In the Carribean
söndag 3 januari 2016 - Skrivet av Leif
Carribean Sailing day 15
Aquaryd - bundled up for sun protection

These days are spent trying to fix the boat:

-       The broken front hatch is neatly fixed by loosening the hatch proper.  This is taken to shore in the dinghy and fixed over night.  A new, perfectly translucent plexiplass sheet is inserted and the hatch is as good as new, at €250. Perfect.

-       The generator is examined by Mon. Thierry Apelat and the diagnosis is water influx in some critical parts.  He cannot fix it on board and it is decided to take the entire unit ashore.  A catamaran dinghy approaches and the generator, including casing and all, 60 kg, is lifted over-board using a halyard.  Simple thing.  I will recuperate this on my return in about a month time.

-       Charging.  Caraibes Marin is enormously well equipped and they sell solar panels.  They short of it is that 2 panels of 150 W each are installed between the davits, where they sit perfectly exposed to the sun, no shadowing and completely out of the way.  The guys make a fine job of wiring it to the batteries and additionally a amp-meter is installed.  Now one can see how much energy that flows in, or out, of the batteries.  I measure up to 13 Amps.


Thursday morning skipper prepares for Fort de France and at 10 o’clock the anchor is hoisted.  It is a dead run to the west-north-west around the corner, up north and into the Cul-de-sac-de-Fort de France.  At 1500 hours I again enter the Marina Plaisance d’Etang z’Abricots.  I am told to moor stern-to with a thick permanent rope up at the bow.  The dinghy is easily lowered to the pontoon.  The outboarder is taken up on the boat and the dinghy is covered and attached to the davits.


On Friday morning the covers are bought up from the hold and, starting up front, the boat is put under cover.  These are cotton covers that are perfectly sewed to measure. They cover the entire boat, over the side wires and down to deck level.  Very  good protection from the sun.

At 5 o’clock skipper leaves for the airport.

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In the Carribean
lördag 2 januari 2016 - Skrivet av Leif
Carribean Sailing day 14
Le Marin - the home of myriads of catamarans

 The ladies are leaving tomorrow from Martinique so we had better get up there.  We plan for Marin, a deep bay on the south-eastern tip of the island.  This is pretty close to the airport and it also the base for a huge number of charter boats.   A lot of infrastructure to fix boats !!

So, usual morning routine and them we go into the marina to get diesel (tax free OK but this makes a very small difference.  Nevertheless, is cost us about 40% of what the price would have been in Sweden !)

We leave at about 1100 and the sail up to Martinique is uneventful.  The “cul-de-sac-de Marin” is very shallow in places but well buoyed.  No place in the marina pontoons so we anchor up close by.  Exploration, late lunch ashore …and later dinner on board.

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In the Carribean
fredag 1 januari 2016 - Skrivet av Leif
Carribean Sailing day 13
Aquaryd in the New Year

Usual morning preparations.  A dip in the sea, breakfast, hoisting the dinghy and off we go.  We plan to make it all the way up to Rodney Bay, St.Lucia and before that we must check out of St.Vincent and the Grenadines.  We go a short way up to Kingstown and moor to a quai.  The water is seemingly calm but swells find their way in and we bounce off the concrete with a lot of strain on the fenders.   We need to go to the airport pretty close by and officials there relieve us of some “easydollars”.  In addition to the taxi drive it all adds up to quite a sum of money…..

We go up inside, leeward to St.Vincent with erratic winds.  Pass Vallilabou, most inconspicuous in the daytime (and even more so, of course, at night as last time).  We tumble out in the gap up to St.Lucia where the wind stabilizes to the usual 25 knots and a wee bit too northerly, so we slide westwards.  The extremely conspicuous Pitons hide in the haze and we don’t see them until very late. The trip ends with a couple of hours motoring up close to the coast in the dark and we do not reach Rodney Bay until 2030.  We cast anchor in the southern par of the bay: Dinner and bed.

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In the Carribean
torsdag 31 december 2015 - Skrivet av Leif
Carribean Sailing day 12 (new year's eve)
Aquaryd and New Year's eve

New Years Eve…on Mustique would have been extraordinary, but, No, we must start to make our way back north, the ladies fly out 3 days from now.

So after having had (a rather bad) breakfast ashore at the “Purple House” we set sails for St.Vincent again. 

The nicety of sailing here is thst the winds are very constant easterly, 15-25 knots while you are sailing north or south.  So you have a reach in fresh wind and make good distances.  We moor on a buoy in the sound inside Young Island on the southern tip of St.Vincent.  On the island itself lies a very nice looking, posh resort with bar and restaurant , tennis courts, and a lot of small bungalows up on the hill side.  A stone path led around to the west side for the sun set, which was not to be today: A large squall cloud loomed out there.  Here we met Jimmy, an American from Mississippi, who showed great interest in “boat life”, apparently very different from the week he had had on the island: He made the impression of being somewhat trapped.

Marion and Leif took an evening the starting rain after which we prepared new years dinner the best we could: Some nice apperitifs, champagne…...

Fire cracker celebration started exactly at 2400, oh, discipline !  The resort spent a lot, some on the “main land” and in the far south, on the horizon, Mustique exploded.

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In the Carribean
onsdag 30 december 2015 - Skrivet av Leif
Carribean Sailing day 11
Local coffee house - like an exotic backdrop

Up early and morning dip/ breakfast as usual.  Today we are going to Mustique, a fabled rather unique “construct”. The island is some 5x2 km and was apparently uninhabited until 1960 when it was “found” (?) by an English entrepreneur who promptly turned it into a privately owned housing association.  Here lives Princess Margret, Mick Jaegger, Elton John and other celebs.  A narrow slate of land to the west is accessible to commoners like us.  We moor at a buoy (EC$ 200), walk the land southwards and snorkel a bit in very shallow water.  A lot of "private property, no trespassing” and a lot of poisonous trees (?!) (“do not stand beneath them in rain…!).

Eventually we did have dinner at the famed Basil’s Bar, very good and reasonably priced, actually.  The swells come under the board walk where the table was laid and almost sloshed around our feet.  Exotic !!

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In the Carribean
tisdag 29 december 2015 - Skrivet av Leif
Carribean Sailing day 10
Friendship Bay, Bequia - as good as it gets

We decide to stay the day and explore the island.  Michaela has homed in on Bequia Beach Hotel on the other side, at Friendship Bay, and promptly takes a cab.  This hotel is run by a Swedish couple and they apparently run Swedish Julafton and Nyårsafton (Christmas and New Year celebrations) the Swedish way. The hotel is not “all inclusive”, although exclusive enough, and this means that we can stay on the beach and have lunch in their restaurant.  Marion walks across the island, it is only 2-3 kms.. and Leif tags along.

We have a rather wonderful “vacation beach day”; swim, stroll along the beach, a luxurious lunch and then we walk back to Port Elisabeth.   Michael buys the sarong she has coveted since yesterday, very expensive but very nice indeed.

This evening we finally make it to Tommy’s.  Their tune fish “steak” was delicious….

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In the Carribean
måndag 28 december 2015 - Skrivet av Leif
Carribean Sailing day 9
"Board walk" in Port Elisabeth

Up and away…!  We aim south and sail to Port Elisabeth on Bequia, supposedly a “Swedish hole” (not that we care a whole lot about that….)  A couple of hour’s sail over the next hop in the island chain; Bequia is well visible from St.Vincent.  Port Elisabeth is a huge bay facing west where hundreds of boats lie anchored up.  Along the southern shore are a number of beautiful beaches, linked together by a scenic board walk/stone pathway.  We explore the localities, do some shopping of food stuff and souvenirs; a Swedish lady runs a boutique since 20 years back; she carries beautiful, locally made stuff but is quite expensive.  Leif meets Al and Irene again

Dinner was planned at one of the restaurants along the shore, Tommy’s, but as we are preparing the dinghy, there is a huge squall so we change palns and stay on the boat where  Michaela prepares a pasta adeli.   

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In the Carribean
söndag 27 december 2015 - Skrivet av Leif
Carribean Sailing Day 8
Pirates in the bushes

Waking up, taking s morning swim and the breakfast in the cockpit is now standard procedure.          We then take the dinghy to the shore and explore the surroundings. On the key strange things are displayed: dilapidated coffins, a hangman’s gallows…(?)  What is this?  We go into an old house and, alas, this is where they casted the “Pirates of the Caribbean’s” and the whole story is on display inside.

We collect a load of exquisite vegetables from Stavan, drink coco-water and take a walk up to the very touristique waterfall a couple of kilometres up the road.  It turns out to be very diminutive…..further up the road towards the ridge we see a fence that allegedly conceals the island prison.  We can obtain customs clearance at a local office but have to pass through immigration at a later stage elsewhere; bureaucracy is everywhere. In the afternoon we enjoy our fins for the first time and snorkel about in clear water with corals and a multitude of fish.  Marion has a bit of a nasty experience where she looses one of the fins and she is thrown onto some rock while trying to recover it.  Ends well, though. 

We stay the night and have a good diner at the local Pirate restaurant

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In the Carribean
lördag 26 december 2015 - Skrivet av Leif
Carribean Sailing Day 7
Out of Souffrière, where we did not suffer particularly

The canyon between the mountains leading down to Soffrière bay funnels rain showers down over our boat.  It appears that when the trade winds from the east are forces up across the high mountains of these islands, clouds form and rain falls.  The morning is very wet and we decide to go south. In order to leave St.Lucia we need to check out of the country and this can be done at Vieux Fort, at the southern tip.  This involves a couple of hours motoring into the wind and we finally moor next to a jetty for big boats exporting bananas.  Vieux Fort is not uplifting.  Poor and destitute and when we get there most shops are closed.  We have a long walk to the international airport, Huevanorra, and are duly passed out by customs and immigration.  We take a taxi back via “southern market” a decidedly  downmarket local store for some missing food items.


After some deliberations we decide to leave for St.Vincent despite the rather late hour.  1500 hours means arrival in the dark on the other side.  This is not improved by the fact that the furled mainsail gets stuck and Leif is hoisted up the mast to pull it out. (The mainsail is very old, mended and basically a great big sack.  Too much cloth mid mast makes it prone to not come out properly and this is a real nuisance.  There is simply a want for a new sail).


We reach Vallilabou at 2100 and make our entry into the bay very slowly.  All of a sudden there is a voice calling and a man, Stevan, appears sitting on a surf board.  He directs us to cast anchor, turn the boat around and then back up towards the beach where he carries a rope and ties on to a tree.   We are finally moored 15 m. from the beach in 4 m of perfectly calm water.  Stevan collects our garbage and will deliver fresh bread in the morning, all at the cost of some few “easy dollars”.   We maker evening among 15 other yachts tied up the same way.

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In the Carribean
fredag 25 december 2015 - Skrivet av Leif
Carribean sailing day 6
On top of Pigeon Island, Fort Rodney dominated the bay and protected the British fleet

Gorgeous morning, as usual.  We decide to make it for the Pigeon Island beach in the dinghy to explore.  The shore establishment is a “Sandahls” hotel, which turns out to be “all inclusive”.  For 100 US$ we get a day ticket; we decide against this.  The next hotel even has a little harbour of its own even more posh and exclusive.  So instead we enter the Pigeon Island state park and pay a fee of 20 EC $ each.  On Pigeon Island lies Fort Rodney named after the admiral who definitely made St.Lucia British.  He had his crew to haul 3 huge ship cannons up the hill to dominate the bay beneath.  The climb up the hill above the fort is step and rather scary, but we get the physical exercise we needand fell ready to set sails.

We make it for Souffrière, just north of the two Pitons, the two very pointed volcanic peaks that are the symbols of St.Lucia.  We anchor up and make it for the shore in the dinghy. “Oh, you are from Whistler” a woman on the jetty says (no, we are not but skipper wears a T-shirt from Whistler).  Irene and Al Whitney on Darwin Sound lay next to us….and instead of going to a restaurant we end up having dinner in their boat with daughter Charlotte and her husband Vernon.

Over an absolutely delicious tuna dinner, cooked by Veron (a trained chef), we heard about their leaving academic teaching and set up business on a big sailboat (72 footer) to take scientists of different kinds to remote places to do research (!!)  They had had Nobel laureates on board. Extraordinary story.

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