Dear friends and family,
It has been a long, hard week, full of ups and downs. A week ago, we were running around like crazy people, trying to put all the last-minute touches on our third unit (i.e. the basement the walk-out suite), and sorting our belongings into two categories: “pack and store” or “pack and bring”.
Wednesday, the day before our flight, was particularly busy, with such tasks as driving Gomez, our dog, to Brockville to meet David’s parents who will be doggysitting while we are gone, tidying the garage so we could fit our car in, packing our checked luggage with all our sailing gear for the season (luckily we didn’t have any gigantic items like last year’s generator and outboard motor), and saying our final goodbyes to dear ones.
Early on in the week, Mel vowed that she would not be up late on Wednesday night. And yet, there we were, at 11 p.m. before our 6 a.m. flight, re-packing our two checked bags because somehow one was now over the 50 lb limit. It was already morning by the time we got to bed, and the alarm went off mere hours later. The morning was a bit of a blur, but we were at the airport by 4:45, and according to the Ottawa airport scales our checked bags were both 2 lbs under the limit. Phew!! We had a one-hour stopover in Toronto before catching our 9 a.m. flight to SXM. There was a very quiet baby sitting behind us with his parents, and as it turns out, they are staying in the same building as us in St. Martin! Let the island coincidences begin!
Last year when we got to the boat, we found it really difficult to get the boat organized and clean while living on the yard before we launched. This year we were a bit wiser and booked an AirBnb less than a five-minute walk from the yard, and it was the best decision ever. Rather than cluttering up the boat with all our things, we can leave everything in the apartment and just focus on tidying and cleaning what is already there. It’s amazing how much dirt and grime accumulates in the boat after 5 months. Our daily routine looks a little something like this: we get up early in the morning and head over to the yard to get some work done, come back to the apartment for lunch and a short reprieve from the noon-hour heat and mosquitos, then go back to the boat for more work in the afternoon. We hope that following this schedule for the next couple of days will allow us to get everything sufficiently organized before we bring our stuff onto the boat and live on the yard full-time for the two weeks before we launch. There’s lots to be done pre-launch, including rebuilding our rudder, replacing our waste tank, repainting the hull, doing some engine maintenance, and so on and so forth. There is always lots to do on a boat. Luckily we still have a couple of days in the apartment, where we have sweet, sweet air conditioning, hot showers, a view of the sea, and LAUNDRY! After that it’ll be back to slumming it on the yard before we get out on the water.
Coming back to St. Martin has been great. It feels a bit like a home away from home. On Thursday, after we got settled in at the AirBnb, we decided to head to the yard to check on the boat, and we conveniently arrived just in time for Happy Hour i.e. beer o’clock. Friday, we indulged in a glorious sleep-in, then wandered around Marigot seeing all the post-Irma progress from the past five months. Mainly that meant checking out the new bakery and stopping in at our favourite café for breakfast. That day’s island coincidence was randomly striking up a conversation in the café with a couple who just happened to be from Port Perry, ON. That afternoon we went to the yard to blow up our dinghy so we could get around the island a bit faster. We stayed for happy hour then joined our friends from the yard for dinner and some music.
Saturday morning, we woke up super early for a 7 a.m. beat-the-heat beach excursion with our friends Ingo and Colin and their dogs Bonnie and Jack. It was great to get out on the road before the rush and see parts of the island we don’t usually get to (thanks, Colin!).
It was a good thing that we hit the beach in the morning because it rained cats and dogs all afternoon, evening and through the night. We got absolutely soaked heading to a BBQ at the yard that night, which had to be moved indoors. There is a big weather system hovering over the Eastern Caribbean this week, bringing with it lots of wind and heavy rains. But don’t worry, we aren’t complaining. We keep thinking about all the snow back home and are very grateful to be warm, despite being occasionally soaked to the bone.
There’s your update from the first few days! We miss you all. Don’t hate us too much – the sweaty boat work has already begun in earnest and will continue until we launch on November 30. Wish us luck!