Antigua

English Harbour

After leaving our friends behind in Guadeloupe we headed for Antigua. We’d had a tip that Freemans Bay was the place to be, and since we’d been having so much fun, we hadn’t had time to do any research so we popped a waypoint in the chart plotter and set off early.

We got to the bay to find a relatively small anchorage, crammed. We scanned the guidebook only to find out the bottom could be a bit problematic. Oh well hasn’t bothered us before.

We circled like a bird of prey trying to find our perfect spot, which of course didn’t exist so we looked for the next best thing, any spot. We agreed on a place and dropped the anchor… only to drag… twice. We tried another space and hooked – hurrah – then spent ten minutes umming and arrrring about whether we were too close to a little cat.

Upped anchor, circled again looking for another spot. A nice man came on deck and told us every boat who anchored next to him dragged so to go the other side of the bay, waving his finger in some vague direction. Thanks, like we hadn’t heard that one before!

The other spots looked too shallow, too close to the rocks, you know the score.

So now we’d lost all hope and all confidence. I did what I could and read the book again to find there were two anchorages the other side of the marina so Simon headed in past the super yachts.   Yep these anchorages were tiny too and full so we swung around and headed out.

Of course by now we were hot, grumpy and barely on speaking terms.

Next thing we know some bright spark is motoring right up behind us so we start giving it dirty looks too, that is until we hear ‘You took your time!’. We were delighted to see the boat behind was Annecam with Cam at the helm. That cheered us up!

Anyway we agreed to meet up back in Freemans Bay. Looked like we’d be trying that anchorage again then.

So we’re mooching around and a Aussie guy comes rowing out to ‘help’, oh and to see if we had a spare flag. With his ‘help’ we anchored back on top of the little cat again.

Once he gave us some space we anchored again slightly to the left and made do. We definitely snagged, hard but who knows if we’ll ever get out. It seems that there’s all kind of junk at the bottom of the anchorage including hurricane chains and ‘200-year-old artifacts’, and one in two people have to pay a diver to come out and release them.

Anyway the following hours were spent ‘licking our wounds’ and watching as others tried to anchor. Some took the spots we’d rejected, or out in the channel, while others dragged, and dragged, and dragged. So that made us feel better 😉

Later Cam took pity on our lack of an outboard and came by on the dingy to take us out for dinner. We caught a flying fish in the dinghy and so we ate that. Only joking but we did have some yummy locally caught Mahi Mahi and way too much rum punch. We had a great time with him and his favourite crew member, Sarah, who was still onboard from the crossing. Unfortunately we missed Anne.

The next day Simon fixed the outboard! Yep he chipped out the old rusty bit of metal, filed a nail down to size, put the whole thing back together and bingo! It worked! I’m secretly very impressed.

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So we headed in to clear customs. Then we went by the bakery and had some lovely savoury pastries before wandering around the museum. It seems to me that they have way too many artifacts in the bottom of the anchorage and could do with one or two more in the museum. Just saying.

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In the late afternoon we climbed Shirley Heights. The treck is a bit challenging but the view is sublime.

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There’s also a bar at the top which we’ve heard is heaving on a Sunday night but on a Thursday night is deserted. We had a few well-deserved beers before heading back down. If we thought coming up was hard it was nothing compared to going back down after a couple of beers. Got to watch out for those roots!

Anyway we made it back to the beach for sunset. The bar was closed, tried the Italian restaurant which was deserted too and then settled for pasta a la Helene onboard Interlude.

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Jolly harbour

So we were all keen to know if we were permanently snagged in English harbour. Nope the anchor just popped up a treat so we headed out to Jolly harbour feeling pretty jolly!

It didn’t take us long to get there and I can see why it’s called Jolly. What’s not to be Jolly about with views like this?

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It’s a great marina with a chandlery and supermarket nearby which even stocks fruit squashes and a few Waitrose products. Score! So that took up the rest of the day.

That evening we were just on the way out when, like often happens, I said ‘Oh there’s a boat coming in let’s see if we can help’. That boat was Annecam and so we didn’t make it any further. More rum punch!

The next day we headed out to the beach and Castaways for a full English to recover. It’s a lovely place.

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It was a bit cloudy and rainy on and off so we used the rest of the day for boat projects and planning. We headed out to a place that was doing ‘all you can eat pizza’. After a few hours waiting around and watching no-one eat pizza we gave up.

St Johns harbour

So we’d been trying to plan our next moves. The weather’s looking a bit dodgy in a few days time so we want to make it to St Maarten to hide from that. Our friends on Annecam decided to stay behind as travelling on Friday the 13th was a bit to scary for them.

Anyway first things first, we thought we’d get out of the marina and try one of the bays. Deep Bay has a wreck that you can snorkel so we thought we’d try that.

It was a bit rolly when we came out of the harbour, but we continued up the coast where it was still rolly. When we got to the bay it was rolly and the waves were breaking over the mast of the wreck and onto the beach. The guidebook also said that a boat had been wrecked here in a northerly swell.

Humm what was the swell doing? Well had I checked I probably would have known it was a northerly swell. Apparently I should check the surf reports as well as the weather. Yes even if I plan to snorkle. In trouble with the Capitano again.

Anyway we bypassed that one and headed North – after all we were prepared to test our luck on Friday the 13th.

The next bay was St Johns and you can anchor inside the inlet. We did a reccy and found there was no-one anchored off the two bays and no-one anchored in the town anchorage but at least there was less swell.

As we were circling around we saw that a cat had anchored off one of the bays and decided to join him – safety in numbers. It’s a very shallow, muddy bottom but our anchor set and we were glad to be settled. Eventually we were joined by a couple of other boats in what turned to be a fairly pleasant bay where we spent a pleasant evening.

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Iles des Saintes and Guadeloupe

We said ‘Goodbye’ to our friends in Dominica and had a great sail up to the Iles des Saintes, a group of islands just South of Guadeloupe. The wind is really being kind to us just lately which makes sailing anywhere a pleasure.

We stopped on the island ‘Terre D’en Haut’ in a bay called Bourg de Saints. It’s a quaint little place with a lovely ambience. We dingied into town to clear in, wandered around town looking for a cash machine, found some great little supermarkets and then parked ourselves in the nearest beach bar for sunset drinks.

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There’s some great restaurants here – all fully booked – so we ended up in a simple pizza place that also sold good honest creole fish. It did the trick!

Next day we challenged ourselves to the climb up to Le Chameau, an old Napoleonic lookout tower. We thought we were up early until we saw the super fit returning from their hike and a few other couples in front of us. But after a few false starts, (got to read those sign posts) we were off and away. It’s a steep climb that winds back and forth up the side of the hill. At each corner you optimistically peer around hoping to catch sight of the top.

At one of these corners we finally caught up with a couple who had been fighting their way up in front of us. We found out that they were a couple of Kiwis also headed our way through the Panama canal around the same time. Great news!

We finally reached the top and took in the views.

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The tower is pretty dilapidated so best avoided I think. Then it was time to meander back down. We wandered around town in search of an elusive coffee and pastry. You’d have thought in a French town this would be much easier. Perhaps we were too late for brekky and too early for lunch and obviously the French haven’t heard of elevensies. Eventually we found one, and paid the price!

We headed to the supermarket but agreed to catch up later with our new found friends for the carnival. Richard and Phillippa popped by a few hours later, and we headed to shore. On the way our motor gave up the ghost so Simon got the oars out. Richard came to our rescue, only to find he hadn’t opened the fuel up so his gave up the ghost. Simon cheekily asked if he wanted a tow. Another guy came out to help and finally we made it to shore under man power and Richard made it back under steam.

Just in the nick of the time as we heard the band strike up and a flurry of activity at the end of the jetty. We tied up and hot-footed it in to see the carnival pass by. Lots of loud music and crazy dance moves.

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We followed them up the street to the square where they rested and we took ourselves off for a beer. Then before we knew it another group were coming along. These guys were younger and off beat and seemed to have forgotten their costumes, but it was all good fun.

Then we took advantage of the meal deals that the French are so good at – a lovely three-course menu. Then another long row back to the boat for Simon.

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Guadeloupe

Next day we headed North to Guadeloupe.

As we were sailing Simon took apart the electric outboard. It seems the pin that goes through the prop has deteriorated and eventually snapped so that will have to be replaced. Looks like we’ll be rowing for a while.

He’d no sooner put all that away than things got a little feisty. The winds coming over the island are known for being a bit flakey and they certainly keep you on your toes. We’d been overtaken by the Kiwis and a Canadian boat with huge carbon sails. We watched as time after time the wind smacked them causing them to round up into the wind. Whenever that happened we braced ourselves and then calmly sailed downwind to avoid the impact on Interlude. Was a lot of fun 🙂

We arrived in the little town of Deshaies around 11.30 and were instantly invited for lunch with the Kiwi’s and their friends who are also destined for Panama. Lunch was good, and it was great to meet the guys from Wandering Dreams.

Next we passed by our friends on Duplicat, who we originally met in Rabat and hadn’t seen since we both crossed the Atlantic. Then we had to make the trip back to shore to clear in so agreed to meet for dinner. Another fun night!

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It was great to catch up, hear their stories and get some top tips for the islands ahead.

After lunch and dinner here we had seen a lot of the town and won’t need to eat for a week. The botanical garden and river walk wasn’t enough to keep us here as we’re getting very time conscious so we’ll be off again tomorrow, heading for Antigua.

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We wanted to press on North as time is again against us (when hasn’t it been on this trip?!). Our plan is to get up to Antigua then swing over to the BVI’s. I think Cuba is now looking unrealistic which is a shame but we’ll see how we go.

All the Islands are convenient day hops apart from each other and next up was Dominica. Even from 20 miles off shore we knew we were going to like this place. It’s impressive slopes and over saturated green colours gave us a taste of what was in store.

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There’s only two main stopping points on the island, one in the South and the other perfectly placed for the next hop in the North.

The sail over from Martinique was amazing. We crossed over with 99 Bottles and Take Off in feisty conditions and the race was on! We pulled out of the bay first and did well to fend off the mighty 99 Bottles but they passed us as we approached the coastline. We managed to keep Take Off at bay which surprised us. Interlude is SO fast again! A nice clean bottom and all our sails working as they should meant we were hitting our hull speed of around 8.5 knots most of the way over. Was a great sail!!

Pulling into Roseau we picked up a mooring from ‘SeaCat’, one of the locals here, who runs the area. That night was again spent on 99 Bottles having an amazing meal of fresh fish stew prepared by the Take Off gang. By the time we left the boat should have been renamed 87 Bottles. 😉

Take Off and 99 Bottles wanted to push North the next day to catch up with another ARC friend Morning Haze. We agreed to join the next day but we wanted to see more of the South Island area first. We headed into town to clear into the country, very cool system here where you can clear in and out if you don’t stay more than 10 days. Smart guys, smart!

The town was full of life. A huge cruise ship was in dock so everyone was trying to sell this and that. It’s a shame these cruise ship tourists only get to see the polished little centres of most places. We wandered around for a while in the outer areas where things are more real.

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Back on the boat a quick radio call to ‘SeaCat’ and we had a guide booked to show us more of the island via some hikes. Twenty minutes later we were picked up from the boat and placed in the hands of ‘Stowie’ and ‘Beans’.

I love the nicknames everyone has. It’s not everyday your walking through a small town and hear… ‘Hey Batman!! How’s it going man!?’

‘Stowie’ said that crime is very low on the island as everyone knows each other and nothing stays a secret for long. I think it’s more to do with ‘Batman’, ‘The Flash’, and ‘Revenge’ living here. Who’s going to to mess with that lot?

The tour was simply amazing. Helen’s been looking forward to hiking around Dominica for a while and the day was spent really pushing ourselves and having a lot of fun.

First up was a little 8km hike deep into the rainforest. It was pretty tough going as Beans was setting a solid pace. We both kept up which I think surprised him. It sure surprised us as some of the terrain was hardcore.

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The reward for venturing so far was a breathtaking waterfall. The photo doesn’t do this place justice but diving into the cold refreshing pool while cascading waters smashed us senseless was something we’ll both remember for the rest of our lives. We were the only people around so had the place to ourselves. Beans said the tours go for the easier hikes and get crowded.

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Once we’d hiked back to Stowie’s minibus he raced us around the island pointing out all manor of interesting facts. Was great to get some history about the place, see how they are rapidly converting from expensive gas power to renewables, and seeing some amazing views. We sadly heard about a few hurricanes that had done major damage to the islands some years back. I can’t imagine getting hit with 200 mile winds. Fingers crossed they are left in peace.

After the hike and drive around the islands we were taken to a waterfall that lands in a pool, feeding into a large series of caves and blowholes. The swim into these was interesting. You have all this water swirling around pushing you against the rocks. A few tour boat people turned up and had to wear all kinds of safety gear and adhere to this and that. Not Beans! He grabbed our arms and helped us climb up the face of the cascades into the ‘extreme’ section of the cave where the water was very strong. It was hard to keep a hold on the rocks as the water rushed past. Half the time I’d see Helen fly past as the current took her. Great fun though!

Beans saved the best for last telling us it was ‘safe’ to take a running jump over the side of the waterfall down into the small pool below. Helen wasn’t too sure about this so ended up on Beans back (she didn’t really get a choice) then on the count of three he jumped. Helen came back up from under the water a few seconds later huge grin on her face. I just said to hell with it and ran then jumped over the edge. Such an amazing feeling jumping into a dark pool of water in a small cave then having a waterfall smash you. Not sure what our travel insurance would have said about the whole affair but apart from a few cuts and grazes no damage was done.

Thanks Beans!!!

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We went back to the boat for an hour to recover then headed out to a bar Beans told us about where we met him for some cold beers and food as the sun went down. What a day!

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We sailed North the following morning to Portsmouth hoping to catch back up with 99 Bottles, Take Off, and Morning Haze. They were doing a tour the next day so we joined in with them taking a nice cruise down the Indian River which was a magical place used in a lot of the Pirates movies.

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That evening we all got together to have a big beach BBQ which was great fun. We’re going to miss those guys as we need to keep pressing on. Not sure if we’ll cross paths with them again at the rate we’re going but I sure hope so!

Dominica was everything we’d hoped for and more. It’s like the contrast has been turned up on everything. Colours, food, the friendliness of the people. In many ways it reminded us of St. Vincent in terms of how it looks but the people are so much more friendly towards visitors. Yachts are very welcome here and the locals are trying to get organised so it avoids all the tension. They’ve come a long way from what we’ve seen. Even though the country is still very poor we’ve never felt safer and we’ll remember our few days on this amazing island as some of the best of our whole trip.

Martinique’s West coast anchorages

Les Anse D’Artlet and Grande Anse D’Artlet

We had itchy feet and were keen to get off exploring again. But first we had to get those dreaded Hep A/B booster jabs that we’ve been avoiding. After a two-hour wait at the doctors and a quick ‘ouch’ we packed up and shipped out.

Off again! It was nice to get sailing, now with three fully functional sails to choose from! Felt good. Simon’s done an awesome job on the boat so now she’s functioning well with a lot less vibration, squeaks and bangs.

We were headed for Les Anses D’Artlet, but on arriving there we found we were too late for the mooring buoys, they were all full and the depth to anchor put us off, so we headed around to the next bay with our fingers crossed.

Grande Anse D’Artlet is it’s big brother with many more mooring buoys. The buoys on the protected South end were all taken or reserved, while the boats on the South side were rolling around, and the middle was chock’a’block full of anchored cats. Unfortunately with no other choice we ended up on the rolly side rocking around with the best of them. But we can’t complain, these moorings are well-kept and free! (Yes you heard that right.)

It’s also an awesome place, and the instant we saw it we agreed we had to stay another day. So scenic, and full of turtles!

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As the sun was getting low, we packed the sails away and headed in for some sunset drinks. Usually in the bar we people watch but here you could turtle spot. They popped up here, there, and everywhere. Doesn’t get much better! 🙂

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Dinner was a little harder to locate so after a few cold ones we headed back to Interlude for our old faithful – cheese and crackers. On our romantic walk back to the dinghy I tripped over something and turned to see a crab the size of a house brick shaking his claws at me! The wildlife is really super-sized here.

The next day we were rolled out of bed early by the swell and settled on deck for ‘boat watch’. Armed with the binoculars we were waiting for the first boat to leave a mooring on the calm side of the bay so we could sneak in and grab it.  After about an hour of this we realised that most of the boats looked either unoccupied, live-a-boards, or simply settled in for the day. There were a couple of empty buoys near the beach so we motored over anyway to see if they were deep enough for us, only to find they had reserved cones on them too. In the end we found a space in the middle of the bay with the cats, where it was much calmer, so we anchored. Another free night!

We took advantage of the slightly cooler morning air and took the scenic trail around to Les Anses D’Artlet. The trail is a bit up and down through the trees so we were pleased for our trainers, but it was great to stretch our legs and there were some great views.

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The trail came out on the beach which is strewn with little cafes. A picturesque village complete with church …and crane.

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The beach was also quite crowded. We don’t know if there’s a large hotel nearby or if a tour boat had dropped them off. Either way, this bay feels much more commercial than Grande Anse, so after a quick juice (they wouldn’t serve me a cafe au lait?!) we headed back to our favourite, Grande Anse. We walked back by the road, an easy five-minute walk, which felt a bit like cheating after our one hour slog the other way.

Back on the boat we were ready for a snorkel. I know we always say this, but this was the best snorkelling yet. You couldn’t move for turtles, some of them were massive! First off we found one scratching his back on an anchor chain. We waited for him to go to the surface for breath, and then turned around to find him back there again.

Then Simon shouted “Look behind you”, and another one was chasing me down and swam right up underneath me. We swam right across to the beach and back again finding more and more turtles.

Then it was time for dinner – we were optimistic this time as, a) it was Friday and, b) we’d read the guide book and knew the best place to go, ‘le petite bateau’. It was empty as we walked down the bay so we kept going and had a beer at the other end. It was still pretty empty when we walked back up the bay. We’ve had too many bad experiences with empty restaurants so we decided to save our Euros this time.

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In the morning we headed up the coast and popped into one of the ‘day anchorages’ on the way. Anse Defour was a small bay and we were surprised to see a couple of other boats in there as we were pretty early.  We dragged on weed at the first anchor spot, but then Simon manned up and we found a better spot in shallower water close to shore where the anchor dug in a treat. We grabbed our waterproof bag and swam ashore in search of a baguette. We didn’t find one but we did come across an awesome cafe selling ‘sandwich au jambon et fromage’ and although it was early we couldn’t resist.

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Then we swam back to the beach before heading out for a snorkel – and all before midday! Once again amazing snorkelling, turtles, sea snakes as well as colourful fishies. We’ve also seen a lot of lobster pots just lately – those things that we’re constantly trying to avoid at sea. It’s amazing to see the lobsters close up, although I do feel a bit sad for them. We’ve also seen some abandoned ones that have now become artificial reefs attracting hundreds of fish. Its good to see the wildlife adapting.

There were also some weird transparent jellyfish things, pretty much like jellyfish without the tentacles. I’ll let you know when we work out what they are and try and find a picture.

After a few days messing around in the bays we are headed next for some of Martinique’s towns, Fort de France and St Pierre coming up!

Fort de France

Fort de France is the capital of Martinique so we were expecting great things. It’s reported to have the biggest dinghy dock as well as lots of restaurants and bars.

We arrived in the anchorage which was pretty busy unless you wanted to be bounced by the ferry wakes. We were circling around and a nice man called us over as he was ready to leave so we got a great place close to shore.

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Simon rowed us over and we popped into town. After wandering the streets a short while we realised the mistake we’d made. It was Saturday afternoon so everything was just closing. It was scorching hot too so although we didn’t need anything we headed to the Mall. It was only small, about 10 shops, so we quickly exhausted that before mooching around in search of some refreshment. We found KFC and McDonalds but not much else open and the only people around seemed to be the ‘down and outs’. We eventually found a bar for a quick beer before heading back to the boat a little disheartened.

We figured it was all in our timing and that the place would come alive later on so we gave it another chance and headed out just before sunset. Simon had read about a cool Jazz bar so we headed there, down some dodgy back streets and found it closed. Then we wandered the streets again before coming across a very westernised hotel, not really the cultural experience we were looking for but they sold cold beer (slowly and without a smile). We popped in hoping to get some tips.

No luck there so we continued to pound the streets again. We passed a restaurant with good reviews but that too was closed. We were too early for the casino, too late for the fish market.

The church was packed to the rafters so we figured maybe after church we’d find a bit more life. So we whiled away a couple more hours at the bar near McDonalds again.

We decided to give the restaurant one last go and hurrah it was open, pretty busy and serving some amazing French dishes.

After that we headed back to the dinghy and passed a local dance. The local folks were all dressed in traditional dress and dancing away. The guy on the mike would call something out like… “debadebado” and the dancers would change partners or do some special dance. The guys courting the girls with their fancy footwork and tipping their hats, while the ladies teased the men with their swaying hips and skirt swishing. Looked like lots of fun and now we know where the good folks go after church.

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So all’s well that ends well in Fort de France. Not quite enough to get us to stay another day though.

Le Carbet

Next day we snuck in a lunch stop at Le Carbet. We parked Interlude up on a long stretch of beach. We were the only yacht there which is always a bit scary but we followed the instructions in the guide and it worked out great. In fact we were so close to sure we decided to swim.

We arrived a little early, but we weren’t the only ones waiting. And then we grabbed the last ‘walk-in’ spot available and then watched guiltily as others were turned away. Sorry!

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It was well worth the wait. Not only were the BBQ ribs and chicken yummy but the sprinkler system was awesome, turning the restaurant into a mini-rainforest on the beach and dropping the temperature by a cool 10 degrees or so. Amazing.

It was a hard swim back to the boat though.

St Pierre

We arrived in St Pierre in the early afternoon. It’s a pretty hard anchorage spot as the coast line drops off quickly from shallow water to very deep. Anchoring is also restricted in many areas due to the many wrecks there which were created when the volcano erupted destroying 12 ships in the bay. Doesn’t fill us with too much confidence! Maybe we should have got a bigger engine.

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Anyway the anchorage was bursting at the seams and there was no wind so the boats we swinging around a lot and all in different directions. The first spot we found was ok for about 30 seconds and then the boats all swung around again making us a little too close. So we upped anchor and circled around and around getting more and more annoyed.

Finally we found a great spot near to the beach and we dropped anchor again. Simon swam on the anchor and we were well dug in but the guy behind us wasn’t happy. We watched many other boats try and fail to anchor so we were loathe to move again. In the end we figured out the guy behind us didn’t have much chain out due to the fishing pots behind him so we split the difference and took in some more chain to give him some more space. Hopefully he was happy with that – we didn’t ask.

Then we jumped in the dinghy. On the way to town we saw our friends ’99 Bottles’ and they invited us onboard for a ‘sundowner’. It was great to see them and finally have some drinks and catch up. Later on ‘Take off’ arrived too. We had such a good time we never made it into town that afternoon.

The next day we headed into town to check out and pick up some provisions.

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We got the opening time wrong which meant we had time to explore a little and get some brekky at a local bakery. A local man gave me a couple of incense sticks which was nice but random, and the cafe owner was also concerned that he was about to burn the place down, but in the end the harmless man left us with the smell of pot pouri.

The town is a mix of new buildings alongside the old burned out buildings and ruins. It’s a interesting place, bustling with people and quite friendly too. Once the tourist information office opened for check out there was a bit of a queue but the payment here is voluntary which is quite unusual. We eventually cleared out and quick-marched it back to the boat for the race to Dominica.

Marin, Martinique

After three days in the dockyard Interlude was back in the water where she belongs.

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The anti-foul went perfectly. Everything was checked under the waterline and no issues were found. We did replace some prob bearings as a precaution but it’s good to know she’s in great condition before we head out over the Pacific in a few weeks.

I also met up with a few other boats heading north. Lots of work being done to their boats also. Was great to catch up with Barry and his family + the guys off Morning Haze again, and Kevin and Jane were also passing through town!

As I still had a few days before Helen’s return I set to work on the todo list we keep. Basically everything and anything boat related goes on here. Most are small… ‘Wouldn’t it be great if we had this…’ type things but on the list they go anyhow. Having the space to move things around the boat, solve issues, and tick these off, meant that by the time Helen returned I’d got through them all. It’s a weird feeling but at the moment there’s nothing to do on the boat. I know it won’t last but I’m sure gonna enjoy the extra time and lack of stress until something does pop up.

The type of things I’m talking about are mostly boat organisation. We live in a small space so that space has to work smartly or you’re forever ripping up seat covers (or worse) to get at a box buried deep under a load of other stuff.

A great example was our electric outboard. It breaks down into a few parts so we can always store it locked up below. We absolutely love it, never had any issues (unlike a lot of people yanking their gas powered motors in the middle of the bay swearing), we recharge it off our solar panels, and well it just works well for us. However it’s never really had a place to ‘live’ so having the time to think about the problem meant I came up with a mounting in the cockpit locker for it.

Sounds small, and it is, but all these things add up to a measured improvement in your quality of life on board.

We also caught a break with our Parasail repair which came in two weeks early. I think they mixed our sail up with one of the other twenty or so sails there being repaired.

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Talking to some other ARC sailors we are a lot more clued up with these big downwind sails now. So many sails got lost during the crossing and what we learnt is you need backups on all connection points. For us it was our halyard that went. So we’ll double up on that next time we fly it. Same with every place where she connects to the boat. We’ll have backups for all of these so if anything does go we’ll get a small window to get the sail safely down. Can’t wait to get that sail back up!

So Interlude and I were pretty much set, we just needed Helen back!

A lonely few days later Helen flew back and after a final night in Marin to celebrate we headed off to explore Martinique.

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