It was a little unnerving, leaving @ 10:30p with winds expected out of the east @ 15-20 knots. We don't usually do this...but here we are! We did not get those winds, but it was a rocky, rolly crossing with the little wind there was behind us! It was a pretty straight shot, with the minor exception of Redonda! A big huge rock with an amusing history. The hilarious story is too long for this post, but will be glad to share whenever you might be interested...just ask!
We took the government mooring ball...dashed into town so we could come back and crash. We learned that it was going to be a long process, walking from Customs to Immigration up town, back to the Port Authority...then back to Customs so we were starved. These night crossings cause big appetites...actually everything on this saltwater journey of ours makes us ravenous...thank goodness it's a very active business this cruising. We decided to find Cafe d'Arts Cafe...and look who we bumped into...Peter and Martha Branning! Our friends from Miami who have just recently started their cruising journey and voila!
Their friends Judy and Ken have been on board as guests and we laughed, we shared stories, we cried...not really, but darn it, they are going south and we are going north. This is starting to P.O. the Altair crew for real. We can always turn around and change our minds!
04/25/2011, Jolly Harbor and 5 Isles!!!
We were scared! Our friends told us that it would be easier to clear out in Jolly Harbor, unless you get the Dragon Lady! Articles were written about her in the Compass (Caribbean's Monthly Look @ Sea and Shore) and the horrible way she has treated a bunch of cruisers!
We left the comfort of 5 Islands harbor at about 9a, motored around the wee, rocky obstacles and arrived at the Jolly Harbor Marina fuel dock for water and some mercy! We are hoping one: we don't have bring Altair to the dock to clear out...2 times going to a dock is 2 too many! You are supposed to call and they will tell you whether or not they want you at their dock! (We really think they just don't have the energy). Ollie, the guy at the fuel dock said we could pull over to a dock close by and easy, like that part! We got rid of the garbage, provisioned (bad idea when you're hungry) and when we got back to Altair Dudley took the dink over to ask Ollie if we could leave the boat for another 1/2 hour. He told Dudley that the Customs and Immigration officers were leaving, "Hurry"...I didn't have time to get the cold stuff put away before we sped off to the customs dock.
Bottom Line, Leona, Port Authority officer (who we think is the dragon lady) was verrrrrrry nice, especially when she saw we are from Miami, she is too! She would not stop talking about Miami, her son lives in our town, and we had to stop her from searching her personal address book for her son's address. The guy in the customs office was patient, This IS Easter Monday, a holiday! Great...the three girls in Immigration were sad it was Easter and they had to work today, but "no, they are never closed....8-6, 365 days a year"...we're exhausted.
We came back here to 5 Islands Harbor so it will be a strait shot out the harbor @ 10-11p when we plan to leave and sail due West.
Nevis is our destination and we plan to be there about 8a!
The locals are testing the guests at the resort where we are getting the free wifi! The music is loud, the energy is good and I think it's testing Dudley too!
Happy Easter, Still!
04/24/2011, Five Islands, NW coast of Antigua!
The north swells did arrive yesterday, so we moved over here close to the north side of the harbor! We have a big fetch, lots of wind and with the wifi antenna, we are getting a strong signal from the resort for me to catch up on this blog!
As with everything...all good things must come to an end! We are directly downwind of a landfill and they apparently burn the garbage even on Easter! Lots of boats have the same idea as us and started to pour in today and the water never did clear up...why? The landfill runoff?
We finally got to relax...well I did (and I must admit, it's really hard for an extrovert, an A-type personality, hyper, high strung personality to sit this long writing...I'm like a jack in the box jumping up stretching, hopping...needing to MOVE). Dudley cleaned the dingy bottom, and changed the lower unit oil! Otherwise, we've been abstaining from alcohol...and "I feel good" (thanks James Brown, I can hear the beat)...
Just 10 minutes ago, Dudley suggested we put Barbuda back in our plans! We deleted it because of the time we spent here in Antigua, but it's a place we really wanted to visit!
With internet, we jumped on Passage Weather to find that Wednesday is a turning point for the weather! Winds will be outta the east which is ideal, it's the speed at 25-30 knots that we have a problem. That leaves the flat island (highest point is only 125') a bad candidate for our itinerary for the next five days!
We are back to looking at Nevis and St. Kitts as our next stepping off place. The plan is to leave tomorrow night, with winds slightly north of east and we can 'run' west with a plan to check in at Nevis! Bummer we'll miss Barbuda...oh Well..."Can't always get what you want", right Mick? -- Bec
04/22/2011, Left Falmouth for Five Island Harbor!
Lorry and Stephen will be hauling the boat on May 8th, so they want to go north where the water is clear, they can swim, get away from the crowds and chill!
We are going north to clear out of Antigua at Jolly Harbor...so we are tagging along!
Wow! That's all we have to say...for now! We are the only two boats in this entire harbor! What a switch from the 100s of boats and thousands of people the last 2 weeks! This is really laid back and Stephen was right! We can get free internet from the resort and it's good! Why are there so few boats here at 5 Islands? Don't know, don't care!
We're in awe! We always thought we were very social folks! This has been non-stop craziness...who knew we could hang?
We had a heck of a time anchoring...thanks you beautiful windlass and the weather is coming from the north! We may have to move...right now it's bliss!
We took a little spin around this huge harbor, and just laid back and putted along with our toes in the air! Thank you Universe for such a beautiful Caribbean and the opportunity to meet all these great people and experience a journey of a lifetime!
04/21/2011, Reef Garden, Mt. Gay
Ok, last one...last party night! It's been 11 days of parties and you can stick a fork in us, we're done! Seriously, we need a break and noone else seems to be phased one bit!
Connie, a good friend of Lorry and Stephen, has been working on this party for a long time. It's hand in hand with the Classic Regatta promotions, ala Mt. Gay Rum! A band, lighting, staging, the food, the ticketing, the staff...major, huge Party!
Lorry kept saying we should stay for it, "We've gotta go"!!!
So here we are...Lorry and Stephen are picking us up and we won't stay long if we are leaving with them too!
Another boogy night, ribs, kabobs, paella, free Mt. Gay rum was poured the entire evening! Saw lots of people we knew that came for the Regatta and Connie, owner of Reef Garden and Mad Mongoose is one driven woman! She's a dynamo!
Thanks Lorry for seeing that we would be here for this after all...to the rest of gang for making this one more memorable night...to mother nature for this most explosive sunset, ever! Connie I will get these pix to you, I promise!
04/20/2011, The Mad Mongoose
On one of my walks to English Harbor for a 'bad' fuel drop off, I touched base with Cassandra to invite her for a visit after two years! Lorry and Stephen are considered locals here in Antigua, with their knowledge of everyone and most of the island! Cassandra is a mutual friend of Droukit Cronie and Altair, so it was a blast that she could join us tonight!
We are blessed to have made such great friends and having a local Antigian who embrace us cruisers with such open arms and a huge heart is a humongous bonus! We've stayed in touch for the two years we were south and we are blessed to have not missed a beat upon our return to Antigua!
Again, the food was super, company delightful and we need to leave. To dry out if nothing else! Yeiks!