Thursday, February 19, 2009


Ha! Now you've got that song in your head! Just a short update on our travels. No pictures. We don't like to photograph ourselves when we're swearing and making faces! We left Martinique on Monday with a good forecast for the next few days. We planned to do a 55 mile sail to Portsmouth, Dominica, then sail about the same distance the next day to Deshaies, Gaudeloupe and then head to Antiqua on Wednesday. Our trip started out well with nice wind even though we were in the lee of the island. About 2 miles from the end of the island the wind clocked around to the NW, an on-shore breeze. A few minutes later it died completely. We told ourselves to be patient, we were in spitting distance of the channel between the islands where there would be lots of wind. But we were dead in the water, not a breath of air to be had. We finally decided to start the engine but the engine had other ideas, It wouldn't start! We must have pushed the button a hundred times! I concentrated on trying to keep Merengue from heading towards shore which seemed like it was getting closer and closer. Jim kept working on the engine, trying to get it started. About 40 minutes later, it finally did. It was hard to enjoy the sail after that as we considered our options. We wanted to have an engine we could count on for the trip to Antigua, but getting parts in Dominica would not be easy. There are not a lot of marine facilities here. After trying various things and reading Nigel Calder's "Marine Diesel Engines", Jim thinks it's the solenoid that is going bad.

We planned on calling Alexis, the water taxi/boat boy/tour guide we met last time we were in Portsmouth but didn't have to. These guys are watching for boats coming in and he met us when we were still several miles out. He found a mooring for us and once we were secure, he stopped back to say hello, greeting Jim with a handshake and a big smile and giving me a kiss on the cheek. How nice to be treated like an old friend! We told him about the problem with the starter and he told us about a new marine store that opened up last week. It was too late to do anything that day but he said he'd stop by in the morning and we could use his cell phone to call the store. The marine store could get the part for us from St. Martin in a few days (cruisers, they are a Budget Marine authorized dealer). The part should come in today and hopefully the repair will go well. Jim is not looking forward to it. Can you blame him? You've seen the pictures of him hanging upside-down over the engine. Unfortunately the good weather window has passed. There is nasty weather up north that is causing big seas to roll down through the Atlantic and Caribbean. Doesn't look like it will moderate until the middle of next week, so we'll hang out in Dominica for awhile. We'll let you know when we're up and running again.

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