It's great to be back in Sint Maarten, where we actually began this nine month oddessey of cruising in August of '06. It was even better to see my surragate daughter, Annie, and her new husband, Nigel - a delightful English gentleman. We spent a most enjoyable afternoon with them on Swan Song where I served my chicken pot roast that had been cooking in the slow cooker so that I could enjoy their company. They have purchased a lovely home here on the Dutch side and we are looking forward to seeing it on Tuesday evening.
On Easter Sunday friends Bernard and Laurence came over for Brunch and it was likewise great to renew our friendship with them. Dave sold Bernard a yacht back in 1995 and we have been good friends ever since. They added just the European flavor that was needed for a great holiday reunion as Laurence is from France and Bernard from Germany. They will be leaving Sint Maarten soon, however, to live in Germany as his aging mother is there.
This is what cruising is all about - reuniting with old friends and it is so womderful to see how good everyone looks and, I might add, how mentally alert considering we were all experts at elbow bending.
This is being written on Monday, a national holiday on the island, where Dave and I are just kicking back and enjoying the ambiance of the island. The pictures on this page were all taken on the French side in Marigot, one of my favorite all time places. The restaurants are great, even if expensive, and we always try to select one where we have not dined before. As we are tired that excursion will be later on in the week when we are shopping. A duty free port, both the French and Dutch sides offer great buys.
Simpson Bay Lagoon, Sint Maarten.
Yet another week and 100 miles.
Easy trip from Falmouth Harbor, Antigua direct to Simpson Bay. Mostly a North/Northeast swell 4-6' little wind wave with a peak wind of 13 kts.
We did have one Mini Cruise ship, Sea Dream II 345' 4500 tons, who was on a dead on collision course. He failed to answer any hails on either
16/13/14/68 all of which are used in this area. His AIS signal was very weak...under a 1/2 mile...and was confirmed by another cruise ship, Ocean
Village, nearby, ~5 miles, as being a weak signal.
We also confirmed a good radar return from us by the other cruise ship. We finally took a 45 degree
starboard turn as he approached with-in 1 mile and less than a minute from a "close encounter" of the wrong time. After it passed he made a 30
degree turn to port!! Duh, some kind of delayed reaction??
This was at midnight close to St Bart's where they had recently departed so one might assume a change of watch and/or no one standing watch or
monitoring the radios.
Many big private yachts in both Antigua and St Martin.....300+ ft....lots of money out there in the world!
We had a good chance to further work on the calibration of our Navman fuel flow instrument. Measuring our fuel we show 1,97 NM/gal for the 100.5 miles. The Navman was showing 1.95 enroute so it's close enough for us now.
Sint Marten, Dutch, is the headquarters of the two largest marine stores in the Caribbean. It is also a duty free country with very good air and sea
freight service. This results in a very competitive market and the best place in the Caribbean to obtain parts if you need to shop in a store and
touch/feel what you are buying before purchase.
OTH, they are still more expensive than buying from Port Supply, aka West Marine wholesale, and having the items FedEx's to St Martin or the BVI.
An interesting quirt of Port Supply's pricing and their "family" plan of FedEx charges...
Fuel used 51.3
One note re the fuel burn on the main engine. Perhaps you recall that we have a LARGE DC alternator, 250 amps @ 28 volts (about 6KW). This
provides all the power under way for charging the batteries, running the air conditioners/water maker etc. We can watch the fuel consumption on the Navman range from 1.5 to better than 2 as the loads come on an off on the alternator. From this I can conclude that it makes little difference re
the overall fuel burn whether we used the genset for the loads or the alternator. However, the overall reduction on the genset time, ego
maintenance, etc is huge.
So if you want good economy keep the loads to a minimum. OTH if you have Venezuelan diesel then use what you want when :-) Looking at it another
way. 1 gph for the loads equals US$.10 per hour with VZ diesel. Or US $7.00 per hour with Martinique diesel! A big shift over a six month period between fill-ups, eh!
GlobalStar...no signal here in SimpsoBay...however we have 12 competing WiFi Hot Spots. Signals are good and we have no problem getting on-line from the boat. However, none of the decent signals are free all have a charge of from $20 to $50/wk depending on location and bandwidth. So far on this trip our cellphones and GlobalStar calls have been zero so the WiFi has saved more in long distance than it has cost by a lot. We use both Skype and Yahoo Messenger Voice for calls. If you have a good bandwidth WiFi and the provider has a high bandwidth connection it is as good or better than the cell and always better than GlobalStar, IMHO.
Using it for email and surfing is just a "free" benefit piggybacked on the phone call savings :-)
As always YMMV,
Dave & Nancy
Caribbean Cruise '07