Saturday, March 7, 2009

Dominica to St. Martin

Our last update had us trying to figure out why our engine wouldn't start. 40 minutes and over 100 pushes of the starter button before it started. We thought the starter might be going so we ordered a new one. Next time we tried the engine, it started right up! Same thing the next time and the next time! Now I know that's good news but it still makes us wonder what went wrong that one time? We did get some ideas from cruisers and readers of this blog. Thank you for your suggestions as they are all appreciated. One person said to hit the solenoid with a wrench (Jim thought a hammer would be more satisfying). The IP website had several people suggesting that the wiring to the starter button be changed to a larger size. Another person said to click the micro-switch a few times before trying to start the engine. This Jim is doing this each time he starts the engine and it seems to be working. He looks like a Major League ballplayer going through his routine when he's at bat. Click the switch, turn around in a circle, look up to the heavens, scratch something and maybe a shot of rum for courage. Can't break the routine or you might not hit a homerun, or in this case start your engine! So the new starter goes in with the other spare parts.

Now the reason you haven't seen more frequent updates. While we were still in Dominica our computer CRASHED!!! We haven't been able to get it running and have been without communications for 2 weeks! Not having internet and email is bad enough but we also get our weather reports from our Skymate system which downloads the info to our computer. So getting accurate weather while we've been traveling has been a challenge. We can always check with other cruisers but it isn't the same as reading it yourself to determine your plan. Cruisers have different ideas about what constitutes "a good window" so we like to decide for ourselves. Luckily the window we left Dominica on was a good one and it held throughout the week as predicted.

We left Dominica on February 27th for the 22 NM sail to Les Saintes. It was hard to stop knowing we couldn't stay as we really love it there. The aroma of bread baking coming from shore as we were lifting anchor didn't make it any easier! The next day was 32.5 NM to Deshaises, Gaudeloupe where we anchored for the night. The next day we headed to Monserrat but we were making such good time that we decided to push on to Nevis. This was 73 NM and a longer sail then we can usually achieve in daylight hours but we were averaging 6.2 knots and knew that if we didn't make it by nightfall we would be able to pick up a mooring along the west coast in the dark. We arrived with about 10 minutes of light to spare! This was a beautiful sail, one that reminds you why you're out here doing this. Then to top off the day, we spotted two humpback whales on our approach to Nevis. We spotted the waterspouts first and then watched them breaching which is a magnificent sight!

On Tuesday we headed to Ile Fourche (53 NM), a small island off of St. Barth's where we picked up a mooring for the night. This was another great sail averaging over 6 knots. Then the next morning we were off to St. Martin, a short sail of about 24 NM to Marigot. We arrived by noon which gave us plenty of time for a celebratory rum punch and a swim while we waited for the 2:30 bridge opening into Simpson Bay Lagoon.

It's good that we kept moving. The window held through Thursday and then as predicted, it slammed shut on Friday! The wind is blowing 15-25 with lots of gusts (every 30 seconds or so) to 30. The seas are 10-12 feet. Even the lagoon has a 2 ft chop. Boats are dragging anchor all over the lagoon. The Heineken Regatta started on Thursday and we had hoped to watch some of it but I think we'll leave that for the insane! We braved the elements today to get to this internet cafe. We're in for a very wet ride heading back to the boat.

So now we're just hanging out waiting for our friends Reed and Muff to arrive on the 15th and for them to bring us a new Windows installation disk (Bring Back Dos!!!). Hopefully we'll be up and running again soon and can bring you more frequent updates with pictures!