Many of you may have seen Andrew’s account of the engine breakdown on the Abby Singer Facebook page but I will give you the “cliff’s notes” here. We left you last week just as the engine had died and we realized we would be sailing the rest of the way to St Martin. No problem, we do live on a sailboat - right?!
Sailing started out quite nice. We colored pictures, read our books, ate the soup in a cup I had planned as our main meal and made it through the night smoothly.
About mid-day we could see land, unfortunately that was about the same time the wind died as well. Let me tell you, there is nothing more frustrating than seeing where you want to be but bobbing around trying to keep your sail full, moving at a whopping 1-2 knots! The afternoon felt endless! Everyone was trying to keep their spirits up but watching hours tick off the clock and no time being reduced on the “time to destination” window was agonizing.
Andrew tried several attempts at getting Abby started by bleeding the lines, re-seating seals and anything else he could think of but she was not having it. The closer we got to land, the stronger the east wind pushed us off. We would sail for 45 minutes or so and turn to tack and make minimal progress up wind. Everyone in the caravan that had left BVI was anchored and set and calling on the radio to find out how we were doing. The sun set on us and we reckoned with arriving in an unknown anchorage in the dark. Friends in our destination gave us accurate descriptions of where we were headed but you just can't make sense of it in the dark. Even when the bay came into view we still needed 3 or 4 more tacks to clear the rocks on our starboard (right) side. And wouldn't you know it, just as we turn for our final approach, the wind shifts, blowing us out of the cove! So add 2 more tacks to gain more ground. It was the day that wouldn't end! But our amazingly diligent friends on Aqua Vida & Singing Frog jumped into their dinghy as we entered the bay at midnight to make sure we arrived safely at anchor. They guided us in and helped us set the anchor properly. They even delivered a home cooked meal of spaghetti complete with a fresh French baguette from a proper French bakery - our sailing family is truly one of a kind. So our 19hr trip ended after 31 very long uneventful hours at sea. And we awoke the next day to beautiful St Martin.
To check in to St Martin is all computerized and very easy, just fill in the blanks, but I did feel like a dumb American when I didn't know how to find “United States” in the French drop down menu :) Luckily the guys working the counter were gracious enough to to help me and one of our first purchases was a French/English dictionary. We quickly learned that St Martin had all the resources we would need to get the boat back in tip top shape and do a few other projects as well.
But first things first, must have latte & yummy pastry to start the day right.
The project of polishing the fuel and locating the blockage that had caused all our drama was lengthy but never out of Andrew’s scope and the girls kept busy by discovering some of our neighboring sealife
and using the boat as their play gym.
Andrew got acquainted with our fuel tank and smelled of diesel for days.
We did squeeze in a few sights and some yummy meals among all the work.
Large barge squeezing through a tight bridge
Local sail school for kids
My crazies at Pineapple Pete's
And the girls got to do a bus trip all over the island with friends from other sailboats.
This horse follows his master around like a puppy, no lead lines or anything.
Before we knew it, our boy’s birthday was upon us!
We loved on him the best we could and tried to let him know how much he means to us, but it is hard to put “everything” into words :)
And if that wasn't enough celebration for us, the locals had a Billfish Tournament at our marina on Father’s Day. It was quiet the weekend!
Why are we at a Marina? Good question.
The wind was predicted to kick up pretty strong over the weekend and we wouldn't be comfortable at anchor so what do we do? Start another big project!
Our salon (living room) floor has been plywood since we left Jacksonville. One of the last projects we did at home to get the boat ready was replace our main water tank, which required us to cut our beautiful teak and holly floor. It was painful to see it go but the water tank was a necessity; it allowed us to put an all new battery box in for powering the boat and freed up lots of storage space and we hardly notice it any more. But to make good use of our time here and with some good deals cut by the guys at Island Water World, it was the perfect time to beautify Abby.
A tiny hatch under the galley (kitchen) floor said "do not cut",
You know Andrew had to cut it!
Now she is looking better than ever!
Things learned aboard this week:
There are a lot of reasons to celebrate Andrew Paul Howell; Birthday, Father’s Day, but the best reason in my book is because he’s one of a kind and he’s all mine!
Our girls are so good! Our already very small home is a lot smaller when we have a big project going on down below. All of the seatee (sofa) cushions get moved to and from the girl’s bed every morning and night to keep them out of the way and the doors to the cabins are all kept shut to keep the dust or fumes or whatever out of them while we work. They have found ways to entertain themselves and stay out of trouble, mostly :) and have gotten along remarkably well.
Our time in Saint Martin wasn't particularly exciting but very productive! Excited to head on south and get back in the water, doing what we love.
We’ll keep you posted.=