February 2017

Sleeping In

The puppies are sleeping in this morning. They had a "ruff" night last night to celebrate Cinco's Birthday. We went to a fishing seminar at IWW on the Dutch side at 3:00 then off to Kemshaw beach for a party. They had fun sniffing lots of other dogs, barking at other dogs and getting lots of pets from people. We got back home at about 9:30 after a long dink ride from the Dutch ocean side and across le Lagoon. It's 8:30 AM right now and neither of them has stirred or complained to go out yet. I'll let them sleep another hour then I'll force them up and into the dink for a beach walk. Today is medicine day for heart worms and fleas.
Should be a slow day today, we may go into Marigot for a Mardi Gras parade but then again we may just stay onboard and do some cleaning.

Fishing Seminar and Kemshaw Beach Party for Cruisers

Today is the fishing seminar and I need some more tackle. We lost two good lures on the way down from BIG fish bites. Looking to learn what the best lures are for sailing.
After that we will go to BBB at Kemshaw for a few hours to have fun at the 3rd annual cruisers party. I'm bringing the pups for both events.
Running the engine right now to charge up and get some hot water for a shower (solar bags was not good yesterday, too many clouds). I have to run into Marigot this afternoon to fill up a gas tank for the dink. I have two tanks and once the last one is 1/2 full I fill up the second one. Don't want to run out in the huge Lagoon. Most trips are 1 mile or more. Need fuel to keep her cruising at speed.

Groc shopping this morning

Not much else going on today. It will be a lazy Friday. I couldn't find Bon Ami or Bartenders Helper… I'll have to keep looking. Also they didn't have clothes pins (pegs).
I did pick up a seasoned pork loin (provincial seasoned). I'll grill it tonight and will likely make some cream spinach to go with it. The frozen spinach here is awesome, almost no water in it and it is cubed (1.5" square) and the box as about 20 cubes. I use all of them for creamed spinach (I think it is 1/2 kilo) with about 1/5 a round of Pedephile Monk cheese.
Saturday is a cruisers party at Kemshaw beach and a seminar at IWW, so the pups will be adventuring with me Saturday afternoon.

Morning Rain

Morning rain has soaked the laundry on the life lines. Looks like it is clearing up, so I might be able to dry all the laundry today. Today may be either a cleaning day or a varnish day… still not sure which it will be. If the clouds keep dropping this wet stuff, it may be a cleaning day as varnish doesn't go down well when it is really humid.
I also need to clean the hull and wax her. I won't do that today, but this weekend they are calling for nice weather. Might be time to clean the hull :)
I still have to have a sewing day… Not looking forward to that, but i have to take the dodger down and make some repairs. I should do that while I'm laid up here in St Martin waiting for parts. I should, I should, I should — still not convincing myself as this is going to be a PITA project.
I'm hoping the fish market is open this weekend (it is carnival weekend) cause I could use some fresh tuna and lambi.

More rain, it is not clearing up.

Since I'm going to be here for a couple more weeks, I've volunteered to provide tech support for the Heineken Regatta. I have to meet the race director today at 4:30.

Bracing for the solar panels is looking good.

I cut the front support for the bimini and used it to cross support the solar panels. It looks like it is working. Yesterday it was wobbling at 20kts - today it isn't wobbling at all. With only one support it was not okay, but now that both sides are connected, it is solid. I still have two poly straps that I can use on the aft side to provide cross support. I'll experiment with these two toes if they can improve the rigidity of the frame. Otherwise as of today, it's looking good!!!!
Worked on a fellow neighbors laptop yesterday and last night to see about upgrades. Not so good, she needs more memory to support the upgrades. I hunted at 4 different computer stores in Marigot and they all said that the memory was too old and they didn't carry it. I have links for Newegg where they can order the memory for less than $30. Shipping is another issue :)

Solar Charger will take 2 weeks

I ordered the solar charger. It should be here within two weeks. It looks like I'll be in St. Martin for a couple more weeks. No problem, No schedule…
I picked up the last couple of parts to reinforce the frame for the solar panels. That job it schedule for today, plus cooking another batch of puppy jambalaya. I sure do cook a lot of that stuff.

Solar Panels mounted

The solar panels are mounted. I have to make a small modification to the framing in the next couple of days. Still waiting to here if Budget can get the controller.
Just receive a USPS mail package that was sent "Priority Mail" 6+ weeks ago. We are not using USPS anymore. FedEx can deliver in just a few days.
Otherwise all is going well here in St. Martin. The start of carnival for French St. Martin is today. Most of the streets were blocked off this morning. Next weekend is the big celebration.

Solar Panels

I just picked up two 160W solar panels to add to the boat and opened and account a Budge Marine (yacht in transit = no tax). This should make the boat "energy independent". I hope. Waiting to see when a LIFePO solar charge controller can be delivered. I have to get the Alum L-angle stock to mount these on the boat. Rumor has it that a guy named Terry on the French side can help. I'll try to find Terry on Friday. So this weekend project will be mounting them. If Budget Marine can't get the charge controller then I'll have to order it in the US and have it shipped to St Martin.
Strange weather here. Even the locals say so. Winds are light and variable and the humidity is very low. In the day it is very hot and at night it is cold. The boat is covered with dew each morning for the past week. I don't mind the cold nights (68 deg F) and the heat in the day isn't that bad on the boat (it has the reflex tech insulation). But it is very hot when walking in town.
Cruising Kids: I've met a lot of kids that live on boats and they are awesome. These kids are intelligent, independent and responsible. They come from many different countries, but all of them speak english + other languages. These kids are sharp, they remember my boat name from the VHF network and recognize me in town. A few of them are tech geeks (egg heads) and are into the latest IT gadgets. Maybe more people should raise their children cruising on sailboats!
There are a lot of folks here in St. Martin that arrived several years ago and have never left. Still trying to figure that out. Some of them have boats that probably can't leave safely, but lots of them have chosen to stay on safe, sound boats. I wouldn't want to be here in Hurricane season - this is a prime target for those storms.
The Dutch are still fixing the lights on the bridge. Last night I got to see the Dutch side of the bridge where all the lights are working. It was sweet!!! But you have to approach the bridge slowly cause the lights blind you and you can't see the causeway pilings until you are right up on them. I don't what to hit a piling head on at speed. Even with a nearly full moon I couldn't see the pilings. The light are computer controlled as they change colors and race up and down the causeway to the two towers where the swing bridge is located.

More good food

I had kibbeh and miche this evening for dinner at a mid-east restaurant on the Dutch side of the island. The food was the real thing. It was really nice to get grape leaves and kibbeh. I also found out where to get grape leaves in St. Martin. I may have an opportunity to pick up a few jars this Friday at Grand Marche on the Dutch side.


St Martin Boudin is not as good a Cajun Boudin. the seafood Boudin I had today was good, but it was flavored with cloves and the texture was not right (no rice or even corn meal visible in the boudin). Next week if I shop at Super U, I'll see it i can get some pork boudin (boudins porc).
Have the new to me dink rigged for hoisting and it is working well. Ran to Marigot to top-up my internet connection, hit the pharmacy, hit the bank, hit the computer store, hit the fuel dock for the dink, and have a french breakfast. Laundry day today (the 15th). Tomorrow I'll hit IWW and Budget Marine to see about solar panels and charge controls plus get the parts to setup a bridle instead of the single line snubber I'm using now.

Sail modified and installed

I picked up the sail yesterday afternoon and bent her onto the mast today. It looks good.
Went Groc Shopping and found "Boudin" I picked up on small package (about 1/2 a cajun link) for 3 Euros… I'll have it tonight to see if is taste good. Looks good. They had blood boudin, pork, chicken, seafood, lamb, and an other one that I could not translate (maybe duck or goose). I got "Boudins De Poissons." See if it is any good.
Rigged the dink to be hoisted on the side of the boat by the spinnaker halliard. Looks good, I only had to retie the knots twice to get the balance right for the dink with the engine mounted. Next i'll have to see how well that works for dink with no engine.
In case you didn't know, mono-hull boats that do not have davits use the spinnaker halliard to raise their dinks out of the water at night. It helps to deter thieves and it helps prevent aquatic growth on the bottom. You have to get use to the boat heeling a little to the side that you hoister her on, but otherwise it works well.

Thanks to Henry Luong for the Ginger Candy

If anyone reads this and knows Henry send him an email to let him know that today I opened the second bag for ginger candy. Yes, just one bag consumed in 3+ months. I think he left me 12 or 13 bags in the package at my retirement party. I'm being careful to ration these delicious chewy treats cause I know I'll never find them until I'm in an area with a large asian population. Also let him know I want his stir fry schnauzer recipes just incase the pups are really bad ;)
I have to check with the sail loft on Monday to see if they will have my sail ready this week. Once I have a main sail I can provision and plan to head off down island.
I read that Al Jarreau died today. I'll have to listen to "Spain" tonight. Second only to Ella at scat. I rank him up with Papa John Creach, he died about ten years ago.

Mix a little epoxy

Had to mix a little epoxy today for two small applications. But I know there are more… but time is counting down and I'm trying to think of what other thing on the boat needs a dab of epoxy. 15 min until is sets up too much to be used… This happens every time. I'm sure tomorrow I'll remember or see the thing that needed a dab of epoxy.
I have a seminar at 3PM today on the Dutch side. I'll head there a little early cause I hear there is a show that has "dry-bag backpacks" and I need a backpack since mine mutated into a salt crusted rust bucket and had to be thrown out. Zippers do not last in this environment without lots of care. I have to zip/unzip every pocket on my REI pants each time I wear them to make sure the Zippers are not rusting in place. I use TFL on them every now and then to keep them moving smoothly. I think there is some "zipper" grease— I'll have to research that and see if I can find some.

Groc Shopping today plus more boat projects

Hit the Super U this morning for puppy jambalaya ingredients, namely, CHICKEN. Cooking up a batch right now. I also picked up some cheeses, snacks, wine, potatoes, spinage and other goodies. Not sure what I'll have for dinner tonight. Oh, the Moroccan food last night was great! Only problem is that after I was home I had to drink a couple of quarts of water (there were a few salty part of the meal).
I have the soldering gun out to connect a new VHF cockpit set in place. I need to get that done so I can put the ceiling back up in the aft cabin. I tried a few different way, but now I'm down to soldering the connections. I hope this works.
Everything in St Martin has a local name and an official name. The mountain just east of me is the "Witches Tit" and the island is "Explorer Island." You will not find either on any official map… They have other french names. The local name make it a bit difficult, but not impossible, to find where someone's boat is located. There are also many "bays" inside Le Lagoon that have local names that you will never find on a map.

SS tubing installed. Have Chaps for the dink, have to figure out how they are installed

Got a segment of SS tubing and cut it down to size, also had to drill out an SS fitting so the screw would fit. That likely destroyed a cheep drill bit.
I have updated my list of tasks to get done before the sails are finished (which should be next week). I have to figure out how to rig the new dink to be hoisted. Also pulled up the swim ladder and it is full of grow the stinks if it touches you skin. Just stubbed it a bit and added some bleach… will let it sit out tonight and dry out a bit. That should kill all the growth and the I'll have to scrub the dead stuff off. May have to start pulling the ladder at night and letting her dry out to stop this stuff.
Moroccan restaurant is on the menu for Thursday.

Cut SS tubing to reinforce the bimini

15.25 inches of tube is still needed. I'll contact Custom Fit Marine to see if they have it and can cut it down. This is all to reinforce the Dodger so I can mount solar panels onto of her and increase my energy independence given that my generator is likely dead as a door knob. Pups and I went for two trips to explorer island today. Cinco has not gone poo in a day (he is probably clogged up with Lamb bone). Fish to grill tonight with fresh tomatoes and a baguette. The other two chunks of fish will be marinaded with Herb de Prov and pan seared on Wed for dinner (or maybe lunch).
Jacques is so cute!!! Andy need to shave (by the photos). Best wishes to you guys!!! Here is my favorite pic of him


Monday was LPG refill day

I dropped the tank off at IWW on the dutch side of the island to get an LPG refill. Also did some shopping at IWW for stainless fitting to reinforce the bimini for solar panels. At 3:15 we went back to IWW to get the tank and then stopped at Lagoonie's for a beer with the puppies. They liked sitting in the shade hearing all the noises around us. Back home now and the sky has opened up with rain while I cook another batch of puppy jambalaya. Tuesday is shopping day. I'll have to get more chickens for puppy jambalaya and I'll have to get some veal for daddy :) (don't tell Jupiter that I'm spending money on French Veal cause he will want the bones). Super U also has duck, lamb, and goose at the store for a reasonable price. I might have to get a whole hen, but they have pen fethers on them (darn french don't completely pluck the foul). But the beef/lamb sausage is AWESOME! — Spicy and high quality. I'll have to get some more tomatoes and maybe the green onions will look good this week, if so I'll pick some up to chop and freeze cause they are hard to come by down here. Cheese will also be on he list. They have varieties of cheese that I've never seen before and so far they have all been really good.

Lazy Sunday (but that is what Sunday is about)

I scrubbed the swim ladder, in the last three days it has bloomed with aquatic growth. I pulled it up and scrubbed it to remove all the soft coral growth. I sprayed the hinges with clorox, that should kill the base growth. I should be good for another week. Otherwise this has been a lazy Sunday. Monday I have to run to IWW on the dutch side and get propane and some steel fittings.

Generator not looking good

After spending two hours with Bob (Dr. Diesel) on the generator and getting fuel to the injectors, it doesn't look good. First the fuel injector solenoid has no power which is why I couldn't bleed the high-pressure side. When investigating, one of the PO of the boat coated the connectors to the relay controller with silicone which indicates that they had problems and once slathered silicone on the connectors. Still have to trace that problem down to get power to they solenoid. After bypassing the solenoid power we were able to prime the system, but not start the system. It sounds like one cylinder wants to fire but the others won't fire (same as we saw in the Atlantic on the way to Bermuda). Hand cranking the engine show that only one cylinder has compression. Ugh.
When Bob first looked at the engine, he pulled the dip stick and smelled the oil. He said, she has been over heated. I said not that I know of. I've only put 80 hours on the generator in 9 years. He said, once it has been overheated the smell will never go away. Next step will be to find the wire fault to the solenoid, pull the head and see the valves and make sure they are okay. If the valves are okay and the injectors are clean, then the problem will be the rings.
I may be shopping for a new generator (or a nearly new generator in the next week).
I pulled up the bimini today and took some measurement to see if I can fit a couple solar panels up there. I looks good, but I will have to install a few stainless steel tubes to reinforce the frame. I also went to the flea market. There was lots of junk for sale. Nothing good for sale at the flea market. I made the pups swim for about 5 min today and gave them lamb bones after dinner. They are so occupied by the bones that I have peace and quite on the boat. I'll have to get some more lamb bones :)