This post as predicted is from St Luca and takes the reader up to 19 July 2014.
Having been a visitor to Water Island many times before I decided to stay awhile and enjoy. This enjoyment lasted 1 week in total. I did some shopping too, I also had a visit from the new owner of Principito (1933), they invited me for dinner at their rental house on the island, and we all had a pleasant time.
Time was getting on though and after doing a couple of jobs to the boat, it was off to Cruz Bay again, this time to clear customs ready to head back down island to St Lucia. I had a very nice sail to the town, arriving at 1500hrs on 2nd July, I hadn't realized it though, that Emancipation day 4th of July, was almost upon us. So as this is celebrated in good style I stayed to enjoy the carnival atmosphere and parade!
Tuesday morning 8th, I was helped by Grace to lift the anchor and picked up a mooring ball in Caneel Bay to get the boat ready for the trip, this was done early like 0600hrs as I had cleared customs on Monday afternoon.
By 0900hrs I was ready and set sail for St Lucia direct, sails all up by 0930hrs. with 356nm to go.
The wind on this trip was going to be on the nose all the way to Rodney Bay, but I was hoping to do this in one tack once I had cleared the Virgin Islands. After tacking all the way to the eastern end of the chain, I was going past Virgin Gorda 'Necker Island Passage' at 1940hrs as it went dark. Steering 134 -> 140 mag. I was now on my way with the islands lights dimming in the distance behind me.
First 24hrs I had completed 76nm with 280nm left to go. winds 23-24knts
Second 24hrs I completed 85nm with 195 left to go. winds 25-27knts
Third 24hrs I completed 124nm with only 70.9nm left to go. winds 28-35knts. So fourth 24 hrs I was going to have to slow down somewhere, as time to destination was 0100hrs Saturday morning.
It was very rough seas, but I had managed to pinch into the wind about 25nm high. This made it possible to make for the lee of Martinique, so as I was crossing the Dominican Passage a rain squall hit me, with a wind of over 55knts and solid 'white out' rain! WHEW, GL handled it calmly and we came out of it after 10 minutes unscathed.
At the southern end of Martinique I heaved too, this at about 2100hrs, still on a port tack, but now only doing about 1.9 to 3.2knts, it took all night to cross between the islands arriving in Rodney Bay at 0600hrs Saturday morning 12th July. wind approx 28-30knts. It took over an hour to put the sails down and I eventually docked at the marina at 0740hrs.
The only one thing to report about the trip happened during the 3rd 24hrs.
At about 1900hrs I was getting really hungry, and decided to heave too so I could cook 'Egg Chips and Beans', I pulled the dingy up close during this maneuver, and it was behaving perfectly. So potatoes peeled and in the pan heating up................. a big swell hit the boat portside!.............what I hadn't noticed was the galley fire blanket! and I mean why should I, the blanket is just there, its not as if I need to check it every five minutes or anything.................well although it was still 'there' it had moved a few inches, and I do mean inches! just my luck to hit a really rough patch of water just because I'm hungry! ................the few inches though in this case were critical, the blanket had moved and positioned itself, Helped by the wave, on top of the galley stove fuel pipe! the stove now could no longer execute its gimbaling effect when the next wave hit, the pan of chips had of course chosen to reach full frying temperature at the same moment................oil and a fair quantity of par boiled chips issued from under the lid and were deposited unceremoniously in some amazing places all over the galley, stove, chart table, me, I even found some later in the saloon by treading on them! I fought on regardless and after cancelling the beans part of the menu managed 3 fried eggs and chips with a cup of coffee, I was very hot and bothered and didn't really enjoy the meal, and went into the cockpit to savor the coffee................. sitting down after giving the horizon a quick shufty, I tried to relax. I felt something was not quite right....it took a few minutes......DINGY.....ITS NOT THERE....I can't write the next sentence you will just have to imagine which foreign language I chose to use to express myself to the empty sea, well, empty of my new dingy anyway!
I checked the dingy tow rope and painter, all was as it should be, but the 2 painters I was using still had all three stainless steel towing eyes still attached, the dingy was no longer attached to them!
What happened to that dingy will remain a mystery to me forever.
By 1030hrs I had cleared customs, checked into the marina and collected the spares I had sent here. I have since been attending to maintenance and a bit of electrical work as well as re fitting the spares. All is going well so far and I think I'm nearly done, I've also put the word out that I'm looking for a dingy, hoping something will turn up.