Thursday, January 24, 2013

WI-FI! We Want Our WI-FI!

Somewhere along the way our wi-fi booster crapped out so we've only been able to post when ashore at bars or restaurants offering free wi-fi. Hopefully soon the repaired parts will be shipped back and we will be posting more often!

Before leaving Moonshadow in beautiful Marigot Bay for our trip back to a California wedding, we spent a couple of nights just down the coast of St. Lucia in Soufriere Bay. This is where there are two volcanic cones called Grand Piton and Petit Piton situated right at the water's edge. This much photographed part of St. Lucia is truly a beautiful place to just hang out.

While still in Soufriere, we prepared the Pasarelle which is like a draw bridge for boarding at the stern because once back at the marina at Marigot Bay, Moonshadow would be "Med Moored", which is a method of mooring to the dock with the bow anchored out and the stern tied to the dock. Moonshadow is equipped with a great pasarelle so we would not have to use a crummy wooden plank, but it took some doing to find all the parts and figure out how to set it up. Finally,Deb was elected to test things out and found it to be a perfect diving board. The pasarelle will also come in handy should it become necessary for someone to walk the plank!

The flight home, detailed in our previous blog post, was long, but it was worth it to be back in San Diego with family and friends. The wedding of Deb's niece Ashley to long time boyfriend Andres was beautiful and lots of fun.

The whole trip home was just a blur though as we ran errands to get needed boat parts (and fishing lures), played golf, saw friends, etc. and before we knew it, we were jetting back to Marigot Bay and our home, Moonshadow.

From St. Lucia, we sailed south, past the Pitons to St. Vincent and caught another Mahi-Mahi. Though not quite as large as the one we boarded on the passage from Virginia, this was the most beautiful and brilliant Mahi we've ever seen. We anchored Moonshadow "Tahiti Style" (with a long line from our stern to shore) in a small bay on the western coast of St. Vincent called Wallilabou, which was used for the filming of the movie Pirates of the Caribbean.

Overnight Fryderyk Chopin, a square rigged ship of about 150 feet from Poland arrived and anchored outside. The next morning the 25 year-old chain-smoking captain proceeded to anchor across Moonshadow's anchor chain. This did not fail to attract our attention and, ah, we did not fail to point this out to the captain. He stopped and retrieved his anchor but then anchored between Moonshadow and another large schooner that was already close to us.

The process involved lots of radio communication between the captain and crew at the bow operating the anchor, and others in dinghies passing a very long 2 inch warp from the stern to a piling near shore; and still others heaving in the warp once tied to the piling. There must have been 25 passengers and crew on deck.

As he was maneuvering, we pointed up to his yard arms that were threatening to tangle with Moonshadow's rig. After stopping again and bracing the yards around more fore and aft so they weren't so close, he continued to force his way into the space that was way, way too tight for such a big vessel. This was without any doubt the most flagrantly rude, un-seamanlike, and reckless performance we've ever seen. At one point we heard the crew say if we didn't like it, we could leave! He was equally close to the schooner on the other side but they decided to move rather than deal with these jerks.

There wasn't any need for shouting as we were only about 10 feet apart, but after asking why the captain was placing both Moonshadow and his own boat at such risk, they finally re-positioned to a safe distance away from us. The whole performance took up at least three hours, but it wasn't over. The yahoos this ship had for crew were obnoxiously loud, ran a smelly and loud generator continuously, and were constantly zooming around in their dinghy at full speed. They then got drunk and played loud awful music until midnight. At two AM, John thought he heard something but couldn't quite place it so got up and popped his head topside to find, amazingly, that awful ship had left, and the out of place sound was a peaceful quiet! Ahhh! It took us 24 hours before we could even think about lowering the Farmer Flag!

Unfortunately Fryderyk Chopin wasn't the only source of drama in the cove at Wallilabou. Late the next afternoon, Cassiopeia, a Tartan 33 came limping into the bay with a broken mast. The woman single-handedly sailing Cassiopeia (we didn't get her name) said she was just cruising along in 13 knots of wind when she heard a loud noise and moved to look up as the boom came crashing into the cockpit dodger, which protected her from injury. Both she and her boat were a sad scene in such a beautiful place. She plans to get the rig on deck then motor north to Rodney Bay on St. Lucia where she hope to finish repairs in time for a visit by her grand-kids in late February. We wish her speed in recovering from such a set-back.

Before leaving Wallilabou, we took a hike up to a waterfall for a refreshing dip in some cool fresh water. The hike was scenic and the water refreshing.

With a refrigerator full of fish, we didn't dare put out our Mahi lures on a quiet 3 hour sail south to Bequia. We had visited Bequia in 2008 on a chartered Catamaran with San Diego friends, but that was June and the place was not very busy. January being the high season, this time we found Bequia to be it a jumping place with about 100 or more yachts anchored in the large Admiralty Bay and Port Elizabeth's inner bay. This time we anchored Moonshadow in a cozy corner along beautiful Princess Margaret Beach where we can see Moonshadow's shadow on the shallow bottom. The turquois water laps white sand which dissapears into a deep green jungle. Just stunning.

Sunday, January 6, 2013


Still getting used to having Moonshadow all to ourselves, we booked New Years Eve dinner at the Rainforest Hideaway Restaurant in Marigot Bay, St. Lucia.  The meal and waterfront setting across the bay from Moonshadow was spectacular.
Afterward we returned to Moonshadow's foredeck for an awesome fireworks show.  Then it was off to bed so we'd be ready for some sailing on New Years Day.

The wind was light in the lee of St. Lucia's mountainous terrain, but it was delightful to slip along at 4-5 knots under genoa alone.  Then looming on the horizon were St. Lucia's signature island features, the Pitons, Petit Piton and Grand Piton.

We anchored close to the beach in Soufriere Bay next to Petit Piton (the pointy one in these photos).  We thought this blue roof would create a lot of drama for our Carmel Valley HOA, but it sure looks perfect here in St. Lucia.

Meanwhile, we had neighbors.  We're always a bit leery of boats anchoring nearby, and this time a French boat set their anchor across Moonshadow's chain. After an initial denial their skipper apologized and pulled in his ground tackle.  

They had a big job getting our chain off their anchor, but eventually, with the help of some local "boat boys" all was put back in order.  

'Nuff said...

But after all, when you're in Paradise and life keeps throwing beautiful scenery... 

and one swim-up-bar after another your way, how can you get too upset?

OK, here's how:

  • Fifteen minutes before the 0545 taxi arrives to take you to the airport for a flight back to California, the shore power quits.
  • Then... unable to quickly diagnose the problem, and unwilling to risk a full discharge of the new batteries and loss of another freezer full of steaks, you send your wife to the airport alone with a promise to catch up in a day or two.
  • Then... after kissing wifey good-bye, upon returning to the boat you discover the shore power is back on!?!!
  • Then... you heave your luggage on the dock, run to the street and discover you have no way to call or find a taxi.  It's 0600 and nobody is awake.  Finally, a marina employee arrives to begin her workday and calls a cab (whew).  Soon you are re-united with your wife at the airport (double-whew!!).
  • Then... you find upon arrival in Antigua your connecting LIAT flight to San Juan, Puerto Rico is late.  An hour late... no problem we have a 3 hour two hours late...uh-oh...finally boarding the flight, the math doesn't add up: we'll arrive in San Juan as our next flight departs...and we have US Customs...   
  • Then... you find the only flight available to San Diego connects in Phoenix arriving there at 1230AM but the final flight departs Phoenix for San Diego at 0845...ouch!
  • Then... you're just too tired to care.  Besides, now we have time to update our blog, and soon, we'll be holding our grandchildren!!!!