Southbound

(posted from Rodney Bay, St. Lucia)

The race weeks were over, Bob flew home, and we began to think about moving on. We got a couple days of rain, so we had to resort to running the engine to keep the batteries charged up. The first time we did so, the engine overheated right away. I checked the engine room and found antifreeze in the bilge. I soon found that a drain spigot had failed allowing the coolant to escape. The local Yanmar dealer had one in stock, so I installed the new one, refilled the coolant, and we were good to go.

Three Hour Tour

The weather wasn’t conducive to sailing between the islands, but it was fine for moving around to Jolly Harbour. We weighed anchor, put up the sails, and had a lazy downwind trip around the end of the island. Three hours later the wind was failing as we approached Jolly Harbour. We motored into the channel and the engine overheated again. We swerved into the anchorage and dropped the hook next to Morgan on Nirvana. I had been on the radio with Debbie on Chimayo when the engine overheated. Bob from Chimayo was visiting Morgan and they heard the conversation, so they came over to help. We had them tow us into a mooring in Jolly Harbour.

I dug into the cooling system and found that the raw water impellor had lost some blades and they had lodged in the heat exchanger. I replaced the impellor and added more coolant. We motored around in the anchorage for a while until we were satisfied that we had found all the problems and got all the air out of the cooling system.

Southbound to Guadeloupe (May 13)

The weather cleared and we headed south to Guadeloupe. The trip was a bit windy and bumpy, but all went well. We cleared in in a little shop in Deshais and spent the night. The next day we awoke to a deck full of ash from an onshore trash fire.

In Deshais we wake up to a deck full of ash from a trash fire

We worked our way down the coast to Anse a la Barque. This small anchorage has a boat ramp and is home to a lot of little local boats. We stayed here once before and each time there were only one or two other cruising boats. We went ashore to drop off our trash and met a local fisherman who had a boat load of nice fish. We bought a couple of big Mahi steaks and the fisherman threw in a small tuna. Good eating!

Tiny anchorage of Anse a la Barque


 Dominica (May 15)

We were up early and worked our way down to Dominica. We made good time and eventually grabbed one of SeaCat’s moorings in Roseau next to Mark and Willie on Liahona. This mooring couldn’t have been more than one hundred feet off a small dock behind a boatyard. The boatyard seemed to be a local gathering place in the late afternoon and early evening. If we were any closer we would have been part of the crowd.

On the mooring in Roseau – the dock is closer than it looks

Hard working local fisherman

 Martinique (May 16)

We were up early the next morning. Liahona was already gone. We set out for Martinique. Again the wind was up in the high teens and the waves were up, but we sailed along pretty well. The current and our leeway were setting us west pretty badly at first, but as the day went on the current subsided and we were able to work our course back to Martinique.

We anchored in St Pierre at the northwest end of the island. We went ashore to check in, but the customs/immigration computer was in the tourist office which closed early that day.

Quaint St. Pierre

Despite the experience that comes with sailing around the world, this cat anchors right on top of us. Later they move.

The next day we motored and sailed down the coast to Grand Anse d’Arlet. We found the customs/immigration computer in the restaurant at the end of the dock and cleared in. This anchorage is a beach with a row of restaurants and small guest houses and not much more. We have always liked it.

The beach at Grande Anse d’Arlet

Perhaps the ugliest catamaran made

The next day we walked around to Petit Anse d’Arlet, the next bay south. This is a real village with all the amenities of a small Caribbean village.

The beach at Petit Anse d’Arlet

Church in Anse d’Arlet is right across from the dock – very convenient at the end of a sea voyage

St. Lucia (May 19)

Once again we were up early and headed south towards St. Lucia. There were wind and waves in the forecast, but we expected all to go well. Unfortunately the wind angle, waves, and current set us drastically west. Our GPS shows us the bearing to our waypoint and so the day was spent trying to get our course over ground as close to this bearing as possible. Sometimes we actually did better by pointing the boat a little more away from the destination so we could gain speed to cut down the effect of the current.

We were pushed almost five miles west of St. Lucia as we reached the top of the island. The only reasonable course was to sail towards the island and the tack back to Rodney Bay. Our eventual landfall was between Castries and Marigot Bay and we had to sail close to shore to tack back.

Rodney Bay is huge. We tried anchoring on the south side in front of the beach and hotels. It took three tries before we found enough sand to hold the anchor and even then most of the holding power was because it wrapped around a big rock.

Next: Laid back in St. Lucia

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