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Feeling pleased

On top of the mornings admin I did pickup the backing plates yesterday and popped round to see Jim on Bees Knees but not a lot else. In the evening we went out to De Big Fish for their happy hour and had a couple of beers and some chicken wings. We met and chatted to Mike from Cirque de Soleil. After that we walked round to True Blue and had a cheap and cheerful curry from a take-away.

Today we’ve been getting down to things. I’ve installed all but two of the backing plates. The six cleats on the sides of the boat are now strengthened which are the most important. The two at the rear will require some form of building up underneath as the underside surfaces at far from level. Given that these are less likely to take great strain finishing this job off is now a lower priority.

While I was down in the starboard transom I started looking at the solar panel rewiring job. Staring at where I would have to run the wires I noticed the thumb thick wires running up to the powered dinghy winch which we never use. We never ordered this but it came with the boat at no extra cost. I’ve always looked at it as spares. Well – there are these jumbo cables thick enough to take a heavy load running right where I need them back to exactly the right place. Ding !!!!

I’ve already tried using these for the solar power bodging my way around connector differences. Before trying this the delta between the amps my solar controller was putting out and the amps the charger control was measuring going into the batteries was about 20%. Now it’s under 10%. That’s a huge improvement and will probably get better when I connect everything properly. A quick bit of mental arithmetic suggests we’ll get another 20-25Ah out of the system every day.

Helen’s been busy too (she usually is even if I don’t write it up). Today she’s fixed a door latch (bit of a gluing job) and cut a sacrificial zinc down to the right size so we have an extra spare. She’s also been clearing up behind me where I expose or make a mess.

This afternoon I will focus on properly wiring up the new solar power cables. I want to leave it so they can be reconnected to the power winch if someone ever wants to reverse the change but that’s not much of a constraint.

Valley of Desolation and The Boiling Lake

Sunday night, after having a few beers with John and Jill from Stevee Jean we went ashore for the Sunday beach BBQ. As with a week earlier, there were plenty of cruisers there so we had much company. The food was good and the rum punches were plentiful and very strong. This all meant that Monday was a hangover day. The morning was somewhat useless. The only thing that made me feel better was knowing that John was in the same state.

After lunch I popped over to Stevee Jean as I’d promised to show John some checks I’d learned. In the evening, we had John and Jill over for a BBQ. We’d also invited our boat helper / service provider, Alexis, and his girlfriend. It was nice to have them aboard and learn a bit about local life.

Tuesday was our day for the big hike. As it was long and at the other end of the island we had to be ready to leave the boat by 5:30. We managed breakfast and coffee and were ready in time. Alexis picked us up along with another 8 cruisers (including Sharon and Vaughn from Reality and Angie from Cirque de Soleil) and took as ashore where we boarded a minibus which took us to the start of the walk.

The weather started off wet and stayed that way only to occasionally pause and to often get wetter. The walk to the Boiling lake was along a “made” path starting at around 1,600ft above sea level and highest point of 3,200 feet before descending and climbing again. Along the way we came to the Valley of Desolation which was a large area of hydrothermal activity dwarfing the trifling patches we saw nearby close to Trafalgar Falls a few days previously. We spent some time here looking at the various pools and steaming vents. We were quite wet and cold from the wind and rain so we welcomed the warmth that blew over us from this region.

The walk onwards to the Boiling Lake took another hour crossing stream beds with more steep descents and ascents to keep us warm. The boiling lake was eventually reached as we arrived at a plateau looking down at the lake. At times you could not see it due to the mist, condensation and clouds. But when we could see it it was quite awesome; a crater lake looking like a huge boiling cauldron. We took plenty of pics. Many of them had to be deleted due to the lack of visibility.

Here also is another video montage. Unfortunately, the lake itself is hard to see in this.

YouTube Preview Image

The way back was hard word. In particular, the ascent from the Valley of Desolation back to the high point of the trail was a real struggle. We arrived back at the start point in very good time only to end up waiting over 2 hours in the rain for the ride back. To add to this, the minivan driver stopped off to pick up a takeaway dinner in Roseau which added to the time it took to get back. We were back on the boat by about 6pm, ate, then fell asleep.

Today we’re a little stiff and plan to rest up. We will be doing some boat prep later today as we plan to sail to Roseau tomorrow and onward to Martinique on Friday.