St Martin

It is nice to visit St martin again a great place for cruisers. We were here the season before the hurricane and was a little bit concerned over how it would look today.marogot anchorage (copy)

First impression was that it was very few boats on the Marigot anchorage but that was due to still early season, when we left ca 14 days later the number of boats at anchor was substantially higher.

First thing to do was to clear in and the Island Water World chandlery in Marigot lagoon was still providing the service, and there was the damage from the hurricane clearly visible.

st martin hurricane damage 3 (copy)

The red and white striped jetty is where you tie up your dingy when visiting Island Water World. At the end of the blog you will find some more photos from the damage. After clearing in we saw this rather large lizard

lizard (copy)

As my brother Thomas and Brita would leave after a few days we wanted them to experience a more joyful part of our life, by just relaxing

life is good 2 (copy)

And enjoying the nice warm water and sun, they look as they appreciate the last lazy days before they headed home to a grey and cold Stockholm.

life is good (copy)

Also, Kerstin took the opportunity to relaxed with a glass of wine.

We do we do?

We quiet often get the question what do you do out there? Besides the obvious as seeing a lot of nice places, meeting new people, all is not just fun, and you already knew that we must repair things now and then, but there are other things as well, as improving life aboard.

A long-wanted thing has been to fix sun protection for the PVC windows on our spray hood. Kerstin got inspired by the one we saw on Joy, one of the other Amel SM on the Salty Dawg rally. So we took the dingy over to the Dutch side

the lagoon (copy)

And bought what was needed for fabricating the sun screen, the sewing machine was deep down in one of our wardrobes as it had not been used for sometimes, but it worked flawless

sun shade (copy)

Work in progress

sun shade 2 (copy)

Hand sewing the Velcro to the spray hood, a hard work, but the result was very good

sun shade 3 (copy)

Finally, we have the shade so very needed especially when sitting long days at the helm.

sun shade 4 (copy)

Easy to roll down when we do not need them.

On my behalf came the task to replace our flexible solar panels on the rail

solar pannels (copy)

The flexible panels were not very suitable to have on the rail, as they where flexing/vibrating in the wind and looked older than they were.

I have long time trying to find a better alternative, 2×100 watt is what we had, 130 watt panels would fit better but they have been difficult to find, so we went to Island Water World to purchase two 100 watt panels, but came back to the boat with two 150 watt panels. It was a risk that they would be to large

solar pannels 2 (copy)

Work in progress

solar pannels 3 (copy)

Work ready, they are large, but so fare we have not seen any great disadvantage of the size, only the advantage of more amp’s getting in.

I found to my surprise that I had to replace the old cable as it was corroded, it had only been there for a bit over two years. Obviously, the plastic cover was not 100% water tight, one could blame the connection that I had done, but the cable was corroded all the way it was exposed to salt spray. Lesson learned always buy high quality cables if possible, on the other hand when fixing things when cruising, one must use what is available.

 

Another recurring task is to provision, and St Martin is a very good place to do that. Last time we were in St Martin Island Water World had provisioning trips both on the Dutch as well as on the French side, but that is no longer, the shop on the Dutch side was destroyed during the hurricane, so only Super U on the French side remains, but it is a very good option a very short walk from the Marigot dingy dock.

provissioning (copy)

One can not walk back with all this, so we asked them to call a Taxi, but the Taxi did not come, instead a lady who worked at Super U who had her lunch break, offer to take us down to the dingy dock, very nice indeed.

provissioning 2 (copy)

Will all this fit into the dingy? We had our doubts

provissioning 3 (copy)

It did, it was a little bit tight for Kerstin, but it worked.

It is a hard work to provision, and the hardest part is to fit everything into Kerpa.

provissioning 4 (copy)

That is the task for Kerstin, I better keep some distance as Kerstin’s mode then could be a little bit ….

provissioning 5 (copy)

But after the task is done and I served Kerstin a Rum Punch, the happy face is back. Now we will be good for a few month, only fresh vegetables and fruit whenever available.

What do we more do then? Well if one is on a French island one enjoys good food, such as

foie gras (copy)

Foie Gras and Champagne

enjoying (copy)

Followed by

duck breast (copy)

Duck breast, so now you know a little bit more about what we do all these lazy days, besides enjoying beautiful sunsets

sunset (copy)

A very odd thing is to see people buying Christmas trees

chrstmas (copy)

when the sun is shining, and the temperature is well above comfort level for shopping and being ashore. For us in Sweden, Christmas is very much related with snow and cold weather. Not sunshine, we have very little Christmas mood, but on the other side we do not feel any need for it, we just enjoy.

Hurricane damage

Even if life seams rather normal in St Martin now 14 months after the hurricane, there are numerus evidence of the ordeal the people had to encounter. Below follow some photos, most of them speak

st martin hurricane damage 8 (copy)

st martin hurricane damage 1 (copy)st martin hurricane damage 2 (copy)st martin hurricane damage 5 (copy)

One can se many boats that had suffered a lot of damage that someone trying to fix, some were more challenging than others. We also got the impression that some boats had become housing for local people who had lost their land-based home.

st martin hurricane damage 4 (copy)st martin hurricane damage 7 (copy)st martin hurricane damage 13 (copy)

st martin hurricane damage 12 (copy)st martin hurricane damage 11 (copy)

st martin hurricane damage 10 (copy)st martin hurricane damage 9 (copy)

These photos are just examples there where may damage boats here and there.

 

We left St Martin after ca 14 days a late afternoon heading to St Croix

leaving at sun set (copy)

 

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Antigua and St Barth

After arriving Nelson Dockyard, Antigua, we had a few days rest before we started to attend some issues with Kerpa.

Nelson Dock yard with Kerpa

Nelson Dockyard, not many boats now, but soon it will be crowded by charter boats and superyachts

Old building ND

Some buildings definitely have an aura from a past times

 We had discovered water ingress into Kerpa during our trip, one was from the bow-thruster, and by just put some tension on the wire that retracts the bow-thruster the leak was more or less gone, so that will be the solution for now. But we also had some water under the floor boards in the main cabin, not at all desirable as we store food, beer, wine etc under the floor boards.

kerstin cleaning bilge

Kerstin made a heroic work during our bumpy passage clearing out the voids under the floor boards and drying up the water.

We did not discover what the cause was until we empty out all compartments and found

bad connection

Drainage hose for the anchor well, forward shower and for a few other places had disconnected from one of the joints. Now in a harbor not difficult to fix, used some of the remains from when recently changing bilge pump and hoses, never throw away anything, it might be handy sooner than expected (usually not, I have a lot of” spare parts” filling up compartments here and there)

Good connection

Some boiling water made the hose very cooperative, who wouldn’t?

The other task was to fix the problem with the overheating diesel generator, the impeller was just in fragment so not so strange it overheated. Now it has a new raw water pump, a cleaned heat exchanger and a strainer that collect future parts from broken impellers

Onan heat exchanger

Heat-exchanger cleaned and assembled, ready to be put in place again

Onan strainer

The strainer in place, has been long on the mental to do list, but now erased

We also had broken blade on our Swi-Tec hydrogenereator,

Swi tech Propeller

Not very robust

broken propeller

I sent some pictures to Swi-tec, the comment I got back was “bad luck” what to say about that??

 

Life is not only rest and boat work, we had some time to entertain our self, and one very nice evening was at Shirley Heights, where they had barbecue with steel band music and something, they called reggae music.

Steeldrums

The steel band was really good and produced a lot of “swing”, very nice indeed, the food was good and so was the mood among all participants, on top of that a very beautiful view over English harbor at sun set added to the very nice event

Sun set English HarborEnglish Harbor

The reggae music was more general popular music I had liked to listen to more “real” reggae music, but all in all a very memorable evening, some of the audience had not had only rum punch that night that was for sure.

Not reggea music

English Harbor 2

English harbor

There is a very nice walk from English Harbor to Falmouth Harbor, I can very much recommend taking that walk, the scenery is very rewarding, below follow some pictures from the walk.

English harbor anchorage (2)

Shirley Heights on the hill in the background

Nice view EH

A bit higher up this view of English harbor

English and Famouth Harbor

Falmouth and English Harbor

Pigeon beach

Finally, Pigeon beach in Falmouth Harbor, we just got there before the heavy rain started so we rewarded us with a beer at the beach bar, very nice.

Nelson Dock yard

Time to leave English Harbor, first stop was the fuel dock as our tank was more or less empty, so it is not Kerpa the Amel you see in the picture but Joy who stayed a few days more.

We headed out and anchored at Bird Island in Nonsuch bay, a place clearly recommended to stay at, we only stayed one night before we continued to Jolly harbor to clear out for our next stop.

St Barth

We visited St Barth last time we were in the Caribbean, but it is well worth another visit, and I wanted to show this former Swedish colony for Thomas and Brita, and they really appreciated the visit.

Gustavia light house

Gustavia is the name of the main port. It was the Swedish King Gustav III who bought the colony from the French 1784, hence the name of the port, it was a Swedish colony until 1878 when the French bought it back.

iew from light house St Barth

Views from the light house

Brita på St Barth

It was a warm day to walk up the hill, this was a good place for a rest and some photos

Paul o Kerstin St Barth

St Barth Anchorage

The anchorage is rather exposed to swell and therefore a bit rolly

A bit north there is a good and less rolly anchorage at Anse de Colombier maybe 15-20 minutes dingy ride from to Gustavia so one can stop there instead.

Anchorage Ansed De Colombar

Supposed to be crowded but still early season, from here it’s a short walk over a peninsula to the windward Atlantic side

Atlantic side St Barth

The Atlantic side, On the walk we meet this fellow

Turtle St Barth

He did not looked to concerned to meet some Swedish Walkers on the trail

The island seams proud over the Swedish heritage and display both the old Swedish street name as well as the new French names

Street name

Gamla Gatan or “The old street” now Rue du Port

Swedish Prision

This building was a prison for a while when the Swedes were there.

Next stop will be St Martin.

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Towards Antigua

I have already posted several posts from our trip from Hampton to Antigua by Iridium Go, but no photos can be attached at least not with any reasonable quality.

Unfortunately, most photos was taken with my Huawei Mobile who now refuse to cooperate with my computer so I only have a few photos to select from. If anyone know how to debug a Huawei, please let me know, I have used half a day browsing internet for solutions, I found several suggestions but no one worked for me!!!

Anyway below follow a quick update with some photos.

The fleet on the way

A few boats on the way out, no it is not Kerpa it is Pat and Diana on Shenanigans, one of three SM in the rally, the other is Joy with Chuck and Kim.

Brita

We left a rather cold and murky day with the rain hanging in the air. Brita who have very limited experience of offshore sailing, looks rather happy, but I guess there were some “butterflies in her belly”

On the way

The fleet is on its way and the sky does not look promising.

Reefed down

After crossing the Gulf stream the wind was still brisk and with substantially reefed sails we did around 8 kn with the wind just forward of the beam.

Thomas outlook

My brother Thomas keep sharp look out with a firm grip on the helmsman’s chair to keep his balance.

But after a few days the wind died and come on our nose, so the engine was deployed and the fishing lures went in. Luckily we did not had to wait for long before we got the first catch.

First fish

We believed it was a Bar Jack, that was soon followed by a

Mahi Mahi

A Mahi Mahi, what a beautiful fish! Lock at the happy face of my brother, he enjoyed being the “hook man”

Kertin and the fish

Kerstin goes to action with a very “firm face” cleaning the fish and continued to make the most delicious dinner for us.

Fish on the plate

Enjoyed by the crew, but the fishing luck was not over, we landed another Mahi Mahi and a large

Big Beast

Barracuda (104 cm) , then we stopped fishing, we had fish for the remaining trip and our freezer was full of food. The Barracuda tasted very good indeed.

Calm sea

The weather was then very calm for several days,

 

Sun set

With beautiful sun sets

Breakfast

But the swell made it rather rocky, so all meals were served on the cockpit floor, this time the breakfast. Note it is very practical with a non skid mat to serve the meals on, it works both on the cockpit floor as well as on the table.

Relaxing

Relaxing on the deck, as we know the lazy days will soon be over as brisk trade-wind are waiting.

 

The last days offered very good sailing with reefed sails and speed at around 8 kn. We arrived Falmouth Harbor 23 of November at 23:40.

 

Total distance                             1683 nM     6,7 kn     10 days 12 hours
Total motoring                             715 nM     5,8 kn        5 days   3 hours
Total Sailing                                  968 nM     7,5 kn        5 days   9 hours

 

The day after the rain was pouring down as we

Rain in Antigua

Inflated and launched the dingy so that I could clear us all in.

Nelson Dockyard

Later we motored over to Nelson Dock yard in English Harbor to have

Well deserved Rum Punch

A few well-deserved Rum punches.

I must give my respect to Brita who kept a good spirit all the way, did not mistrust any time, even if the forecast threatening with tropical waves, tropical lows and one model even indicated the possibility of a tropical hurricane. The whole trip was very bumpy even when the wind was low, but when the wind was “on” the sailing was both exiting, demanding and rather uncomfortable, but Brita admired the variations of the sea and enjoyed the trip most of the time. Well done Brita.

 

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Nelson Dock Yard

Finally we arrived, Antigua offered a rainy night , at 23:40 the Anchor was firm in the sea beed in Falmouth Harbor. Of course we had to empty the bow locker to get access to the inspection hatch for the anchor chain, as it hand tumbled around in the heavy seas. Kerstin had to sort it out before the chain run out smoothly. A bottle of Champagne was consumed before we went to bed. We all slept relatively well, but no time for rest, we needed to clear in, but before that breakfast. The dingy needed to be inflated and launched this was done during a torrential rain, so Thomas and I took a well deserved shower in the heavy but rather nicely tempered rain. Finally everything was fixed and we decided to move to Nelson Dock Yard just a few miles away. Now we have tied up and enjoyed lunch so time for relax, socializing with other Salty Dawg participants but very few has arrived yet. And of course to discover. Antigua. Total distance 1683 nM 6,7 kn 10 days 12 hours
Total motoring 715 nM 5,8 kn 5 days 3 hours
Total Sailing 968 nM 6,7 kn 5 days 9 hours.
Now we are tiered

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Soon in Antigua

Now it Is not very long before we reach Antigua, estimate to arrive Falmouth Harbor by midnight, Falmouth Harbor supposed to be easier to navigate at night than English Harbour. We thought of slowing down but the going was more uncomfortable and we are eager to arrive. Sailing condition still the same true wind 20-22 kn swell 8-10 feet. During yesterday and the night we had some strange “squalls” not very strong but the wind was on the nose and when it passed we had moments of very light wind that slowly picked up to 20-22 kn.

Sometimes after rough sailing the chain has tumbled around in the anchor box and have been impossible to get out without getting access to the chain. The easiest way to do that is to empty the forward bow locker and open an inspection hatch I have installed, the only trouble is that the locker is full of gears and it does not appeal to me to have that task at pitch dark night very tiered after the passage, so keep your fingers crossed it will not be necessary. Tomorrow I will clear in and then we will move to Nelson dock yard in English Harbour.
Looking forward to that and exchange stories with the other Salt Dawg sailors over a Rum punch or three!.

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