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April 16, 2006

Today we are preparing the boat so we can leave Rodney Bay Marina tomorrow. We will have to check out with Customs in the morning then get fuel over at the boatyard. Our plan is to anchor in the Bay tomorrow night and depart for St. Pierre, Martinique early Tuesday morning. Like the sea our plans are fluid and could change tomorrow.

When we sail the days are pretty regimented, get up early, grab a quick bite and run the genset to run the refrigerator as we will be sailing all day to the next night’s anchorage. Normally Sue will fix sandwiches for lunch if we are going to be late to the next stop. Our trips have been averaging about 50 nautical miles and we have been doing those in about 5 1/2 to 7 hours. When we plan our trip we estimate 6 knots of speed but in actuality we have been doing over 7 knots every time we go out. It seems we always find 25 to 30 knots of wind and so move along quite nicely.

When we arrive at the next anchorage we drop and set the hook, make sure it is not dragging, then run the genset for quite a bit to catch up on refrigeration. Every other day we make water and try to do this while running the genset as the pumps use quite a bit of battery power. Our water consumption is about 10 to 15 gallons a day for showers, toilet, dishes and washing parts of the boat each day after the trip.

We have had a great stay in St. Lucia, meet Gary and Louise from Lulu who came down on the 1500 with us as well as Chuck and Pam from Helen Louise. Had a few dinners with these folks and had a great time playing dominoes at the yacht club one Sunday.

Originally we had planned to stay in the marina for a week and then sail to other places around the island. What we found were the other places were crowded so we have kept the boat in the marina and have visited the other places either on tour or on a dive boat.

We took a tour of the island with John Leo, great price and a great trip. We visited the market in Castries which had some really good fruit and vegetables as well as baskets and trinkets. We stopped by the side of the road for a fresh coconut, interesting indeed. We visited the local college in Castries and viewed the area from the hills above. We stopped at Marigot and walked through the banana plantations which I found very interesting. We visited the fishing village of Anse la Raye and were given a chance to talk with one of the people about the history of fishing on the island and how they built their boats from a single tree trunk. The gentleman who told me about the fishing was hard, not an ounce of fat and his body was scarred from years of life on the sea. He said he was 47 and while he looked healthy you could see his face had been weathered beyond his years.

We stopped at Canaries and watched women still washing their clothes in the river above the village. We stopped and bought some cassava bread at the “factory” fresh from the fire, it was delicious. We toured Soufriere, the sulfur pits where the volcano has hot springs, Diamond Waterfall and a wonderful botanical garden. We saw the Pitons again from a much different angle than previously. All in all a spectacular day and John Leo and his wife Vernelle were wonderful. Vernelle takes in laundry and that has been good to save Sue some time to have fun. John and Vernelle hosted a barbeque on Pigeon Island for a few of their customers and we met some new people including Tom and Kathy Love from the Yellow Rose. Kathy is from Lubbock and we spent some time reminiscing about how nice it is to be from Lubbock but not in Lubbock. Tom did pilot training at Reese Air Force Base in Lubbock. John Leo can be reached on channel 16 or his cell 758-486-7872, we highly recommend him.

Since we have spent so much time on sailing the last couple of years or diving has all but stopped. We sort of vowed that we would get back to it now that we are living on the boat and St. Lucia is one of the better places in the Caribbean for underwater life and habitat. We dove for four days with Scuba Steve’s Diving which has just opened shop in Rodney Bay. Owned by Stephen Bruce, Stephen Smith and his wife Shirley, they could have easily named it two Steve’s and it still would have worked. They have a great location, nice smaller boat that gets around the island quickly and a great skipper named Al. We dove Anse Cochon, Lesleen M, Rosemans trench, Pigeon Island, Smugglers Cove, La Roche and others. The variety of coral was amazing as well as sponges. We saw squid, octopus, lobsters (one really giant guy), tons of chromis, spotted eels on every dive and plenty of Blennies of all types. It seemed on every dive we found something new we had not seen before. St. Lucia diving really is beautiful and you do not need to go deep. We used EAN (Nitrox) as Steve’s is the only place on the island that provides it.

Assuming all goes as planned we will spend one night at St. Pierre, one night somewhere on Dominica, a couple of nights at the Saintes south of Guadeloupe and then on to St. Eustatia. We have been told that the diving on Statia is one of the best in the Caribbean. If this is true we could end up staying there and diving for a few days. The only issue would be the swell, if it is from the north the anchorage becomes very rolly and we might move on. After Statia we will look at the weather and decide to either skip St. Martin and go directly to Virgin Gorda, or perhaps stop at St. Martin again. Arriving at Gorda Sound at night is okay for us as we have been there so many times at night we are comfortable with the approach.

That is it for now; hope you enjoy the latest pictures.


























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