Friday, December 23, 2016

St. Barth's Part Duex


Found a phone booth at Le Select
Kala's reward after every hike - surfing with her tennis ball
Our favorite Presidente - anyone care to move here?
Sure we had pics of Maltese Falcon at anchor in BVI - in St Barth's, we can watch her under way.  Notice the reefed sails (not all the way up) - like I said, winds have been high.
Our normal sundown celebration on the bow - fruity rum drink, almonds and cheese
Overlooking Anse de Colombier
The east (other) side of Colombier.  The swell is usually flat.  
Millions of fish in the sea...
Colombier on left, Ile Forchue in background on left....Africa is a couple (tens of) of thousand miles to right.
What a great life - swimming, hiking and Mom and Dad 24/7...I'm a happy girl.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

La Vie en St Barth's

Something has changed, my brain now thinks en francais.  If you spend enough time in the french islands trying to communicate - you know, when in Rome... 

Baxter, Kala and I left St Marten and have been hiding from squalls in St Barth's.  We spent a week at Ile Forchue, an uninhabited island which is 12 miles south of SXM and 2 miles north of St Marten.  There are mooring balls in the bay to protect the turtles, reef and fish from over anchoring and they are maintained by the Marine Park Office.  The day after we arrived, Tammy and Pete from Yolo joined us.  There were a couple days where our boats were the only ones there.  In fact, one morning, we didn't see anyone come or go between St Marten and St Barth's until late afternoon.  For a minute, I was wondering if an apocalypse occurred and we were the only people left on the planet.  That's what happens when you're off the grid.  Though there were lots of squalls and sustained winds, we hiked every day, snorkeled and enjoyed the simple life.  

We thought we would check in with the rest of the world, so we made our way to Anse de Colombier - also with managed moorings and took the dinghy to the Port of Gustavia to check in.  The next day, our friends Hakan and Anna on Unicorn were in the mooring field.  We haven't seen them in a couple years so we were super excited to join them for drinks and dinner on their beautiful boat that evening.  

The Christmas Winds are here and are not moderating much below 22kts, making sailing between islands a battle of wind and high(er) swell.  So, we are seeing more and doing more than ever on St Barth's but still managing to enjoy our Gold Star Days.  

Baxter and I have regular conversations about where we might go this winter and it looks like the plan remains TBD with the wind and seas....

One of the best spots in the whole Eastern Caribbean
Molly taking a picture of Baxter taking a video of a tortue (fr: turtle).
Beautiful, windy day on Ile Forchue - so fun to have Tammy and Pete from Yolo to hike with.
Look...the edge of a cliff (ugh...)
Terrapin in her happy place
La Tortue stopping by the boat to say good morning

Port of Gustavia - notice the mega yachts lined up over my right shoulder.  I'm sure there are plenty of celebrities paying millions for those - Baxter and I did it on our own for a lot less and we have the same view.
The runway in St Barth's can be dicey in high winds.  I wish I could capture the scream of the woman in the silver car when the plane flew over and the wheel almost touched her roof.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Fort Louis


We live aboard Terrapin because we love the freedom sailing provides and the places we travel.  We love to explore the people and the history of the islands.  Marigot Bay, where we are currently anchored, is the capital of French St Marten.  

In the 1700 and 1800s, Fort Louis was the prominent means of protection for the island...so we thought we would go on a walkabout and find out more.  
Fort Louis and the flag at the top of the hill above the white building
L'histoire de Fort Louis
Marigot Bay - hard to believe there were wars fought here
Terrapin is just over Baxter's right shoulder.  

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Where There Is No Pet Doctor

Living aboard a sailboat with a crewmember who has four paws can be a challenge at times.  A worthy challenge, but a challenge no less.  Kala sometimes gets hurt or sick or has issues, similar to humans, but she cannot tell us what hurts or how it happened.  So, we have to do the best we can. 

One night we came back to the boat and Kala seemed agitated.  There was no wind that night and the mossies were out of control.  I thought she was frustrated and annoyed and a bit itchy so I gave her ¼ of a Benadryl.  The symptoms continued to worsen and I realized it was more than I suspected.  She was having an allergic reaction to something (still not sure but my best guess is a bee sting) and ¼ Benadryl was not going to make the reaction stop.  Using my reference guide for dosage, I gave her more Benadryl and stayed up with her until she fell asleep – around 3am.  I checked on her periodically through the night, followed up with another dose the next morning, and was so relieved when I finally saw a proper tail wag.
It might be hard to tell, but her skin was red and rashy...and she was agitated - classic allergic symptoms
My reference manual - highly recommended for anyone traveling with pets.



Monday, December 5, 2016

Saint Martin

We feel like we are finally in the Caribbean.  The BVI are beautiful and fun – but a bit like Disneyland.  Everything is extremely expensive and the islands are manicured unrealistically to attract people with lots of money.  Also, most sailors in the BVI are from the U.S., with a small contingent from Europe or Australia.  In SXM, there is more diversity, and the boating community is 99% live aboard cruisers which lends itself to a group of people who understand each other and where you can find people to help with boat projects at a reasonable price.  We always suggest that if you have a boat project, St Martin is the place to get it done. 


The last time we were here, we replaced our standing rigging, replaced the chain plates, installed a staysail furler, and installed a wind generator.  This time, thanks to a nice French manager at the Budget Marine willing to offer discounts, we have been here for one week and we have already replaced our forward head (toilet), replaced our outboard motor for our dinghy and have other fun project plans in mind.  

Why do we love St Marten?  Because we can do all of this and still swim, take Kala to the beach, hike, have $1 Presidentes at Lagoonies and explore forts. 
Sunset as we leave Virgin Gorda behind us (over my right shoulder)
Someone is happy to have a cool breeze again.
When we woke up the first morning in St Marten, I checked the anchor we had dropped at 4am - the water was so clear.  You can see our snubber as it holds the anchor chain and the chain in the sand.
Oh la la...mon moteur est très jolie!
Marigot Bay, St Marten
We're not in the BVI anymore - Lagoonies has beer for $2, not $10

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Pinky's Up From Virgin Gorda, BVI

We found an open weather window yesterday afternoon at 2:30 and arrived on the french side of S St Marten, Marigot Bay, and dropped anchor in the dark at 4am. We are happy to be here....meanwhile, please enjoy these photos from the BVI.  While we waited, we snorkeled, took pictures of pelicans and did chores - like refilling water and gas for the dinghy outboard motor.  

More from St Marten soon...

BVI hitchhiker
For the cruiser potluck on Thanksgiving, we made a pasta salad with these fun shapes my mom had made sure I used to provision.
Even though it's just a nurse shark, Baxter was scared to pull his tail.
Cannons right off the reef behind Saba Rock.
Chores....but in water so clear you can see your keel and rudder....not too shabby.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

The Waiting Room

Here is the view of our neighborhood in North Sound, BVI while we wait for a weather window to sail to Sint Maarten...so glad we're waiting here and not back in the states waiting to get to the Caribbean.

video

Monday, November 21, 2016

Limin' Around

Since being back on Virgin Gorda, we have been hanging out working on boat projects and waiting for a weather window to travel south to St Martin.  It has been said that the cruising life is about fixing boats in exotic locations...oh yeah...and having lots o' fun in between projects.

By the way - for those who are interested in more details regarding our passage from VA to the BVI, Dan Cross, one of our crew members put together some notes from his journal along with photos/videos.  Click here to read more.

It is so convenient to have Terrapin so close to the beach where Kala likes to swim

Millions of fish in the sea
Wahooooo!  This guy looks pretty big when you're snorkeling next to him and see his teeth
Sunset rub down puts someone right to sleep

Captivated by the flamingo
Jumping off the boat from the rub rail is so fun!

Peek-a-boo

Neighbors who have the biggest house on the block

Selfie with Kala

Sunday, November 20, 2016

New Addition- Companionway Doors

Terrapin has a new exciting addition!  Before we left SLC, we ordered companionway doors that will allow easier access during the day but still lock if we run to shore.  Previously, we had to slide our boards in which worked okay, but this will be much easier and still look nice.  The doors were custom made, since you will notice we have an offset companionway (not in the center of the cockpit) and the top of the door slants from port down to starboard.  They include both plexiglass and screens which will allow ventilation in warm climates and it will keep the cabin warm in cooler climates.

The doors arrived unvarnished and without the hardware in place.  We stowed them during the passage and this week Baxter has been able to find time to varnish and complete the hardware and drilling to get them installed.  

We will still use our boards offshore as a safety precaution, but at anchor, these doors are awesome!
Beginning point with hatchboards.
Making sure the doors fit before applying the varnish
View from in the salon looking out. We still need to add the 1" square teak bar to bridge the gap at the top. 
Finished look with tinted plexiglass inserts in place.

Finished look with screens in place. 
So pretty and functional while maintaining the classic heavy teak look we like so much