Happy New Year!!
01 January 2010 | Great Bird Island, Antigua
Eric and Moira's departure has apparently disturbed the Weather Gods. Immediately after they left the winds picked up and squalls began to blow through our previously tranquil anchorage. Within 24 hours the skies have darkened until all that is visible is a solid mass of grey. Rain pummels the decks while 20 - 30 knot winds churn up the bay, creating 1' seas in an anchorage that just hours ago we'd nicknamed "The Bathtub".
It's New Year's Eve and Louis and I are hunkered down inside Scappatella. Outside the wind continues to howl and waves slap noisily against the hull of the boat. But inside is a different story: as soon as we descend the companionway stairs and enter the "salon" all is quiet and cozy. The transformation is amazing.
We're having pizza for dinner, watching an incredibly bad movie: "Ask the Dust" with Colin Farrell and Salma Hayeck. Have you seen it? It's like watching a porn flick with even less plot. Not even Colin's brooding good looks and tight pecs can keep me awake. Salma apparently does a better job of keeping Louis' interest as all of a sudden he jumps up, checks the clock, and cries out "Sweetie, let's go...it's one minute 'til midnight!". We scramble up into the cockpit, grab our rain jackets and leap into the dinghy with a flashlight and a bunch of old, expired emergency flares. We have big plans to light them off in celebration of the new year! Fortunately, the rain has ceased but the wind is still rippin'; it's up to 30 knots and the seas swirl around us. I try to hold the dinghy tight to the boat as Louis starts the engine. It heaves and bucks as I remark, "This probably isn't the smartest thing we've ever done..." Nonetheless, we head away from Scappatella in the near gale-force winds.
All of a sudden an explosion of fireworks erupts around us! It seems several resorts and local towns each have their own fireworks display, and we have a front row seat. "Happy New Year" we yell to each other, attempting a kiss, but the motion of the dinghy makes it more of a primitive face-mashing. Louis opens our canister and lights one of the expired flares. We hold our breaths in anticipation, but...nothing. Flare number 2 is lit...nadda. Flare number 3 is another dud. Good thing our life doesn't depend upon this! Flare number 4 is a parachute flare. Louis pulls the pin on it, shoots it into the air, and a loud explosion of light shoots up into the night. I scream as it goes off, and we watch the red ball light up the sky as it arcs up, up, up about 100 feet high and then slowly begins to descend toward the water. We're shouting with laughter and yelling "Happy New Year", doing some more face-mashing. "Wow, that was AMAZING"! I exclaim to Louis. He's laughing and with a gleam in his eye says, "That was TOO cool...we've gotta do another one!." So he shoots up a 2nd - again I scream - and we're in awe of the giant arc of light we've set off up into the sky! Laughter continues to erupt from our little dinghy as we head back to Scappatella, exhilarated and content. We fall asleep and wake to the sun shining on us, greeting the first day of the new year!