Wednesday, Day 13
01 December 2010 | 17 0.69'N:61 45.90'W, English Harbor, Antigua
Wednesday, December 1
Tuesday morning's boisterous downwind sail from Barbuda evolved into a frenzied afternoon work party once we reached Jolly Harbour, Antigua, and tied up to the wall next to Budget Marine. It came about by happenstance, because as we pulled in, most of us had swimming and sightseeing on our minds, not locker diving and maintenance. Along the quay in front of where we needed to go to clear in, there was a fleet of very large, very fancy sailboats and catamarans lined up, all flying flags that read Freedom Tour. So what's a visiting yachtie on a modest boat to do? Well, first we motored in circles looking for inspiration. And then we spotted an open quay with a boatyard behind. Philip headed straight for it, and before you can say "I almost slipped," we hoped ashore with lines and tied them off.
Behind us there was a row of boats, mostly sail, that were on the hard and tied down with straps to hooks set in concrete. And there, right between two of the boats, on the second floor of a long metal building, was the sign for Budget Marine, the very store we'd come to Jolly Harbour to find! Here we could get bolts to fix the pedestal that had come precariously loose during our overnight to Barbuda. And Philip hoped to also get a second bilge pump and install it, along with a new ignition switch to be ready for his winter cruise with Corinna and the kids.
While Philip headed off to enjoy the finer details of Antiguan immigration, Peter climbed into an aft cockpit locker, sledge hammer in hand, to beat loose the broken aluminum bolts that once held down the port side of the pedestal. It was unique way to get out of the sun. Meantime, the rest of us sweltered and kept busy straightening up things, inflating the deflatable, repairing the pump that failed to fully inflate the deflatable, and Ulf and Bob even found time to saut´ onions and fry the fish filets from the morning's catch.
Oh, did I forget to mention that after 900 miles, on the very last leg of our trip, two fish were finally fooled by the blobs of wood, plastic, and feathers we'd trailed astern since leaving Bermuda. Actually, that's not entirely true. On the way into Barbuda Monday morning, Ulf hauled in one of the scrawniest, sorriest looking excuses for a fish I've seen. And minutes after we threw that one back, he hauled in half of what looked to have been quite a fine fish. Unfortunately some bigger denizen got the edible part of this one. So really, neither of these counted as landed dinners-to-be.
Officially, the two fish the boys caught on Tuesday morning were the first "keepers" of the trip. They were fine, though small specimens, which were quickly hauled aboard, dispatched, filleted, and put aside in plastic bags for later. Sadly Peter was not the one pulling in either, so he remains the only member of the fish detail to have been skunked, though as I write he has a line in the water, hoping, perhaps in vain, to change all that.
Today, we're bound for English or Falmouth Harbor, where we'll take care of a few more repairs, see a few sights, and, yes, prepare for our impending journey north to re-engage the New England winter.
For now, though, there's still time to dive into clear blue water, complain its feeling a little cool, and then bitch like hell about the broiling sun once we're sailing again. Which is reason enough, of course, to stop, toss out the anchor, and go for another swim.
"By the way, Bob, while you're down there, could you grab us all an ice cold Caribe from the fridge?" After all, this is Antigua, and it's hot as hell.
This post is made possible by Iridium and Global Marine Networks.