I have been lazy about updating the blog. We have been somewhat busy. Really I have just been lazy, so no excuses. We were in St. Martin from January 20th to March 15th. St. Martin is such a perfect spot for cruisers. We met another couple on a Baba 35 “Play Actor” who spend most of the winter anchored in the Lagoon. It is easy to see why: good French Food, lots of boat services, great pricing on boat stuff (no duty), good swap meets, events for the kids, easy to anchor, and a workboat that brings water fuel and fresh bread right to you boat. In Marigot, Shrimpy’s is the most cruiser friendly laundry anywhere. Mike the owner of Shrimpy’s also runs one of the best cruiser nets we have encountered. (Channel 14 at 7AM)
We took care of a number of maintenance issues that we had been saving up for St. Martin. Our faithful dinghy started giving us problems. The engine was replaced in Annapolis. The two-stroke Evenrude 15 horsepower, that served us faithfully through a whole year in the Bahamas and up and down the eastern seaboard picked the worst possible time to quit, so we bought a new Mercury 9.9 four stroke. Then in the BVIs our dinghy wouldn’t hold air. So we held off until St. Martin and got a new IAB 9VL.
It was a little smaller and a lot lighter than the previous dinghy. We added a few modifications that made it a better fit for our dinghy davits and then added a fuel filter with a clear bowl so you can see fuel problems. I know it sounds like overkill to have a fuel filter for your dinghy. But, this really helps a lot when you have a low emission four stroke.
We also worked on the diesel engine. The water pump had developed a weeping leak and the engine was running a little hot. The fine folks at Simpson Bay Diesel rescued us. They helped us rebuild the water pump with parts from our used spares and flushed the heat exchanger. There was a bunch of broken zincs clogging up the exchanger! Later on I replaced the generator belt.
There was a variety of other repairs that kept us busy. I replaced the forward navigation lights, the Y-valve on the head, and took care of several little electrical problems. All in all we got a lot done and at prices that seemed as good as or better than back in the States.
We had fun too. Graham and I celebrated birthdays. We had a gift of mad money that we had to promise to use to splurge. We made new friends and we caught up with old friends from the Salty Dawg Rally. We were also in town for the Heineken Regatta.