Between Carnival and the Wine Tasting

Ready for Glass
    Way back, now over three years ago we repowered Celebration. One small dilemma was getting the exhaust and seawater mixture from one side of the prop shaft to the other. Simple, sure…but finding the exact right elbow to do the trick was fruitless. Custom one?  $4-600, so I went to my favorite speed shop, Summit Racing and ordered up a stainless steel 180 degree header elbow at around $45, Cut it with my angle grinder, aligned it to fit and marked it for welding. A friend stops by and asks “what are doing with that?” “Taking it in for welding” I say. “I have a TIG welder” he answers, “be happy to help.” So for $45 bucks and a bottle of Captain Morgan to the friend I’m done.

Epoxy Setting

     Fast forward to the wine tasting of a couple weeks ago; The men starting talking about their exhaust problems. Two of them had those $500 custom/production boat elbows rot out from the seawater-exhaust combo in under 3 years, both were running new and looking for a backup. I sat thinking about my home spun $45 version, hmmm? Sure enough when I dug down last week to look there indeed was a tiny pinhole in the weld and a bit of pitting in the mandrel lines. What to do?

Sanded, Ready to Reinstall
Back in Place
    Since many boats now use fiberglass for elbows, I thought I’d give it a try and fiber glassed over the stainless using 4 layers of cloth and epoxy resin. First cleaned up the old mess, steel brushed, sanded it to get adhesion, a little etching with leftover hull cleaning acid, acetone wipe and put down the cloth. Here are some photos of the process. I had to sand off a few rough spots to save the knuckles later, but the end result looks fairly similar to the production models. Except for the Steve Kauffmann/Celebration/Nanni custom shape of course. Time will tell how long it will last. Might be good to whip up another one of these when we get back to the US. Of course while in there, dissembled the shaft coupler to grease the bolts so when I really need to get it apart…it’ll come apart, and fixed a small seawater leak in the water-maker intake, domino’s….


Fresh Market

Five foot tall flower stems from the market.

As our two regular blog readers already know, we think one of the great things about being retired is the amount of time we have to spend on food. We spend a lot of time talking about food, planning, shopping, drooling, cooking.  Steve and I both love to find new grocery stores and markets.  Here in Martinique it's a fun challenge just to try to translate the labels and make sure we're buying what we think we're buying.  I like the 'fresh markets' (small local produce markets) because they have a little bit of everything: veggies, fruit, fresh spices, locally spiced rums, tourist souvenirs, a meat counter and a fish counter. Here, on a French Isle, they also include a baguette lady and lots of locally grown flowers. Our choices vary greatly from week to week and island to island.  We buy what looks good and get to meal plan accordingly.

I have nowhere to put these but I sure like to browse among the flowers.

This week we're having fresh local oranges (which are green), avocados, onions, potatoes, cukes mangoes, bananas and tomatoes.

This  photo is for our families and friends in the frozen north, who may have forgotten what fresh, vine ripened tomatoes look like.  They taste as good as they look.


It's been raining a lot lately, so we've had some really spectacular rainbows and double rainbows.  We can usually see two or three a day.  I suppose they'll get old some day, but for now, I still have to make Steve come and see them all. 
We're not doing anything much new here.  Just hanging out, grocery shopping, doing laundry.  We generally come into Ste Anne once a day to walk, have coffee and Internet, buy bread, practice speaking french.  We're on the 'baguette a day' program. I think I'm addicted to fresh bread, with butter, and some kind of sauce to dip it in, and of course, wine.  Hmmm, maybe it's not just the bread I'm addicted to.
We're anchored off a long, white, sandy beach, with a Club Med on the far end.  Our spot affords us an unimpeded view of the beach goers and all the bars and restaurants along the shore. After much observation, I've decided that European men's Speedo's come in one color, black, and two sizes, XS and S.  The size a man buys has nothing to do with his actual body size.  It only determines how far up he wants to pull the suit.  Most men seem to buy the XS.


Sitting Ste Annes Martinique


Last Night's Sunset, Best with Cabernet Sauvignon

      Weather is beautiful. The solar and wind power are up to their job. Almost all systems are go, even though saying so is often a bad omen. The days are going by fast. Each filled with a bit of boat work, a bit of walking, a bit of gathering from the local markets, sometimes a walk on the beach, a bit of wine at sundown, and all usually followed with a bit of food preparation put together from the local fare. Most often it is a great feast, often with the deliberate overproduction offering a nice lunch for the day after. The exchange rate is fair, the choices are great so we choose wisely for our budget, eat at home and have had some fantastic meals.

New Dingy Cover or "Chaps"

    On the boat side, we have now (finally) completed the dingy “chaps” protecting the material from the Caribbean sun so I’m posting a photo here. A bit of adjustment is still needed but until they have to come off for another reason, they will do what they are designed to do. Today, wiring the second solar panel through the charge controller. With enough wind and sun to keep the batteries full, this has suddenly moved up in the priorities.