Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Too safe a narbor?

We are in Nanny Cay marina. It is so sheltered that when the sun hits we are slowly roasting! The configuration is such that there is next to no wind in the marina. I discovered this when I took a cab to Customs to check out and found quite a breeze blowing across the water.

Fair winds and following seas.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Nanny Cay Marina, British Virgin Islands

We are in Nanny Cay Marina in Tortola, British Virgin Islands. We experienced slow trips from Guadeloupe to English Harbor Antigua and from English Harbor to Simpson Bay, Sint Maarten due to wind and wave conditions. We decided to leave early in the morning so that we had plenty of time to reach the BVI in daylight. We left the Simpson Bay Lagoon on the 9 o'clock bridge. We got very favorable winds so we arrived in the BVI at 3 AM. Actually, we were about 10 NM from the BVI at 3 AM. So we furled the jib to a handkerchief and bobbed along until sunrise. Of course when we sail at 1 1/2 to 2 knots in 5 foot following seas Reboot rolls like a drunk. The trip that was delightful at the beginning turned out to be quite uncomfortable in the end.

We checked in at Customs and Immigration in Road Town. It has been a decade since I was in the BVI. My memory of Road Town was a dirt street village with a few structures. I could not understand why cruise ships would come to Tortola. Road Town now looks like any other Caribbean cruise ship port. Lots of places to suck money out of the tourists within easy walking distance from the dock!. It is a small and modern little city (and to their credit quite neat and clean.)

The marina in Road Town was having a boat show so they were full. They were nice enough to let us leave the boat on the dock to check in but then we needed to depart. We headed down to Nanny Cay - about 3 MN east of Road Town. Tomorrow we try and get XO his rabies shot and hit the beach.

Fair winds and following seas...

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Satellite Weather at Sea

Satellite Weather at Sea
Click on the link above for a nice summary

Back in St. Maarten

After four months we are back in St. Maarten. At the moment we are on the Dutch side as the new bridge construction is making it difficult to cross over to the French side. The weather has not been good, after a miserable trip up from Antigua with light winds and the sails banging we arrived in Simpson Bay only to be hit by heavy rain and gusty winds. So we spend a useless day waiting out the weather and finally made it into the lagoon only to discover we could not get to the mooring.

Yesterday we ran into a few of our friends then went to Budget Marine for parts to fix the toilets. After a s&*( job on the front head it is now working properly again. I will replace the leaking gasket on the aft head this afternoon. We were also able to purchase the proper dip stick for the transmission.

Last night we had dinner at Barnacles Greek Bar and then headed back to Reboot in light rain. This morning over to the yacht club for breakfast. Shopping, etc. We expect to head out on Monday.

Fair winds and following seas.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

It is their culture

A couple of quick observations about the Caribbean:

1) Public urination in marinas is accepted. The first time I saw a man relieving himself from a boat in full view of Customs and security personnel I was shocked. Then I discovered it was a common practice. I have not decided to join in.
2) At least at Carrefour (the French grocery chain) the carts have four swivel castors. This makes it impossible to push them in a straight line on anything but a smooth surface. The alternative is a big bucket - you just drop everything in. When you check out you have to bend over and drag everything back out again.
3)  Most restaurants observe lunch and dinner hours. For example, you can't get dinner before 7 PM at most places. Of course most everything is closed on Sundays.

Fair winds and following seas.

English Harbor - Antigua: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The forecast was for 5 to 10 from the South. We got 0 to 3 from the Northeast. Most of what we saw was because we had to motor the entire distance from Guadeloupe to Antigua. One of the annoying things about Bas du Fort marina in Guadeloupe is that it is 20 nm around the bottom of the island and up into the center of the butterfly. The canal that takes you north has been closed for a year, so you just have to suck up the extra time and distance.

We arrived at English Harbor in the early afternoon. We selected Nelson's Dockyard from the marina listings in our (free) Superyacht Services Guide. On the way in the cockpit chart plotter decided it did not want to display the detailed map of the harbor so there was a bit of up and down. Once in we did find channel buoys. My little hand held radio has also decided to give up the ghost so it was up and down from the radio to the helm.

The Good:
Nelson's Dockyard is a historical park. It is where 1st Viscount Admiral Lord Nelson commanded early in his career. It is beautiful. Many of the buildings are still here and there are lots of interpretive signs. We hope to do more exploring today. It also does have a contingent of services - I will try to get the refrigerator fixed before we leave. Last night there was a retreat (in the military sense) of the Antigua Police and band. It was fun.

The Bad:
1) For a marina "highly rated" in the  Superyacht Services Guide the actual dock facilities are terrible. The setup is Med mooring with no (or only a few) anchor buoys. So one has to back in, drop anchor, and then continue to back into the dock. This was a first time evolution for me. Andy was trying to help but the language differences were a problem. Since there were no buoys we had to go stern to instead of bow in. This is a real problem. The monitor wind vane sticks out on the stern. We have no boarding plank. Eventually, with the help of the boat next to us and the assistant dock master we did get settled in. Our neighbors suggested we share the anchor buoy they were using and we immediately agreed with thanks. They were quite nice as part of the settling in process was for them to relocate the stern of their boat. I think I will purchase a couple of big ball fenders on Monday. It will make me feel much more comfortable.
2) I was hoping to buy parts for the broken (new) head in the bow. There is a Budget Marine on the island but it is a 40 minute drive. I need a Budget Marine so I can beg them to replace the toilet as defective.

The Ugly:
1) Checking in was quite easy - at least for people and Reboot. The entire process took about 15 minutes and cost 26 USD. But for the first time since Mexico we had to check XO in. This required a visit from the Government vet. We sat for over an hour waiting for him to drive over and check XO's papers. The cost was 50 USD. Like Mexico he never actually saw XO - just checked the health certificate and rabies certificate.
2) Last week was Antigua race week. I think it might have been better that we missed it - I don't know what the marina availability would have been like. Having experienced Key West race week I know that if you are not a racer it really doesn't matter - everything is just a lot more crowded. Yesterday (our arrival date) were the  "dock days" festival at Nelson's. There were lots of food booths and local crafts. Not so bad. But why does every festival require a stage with 8 gagillion gigawatts of sound system to blare mediocre music and stupid DJ's long into the night? After 22 hours on the water, waiting for the vet, and so forth a little peace and quiet would have been nice. Fortunately the music stopped at 9 PM - I guess the crowd of 10 year old girls needed to go home for curfew.

Fair winds and following seas.