Sunday, 3 March 2013

St Lucia again & pictures update

Back in St Lucia

The reason for coming back here is to have our new rudder bearings fitted. To do this we need to be out of the water and have the rudder removed. New bearings need to be machined from nylon and a new ‘O’ ring seal fitted. This should give us many years of trouble free sailing.

Thursday morning we are ready to be lifted. Always a stressful occasion as your pride and joy (our home) is lifted skywards. The lift was very professionally handled and because we only expected to be out for 2-3 days we had the yard paint the bottom in antifoul paint. We could service the seacocks, replace anodes and do any other out of the water jobs. The antifoul paint had done us very well for the last year but was showing signs of wearing away so a repaint was due. Had we known we were going to be there a week we could have repainted the bottom ourselves -  with toothbrushes!

We had been told that antifoul was expensive here  but were shocked at the priceUS$350 a tin. We needed 4 tins for 2 coats. If you are coming this way, bring some with you.

You may remember that we mentioned back last June we caught something on our propeller going into Viveiro, Northern Spain.  This transpired to be a piece of fishing net. Unfortunately it managed to pull off the part of the cutter attached to the ‘P’ bracket sheering off the bolts in the process! Luckily no other damage was done but we no longer have a working rope cutter. (Then it turns out that we haven’t had once since last July anyway!)

Had we known that the material for the bearings was not in stock and had to be ordered (it arrived on Tuesday) we would have delayed the lift, as living aboard in the boatyard was not the best of experiences. Added to this Ruth and Michael (my Daughter and Son in Law) arrived on the Monday, thankfully they had a hotel. Sailing plans were put on hold and we were told things would happen tomorrow, and then tomorrow -  I forgot - ‘Island time’!

Our material finally arrived and we have a slot with the machine shop for Wednesday, Wednesday afternoon we have our new bearings and re-fitting the rudder can start. In the rush to get things finished before the crane crew went home the yard dropped the rudder! Fortunately the repair is minor but requires a gelcoat repair and repainting. We are told we will be launched tomorrow, (where have I heard that before!)
After the drop!

The good news is that we finally got launched Thursday morning exactly a week after we were lifted out. A hot and dusty week spent in the boatyard. Back to the Marina for the rest of the time with Ruth and Michael. Unfortunately we were not able to go sailing as Ruth had previously injured her knee and sailing was going to be too painful for her.
Land trips were scheduled, a trip to the rain forest, the Jump up at Gros Islet, Eudovic’s  art studio at Morne Fortune, a trip to Pigeon Island where there was an International  food  festival including a beer tasting competition! This was followed by an evening at Jambe du Bois for the Jazz music. They also managed some ‘down time’ at the pool and beach accompanied by a few rum punches! All was not lost!

The Artist signing Ruth & Michael's purchases
Friday night 'Jump-up'
Ruth & Michael in the ruins at Fort Rodney

Jazz at Jame de bois

The ever present Pitons!

For those not in the know, the Pitons are St.Lucia's landmark mountains, also ther name of the local beer!
The rain forest is beautiful. The trip includes a cable car ride up into and above the tree canopy, together with a walk on the forest floor, all accompanied by very knowledgeable guides. Hummingbirds not much bigger than a bumble bee fly past your ear (and sound like a bee too).
Rainforest walk

We saw three species of Humming birds, (Antillean crested , Blue Headed Hummingbird? Purple throated Carib ). A Broad Winged Hawk, Lesser Antillian Bullfinch, Bananaquit (the most common Caribbean bird) but not a parrot in sight, although they were heard quite clearly.

View from the Gondola
More rainforest

Our visitors having departed we are now at anchor in the bay. In planning our departure south to Marigot bay, Soufriere and St. Vincent we discovered that we had lost battery capacity. The oldest domestic battery had died after 5 years of service. A replacement has been ordered and we should be on our way at the weekend. Never a dull moment this boating lark!

Gregory's fruit and veg at the anchorage

We were told cruising is repairing your boat in foreign ports, how true that is! The upside is you cannot get much closer to paradise than the Caribbean in February. Sipping rum punches while listening to the Ska and reggae from the Friday night ‘jump-up’ at  Gros Islet.

Even the bad days end like this!

P.S We have managed to update pictures from the atlantic crossing as well. 

P.P.S Still have a leak in the area of the rudder bearing!! Will contact the boatyard tomorrow. Will get away eventually.

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