Pear Shaped!

When things go wrong, they normally go in threes… We’ve had at least two threes!

Sister Kate was to arrive Monday evening – but she’d had a bit of an adventure on her trek from the UK, including having to have all passengers get off one flight because they had one too many bags aboard – this delayed them somewhat, but she recovered and made it as far as Martinique – where the pilot had a heart attack! Flight cancelled. She’d come as far as she could that night – so they put her up in a hotel. Meanwhile, Laurie and I made our way to the airport to meet her – not. We waited for the last flight in but nothing.

We came back in the morning for the first flight of the day and fortunately she was aboard.

When we got back to the harbor, it was pouring rain – harder than we’d experienced to date – so we went and had a beer and a bite to eat. When we got back to the dinghy, which was beached on the sand, Kate managed to stumble and fell on a piece of glass buried in the sand and was awarded with a massive gash in her shin. We did some quick triage, but it was clear she needed stitches, so Jason, one of the PAYS guys (the organization that keeps all the yachties secure) took us to the emergency room where she was promptly seen to with 15 stitches!

When we got back, the wind had turned to the west – highly unusual – creating a large on-shore surf. There was no way we could get Kate onto the dinghy and then off again, so Jason very kindly offered to put Kate up for the night in his house.

Meanwhile, with the help of 3 big guys, I was able to launch the dinghy and rode back to Toodle-oo! and recovered some of Kate’s clothes. I headed back to the dock, but the swell was so high I managed to get thrown out of the dinghy (with Kate’s bag!) and was lucky that the dinghy didn’t come down on top of me. Unfortunately, I was carrying our only phone – which appears to have suffered terminally, though Laurie is currently trying to revive the bloody thing. In the beaching accident, I also managed to bugger up the engine!

With Kate packed away with Jason, I considered options for getting back to Toodle-oo! Fortunately, new OCC members (had only applied that morning!) Mark and Lynn  on Roxy were also ashore, and we all went to a local beach bar to wait out the worst of the surge. Finally at 9:00pm, things had died down a little and we managed to launch their dinghy and they brought me back to Toodle-oo!

Kate - Finally enjoying a beer!

Kate – Finally enjoying a beer!

In the morning I recovered Toodle-Pip! and found that the damage to the engine was annoying but minimal – we can get if fixed in Martinique.

Kate has since managed to get aboard Toodle-oo! – though she probably regrets it to a degree due to the adverse conditions – we have been rocking and rolling in the anchorage for the past 3 nights with a northern swell creating havoc along with the westerly winds… Hopefully it’ll settle tonight…

 

 

Bird Watching

We went bird watching today with Dr. Birdie – with Patty and Peter off Serendipitous and Al and Tess from Ingomar…

Big bird 1 - I forget the name...

Big bird 1 – I forget the name…

Can you see the green hummingbird?

Can you see the green hummingbird?

Another neat bird

Another neat bird

I think this one is a twitcher

I think this one is a twitcher

This one's a Wren

This one’s a Wren

Fly Catcher

Fly Catcher

Jacko Parrot  We also saw the rarer Imperial Parrot, but it was too fast for me!

Jacko Parrot We also saw the rarer Imperial Parrot, but it was too fast for me!

Humming Bird

Humming Bird

Solitaire

Solitaire

Another Twitcher

Another Twitcher

Pretty Blue Hummingbird

Pretty Blue Hummingbird

And a stick insect!

And a stick insect!

 

Twitcher in the making...  (Tess)

Twitcher in the making… (Tess)

More pictures from Dominica:

Our anchorage - Prince Rupert's Bay

Our anchorage – Prince Rupert’s Bay

Overgrown Garrison Guns

Overgrown Garrison Guns

Officers Quarters bing engulfed by the forest

Officers Quarters being engulfed by the forest – click on it

You can hardly see the ruins for the trees

You can hardly see the ruins for the trees

Shopping at the market with "Boat Boy" Martin of Providence

Shopping at the market with “Boat Boy” Martin of Providence

Dominica

Dominica is probably the least spoilt island we’ve been to so far – with the possible exception of Barbuda. Very lush.

We arrived for the opening of Carnival which was a very colourful and noisy affair!

Lush Dominica

Lush Dominica

Beach was laid in a day during Hurricane Erica

Beach was laid in a day during Hurricane Erica

Fresh Produce

Fresh Produce

Carnival Parade

Carnival Parade

The Emerald Pool - Peter and Patty from Serendipitous

The Emerald Pool – Peter and Patty from Serendipitous

Neat reflection

Neat reflection

Took a tour around a large part of the island, stopping at the Emerald Pool and having a fabulous lunch high in the mountains.

Lunch with fellow OCCers

Lunch with fellow OCCers

Checking out the Bar (A cruiser's life!)

Checking out the Bar (A cruiser’s life!)

Iles des Saintes

Our first night in The Saintes we arrived too late to get a mooring so we were at anchor – having been moved twice by the harbor master for being in the wrong place… The anchorage is well outside the mooring area and far more exposed. It was windy and the swell was significant. We tried playing dominoes, but they went flying – so we played Liar Dice instead! Sleeping was all but impossible without a seat belt, so in the morning I had a motivated crew to help me find and secure us to a mooring!

Mike and Jane took the dinghy and sped off in search of a newly vacated mooring ball which they were fortunate to find quickly – just as a French boat was approaching it! They valiantly fought for their rights and held on tight!

Meanwhile, Laurie and I had to haul in the 250ft rode – while avoiding boats on both sides of us – one of whom had anchored almost on top of our anchor – making retrieval especially difficult. Laurie managed to steer her way through the maze and we emerged and quickly attached ourselves to the hard fought mooring. It was much less rolly.

We quickly explored the small town and then took a walk up to Fort Napoleon – quite a hike! We had a well deserved dinner at Peter and Patty’s invitation at a wonderful French restaurant that evening.

Chatter Boxes

Chatter Boxes

Terre de Haut

Terre de Haut

Flying Leap

Flying Leap

Marigot Bay and FOrt Napoleon

Marigot Bay and FOrt Napoleon

Looking down from Fort Caroline

Looking down from Fort Caroline

Today we took another hike up to Fort Caroline and then down to Pompierre Bay. The scenery here is quite dramatic with Guadaloupe in the background to the north and Dominica in the background to the south. We’re really looking forward to Dominica – it looks quite impressive from 10 miles off!

 

Leaving Antigua

We managed to secure a spot in the anchorage at English Harbor. However, we ended up a little close to the boat next to us – we could hardly fit a dinghy between us! So we moved a bit and ended in a great position. We then realized that the guy we’d nearly bumped into was none other than David Reid who’d kindly showed us around his garage full of Minis up in Marblehead last summer. I even got to sit in his all-out racing mini! He’d toured me and Laurie and Mike and Jane – and Mike and Jane were about to arrive in English Harbour… Small world indeed!

Mike and Jane arrived and we promptly got them out onto the hills surrounding the harbor. Great views – especially since the weekend was to be full of not only the Super Yachts racing, but also the arrival of the transatlantic rowers. What a contrast – massive boats with crews of over 20 people and the rowers with between 1 and 4 crew.

Michael Made it apparently!

Michael Made it apparently!

Walking

Walking

Looking over English Harbour

Looking over English Harbour

Neat Super Yacht

Neat Super Yacht

Mike and Jane

Mike and Jane

As you can see, the scenery around the island is pristine…

Good Walk!

Good Walk!

Trans-Atlantic Rowing Team arrives after 2 months at sea!

Trans-Atlantic Rowing Team arrives after 2 months at sea!

We left Antigua – having made sure that the Patriots did indeed win the Super Bowl yet again – at 5 in the morning on Monday, destination Isles des Saintes… We had a very lumpy and uncomfortable seasick inducing sail – but it was at least fast – and we decided to make a pit stop in Deshaies in Guadaloupe which is where we are now. We’ll push on to the Saints tomorrow…

Back to Antigua

We returned to Jolly Harbour on Antigua after enjoying Barbuda’s wonderful beaches. Unfortunately, our last day was rather rolly – with significant swell, such that it was impossible to land the dinghy for fear of capsizing her on the way in.

We had a romping sail back to Jolly Harbour, leaving Barbuda with 3 other boats – but by the time we got to Antigua, they were barely in sight – behind us! :-)

There were 7 other OCC boats in the anchorage or mooring field, so we arranged an impromptu club meeting at the West Point Marina Bar for the evening and had a great time chatting with new faces and some familiar faces. It was great to finally meet Bob and Laurie from Hedonism, an Outbound that I’ve been chatting with online for probably 5 years – so it was great to be able to finally meet in person.

OCC Gathering in Jolly Harbour

OCC Gathering in Jolly Harbour

 

We’re now moored off Great Bird Island on the North East coast – quite a difficult place to get to as it’s surrounded by reefs. We took a short walk this afternoon on the island which was well worthwhile – great views, wonderful smells – Privet we think – and interesting rock formations – much like glorified buttertubs from back home.

Very fragrant shrub - Privet?

Very fragrant shrub – Privet?

Buttertubs like formation - but these ones go down to the sea!

Buttertubs like formation – but these ones go down to the sea!

Pretty anchorage

Pretty anchorage

Laurie battles the wind!

Laurie battles the wind!

We’ll stay here another day perhaps and then head back to Falmouth to pick up a replacement radar dome and then meet Mike and Jane who will be staying with us for 10 days and sailing on down to Dominica.

Looking forward to Dominica – we’ll be there for “Yottie Appreciation Week” and then sister Kate will join us there for 2 weeks!

Fantastic Day in Barbuda

Great beaches, super visit to the Frigate Bird Colony with George – beach to die for – but sadly it’s only 11 miles long!

Baby Frigate Birds

Baby Frigate Birds

Showing off for the ladies

Showing off for the ladies

Rescued from the Mangrove

Rescued from the Mangrove

Hey, Look what I got!

Hey, Look what I got!

Are you coming home soon dad?

Are you coming home soon dad?

George and the Frigates

George and the Frigates

Pink Beach in Barbuda

Pink Beach in Barbuda

Peter and Patty (Serenipitous)

Peter and Patty (Serenipitous)

Antigua and Barbuda

We left Falmouth Harbour and went exploring – Nonsuch Bay was our first stop – Green Island. There’s not much there, but it’s strangely relaxing. We were anchored behind a reef – no land in front of us until we hit Africa – and there was no swell – all taken down by the reef! We enjoyed a couple of nights there with our new friends Tom and Suz on Nomad and Peter and Patty on Serendipitous. We also enjoyed a spectacular sunset – first really good sunset in the Caribbean.

Sunset - Green Island Antigua

Sunset – Green Island Antigua

We then moved on to Barbuda – a new island but part of ‘Antigua and Barbuda’ about 30 miles north of Antigua. It was a lumpy sail with not much wind – but we sailed the whole way, trying different sail combinations along the way – and enjoying quite a long time with spinnaker.

Barbuda is a very flat island – max height just 125ft so we didn’t see it until we were really quite close. We anchored by the longest beach I’ve seen in my life! It’s also the location of a failed resort that Robert Dinero is attempting to buy and re-establish. It’s an enormous resort with about 50 chalets right on the beach – which is called Princess Diana beach – since she apparently stayed there a few times.

Miles of Beach

Miles of Beach

Pristine Beach

Pristine Beach

Interesting Signage at the Airport

Interesting Signage at the Airport

Sunset - Barbuda

Sunset – Barbuda

Getting to the beach proved challenging in the dinghy – quite a surf rolling in meant you had to time it just right and then pull the dinghy up the beach – not easy! More difficult however to launch it – and we ended up getting overwhelmed by the surf and both ended up in the drink! Fortunately, the dinghy remained right side up and a second attempt managed to get us going.

We plan to move a little further up the coast tomorrow in search of a Frigate Bird colony. Hopefully we’ll be able to get a tour by boat up there.

Falmouth Harbour, Antigua

We sailed and motored from Jolly Harbor to Falmouth. Nice sail until we headed east along the south coast and got blasted with 25 knot winds right on the nose and 8 ft swells! But we made it in to find a bunch of friends – hence the Wine Mopping Up post…

Falmouth and English Harbours are next to each other and are perfect refuges in heavy weather. Their strategic importance was recognized early and Nelson was stationed here – and gives his name to the dockyard in English Harbour – now home to mostly super yachts!

We had a lovely walk between the two harbours – ending in a wonderful view of both. I hope the panorama posts well – unfortunately I had to dumb down the resolution to get it to post… If you click on it, hopefully it will get bigger!

Falmouth on the left, English Harbour on the right.

Falmouth on the left, English Harbour on the right.

We’re back into the land of fixing stuff – the radar (less than 12 moths old) packed in on the way to Antigua, so it’s hopefully going to be replaced by a refurbished one in the near future – and, even more hopefully; before we leave Antigua! Radar isn’t completely necessary down here – though it is good for spotting squalls well before they hit you when travelling between islands.

And… The head’s acting up again – seems to be a periodic hassle that everyone deals with. Unfortunately, our on board rebuild kit appears to be a collection of old and used components, so I can’t rebuild it until a new kit is brought to us by our good friends Jane and Mike who will join us here in just a couple of weeks.

Then there’s washing to do…

The new washing machine!

The new washing machine!

Still, all is well in paradise – we could be sitting in Providence in the cold, watching amazed as America confirms the strangest president ever!

Cheers to all!

Rip Roaring Time

Since we had been at anchor in St. Martin’s “Lagoon Jail” for a while, I had removed our hull speed sensor – which amounts to a paddle wheel stuck on the end of a stalk of electronics – to prevent growth building up on it which results in inaccurate speed readings. So, when we departed St. Martin, it was time to replace the sensor, I asked Laurie to give it her evil eye and make sure the thing was properly clean and would spin freely. True to form, Laurie set to with toothbrush, scissors and tweezers to make sure that the sensor was clear of absolutely everything.

When the sensor was back in position, it indeed performed flawlessly… but… in the process, a piece of her cleaning equipment – the tweezers – managed to puncture a hole in one of our 5L bags of wine which were stored in the same locker – a particularly good bag of Cotes de Rhone – disaster! She stemmed the flow with duct tape, but the fix was somewhat leaky and the longevity of the wine was now in question.

Disaster averted however – and turned into a major benefit – when we got to Falmouth Harbour we were surrounded by numerous familiar boats so we had a wine mopping up party aboard Toodle-oo! with Peter and Patty from Serendipitous, Tom and Suz from Nomad, Baxter and Molly from Terrapin and Malcolm and Elia on Orion – and by the end of the evening we had demolished all of the Cotes de Rhone and a little bit of Bordeaux to boot!

Needless to say, heads are somewhat heavy this morning!