Our 2002 Hylas 46

Saturday, April 27, 2019

April Blog Update

April was a great month onboard Ambition and there is not a better way to start off the month than having family on board. My nephew Eric and his partner Florence were in Martinique for a vacation so on day one of their holiday they choose to spend it with us! They arrived bearing gifts of our favourite cheddar cheese and M and M candies ….. WOW!!!! Florence’s parents Josée and Michel and Flo’s sister Camille accompanied them.  The weather couldn’t have been better – sunshine and a good breeze to sail Ambition out of the bay for a little romp in the salt water. 

A stop in Petite Anse d’Arlets for a superb lunch followed by a snorkel and swim!  The wind didn’t cooperate for a sail back to Fort de France so we motored all the way and said goodnight to our guests, with a wish for a great vacation! 

With guests on board, a great sail from Petite Anse d'Arlets to Rodney Bay, St Lucia. Ambition was happy to be back in the waves and swells.  In true island style, the Port Authority guy was not in the office and he is the one we pay for clearance in. I didn’t have change so …. either we come back tomorrow or …. lets go have a beer to get change … beers downed, clearance fee paid … we are in! 

Sandals Resort - Rodney Bay
The next day was spent hiking around Pigeon Island and up the hill to the fort. Always a super view from up here.

Ambition on the right

Next stop was a short sail to Marigot Bay – this bay is entirely sheltered from the ocean and is almost invisible as you arrive. Legend has it that the British admiral hid his fleet of ships in Margot Bay from the pursuing French fleet, by tying palm branches in the masts to disguise them! 

This is a beautiful spot and with the payment of US$50 for a mooring ball, we have access to all the services in the very luxurious Capella Marigot Bay Resort and Spa!  Not a bad life at all! 

This can be yours for just UD$60,000 a week!

The next morning early at 7AM - motored our way to the end of the island and then a great sail in a little bumpy conditions at 45 deg upwind - also it appeared that the west bound current got us, we kept the angle but our destination drifted west. Half way across the bumps died down and then just 70 minutes before our arrival, the wind shifted and that took us within less than a mile of our planned destination in St Anne, a nice sail indeed. The harbour is still populated with many anchored boats but far fewer than when we were here last year. 

Anchorage at Ste Anne

Left the boat for a walkabout on the Anse des Salines trail. 2 hours out and 2 hours back – invigorating to say the least!  Stop for LOTS of cold water and beers at Pirates Beach Bar and Resto - ended up having lunch - it was all good!

Back to Anse Mitan and met up with friends Andrew and Carolyne on board Askari a beautiful new Oyster 475 for a 5 à 7. They are making their way home to Australia for 2020. The next evening Maryse wowed them with one of her new signature meals of confit de Canard with a lime rice …. Mmmm. 

Well the next day became the day I have been avoiding for months – time to disassemble the aft vacu-flush head for servicing. After 16 years I guess it is due but there is no worse task on-board the boat than potty repairs! I spent the better part of 3 hours and returned victorious – the head has never worked as well as it does now! VICTORY IS MINE!!!! 

Well like all victories – celebration is intense but sometimes very short! The very next day after stopping for diesel and gas at Marina d’Abrizzio we had anchored the boat and I heard an alarm going off and noticed a steady stream of water being pumped out of the boat! As even a non sailor can appreciate – seeing water being pumped “out” of the boat is NOT a good sign! It breaks cardinal rule number one – keep the water on the outside! First check of the bilge and a quick taste - the water is fresh water – this is good in that at least there is an end  - when the water tanks empty! Opening the engine room it becomes apparent that one of the fittings that makes up our fresh drinking water filtering system has cracked and the pump is working hard to spray the remaining fresh water all over the engine! Pump off – and the leak stops – simple eh? 

The next task was to try to “MacGyver” together a temporary solution so we have fresh water on board and that took a number of tries but finally got something that stopped 99% of the leak. Off to the boat parts store tomorrow to find a better solution. 

Well in island style, the boat store didn’t have exactly what I wanted so we made the 1 hour hike to the HUGE hardware store UP THE HILL ….. they had even less that the boat store had! At least the return is mostly down hill! Back to the boat store and picked up what they had and set to repairing the broken T connection. A little heat gun to warm up the hoses to fit and a few hose clamps and we are back in business – will order a new kit during the summer to get it all back right again but for now we have our drinking water filter back on line! See ….. two and half days of fixing boats in exotic locations – the definition of the cruising lifestyle. 

We moved the boat to Anse Mitan as we plan to leave at 2AM to head for Bequia. While anchoring, Maryse was unable to get the DOWN foot pedal to work to drop the anchor. The cockpit controls still worked fine so at least the issue is the foot switch. While I groped around under the deck, one of the two electrical connects fell apart in my hand … not good – corrosion. Out with the tool box and pulled the unit out of the deck during which, the second connection fell apart – two to zero for the foot switch! Took everything apart, cleaned it and installed new electrical connections and reassembled the unit. Time for a cold beer! All is back working again but it did scrap my plans of an afternoon nap before we leave early tomorrow morning! 
WOW what a ride today. Left Anse Mitan at 2AM and anchored in Bequia at 4PM average speed over 7 knots! At one point we hit 10.5 surfing down a swell! We started in 5 knots of wind to Le Diamant then we had a beautiful 14 to 17 knots @90 degrees all the way down to St Lucia with full genoa, staysail and mainsail – it doesn’t get better than this! 
As we sailed down the length of St Lucia we had only 3 knots of wind and yet we were 9 miles away from the island – that’s a wind showdown indeed. Then between St Lucia and St Vincent we had 18 to 20 knots of wind with gusts to 28 @90 degrees. Ended up sailing right into the harbour at Bequia. WOW beautiful!! 

Our boat now .... poop ownership!
Chris Doyle's boat - he writes all our cruising guides

Plantation Resort

Plantation Resort
Captain and Admiral!!!

Sunset in Bequia

The next morning we cleared in to Customs for St Vincent and the Grenadines. Port Elizabeth is a beautiful little spot and we really need to come back next year and spend more time here. Beer is a tad pricey here at EC$99 (Cdn$50) for 24 cans and the only wines are Barefoot! Stopped in at Bar One, which is a floating bar in the center of the anchorage - a great little spot!

Our next island on this quick trip south was Mayreau where Maryse was on a mission to deliver a little gift package to a young girl.  We anchored in Saline Bay as Saltwhistle Bay was full of boats. A quick walk up the almost vertical ( it seemed to me!) hill to visit Robert at Righteous & da Youths Restaurant and Bar who was tending bar to nobody! Had a couple of beers and Isabella showed up to get her package - she was CERTAINLY very appreciative - Mission accomplished!!

very uphill!!! 

When we returned to the boat, we were joined in the bay by a 120’ Perini Navi sailboat – spectacular …. I think the lit 5 spreaders is an international requirement for the start of cocktails!!! We didn’t get an invite however! 

Same boat in daylight!


Back in Bequia for Easter – a weekend of sailboat races and festivities. We did however notice that anchor lights on the mast head, which in Canada and US are mandatory  … are far less popular down here! In this anchorage alone we see everything from no lights at all, to SOS strobe lights, to a dim garden LED lamp in the cockpit and of course someone who bought the bright LED flashing light on the stern rail. How there are not more accidents at night is beyond me. 

Imagine getting up this hill in a snow storm!

Some friends leaving the anchorage

Getting ready for a spa hoist!
Up and pulling hard!

Nice spi

Not ALWAYS sunny down here

Reduced visibility

By Monday afternoon we had completed our customs clearance out (a touch expensive at EC$165 since it was a holiday weeknd), the Easter festivities transformed into two huge parties on the beach, each with its own DJ. To say that this was a collision of music would be a HUGE understatement  - it was a train wreck of Rap and what sounded like very angry DJ’s! During dinner an executive decision was taken. Rather than wait until 2 AM next morning to leave, lets get out NOW! 

By 7:30PM we were back under way heading back to Martinique! The “festivities” became quieter as we knocked off a few miles. The winds were forecasted to be light under 20 knots and we weren’t disappointed. Ambition bounded along in the swells with our path lit by a clear sky and bright moon. All is good in the world when seen from this perspective! 

By 10 in the morning we were back anchored in Anse Mitan in Martinique. A beautiful but salty ride in the 5 to 7 foot swells and there is always the odd one much larger – probably 10 feet that really soaked Ambition. Big difference, the customs clearance in to the French island is free, just fill the form and good to go! 

Major rinse
By afternoon, there was no wind at all and only blazing sunshine to bake the salt onto everything! Wednesday morning my task was to use up LOTS of our desalinated drinking water to wash the crusty salt off. There IS a God ... not even 10am and the skies clouded over and sheets of NICE FRESH WATER just poured down on us. I love it when a good plan / or prayer comes together well! Only thing left for me to do is mop up after the rain so there will be no water marks! Life is VERY good on board Ambition!!! 
wet wet wet

Doesn't rain often but when it does.....



Just before the green flash

The best!!!

St Lucia

St Lucia

Didn't;t get an invite here either!!!

Good night!!!

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  1. Captain Éliane s'ennuie de vous et de la plage, elle demande souvent quand on retourne en voyage hihi! Les photos sont magnifiques comme toujours!

  2. Wow!!Très joli ~ Jai finalement trouver votre blog yahou!!

    Éloïse votre serveuse au vieux port de Mtl-