Friday, May 28, 2010

Back to Bequia...

So we left beautiful St Lucia and continued down island to Bequia…but as different island guys came by and offered to do work on our boat we decided that it was time for us to work. While I polished all the stainless steel outside (got my first sunburn on my back from wearing a cropped t-shirt – drat) Mark sanded and varnished the forward companionway…I got a picture of him but alas, he did not get one of me. We are planning on leaving in the morning for Carriacou if we can get the boat put back together….looks like a cyclone hit it…ahhh yes, reminds me of the old days on Lake Lewisville…

Trashed a mooring line...but not the boat

We found that night that windy was not the word for being ‘between the Pitons’ as the wind howled…this is our knot meter…and when we got ready to leave much to our consternation, one of our mooring buoy lines had separated – thank goodness the norm on this boat anyway is always two. I had a hard time releasing the one that still held.

Resort life...

The next day we went to a place – The Jalousie Plantation Bayside to have a bit of fun. We met a nice couple (Heidi & Dave) from the states that were there (early) for a wedding the following weekend. We had a nice time talking to them and enjoying the beach atmosphere.

Dinner ashore

We went into town and found a little local place (name already forgotten) but had a lovely dinner – thank goodness we shared…portions in the island are fit for a king.

Darn, I should have learned French

Then we bypassed Martinique and headed straight for St. Lucia and ended up between the Pitons. They say that it is windy there…but we took a mooring ball anyway.

Dinghy's r us...

Believe it or not our new dinghy was leaking into the little v-berth forward so Mark had to re-bed the forward cleat (and so far it is dry….YEAH!)

Still looking for the 'Purple' turtle

We also discovered the ‘Purple Turtle’ and the very nice proprietor (Patricia) at the northern end of the anchorage. The food was lovely island fare and we visited quite a long while with Patricia. She has adopted many children and reared them to adulthood – last count they are scattered over 4 or 5 continents!

Rasta soap dish for the boat...made from coconet shells

A very nice Rasta man came to work on his hand-made crafts. I had to get a soap dish for the back of the boat for al fresco showers when we get out of the salt water. We wanted to do the Dominica Rain Forest Ariel Tram but it was at the south of the island and when we got a quote of 800 EC (about $300.00 US) not including the tram ride we declined. It only runs on ‘cruise ship’ days (currently Tuesday) so we thought we would try to schedule our trip up island to allow us to do that when we don’t have to pay $300.00 for a taxi ride.

Another great 'Bob' project

There was a stop at a jungle bar…which was good as it decided to really rain while we were there – but brother Bob…here is another project for you. One chainsaw and a big tree and you could have outside seating for 12 in short order. Probably would never have to move them, or perhaps could not!

Ooh La La, my boutique rain jacket works

It was kinda rainy that day so we had our water proof togs on – notice that I got to wear my Grapevine ‘Ooh La La” waterproof girly jacket? I knew it would come in handy as it covers me and my backpack!

Pirates vs Captain Ron

This is Albert, our erstwhile guide – no motors are allowed so it was row, row, row your boat gently up the stream. Oh, and for you folks that are ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ fans, Disney used this river for a two cabins, one for the witch and one for the pirate (Jonny Depp). Albert claims that some folks have watched the movie so often that the recognized the setting….guess we sail too much to watch movies that much (except for Captain Ron of course).

Crab dinner on shore

There tons of land crabs but Albert says that only the white ones are any good to eat….we must have seen crab dinners for 50 during our river trip.

Dominica...and not for the last time

Then we proceeded down island to Dominica and took a trip on the Indian River with Albert. It was really very interesting and felt like we were in the Amazon (to us anyway). The people were lovely and we look forward to going back soon.

Deshaies from the boat.

Deshaies from the boat.

Parrots everywhere and still no camera

Unfortunately, neither one of us remembered to bring the cameras (drat) so in lieu of real photos…here is a picture we took later of some flowers. The coolest thing in the gardens was that they had parrots in a huge cage and you could go in fir a visit. Mark had a bottle of water and they flocked to him thinking that it was ‘nectar’ which you could purchase for 20 cents, euro….we had none but fooled them with the water – at onetime Mark had one parrot on his head and about 3 or 4 on each arm….darn, I wish I have the cameras!

Botanical Gardens...

The next day we wanted to see the botanical gardens and called for pick up (courtesy of the gardens) in 30 minutes. There was a language barrier (we speak no French and some folks speak little English) so we waited for about 45 minutes and decided to hike the 1.4 kilometers….all up hill. That and 14 Euros each got us in and it was well worth both the effort and the hike. We both agreed that they were the best gardens we had ever seen

Customs via internet

We were too late to check into customs so that we waited till the morning. Come to find out that customs is almost always closed. We had to stop at Le Pelican (internet site) and check in over the internet…go figure. 

Wonder what happens when it is down which seems to happen frequently in the islands.

A blog update that features just us

Since Mark is sanding and varnishing the companionway (forward) he is talking to me at various times and interrupting my train of thought. Since updating the blog is easier than what I was attempting to do (learn how to make videos using Adobe Premier Elements 8). I thought I would do something I might be successful at.  So here goes…

On the north end of Guadeloupe (Deshaies) stopped for dinner at La Kaz which was nice and not too expensive.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Nice lady from England, Dorothy

We lounge and do laundry and tidy up for a few days…make phone calls to family, then it is time to go. We tied up to the fuel dock and load fuel, the boat is ready for the passage to Guadeloupe. We go to the workman’s bar and I get to say goodbye to a new friend Dorothy (I met her a few times at the same bar) who is over from England visiting her son Sprout (also know as Russell, get it?). He is a cabinet maker (among other things) and Dorothy is just plain nice…we had a good time visiting and I was glad to see here there before we left.

Bon Voyage Jack and Karen

Driftwood appears very timely to escort Jack & Karen back to the airport after breakfast on May 8, 2010 and we say good bye to yet more friends.

Breakfast was good too

Jack, Karen and Scico who arranged the special breakfast the night before.

Reservations for breakfast

We get ‘private’ reservations from Johnny Coconat (Nat is the owners name) for breakfast, since it is now low season and many places are closed or run on shorter schedules.

Cheeseburgers at Mad Mongoose for Jack

Of course, nothing keeps our friend jack away from Cheeseburgers for long, so it is back to the Mad Mongoose.

The workman's bar...

Us in yet another bar – this is one of Mark & my favorites as it is where the local craftsmen and boatyard workers gather after work. In an understated way the bar is named…the Walk-In….outside it just has a martini glass for a sign.

The last jump

Here, Driftwood tells us that slaves who were worn out from working sugar cane came to jump into the ocean….very sad. He also tells us that this is the calmest he has ever seen the bridge...usually you would get drenched if you tried to cross it, but as you can see there is a fellow out there taking pictures and dry....drat, it would have been cool to see it raucous.

Devil's Bridge

Then we go to Devil’s Bridge on the east cost of Antigua (we can see Green Island from the other side)

The stone buildings are amazing.

The stone buildings are amazing.

Windvane too

Outside the mill the long post to the right and a wheel at the bottom and turns the platform into the wind. (It does not work now of course.)

Restored sugar mill

Then we go to a restored sugar mill. I have seen old sugar mill buildings before but never the machinery.

Driftwood our driver

Photo of our driver, Driftwood (real name is G. Shoy Athill) but most taxi guys are known by the name of their cab. He is very friendly, knowledgeable and just talkative enough. Notice all the cactus (cacti?) most of these islands are arid much to our surprise.

Jack and Karen at Shirley Heights

Jack & Karen at Shirley Heights

Eric Clapton...

On Friday we take an island tour – our first as well and Jack & Karen’s with a great taxi cab driver –Driftwood. We go up to a part of Shirley Heights we had not yet seen – the driver tells us this is Eric Clapton’s digs – drat, he is one of my favorites and we didn’t even get an invite to dinner!


Jack showing off his leg after rinsing off the unexpected saltwater.

Back to English Harbor due to minor emergency

We left Green Island on Thursday May 6th because (you aren’t going to believe this) we ran out of beer and cigarettes for Jack! A boat came in with a flag saying 'Free Beer', when the captain came over for a short visit we teased him about it.

 We are back in English Harbor, after we buy beer Jack decides to take a dip next to the dinghy…much to his surprise. In fairness, the beer store door was very low and Jacks’ head found it to be very hard….we think he was still woozy from the head banging.

Green Island, again

Green Island – but I must have forgotten to take other pictures….but ya’ll have seen it already on this update so just superimpose Jack & Karen’s faces and you will have it.

Can’t help including this beautiful classic under sail.

Can’t help including this beautiful classic under sail.

We are on our way to Green Island….

On Sunday, May 2, 2010 we are on our way to Green Island.

Now…we have light

We have light without the dratted wire dangling overhead - Thanks again Jack!

Wiring detective

Jack also followed the wiring in the engine room from the overhead light fixture in the cockpit to the panel. He found that the end of the wire (by the panel) had a ? mark on it.

Electricians Anonymous meeting needed

Mark can not resist having his panel expert aboard and one day puts him to work. He hid all the computer power supply boxes and made the nav desk MUCH neater.

Beaver attacks the palm tree

One morning we noticed that the stuffed beaver felled the palm tree…didn’t even know they liked palm…

Karen in her cabin

Karen in her cabin – fortunately I caught her with her clothes on.

We check out the trophies for Antigua Race Week.

We check out the trophies for Antigua Race Week.

Cheeseburger in paradise

Jack wanted a cheeseburger in paradise, where else but the Mad Mongoose.

Jack and Karen arrive

And here they are…after this trip they are on their way to San Diego and a new job for Jack, so they came to relax.

Can you say donkey...or...

We are awaiting the arrival of Jack’s (ass) and Karen….

My very own palm tree

A local man (very friendly) make a palm tree of (you guessed it) palm leaves. He made a few roses as well, which Mark is not allergic to!

The adventure is over

And all too soon the adventure is over…Mike and Deb have to leave. Needless to say we had much fun and a lot of laughs with Deb and our new friend Mike.

Titan lives up to it's name

Mike said Titan was sailing so fast that he could not keep up in the dinghy….the dinghy can go about 20 mph!

More racing boats

This red hulled boat was in the Virgins for the winter and anchored most often near us when we were in St. James, Christmas Cove, just across from Red Hook on St. Thomas. Hey, Rick what do you think of the graphic?