Sailing down the Grenadines

We left Martinique without knowing whether or not we were going to be able to get our replacement dinghy as promised in St. Lucia. We left anyway and anchored in Rodney Bay. Thankfully the Highfield person in China came through over night and everything was organized for us to drop off our old dinghy and pick up the new one. We are crossing our fingers that this one doesn't have a problem but I have to say that I was happy with the way Highfield dealt with it. It had been very stressful for us to think that we might be heading into the pacific with our kids and a dinghy that took on water. I am very thankful for the fact that we won't have to do that. While picking up our dinghy and since we were checking in and out the same day I managed to convince James to buy our bottom paint here while we could get it tax free (we would rejoice at that amazing choice later!). Once that was all settled we left Saint Lucia and headed down to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, with our first stop being Bequai. We were very happy to finally be sailing with our friends Andrew and Lindsey on Caramba. It is so nice to get to share this adventure with others and still have your home (boat!) to yourself. Before leaving Bequai we went to the market to get some fresh fruits and veggies. There were about 5

Martinique

The main reason we spent some time in Martinique was to have our bow thruster looked at. During the survey Olivier mentioned the bow thruster had not had a recall done. This is a piece that prevents the torque transfering to some bolts (that keep it in the boat!). It's amazing that Amel still supports their boats 15 years after they were first made. And the recall was in 2002! It took awhile to get it done, so we spent some time on other boat projects too. We also started trying to figure out what was wrong with our dingy. It was always full of water! Salty water too. We found a very small hole in the hyperlon fabric. Thinking it must be that we had the dingy repaired (under warranty) and put it back in the water. If anything, the water ingress was worse! We took the dingy back out and I filled the dingy with water (too see where it came out). To my surprise, it came out of a weld holding the transom on! It seems we got a "friday afternoon" dingy with some dodgy welding. Highfield, to their credit (and some convincing on our part), agreed to replace the dingy. More about that next time. Someone also tried to steal our dingy here! The only place we've had trouble (fingers crossed).

Dominica!

In this video we pick up my Mom and Thierry in Deshais and head down to the Saints before taking off for Dominica. We had read so much bad stuff about Dominica, like it's unsafe and you get hassled all the time so we were a bit cautious going there. Well it turns out the internet couldn't be more wrong and Dominica was amazing. Yes it is poor and still has loads of rubbish laying around on the beach or the streets but they are trying to be better and everyone there was really friendly and lovely to us. Someone called Titus came zooming toward us the second we appeared at the entrance to the harbor of Portsmouth, I straight away thought here you go we are going to get hassled. But like I said I couldn't have been more wrong. He showed us where to anchor and offered but didn't push a mooring. He also told us that if we needed anything all we had to do was call him and that was it. We did not get bothered once after that and when we asked him to come back at a certain time the next day to plan seeing the Indian river he arrived on said time and that says a lot for the Caribbean! We ended up renting a car to go to all the main attractions like the Titou Gorge or the many waterfalls and although quite scary it ended up being a very good idea

Guadeloupe & A horrible night at Anchor...

We sailed down to Saint Kitts and were really disappointed to find out that there was no way to go on the sugar train unless you booked it through your cruise ship. Basically, the sugar train was only for cruise ships passengers!!! What a bummer. I was really annoyed and disappointed but very glad we hadn't told Arthur, as it was meant as a surprise, so we didn't have to deal with his disappointment. Instead of staying we decided to leave straight away and sail down all the way to Guadeloupe where we would wait for my mom and Thierry to arrive. We had a peaceful sail down and were happy to drop the hook in Deshais the next morning. We also got the nice surprise of seeing our friends on Ran anchored a few boats in front of us. We hadn't seen them since we met them in Cape Verde but had kept in touch as we had crossed the Atlantic a few days apart. Little did we know how crazy the next few days would turn out to be. The weather turned on us and a massive swell started to make its way into the anchorage. It was like being at sea but worse as you just kept on being tossed around in a different way every time. After two days and two sleepless nights of this it finally started to come down, just in time for our friends on Ran to almost get hit by another boat.

Saba & St. Martin

We left the BVI behind on our usual overnight sail. The reason for it is that it is nicer and easier for us to sail overnight when we need to go anywhere that is more then 4h away. We feel like it is nicer for the kids as they aren't stuck on a boat for long periods of time and we don't have to entertain anyone but ourselves on night watches which is also nicer for us. We left right after dinner and headed for Saba. I had never heard of Saba before seeing it in a magazine that you get for free in Sint Maarten. Saba is part of the kingdom of the Netherlands and is a small little island south of Sint Maarten. It does not have any proper anchorages and is therefore rarely visited by cruisers. The second I read that and saw the photos I wanted to go, it looked beautiful and tranquil. It is also a marine park with apparently the most beautiful water and sea life. Needless to say we were excited to go, or at least I was. The sail from the BVI went much faster then expected and we arrived in Saba around 3am. After a quick look around we managed to somehow stumble upon one the 10 moorings available and tied up for a few hours of shut eye. When we woke up a couple hours later we realized that the wind was too strong to take the dinghy off of

Exploring the British Virgin Islands

In this video we finally make it out of Saint Martin and head over to the BVI on an overnight sail. The sail there was nice and fast and we arrived first thing in the morning in virgin gorda passing necker island on the way in . We learned later through Suzie that Obama was there the whole time we were in virgin gorda. We decided to head over to the anchorage by the bitter end and got the dinghy ready to head over to customs to clear in. Andrew from Caramba and I are typically the ones doing the clearing in and while he was still filling out paperwork I found myself at a loss when the immigration or customs person asked me for $1000. For a second I was at a loss for word but suddenly replied that if it was that expensive to clear in we would be leaving back to Saint Martin today as we did not have that kind of money. The guy waited a little bit then laughed and said he was joking all I had to pay was $11. Relieved I paid the amount (which I had to borrow from Andrew, who asked me what was the 1000$ was about) and headed out to find my dad, James and the kids. We spent two days at the bitter end enjoying the pretty hotel beach and the amazingly fast wifi before heading to Spanish town and The Baths. The anchorage there was a little rolly

The past 9 months part I

Wow it has been a while since we have updated this blog! A boat and two kids will do that to you. :) Well here are a few photos from the last nine months and little bits of what we have been up to. James went out to see all the boats we were considering buying. He even flew at the last minute to Lisbon instead of back home to see another potential boat. We ended up being very lucky to find two boats that we really liked and both were sold by the same broker, Michel Charpentier (he is pretty much the Amel specialist in Europe). Since we had found two boats and were happy either way we made a decent but low offer on the newer one saying that if they didn't accept it we would simply make an offer on the other one. Lucky for us the owners wanted to sell and although they weren't pleased (we figured that out during the survey) they accepted our offer. We went down to La Grande Motte in the south of France and had a survey and sea trial. While the boat was out of the water, Michel C. spent the whole hour cleaning off sea life from the hull (he is one dedicated broker). After a whole day of checking the boat out we asked our surveyor for his opinion and decided to buy the boat! SV SeaBean was born. :) Now came the waiting game. We had a boat and

Videos and where we're going next...

To make up for a complete lack of updating of this blog... Chloe has created a couple of videos covering the last few months. Please note, these are mainly for family so feature our kiddos heavily! At the end of this week we are planing to leave Corsica and head west to Gibraltar. Since they are on the way... we will stop in the Balearic Islands and probably the southern coast of Spain. It should take us a week or so, but we are in no rush. You should be able to follow along via MarineTraffic.