Batteries not included
Batteries not included...unfortunately
We ended up staying in St. Martin a few extra days because we bumped into Rheinhart and his lovely wife in Budget Marine. We had met these great folk in Trinidad and regularly got together at the Mexican train domino afternoons and the pot luck suppers. Rheinhart’s boat is called Black Elise because in order to buy it he sold his Lotus Elise car. They left Chaguaramus a few days before us and it was a lovely surprise to catch up with them again. Having exchanged each other’s news and tales of our trips up the island chain we parted company with the idea that we would catch up on the radio.....the next day Rheinhart appeared in his dinghy and invited us to his 55th birthday party to be held in a newly opened restaurant called the House on the Water, and as you can imagine that was exactly where it was, only accessible by boat. We did wonder whether we would actually make it out there as the weather was very blowy with some rain forecast to come through but it held off as we navigated our way past the new causeway and across to the French side of the lagoon. La Case a L’Eau looks very like a Swiss chalet but without any real walls so is very light and airy, allowing any breeze to keep you nice and cool. Having arrived early because we wanted to cross the lagoon in daylight we had a lovely view of the lagoon whilst waiting for everyone else to get there. The evening was a great success with some great tapas followed by a wonderful paella and then a great caramel and raspberry dessert. Then to Susan’s delight there was the chance to have a bop for an hour or so before we headed off in the dark, back across the bay to our berth.
Our weather window for the trip up to the British Virgin Islands had us clearing out of St. Martin on Friday ready to leave on Saturday. We left our berth and headed through the bridge and anchored for a few hours in the bay. The BVI’s are about 80 miles from St. Martin, too far for us to manage as a day sail so we were travelling overnight to get there in daylight the following day.
For once the wind strength was exactly what was forecast 15 – 20 knots the only thing was the direction wasn’t quite right and so once again we were blown slightly off course and ended up further north than we thought we would. However a timely jibe found us off Necker Island (Richard Branson’s pad) just after daybreak and before long we were dropping our hook in St. Thomas Bay, Spanish Town, Virgin Gorda.
Having cleared in we settled down for the afternoon to recover from our trip with a very early night in this lovely bay. Waking up the following morning we had our first inkling that something was wrong. Overnight our batteries hadn’t seemed to have held a charge very well. We monitored the situation that day and also found there was there was a boatyard in Spanish Town with electrical expertise available. The following day we decided to go into the marina here to make access to Andromeda easier and the next morning the guys from the yard arrived to load test our batteries. The only nice surprise now was that it was only 1 battery causing problems, the downside was the time it was going to take to get new batteries as they would have to be shipped in (haven’t we been here before?). We were hoping that the main electrical guy here would come and talk to us and give us some options and maybe even have different contacts that could source the batteries quicker but after two frustrating days of waiting for him to appear we have decided to go back to St. Martin and get it sorted there.
So the rest of the BVI’s and the USVI’s (after getting those visas as well) will have to wait for next year when we come back this way again. We should be heading back to St. Martin tomorrow (Saturday) as a weather window has appeared and we will let you know how we get on......
More in due course,
Susan and Andrew
Andromeda of Plymouth