Monday, February 19, 2007

St. Maarten - December 3, 2006

Yesterday we arrived in St. Maarten around noon, just in time to enter the Simpson Bay Lagoon. We thought that we would shower before we headed over to customs to clear in. We anchored, on the second try, and I went down below to strip down the bed, shower and shave it all off (we both get pretty gnarly on passage).

Just as I was rinsing out the conditioner, Sten shouts down that we are dragging. So I throw on some clothing, rush up to help him reset the anchor, for the third time. At this point we’re both feeling pretty embarrassed, but at least the anchor is set. And we’re parked next to Dagny, a boat we spent some quality laundry and beach time with in Bermuda. While I was showering, Sten had been inflating the dingy. After we set the anchor for the third time, he muscled the motor from the aft rail, and we mounted it on the transom of the dink. Then we used the spinnaker halyard to lower it into the water. As we were doing so, one of the crew from Dagny was gesturing at us, but I was too focused to pay attention to him. I should have.

As soon as the dink was in the water, Sten realized that we were dragging down onto a motor yacht. So he quickly tied off the dink on our stern and turned on the engine while I reattached the spinnaker halyard and went forward to operate the windlass. We decided that we were having no luck with the holdingin that part of the harbor, so we headed west, and dropped anchor just below a hill with the fantastic name of Witch's Tit. Setting the anchor for the forth time, we dug it in really hard - enough to make the stern pull out of the water. So much for the old adage - the forth time seemed to be the charm.

Our final spot had the advantage of putting us close to Marigot, on the French side of the harbor. It was too late to clear in, but a technicality wasn’t about to keep me from ice cream and fresh bread. After a dulce de leche milkshake, we spent some time looking at the various chalkboard specials in Port Royale. We had a nice dinner, accompanied by a bottle of Sancerre, while sitting out on a patio in the evening breeze. At the end of the meal, the house brought out a bottle rum, which they steep in vanilla bean and banana. Quite tasty. After they ran our debit card in euros, at the amount of the US conversion (so in essence, we would have been paying 30% more for our meal), Sten helped himself to a few more drops while they corrected their error.

As soon as we dropped anchor yesterday, Lenore climbed up on the salon table and demanded to be fed. She’s since eaten two cans of food and is working her way through a third.

This morning we put together our St. Martin Worklist. You’ll notice a few items from the Bermuda list that didn’t quite get done, and some things that we will have to do at every landfall.

  • Clear-in and pay bridge fee
  • Banking and Bills
  • Investigate freefall anchor operation - Maxwell
  • Buy new cams for traveller - Ronstan
  • Buy spare solenoid
  • Subscribe to sail mail
  • Get up and running with skype
  • Investigate D-link phone
  • Source 12volt (possibly LED) cockpit light
  • Replace two salon reading lights with LED and add a third
  • Install Velcro to hold settee cushions in place on port tack
  • Laundry
  • Clean foul weather gear
  • Air out/ Dry out
  • Adjust furling line
  • Find suitable laundry to clean ultra suede cushion covers
  • Seal rough edges of bimini cover and sail cover with rope cutter
  • Measure and buy new hatch seals
  • Buy dingy lock and chain (lots of theft in St. Martin)
  • Buy lock and chain for spare motor on rail
  • Pump down refrigeration.
  • See if we can buy some additional fridge gas
  • Work out voltage difference on link panel
  • Purchase grill if prices are reasonable
  • Measure and replacement swim ladder feet
  • Buy small palm for sail repair
  • Call Thurston re: spreader chaffing protection, fourth reef installation and slatting of luff of mainsail
  • Talk to Joe Mello re slatting of main (perhaps it is a rigging issue rather than a sail construction issue)
  • Talk to local Quantum sail maker about new roller-furling staysail (on this last passage we decided that the convenience and safety of not having to go forward in big seas to set the staysail will be worth the money) and about main adjustments after talking to Thurston and Joe Mello
  • Complete watermaker installation
  • Complete new autopilot installation
  • Clean racor filter bowls
  • Retrieve topping lift that is wrapped around the spreaders (Sten hauled me up the mast this morning in the bosun‘s chair - super fun for me, not so much for him J)
  • Deal with chaff of reefing lines
  • Clean
  • Insall blocks or line in storage compartment at base of companionway stairs
  • Buy gaff, boat hook, and MOB pole (to replace items lost on first leg)
  • Buy mast head tape (so we can find our boat in a crowded harbor)
  • Go to produce market on Wednesday
  • Do some X-mas shopping at the duty free shops
  • Remove peeling paint from dorades
  • Do dinner in Grand Case
  • Buy down below/ never-leave-the-boat shoes for both of us
  • Buy Sten a light weight foul weather jacket and a light weight hat
  • Buy Danika a pair of quick dry shorts for passage
  • Tighten bolts on binnacle
  • Remove adhesive residue from S&S’s dodger pattering
  • Complete stereo installation
  • Service port staysail winch
  • Relocate bilge pump float switch
  • Investigate steering column noise
  • Calibrate depth sounder
That should keep us out of trouble for a few days.

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