Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Shake Down Sail

Shake down sail
It was a day of mixed emotions as we left St Maarten.  We sadly waved goodbye to Mum and Dad on the beach where we had just dropped them off as they had come through the bridge opening with us. This was our first sail on Wandering Star but it was almost an anti climax with all that we were leaving behind.  It was only a short sail; 17 miles or so to St Bart’s.  But could make it?  What with an error on the compass and the wind instruments not being quite calibrated correctly, we could only guestimate what we were heading - as close to the wind as we could but it didn’t seem very good. We are not blaming Wandering Star. This is human error and learning the right sail configurations for a different boat. We know that she is not a performance boat but we had still hoped for better than this.    We longed to arrive in time for a dip in the blue sea off the back of the boat and let the last months of rushing around wash over us.  So what did we do?  We turned on Percy the Perkins and motored into 20kts of wind at over 5 kts!!  What joy!  This is not something we will do all the time; this was a treat, a test almost to see if Percy was up to it.  During all this the poor kitty was seasick.
Anchored in Colombier, St Barts
We arrived in time for sundowners and a dip in the sea at Colombier at the north end of St Barts.  A beautiful anchorage surrounded by nothing more than rocky shores and a sandy beach.  We took the dinghy around the following morning to the chic Gustavia; St Bart’s main town to clear in.  You can tell it’s a French island because everyone is so well dressed.  Trendy and expensive shops line the roadside; the harbour is full of expensive floating, showcase toys. It’s a joy to walk around even if you only have 5 euro in your pocket.
Gustavia, St Barts
Back in Colombier we have spent the last couple of days pottering with little jobs; Sim has replaced the lazyjacks, tightened the stuffing box that was spewing water everywhere and tinkering with the engine that seems to have an iffy starter motor or loose connection. We fitted a water filter to the tanks as the water previously had been collected from deck and always had something floating in it. I’ve had the sewing machine out and even the cleaning products! 
Some great snorkels
In between all this we have had some great snorkels.  Although the coral isn’t particularly stunning, the water is crystal clear.  We have seen all sorts of underwater wildlife including swimming with turtles, rays and even a small nurse shark. 
Nurse shark
Now we have to think about moving on.  This benign weather only lasts a few more days before a NE swell settles in and makes this bay uncomfortable. We hope we can make it to Antigua but the wind direction is not looking promising.  We will just have to see where we end up!
going out Simpson Bay Bridge
Goodbye Ma and Pa, Thanks for everything.xx

Sim at the helm

 Good Snorkeling

Sea snake

 Ray

Two sea monsters

Sim and his ray

Gustavia

Wandering Starfish!

Gustavia

Inner Harbour  - Gustavia

Please...No more sailing!


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