The first part of this blog is rather technical, and if you find it boring just scroll down until you see pictures of nature and people and hopefully you find it more interesting to read.
When cruising one have a feeling that one has an eternity of time, but the days pass very quickly. Maybe not strange we Swedes feel that way, as for us when it is warm it is summer, and when it is summer the days are very long. Around midsummer in Stockholm the sun goes down after 22:00 and is up already shortly after 03:00 in the morning and the nights does not get really dark, more like twilight. Then of course the days become very long and potentially very productive!!! Down in the Caribbean the sun goes down about 18:30 and up around 06:30 and it is very dark during the night unless there is a clear night with moon shine.
So the days are shorter, and planning for maintenance and provisioning are therefore? often overoptimistic. Like an oil change, it does not take long, especially as we do it rather often and gets some routine into the job, but it is always a messy work, especially to change the oil filter without some major spill. The oil change itself does not take long, cleaning, disposal of old oil, oil filter and a bag full of used rags in an environmentally friendly manner usually takes the longest time. And after completion of such a task the captain needs a bath, a beer and a rest and it will soon be dark i.e no more work that day.
The same day as I did the oil change I wanted to replace a rivet or two in the head sail foil that were a bit loose. Well it ended up with a rather big job that took a full day.
As I had to drill out all the rivets, separate the foil from the “drum”, clean out and attach it again and then of course put in new rivets, but then things started to go wrong as after each rivet I had to dismantle the rivet gun as the “center piece” refuse to get out of the rivet gun. Add wind gusting 25-30 kn, and that all rivets should be sealed with caulking I soon had 3M caulking all over my body.
The last rivet is the tricky one as access is very limited
But a few m5 nuts solve the issue. But the whole process took most of that day.
We have problem with our new Autopilot from Raymarine, it does not steer well at all when the waves are on the beam or behind. Therefore I decided to fully reinstall the old Autohelm Autopilot. To do that we need a switch that can handle a few cords and also the current to the drive unit’s. Browsing around in a few shops took most of a day before I found a switch that I thought would work.
The switch then of course needed to be mounted on a suitable place and all the cables to be installed.
There are 12 + 3 cables to the two switches.
Now mounted maybe not the most beautiful but it works, now we can switch between the old and the new Autopilot and the black switch to the right switch between the two drives, so very safe redundancy.
Old and the new control head both in place. All this in only one day that was faster than I thought. Add one day to find the switch.
But now you are thinking that I should make sure the new Autopilot performer well, and yes you are absolutely right, I have tweaked all settings that I with great difficulties identified in a sub-standard manual, but no success. In St Martin I found a Raymarine service person who gave me some advice. Download and upgrade all software (took most of a day). Then do the dock setup and sea trial set up again, and it will probably work (another day of work). Do not have the heading sensor below water line that cause problem he said, ours is just above water line, hope it will work, else minimum another day of work to move the heading sensor and pull the cable to a better position.
Not strange that times flies.
For the one who read the last blog we then had just left St Martin so what are we doing in St Martin again? We should be heading south towards Trinidad for laying up during hurricane season you might think, correct thinking, but one of the beauties with cruising is to change plans. We have been discussing our future cruising plan, not for very long but a few days, and suddenly we came to the conclusion we should cross the Atlantic again this time from Bermuda to the Azores, spend some time in the Azores, cruising the coast of Portugal. Then during the winter we can work on Kerpa, it would be very convenient for us to have Kerpa in the marina in Lagos as we have our flat just a short walk from the marina. Make her ready for an extended Pacific cruise and then in the fall 2020 cross the Atlantic again visiting Columbia and San Blas, before transiting the Panama Canal, that is our latest plan, but….
What have we done besides changing plans?
We have visit three really nice places, the first we came to after leaving Basseterre on St Kits was
Deshaies on Guadeloupe we arrive rather early after a night’s sail. We know that it is a popular place and the anchorage is not that easy as wind coming from several direction and it is not uncommon to have the anchor behind your stern. Luckily it was rather strong wind when we arrived therefore boats and anchors where more or less in a straight line.
Some beats were to close to each other for comfort, but there was no incidence that we noticed.
In the morning the local fishermen put out a long net in a circle, I could not see if they were successful but the Pelicans followed their progress with great interest.
Deshaies is know for the “feel good” British crime series “Murder in Paradise”, I could not recognize many palaces, but we found one bar they use to visit after solving a crime and found this photo in the bar.
The commissar and the bar keeper, a highly recommended TV serie
The highlight of the visit was the walk up the Deshaies “river”, not much of a river, but a good exercise and a scenic walk.
An old bridge over the river
A bit further up there was not very much water, but more rocks. The funny thing is that we have talked about rocks. Rocks are in abundance in the archipelago of Stockholm and on the west coast of Sweden. We do enjoy jumping from rock to rock at the edge of the shore, we find it to be a very good exercise. As we now do exercise rather regularly, we thought rock jumping would be a good exercise as one gets older it strengthens your core and is very good for balance. So we were very pleased to negotiate this rocky trail.
With some small “water falls” adding to the serenity of the place.
The walk was rather demanding and took us to a rather high elevation, total time close to two hours, a walk we can highly recommend if you anchor in Deshaies
There is also a very nice botanic garden close by, but the day we planned to visit the garden the rain was pouring down so we stayed on the boat and admired the rainbow instead
We had this beautiful rain bow very close, strange when we see a rain bow in Sweden it looks as it is miles away, but here they are just in front of us, strange.
We had a fresh wind on our south going route and the next stop was Les Saintes a few small islands belonging to Guadeloupe. They are a bit exposed and the places where one can anchor are of course more exposed than where one find buoys.
We anchored the first two nights but then the swell started to come in and we decided to move to a buoy, but that is not easy they are in high demand and there is a race as soon as a buoy is free, fortunately we found a rather good one.
Les Saintes is a rather laid-back tourist place who still have a lot of charm and one can still imagine the old days when this was an isolated fishing village.
Houses in all kinds of status from very nice indeed to a need of a lot of TLC.
Bananas in the garden
And pelicans on the dingy
Shore line of Petit Anse
We meet Think Twice and Glittra from our home cruising club OSK, and they took us on a very nice walk up a rather high hill
Up to the top where one can see a small building
The hill is starting, and we now had company with another OSK boat with some youngsters who also wanted to negotiate the hill.
We got very nice view on the way up.
The building at the summit
Time for a selfie at the top
A very nice walk and work out. The crew of Kerpa, Glittra and Think Twice.
The next day Kerstin and I took a walk up to the Fort Napoleon on the opposite side of the bay, not as demanding but a nice place to visit.
That hill also offered a nice view.
On the anchorage of Les Saintes we saw another Amel SM with a French flag, Reve De Lune IV was the name, we paid a visit, the Captain was French but the Admiral was a Swedish woman, they invited us aboard and told us that they were just back from an around the world cruise. They talked passionately about the Pacific and it was the meeting with them that made us tip over to change our plans and sail back to Europe and prepare Kerpa for the big jump.
Before heading north again we wanted to visit Dominica again the next island going south. We were there two years ago, and it became one of our favorite islands.
In a very brisk wind almost closed hauled we sailed down to Dominica.
Kerstin enjoying the sail, but soon she had to go out in pouring rain and 30 kn of wind to set the anchor. As always when approaching a harbor, the wind and rain sets in.
But soon the sun was shining again
Dingy dock at customs in Portsmouth, Dominica
We attended the PAYS barbecue not so many people as it was a Wednesday usually full on Sundays, but we had some nice talks with new sailing friends from Canada, we had meet earlier in St Martin.
Nice sunset in Portsmouth
The day after we had a nice trip on the Indian river with one of The PAYS guides.
Now time to go north again
We set sail for a 180 nM trip to St Martin again, the forecast promised ca 20 kn following wind, it ended up being very little wind at all so we had to motor about half of the distance, why can’t the forecast be right when you want to sail in a nice fresh wind from behind?
One good thing was that we deployed our new cedar plug lure on a 15 m “short” hand line
Does anyone who have not tried this lure that it will lure any fish?
This nice Mahi Mahi was caught not fare from where we landed a Mahi Mahi going south from St Martin not long ago.
Kerstin clean the fish with a happy face
And a day later we enjoyed it, tasted divine.
So what to do in St Martin, besides all the maintenance I already described in the beginning of this blog. Provisioning, we need to fill the boat as we plan to go to Puerto Rico, then visit some places on the south side of Hispaniola, if time, weather and political situation we will stop at both Haiti and Jamaica, then Cuba, after that we have to see how much time we have to see The Bahamas again. Recon we will leave Bermuda around 1st of June for the crossing to the Azores.
Provisioning take some days, we made two trips, but we could not find we where looking for, so complementary provisioning in Puerto Rico we guess.
Milk, Wine, Beer, Pasta, etc etc to last for a couple of months.
We meet a Swedish boat Sea Wind with Lars and Susanne Hellman, they were on the way to get on the hard, so we invited them for dinner and we had a very nice evening together and they gave good advice about visiting Cuba and Jamaica,
Tomorrow we set sail again heading for Puerto Rico.