February 2014 ~ St Martin/St Maarten
Day 1236 ~ February 1st, 2014
Loaded 5 kids, 3 adults, a bag of laundry, one of trash and several bags of purged items to the boat jumble, a flea market for cruisers, and headed to town. Sold $24.50 and found where I could give the rest away. Did a load of laundry, then headed back to the boat. Kids played in the afternoon.
Day 1237 ~ February 2nd, 2014
LISA - Nina, Pippin and I headed to shore for baguettes and the motor stopped. Couldn't get it going again so had to paddle the rest of the way. It was bound to happen. After all, Peter is due to fly in late tonight.
Got our baguettes and tried in vain to get it running again. Of course, I didn't have her VHF radio and the jet ski place didn't have one either. Grateful that the wind was light so we paddled back easy enough. Kalle came over after a bit to see if he could resurrect Nightmare. We hurried through pancakes, packed our sandwiches just in time for the rest of the crew to rendezvous for our beach expedition to watch KLM's 747 come in. Thankfully, it's arrival was an hour and a half late as it took a while to get everything and everyone ready to go. Leaving the purple streak behind, we all piled in dingies brought by Music, Spirit of Argo and Elin and headed across the lagoon to an abandoned dock. There, we met up with another boat, Discovery, and headed to the beach.
Beach was crowded so we set up camp and tried a game of dominoes. However, with 70 planes scheduled for arrival that day, mostly small island-hoppers, we were too distracted to remember whose turn it was. Between hanging on the fence with airplane departures to grabbing the camera for the low-flying arrivals, we all had a great time. The kids played in the sand and surf and we made Pippin a shade shelter to keep cool.1
Day 1238 ~ February 3rd, 2014
Quick math lessons. Rode with Elin to a dock across the lagoon in order to get a ride to swimming practice. Played at Discovery afterward and they gave us a ride back to our boat.
I awoke late and immediately started on projects. Water line had a hairball causing the pump to run rough and for an annoyingly long time. Pippin was a bit distraught and getting underfoot every chance he got.
Day 1239 ~ February 4th, 2014
Rose a little earlier than yesterday. When Kalle and I ripped into the dinghy motor yesterday to see why it stopped working, I thought a fuel pump might do the trick. Discovery picked Lisa and Nina (Elin) up at 11am to get provisions and a new fuel pump. They have a beater car for getting around and Michelle was needing to restock their own boat. A Swedish couple forgot to bring back their keys from Sweden, so when they left in their boat they told Discovery that, if they can get it open and running, they could keep it for free. It's a bit of a rust bucket that rattles in many places, but it runs. For shopping, the only glitch is there's no trunk access so everything had to be piled in the back seat while still saving a little room for of the girls. After six grocery stores, the car was piled high with goods and scraping bottom at every driveway entry, but they did it.
Loaded it in the dinghy and unloaded at the boat. Glad that is over, though our own dinghy is not looking good. Kalle and I ruled out pretty much everything, including the fuel pump Lisa was able to find at Budget. Back to the drawing board.
Day 1240 ~ February 5th, 2014
Lessons were done in record time in preparation for swim practice. Discovery, once again, came to fetch the girls for our ride to the pool. Lisa wasn't feeling well so stayed behind with Pippin and I. I started on the motor again and a fellow cruiser stopped by late morning with a puller and to look at our paper charts. He ended up staying to help Kalle and I get the flywheel off. Unfortunately, ...
Girls stayed at Discovery to play 'til late afternoon and Kalle took me to Budget to get the part we think we need. Of course, this one costs 3 times the fuel pump, so fixing as opposed to scrapping and buying new is looking less and less appealing. Not to mention my $400 gear change a day before I flew to Alaska. There is a line at which you have diminishing returns and I'm yet sure where that should be drawn.
Guy at budget gave me a loaner part that he thought would make it work. I took advantage of the pre-kid quiet to do some computer work and will tackle the engine fix tomorrow.
Day 1241 ~ February 6th, 2014
Lessons, lunch. Kids went to the beach with Elin and Discovery.
Kalle came over and we tinkered on the engine some more. Got it sort of running so I went to Island Water World/Budget to see about someone looking at it, then up to Ace Hardware. Not available 'til Monday so puttered back.
I joined the kids on shore for a walk and a break.
Day 1242 ~ February 7th, 2014
Nana and Nika got to skip math in order to tackle the touch up painting on the hard top. They both worked diligently, necks aching by the time they were finished. Nina plugged away on her lessons. After lunch and a bit of boat cleaning in preparation for more people to come look at it, Discovery came over to play so they, our girls and Elin headed to the beach again.
The crew loaded happy and sandy into Discovery's dinghy. Lisa sewed the sailbag and then repurposed a dress for Nina.
Day 1243 ~ February 8th, 2014
Started off with last-minute cleaning in prep for two prospective buyers. Boat does clean up nicely when we put effort into it. Just doesn't last. Kids went to the beach and then Discovery took them all over to their boat to play.
Around 2pm, April and Cain came over before they depart for the BVIs. Discovery came back with the kids in tow and, before you knew it, we had 8 adults, 9 kids and 2 dogs running around. Set up two domino tables and had a great time playing and visiting.
Day 1244 ~ February 9th, 2014
Up early and scrambling to get lunches made and swim/snorkel gear packed. Discovery was going to take their boat out of the lagoon and around to Long Bay, a beach on the West side of the island. Managed to get everything ready and over there just after 9am. Elin and Andrew came too.
Had a great time. Kids took the dogs to the beach to swim and play, Kalle drove them around knee boarding and then went himself, played a few rounds of dominoes before time to head back to catch the 5:00 bridge opening.
Day 1245 ~ February 10th, 2014
Mondays are always hard after a busy day with friends. Back to lessons and the normal grind, but swim practice is always something to look forward to. Lisa went provisioning with Elin and Discovery. I stayed behind to work in silence.
Day 1246 ~ February 11th, 2014
Normal grind. Afternoon we went to the old Turtle Bar for Kalle's birthday celebration.
Day 1247 ~ February 12th, 2014
Lessons, swim practice. I stayed to work. Music is heading south soon so their girls, along with Elin came over for a round of dominoes. I went to shore to find peace and wifi.
Day 1248 ~ February 13th, 2014
Lessons. Lisa went to have lunch with a friend while I shopped for boat parts on the Dutch side. Long way so we try to combine trips. Went off to Philippe's dive shop to work after we got back.
Sushi night on our boat. Elin teaches us how to prepare it.
Day 1249 ~ February 14th, 2014
Lessons, swim practice. I worked. Greens arrival only an hour late, considering snow storms in NYC.
Green kids stayed the night on the boat so James and Nina-Kate could celebrate their meeting anniversary in style over dinner at a fancy French restaurant.
Day 1250 ~ February 15th, 2014
A slow wake-up morning after a busy afternoon of arrivals. Kids played, I made French toast. After a massive clean-up and laundry-gathering hour, I took everyone to the dock to head over to Green's villa. Lisa washed clothes while the kids played and the parents went shopping for food. I went over later in the afternoon and we ate dinner together, sword fish and duck!
Day 1253 ~ February 18th, 2014
Day 1254 ~ February 19th, 2014
Day 1255 ~ February 20th, 2014
Day 1256 ~ A Day in the LifeFebruary 21st, 2014
The Villa has that deck by the pool. Turns out there are two cats who live under there and are in the process of having a family. When they (the felines) returned home last night Pippin spotted them -- and followed. He managed to weasel his way through their narrow doorway and under the deck.
You can only imagine the melée that transpired. Excited barking by Pippin, yowls and howls and hissing from the cats. Nana goes berserk. "They are killing him! PIPPIN, PIPPIN! COME OUT!"
Nika is just about in tears as the cacophony escalates. There is a pause and then some scuffling sounds and then Pippin starts yelping his hurt cry. The girls are running around the deck screaming, "Papa do something!" Like what? If I had all my tools around, I could start pulling up the deck. I am sure that would go over well.
Then an idea struck me. Cats hate water. Pippin hates water. Pippin loves food.
I grabbed the garden hose and cranked it on and started spraying the deck in the general area of the yelping while the girls ran into the Villa and came back with a pack of bacon. The water seemed to have some effect as the noise died down. The girls started dangling bacon strips down through openings in in the deck that were cut to allow the trees to grow around the border.
Pretty soon they had spotted him. I kept the cats at bay with the water, and the girls led him strip by strip to the widest opening under the deck. After eight minutes of coaxing, and not a little drama, they finally extricated him. I half expected to see some blood and scratches on his face or nose, but no, he was unscathed.
Just another day in the life of an irresponsible dog owner.
Day 1258 ~ Swim MeetFebruary 23rd, 2014
Nana and Nika participated in a swim meet competition. They were part of a 9-member boat-kid group from St. Maarten considered the 'homeschool' contingent. Also participating were five other schools from around the island.
One of the kid boat moms announced the swim meet on the Cruiser's Net and invited anyone grades 1-5 to participate. They practiced at the pool 2-3 times per week for three weeks prior. Boat kids are generally good swimmers, but rarely take the opportunity to do any lap work or diving of a proper platform. Val worked with the kids and, in just a few rounds at the pool, they were all improving. Nina was also allowed to practice with the team, she just couldn't participate in the final event. Instead, she and another older boy were timers.
There were four types of races to choose from, Back Stroke, Crawl, Breast Stroke and Butterfly, and girls competed against girls, boys vs boys. There were several heats of each race so the winner was determined by the best of all races in each category. Nana entered the Breast Stroke competition. Nika participated in the Front Crawl,Breast Stroke and Breast Stroke Relay Race with three others of her team: Grace, Olivia and Jaci. Kids up to 9 years of age swam 25 yards, or one length, of the pool. Kids over 9 had to go 50 yards.
When it was over, the homeschoolers did very well. Grace captured third place in the Girls Butterfly and Nika's Relay team each took home third place medals. Congratulations! Go team!
Day 1260 ~ February 25th, 2014
Day 1261 ~ February 26th, 2014
Day 1262 ~ February 27th, 2014