05/19/2010, 35 nautical miles WSW Sint Maarten
Simpson Bay Marina, St. Maarten, Netherlands Antilles (Hans)
Wednesday 19 May 2010
Departure time is crazy time; also this time. We had a bridge opening at 5.30 pm to make. The boat still needed fuel. Sven was diving under the boat to scrub off an immense tropical sea growth. Hans tried to stow away the dinghy. Work men was still around to finish their jobs or indeed tackling new ones; the shipwright repairing hinges and adding teak plugs, the diesel engineer tackling the generator which refused to start; the electrician up in the mast to add some spreader lights. The sailmaker making a new cover and the boat polisher had only left a short while ago. I was buzzing around to clear out with customs and immigration and settling bills all over the place.
Sven in scuba gear cleaning the underneath of QR III (Sven)
Hans with some of the shoppings (Sven)
It was 3.50 pm and we had to cut it now, as otherwise we would be stuck overnight and risk our time schedule. How could we call Sven under water to stop scrubbing? We couldn't even see him. We lifted the dinghy onboard to stow it later. Then we saw Sven; had finished the job and instead taking shots of some fishes under water. Small cray fish (a few millimeters long) were crawling all over him. He didn't seem to object so much; quite surprising to me! The dive shop manager collected the dive tube at the same time as we were casting off.
There is a story of a Chinese fisherman setting off for a long trip; departing his home port and saying his good byes to just go into the next bay and finishing other preparation in peace. After bunkering 468 litres of fuel, I was going to the marina office to settle the bill. It was USD 2000 higher than I expected. Another issue to solve and a another mad rush, but we needed to make the bridge opening to not be stuck. The marina manager was helpful. He offered to come out in their launch to the bay outside where we could anchor and sort out the bill. So, anchor we did. However, he mentioned there was one problem, that the coast guard wouldn't see him. What on earth was that about? We still have not a clue, but the coast guard did indeed stop him, and the invoice had to be sorted out by phone.
At 18.30 we lifted anchor and set sail in a good breeze and a fading light towards Oranjestad, Aruba.
QRIII leaving Simpson Bay (St. Maarten) to the open waters of the Caribbean Sea (Sven)