We came into the Marina in Pointe a Pitre, Guadeloupe with one goal in mind – fix the generator! It has been making a heck of a lot of noise recently – so much so that when I first heard it while we were down in Dominica, I thought the main bearings had gone, however it continued to run, just with lots of noise.
I ordered spare parts – including engine mounts – which I hoped might solve the problem and had Neal bring them to us on his visit.
This was always going to be a messy job – lifting the generator out and working on it’s oily extremities in the cockpit – and it lived up to expectations! Fortunately, we discovered the cause of the noise… an Aluminium plate between the engine and generator had broken and one of three mounting bolts was therefore inoperable. However, of the two remaining mounts, one had lost it’s nut and the other’s nut was loose. Basically the thing was held together by the drive belt!!
I spotted a tech working on a Halberg Rassey a few slips down and confirmed that he is a welder – he came and took a look and confirmed that he’d be able to weld it up – though because it’s aluminium, there were to be no guarantees! I gave him the piece the following morning and he brought it back in the afternoon!
It took all this morning to reassemble the thing and get it back into it’s spot on it’s new engine mounts. Turned the thing on – and bliss – purrs like a kitten!!!
I love it when a plan works out!
We’re off tomorrow – back to Dominica!
Having a great visit with Neal and Kathy – enjoying the opportunity to land cruise around Guadeloupe and take advantage of their apartment’s WiFi and washing machine! WooHoo!!! Our livers on the other hand are looking forward to them heading home!!
Looking across to ‘Les Saintes’ from Guadeloupe
Did a super walk up the Volcano Soufriere – apparently the highest point in the Antilles… Quite a hike!
It’s a long way up!
Every once in a while the cloud would break for a few seconds
So did I!
Amazing lichens and mosses
On the ‘Rim’
Timing was rather tight to get out of Antigua after Abigail’s visit and down to Pointe a Pitre in Guadeloupe in time for the arrival of Laurie’s brother Neal and his girlfriend Kathy. We had a very salty 2 day sail but arrived unscathed on Saturday.
Neal and Kathy are actually staying on land – in an Air B&B adjacent to the Marina we use as a dinghy dock. Couldn’t be more convenient.
So, getting right into the program, we headed out to inspect the local beaches and bars – and found several of both! Day two we decided to go for a bit of a walk in the rain forest – and it obliged by showing itself in it’s full glory – wet, wet, wet! And muddy! No matter we survived to live another day and drink another rum!
The walking dead?
Aww – It’s Muddy!!!!
A little uphill…
Debating in the Rain Forest
Hunting Tree Frogs!
Washing off the mud
We had a lovely Christmas in Les Saintes with David and Leanne of Perigee – Christmas Eve on Toodle-oo! and Christmas Day aboard Perigee – excellent food, far too much alcohol and a little bit of snorkeling for good measure!
Toodle-oo! was nicely lit up for Christmas, but unfortunately, the last night we were there, we went ashore for the evening and came back to find the boat in darkness… the lights had shorted, and caused a small fire before the electricity was automatically cut. We were very lucky that the only damage was a small hole burned in the sail cover and mainsail. We fixed the main the following morning with a handy little manual sewing machine we were lent by Frank on Infinity B and then hightailed it up towards Antigua where we picked up Abigail and spent New Year.
We took the mainsail into North Sails who did a great repair very quickly – highly recommend them! And then we moved the boat around to English Harbour with David on Perigee aboard to act as coach for our first experience of “Med Mooring” where one sets an anchor and then backs in to the dock stern-to, held off the dock just be the anchor – and hoping you’re not putting your anchor and rode over someone else’s! The whole thing went smoothly – largely because the wind was cooperating!
Laurie then organized a Beach Bar pub crawl for all the OCC boats assembled in the vicinity… we had a tremendous time visiting 4 very different beach bars on Antigua’s western coast.
Hanging out in the bar!
Beach Bar Crawl
New Year’s Eve saw 5 OCC boats on the dock host appetizers for about 30 OCC members and then on New Year’s Day we had a Bocce Ball tournament! Quite the weekend!
Not such a fine performance!
We’re now in Green Island – a very secluded bay in Antigua – protected from the Atlantic by just a reef – so the next land east of us is Morocco! Abigail steered us here – having the inevitable race (and winning) with 2 boats headed in the same direction as us!
Showing them how it’s done!
Racing – and Winning!
As you can see, all’s well aboard Toodle-oo!
We left Dominica on Sunday after nearly 2 weeks there. It felt good to help out a bit and it was rewarding (and challenging) cleaning up the galvanized from the sea floor. We ended up with quite the pile!
Bill and Jeff’s fabulous haul!
We had a wonderful sail to Pointe a Pitre in Guadeloupe – probably the best sail we’ve ever had in the Caribbean. We were close hauled all the way, and the true wind speed was only 10-15 knots, but Toodle-oo! was flying along – great fun.
We arrived and anchored in Pointe a Pitre close to our friends Bob and Anne on Baloo and for the next couple of days were highly productive – laundry, restocking the boat, buying Christmas Dinner, and sourcing various bits for the boat. Unfortunately, our generator is acting up again – it’s making a lot more noise than normal and turns itself off at random times. Very frustrating! However, we have spare parts being brought to us just after the New Year by Laurie’s brother Neal, so hopefully we can limp by until then.
We left Pointe a Pitre today (Wednesday) and had another cracking sail, this time to the small island of Marie Galante where we hope to decompress for a bit! We’re spending Christmas with our friends David and Leanne on Perigee – but it sure would be nice if we knew where – The Saintes or Antigua seem to be the two choices and there’s only 4 days between now and Christmas Eve!
Looking forward to Abigail joining the boat of a few days around the New Year… we’ll be in Antigua, a hotbed of buff young sailors – and she’s on the prowl!!
Today we went mostly free-diving for Galvanized Roofing Sheets – there are loads of these sheets strewn around the bottom creating a real anchoring nightmare. In one morning we collected all these pieces – from just a small area of the anchorage.
Diving for Galvanized!
Got a bit of a scare when I got my leg tied up in the hauling line just before surfacing – that gets the adrenaline flowing!!
The morning’s haul!
Meanwhile, the kitchen counter is ready for pouring…
Ready for the counter-top to be poured…
Work continues in Portsmouth – on island time…
Island Time… The Womens Club has the coldest beers!
Unfortunately, we’ve still not started on the moorings but the Pavilion is coming along nicely. It won’t look finished until the roof is done – which has been contracted out by a charity organization that Hank Schmidt operates – they’ve raised over $25,000 for the Portsmouth area – including the roof!
Preparing for the footing
How many engineers to hang a flag?
The kitchen counter takes shape
Chief Engineer, Bill from Alembic
Meanwhile, we took some time off to do the Indian River Tour with Albert and his son Avin. Helen on Alembic had been insistent that Albert join us – his first trip up the river since losing one leg below the knee shortly before Maria struck. He was in fine spirits as Alvin rowed us up the river. Sadly the river is not in such spirits and I’ve included a couple of shots from last year to compare with this year’s river…
Indian River December – same spot…
The Indian River pre-Maria
Indian River close to the Jungle Bar
Pre Maria close by the Jungle Bar
The Jungle Bar :-(
Even so, we had an interesting tour and saw quite a variety of wildlife.
A group of happy OCCers. From back left to front right: Albert, Carl (Northern Star, Bill (Toodle-oo!), Ardys (Northern Star), Helen (Alembic), Bill (Alembic), Laurie (Toodle-oo!)
Can’t remember the name of this pretty bird
Green Backed Heron. (I think it had a different name on our last visit!)
The four OCC boats filled two large tables of ‘stuff’ – from Tarps to bandages, toys to solar lights, Tuna to reading glasses… Our gratitude again to the Centenary United Methodist Church of Attleboro for their generous donation – along with that from Frances and George of Kittiwake.
Several of the PAYS guys, who’d lost their houses, gratefully accepted various bits and pieces, and the school supplies and medical stuff was delivered by the OCC contingent to the local school and hospital.
Meanwhile, back at the PAYS pavilion, Bill from Alembic kept bashing on to get the kitchen area finished.
Meanwhile, Toodle-oo! took a bit of a time out to take a bus ride down to Roseau, capital of Dominica, to get a feel for the damage the rest of the island had seen… Some places on the route seemed to have been wiped out completely, but for the most part, damage was similar to that seen in Portsmouth – which is to say extensive, but recoverable – given time. Unfortunately, photos were impossible in our racing bus – it had darkened windows (that were dirty!) and anything taken would surely have been blurred!!! Got to love these Caribbean buses!!!
All the OCC boats got right to it today making repairs and improvements to the PAYS pavilion and dock. There was a really nice cooperation going on between cruisers and islanders – all messing in to help.
- The PAYS dock is now fully functional
- The kitchen area has its foundation poured – and it’s planned to be ready for Christmas Eve’s bash!
- Moorings have been located for repair
Ardys and Helen cutting wood for forms…
Helen and Laurie cutting re-bar for the footing
Helen (Alembic) levels the concrete footing
Sinking a footing for the dock’s on-ramp
On comes the covering
The finished ramp
The end of the dock is installed
Tomorrow: More of the same!
It would be really helpful if any boats coming to Portsmouth to assist could look at bringing some ¾” mooring chain for the moorings that they are working on.
There are no doubt a bunch of OCC members arriving with the ARC in St. Lucia – perhaps some will feel inclined to join the effort in Portsmouth.
On Friday we’ll be distributing the aid that various boats have brought with them – to schools, medical centers, PAYS and individuals in need…
We went ashore in Dominica this morning and walked into the center of Portsmouth. What a mess. Not to say that they hadn’t done a good job of getting back on their feet – but what a mess!
There are spaces full of debris where a house once was. The forest beside the town is broken and battered.
A house used to stand here…
The destructive power of 200mph winds…
The beach beside the PAYS pavilion
The waterfront in Portsmouth…
But the people are still Dominicans. Still very happy and friendly. Still very pleased that you’ve come to their island to visit.
In the afternoon, we got together with Jeff, President of PAYS who look after all the moorings and provide security for the Yotties… He immediately set us to work and we dug a trench for a new kitchen wall and counter in the PAYS pavilion – where he’s planning that they will hold their first BBQ of the season on Christmas Eve – just 3 weeks from now. Bill on Alembic was in his element and quickly came up with specifications for the trench and set the whole thing up. Tomorrow we go back to PAYS at 08:30 to lay the footing for the new kitchen.
We’ve also got plans to assist them in refurbishing the pavilion itself which is missing some of it’s roof, we’re to build a new storage area (so he doesn’t have to store stuff in the Ladies room(!) ) and we’re going to start laying mooring balls tomorrow afternoon. There’s lots to do, and we’re planning on getting on and doing it! So far we have 4 OCC boats in Dominica for the express purpose of helping out – Toodle-oo!, Cranstackie, Alembic and Northern Star. We’re hoping others will be joining us in the coming days as there’s lots to be done! (If anyone is coming up from Martinique or down from Antigua, we need some Mooring Chain – 3/4″ stuff…
The items the various boats have brought to Dominica will be collected together tomorrow and Thursday and then distributed on Friday. Looking forward to that whole process.
We’ll have more details and photos tomorrow…