|The view from Colombier|
It seems like all of the boats are eager to be on the move right now. Many of the boats are heading south, to get just below the hurricane belt for the summer. That doesn’t sound very pleasant to us, and we’ll be going to Bermuda and then on to the US and Canada instead. Have we mentioned it is hot? It doesn’t sound so bad – it gets into the high 80s during the day and drops into the low 80s at night. However, with both the heat and humidity on the rise, it is on the sweltering side of comfortable right now, and it is time to go north.
|Rockhopper on a mooring in Anse du Colombier|
We spent the last week of April preparing the boat for passage in lovely St. Barth. We spent a couple of nights in the outer anchorage at Gustavia, which started getting a little rough when the winds turned and left the open anchorage exposed. We then headed over to quiet Anse du Colombier for 3 nights. Colombia is a protected bay in the marine park; it has great swimming and a couple of nice hikes.
One day we walked to one of the beaches on the north side of the island, and saw several tortoises, iguanas, and few other large lizards. We also hiked up to the village of Colombier which sits on a cliff 500’ over the bay. We spent a lot of time checking systems and rigging, and moving our “fun” gear into deeper storage while making our safety and rescue gear easily assessable. Lots of stuff has to wait for last minute though, like deflating and stowing the dinghy on deck, and setting up the windvane.
We are back in St. Martin now. We entered the lagoon to fill up our diesel tanks before we leave on passage, just over 100 gallons this time around. We were thrilled to drop our anchor and discover that we have access to wifi at the boat for the first time in the lagoon – unlocked wifi has been a pretty rare occurrence anywhere this time around. There was lots of shopping to get accomplished as well. The variety of items at the grocery stores is excellent, the prices are comparable to the US, and vices (alcohol and cigars) are duty free, so we are happy to take advantage of that as well. We had oodles of last minute things to do, but now that we are “stuck” here in paradise, we have to undo and redo some of our preparations while we wait.
|This is the ominous weather system we are avoiding.|
We were hoping to be on our way north at this point already. However, a large low-pressure system in the US is affecting the weather from Bermuda all the way down to the Caribbean, and we are waiting it out. We’ve been listening daily to our favorite weather man, Chris Parker, discuss the weather with his subscribers at 6am (ugh). Some of them are caught up in violent squalls and we are glad we waited. We think we’ll end up leaving this Monday after the trough has dissipated. It is just a week later than what we planned, but it feels like we’ve been waiting for weeks. The trip from St. Martin to Bermuda is 900 miles, which will take 7-9 days of 24 hour sailing. Reinhart and I alternate 3-hour on-watch shifts. Back in 2007, it took us just 6 days to make it, but we were sailing extremely fast and can’t count on that every time. No matter what, we are hoping to arrive by May 18.
Once we head out, we’ll start sending daily-preprogrammed location emails to a small list of folks using the spot tracker. If you are interested in tracking us, here is the link to Rockhopper’s spot page, which shows the last 7 days of locations. Another way to check us out is by using a marine traffic tracking program to see our AIS signal, like marinetraffic.com.
17°54.011N 062°51.469W; Gustavia Outer Harbor, St. Barth 25-26Apr16
17°55.503N 062°52.146W; Anse du Colombier mooring, St. Barth 27-29Apr16
18°02.374N 063°05.648W; Simpson Bay Lagoon, Sint Maarten; 30Apr16…