Lots been going on since the last blog entry but not really of a seafaring nature.
Antigua is all a buzz because of the up and coming charter boat show (Dec.5) followed by the mega yacht charter show (Dec. 9).
For us non-commercial folks afloat this all translates into: loads of lovely boats to look at, currently we have several Fife's, Eleanora, Mariette, Adela and Persephone. There are other notables like Velsheda and the world's biggest yacht, or so I'm told, "Mirabella V". These monsters are all crewed by young nubile lovelies, actually there are some men as well but they don't count!. Wandering the docks is great because everyone sort of recognizes you, you're over 28 so you can't be crew and anyway you're not wearing a T shirt with a yacht picture or name on it, therefore you must be an owner or someone very important - which is fine by me, I am very important just not quite as rich as they've decided I must be.
A week ago Rosie arrived from home, long overdue and only just in time to save Mike and I from degenerating into dock rats! Three days later Mike Smith had to return to civilisation. Back to Melbourne by way of South Beach, Miami, Eastbourne, England, all courtesy of Lufthansa whom we learnt fly to the UK direct from here (albeit via Venezuela) but they haven't told any Australian travel agents about it!
Myth of Bristol and her crew are anchored just over the hill in English Harbour effecting repairs to their stemhead roller, helping crewman Mark get his yacht ready for launch. Dave and cousin Steve are conducting hikes to the Islands' highest points in the heat of the noonday sun before heading back north to Bristol, R.I. on Saturday.
Life is pretty lazy here despite a list 'jobs to do', perhaps the most significant of which is still to locate a replacement section for our badly bent mizzen boom. Current front runner in the suitability stakes is an older model Hobie Cat boom.
Weather is currently very showery but most of them seem to be limited to overnight and a.m. Watch this space for further riveting developments or better still call your travel agent and come and visit.
Tony & Rosie, Thursday, 29 Nov 2007
11/25/2007, St. Bart & Antigua
3 days of luxury in St. Barths, - well, not really, yes, it's all very smart and more surprisingly it's no longer that much more expensive than St. Martin. Unless, of course, you wish to frequent the row of 'magasins' that line the harbour; Chanel, Chopard, Gucci, Versace- but it's easy to see that it's all going downhill fast as they've let in the rubbish; DKNY, Lacoste are now vying for space as well.
Admittedly it's early in the season yet and everyone says the real money won't be here for another 2 weeks. Judging from the mega yachts, that may well be 130'+ with rainbow ambient lighting and mini helicopters but sadly are all called "Starship", "Milk and Honey", "Chantal Ma Vie"," Monte Carlo", there can be no doubt that the taste certainly hasn't arrived yet!
Mike and I are conducting a survey of establishments to see why ginger beer is no longer available in the French Leeward Islands. This means no " Dark and Stormy's" which may not be a bad thing as after a few it's quite easy to do a Mrs. Malaprop and ask for a "Stormy Darky", which can bring a variety of responses depending upon the bar person!
Today, Wednesday 21 November (see, brain's not completely atrophied yet!), we set sail after lunch on what will be the last leg of his particular jaunt. We're off to Antigua to pick up Rosie who's flying in on
Friday. Hopefully our arrival in Falmouth Harbour will coincide with Wayne and the crew aboard "Myth of Bristol" making landfall after their slog down from Newport, Rhode Island.
This will be an opportuniy for swopping many tales of bravery, aka stupidity, out on The Atlantic. As "Myth of B", was built like an icebreaker I doubt she will carry the scars that we do, but crewman Dave's Norwegian raconteurship will more than make up for any shortcomings!
Norumbega sails on under her 'modified' mizzen boom and I scout around little ship graveyards in the hope of finding something like a mirror dinghy mast than I can cut to length. I'm hoping that Antigua will throw up a suitable candidate. I suspect it'll be cheaper to negotiate a price for an entire rotten dinghy than let the vendor know I'm trying to replace a boom on a 50' yawl.
Our 'blogmistress' is away in Connecticut for a few days having a well deserved rest so this will all be out of date by the time you get to read it. We'll include a few general 'warm, sunny 'tropical' pictures just to make you all feel envious and I'll sign off with the wish that it's a benign winter for all. Look forward to relaying our impressions from Antigua, which should be on Tuesday.Tony
Well, the last 2 intrepid explorers are have now moved to St. Barts, where they will probably spend two days before they sail down to Antigua. I understand that he wind was on the nose the whole way and that their current anchorage is a bit rock & roll. They will move further into the harbour and hopefully find a more comfortable mooring.
I'm hoping to speak with the boys today, so will update you when I do.
11/15/2007, St. Martin, FWI
Waved Andy off last night after a very pleasant day playing tourist traveling around St Martin in a hire car. Sorry to see him go as he has been a key member of the group and has made a significant contribution to the sanity and skills of the team - but work calls! So now up to Tony and Mike to keep Norumbega pointed south.
At present we are awaiting repairs to the sails to be completed (expected Saturday) and current plan is to then move on to St Barts for a couple of days and then onto Antigua where we intend to meet up with Rosie late next week. Have been busy today (Thursday) and have now repaired (I hope!) the bow thruster and the genoa furler as well as a number of chores including engine filters, oil change and heads cleanout. Laundry, chart table lock replacement and water leak chasing still await as well as straightening the mizzen boom (am trying to convince Tony he should leave it bent as a story starter) - never a dull moment.
Since this is my (Mike's) first contribution to the blog I would like to take the opportunity to thank the blog followers in Aust for their messages of support - greatly appreciated. I would also like to congratulate Joy on her magnificent effort in keeping the blog up to date and providing the news to everyone back home - a very professional effort!
It has been an amazing trip - we have traveled over 1500nm (nearly 3000km) from 41deg N down to 18deg N - to put this into perspective for Aussie readers, this is the equivalent of sailing from just north of Hobart to Cairns, but only seeing land once (Bermuda). The weather has changed from wearing full wet weather gear (with long johns!) to a sweltering 42 deg on arrival in St Martin! As you will have gathered, the trip has not exactly been a relaxing holiday and has certainly had its moments of excitement - but I always expected it to be a challenge and it has certainly lived up to expectation. Quite an experience. As we now relax a bit more, the memory is starting to be viewed with both enjoyment and satisfaction! But not sure that I am about to embark on a whole lot more ocean adventures just yet - coastal sounds good! The idea of not having to be on watch all night and stopping at the odd restaurant has a certain attraction!
With that in mind, we are making the best of our time in St Martin (half French, half Dutch) checking out the various cuisines on offer (the Moroccan restaurant the other night was great ... although the suggestion by the rather camp maitre d' that he would be the belly dancer since business wasn't good enough yet to justify a contract dancer was a bit concerning!) - and Tony & I are both looking forward to a more relaxed sail down through the islands to Antigua.
Finally my thanks to the other team members - now back earning a crust - pity you had to leave, it was fun and a great effort. And to Tony for picking a great boat - Norumbega took everything thrown at her and it has certainly opened my eyes to the advantages of a stronger, long keeled and more heavily built boat for ocean sailing. All part of the continuing education!