Tuesday, 24 February 2015

The Time Difference in the Caribbean

We are only four hours 'behind' the UK in terms of what time of the day it is, but there is another big difference in time and that is how time is viewed by many Caribbeans and this extends to the expats working out here. The original suggestion as to how quickly our new dinghy could be delivered was "a week". When I repeated this time, the agent said "Yes, a week or so". We should have walked away then! The following day when we had firm details it transpired that it would in fact be 2 weeks, but we needed a dinghy and altered our plans and visited Martinique before returning to St Lucia a few days before the "due day". It was only then that we found out that the ship bringing our dinghy from St Maartins was leaving on the 17th Feb as we had been told, but was sailing to the British Virgin Isles first and would not arrive in St Lucia until 25th making the total 3 weeks. Our return to St Lucia did however allow us to exchange our loaned and badly leaking dinghy for another one, ironically our old one which by now had been repaired! At least we no longer needed to swim ashore any more.
Whilst we had our enforced stay in St Lucia we decided to get an electrician to try and establish why we were having problems with our batteries not giving their full capacity. Darrell visited a recommended company on the Monday morning and the receptionist said someone may be able to come that afternoon, but certainly the following day, and said she would phone to confirm. She did phone, but only to inform us that they couldn't come the following day but would be there on Wednesday, so at least that gave us a day when we could do something else. Wednesday duly arrived, and, just to be sure, Darrell phoned to check and, yes they would be coming, but probably not before lunchtime. Lunchtime came and went as did afternoon tea time and high tea time, but no one came. The following morning, Darrell walked round to their offices (a couple of containers with air con in one of them and a workshop in the other - quite a common arrangement as they are easily secured) and caught the electrician there. "I was just coming. I'll be there in 15 or 20 minutes". I suggested I would wait and escort him to Stream, but he said there was no need and would see me soon. An hour and a half later he arrived! He was very thorough and tested all systems and made some adjustments to the generator output but, as we feared it was the batteries themselves that were causing the problem. These are the batteries bought exactly one year ago to replace 6 month old batteries which we were told were no good. Fortunately these were kept as we discovered they were in fact OK and so Darrell spent a 'pleasant' afternoon replacing the batteries while Sarah, on her way to the marina recycling skip, managed to offload the old ones to the security guard at the marina who had one of his mates pick it up within minutes and was disappointed to find it wouldn't start it!
The "Sailmaker/Rigger" who altered our foredeck shade and promised he would come over that afternoon to free up the jammed inner forestay we are still waiting for! Mind you that could be a good thing as he had been asked to reposition the lifting point for the shade which had been sewn off centre by the original maker in St Vincent for reasons best know to himself. Imagine our surprise/disappointment when we got our shade back to find it had been resewn an equal distance the other side of centre!
Stop Press. A further update on the new dinghy saga. Our due day is tomorrow and so today we have been getting organised for our couple of weeks in Dominica with a big shop as the supermarkets here are better than on Dominica, along with a visit to the chandlers as, again, there aren't any decent ones on Dominica for those 'essential items' Imagine our disappointment then when we found out that the dinghy had missed the ship yesterday! This is despite it being ordered 3 weeks ago and full payment going through two weeks ago and the agents confirming it had been taken to the docks over a week ago. We have been assured that Budget Marine are sending it by carrier and it will arrive on Thursday, only a day late from the revised delivery date. I am not expecting anything at this stage! So we now have another day to kill in St Lucia and the weather forecast for Friday is not looking too good for a passage north so we may still be here next week.

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