Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Fort de France, Martinique

Hello All!

We are well and on our way down to Bequia.  We (I) have been finding keeping up with the blogging very difficult. Between being busy and not always having good WiFi for uploading the photos or even simply opening Blogger.com, we are rather behind.

We do keep in touch with friends and family via email whenever we make a move and when small things of interest happen.  If you would like to be included in these emails please email me at Nancy.e.martiniuk @ gmail.com or any email you have for us. I will make a group where everyone is BCC’d so no ones email is visible to anyone else on the list. I hope this sounds good to you and we will carry on blogging the bigger events.

So here are the three lastest emails and you should have a reasonable idea of what we’ve been up to.

On The Move Again - 21st April Hello!
 Tim and I finished our last charter in Antigua and are working our way south. Early this morning we upped anchor in Falmouth Harbour and headed out into the wind and waves for Deshaies, Guadeloupe. We arrived in good time and were planning on going ashore for some fruit, baguettes and cheese, but thanks to the wind not lessening appreciably despite the forecast for the afternoon and the windscoop affect of the terrain, we decided to shop another time. We still have 4 apples left! Instead we worked at fixing the leaks that we created around the windows when we removed the silicon to paint the coach roof. We are leaving tomorrow morning for St Pierre, Martinique. It will be an over night sail of about 20 hours and we’ll get our bread, fruit and cheese there. We’ll be in Martinique for a few days before heading further south to meet up with our friend Skipper Tim in Bequia. So all is good with us and though we’re trying to get back into cruising mode, we still seem to be doing a lot of rushing around.

Anchored Off Fort De France - 23rd April Hello!
 It took three tough sails to get here and we spent last night in Portsmouth, Dominica. There is a mild tropical front passing over which brought squalls and uncomfortable seas, particularly around headlands. We were 7 miles off Dominica when a squall arrived yesterday afternoon. We had one reef in the main and when Tim went to put in the second reef, the wind really picked up, the sail batons fouled the lazy jacks as he tried to pull up the main and we ended up dropping it completely. Although we’d been planning on passing Dominica, the wind shift that came with the squall had us charging due East to Portsmouth under mizzen and jib alone, rather than south to Martinique. With Tim thoroughly doused in salt water and with the chance to anchor in daylight and have a good nights sleep, it seemed like we were meant to stop in Dominica. So we did! We are now looking forward to going ashore tomorrow to shop and stretch our legs. I thinks it quite funny that we finished the charter in Antigua and left so quickly, that I keep finding things I didn’t remember buying in the supermarket the day the charter finished. I thought we ate the last two apples yesterday, but while looking for something else in the fridge I found a whole new bag that I can barely remember buying. There are things I haven’t been able to find onboard even though I know we left the catamaran empty. They will turn up in time, I just hope I didn’t stow them somewhere too cleverly. Tonight for dinner, we’re having leftover steak cooked during the charter in fajitas. It is such a luxury to have a charter boat with freezers so we don’t have to waste perfectly good, though rather tough if I remember correctly, food. You don’t visit Antigua for the beef. So all good here and it looks like we might even see the sun tomorrow.

Fort de France, Martinique - 25th April Hello!
 We went ashore early this morning to do some shopping. We stocked up on sliced ham, bacon lardons and frozen green beans and peas. It’s nice knowing what we can and can’t get easily in Bequia, and nicer still to have a freezer so we can shop accordingly. We went in early and discovered that very little is open at 0700 in the morning, so I spent an hour walking around the city wishing I’d brought my camera. Martinique has a very different flavour to Guadeloupe. Some is a little grubby and seedy looking but there are wonderful public spaces that surprise you. The cathedral has been refurbished and the sun glints off the black metal work spire, which was inspired by the Eiffel Tower. It’s so sharp and clear that it makes the surrounding buildings appear to be in soft focus. At one point, turned a corner and I was marvelling at the different patterns and colours on the second story of a brick building, and almost didn’t notice the five large paintings displayed below it. They were in muted colours like the bricks and fit in so well. Soon we’ll be putting the dinghy away and heading to an anchorage called Petite Anse, which is right next to a much bigger anchorage called Grande Anse. There seems to be an ‘anse’ pattern developing, and suspect it means Bay. WiFi v slow so can’t be bothered checking. We’ll over night in Petite Anse and head out at first light for Bequia. We’ll bypass St Lucia and St Vincent and hope to arrive around 2200 tomorrow evening. We often have currents against us and little wind behind the islands so a little after midnight is probably a more realistic arrival time. Port Elizabeth Bequia is in a huge bay (or anse, lol) and is great for an night arrival. We’re looking forward to being back in Bequia. Along with Antigua it is one of our favourite islands. Bequia is laid back and relaxed and we expect to be there for around a month. Tim is feeling much better and tomorrow is his last day of antibiotics.

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Antigua - General Update


Since we arrived in Antigua in early December last year, we've had quite a busy time.  Tim worked a charter over Christmas and I have my friend Susan from Ottawa out for a visit, so I wouldn't be lonely.



Susan keeping cool: Tim's charter catamaran leaving English Harbour; Susan keeping cool against the Ammunition Store for Nelson's Dockyard.  We actually got up early and were off the boat by 0700 to do our walk when it was reasonably cool.  It was particularly hot that week and we did all our walking and shopping very early when ever possible.  Late afternoon is okay, but all the roads and buildings have been soaking up the sun all day so it can be hotter because of that.  The days were spent swimming to the beach and catching up on The Crown. It was great!

On our own again, we headed around to Five Islands Bay for New Years Day.  Five Island Bay which is the next bay north of Jolly Harbour.  We come here often and were introduced to it by our friend Skipper Tim on Stormbird. Even as we are as I type we are here, because we can get very good wifi from the resort whose beach we are anchored off and there is very little boat traffic, which makes it quiet and good for swimming..  The downside of this anchorage is that if can be quite rolly in a northerly swell as it is now.  There is a small superyacht that has re-anchored half a dozen times, probably at the guests request, trying to find a spot less rolly.  We are however happy to suffer for our blog. ;) 

  
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The New Year's Day Super Moon and sunset in Five Islands Bay.  These photos where taken within minutes of each other - the moon rising to the East and the sun setting to the West.

Before our a charter we worked in Barbuda, we hopped over to Guadalupe to investigate the purchase of new chain and the possibility of getting some work done on my knee.  Neither of these things worked out, but I have at least had a recommendation from a Deshaies doctor that I need an arthroscopy to see what is causing the inner knee pain and swelling, though thanks to the thousands (only a slight exaggeration) of people who have suffered the same symptoms, I have a good idea of what the problem is. We weren't able to overcome the travel or language barriers to see the consultant in Pointe a Pitre.  I hope to fare better in Trinidad when we are there later in the year.



For any of you who have watched Death In Paradise, you might be interested to know that it is film in Deshaies, lthought the location is the fictitious island of Saint Marie.

Saint Marie sounds very like the Guadeloupean island of Marie Gallant which lies to the south east of Guadeloupe.

The beach house where the British police officer is staying, is on a beautiful long white beach (with a large rock that we sail past every time we come to Guadeloupe from Antigua), the beach to the resort where we picked put our hire car to look for chain and visit doctors.

So if any of this has interested you, there is a 48 hour screening of all 48 episodes in July this year.  Yoo hoo, anyone?





This little critter is one of many that stowed away on board Larus somewhere on the US Eastern Seaboard.

They have a grip like you wouldn't believe. For a long time I thought that the bug I kept seeing had just blown back on board or that it's little hooked toes had clung on to the tissue I had trapped it in and shaken it out of. But with so many reappearances, I became more careful and made sure I saw it hit the water.

I kept finding them randomly, walking walking, inside the cockpit lockers from North Carolina to Bermuda and finally Antigua.  I found one while eating dinner, watching either the Crown or Victoria with the lights dimmed.  We were having salad and after a bite I felt something on my knuckle.  I very nearly stuck out my tongue to lick off what I assumed was a random piece of lettuce, but instead I flicked on the light.  I'm glad I did.  It was not a bit of lettuce; it was one of those bugs. 

That was the first one we found inside so it must have been very hungry, which makes me rather sad.  I wish we could have kept them, but I did not want to be responsible for bringing a foreign species into another island. It went over the side too, but as it was dark I'm not completely sure that the next one I found, in the aft head clinging to my hair clip container, wasn't it.

It's been a month since then so we might well be bug free. *fingers crossed*

We had a charter on Barbuda at the beginning of January.  The Christmas winds had definitely arrives with lots of wind and squalls.

                  

The kite surfers who sail over to Barbuda and stay for long periods of time seemed to enjoy that weather.

These photos give you an idea of some of the damage caused by Hurricane Irma.  The beach in the first photograph used to separate a salt water lagoon (behind the beach) and open water on the west coast of the island (in front of the beach).  In the photo with the kite surfer, will try to get a photo next time with the kite in it, the rough area behind him is where the spit of land separating the lagoon from the open water is breached.   The breached beaches are silting up, but it will take time before the beach is as it was before the hurricane.


A long shot of the remains of a resort, which is now cut off from the rest of Barbuda by where the beach has been breached.  This also shows one of the many squalls that passed over in the week we were there.

 

With no road access to it, it will be a long time before any of the damage is dealt with.  On Barbuda itself, only about 200 of the 2000 inhabitants have returned.  All water and fuel is brought in by ferry and what power there is supplied by generator.  They are working at getting the services up and running but to talk to the locals, the post-hurricane situation is not all that different from the pre-hurricane situation.

Another thing that Barbuda is famous for is the Frigate Bird Colony in the mangroves on the north west corner of the lagoon.  There was much concern about where the frigate birds would return.  Tim took the dinghy and circled the island created by the breach and found the mangroves full of nesting frigate birds

We have another charter to Barbuda starting on Tuesday next week and we will be there for three weeks.  Hopefully the winds and seas will be calmer and I can have a look around too.  I'm not that fond of bouncing dinghy rides and being soaked with salt water.

Meanwhile, back in Antigua, we saw the Super Blue Moon on the second of February.



Tim has been trying out the different settings on our new camera and took this photo in Falmouth Harbour. The clouds you see are appearing from behind the hills around Falmouth and English Harbours.  The photo with the superyacht has Monserrat in the distance and was taken from Carlisle Bay.  It isn't very often when we have this clear a view of it and the peak is almost always shrouded in cloud.  In the last photo you can see the smoke rising from the mouth of the volcano.  When down wind of Monserrat, you can smell sulphur in the air.

 


An action shot of Tim; he is altering course to starboard one could say, 'to avoid the superyacht regatta that had just started out of Falmouth Harbour', or one could tell the truth and say, 'to head East to Carlisle Bay.'  Actually the most exciting thing about the first photo is our brand new 8 hp Yamaha Enduros two stroke outboard engine. It is a great improvement to the 5 hp we had before and Tim is currently taking steps to run in the engine by taking the dinghy allllllll the way around to Jolly Harbour to get rid of the rubbish. He is very pleased with it.

So thus ends another blog.  I do have more to write about the previous year's travels it will have to wait.  We only have a few days before our next charter starts, I'd best finish off the menu planning and a provisioning list.  




Thursday, 1 February 2018

Better Late Than Never - East River, and Statue of Liberty


August 21, 2017



Tortourelle had left the day before, so just Aura and ourselves who left Port Washington mid-morning so that we would have the tide with us while we navigated our way up the East River.

There will be lots of photos of Aura as we followed her up the first half of the river.

The East River is very busy and there was lots to watch and watch out for as we motored along -








Planes landing and taking off, a prison ship and a really big barge (or should that be large barge?).  I also saw a murmuration of probably starlings in the distance but the photo was a bit of a let down.





We came around a bend in the river and there was the city;  It was fascinating to see the below sea level road with people walking in the park about it.  This must flood at every high tide; Aura leading the way.



Chugging along after Aura; Cheek-by-jowl city planning;  That Chysler Building (the pointy one in the background) popped up between different buildings in different views as we followed the bends in the river; It was so interesting to see from the river the places we had previously passed on foot.  The second bridge is the Brooklyn Bridge and if you click on the photo to see it full size, you'll see the Statue of Liberty beneath it.


I do love the panorama shots. It really looked like that - Brooklyn on the left and Manhattan on the right. We have a new camera now which takes very good pictures, but we have yet to figure out how to do the panoramas.


We've passed under both bridges and the Statue of Liberty is to the left of the bow. It was very exciting seeing her come into view.

      

There's the money shot.  FYI most of the people at the base of the monument are watching the solar eclipse; The view from the anchorage; The inside of a sextant that we used to view the eclipse.  It's quite tricky to see through sextant with your eye, so the hope that we would be lucky enough to position the camera to do it, was wishful thinking at best.



             


Photos that Tim took of the city last thing at night and then first thing in the morning.


Once we were ready to go, we started to haul up the anchor and found that we had accidently picked up a cable, which may or may not have been the cable providing power to Liberty Island.

To drop something like this once you've picked it up can be a little tricky, but Tim us free of it in record time.

He tied a line onto the cable and cleated that off on the deck.  Then he lowered the anchor once it was clear of the cable we hauled it back up and then dropped the cable back over the side.

That done, we left NYC behind us and carried on making our way toward The Chesapeake.





Better Late Than Never: New York City



August 14th to 21st, 2017

We made Port Washington is located on the North Shore of Long Island and we used it for our base for visiting New York City.  The anchorage is huge, the train service to NYC was great and we were back in the company of Tourterelle and Aura.

 

A panorama as we arrived motored into Port Washington, which seems to be the name for the area as well as the hamlet; Aura and Tourterelle.

We made two trips into NYC with a day off in between to recover.  We were pounding the streets  Our plan was to just wander around.

The first day we went in with our sailing friends Simon, Kim, Ian and Ann.



My first view of the NY Subway; Kim and Ann; Simon in the sunglasses across from a very nonchalant looking Tim and sadly only Ian's toe peeking out from behind the pole.



First view of New York Streets; Car parking as we had never seen before; The 9/11 Memorial.


The panorama is distorted but it does give you a feel for its size and how impressive the Memorial is.  
A little hungry by this time, we started walking (and walking and walking) through Manhattan trying to locate a Chinese restaurant that Simon and Kim had visited previously.


Sometimes the only way to appreciate the size of the buildings was to fill the frame with them; Despite maps, phones and iPad it took us a long time to find our lunch stop - a the wonderfully quirky dim sum restaurant, which I don't have photos of as we were the only non-Chinese diners there and taking photos would not have been appropriated; I loved the way the New Yorkers had kept or allowed trees to grow out of sidewalks and on roof tops; The colour co-ordinated fire escapes were beautiful and decorated the streets of Chinatown. 

After lunch we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan to Brooklyn.

Brooklyn waaaay in the distance; Manhattan should be farther away by now and mind the cycle path!; it's hot and we're not there yet.

   
A panorama looking back across the bridge to Manhattan.  It was a long hot crowded walk and we were very footsore by the time we got to Brooklyn.


Firmly on the Brooklyn side.  Tim and I visited Central Park on our own two days later.  Central Park really is a wonderful wilderness surrounded by skyscrapers.  There were wonderfully cool promenades lined with artists and food stand all in the shade of towering trees.  It contrasted wonderfully with the hustle and bustle of Time Square.

We also visited the The High Line, which is a garden walkway built on the old overland railway.  It was absolutely marvellous.
 

Our first impression didn't prepare us for the variety of the gardens, art work  and vistas we found.

We didn't walk the entire length of the garden but were very satisfied by all we'd seen.

I particularly enjoyed seeing the little girl patting the oh so understated water feature - a thin layer of water flowed to just under the seat where her mother sits and then disappeared down the crack in the pavement.  There was just enough water for a little splashing without ending up soaked.

The High Line is well worth a visit.



Next in our Better Late Than Never series is our trip from Port Washington up the East River to the Statue of Liberty.