Wednesday, December 11, 2013

In Antigua (still)

We're still hanging around Antigua, mostly seeing off friends who are moving on. A couple boats of nomadic Americans connected for a really nice Thanksgiving dinner put on by a local restaurant in Falmouth.... and a few non-Americans even snuck in for some turkey.

We said goodbye to Lee and Sharon on s/v Allegro (after copying a bunch of their movies to watch on some rainy day) and as they're a fixture out here, we know we'll see them again.

Lee & Sharon on s/v Allegro... thanks for the movies!
Swedes Johan and Birgitta on s/v Xavita were in the yard along with us and got launched just a few days before we did. They have grander plans than we do though and after a few days in the anchorage they stopped by to say goodbye before picking up their anchor and sailing straight for Venezuela.

Birgitta & Johan from s/v Xavita
Being this close to Barbuda with time on our hands meant we just had to go to Barbuda. We went straight to Spanish Point and anchored up behind the reef where the water was crystal clear.

Spanish Point isn't hard to get into on a bright day with the sun high overhead. The patches of coral appear as black splotches in the otherwise clear light blue water. You can more or less eyeball your way in here but we've found that the NV charts we use are pretty accurate and that helps. 

Small coral head out behind John
Larger patch of coral out a little farther
The snorkeling was great in the clear water and in addition to fish, rays and crabs, we found a giant conch shell which was occupied by a giant conch. Conch can be hard to spot since the side they show to the world is sand colored and usually covered in growth that resembles other growth on the sea floor.

The pretty side.
The flip side.
Killing conch here is a no-no and though it would have made a good meal, we set it back on the sea floor after it's fifteen minutes of fame. A first for us out here was the dolphin that kept us company as we made our way from Spanish point over to Coco Point!

We had some other nice company in Barbuda too - Tony and Judy, old acquaintances of Skip's from his early days in Newport, are down here on their boat s/v Lime'n. We gathered coconuts, as usual, and Tony and Skip had at them with machete and hatchet and we had a really nice impromptu dinner one night with rum and fresh coconut.

Take THAT!
It was also the last night of Hannukah and though the candles should be placed in a window for all to see, they were no match for the Caribbean breeze so they stayed below for just the four of us to see.

It's easy to get the dinghy up on the beach here and we took the opportunity to give the John H a little TLC. We tie the dinghy upside down on the foredeck for longer passages and though we put something between the dinghy and the deck, there have been a few times when the non-skid abrasive deck surface has still come in contact with the dinghy and rubbed some bare patches on the surface.

Scratch the surface and brush the super sticky adhesive on the dinghy...
....and on the patches
Then wait. Walk around and look at stuff while the sticky stuff dries. 

Stuff we looked at while the sticky stuff dried
Apply artfully trimmed patches and - voila! A new and improved John H.
With a forecast of several days of high winds and unsettled weather coming we decided to leave Barbuda and head back to Antigua. We needed to do some provisioning and since we're still mildly wifi addicted, it was just as well. 

Squall line between us and Antigua
The crummy weather came and stayed. Almost three solid days of hard rain more than filled our tanks and the dinghy, and unfortunately washed a whole lot of something off the land and into the water. 

The runoff from the land made its way toward the boats in the anchorage pretty quickly.
It's a little harder to see it from this angle, as it passes us.
Saralane and John H - both sitting in the not so sweet smelling water. 
The runoff crept all the way out to the boats at the far edge of the anchorage and stuck around for a few hours before dissipating. 

When the rain finally stopped we went ashore and did some errands. There's a new home store behind the grocery store in Jolly Harbor and it stocks a curious assortment of things. Some washers and dryers, some bath and kitchen things, some toys and lots and lots of buckets, brooms and fans.

Aisles full of buckets, brooms and fans. 
Still a little stir crazy from being cooped up during the rain we walked the beach at Jolly Harbor and just missed getting caught in another downpour. We ducked into a bar at the end of the beach where we met Sammy, who was also taking shelter from the rain. Sammy makes beautiful baskets from palm fronds and for just a few dollars we got one of his smaller baskets, which he graciously signed for us. I wish we had room for one of his bigger baskets - but alas, the boat is still only 40' long and 12.5' wide. 

Sammy proudly signed it "Made in Antigua by Sammy 12/9/2013" 
The winds are still up but it looks like tomorrow and Friday will be good days for sailing so our plan is to clear out  of Antigua tomorrow and sail around to Falmouth for the night. Friday we'll leave for Guadeloupe where we hope to meet up with our friends Tim and Nancy on s/v Larus who are making their way over from St. Martin. They're bringing along some of our things that hitched a ride to St. Martin from the states, and we brought a small electronic bit down from the states for them so we'll do a swap and spend some time together over the next few weeks.

Don't think I've forgotten about the rest of the centerboard fix! We may even try it out on the way to Guadeloupe. Stay tuned...


Miles said...

Hellooooo peeps. I'm sure I speak for everyone when I say we would love to know some more info about the 'slick' that drifted by post-rain. Feels like winter here with patches of snow here and there. I would like to request and underwater still or video of the centerboard spectra being installed or removed. I'm sure you have been on the edge of your seats waiting to hear about the hockey season.Hudson Marine is on a 4 game winning streak. Hoping to make it 5 tonight. 8-4 on the season. Later!

Cindy Barnard said...

Aha....that boy beat me to it this time.
Nevertheless....of course I LOVED the Barbuda pics. And....that Sammy basket. Very cool.
Which we are too. Mostly cold. But a beautiful cold on the lake. And after all, it is December. No complaints.....yet. I am ready for Guadaloupe. xo

Kim said...

Maddie! I'll meet you in Barbuda just as quickly as you can say GO! Ha! (It's been snowing all month!) Barbuda looks so beautiful, it's understood why you had to go back! Hope you enjoyed Thanksgiving, and I smiled when I saw the Hanukkah candles you got while here! Always great to catch up with you reading your blog...xoxoxox

Bob & Janice said...

Great blog as usual with beautiful photos of that great area you are in - we almost forgot that the water can be that clear & blue! Glad you got another Barbuda fix. Sounds like you are finding plenty to keep you busy. Have a great move south - hope the weather cooperates nicely for you. Big hug to you both!

Linda said...

Hello my friends! Glad to see you are both back and into the swing of things. You got out just in time. Weather has been quite cold, and we've had lots of snow. Unusually early winter. Maybe that means and early spring?? Hope so.
Email me when you are back with wifi, and we'll try the FaceTime thing.