February 2015 ~ Halted Again
Day 1600 ~ Airports and FlyingFebruary 1st, 2015
A 33 hour flight back for Peter from Juneau. Airports, hotels, flying and waiting.
Day 1601 ~ Papa's Back!February 2nd, 2015
Peter returned from the political hotbed of our state capital, Juneau. It rained 14 straight days and he was there for 14 straight days. Joy. Needless to say, it was nice to have him back home and he was glad to see the sun again. Even Pippin was happy to see him and offered his belly for a long-overdue rubdown. Now, all he has to do is work on undoing the five hour time change.
Day 1602 ~ Any Excuse for GelatoFebruary 3rd, 2015
The end of Nana's wire was poking in her cheek. The orthodontist just said to swing by in the afternoon and he would take care of it. Peter also came as the office just happens to be a few doors down from our favorite gelato place. We even offered to take the other girls, but they declined. They didn't want to "wait for hours" with nothing to do. The 'hours' turned out to be a 10 minute wait for a 5 minute procedure, the clipping of a wire's end.
Also at the dinghy dock was Discovery's dinghy as Kate had dance class across the street. We left a note inviting them to join us on the seat and headed off to that magical place. Disco joined us five minutes later and we all enjoyed some tasty treats together.
When we eventually got back, all we heard was whining, "You didn't tell us Kate was going!" Can't say we didn't offer. Maybe next time they'll consider coming along, if only just for the unexpected.
Day 1604 ~ TeamworkFebruary 5th, 2015
We have a boat prospect coming tomorrow so need to get the boat to a presentable condition. Normally, the girls tackle their rooms and a few odd jobs here and there and Peter take the rest of the day and sometimes another to finish. Today, however, they began on their rooms and went from there. We would give them tasks which would actually be thoroughly completed with minimal intervention. It was amazing. By 2pm, all the major tasks had been completed so we all took a break.
If this was a dream, please don't wake me up!
The kids went off to play and Peter and I headed for the Dutch side to take care of a few returns and errands before going out to eat at a real restaurant, by ourselves, something we haven't done for years. We remembered the receipts but forgot the bag of returns, but thoroughly enjoyed the Thai cooking. Enough so, that since we split both appetiser and entree, Peter ordered a second dessert.
Day 1605 ~ Prospects and ArtistsFebruary 6th, 2015
While we showed the boat, Discovery gratiously let the kids do lessons on their boat. While there, Michelle gave the kids an impromptu art lesson on Op Art. The kids had fun and now want to set it up as a regular event.
Day 1606 ~ Jumble & TubingFebruary 7th, 2015
The water line is a big deal for many cruisers, my husband included. For those of you non-boaters, this is the top edge of the bottom paint which also serves a practical purpose as well as a social one. Bottom paint contains special elements and/or chemicals meant to slow the growth of barnacles and other sea garden items which decrease the performance of the hulls when gliding through water. In a nutshell, that which does not have bottom paint will grow things at a faster rate, look ugly and slow you down when sailing.
However, the water line also divulges to passers-by whether you are a hoarder or minimalist, if you are a methodical packer who deals in even distribution or one who could care less. Granted, we can't just stuff it into a closet and forget about it because that which goes in, also goes down. To the hard-core, I think it reveals whether the owner is a 'real' sailor or one who just prefers floating condo living. I often wonder if some of these guys go around the anchorage tracking those who are bow heavy, stern heavy, riding above or settled below in hopes of finding their own place on the proverbial cruiser ladder. We actually met one cruiser two years ago who empties his water tanks before every passage to gain that extra little bit of speed!
Well, since cruisers are a rather 'think outside the box' group and water lines don't lie, they have come up with three ways in which to deal with junk, er, I mean 'spares' (or 'fool' the rest, depending on your perspective).
- You can raise the water line.
- You can take the time to purge.
- You can just go in search of a hose clamp for an unrelated project.
To appear lighter, next time you're in the boat yard redoing your anti-foul, just place the blue tape an inch or two higher on the hull and paint yourself higher in the water. Problem solved...at least for a little while.
Second, landies call purging Spring Cleaning via a garage sale; we just call it redistribution of weight via the monthly Boat Jumble (i.e. cruiser's flea market). Really, it's just cruisers buying other cruisers' 'good deals'. Jumbles are popular in cruiser hangouts like Grenada and St. Martin. Once a month, we get the opportunity to dive down into the depths of our boats hoping to find a few scraps to off-load onto our neighbors.
Okay, while I'm on this subject, I've also noticed that a jumble reflects the main purpose of the visit, well, besides the obvious excuse to drink beer and talk about boats with other boaters. Cruisers hang out in Grenada for the hurricane season. It's a place where one can take on boat projects, but mostly it's a pit-stop for those 'on their way' north or south. Accordingly, and in a civilized manner, the jumble was held under cover in a marina's restaurant where we could use their tables and chairs. Yes, there was junk, pieces and parts to choose from, but I'd venture to say that a quarter of the tables displayed hand-made jewelry, cheap clothing or swimwear from Brazil or kids selling friendship bracelets. Oh, and it begins at 11am so we also get to start with a leisurely morning.
On the other hand, St. Maarten is for boat projects, and often major ones at that. There's no import tax on parts so everything purchased is duty-free. One can find a plethora of mechanics, engineers, or riggers, many of whom live on boats themselves, and a wide variety of yards in which to do the work. I don't know how many have said they came for a week, but stayed a month. Our month visit turned into six last year.
For the French-Dutch Jumble, one must arrive around 7am for St. Martin's 8am start in order to get the shadier side of the rocky and dusty alleyway where the large containers or boats on blocks will provide a little respite from the sun. Most cruisers don't have a detachable table or chairs so best to bring a pad to sit on the ground or plan to stand the whole time. If you're early enough, you might even get the patch in front of the railroad ties and use them for seating. Some go so often, that they just open their container doors and pull out whatever didn't sell last month. As far as jewelry goes, there's not much as few have the time for non-boat projects.
For us, we went for all three. We sold two folding bikes and gave away the third in Grenada, we raised our water line in the yard while waiting for engines and we recently took the hose clamp approach for this island's flea market. We have a children's book entitled, "If You Give a Pig a Pancake" that sums up that last process perfectly. Actually, it would probably describe how most boat projects are accomplished.
To explain, a few weeks ago when Peter went to the storage locker to grab a simple hose clamp to finish the water tank fix, he found anti-freeze all over the bottom. The jug, which had rested intact since before we bought the boat, had unknowingly been punctured on one of our recent passages from Grenada. Of course, the locker had to be completely emptied because the crates wouldn't come out any other way...and on and on it went. In handling the contents, Peter also realized that he was touching much of it for the first time. Some engine mounts for the flea market, a large bag of junk for the trash and the remaining useful bits went back in after cleaning. Four hours later, the hose clamp was retrieved and water tank fixed.
The rest of our stash came from our new engine order but those would just return us to homeostasis. While they forgot to send us the dampers (thankfully, we still had access to those from our old engines at the time of discovery), they also included several items that we didn't need like water separators, radiator hoses and a few more engine mounts. All total, we made $250 from an anti-freeze spill and engine order so we considered it a worthwhile venture, not to mention getting a load of laundry clean while sitting in the sun and dust.
Later that afternoon, Philippe and his family, who we met cruising a couple years ago and now owns the dive shop in front of us, came over for dinner. Much to the delight of all the kids returning from an afternoon of swimming, he towed an inner tube behind his dive boat and gave everyone rides around the anchorage for an hour.
A day in the life of a cruiser.
Day 1608 ~ Doors RevisitedFebruary 9th, 2015
Last year we had both doors come off on our wild way to Les Saintes from Grenada. A fabricator here in St. Martin made new ones for us and we put them on. Unfortunately, we didn't take into account space for the hinges, so the measurements we gave him had the doors fitting tightly in the space and had to be screwed in place.
This year, on our way north, somewhere outside of Guadeloupe, we lost one of those new doors. After arriving in St. Martin, we called David to see if he could rectify the situation...again. This time, however, we had him come measure so it was done properly with hinges and a latch for each.
We got them on the day before the prospective buyer came to look at the boat, but Peter took four hours today to finish the job with sealant and make sure the latch system holds tightly. Of course, this job would have been much easier in the boat yard, but it was one of those projects that just ended up at the bottom of the pile. This just meant drilling, filling and sealing between wakes from the waterski boat while perched on the edge of a floating dinghy. What fun!
Day 1610 ~ Eating OutFebruary 11th, 2015
Day 1611 ~ February 12th, 2015
Day 1612 ~ February 13th, 2015
Day 1613 ~ Art ClassFebruary 14th, 2015
Today's art class on Discovery covered watercolor and oil pastel techniques with positive and negative space.
Day 1615 ~ Grand Plans, ThwartedFebruary 16th, 2015
Philippe, our former cruiser friend who owns the dive shop in front of us, has a huge tender and a two-man tube. John has an average cruiser dinghy with a mega-tube. Philippe's kids were off school for the week and, well, cruiser kids are always available for a fun activity. My idea was to combine resources by putting the mega tube on the mega boat and the smaller tube behind our dinghy in order to get a bunch of kids on the water at a time - we had 12 kids, Philippe was bringing 6 - so we made arrangements to meet at 3pm. The only problem was the discovery of a larger hole in the mega tube during the filling process, thus rendering it useless. Bummer.
However, after a bit of quick thinking and scrambling in Discovery's lockers, they came up with another 2-3 man tube that did hold air and 2 kneeboards. We can do this. We put a two-man both on Philippe's boat and John's dinghy and I pulled two kneeboarders behind our dinghy. It wasn't optimal, but we could at least get 6-7 kids on the water at a time as opposed to only two.
By 4:30p, Philippe and I had to leave. At 6pm, when I returned, the kids were just wrapping up, shivering and exhausted but smiling from ear to ear.
A successful day.
Day 1616 ~ Movie NightFebruary 17th, 2015
Tuesday is discount movie night at the cinema so I went with the kids to see Paddington. Since Carousel is just 'down the street', it goes without saying that we must get some gelato afterward.
Day 1619 ~ February 20th, 2015
Day 1620 ~ Swimming and PartiesFebruary 21st, 2015
Discovery Mom and kids fly out soon so, in the morning, the kids had an impromptu early birthday party for Nika and Kate, then went swimning and rope swinging. Later that night, we invited our kid boat friends over for a send-off potluck. Once the final tally was in, we had seven boats, 13 adults and 20 kids aboard. We didn't sink.
Day 1621 ~ CleaningFebruary 22nd, 2015
Day 1623 ~ Boat ProjectsFebruary 24th, 2015
We've got some more boat prospects coming in a few days so time to tackle more of those nagging little boat projects that just never seem to get done under normal circumstances. If we take a couple each day, then they don't pile up at the last.
Day 1624 ~ Stocking UpFebruary 25th, 2015
When offered use of a car, we cruisers don't hesitate. In St. Martin, that usually means the opportunity to go to Cost U Less and the supermarket where the locals shop, Sunny's, both of which are on the way to Philipsburg, about a 20-minute drive. It also means we offer friends the same opportunity. Since Second Star was leaving St. Martin in a few days, I called Jen. We loaded the car to overflowing and managed to squeeze everything and ourselves into Jen's dinghy in one run.
Day 1625 ~ Braces and GelatoFebruary 26th, 2015
Nana had to go to the orthodontist for a check up, which just happens to be quite near Carousel, the gelato place. I figured that, since Nana couldn't stay with her friends we may as well just take some along. Made a few calls on the VHF and ended up with 17 in tow. Not bad for impromptu.
Day 1626 ~ February 27th, 2015
Day 1627 ~ Exploring RuinsFebruary 28th, 2015
Last night we had 28 for our kid boat potluck so tonight, we're trying something different. The kids went exploring a couple weeks ago and found an old abandoned hotel on the point in Marigot Bay. Ever since, the Dads have wanted to see it so decided to make a Dad-kid event so they donned their gear, gathered their bug dope and treats and were off to the beach. The Moms were invited to Second Star for some peaceful conversation. Imagine that.