St. Martin: May 22 - June 4, 2010 

Click on the above thumbnail for a map during this time period

Another Hike!

We weren't the only creatures that used the hiking trails.  We saw this little guy (see first pic below) on the occasion of our last hike in St. Martin.  We (Tusen Takk II and Arctic Tern) had returned to Grand Case from the Lagoon during one of the intervals when the weather was fair and no pressing projects were keeping us in the Lagoon with its nearby parts and supplies.  Barb was suffering from a bad back, so she stayed with the boat, but the Terns and Chuck decided to again walk the ridges in the vicinity of Pic Paradis.  We caught a bus to Rambaud, walked up the long steep concrete road to the ridge, passing again the zip line called La Lottery Farm.  This time when we reached the ridge we travelled to the ENE and actually reached an overview with a panoramic display labeled Pic Paradis.  We continued in that general direction and eventually took a trail/road down that led to the main road that runs from Grand Case to Orient Beach.  There, we caught a bus back to Grand Case.

A word about Barb's back.  It has been bothering quite a bit for a number of weeks now.  While in the Lagoon she tried without success to see a chiropractor -- someone finally told her that there are no longer any chiropractors on the island.  She got an appointment with a physical therapist ($60), who recommended a number of exercises and provisionally diagnosed the problem as a bulging disk.  She was given a muscle-relaxing drug by Devi, and decided to visit a doctor in order to get her own prescription.  Devi's drug is apparently not available in the Caribbean (Barb later could not find it in Martinique or St. Lucia).  The doctor ($30) urged Barb to visit a clinic in St. Martin for x-rays, and prescribed a muscle relaxant (different from Devi's).  For $105 Barb came away with a copy of the x-rays and a more specific diagnosis that pinpointed the problem to a pinched 5th lumbar.  The problem was described as probably manageable with a combination of exercise and initial use of muscle relaxants and pain killers.  So far, the regimen has stabilized the problem in the sense that it not getting any worse, but on the other hand it is not improving much.  Stay tuned for further bulletins about Barb's back.

Out for a stroll along the trail

View to the SW from the platform at the start of the La Lottery Farm zip line

Later we arrived at an antenna farm reachable by vehicle -- the parking lot is apparently used by a lot of hikers

View of Grand Case from the trail

Looking SE from Pic Paradis

Panorama of a Pic Paridis panorama

Grassy stretch along the trail

Back side of the quarry visible from Grand Case


Project One

One day shortly after the generator was started, it died a slow, stuttering, agonizing and painful death.  I quickly entered the engine room, and found that the insulation had fallen off the top of the sound-proofing box and onto the generator.  The position of the air-intake holes in the box lead me to believe that perhaps the fallen insulation had starved the engine for air, but the engine did not restart after I removed the top of the box and the separated insulation.  It was late.  I ran the main engine for a while to charge the batteries a bit, and went to bed.  The next morning Hunter came over to serve as counselor, advisor, and therapist.  We changed the on-engine fuel filter and I consulted the Operators Manual for the proper procedure to conduct the recommended bleed of the system.  No amount pumping of the little handle under the fuel pump would result in fuel or bubbles appearing at the appropriately loosened bleed point.  Hmmm.  Replaced the fuel pump with the spare from the genset spare parts bin, and then succeeded in bleeding the system.  The genset has purred like a kitten ever since.  (Several days later I succeeded in restocking another spare pump from Electec in Sint Maarten.)

Project Two

Once a piece of foam insulation has loosened from a panel, it doesn't seem to work to try to glue it back on.  So off I went to Island Water World to buy $$$ a new sheet of insulation while Barb visited Ace Hardware to get the adhesive that Hunter recommended (Weldwood) on the basis of his own recent insulation restoration project.  Hunter had surplus "spikes" left over from his project, and he generously donated those to supplement those that I also bought at Island Water World.  The worst part of the project was cleaning off the bits of foam and the old adhesive from the top panel.  I used various removal products and a lot of elbow grease, and finally had the top clean enough for the installation of the spikes.  (The old installation had been glue-only sans spikes.)  The spikes have square bases; these are fastened to the panel using epoxy.  When that has hardened, the adhesive is painted onto both the panel and the insulation and then allowed to "set" until tacky.  Then the insulation and the panel are married by pushing the insulation onto the spikes and down onto the panel.  One-way tabs are pushed onto the spikes to hold the insulation down.  The spikes are then snipped with just enough remaining to accept one-way caps to hide the ends of the cut spikes.  The result should outlive yours truly.

Project apparel

Cleaning adhesive off the top

Top panel and insulation cut to fit

One of the spikes epoxied onto the panel

Completed project

Pictures from St. Martin

Interesting vessel at anchor in Marigot Bay

Just inside the Lagoon at the end of the channel from the French bridge, this vessel sank while we where in St. Martin

Another view of the unfortunate vessel

Our view ahead as we approach the bridge

TTII coming through the bridge -- photo by Devi (Arctic Tern)


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