Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Blog-free month (again)

I must have tapped into my inner hermit while Skip was away; I hardly left the boat. Saralane and I spent two weeks tucked away in Porto Cupecoy where I spent my days doing boat projects and taking advantage of the plentiful wifi. And, of course, going to the GIANT POOL each evening after finishing whatever it was I was doing all day. 

We had a quick swim at Cupecoy before Skip left - and before the big squall kicked up the surf.
We were plugged in to shore power in the marina so the batteries could fully charge. We decided to unplug the boat after a week and see how the batteries were doing. Usually the solar panels allow us to run for a couple days without charging with either the engine or shore power, but Skip recently installed an on/off switch for the solar panels, that I'd accidentally switched off. This left Saralane without anything charging the batteries for almost two days and the batteries dropped so low that the fridge shut off.

It was one of those good news/bad news things - the batteries had become very weak, but if I hadn't switched off the solar panels, we wouldn't have known quite how weak the batteries were. Well, if you need anything to fix your boat, St. Martin is just about the best place in this part of the Caribbean to find what you need. One call to Island Water World and we had new batteries ready to pick up - and they took our old batteries off our hands too. We replaced our two 4D AGM deep cycle batteries with four smaller (6V) deep cycle golf cart batteries. The overall capacity remains the same.

Out with the old....
... and in with the new. 
Skip connects new cables
Our batteries are below a shelf under the galley sink and because they went in before the sink and countertop did we thought we'd have some trouble getting them out. Not just because of their location, but they're big and HEAVY and awkward. It all went smoothly except that the sink drain got knocked loose from the drain hose... which meant a few more parts to be replaced.

Do NOT turn this on or the battery compartment will fill with water.
New drain, ready to go
Sink drain repaired? Check. New batteries in? Check. New batteries charging perfectly? Double check! The condition of the batteries has been on our minds for a while and we came close to replacing them once. Now the captain is much more relaxed about our power and I don't feel (as) guilty plugging in my energy hogging Mac.

It wasn't all boat chores while we were in St. Martin - we caught up with our friends Tim and Nancy on s/v Larus who'd just arrived from St. Vincent to start work as fill in charter boat captain/crew. We're sure to see them again next year since we'll be traveling around the same islands around the same time. 

We also met John and Frances on s/v Kia Ora, from Australia and New Zealand respectively, when we were all clearing in to the Dutch side back at the end of June. They were hanging around St. Martin for too long, much like we were and we spent a couple of really nice evenings with them. 

Finally leaving the lagoon in St. Martin! Sally waves goodbye as we go through the French bridge.
Shrimpy (top dog at Shrimpy's laundry) sees something shiny in the water...
Skip and I planned on stopping at Columbier, a little bay on the western tip of St. Barth's, for a swim and an overnight before making the trip to Antigua, and John and Frances decided to join us. It's a beautiful beach with crystal clear water and countless star fish scattered across on the sandy bottom. (Here's where I should have a photo of the beautiful beach to drop in, but.... I don't. White sand, clear blue water, star fish.... y'know. Pretty beach....)

We cleaned the water line and chipped a few barnacles off the bottom but all in all, after sitting in the lagoon for too long, our bottom paint is holding up really well. 

It seems that Kia Ora and Saralane are heading in different directions when we all return in a few months but you never really know. John and Frances love the northern Caribbean and may even decide to sail north to the states rather than head south right away. Eventually they'll take Kia Ora back home to Australia, but she'll wait on the hard for them in St. Martin while they travel home the easy way for a few months. We hope to see them again in our travels.

Yellow park boundary marker in St. Barth's
Sunrise departure from Columbier
We had a great sail to Antigua; calms seas, wind 10 to 12 knots from the east northeast. We hooked a small tuna and decided to toss it back to let it grow up. A mackerel almost made it onto the boat but shook off the hook before Skip could gaff it. 

Jolly Harbor during the season is packed, but when we arrived just after dark there was only one other boat here. It's quiet, to say the least. It's kind of spooky, but also kind of nice.

Jolly Harbor, completely deserted.
Sailing lessons in the wide open harbor the next day
We'll roam around Antigua and if the weather forecast stays as good as it seems we'll fit in one more trip up to Barbuda before we get hauled out at the end of the month. I promise another blog (or two) before we go!


Janice said...

Good to see that you aren't suffering over in that nice blue water and getting in a sail or two as well! Glad you got the batteries replaced and the sink drain fixed. We are getting close to the Netherlands now where we will be for quite a few weeks. Pulling Tsamaya out for a few days as well as Bob has some work to do on her. Best wishes to you both!

Cindy Barnard said...

Your photo of Jolly Harbor feels so serene and quiet. Kinda of like what it feels like here when the snowbirds return to Fl and AZ and we have our world back all to ourselves. We wouldn't want it either way all the time. Gotta enjoy the seasons.