We left Dominica on February 24th, but not before taking part in numerous hikes. We had reported our retracing of Waitukubuli Trail segment 14 last weblog. We also rehiked the route to Chaudiere Pool on the east coast and found a way to do a very difficult but enjoyable portion of Trail Segment 11; starting from Granby Street in Portsmouth and ending up crossing a beautiful suspended walking bridge inland from the IGA supermarket in Glanvillia. This last one, led by Anina of s/v Prism, was super; but since it was expected to be a 3-hour walk and turned out to be a 5.5-hour hike with severe climbing and even some rappelling on a rope, it was a spirit-crusher for poor Lorna. Brian had stayed at s/v Peace and Plenty to catch up on sleep after a GI bug kept him out of bed all night. At the end of the day, we all celebrated our successful finish of a crazy long hike. Good on ya, Lorna!!
|Notice the hikers are still smiling...it must have been early in the 5.5 hour hike!|
|Lorna walking the suspension bridge. Although it terrified her, she knew that the alternative was 5.5 hours back, so OFF SHE WENT!|
We also again enjoyed the Cruiser Appreciation Week, co-managed by members of the Salty Dawg Rally and the PAYS service group; attending meals, bar meetings, hikes, and impromptu musical jam sessions.
The return trip down the coast of Dominica, across the Martinique Channel, and into St. Pierre was not all enjoyable. Winds were too light to do anything but motor behind Dominica, and a strange set of confused waves made the last hour of travel behind the Mount Pele volcano bad enough to rattle out the fillings in our teeth. Interestingly, the open-water sailing was about as nice as it could get, albeit with no fish wishing an escape from the sea to our table. As Lorna and Brian were with us, you might check their weblog to see how they found it. http://peaceandplenty2012.blogspot.ca
Upon our arrival into St. Pierre, Lorna and Brian hosted us for a supper of barbecued pork chops in the anchorage, but the event was on Cat Tales as the irregular wave pattern was even splashing water into their cockpit. Ever versatile, they showed up with the food, the plates, the cutlery, and even the barbecue; assembled it all and served us. It was a great night, made more surprising by a radio call at 0730 hours the next morning saying they had left over an hour and a half ago in an attempt to gain calm conditions to round Diamond Rock for St. Anne. We stayed, with plans to welcome Bill and Lynne Cabel on board in 2 days.
|Laurie catching another lionfish in St. Pierre, Martinique|
|Snorkeling on a wreck close to the beach made for interesting fish hideouts.|
The arrival of the Cabels was during the peak of St. Pierre's Carnival; and we whisked them from their taxi straight to a street-side bar to enjoy refreshments and watch the silliness. It was Red and Black Day of the Carnival, in which men and women alike tend to wear red and black lingerie, and too many people just looked like New Orleans transvestite hookers and male (virgin?) brides.
Next day we toured the village with Bill and Lynn, paying attention to the ruins and the terrible history of the 1902 explosion, and including a rather steep half hour climb to the Depaz Rum Distillery and a cool river valley walk back to town. Their visit also included sails around the west edges of the island, stops in a few sandy bays, numerous French lunches with feet in the sand, and a hike from St. Anne to Anse Saline for a meal and swim in the large surf. Lynn got rather beat up by a series of two waves, and tells us she is still finding sand at the bottom of her soak tub in Fredericton. The seven days went way too fast, and they were soon back in a taxi to the airport.
|We saw over a hundred dolphins along the coast of Martinique! A wonderful treat for Bill and Lynn! We certainly feel pretty lucky at any time we can see such a display!|
|Dawn captured this photo of a turtle in Grand Anse D'Arlet.|
|Lynn, with a view of some of the many boats in the harbour of St. Anne.|
|Lynn and Bill, sipping water after our hike straight up a steep hill of the 'Stations of the Cross'.|
Our time in St. Anne is much as it was earlier in the season, with many people to visit, hikes to enjoy, lunches to eat, and - if the rain ever stops - sunsets to toast. However, many of us are entering the last few weeks of our season down here; and looking for weather windows, repair parts, and final adventures before the bitter-sweet time in the boatyards and the long flights back to our other lives.
|After our visitors left, Dawn attended a weekly 'Ladies' Luncheon' at the La Dunnett restaurant. This is only half the women in attendance!|
Laurie had an article on Rousea, Dominica, published in the Caribbean Compass this month. You can find it here:
We've been plagued with a loud, irregular, chirping sound from our port engine control panel for weeks now. The guilty buzzer is wired to: a water temperature sensor, an oil pressure sensor, an alternator exciter circuit, and a water leak sensor located between the saildrive seals. It shares a lot of harness wires with the tachometer device as well. After consultations with friends and internet allies, I determined to go at it systematically and scientifically, testing one thing at a time. I dug my way to the saildrive seal sensor and pulled it out, cleaned, tested and returned it. No change in symptoms. I leaned back in and disconnected it from the engine wiring harnesses, but noticed that I had easy access at this time to the large negative bolt that connects the negative from the batteries as well as some other circuits. It was all in good condition, but I dismantled, burnished, regreased, and reassembled it. Returning to my original resolve, I reconnected the saildrive sensor - then realized I had still messed with two different variables, even if I did not clean the sensor connector to ensure salt was not the culprit. Well the chirping has ceased, and the conclusions are compromised; but I'm okay with it all.
Except for a baffling but small ingress of rainwater into the bottom of the port hull, all other systems are working well. We are planning to clean and reinstall all hull fittings this spring in the boatyard to solve the problem, a rather daunting task. However, water ingress could lead to us returning to a boat full of black mold next fall - another of the Admiral's nightmares.