Significant Birthdays

Departing Vieux Fort at the south end of St Lucia on 17 Feb 2017 we had a good forecast to run up the windward side towards Martinique.

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A short tack out to sea and then we were just able to lay a course close hauled to clear the reefs off the rugged coastline. Another thanks was said for modern navigation aids as our course climbed up to windward of the well plotted dangers. What’s that funny sound? Fish On! Been a while since anything had taken one of our lures so caught me by surprise. Trusty pink and white 6” squid doing it again and a decent Wahoo was landed. Happy it was not a barracuda so it was on the menu as we steer clear of reef fish and their predators.

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We hate rubbish in the sea, but after cleaning up some of it we are OK for a message in a bottle to be sent out. Here Amelia has made sure we are clear of St Lucia so she can set free the message she and Katie created. Wonder where it will end up?

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At the end of a lovely sail arrived at Ste Anne where Mr Wahoo made a delicious dinner after getting acquainted with Mr Weber.

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Anchor down and chillin.

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Still banking those sunset memories.

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We skipped quickly up the coast on our way north. Much easier passing the 570 foot high Diamond Rock going this way.

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School work not so easy… The editor should let this photo go through I hope. Seems I am not allowed to take photos when the schoolwork or boat life has all turned to custard for a bit which happens. It takes a large amount of work to keep this adventure going and school work continues to be hard on all of us. We haven’t met a cruiser family yet who enjoy school work, even the teachers!

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Payback is scenes like this sunset as we approach St Pierre at the top of Martinique where we will pause for the night on our skip north.

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And payback with scenes like this. Trundling north under asymmetric kite with Amelia on the helm. Very unusual forecast has SW winds pushing us where we want to go.

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Skipping Dominica, again, on our way back up island. It’s on our to-do list from the way back down! We were having a great sail and watching the strange weather. Now it has clocked around to NW and blowing. Hmmm, these winds will expose most of the usually sheltered bays. Hope people are OK with this dramatic departure from the usual NE – E – SE trades. Hmmm, those clouds ahead sure are Dark. Time to reef down further.

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Yes, very glad to have reefed! Driving rain squall with so much wind I can’t look into it without sheltering my eyes between my cap peak and slit between my fingers. I get the short straw again for a drenching in the stinging rain as everyone else hides in the cabin.

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Coming through the back of the squall and the late afternoon. In the dark moody light we find an ominous cloud formation. A heavy dark circle of clouds squats at the base of the low brooding weather. I couldn’t merge the photos to show the whole ring so here they are separately. I will admit to some nerves as we approached and went under it…

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The next day was chalk and cheese with the dark brooding weather blown through and we ended up motoring the last stretch up to The Saintes under gorgeous blue skies and calm seas.

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The reason for the rush back north? Combo significant and virtually significant birthdays with our Slice of Life friends! We caught up with them at one of our favourite anchorages, Pigeon Island marine reserve on Guadeloupe.

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Where we had a couple of lovely evenings celebrating Mike’s and Shannon’s birthdays. Shannon was pretty happy turning 40 on our boat, in the Caribbean. Happy Birthdays!

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Token working shot trying to persuade you it is not all G&T’s on the aft deck in the lap of luxury. (Usually its red wine or a little Caribbean rum.) Without a car in the garage to tinker on the tender takes these roles of man cave and water car. Time for a little TLC on them.

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Just amazing having turtles cruising around the boat right in the anchorage. Boston’s turn for the photos.

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Another goodbye to our Slice of Life friends as their track headed north. Now we had finished our last appointment and had nowhere to rush to next. Since we started way back in March last year we had a schedule to follow. First rushing around the Med for eight months to see as much as we could and meet friends and family at set dates in different countries. Then prepping and doing the Atlantic crossing and catching our great friends in the Caribbean. The almost punishing schedule was self-imposed to make to most of our “highlight tour” and we wouldn’t change it. But now after a year on-board for the first time we had no places and dates to rush off and meet. Wow, what do we do now?

A week of total relaxation was in order.

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We met Peter from S/V Onapua. Great to see him staying a true Kiwi despite living in the USA for many years. Cheers Mate!

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Great also to see our donated Kiwi flag flying proudly on his US flagged ship.

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Heaven is a big French supermarket with a dinghy dock…

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Turtles weren’t the only large thing in the water. Here is a 2m barracuda that hung out under our boat for a day. Note that he is on the other side of the keel as the sun is shining on him and is at an angle to the camera… He was not worried at all about us swimming around. Kind of interesting looking at him and him looking back at me. Pretty sure he won’t bite me, but the kids…? That is a big fish. Amazing muscle bound silky grace as it meanders slowly around waiting for dusk and hunting time.

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Unlike the barracuda lazing effortlessly we were starting to struggle with doing nothing after only 1 week with restlessness and guilty feelings sneaking over the horizon. Surely we should be rushing off somewhere or have a mission? What are we doing with ourselves? What paradigm of thinking is making us feel this way and do we need it in our lives?

 

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