04/28/2011, Basseterre, Port Zante Marina....
We took off for Basseterre, after listening to Lightheart call, call and finally connect with the marina @ Port Zante. The response we were eavesdropping upon, while snuggley anchored at Whitehouse Bay, with the marina, was that there was a boat leaving and as soon as they departed the slip was available. One hour, then another half hour! We decided to leave and just show up...offering to help means you just arrive! We asked and they were kind enough to share the conditions of the swells outside the marina as being "not too bad". We had already pulled up the anchor and were proceeding north, we'll see for ourselves. We were bashing into the seas, going north, into the wind of course, and wondering if this was any indication of our new neighborhood!
Check out the protective, temporary swell barrier...That monster will surely leave, along with our protection if we anchor out here just at the mouth of the marina where SV Lightheart has to do the work on the maststep.
04/28/2011, Port Zante Marina Complex...
We dropped the hook, launched the dink, and those swells were anything but swell. We're off to find Martha and Peter, the newlyweds! Their friends just flew out, Peter's son is coming for a visit next week and now they will have us hanging about trying to help!
We found the boat in their slip, minus the crew...this is who found us! These adorable African green vervet monkeys are taking over the island we later find out, but they are descendents of a few brought over by planters. "Monkey Man" is capitalizing on them big time, especially when the cruise ships frequent this Port Zante Complex! Very cute and biters too, gentle but true! We learned that they get very aggressive when they become adults...thank goodness these are youngsters.
04/27/2011, Nevis to St. Kitts, Woahhh!
I hope we are not going to regret not exploring Nevis...but the weather is why we booggied over here from Antigua before days of 30kt winds kept us there! We want to be in Ballast Bay or Whitehouse Bay according to all of our friends in the know! Goodbye Nevis...hello St. Kitts.
It took us about an hour and half to get here...big adventure...NOT!
It turns out that there's some incredibly high terrain in these here parts...so it's gonna be interesting...Already the katabatic winds are howling and we are thinking these enormous gusts are gonna make it interesting. Love that CQR!
We got a huge surprise. We were chilling and must've been below late in the afternoon when we hear "Hey, Altair!"...it's Lightheart! Martha and Peter Branning... were "heading south" just this morning, and they agreed to come back to St. Kitts (north) spend some time with us and get their maststep problem fixed too. We are so blessed! They invited us to dinner and what a boat...what a great group of people too...the joy continues!
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