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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.

Martinique, Saint-Pierre, Sainte-Anne 21-11 / 12-12

We have a lovely sail from Basse-Terre, Guadeloupe to Saint-Pierre in the north of Martinique. We skip Dominica on this trip we will visit it later in the season. Saint-Pierre is a city which used to be known as Paris of the Caribbean before the eruption of the volcano in 1902, only one person, a prisoner survived protected by the thick walls of the prison, its still there. The city is built up on the same foundations and the statue of La Virgin des Marins which was not destroyed just wiped of her feet, stands on here old foundation looking out over the sea, she is lightened at night.

We hiked to the statue and there is a little chapel underneath her where you can light a candle as we did. We also hiked to another interesting place, the distillery of Depaz, an hour walk from the bay. It is situated very beautifully under the feet of the mount Pelé and you can follow a route and see how the rum is fabricated. Of course, you end with the tasting of al differed aged rum, to much alcohol for me but the ti-punch they make is very nice.

On the terrain of the distillery there is also a nice restaurant called Le Moulin à Cannes where you can have a nice meal for € 18, =, starter and main or main and dessert and walking back is only downhill 😊. Most of the boats stay here for only one day, it’s a perfect spot to clear in and out, cost you nothing and from here its easy to go to Dominica or the south of Martinique. We have to go back to see the underwater world, there are 14 shipwrecks and a statue underwater garden and the water is incredibly clear. Next stop for us is Sainte-Anne, a little bit nostalgic. We arrived here after our crossing three years ago, not much is changed except a lot of buys to guide the dinghies to the pontoon. Its like we were here just a few weeks ago, the busses are still driving to Le Marin on the same hour, the laundry, the bakery and the supermarket with the grilled chicken, it is still like it was. The clearance is still at Boubou costs are increased from € 2, = to € 3, = and he is closed at Wednesday as he always was. New is the cruisers net on VHF 08 every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8.30.

Well with all our French meals we have to do some exercises and hiking is easy here, but after we arrive at Les Salines and maps.me tells us that we have to do another 10 kilometres we decide according our calves to go back. Next Sunday we go for the whole 17 kilometres and stop for lunch in Les Salines. It is very busy, they organised an ultra-trail of 133 kilometres and 5.250 meter of elevation from Grand-Rivière to Sainte-Anne, chapeau, we are well not capable to do that.

Lunch is lovely, started with a very strong ti-punch with almost no lemon, I prefer the ones Ronald makes, more vitamins in it 😊. After lunch 6 kilometres to go and with a swim half way it is a very good way to spend your Sunday. Our fridge is full with food for Christmas, duck, lamb, and pâté and of course nice red wine and real French champagne for new years eve. Tomorrow to Saint Lucia, an island just 22 miles south of Martinique and a course we can sail, perfect!!!!

Los Roques – Rivière Sens, Guadeloupe 6/11-23/11

It is again a special crossing, it never goes as planned. Together with Wild Bird we leave Los Roques heading for Carriacou. We try to sail with the engine on but the current pushes against us and Carriacou will be a hard sail and as we don’t have to be on an special island, well we want  to be somewhere in the eastern Caribbean, our new target is Martinique. As our second fuel tank doesn’t give any diesel we decide to sail and try to get to Guadeloupe. Wild Bird is able to sail a better angle and we will see them somewhere. It is a relieve that we are sailing, very quiet and in the mean while we catch a Mahi Mahi, live is very good on Fairy Queen. A few times a day we have contact with Wild Bird through the HF radio and the connection is crystal clear, it’s nice as old-fashioned equipment works so well. In the meantime, Ronald solves the problem with our diesel tank and we are in an excellent position to reach Guadeloupe. We can keep on sailing until 50 miles from Guadeloupe the wind drops and we have to use the engine again. At 22.00 a bang and a change of sound of the motor which is vibrating on the brackets in a way that we are afraid that the brackets will break, also water comes in trough the seal of the axe. We drift slowly away from land and decide to call the coastguard before they will be out of reach. As there are no other boats in our surrounding, we don’t know what cause the problem and there is not enough wind to sail in the direction of land, we weight 19 tons, a tugboat is arranged by the coastguard. The following morning, we are on a mooring in Rivière Sens, a cute little village with everything a booty needs. Fresh fruits and vegetables, French baguette and a laundry. A walk of half an hour to Basse Terre where there are little shops, restaurants and of course the Leader Price with the box wine and you can take the bus back for only one euro to the marina. Wild Bird stops over on their way to Antigua and we make a lovely hike, its green, its beautiful, its wet and there’s only pads with a dead end, so the same way back but our muscles love it. We have a lot of rain and the hedge in the front cabin is still leaking, we fix it once, use not enough kit so we have to do it again and now it seems to be oke, next trip will tell us. Point à Pitre is full with boats waiting the arrival of the solo sailors of the route du Ruhm, as the route goes behind our boat we see the first two trimarans arriving, spectacular and respect also for the boats who are still on their way.

Los Roques, Venezuela 21-10 / 6-11

Sunday morning the 21st are we ready to leave Curacao together with Wild Bird and Frantcesca with destination Crasky, a small island above the coast of Venezuela. A little bit more wind and waves than predicted and after 40 hours we are in paradise, white sandy beaches and blue, blue water.

Carla and Eduardo of restaurant Agua Clara are already waiting for us as the where informed by True Blue that we were passing by. Lunch is perfect, ceviche from barracuda and small tuna fish with cassava and coleslaw, Carola is really a good cook. You have to bring your own drinks as they don’t have them.

We did bring them flour, sugar, rice and butter as these are the things they can’t buy, it isn’t even for sale. We go with Eduardo to Gran Roque to do our clearance, we have to do it in three hours and after one hour waiting at the customs it did luckily go very quick. Immigration tells us to pay $ 350, =, we say no way! Oké if you can pay $ 150, = no problem and $10, = for a stamp in your passport, we didn’t get a bill and can stay for 14 days, cleared out already. We still had time for a visit at the supermarket bit there was not much to buy, onions, cassava, frozen chicken and some tins, luckily, we did a lot of shopping in Curacao. There is no oil for the engines available which they use for their generator and as we still have some we can swap it to 90 litres of diesel, everybody happy. We enjoy it very much over here after almost 4 months of hard work.

We walk the beach, swim, have a barbecue, snorkel, learn to sail in a dinghy and read a lot. We paint the second fridge, too much cold turkey otherwise, but no pressure jobs anymore. The only disadvantage are the mosquitos over here if there is no wind, we have to hide inside the boat when the sun goes down. If there is enough wind the mosquitos disappear. The 6th of November a very nice weather window appears and we can go on, we will arrive somewhere between St. Maarten and Grenada, we’ll see 😊. We try to buy some vegetables and fruit for our passage but the boat from Caracas didn’t arrive so there is nothing, even the gasoline and diesel is finished. Well we have multivitamins we can take and we know that in the east Caribbean there is lots of fruit. East Caribbean here we come!!!

Curacao, time to go sailing

A short update because tomorrow we are leaving Curacao. We did a lot of work but we are ready to go, you have to stop else you are only working on your boat and not enjoying her. And what would we do without a little job now and then 😊.

We closed the deck, no leakages any more, after the last weeks a lot of rain felt and well the boat was “dry”. Also a new dinghy cover is ready, in the colours of the boat and whit the right material, kilo’s of electric cable we took out of the boat, useless or replaced by new calbes, anti-fouling, our electric anchor winch goes up and down, never did before, and a second freezer is almost ready, job when we are getting bored.

But also a little vacation with Ronalds mam, his sister, brother in law and nice, a fantastic week in which we finally saw the island.

After doing a lot of shopping, with a new shopping bag made by Gayle from Wild Bird, we go together with Wild Bird and Franszeska to Los Roque and after only one night further to Martinique. Last year we mist a window, that will not happen again 😊. Fairy Queen is ready and so are we, lets go sailing.