We raised anchor at 7:40am which gave us enough time for a nice slow motor through the lagoon to arrive at the Causeway bridge 15 minutes prior to the 8:30am bridge opening. It also left us enough extra time in the event we had an issue raising our anchor. After all, it has been in the mud for 70 days so we knew it was stuck good. Renée raised it without issue and we were on our way. We hailed the bridge operator requesting the next opening and we passed through the bridge on schedule.

The Simpson Bay Bridge was next and it opens at 9:00am. With less than a mile between the two, you just go slow and make small circles in order to waste time, stay close to the bridge and try not get pushed around by the current and wind. Just like the Causeway Bridge, we hailed the bridge tender 15 minutes prior to the scheduled opening. The bridge opened on time and by 9:00am we were officially on our way to Grenada in what started out as another perfect day.

Once we cleared St. Martin the winds were blowing 10-15 knots gusting to 18 and we were sailing towards Sint Eustatius which was 32nm away.  On long passages, Renée makes us a bed in the cockpit so when not on watch you can get some rest but still close should anything come up. Our plan was to round the island leaving it to port (on the left) and hug the island towards Saint Kitts and Nevis. As we rounded Sint Eustatius, there were 11 large freighters anchored off of the NW side so we decided to take the island wide and go around the freighters. This is where things began to go not exactly as we had planned. Because we took the island wider than originally planned, it left us further west then we would have liked to be. We attempted to make up the distance and get back to our planned route by heading up into the wind but the result was that this angle put us directly into the direction where the wind was coming. Often times you cannot travel your planned route because the wind is coming from the direction you want to go. Sailboats cannot sail directly into the wind. So we continued doing the best we could but still unable to get back on our preferred route.

We were getting progressively further off course and away from the islands. The wind also picked up to 20 knots and gusting to 24. The seas were building and were in the 7-8 foot range.  Both heading right at us. These conditions are safe and manageable providing they are not coming directly in your face. We traveled through the night and 30 hours into our trip we were 50nm off of our preferred course. The wind and waves were also predicted to increase further through the night and the next day. We calculated that unless the wind direction changed and if we continued at our current heading, that when we reached Grenada we would be 50+ miles off of the cost. Rather than continue and try and make it up at the end, Renée and I decided to bite the bullet and head to Guadeloupe now, hug the islands and get back on our original route. At this point Tim in Belle Marie (our buddy boat) was already 10nm ahead of us. This distance would be too far to make up in these conditions, so we decided it would be best for Tim to continue and hoped that we may meet back up around the island of Martinique. By hugging the islands and traveling on the Leeward side of them (other side from where the wind is coming), we will be protected from the really high winds and rough seas. The only time we would have to deal with them is as we travel between the islands where we are directly exposed to the weather.

We were now into the second day of our trip and it was 9:30am. If we could travel at least 40nm toward Guadeloupe, this might give us enough easting to allow us to get back on our original planned route. Assuming we could do at least 5 knots, that should put us close to Guadeloupe around 5:30pm, still daylight.

Not long after we settled on a new course our head sail dropped and fell into the sea. We immediately ran to the front of the boat and manhandled the wet sail onto the foredeck. We tucked it in as best we could under the conditions and Renée secured it to the stations and lifelines. Glad this didn’t happen in the dark of the night. The reason for the failure is that our halyard (line holding the sail up) became chafed and was cut in two. No worries we still have an engine so we began motoring towards Guadeloupe.

Along the way, I calculated that we did not have enough fuel to motor the remainder of the trip to Grenada, we would eventually run out of fuel. We are now 35nm from Guadeloupe and figured we would be able to stop briefly, anchor for the night and then refuel. This would at least allow us to get to Grenada. We continued as planned bashing directly in the wind and waves which reduced our speed to an average of 3.5 knots. It became clear that we were not going to make it in the daylight. Approximately 25nm out, our fuel filter clogged and the engine quit. We have been having fuel issues ever since Antigua and determined that our tank had growth in it and was causing havoc on our filters. We had to change them out when we were a few miles from Antigua and also St. Martin. Seems like when our tank is half empty and especially in rough seas, that the problem occurs. At this point we had both these conditions. I hailed the Maritime Security people at Guadeloupe and notified them of our problem. There was a freighter close by ready to assist us should we need it. We changed out the filter as fast as we could and were able to get the motor started and continued on our way. By this time I was exhausted with only maybe 3 hours sleep Renée took the helm and she headed us to Guadeloupe. I woke up and we were just 8nm miles from Guadeloupe and Renée had us right on course and already dropped the main sail. She really is amazing!

Because we were unable to continue to Grenada given our situation, Maritime Security gave us permission to anchor in the Guadeloupe waters. We arrived at 9:30pm (pitch dark) and managed to find a safe place to anchor among the other vessels already at anchor. We notified Maritime Security that we were safely anchored and would contact them by email in the morning. Being up for 40 hours, we were both exhausted. We showered and then crashed for the night.

We both slept well and woke up to a busy anchorage. Just a mile from our location is Pigeon Island National Park, also known as the Cousteau Reserve. Since Guadeloupe is basically still closed, we were surrounded by fish and dive boats. We thought about how best we can safely get to Grenada and decided that to just refuel was not enough. We really needed our sail halyard repaired and fuel tank cleaned and fuel polished. We emailed the Maritime Security office requesting that we be allowed to stay in Guadeloupe until we could arrange for our repairs. Permission was grated. However, we were not allowed off our boat until we completed another 14 day quarantine. We were not pleased to hear the news, but at least we were not made to leave.

Renée spent the next two days reaching out to fellow cruisers and cruising sites for suggestions on repair centers while I searched the internet and made phone calls. We were able to find a mechanic that will clean our tank and a North Sails office to look at our ongoing halyard problem. Both are located at the Marina Bas-Du-Fort which is 41nm from our current location. We scheduled for both to be serviced upon completion of our quarantine.

Rather that stay at our current anchorage which turns out is very rolly, I requested permission to relocate 5KNOTS to Pointe a  Pitre, the bay just outside of the marina  This way when quarantine is over we will just have a short distance to go to get to the marina. Permission was granted so we proceeded to our next anchorage. We left at 5:45am to take advantage of the calm wind and seas. We hit a top speed of 6.6 knots which is very good considering we were just using the engine. We notified Marine Security of our new location once we were safely re-anchored.  This spot is much better, large open bay with plenty of room and so far no roll. We just hit our halfway mark for this quarantine, 7 more days to go. Not everybody is quarantined, we see the locals boating and sailing through the bay.

The story continues once we get our repairs completed and back on our way!