Sunday, April 21, 2013

Returning to summer and arriving into the rain

We arrived to Guadeloupe on Tuesday evening, after too many hours spent on planes, on buses and in an airport hotel. This traveling around Paris from one airport to another is really a drag. The only good thing that came from it was meeting some nice people, a nice French family, who sat next to us on the plane and Tim, a nice young French guy, whom we met on the bus in Paris and who also flew to Guadeloupe. His mom was kind enough to even give us a ride in her car to the marina.

Heron was looking good when we arrived, not a hair out of place. We were glad nothing was missing, marina is not exactly a place known for it's good security. I was very happy to find that even my basil plant survived and there was also everything ok inside the boat.

Next day we were woken up by the Caribbean Martins, swallows that have obviously taken Heron for their own and were very angry to see us. One of them tried to chase Tomaz away by flying only inches away from his head.

Only couple of meters from our boat there is a buoy that pelicans frequently visit between their fishing between the boats in the marina. Even though the water here doesn't look very clean, there are some serious fish swimming around.

Tim came for a coffee in the morning and we spent couple of hours together and also made some plans for Thursday. We really wanted to sail Heron out of the marina and go for a swim and on Thursday Tim and his father joined us. Our first stop was Ilet du Gosier, where we went snorkeling. We found pretty Social Feather Dusters...

... Glasseye Snapper ...

and a Rose Coral.

Tim was curious about my camera and asked to try it himself and made these great photos of Banded Coral Shrimps!

I found this Peacock Flounder on my way back to the boat.

After some rain we sailed further to Pointe de la Saline, there is a lagoon there protected by coral reef and some rocks and Tomaz wanted to try kiting there. Tim brought his equipment along with him and before long they stared preparing the kite.

Then they swam it to the shallow lagoon.

Tim explained basic things to Tomaz already on the boat and then also showed him how it's done. He is quite good at it.

Then it was Tomaz's turn. They stood in the shallow water, Tim showing and explaining everything and Tomaz slowly got some feel for it. After a while he was able to lift the sail out of the water by himself.

Tomaz was happy with his progress and warmed up to kiting. It's good we have such a big boat - I have a feeling that before too long we will have to find some space for a kite.

 It was getting late and after a kiting lesson we had to go back. We decided not to anchor outside but to bring the boat back to the marina, there was some bad weather forecast for next few days and marina would be a good place to do some boat projects. But the beautiful day wasn't over yet - we were invited to Tim dad's house for a dinner. Tim's brother was also there with his girlfriend and some friends, all very nice people, they cooked some delicious food and we had a great evening. Sometimes it just happens - you feel the connection with people and without much planning or fuss you have such a magical day together.

On Friday we woke up to rain and it was raining all day, and yesterday was not much better. Luckily we found a period with a little less rain to go and by some food. But despite the rain we were very active, we managed to finish many boat projects, like changing the oil in the transmission of Heron's Yanmar engine, changing a fuel filter, changing water filter and turning around halyard for our main sail (the rope with which you pull the sail up the mast). You surely noticed most of the projects were the kind to be done inside the boat. Luckily, the weather is improving today, we've already done the laundry and we will be able to do some "outside" projects, and then tomorrow sail to some place more pretty than marina.

We are sailing Heron back to Europe in second half of May. Until then we will try to find some balance between all the work that needs to be done on the boat before leaving and having enough fun so we don't have the feeling we didn't properly "say goodbye". It won't be easy.

P.S. Thanks to all who wrote to say they like my photos. For this post I loaded photos with slightly higher resolution, hope it doesn't take too long now to load it to your computer.

Monday, April 15, 2013

A glimpse of spring

Today we're flying back to Caribbean. We had a great time here in Slovenija. There was a lot to do and a lot of people to see, it was very unusual for us to live by the schedule. But the worse thing to get used to was wearing shoes again. The weather didn't help either, instead of spring there was still winter when we arrived. Ljubljanica river was swollen with water from melting snow and a lot of rain.

Spring flowers were just starting to bloom.

Couple of days ago we saw first storks. I bet they were sorry they didn't stay in Africa a bit longer.

But weather didn't spoil our mood, we had such great time with our families and friends. We visited a restaurant near Monoster (St Gothard) in Hungary with my parents.

Sprig started three days ago with stormy clouds and showers...

 ... but it got warmer and everything started blooming.

I'm glad we got at least a glimpse of spring before leaving.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A change of seasons

Monday was another beautiful day in Marie Galante, weather was great, water warm and I enjoyed snorkeling. 

The trimaran was our "first" neighbor in the anchorage.

There were many pretty Sea Cucumbers in the bay.

This is an Inflated Sea Biscuit. It is a close relative of the Sea Urchins, only with shorter and softer spines. Normally they camouflage themselves with sand, shells and sea grass, like this one ...

... but luckily there was one without disguise, so I could identify it ...

... and shoot some photos of it.

Between the sea grass there were patches of sand and coral rubble. I surprised this moray eel with my camera. Shells around the hole were probably left there by an octopus.

I was surprised how many Lionfish there were, many more than I remember from last year. They are native to Indian ocean and were supposedly introduced to Florida waters by aquarists, and from there they spread all over the Caribbean. They are fierce predators, capable of finishing off a huge amounts of little fish, but they don't have any enemies here. Despite of their beauty they are a big threat to fish population.

There are plenty of Arrow Crabs here, but only when looking at this photo on computer I saw that I caught this one at lunch time, as it was finishing off a small fish.

I couldn't resist another Giant Anemone with an Spotted Cleaning Shrimp.

Moray eel with Feather Duster Worm - or "Portrait of a lady with a rose"

This is not an Anemone with mustache - there is a young lobster hiding underneath it

This is the first time I saw a whole body of Giant Anemone, not just the tentacles.

On Monday afternoon we returned to Pointe a Pitre marina. We prepared Heron for our absence and tried to eat up everything that was in our fridge. On Wednesday evening we flew home. It started with air conditioning not working in the airport and continued with long and uncomfortable flight. After changing planes and airports in Paris we finally landed in Slovenija on Thursday afternoon. Everything was white with snow and it was 3 deg Celsius, real winter. We were greeted warmly by our families and friends and we are having a great time. If only the spring would hurry up and come while we are still here ....