Blog update.... Saturday 9th March....We're in Antigua.
John and Susie Blair.
Sat 9 Mar 2013 22:47
Where were we then? in St Lucia I think? waiting for the new fridge? Oh
dear, that was a while ago wasn't it.
Well as I write we've just come ashore in Falmouth Harbour, Antigua after a
motor sail up from Deshais in North Guadeloupe in flat calm seas this
morning but I'll fill you in on the last few weeks now.
We left St.Lucia after fitting the new fridge and sailed North 24 miles to
Martinique arriving in Le Marin which is a massive yachting centre with a
large Marina, numerous Chandlers, Boatyards, Restaurants....and a Yanmar
dealer! (Our Yanmar diesel engine still had problems ie won't rev above
2000RPM so less than half power AND the starter motor is duff!).
I'll try to summarise here! The new engine is warranted BUT if bad fuel has
found it's way through our three sediment trap filters and into the injector
pump the warranty is invalid. Besides, the Yanmar guy said he'd have to send
the pump to France to have it looked at...a process of several weeks. OK, so
I removed the pump, hired a car and with Susie drove up to a specialist
diesel pump outfit and left it with them for inspection, we then had a
sightseeing drive around Martinique. I gave our starter motor to the Yanmar
guy and he said it WAS a warranty repair and having sent photos of the
internal fault to Yanmar he was awaiting authorisation to hand over a
Two days later we get the pump back....a small amount of water had
somehow got into it but there was also a mechanical failure which may
have meant a warranty repair after all, who knows? We were delighted to get
it back but we couldn't test it as we had no starter!
I called in person to see the Yanmar guy every morning but he'd shrug his
shoulders saying he'd heard nothing and we must wait.
After nearly two weeks of that I complained wherein he said that if I pay him
for the starter with Visa we could have the replacement and go on our way
and he'll refund us once Yanmar agree to warranty the starter, well I wasn't
too happy about that but not wanting to wait any longer took it, fitted it and
we left Le Marin.
I phoned the Yanmar HQ in the UK and told them the story....they were
horrified! we should've been given the replacement starter as soon as the
fault was recognised! paying for it like that is completely against Yanmar
policy so they've given me assurances that they're going to get to the
bottom of it, I hope that Yanmar guy in Le Marin gets his ass kicked, he
cost us a lot of time there (he also tried to fiddle us out of other Yanmar
parts but I'll spare you that story).
In the pictures you'll see 'St.Anne's, we anchored there and wandered about
the pretty village, there were friends anchored nearby whom we'd met before.
Back in Le Marin we were asked to join other sailors who we hear checking in
to the daily 'HF/SSB Radio Net' an American couple and two Canadian couples
who are also anchored nearby so that was a great pleasure and we learned
much from their vast sailing experiences in Caribbean waters. We saw part of
the Carnival festivities before we left Le Marin also.
On the sail north to the Anse D'arlets on Martinique's west coast we caught a
monster Kingfish (AKA 'Wahoo') good job I'd added 80lb line to the reel as it
put up a hell of a fight! As it was so big we swapped it for dinner for two with
free drinks all evening at a beachside restaurant.
Further north and at Fort De France (Martinique's Capital) the Carnival was in
full swing with streets filled with revellers, marching drummers and crazy
Our second night there coincided with the climax of the Carnival and burning of
the effigy of 'Vaval' at the waters edge (See pics).
Further up Martinique's west coast we stopped at St.Pierre, another quaint
French village known as the 'Little Paris of the West Indies' where we met
another British sailing couple for a chat over sunset drinks after exploring
the interesting sights. St.Pierre was devastated by a huge eruption from
nearby Mount Pelée in 1902 which killed all but one of the 30,000 inhabitants, a
single inmate held in prison on a murder charge, though badly burned the thick
walls of his cell saved him from being fried by the vast avalanche of molten lava
that covered the rest of the town, twelve ships at anchor in the bay were also
St.Pierre was our last stop in Martinique and we cleared Customs there and
sailed northwards to Dominica.
On arrival we took a mooring off 'New Town', Roseau. Clearing Customs was
another sailor who recognised Chelone....turns out he cast our lines
off in Halifax Nova Scotia when we were sailing back from North America five
years ago! small world eh?
The next day Susie and I explored the town and I bumped into old friend 'Drizzle',
a 'boat boy' whom I'd met here two years ago....seemed like yesterday.
The other thing of note (excuse the pun) was that I bought a guitar off a fella in
the street so now I can drive Susie mad with that!
We didn't stop off at the harbour at the north of Dominica as we'd both
been there before, done the 'Indian River Tour' etc and so pushed on north to
Iles De Saintes, a small group of French islands between Dominica and
'The Saintes' are amongst the most attractive islands in the whole West Indies.
We hired a scooter and spent a lovely day exploring all the beaches and
coves as well as 'Fort Napoleon' with its commanding 360 degree views and
a great museum where one can learn of the islands interesting history including
the sea battles between the British and French Navy's and well presented
exhibits detailing the Islands discovery by Christopher Columbus in 1502 etc.
The waters in the Saintes are particularly clear, it's a snorkelers paradise! I had
a great time mooching around the reefs and as you can see from the pictures.
I had an encounter with a 'Ballonfish', I'm glad I had the camera as I don't think
anyone would've believed me on describing that!
We cleared out with Customs and motor-sailed in sweltering light winds up the
West side of Guadeloupe yesterday and stopped off in Deshaies for the night,
then we left for the 32 mile sail up here to Falmouth Harbour, Antigua at
first light this morning, another scorcher with glassy seas (We saw a whale).
We plan on staying here a few days at least before moving on north to Barbuda
and after that St.Barts and Sint Maarten.
Bye for now,
John & Susie.