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14 October 2018 | Papeete, Tahiti
19 August 2018 | 16 06.30'S:142 22.78'W, Rarioa, French Polynesia
30 July 2018 | 16 06.30'S:142 22.78'W, Nuku Hiva

Back in Barbuda - A Year Later

31 December 2016
17 33.003N 063 44.912W

Well, first an apology. I have not been keeping the Blog up to date in case you did not notice. Sorry.
Lots has happened in the last year, all okay mind you but we did have to change our plans. Mainly, when I was going for a checkup in Thunder Bay the doctor announced that I had not one, but two groin hernias that would need surgery. Great. I asked him if there was any chance of getting them done while I was still in Thunder Bay. Nope. So, after talking to various people at work and elsewhere, I decided to have the surgery done in Toronto at Shouldice Hospital which ONLY does hernia surgeries. None the less though, I could not get in before we headed back to Antigua. The tickets could not be changed without the usual fees and the surgery would not be until the beginning of April.
So we headed back to Antigua and had the boat hauled to get the bottom anti-fouling redone. Yes, it had been less that year having only been done in July but Sea Hawk paints had a batch that was ablating too quickly. They paid for the haul and the new paint – no charge to us at all! After getting back in the water we headed north to Barbuda to “wait” for my scheduled surgery. Headed back to Jolly Harbour on March 24 and I left Laurie with the boat (with a loooong!) list of chores to do while I was gone. I was to be in the hospital for 6 nights.
All went well in Toronto and both Christine and Lori came to visit me at Shouldice. I flew on WestJet and on the trip back, a pilot that used to work for us was the Captain southbound. We chatted for about 30 minutes in Antigua but he had to turn back to Toronto.
Once back at the boat on April 9 we headed where? Well, back to Barbuda. Hung out while I recuperated but it wasn’t long. We headed up to St. Martin on the 17th to visit and provision. Left St. Martin on the April 29 and headed southbound via St. Kitts, Antigua, Guadeloupe, The Saints, Dominica, Martinique, Bequia (St. Vincent), Tobago Cays and then south to Grenada arriving there on May 18 to prepare the boat for the summer alone.
Given the surgery, we were out of our “window” to go to Panama and really did not want to spend a whole summer in Grenada so we had decided to go back to Canada for 4 months, do some flying and visit family. It took about a week to “summerize” the boat, remove the sails, chafe guard the lines and many, many other things. Everything was tied down in case of a storm.
We flew home June 01. We had a great summer, had the chance to visit lots with Sheldon, Payton and Atari as well as everyone else. We went fishing, boating and camping. Had a great time and WOW, are they ever growing up quickly!
As September came, so did the prime hurricane month. Our boat was in the water at Le Phare Bleu Marina with Island Dreams looking after the boat continually. But, for almost 2 weeks I watched a wave develop that was to come off Africa way lower that normal; at around 8 degrees latitude, well south of the Cape Verde Islands and it was track due west, south of Grenada. Finally, on September 25, it looked like Grenada was going to take a hit, I left Laurie in Thunder Bay and jumped on Caribbean Airlines and took a red eye flight to Trinidad and then on to Grenada. I wanted to be sure that Hedonism would be moved to a Hurricane mooring as was planned and just to make sure everything was done. We picked Le Phare since they had certified “dedicated” Hurricane moorings that are not used any other times so they don’t get destroyed or worn. The day that I got there they had a meeting with the boat owners. Many had just come in due to the weather and all wanted to be on a mooring. The marina “plan” was to leave me where I was (I had the best spot on the concrete fixed dock – not by mistake mind you!) BUT I wanted to be on the mooring, far safer than a dock. We have the appropriate 1” New England storm bridal with a high strength shackle that weighs about 3 pounds by itself. Never had a chance to use it yet! Anyhow, after the “meeting” I had a little chat with the owner and it was agreed I would go on the mooring in the morning. At this point, the storm was about 48 hours away but still tracking towards us.
The following morning the track looked like the storm centre may pass just north of Grenada, a good thing since that would put us in the “southern quadrants” where the wind would be significantly less. By about 2 PM that day we were certain that the center would pass about 60 miles north, more near St. Vincent. I decided to leave the boat on the dock and caught a flight back to Canada the next morning just as the storm was passing to the north. It was still pretty stormy in Grenada mind you but nothing we could have had. All in all, it looked like I flew down to have an expensive Pina Colada and then left 2 days later…… We were scheduled to return in just 2 weeks anyhow!
We got back to the boat in the beginning of October and set about getting ready to sail. Hurricane season ends (for OUR insurance company) on November 01 but we worked on things and left northbound to Tyrell Bay, Carricou (part of Grenada) for a couple of days. We anchored near an old boat with no mast that was perhaps 60’ in length. It had one person living on it and had been on the same mooring for as long as we had been coming through. The boat was showing its age though and the gentleman was continually running his bilge pump. One night around 3 AM I thought I heard noises of something hitting our hull but shook it off and rolled over. When I got up and went to the cockpit around 6 AM I did my usual look around and something was different. Then I saw it, the boat sank on its mooring during the night right beside us. An oil slick was blowing downwind just missing us and various stuff was still floating up and away from the vessel. No dinghy could be seen. The gentleman had made it to shore in his dinghy but his boat is done. The top cabin was right at the water level. Apparently he had been having major leaks for some time, why he didn’t haul the boat is beyond me. It is now a hazard in the middle of the anchorage and a good dive site I suppose.
We continued North on November 16 and stopped in Bequia, St. Lucia and then to Martinique. There we rented a car for a couple of days to check out this large island. You might as well be in France. They drive the same too. We stocked up on cheap cheese and sausage and drove the country side. Beautiful country albeit, I need to brush up on my French. Everyone is friendly and laid back. While at anchor we had a girl who was single handling here 36?? Foot sail boat anchored in front of us while we were off the boat so we did not see how much chain she put out. About 2 days later a substantial squall line came through (running a couple of hundred mile long) AS FORECASTED. An hour before it hit we could see the lightning approaching from the….WEST. East is the normal wind here. Well it hit and she was not on her boat but thankfully we were on ours. We started to get west wind averaging in the mid forties. We did not drag nor did I expect to. She didn’t either BUT she had very little rode out and I had to motor forward constantly to miss her chain. She finally made her way back to her boat (dinghy in 45 knots of wind???) and let out more rode and then LEFT the boat again! Wow. She was gone in the morning before we go up. Numerous boats were damaged in the squall in Martinique, St. Lucia and so on. Several dragged up on shore in Rodney Bay, St. Lucia. We always anchor so we can turn 180 degrees, it is not normal to do so BUT it happens, usually during or after a squall. We have seen it a few times in Barbuda when just a minor squall goes through and the wind goes west and people run down the beach to get to their boats as they anchored TOO close to shore….
We left Martinique and worked our way north to Jolly Harbour. On the way I caught a nice Mahi Mahi; 49” long. Got 10 meals for 2 in one shot!
In Antigua we met up with Tracey and Kyle from Thunder Airlines who were there to attend a wedding. We had a great day sail.
We needed to get a bit of work done on the boat so we headed up to FKG Rigging in Sint Marrten arriving there on December 8. Things went much better this time and the work was completed in just one day. We stayed on their dock over the weekend and were walking distance to many stores and chandleries. Stock up time! Bailey’s Irish Crème - $14.00 USD per litre if you buy 2! Well, we’ll buy 4!
The “Christmas Winds” were set to arrive beginning on Saturday December 17 and not let up until the New Year. The direction was not good for Barbuda but was forecasted to go “north of east” so we figured: “we are a sail boat” and moved to Tintemarre Island on the NE coast of St. Martin with the idea that we would leave early on the 17th. We departed at 0500 as planned. The wind however did not move “north of east”, in fact it moved south of east. We started on a close haul, double reef, and were able to hold a course that would take us east of Antigua which was great. We would tack back up for a short bit and end up at our destination, Barbuda where we wanted to stay for Christmas and New Year’s. Well, to begin with it was a bit squally (gust to high 40’s) so we triple reefed for a bit but as the wind veered more south we could only hold a course taking us to Monserrate; not our destination nor a place to be in the Christmas Winds….
Well, we reminded ourselves, “we are a sail boat” so we just kept going until we were just south of Antigua and then tacked back up to Barbuda arriving at 1 AM on Sunday morning. A trip that usually takes us 8 – 10 hours just took 20. 120 miles vs the direct 65 from Tintemarre. Oh well. Even though the winds were pretty strong the boat handled well throughout the trip and we were even more please that the bushings we had made for our steering at FKG solved our autopilot issue. The steering had become a bit loose and the autopilot had a hard time figuring things out. All is good now!
We are having a great time in Barbuda. For the first week here we were the ONLY boat here on the South East coast. Now the wind has let up and Christmas has come and gone, we are now having more company. Doing lots of hiking, found 3 more (yes 3) satellite buoys including one just yesterday during my 5 hour hike up north of Castle Hill. (Further than we went Shawnda!) Had 3 liters of water and drank 2 of them….
I received an email a couple of days ago from Steve on Ancestral Salute. He was heading to Antigua from the BVI’s and in fact is now in Jolly Harbour so we will be meeting up with him soon.
We’re heading to Thunder Bay in February for my clinic and to visit for 4 weeks.
Here it is, New Year’s eve as I write this (rain day) so Happy New Year’s to everyone from the both of us. I will endeavour to keep this Blog a little more “up to date”. Yes, that is my New Year’s resolution!
Vessel Name: Hedonism
Vessel Make/Model: Outbound '46
Hailing Port: Thunder Bay, Ontario
Crew: Bob and Laurie Mackie
About: Retired
He-don-ism (hí:d'nįzəm) n. the doctrine that pleasure is the highest good and that moral duty is fulfilled through the pursuit of pleasure. After sailing Superior and Northern Lake Huron for the past 9 years, it's time to cut the ties and explore further. We left Barkers Island Marina on [...]
Home Page: http://hedonism1.ca/
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