The Catamaran Adventures of Noel and Ceu
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BOAT = Bring Out Another $Thousand

Current Location: Rodney Bay, St Lucia
Current Position: 14 4.32 N 060 57.52 W Click to view map.
Distance sailed since last post: 214 nautical miles. View the map of our voyage track here

In Barbuda our windlass gave up on us. Well, actually, it was a combination of two things: our anchor chain was rusty and wearing out. It was on our list to be replaced on our next visit to Martinique. And then the gypsy wheel has gradually worn down. The gypsy wheel is the wheel that grips the chain to pull it up. The combination of the two, a worn chain and a worn gypsy was too much, and so the chain would keep slipping.

We did end-for-end the chain, so that we were operating on a less used stretch of it, and that did work better, but even so it wasn’t great. In addition to that, the metal tab, by which the windlass is bolted to the floor, also broke off, making it even less usable. So, in Barbuda we used our secondary anchor.

Thus our next stop from Barbuda was Martinique again. Here we managed to find a second-hand windlass that had a case in good condition. We switched over the motor, as we knew our existing one was good, installed a brand new gyspy wheel and clutches, and bought 50m of new chain.

New gypsy wheel on secondhand windlass with new chain

And so we were good to go – and $1000 poorer. Could have been worse; a brand new windlass is $1700 by itself never mind the chain! 

Can we Fish? You Bet!

Following some new fishing tips from cruisers in Antgua – thanks Jadge! –  we bought some wire leader for our fishing lures. Maybe this time we would stop loosing lures all the time.

And so it was – the sail from Barbuda to Martinique provided us with a fish! And not just any fish – this wahoo, with very sharp teeth that did NOT cut through the wire leader, was 23 lbs (10.5kg) AFTER removal of head and guts! Even now we are still eating it 🙂 My guess is that all those lures that we have lost in the past have fallen prey to a fish such as this – or even bigger. 

Our biggest catch yet

10.5 Kg of meat

It was caught on an 8-inch soft squid with two #10/0 hooks. That is big hooks! It was on a #11 wire leader. We had dubbed this lure ‘The Killer’.

The Killer

And yet, still we lost a lure. In St Lucia we had bought a 4 inch stainless spoon lure that we have nicknamed ‘The Catcher’. It rapidly paid for itself in Spanish Mackerel but, alas, despite the #9 wire leader, it too vanished. What is nice about the Catcher is that it seems to shrug off all the sargasum weed that is all over the sea. So while the other lures, such as the Killer, need to be constantly cleaned of weed, the Catcher stays remarkably free of it. 

The Catcher

More discussions with fishermen revealed the astounding fact that Wahoo and Barracuda can even cut through the wire leaders! I guess the #9 was just too light, so we bought another Catcher, and installed it on a #12 wire leader. We were worried about visibility, but soon enough we had another Spanish Mackerel on board, so I guess the visibility is not so bad after all. In fact, just yesterday we caught another fish, but even as we were bringing it aboard it was itself attacked by something bigger – perhaps Wahoo or Barracuda – and so we ended up with just 2/3 of a fish. Oh well, that and the previous one were donated to the local beachside grill, as we are still working our way through the Wahoo.

And so, after 5 years of trying to figure out this fishing business, having dragged some stupid lure halfway across the Atlantic in 2011 (until it disappeared) and losing countless other lures along the way, maybe we have finally got there! Finally I have a sense that I vaguely know what I am doing and what lures to put out. And, finally, we have more fish than we can eat, and we can give them away to friends and neighbours. In fact, those two fish we just gave away were, according to the owner of the grill, worth a couple of hundred dollars!!!!!

Almost Time to Leave Paradise 🙁

We are now back in Rodney Bay, St Lucia. It really is nice here. People are friendly, the weather is fantastic (with some occasional rain), the sea is warm, and the sailing is just perfect.

Life Part 2 anchored in Rodney Bay

Ceu tending to a wild pineapple

Juniors in Lasers being towed back home at sunset after an afternoon of training

We took some day trips down to Marigot Bay and also to Anse La Raye for their traditional Fish Friday. But now time is running out. We are due to fly back to Canada on Wednesday. We will drop off bags, renew Ceu’s driving licence, and re-establish our medical coverage. And then we fly to Portugal for a month, where Allisen and family will join us for a couple of weeks while we visit with Ceu’s mom who is in a convalescent home recovering from multiple broken ribs from a fall. We, that is what happens when you fall off the terracing while doing some farming at the age of 82!

Life Part 2 will remain in St Lucia, being looked after by Simon Handley, an experienced skipper and charter boat manager. 

We might return for a month or so in November, or else maybe not until after Christmas – after all, we do have some skiing to fit in. And my mum wants to see the polar bears in Churchill in October.

It is a shame to have to leave here, as it really is VERY pleasant. But we have things to do and family to see in Canada.

We shall be back, as the Terminator said.

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