The night had been calm with no wind and little waves but the weather forecast showed that things would pick up soon. I was doing my blog reporting when I received an e-mail from Chris Davies of Octopus Diving asking if I wanted to come along or assist in putting in some "fish aggregation devices". While I had no ide what these were, I jumped at the chance to go diving and they picked me up at the boat and we proceeded at speed to a dive spot halfway between St. Martin and Anguilla which they had marked with a small buoy.
It turns out that these devices consist of a line attached firmly to the bottom (to rock or dead coral formations) and use a plastic container partially filled with air for bouyancy to keep the line roughly vertical. The containers are a good 20 feet below the surface so as not to cause problems with propellors or passing traffic. Chris informed me that this simple mechanism works very well in attracting fish; and once the smaller fish congregate there the rest of the food chain follows in short order.
Upon return after the enjoyable dive, I found that the wind and swell combined to make staying aboard the extremely uncomfortable as the rolling motion caused the whole boat to creak and groan and anything not securely fastened to roll or move around. I'd been invited to Sally and Chris's (and their baby Keiran) for dinner but I wasn't going to practice trying to get seasick at anchor so I opted to prepare the boat for the fueling process. As a singlehander the key to most operations aboard is preparation, and docking the boat is the best example. I spent a good half hour getting out the fenders and attaching them to the starboard side of the boat at the right height and then pulling them inboard. Then came the bow and stern lines plus the forward and aft spring lines; all of these attached and flaked across the lifelines and secured for the trip to the dock. Once all that was done I turned on the engine, removed the black day shape signifying that I was anchored and motored the couple of miles to Marigot.
Shortly before motoring into the marina I went forward and deployed the fenders and unsecured the flaked lines and made a couple of futile attempts to reach the marina and/or fuel dock on the VHF - with no answer I entered the marina and slowly motored past the megayachts at the docks to reach the fuel station in the furthest corner around the entrance. There was a very large 60+ catamaran at the fuel dock but, as luck would have it, within a minute or two they'd completed fueling and I managed to dock without scratching or denting anything (truth be told - there was no wind at all, perhaps a little gust blowing off the fuel dock and I used my bowthruster to do all the pushing work). I then filled up both tanks, stopping before the diesel foam blew out of the fill pipe, unlike my last time where I had to clean up a bit of diesel spillage.
Over 500 liters later and over $900 in credit card charges later I was again off the dock and don't really plan on docking again until it is time to put the boat back on the hard after the sailing season. With all this fuel I can run my genset to charge the batteries and make fresh water for quite a long time to come!
Dinner at the Davies' was excellent, as was the company and it was quite late when I teetered back to the Grand Case dinghy dock. There was a very large swell but my stern anchor had held the dinghy off the dock (unlike one rather beaten-up dinghy trying to wedge itself under the dock) but the outboard didn't want to start and the dinghy was in the foaming portion of the breaking 6 foot waves so it wasn't easy, but at least I was still attached to both dock and anchor until the engine fired up and I could get away from the evil surf.

Chris tying the float to the line Installing "fish aggregators", which are simple devices consisting of a line tied to the bottom and partially filled can for bouyancy which, for some reason, attract fish.
[18°8'11.59"N 63°6'5.47"W ]
Chris tying the float to the line
Joe at work on the fish aggregator Installing "fish aggregators", which are simple devices consisting of a line tied to the bottom and partially filled can for bouyancy which, for some reason, attract fish.
[18°8'11.59"N 63°6'5.47"W ]
Joe at work on the fish aggregator
Joe attaching the line Installing "fish aggregators", which are simple devices consisting of a line tied to the bottom and partially filled can for bouyancy which, for some reason, attract fish.
[18°8'11.59"N 63°6'5.47"W ]
Joe attaching the line
Looking up the fish aggregator line Installing "fish aggregators", which are simple devices consisting of a line tied to the bottom and partially filled can for bouyancy which, for some reason, attract fish.
[18°8'11.59"N 63°6'5.47"W ]
Looking up the fish aggregator line
Ikelite housing after diving The Ikelite housing after drying and cleaning and removing the camera after the morning's dive between St. Martin and Anguilla
(2013-03-05 13:00:08 NIKON D7000 with a "35.0 mm f/1.8" lens. [f/5.6, 1/100s] ISO 100 Focus 1.00m)
Ikelite housing after diving
Grand Case turtle These turtles surface all around the boat at anchor in Grand Case
(2013-02-12 13:08:02 NIKON D7000 with a "18.0-200.0 mm f/3.5-5.6" lens. [f/5.0, 1/320s] ISO 100 Focus 21.10m)
Grand Case turtle
Fuel Bill An expensive tank filling, but now my second tank is filled as well as the first and since I only do this once a year the costs aren't as pricey as they might seem; but it still is quite a bit of sticker shock.
(2013-03-06 09:34:32 NIKON D7000 with a "35.0 mm f/1.8" lens. [f/2.2, 1/640s] ISO 100 Focus 0.47m)
Fuel Bill
Rainbow returning to Grand Case The weather had worsened during my trip from Grand Case to the fuel dock in Marigot and this view greeting me while motoring upwind back to Grand Case.
[18°6'2.96"N 63°5'0.58"W (facing NE)]
Rainbow returning to Grand Case
Chris carrying a water-filled float Installing "fish aggregators", which are simple devices consisting of a line tied to the bottom and partially filled can for bouyancy which, for some reason, attract fish.
[18°8'11.59"N 63°6'5.47"W ]
Chris carrying a water-filled float
Simple fish aggregation device Installing "fish aggregators", which are simple devices consisting of a line tied to the bottom and partially filled can for bouyancy which, for some reason, attract fish.
[18°8'11.59"N 63°6'5.47"W ]
Simple fish aggregation device
   
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