Mont Pelée

Yesterday it was raining.

So we rented a car with Patty and Peter from Serendipitous, drove 2 hours up to St. Pierre and then walked (clambered) up Mont Pelée! Hard slog – for which we got about 50 foot visibility in the mist!

Made it!

Made it!

Not such wonderful visibility!

Not such wonderful visibility!

 

Probably not a bad thing we couldn't look down!

Probably not a bad thing we couldn’t look down! Thanks for the photo Patty!

And then there was this great pic of Kate – helming Toodle-oo! from Dominica to Martinique… She’s a natural!

Phew! What concentration!!!

Phew! What concentration!!!

Kate’s Visit gets better!

We ended up having a lovely visit from my sister Kate – once we were secure to the dock having dealt with her injury and then our silly mistakes with water in the sail locker – though the thing she wished for most, swimming in the Caribbean ended up being elusive since her stitches were only finally removed on the last day of her vacation. Next time Kate…

We managed to make a visit to the Pitons – very impressive – and to St. Pierre, and we made a couple of stops at a super beach – very relaxing! We had a nice stroll through a formal garden – somewhat too staged for our taste – though the canopy walkway was fun and then we did a more authentic rain forest walk…

Arrival in St. Anne's Martinique

Arrival in St. Anne’s Martinique

Carnival in St. Anne's

Carnival in St. Anne’s

Pointy Mountains - The Pitons

Pointy Mountains – The Pitons

Canopy Walk in the Garden

Canopy Walk in the Garden

The fish are this side ladies!

The fish are this side ladies!

St. Pierre Anchorage and Volcanic Ruins...

St. Pierre Anchorage and Volcanic Ruins…

Amazingly, her route home proved easier than the flights here, in spite of there being an extra flight in there. Confirmation has been received – she arrived!

Kate and Bill

Kate and Bill

The Beach

The Beach

Hopalong

Hopalong

Great to see you Kate – come again!

Memo to Self…

We left Dominica and had a nice passage to Martinique, arriving in St. Pierre. However, with a forecast of higher than comfortable winds and waves, we decided not to stay in St. Pierre and instead headed to St. Anne’s at the south of the island, a trip of about 35 miles. We knew that the last 12 miles would be bumpy – directly into wind and waves and sure enough it was, with waves crashing and the bow pounding into and on top of them.

We finally arrived at the anchorage in St. Anne and as I went forward to release the anchor I realized that I had inadvertently left the forward sail locker open. Open to the oncoming sea! It was full – yes full – of water. Sails were floating, empty diesel cans were floating…

Once anchored, I went below – and noted that somewhat unusually, it was downhill to the bow and I opened the valve to the forward sail locker – allowing the water in the waterproof bulkhead to escape into the bilge. Boy did it come!

I have an electric bilge pump purportedly capable of pumping 2,000 gallons/hour… It ran for 15 minutes and was losing ground. So I finally switched on an AC bilge pump that throws out about 15,000 gals per hour… In the end, I estimate we had about 750 gallons of water aboard – all up in the nose of the boat! No wonder she was acting rather sluggishly!

We emptied the sail locker of a couple of very wet light air sails and thought we were good.

Not…

The water had penetrated the master berth and there was water all throughout the starboard side cabinets (Laurie’s side :-(  ) so all her winter clothes were soaked.

Then we realized the bed was also soaked.

Finally, while lying awake last night, I realized that the storage area under the boat was also compromised… it indeed was, though fortunately there was not much ingress there and the delicate items were mostly in sealed bags or plastic bins…

And we were just congratulating ourselves on having stopped screwing up too badly on a regular basis.

Memo to self: Stop congratulating ourselves when we’re clearly still novices!!!

We moved today to a slip in Le Marin, hoping to dry out for a while – and to allow Kate to get on an off the boat at will…

 

Pear Shaped!

When things go wrong, they normally go in threes… We’ve had at least two threes!

Sister Kate was to arrive Monday evening – but she’d had a bit of an adventure on her trek from the UK, including having to have all passengers get off one flight because they had one too many bags aboard – this delayed them somewhat, but she recovered and made it as far as Martinique – where the pilot had a heart attack! Flight cancelled. She’d come as far as she could that night – so they put her up in a hotel. Meanwhile, Laurie and I made our way to the airport to meet her – not. We waited for the last flight in but nothing.

We came back in the morning for the first flight of the day and fortunately she was aboard.

When we got back to the harbor, it was pouring rain – harder than we’d experienced to date – so we went and had a beer and a bite to eat. When we got back to the dinghy, which was beached on the sand, Kate managed to stumble and fell on a piece of glass buried in the sand and was awarded with a massive gash in her shin. We did some quick triage, but it was clear she needed stitches, so Jason, one of the PAYS guys (the organization that keeps all the yachties secure) took us to the emergency room where she was promptly seen to with 15 stitches!

When we got back, the wind had turned to the west – highly unusual – creating a large on-shore surf. There was no way we could get Kate onto the dinghy and then off again, so Jason very kindly offered to put Kate up for the night in his house.

Meanwhile, with the help of 3 big guys, I was able to launch the dinghy and rode back to Toodle-oo! and recovered some of Kate’s clothes. I headed back to the dock, but the swell was so high I managed to get thrown out of the dinghy (with Kate’s bag!) and was lucky that the dinghy didn’t come down on top of me. Unfortunately, I was carrying our only phone – which appears to have suffered terminally, though Laurie is currently trying to revive the bloody thing. In the beaching accident, I also managed to bugger up the engine!

With Kate packed away with Jason, I considered options for getting back to Toodle-oo! Fortunately, new OCC members (had only applied that morning!) Mark and Lynn  on Roxy were also ashore, and we all went to a local beach bar to wait out the worst of the surge. Finally at 9:00pm, things had died down a little and we managed to launch their dinghy and they brought me back to Toodle-oo!

Kate - Finally enjoying a beer!

Kate – Finally enjoying a beer!

In the morning I recovered Toodle-Pip! and found that the damage to the engine was annoying but minimal – we can get if fixed in Martinique.

Kate has since managed to get aboard Toodle-oo! – though she probably regrets it to a degree due to the adverse conditions – we have been rocking and rolling in the anchorage for the past 3 nights with a northern swell creating havoc along with the westerly winds… Hopefully it’ll settle tonight…

 

 

Bird Watching

We went bird watching today with Dr. Birdie – with Patty and Peter off Serendipitous and Al and Tess from Ingomar…

Big bird 1 - I forget the name...

Big bird 1 – I forget the name…

Can you see the green hummingbird?

Can you see the green hummingbird?

Another neat bird

Another neat bird

I think this one is a twitcher

I think this one is a twitcher

This one's a Wren

This one’s a Wren

Fly Catcher

Fly Catcher

Jacko Parrot  We also saw the rarer Imperial Parrot, but it was too fast for me!

Jacko Parrot We also saw the rarer Imperial Parrot, but it was too fast for me!

Humming Bird

Humming Bird

Solitaire

Solitaire

Another Twitcher

Another Twitcher

Pretty Blue Hummingbird

Pretty Blue Hummingbird

And a stick insect!

And a stick insect!

 

Twitcher in the making...  (Tess)

Twitcher in the making… (Tess)

More pictures from Dominica:

Our anchorage - Prince Rupert's Bay

Our anchorage – Prince Rupert’s Bay

Overgrown Garrison Guns

Overgrown Garrison Guns

Officers Quarters bing engulfed by the forest

Officers Quarters being engulfed by the forest – click on it

You can hardly see the ruins for the trees

You can hardly see the ruins for the trees

Shopping at the market with "Boat Boy" Martin of Providence

Shopping at the market with “Boat Boy” Martin of Providence

Dominica

Dominica is probably the least spoilt island we’ve been to so far – with the possible exception of Barbuda. Very lush.

We arrived for the opening of Carnival which was a very colourful and noisy affair!

Lush Dominica

Lush Dominica

Beach was laid in a day during Hurricane Erica

Beach was laid in a day during Hurricane Erica

Fresh Produce

Fresh Produce

Carnival Parade

Carnival Parade

The Emerald Pool - Peter and Patty from Serendipitous

The Emerald Pool – Peter and Patty from Serendipitous

Neat reflection

Neat reflection

Took a tour around a large part of the island, stopping at the Emerald Pool and having a fabulous lunch high in the mountains.

Lunch with fellow OCCers

Lunch with fellow OCCers

Checking out the Bar (A cruiser's life!)

Checking out the Bar (A cruiser’s life!)

Iles des Saintes

Our first night in The Saintes we arrived too late to get a mooring so we were at anchor – having been moved twice by the harbor master for being in the wrong place… The anchorage is well outside the mooring area and far more exposed. It was windy and the swell was significant. We tried playing dominoes, but they went flying – so we played Liar Dice instead! Sleeping was all but impossible without a seat belt, so in the morning I had a motivated crew to help me find and secure us to a mooring!

Mike and Jane took the dinghy and sped off in search of a newly vacated mooring ball which they were fortunate to find quickly – just as a French boat was approaching it! They valiantly fought for their rights and held on tight!

Meanwhile, Laurie and I had to haul in the 250ft rode – while avoiding boats on both sides of us – one of whom had anchored almost on top of our anchor – making retrieval especially difficult. Laurie managed to steer her way through the maze and we emerged and quickly attached ourselves to the hard fought mooring. It was much less rolly.

We quickly explored the small town and then took a walk up to Fort Napoleon – quite a hike! We had a well deserved dinner at Peter and Patty’s invitation at a wonderful French restaurant that evening.

Chatter Boxes

Chatter Boxes

Terre de Haut

Terre de Haut

Flying Leap

Flying Leap

Marigot Bay and FOrt Napoleon

Marigot Bay and FOrt Napoleon

Looking down from Fort Caroline

Looking down from Fort Caroline

Today we took another hike up to Fort Caroline and then down to Pompierre Bay. The scenery here is quite dramatic with Guadaloupe in the background to the north and Dominica in the background to the south. We’re really looking forward to Dominica – it looks quite impressive from 10 miles off!

 

Leaving Antigua

We managed to secure a spot in the anchorage at English Harbor. However, we ended up a little close to the boat next to us – we could hardly fit a dinghy between us! So we moved a bit and ended in a great position. We then realized that the guy we’d nearly bumped into was none other than David Reid who’d kindly showed us around his garage full of Minis up in Marblehead last summer. I even got to sit in his all-out racing mini! He’d toured me and Laurie and Mike and Jane – and Mike and Jane were about to arrive in English Harbour… Small world indeed!

Mike and Jane arrived and we promptly got them out onto the hills surrounding the harbor. Great views – especially since the weekend was to be full of not only the Super Yachts racing, but also the arrival of the transatlantic rowers. What a contrast – massive boats with crews of over 20 people and the rowers with between 1 and 4 crew.

Michael Made it apparently!

Michael Made it apparently!

Walking

Walking

Looking over English Harbour

Looking over English Harbour

Neat Super Yacht

Neat Super Yacht

Mike and Jane

Mike and Jane

As you can see, the scenery around the island is pristine…

Good Walk!

Good Walk!

Trans-Atlantic Rowing Team arrives after 2 months at sea!

Trans-Atlantic Rowing Team arrives after 2 months at sea!

We left Antigua – having made sure that the Patriots did indeed win the Super Bowl yet again – at 5 in the morning on Monday, destination Isles des Saintes… We had a very lumpy and uncomfortable seasick inducing sail – but it was at least fast – and we decided to make a pit stop in Deshaies in Guadaloupe which is where we are now. We’ll push on to the Saints tomorrow…

Back to Antigua

We returned to Jolly Harbour on Antigua after enjoying Barbuda’s wonderful beaches. Unfortunately, our last day was rather rolly – with significant swell, such that it was impossible to land the dinghy for fear of capsizing her on the way in.

We had a romping sail back to Jolly Harbour, leaving Barbuda with 3 other boats – but by the time we got to Antigua, they were barely in sight – behind us! :-)

There were 7 other OCC boats in the anchorage or mooring field, so we arranged an impromptu club meeting at the West Point Marina Bar for the evening and had a great time chatting with new faces and some familiar faces. It was great to finally meet Bob and Laurie from Hedonism, an Outbound that I’ve been chatting with online for probably 5 years – so it was great to be able to finally meet in person.

OCC Gathering in Jolly Harbour

OCC Gathering in Jolly Harbour

 

We’re now moored off Great Bird Island on the North East coast – quite a difficult place to get to as it’s surrounded by reefs. We took a short walk this afternoon on the island which was well worthwhile – great views, wonderful smells – Privet we think – and interesting rock formations – much like glorified buttertubs from back home.

Very fragrant shrub - Privet?

Very fragrant shrub – Privet?

Buttertubs like formation - but these ones go down to the sea!

Buttertubs like formation – but these ones go down to the sea!

Pretty anchorage

Pretty anchorage

Laurie battles the wind!

Laurie battles the wind!

We’ll stay here another day perhaps and then head back to Falmouth to pick up a replacement radar dome and then meet Mike and Jane who will be staying with us for 10 days and sailing on down to Dominica.

Looking forward to Dominica – we’ll be there for “Yottie Appreciation Week” and then sister Kate will join us there for 2 weeks!

Fantastic Day in Barbuda

Great beaches, super visit to the Frigate Bird Colony with George – beach to die for – but sadly it’s only 11 miles long!

Baby Frigate Birds

Baby Frigate Birds

Showing off for the ladies

Showing off for the ladies

Rescued from the Mangrove

Rescued from the Mangrove

Hey, Look what I got!

Hey, Look what I got!

Are you coming home soon dad?

Are you coming home soon dad?

George and the Frigates

George and the Frigates

Pink Beach in Barbuda

Pink Beach in Barbuda

Peter and Patty (Serenipitous)

Peter and Patty (Serenipitous)