Thursday, 26 December 2013

Sint Maarten/St Martin

We had a lovely broad reach sail to Sint Maarten.

The small island is cut into two nations.  The story goes that some time ago a Frenchman and a Dutchman set off around the island heading in opposite direction.  The Frenchman with wine and Dutchman with a bottle of Gin.  When they met again, a line was drawn across the island, and this is how the border between French and Dutch Sint Maarten/Saint Martin was set.

This is a Superyacht haven, where they have a lot of work done on their boats.  The facilities are fantastic, as are the chandleries and contractors.

These next photos are a small sample of the boats here.  To get into the lagoon they close the road and open the bridge...

On arriving, we caught up again with Mark from Sealife.  Also we met Belinda and Jean on Free Spirit.

Mark organised for us to go on a hike.  It was "extreme hiking", however the views were well worth it.
It started pretty gently, with Jean and I "frolicking" in the long grass...

 It then became steeper and steeper...

For Christmas Day I glazed a Ham and Roasted Chickens.
I also made this "Christmas Gingerbread House", 
all was taken to a "pot-luck" lunch where we had a huge feast, lots of food wine and fun...

Very Merry Christmas Everyone...

Monday, 9 December 2013

And we move further up the Leeward Islands...

I was in desperate need for a haircut…  
I had been trimming my fringe, however felt it was well overdue for a professional.  
At Isle de Saintes there was this lovely salon...

However, language barrier – she only spoke French.  
I came up with a solution.  
I went to my appointment armed with my computer and used technology to help

Look who parked next to us...

We thought there was a unusual sound coming from starboard engine, 
so after clearing out of Isle de Saintes we sailed to Guadaloupe to see the Yanmar dealer.  
He was not concerned, so we will get this checked again in St Martin.

There were a lot of fish traps up the coast from Point A Pitre to Le Francois.  
It was a real obstacle course.   
We got up early and had a great 15 – 25 knot sail with the Screecher (getting up to 9.1 knot speed).  Seeing a big squall coming, 
we pulled in the sails and waited it out, before entering Indian Creek – Antigua, 
a tiny anchorage around the corner from English Harbor, where Customs and Immigration is.
We were the only boat in this tiny anchorage,
where we overnighted before heading to English Harbour the next morning to do the formalities.

Yay – it is now the official end of hurricane season!  
(Our insurance keeps us at certain latitude and longitude until 1 December)

We went ashore – LOTS of superyachts here.  It is the Superyacht show on this weekend coming and they are expecting over 100 superyachts – we won’t be here long!

We walked to Falmouth Marina where I had the most delicious drink – recipe as follows:

"Espresso Martini"
1 shot Espresso Coffee
1 shot Vodka
1 shot Crème de Caco
1 shot Crème de Café
Put all ingredients together – shake and pour into Martini Glass

After this, I was raring to go – so we then walked the trail over-hill from Pigeon Beach 
to Fork Berkeley – a lovely shaded “volcanic” walk.  
Check out this interesting Cactus and Richard pointing at Our Rose

We had a few days here getting jobs completed.  
We then had a gorgeous Screecher sail to Jolly Harbour.  
The water was a gorgeous Turquoise and we saw HUGE Hawkbill turtles along the way.   
We found that we had internet at the anchorage on the boat, 
so we made the absolute most of it and did a lot of internet catching up.

Next day we caught the bus – at this stage I must mention buses...
Buses in the Caribbean are Vans.  
They generally have slogans painted across the rear window or the top of the windscreen.  
They ALL play either “LOUD” Caribbean music OR rather religious broadcasts.  
They ALL drive very fast!  
No matter where you are, you just put your hand out and they will stop – no need for bus-stops.

Anyway, we caught the bus to St Johns.  
There were 2 cruise ships in, therefore the town was heaving with cruiseship tourists.  
We left as soon as we could.

We cleared out of Jolly Harbour and with the Screecher headed directly to the South end of Nevis
10 to 15 knots breeze, lovely sail.

We went to clear in, however Customs had popped out, 
so the lovely helpful Immigration lady told us to go enjoy ourselves and come back later.  
She even organized a hire car for us.  
The island has a nice feel, proud and clean.  
We stopped at the Botanical Gardens...

We went to Golden Rock, a Restaurant and Accommodation – just gorgeous!.. 

We stopped at a “garden centre” to get some more herb and vege plants.  
The lovely lady only had landscape plants, 
however she insisted on picking and giving us Starfruit, Giant Avocados and a bunch of flowers...

Next day we took the car ferry to St Kitts (Saint Christopher).  Look how close they have you park

St Kitts does not have the same feel as Nevis. 

This sign is advertising this…

  But you get this...

A lot of houses look like this...

Monday, 2 December 2013

Iles des Saintes

We had a "fast" sail to Iles des Saintes
The forecast was 20 - 25 knots.  It was over 30 all the way with gusts of over 40...

What a gorgeous quaint place...
Again, very french - however extremely friendly.
(These French islands attract predominantly French Tourists and French Cruisers)

We hired a car??? for the day

and drove around the island.
The first French settlers ventured here in the mid 17th Century,
and the neighbouring seas, subsequently served as the battleground for many a skirmish with the British

Their forts are amazing..

with pretty spectacular views also

 We hiked up 1000ft (300 metres) to another fort - again amazing view

Lovely beaches and colorful buildings...

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Some Mornings Go Quite Different than Anticipated...

We went ashore to clear out of Martinique... 
the book said they opened at 0900...
When we arrived at 08:45, there was already a Cruiser Clearing out...
Next was 2 charter people...
1/2 an hour later I look at the form that we cleared in with 
and found I had already pre-cleared out for the exact day - over an hour ashore unnecessarily
 C'est la vie!

Back at Our Rose, it started to rain...
Up anchor, rain stops...
Forecast - 15 - 20 knots - screecher up and ready...
Very Excited about using Screecher again...

Start unfurling screecher, 3/4 there then...
"go downwind Jen, quickly"...
BANG! - broken halyard - this time our fault!  
(Yesterday when we set up the Screecher we were not thinking straight & had used the Spinniker Halyard by mistake)...
Complete Screecher now in water...
Half an hour (or more) later screecher back onboard, all lines tidied...

OK, here we go...
Next a "large" boat is coming straight at us...
We radio 
"This is Sailing Catamaran Our Rose, Our Rose, Our Rose, 
Vessel coming straight toward us, please identify"
We get a French message - No idea what they are saying...
They come within 10 feet of the back of the boat, it is now 30 - 35 knots
(what happened to 15 - 20 knots???)
They are all armed... Holy Shi*
It appears to be "Coastguard" - who are we?
We point to our flag - we point to our name "Our Rose"
They come so close to us - seas are interesting...
Finally give to A OK sign are head off

I am shaking that much, the only photo I got was them leaving...

We end up having a lovely sail to Dominica (though we were heading to Isle de Saintes)

When we were just getting close to our anchorage, this gorgeous vessel came in sight...

We kept the "quarantine" flag up and overnighted at Dominica.

Next morning, we headed to Isle de Saintes...
Forecast 25 - 30 knots

After yesterdays experience, we decided to double reef the main and jib...
Good Choice - ended up being 40 or so knots

GREAT sail to Isle de Saintes
"Life is Wonderful"

Monday, 25 November 2013


Being in Martinque feels like we have been transported to France!  The road signs, the driving, the people, the language, the food and of course the wine...

We have taken advantage of being here and stocked up on cheese and wine...

We sailed our way up the coast of Martinique, stopping for 2 nights and swimming with the turtles.  The rock and cliff formations were amazing.  
The water was very clear, with visibility up to 30metres or more.
This is a quaint bar on the beach

At Fort de France there was a large market on, being a Saturday.  This lady is selling sorrel

Arriving at St Pierre,

which is the town at the base of Mt Pelee, which erupted in 1902.  The destruction that resulted, dubbed the worst volcanic disaster of the 20th century, killing 30,000 people.

We went for a walk up to a monument of Mary.  

You could hear the church bells ringing as we made our way up the hill, 
looking down at Our Rose on our journey up...

 Like most French towns, the church is the largest building.  
This is the statue at the head of the graveyard

Friday, 22 November 2013

Hello Saint Lucia... Bonjour Martinique

A lovely sail from Bequia to St Lucia.  
We were greeted with the Pitons - two volcanic plugs in a World Heritage Site by the town of Soufriere, where we cleared customs and immigration.  

The next day we motored up the coast to Marigot.  A very cute and compact harbour.  
We had to take a mooring - it is the first time our trusty Rocna couldn't get a hold.

This sunken yacht was in the harbour at Marigot. 
You wonder why somebody would leave their boat to the elements???

Next day we dropped mooring and headed to Rodney Bay, (where we anchored).  
When the locals move around, they seem to always do it standing up!

We went for a lovely walk on Pigeon Island -  a historic site, with numerous forts, 
such as an 18th century British fort and Fort Rodney, 
both used by the British to spy on French Ships from neighbouring Martinique.

Rodney Bay is a quite large marina/harbour, set up for charter boats.  
The marina is in a lagoon area inside the harbour.
There are some impressive residences on the way into the dinghy dock 
(there is a swimming pool between the house and the water).

Just before dropping anchor, we had this guy come by.  His boat is two story.  
The bottom level is his fruit and vegetables and the top story plants for sale.

We left Saint Lucia and headed to Martinique.
This is the approach into Marin, where we cleared Customs and Immigration

Wow - what a difference in "everything"...

French speaking, Great Cheese, Great and Cheap Wine.
Wonderful food and restaurants - good internet...

One of the issues we have been working on resolving on Our Rose is our power consumption - especially at night.  Our fridges and freezers draw far too much.  
We had been recommended a Refrigeration expert in Marin.  
He required us to be aside the marina, so here we were again on a marina.  

We are thrilled that Frederic was able to reduce our power draw on these appliances by nearly 1/2.

The future will add more solar and wind generation, however in the meantime, 
this has certainly helped.