April 2015 ~ Saint Martin
Day 1660 ~ Another Day, Another BatchApril 2nd, 2015
Today was the day to fix the leaky dinghy. It's hard to find a good day to take our only means of getting off the boat out of commission, but Peter leaves in six days so we just had to pick a day with the least amount of off-boat activities.
Peter has patched the leak a couple of times, but it just hasn't lasted. There's a gap between the hull and the dinghy floor that fills with water and makes our already heavy dinghy even heavier. Eventually, we can barely get up on step with just our family. Our current remedy has been to empty the water every night once it's up on the davits, but that only lasts until it goes into the water the next day.
Last night, with the motor off, we raised it to the deck with the halyard and heaved it the rest of the way with Peter and Girl power. With months of sea growth accumulated, the bottom was a black, slimy mess. We managed to scrape off some of the slime as to hose it down would just splatter the green-black goo all over the deck.
Like duct tape, epoxy is one of those essential supplies to have on hand on a boat. It comes in handy for so many projects, including fixing a leaky hull. Used so much, we've dubbed epoxy days as 'another day, another batch'. The cockpit turns into a shop and Peter dons his work shorts covered with so many epoxy drips that they've held together quite well.
Adding to the green-black goo, Peter began griding off the gel coat. Then it was time to sand the dried epoxy. Oh, and did I mention that we've been experiencing a couple weeks of high winds in the 20-25 knot range and the only good place to flip over the dinghy was on the front of the boat? There's really no good way to seal off the interior or cockpit and live in our home at the same time. It's during these times that I long for a house with a shop or garage to contain the mess.
I won't bore you with details as I can't really explain them anyway and the photos will give you a general idea of the repair process. By 6pm, the messy stuff was done and Peter was painting. Just have the pontoons to scrub and we'll be able to put it back in the water.
Day 1661 ~ Like-New TransportApril 3rd, 2015
The motor mounting plates eventually corrode away so Peter's first task was to make one out of garolite. While the girls and I scrubbed the pontoons, Peter cut and painted the plate. By Noon, the dinghy was like-new again and the sea goo and fiberglass transferred to the boat. We put it back in the water with the halyard then I borrowed Discovery's pressure washer to get the rest.
For washing the deck, the plan was to wait couple days until the blasting winds subsided.
Day 1663 ~ Pancake Cook-OffApril 5th, 2015
Some of our kid boat crew are heading out soon and we all wanted to get together one last time. Peter suggested a pancake breakfast and Twentse Meid offered to cook their version of cakes and have everyone on their boat. The kids ate below and adults took the cockpit. While the adults visited and the kids played games we eventually lost track of time. Before we knew it the sun was on the opposite side of the boat when someone looked at his watch to declare it was already 4:30p!
Time flies when you're having fun.
Day 1664 ~ Beach BirthdayApril 6th, 2015
Over the last several weeks, with the help of several kid boats in the anchorage, the island has been transformed from a dump site to a fun place to hang out. One of the moms has organized weekly kid activities there and, after a few minutes spent picking up cruiser trash, they then spend the afternoon playing games, going on treasure hunts or swimming. A couple of cruisers have also donated tarps and old sails to create a little shade.
Cash, on Day Star, turns 15. It's also time for another beach barbecue. Melding these together, Paula organized all the kid boats, along with a few other cruisers, and set out for the transformed Explorer Island with hot dogs and cake in hand.
A bonfire, lots of food, musical instruments. A good time had by all.
Day 1665 ~ Anna, the ArtistApril 7th, 2015
For more of Nana's artwork, please visit her blog.
Day 1666 ~ Peter Flies OutApril 8th, 2015
It's April and time for Peter to make his second sojourn to Alaska for his job and be gone 2 1/2 weeks. Normally, we can only find itineraries in the 28-26 hour range, but we managed to find an one that starts in St Maarten and lands him in Juneau, Alaska, twelve hours later despite stopovers in Miami, Denver and Seattle.
Of course, he did manage to sample the ice cream offerings along the way though found Ben & Jerry's far inferior to Häagen-Dazs.
Day 1667 ~ April 9th, 2015
Day 1669 ~ Ruins of a Hotel and a DreamApril 11th, 2015
DayStar is leaving now so time for another beach BBQ at the hotel ruins of La Belle Créole. In its heyday, the builder's dream, though not financially sound, sounded quite spectacular. Ultimately, however, a 1995 hurricane forced the closing of La Belle Creole and the resort has remained so since that time.
Since it was our first time there, Discovery and I wandered through the complex before the sun set. It's amazing what nature can do in 20 years.
Afterward, we headed to the firepit at the beach. Two new kid boats joined us and we had an enjoyable evening.
Day 1670 ~ BirthdaysApril 12th, 2015
Boat kids are pretty flexible. When it comes to birthdays, we generally invite every kid boat in the anchorage and have an instant party. Having it by the beach makes it easy and the kids have a great time. Today we celebrate twins' birthdays at Kim Shaw beach off Simpson Bay. Hot dogs, cake, beach, water and kids. What more could you ask for?!
Day 1672 ~ TaxesApril 14th, 2015
I've been working on taxes in Turbo Tax for a couple weeks now, going back and forth with a CPA with my questions. On top of it all, I recently discovered that Intuit no longer allows off-line printing, but instead forces users to transfer personal data to them before being allowed to print. With our spotty internet coverage, this undisclosed change could have caused some problems if I'd have waited to print until tomorrow near midnight (I prefer to send mine in with the masses). However, since I managed to get all my questions answered along with just enough internet to print and eFile, I sent them in today while I had the chance.
Nice to have that done for another year, but better yet to go to the FairTax system and do away with all these hours of tedious calculations.
Day 1673 ~ April 15th, 2015
Day 1675 ~ April 17th, 2015
Day 1676 ~ BeesApril 18th, 2015
Day 1677 ~ April 19th, 2015
Day 1679 ~ April 21st, 2015
Day 1681 ~ DoctorApril 23rd, 2015
Day 1682 ~ Sick DayApril 24th, 2015
Cruiser kids rarely get sick. However, both Discovery family and Nina have recently returned from trips to the US so it's not surprising to have someone get what we have dubbed the Land Disease. In this case, we had a double dose. A couple of Discovery's kids and Nina returned with some sort of cough or congestion so the rest really had no hope of staying healthy. Nika and Nana donned their blankets in 85 degree weather, bundled up and slept for most of the day.
Day 1683 ~ April 25th, 2015
Day 1684 ~ Disco AdventureApril 26th, 2015
Day 1685 ~ Flying HomeApril 27th, 2015
Once again, Peter managed to book a 15-hour itinerary from Alaska back to St. Maarten and only stopped in Chicago and Miami. Sweet!
Day 1688 ~ SailingApril 30th, 2015
Discovery's previous sailing dinghy ended up with a hole when it knocked against their davits on a particularly rough passage around the north end of St. Martin to Tintamarre. John managed to find another in St. Martin so the girls couldn't wait to try it out. They donned their swim gear and headed out in the lagoon with Kate.
The jet ski rental place in front of us also rents jet packs that are operated by one of the staff on a jet ski. This week, however, it seems they have a pro with his own gear and a remote. He's been out almost every day now doing flips and other maneuvers over the water, monitoring his water flow from a hand-held remote.