17th, 18th, 19th, 20th 21st and 22nd Dec
Blimey I had no idea it was so long since we had written a log!
On the 17th we stayed out in the bay and the swell eased gradually although the wind kept increasing. It is all about the wind direction in terms of the nature of the swell out there.
On the 18th we negotiated a place in the marina as we knew that the weather was about to deteriorate further and we expected a bit of a rush for the safety of the lagoon. It was also the day after the ARC prize giving and so a lot of those yachts were now leaving the marina heading off to other islands for Christmas, so places were beginning to appear. We got lucky in a sense and were offered a berth which only had American power hook up facilities, but we had no need for shore power so we took the berth figuring that we could better negotiate a decent berth from inside the marina, rather than bobbing out in the bay. This turned out to be a master stroke and in the morning of the 19th Dec we spoke very nicely to Gary who was the very flustered duty dock master. We assured him we were in no hurry and did not want to hassle him, but it would be nice to be on the prestigious D pontoon if anything came up. We were rewarded by being given pretty much the best seat in the house and we moved at midday to a superb outside hammerhead berth which gives us a lovely fresh breeze and no passing footfalls or security issues. We even have the wind just pushing us off the quay all of the time so our fenders are spared from endless chaffing. Then for good measure they ushered our Swedish friends on ‘Victory Too’ (Farr 56) into the berth immediately in front of us. Perfect.
Our berth also meant that we were just three slots away from our Norwegian friends on Ko Ko (Najad 570) so we got full access to their lovely coffee machine!! In fact we went out that evening with Ellen and her son (Jasper) and his girlfriend, Lotta (she is Finnish so I have no idea of the correct spelling) as well as another Norwegian couple. We used our dinghy as transport as they had just sold theirs (long story) but this required two trips in and two runs back. All went well on the first run, but on the second, the engine died and became very unhelpful. In the end I got it to complete its duties, but it now only runs if the choke is half out.
Still busy working on Serafina by day. We had a serious problem with our chart plotter on the sail up from Bequia as it kept switching itself off and restarting at random. Not very helpful when you have a cruise liner crossing your track….. We have had this looked at and the first solution was to reboot the system with a full reset. This resulted in the minor inconvenience of deleting all of our tracks and waypoints, which is a shame but not fatal. Time will tell if this has solved anything.
We also set about converting the rather useless locker in the dinghy into something more substantial, useful and secure. This like everything has taken time and some welding and fabrication in the nearby boatyard, but the outcome is just what we wanted so we are pleased about that at least.
I have been ‘wasting’ a lot of time trying to run some cables down from the top of the gantry to a power source in the boat, partially to run a courtesy light over the swimming ladder and partly in order to power a new wifi system that will be up there soon. I say wasting because despite all our efforts we have been unable to ‘mouse’ a line all the way back down into the boat. There is some sort of restriction halfway down the upright and although there are two cables in there already, we just cannot get a new line down there. Very frustrating indeed.
The weather continues to be an enigma, with lovely sunshine for most of the time, but also frequent very heavy showers – especially in the evenings, which combine to give a very high humidity. We do not expect much sympathy from residents of the UK, but we are just reporting things as we find them!
Sarah has been putting out our internal Christmas decorations and some of the other boats here have taken time and trouble to decorate themselves with fairy lights, but it seems to be the Americans who take this aspect most seriously and there are a few very impressive displays at night time.
Rather disappointed with the chandlery here (Island Water World) as it seems to be a pale imitation of their branch in Grenada. There is a very useful large hardware store across the road though (Johnsons) and they have all sorts of useful things at sensible (non-marine) prices.
On Wednesday evening Haakon (Ko Ko) arrived from Norway where he had been home on business. He rushed round and had a celebratory drink with us and then he and Ellen again invited us to join them and some other Norwegians (there are a lot of them about at the moment!!) for a meal at a French restaurant in town. We accepted of course and had another great evening feeling pretty inadequate as everyone else switched from Norwegian to English without any effort. In fact Jasper and his girlfriend can only communicate in English as she has no Norwegian and he has no Finnish. We have now made a special effort to get more involved in all this and have now at least learnt how to say “hello how are you?” Linguists reading this may like to know that this is a guttural exclamation of “hey”. Well it is a start at least…………
On Thursday 22nd Ko Ko set off round to Marigot Bay to join up with 4 or 5 other Norwegian boats for Christmas eve. (They do not bother with Christmas day it seems and are very unsure as to what Boxing Day could mean. We will be meeting up with them again before too long we hope as we plan to both meet up with Iain and Jan Simpson on their new Najad 570 ‘Song of the Ocean’. We heard today that they had just arrived in Antigua at the end of their latest transatlantic crossing. (I am not insinuating anything here, but I was pretty sure that they were heading for Barbados originally………..)
We also heard by email today that there is a friend of a friend currently about halfway across (so still 1000 miles to go) who have lost part of their rudder and have no proper means of steering. By all accounts other yachts in the vicinity are helping as best they can with water, food, support and advice.
And the other big local story is that the owner of a 55ft ‘X yacht’ came back from supper the other night on the island of St Maarten and found his yacht had been stolen – lock stock and barrel. Makes you think a bit more about sercurity.