After leaving the BVI’s we sailed back to St Thomas for several reasons. This is one of the easiest places to get ‘stuff’ delivered and it’s a nice place to hang out whilst waiting. I took delivery of a Sailrite sewing machine, and set about repairing the mizzen sail cover in just half an hour. The main sail cover had taken Mum and I two weeks by hand to repair last year, so this machine is a godsend. I also made some bean bag chairs and two cockpit cushions, so we are rather smart and comfy now!
Being back in Brewers Bay just north of the airport runway means a lot of walking to get anywhere, but the bay is peaceful with lots of wildlife. We had two visits from dolphins with a baby, again right by the boat, and have seen Eagle Rays jumping clean out of the water, one did it three times in succession which must have worn him out. We had thick growth once again on Joy’s bottom, Jez cleaned it using scuba gear and had no idea these dolphins were right behind him at the time!
The hydraulic motors came off again and went back to the repair shop, more new seals were put in and the ‘experts’ told us that there were small burrs which needed filing off which they must have missed last time – we could clearly see however that the seals looked completely different to the last ones they fitted and the invoice had metric sizes on rather than imperial from last time (they did the work free of charge but we bought more seals as spares). Jez had originally suggested this was the problem, but they insisted not. Hmmm.
Then the wait was on for sacrificial anodes ordered from America, a very impressive US postal service got them here in four days and we collected them from the post office after a slight bit of trouble. When we arrived at 12.05 the door was locked, but the opening times on the door (which we had clocked the last time we were there) said they closed at 2.00 on a Saturday. We had planned on leaving St Thomas early Monday so really didn’t want to have to come back, so we knocked on the door and a reluctant security man explained that someone had rubbed off the 1 from the sign, they actually shut at 12.00! Explaining our predicament, he asked the girls at the counter if they would take one more customer and they agreed – we were in. The only problem now was that the parcels, despite saying ready for collection on the tracking info, actually were still being processed. But the lovely post office clerk would not give up, hunting high and low for our large 5 parcels, and two more clerks joined in the hunt (all desperate to go home by this stage). Bingo, five very heavy packages handed over and two happy sailors. Well, not so happy carrying 110 lbs of zinc back to the dinghy between us in a cruel 29 degrees. It was downhill all the way, but poor Dolly Trolley’s wheels almost buckled with her half of the booty. She is such a good work horse, getting a bit rusty around the edges, good job I am really not fussed about street cred. In a previous life, pre Joy that is, she would have been a sparkling granny trolley carrying porridge oats and honey back from the village store, now she is a salt encrusted rusty, squeaky Trojan hauling mainly beer, hydraulic motors and heavy postal items. I am thinking of making a new bag for her, she deserves some TLC. Next project maybe.
The anodes weigh 26 lbs each, we have four that bolt to the hull and two on the keel. They protect the hull against galvanic corrosion as they get eaten away first as zinc is a less noble metal.
We have decided to haul out earlier than planned as we found a good deal, and really don’t fancy going to Trinidad where the costs are reasonable. Anywhere else in the Caribbean, if we can find a travel lift that we actually fit into, the cost of being in the boat yard and work on your own boat is extortionate. In Spain, for example, we paid EUR11 a day on the hard, here in the lovely Caribbean it’s around US$150 per day plus $25 for electricity – PER DAY!! Forget it! We found that St Kitts have a yard on the north west coast with a huge lift more than big enough for Joy. They welcome DIY’ers such as ourselves with no extra charges, and at just under $15 a day – well deal done, plans changed!
With an unusual south wind we decided to set sail for St Martin to pick up some duty free supplies at the chandleries, but after 10 hours of an absolutely wonderful sail (and lots more dolphins) the wind died to a level even the wind vane couldn’t compute, so the engine was sparked up for rest of the journey and we arrived after 20 hours into Marigot Bay.
In usual Joy style, we arrived during Carnival week. So many businesses shut down for two or three days, so we had a little wait to get what we want. Haul out is booked for Tuesday next week, and as St Kitts Marine Works is now an official port of entry this will save us going down to Basse Terre first to check in. We have mainly maintenance to do, replacing anodes on the hull and propeller and we can check over the hull and all the fittings too.