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Date: 18 Dec 2008 12:06:51
Title: Season's Greetings

Dear Friends                                                               "14:26.2N 60:53.1W"
 
Sorry we've not done a blog for a while: all is well and we've been relatively busy (by our standards).
 
Our haulout went well and being lazy as usual we had the yard do the work so we could go exploring. This time we've had 'hard' antifouling as the ablative variety seems to wear off rather quickly with the speed and distance of sailing that we enjoy. Hopefully the Trinidad Pro will last a couple of years or so, maybe three years if we're lucky.
 
We were somewhat distracted from taking the week off by discussing the performance of the new batteries we installed at the end of August: from our testing we reckon they are, at best, a quarter of nominal capacity. Anyway, to cut a rather long story short, the chandlery has agreed replacement, which will be effected in Sint Maarten as no other suitable batteries were available in Grenada.
 
[and for the techies - we charged the batteries up well so that the resting voltage after 30 minutes rest was 12.87 v, we took out 61 amp hours from a total nominal capacity of 460 amp hours (about 13.26%) during a 14 hour period overnight and the subsequent 30 minute resting voltage was 12.13 volts which we reckon is about 40 to 45 per cent charge. Expert opinions gratefully received.]
 
We did manage an island tour of Grenada - self drive this time as we had a car for the haulout week - and we trekked up to the higher Concord Fall on the west side of the island. Here's a pic of the fall with Alex swimming underneath and George keeping watch.
 
 
After the relaunch, we headed north and spent a good 4 nights in the Tobago Cays. Now that it was the end of the hurricane season, the Cays were busy with charter boats but we had a good time in very good conditions. Both Michael and Alex saw sharks whilst snorkelling on the reef but Michael claims the biggest - at least 10 feet long and seen rather suddenly as he snorkelled around a corner of reef - the shark was only 15 feet away! What sort of shark it was we can't say as Michael was too busy controlling the adrenaline rush to worry about distinctive features. Let's just say that it looked very much like the one in the movies.
 
Other items of interest from the Cays were this Flying Gurnard with wings in display and a hermit crab urgently in need of enlarged accommodation...
 
 
A vigorous sail up to Bequia followed and for the first time we were met by the 'photoaction' man who polices the approaches to the anchorage with a large camera and a very good sense of balance in his dinghy. The best action photo was printed up and now graces the saloon of Blue Sky: you'll have to visit to see it!. We enjoyed a fair bit of socialising in Bequia, as several of our friends' boats were also stopping on their way North. We visited the Turtle Sanctuary again and this time a couple of albino Hawksbill turtles were in the pools. Apparently the albinos are attacked by the regular turtles, so these two were destined for a safe life in captivity. They even fight each other, so here's just one of them:
 
 
After a couple of days in Cumberland Bay (see blog 6 Dec 07) we had another great sail up to Rodney Bay, St Lucia where the ARC* boats were finishing their transatlantic. And it was exactly two years since we completed our Atlantic crossing to Guadeloupe.
 
We're now in Martinique again for Christmas and the conditions here are very pleasant. It's also rather nice to go to a supermarket and find it full of splendid things to eat, in contrast with the rather poorer, if cheaper, offerings in the independent islands. But not wishing to be unfair to the 'English' islands, we'll finish with a picture of our Last Supper in Carriacou - a lobster of 4 pounds 10 ounces for which the fisherman wanted only 50 ECs (about £12). We finished this off at a single sitting, thanks in large part to Alex's determined contribution to the task. So despite the lack of Christmas Turkey, I guess we'll manage somehow.
 
 
So that's all for now folks: we wish you a very happy festive season wherever you are and a healthy and prosperous 2009.
 
Best Wishes
 
George, Michael and Alex
 
 
* ARC = 'Atlantic Rally for Cruisers' an organised crossing for those who like a little company and moral support.

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