17 April 2010 | Caneel Bay, St. John
Bequia proved to be one of our favorite spots both on our way south and our way north. We knew we would make a stop there on our way north, but didn't realize we would spend an extra 2 weeks there!! As it turns out, we found a guy who was willing to do some varnish work on the boat for us for a great price - and we were surrounded by kid boats. So, we decided to make a stop for a while to get the varnish work done, as well as pay attention to school work for a concentrated amount of time. Happily, our time coincided there with a plethora of old and new friends, so many happy days were spent on the beach, on boats, and in town. Highlights included: Kids creating the BIG CHEESE bar and grill on the beach, Scott racing with friends on Ceol Mor in the Bequia Easter Regatta, Mom's sharing recipes and gripes over cocktails, Jen and kids volunteering with the Bequia reading club for kids, and the beautiful weather and anchorage of Bequia.
We said a teary good-bye to many friends, and sailed north back to Martinique on a provisioning stop. French bakeries and cheese? Yes, thank you very much.
From Fort de France, we had another long passage to Dominica on which we nearly managed to land a marlin, but our fishing tackle proved to be inadequate to the task. We also had high winds and seas, which complicated the matter. Ah well. We arrived in Dominica with a damaged rig - part of our main sail hardware equipment failed.
The day after we arrived in Dominica was Anna's 13th birthday!! We had a small celebration with the obligatory chocolate cake, and had friends from 2 other boats (I Dunno and Dolce Vita) over to help with the festivities. We noticed another boat in the anchorage who we had met briefly way back in St. Martin in January so reintroduced ourselves to North Star - finally a boat with 2 older boys on board!!
Much to our surprise, Bojangles arrived in the harbor the next day - friends we had said goodbye to several weeks prior in Bequia! Since Bojangles and North Star already knew each other from the Caribbean 1500 - we all decided to do an island tour together. We went with our tour guide Dylan who we had before to Middleham Falls and Trafalgar Falls in the southern end of the island. We had a beautiful hike to Middleham Falls - made more dramatic by the recent amount of rainfall. We made it out of that area when another downpour hit - so the rest of our day was spent very wet. A highlight was getting to touristy Trafalgar Falls in the rain - which meant not many people were there. There was finally a hot springs there - a welcome treat since we were all cold from being in the rain! When we returned to Portsmouth from our excursion, we attended a beach barbecue hosted by all the local boat boys to raise money for security for cruising boats in the harbor. A good time was had by all!!
However, all good things must come to an end, and it was time for us to move on and get our sail fixed before we made any further long passages. We said our goodbye's once again to friends old and new, and set off for Les Saintes in Guadeloupe in an effort to get closer to some rigging specialists. On our way over - we realized we could sail pretty well with just the head sail with this particular wind angle. Hmmmmm....
So we anchored ever so briefly in Les Saintes before embarking on our nearly 2 day passage to the US Virgin Islands, where we felt we would have the best luck of finding the parts we needed, and have them most easily shipped to us. 2 nights and a day later, we had sailed most of the way to St. John - it was a nearly perfect passage - even without our mainsail!! The kids and I even spotted a few small Orca's right next to the boat on our approach to St. John.
So now we await our parts, and will be back sailing again soon as we head further west and north! Lots of new photos document this recent part of our journey - so don't forget to check out our photo page!
(For those of you interested in the fishing report... we have purchased new fishing gear - and are all ready to land a big fish!! Stay tuned!)