We just received the most wonderful news! Pepper’s safe to sail the 7 seas once again! AND the bill is completely, shockingly, manageable! David at Indigo Yachts really took care of us on this one. He did a top notch job repairing Pepper’s damage at a fraction of the cost that will allow us to happily continue on our journey. It’s a glorious, thank you Jesus, happy dance kind of day!
Once the boat yard guys hauled Pepper out, the bill was part that scared us the most about being on the hard because we never expected something like this to happen. Who does? There’s this thing that people always say about sailing and it couldn’t hold more truth than it does to us right now. They say to always, “expect the unexpected.” Living a life filled with uncertainty is a big part of this voyage and it takes some getting used to. That, my friends, is completely opposite of the way I used to be, as a former fundraiser/event planner, but I admit, it’s been good for me. I’ve learned to relax…a lot. Trent would put a heavy emphasis on that last little phrase.
Based on my first experience in Basseterre I had a rather negative attitude towards St. Kitts but now I’m whistling a different tune. Since we’ve been living at St. Kitts Marine Works almost two weeks we think we’ve got this place all figured out. Safety isn’t a concern out here in New Guinea like it can be at night in Basseterre. However, we still have to jump on a bus to go to the big city because they have everything we need, such as groceries, hardware and an excellent farmer’s market. The watermelon here is unreal. I always wish I could carry more back to the boat but Trent won’t let me fill up my backpack with nothing but melons. The round trip ride to town for us both is only 12 EC (Easter Caribbean Dollars) or $4.50 USD. We always pay with the local currency so as not to appear as a tourist. There’s no local marine store on the island but David is kindly allowing us to order parts through Indigo Yachts. It takes a week for the order to arrive by ship from St. Marten but we have plenty of time and they let us do all our own boat work here. Some yards don’t allow it.
The only downside of being way out in the country is that we really are completely isolated. The only thing in New Guinea is St. Kitts Marine Works and a few houses. Not only that but Trent and I are the only liveaboards amongst a hundred other boats so we have to make our own entertainment. Upon receiving such wonderful news about Pepper, it was of course raining (it’s always raining here), we opted to go for a celebratory walk up through the forest to Brimstone Hill. While on an exploratory hike down the main road one day I discovered a trail head for Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park. Sweet! Atop the summit is an old fort but leading up to the main gate is a tranquil walk through the forest. It’s $10 USDs to walk to the summit once you get up there but we can still get some spectacular views from outside the gate. More than anything though the hike serves as our quick daily get away from the boat yard.
On this particular day though we had a close encounter with around 50 cheeky green velvet monkeys. Trent and I silently observed them crossing our path on the ground and then swinging up to the branches around us. When a monkey observes us they make it so obvious by the way they bob their heads from side to side. It’s as if they want us to know that they notice, we notice them, if that makes sense. I love watching the wild monkeys but am so relieved they’re not tame and begging for food. Fortunately, the monkeys around the boatyard are quite elusive. I’d be tough to keep track of our tools and paint brushes if we had to worry about a monkey running off with it. I just can’t imagine monkeys swinging around on Pepper. It’s amusing enough to wake up and have a herd of resident landscaping goats laying under the boat.
We’ll be in St. Kitts at least until September because I booked a flight home for a couple weeks in August. From now on, I’m only going to buy plane tickets once we reach the island from which I’ll be flying out of. Anxious to go home, I bought one from Grenada and now it doesn’t look like I can get a refund on that ticket, even though I bought the insurance policy. That’s just another lesson learned on boating and uncertainties. You just can’t have a schedule out here or you’ll be disappointed. I am really looking forward to my trip home though. I haven’t seen the fam since before we left Alabama last October. Trent’s going to stay behind and tinker with the boat since we blew so much money this month. Anyways, we have lots to be thankful for and Trent and I can’t wait to get to sailing Pepper again.