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On Saturday, November 8th, we started Starry Horizons up and headed over to the fuel dock in Minimes. The fuel dock is open 24/7, as it is a credit card machine, so no assistance is required. There is a maximum of 300 euros, so we put as much gas in as we could, knowing that we will just come back to the dock and fill up again before we leave La Rochelle.
We went to bed very early after all that hard work, but unfortunately, we were woken up at 1:45 am by the boat next to us, a Sanya 57′, hitting us as they departed La Rochelle. When we say next to us – there was about 12′ between us and them, and at 01:45 the winds and currents were calm, so we have no idea why they got even remotely close to us. Of course, we got up to see what was going on and fended them off our bow. We checked for damage – she was ok!
Sunday morning was a slow morning. We woke late after our exciting night and spent some time unpacking and organizing. When Frank arrived, we packed up and headed out to sea. The weather Sunday was beautiful but calm. It was a perfect day to let Starry Horizons stretch out. I drove, while David and Frank worked the sails, stretching each one out and testing the lines.
Keep in mind, at this time we don’t have any electronics on board, so no wind indicator, rudder indicator, chart plotter, VHF, etc. So we were using a handheld VHF and our iPad with Navionics as a GPS. We did get up to 5.5 knots, in very little wind with the screecher.
During our sail, someone had their VHF talk button pressed the entire time – you could hear people laughing and talking in French from far away. Coupled with the fact that we don’t speak French, our VHF was pretty useless. We were surprised though when a small official boat from Minimes came by and asked us to turn off our VHF to make sure it wasn’t us with a stuck talk button. It wasn’t – but we watched him zoom from boat to boat. Eventually, he must have found the boat, because channel 16 became usable again. I’m glad we weren’t those silly Americans! Then we did finally get to hear activity on the VHF – including a pan pan in English, for a boat called Yellow Submarine that was overdue to Saint-Martin.
We had pizza for dinner and said goodbye to Frank as he heads back to the states. He was incredibly helpful while he was here, doing the walkthrough and test sail with us, and then going above and beyond by driving our (manual) van and helping us unload into Starry Horizons. We will see him again in Florida!
Today and Tuesday are holidays, so not too much is going on in terms of getting the boat ready. We expect that Uchimata will start Wednesday with their projects, and with a 2-week estimate, that will put us at November 26th as a finish date. We will start watching the weather closely so that as soon as Uchimata is done and a window opens up we will be out of here.
Think warm thoughts for us!