Gudrun V
Axel Busch
Sat 26 Feb 2011 12:06
Day 22, Saturday, 26.02.2011, 12:00 UTC (08:00 local), 18:00.4N 62:49.0W, 25°C, 1016mBar

Almost there. And it's about time, too. Yesterday afternoon I had to tape the autopilot to the tiller because the bolt on the tiller to which it connects had come off. I can put it back in it's hole, but I can't fasten it. With the sticky tape it's holding out surprisingly well, but I wouldn't want to have to go another day. The first thing I have to repair in port is that tiller. Take it apart completely and replace all nuts and bolts.

Also I ran out of water this morning. Well, in the forward tanks. The main tank and the emergency supply is still untouched, so I'll propably survive the last three hours. The forward tanks hold 150l in total, but I lost about 30l due to a leak. 120l in 21 days makes about 6l a day. A little more than I had expected. Now compare that to your regular household consumption.

The last night must have been one of the longest in my life. Even longer than a transcontinental evening flight heading west in the tourist class with a noisy neighbor and no in-seat IFE. I passed Barbuda in the middle of the night and entered the Leeward Islands. Sleep was hard to find after that, especially after I picked up the first vhf radio transmission since leaving Las Palmas an hour later. I feel much safer far, far away from land and other vessels.

At five thirty in the morning I could make out the volcano ridge of St.-Barthelemy to the south-west. Land! Only 30nm to go to St. Martin. Because of my draft of 2.50m I can only enter the great Simpson Bay Lagoon of St.-Martin through the southern entrance on the Dutch side, and to get there I had to pass Pointe Blanche, the cape in the south-western corner. The water is usually between 20 and 40m deep, but the charts warn of shoal patches in the area.

I'm pretty much done preparing the boat for anchoring at the entrance of the bridge, where Henk wants to meet me. Then I have to check in and find a place to put the boat. I'll probably go into a marina for the first few days to clean and repair the boat, bevore moving to the anchorage inside the Lagoon. Nimble-Navigator-Mike should be there too.

18nm to go :-)