St. Martin: May 13 - May 21, 2010 

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More Hikes!

A member of our editorial board is of the opinion that we are devoting too much space to descriptions of hikes.  So we content ourselves here with a few pictures, taken on a hike of the ridge east of Simpson Bay Lagoon.  We walked up the steep road to the saddle point of Cole Bay Hill, took the path north along the ridge, and exited down a path just south of Marigot four hours later.

Early panorama taken from half-way up the road to Cole Bay Hill

Every ridge light has its own ladder

Panorama of Philipsburg

Trail often paralleled a stone wall ...

... and sometimes went right over it!

Trail zig-zagged up and down the ridge

Juliana airport

Barb at a peak

Barb and Devi

Panorama from Barb and Devi's position


Spider set her trap on the trail -- hoping to catch a goat?

We were all stung by this type of stinging nettle

Trail is well marked ...

... with well-maintained ...

... signs

Short rest near the start of our descent back to "civilization"

View of Marigot

And then several days later we took another hike, starting from the same place on Cole Bay Hill, but this time going south, first up a steep concrete road and later on a path that sometimes was along the top of a stone wall.  At the peak we found another light, of course.

Wild orchads growing beside a stone wall

Fruit on a cactus

Barb up on the light at the peak

Devi has a bright idea!

And then several days later the Terns and Chuck found a way, following at first a concrete road up from the Caribbean Movie Theatre, up to the top of "Billy Folly" Hill, where we found a huge water tank and yet another microwave tower.

Water tank up at Billy Folly Hill

Surprising sign at the top

Panorama down on Simpson Bay Lagoon

Looking down southwest

Looking north to "Witch's Tit"

So what are we doing when we are not hiking?  Lots! 

Barb has been doing a lot of sewing and rope-splicing:  She has done some repair work on some of our flags, including our large American flag.  Her biggest project has involved constructing a drogue for Tusen Takk II, using a design provided by Sail Rite.  First, she sewed about one hundred cones.  Then, with some tutelage from Rene (Gypsy Blues) and Hunter, she learned how to splice double braid rope.  Then she attached the cones along the length of a long line that sports at its ends her handsome spliced loops.  What is a drogue for?  It would be deployed if we experienced a loss of power in rough seas; the drag created by the drogue would pull the bow around to point into the waves and therefore minimize our roll and therefore facilitate efforts to deal with the cause of the power loss. 

Chuck has been varnishing the cap rails.  With the help of Hunter, Chuck has been preparing for the eventual installation of poles to support our flopper-stoppers used for minimizing roll of Tusen Takk II while at anchor.  That involved designing a plate for the top of the mast; said plate to be used to attach blocks for the lines that will support the poles.  Then getting the plate manufactured at a local rigging company, then installing mast steps to facilitate the installation of the new top plate.  Then installing the new plate, and while up there, installing the associated blocks.  Hunter also provided a tool for testing the tension of the steel cables that provide lateral support for the mast.  We used the tool to monitor our efforts to tighten the cables;  they had gotten quite slack.  Since we came to trawlering via small motor boats, rather than sailing, we hadn't known about the tool.  Trawler owners, if you are similarly ignorant, ask a sailor about the tool!

And then there are the usual maintenance activities:  Routine oil and filter changes and routine refreshment of battery water.  Replacement of impellors (and chasing down loose vanes there from when an impellor fails before it is replaced).  Cleaning of the filter baskets in the various raw water strainers.  Polishing the stainless steel rails.  Waxing and polishing the boat.  (And when we are in clean water -- not the Lagoon -- cleaning of the bottom.)

Measuring the tension on a mast stay

Hunter tightening a stay

Chuck installing mast steps

Hunter delivering something that Chuck dropped

Barb working on the drogue

Strange craft that passed by our anchored position in the Lagoon



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