Archer Adventures

Onboard "Jet-Lagged"

Ode to the barracuda

I have a barracuda under my boat
I want to swim, I want to float
But that fish’s eyes are full of meanness
I fear he might bite off my penis

It’s true that appendage has been of questionable use
But I would rather it be attached, not loose.
So I sit here looking down into the sea
And that angry fish glares back at me

If only the barracuda knew how to smile
I would risk a swim once in a while
But with that mean-faced fish so near
I think I’ll sit and drink my beer.

Ah, getting poetic about the barracuda. Clearly I have too much time on my hands! But they do look kinda scary, don’t they?

Jet-Lagged’s bows have now turned south. We have reached our furthest point north for this season and are now underway on the sail down to Grenada, our haul-out location for the coming hurricane season.

Our northern-most stop was the tiny Prickly Pear East Island, part of the territorial waters of Anguilla. We visited with our friends Dave & Merydee, the owners of “Jack Pine”, who flew down from snowy Canada for a week of warmth and sunshine. Jack Pine is currently being wintered in Cyprus, waiting for her crew to return for the next Mediterranean season.

Dave & Merydee joined us in St Martin, or technically it was ‘Sint Maarten’, as they joined us on the Dutch side! A cool island, owned half by the French and half by the Dutch. Different currency, language, food and culture all on a tiny island. In the centre of the island is a large lagoon which can be reached by passing through lifting bridges on the French and Dutch sides. Often called the super-yacht parking garage of the Caribbean, it has some astonishing boats moored inside. A popular pastime is to grab a cocktail on the deck of the Sint Maarten Yacht Club just before 4pm and then watch the nervous super-yacht crews as they manoeuvre their owners’ $100million toys through the narrow opening of the lifting bridge. Which is exactly where Dave & Merydee found us when they arrived!

They kindly brought with them a set of Mexican Train Dominoes and a Rummikub set, so we enjoyed a lovely week of good sailing, beautiful waters, wonderful food and then some serious evening competition! Regularly finished off with a Cuban cigar and a fine rum. Hard life…

Shannon and I have seen some simply gorgeous places in our trip north and look forward to revisiting the best of them as we head back south.

On our way north we met up again with Carl and Joanna in “the Saints” of French Guadeloupe and rented scooters to tour the island. We then sailed up the west coast of the main island of Guadeloupe and stopped at the Cousteau National Park, named in honour of Jacques Cousteau. There is a statue of him on the seafloor! All fishing and anchoring has been banned here for a long time so the place is full of fish and coral. Then we stopped in for a few days in Deshaies, which is where the English TV show “Death in Paradise” is set. Carl rented a car and took us on a tour of the island which, surprisingly, involved a great rum distillery! Ok, not so surprising…

Jet-Lagged and Rockhopper then headed north to Antigua. Home to Nelson’s Dockyard and English Harbour, quite a culture change from the last French island. We met up on Shirley Heights with magnificent views for the Thursday night “jump-up”, which is what the locals call a piss-up! Steel drum band, then a reggae band, rum punches galore and good BBQ.

We left Rockhopper in Antigua as Carl and Joanna flew back the UK for a couple of weeks. We sailed on to Barbuda. Beautiful water and the best beaches we have seen. But the island is still massively damaged from Hurricane Irma in 2017. Walking around the main town feels like being in an apocalyptic movie. Horses and donkeys walking around between the damaged buildings and very little rebuilding has taken place. Apparently when the population was evacuated for the hurricane, many never came back as there was nothing to come back to. Quite sad to see.

The next island north we visited was St Barts, or more correctly, St Barthelemy. The contrast could not be greater. High end shops, including Rolex and Louis Viton outlets, super-yachts with helicopters on the back deck, fancy restaurants and beautiful homes. This place looks like the hurricane never hit!

We are now back on St Barts as we return south. We have picked up a mooring in a nature reserve full of fish, turtles and, yes, my friend the barracuda.

From here we are thinking visiting St Kitts and Nevis. If the wind blows the right way!