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
some sort of anemone on a brain coral - any
and some fish & sea
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
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
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
George, Michael & Fede