Leaking water tank. We can't figure out how this happened while Zenitude stands on the dry and we can't even remove it to verify exactly where the leak is and how to fix it.
Z E N I T U D E
Blue Water Dreaming
Grenada - Life in the boatyard - 17 April to 7 May 2008
Windards and Leewards - Grenada, Martinique, Dominica, Maria Galante, Guadaloupe and back
We’ve been in Australia working for almost a year and now we have just a couple of months left for sailing before the start of hurricane season. In the meantime Zenitude has been in the dry in Spice Island Marina and we have been working for the past month to get her ready again.
The main problem we found on our way back from Sydney, is that one of our water tanks is leaking, from the bottom.
This water tank is installed just behind the windlass and we found there is no way we can take it out from where it is to fix it.
On top of it, there is nobody in Grenada that can work with this material (polythene), so for now, we have just the other water tank (we've lost 400 liters capacity), an inconvenience until we find out how to deal with this problem.
Life in Spice Island Marina
We are enjoying Grenada. We love this island and decide to take a land tour, which is quite enjoyable and very informative.
Our guide shows how easy is to get all kind of spices and fruits growing in the island, just next to the road, no wonder the island is called the Spice island.
During the tour we meet Dave and Booker from Tortuguita, they are in Grenada for a while as well and will leave Tortuguita in the dry in Spice Island Marina while they go home, in New Jersey, for hurricane season.
A month after we are back in Grenada we are finally ready and decide to sail for a couple of months around the islands up to Guadaloupe before going to Venezuela for the next hurricane season.
Before sailing towards Martinique we say goodbye to our new friends Booker and Dave and leave Prickly Bay the next morning.
Land tour in Grenada
Saying good bye to Booker and Dave
Martinique - Back in French territory - 8 to 17 May 2008
Anse Mitan - (14.33.167N-61.03.418W)
We arrived at Anse Mitan after a trip under sail except for a couple of hours in the lee of St Lucia, when winds became variable and on the nose. We had to remove all sails to keep the rum line. Then we raised main on second reef and opened a bit of jib, after leaving the lee of St Lucia, with good speed, at about 8 knots, we sailed the rest of trip.
While in Anse Mitan we take the ferry to Fort de France to visit town and take care of entry procedures. We prefer the ferry as the anchorage in Fort de France is really dreadful.
Anse Chaudiere - (14.28.7N-61.04.8W)
This is a nice anchorage, we stayed here to get closer to the turn of the island as we need to go east to Le Marin. We are planning to leave at dawn to take advantage of the calm hours while we go against the wind.
Sunset at Anse Chaudiere
Le Marin - 14.27.5N-60.52.8W
Our plan in Le Marin was to talk to a guy that works with polythene, the material from our water tank to see if he can fix it. Unfortunately this guy is away traveling and we can't talk to him.
His partner comes to have a look and tell us it doesn't seem possible to work on the tank if we can't remove it from its place.
We are really upset with Lagoon, we confirmed that they fit the water tank and then build the rest of the deck on top of it. The only way of removing this tank is to cut it in pieces!
We spend a couple of days here. It is another nice place in Martinique. There is a nice marina and free internet as long as you consume something at the bar.
While we are here there is a very colourful sailing competition among the locals.
Le Marin streets and the sailing competition
Petit Anse D'Arlet - (14.29.2N-61.04.8W)
This anchorage was very rolly so we just stayed a couple of hours to visit the village. It is nice and charming but not a good anchorage to stay overnight.
Les Trois Islet- (14.32.7N-61.02.4W)
We came to Les Trois Ilets, looking for the only golf course in Martinique as well as for the 'spectacular' beach (as per cruising guide)
After we arrived we found that a golf round is out of the question as it is hard to get there from the boat and it is quite expensive.
The beach did not exist (the closest nice beach is Point du Bout). The anchorage is tricky due to very shallow banks and the whole thing is not worth the trouble.
Petit Anse D'Arlet
Les Trois Islet
Point du Bout, Anse Mitan
This is a really nice anchorage, a better side of Anse Mitan, closer to the marina and not so exposed to the ferries. We spend here the last day in Martinique. Tomorrow we are heading towards Dominica.
Dominica - The nature island - 17 to 25 May 2008
We left Martinique and started the trip with good winds and calm seas. On the approach to Dominica seas got rougher, and there was funneling of the wind which got gusty and variable.
Arriving in Roseau the boat boys, as they are called, approached to offer a mooring and their services to take care of us while in their island. We ended up dealing with the ones called SeaCat, they gave us great service and organized tours for us.
Dominica lies south of Guadaloupe, it is not one of the known islands in the Caribbean and we are loving it.
With its unspoiled natural beauty and its mountains, product of volcanic activity, Dominica has a fresh water lake, a boiling lake, sulphur springs, cascading waterfalls and as many rivers as days in a year.
It features lush mountainous rainforests, home of many rare plant, animal, and bird species. It has a beach with 'champagne' bubbles rising from the sea bed. It is a place to remember.
Snorkelling with champagne bubbles
Overwhelmed by the forest
The indian river, background for Pirates of the Caribbean
We did several land tours, mainly by ourselves, but we booked one with the guys from SeaCat. They take you to the Victoria Falls, which has a tricky way to get there so it pays to take a guide.
The tour included a couple of other places, like the rum factory, the chocolate factory, a visit to a beach, plus an interesting lunch in a raftarian restaurant. The dish, see picture below, looks awful but it was quite a delicious vegetarian soup. We met a lot of people and had a lot of fun. It was worth every bit of it.
A land tour in Dominica
After a great time in Ruseau we went to the north of the island, Portsmouth, another beautiful place. Here we did a tour to the Indian River where they do not allow motor boats, only rowing is allowed in this river which is very peaceful, full of fishes, birds, crabs and many other creatures. Among the mangroves the scenery is quite fantastic, this area was used to film one of the Pirates of the Caribbean and some of the settings still remain in place.
Roseau - (15.17.2N-61.22.6W)
Maria Galante - A laid back island - 25 to 30 May 2008
We left Portsmouth and 4 hours later arrived to Baie de Saint-Louis in Marie Galante.
The first impression of the island is that of a beautiful place where everything is still, everything is closed and everybody is sleeping, most of the time.
This may not be completely true, but the impression is that everything here happens in slow motion.
Spice Island Marina
The next day we rented a car for 30 Euros and toured Le Grand Bourg and the south part of the island. At a slow pace we visited several places and beautiful beaches.
The following day we motored for 1/2 an hour to the next bay, Anse Canot and Anse du Vieux du Fort where we found fantastic beaches as well. There are no many cruisers around Marie Galante and it is really very peaceful.
After five days of life at a very slow pace we left towards Guadaloupe looking for a faster pace and some serious provisioning which is hard to do in Marie Galante.
Guadaloupe - The French capital in the Caribbean - 30 May to 17 June 2008
Point a Pitre - (16.13.9N-61.32.0W)
We arrived in Guadaloupe after a nice sail and a very interesting encounter with a cargo ship at Point a Pitre entrance channel, we HAD to let it pass and enter behind it. After entering thru the channel we went to Marina Bas du Fort for water and decided to take one of their moorings for 10 Euros a night.
We spent 4 days in the marina, rented a car, went around the island and discovered huge supermarkets for shopping. Really excellent place for provisioning, especially the many French ready foods and specialties.
Then decided to leave the mooring and anchor off Ilet du Gosier, outside Point a Pitre (16.12.04N-61.29.54W) which is a beautiful place but a very rolly anchorage.
Our guide book on Guadaloupe says that going from the south to the north of the island thru the Riviere Sale bridge is a very enjoyable trip. It is also a much shorter way to Anse Deshaies and we decided to go that way.
The bridge opens only once a day and we had to leave the anchorage very early to get to the bridge opening at 5.00AM. We arrived at the bridge at 4.15, it was still dark and very calm with no wind. We waited for the opening and finally crossed it entering the river. What a nightmare, bridge and river, so narrow with clouds of mosquitoes that attacked us by the hundreds. Nothing we could do about the mosquitoes as we needed to pay attention to the narrow shallow channel. There is a second bridge which we crossed at 5.30 to enter the Grand Cul de Sac Marin at around 6.00 AM.
There was some relief from the mosquitoes but we faced a second nightmare. Our electronic charts do not cover this area, the navigation marks are not clear and they are very far apart, the bay is quite wide, we just didn't know which way to go. The guide recommended to wait a couple of hours until the sun is higher to continue with good visibility but we were anxious to get out of there and started going behind a monohull that seemed to know the way. After a little while the navigation marks in the channel started to make sense and we relaxed. Big mistake, one moment we were happily going, next moment we were aground. The worst part of it, we run aground at exactly the top of the high tide.
Feeling helpless while the tide started to get down we called for help. The French Coast Guard sent a tug, which failed to get us out in the low tide, there was really very little water under the hulls. Nevertheless they tried to pull us out from the transom and almost destroyed our davit. We had to send them away and request help to come back later on at high tide. It was a long wait and a strange feeling listening to the Mayday reported by French Coast Guard in the VHF radio. Finally, another French work boat came to help. After 1,000 Euros and a broken martingale we were floating again. The French guys wanted to take us back to Point a Pitre but we didn't want to do that horrible river all over again. With fears that something else was broken we started heading towards Anse Deshaies.
Portsmouth - (15.34.9N-61.27.8W)
Walking around Point a Pitre
At anchor in Ilet du Gosier
Anse Deshaies - (16.18.4N-61.47.7W)
After a stressful trip with a broken martingale we arrived at Anse Deshaies after sunset. The wind was light, still anchoring was a bit difficult at night.
It is a very quiet and nice anchorage, but without wind, boats are facing in all directions, something to deal with when anchoring.
Even though we soon found out we shouldn't have sailed with the broken martingale as we could have lost the mast, we were nevertheless relieved we were quietly at anchor again in a very nice place.
In retrospective, we know we got in trouble because of our own mistakes, and, we almost had a disaster rescue because we did not imposed our conditions to our rescuers. In the first place we should have waited for the sun to come higher and allow shallow spots to be visible, we should have never attempted to go thru the channel at the very high of the tide and lastly we shouldn't have relaxed and allow the wind to push us out of the channel.
Regarding the rescue, we should have insisted on no rescue attempts until the time of the very high tide. Then, probably we wouldn't have had any damage to our boat. But damage was done and we decided to rent a car and visit a rigger in Point a Pitre to find out what needed to be done.
As in any French island, we found an excellent rigger that ordered the parts for us and explained what needed to be done. The price for parts and job was very reasonable but unfortunately we needed to bring Zenitude back to Point a Pitre for the job and he warned us to choose a day of very calm seas so that we wouldn't risk damaging the mast. We decided to consult with our good friend Hugo, with all his catamaran knowledge and he confirmed what the rigger had said. Hugo gave us excellent tips on how to modify the rigging so that the mast would have enough support from the front sheets to make the trip. Basically, we needed to replicate the martingale function with jib and jinaker sheets which we tied up very tight at the bow cleats.
After making the changes recommended by Hugo we left Anse Deshaies 4 days later, taking advantage of 2 calm days to reach Point a Pitre where the rigging could be fixed.
Anse Deshaies - Pelican resting spot
Baie de Saint-Louis - (15.57.2N-61.19.5W)
Grande Cul de Sac Marin - (16.18N-61.34W)
Anse a la Barque - (16.05.349N-61.46.065W)
Motoring very slowly due to the rigging problem we arrived to this bay early in the afternoon.
It was very hard to find an anchor spot as the bay is deep and the good anchor area is either taken up by fishermen moorings or it has a rocky bottom.
We ended up anchoring on a deep spot considering that the weather forecast is to remain calm, we are not expecting trouble.
After a quiet night we left the anchorage early to take advantage of the calmer time of day. Early in the morning with no wind the seas were calm.
Continuing motoring at 5 knots, we found a current against at about 1 knot for most of the trip. Turning the end tip of Guadaloupe, we were lucky to find the channel with very quiet seas, even thou the wind was about 5 knots higher than before.
Anse a la Barque - A fishermen spot
Point a Pitre - Marine Bas du Fort
Safely arrived at the marina where the rigging was fixed. They did an excellent job. Our nightmare was finally over. We spent 5 days at the marina, enjoying marina life for a little while. This is a very charming marina with lots of restaurants around. Finally Chris Parker, our weather guru gave us the green light to leave towards Grenada.
Guadaloupe to Grenada - At Sea - 17 to 19 June 2008
Grenada - Last Port before entering hurricane safe waters - 19 June to 01 July 2008
We left Guadaloupe with the intention of having a stopover at St Lucia to break the trip but after talking with Chris Parker we decided to take advantage of the good window and continue all the way to Grenada. It looks like this will be the best weather window for the next 10 days or so and we are fast approaching the end of hurricane safe season, at least from our insurance point of view.
Sailing south the winds were great, stronger over night and very calm in the lee of the larger islands. With the north tip of Grenada on sight we continued motor sailing along the coast of this large island as winds were variable and mostly calm. Our average speed for this trip was about 6.2 knots, the full moon high in the skies at night it was a blessing since our navigation lights stop working. Happy at arrival thinking it was a good decision to continue all the way to Grenada.
Back in Prickly Bay we are happily waiting for a weather window to go across to Los Testigos. This is the most central of the many anchorages on the southern coast of Grenada.
Prickly Bay is surrounded by fancy houses and lovely beaches. There is a restaurant De Big Fish that has a dinghy dock and makes a good pizza. Budget Marine is right there, behind Spice Island Marina. It is easy from there to catch a bus into town (St. George).
There is also Prickly Bay Marina with a fuel dock, water and internet. This is a very nice bay, with lots of cruisers and a good social life around. Grenada has a very active cruising community that welcome new arriving cruisers. Jonathan, from Island Water World runs an active VHF Net on 68 at 7:30.
Prickly Bay - (12.00.0N-61.45.9W)
We stayed here and enjoyed this bay until we finally got the go ahead from our weather man Chris Parker to sail away towards Los Testigos, the beggining of a trip to controversial Venezuela where we will spend the next hurricane season