On Tour 8 – On With The Job

On Tour 8 – On With The Job

We are in the middle of our second charter. Our first charter went really well. The family were great fun and we ended up really good friends by the end of it. While the charter went well we had problems with the boat along the way. The Genset would not run for half the time and for half the time it was running it was down on voltage.

The big problem with the generator not going was the air conditioners would not work. Sometimes I think we are running a self sufficient floating motel room not a boat. The other problem we had was a tank of dirty fuel in the outboard on the dinghy which required me to strip the carby and blow out the jets. Certainly seems this job is more about the greasy bits than the sailing.

Melanie is finding she has to spend many hours in the galley to keep the food up to the expected standard, which I think she is finding pretty tuff particularly while I’m taking them snorkeling on pristine reefs or dragging them around the bay on the biscuit behind the dinghy.

On the topic of the food she is doing a great job, cheese cake, chocy mouse, strawberry mouse, home made bread, chocolate cakes, fish terrines, I hope this doesn’t stop when we get home.

Any way the first charter went really well with a very nice tip at the end and it wasn’t the “get a hair cut” variety. O n the subject of money how is the Greenback going? I think the only news we get over here is Australia is flogging the Kiwis in the cricket.

The region we are in at the moment is very much a cricket loving part of the Caribbean and everybody can tell us how Australia is going. On the sports front any football news would be greatly appreciated.

Well we have successfully completed our first 2 charters with happy punters at the end. The second charter with the owner proved to be a real test of patience particularly for Rocket. They have told us they have a live in “Alice” (aka Brady Bunch) who has lived in there house for the last 45 years.

They also said there dog likes Alice better than them! We’re not surprised.

So the charter finally ended and we sailed down to the Tobago Cays for a couple of days with our friends that run the 62. We had 2 solid days of Kite Surfing, drinking beer and relaxing in pristine conditions. The wind was blowing about 20 knots steady from the east and apart from giving the body an absolute flogging it was fantastic. Kind of made the week with the owner seem about a month ago.

Yesterday we had a day in Canouan our official base. We went for a dive with the local dive shop which was really nice. The diving down here is really good and cruisey.

We are currently on our way back to St Lucia to pick up a heat exchanger for the genset. We will probably spend a day or 2 there and then head for Tortola which is about 350 miles away. After a few days in Tortola we will be heading for the Bahamas about another 1200 miles. We will most likely stop at San Juan and Turks and Caicos on the way.  We are both looking forward to the next phase of our adventure. It will be good to catch up with some of the friends we made in Tortola, and the trip to the Bahamas will be mighty. Still a pity to not to have anyone to share the experience with.

(Mel) Starboard engine overheated and David is in the hot box trying to fix the greasy bits – I believe an impeller is stuffed. Still in St Lucia – still no heat exchanger, surprise, surprise!! Still getting used to the Caribbean way, it will probably get here when we we arrive in the Bahamas, then eventually they will send it up there as we are leaving to get back down here.

It will be one well travelled heat exchanger. I may have the crapiest job on charter – but David has the crapiest job at the dock – stuck in the hot box engine rooms dealing with greasy bits, while I get to clean inside in the lovely air conditioning. Chante and Stuart have become great friends with similar interests. The 4 of us spent from about 8am to 6pm kiting in the Cays one day, changing kites in the water. I will miss there company when we are in the Bahamas.

There is only one other crewed yacht up there, so socialising off charter, probably won’t be a big thing. It seems that when the boats, don’t have bookings, it is O.K. to have family and friends along. Something for everyone to keep in mind, particularly given we will only be about 100 miles from Florida and I’m sure if we wanted it would be no problem to take the Meltemia there.

Hope all is well with everyone,

David & Mel

On Tour 7 – Stay Tuned

On Tour 7 – Stay Tuned

G,day one and all.

Just a short one this time as we are getting pretty busy in the lead up to our first charter. We have 2 back to back out of Canouan. There is virtually no provisioning available in Canouan so when we leave St Lucia this time we need to be provisioned for both charters, except for fruit, veg and bread which we can get reasonably at local island markets.

The provisioning is really putting a lot of pressure on Mel as even in St Lucia things are hard to get and everything is expensive, so coming in under budget is a real challenge. Since the last update we have spent 6 days “down island” checking out all the places we will be taking the punters.

I’d like to say it’s been hard work but it hasn’t. In fact its been the opposite, more like a paid holiday. Well it’s been harder for rocket as she has been practicing cooking, getting the hang of the oven etc. I have been doing some work on learning boat systems etc and studying pilotage books and charts of the area. We left St Lucia am on Wed 9th after clearing immigration and sailed about 70 miles down to Bequea arriving in Admiralty Bay in the dark.

Friendly, helpful, people, beautiful little bay. Next day we went to Mustique for lunch, apparently many wealthy, famous people have holiday houses there, Tommy Hilsomething, Shania Twain and Mick Jagger. Then on to Chatham Bay on Union Island. A really quiet undeveloped island. We then went to Petit St Vincent for lunch.

Across the channel, 150 metres from PSV is Petit Martinique a different country, we were having seafood for the charter delivered there on the local ferry from Grenada. After picking up the seafood we went to Salt Whistle Bay on Mayreau island. The classic tropical bay and beach. A great little bar for Pina Colodas and Planters Punch while the sun sets. We felt it was imperative to test the cocktails and ambiance of a sunset drink so that if necessary we could give a accurate appraisal to the guests.

One thing that is odd here is spirits are cheaper than the mixers. A litre bottle of Mount Gay is about US$8.00 and coke is about US$2.00 for 300 ml, so the mixed drinks are cheaper than beer and the measure of rum is really generous.

Then onto the Tobago Keys. The Tobago keys to this point would probably be the most amazingly beautiful place we have been. The clearest water and amazing coral reefs. We anchored for the night on the eastern or Atlantic side of the Keys. It is protected by 2 horse shoe shaped reefs. It is the most amazing place, have to see it. From Tobago to Canouan our home base for lunch.

There is nothing there except 2 lovely resorts, one very exclusive owned by Donald Trump. It costs US$85.00 just to look at it. Then back to St Lucia with a night in Bequea on the way. We now have 3 days for maintenance and provisioning before heading down to Bequea for our first charter. Thats about all for now, sitting here listening to Kevin Bloody Wilson while I write this an d it’s just struck me what a unique sense of humor we Aussies have.

Any football news would be greatly appreciated, or any other news from Oz at all.

Stay tuned for more On Tour Adventure.

David & Mel

On Tour 6 – Is This A Real Job?

On Tour 6 – Is This A Real Job?

Well a lot has happened since our last update. Last saturday we had to leave Tortola as our 28 day Visa had expired. We went to St Thomas for the day because that was the easiest, so we could get a new visa on re entry. On Sunday we caught the Ferry to Virgin Gorda (meaning fat virgin) and spent a day there.

Our first impression was of a Caribbean island that was as we imagined. Not caught up in the chase of the tourist dollar. It is beautiful and the people are very friendly. Not overly developed at all. We were there on a Sunday not a soul to be seen, all the locals were at church.

We went for a wander around town and then hitch hiked to The Baths. The guy who picked us up was not even going that way but still gave us a tour of the southern end of the island. even showed us where a cricket match was to be played later in the day -The Baths (check the photos on the web site when we get them up) is the most popular attraction on Virgin Gorda and absolutely beautiful, with great snorkeling and fantastic caves to explore.

We decided to hire some snorkeling gear and have swim, we ended up perched on a rock enjoying paradise. A couple of rastas pulled up and decided to share the rock with us. They were from St Lucia and lovely guys. They insisted that because we shared our rock that we had to share there beer and rum, how could we refuse. After an hour or so they moved on just after we caught up with a couple of Aussies. You would not believe it the lady, Del was on the exact same flight as us from Brisbane and her friend David had done quite a bit sailing with Mike Job from RQYC. Mike was my RYA examiner.

After chatting for a while they invited us to sail up to the Bitter End Yacht Club in North Sound with them (approx 12 mile to the other end of the island) and then stay the night on there Sunsail hire boat. They took us to dinner at the BEYC filled us full of Rum and Beer and then insisted on paying, again how could we refuse! After dinner we were invited for drinks on another charter boa called Banana Twist with 2 Americans, also very friendly insisting we drink more with them (just what we needed). We did have some trouble finding the Banana Twist in the dark so we drove around the bay at midnight yelling out BAA-NAA- NAAAH at the top of our lungs and funnily enough got an invite from another boat to come aboard and party.

We woke early the next morning both feeling like crap knowing we needed to get back to Tortola to prepare for our trip to St Lucia. The thing we will really remember Del and David for is there gift, a tube of Vegemite! Any way back to Tortola. We had lots to do and many people to thank and say good buy to. I had to get a hair cut as a condition of employment which I put of to the last minute. We managed to get a flight booked to StLucia 7/3/05 Alby Well we have been in St Lucia living on the boat in Marigot Bay for nearly a week now. There is an overwhelming amount for both Melanie and I to learn.

There are so many systems, 3 air-conditioners, genset engines, fresh water, hot water, refrigeration, freezer (there is a 12 volt DC, 110 volt ac and an engine driven system for the freezer) and they all need regular maintenance. The help down here is very thin on the ground, you pretty much have to be able to manage every thing yourself. Getting people to work on things is really tuff and getting parts is even harder.

We have many little maintenance issues, nothing that will threaten the safety of the boat just things that make it difficult to give people the sort of service they expect when they are paying over US$3000.00 per day for the charter. We have a nasty clunk in the transmission on our port engine. The mechanic said there was a spare in the supply room and I could change it if I wished. Yeah Sure!!

He said it was his job to maintain the bare boats and as skipper of a crewed boat all the maintenance was my responsibility. On a brighter note we have met a couple who are running a Moorings 6200, what a mighty boat. Stewart from the UK and Chante from South Africa. They are right into Kite surfing and Stewart had a Banjo.

They have been really helpful, kind of taking us under there wing and showing us the ropes. We took the boat up to Rodney Bay just up the coast for the weekend and had a great time up there. Its a really beautiful harbour with lots of little beach front bars and a lovely beach. It is really strange, no one seems to care to much where we go with the boat between charters as long as we get the maintenance done and have the boat prepared for charter. It is really like living on your own boat.

We arrived back in Marigot Bay today and plan to head down to Canouan on Wednesday and explore the region we will be chartering which is The Windward Island Group. St Vincent, Bequea, Tobago Keys, Mustique etc. So More Soon Alby & Rocket To Bob and Charlsey – How things change, I have had a hair cut, have to shave every day and spend half my time up to the elbows in grease in a sweat box of an engine room. Is this a REAL JOB?

On Tour 5 – We Have A Job

On Tour 5 – We Have A Job

Well we have a job!

We start pretty much as soon as we can get to St Lucia, which will probably be next Tuesday or Wednesday. We will have approx. 2 weeks in St Lucia before our first charter to familiarize ourselves wit the boat and the area. We start being paid as soon as we get down there and we can move onto the boat straight away.

The boat is a 47ft Robertson and Caine that is custom built for the Moorings. Its known around here as a moorings 4700. It has 4 cabins, 4 heads, 2 50 hp diesels, 3 air-conditioners and a Gen set. The galley is really well equipped with a great oven and pretty much every appliance you would be likely to need including a microwave.

It seems like it should be a pretty nice boat to work on. Its less than 12 months old and apparently really well maintained. Melanie and I did some sensational diving over the last couple of days. We had 2 dives on the Rhone which were fantastic with approx. 30 metre vis. then he next day we had 2 dives on some fantastic coral reefs near Ginger Island. Vis was about 25 metres.

We got a really good deal on the boat we did the Photo course dives. They gave us local rates which saved about 1 third. On all 4 dives we encountered a huge variety of colourful tropical fish and stunning corals, just what you would expect in the turquoise gin clear water.

So all is looking up at present and we are looking forward to getting established on the boat. We have a fair bit to do over the next few days in  preparation.

More news soon

David & Melanie