May 16, 2006 Tuesday Little Bay,
16.48.215N total traveled 34.3 NM
Finally were able to sail today. Until today, the wind has been almost on our nose and we have had to motor sail, which we do not enjoy. The movement of the boat is different when sailing than when motoring. Plus sailing is quieter and you don’t have the diesel smell from the engine exhaust. Sailing is much, much nicer.
Before we tell you about
there was something that we forgot to mention earlier in our trip. When we were in
on Virgin Gorda, we had the opportunity to meet Sal and Janet Manuccia. They own a Moorings boat and had anchored
behind us. Judy has had email
correspondence with Sal over the past few years on one of the internet email
sailing lists, so it was a pleasure to finally meet him and Janet. They brought a bottle of lovely wine to toast
our new boat. Thanks again, Sal &
Janet. Leverick Bay
We wanted to visit
because we had been here about 20 years ago.
Those of you reading this travelogue who have visited our old home might
have seen a photo of Bill standing beneath a waterfall. The photo was in the hall bathroom. That waterfall was at the end of a rainforest
that we hiked through back in 1986. The
volcano on the southern end of the island erupted in 1995, then again in 1997,
2003 and 2004. The volcano is still
active and constantly spews ash that drifts westward for miles in the
prevailing trade winds. For this
reason, sailors must either pass Mt. Soufriere Montserrat at
least 10 miles to the west or they must pass on the eastern side. We will pass on the eastern (Atlantic)
side. Bill spoke with another cruiser in
St. Kitts who had passed Montserrat at the 10
mile limit on the western side, and he said that their boat was still coated
with the fine ash everywhere. It even
finds its way inside sealed hatches and ports which are waterproof.
The initial eruption covered the main city on the island,
. The population of the island was
approximately 12,000, most of whom resided in Plymouth .
The residents fled to the northern end of the island, and are in the
process of building commercial and residential structures where none previously
existed. The total island population
dwindled to only 3,000 but has now increased back up to 5,000. We are not sure that the island will be able
to sustain itself in its current condition.
We did our part for the local economy. We took a taxi tour of the island – at a cost of $100 US, which was a steep price in our opinions. But the taxi driver was parked down at the immigration office waiting for any boat that might arrive and doing his best to get our business, so we felt that he should get rewarded for his efforts to work. Far better than the younger guys who were just sitting on the sides of the road. At least this taxi driver was trying to earn a living. Hard to do when there aren’t any businesses on the island and virtually no tourists. We were one of only four boats visiting the island.
The taxi tour took us well into the exclusion zone, fairly close to the volcano. Bill took a lot of photos but who knows how well they will download. It was amazing to see
under about 20 feet of volcanic
ash. Only the roofs of most buildings
were visible. Plymouth
Paul McCartney still has a home on the island. Seems like with all his money and connections that he could get some interest back in the
to establish some form of
industry on the northern end of the island.
If something isn’t done, the island will have an extremely difficult
economic recovery. Very sad to see the
condition in which the people are living; especially when we remember when it
was so vibrant. UK
We mailed a post card from the Volcano Observatory to Zachary. We tried to write a message that a 5-yr-old would be able to read. Also asked him to share the card with BeBe because we didn’t have her address with us. Curious to see how long it takes for that postcard to reach
May 17, 2006 Deshaies,
Guadeloupe traveled 39.42NM
Motor sailed all day; down eastern side of Montserrat and over to the northwestern tip of
Guadeloupe. Waves 7-8 ft. and winds of 30 kts all
day. Still could not sail because wind
is still on our nose. Actually, we could
tack back and forth and still sail; but we are on a time schedule so we are
motor sailing instead.
Deshaies is a lovely French fishing village. Almost no one speaks a word of English. We were able to clear customs; which was extremely lucky for us because the customs office is only open one hour per weekday and they don’t tell anyone which hour that will be each day. We also found an ATM and obtained some Euros. Found a “supermarket” and bought some fresh locally grown produce, yogurt and a few bottles of great
Judy wanted some club soda, but we couldn’t find any. Bill did find something that looked like it was club soda; but it turned out to be a strong mint flavored club soda type beverage ----- NASTY STUFF!!! Cannot believe there is a market for this crap. So Bill made another dinghy trip back to the town and found some Perrier. That is the closest thing we can find to club soda. Judy is finding it difficult to adjust to the taste of the desalinated water. Bill is drinking it with no problem; but Judy just can’t seem to force it down except a sip at a time even with the secondary drinking water filter that we installed, so she is becoming dehydrated. We need to find some old-fashioned Kool Aid. That should mask the taste enough to make it palatable. Bill will have to buy some when he returns to
for work next month. They don’t sell
Kool Aid in the islands. Houston
May 18, 2006 Thursday Terre Den Haut, Iles des Saintes 34.62NM traveled
(Notice the decreasing trend in lat/long? We need to get down to 10.40.000N before hurricane season for insurance purposes.)
We are anchored in our second-most-favorite place in the
. Caribbean St. Barths
is our favorite; Iles des Saintes is our second favorite. It is totally French and a beautiful, clean
little place. We haven’t been ashore
yet, but the little town appears to have grown a good bit during the past 20
years. They even have a ferry dock now,
with daily tourist high-speed shuttles from Guadeloupe.
We arrived about 2:00 p.m. after motoring yet again with the wind directly on our nose. We splashed the dinghy from its riding place under our mizzen boom; Bill cleaned the top decks and Judy is doing laundry. We plan to stay here for 2 nights, so tomorrow we will visit the island. Lots of artists shops and restaurants; lots of good French food. Not sure how much of that Bill will enjoy, but Judy will be in her element. We could rent motor scooters to get around the island, but you know that isn’t going to happen.
Since Sunday afternoon when we sailed past Statia, we have heard the same woman on the VHF radio every half hour, all day long. She is speaking in French, so we do not understand a word of what she is saying.
This is what it sounds like:
“A bel a tush; a bel a tush; a bel a tush. (something, something
Guadeloupe) Cosine; cosine; cosine.
(something, something, croissant, something)”
---- sometimes it sounds like
“coside” instead of cosine.
It sounds for all the world like she is saying “beautiful butt, beautiful butt, beautiful butt. Come to
Guadeloupe. Angles, angles, angles. Come to the café and eat a croissant.”
Of course, she is probably saying something about an advice to mariners but we don’t understand and cannot find our French-English translation book. It is on the boat somewhere, but neither of us remembers where.
BTW, when Judy asked a clerk in a store yesterday in
Guadeloupe where to find an ATM, the clerk looked Judy straight
in the eye and said in plain English: “Madame, you must speak French.” If you don’t speak French around here, you
are just on your own. We have managed
with everything so far, except for that woman on the VHF radio.
If anyone reading this has any idea what she is saying, please leave us a message on our message board. Hopefully we will find internet access in
next week and will upload the logs. Back
to the laundry for now.
May 19, 2006 Friday Les Saintes
Stayed another night at Les Saintes. Just a beautiful place; patterned after Brittany,
. We went to Sole Mio for lunch; Judy had a
fabulous smoked fish salad. It was paper
thin slices of smoked wahoo, tuna and kingfish; and was served with a tiny dish
of some sort of herbed cream. Cream on
fish sounds rather odd, but it was delicious, especially the wahoo. France
We went to Eduoard’s La Saladeria for dinner, which had a beautiful view of the bay. We had some sort of grilled fish. The proprietor spoke English but she did not know the English word for the name of the type of fish. She said it was the little red fish with the big eyes. And that is exactly what we were served – little red fish with big eyes which had been seasoned with herbs and grilled whole. For desert we shared a chocolate macaroon topped with vanilla ice cream and with a magnificent chocolate sauce over all.
We walked around the town a bit and spent the afternoon reading the sailing guides for the next 3 islands and planned our routes. Just before sunset a very dirty boat arrived and anchored behind us a bit. We assume that this boat had sailed down the west side of
because she was literally covered in ash.
It doesn’t just rinse off, so that boat owner has quite a chore of
scrubbing down the entire boat now.
May 20, 2006 Saturday St. Pierre,
We left Les Saintes about 7:30 a.m. and arrived in
St. Pierre, Martinique,
about 4:00 p.m. We had planned to stop
but nothing about that island appealed to us, so we kept going. The sailing guides say that the “boat boys”
are really insistent in Dominica Dominica,
and we did not have any EC ( Eastern
currency) to tip them. All the currency
bills we have on the boat are either $100 US or $50 Euro. Way too much to deal with a boat boy. Plus, the anchoring is very tricky in Caribbean – you
must anchor stern-to and then have a boat boy take a line and tie your stern to
a palm tree or a pylon. The swell is
supposed to be very bad there, so you must set your boat to be bow to the
swell. We decided it wasn’t worth the
effort so we would just skip that island. Dominica
You should have heard about
in your elementary history
classes. This is the location of St. Pierre ,
the volcano that erupted May 8, 1902, and killed about 30,000 people. Every resident of the town was killed except
one cobbler who was in his basement and one convict who was in a prison cell. Funny, Judy always thought Mt. Pellee Mt. Pellee
was in Hawaii and Bill thought it was in . It is really in Italy Martinique.
There was a jazz festival on shore for the evening. We ate dinner in our cockpit and enjoyed the music. We arrived too late to attempt to clear customs today.
May 21, 2006 Sunday Grand Anse D’Arlet,
Martinique traveled 20.1NM
NOT OUR BEST DAY! Nothing seemed to go right today.
First, we launched the dinghy and went into town to clear customs. We made 2 circumnavigations forced march of town of
looking for customs. Never found
it. They had a sign on their official
office door telling visitors to look for them at the Cyber Café Escapade or at
the Syndicat du Initiative near the Musee.
We walked around that town in the humid heat for 2 hours and never found
customs, so decided to move on. St. Pierre
We decided that we would just go to the southern end of Martinique and spend the night; get an early start tomorrow for
. Since we were only going about 10 miles and
would be in the lee of the island, we decided that it would be okay to just tow
the dinghy like people do in the BVI area.
We also decided that we would try to sail instead of motoring the 10
miles. Mistake on both parts. St. Lucia
By the time we gave up on being able to sail and decided to motor, we were about 10 miles out from our starting point. The dinghy was bouncing all over the place, so Bill decided that we had to heave-to and put the dinghy on the davits. This, in 7-ft waves. We got the dinghy up on the davits, but then Bill didn’t like the way it was swinging so badly. So we had to devise a way of tying it off without damaging the pontoons of the dinghy with ropes. Finally got it done to his satisfaction, and we motored on in to spend the night at D’Arlet.
Had to make 3 attempts anchoring. It was quite crowded and we couldn’t get where we wanted to be. Finally did get anchored correctly, but Bill spent the whole night worrying about the anchor holding.
May 22, 2006 Monday Soufriere,
Lucia traveled 42.35NM
Left D’Arlet, Martinique, about 5:45 a.m. and arrived in
Soufriere at 12:30.
Were able to sail the entire way; first time this trip that we have been
able to sail an entire passage. We were
close-hauled about 2/3 of the trip and then on a beam reach for last 1/3.
When we awoke, Bill blasted our air horn 3 series of 5 blasts to awaken the people on a Moorings 4200 catamaran. The cat was named “Bambi.” They had lost their anchor holding and were quickly moving out to sea. Good thing we woke up so early. That boat had arrived fairly late last night and they were partying hard. They had anchored next to us and Bill was further worried about our anchor; he was sure that they had anchored directly over our anchor line. At any rate, their anchor didn’t hold and they were floating free. We were able to pull our anchor and we left without incident.
The trip down was a great sail. One freighter passed in front of us way too close for Judy’s comfort level; and we passed a boat towing a barge way behind it. That was also too close for Judy’s comfort level. Bill thinks Judy’s depth perception isn’t very good. Judy does not like anything big and/or fast to be any where near our boat or our course.
At Soufriere, we moored behind another Amel Super Maramu, named Trade Winds from
. When we went in to clear customs, we were hit
up by a local telling us that for a small fee he would watch our dinghy. Bill asked him why we needed him to watch our
dinghy. He said because a few days ago
some kids had put water into the gas tank of a tourist dinghy; but for a small
fee he would watch and make sure no one puts water into our gas tank. We asked the customs official what the normal
amount would be to pay the local guy to not put water in our gas tank, and he
just laughed. Said that was a new one;
he hadn’t heard that story before. When
we later returned to our dinghy, the customs officer was down at the dock with
a policeman talking to the locals gathered around the dock area. Apparently, the officials don’t want the
locals harassing the tourists. Road
We haven’t found Wi-Fi in several days. Hope to get this uploaded soon.