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Date: 19 Jun 2008 16:58:37
Title: Sailing South

Hello Friends                                    "14:32.7N 61:02.4W"
 
Federico or "Fede" arrived on time at the start of the month and is setting a high standard by which future cabin boys will be judged !    Mind you, I suppose it was expected that he would be efficient as he's the first Swiss Army Captain / Boy Scout we've had on board. Fede immediately wins the prize for the best kept cabin with military style bunk-making each morning, ready for inspection. And he positively refuses to let the skipper help with the washing-up...
 
Fede has a good quality digi camera and an underwater housing which he's been using to good effect around Les Saintes. Here is some of his work for the benefit of blog readers who have enjoyed our photos:
 
some sort of anemone on a brain coral - any suggestions ??
 
 
and some fish & sea urchins
 
 
We've been hanging around in Les Saintes for a couple of weeks - one of our favourite spots as blog regulars will know. We had a slight hiccup when the 20 month old engine start battery died but we have often sailed out of anchorages and anchored under sail so we just sailed back up to the Bas du Fort marina and picked up another battery there.
 
'Kelp Fiction' and 'Sea Bird' arrived from St Martin and we swapped stories of the Winter's adventures. 'Kelp Fiction' also kindly supplied a 7/64ths hex key to enable us to replace the circuit board on our Air-X wind turbine. This has been problematic since Antigua and the manufacturers, South West Windpower of Arizona, were extremely helpful and couriered a fresh circuit board out to Guadeloupe free of charge. All is working fine again.
 
We also decided to upgrade our solar panel system by increasing the cable size to 16 sq mm and fitting a new clever regulator to boost current. For those of a technical bent (this is your slot Barny) the solar panels have an output voltage around 18-19 volts - much higher than needed to charge the batteries. The new regulator somehow translates this excess voltage into a higher current at a more normal charging voltage. It's also manufactured by Blue Sky Energy - no kidding - so it was made for us. We've already seen 20 amps of charging from our 320 watts of panels.
 
Last Saturday, we sailed South in company of 'Kelp Fiction' and 'Sea Bird' to Dominica and went on a short tour taking in a waterfall and a diving pool in a mountain stream.
 
This is the Syndicate Falls - in fact a water source with a high fence around the pool, but we go to infinite trouble to give you good photos, so we deleted the fence... Fred of 'Kelp Fiction' gives it scale.
 
 
and Cyndi of 'Kelp Fiction', Megan of 'Sea Bird' and our own Fede in the Chaudiere Pool on the E side of Dominica. We could have spent the whole day there jumping into this deep pool in the rainforest, jumping from the rock in the top right of the picture into the pool, which is so deep we couldn't find the bottom. Maybe another time we'll rent a car and take a picnic for the day.
 
 
We're now in Martinique, having broken yet another Raymarine tiller pin on the way down from Dominica. We guess these autopilots aren't really strong enough for a 49 foot boat, but we're so used to replacing the pin when it shears that it only takes 5 minutes now.
 
Fresh winds are forecast for the next few days so we'll muck around in Martinique for a long weekend and then tootle down to Bequia. But must go, as George has prepared duck breast with fresh mango & lime sauce for supper...
 
We hope you're all having as much fun as we are.
 
Best Wishes
 
George, Michael & Fede
 

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