After a rolly time in the otherwise lovely Gustavia anchorage in St Barts, we sailed the 15 miles north-west to St Martin, arriving into Simpson Bay. We had considered staying anchored in the bay, but we immediately saw that it was pretty rolly (didn’t seem to stop a large number of both catamarans and monohulls, but we’re pretty soft in case you hadn’t already picked up on that). So we waited for the next bridge lift and into the lagoon we went.
After getting anchored we marvelled at how still and calm it was inside the lagoon. Okay, you couldn’t really swim in the water- it was a bit gross and didn’t require much imagination to consider what might be floating around in there. Yeah. Ew.
The next day Nick went straight to Budget Marine, with whom we had previously been corresponding, and picked up our pre-ordered dinghy and outboard. I’m willing to accept that this may not be particularly exciting to anyone that isn’t us, but boy, were we over the moon. We used to have a honwave 2.4 metre V-floored inflatable dinghy onto which we stuck a 6hp 4 stroke Yamaha outboard, and although it was okay for doing short trips, for anything more than a km away it was tortuous- as I described here.
We are now the proud owners of a 9.5 foot AB aluminium bottomed RIB with a 15hp 2 stroke Tohatsu. For those of you who are like, “Huh?”, it basically means bigger, better, more powerful. Very exciting stuff. Our first ride was something of a white-knuckled affair with me screaming at Nick to slow down and Nick responding by just upping the speed, but once we got that out of our system, we’ve just been enjoying the convenience of being able to go anywhere in the lagoon or the two bays, Marigot or Simpson.
We managed to have a wonderfully social first week or so in the lagoon. Once again we met our friends on First Light 2, who I forgot to talk about last week. We first met them in Antigua, then again in St Barts, and now finally here in St Martin. They’re a young Aussie/Spanish couple with a little 2 year old boy taking a bit of time off work to sail across the Atlantic and around the Caribbean a bit, before delivering the boat to one of their fathers in Panama, which I think is where they are now.
We met some other Aussies as well, which was a bit of a surprise. We saw hardly any Australian boats last year, but there’s been quite a few- those we’ve met personally are Neverland– a family of 5 taking a sabbatical to sail from the Caribbean back to Australia; Honiora (sorry guys, I think I probably spelled that one wrong), an Aussie/French couple who are taking a break from working on superyachts to cruise the Caribbean and, later this year, transit the canal and head across the Pacific; Kia Ora, a retired couple who we’ve not had a chance to properly hang out with, but since they’re Aussie they get a mention; and Hugo who we’ve been stalking since Antigua because it is a very beautiful, brand new Nautitech 44 (ish. Not sure of exact length) and we’ve been itching to befriend them so we can have a mooch around their boat. Finally, after a couple of failed attempts, we bumped into them on the dinghy dock and they turned out to be a really lovely couple who are cruising with their 13 year old son. We’ve made plans for cocktails and a tour of their boat when we meet next in the BVIs. There’s rumours of a couple of other Aussie families floating around the place, but so far we’ve not met them in person, although we’ll certainly keep an eye out!
In addition to that, we’ve been hanging out a lot more with Kwanza, a couple we briefly met last year in the Grenadines and then again in Antigua. We’ve bonded this time over a shared love of $1 beers in what has become our ‘local’, Lagoonies. They’re a retired couple originally from the UK but who have lived in Luxembourg pretty much forever and are planning a circumnavigation. Like us, they’re heading to the BVI’s next, and then coming back down south.
Right, what else? Oh, how could I forget- yes, I went up the mast for the second time ever.
So, a bit of background. Every time a job needs doing up the mast, it falls to Nick. No surprises there; usually it involved a number of tools that I can barely identify and some complicated (to me) wiring or rigging or whatever. The only other time I’ve gone up the mast was when the cups on our annenometer (sp??) got too much salt in them and stopped spinning around. Up I went with a can of WD40 which I pretty much emptied onto them, and voila, around they spun again. This time, my job was to change over the anchor and masthead tri light which had stopped working for some mysterious reason.
Anyway, up the mast I went, trying to remember Nick’s instructions (namely, “Change the lightbulbs. Don’t drop anything.”) and trying not to freak out. It’s high. 20 metres doesn’t sounds like a long way up, but let me tell you, it is. But I somehow managed to carry out both parts of Nick’s instructions before ordering Nick to let me back down.
Hope you are liking the videos! See you next week.