March 4-5, 2011
- First successful anchoring under sail: We anchored in beautiful Anse Ballet on Marie Galante (Guadeloupe). We were in 11 feet of water, 250 metres from shore. I was at the helm, sailing close-hauled and heading up into irons to slow down whenever the boat went too fast. After about five times of repeating this process, I felt more confident knowing how quickly I could slow down the Frog if I needed to avoid putting her keel onto a shoal. However, once I saw the depth drop to 11 feet, I was anxious to drop the hook, so we anchored quite a distance from shore, forcing a long dinghy ride to the beach.
- First beach visit all to ourselves: Anse Ballet was so quiet that the beach wasn’t even being used by residents. We were the only people playing in the sand, hunting for rock specimens and napping in the sun.
- First skinny-dipping snorkelling: Well, there were no other boats for miles and the only shore activity was cars driving behind a row of trees with heavy foliage. So, who wouldn’t? We set up the boys with a movie in the saloon, and Skye and I had the bay to ourselves. No salt to rinse out of swimsuits. And we were careful to apply extra sunscreen ;)
- First dinner while underway: Skye was still napping at 3:30, so I decided to prepare dinner before weighing anchor to make our way to Saint Louis. We expected this trip to take about an hour and wanted to arrive before nightfall, so I knew we’d have to leave Anse Ballet by around 5:00. When I awoke Skye at 4:45, he suggested we start up the engine, pull up the anchor and motor sail on auto pilot while we eat dinner in the cockpit. Mmmmmm ... turkey breast baked in white wine with onion and thyme, mashed potatoes and green beans with sliced cucumber. What a lovely way to top off a beautiful day! Until now, we had always endeavoured to anchor in time to allow me to cook dinner before dark. It was really nice to enjoy a meal while underway (in calm seas, of course).
- First time we couldn’t start the engine: I turned the key in the ignition at around 8:00am. Click ... Silence. Hmmmm... starter battery, I suspected? After some tests and trials, Skye confirmed that we do indeed have a dead starter battery. He rigged a bypass causing the house batteries to run in parallel with the starter battery (do I have that description right, Skye?) so we’re starting the engine with the house batteries. Until we get a new starter battery. This isn’t good for our brand new house batteries, so hopefully we’ll be able to replace the starter battery quickly.
- First time dolphins have approached the boat: On our sail from Marie Galante to Guadeloupe, we were met by dolphins about 2/3 of the way across. What a treat! Austin was the first to spot them. We figure there were 8-10 dolphins swimming near our boat, but one in particular was swimming in our bow wake and took a good peek at Skye as he stood at the centreline ready with the camera. This dolphin gave us a farewell leap and twirl out of the water before we didn’t see them anymore.