Monique Burgess
Mamora Bay, Antigua, WIB
Tuesday, January 30, 2001

We have spent the past week or so tied up to a beautiful resort marina. Tom's parents visited with us for a week and stayed at the accompanying hotel. It was great to have them here and watch them revel in the kids' antics. Having access to the pools, beaches, restaurants, etc has spoiled us rotten. We even have cable TV. Of course, the night of the SuperBowl, we lost the cable service due to human error.

Plans to leave immediately for Guadeloupe were rerouted due to Mother Nature. The seas are building to 10 foot waves and winds are up to 25 knots. We'll leave in a few days.

One good story was the mystery of the brackish water coming in under the stove. While sailing to Falmouth for the day with 6 other guests aboard, we found things sloshing around down below. It happened only while we were on a starboard tack. And only the area behind the stove got wet. Above it and below it was dry. After tearing the boat apart for hours, we weren't any closer to the answer. The next day, Tommy and I took Uliad out for a sail to find how the water got in, while the kids and Carla used the shore facilities. At the end of the sail, after heeling her over for a couple of hours, Tommy finally found a conduit that was dumping water in behind the galley. Every bilge compartment, locker, cabinet and cushion was overturned, including the microwave being removed, but it was finally traced back to our stern garage. There were wires and the propane pipe that led from the stern all the way forward to the stove. It was plugged up properly and all was dry!

We med-moored back at the dock and got ready to depart for our next destination with a sense of relief and satisfaction.

Pigeon Island, Guadeloupe
Saturday, February 10, 2001
09:30 am

Guadeloupe has been such a wonderful surprise. We didn't know much about the island and just figured it would be a stopover on the way to Martinique. It has been a bounty of food, play and hospitality. We arrived in Deshaies (day-hey) a few days ago, ahead of Amazing Grace, who waited in Falmouth, Antigua for boat work to be finished. Deshaies has many restaurants, fresh food markets, and most importantly, a playground! It was discovered and quickly coveted by both Cammi and Cole. Our first visit to the park was great. It was empty except for 2 eight-year-old boys. Cole watched them in awe, while Cammi kept her distance. She is not fond of boys, especially older ones. They seem to play so roughly compared to her. After a little while, one of the boys came over to the see saw and played with Cammi. She had a nice time and introduced herself to him in French. His name was Jeremy. At one point, he was on one side, while Cammi and Cole were on the other, both howling with laughter.

The next experience at the park was less than desirable. It was pitiful. I was on a mission. Buy a list of groceries for 3 recipes while the kids and Carla played across the street at the park. At 4:30p the playground was packed. Kids of all ages, mostly white, all French speaking only. I quickly departed after getting them settled and went on my French-only shopping excursion. I was pleased when I reunited w/Carla and kids, but she was the furthest thing from happy. There were at least 20 kids, but only 5 moms present. They never even spoke to their kids, let alone watch them, and proceeded to smoke and chat. One of their girls, about age 6, started teasing Cammi. Cam went over to a new piece of equipment, a wooden bridge, with handles and each plank swings mid-air. She was told "no" from a group of girls at first, but Carla encouraged her to try again. One girl started getting on the bridge and running back and forth on it so Cam couldn't get on. She waited her turn (my good girl), but to no avail. Carla said "Cammi, as soon as she runs away from you on the bridge, hop on." She did and was proud of herself. But the girl caught on to Cammi's plan and decided to thrash the bridge so violently that Cammi almost fell off. Carla again said, "Hold on tight, you can do it too. You are strong." Cammi again did well and thought the girl was just playing but wondered subconsciously. It had no detrimental effect on Cammi, but Carla and I were disgusted. No mother even glanced over, let alone intervened. As a matter of fact, a young, approx 8 month old baby, was almost crushed by the gang of 2nd graders attacking the see saw. I know I don't need to even tell you how it all made me feel, you and I are cut from the same cloth. But, while we were walking home, out of the blue, Cammi said, "Katherine [Barkman] is my best friend, you know." Choke. Anyway, I know it is life in the playground, whether here or in the US. It just kills me. Cole meanwhile, eyes everyone down and sums him or her up and doesn't falter a step when someone approaches him. Kid has guts. Cracks me up.

Au revoir to Deshaies. We sailed from there yesterday and went 10 miles south to Pigeon Island, where Cousteau's Underwater Preserve is located. Tom went snorkeling and saw a huge puffer fish, which he proceeded to play with, and swam with a sea turtle. While there, we met a wonderful British family with 2 children, Sean and Sara, ages 8 and 6. We anchored near Pigeon and will just stay a few hours today, before we set sail for Les Saints about 25 miles away. Supposedly, they are one of the most beautiful places in the Caribbean.

Pigeon Island, Guadeloupe
Saturday, February 10, 2001
09:30 am

The past couple of weeks have been packed with sailing stories, exciting experiences and realizations. From a log standpoint, after Pigeon Island, we sailed to The Saintes. It was filled with squalls. We saw our highest winds ever on Uliad. Fourty-seven knots. It was a gust. We were sailing in about 30-35 kts. consistent. Here's an email that Tom sent to Don James on Enterprise to describe the passage:

"We left Pigeon Island around 12:30 with a fluky 10 to 15 kts from the South East. About Basse Terre the shit hit the fan!! It was outrageous...can you tell I'm a bit fired up. The wind kicked up to a constant 25 true and around 32 over the deck. I thought our apparent wind speed indicator was stuck. I was sure it was still working when it screamed up to 47kts over the deck. By this time we were under staysail and single reef main. Boat speed hung around 8kts and the seas built to about 6 feet except in one of the squalls when they got real steep and frequent.

We had two or three squalls with rain that hurt. I couldn't see shit. I was steering purely on instruments for about 15 minutes at one point.

We got knocked a bit but still made the trip in about 4 hours with two tacks right to the anchorage.

The boat and everyone on board did great with Yahhooo's and Hannggooonn's the whole way. At one point Carla found Cammi hanging from one of the handholds down below with this look of disbelief. She laughed and said "Mommy and Daddy are crazy."

We enjoyed a couple of days in Ile de Saintes and then trucked across the interisland passage back to Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe. We met our friends, Tim and Doug, who came in from Newport. Excellent to see some friends. Tim joined Carla, Cammi and I for a hike to see some natural waterfalls. The first one was only a 5 minute nature walk. The 2nd one was a 20 minute hike, downhill, over mud and rocks, through a rainforest. Cammi was a the true nature girl, and beat the estimated time of 30 minutes one-way. When we arrived, the afternoon sun shone beautiful colors on the 50 to 60 foot waterfall. We took some pictures, played in the water, and then started back uphill. That night, we went out to a fine restaurant with Doug and Tim at the Pont du Bas marina. Excellent choice. I used my Italian to get us through the evening. Next day, we departed for Ile de Saintes again to meet up with Amazing Grace and another Carib1500 boat named, Asylum.

We sailed a 3-4 hour trip, in under 2.5 hours. To return a favor, we took along three 28-year-old French men, who were spending their holiday here. They had driven Tommy to Deshaies to pick up his rental car after we drove it there to help sail Amazing Grace to Ile de Saintes. The Saintes were as beautiful as before, except this time, we were able to see a Carnivale parade. It was thrilling for the kids. Carla and I did some serious shopping here and stashed a bunch of Christmas gifts for our friends/family.

Asylum left a day ahead for St. Lucia to meet some friends. Amazing Grace and Uliad sailed to Domenica. There was a Coast Guard cutter anchored in bay, so we wondered what was going on. The Coasties were working with the local Dominican police. Security was definitely an issue. We stayed 2 nights, went on a river/rainforest cruise, and then departed for Martinique.

Martinique is oh, tre French. The bakery staff practically knows the kids and me by name. They won't sell anyone a baguette that has been sitting for more than an hour, a travesty. So, yesterday, we waited 5 minutes to get hot, fresh baguettes. Too delicious. We are going to turn into a loaf if we stay here too much longer. Although we are enjoying it here, "we" being Carla, Cammi, Cole and me. Tom left for 2 or 3 days to help sail Enterprise back from Antigua. While he was gone we had our first genuine emergency onboard. Of course. I had a bad premonition about the health of our generator engine. I didn't want him gone longer than overnight. But, he made his decision and on the 2nd night an electrical fire broke out in our main breaker electrical panel.

Thankfully, Carla and I did our jobs and got the fire out and kids off the boat in less than 2 minutes. Since we were berthed right next to them, Rich and Ann, from Amazing Grace, came onboard immediately. I gave Rich the extinguisher from the galley, he used it successfully, while Ann held the 'stop' button for the generator and I killed all the battery switches. Since it happened around 6:00 pm, we checked into Le Meridien Hotel and treated the kids to baths, pools and beaches while we waited for Tommy to come back via Enterprise. The next night, Tommy had returned and chose to cut some key wires so the main engine could be run. We are now working the boat without the generator and are awaiting a Westerbeke technician to come and evaluate the damage. I'll update the logs when we know the final answer.

We should know more tomorrow or the next day. The piece we need is the generator harness. It's just a bundle of color coded wires that lead to/from the generator. But making one from scratch would just be a pain. We may have to ride out the rest of our Caribbean trip without the generator and replace it upon arrival into the US. That would mean no washing machine (joy, hand washing…I can't wait), no air conditioning, and most importantly, no water maker. Every week we'd have to go to a dock or something to fill up our tanks with water. That's tough, considering we were hoping for desolate anchorages for the next month or so in the Grenadines and Tobago Keys. I just pray for the harness. But, we'll make the best of it either way and Lent will have new meaning aboard Uliad. Giving up something that we depend on will be inevitable.

Thankfully Carla was here with us. I would not have been able to wear the "mommy" cap as well as the "captain's". It's a horrible feeling to not know the intricacies of this boat like Tommy does. I actually don't ever want to know them because it would be too heavy a load. To date, his job is the mechanical systems, mine is the food and kids, while sailing the boat is a joint responsibility. So many things could have made the whole fire situation worse. But maybe it was a "sign". A little pinch that sets your mind straight. I told Tommy that my days of being left alone aboard the boat for his trips of leisure are done. He doesn't sound too thrilled with that option, but everyone has their limits. It was too scary for me (and Carla, Rich and Ann) and I'd never forgive myself if I put the kids in harm's way. All mothers reading this can relate.

The kids have a new respect for fire and safety. That is certainly a good thing. Exposing them to the realities of life, has been a learning experience for all of us. I just pray that they don't have to deal with fire first-hand for a long time to come. Cammi now says that if there's another fire, she knows where the fire extinguisher is located and will hand it to me immediately. Great answer. Cole, on the other hand, will manage the tools to fix everything after we have charred it. Either way, I am very relieved that no permanent damage was done to the boat or to the kids. Carla and I are certainly ready to leave this place and make some happier memories in the Grenadines.