Monday, March 19, 2007

Saturday 17th March

La Marin

14 27.737 N
60 52.127 W

The day dawned bright and sunny, Dale came over to our boat and collected Gerry so that the 2 of them could go and clear customs and do “boy shopping”. After they had taken off I did some cleaning and polished the woodwork – I just can’t believe how dusty and dirty the inside of the boat gets considering that we aren’t near land most of the time. Any way after finishing the chores I radioed Lorie to make arrangements for the day, we were going to hire a car and take a drive to see the botanic gardens and anything else that took our fancy. I then took my book p into the cockpit to wait for the guys to return. I’d only been there for a few minutes when I heard the put-put of Dale’s dink heading back. When I caught sight of them I had to hide a grin, they were towing a bright yellow dinghy behind Dale’s dinghy. Now as only Rose will be able to appreciate, our dinghy can be a little wet when the waves hit it (Rose and I always got soaked sitting in the front whilst Mark and Gerry stayed dry by hiding behind us!). Without the extra bodies in our dinghy Gerry and I sit on opposite sides to balance it and he has been getting wet as well, poor thing! Anyway the previous day had apparently been the last straw – he had gotten wet just one time too many so he went out and bought a new dinghy with a curved bow in the hopes of making the ride a bit drier. This bright yellow dink was his latest proud possession. You’ll all be surprised to know that I didn’t say a thing! I just tied it up when they threw the line to me and took the bags of other purchases down below – these were things that we had decided that we needed to replace stuff we had either lost or used, like filters. Gerry very quickly transferred the outboard and other essential stuff to the new dinghy and then set off around the harbour to test it out – boy with a new toy! I can only say that I was surprised that he didn’t buy an even bigger new dinghy than the one he came back with. Shortly after this Lorie came and picked me up in their dinghy and the two of us made our way into the dock having arranged to meet the guys later in the afternoon / early evening, calling them by radio when we returned. Once ashore we enquired at 3 places for a hire car, they were not cheap here but we eventually settled on one and handed over the plastic card. I was to be the driver as Lorie somehow had it in mind that the cars drove on the left hand side of the road (they didn’t) so I began the drive whilst Lorie navigated. We had a pleasant drive and made our way directly to Le Jardin de Balata, a botanical garden which was privately established in 1982. By the time we arrived there it was lunchtime but we decided to go straight into the gardens and then have lunch afterwards. We paid out entry fee and began to tour the gardens, it was completely different to the one that Gerry and I toured in Deshaies, this one was very much more geared towards trees, ferns and bromeliads. There were several lily ponds and some breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. Near the entrance / exit they had set up several hummingbird feeders and there was a continuous flurry of little birds feeding from them. We took lots of photos but many of them didn’t come out as the birds are just so fast but we did get one or two that were reasonable. The garden had numbered the plants and we were given a “cheat sheet” so that we could identify the plants as we went – very useful for noting plants that we might want in our gardens at a later stage. It appeared that the garden was set amongst rainforest, and a lot of the dead tree stumps had been utilized to attach (I don’t think they were grafted on) various plants to, it was very effective and made for a terrific garden. As we wandered around we came across a group of people engrossed in something on one of the palm trees, when we got to the tree we found that they had been photographing a huge spider, which of course we took pictures of too. By the time we had finished our tour of the garden and headed out to the café just outside it was almost 15.00hrs and to our disappointment the café was closed – we were starving and had to make do with a bottle of coke and an ice cream – good but not really very satisfying. We returned to the car and tried to decide what else we could see, preferably on the way back home. We made a stop at the replica of Sacre Coeur – it was a smaller version of the famous church in Paris with equally stunning views, unfortunately it was a little cloudy and not good for photos. As we finished our viewing of the church a wedding party arrived and we were lucky enough to see the bride who looked beautiful. We hastily left so as not to be intruding on the wedding itself and headed down the mountainous road back towards the freeway and La Marin. We had noticed an advertisement for “Potterie Village” and decided that we had just enough time to make a detour there before returning home. It was a short drive off the freeway and then down an unpaved road, we were beginning to think that we were wrong in our expectations of the place when suddenly we came into the village and there were several small shops. We stopped and spent the next hour or so browsing around this small craft center which was just the sort of place that the guys would have had to find a bar to fortify themselves whilst Lorie and I foraged for “things”. We each made a couple of purchases, admired the work of the artists and when we had seen all the shops we returned to the car. We drove back to La Marin and parked, I radioed the guys but got no reply so we did the only thing you could do – went to the bar nearest the dock and sure enough there they were, downing a beer ( they claimed it was their first!?). We chastised them for not answering the radio, tormented them with “stories” of things that were going to be delivered to our boats in the morning, joined them for a drink and listened to the tales of what they had been fixing whilst we were out enjoying ourselves. Dale had located the source of the water leak on his water maker and had changed out the pump whilst Gerry had changed the engine oil on our boat; I think Lorie and I had the better day! We chose to eat at the restaurant attached to the bar; the food was OK but nothing special. Eventually we took our dinks back to the boats for the night; much discussion had taken place about a name for our new dink – custard bullet, OP banana, banana fender (a variation on Queenslander nick name of banana bender), yellow peril etc. I don’t think it matters too much as we still get a bit wet and I’m sure that Gerry will want a bigger and better one if that continues.



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