Friday, June 24, 2011

St. Martin to Dominica

Just a quick update to let everyone know where we've been the past few weeks.
After waiting 2 weeks for wind, (a little wind, we'll take any wind please!) we finally left for St. Barth's on June 11th, just 1 day later then last year.  We spent 1 day enjoying Anse Columbier before heading off to St. Kitt's.  It was a quick stop this time, just long enough to say hello to friends Mike and Renee before grabbing a weather window to head south. 

We planned to island hop, overnighting at Montserrat and Deshaies, Guadeloupe but the winds weren't north-easterly as predicted so after a few hours we had some decisions to make.  Option 1 was to keep on a close-hauled course and do long tacks to work our way up to Montserrat.  This was going to be difficult and we couldn't be sure we could make it before dark.  The second option was to continue on a close reach and take advantage of the full-moon to do an overnight to Dominica.  We were having a good sail in that direction, doing between 5 and 6 knots in moderate seas.  This seemed like the best choice.  We probably would have traveled the same amount of miles tacking back and forth to Montserrat!  Decision made, off to Dominica.  Contrary to what some of our friends think, Merengue can stay out after dark.  She just doesn't like to!

That afternoon we had a wonderful dolphin encounter west of Montserrat.  Jim spotted a pod of dolphins chasing a school of fish about a quarter of a mile off of our port side.  A moment later a group of rowdy dolphins broke away from the chase and came to play on Merengue's bow wave for a short time before heading back to their dinner.

The night sail was beautiful, star-lit before the moon rose to light up the sea and sky.  But as the clock turned to midnight the weather changed with the new day.  A squall blew through with 25-30 knots of wind.  The seas rose and the wave interval dropped to about 4 seconds.  It became a bumpy, miserable ride!  It was difficult pushing through the waves even with 20 knots of wind.  We should have arrived in Portsmouth, Dominica mid-morning on Friday but with these conditions we didn't drop anchor until 4:30 p.m.  We were also having some engine problems so we didn't want to push it.  We were only getting 1800 RPM's and thought that we might have stirred up some gunk in the fuel tank in the rough conditions causing the fuel filter to clog.  The last 10 miles took us almost 5 hours!

Fast forward a week and Jim has changed the filter, installed a new fuel pump because the old one decided to quit and filtered all the diesel in the fuel tank.  This afternoon we moved to Roseau, Dominica for the night and as we were pulling up to a mooring ball the engine died!  We're hoping that it can be fixed by adjusting the idle which we'll try first thing tomorrow.   If that works we'll head to St. Pierre, Martinique.  We're hoping to spend a few weeks along the south coast of this beautiful island.  If I close my eyes and breath deep I think I can smell the baguettes!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

I'm Back!

 First I have to comment on the previous blog entry posted by Jim while I was off visiting family and friends in Milwaukee.
I Loved It!!!
What women wouldn't?
Married 31 years and the guy can still surprise me!
Of course it did come at a cost.  He did take a few hits from some of his guy friends.

 Our friend Tim came to visit while I was away and stayed with Jim onboard Merengue.  He appears to have survived the experience.  Jim and Tim (I know, it sounds like twins!) were college roommates so they have lived together in a small space before but that was many years ago.

 In Brew City I was doing my best to take in every brewery tour and taste every micro-brew I could find.
This is Natalie, Bill, Connie and me each with a different flavor!  Jim really misses having a variety of beers so I was doing my best to taste them all for him!  Yeah right!

 Back in St. Martin and we are provisioning the boat for our trip south and look what we found.  BEER!  Not just beer but different flavors of beer.  A supermarket here has expanded it's stock and we found bock, dubbel, tripel, and more!  Merengue's sitting a little lower in the water today!

 Ruby Leffe.  Delicious!

 Another great bargain.  Appleton Estate Rum for $4.51 a bottle.

 The grocery receipt was the longest on record and I'm still not sure that we have anything but beverages.  At least we'll be well hydrated!

 Happy cat playing with the grocery bags.

Continuing on the drinks theme, here's a great combination of signs on the boardwalk in Phillipsburg.  It's the St. Martin of Tours Catholic Church with a sign out front that reads "1 umbrella, 2 chairs and 3 beers."
What times mass?