This post is LONG LONG overdue… Unfortunately, I don’t even have a valid excuse as to why I have been so lazy with our blog posts this season. I can only apologize and say that I plan to get back to writing more frequently.
In our last blog post (the 2 year anniversary post) I described how we had done some boat jobs and were just hanging out in Martinique, enjoying the culture and cheap prices. Since then, quite a bit has changed and we are no longer in Martinique. Not only was it time to get moving, but a couple of extenuating circumstances forced us to go south.
First… To complete our washing machine install I needed to order a 230V 50Hz TRUE SINE WAVE inverter to power the washer. We looked at the option of buying locally in Martinique but the costs were ridiculous. That left us in the position that we would need to import one from somewhere else. Of course the cheapest option was China. After looking into importing into Martinique we decided that it was just too complicated and St. Lucia was a much better option. So I hopped on Aliexpress and promptly ordered a 5000W inverter delivered to St. Lucia for $250USD (yes including shipping). Once ordered, the clock was ticking and we needed to be in St. Lucia to pick it up. So we provisioned up, watched the weather, and jumped on the first window south.
Second… I have avoided writing about this until I had an adequate resolution. A few of months ago we noticed that our dinghy always had a small amount of water in the bottom. After ruling out the drain plug, I went over the dinghy with a fine tooth comb and discovered a crack in the aluminum floor. Unfortunately the crack was right in the corner and extended up under the actual hypalon tube material. This was clearly a warranty issue as the dinghy was not even 2 years old (3 year hull warranty). So I contacted the manufacturer and after some “back and forth” they agreed this was indeed an issue and the dinghy required replacing (by this time, the dinghy would leak 40L of water in 2 hours). However, as you can imagine, replacing a dinghy I bought from a dealer in the USA down here in the Caribbean is not a simple thing. Even finding a dealer with the proper dinghy in stock was the first hurdle. Then we had to deal with the whole “Customs” issue. Many of these islands charge duty on ALL incoming items and any dinghy in stock would already have duty paid. You can’t simply go back to Customs and say “Hey, we need to give this guy a new dinghy at no cost, please give us our duty back”. So it took us about a month to come up with a proper solution. As luck would have it, that solution is also in St. Lucia, unfortunately not till mid May.
Finally… I have posted before about our batteries and my plans to possibly replace the bank with LiFePo4 type batteries. Well after some consideration and talking, we decided to pull the trigger. Since we now had to be in St. Lucia for mid May, it seemed like a logical choice to ship the batteries. I reached out to my contact in China and organized the order. Knock on wood, the batteries are supposed to arrive around the same time as the dinghy.
Believe it or not, but the inverter arrived from China in 6 DAYS. However, now we had over a month to wait for both our dinghy and batteries. We were not too pumped with the idea of spending that month just hanging out in St. Lucia. St. Lucia is nice enough, but definitely not one of our favorite islands. Of course we could point back north and hang out in Martinique for that month, but DAMN we felt like we needed to see something new. So instead, we decided to head south to Bequia (part of St. Vincent and the Grenadines) with our friends on Saphira Blue. So after one night in the Pitons and a kick ass sail south, Party of Five is sitting off Princess Margaret beach in one of the spectacular Grenadines.
St. Lucia also has pretty sunsets.
We actually climbed ALL the way to the top of Pigeon island this time . Yes you can actually see the Atlantic ocean on the other side of the island.
Party of Five and Saphira Blue trashing up the neighborhood.
I got to help out the fella on this cool boat. She is a 190ft former ferry converted to a floating castle. In case anyone is interested, she is for sale. $500,000 will get you an absolute palace on the water.
(P.S. Go back one picture and see if you can pick her out).
Party of Five and Saphira Blue had a few kids movie and gaming nights.
Ok Ok.. There may have been a quick overnight provision trip to Martinique before the run south. Under the food was 11 flats of beer, 14 liters of wine, 3 liters of Black Sheriff rum. There was healthy stuff too.. See the flour!
Saphira on the run to the Pitons.
Yup, sometimes Party of Five is one of “THOSE” catamarans. Lazy bastards who just pull out the Jib sail. Hey, I got as far as unzipping the main.
Our anchorage for the night is right in the saddle between these 2 mountains. They may not look like much in this picture, but they rise above the water about 2500 feet. Its pretty spectacular to be moored right at the base.
Within a couple of minutes of tying up, the boat boys came over to see if we wanted an fresh fruit. Turns out mango is back in season so we promptly bought 6 and ate them. They were FANTASTIC.
The next day we departed company with Saphira Blue as they needed to go to View Fort and pick up a package. They promised to only be a few hours behind us and meet us in Bequia.
After a rough start (we had an electronics problem), I pulled a double reefed main, %75 of our Jib and shut the motors down. We had a “sporty” sail south.
Oh, it might have gotten really “sporty”. We running high 8s and bursting into the 9s in moderate seas. It made for a damn fast passage across the St. Lucia-St. Vincent channel.
Oh oh… Things are about to get WAY TO SPORTY. Just after this picture, Rhonda and I rolled in the Jib and 2 minutes later the winds grew to a steady 25 with gusts over 32. We pointed in for a while, but eventually decided to pull all sail and go under motors.
Welcome to Bequia! I had forgotten how beautiful it is here.