My Friend Alfa Mike asked the following, so I thought I would share with everyone:
>Do they speak a lot of English Language in Martinique or is it all French?
- some English, once in a while, you need to know some basic French.
> What have you seen & experienced there?
This past weekend, we drove up north to see rain forest and volcano. Inactive of course, so not much to see.
> What have you done in the boat while there.? Repairs, upgrades?
at this point, there is still much to do. Not helped that yesterday I spent all day to do a 1 hour job. I hate working with wood, like the interior.
- Working on electric in fwd bilge, adding small bilge pump.
- Rewiring holding tank switch so that it can’t get turned on accidentally.
- Micah patched dingy.
- Rerigged paravane pole.
- One pole needs to be replaced. Probably do that in Mexico or So Cal.
- Also, rigged a preventer so windward pole will not go vertical when boat rolls heavily to lee side.
- Finally finished 3rd 20# bottle of propane yesterday. Those 3 bottles were filled in Tallinn in July 2015. That’s 7000 miles ago. Luckily have two extra bottles that a sailboat boat gave me in northern France last summer as he was not going back to USA. I have not been able to get propane since Estonia last year, but am told I can in St Lucia. But I can wait till So Cal possibly.
- Must still replace 2 hydraulic hoses and bleed system for AP and helm steering.
- Complete oil change, i.e. fill engine with oil.
- We’ll fuel again in St. Lucia, only to half full about 250 gal
- Repair bracket for wx instruments on mast, the following winds (when we were stopped for Hydraulic line) managed to wrap paravane line around it and mangled it, because I was so happy to get one problems solved, I created another one.
- Winds also broke stern flag pole. Same happened to Sweden sailboat docked next to us.
- All 5 fuel filters are changed (2 Racors, 2 engine mounted and fuel polish)
- Replacing all screws in rub rail is proving to be a real PIA. As they are rusted and not coming out. These are Inox screws I bought in Ireland and again in Portugal. Big f…ing mistake.
- General clean up, still finding flying fish on fly bridge (where else would they be 🙂
- Spent $200 on stainless steel screws.
- Another $200 on oil and ATF for rudder steering
- $200 on rental car for 3 days
Yes, everything is in increments of $200.
- Finally took Icom VHF radio to shop, as my friend Pat in Waterford told me to do last year. It’s unfixable it seems. So, will take VHF radio from fly bridge and install in pilot house.
- Need to still upload a billion pictures to http://dauntless.smugmug.com/
> How has the weather been?
- Is it Humid? Hot, a bit muggy, yesterday was first day without wind, so then the boat really heats up.Did I tell you I don’t like hot weather? Thus the 12 years in Alaska and two years with Dauntless in Northern Europe and now returning to first Southeast Alaska and then Japan & S. Korea.
>Now after all is said and done, In hindsight what would I have done differently?
- In terms of places to go or not, it’s hard to say. Only having spent time in southern Spain and Morocco can I say that I would not have missed it. But had I not gone, how would I know that? It would have better financially and sailing wise to go direct from the bottom of Portugal to Las Palmas on Grand Canaria.
- Should have spent some hard-earned money 3 years ago, to be able to use 230v, 50hz shore power to run ACs. I did try to get them to run off inverter, but the inverter produces a square sine wave and both the Splendid washer/dryer and the AC’s will not run on that.
I could have tried the transformer I use not for the water heater. It would supply 120v, but 50hz to AC. That swill probably work. But at this point, I’m not sure it’s worth the effort. Back in Southern Spain and Portugal when I was dying of the heat, I should have thought of that.
Yes, I could always run generator, by the 1 gal/hour at $5/gal fuel. Now, 8 hours is only $40 per day, but adding that to expensive marina at $55/day, that’s close to my desired cap of $100 per day.
- Speaking of money. My average daily cost for all living and boat expenses is about $109 per day. Though I still have yet to update the last month, I do not think it will change significantly. This is also a few dollars below the previous year. So, all in all, the expenses are about what I expect. The proportion is also the same, 25% for each:
- Fuel & oils
- Marinas & docks
- Food, groceries & eating out
- , like cell phone, transportation, cars, trains, planes and automobiles.
> How do you like it in Martinique?
- Love it. People, food could not be better. I am so lucky that I was told to head here when it became clear that I could m=not make the southing I needed to get to Barbados. It was only a 20° more southerly course, but with the large seas we had, it was not worth being beaten up.
- In hindsight, Martinique is a much nicer place to clear in, eat and drink than probably anyplace in the Caribbean. Martinique is a Department (like a State) of France. Thus, it feels like France because it is France. It’s not the bureaucratic mess that Portugal, southern Spain and Morocco are.
- FYI in terms of how they treat boaters:
- Northern Spain, Galicia is just like northern Europe and France, as are the Cana.ries.
- Southern Spain and Portugal were totally different, and not in a positive way.
- I was told that it’s because of the Arab penchant for bureaucracy.
> How long do you plan to stay?
- until sometime next week. Then heading south, a bit before heading west to the ABC’s
> Any comments you would like to make about the trip you just completed now that your more rested up?
- Very glad I don’t have to do it again for another 18 months