This has been a week that has put our stress levels to the test. It was a week of brisk winds and sporty seas. It was also a week where our engine conked out on us. Not once, but twice. Yeesh.
But you need the whole story.
Last weekend started quite lovely. We had arrived in Deshies, Guadeloupe on Tuesday and by Thursday we were ready to start heading down the coast. Our first anchorage was just off Pigeon Island in the Malendure Beach area. This was a pretty town that had a few great town amenities (bakery, grocery store, hardware store).
We even got in some fun snorkeling off Pigeon Island. Both Caretta and Wild Horses took our dinghies to the island and set off snorkeling at the island. So many fish! Probably the most we have ever seen and it was a great time, even for Ocean who swam off the dinghy to cool off.
On Saturday we were off again. The plan was two-fold. We would sail 2 hours south to a fuel dock at the southwest corner of Guadeloupe, fill up our diesel and gas cans and then weigh anchor and head the 4 hours to Les Saintes, a set of beautiful islands just south of the main island of Guadeloupe. All went according to plan except the wind was too much at the bow of our boat. Sigh. We would be motoring once again.
But that didn’t hold true. No, just 3 nautical miles from our anchorage at Les Saintes, the engine propelling Wild Horses along suddenly stopped. Dead. Immediately, we threw out our Genoa head sail and then called our buddy boat Caretta to let them know. There was no emergency, I mean, we had lots of wind to fill our sail (good news). The only negative was that it was from the absolute wrong direction. To get to our anchorage, we would have to tack several times across the wind, adding hours to our day.
In the meantime, Caretta continued to the anchorage to scope out our options for when Wild Horses arrived under sail. More good news was that there were mooring balls available in our preferred anchorage. Great! We just had to get there. No problem for Mike! He strategized a route so that our last tack would have us land immediately in front of the anchorage. Our buddy boats had already grabbed one of the moorings and dropped their dinghy. Then as we finished our last tack that had us arrive in the anchorage, we dropped our Genoa to slow us down. Barry attached his dinghy to our boat and we pulled in the mainsail. Barry’s dinghy was able to be our motor as Mike steered us alongside the mooring ball. I grabbed the ball and attached the lines. We were set. Whew, long day.
The next morning, Barry arrived with his multi meter in hand and ready to fix whatever ailed our motor. It took him no more than an hour. The problem was a loose connection with the neutral safety switch which caused it to heat up and trip the breaker for the start on the engine. Wow. Barry, being a master electrician by trade, fixed the connection and another that looked shifty. We were ecstatic! That night we went out to dinner to celebrate. The food was delicious and Les Saintes is beautiful!
On Sunday, the very next day, we all decided to go for a quick hike up Ilet de Cabrit, the small island we were anchored beside. Lots of trails, scenic views, ruins and goats to entertain us and we ended up hiking for almost 3 hours, some of which was straight up the mountain!
Monday morning both Caretta and Wild Horses weighed anchor and we set off for Dominica. Our first island in the Windward Islands. It was also our first island that required a government veterinarian to inspect Ocean at the docks before she could go to land. Only, that never happened. I was granted the Pet Import Permit a few days prior and told to give them 24 hours notice of the date, time and port of our arrival so that the inspection could be arranged. I did just that but received no response on an inspection time. I contacted them another four times and, well, no response. What did we do? We arrived in Dominica, showed our passports, vessel registration and Pet Import Permit to Customs and Immigration and they said “have a nice day”. Ummm, okay. Ocean has been to shore multiple times with no issues. Yay!
The very next day after we arrived, Barry came over to Wild Horses yet again. This time he was just wanting to upgrade the connectors he had put in place in Les Saintes. He also thought he would take a quick look at our tachometer which had quit working on our way to Dominica. Connectors changed, tach checked so all that was left was firing up the engine for a final test. Uh-oh. The engine started but then immediately stopped. Mike and Barry began testing wires and connectors and finally isolated the problem to the main wire connecting the engine to the battery. The wire, hidden under a hose, was almost severed completely through, likely due to all the side to side and front and back bouncing Wild Horses has been subjected to on our journey. Barry easily fixed the wire and we were back in business. The future of our engine looks rosy now that all the wires and connections have been replaced!
On our first full day in Dominica, we decided to get a guide and take a tour up the Indian River, the mouth of which is very close to our anchorage. It was an amazing experience. Our guide, Albert, was extremely knowledgeable and pointed out various trees, flowers, ferns, land crabs (so many!!!), iguanas, hummingbirds and even the hut that was used in one of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. It was great to get some first-hand knowledge of Dominica and to see some of its incredible terrain.
On Thursday we prepared to head south once again. We had a quick trip on shore to get some East Caribbean Dollars, fresh bread and a bag of eggs (that’s right! No cartons here!). This morning we arrived in Roseau, the capital of Dominica. We will see what adventures await us!
Still headed to Grenada, we are working our way through the windward islands. Click the link below to see where we are today.
Victoria is a hiker, dog-lover, blog writer and planner extraordinaire. Oh, yeah and she is kind of fond of living on a boat.