukee 90 degree drill that we've used for years with a "winch bit" installed to make our regular winches "electric" finally gave up the ghost and died. I recharged the 24 volt battery it requires but there's just no life left in it. Looks like we finally burned up the poor motor. Tracy told me the last time she used it(to get me up the mast), it smelled of burning wires. Guess she was right. If I can't find one once we get to St. Martin(where our new mainsail is coming), I'll have to have one shipped it. It's so much easier to hoist the main and do all the adjustments with the drill. We actually had to use a winch handle to adjust the genoa during this trip. How archaic!!
As Tracy was flaking the mainsail for tied downs and covering, she grabbed the leach of the sail and it tore again!!! Boy, it really is time for a new sail. We pulled out some sail repair tape with glue on one side and slapped it on. Guess we will see the next time we use it if it works. Tracy tell me it's only about 245 miles to St. Martin. A simple two day trip if we don't stop anywhere.
Monday, we'll be getting checked in and I'll be off to the local hospital to get my back really checked out. It's still out of whack and the numbness in my right leg still really hurts when I walk. Now we just have to find out what the problem is and get it fixed.
It's now Sunday evening and it's been a quiet day here in the anchorage. Some sun and some rain. A few folks showed up in either small powerboats or sailboats from somewhere else on the island probably. There may be a cruiser or two here but no more than that as most have none of the extra equipment that most of us carry--solar, wind generator, extra fuel tanks etc. At least no one shows up and starts blaring music through the anchorage, plus when they come in or leave, they maintain a "no wake"speed through the entire anchorage. Can't tell you the last time we've had that in any anchorage. We've found that in our two short days here, it rains late in the morning and then get better as the day goes by. We put up tarps this morning to shade us from the sun as well as the rain. Of course, it started raining shortly after I started up our generator on the stern. Tomorrow, we will be checking in to Martinique. They have been closed for the last two days so we just sat out here at anchor not going ashore. From what we have read, check in is simple. Just fill in a few forms on the computer, then copies get printed and that's it. We will have to find and ATM to get some euros as EC dollars don't work here. Each island has different requirements as far as currency goes. Some use EC dollars, some use euros and some use American dollars.
One of the most important things we need to do while here is try and find more of the Royal Canine food for Snowshoe. He's slowly getting constipated again and we don't want him getting worse. Tomorrow starts the hunt. We also will be trying to find a doctor to get me looked at. Hopefully they can get me fixed or at least feeling better where it's not so hard walking. The nerves in the right leg are still quite upset with me.

It's now Tuesday and we got checked in just fine. Found the internet cafe, got logged in and a few minutes later, the manager of the place printed out our clearance documents. No Immigration, No Customs people, no no body of any officialdom! How weird is that? It cost a while $1.00 Euro and that was to cover the cost of the copying. My leg is better but still not perfect by any means.
As we walked down to the internet cafe, Tracy turned around and saw what looked to be Puff, our dinghy stuck under the landing dock. She rushed back while I hobbled back and sure enough, it has wedged the outboard under the long wooden dock. She jumped in and pushed down on the motor and got it loose and then slowly maneuvered Puff around the end of the dock where we tied her up again, this time using two ropes so there was no chance of her getting stuck. The last time this happened was clear back in Indonesia where it swamped poor Puff and allowed water to get into our fuel tank then trashing the carburetor and the engine. We had the carb rebuilt several times and in the end, just replaced it with a much better result. Biggest problem was that it was a four stroke engine in a two stroke engine world. You can't buy a two stroke engine in the US unless it's used. Been that way since before we bought Zephyr back in 2007. The rest of the world has no problem with the pollution these engine are rumored to put out so having a four stroke any where other than the US, well, don't plan on getting it fixed unless you know how to do it yourself(I don't).
Once we got checked in, we wandered the streets(it was about 1030)and found just about everybody closed. We'd heard the place was a sleepy town but hey, come on!! We motored back to Zephyr and had a nice lunch there and planned to do some swimming but it rained off and on most of the rest of the day.
Today, Tuesday, we pulled up the anchor and set off for Fort De France(dropped the hook at 14 35.963N:61 04.199W)about 1015 and fought our way up the coast in rain, off and on making a total white out where we could only see maybe 100 yards ahead of us so we had to watch out for boats that might be coming our way. We dodged a big car carrier vessel just as we were coming into the anchorage making us do a 360 degree turn to stay our of it's way. Their AIS wasn't working so I called and let them know. About a minute later, they came up on our chartplotter screen. Then came the ferries. Lots of them!! Coming from all over the island and from different islands in the area. Each zipping through the anchorage leaving big wakes in their wake. About 10 other boats are anchored here with us with everything from catamarans to monohulls to a metal schooner, each bobbing up and down as the ferries pass. Thank goodness they stop later in the evening. We launched Puff and I went in the get Tracy's phone working. Not the easiest thing to communicate with people that primarily speak French and my skills with it died off shortly after college. Tracy had found the local cell phone place so I had an idea where it was and instead of Digicell, it's called "Orange" here. Got a new Simm card, one gig of data and five Euros worth of calls for $30.00. I also got clued in as to a local market so I hiked and hobbled down there and got a few things(bottle of Coke--Pepsi is to expensive, and a loaf of French bread to have with cheese for our dinner snack later. I even found a McDonalds along the waterfront for all the tourists that come in by the cruise liners, one of which was tied up to the dock right next to our anchorage. It took off just after 1700 and I'll bet another shows up here tomorrow.
We had an accident earlier in the week during our passage up to Martinique. We left one port lite open and some water splashed through and trashed one of our two Apple(antiques by todays standards). It won't start any more and our second one got water inside the screen making it now have two big black circles as we watch or type anything. One on the lower left and one on the upper right. At least they aren't in the middle. Since this computer is considered a "Vintage" model, no Apple store will work on either of them. The first one that got really trashed, I had just had a one terrabite hard drive installed on it when I was back in the US. I've taken it our and installed on the second one(with the big circles) and it's still runs fine. Now all I have to do it search the internet and find a replacement. Shouldn't be too hard as I think Action Computers in Denver might have one on hand or can get one. It's where I bought it and it's where I got it fixed when I was home. At least the hard drive is still good. Just a shame that that one wave had to hit that one port lite and that we had left it and only it open . RATS!!!
Tomorrow, we are off to see if we can find the Royal Canine kitty food we need for Snowshoe. Tracy is searching the internet for any place we might get lucky. The website for Royal Canine doesn't seem to have a "contact" address that works. We may have to put Metamucil in his food to keep him running well. Can't have a stopped up kitty on board. We've been spoiling both of them with some Friskies wet food we've had on board for a couple of years. We normally only serve it during passages but we have to do what ever we can to keep him from getting clogged up. If anyone out there can help us with a phone number or email address for them, we really appreciate it.
We were robbed today. Our Ipad was snatched right out of my hands as I stood on a city street here in Fort De France. Police came but couldn't find anyone. Not surprised. He was very fast on his feet. So in our travels, we were robbed in the Philippines, South Africa and now here in Martinique.

Vessel Name: Zephyr
Vessel Make/Model: Shin Fa 458
Hailing Port: Denver, Colorado
Crew: Bill & Tracy Hudson
About: We've been sailing since the early 80's on lakes in New Mexico and Colorado and finally took the plunge and bought Zephyr.
Extra: We moved on board in April of 2008 and have been working and sailing her ever since. Up to Alaska and down to Mexico and across the Pacific to Fiji. We're now in the Caribbean in Grenada after making the crossing from South Africa 7 months ago.
Home Page: http::/www.sailblogs.com/member/svzephyr
Zephyr's Photos - Main
Photos 1 to 54 of 54
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It
The electrical connection with switch for the new Spectra Watermaker.
Our new watermaker--it still needs the hoses run but we are getting closer to getting the job done.
La Panga Restaurant and Marina Palmira office
You put your trash out in trash cans by the curb.  Here, they put it in raised steel containers to keep animals out of it while awaiting pickup.
OK, sounds like a restaurant I want to try.  Nothing wrong with a skull on the sign.
Boats in Marina Palmira.
Bigger power boats in Marina Palmira.
More boats in Marina Palmira.
Marina Costa Baja
There
Looking West from the marina.
Looking North towards the hotel La Fiesta.
Boats at Marina Costa Baja.
We sat for quite a while just watching the sun go down and see all her changing colors.  Each night provided a whole rainbow of colors.
La Fiesta Hotel.  Nice place and just about empty.
Matt getting some relaxation at the pool.
They stroll the docks each day.
Along the sidewalk at Marina Costa Baja.
Looking down from above.  Boy, it
The view from the top of the mast of the marina.
Out into the bay.
The "Beach Club at the hotel.
More of the Marina and the hotel.
Pangas along the beach at Los Muertos.
The dingy dock at Los Muertos.
Looking out from the restaurant at Los Muertos.
Pelicans and the pangas along the launching ramp at Los Muertos.
The Sun glinting off the bay at Los Muertos.
What used to be the Giggling Marlin restaurant.  Now El Carbon.
Rock walls out by the dingy dock at Los Muertos.
One of the flying Manta Rays at Los Frailes.  Look closely.
More flying Manta Rays at Los Frailes.
The Eastern end of Los Frailes.
Ensenada de Los Muertos.
The ceiling of the restaurant at Los Muertos.
Blue goes hunting.  She knows there is something on the barbecue grill
With her toes spread, she is weaving on the life line.  The camera is still, she is not!
At anchor in Los Frailes.
The anchorage in Los Frailes.
At the pot luck dinner along the beach in Los Frailes waiting out the wind.  The wind won!!
Our new Fender Step.  It will make coming into dock much easier.
Our new Spectra 200T watermaker.  Now all we have to do is find the time to install it.
The Immigration Office in Ensenada, Mexico.  At least it is all in one building now instead of spread all over town.
The big flag by Baja Naval Marina.  An easy land mark to navigate to.
The Port Captain
The Mexican courtesy flag flying from our mast spreaders.
Celebrating crossing into Mexico.  The white wine had gone bad so we gave it to King Neptune instead.
Looking towards Ensenada Harbor.
 
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25 Photos
Created 22 November 2013
Around Kudat and the Penuwasa Boat Yard
39 Photos
Created 18 November 2013
Up the hills till an opening shows up in front of you and then see if you can get down into it. Not always.
36 Photos
Created 16 November 2013
Some photos of our diving on the reef.
30 Photos
Created 16 November 2013
Our trip around the north end of Borneo
20 Photos
Created 16 November 2013
10 Photos
Created 23 October 2013
Our trip around Malaysia starting at Tawau.
36 Photos
Created 21 October 2013
51 Photos
Created 13 October 2013
Our trip from Tawau around the top of Borneo down to Brunei.
6 Photos
Created 9 October 2013
13 Photos
Created 6 October 2013
24 Photos
Created 6 October 2013
Pictures of our dives off Musket Cove Marina
20 Photos
Created 7 December 2011
Avea Bay on South Huahine and on to Raiatea Island.
39 Photos
Created 25 July 2011
Our arrival in Tahiti through Huahine
91 Photos
Created 18 July 2011
Getting Zephyr ready to go.
37 Photos
Created 28 October 2010
My three days getting not only knowledge and some self confidence but nice and dirty.
8 Photos
Created 26 August 2010
Heading South from Escondido.
23 Photos | 2 Sub-Albums
Created 30 April 2010
An old salt factory.
33 Photos
Created 30 April 2010
Incredible sandstone
17 Photos
Created 30 April 2010
A great place to spend time exploring.
48 Photos
Created 30 April 2010
Honeymoon Cove on Isla Danzante
25 Photos | 1 Sub-Album
Created 30 April 2010
47 Photos
Created 14 February 2010
Our continuing adventure as we head North farther up the Sea Of Cortez.
47 Photos
Created 22 January 2010
8 Photos
Created 1 January 2010
Our visit to the famous "Mushroom Rock" bay.
12 Photos
Created 1 January 2010
Art and statues along the waterfront as you walk through downtown La Paz, Mexico
13 Photos
Created 1 January 2010
Still heading South but now in Cabo San Lucas
24 Photos
Created 8 December 2009
Making our way South along the coast of Mexico
25 Photos
Created 28 November 2009
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