We are back in West End for a couple of days now and today is D’s birthday…. J baked him some fresh cranberry scones for breakfast which H has just delivered with a personal present from him …. A spare bolt in case we drop another one in the bilge next time we change the impeller… very precious!!!

We were supposed to leave today but the sea state is still very rough in the Gulf Stream as a result of the high winds we have had for the past few days, so when D spoke to Chris Parker yesterday on the SSB, he recommended we do the crossing tomorrow…. We will go and fuel up and check out this evening in order to be ready to leave bright and early tomorrow morning.

We have been working hard getting the boats ready and starting to go through our stuff stowing and deciding what is going home and what is staying…of course we brought far too many clothes… since we always wore the same half dozen t-shirts, couple of shorts and skirts and definitely no socks!!! So a lot of it is going home to stay!!!

H decided our impeller should be changed or at least checked before the crossing, preventive maintenance, it was supposed to be an easy and quick procedure, which turned into a half day affair… one or the engine mount bolt was too long so the impeller was not accessible ….the whole impeller casing, fan belt etc had to be taken apart to get to it…. H finally sawed off about an inch off the bottom of the bolt so that we can do this in 15 minutes next time…. He actually even put the impeller in the wrong way the first time just to demonstrate how quickly the job can be done when he had to do it again!!!!

L’Equipe is only going as far as Stuart, Florida to the Hinkley yard where they will have some repairs done, we will be going on further North, for another 5 or 6 days to Thunderbolt Marina, which is 8 miles South of Savannah, Georgia, in order to comply with our insurance policy’s requirements…. Since they have taken a beating with all the hurricanes of the past few years it is virtually impossible to have your boat insured in Florida during the hurricane season (May 15 to November 15) if you are not a Florida residents, so L’Equipe will probably have to go North as well after her repairs are done.

I was determined not to leave the Bahamas without the guys having conch shells to blow... the local tradition is to blow a conch shell specially cut at sunset in all four cardinal points... so I commissioned a chap to produce 2 such conch shells when we were in Marsh Harbour and I gave them to D & H... interestingly enough the only only one of us able to get a decent sound out of it is J... she is a natural...

Our next dock neibourgh left this morning and gave us 3 large plastic bins he did not have room for on his boat... they will come in very handy on Soli this summer to store our gear and food stuff...it is a very interesting concept putting the boat on the hard in the summer instead of the winter as we have done for so many years. Instead of worrying about things freezing we now have to think of heat damage ….. will my peanut butter melt?

Last night we shared another bouillabaisse (I used the last of the Mahi-Mahi and shrimps) and home made (should I say boat made) bread and chocolate and walnut fudge with Babancout Rum for pud… I soon will start baking D’s birthday cake… can’t believe what a baker I have become on this trip…. All J’s influence…. D was saying he is hoping I will keep it up once we are home but I told him I think not… Premiere Moisson does it all very well !!!!
GTG, D needs me to take down the genny…. We need to fix the furler which is still acting up…we certainly do not want it to get jammed halfway through our passage!!!!

Can’t believe we are off tomorrow, it’s been 3 months almost to the day that we arrived in the Bahamas … I think I am more or less mentally ready to leave especially knowing that God willing we are going to do it all over next fall… it will be so wonderful to see our kids, big and small and our friends…. We have missed you all!!!!

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