Fare Forward

On Sunday, I decided to move the boat over to Baie Orientale. This new location would position the boat a short dinghy ride from Baie De l’Embouchure, which I am told is an excellent place to learn how to surf. I envisioned myself spending the days experiencing the exhilaration of riding waves, returning to the boat to drink green tea and imbibe transcendental philosophy with the end result of finally gaining an understanding of the unifying truth of the universe. Unfortunately, breaking waves are good for surfing, but not for sailing.

As I entered the harbor amidst crashing waves with the depth quickly falling, I decided to forego enlightenment to avoid putting the boat in danger. Instead, I settled for the calmer anchorage at Grand Case. Grand Case is the gastronomic capitol of St. Martin. The small beachside town is lined with gourmet restaurants that I could not afford. Each evening, the restaurants would write out their menus on chalkboard’s in the street. Grand Case would be a great place to visit with a girlfriend, but if you stay there alone for too long you begin rooting for a cholera outbreak.

Fortunately, there are some inexpensive outdoor restaurants called “lolos” that offer grilled chicken or fish with rice and beans for under $10. During the three days that I spent in Grand Case, I ate better than I have at any other time during this trip. Lunches were made up of a baguette, cheese, and wine, while dinners were spent at different lolos. On Wednesday, I returned to Marigot. Apparently, Marigot was the setting for parts of the movie “Speed 2.” Although I have not seen the movie, I am told that the climactic scene is a cruise ship crashing into the town of Marigot. I would be interested to know how they filmed this scene since Marigot Bay is fairly shallow – I am currently anchored in 10 feet of water – and a cruise ship would run aground about a half mile from town.

Despite my attempts to pamper the boat, items continue to break faster than I can fix them. Currently, the engine is running hot (in danger of overheating if I run it too long or with too much load), the roller furling on the jib does not unfurl (meaning I can’t open up the foremost sail), the outboard on the dinghy is unreliable, there is a deck leak near the mast, and there are an assortment of other, less important problems. Fortunately, help is on the way. My Dad is scheduled to fly down to St. Martin next Friday to help me take the boat south to Trinidad.

Once again, I plan to use Trinidad as a base to repair the boat. In this case, I am planning on leaving the boat in Trinidad for several months while I return to the US to visit friends and family, as well as to hopefully get a short-term job that will help to replenish my cruising fund. If all goes to plan, I will be back on U.S. soil in just over two weeks.

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