15 Dec 2018

15 December 2018 - St Anne, Martinique

FINALLY, we appear to be coming out of the woods. Our SSB radio is fixed (it appears that two cables in a very tight connector were rubbing where they shouldn't and, although the system worked after it was first installed, as the hostile environment that we call the ocean got to the connections and a bit of corrosion ate its way into the connection, it shorted out and refused to transmit).

When the nice Frenchman (unusual to be able to say that!) came to the boat to look at the radio, he sat on the navigation table, which was badly designed by another French  man, and the whole thing collapsed under his weight, and landed on Debra's foot (yes, the one that is still recovering from the toe injury). Well monsieur Jacques was truly mortified and promised to repair 'la table', so he spent a whole evening and some of the next morning making new parts 'pour la table casse' from aluminium (aluminum for our US readers) and now after a great deal of effort, 'notre table est superbe!' He also didn't charge us for the full time that he spent on repairing the SSB which was a nice result!

So we now have a working SSB which we have tested for sending and receiving emails and weather grib files, and it appears to be hunky dory. We both hope now that we have fixed everything that needs to be fixed, and that we can now start to relax and start our odyssey. We aim to leave Martinique on Monday or Tuesday to sail down to Bequia where we will spend Christmas and meet up with a couple of sailing pals.

We also modified a Christmas poem today (well, Debra did to be honest!) and here it is:

'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the boat
The bilge pumps we're hustling to keep us afloat
As Deb read her book, and I guzzled beer
She said 'that's enough, now come to bed dear'
Then out on the water there rose an uproar
As I reached in the fridge, to get one beer more
So up went my head, poking out of the hatch
But I should have thought first to undo the latch!
I saw stars for a moment, and quick as a blink
Debra laughed 'I told you, you've had too much to drink'.
The moon on the water lit the anchorage up bright
I could see all the yachts to my left and my right
Then what with my wondering eyes should I see
But a fat bearded guy in a boat next to me
Instead of an outboard hung onto the rear
Tied to the bow were eight tiny reindeer.
He was dressed in a red cap edged with fur trim
And Speedos that covered a bare fraction of him
I was shocked and astonished but what could I say?
I also go boating dressed exactly that way!
He then grabbed a bag, a bulging big sack
And hoisted it mightily up onto his back.
He said 'My name's Nick, and my friend I can tell
That your gelcoat needs buffing and your teak looks like hell.
Your vinyl needs cleaning, your lockers arranging
Your holding tank pumping and your oil needs changing
You've put these jobs off for too long, you know it
So here's all you need, this time don't you blow it!'
Then quick as he came he was gone from my yacht
His reindeer were champing and eager to trot
'Merry Christmas' he called as they cruised through the night
'And regarding the beer, Paul, then Debra is right!!!'

We hope you enjoy it!

OK, so what have we still got to do before we leave on the World ARC? Well, sadly, we left our folder with lots of information in it about the trip at home, so we are trying to get that brought out to us in St Lucia in early January. We still need to activate the sat phone, after which time we can make and receive (expensive) calls mid ocean. We need to activate our Yellowbrick tracker so that you can all check our progress as we cross the mighty ocean that is the Pacific and know exactly where we are at any point. Incidentally, as we have AIS now, there are apps that can find Tumi anywhere in the world when we are transmitting. Anyone who wants this, just go to the app store and type in AIS and look for boat finder, You will see it there. We need to fuel up as much as possible, filling all the jerry cans (approx. 210 litres) so that we can motor if we get becalmed in the doldrums. We need to try out the Parasailor spinnaker in a downwind situation (we have always been sailing into the wind so far this season!) and finally do the last bits of spares gathering (pressure hoses, etc.) and provisioning. Then it's time to go!

January is going to be busy for us, but in the meantime, we wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy New Year in case we don't post any more blogs till 2019.

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