Author Archives: Nicol

Curaçao, 26-8 / 18-9 2019

A nice sailing trip in light winds, we don’t stop at Klein Curacao, we need the time to prepare Fairy Queen for a longer stay on the hard. No fish, well we did catch something but it was too big and we had to let it go. We have a lovely spot at Curacao Marine, a nice big pontoon and we still have a little breeze at that spot. We need it, even the marine has changed the times because of the heat, the start at 6.00 every morning. We have two weeks time to empty and clean the boat a lot of work but we are going to leave her for almost a year. I did forget about a box of sugar but luckily Dominique of SY True Bleu is going to solve that for me 🙂 🙂 .

And well, of course we do a small job, the deck saloon is going to be painted. Sanding, plastering and paint it with two component paint, a bit more work as we expected and it needs another layer when we come back but for the first time with two component paint it’s not bad at all.

The leakage of our rudder is going to be solved when we are away so Fairy Queen is “almost” ready when we come back, well a bit dusty but I also made a cover to protect the teak deck and maybe a little less dust …….

But also time for fun, it’s too hot to work al weak each day. Together with our friends and the pattendales Pip and Jem from Wild Bird we go to the beach, bit snorkelling, swimming and doing nothing for a while. Every Friday there is a barbecue at the marine, organised by Onno, meat is arranged, cost around $6,-, the bar is open and you are asked to bring a side dish if you want. And of course also busy with a drink here and some diner overthere, some friends we just miss as they are arriving in Curaçao and we are leaving, a pitty but somewhere we meet again 🙂 .

The last week, when Fairy Queen is on the hard, we have an apartment with air-conditioning and a washing machine with hot water and a program that takes up to 3 hours 🙂 , time to do some serious washing.

The day before we leave we put on the shade cover and leave our “house” for a long while. We are going to have a sabbatical of sailing and go travel over land in Asia, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam are on the list. But first we go a few weeks to France and to the Netherlands 🙂 .

Bonaire, 25-6-2019 / 25-8-2019

Last two months flew away, we are not so busy with maintenance as we have plenty of time. We at least stay another two months here. We have a lot of fun and the little cruisers community is great.

Twice we did rent a car so we could drive around the island, Bonaire is more than a diver’s paradise. The flamingo’s, the donkey’s and the diversity of the small island is big not only under water.

We go shopping, this is much easier if you have a car, have some lunch and visit Bon Terra. Bon Terra is a farm where they grow vegetables like tomatoes, rucola, spinach and cucumbers. The farmers started one and a half year ago and now deliver to the supermarket and restaurants, on Tuesday and Thursday they are open for public from 2 to 5 p.m. The vegetables are nicer and you can keep them fresh much longer than the ones you buy in the supermarket.

During the tour around the island we know why we have a pick-up. The roads sometimes just disappear and become sand roads, for a pickup not a problem but after we cross a dry river we notice that we have a flat tire. Not a problem for Ronald, he will fix it, but with this Chinese pickup it doesn’t work out. But the service from Fairmiles is splendid, after we called them somebody arrived with another tire and within 20 minutes we were driving again 😊.

We also get visitors on the Fairy Queen, a lazy young pelican stays on the boat for 3 hours but when he started to shit on the deck we throw him overboard. We never saw him catch a fish he is just begging for it at the fischerman.

Women Divers Day, 20th July, lovely day, first an hour of yoga, another hour of diving and finishing with a perfect healthy vegetarian lunch and raffle. A bit crowded under water but it was a lovely morning.

A wind reversal on Bonaire, it’s scary, the wind and the waves come from the south west. The waves are banging on the wall and breaking just behind our boat. The rangers of Stinapa warned everybody and helped the boats in the inner ring who had to move. Rene of SY Bleu Pearl made a movie  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJiJ137szbw . We were standby to move if it was getting worse, you are allowed to use the diver moorings at Klein Bonaire where you don’t have a problem with the waves or just sail around and wait until it’s over. Beginning of the evening the wind dropped down and al was left was a rolly night because of the swell.

On my birthday we went to Something Special a dive site just next to the marina and found a frogfish, wat a present. Every time you go diving its like a treasure hunt and after finding a seahorse myself at White Slave you want to go again and again to find something special, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0cZaB5iRwg   made by Carolyn, thank you  🙂

With Carolyn and Andrew, I had another beautiful dive, my first night dive, exciting but beautiful, you see the colours light up as you point your light on a fish. Big tarpons hunting in the light and catching fish just in front of you, the lobsters are not hiding behind the rocks but looking for food, it’s a totally different world at night. We also did see the ostracods that night, 20 minutes without light sitting in the dark, but when the ostracods begin to light its if you’re in space and you even get some visibility.

And yes, we did a little bit of work, we suspended it every time but when we are arriving in Curaçao marina in a few days it will be work for a few weeks 😊

Bonaire 22 May – 24 June 2019

Again, a perfect sail, we had a calm sea and the wind was just enough to make it a three-day trip to Bonaire. And we did even catch some fish, 2 nice Mahi Mahi, one for the freezer and one to share with friends 😊. Gayle made a perfect ceviche as a starter and perfectly grilled for our main course. I just had to sit and relax after our three days sail.

And as it is the beginning of the hurricane season it’s also time to start with a bit of work on the boat. We didn’t do much during the sailing season and the jobs we have now are just costing us a lot of time. The boat immediately is looking like a mess, we have to make some working space and are moving the stuff around. We need to varnish the interieur of the boat, all mahonia and have two small leakages which can be repaired easily. The only thing is that we have to be careful after the varnishing as it stays wet for several hours.

In the meantime, I started diving again, I try at least to go three times a week. At the beginning of this year there was a great initiative, they started with a face book page “Buddy Bonaire gezocht” gezocht means looking for. As Bonaire is quite international you can react in Dutch or English and somebody will add you on the Buddy Bonaire app. There is almost every day somebody who wants to go diving and its very easy to join. You see a lot of different diving spots on Bonaire this way. I already saw turtles, tarpons, nice coral and even a nurse shark. Bit scary but my buddies acted normal and the shark was sleeping in his cave.

Well as Ronald is not in to the water sports, he is exercising on his guitar and quite improving himself. The music sounds good, his voice needs a little bit of training 😊.

When there is a clean-up at Bonaire they need dinghies to put the rangers on the land and get the garbage of the island. It is impossible to go with a big boat on land because of the coral. With a dinghy it just goes but it is still difficult to avoid the coral because of the breaking waves. There is a lot of garbage on the island most plastic bottles but also flip flops and tires. Three hours is not enough to clean up Klein Bonaire but everything helps and it makes you even more aware of this problem.

The cruisers community on Bonaire got a boost this season, Susie on Stargazer does the net every day on channel 77. We have hamburger night every Wednesday and a special 2-hours happy hour on Thursday from 17.00 – 19.00 at Bistro de Paris. And on Sunday, when Bistro the Paris is closed, Patrick lets use us the terrace for the cruiser’s potluck at 18.00. So, we are very busy, there are not enough hours in a day at the moment.

Martinique, St. Lucia, Carriacou, 5 – 21 May 2019

We suffer of an empty nest syndrome after the family left. We want to go from Grande Anse to Rodney Bay in St. Lucia to pick up a part for our water maker but we can’t clear out in Petit Anse, office is closed on the 6th of may and one day later the wind is not favourable anymore. Change of plan, first to Sainte Anne a short motor sail where we can do our laundry and some shopping. We walk again to petit Anse to stretch our legs and see how they launch a local boat. It’s a lot of work to put on the sail and you need a lot of people to sail such a boat, but it looks wonderful.

A small celebration of Ronald’s birthday, a burger from the barbecue with a bit of salad on board of the Fairy Queen with a glass of wine looking at the view, not bad to start your 51st year. Our plan to rent a car when we finally arrive in Sainte Anne is not working out. There is not one car we can rent, French holidays, the have a lot of French holidays in the beginning of May. So, change of plan, we have enough to do. Laundry, we didn’t have a clean sheet anymore and we did also were a lot of different clothes during the family visit, result 2 machines of 14 kilo to wash.

As the water maker is still not working we have to get water with jugs, takes some time and of course we had to clean the boat inside. And with al this cleaning and moving stuff around I still couldn’t find the buttons for the outside lights.

When we finally get a car it’s a Renault Twingo, it has a very small trunk for all the shopping we want to do but it drives fantastic. We go to our favourite shop, Decathlon and buy bikini’s, shorts, t-shirts, weights and everything that suddenly is in our bag 😊. We also buy a new bread baking machine as we don’t like the bread that much on the islands under Martinique, we are a bit spoiled. Then off to another of our favourite shops, Leader Price for wine, beer, peanuts, duck breast and everything we like. It’s quite exhausting to go shopping. A day later we make a tour to the east coast of the island. This part is a little bit rougher and there is a lot of seaweed on the beaches which is very very smelly. We find a nice restaurant just out of the stinky belt and have a nice meal and the beer tastes very well doesn’t its Ronald 😊.

As we want to leave Martinique on Tuesday we luckily check when BouBou is open, here we can check out in Sainte Anne, and well he is on holiday and there is no note when he will be back. We still have the car so we check out in Le Marin and stay illegally a day in Martinique. A nice sail to St. Lucia, pick up the endcap for the water maker and after another illegal night in St. Lucia of to Carriacou. Here we put the endcap on the water maker and we have water again, a small leakage as the rubber rings are not good anymore but friends take them for us from St. Maarten.

In Carriacou we wait for a window to sail to Tobago (Trinidad and Tobago) and friends tell us that there is piracy in-between Grenada and Trinidad and that boats go in convoy to Trinidad. Our back-up plan was to sail to Trinidad if there was a tropical storm coming up when we were anchored in Grenada but that plan is off. As there is no window to go to Tobago the next week or so we change plan again. Bonaire here we come. Now it still is quiet so we can pick up a mooring and stay some time in beautiful Bonaire, no punishment at all. The honey we bought in Carriacou is lovely, nice to have with our breakfast as we sail to Bonaire. We only hope that we will catch some fish on our way.

 

Guadeloupe, Saint Martin (French site of Sint Maarten) March 2019

From Guadeloupe to Saint Martin, very comfortable sail with an average of 6 knots, still learning how to sail the Fairy Queen, it’s getting better every time. Fishing is not going that well, we caught fish but they are to big, lost an other bait and 100 meters of line.

As we arrive at Saint Martin, the 3rd of March we immediately enjoy the carnival over here. It is really a Caribbean carnival, every day a parade with music and dancing.

 

On the French site you can still see the damage of Irma, buildings are waiting to be broke down and a lot of roofs are not on buildings, they are building everywhere with concrete now but here is still a lot of work to do. The Dutch side looks better and you can get every part for your boat that you want. Also, the supermarket, Super U on the French site and the French bakery have everything you want. The Carrefour on the Dutch side is not ready yet but there is a shuttle from Island Water World on the Dutch site to the big Carrefour near Philipsburg once a week.

We start to dismantle the water maker to renew the O-rings, cleaning the compression fittings and after testing it is without leakage, nothing broke, if you can get parts ……. everything goes well 😊.The fuel tanks are looking perfect, we can see through the diesel and see the bottom, no problems there.

After visiting friends, we discover that they use a heater on gas, which means hot water whenever you want it. We love to have that too so we found some place in the boat, some ventilation is needed, and ordered the heater in America. The heater was in two days in Miami where it is waiting for a ship to Sint Maarten, so we have time to do the tube work, and as the shipment will take some time we decided to start to dismantle the Onan, it is not working anymore and we have a small Honda now, and dismantle the old freezer. The space we have now is huge, we can put a lot of stuff on that spot 😊.

Of course, it is not only work we do. We have a lovely time with friends here, coffee, diner, happy hour (1US$ a beer during happy hour at Lagoonies) and to the Chinese restaurant. We can borrow a car from True Blue and make a tour around the Island, we visit Philipsburg where we buy a new phone. Very needy as we couldn’t talk with our old one without putting the speaker on on, very annoying. We have lunch at Orient Bay, spectacular beach and view and really good French food at Kontiki  with of course a bottle of French wine.

 

And finely our heater is arriving and at the end of the day we enjoy a hot shower. Now we only need a good weather window to Antigua, until now there is a lot of south in the wind but the 1st of April, no joke, the wind turns to the North and we can sail to Jolly harbour, Antigua after cleaning the prop.

Martinique, Dominica, February 2019

Back in Le Marin we bought beer, wine (the bag in box ones) and all kind of good French food like duck breast, lamb, cheese and sausages. We sail to Dominica and we don’t know how the situation is over there, but first a stop in Grande Anse de Arlets, a cosy village with blue waters, a little rest after our “holiday” in Europe.

We want to go hiking in Dominica and together with our friends from Wild Bird we sail, very fast again, to Dominica after that I made two beanbags of an old sail. It is fantastic on a boat because it gets the shape of your body, the only problem is to get the little beans to put in.

In Dominica, Prince Rupert Bay, all shops are open and people are working very hard to repair everything Maria destroyed, it’s now more than a year ago and it will take the island a lot of time to recover. The university is closed and that means a lot for employment as there are no international students and the apartments are empty. Fruits, vegetables and chicken is available and the shops are not emptier than the were before Maria.

Hiking is good but not all the trails are open, the most popular are, there are no crowns in the trees and the trails are covered by fast growing low buses and razor grass. We did a few trails and had to go back on some but enjoyed it very much. We missed the trail to boiling lake but that’s on the list next time we are in Dominica. Every Sunday and Wednesday there is a PAYS barbecue, the money they earn with this finances the security boat which guards the anchorage. PAYS is the organisation in Rupert Bay who organises everything for cruisers like water, a dinghy dock and a place where you can leave your garbage. But be aware of the rum punch they serve during the barbecue it drinks likes lemonade 😊. It is also time for the Carnival, in Dominica it is in the same period as it is in Holland. A few weeks before the Carnival starts they start already with it every weekend.

In Dominica we got a message from our insurance that they ended the policy, a month after the insurance company got the notice, so we had only 5 weeks to arrange a new one. They told us that they couldn’t find another insurance for us, so good luck. You can’t do a thing about it. Luckily we had internet connection and found with a little help from our friends an English company, who is working out of France, must be because of the Brexit, who wanted to insure us. After a wonderful but to short time in Dominica we left for Guadeloupe to do some shopping, again, and left for St. Maarten. We have a leakage at our water maker and want to repair it in a place where they have al the spares we maybe need. We also wanted to check our fuel, the filter is a bit dirty and it looks that one tank is not giving fuel, so better be sure it is oke 😊

Bequia, Martinique, Nederland, Frankrijk, january 2019

A writer’s block or just a busy social live 😊 a short update.

We got a perfect weather window after new year to sail to Martinique, we left 4.00 in the morning and arrived already at 17.00 in Rodney Bay, St. Lucia. Again, a quick sail. We stayed illegally for one day because of the weather and got again a perfect sail to Sainte Anne, Martinique.

Chapter Two donated us a yoghurt maker and it works fantastic. You need a little yoghurt with Bifid us culture, add some milk and the next day you have new yoghurt, you can also use milk powder that means less storage.

We enjoy a few hikes with Chapter Two and enjoy the weather before we leave the boat on a mooring buoy in Le Marin. A mooring buoy costs €12, – a day or € 110, – a month, they bring you ashore and watch your boat, now wonder that there are almost no moorings free. Luckily, we reserved in time.

In Holland and also in France its cold, the temperature difference is more than 30 degrees. On the boat somewhere deep under we found long trousers, hats and gloves and whit a lot of layers the cold was doueble.

In Holland is was very beautiful with the snow, the central heating was put higher just for us and the food and wine, we had still some leftovers from our old wine cellar, helped us also to get us warm. Ronald did even try to make brownies and well they looked good and tasted good, but a little bit of exercise is needed, the one he did on the boat was taste full but unpresentable. We did gain a lot of kilo’s, an extra layer against the cold 😊. It was wonderful to see family and friends, it was just a week but it was perfect, in October we will be back.

In France with my parents we did a little bit of hiking. Up and down to the Pont du Gard, one and a half hours and its was very special because there was nobody on the Pont du Gard.

Of course, we went to the Decathlon and bought new hiking shoes, a camel bag and everything which was suddenly in our bag 😊. And we played Mexican Train Domino with my parents, we learned to play this game in Jamaica and had a lot of fun. Also in France the food, my mother and I tried a lot of special dishes, and especially the French wine were very good.

We were allowed to take 23 kilo each and yes, we managed just to stay under it. Specially in Holland we buy a lot, well most of it is boat stuff.

Rodney Bay, St. Lucia – Bequia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines 12-12/31-12

Happy New Year and a fabulous 2019.

Here in Bequia we celebrated New Year’s Eve with friends, some drinks and food on Asha with a New Year’s Eve Dutch specialty, oliebollen (kind of doughnut balls) and for the fire works we went to the beach. Feet in the water with a glass of champagne in our hands, feels like paradise. At the moment we have a very busy social life, Ocean Cruisers Club is very active and as soon as we arrived in Bequia we were invited for our first drink in the Whaleboner and it was followed by many more. We also followed Salsa lessons at The Fig Three and I discovered that my rhythm needs some well education 😊. Hiking is not a problem just one step forward followed by another one up hill, downhill no rhythm there. Bequia is such a small island you can go everywhere by foot and everywhere the view is great.

No rhythm problems with the rum tour, the distance between the pubs where not that big, sometimes not more than 20 meters.

This Christmas we where with a lot of cruiser in The Fig Three where a pot luck was organised. We brought our own meat for the grill and a side-dish to share and there were a lot of side-dishes at star restaurant standards. It was superb and we needed boxing day to have a rest, but I think that’s where boxing day is for 😊.

Without jobs we are not really the Fairy Queen. Our ONAN generator stopped, probably we didn’t use it enough, so in 2019 we are going to dismantle it. We already bought a new generator in Rodney Bay, a Honda 2.2i, we could make a very good deal and we can already load our batteries with it. At the moment no problems with that as we have a lot of wind and a lot of sun. Plan is to go up north again at the end of the week when easterly winds are back again, its time to leave Bequia.