The final leg to Tortola
Hi there. When last we left off we were anchored just off shore in a location to watch a wedding party in St Lucia. It turned out to be quite a party, complete with limbo dancers, acrobats, steel drum band, huge bonfire, dancing, tons of food - quite the party. And it turns out it wasn't the wedding reception, it was just the kick off party for the wedding weekend, with several other events to take place leading up to the actual wedding and reception. Now that couple knows how to throw a wedding. From there we went to Rodney Bay marina, a large popular anchorage with lots to see and do. They were busy dredging the inside of the lagoon area surrounding the marina and building some additional slips in order to become a large mega yacht marina. Just about every island is getting in on the mega yacht action and building or expanding existing marinas in order to service these giant boats. We hope they are increasing their fuel dock capacity as well because it is not uncommon for a normal sailboat to want to fuel up (around 50 gallons or so) only to find some mega yacht was there before them and has taken ALL the fuel (3,000 to 5,000 gallons). When that happens there may not be another fuel delivery for sometimes days or a week on some islands.
From St. Lucia it was on to Martinique. Anchored in St. Anne with friends and Le Marin. Le Marin is the largest yachting center in all the Caribbean islands. Lots and lots of boats, and lots of support services. Fell in love with a cat there and wanted to bring him home with me but research into the matter and common sense prevailed. Guess he'll just have to live on in my heart. From there we moved up island to a protected anchorage to sit out 4 days worth of unprecedented swells (like a wave but different) the size of which (12 - 18') had not been seen in the caribbean for 40 years. At least we were fairly close to one of our favorite places to eat - so we were able to placate our appetites if not our urge to keep traveling.
When the swell finally receeded we continued on our way to Dominica, where once again the weather locked us in for the better part of a week. Dominica is a gorgeous rain forest island so we took advantage of seeing some additional sites around the island. A hike through the Syndicate rain forest to Milton falls rewarded us a torrential rainfall. Pretty appropriate I suppose. The rain in these places is like taking a warm shower. We saw and heard some of the local endangered parrots(Sisserou and Red Necked) which live only in Dominica. This is part of a national park, and Teddy Roosevelt visited here and climbed one of the peaks just in order to see these parrots. They are now protected and are making a comeback. There are a large variety of huge and magnificent trees in this rain forest which have had to adapt their root systems to all the moisture. Some of them have buttress roots which are kind of like a sloping room divider that start maybe 8' up the tree and come off at sloping angles around the tree and form almost like separate rooms at the base of the tree. Hard to describe - look it up in the encyclopedia. And there are Gommier trees which are huge and straight and the Carib indians used (and still do) to carve into dug out canoes. It must have been something trying to cut one of those down before the days of chain saws.
March 31 arrived in Deshaies, Guadeloupe. A good place to practise your french if you know any. We had not planned to stay here more than a day, but the weather once again had something different in mind with 30+kts winds and 10 to 15' seas in the passages, so it looks like we will be here about a week. Guess there are worse places to be stuck, here we have cheap french wine, fresh baked bread (who doesn't look cool walking down the street with a long baguette sticking out of the day pack), good cheese, fresh fish caught daily and Pain o Chocolates - how bad can it be? We went grocery shopping yesterday at Carrefoure - a grocery store to end all grocery stores. The selection and amount of choices are mind boggling. You can literally spend hours in there grocery shopping - of course it helps if you read french. Just the cheese aisle is 2 blocks long. There's an entire area of fresh seafood, one huge area of fresh baked french pastries, several aisles of french (and other) wines), etc. And why stop at carrying just food and liquor when you can also sell clothes (including fancy french lingerie), and hardware and household goods and TV's and electronics, and CD's and DVD's, and - well you get the picture. And it's located in a shopping mall with all kinds of other shops also. You really could spend the day there.
Evening entertainment on the boat sometimes consists of watching DVD movies which one regularly swaps with other cruisers so one always has a fresh supply of new ones to watch. Last swap we acquired the entire 2nd season episodes of Boston Legal and Desperate Housewives. If you like those shows it's fun to be able to watch them all at once (or as many as you can stand in one sitting)with continuity and with no commercials. Hope to be heading for Antigua or Montserrat on Tuesday as the weather is supposed to break then with 10 to 15 kts winds and seas 5 to 7'.
Time to go work on boat projects. Keep the emails coming. We love to hear what's going on at home too.
All Ways H. and C.
N16 18.504 W061 47.808
We are now is Deshaise, Guadeloupe and haven't been able to leave for Antigua as the winds have been gusting to 30+ kts and the seas are any where from 10 to 18' in the passages from the Atlantic. The anchorage is kind of crowded now as boats are coming from the south and can't go any further north waiting for the weather break. Every thing is quiet here though. Today Hether is cleaning the cockpit and polishing everything and I'm running cleaning solution through the water maker as the water started having a sulfur smell so the membrane had something going on with it. I'm supposed to let it soak for an hour and rinse it with fresh water and then try making water again to see if that took care of it or I may have to use an additional acid cleaner. We'll see. We plan on heading out tomorrow or Tuesday for either Montserrat or English Harbor, Antigua where Hether has some friends waiting. I hope to stop at Montserrat for one day ashore to see the volcano and the destruction it caused to the town. The anchorage is not supposed to be that great in North swells and we are having NE swells currently so we are trying to talk to the Port Authority on the VHF to find out if it is okay.
St. Maarten's Simpson Bay.
April 17, 2008 at Shrimpy's dockside Bar on the internet again.
We arrived here on Sunday from St. Barths. Made the move from English Harbor, Antigua on April 9 and headed west to Nevis and up to St. Kitts North to Gustavia, St. Barths. The sail was nice with fair winds and seas. The leeward side between Nevis and St. Kitts was great sailing and the passage north to St. Barths was also okay but long. We are now ready to leave for Virgin Gorde in the BVI's and then to haul out inTortola. So today I'm on the Skype phone trying to call the boatyard to make reservations but can't get anyone on the phone that can transfer me to the right person to confirm a slot in the the long term storage yard. "It's island time don't cha know". "No problem mon just call back in an hour".
We plan to leave Simpson Bay on Thursday about 0500 for the sail west to the Bitter End on Virgin Gorda about 78nm to the BVI's about a 10 or 11 hour trip withe following winds and seas.
More later, C&H on sv/'AllWays'