Friday, March 30, 2007


March 30, 2007  Friday
Pointe ‘a Pitre, Guadeloupe

Our boat has a new name.  She is now S/V BeBe.

BeBe stands for several things:
  1. Our granddaughter.  Elisabeth received the nickname of BB when she was only a month old.  Bill gave her this nickname and soon everyone was calling her BB.  We tell her that this stands for Beautiful Baby; but our family members know the true definition of that nickname.  Let’s just say that she was sometimes a difficult baby who wanted her own way and made disagreeable noises until she got what she wanted, and often all she wanted was simply to be left alone.  She has since outgrown that infant phase and now is a delightful little girl.  I started writing the nickname as BeBe, and it has stuck.  So, our boat is named after our five-year-old granddaughter.
  2. Big Boat.  Whenever we are in the dinghy or ashore, we always refer to the Amel as the big boat.
  3. Beautiful Boat.  Well, not really.  Bill thinks this boat is beautiful; I think it has sharp lines that look rather old-fashioned and that the orange boot stripe is not at all attractive (sort of UT color and Bill is an Aggie).  The interior is beautiful, but the exterior is not, IMHO.
  4. Baby in French.  Everyone knows that bebe is the French word for baby.  There are eight other US documented boats named Bebe but they are all quite small.  Our boat is by far the largest documented baby.

This name change was desirable because the name Security was causing too many hassles.  I have wanted to change the name for the past year but Bill wanted to keep Security.  After being in St. Thomas and hearing the incorrectly pronounced securite calls every single time a large ship entered Charlotte Amalie harbor or left the dock, Bill finally came to realize what a detriment our boat name could be.  So he agreed that we would change the name.  BeBe was his idea and I liked that name, so now it is a done deal.

We started this re-naming process two months ago while in St. Martin.  First we renewed our documentation under the name Security.  The old documentation had an expiration date that could have caused us problems had we decided to move from one island to another before the new docs arrived.  Once we had the documentation renewed under the old name, then we applied for documentation under the new name BeBe.  This cost only $84, but we did not know how long it would take to process the paperwork.  Turned out that it took only a couple of weeks.  The new Certificate of Documentation was mailed to our permanent mailing address in Houston (Trey’s and Kristina’s house).  Kristina sent the new docs to the computer repair guy who was working on our malfunctioning marine computer.  The computer guy then FedEx’d the repaired computer and the new boat docs and that package was waiting for us at the Amel office when we arrived here in Guadeloupe.  In the meantime, we were able to update online with the FCC for the ship’s station radio license and EPIRB registration.  There are no boat sign places on St. Martin, or on Guadeloupe; but we did locate one in Antigua.  So we had a laser cut boat name produced while we were in Antigua, and Bill applied it this week while we were docked at the marina in Guadeloupe.  Whew!  Another example of how a simple process takes more coordination and effort than it does back in the States where everything is so readily available and more efficient.

The folks at the Amel service office here in Guadeloupe have been a true delight to work with.  They are knowledgeable and nice and have had the materials for every job that we have requested.  The gel coat repair guy was very apologetic about the ever so slight color variance on one of the gel coat chip repairs.  He told us that the product that he uses is three years old because they can’t get any more shipped from France – “because of the Muslims,” he said, “we can’t put this on airplanes anymore.”  Hazardous material, you know.  Bill said that as many Amel yachts that are delivered to Guadeloupe (where most Americans accept delivery of their new boats), you would think that they could have added a few boxes of gel coat material and paints to a boat being delivered here.  My guess is that the new sales department and the service department at the Amel factory in La Rochelle don’t communicate with one another.  Or maybe the French government won’t let them put these “hazardous materials” aboard a private yacht.  There are seven older Amel boats on our dock.  We are the only American owners.  Most are French but two are from countries unknown to us and with names that we can’t begin to pronounce.  Obviously a popular place for Amels because of the service office located near this marina.

We haven’t yet gotten out of the marina/restaurant/shopping area here on Guadeloupe.  We have wanted to stay on the boat most of the time so that we would not miss meeting whatever worker needed to come aboard.  Bill wants to leave the marina on Monday, so he has reserved a rent car for the weekend and we plan to get out and see the island.  Neither of us is particularly interested in sailing to different anchorages and seeing just those areas within walking distance of each anchorage.  A rent car will allow us to wander all over.  After all it is an island; even if we can’t read the road signs, how lost can we get.

Guadeloupe is a very large island, shaped sort of like a butterfly.  Technically, it is two islands; because the two butterfly wings are separated by a river.  A shallow draft boat can actually navigate that river but our boat is much too deep to attempt it.  The western “wing” is very mountainous and is called Basse Terre and borders the Caribbean Sea.  The eastern “wing” is flatter and is called Grand Terre and borders the Atlantic Ocean.  The Riviere Salee passage separates these two islands.   Guadeloupe is a very beautiful island(s).

BTW, there is a young French family living on the 45-foot steel sloop berthed next to us.  The woman gave birth to their fifth child this week.  Can you imagine having five children under the age of seven living on a boat that small?  I cannot!  The mother and baby came home from the hospital last evening and there is a reception being held on our dock for the new baby this afternoon.  One of the little girls tried to give Bill an invitation this morning, but when he spoke to her in English then she got very shy and took back the invitation.  I’m sure she had no idea what he was saying to her because she doesn’t speak a word of English. 

There are additional children farther down the dock who often come to play with the kids next door.  It has been a different experience for us to listen to so many children playing and riding scooters and running about all day long.  Don’t know when these kids do their schooling.  But we have not made any negative looks or comments because we really do not want to be the old folks who complain about the neighbors’ children.  And, after all, these kids are just playing loudly; it isn’t like they are fighting or acting badly.  Just been awhile since we have been around so many young children.

Pierre and Ellen’s guests have arrived from France, so they sailed away today.  Hope to meet up with them somewhere along the way.  We do enjoy their company.

I went to Customs this morning to change the boat name on our clearance paperwork.  They told me to complete clearance paperwork as if we were leaving, even though we aren’t leaving yet.  So we are officially cleared out of Guadeloupe as of next Tuesday.  The French are so lax when it comes to official paperwork; what a difference from the Brits.

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