Sunday 13th March 2011
Well the past week has been a mixture of being lazy and getting jobs done, with of course a little socialising thrown in. We have been in Jolly Harbour Marina all week, moving the boat only once, to the boatyard jetty to have the diesel ‘polished’. This involved having all the diesel in the tank sucked out and passed through a filter before being replaced in the tank. A piece of silicone sealant and a small piece of paper/plastic came out of the tank in the process and we hope it was one of these that blocked the fuel pipe in Deshaies and that the tank is now clean. On the positive side, there appeared to be very little ‘bug’ left in the tank, so the dosing with biocide seems to be working.
Back on ‘C’ dock we set about removing the old main track and fitting the new one. The old car had broken while we were still in the Med and we had repaired it, but it broke again on the crossing and had to be lashed up until we could get a replacement. This was complicated by the fact that the track is so old that the cars are no longer available and this meant therefore that the track itself would also have to be replaced. We ordered a new one in Martinique, along with a new car and end stops, and collected them in Guadeloupe. This was a fairly big job that took the best part of two days to complete, but we are very pleased with the results.
Out with the old... ...in with the new.
Just in case our non-sailing friends can’t pick out the difference in amongst all the clutter that is our boat – it’s the track that runs across the back of the cockpit with a ‘car’ in the middle that is controlled on the old one by a single red line and on the new one by double blue lines.
We also replaced the headsail furling clutch which had broken on the crossing – from wear, old age and sun damage. Scott-Free is 19 years old and bits are constantly wearing out. Hopefully the replacements will last another 19 years!
We had the missing step on the boarding ladder replaced and the outboard engine serviced.
Inside the boat, we fitted another fan in the saloon, which makes it much more comfortable when we have to have the hatches closed or there is no wind.
On one of his visits to the chandlery, Steve bumped into Ian from Celtic Spray who had been in Marmaris the two winters we were there, and he came back to the boat for a catch-up as the last time we saw him was in Almerimar in Spain. He was interested to hear about our experiences in the Caribbean islands as he has so far not moved from his point of arrival here. Unfortunately his boat had a few problems on the crossing and he is still waiting for replacement parts to arrive so that they can be fixed. Many would say there are far worse places to be waiting!!
On another visit he bumped into Ann & Michael from Nimue who had spent some time in English Harbour and were now anchored just outside the marina here. They popped back to the boat for a chat and we suggested a swim and sundowners at the beach later that afternoon. Shortly after, Serafina arrived back in the marina, having had a very nice week sailing from bay to bay around the island with their guests. As Mick & Dione were to leave late afternoon for the airport, we invited Rob & Sarah to join us for sundowners, and spent a very pleasant couple of hours swimming, putting the world to rights over rum punches and watching the sun go down over the sea. I had one of those “Am I really here?” moments when I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming, and reminded myself just how lucky we are to be here.
Ann & Michael have been recently initiated into the game of Mexican Train but we had yet to organise a game together. With Rob & Sarah keen to get revenge on Steve for thrashing them the last two games, we arranged for a Mexican Train evening the following day on Scott-Free. This was a great evening which started with drinks and nibbles (provided by Nimue) on deck, then adjourned below for the first few rounds of Mexican Train. When we stopped to eat supper (one of Steve’s chillis) it looked as though the old hands were going to be thrashed by the newcomers, with Michael and Ann vying for first and second places. However, fortunes changed when the game resumed, and as the evening progressed they slipped further and further down the placings. Steve was definitely not on form and was never a threat, and Rob went about 7 rounds without a starter for his train! For the last three or four rounds it began to look as if I were unbeatable, but in the very last round I was pipped at the post by Sarah who beat me by 3 points! I am not a good loser and Sarah was only saved by the delicious chocolate brownies she had baked for dessert!
Yesterday we heard that there is a big market in the main town, St John’s on a Saturday, so Sarah and I caught the local bus and spent an enjoyable few hours wandering around the town. We bought some fruit and veg in the market and browsed around some of the other shops, noting the usual difference between the local shops and the ones that are near the cruise ship dock and definitely aimed at the passengers with souvenirs, duty free and inflated prices. There were no liners in today so it was very pleasant to stroll around town, and we found a little cafe where we ate lunch. Afterwards we walked uphill to find the church whose spires we had seen earlier, only to find that it was St John’s Cathedral which is undergoing major restoration and therefore closed. Wandering back to the bus station it was interesting to see the varying styles and sizes of local houses, some of which were about the size of our garden shed. We wondered how many people they housed. There were very few that were not well-kept and painted in the now familiar pastel colours. Back at the bus station we boarded our bus and waited while it filled up (to the very last seat!) before it set off. We had no chance to chat on the journey, as the driver put on music that was so loud I could hardly hear myself think and meant that passengers had to yell at the driver to let him know when they wanted to get out!
Later that afternoon there was a knock on the boat and there were Kevin and Jean from Amokura who we had met in Barbados and who are now anchored here. They came aboard for a drink and a catch-up on where we’d been, who we’d seen etc and then an exchange of info and plans for sailing up the east coast in the summer. Soon after they left, we went for drinks on Serafina and discussed plans for the next few days. Rob & Sarah will soon be heading south for Grenada where they will be leaving the boat at the end of April to fly home until November. We, of course, are heading north to the US. So we plan to have one last car trip around an island before we part company. Serafina are leaving the marina today and we plan to leave tomorrow so we plan to meet up in Falmouth harbour tomorrow with a view to touring the island on Tuesday. Then it will be just a few days before James, our first visitor since we arrived in the Caribbean, arrives to spend a couple of weeks with us, which we are really looking forward to.