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Missing Tracks from St Martin

As best I can I have reconstructed the tracks from last year. The trip from the BVIs and the first few weeks in St Martin was in my old GPS so they’re accurate. The trip to St Kitts, Nevis & St Barts is all made up from old records and memories as is the first half of the trip to Antigua.

View 2008 St Martin in a larger map

I have also updated the route page on the main site showing all the tracks to date as we have sailed down the Caribbean.  This leaves the forward planning section on that page a little out of date.  Right now our plans are to transit the Panama Canal some time Q2 2010 and head out into the Pacific from there.  Over the next few weeks I’ll be putting a little more meat into this plan and publishing the result.

Passage to St Barts

Tuesday afternoon I dinghied into Charelstown and checked out of Nevis. This put us in quarantine and nixed the idea of an early evening walk along the beach. Ho hum.

Tuesday evening we were treated to a spectacle of nature. Towards dusk we heard some splashing outside the boat so we went outside to investigate. Turned out we were surrounded by many shoals of small fish which were desperately trying to evade the predation of larger fish by leaping out of the water all at once it seemed. On a few instances dozens of small fish would land on our transoms successfully evading predation but not an untimely demise. Initially I thought we could collect them to fry up but the idea waned and I simply scooped them back into the water. The predator fish did their own fair share of out of water acrobatics but none landed where they could be kept.

Overnight I was woken to bumping on the side of the hull near where we slept. Turned out the wind had completely died and we’d drifted up against the mooring ball we were on. I was able to oh so quietly reverse the boat by doing nothing more than turning a switch, pushing a button and pulling back on the throttles. Nobody woken. Nice.

6am Wednesday we set off for St Barts. We set off on the electric motors to find the wind which we met within 30 mins. We couldn’t quite make The Narrows between Nevis and St Kitts on one tack so a couple of turns and a close approach to Cow Rocks were made. The sail was a close reach all the way so we were 10 degrees off where we could raise the Code Zero. We therefore sailed the entire way on our regular sails. Winds varied between 12 and 22 knots. Sea height was between 6 and 12 feet except for when we were sheltered by Nevis or St Barts. As the day progressed wave frequency decreased (length increased) so sailing became smoother.

The whole trip was accomplished without running the genset. Along the way we recharged the house battery bank, the drive battery banks and filled our water tanks. I believe I’m getting better and managing the energy sources. I continue to believe that running solar and cross charging together is not efficient. While making water I kept half an eye on the cloud cover. When solar generation was minimal I would turn on the cross charger to continue the house bank catch up and water maker running. Thursday morning I am cross charging to put some of yesterday’s regen’d power into the house bank.

As an aside I looked back at some of my previous maintenance logs. I know that over the last 16 days I have run the genset for 21 hours. In this time we have moved the boat in and out of Simpson Bay lagoon a few times, we have kept our clothes laundered, we have used the microwave cooker a few times. We also vacuumed the boat in preparation for my parents. We’ve done some coastal cruising in St Martin, St Kitts and Nevis. We’ve only had the two big sails for proper regen. In hindsight I’m pretty sure I could have used 2-3 hours less but I’m pretty pleased all the same. Even so, I do look around at the folks with wind gen and wonder how much less we could use if we had one too. However, budget is tight and this would require a lot of careful thought. Right now we are close to the shortest day of the year and probably seeing the most wind. As we go into next year, the sun will get higher in the sky and be out for longer – all of which will make our current equation better. I also understand the winds may subside too.

Back to St Barts. Upon arrival I went ashore to check in. Much simpler than St Kitts. Filled in a couple of forms and was done. Then it was off to hunt bread. The supermarket was closed Weds afternoon so I had to go to the tourist office to be told of a boulangerie that may just have some baggettes left over. I was able to get two for dinner.

It’s now Thursday morning. We plan to go ashore later this morning and explore the town of Gustavia. We will have lunch at Le Select which is allegedly the restaurant in the song ‘Cheeseburger in Paradise.’ From our last trip here we know the burgers aren’t the best but it’s worth going to. Mum was recommended the place and can’t leave without eating there. Tonight we plan to anchor off Anse de Colombier with another lazy day planned for tomorrow probably spending tomorrow night off Ile Fourchue.


We went into town (Gustavia) this morning just before 10am and separated agreeing to meet at Le Select at noon. Helen and I shopped, took food back to the boat, looked for open wifi connections with the Canary, climbed a hill and explored around town and were ready for lunch. We all had bacon cheeseburgers and fries with a beer. We decided to walk over to shell beach for another beer. I had a fit as they were 5 euros each but the view was good – very french – very caribbean. Helen and I had a paddle.

Mum and Dad are now back on the boat and we’re using on of the free wifi spots to catch up with things before clearing out. Next update in 2-3 days.