04/28/2012, GreenIsland, Anitgua
Charm III finished the Regatta taking 2nd place in their class and received the Spirit of Tradition Award due to their late night hours replacing the bowsprit from their Day 2 collision. Congratulations!
We left Falmouth Weds morning and had a pleasant sail up to Jolly Harbor for the night. Most people drive to the grocery store, we sailed. Provisioning for the next two weeks is complete. Well, maybe we will pick up a few things along the way. I would like to advise anyone headed there - drop anchor vs a mooring ball as the mosquitos were not enjoyable.
Thursday morning we had a quickie internet opportunity and not sure when we will again so these words may be days earlier. The fuel dock/marina offered free Google services - Thank you for gmail!
Once leaving the fuel dock we headed south to the south eastern part of Antigua - Green Island. Along the way the fishing line was out and Stephen reeled in a tuna not worth keeping so it was thrown back in to live another day. Once we turned the corner of Anitgua it was sailing dead into the wind as well as seas hence Captain Jim engaged the "iron jenny". Moving right along another bite on the line. Both guys jumped back there where Stephen took over (I pulled back on the throttle but evidently to much.!?) and reeled in our first Wahoo! Not being a big fish eating person it was the best of the three kinds we have caught. We had enough to share with the boat next door and a dinner for three in the freezer.
We are sitting on a mooring ball where the only thing that separates us from the Atlantic Ocean is a reef. Very similar to the Tobago Cays except this location only has about 20 boats and is filled with kite surfers. There are anywhere from 2-8 flying most of the day.
The night time/morning rain washed off the much accumulated salt we received on our beat here and today's snorkel was enjoyable. Stephen spotted a rather large crab and of course spent some time coaxing him out of his hole. All pics in Green Island gallery are by him (or me taking them of him) - he is becoming quite the photographer.
Saturday morning we will depart this beautiful sunrise location back to Falmouth to check out and on to Monserrat - the volcano island and inspiration for Jimmy Buffet's so named song.
Check out the Regatta pics -
Antigua Classics Regatta
04/22/2012, Falmouth, Antigua
We arrived in Falmouth on Weds to watch the Antigua Classics Regatta. This is a showcase of schooners built in the early 1900s as well as newer versions with the same old look. Let me tell you they are BEAUTIFUL. I would not want to varnsh and polish the woodwork as there is a plenty. We met the owner of Dorade and learned of its illustrous history and the guys were able to get on a boat for all four days of racing. They are so happy and learning so much much as part of the crew of Charm III. I will have to include the history of this vessel later as I do NOT want to give you wrong information. I do know that one of the crew, a young by from Anquilla, is looking at attending College of Charleston - one of Stephen's choices. Small world!
Charm III finished 1st in their class on Friday. They had a great start on Saturday only to be part of a collision and had to drop out. A new bowsprit was reattached and they headed out once again Sunday. I look forward to hearing good news and watching them as part of the Parade of Boats that will occur shortly.
Oh yea, yesterday I was privileged to be invited aboard m/v Bodacious and enjoyed the racing from literally in the middle of it all. It was awesome to see these beautiful vessels so graceful in the water whether they were 50ft or 150ft in length - Rebecca, Firefly heade to head most of the way, Godspeed from Annapolis, a number from Carriacou, Eileen, Old Bob, Athos, ,Saphandrea Spirited Lady and her hot pink spinnaker - okay, so that part was not classic but a beautiful boat nonetheless. The list goes on. The surreal thing is these boats can be seen in Yachting World Magazine, Sail World,.....
Hopefully I will get some pictures during the parade today as , YUP - I forgot to bring it yesterday when I "had the best seats", and be able to post for your enjoyment.
04/19/2012, Falmouth Harbor, Antigua
The first 5weeks of our journey we averaged 3 tuna a week. We ate "fresh from the sea tuna" as well as had a stock in the freezer. All we have caught since our time in Martinique was grass and most recently the proverbial "One that got away!" Yup, on our way to Iles des Saintes we had one on the line and as Jim was trying to slow the boat down, Stephen trying to tighten the line it kept going out until it snap and all was gone. We know it was not a fish pot as the water was at least 600ft deep. The funny thing was Stephen just went out to the line to check it and let it out a little more. Timing was great but the 40lbs line did not hold. We are going to say it was a 60lb tuna.
We bought new line @ 75lb weight but only have 300ft of it so we would have to be quick once something bit. Well, about fours hours into our passage to Antigua we got a bite. I jumped from my position while Jim slowed the boat & called for Stephen to get on deck. No worries, I had it under control as it was not hard. I told Stephen I thought we must have just caught some grass but low and behold we caught a Mahi Mahi. Evidently they give up once they get hooked until they get to the back of the boat. It was a she and she was delicious.
At anchor in Falmouth Harbor as it is Day 1 of the Antigua Classics Yacht Regatta - singlehanded racing. We plan to go ashore and tour Nelson's Dockyard and find laundry & provisioning locations. Friday we will probably find a spot on a hilltop to observe the boats while Saturday we have been invited aboard m/vBodacious to spectate amongst the vessels.
Latest Update: Jim & Stephen secured a crew position on one of the racing vessels - Charm III. guess I will hanging out alone for a few days:(
04/17/2012, Terre den Haut, Iles des Saintes
Sitting still and watching time go by.....not one of my favorite things but in the sailing world I accept it with joy! I mean the alternative is to set sail in winds of 25-30, scattered squalls with winds 35-40 and of course the seas that go along with such winds. Not many boats headed out today (4/16) and if they did it was merely to move from one island to the next within Iles des Saintes ( 3 small islands clustered together) which is a mere motor. It was entertaining to watch others pick up a mooring ball, saw a boat head out and return shortly thereafter and one boat return to its morning position as the new spot was more bouncy.
We actually moved from a great spot (Ilet da Cabrit) where we went for snorkeling on Sunday to closer to a village (Terre den Haut) so we could walk around and get some groceries. It was bouncy but we have been in worse.
Not sure what this morning brings us as I have looked out and the whitecaps are still in clear view and no one has left from around us yet. Will have to wait until the rest of the crew awakens, check Chris Parker's weather report and then decide. The good thing is we have nothing but time so all is well. Plus, I can finish my latest book - "A Yellow Raft in Blue Water" by Michael Dorris graciously left behind by one of Jim's passage crew - Thanks Bob and Julie!
Check out the photo gallery as Stephen had a great time playing with a puffer fish. He always seems to find something exciting. Both he and Jim do as they tend to look up under rocks and shells.
St Barts to Dominica
04/13/2012, Prince Rupert Bay, Portsmouth, Dominica
We ended up spending 2 days in Gustavia, St Barts as there was a regatta going on and we had great seats. We left there Saturday morning @ 8am with favorable winds and calm seas. Mid afternoon we were entertained for about 30minutes with about 12-15 dolphins swimming at the bow of the boat (pictures in gallery). I basically stayed at the bow watching in wonderment. Definetly one of those moments that keeps you sailing!
As soon as my 4-9pm shift was over a squall arrived. Fortunately it was Jim @ the helm so all was well. Around 10:30 a tack popped on the genoa/jib so all hands on deck to figure out a solution. Lucky for us there was a second loop so Stephen lowered the sail, loop attached and sail back up and full of wind. Stephen & I returned to our bunks until his midnight watch and my 3am time slot. Things settled down around 2:30am. The jib was furled in and the motor cut on as the winds died hence my watch was "smooth sailing" - no pun intended. The full moon glistened on the water and the sunrise was magnificent. Jim returned to duty around 7am and set the sails for our entry to Portsmouth, Dominica by mid afternoon.
M/V Bodacious (Jack & Jo) arrived and we all headed to shore for dinner at the Sunday Night BarBQ Fundraiser - this is put on by the Indian River Guides to help pay for the security boat that cruises the bay.
MONDAY - was sail repair day, a few laps around the boat(s), the observation of a school of squid, a puffer fish with blue eyes and assorted items fallen off of earlier visitor boats (towel, plate, utensils,...) and the finishing of "A World w/out End".
TUESDAY - we joined m/v Bodacious and s/v The Vagrant (George & Jeanie) and our guide Jack for a day on land. We began with a walk through the Syndicate Nature Preserve in hopes of seeing a few parrots. We did but they were always in flight. They actually live high in the canopy and if they were on the ground they would have to hop to higher elevations to take flight. On to Milton Falls (a.k.a. Syndicate Falls) where we met up with a Rastifarian farmer and received a plentitude of fruits and information. Did you know cinnamon is from a tree? Then a moderate walk (reminded us of a HASH) to the 80ft falls that is the primary water source of the people close by. Into the van for a few scenic photo stops, lunch in Calibishie and then onto Chaudlier Pool. The road to the walk path would not have been found on our own nor would we have been brave enough to drive a rental car on such road conditions...thankful for Jack (our guide) and his willingness. The path down was steep with two river crossings and then VOILA! A cool and refreshing pool and babbling brook. Both Jim & Stephen took the great leap into the 30ft deep pool while the others enjoyed a nice soak. Heck, Stephen flipped on his 2nd time down (pics in gallery). The trek up was longer but not as steep which was nice for the weary. Poor George took a 10ft tumble down while we were still at the bottom (upodate: he is doing fine!)
WEDNESDAY - was a school morning for Stephen and then a walk to Fort Shirley and upwards to the upper battery which was a very nice walk.
THURSDAY - was a lazy morning and then the guys headed out to a 2 tank dive and returned home to a fine meal prepared by the galley wench.
We will soon depart (Fri or Sat) hop up to Ilse de Saints, and Guadaloupe for some snorkeling and then onward to Antigua for the Antigua Classic Regatta.