Sunday, May 19

A working autopilot

Finally, after nearly 4 months and 700 miles later, we were going to have an autopilot that worked.  Or so we thought.  When we arrived in St. Lucia on March 1st, we made arrangements with a well respected and highly recommended marine electronics company to rebuild our autopilot.  We contemplated scrapping the old one and buying a new one all together.  But the new autopilots were just a wee bit bigger and wouldn't fit in our space without modifications and a bit of fabricating.  We went back and forth and finally decided to have our old one rebuilt.  No problem.  The parts would take about a week to come in and then just a couple days to rebuild it.  Again, no problem, we'd be in St. Lucia for 3 weeks with visiting friends.

We kept in contact with the electronics company and Craig signed the customs paperwork when the rebuild kit arrived.  Yeah, we were almost there.  That's when we decided to go to Martinique and wait for it to be rebuilt.  Sounds like a good plan, right?  But then Easter came upon us and low and behold, the islands take that holiday very seriously.  Not only do they take Friday off, but they take Monday as well.  We returned to Rodney Bay after our hike up Petit Piton only to find out that the guy working on our autopilot took Tuesday off too!  What?!  So we waited another day.  Finally on Wednesday, Craig got the maddening news that he had not worked on it AT ALL and that he thought about calling us, but didn't get around to it.  To add insult to injury, they discovered that they didn't order all the parts they needed to fix it and that would take another week to get them in.  We were furious, to say the least.  Craig made some phone calls (using Skype) and found a brand new autopilot, in stock, in St. Martin.  We said "we'll take it and we'll be there on Monday!!".  He snatched up our old autopilot and all it's parts and after almost five weeks, we stormed out of Rodney Bay for the very last time.  We sailed to Martinique for the night and then began our passage to St. Kitts the following day.  Good ridden St. Lucia.

Leaving Martinique, sailing north to St. Kitts and then eventually St. Martin

We were met by a large pod of dolphins near Fort de France

Passing Fort de France with the wind at our backs, we made really good time.  In the middle of the night, we had to contact a cruise ship on the radio as we were on a collision course.  We changed course which involved a gybe to get out of the way.  The cruise ship captain assured us they saw us on their radar and we would be fine.  Phew.

Passing Nevis Island, just before we head into St. Kitts

Kate drives for a while

Reeling in a fish.  Everyone has a job when we catch a fish.  I am in charge of slowing the boat down and helping Craig get the fish in the boat.  Kate is in charge of pouring the rum down the throat or in the gills.  Liv is in charge of tying the line to the boat and then on the fish tail, so we don't lose it.  Maggie takes pictures and videos for prosperity.

Maggie chillin' in the morning sunshine

Kate and Liv play barbies to pass the time.

Heading into St. Kitts

We were greeted by a morning rainbow as we made our approach to St. Kitts

We stopped in St. Kitts for several reasons.  The first being we had no autopilot and multiple night passages are unpleasant and exhausting.  Secondly, we wanted to see St. Kitts.  Thirdly and maybe most importantly, we were picking up a very special childhood object for one of the kids on Patronus.  It had gotten left behind at the house where they had laundry done.  Erica sent me a pleading e-mail asking me to pick it up if we decided to stop.  It was a win win for everyone.

This mega yacht pulled in after we were snug in our spot at the marina.  Can you see our boat to the right?  We look like a toy!  Except our mast is taller than their boat.  hee hee.  The marina manager was nice and only charged us half price for the dock space because we were there literally 12 hours.  We pulled in at noon and left for St. Marten that night at midnight.  We didn't need water or electricity, so it was very simple and straight forward. 

The town square, modeled after Picadilly Square in London.  St. Kitts is a British Territory after all.

View from our lunch table at xxxx restaurant

Does it look like we are in London?  Not really...

The really funny story about St. Kitts was that we all bought some kind of souvenir from an island that we spent the least amount of time on.  We spent weeks on other islands and never bought a single item. What is the irony in that??

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