It’s not all sun and fun you know….

We arrived safely in the Iles des Saintes on Wednesday and picked up a mooring ball off the town of Bourg Des Saintes on Terre D’en Haut.    Looks really nice and we head off ashore quickly…. Great dinghy dock and no surging so I’m happy already! Had a quick wander around to get our bearings and we really like it here.  Laid back very French vibe. Interesting history too with Napoleonic links and no slaves were imported into these islands as there was no agriculture here.  I particularly liked the old church and the house built like a ship into the cliff….   Clearly these islands now live mainly on tourism – and most of the tourists appear to be French.   After a leisurely few hours back on board, we went ashore again to a water-side bistro for a basic but really enjoyable dinner….. Back on board and had a good night’s sleep – the first in a few days.

Thursday morning we woke up to find a huge cruise ship anchored behind us. We must have slept well not to have heard him come in! Morphie looks tiny…..!

We did a few boat jobs in the morning and then started to get ready to go ashore. But, oh no, the shower bilge pump just died…. We don’t have a spare on board either. Richard spent a few hours trying to isolate the problem to ensure it was a mechanical rather than electrical failure. So having worked it all out we showered off the transom and went ashore in search of parts. There is a small hardware / chandlery type place in town but the guy doesn’t speak English and my school girl French is definitely not up to this challenge. Richard had found the system online that we have and had taken a snapshot of it on the iPad to show the retailers. Good thinking! It worked, but he didn’t have one, although we did pick up some electrical connectors that we already knew we needed. The guy said there was another place we could try up the hill – but we had only 20 minutes to get there before they close for lunch. Oh yes, every shop here closes up for two hours (at least) at lunchtime….. So we leg it up there and with Richard’s pictures we hit silver. Gold would have been exact match part. Silver was the same part in a smaller size. So we are not going to be able to pump out as much water as we did before on a gallon per hour basis, but hey, it will get us out of trouble until we can get the right sized version. Hurrah – a get out of jail card!

While we were out we also walked to the Yacht Club where a guy called Jerome works and he speaks English – allegedly. Well we found Jerome (or so he said) but he didn’t speak English very well and I couldn’t understand his French either. But he was a nice guy I think!

Walking back to the boat and I started to feel quite lightheaded – oh dear, not enough water me thinks. Back on board I go for a lie down and Richard works down the hole and fixes the pump. Yay!!!   We decided to stay on board for the night and had a swim off the back and enjoyed a quiet night eating fresh baguettes, cheese and pate, watching the lovely colours of the sky change as the sun disappears behind the hills.

Friday morning we had a lazy morning on board then packed a freezer bag with fresh ham salad baguettes and a couple of cold beers and took off to explore a nearby beach by dinghy. Not many people around so we had a really nice afternoon bobbing and enjoying being in the water…. Great views too.

Back on board we had another swim off the back, got cleaned up, and headed to town for dinner. When we were out walking the other day we came across a restaurant that got a mention in the cruisers’ guide, the ti Kaz’ la – which is right on the edge of the water and open to the sea. The owner Philippe previously worked as a pastry chef in Grosvenor House and Harrods as well as cheffing at Park Lane’s Gavroche restaurant so gets a great writeup. The menu looked amazing – so we went in for dinner and we got the last table, it was packed out – and spent quite a bit of time working out what all the options were! Had an amazing goats’ cheese sauce with lardon salad for entrees, which we followed up with mahi mahi for Richard and lamb for me. All washed down with a very nice Chablis. Sorry to say my lamb was rough….think it might have died of old age…. Oh well the rest was lovely and we enjoyed both the service and the ambiance…

This morning we got up late and did some more jobs – and Richard fixed our other problem which was a reverse polarity light on the panel when the generator was plugged in and charging. He has taken a lot of advice from a variety of sources and hurrah it worked!   Special thanks to Glen on Blue Pearl for his assistance.    We have had three solar panels and a wind generator installed – which keep our five house batteries and one engine battery ticking over – but we have found that either when we have “no wind” days or “no sun” days our voltage gets a bit low with the fridge and freezer operational 24/7 and charging all our electronic bits and bobs.  Hence why we bought the generator. Our house batteries are gel and very expensive – so this is a way of keeping them going without having to run the engine on a daily basis or having to plug into shore power when we decide to stay in marinas.  Cute little thing and very powerful!

When we have finished charging we are going ashore to explore another beach – this one is a trek away on the other side of the island and bans motorised engines in the bay for environmental reasons – looking forward to it.

Bye for now