Thursday, December 31, 2015

Growing roots in Antigua

For various reasons, not the least of which are the howling Christmas winds and high seas, we're still hanging out in Antigua. We're in good company here and content to stay put for the time being. There are always odd projects to do on the boat and beaches that need to be visited for daily swims.

Slinky, one of three black cats in Melini's dockside restaurant, is also content to stay put.
View from Saralane in Jolly Harbor
Replacing our balky windlass switch
Occasionally we move from Jolly Harbor over to Five Islands or Deep Bay and our view changes a little. In Five Islands we watched some filming going on with this big motor yacht 'Slipstream' and her toys. The helicopter chased the tenders and jet skies endlessly, swooping off from time to time to reposition. It was all very James Bond. We looked up Slipstream and found that it belongs to Simon Cowell. I guess judging/crushing aspiring talent has it's upside. 

Faster faster!
John H was in need of some TLC again and we're doing our best to keep him looking stylish. In addition to his ID numbering needing a refresher, he's starting to get a little squishy in his old age (as are we all) and we finally got around to using the patching material we snagged in Virgin Gorda to help puff him up.

We reinforced the main areas with two big fancy pieces we scavenged from the ruined beached dinghy in North Sound. First we patterned the sections with paper, then cut and contact cemented them in place with special glue meant for use on dinghies.

Port side
The tape barely keeps the paper in place with the wind blowing
Sticky stuff goes on here....
...and here.

Fancy eh?
Repeat the same process on sections on the front and in the back....

Looking good!

Skip added the extra little flashy red pieces which I'm trying to convince him to remove, though it does make John H easy to spot in a row of dinghies. 

Each year around this time there seems to be some sort of massive hatching of butterflies in the north east Caribbean. We've seen it in St Martin and in the BVI and this year in Antigua. It may be hard to see how many butterflies there are in this shot, but I can tell you there were zillions of them.

The little white specks are butterflies
Our buddies Simon and Hilda on Brisa did in fact bring us cheeses from Guadeloupe (thanks!) and we dinghied alongside them when they returned to Jolly Harbor with engine trouble. 

Brisa makes her way to the customs dock in Jolly Harbor.
Other friends have arrived from St Martin and we've met some new people who are sitting out the weather here too.

Having a dinghy chat with Fred and Dorothy from Aviva 
A Christmas day gathering on Q Queenie included, Simon & Hilda (Brisa), David & Jennifer (and furry dog Crew, from Triple Cream), Stefan & Lynne (Beyond). Q Queenie is a beautiful and spacious catamaran belonging to Barbara and Steven (that's Barbara in the dress and white flip flops; Steven is to her left).

Christmas Day on Q Queenie
Just another windy day here...
Aviva at the end of the rainbow in Five Islands.
We've embraced the local tradition of making sorrel juice for the holidays and with a few recipes I got by asking the young guys stocking the produce section of the market who shared their grandmothers recipes, I managed to make some pretty tasty sorrel juice. Just like any recipe handed down from generation to generation there were a some unknowns. There were a few "add a little bit of this or that" or "I think she put in some of this or that" directions that took some experimentation.

Start with a whole lot of sorrel flowers
Cut out the seed in the center
Rinse off any bugs or extra ick
Note to self: sorrel turns everything VERY RED
Toss the flowers into a pot with water, a few cloves, a cinnamon stick, a few thick slices of ginger and some orange peel. Simmer for a bit, then turn off the heat and let sit covered overnight. In the morning, strain out the solids, add lots of sugar and voila! Sorrel juice.

Add LOTS of sugar. Yum.
That's all I've got for now, and since I'm making the curry for tonight's New Year's Eve gathering I'll wrap it up here and wish you all a good end to 2015 and a good start to 2016. See you next year! (Ha ha ha! That just never gets old....)

Friday, December 11, 2015

Placeholder Post

Well hi there. We're back. We're getting off to a slow start this year which accounts for the very late first blog post, as well as the "Placeholder Post" title. I wanted to at least get something posted to say that we're back on board and also to make sure I don't forget how to put up a blog post. And why not start with a pretty sunset shot from our first night anchored out in Jolly Harbor?

Oooooh..... ahhhhhh..... 
After a few nights in the marina getting shipshape, we spent probably too many nights anchored out in Jolly Harbor. But, as always, with friends around we find it hard to come up with reasons to move along too quickly.

We've been spending time with friends on Absaroque, Brisa, Worry No More, Golden Fleece and Triple Cream. Some we've know for years now and others we're getting to know since we all seem to be hanging around and pondering where (or if) to go.

Denise and JP from Absaroque
David and Jennifer with THE fuzziest dog out here, Crew. 
We did manage to go north to Deep Bay for a few days with everyone else, but other than that we've been well anchored.

Absaroque has since left for St Martin with plans to come back this way; Brisa and Triple Cream have headed south for a brief stay in Guadeloupe. We've extracted promises from everyone to bring us French cheeses. That's what friends are for, right?

Saralane and friends in Deep Bay, Antigua
Back in Jolly Harbor, daily trips to our favorite tiny little beach around the corner from the anchorage kept us occupied. The water is in the low 80's which is warmer than usual for this time of year, which makes me happy.

John on the beach, Skip in the water
On the hillside at the beach, a bird's nest in a prickly spot
Prickly pear
Not only are we off to a slow start on the big boat, but we're off to a slow start on the little boat. We let John run out of gas and had to flag down the dock master in his dinghy to give us a tow to the fuel dock. Oops.

Mildly embarrassing to us but pretty amusing to anyone watching.
We've moved a notch north along the coast to Five Islands for the peaceful anchorage and blazing fast open wifi. It looks good for a trip to Barbuda today or tomorrow so there may be Barbuda shots for the next post. However, I'm reserving the right to back up and cover things I've skipped in my effort to get started here. That's it for the moment.... see you back here soon!