This past week, we made the trip to the neighboring island of St. Lucia, about 20 nautical miles. But the night before we spent with our friends Sue and Peter, on the boat Lorensu (a lovely couple we met last year, friends of the previous owners of Aquataurus-met them last year when they delivered our newly purchased outboard for our dinghy, from St. Lucia).
We agreed to sail “together” to St. Lucia. But that term is relative because we really can’t sail together. It just means that we would leave in the morning and meet each other again at the anchorage in St. Lucia. Here is a photo of Aquataurus heading to St. Lucia under full sail:
It was a beautiful sail and took us about 5 hours. It was good to get to learn sailing on AT. We didn’t do much of that last year because of the windy conditions. It was VERY windy here as well, most of January and February! But the wind finally died down enough to allow us our sail to St. Lucia.
While there, we needed to fill our propane tanks so I can cook! Martinique does not allow propane, they have butane gas tanks. We could convert to butane, but that is another whole process to convert and we think we have enough projects going on, we didn’t want one more. And we had to pick up our new custom ordered stack pack. This is put on the boom so that the main sail can just drop into it and there is no need then for a mainsail cover. It was delivered from Barbados to the customs office in St. Lucia, where we picked it up.
So the process from going to a different country (St. Lucia) is interesting. First, on Sunday (planning to sail on Monday), we needed to clear out with customs in Martinique (taking our passports and boat documentation to customs and immigration and printing the paperwork that we have left Martinique). Then we need to leave within 24-48 hours (conflicting information from different people!). We have a “flag” of the country that we have cleared in to (Martinique-a French country, thus the French flag), flying off our starboard (right side) of the boat. When we arrive to St. Lucia, we need to change that flag to a yellow “Q” flag, meaning we haven’t cleared into the new country of St. Lucia yet. So upon arriving, Greg needed to take all our boat documentation and passports to customs and immigration in St. Lucia. Once we have “cleared” into this new country (getting the paperwork at customs), we need to fly the St. Lucia flag. We repeat this process when we returned to Martinique.
Our anchor set in Rodney Bay, Gros Islet allowed a beautiful first sunset.
Aquataurus in Rodney Bay in St. Lucia, she’s so beautiful, our “home”:
And Toto has returned to being a “boat dog”, loving the anchoring life:
We returned to Martinique (same customs process as before) on Thursday. And we are currently docked at the riggers docks for final (we hope) work to be done. On Friday, the necessary workers were all over trying to get things done: headstay and forestay taken down to shorten (they were too long when put on a few months ago), electrician pulled line so the new solar panel can be connected, and yesterday, the new solar panel was put on the back new davit system that we had made in November. Greg is happy with the energy being put out with the new solar system, when the Captain is happy, everyone is happy!
The only thing left (the reason we are still at the docks) is that the rigging needs to be tuned yet, and today is Sunday and nobody works on Sunday! So hopefully everything will be done by tomorrow afternoon and we can head out to anchor on Tuesday morning early.
We don’t want to head out to the anchorage in the afternoon because the sun is starting its descent to the west, and we can’t see the bottom of the sea clearly enough to set a good anchor. We usually anchor in about 4 meters (12 feet) of water, and plan to motor over to the area of St. Anne, which might take about an hour of motoring. So we like to have anchor set by 2-3pm at the latest. Then, after we set anchor, we let it sit for about an hour to see if we are dragging at all. If we are, we need to pull up the anchor, and “re-anchor”! So this whole process might take some time. We do have an app (iNavx) on our phone that alerts us if we move outside of a circular perimeter, extending about 1 boat length beyond the length of our anchor chain to the anchor. This is pretty handy and we, so far, have had great and solid anchor sets!
Today, we plan on putting on that new stack pack onto the boom. Might be an all day job, we shall see. Usually if we think a job will take 2 hours, it’ll usually actually be 4-5 hours! It’s just the way it is living on a boat.
Not sure what I did to deserve this look! Maybe “mom you interrupted my beauty sleep!”: