"We’re currently subsisting on salads and sandwiches...."
Last week we were very excited that the Starlink had finally arrived. We were a little concerned that it had arrived with a chip in the UV and weatherproof paint. It turns out that this is an issue and Starlink are sending us out a new one. This means waiting here a little bit longer.
There are worse places than Fort de France, as it has everything you need in terms of shops. But the anchorage is extremely rolly due to the frequent ferries and at this point we are very keen to get to the calm lagoon where the marina in Curação is. We did get a brief respite from the rolliness last weekend as we got a place in a marina so we could go in and test the Starlink on the mains. Luciano built a mount for the antenna. It was incredibly quick to install and it worked straight away. The internet speed was pretty good.
He did two tests, first operating his sister’s computer in Brazil. Then operating a friend’s computer in London using the software he will actually be using for work. This is why he needs such high speed internet. Because of security concerns in the visual effects industry, he must operate a machine remotely in London as he is not allowed to have any films or television programmes on his own device, or there is a risk of leaks and that would spoil it for everyone. It also means he can use the company software - otherwise he would have to pay for a software licence at a cost of £6000 a year. The test worked fairly well in that it seems that it would be possible for him to operate it remotely and the speed should be improved even further once our ethernet cable adapter arrives.
We also took the opportunity of being in the marina to repair a few small rips in our headsail and to wash all of our cushion covers in the whole boat. This was actually very time consuming to remove and replace as there are three berths and three sofas in the boat and the covers have all been made specifically to fit this marine cushion material and they are all of different parts. Putting them back together was like a very complex jigsaw! The cats are still moulting quite a bit every day and so keeping on top of the cat fur is an ongoing task! Daily brushing and sweeping is helping and their winter coats are at last thinning out (they are Exotic Shorthairs, which are half Persian so they have very dense coats.)
After returning to the anchorage in Fort de France, we discovered that Starlink had sent out a new antenna as the damaged one wouldn’t be weatherproof. This extra wait time means we will have to head straight to either Bonaire or Curação depending on when it arrives, rather than stopping back in Bequia and Union Island in the Grenadines as we had hoped. Still, the main thing is to get a working antenna so that we can work out here from the boat. Luciano has been making good use of the time by making a gimbal for the antenna. This means it should stay upright as the boat rolls so that the speed doesn’t drop as the antenna tries to face the satellite as the boat moves.
We’re also currently subsisting on salads and sandwiches. As much as there are many advantages to being in Martinique and therefore Europe (price and availability of many products), a big disadvantage is that it is illegal to refill cooking gas bottles here. You can only swap Campingaz butane bottles. The last time we ran out out of gas, was when we reached Madeira after travelling through Europe. This time, one of our two bottles ran out just before we left Dominica and we have been on our last bottle now for more than a month. We didn’t think we would be in Martinique this long. The problem with buying a new gas bottle here is twofold. Firstly, it is expensive as you have to pay for the bottle in addition to the gas. Secondly, we don’t have room for it. Our existing gas bottles take up all the space in our gas bottle locker. The flimsy Campingaz bottles that they sell in Europe will not be fillable elsewhere in the Caribbean as everywhere else uses propane rather than butane, so we would then have to find space for it on the boat (bearing in mind it needs ventilation) or get rid of it. So we’re holding off on the hot food and only using the gas for our morning coffee and hoping it may last until we get to Curação. To be fair, in this warm weather, you can easily do without hot food, it’s not like doing it in England!
So maybe, maybe by next week we will have a brand new blemish free Starlink antenna - we got the shipping notification yesterday and it took about a week from this notification to receive the last (damaged one) and then we will be off to the ABCs!
This week's Vlog.
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