We are back on the boat and traveling again. It feels good to be home and doing what is familiar to us. It’s a whole new season with new friends and new places to explore. We are excited to be underway again.
We left Neko on the hard in Clarke’s Court to get her bottom done and a few other bits and bobs. Terry O’Connell and his crew did a great job removing all the old bottom paint and applying new stuff. We were happy to become friendly with Terry and trusted his work ethic implicitly. We highly recommend Terry (firstname.lastname@example.org) for anyone needing bottom work – just bring the paint with you as you can get it more cheaply in the duty free islands. Neko was not much worse for wear after sitting in the scalding sun for 3 months. We had two LCD screens burn out from the heat alone and a couple minor leaks, but it could have been much worse.
We left Grenada and started our way up the islands. Finally, we aren’t fighting our way east, but are off the wind using those tradewinds to do what Neko was meant to do, sail. Ideal conditions along with her new bottom paint have us consistently sailing at 9 and 10 knots, making great time between islands. Winds are steady and brisk in the right direction and the boat handles the decent sized seas like a champ. We almost always have one or more reefs in and might as well pack away the gennaker as we can’t foresee needing it for a while. We realize this is what VPLP designed the Switch 51 to do.
We returned to some old stomping grounds in the Grenadines and delighted in their clear water and laid back Rasta feel.
But after about a few weeks and just as we were running low on provisions in those lesser-inhabited islands, we set course for one of our favorite islands, Martinique.
Here we could bask in the glory of French culture in an island setting, having great coffee and baguettes every day all while having a few boat teething pains worked on. Le Marin in Martinique is a major stop for French cruisers needing boat parts or work, so what better place for the French-designed and built Neko to put in a stop. It was an added bonus that the harbor in Le Marin is supremely protected because we had a full week of squally, windy, rainy weather. Oh, did we say that it rained a bit? When we have a lot of rain, we catch it and save it to give our water maker a rest. In Le Marin we had more rain than we knew what to do with. We filled our tanks, spare water jugs, buckets, tea kettles and anything else we could think of. It was just a reminder that in all our lives a little rain must fall. So we just waited for the sun to come back and the next adventure to begin.