This trip was for some of the boys. My son Blake would join me first, followed by Brendan, and then Daniel. Their arrivals and departures were staggered over a three week period.
I constructed a plan based on arrival/departure times, so that each of them would be able to spend some time in Rodney Bay, Marigot Bay, and Soufrière. We all got to do the Tet Paul Nature Trail, the mud baths and the Toraille Waterfall (I got to do it twice).
Some of you may recall the story I told in It Begins when Daniel got stuck in the dinghy because the fuel line became disconnected. Well, on this trip, everyone except Daniel had some issues with the tender.
First up was Blake and I. We had taken the dinghy over to Pigeon Island to hike up to Fort Rodney. On our way back to the boat, Blake was shooting some pictures of the sunset, so I slowed down. As soon as the engine neared idle speed, she died. Checks for fuel loss appeared negative, but she would not start. We got out the oars and started rowing against the wind and the current. Fortunately for us, a catamaran was passing by, and gave us a tow the rest of the way. We would have made it on our own, but not before dark and not without a lot of effort.
The following morning, we hauled the engine up to the rail mount and started our investigation. Turns out the kill switch housing had come loose, which was preventing the engine from getting spark. After tightening everything up, she was back to running well once again, and continued doing so for the next couple days.
Next it was Brendan’s turn. Blake had gone back home, and we were spending our last night in Sufriere before heading to Rodney Bay to pick up Daniel. There was a huge cliff to the South of us that Brendan wanted to investigate before sunset. Off he went while I hung around the boat doing some chores.
Just when I started to feel like he had been gone for a while, I looked in that general direction and saw him heading back. However, rather than heading towards the boat, he was headed further out to where a large sailing cruise ship was coming through, to get a better look.
Sure enough, when he got out there, the dinghy died. Fortunately for him (and me as I wasn’t looking forward to heading out there to retrieve him), the cruise ship had two of its launches in the water. One of them saw him struggling to start the engine, and towed him back to our mooring.
Another rescue for the cost of a big thank you and two Pitons.
The next morning we headed for Rodney Bay. We had brisk easterly’s in the low 20s, with gusts near 30. We sailed on a close reach with the boat healing 30 degrees, at times. The seas were about 2 meters, and the combination really didn’t agree with Brendan’s stomach. When we dropped the hook in Rodney Bay, Brendan jumped in the water for a quick swim (Anna Marie’s Remedy for Sea Sickness) and it helped, but not completely.
After searching the large medicine cabinet for Dramamine or other remedies he found online, he decided to take the dinghy to the marina grocery. Unfortunately, they didn’t have what he was looking for either, and he headed back.
By this time it was dark when I get a call on the VHF. The conversation went something like this…
“Dad, where are you?”
“I’m just North of the marina channel.”
“Which way is North…?”
“When coming out of the channel, you were heading west. If you made a right, you would be heading North…”
“Dad, do you see that large Power Cruiser?”
“No Brendan, I don’t. I think you must be at the other end of the bay.”
“Dad, how can you NOT see this large boat…”
The communication was difficult as Brendan was trying to talk and listen over the sound of the outboard. He asked me to light up the boat as best I could, so I illuminated the two mast spot lights and the strobe light on the main mast. I was also sounding my horn.
The horn we have is a non-disposable canister type that can be filled with air. Of course the canister was empty, so I was using a small hand pump to fill it and then gave two short blows before it needed refilling.
Not having the marine sound signals committed to memory, I was not sure at the time what the proper signal was. In fact, after looking it up, I am still not 100% sure what signal I should have been using. Regardless, my hand held air pump was limiting me to two short blows.
“Brendan, I’m sounding the horn and the strobe light is on.”
“What is a horn strobe?”
My French neighbors, in an aluminum sailboat anchored near us, were most confused. They called over asking if I needed help. I said “no, everything is fine” but I am quite sure they were most puzzled as I continued to blow my horn.
Finally, Brendan, now heading North, saw the strobe light and radioed that he was on his way. I couldn’t help but think that Brendan and I were staring in our own little Harbor Movie (elaborated in this posting) and providing entertainment to whomever might have been listening in on the VHF channel we were communicating on.
The next morning, Brendan woke up feeling himself again. We raised anchor and headed into the marina. Daniel arrived that afternoon and we headed out the following morning to Marigot Bay.
We spent one night in Marigot and enjoyed a fantastic dinner at the Rainforest Hideaway Restaurant. The following morning we had a nice beam reach sail down to Sugar Beach. The following day it was time for Brendan to return to snowy New England and for Daniel to get his taste of Soufrière.
When we got back to the boat that afternoon, we were visited by a couple of fellow cruisers in a dinghy (Bill and Nancy of Brizo). They were moored over in Soufrière Bay and wanted to see what it was like on this side of the Petit Piton. They began to ask some questions about the cost of the mooring balls, what was in the area, etc., and so as not to be rude, turned off their engine. When we were done talking, the engine would not start.
I offered for them to come aboard and let the motor cool for a while. We chatted for a half hour or so, telling each other brief versions of our stories. When Bill went to try to start the engine, again no luck, so we offered to tow them back to their boat.
Daniel was in his glory as I allowed him to play dinghy captain for the mile or so trip.
Soon it was time to head back to Rodney Bay and for Daniel to head home.
I had the opportunity to meet up with Bill and Nancy again, as they had to come to Rodney Bay to get the dinghy outboard repaired. Bill and I had a few beers pool side at the marina and enjoyed some local street food nearby afterwards.
Back at the marina, Bill offered me to come back to their boat for a beer and chat. The two of them are very lovely people whom I hope we meet up with again.